In November 2013 Moroccan-Belgian filmmaker Nabil Ben Yadir released
his second feature film, La Marche, to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary
Out-marching exclusion and hatred 117
of the first national anti-racist movement in France. The six-week march was
a historical touchstone event that mobilized over 100,000 demonstrators.
It was described as France’s equivalent of America’s civil rights protests,
a 500-mile march from Marseille to Paris, intended to awaken France to
State racism, violence, and rampant discriminatory practices in its midst
Maoist students, the Situationist International or Socialisme ou Barbarie. Rather, as I explain below, Genet’s politics remained consistent with the sophisticated and open-ended view of revolution that he proposed in his late theatre. In both his theatre and militancy, Genet always insists on the necessity for social change, without, for all that, being willing to invest in what JacquesRancière would call metapolitical solutions. 9 For Genet, the social is an open wound that resists healing, and both aesthetics and revolutionary politics are instances of permanent
new type of collective politics based on what JacquesRancière calls the ‘wrong’, a demand for recognition on the part of those who are denied visibility in and by the dominant culture, and who exist as representatives of the ‘part who have no part’ ( 1999 : 9). 2
Filth and marginality
In the mid-to-late 1950s, ‘race’ relations in France underwent a seismic shift, the consequences of which are still felt today in the depressing cités , or housing estates located beyond the Boulevard Périphérique that separates central Paris from the banlieus . Where Paris had
transforms the story of the long journey through France’s hinterland into a
metaphor of ‘solidarity and connectedness across gender, class, race and sex
divides’ and a paradigm for political intervention (p. 118). Undermining the
stereotypical association banlieue–immigration–lawlessness and the French
State’s systemic discrimination against immigrants from former colonies
based on national amnesia, La Marche is a ‘heterogeneous text that weaves a
new relationship between present and past’ and transforms France’s national
historiography (p. 123). Using JacquesRancière’s
. Rather, I take presentness to be the equivalent of a physical ‘thereness’ which is resistant to all knowledge. Presentness, in my reading, is disruptive; it sets subjectivity reeling.
In order to get to grips with the politics involved in Genet’s attempts to dislocate the audience, I supplement Lefebvre’s ideas with those of the post-Althusserian philosophers JacquesRancière and Alain Badiou. 19 According to Rancière, becoming a political subject does not mean that we identify with a pre-existing set of ideological roles (say, for instance, signing up as a party
Andrew Gibson says the same thing about Rancière’s notion of aesthetic politics and Badiou’s inaesthetics. See ‘The Unfinished Song: Intermittency and Melancholy in Rancière’, in M. Robson (ed.), JacquesRancière: Aesthetics, Politics and Philosophy (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005), pp. 61–76; and Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 162–71.
, does not.
As JacquesRancière notes, the Aristotelian
distinction between human and animal can only be the result of a
rather unlikely forgetting of Plato. In particular, it involves
suppressing the passages in the Republic that are all too
clear on the animalistic nature of crowds who, at the instigation of
an orator, will express pleasure and displeasure. 11 Rancière argues
Minnesota Press, 1978 ).
This notion of partage has been
central to the recent work of both Jean-Luc Nancy and JacquesRancière. See, for example, Nancy, The Inoperative
Community , trans. P. Connor and others (Minneapolis,
Minnesota University Press, 1991 ); La
See the discussion of this in terms of the
work of JacquesRancière below, pp. 123–4.
Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus , ed. E.
M. Waith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984 ).
It is hard to avoid the