Can the Subaltern Speak

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Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Can the Subaltern Speak? An understanding of contemporary relations of power, and of the Western intellectual's role within them, requires an examination of the intersection of a theory of representation and the political economy of global capitalism. A theory of representation points, on the one hand, to the domain of ideology, meaning, and subjectivity, and, on the other hand, to the domain of politics, the state, and the law. The original title of this paper was "Power, Desire, Interest."1 Indeed, whatever power these meditations command may have been earned by a politically interested refusal to push to the limit the founding presuppositions of my desires, as far as they are within my grasp. This…show more content…
Why should such occlusions be sanctioned in precisely those intellectuals who are our best prophets of heterogeneity and the Other? The link to the workers' struggle is located in the desire to blow up power at any point of its application. This site is apparently based on a simple valorization of any desire destructive of any power. Walter Benjamin comments on Baudelaire's comparable politics by way of quotations from Marx: 272 Marx continues in his description of the conspirateurs de profession as follows: " ... They have no other aim but the immediate one of overthrowing the existing government, and they profoundly despise the more theoretical enlightenment of the workers as to their class interests. Thus their anger-not proletarian but plebian-at the habits noirs (black coats), the more or less educated people who represent [vertretenjthat side of the movement and of whom they can never become entirely independent, as they cannot of the official representatives [Reprasentantenj of the party." Baudelaire's political insights do not go fundamentally beyond the insights of these professional conspirators.... He could perhaps have made Flaubert's statement, "Of all of politics I understand only one thing: the revolt," his own. 6 The link to the workers' struggle is located, simply, in desire. Elsewhere, Deleuze and Guattari have attempted an alternative definition of desire, revising
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