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Sunday Night -- 10.06.13 -- For Love or Money -- Conversation with Michael Hardt

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Sunday Night -- 10.06.13 -- For Love or Money -- Conversation with Michael Hardt

CONTENTS:
0. About Sunday Night
1. Related Readings
2. Walt Whitman: Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

__________________________________________________
0. About Sunday

What: A conversation with Michael Hardt
When: 7:00 October 6, 2013
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
Who: Free and open to all

As an expansion of our inquiry into Commoning the City and Withdrawing from the Community of Money, we would like to invite everyone this Sunday evening for a talk and conversation with Michael Hardt.

It was 13 years ago in our reading discussions around notions of community that we began to inquire into love as a political concept reading the writings of bell hooks. Five or six years later, some conversations started with Michael about a seminar that could be organized at the space centering around this question.

That seminar never did take place, but the question of love -- as a social power, as a constitutive force for social bonds and relations, which can be qualitatively different from those dominated by the logics of exchange or hierarchy, remains a potential path for our common(s) inquiries.

Drawing primarily on Spinoza, he argues that love is an affective composition of bodies that enhances their power to act.

The love he is speaking of, is neither the romantic bond linking two lovers in a relationship of quasi-property, nor what creates unity in a given community. Rather, love is a trajectory that involves heterogeneous elements, proliferates on difference and generates ruptures - a shattering of structures of present life and a creation of a new.

But love, for Hardt, is also an institution, a social muscle, strengthening and expanding our relations to the world. If money and property dull our senses, our ability to perceive and apprehend the world by reducing everything to a logic of calculability and quantification. Love may institute processes and even practices for shifting and generating a new sensorium that resists these processes.

Love is not set free by the abolition of private property or the withdrawal from money, but it must be constituted anew, as a counter-power to create lasting social bonds and relations of duration. In this way, love is not only the event or rupture of the loss one oneself, a one-time shattering, but also it is the experience and encounter of difference that one returns to through repeated practices.

In this way, love can become a collective adventure. And in this way, a political concept of love, is a grappling with what certain institutions of the common(s) could be.

If money and property insure certain kinds of lasting (even if corrosive) social bonds, structure social relations, and produce or reinforce specific institutions and mental conceptions such as public and private. What institutions and practices could nurture and support enduring social bonds that are not predicated on hierarchy or exchange?

If love is a power that operates simultaneously at the most intimate and social levels, how to confront the abuses and violence that certain notions of love have mobilized? For example, one can think of the 'labors of love' or work inside the home (which have, by their association to love, served forces which devalue the labor and care for the everyday reproduction of life). On a larger scale, one can think nationalism, racism, or other forms of "love of the same" acting as a mobilizer of the most regressive forms of political unity and formation.

But Michael argues that, precisely, a political concept of love would conform neither to the obliteration of differences inside the home or in the social sphere, but would rather be the space of encounter between and multiplication of those differences. And it is in this sense that love could act as one of the institutions of the common(s).

Of course, many questions remain outstanding, so it is for this reason we invite you for this talk and conversation.

We have also provided links to some short readings below. Although we will be sending a separate email for Monday's meeting, we have also posted links to Monday's texts for the common(s) course.

__________________________________________________
1. Related Texts

Sunday
http://sduk.us/hardt_for_love_or_money.pdf
http://sduk.us/berlandt_a_properly political_concept_of_love.pdf
http://sduk.us/hardt_politics_of_love.pdf
http://sduk.us/hardt_politics_common.pdf
http://sduk.us/hardt_production_and_distribution_of_common.pdf
http://sduk.us/hardt_common_in_communism.pdf

Monday
http://sduk.us/money/nelson_money_versus_socialism.pdf
http://radicalnotes.com/2012/12/30/non-market-socialism-life-without-money-an-interview-with-anitra-nelson/

__________________________________________________
2. Walt Whitman: Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).
Leaves of Grass. 1900.

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

1

FLOOD-TIDE below me! I watch you face to face;
Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see you also face to face.

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose;
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose. 5

2

The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at all hours of the day;
The simple, compact, well-join’d scheme—myself disintegrated, every one disintegrated, yet part of the scheme:
The similitudes of the past, and those of the future;
The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings—on the walk in the street, and the passage over the river;
The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away; 10
The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them;
The certainty of others—the life, love, sight, hearing of others.

Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from shore to shore;
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide;
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east; 15
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high;
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring in of the flood-tide, the falling back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

3

It avails not, neither time or place—distance avails not; 20
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence;
I project myself—also I return—I am with you, and know how it is.

Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt;
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd;
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d; 25
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood, yet was hurried;
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships, and the thick-stem’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d.

I too many and many a time cross’d the river, the sun half an hour high;
I watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls—I saw them high in the air, floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,
I saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies, and left the rest in strong shadow, 30
I saw the slow-wheeling circles, and the gradual edging toward the south.

I too saw the reflection of the summer sky in the water,
Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams,
Look’d at the fine centrifugal spokes of light around the shape of my head in the sun-lit water,
Look’d on the haze on the hills southward and southwestward, 35
Look’d on the vapor as it flew in fleeces tinged with violet,
Look’d toward the lower bay to notice the arriving ships,
Saw their approach, saw aboard those that were near me,
Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops—saw the ships at anchor,
The sailors at work in the rigging, or out astride the spars, 40
The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender serpentine pennants,
The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their pilot-houses,
The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of the wheels,
The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sun-set,
The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the frolicsome crests and glistening, 45
The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray walls of the granite store-houses by the docks,
On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank’d on each side by the barges—the hay-boat, the belated lighter,
On the neighboring shore, the fires from the foundry chimneys burning high and glaringly into the night,
Casting their flicker of black, contrasted with wild red and yellow light, over the tops of houses, and down into the clefts of streets.

4

These, and all else, were to me the same as they are to you; 50
I project myself a moment to tell you—also I return.

I loved well those cities;
I loved well the stately and rapid river;
The men and women I saw were all near to me;
Others the same—others who look back on me, because I look’d forward to them; 55
(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)

5

What is it, then, between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?

Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not.

6

I too lived—Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine; 60
I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the waters around it;
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,
In the day, among crowds of people, sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed, they came upon me.

I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution; 65
I too had receiv’d identity by my Body;
That I was, I knew was of my body—and what I should be, I knew I should be of my body.

7

It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw patches down upon me also;
The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious; 70
My great thoughts, as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre? would not people laugh at me?

It is not you alone who know what it is to be evil;
I am he who knew what it was to be evil;
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb’d, blush’d, resented, lied, stole, grudg’d, 75
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant;
The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not wanting,
Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting. 80

8

But I was Manhattanese, friendly and proud!
I was call’d by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street, or ferry-boat, or public assembly, yet never told them a word,
Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping, 85
Play’d the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,
The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like,
Or as small as we like, or both great and small.

9

Closer yet I approach you;
What thought you have of me, I had as much of you—I laid in my stores in advance; 90
I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born.

Who was to know what should come home to me?
Who knows but I am enjoying this?
Who knows but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me?

It is not you alone, nor I alone; 95
Not a few races, nor a few generations, nor a few centuries;
It is that each came, or comes, or shall come, from its due emission,
From the general centre of all, and forming a part of all:
Everything indicates—the smallest does, and the largest does;
A necessary film envelopes all, and envelopes the Soul for a proper time. 100

10

Now I am curious what sight can ever be more stately and admirable to me than my mast-hemm’d Manhattan,
My river and sun-set, and my scallop-edg’d waves of flood-tide,
The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the twilight, and the belated lighter;
Curious what Gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and with voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my nighest name as I approach;
Curious what is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or man that looks in my face, 105
Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you.

We understand, then, do we not?
What I promis’d without mentioning it, have you not accepted?
What the study could not teach—what the preaching could not accomplish, is accomplish’d, is it not?
What the push of reading could not start, is started by me personally, is it not? 110

11

Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me;
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta!—stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn! 115
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution!
Gaze, loving and thirsting eyes, in the house, or street, or public assembly!
Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically call me by my nighest name!
Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or actress! 120
Play the old role, the role that is great or small, according as one makes it!

Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in unknown ways be looking upon you;
Be firm, rail over the river, to support those who lean idly, yet haste with the hasting current;
Fly on, sea-birds! fly sideways, or wheel in large circles high in the air;
Receive the summer sky, you water! and faithfully hold it, till all downcast eyes have time to take it from you; 125
Diverge, fine spokes of light, from the shape of my head, or any one’s head, in the sun-lit water;
Come on, ships from the lower bay! pass up or down, white-sail’d schooners, sloops, lighters!
Flaunt away, flags of all nations! be duly lower’d at sunset;
Burn high your fires, foundry chimneys! cast black shadows at nightfall! cast red and yellow light over the tops of the houses;
Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are; 130
You necessary film, continue to envelop the soul;
About my body for me, and your body for you, be hung our divinest aromas;
Thrive, cities! bring your freight, bring your shows, ample and sufficient rivers;
Expand, being than which none else is perhaps more spiritual;
Keep your places, objects than which none else is more lasting. 135

12

We descend upon you and all things—we arrest you all;
We realize the soul only by you, you faithful solids and fluids;
Through you color, form, location, sublimity, ideality;
Through you every proof, comparison, and all the suggestions and determinations of ourselves.

You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful ministers! you novices! 140
We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate henceforward;
Not you any more shall be able to foil us, or withhold yourselves from us;
We use you, and do not cast you aside—we plant you permanently within us;
We fathom you not—we love you—there is perfection in you also;
You furnish your parts toward eternity; 145
Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.

 

__________________________________________________
16 Beaver Group
16 Beaver Street, 4th fl.
New York, NY 10004

for directions/subscriptions/info visit:
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TRAINS:
4,5 -- Bowling Green
2,3 -- Wall Street
J,Z -- Broad Street
R -- Whitehall
1 -- South Ferry





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