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Hegemonía y equivalencia en la novela vasca

Juanjo Olasagarre 2010/10/01 08:14
Joan den udaberrian Londresen izan zen Juanjo Olasagarre, Volgako beste bi batelari ezkutari moduan eraman zituela, bertan literaturaz eta beste kontu gutxi gorabehera teorikoez egiten zen kongresu batean; bertan aritu zen Joseba Gabilondo edo Imanol Galfarsoro bezalako goi-argi batzuekin batera, besteak beste. Bere 'Hegemonia y equivalencia en la novela vasca' izenburuko hitzaldian euskal eleberrigintzan suma daitezkeen bilakaera batzuez hausnartu zuen Olasagarrek, Laclauren hegemonia, diferentzia eta ekibalentzia bezalako kontzeptuetatik abiatuz, eta hitzaldi hori da orain dakarkizueguna, gaztelania ederrean emanda.
hegemonia

Lo que esta conferencia trata de demostrar, a partir del concepto de hegemonía de Laclau (*), es que en un punto de la historia reciente de la literatura vasca el antagonismo principal de dicha literatura ha ido articulándose desde lo nacionalsocial/no nacional hacia otras articulaciones que no llegan a ser antagónicas, y por lo tanto deja de ser lo nacional el significante vacio. Se plantea así que lo que estructuraba el discurso social en los años 1960, 70, 80 y 90 deja de ser el antagonismo para pasar a ser uno de los antagonismos, y por lo tanto deja de estructurar lo social en el sentido de ser un significante vacío, y poder así posibilitar la equivalencia.

Desde la creación de ETA se podría decir que el antagonismo nacional (vasco/español) se transforma en la literatura vasca en el antagonismo donde el concepto de revolución junto con el de nación llena el vacío dejado por la anterior literatura que, probablemente, tanto por la Guerra Civil como a causa del atípico desarrollo de la Lengua y Literatura (ausencia de un Estado, falta de unificación de la lengua, que la presunta literatura vasca esté en manos del clero y se utilice básicamente para aleccionar), había planteado el principal antagonismo entre tradición/nación como esencia/cristianismo frente a nación-española/lo-abertzale en su vertiente mas étnica, siendo lo abertzale sólo alguno de los significantes de lo vasco.

En este sentido, esta conferencia quiere realizar una temporización de cómo el antagonismo va deslizándose desde el antagonismo nación-revolución hacia otros antagonismos, en los que el concepto de nación queda diluido, hasta plantearse que las equivalencias entre nación y lucha gay, o entre nación y feminismo son imposibles.

Así pues esta conferencia planteará cuatro estadios en la temporización.

1.- Novelas en las que el antagonismo nación vasca vs. nación española se está formando y no se da todavía ninguna equivalencia.

2.- Novelas en las que la equivalencia existente es entre nación y revolución socialista, pero sólo esa equivalencia es posible.

3.- Novelas en las que la equivalencia entre la lucha nacional y otro tipo de luchas es posible.

4.- Novelas en las que la equivalencia se plantea como imposibilidad y el concepto de nación desaparece para dar paso a una pluralidad de contradicciones en el discurso que no llegan a ser antagonismo.

 

1.- Novelas en las que el antagonismo nación vasca vs. nación española se está formando y no se da todavía ninguna equivalencia.

Exkixu (Elkar, 1988) es la primera novela que analizaremos. Escrita al modo realista, rompe en cierta manera con la imagen de escritor vanguardista de su autor Txillardegi, uno de los fundadores de ETA.

Exkixu es el nombre de un caserío que es expropiado. Sus habitantes, por lo tanto, tienen que “bajarse” a vivir al pueblo, a un piso, perdiendo el paraíso idílico.

La representación del caserío como un lugar puro, y el pueblo, con sus pisos y calles, como algo caótico, acentúan el antagonismo básico planteado en la novela: vascos versus españoles (venidos de fuera), creando una dicotomía entre lo bueno y lo malo. En ese sentido, Exkixu es deudora de la novela costumbrista, especialmente de Txomin Agirre, en la que el complejo edípico está solapado y se sitúa en el exterior. “Vivíamos bien, pero han venido estos españoles y nos han jodido”.

Sorprende más, si cabe (siendo Txillardegi, como se ha aludido antes, uno de los primeros impulsores de ETA), que Anton Arraiza, hijo del caserío y protagonista de la novela, mire a los sindicalistas de reojo.

Como no podría ser de otra manera, Arraiza entra en ETA y muere sin haber integrado la equivalencia creada entre lo nacional y lo revolucionario, que tiene al otro lado de la barrera antagónica lo español-retrogrado. Habría que señalar en este sentido que la novela no muestra las articulaciones simbólicas existentes entre los polos que no han alcanzado la equivalencia, es decir, entre el llamado nacionalismo democrático, léase el PNV, y el llamado nacionalismo revolucionario.

Siguiendo a Laclau, se podría decir que la “lectura” de lo social que hace Txillardegi es una lectura monológica, donde el discurso de lo social está cosificado

 

2-Novelas en las que la equivalencia entre nación y revolución socialista existe pero solo ésa es posible.

En este estadio de la Literatura Vasca la hegemonía se plantea como cristalización de los antagonismos en un solo antagonismo: el de la nación, creándose diversos espacios donde la hegemonía toma cuerpo. Nación vasca versus nación española.

Este antagonismo plantea una equivalencia que va más allá, dada la dinámica social: nación vasca igual a revolución socialista, nación española igual a democracia burguesa. Tanto porque la Izquierda Abertzale ha ejercido el poder real, como porque se ha saturado el discurso, lo abertzale logró ser, en la práctica social, un significante vacío que posibilitó la equivalencia, si bien es cierto que no mayoritariamente y no en todos los lugares. Desde esos parámetros está escrita la novela de Koldo Izagirre, Nik ere Geminal egin gura nuen aldarri (Susa, 1998) Quizás el primer intento por plantear la equivalencia entre lucha nacional y lucha social.

Esta novela se desarrolla en dos planos: en el primero se cuenta la vida de Angiolillo, anarquista italiano que atentó en 1896 contra el entonces presidente de España, Cánovas del Castillo. El segundo plano son las consideraciones de un preso de ETA condenado a muerte. Las dos historias se imbrican hasta ser una sola. La tesis de Koldo Izagirre es que el “hilo rojo” de la Historia existe y acaba uniendo a los dos personajes y acontecimientos históricos. En los términos en que estamos tratando, diríase, saltando por encima de Laclau y su impecable maquinaria lógica, que la hegemonía podría ser intrahistórica y, por lo tanto, la equivalencia se daría a través de la Historia.

Además hay una especie de deslizamiento en la narración. Angiolillo, que fue ajusticiado en Bergara y cometió su atentado en Mondragón, tenía que saber de los vascos, y en esa medida se hace posible la equivalencia entre lucha nacional y lucha social (revolución socialista).

Aunque en la novela esta equivalencia aparece claramente, no queda explicado cómo se crea, y es “dada” como una esencia: Angiolillo “debería saber” quiénes eran los vascos, y, por lo tanto, compartir su lucha. El autor al final de la novela hace hablar por la misma boca al Etarra y al Anarquista, haciendo no sólo la posible equivalencia, sino identificando plenamente ambas revoluciones.

Si analizamos el papel que las mujeres juegan en esta novela tendríamos que confirmar que el antagonismo principal (nación-revolución versus no nación-democracia burguesa) impide que otra equivalencia pueda presentarse a lo largo de la novela: las mujeres que aparecen son objetos del varón, objetos en los que se unifica el concepto de revolución y deseo. Las mujeres son, pues, ese cuerpo en el que el deseo y la revolución se encarnan. Por eso a veces poseer el cuerpo, amar el cuerpo, es un acto revolucionario. Así lo atestiguan algunas escenas de la novela, lo mismo que algunas reflexiones del narrador.

 

La siguiente novela donde se plantea la equivalencia nación-revolución es Hamaika pauso (Erein, 1995).

Esta novela de Ramon Saizarbitoria, quizás la mejor escrita en euskara, plantea, mediante una técnica cercana al nouveau roman y al existencialismo, que el antagonismo nación-revolución versus no nación-democracia burguesa condena a los personajes atrapados en este antagonismo a la melancolía más absoluta.

Por una parte tendríamos al personaje Ortiz de Zarate, militante de ETA, productor del antagonismo que sostiene mediante una masculinidad “macho”, heterosexualidad normativa e incluso chulería.

Ortiz de Zarate acaba pasando una temporada en casa del melancólico Abaitua, a quien le roba los calcetines, el reloj y la amante.

La pregunta podría ser ¿qué parte del polo del antagonismo ha perdido Abaitua para, desde su melancolía, asesinar a Ortiz de Zarate y suicidarse? ¿Qué parte perdida no ha llorado para convertirse en un melancólico? Probablemente habría que sugerir que el antagonismo antes descrito, nación-revolución versus no nación-democracia burguesa, condena a Abaitua a la melancolía de la pérdida de la nación, junto con la hombría y la heterosexualidad, puesto que Abaitua comprende que ese antagonismo lo condena a tomar la armas y convertirse así en un etarra revolucionario, o a la nada.

Por eso, en un acto de melancolía invertida, mata a su espejo y se suicida.

Para analizar los valores que toman cuerpo en un polo del antagonismo propongo analizar otra novela, Joan zaretenean, de Jokin Muñoz (Alberdania, 1997), que curiosamente también se estructura en el antagonismo nación-revolución versus no nación-democracia burguesa, polos representados, respectivamente, por los personajes Mikel y Álvaro.

Mikel acaba de perpetrar un atentado con bomba y se refugia en casa de Álvaro, amigo de la infancia. Álvaro no puede decirle que no y la novela cuenta la adolescencia y la juventud de ambos, así como la vida de ese Álvaro hundido entre la melancolía y la duda.

Pareciera que Mikel le hubiera robado su masculinidad, pues no ha sabido convertirse en etarra, pero tampoco ha sido capaz de negarle la entrada, lo que lo convierte en un hombre castrado.

Me gustaría señalar las características con las que el autor, Jokin Muñoz, dota a los personajes y que reflejan el antagonismo existente, un antagonismo que en esta novela ya no se representa entre la nación-revolución versus nación española, sino entre nación-revolución-vasco versus no vasco-democracia burguesa-no nación.

 

En el polo nación-revolución-vasco encontraremos los siguientes elementos:

1- Cuadrilla. Haientzat (gurasoentzat) koadrila, indibidualismoaren kontrako txertoa izateaz gainera, sustatu nahi ziguten elkartasun zentzua garatzeko eskola zen. Koadrila ekintza guztien abiapuntua eta xedea zen. Koadrilak hezi egiten gintuen elkarlanean eta konformismoan, eta helduek, elizaren arrimora hezitakoak ziren aldetik, taldearen aurreko makurtze hari garrantzi handia ematen zioten. Beren balore eskala hurkoarekiko gertutasun-urruntasun horren araberakoa zen, hain nabarmen ezen taldeari erakutsitako leialtasuna medio neurtzen baitzen gure nortasunaren benetako balioa.

Es decir, la famosa cuadrilla vasca aparece como madre castradora, lugar donde la individualidad no se puede desarrollar.

2- Lealtad y permanencia: (malgu ez dena neurri batean iraunkorra den neurrian): Mikel mendetan iraunkortasuna eta leialtasuna sobera estimatu dituen mundu ikuskera baten oinordekoa da.

Son características estereotipadas que se han atribuido tradicionalmente a lo vasco: un vasco es un amigo para toda la vida, somos trabajadores, no nos gusta lo nuevo. En ese sentido, lo nuevo en la novela, la vida que Álvaro emprende en Madrid, se ve abocada al fracaso porque Álvaro no ha sabido liberarse de los valores castrantes vascos.

Ni garaiokin hobeto ezkontzen diren ahuldade eta iraungikortasun neurrigabe baten seme naizen moduan, hargatik tupusteko zirt-zart batek ekar zezakeen hausturari aurre egiteko haren ezintasuna.

A la lealtad y permanencia de Mikel se le contrapone la debilidad y la inconsistencia de Álvaro, que quizás, señala el narrador, pueda ser más acorde con los tiempos, pero no en el llamado mundo nacionalista.

3- Madurez-adolescencia: Mikel harreman harekin ausartu eta, luzera, porrot egin izan balu, jasanezina bihurtuko zitzaion egoera berriak barrenean utziko zion hutsunea egokitzea, bere kastakoak ez baitaude, nerabezarotik ateratzen jakin ez dugun beste batzuok ez bezala, noraezak ematen duen biluztasun eta arintasunera ohituak.

Sorprendentemente pudiera parecer que Álvaro, el narrador, propone la dicotomía entre un Mikel, militante de ETA, maduro, y un Álvaro adolescente, a quien la cuadrilla (el nacionalismo, se podría interpretar) ha castrado, alguien que todavía lidia en la edad adulta con un Edipo no resuelto, pero Jokin Muñoz no contrapone a la adolescencia de Álvaro la madurez de Mikel, sino que los hace a los dos adolescentes, a uno más que al otro. Mikel, el etarra, no es más que un adolescente que está dispuesto a morir y matar en nombre de un pueblo que lo convertirá en otro retrato para colgar de una pared.

4- Castración: Mikel y Álvaro son personajes que representan los dos lados de la misma moneda que el nacionalismo vasco ha podido crear. La novela presenta a los dos como seres castrados, a Mikel porque no ha podido escapar de la violencia, y a Álvaro porque, al no tener resuelto su problema respecto a su “nación”(léase figura materna, cuadrilla), queda convertido en un ser indeciso, incapaz de decir no a la violencia, avergonzado de ser él mismo.

En términos de hegemonía, se puede plantear que en la novela Joan zaretenean el significante vacío, eso llamado la “cultura abertzale”, que bajo su paraguas habría podido albergar, mediante la equivalencia, una multitud de significados, empieza a resquebrajarse, no sólo a raíz del conflicto ético que el uso de la violencia supone, sino también porque las dinámicas sociales creadas alrededor del antagonismo producen seres incompletos, frustrados y castrados.

Tanto Hamaika pauso como Joan zaretenean muestran, en cierto sentido, el final de la tesis que desde la Guerra Civil establece como única hegemonía la hegemonía abertzale, el antagonismo en términos de nación-no nación, y la equivalencia entre otras luchas como imposible.

En este sentido, resulta muy interesante la reflexión que Bernardo Atxaga plantea respecto a por qué el movimiento hegemónico abertzale fracasa, y por qué el antagonismo nación-revolución versus no nación-democracia burguesa pierde fuerza.

En El hombre solo (Pamiela, 1993), Bernardo Atxaga se sirve de materiales premodernos como la tragedia, así como de la literatura fantástica, para confirmar el final de la modernidad y del movimiento hegemónico abertzale.

El hombre solo, mezclando la tragedia más estricta, la novela de tesis y la novela de suspense, nos viene a decir que la hegemonía socialista, si es que la hubo, al igual que la hegemonía abertzale, fracasaron porque no tomaron en cuenta el interés del hombre por lo frívolo.

Hans Magnus Enzensberger(Zig Zag, Anagrama, 1998) lo dirá mucho mejor que yo:

Montesquieu lo resume así: “Nada funciona sin el lujo. Si ricos no gastaran a espuertas, los pobres morirían de hambre”. Y Voltaire reduce el problema: “Lo superfluo es algo muy necesario”.

En una enciclopedia de 1815 se afirma con una docencia desarmante: “Lujo, opulencia o fasto, un fenómeno derivado de la riqueza, es la tendencia y el afán de embellecer y ennoblecer la vida por medio de la invención, el empleo de objetos y productos siempre nuevos y cada más hermosos y atractivos para conferir esplendor, 'untuosidad y molicie artificiosa al bienestar cotidiano, a la vivienda y su entorno, a la vestimenta, los carruajes, los caballos, la vajilla, el servicio, las comidas, las bebidas y otros muchos aspectos”.

Pero el análisis económico de la producción del lujo todavía tiene otro mérito: ha acabado con la errónea suposición de que la cuestión de la oferta y la demanda, de la promoción y del consumo, se reduce a un mero juego de sumas cero, y que el deseo de justicia puede aplacarse por simple redistribución. [las cursivas son nuestras]

Biólogos del siglo XIX ya se habían percatado de que el derroche no sólo se daba en la sociedad humana, que desempeñaba un papel decisivo en toda la naturaleza. El exceso cuantitativo y cualitativo imperante en la naturaleza difícilmente puede explicarse por cálculos de utilidad. Los teóricos de la evolución tienen que hacer extraños malabarismos para explicar el exorbitante colorido las mariposas tropicales desde la perspectiva del darwinismo. Resultan enigmáticos los coletillos en espiral del mamut siberiano, puesto que en lugar de contribuir a la supervivencia de la especie, aceleraron su desaparición. De este modo la ciencia es incapaz de hallar una explicación al lujo de la naturaleza.

Para Bataille la historia de la vida en la tierra es ante todo el efecto de una exuberancia descabellada: el acontecimiento dominante es el desarrollo del lujo, la producción de formas de vida cada vez más costosas. No es necesario compartir la metafísica de Bataille sobre el despilfarro para darle la razón en un punto: que, por pobre que sea, jamás ha existido una sociedad humana que hubiera desistido del lujo.

Mientras Mitterrand presentaba su faraónico programa arquitectónico, en los suburbios rugía la guerra civil molecular. Tanto los contribuyentes como los parados muestran la misma y asombrosa tolerancia para con el elefante blanco de nuestra civilización. Ello nos lleva necesariamente a pensar que en muy pocas ocasiones fueron los parias de la tierra quienes estigmatizaron el despilfarro público como obscenidad, sino aquellos que se erigieron en sus defensores radicales del tipo de un Robespierre, de un Lenin, de un Mao Zedong o de un Pol-Pot, es decir, abogados, hijos de terratenientes, sociólogos, quienes vieron en el ascetismo la culminación de la virtud, y quienes estaban dispuestos a implantarlo, en caso necesario, con todos los medios del terrorismo entre los pobres.

Coheredados y humillados resulta difícil buscar predicadores de la templanza. Todo ello hace sospechar que la animadversión a las formas de lujo, incluso las más simples, son imputables bien a los escrúpulos y el odio que los críticos se procesaban a ellos mismos mas que al resentimiento de aquellos que no tienen parte en ello.

La novela de Atxaga reúne a ex militantes de ETA alrededor de un hotel cercano a Barcelona en el que la Policía busca a un activista de ETA militar. En el hotel, que pertenece a dichos ex etarras, también se hospeda la selección de Polonia que va a disputar los partidos del Mundial de Fútbol que se celebra en España.

En los alrededores del hotel, como se ha señalado, ronda la Policía, y algunos de los policías se hacen pasar por cámaras de televisión. La productora de la trama es la traductora del equipo de Polonia, que acaba traicionando a Carlos por algo tan fútil como unos pendientes de esmeraldas, después de pasarse toda la novela discutiendo con Carlos, el protagonista ex etarra, sobre Rosa Luxemburgo.

Tanto Carlos como Danuta, la traductora, son militantes de la revolución, aunque hay que señalar que son más bien aristócratas de la misma.

Esta novela supone, en nuestra temporización, el final de hegemonía del movimiento abertzale expresado como sólo equivalencia entre el socialismo y la nación. En todas las novelas que han tratado sobre el tema de la violencia hasta finales de los noventa se podría decir que la hegemonía abertzale ha sido como un significante vacío, algo que estaba ahí por defecto.

Pasaremos ahora a analizar una de las pocas novelas en que la equivalencia se da más allá del concepto nación y revolución.

 

3.-Novelas en las que la equivalencia entre otro tipo de luchas y la lucha por la nación es posible.

Carlos Gorrindo es el autor del la novela Ni naizen hori (Txalaparta, 1992). La obra nos cuenta, en dos planos, la vida de un militante abertzale, Kepa, y el día de una joven que se traviste, Mario-Marilin, y tiene dudas sobre su identidad de género. Llegan a conocerse, intiman, pero realmente una “especie de historia de amor” se desarrolla a partir de que el etarra es herido y se refugia en casa de Mario-Marilin. Éste le cuida, le cura la herida, y al final acaban haciendo el amor: copio aquí el momento.

Enamoratua sentitzen zen lehen biderra zen hura, ez zuen maitasuna zer zen jakin Kepa ezagutu zuen arte. Maiteminduta zegoen eta ez zekien zelan esan hitzez bihotzak zion bere baitako sentimenduak agertuta Keparen ezetza edo errefusa hartu ahal izateak, eta holako desilusiorik haratu baino nahiago zuen gordean eraman Keparekiko sentimentzen zuena. Kepa ohartuta zegoen haatik Marilinen baitan hazten eta gorputza hartzen ari ziren dudaezinezko sentimendu haien gorabeheraz, Marilinen hitzek adierazten zutena baino igortzen zizkion maitasunezko katu mimosotxuaren begiratuak askoz esangarriagoak zirelako.

Ordurako guztiz errekuperatuta ez bazegoen ere, ohetik altxatu eta logelaren luze zabaletik ibiladitxoak egiten ari zen. Bizkarrak apenas ematen zion minik. Besoe besoeuskarri batean sartuta zeraman, baina egunak pasatu ahala hobeto eta indarberrituago aurkitzen hasi zen, eta etxe hartako egonaldia amaitzear zegoela ikusita, gau baten, Kepak Marilini, biharamunean, goizean goizetik joatekoa zela esan zion. Biek zekiten behin elkarrengandik bereiztuz gero ez zutela gehiago elkar ikusiko, bata bestearen bideak ez zirela again inoiz gurutzatuko, orain esan zezaketena alperrikakoa zela. Marilin berba egitera ere ez zen ausartzen bere bihotz urratuak eragiten zizkion negargurak agerrean ez uztearren. Berba egin nahi zion, beragatik zer sentitzen zuen adierazi, bera izan zela maitatu zuen lehen gizona jakinarazi, baina ezin, bihotzak esateko agintzen ziona eztarrian trabatzen zitzaion gorgoilako korapilo estu eta mingarrian.

Kepari begiratzera ere ez zen ausartzen, haren begiekin gurutzatu ezkero bere balizko gogortasunaren oinarriak arrakalatu eta negarretan urtuko zelakoan. Bista jaso zuenetariko batean Kepa artez eta finko, betazal erori haien barruko begi malenkoniatsu haiekin begira harrapatu zuen; eta hipnotizatuta geratu zen bere begiak Keparenetatik apartatu ezinik. Kepak esku bat luzatu zion eta Marilinen aurpegi ikaratu lazandu. Esku haiek laztan zezaten maiz desiratu zuen, sarri egine zuen itzarrik amets eta Kepak bere ezpainean gainean bereak tinkotu zituenean, amesturikoak biano are zirraragarriago eta deliziosoagoa iruditu zitzaion musu eztizko hura, eta elkar biluztu eta gero, larru gorritan, askatu nahi gabeko besarkada gogor tinkoan geratu ziren gauak bere kortina beltzak ireki zituen arte.

Es el momento de la equivalencia. El autor subraya así que los dos protagonistas comparten la misma lucha, que siendo uno de ETA y el otro travesti-transexual están “produciendo” la revolución, valga la expresión.

El momento hegemónico, por supuesto, pertenece al antagonismo nación-no nación, pero podría decirse que el autor, a través del amor, hace posible la equivalencia.

Lo que la hace posible, aparte del amor casi unidireccional de Mario-Marilin por Kepa, es que el libro muestra a los dos personajes al margen de la sociedad.

Sería, pues, ésta la primera novela en que, a través del concepto de equivalencia, el llamado nacionalismo radical se acerca a la marginalidad sexual, característica que es subrayada en la novela mediante el escenario elegido, el barrio de San Francisco en Bilbao, el distrito rojo de la ciudad.

De todas formas, quisiera comentar que, desde el punto de vista “queer”, la equivalencia está en cierta manera escamoteada. En el año de la publicación de la novela, 1992, el hecho de que Mario-Marilin hubiera sido sólo Mario, y no fuera un travesti sino un hombre hecho y derecho, habría provocado mayor polémica.

En cierta manera, al ser la relación de Kepa y Marilin-Mario una relación transgenerica, representada ésta como el lado femenino de la pareja, deja a salvo la hombría de Kepa, e intacto el antagonismo principal nación-no nación.

Otra cosa hubiera sido si la relación entre Kepa y Mario hubiera sido una relación homosexual donde la dicotomía masculino-femenino se hubiera sustituido por la de masculino-masculino.

Probablemente el momento de la equivalencia no habría podido sublimarse, y la novela nos habría contado la imposibilidad de la equivalencia.

 

4.- Novelas en las que la equivalencia se plantea como imposibilidad y el concepto de nación desaparece para dar paso a una pluralidad de antagonismos todavía sin organizar.

En mi novela Ezinezko maletak se cuenta la vida de una cuadrilla de un pueblo de Navarra en dos planos: el hoy, que básicamente sucede en Londres, y el ayer, los años 80. La cuadrilla intentó organizar un comando, salió mal, y Bazter, uno de aquellos jóvenes, se marchó a vivir a Londres. Cuando Bazter muere, sus amigos de la cuadrilla se desplazan a la ciudad para asistir a su entierro.

Bazter deja el pueblo porque se siente homosexual y ve que no tiene manera de vivir su homosexualidad allí.

La novela plantea la imposibilidad de la equivalencia entre el movimiento gay y la lucha por la liberación nacional y social, eso llamado la Izquierda Abertzale.

Esta idea de equivalencia casi absoluta se vio plasmada en el principal grupo activista gay fue creado en los años setenta, EHGAM (Euskal Herriko Gay Askapen Mugimendua). En la ideología de EHGAM la equivalencia ha sido siempre posible. No sólo eso, se ha aceptado que el antagonismo principal, nación-no nación, es el antagonismo mediante el cual se fraguará la liberación de todos los ciudadanos vascos.

Ezinezko maletak plantea, por tanto, la imposibilidad de esta equivalencia criticando básicamente el contenido demasiado estricto y restrictivo del imaginario de nación de la Izquierda Abertzale.

 

Para terminar quisiera recalcar que creo que el antagonismo nación-revolución versus no nación-democracia burguesa está perdiendo fuerza en eso que se podría llamar la narrativa social vasca. En el momento actual creo que el discurso de lo social se esta articulando de otra manera que yo todavía no soy capaz de vislumbrar pero que quizás una atente lectura de la última narrativa vasca pudiera mostrar.

 

 

(*) Según Laclau, y tal como se expresa en alguno de las síntesis de su pensamiento que circulan por la red (por ejemplo, en la web Monografías), “el discurso es la totalidad que integra el lenguaje hablado y los actos de sentido a los que está ligado. Es así que la categoría discurso se refiere a la estructuración misma del discurso social. Lo exterior al discurso es constitutivo al discurso. Lo exterior a lo social es constitutivo de lo social. (…)

El discurso es una ‘totalidad relacional’ de secuencias de significantes. Las relaciones e identidades al interior de un discurso son necesarias, están condicionadas las unas con las otras. Así, la formación de un discurso es siempre resultado de una serie de articulaciones.

Una articulación es ‘cualquier práctica que establezca relaciones entre elementos de manera que sus identidades sean modificadas como resultado de la práctica articulatoria’.

La articulación es una práctica y una estructura discursiva, una fijación parcial de sentido, que construye y organiza las relaciones sociales. Estas fijaciones parciales son necesarias porque -dada la imposibilidad de fijación última de sentido- sin ellas el flujo mismo de las diferencias sería imposible.

Toda identidad significativa está sometida a dos lógicas distintas: la lógica de la diferencia y la lógica de la equivalencia. Es por ello que la sistematicidad del sistema es imposible. El sistema, en tanto tal, es imposible. La única condición de su posibilidad es la representación de ese objeto imposible a partir de una relación hegemónica.

Una práctica se convierte en hegemónica cuando logra subvertir las prácticas opositoras que compiten con ella por la articulación de lo social. Cuanto más abierto es lo social, más espacio encuentra la dimensión hegemónica.

Así, se define a la hegemonía como aquel intento de extender un conjunto relativamente unificado de discursos, como el horizonte dominante de lo social, a partir de la articulación de elementos –diferencias no articuladas discursivamente- en momentos parcialmente fijados, en un contexto atravesado por fuerzas antagónicas.

El antagonismo social se evidencia cuando el otro, su presencia, me impide ser yo mismo. Implica la exclusión de identidades sociales cuya identidad diferencial se pierde en las cadenas de equivalencia.

Es la experiencia del límite de lo social, evidencia la imposibilidad de lo social al introducir la negatividad radical que implica la subversión de la identidad social. Esta negatividad radical es la que provee la posibilidad a las fuerzas hegemónicas de desplazar la no-sutura de lo social a su exterior constitutivo y substitutivo, la que es vivenciada como el enemigo responsable de todo mal.

En otras palabras, ‘…la negatividad radical introducida por el antagonismo social es también lo que en última instancia impide que lo social sea recompuesto en una totalidad cerrada y centrada’”.

etiketak:
Imanol Galfarsoro
Imanol Galfarsoro dio:
2010/10/06 22:54

Pozteko da konturatu orduko Olasagarre askapen mugimenduko atarian jarri zaigula, itxuraz kontrako gisan agertzen bazaigu ere bere emanaldi londinensean zeren eta bere desira izkutuaren objektu politiko Erreala zein den jakiteko ez dago zertan lacaniarra, edo kasurako hegeldiarra (negazioaren negazioa), izan beharrik. Egongo da pentsatuko duenik piska bat berandutxo dela, eta errazegia agian, oraintxe bertan gu geu ere gure sabelazpi obszenoa (biolentzia armatua, kale borroka...) ezkutuan jartzen, eta gure osagarri gaizkileez (intolerantzia, dogmatismoa, ortodoxia bla bla bla) gabetzen ari garen momentua delako baina tira, orain gauzak modale onak gordez esan behar direnez, izan bedi ongi etorria zeren eta nork daki behin Laclau-rekin hasita ez ote zaigun ba gero erradikalago egingo Zizek eta Badiou-ren lanek erakusten duten potentzial unibertsalistekin maitemintzen denean!

Dena dela, Londreseko hitzaldira atzekiz esteka honetan ( http://basque.criticalstew.org/?p=3220 ) Dioseba Gabilondo-k eman zuen hitzaldiaren bigaren zatia agertzen da, Theories of State Indifference deitzen dena, eta beste erantzun baten nire emanaldia erantsiko dut, irakurle interesatuak horrela the whole picture izan dezan!

Beñat Sarasola
Beñat Sarasola dio:
2010/10/30 16:11

Gustura irakurtzen ditut Juanjo Olasagarre eta Joseba Gabilondoren artikuluak, baina aitortu behar dut literatura aztertzeko modu hauek, nola esan, aski dudazkoak zaizkidala. Halako erredukzionismoak egiten dira ezen ez baitakit zenbaitetan nobela bati buruz ari garen edo soziologia tratatu bati buruz. Biziki harrigarria da, bestalde, horretarako zer eta aparato kritiko postmarxista erabiltzea. Izan ere, Laclau/Mouffle lana, hain zuzen ere, marxismoaren zurruntasun mekanizista-positibistak garbitzea izanik, harritzekoa da lan hauek oinarritzat hartuta beraiek salatzen dutena burutzea literatur kritikan. Hots, positibismo arruntena, non nobelek esaldi batera mugatzen diren planteamendu sozio-politikoak islatzen omen dituzten: "La tesis de Koldo Izagirre es que el “hilo rojo” de la Historia existe y acaba uniendo a los dos personajes y acontecimientos históricos", edo "Esta novela de Ramon Saizarbitoria, (...) plantea que el antagonismo nación-revolución versus no nación-democracia burguesa condena a los personajes atrapados en este antagonismo a la melancolía más absoluta." edo “El hombre solo, (...) nos viene a decir que la hegemonía socialista, si es que la hubo, al igual que la hegemonía abertzale, fracasaron porque no tomaron en cuenta el interés del hombre por lo frívolo"

Eta abar.

Kuriosoa da nola egiten diren egun XIX. mendeko positibismo zakarrenera gerturatzen diren irakurketak, beti ere, hori bai, halako modako soineko postmarxista-postcolonial batekin. Dena da irakurtzen aurreritzi politi demasekoekin eta apisonadora baten legez aplikatu literatur lanen gainean (inoiz ez hobeki esanda). Nobelak ez baitira nobelak gehiago, dokumentu sozialak baino, norberaren teoria, ideia eta obsesioak baieztatzeko-edo balio dutenak. Literatura guztia eduki afera batera murriztua, eta gainera, eduki aski erredukzionista batera. Beste adibide argi bat Olasagarreren "Zulo bat uretan"-en irakurketa da. Liburua kritikatzen zuen bertan islatzen den bikote harremana ez zetorrelako bat kontuaren inguruko bere ideiekin. Eta hala, Gatsby Handia kritikatzen dutenak Gatsby WASP bat delako, eta abar eta abar.

Ezagun da filosofiaren historia ofizialak Marx positibistatzat duela. Haatik, egungo kritikari askok hankapean utziko lukete, alajaina. Bestetik, askok zalantzan ipintzen dute sarritan Marx positibista delakoa. Adibidez (Alan Swigenwood, “The Novel and Revolution”):

“Marx wrote little on literature that compares with his analysis of economics, politics and philosophy, but two important points can be made: 1.Marx saw writers who directly expressed class interests in their work as medriocre artists, for the inmediate transposition of economic and political interests into literature transforms it into ideology and thus bad art. 2.It is only when the writer transcends his own class standpoint -and all writers are bound historically and sociologically to a specific social group and class- that he reflects truthfully the nature of society and man's relations within it. That is, creative writer becomes a critic of society precisely because of the dialectical relation of artistic activity to social values, individuals, institutions, society.

Edo gure idazle guztiak kaskar hutsak dira, edo ez dut ezer ulertzen.

Zakarkeriarik gabe, adeitasunez. Beñat

joseba gabilondo
joseba gabilondo dio:
2010/10/31 00:17

Olasagarre eta Galfarsororen arteko eztabaida (Olasagarrek Galfarsororen liburuari erantzun zionean hasi zena, jada zenbait hilabete) abiapuntu bihurtu zen elkarrizketa zabalago bati ekiteko. Hirurok Londresen izan ginen literaturako kongresu batean eta bakoitzak berea aurkeztu zuenez, hemen doa nirea ere, ingelesez. Aurrerago aterako da euskaraturik, ingelesez irakurri nahi ez dutenentzat. Hamar bat oinohar luze ditu eta bibliografia, baina hemen ez dira atera testua kopiatutakoan (inork nahi izanez gero, bidaliko).

Konbentziturik nago elkarrizketa hau oso dela beharrezko egungo eta geroko euskal politikaren ausnarketa serio bat egiteko. Nirea artikulu bezala aterako da Oihenart-eren 25. alean eta espero dezagun ez inporta izatea aurrez hemen ateratzea, bestela kenduko dugu. HELBURUA, DATORREN URTEAN LIBURU BAT HIRURON ARTEAN ATERATZEA DA. Beraz hauek eztabaida preliminarrak dira, prekalentamientokoak (berotu ere berotu(ko) baikara) eta testuinguruak determinatuak: literaturazko kongresu bat.

Indifference as Terror: On State Politics and Basque Literature in Globalization

Introduction The conference in which this article was originally presented was entitled “Literature and National Identities” (“Literatura eta nazio identitateak”). However, in the following, I would like to explore the impossibility of national identity. More specifically, I would like to emphasize the problematic nature of the term “identity” and, instead, shift my analysis to the issue of “difference,” as the question of difference is always at the root of any identity, including the national. Moreover, an analytical shift towards difference sheds light on the fact that identity is always an effect of difference: a byproduct created to control and to govern the unintended historical effects triggered by difference(s). Moreover, and in so far as the (imperialist) State has been the sovereign subject in charge of regulating the identitarian economy of differences in modernity and globalization, one has to conclude that difference has been mobilized and/or subordinated to regulate the “identity” of the State: the nation. Thus, in so far as the State has used any difference to enforce state-identity, that is, national identity, we would have to conclude that all differences are regulated as national: they become national or they are not. As a result, no difference can be thought of outside the limits of the (imperialist) State; they become unthinkable outside the State. When difference cannot be fully regulated by the imperialist State, as in the case of colonial difference, it becomes constituted as a difference-unthinkable-to-the-state, thus becoming shaped by the figures of the uncanny, the sublime, the horrific, and the ideal.

Even the difference of “gender,” undoubtedly one of the most “natural” and “universal” differences, has never been thought of outside national identity. At least since the Renaissance, Woman has been thought as national, as Spanish, as French, etc. as Simone Beauvoir already pointed out over 60 years ago: “They live dispersed among the males, attached through residence, housework, economic condition, and social standing to certain men—fathers or husbands—more firmly than they are to other women” (xxv). It is not a coincidence that even “feminism” has been born in the first world, divided by nations, class, and race: feminism, in its origins, has been the social movement of middle-class, white women in few industrial countries. When Butler, following Foucault, reminds us that “juridical systems of power produce the subjects they subsequently come to represent… the feminist subject turns out to be discursively constituted by the very political system that is supposed to facilitate its emancipation" (2). Although Butler does not elaborate the formation of the “juridical systems of power,” they are ultimately regulated by the State qua sovereign subject. Moreover, and as Karen Kaplan, Norma Alarcón and Minoo Moallen argue, the State’s systems of power produce a gendered subject in such a way that the State condemns Woman to stand for the nation, as the embodiment of state identity, while, at the same time, denying Woman the status of state subject or citizen. As they conclude, the imbrication of Woman and nation: “refuses two temporally ordered entities of woman and the nation” (14).

Similarly, back in the 1980s, Benedict Anderson pointed out that nationalism and national identity was the problem that Marxism had overlooked when defining working class politics as “international.” Citing Tom Nairn, Anderson concluded: “[T]he theory of nationalism represents Marxism’s great historical failure” (3). Even today, some of the newest theorizations of globalization fail to account for the persistence and centrality of the State and, utopically, advance new theories of “the multitude” as the subject of an ubiquitous globalization without a center (Hardt and Negri); ultimately a subject ridden by the same problems of the “international working class.”

Therefore, I would like to emphasize the fact that the concept of “national identity,” in so far as the (imperialist) State regulates all identities, is a redundancy in last instance. From global economics to the gay movement (and the latest debate over the legalization of gay marriage), difference is always regulated by the State as national and, therefore, it is subordinated or forced to become a difference-of-State-identity. All difference becomes an extension of national identity, regardless whether it is a conflictive or “natural” difference. Even the ideological precepts of neoliberalism (“the market is the ultimate non-ideological space of social interaction”) rely on state markets to regulate and deploy neoliberal ideology. Granted, the dynamics between states have changed in globalization, and, therefore, globalization is a new historical stage in the development of the State (Harvey 85). However, the market-oriented, “democratic,” capitalist State remains the basis of neoliberal ideology from Francis Fukuyama to Alan Greenspan.

Ultimately, the goal of this article is to analyze the ways in which the two states that regulate the European reality of Basque literature, the Spanish and the French, administer, manage, control, and subjectivize Basque difference, by focusing specifically on the reality and history of European Basque literature. Conversely, it also aims to underline the impossibility of an analysis of “national identity” that does not legitimize the power of the State. Any national understanding of Basque, French, or Spanish literature—and therefore any Basque, Spanish, or French ontological approach to identity—reifies and denies the ultimately historical nature of difference. Rather than Basque identity, French nation, or Spanish literature, I will resort to the category of difference. Ultimately all differences, including gender, class, and race, are also administered and regulated by the State—even when they are not fully contained, controlled, or subjugated by it. Therefore, the category of difference will be the departure point for this analysis.

Moreover, I want to propose that the answer that states, such as the French and the Spanish, give to the historical reality of difference, Basque and otherwise, is indifference: indifference to difference---a term that Badiou already uses with the opposite meaning and purpose from the one I will elaborate here (Ethics 27; Being xii). More specifically, I would like to defend that the State regulates and administers difference through indifference and that state indifference is ultimately a form of violence. Indifference ultimately represents a form of state terror. Here, thus, I counterpoise state terror to organized-group terrorism.

Although every difference is irreducible to another historically speaking, the State organizes differences through indifference, so that they cancel each other’s history and irreducibility and, as a result, end up enforcing state power (upper-class, Basque women, for example, are made indifferent, oppressed, by Basques for being women and by Spaniards, including women, for being Basque, while they become indifferent towards lower classes in the Basque Country and Spain, so that ultimately their being upper-class-Basque-women is indifferent by various degrees to lower-classes, Basques, men, and upper-classes, so that the latter’s indifference ends up enforcing state power). Therefore, each difference must be studied separately vis-à-vis state indifference in order to underscore the way in which the rest of differences are mobilized by the State to enforce indifference towards the difference in question. State indifference cannot be simply studied as a master signifier, discourse, or institution that, then, organizes the symbolic field of human interaction within the State. Rather the opposite: differences are the historical reality against which the State defines itself. Through indifference, the State legitimizes itself as the central and original institution that founds history and reality—and at the same time remains beyond history as nation. Furthermore, in modern states, indifference is organized along legal, commercial, scientific, and aesthetic institutions.

Against post-Marxist theories of state interpellation and Foucaultian theories of state power (pastoral, disciplinary, etc.), I want to propose a radical understanding of history that cannot be reduced to a single discourse or institution. Against the prevalence given respectively to discourse by post-Marxism and to the institution by Foucaultian theory, I want to underscore the specific historicity of difference, which dictates the specific form of indifference that the State deploys, without fully ever foreclosing difference’s historicity. In short, in the following I will argue that state indifference is a reactive movement, which already includes difference within itself, and only produces in-difference in a retroactive way. Against the post-Marxist tendency to reduce any historical reality to a single discursive reality or Foucault’s tendency to reduce history to single institutional flows of power, I want to emphasize that such reductive and monologic uses of Discourse and Power are secondary or reactive formations whose main goal is precisely to reduce history to the indifference of the State. In short, post-Marxism and Foucaultian discourses are ultimately state theories. In post-Marxism and Foucaultian theory, the condition of an exterior difference to discourse or power is almost sublime or inexistent and, as a result, is reduced to the status of an unknowable “Real” or “marginal.” In this article, instead, this exterior reality is the departure point of my historical analysis. To turn Lacanian theory on its head, I would propose that the subject is not the difference between two signifiers, but rather, the signifier is the difference between two subjects, which become traumatic, the Real, to each other. In other words, my analysis aims to step outside discourse-based ontological critiques and proposes a theory of interfaces, interactions, and un/mis/translations between historical differences and subjects, which captures their irreducible heterogeneous historical differences and the violence that is constitutive of any subject. In short, rather than concepts such as “repression, trauma, the uncanny, or the Real,” which always end up referring to a single master discourse or symbolic order, here I defend that the conflict between different discourses, symbolic orders, historical differences and subjects cannot be reduced to a single discourse, institution or symbolic order in which conflict and violence are relegated to a sublime Real or unconscious---this approach always forces Basque difference into the uncanny/Real position of the Spanish state’s symbolic order, thus, foreclosing any possibility for Basque agency and subjectivity.

Here, even the State is a historical interface between historical differences, not a given ahistorical order or institution. In short, the State and its structuring indifference towards any historical difference is not the primary, master signifier that gives meaning to the history of differences. Rather the opposite: it is the intersection of all these historical differences that dictates the specific indifference with which the State constitutes itself as sovereign subject of power.

Therefore, here the word ‘indifference’ has a double meaning. On the one hand, it conveys the ordinary meaning of “lack of responsibility and attentiveness.” On the other hand, it has a more theoretical or philosophical meaning, which would speak to the terror that the negation of difference generates. But unlike in the case of philosophers such as Levinas or Derrida, “difference” here is not understood as ultimately ontological. Rather difference is always historical—at least if a radical historicism can avoid the ontologization of history itself.

Literary Indifference If we take into consideration the Spanish national prize that Kirmen Uribe received in 2009 for his novel, NY—Bilbao—NY, one would have to conclude that the Spanish state shows respect, recognition, and validation towards Basque literature and difference. If we add that the lehendakari of the Basque Autonomous Community, Patxi Lopez, in his inauguration ceremony, recited one of Uribe’s poems, one could only conclude that the aforementioned respect and recognition is also duplicated at the autonomous level, and therefore my so-called “state indifference towards difference” lacks any empirical ground. Moreover, if we also take into consideration the fact that Bernardo Atxaga (Obabakoak 1988) and Unai Elorriaga (Streetcar to SP, 2001) have received similar prizes in the last two decades, as well as several Catalan and Galician writers, we would have to conclude that difference is valued and awarded in and by the Spanish state. Only one Basque writer writing in Castilian has received the same recognition: Ramiro Pinilla was also awarded the National Prize of Narrative for his novel The Ashes of Steal (Las cenizas del hierro), the last volume of his trilogy Green Valleys, Red Hills (Verdes valles, colinas rojas, 2004-2005). With the exception of Unai Elorriaga, most of the above writers have also received the Euskadi Prize, the most prestigious literary prize awarded in the Basque Country.

In France, although Basque writers writing in Basque receive no recognition, and the fourth article of the French constitution establishes that French is the only national language of the state, at least in the case of francophone literature, and more specifically francophone-postcolonial literature, one must admit that the French state acknowledges, validates, and/or awards postcolonial difference. From Sartre’s endorsement of Léopold Senghor and Aimé Césaire and the first African francophone writers who receive French literary prices, such as Camara Laye (The Dark Child, 1953; Charles Veillon Award) and Yambo Ouologuem (Bound to Violence, 1968; Renaudot Award), to contemporary writers such as Tahar Ben Jelloun , the awards given to postcolonial literature are numerous (Serrano), even though linguistic difference within the state (Basque, Occitan, etc.) remains still unacknowledged.

Yet, the French reaction to difference, in its asymmetrical dynamics vis-a-vis its Spanish counterpart, could shed some light on the situation of difference in the Spanish state. One could argue that, following the French example, “the postcolonial literature of Spain” is Latin American literature since the nineteenth century (1825 for most Latin America and 1898 for Cuba and Puerto Rico). Yet, since the Spanish state and its culture lost its international prestige after the Golden Age, the possibility of a “postcolonial, Hispanophone literature,” symmetrical to that of the French state, is impossible. Latin American states and writers would be the first ones to oppose such a category or construct. Only in recent years, and a result of the neoliberal globalization of the Spanish industry in the 1990s, or “Golden Decade,” the Spanish editorial market has expanded in a neoimperialist fashion in Latin America and has taken over the majority of editorial industry. As a result, some Latin American writers have moved to Spain and the Spanish editorial industry and their promotional apparatus have launched them, as in its most egregious case, Roberto Bolaños. Similarly other canonical writers, such as Carlos Fuentes, have retaken the old Hispanist rhetoric of the “mother tongue” and the “original geography” of all Spanish speakers: Castile and La Mancha, the birthplace of El Quijote. Yet, these global developments have not altered, at least for the moment, the independence and predominance of Latin American literature vis-à-vis its Spanish counterpart.

Only in the 1990s and 2000s, and especially in the USA, has a “postcolonial, Hispanic literature” been constructed around the literature of Equatorial Guinea, especially after the publication of its foundational novel: Donato Ndongo’s Shadows of Your Black Memory (1987). So far Equatorial Guinean literature has been studied with progressive goals in order to explore the ways in which a dictatorship has enforced a neocolonial regime whereby any dissenting voice has been forced into exile (N'gom, Ndongo and N'gom, Ugarte). However, this formation runs the risk of being absorbed by the most traditional trend of Spanish studies: Hispanism, which celebrates the “postcolonial harmony” of all literatures written in Spanish.

Therefore, one could argue that, among many other historical factors, one of the reasons for the Spanish state to admit internal differences, such as the Basque, has to do with a postimperialist compensation for the loss of a putative “postcolonial, Hispanophone literature,” which is then followed by the internal loss of a unified, national literature. This second loss, unlike the first one, can still be controlled and compensated by the Spanish state through the postnational regulation of its other internal literatures and cultures, that is, Basque, Catalan, etc.

Ironically, it must be noted that Unamuno, next to Menendez Pelayo, was the first one articulating the idea of a postcolonial, Hispanophone literature and culture, which led, at the beginning of the twentieth century, to the formation of Hispanism, and its major celebration: “Día de la Raza, del Descubrimiento, etc” (Day of the Race, of the Discovery, etc.; Gabilondo “Genealogía”). This first postcolonial, Hispanic articulation was consolidated with the complicity of the Latin American elites. Yet, it must be emphasized that the backdrop for the articulation of “postcolonial, Hispanophone literature,” was the repression and liquidation of internal historical differences, such as Basque or Catalan languages and cultures, which were being mobilized by the local, bourgeois elites of the Spanish periphery through nationalism in order to defend their economic interests.

Similarly, one could advance the hypothesis that “French transcendental chauvinism,” to use Saint-Beuve’s coinage (Hollier xxiii), has determined French cultural life till recently, and, as a result, has made possible for the French state to negate completely internal differences. Instead, only those differences that are already lost, such as postcolonial differences, have been admitted for lack of another choice but loss. At least, according to Freud, loss can be retained as loss through the structure of melancholia—in this case, postimperial-postcolonial melancholia. Several authors have already denounced the neocolonial potential of postcolonial studies in French (Coursil and Perret). Still in 2005, Dominic Thomas emphasized “France’s own failure to adequately incorporate the literatures of the francophone world in their institutional frameworks precisely because of their complicated origins in colonial histories---racial/ethnic contexts and mind-sets---with which France has yet to come to terms” (246). Yet, as French culture continues to lose international prestige at the beginning of the twenty-first century, one could argue that other internal differences, such as the linguistic ones, will have to be admitted eventually by the French state in its constitution. France’s resistance to sign the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML) already represents an example of this changing situation whereby France is pitted against the rest of Europe, rather than leading it (Nature).

The very English-centered nature of postcolonial studies also points to a more general conflict between English and minority languages in a global scale. As Karin Barber explains for Africa, postcolonial studies have promoted:

a binarized, generalized model of the world which has had the effect of eliminating African-language expression from view. This model has produced an impoverished and distorted picture of "the colonial experience" and the place of language in that experience. It has maintained a center-periphery polarity which both exaggerates and simplifies the effects of the colonial imposition of European languages. It turns the colonizing countries into unchanging monoliths, and the colonized subject into a homogenized token: "that most tedious, generic hold-all, 'the post-colonial Other'" as Anne McClintock puts it (293)--an Other whose experience is determined so overwhelmingly by his or her relation to the metropolitan center that class, gender, and other local and historical and social pressures are elided. Despite intermittent claims to specificity, this model blocks a properly historical, localized understanding of any scene of colonial and post-Independence literary production in Africa. Instead it selects and overemphasizes one sliver of literary and cultural production--written literature in the English language--and treats this as all there is, representative of a whole culture or even a whole global "colonial experience." (2)

Therefore, if one tentatively accepts the above comparative hypothesis about the Spanish and French states (as well as the North American), one could also conclude that differences, such as the postnational or the postcolonial, are actively and passionately sought and engaged by these states. The admission of these differences ultimately has to do with the loss of global political and cultural power. Only when differences are lost are then retroactively admitted by these states, as a reactive maneuver of retention.

Although this would require a lengthy sociological analysis, if one considers institutions such as Instituto Cervantes or Alliance Française as well as the central universities of the respective state capitals, Universidad Complutense and Université de Paris/Sorbonne, one can conclude that these states do not foster and promote cultural difference. Instituto Cervantes has invited Bernardo Atxaga to lecture in the late 2000s, while Alliance Française has never promoted a Basque writer. Similarly, one can study languages such as Hittite (an ancient Anatolian language spoken in the Hittite empire around the 18-14th centuries BC) or Norwegian in the central Spanish university, Universidad Complutense, but cannot study Basque language, just an introductory class on “Basque culture and civilization.”

Therefore, even though Kirmen Uribe wins the national prize of literature or Tahar Ben Jelloun (The Sacred Night, 1987) does the same with the Goncourt, a glance at the markets and cultural institutions would prove that these awards are not signs of acceptance and these literatures have little impact in the institutional and commercial reality of the State. More theoretically, one could claim that they do not enter, they do not join, the cultural and institutional body of the State. These literatures and cultures are not signs of “national identity.” In short, these awards and prizes respond to a different logic. And this logic is not one of difference, but rather of indifference. These awards represent the guarantee and security that the State does not need to change its identity and logic.

Theories of State Indifference In his Homo Sacer, Agamben analyzes the political logic of externalizing inner differences, that is to say, he analyzes how the logic of exceptionalism justifies the concentration camp and ethnic cleansing in Europe, not as evil or monstrous exemptions but rather as the political and historical telos of modernity. According to Agamben, the act of excluding and exterminating the Jew crowns the political logic of the European state and modernity. As the title of his essay already states, this excluding structure of exceptionalism responds to the religious logic of the sacred, and therefore does not simply explain the systematic ethnic cleansing of the Jew; it also explains the logic of the political status of the king. Indeed, the king is also the homo sacer: a sacred man, an exceptional body that embodies the political structure of the State as political exception. In short, the structure of the homo sacer explains the internal and external logic of the modern European state, in a Möbius-like band that encompasses the King and the Jew, as its ultimate sacred differences.

The logic of the abject developed by Julia Kristeva would also work when explaining this logic of indifferent exceptionalism. In last instance, the logic of indifference ousts difference while retaining it as outside. In so far as this exclusion structures the internal body of the State, it also guarantees the lack of difference within the national State. Therefore the ousted or expelled difference is not abolished or annihilated; it is the border upon which the interiority and exteriority, the subject and the object of the State are defined, and in this sense, the ousting predates the State. This is the logic of expelling difference, of ab-jecting (throwing out) difference without allowing it to become completely exterior or ob-ject. In short, this is the logic of state indifference towards difference.

Moreover, theorists such as Zizek and Badiou clearly state that this logic of indifference towards difference is very much European. Moreover, and according to Zizek, this logic structures politics and culture in Europe. If compared with the biopolitics of the USA—wherein difference is accepted and internalized in order to regulate and administer it politically afterwards—the modern, European indifference towards difference is the only site of real politics, rather than a simulacrum of politics. In his own words:

European civilisation finds it easier to tolerate different ways of life precisely on account of what its critics usually denounce as its weakness and failure, namely the alienation of social life. One of the things alienation means is that distance is woven into the very social texture of everyday life. Even if I live side by side with others, in my normal state I ignore them. I am allowed not to get too close to others. I move in a social space where I interact with others obeying certain external “mechanical” rules, without sharing their inner world. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is that sometimes a dose of alienation is indispensable for peaceful coexistence. Sometimes alienation is not a problem but a solution. (Violence 59, my emphasis)

Even though in the above quote, the expression “in my normal state” means “in a normal situation,” it is quite clear that, in the indifferent body of the European state, normalcy can only be experienced inside its national body—the illegal immigrant being the most “abnormal” subject. That is, today, indifference is a “a dose” (of medicine) or “solution” for peaceful coexistence, only if the subject positions itself within the national body of the State, inside the State: “in my normal state.” It is also important to notice that Zizek duplicates the inside/outside dynamic at the individual level, when he differentiates between “certain external ‘mechanical’ rules,” and “inner world.” Here “inner world” assumes that all individuals share a similar interiority, void of any historical or political traces of violence and discrimination.

In other words, Zizek defends that indifference towards others is always a solution for oneself, for the legal, neoliberal, European citizen. But others’ indifference towards oneself, i.e. when I experience or suffer the indifference of others towards me, is no solution (in my normal state). Zizek’s distinction between external rules and inner world loses its ahistorical character and becomes historical and political—as when the European state, the normal state, denies an individual entry, certain services, or political rights. In short, indifference is not a symmetrical, democratic structure, but rather an asymmetric relation on behalf of the State, wherein difference is expelled from the body of the State, from the nation, in the name of indifference. Therefore, indifference is the logic of the State, the obscene structure that secures the homogeneous, national identity and body of the State: the external rules and the inner world of which Zizek speaks. Ultimately, the political fantasy that any individual “in a normal state,” in a European state, can tell differences and act accordingly with indifference is the founding political moment of the State. The examples of this type of indifferent fantasy are endless: “she is a Basque person who does want to share her wealth with the rest of the Spanish state and thus seeks independence as excuse; he’s an illegal immigrant who is going to abuse our social services, etc.” That is why certain fetishistic moments and items suddenly acquire an immense political and fantastic value in Europe today: the prohibition of minarets is Switzerland, the interdiction to wear the burka in France, the enforcement of the Spanish flag in the Basque Autonomous Community, etc.

Although Badiou presents a very sophisticated approach to multiplicity, difference, and ontology, ultimately he also upholds that indifference towards difference is the founding moment of philosophy and, by extension, politics. In short, Badiou also dismisses difference as irrelevant:

Contemporary ethics kicks up a big fuss about ‘cultural’ differences. Its conception of the ‘other’ is informed mainly by this kind of differences.... But what we must recognize is that these differences hold no interest for thought, that they amount to nothing more than the infinite and self-evident multiplicity of humankind.... Philosophically, if the other doesn’t matter it is indeed because the difficulty lies on the side of the Same. The Same, in effect, is not what is (i.e. the infinite multiplicity of differences) but what comes to be. I have already named that in regard to which only the advent of the Same occurs: it is a truth. Only a truth is, as such, indifferent to differences. This is something we have always known, even if shophists of every age have always attempted to obscure its certainty: a truth is the same for all. (Ethics 27-28, emphasis mine).

Although his understanding of history and political action as event would require more space, it is important to emphasize that his mathematical approach forces him to collapse the empirical and the historical. Moreover, he claims that truth can be achieved in the realms of science, politics, art, and love by events that, in their historicity, create new truths. Here, he is using a four-fold separation of human spheres of interaction that ultimately are directly inherited from the European bourgeois formation of the public and private spheres as well as the romantic idea of the “genius.” He has acknowledged this problem (“Philosophy and Mathematics”), but ultimately his irresolution highlights the historically European origin of his approach to truth and difference.

Carl Schmitt defends that the major concepts of modern state theory are borrowed from theology, whereby their secularization hides and legitimizes their systemic structure. Moreover, Schmitt analyzes the changes undergone by the State and its theories, from medieval feudalism to modernity, and underscores the phantasmatic power that their theological origin retains, i.e. the haunting or spectral power of a past that cannot be completely forgotten:

All significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts not only because of their historical development—in which they were transferred from theology to the theory of the state, whereby, for example, the omnipotent God became the omnipotent lawgiver—but also because of their systematic structure, the recognition of which is necessary for a sociological consideration of these concepts. The exception in jurisprudence is analogous to the miracle in theology. Only by being aware of this analogy can we appreciate the manner in which the philosophical ideas of the state developed in the last centuries. (37)

Badiou borrows directly from religion when attempting to define many aspects of his philosophy. Nevertheless, I would take Schmitt’s theorization further, since one could isolate another break, a second split within modernity. After all, the concepts of the democratic State and its theory are borrowed and secularized by the bourgeoisie (French revolution) from the enlightened despotic State, in their systemic structure. Therefore, the despotic, enlightened State also becomes the ghost, the haunting specter of the romantic, liberal, democratic State, which is endowed with the returning logic of the forgotten and the repressed. Badiou and Zizek’s thinking about the concepts of “event, passion, master signifier, and subject,” as well as the idea of “indifference towards difference,” emerge from a further secularization of the political ideas of this second moment of modernity, via Lacan. As Justin Clemens defends, the trace of romanticism is central to understanding the theories of both authors, in a way that situates them in Europe and European history in a way that is not accidental but constitutive of their theories.

In short, I would posit that the contemporary, democratic European state treats its internal differences with the indifference of the despotic, enlightened state, which oscillates between symbolic and physical terror. Therefore, the origin of the indifference of the democratic European state that Zizek and Badiou do not historicize would have to be located in the indifference of the despotic, enlightened State, for the state treats despotically any difference that does not enter the body of the king from which the enlightened institutions of the State emanate.

The Spanish Literary Canon of Indifference Although at first it would appear that state indifference does not affect literature and, more generally, does not have any violent effects, let alone effects of terror, a closer examination yields a very different picture. Even if the Basque clash between terrorism and State violence is accounted for, one could conclude that this violent clash is ultimately historical and political, and does not have any direct effect in the field of literature. At most, this violence could constitute the object of literary re-presentation: the literary presentation of a violence that takes place outside the field of literature in the intersection of State and civil society. In short, one would have to conclude that there is no literary terror or terrorism, just some literature about violence, just literary representations of violence. After all, my analysis has only presented so far the factual reality of State recognition towards differential literatures such as the Basque—at least in the Spanish state.

However, if the above analysis is applied to the field of Basque literature, that is, if the logic of indifference analyzed above is taken into literary consideration, some of the truths held by Basque literary and cultural criticism would have to be reconsidered and, more generally, Basque, French and Spanish literary doxa would have to challenged. For starters, one would have to argue that the logic of indifference structures Basque literature in ways that have not been studied so far, beginning with the Basque literature that the Spanish state has recognized and awarded: the novels of Bernardo Atxaga, Unai Elorriaga, Ramiro Pinilla, and Kirmen Uribe. Moreover, one would have to demonstrate that this canonical literature is not written from within Basque difference, but rather, from without, from a logic that enforces and legitimizes State indifference.

If today the literature of Uribe, for example, is popular and successful, among readers and state institutions, it is not because his literature “represents the Basque Country,” in the broader sense of re-presentation, but rather because it actively seeks not to represent it while claiming to represent it. Moreover, I would like to defend that all rewarded literature, from Atxaga to Uribe, has been written with the purpose of not re-presenting the Basque Country, for they have followed the logic of state indifference and have been rewarded precisely because they have forgo difference—because they have become indifferent. Unlike other literatures written in Spanish—mainly by heteronormative Spanish speaking writers—the literature of Atxaga, Uribe, etc. cannot be dissociated from their Basque difference; their literature is never written, discussed or read as “literature,” but rather as Basque literature. Moreover, it is literature written by heteronormative Basque writers, so that any other difference (gender, race, class) is also subsumed or eliminated; this literature is also indifferent towards other differences. Therefore, Basque difference is central to their literature. Yet, as I will analyze for the case of Uribe, it is the indifferent way in which this literature structures Basque difference, as well as other differences, that makes it canonical.

In order to conduct a short analysis of Uribe’s work, I will state that his poem book, Meanwhile Take My Hand (Bitartean heldu eskutik, 2001), as well as his novel, Bilbao – NY – Bilbao, resort to the affective mechanisms of nostalgia and melancholia, so that the reader can enjoy the life of a fishing, Biscayan village, void of any historical conflict, without state terror or terrorism, in which the masculine lineage between non-immigrant fathers and sons becomes its central subject. Uribe, especially in his narrative, narrates through the deployment of self-contained fragments or stories. This fragmentary logic creates strategic ellipsis, that allow the novel to avoid direct references to traumatic and violent events such as the Civil War and ETA---there are only anecdotal references. Yet, at the same time, Uribe resorts to Basque history as the central axis that structures his literature. In his novel, the reader can observe from the perspective of globalization, from New York, a traditional, patriarchal, fishing, small-village Basque Country void of conflict. Ultimately, the world of Kirmen Uribe could be extracted from the costume novel Saltpeter (Kresala 1902-05) of Txomin Agirre, a nostalgic, ahistorical, costume-based world. Yet, the global, metropolitan perspective creates a suture between the local and the global, the rural and the metropolitan, so that historical conflict is ousted from the narrative.

A similar phenomenon can be observed in the case of Bernardo Atxaga’s late-modernist, magic-realist Obabakoak. In this case, a different Basque Country—an othered, rural, magic Basque Country—appears. The last short story of the book deals with interiorization (the magic story of individual madness induced by a lizard slipping into the protagonist’s head) and literaturization (the modernist search for the last word). This narrative closure guarantees that the history and violence present in the Basque Country become magic-natural phenomena connected to a larger modernist tradition, so that they have no bearing on the Spanish or French states.

The new more global writing that Atxaga has adopted in his latest novels shows a more traditional, costume style (costumbrismo). In his The Son of the Accordion Player (Soinujolearen semea, 2003), he narrates an Atlantic story between California and the European Basque Country. Yet, even here historical conflict is moved to a rural environment and given a romantic-modernist twist by reducing it to the literary trope of the doppelganger and/or treacherous friend. His latest modernist recreation of the Conrad’s African colonial novel in Seven Houses in France (Zazpi etxe Frantzian, 2009), moves the action to an enclosed, rural environment, where the development of characters remains bound to costume style (costumbrismo). Ultimately, the novel lacks any historical meaning beyond that of a literary recreation of an older genre, which, by default, repeats the same colonial discursive structures. Rather than a denunciation or exploration of colonialist violence, Atxaga’s novel ends up being a contemporary, literary glorification of European colonialism: the African characters are secondary to the colonial structure of the novel and remain bound, like many characters of Obaba, by their connection to nature. Moreover, for a novel so aware of its literary precedents, any lack of reference to the African anti-colonial narrative tradition that goes back at least to Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) and could also include, for example, the work of Congolese novelist Sony Labou Tansi---in so far as Atxaga’s novel is situated in the Congo---also amounts to European literary neocolonialism. In short, this neocolonial recreation of Europe’s colonial history in times of globalization can only be read as a neoliberal refashioning of the European subject of colonialism, which still leaves African history and subjects at the margin—even if European violence is explored in the novel.

Atxaga’s last two novels repeat once again the same rural, costume-like dynamics present in Uribe’s work. They guarantee a rural, idealic Basque Country from a global point of view: even Africa and California end up being more global versions of the Basque town of Obaba whose ultimate reader is still the Spanish state—or in the best case, a global Spanish state aware of the importance of North America’s imperial indifference (via New York in Uribe’s novel). The fact that Atxaga and Uribe’s heteronormative, costume-style novels reduce all differences (from African to woman) to a single Basque difference, while at the same time, announcing the indifference towards Basque difference by excluding the Spanish and French states from their representations, ultimately makes them the perfect object of representation for the State: they announce Basque difference as ultimately indifferent, as ultimately worth of state indifference. The literary violence—the discursive terror—that these novels exert is precisely due to the violent maneuvers by which most differences are reduced to a single Basque difference and, then, this sole difference is turned into indifference. In short, these novels exert a literary violence that can be read not in the text itself, but rather in what the text has left out, has eliminated, has made indifferent.

In so far as state indifference rewards Basque indifferent literature, the State forces the rest of Basque literature into historical exile, outside history. Moreover, in so far as state indifference only rewards very exceptional, “indifferent” writers with prizes and a place in the institutions, thus guaranteeing their economic survival, the State is creating a neoliberal literary structure. As a result, only indifferent writers can survive; the rest are excluded because of their difference. In short, the State guarantees that only writers who are indifferent to difference are rewarded and, thus, the majority of writers defined by the same historical differences are denied, exploited, and suppressed. This economic literary structure is neoliberal and ultimately responds to the terror exerted by the State towards difference. The State guarantees the existence of a literary elite that accumulates and monopolizes cultural and economic capital.

In this new global-local harmony, in this new synchronization of neoliberalism and costume-style indifference re-presented by this indifferent Basque literature, the Spanish (and French) state, as absent subject, can look once again at Basque literature with indifference. Because this literature re-presents difference with indifference for the State, the latter can reward and celebrate the former. In other words, these literary works and writers guarantee the indifference of the Spanish (and French) state and its institutions. In this sense, there is not a canon per se in Basque literature, but rather an exceptional canon, a canon of the exception, of indifference: a negative canon in last instance, which, one could even argue, is not Basque but rather Spanish or French.

Literature of Difference: The Turn to History One must admit that the most popular and successful, truly successful literature among readers, does not receive any prize or award and, moreover, it is written against indifference. Today, the most successful writer in the Basque Country, as far as sales and readers are concerned, is Toti Martínez de Lezea who writes her novels in Spanish. Moreover, and if the editor of the Basque translations of her novels is to be credited, she is one of the top best-sellers even in Basque with her Basque translations au par with other popular authors such as Atxaga or Uribe.

It is important to highlight that the primary reading community of Martínez de Lezea is in the Basque Country and, therefore, she must be approached first and foremost as a Basque writer, not as a regional Spanish writer. Today, the center of the literary market in the Basque Country is constituted by literature written in Basque and, thus, Basque literature in Spanish is another extension of this Basque market and reading community. Even though any Basque writer who uses Spanish as his or her literary language contributes to the diglosia that the Spanish state still enforces, a counter-diglosic reading might address this issue: Basque writers in Spanish are situated as secondary to a local Basque literary community in Basque language that makes those writers Basque, rather than regional and Spanish.

Martínez de Lezea’s literature presents a historical logic: one of historical difference. The majority of her novels take place in the Basque Middle Ages or the Renaissance; they narrate fictional or historical characters and events centered on minorities such as Jews, women, witches, etc. Behind this differential tendency there is also an impossibility or lack: the impossibility of telling the stories of a modern or global Basque Country, for, indeed, the reality and violence of our present history cannot be narrated without falling in the trap of indifference. A contemporary Basque literature that aimed at representing the logic of difference would have to face the problem of contemporary violence and, as a result, such violence would overwhelm and subsume any difference. I will explore this problem in more detail at the end. Instead, by resorting to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Martínez de Lezea creates a space and time that is outside or beyond the power of the Spanish state. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance are the historical periods in which the French and Spanish state have not yet fully consolidated: they are still being formed. In this new chronotope, Martínez de Lezea can explore other biopolitical differences—including the Basque—outside the indifference generated by the Spanish state and contemporary violence. This is precisely the reason for her incredible success and importance. Her literature asserts the fact that even the Basque readership seeks a literature of differences that escapes state indifference and national identity. It must be emphasized that, unlike in the case of the canonical literature of indifference studies earlier, Martínez de Lezea’s position against state indifference allows her to explore not just Basque difference, as the only difference that negates other differences, but a varied array of geopolitical and biopolitical differences.

Martínez de Lezea follows a genre that is well rooted in the Basque literature of the nineteenth century: the historical legend, which later also becomes historical novel. In this respect, rather than a break or sudden novelty, Martínez de Lezea’s novels are a continuation of Navarro Villoslada’s Amaya and its Jewish, Basque-pagan, Gothic, and Muslim characters. Given that the historical legend was developed as a genre precisely at a time in which the Spanish state unsuccessfully attempted to consolidate itself as nation, in the mist of the Carlist civil wars and colonial loss, one could also conclude that the legend was also written from without state difference. Therefore, the narrative genre itself is, historically speaking, a genre developed against state indifference.

Probably the majority of writers that are gathered around the publication Volgako batelariak (literatur noizkari kosakoa) would have to be included in this new neohistorical trend of which Martínez de Lezea is the most succesful practitioner. The neoclassicist poetry of Rikardo Arregi and Angel Erro, Iban Zaldua’s novella The Motherland of All the Basques (Euskaldun guztion aberria, 2008), Juanjo Olasagarre’s novels Impossible Luggage (Ezinezko maletak, 2004), and T (2008) as well as the collective manifesto entitled “Postindependence (A postponed manifesto)” (“Postindependentzia: (A postponed manifesto),” 2008) would have to be included in this trend. However, the genres and styles these writers use use, unlike Martínez de Lezea’s, are innovative and unprecedented in many cases and, thus, do not receive the automatic reception and success of the latter. Aitziber Etxeberria’s 31 Baioneta (31 Baionets) follows a similar approach. Similarly, Aingeru Epaltza’s unfinished historical trilogy, which begins with The Blood of Mailu (Mailuaren odola, 2006), mixes references to Axular with other historical characters of the kingdom of Navarre, not in order to create an indifferent literature, but rather in order to recreate a geography across the kingdoms of France, Navarre and Castile-Aragon that counters the nationalist history of Spain and France. Yet, the trilogy will have to be evaluated after the last volume is published in a near future.

At the edge of this neohistorical trend, we have literature that attempts to represent historical violence in the twentieth century in the Basque Country. Given the fact that ETA’s terrorism has not yet ceased, any attempt to represent this violence in a historical fashion always runs the risk of falling pray to both state terror and separatist terrorism. ETA’s violence is still a traumatic kernell for the State; it is the reminder that State terror fails to enforce indifference, thus triggering direct police violence. Hence, state indifference and Basque difference colapse in a traumatic site of violence that has no historical meaning for any subject and, therefore, cannot be represented as such.

In the 1990s, there were initial attempts to narrate indirectly ETA’s violence as the return of repressed history of the Franco dictatorship by canonical writers such as Atxaga (The Lone Man, 1993) or Saizarbitoria (Countless Steps/ Hamaika Pauso, 1995) through subjects that are indirectly connected to ETA---they had stopped helping ETA after the end of the dictatorship. However, in the 2000s, most attempts to represent contemporary Basque history slip from ETA’s terrorism to the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. Jokin Muñoz’s Antzararen bidea (The Way of the Goose, 2007) best exemplifies the way in which an initial story about ETA’s violence slips into a narrative of the Civil War. This slippage from contemporary history and ETA to the Civil War is not a coincidence; it is the sign of the irrepresentability of contemporary State terror and Basque difference qua terrorism; it is a traumatic reminder of the failure of state indifference. This violence is not the action of a subject, but rather the manifestation of the impossibility of a historical subject, Spanish or Basque. Yet, although contemporary violence cannot be represented in its double nature, as collapse of State terror and historical continuation of terrorism, it is of the outmost importance to emphasize that this traumatic event becomes the site that masks the ongoing terror that the State exerts through its institutions in areas of civil society and the public sphere that are not deemed “politically charged or marked,” as it is literature. In short, in its traumatic nature, terrorism contributes to mask State terror and vice versa.

There is a fourth type of literature, which I will call the literature of the spleen and the ennui. This literature also aims to escape the indifference and violence of the State, but rather than giving preference to history, it only explores contemporary situations and realities. In order to do so, it selects the only logic that can counterpose to state indifference: indifference towards state indifference. This literature is the discourse of a double indifference: beginning with Lourdes Oñederra’s And the Snake Told the Woman (Eta sugeak esan zion emakumeari, 1999) and ending with the early work of Jasone Osoro—just to cite two popular writers—this double indifference has as its structuring affect the spectrum formed by boredome, ennui and spleen. Among younger writers, Katixa Agirre’s We Don’t Have a Light (Sua falta zaigu, 2007), is also part of this trend. It is important to note this literature is many times connected to escapes and trips to northern European countries and has a heteronormative, non-inmigrant woman as its subject. I have explored elsewhere the relation between gender and indifference elsewhere (Nazioaren 279-302).

Close to the above literature, but centered around the political project of the nationalist radical left, which, nevertheless, does not have a direct literary reflection on ETA’s violence—this would amount to acknowledging a violence that the State represses directly as indifference fails. This left-oriented literature, which came out in 2007 with the manifesto “Out with the Euskadi Awards” (Utikan Euskadi Sariak) also resorts to the indifference of indifference, even though in this case, it attempts to give a positive or upbeat irrational sense to this double indifference (Zubiri et al.). From Joseba Sarrionaindia to Xabier Montoia, their writing takes a surrealist or psychotic logic, whereby the most optimistic and libidinal fantasies (Koldo Izagirre, even in his latest Need a Light Mr. Churchill/Sua nahi Mr. Churchill, 2005) coexist with the most sadistic tendencies (Montoia, The Basque City in Flames/Euskal Hiria sutan, 2006). Perhaps, Harkaitz Cano represents the most surrealist tendency in this group (The Grass’ Mouth/Belarraren ahoa, 2004). The latest Saizarbitoria too, when he represents the problem of violence in his latest narrative, Keep Me Under The Ground (Gorde nazazue lurpean, 2000), has also enters this irrational surrealist tendency and mixes in a very fantastic scenario the severed limbs of Civil War Basque nationalist combatants with the bones of Sabino Arana---thus also displacing contemporary violence to the past.

To Conclude From the above analysis, we can draw now some general conclusions about state politics. First of all, Basque terrorism is a result and product of the indifference of the Spanish (and French) states, a product of the violence of indifference. Secondly, Basque terrorism does not have a historical meaning or subject, or even a utopian content; it has not sprung from a national identity nor will ever produce a national subject; it is rather a traumatic consequence of state indifference’s terror. Third, the Spanish state is, historically speaking, an incomplete project that, in globalization, is suffering further erosion of its incomplete sovereignty. Fourth, the solution of violence in the Basque Country and its surrounding states, France and Spain, requires a condition that is unthinkable these days: that these states change their logic of indifference and make room for a non-indifferent relation towards difference—thus admitting Basque independence and self-determination as political possibilities. Finally, and more importantly, the State itself is the institution and subject that must be theorized, criticized, and eventually replaced by less indifferent institutions. If my analysis is correct, the State is constitutively indifferent---and a Basque state, for example, would exert its own terror.

Yet, as long as theorists such as Zizek, and more generally many European intellectuals, legitimize and celebrate the indifference of the “European civilization” and its State, the situation will only escalate towards more violence against any form of difference.

Imanol Galfarsoro
Imanol Galfarsoro dio:
2010/10/06 22:56

Antagonism, Contingency, Universality… and Absent Centre: Towards the Radical Emptying of Basque Ethnic Substance in Joseba Sarrionaindia's Tales from seven count[r]ies

Academic Conference: London- KCL, 12-14th April, 2010; Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland; Parallel Session: 1 Monday 12th April 10.30-12.30 . Basque Panel: Nationalism and Multiculturalism: On the Politics of Antagonism, Hegemony, and Terror. With Joseba Gabilondo and Juanjo Olasagarre

Over the celebratory aesthetics of an increasingly exhausted cultural post-politics of identity and difference, this paper places emphasis on the ethics of political subjectivity organised around concrete and contingent articulations of the individual, the particular and the universal. Therefore, the contents of this paper are located along the flow of a transitional intellectual movement that is, slowly but surely, shifting emphasis from identity and cultural politics to political culture, including a newly re-invigorated critique of political economy. Along repeated appeals to the virtues of politics and political analysis proper, the form that this paper takes, on the other hand, relies on the interventionist Imaginary of my own political subjectivity. Hence, it is from within the concrete perspective of this imaginary dimension that I seek to argue for the possibility of an absolute political indifference to Basque cultural difference.

In addition to the theoretical analysis on culture, politics and ethics outlined throughout, another rather more ‘empirical’ means chosen to argue for the possibility of political equality as opposed to cultural difference is this; namely to frame a short book by Joseba Sarrionaindia published in 2008 within the context of a broad critique of multiculturalism. In this respect, however, the actual contents of the book entitled Tales from seven count[r]ies of the world remain highly irrelevant to our argument. What is to count, mostly, is the single fact of the book being organised around seven children narrators who recount popular stories of their respective places of origin, from a migrant-marginal perspective and whose exotic names only will be at the center of our attention in due course.

Yet before proceeding further, the workings of two major fallacies are required to be exposed, which often short-circuit all things Basque in particular, but also European or Western in general. We often hear, and so it seems, as a consequence, that direct political and intellectual intervention in rich, First World countries amounts to a capriciously shameless game played out from an extremely privileged position. As Slavoj Zizek states:

'Every exclusive focus on First World topics […] cannot but appear cynical in the face of raw Third World poverty, hunger and violence'.

The symbolic efficiency of this widely mobilised piece of misinformation qua misleading propaganda is all too obvious in the concrete Basque situation. For when we hear that “There are much more important things going on in the world” the main aim, obviously, remains to disarm the legitimacy of an ongoing political struggle. Yet as Zizek continues:

'On the other hand, attempts to dismiss First World problems as trivial in comparison with “real” permanent Third World catastrophes are no less a fake – focusing on the “real problems” of the Third World is the ultimate form of escapism, of avoiding confrontation with the antagonisms of one’s own society'. (The Parallax View, 2006, p.129)

Hence, Zizek grasps well the structure of the split that informs this specific and subjective intervention (of mine), and which is worth repeating again:

Yes, the formal aspect of this paper is constrained to the concrete theme that structures this ‘Basque panel’ on “nationalism, multiculturalism and the politics of antagonism, hegemony and terror”.

Yet, the overall content presented here wants to account also for an individual fidelity to the universality of a particular struggle in such a way that, as Zizek himself explains:

A particular, localized socio-political struggle is at the same time the struggle in which the fate of the entire universe is being decided (Conversations with Zizek, 2005, p.)

Therefore, the fallacy ultimately leading towards NOT confronting the antagonisms of one’s own society has to be disarmed; not least, more to the point of this intervention, that which rather than nominating multiculturalism as a critical, radical, discrepant and even revolutionary question (for overcoming racism, discrimination, exploitation etc as was the case until recently (see Barnor Hesse, 2000; Goldber, 1994; Mc. Laren, 1997) nowadays predicates instead the multicultural as a post-political adjectival solution (under the dominant liberal guise of smoothly managing the mosaic diversity of a given nation). In this sense the questions that Zizek formulates in his book on Violence and the answer he proposes are applicable to our case:

Why are so many problems today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than as problems of inequality, exploitation or injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, rather than emancipation, political struggle, even armed struggle? The immediate answer lies in the liberal multiculturalist’s basic ideological operation: the ‘culturalisation of politics’. Political differences – differences conditioned by political inequality or economic exploitation- are naturalized and neutralized into ‘cultural’ differences, that is into different ‘ways of life’ which are something given, something that cannot be overcome. They can only be ‘tolerated’' (V, 2008, p. 119).

As soon as we plunge into the question of multiculturalism, therefore, the opportunity arises of dealing with the second fallacy alluded to earlier. Talking of terror, obviously, and “even armed struggle”, in addition to Zizek’s remarks, this also allows bringing to the fore some new relevant reflections, first this time by Ernesto Laclau and then by Alain Badiou. In his book On Popular Reason, Laclau states the following:

'There is an ethical imperative in intellectual work, which Leonardo [de Vinci] called ‘obstinate rigour’. It means, in practical terms – and especially when one is dealing with political matters, which are always charged with emotion – that one has to resist several temptations. They can be condensed into a single formula: never succumb to the terrorism of words.' (PR 2005, p. 249)

Laclau then quotes Freud’s appeal not to concede to faint-heartedness, a main form of which “in our time is the replacement of analysis with ethical condemnation” (249). The theme of “Basque terrorism” (sic.) is particularly prone to this type of exercise. As such, needless to say, there is nothing wrong in condemning terrorism, but always following Laclau:

The problem begins when condemnation replaces explanation, which is what happens when some phenomena are seen as aberrations dispossessed of any rationally graspable cause. (250)

One is well aware of the obvious political interest for not trying to diminish the discursive appeal to the negative emotional connotations of terrorism. In the context of Spanish grand-national rule, Basque terrorism works wonders as an emotionally charged fetish.

Yet, to the Imaginary dimension of my own theoretical intervention here and the practical ‘impossibility’ of properly, let alone rationally grasping the Real traumatic kernel of political violence in the Basque country, a third dimension must be added. This dimension accounts for the very Symbolic order which, in order to sustain political APARTHEID, with capital letters, is also informed by a permanent state of emergency (Agambem, 1998, 2005).

In this context, Laclau’s appeal to the value of rigorous rational explanation can hardly be met. Instead Alain Badiou’s uncompromising outburst on his Ethics (2001) may fill in the void. Badiou reacts angrily against the “ethical ‘delirium’” and the “moralizing sermons” that are still “busily confusing politics with the hypocrisy of a mindless catechism”:

The enemy dominates everywhere [he continues]. The presumed ‘rights of man’ [are] serving at every point to annihilate any attempt to invent forms of free thought […] The infamies of Western capitalism as the new universal model [are imposed by] the intellectual counter-revolution in the form of moral terrorism'. (E., liii- lv).

But beware! For if anywhere, for Badiou the blackmailing effect of this very moral terrorism shows itself at its best when the universal reality of the market economy meets with the ethics of alterity (Levinas Derrida…) as well as the relativistic fantasies of liberal multiculturalism. For Badiou multiculturalism wants to respond to the apparent complexity and multiplicity of being and “its great ideal is the peaceful coexistence of cultural, religious and national ‘communities’, the refusal of ‘exclusion’ (26). However, always according to Badiou, the world is not as complex as we are often made to believe. If fact, as he claims in “Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universality”, ([1997] 2003) our world is perfectly simple. On the one side, the rule of abstract homogeneization imposed by capital has finally configured the world as a vast, extended market (world-market). On the other side, a culturalist and relativist ideology accompanies the ongoing process of fragmentation into a myriad of closed identities. This affirmation of identity always refers back to language, race, religion or gender, and demands the respect and recognition of one’s own communitarian-cultural singularities. Yet the false universality of monetary abstraction and homogeneity has absolutely no difficulty in accommodating the kaleidoscope of communitarianisms – of women, homosexuals, the disabled, Arabs! In other words, both processes, i.e: financial globalization or the absolute sovereignty of capital’s empty universality and identitarian protest or celebration of particularist differences are perfectly intertwined: the two components of this articulated whole are in a relation of reciprocal maintenance and mirroring. Moreover, through the infinite combinations of predicative traits, communitarian identities are turned into advertising selling points -Black homosexuals, disable Serbs, moderate Muslims, ecologist yuppies… (9-13).

Therefore, as Badiou claims: certainly, the empirical existence of differences cannot be denied as such: “there are differences. One can even maintain that there is nothing else” (98). And back to the Ethics, moreover:

'Infinite alterity is quite simply what there is. Any experience at all is the infinite deployment of infinite differences. Even the apparently reflexive experience of myself is by no means the intuition of a unity but a labyrinth of differentiations, and Rimbaud was certainly not wrong when he said: ‘I am another’. There are as many differences, say, between a Chinese peasant and a young Norwegian professional as between myself and anybody at all, including myself'. (E 25-26)

Hence when always according to Badiou “Contemporary ethics kicks up a big fuss about ‘cultural’ differences….

'What we must recognize is that these differences hold no interest for thought, that they amount to nothing more than the infinite and self-evident multiplicity of humankind, [as obvious in the difference between me and my cousin from Lyon as it is between the Shi’ite ‘community’ of Irak and the fat cowboys of Texas]'. (E 26)

Enter here Zizek’s own take on [his Universal Exception (2006) of ] “Multiculturalism, or, the cultural logic of multinational capitalism” (UE, pp. 151-182). Very much in tune with Badiou, for Zizek, multiculturalism constitutes (or defines), a specific postmodernist cultural logic with regard to identity politics, which all too “simply designates the form of subjectivity that corresponds to late capitalism”:

'The ideal form of ideology of (this) global capitalism is multiculturalism, the attitude which, from a kind of empty global position, treats each local culture as the colonizer treats colonized people – as ‘natives’ whose mores are to be carefully studied and ‘respected’. […] In other words, multiculturalism is a disavowed, inverted, self-referential form of racism, a ‘racism with a distance’ – it ‘respects’ the Other’s identity, conceiving of the other as a self-enclosed ‘authentic’ community towards which the multiculturalist maintains a distance made possible by his / her privileged universal position. Multiculturalism is a racism which empties its own position of all positive content [while] retain[ing] this position as the privileged empty point of universalism from which one is able to appreciate (and depreciate) other particular cultures properly – multiculturalist respect for the Other’s specificity is the very form of asserting one’s own superiority' (170-1).

Following Žižek’s argument, first stated in his seminal work The Ticklish Subject (2000, p. 216), multiculturalism does not conform a recipe containing any kind of subversive potential for progressive, let alone ‘radical’ identity politics. The (still) ongoing and largely self-serving celebration of dispersed, fragmented, plural and hybrid or hyphenated identities do not conform effective forms to challenge ‘fundamentalism’, to contest ‘essentialism’ or to disrupt ‘fixed identities’.

On the contrary, set against the entire project of cultural studies which, with the celebrated ascendancy of contemporary post-structuralist, post-colonial, post-Marxist and post-national discourses, rests on the radical pluralization of cultural identities, for Žižek this form of identity politics amounts “ultimately (to) fight(ing) a straw-man” (27). It amounts to fighting a straw-man because the empty point of universality to which Žižek alludes in clear reference to Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (1985) is already occupied or filled in by a particular content. In the case of British multiculturalism, to put an example close to us, there is no such a thing as the Anglo-Saxon (or English) ethnic minority competing for recognition at a level par with African-Caribbean, Muslims, Gay and Lesbian, people with disabilities, Scots, Welsh, Irish… in order to define what Britishness is. It is rather this particular content (Englishness) which has historically exerted the hegemonic function and succeeded in overwhelmingly calling the shots, so to speak, by both stepping outside the chain of differences and secretly filling in the empty point of universality through the very medium of the (supposedly neutral) British national institutions (state, media, cultural establishment etc). Britishness is thus the absent centre, the unmarked political sign; it is as Stuart Hall pointed out in the “Conclusion” to Un/settled Multiculturalism “the empty signifier, the norm, against which ‘difference’ (ethnicity) is measured” (2000: 221). This is indeed still so regardless of some new reactive English identity consciousness raising exercises on compensatory grounds (i.e.: if the Scots have St Andrews why not St George? If the Welsh have an Assembly we also want a Parliament, etc.

So finally, talking of local nations and the state in Britain, what about then Joseba Sarrionandia’s global Tales from seven count[r]ies of the world (2008)? Let me ruthlessly manipulate his work by asking this question first: Is there any way of establishing a comparison between the legendary British pragmatism, always triumphant in the face of adversity, and the no less legendary Basque propensity to subordination and the ensuing narcissism of the loser? The question is less foolish than it seems. For if only taking a look to the clear-cut multiculturalist strategy Sarrionandia deploys in his Tales (open-minded spirit of respect and tolerance of the other, celebration of diversity and minority-marginal cultures, hybridization, multicultural education etc) does he not set out, mutatis mutandi, the same Anglo-Saxon logic of the absent centre (Zizek, 1999) secretly enacted as the unmarked political sign of a particular identity, as “the empty signifier, the norm, against which ‘difference’ (ethnicity) is measured”, in Stuart Hall’s words; (Conclusion U/SM, p. 221).

In other words, by reproducing and respecting the particular mores and customs of other ‘native’ cultures, does not Basqueness secretly occupy a privileged universal position in Sarrionandia’s Tales?

Certainly, a first objection to this argument could stem from drawing attention to three particular narrators whose ‘Basque’ origins are all too clear, namely Zize Larralde from West African Republic of Cape Verde where a community of political refugees still persists: Silvia Mariñelarena from Spain whose Basque sailor antecedents are given to us, and Marie Jeanne Borthiry whose rural background in the Basque side of France is central to her account. The obvious objection would consist of pointing out how these three hyphenated Basque identities interrelate just at the same level par of marginality as 'First peoples’ Indian Diego Armando Carrera, Saharan Mohamet Tagit, Japanese Osamu Akutagawa and Eskimo Margaret Atatakhak, and that hence the multicultural logic of Basque ethnic subordination still persists. However a closer look also allows the possibility of forcing a new interpretation whereby the tales put together in this book could reveal imaginary accounts of a bygone past. A past namely where the images of the Basque refugee, sailor and farmer fill in the mythical-phantasmatic image of the ‘authentic’ internal Other, much like the English bowler hat and umbrella wearing gentleman or the heroic King’s buccaneer who, if anything, also contribute to securing the hegemony of a universalised particularity.

Sarrionaindia, therefore, under the guise of reclaiming a position of marginality also gives, nevertheless, a giant step towards removing the cultural qua ethnic vestiges of Basqueness from the surface level of external appearance as well as, most importantly, allocating the privileged empty space of universality to carve out its own course, as it were, towards the hegemony of the civic and the political. In other words, Sarrionandia envisages the Imaginary possibility of a truly post-independence scenario whereby the Real of antagonism in its surface national form has already been deprived of its traumatic qua violent-subjective kernel, whereby, that is to say, the substance of ethnicity has already dissolved into a civic symbolic order hegemonised by a new unmarked, empty signifier qua absent centre. As Zizek states in a recent paper called “Multiculturalism; The reality of an illusion”(2010):

The truly unbearable fact for a multiculturalist liberal is an Other who effectively becomes like us, while retaining its specific features.

Thank you.

Iruzkina gehitu

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Galdera: Idatzi zortzi zenbakiak erabiliz
Erantzuna:
Aurkezpena

Volgako Batelariak / Бурлаки на Волге

Literatur inoizkari kosakoa / Казацкий литературный журнал

Moñoñotasuna, zurikeria, bertso-kitsch-laritza, biktimismo orokortua, produktu literario paketatua, euskararen kalonjeen (uler bedi: irakurle militanteen) nagusitasuna, plastidekor-idazleak, malditismo faltsuaz mozorrotutakoak, laurogeiko hamarkadaren (eta aurreko ia guztien) nostalgia... horiek guztiak gaitzesten eta gaitzetsiko ditu inoizkari honek, eta  beldurrik gabe salatuko. Akaso ez dira salagarri eta denbora galduko dugu, baina esan bezala, gogoak ematen dizkigu hala egiteko, dibertitu nahi dugu, eta dibertituko gara. Nahiz eta, funtsean,
eta inork sinesten ez gaituen arren, oso jende serioa garen.

Uxue Apaolaza, Rikardo Arregi Diaz de Heredia, Ibon Egaña, Angel Erro, Juanjo Olasagarre eta Iban Zalduak osatzen dugu kontubernio hau. Erantzunak ongi etorriak izango dira (edo ez), baina beti benetako izen-abizenez sinatuta datozen heinean, eta kolaborazioak ere onartuko ditugu.

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