Macro and Micropolitical Insurrection: Differences and Entanglements

A Lecture by Suely Rolnik

Monday, 1 April 2019 - 6:30pm
Entrada gratuita hasta completar aforo
Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200
Massive feminist mobilization summoned by the citizen movement "Ele Nao" against the presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro. Sau Paulo, 2018. Source: Latin Archive
Massive feminist mobilization summoned by the citizen movement "Ele Nao" against the presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro. Sau Paulo, 2018. Source: Latin Archive

The colonial-capitalist regime’s micropolitical principle is the abuse of vital forces in all elements of the biosphere — including, naturally, the human element. This abuse entails the perversion exercised over the very essence of these vital forces, which, in turn, involves the creation of new forms of existence, in so far as they are necessary to preserve life. In the human species, such a process of creation gives rise to the transfiguration of existing forms of reality and the transvaloration of their values: this is what defines the ethical destiny of the vital instinct.    

In the new fold of capitalism – financed and at once neoliberal and neoconservative – its devices of micropolitical power multiply and are refined to aid technological advances, for instance those related to communication, thereby increasing violence in an ever-perverse way. In this context, the abuse of these power devices reaches the fledgling ‘drive movement’, diverting it from its ethical destiny. This entails the dissociation of creation with regard to the demands of life and thus hinders its proper exercise. As a result, imagination is reduced to the mere development of creative capacity in order to produce novelties, which multiply the opportunities for capital investment and stimulate the willingness for consumption at an exponential rate. The drive towards the preservation of life therefore becomes sterilised and becomes a drive towards preserving the status quo, resulting in a sinister landscape of the present. 

To resist this state of things, intervening in power relations is not enough to ensure a fairer distribution of rights (macropolitics). Rather, there is a need to decolonise the unconscious structured by the abuse upheld in such power relations, a condition that ensures our vital instinct is not diverted from its ethical destiny and entails abandoning our characters in daily settings to create new characters and their respective relational fields (micropolitics). This lecture, therefore, seeks to distinguish the modes of macro and micropolitical insurrection, essential to effectively transforming reality.   

Suely Rolnik is a psychoanalyst, essayist, curator and head professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP). Her most recent publications include: Zombie Anthropophagie. Zur neoliberalen Subjektivität (Turia + Kant: Vienna/Berlin, 2018) and Esferas da Insurreição. Notas para uma vida não cafetinada (N-1, 2018), in English: The Spheres of Insurrection. Notes for the Unconscious (published in Spain by Traficantes de Sueños and Argentina by Tinta Limón, both in 2019). She is co-author, with Félix Guattari, of Micropolítica. Cartografias del deseo (1986), and has created the Archive for a Work-Event. A Project to Activate the Body Memory of Lygia Clark and Her Artistic Poroposals (65 interview films; 2002–2011). She has translated, among other works, Mille Plateaux, by Deleuze and Guattari (Ed. 34, 1997), into Portuguese.