TransAct 22

TransAct statement

The Political as a Production Process

In the form of raw material, radical public discourse is inaccessible for human motives and consciousness. Public awareness must first be produced. A sense of closeness and a coherent meaning of opening up (this is not a higher meaning than the desire for opening up but one which is materially within it) require a re-production starting at the roots so that they, which are positioned as anti-realistic forces of defence and avoidance, can answer to reality. This is the core of the claim that politics must be a production process and not distributive, as is the predominant habit of politics.

This production relates to three distinguishable centres: (1) the production of political motives, (2) the production of contact points and collective time and place arrangements, that is the political connection of forms, (3) the production of the preconditions for production, of tools, of language, methods of production, i.e. the re-production of people towards what they partially are as human polity.

Under current circumstances, these several poles of politics as production behave antagonistically, i.e. they disrupt each other. On the other hand, conversely, cooperation between these poles is the necessary precondition for politics. Vehement eruption in the reformulation of political content produces divisions caused by its articulation. These divisions destroy the processes which support political work. Radical politics is articulated, the mass of social contact points is in ruins.

These contradictions are not prescribed by capital or the state, which both totally deny politics as a production process and therefore cannot push through and control the in itself desired prevention of such processes. They do not have the necessary sensibility for this problem. To a far greater extent, this contradiction is produced from the best raw materials of a sense of protest: the radical insistence on self-interest, i.e. closeness, from the radical insistence on rebellion, i.e. breakthrough, and from the radical insistence of theory on the emphatic concept of concrete totality and history as the medium in which reality is actually found.

It is therefore a matter of an antagonism which can be dissolved because it is made up of a chain of befriended materials. Befriended under the aspect of emancipation.

Prof. Dr. Alexander Kluge
Author and film-maker

Munich, 23 February 2K

Alexander Kluge answered the call of TransAct on 23 February 2000 and suggested we publish a text of our choice by him.

Extract from: Oskar Negt, Alexander Kluge: History and Obstinacy, Frankfurt am Main (Zweitausendeins) 1981, pp. 1164–1165.