We begin with the story of Prudenica Martin Gomez, who died while attempting to cross the US-Mexico border.
Doty, Associate Professor School of Politics & Global Studies, 11
[Roxanne Lynn, Published April 12, 2011. “Bare life: border-crossing deaths and spaces of moral alibi.” Page 601-602. http://www.envplan.com/openaccess/d3110.pdf. RH]
On Friday, 6 July 2007, volunteers with two local humanitarian groups in Tucson, Arizona, Humane Borders and Samaritans, went in search of Prudencia Martin Gomez, age 18 from Guatemala. She was headed to Oakland, California, to join her boyfriend/fiance¨ and had been missing since 11 June in the Ironwood National Forest, a 129 000-acre expanse of land, in the Sonoran Desert 25 miles northwest of Tucson. There are no facilities in the Ironwood National Forest, and visitors are warned of the hazards of the extreme heat. Human beings simply cannot survive in this part of the southwestern deserts for as long as Prudencia had been missing, so there was no pretense that they would find her alive, and they did not. The official location of her body was recorded as GPS: N32 0 25.455/W1110307.80 (Arizona Daily Star 2010). Prudencia had fallen ill and had been unable to continue. Her fellow travelers left her with water, but it was not enough. She was only a mile south of a Humane Borders' water station, but a mile can be a very long way in the desert, in the month of June, when one has already walked a long distance. Authorities determined that Prudencia had died on 15 June. The recorded high temperature on that day was 115˚F. Prudencia was a contemporary version of what Agamben (1998) refers to as bare life, life that can be taken without apology, classified as neither homicide nor sacrifice. She was US border policy stripped to its essence. And hers, tragically, is not an isolated example. In 2004 Mario Alberto Diaz, 6 feet tall with a black belt in karate and working on a masters degree in biology crossed the border near Sasabe, Arizona. His body was discovered twenty days later in a creek in the foothills of the Sierrita Mountains (Bourdeaux, 2004). In the summer of 2005 the Pima County medical examiner in Tucson, Arizona, had to rent a refrigerated tractor-trailer to store the bodies of migrants due to the record number of deaths that year (Arizona Republic 2005). The deadly trend continues. Even as apprehensions have steadily declined, deaths continue to rise (McCombs, 2009).(6) The migrant death count for fiscal year 2009 is the third highest since 1998. In the fifteen-year period since ``prevention through deterrence'' was first introduced approximately 5000 migrants have died, though near universal agreement exists that estimates of migrant deaths are undercounts and the actual number is likely much higher (Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, 2007). When they debated, formulated, and put into effect the various border control operations collectively known as prevention through deterrence, policy makers likely had never heard of GPS: N32 025.455/W1110307.80 or the Ironwood National Forest or the Sierrita mountains or the many other locations at which migrant bodies have been, and continue to be, found. However, it is arguably inconceivable that they did not know of the harsh conditions to which migrants would be subjected under this border strategy. The Border Patrol's own blueprint for one of the early and well-known manifestations of the new operations, Operation Gatekeeper, noted that it would channel migrants to locations where ``the days are blazing hot and nights freezing cold''.(7) In this section I argue that the prevention through deterrence border control strategies exemplify Foucault's theoretical writings on how biopower, sovereign power, and racism can be articulated with one another thus to function in concert. While biopolitics, as formulated by Foucault, is generally understood as being concerned with the governance and regulation of a population in matters such as health and sexuality, it is also consistent with what Agamben refers to as bare life. For Foucault the emergence of the ``problem of the population'' coincided with the development of an art of government wherein the main concerns of government were on the wealth, longevity, health, and sexuality of the population, giving rise to the notion of biopower as ``making life live'' (Foucault, 1991). Through regulations in these matters, subjects become entangled in the practices of statecraft. Agamben has critiqued what he calls Foucault's ``progressive disqualification of death'' (ie the circumscription of the issue of death to discussions of classical sovereign power), offering a conceptualization of biopower which focuses on the ways in which sovereign power produces a radical exposure abandoning subjects, stripping their identities to that of bare life, and thereby creating spaces of exception or a ``juridical void'' which permits abuses and killings without punishment.(8) While Agamben's theorizations of biopower and its relation to bare life are invaluable for understanding how modern power works, he arguably draws a bit of a strawman when it comes to Foucault. In Society Must be Defended, Foucault poses the following question. How can biopower, whose function is to improve life and prolong its duration, kill? ``How can the power of death, the function of death, be exercised in a political system centered upon biopower? '' (2003, page 254). His definition of `killing' is not ``simply murder as such, but also every form of indirect murder: the fact of exposing someone to death, increasing the risk of death for some people, or, quite simply, political death, expulsion, rejections, and so on'' (page 256). Clearly Foucault recognizes that biopower does not preclude the taking of life. He responds to his own question by turning to race, suggesting that race performs two functions: (1) it introduces a break in the domain of life under power's control between what must live and what must die thus fragmenting the field of the biological that power controls, and (2) it establishes a relationship between life and death. ``If you want to live, you must take lives, you must be able to kill'' (2003, pages 254 ^ 255).
Death and suffering on the border is increasing with each passing day—the government formulates border security in ways that funnel migrants into the harshest conditions of nature and most dangerous passageways into the US. Thousands of deaths can be attributed to US border security.
Johnson 2007(Dean and Mabie-Apallas, Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies, “Opening the Floodgates”, New York University Publication)
As of March 2006, the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation attributed more than 3,000 deaths to a single southern California border operation known as Operation Gatekeeper.97 Numerous other operations have been put into place in the U.S.-Mexico border region. All have had similar deadly impacts. Despite the death toll, the U.S. government continues to pursue enforcement operations with great vigor. Indeed, Congress consistently enacts proposals designed to bolster border enforcement, with such proposals often representing the only items of political consensus when it comes to immigration reform. Operation Gatekeeper demonstrates the U.S. government’s callous indifference to the human suffering caused by its aggressive border enforcement policy. In the words of one informed commentator, “[t]he real tragedy of [Operation] Gatekeeper . . . is the direct link . . . to the staggering rise in the number of deaths among border crossers. [The U.S. government] has forced these crossers to attempt entry in areas plagued by extreme weather conditions and rugged terrain that [the U.S. government] knows to present mortal danger.”98 In planning Operation Gatekeeper, the U.S. government knew that its strategy would risk many lives but proceeded nonetheless. As another observer concludes, “Operation Gatekeeper, as an enforcement immigration policy financed and politically supported by the U.S. government, flagrantly violates international human rights because this policy was deliberately formulated to maximize the physical risks of Mexican migrant workers, thereby ensuring that hundreds of them would die.”99 Apparently, the government rationalized the deaths of migrants as collateral damage in the “war” on illegal immigration. Even before the 1990s, the Border Patrol had a reputation for committing human rights abuses against immigrants and U.S. citizens of Mexican ancestry.100 Created to police the U.S.-Mexican border, the Border Patrol has historically been plagued by reports of brutality, shootings, beatings, and killings.101 Amnesty International, American Friends Service Committee, and Human Rights Watch have all issued reports documenting recent human rights abuses by the Border Patrol.102
Furthermore, the politics of border crossing and border security are thoroughly steeped in biopolitics—the border manages the distinction between desirable and undesirable life and delineates the contours of bare life.
Zylinska, Professor of New Media and Communications at the University of London, 2004 (Joanna, “The Universal Acts: Judith Butler and the biopolitics of immigration,” Cultural Studies 18.4, pg. 526) MM
Performativity of the public sphere: The ‘issue’ of asylum seekers lies at the very heart of the broader issue concerning the constitution of the public sphere. For Butler democratic participation in the public sphere is enabled by the preservation of its boundaries, and by the simultaneous establishment of its ‘constitutive outside’. She argues that in contemporary Western democracies numerous singular lives are being barred from the life of the legitimate community, in which standards of recognition allow one access to the category of ‘the human’. In order to develop a set of norms intended to regulate the state organism, biopolitics needs to establish a certain exclusion from these norms, to protect the constitution of the polis and distinguish it from what does not ‘properly’ belong to it. The biopolitics of immigration looks after the bodies of the host community and protects it against parasites that might want to invade it, but it needs to equip itself with tools that will allow it to trace, detect and eliminate these parasites. Technology is mobilized to probe and scan the bare life of those wanting to penetrate the healthy body politic: through the use of fingerprinting, iris recognition and scanners in lorries travelling, for example, across the English Channel, the presence and legitimacy of ‘asylum seekers’ can be determined and fixed.4 The bio-politics of immigration is thus performative in the sense of the term used by Butler; through the probing of human bodies, a boundary between legitimate and illegitimate members of the community is established. This process depends on a truth regime already in place, a regime that classifies some bodies as ‘genuine’ and others (be it emaciated bodies of refugees squashed in lorries in which they have been smuggled to the ‘West’, or confined to the leaky Tampa ship hopelessly hovering off the shores of Australia) as ‘bogus’. The bare life of the host community thus needs to be properly managed and regulated, with its unmanageable aspects placed in what Agamben (1998) calls a relation of exception. But the question that remains occluded in these processes of ‘life management’ is ‘[w]hich bodies come to matter - and why?’ (Butler 1993, p. xii).
This border biopolitics results in several impacts: the first is that border manage is a murderous enterprise that results in political death, exclusion, and a loss of value to life.
Ajana, Lecturer in Culture, Digital Humanities & Creative Industries at King’s College London. 2005 [Btihaj, 2005 “Surveillance and Biopolitics,” Electronic Journal of Sociology. RH]
Embedded within this biopolitical overdetermination is a murderous enterprise. Murderous not insofar as it involves extermination (although this might still be the case) but inasmuch as it exerts a biopower that exposes ‘someone to death, increasing the risk of death for some people, or, quite simply, political death, expulsion, rejection, and so on’ (Foucault 2003 : 256), and inasmuch as it is ‘based on a certain occluded but inevitable and thus constitutive violence’ (Zylinska, 2004: 530); a symbolic violence (manifested, for instance, in the act of ‘naming’ as Butler (in Zylinska, 2004) and Derrida argue ‘asylum seekers’, ‘detainees’, ‘deportees’, ‘illegal immigrants’, etc) as well as a material one (for example, placing ‘asylum seekers’ and ‘illegal immigrants’ in detention centres), attesting to that epistemic impulse to resuscitate the leftover of late modernity and the residual of disciplinary powers that seek to eliminate and ostracise the unwanted-other through the insidious refashioning of the ‘final solution’ for the asylum and immigration ‘question’. Such an image has been captured by Braidotti (1994: 20): Once, landing at Paris International Airport, I saw all of these in between areas occupied by immigrants from various parts of the former French empire; they had arrived, but were not allowed entry, so they camped in these luxurious transit zones, waiting. The dead, panoptical heart of the new European Community will scrutinize them and not allow them in easily: it is crowded at the margins and non-belonging can be hell. The biopolitics of borders stands as the quintessential domain for this kind of 11 sorting, this kind of racism pervading Western socio-political imaginary and permeating the rhetoric of national and territorial sovereignty despite its monolithic use of euphemism. It is precisely this task of sorting and this act of fragmenting that contemporary modes of border security and surveillance are designed making ‘the management of misery and misfortune … a potentially profitable activity’ (Rose, 1999: 260) and evaporating the political into a perpetual state of technicism (Coward, 1999: 18) where ‘control’ and ‘security’ are resting upon vast investments in new information and communications technologies in order to filter access and minimise, if not eradicate, the infiltration and ‘riskiness’ of the ‘unwanted’. For instance, in chapter six of the White Paper, ‘Secure Borders, Safe Haven’ (2002), the UK government outlines a host of techniques and strategies aimed at controlling borders and tightening security including the use of Gamma X-ray scanners, heartbeat sensors, and millimetric wave imaging to detect humans smuggled in vehicles.
We internalize border-thinking—the disciplinary capacities of border security reach into the very core of human being and reduce life to mere calculability.
Ajana, Lecturer in Culture, Digital Humanities & Creative Industries at King’s College London. 2005 [Btihaj, 2005 “Surveillance and Biopolitics,” Electronic Journal of Sociology. RH]
Subtle, internalised, and smooth (but not all too smooth) as it is, (post)panoptical surveillance induces a certain conscious relation to the self and organises the ‘criteria’ for inclusion and exclusion (Rose, 1999: 243). Borders are thus the spatio-temporal zone par excellence where surveillance gives substance to the working of biopolitics and the manifestation of biopower. In this case mobility itself becomes intrinsically linked to processes of the ‘sorting’ of individualised citizens from massified aliens. We can almost forgive theorists such as Bauman (1998, in Boyne, 2000: 286) for wanting to articulate a dichotomous logic that hinges on the notion of border, for, at times and at least with regard to circulation (that is, the circulation of ‘people’, for as far as ‘commodities’ and ‘capital’ are concerned, their free movement is encouraged and sustained by the global capitalist machine), the world seems to be divided into two. Those who have European/American/Australian/Canadian passports and those who do not. We all know all too well what difference this makes in terms of border crossing. Nevertheless, such conceptualisation misses the point that borders are not merely that which is erected at the edges of territorial partitioning and spatial particularity, but more so borders are ubiquitous (Balibar, 2002: 84) and infinitely actualised within mundane processes of ‘internal’ administration and bureaucratic organization 1 blurring the dualistic logic of the inside and the outside on which Western sovereignty is calibrated. The point is that in addition to this crude dual division within the global world order there are further divisions, further segmentations, a ‘hypersegmentation’ (Hardt, 1998: 33) at the heart of that monolithic (Western) half which functions by means of excluding the already-excluded on the one hand and incorporating the already-included and the waiting-to-be-included excluded on the other. This is done more or less dialectically, more or less perversely, including and excluding concurrently ‘through a principle of activity’ (Rose, 1999: 240) and interwoven circuits of security. Surveillance is the enduring of exclusion for some and the performance of inclusion for others to the point where it becomes almost impossible to demonstrate one’s ‘inclusion’ without having to go through the labyrinth of security controls and identity validation, intensified mainly, but not solely, at the borders. It is in similar contexts that Balibar (2002: 81) invokes the notion of ‘world apartheid’ in which the dual regime of circulation is creating different phenomenological experiences for different people through the ‘polysemic nature’ (Balibar, 2002: 81) of borders. For as we have discussed, borders are not merely territorial dividers but spatial zones of surveillance designed to establish ‘an international class differentiation’ and deploy ‘instruments of discrimination and triage’ (Balibar, 2002: 82) whereby the rich asserts a ‘surplus of right’ (Balibar, 2002: 83) and the poor continue to exercise the Sisyphean activity of circulating upwards and downwards until the border becomes his/her place of ‘dwelling’ (Kachra, 2005: 123) or until s/he becomes the border itself. Sadly, to be a border is to ‘live a life which is a waiting-to-live, a non-life’ (Balibar, 2002: 83). The biopolitics of borders is precisely the management of that waiting-to-live, the management of that non-life (the waiting-to-live and the non-life of those who are forcibly placed in detention centres), and at times, it is the management of death. The death of thousand of refugees and ‘clandestine’ migrants drowned in the sea (for instance, in the Strait of Gibraltar which is argued to be becoming the world’s largest mass grave), asphyxiated in trucks (as was the fate of 58 Chinese immigrants who died in 2000 inside an airtight truck at the port of Dover), crushed under trains (the case of the Channel Tunnel) and killed in deserts (in the US-Mexican border for example). It is the management of ‘bodies that do not matter’. It is the management of the bodies of those to whom the status of the ‘homo sacer’ (Agamben, 1998: 8) is attributed. It is the management of those whose death has fallen into the abyss of insignificance and whose killing is not sacrificial (except to the few). On the other hand, the biopolitics of borders is also the management of ‘life’; the life of those who are capable of performing ‘responsible self-government’ (Rose, 1999: 259) and self-surveillance i.e. those who can demonstrate their ‘legitimacy’ through ‘worthy’ computer-readable passports/ID cards that provide the ontological basis for the exercising and fixing of identity and citizenship at the border.
The fulcrum of biopolitics at the border is racism.
Milchman and Rosenberg 2005 [Alan & Alan, “Michel Foucault: Crises and Problemizations”, The Review of Politics, Volume 67, p. 340]
“Society Must Be Defended”culminates in Foucault’s chilling account of a tendency immanent to bio-politics, a tendency to what he has elsewhere designated as Athanato-politics,” and its basis in what he here terms state racism. The question that Foucault raises in his final lecture in this course, is how can mass murder and extermination become instantiated in a regime of biopower: If it is true that the power of sovereignty is increasingly on the retreat and that disciplinary or regulatory disciplinary power is on the advance, how will the power to kill and the function of murder operate in this technology of power, which takes life as both its object and its objective? ... How, under these conditions, is it possible for a political power to kill, to call for deaths, to demand deaths, to give the order to kill ... ? Given that this power’s objective is essentially to make live, how can it let die? How can the power of death, the function of death, be exercised in a political system centered upon biopower? (p. 254) For Foucault, it is here that racism, which, indeed, has a long history, intervenes, and now becomes inscribed in the basic mechanisms of the modern state. According to Foucault: … broadly speaking, racism justifies the death-function in the economy of biopower by appealing to the principle that the death of others makes one biologically stronger insofar as one is a member of a race or a population, insofar as one is an element in a unitary living plurality. … The specificity of modern racism … is not bound up with mentalities, ideologies, or the lies of power. It is bound up with the techniques of power, with the technology of power. We are dealing with a mechanism that allows biopower to work. So racism is bound up with the workings of a state that is obliged to use race, the elimination of races and the purification of the race, to exercise its sovereign power. The juxtaposition of - the way biopower functions through - the old sovereign power of life and death implies the workings, the introduction and activation of racism. And it is, I think, here that we find the actual roots of racism (p. 258). State racism then emerges, when in a regime of biopower, internal or external threats lead the state to engage in mass death: “Once the State functions in the biopower mode, racism alone can justify the murderous function of the State” (p. 256).
Racism outweighs all other impacts
Joseph Barndt, Dismantling Racism: The Continuing Challenge to White America, 1991, p. 155-56
To study racism is to study walls. We have looked at barriers and fences and limitations, ghettos and prisons. The prison of racism confines us all, people of color and white people alike. It shackles the victimizer as well as the victim. The walls forcibly keep people of color and white people separate from each other; in our separate prisons we are all prevented from achieving the human potential that God intends for us. The limitations imposed on people of color by poverty, subservience, and powerlessness are cruel, inhuman, and unjust; the effects of uncontrolled power, privilege, and greed, which are the marks of our white prison will inevitably destroy us as well. But we have also seen that the walls of racism can be dismantled. We are not condemned to an inexorable fate, but are offered the vision and the possibility of freedom. Brick by brick, stone by stone, the prison of individual, institutional, and cultural racism can be destroyed. You and I are urgently called to join the efforts of those who know it is time to tear down, once and for all, the walls of racism. The danger of self-destruction seems to be drawing ever more near. The results of centuries of national and worldwide conquest and colonization, of military buildups and violent aggression, of overconsumption and environmental destruction may be reaching the point of no return. A small and predominantly white minority of global population derives its power and privilege from sufferings of the vast majority of peoples of color. For the sake of the world and ourselves, we dare not allow it to continue.
Furthermore, biopolitics culminates in genocide.
Smith 11 (Robert, “Endgame Nearing an End: The Production of Bare Life under the U.S. Deportation Regime”, pg. 9, BW)
Agamben writes that the sovereign nomos is the principle that joins law and violence to establish the territorial of order. The sovereign occupies the point indistinction between violence and law. In The Production of Space, Henri Lefebvre wrote that sovereignty demarcates a space established and constituted by violence. This violence cannot be separated from a principle of unification that subordinates all social practices. Through its monopolization of vio¬lence the state claims to create a space where society is perfected for all, though in fact it is the interests of a minority class that are enforced. The Westphalian state system, held as a defining element of modernity, established the principle of territorial sovereignty in international law. Galina Cornelisse defines the concept of “territoriality” as the founding of political authority on demarcated territory (Cornelisse 2010). Though the idea of universal human rights emerged after 1945, these rights became inextricably tied to national citizenship and hence state sovereignty. It is this sovereignty that finds itself under attack by globalization, the free movement of labor across borders. Under globalization, the State must fight irrelevancy by reconstituting itself through the production of bare life. This is why, according to Schinkel, deportation and detention are not shortcomings of the state under globalization but its fulfillment (Schinkel 2009). According to Foucault, another decisive event of modernity was the inclusion of bare life in the political realm as a subject. The focus on this bare life as an object of the calculations of state power is the practice known as biopolitics, which finds its ultimate expression in the “camp.” Agamben understands this causal chain as crucial to addressing modern democratic state’s contradictions. The most horrific events of the 20th century, especially Nazism and the death camps, can be traced to this stumbling block of Western democracy: that it seeks to bring about people’s happiness in the realm of bare life, which tragically brings democracy into collusion with totalitarianism. The camp is thus the “nomos of the political space in which we live,” leading Agamben to the disturbing conclusion that the state of exception has become the rule, and in truth we are all homo sacer. The absolute biopolitical space of the “camp”, which establishes the “political space” of modernity (Schinkel 2010: 8), is topologically different from the prison because the prison is securely embedded in the juridical realm, while the camp is the space of the exception which makes the juridical realm possible. As the localization of the state of exception where sovereign power confronts bios, bare life, without mediation, the camp is a “realm of experimentation, exercise and symbolic reproduction of the violence of sovereign power” that also sends an ambiguous, threatening message to the outside world (Minca 2005). We shall see below how these concepts are tangibly realized in the deportation regime of the United States.
Thus the plan: the United States federal government should open its border toward the United Mexican States.
Opening the border gives up on the notion that we, as a nation, are in control of who we are. This refusal is the core of redefining our relationship to biopolitics.
Ajana 2006 [Btihaj, “Immigration Interrupted,” Journal for Cultural Research, 10.3]
Although it is often argued that Levinas as well as Derrida’s unconditional hospitability cannot be unproblematically (or even possibly) translated into a political action (Metselaar 2003, p. 9) insofar as it is merely articulated at the level of the dual self-Other relationship rather than sociality as a whole (this being particularly true of Levinasian ethics), their vision is, nonetheless, salient in terms of provoking a radical transformation in social and political imaginaries and invoking the exigency of a ‘politics of generosity that would foster rather than close off different ways of being’ (Diprose 2002, p. 172). Such politics will not proceed from ‘a hermeneutics of depth’ (Rose 1999, p. 196) in which subjectivity is wrought around self-containment, self-sufficiency and self-determinacy, presented as a project to be accomplished. Instead, it might find its point of departure in the potential encounter with the other and the total exposure to embodied alterity. For it is the experience of encountering and being-exposed-to that infuses the crisis ‘into the hyphen at the heart of the nation-state’ (Coward 1999, p. 12) and undoes any immanentist attempt to essentialise identity, commonality and belonging. Whilst it is unclear as to how such an ethico-political vision may be put into practice (perhaps this ‘not-knowing-how’ would save this alternative vision from being turned into yet another figure of immanentism), it may be that the rejection, transgression and obliteration of immigration controls are to be regarded as the touchstone of this radical ethico-politics and an epitome of the necessary shift from politics of borders to politics of singularities where ‘No One Is Illegal’ (Cohen 2003).
In a world of biopolitics, our aff is a radical ethical act. The only ethical question in the context of politics dominated by the Camp is how we can acknowledge and reconfigure our relationship to the Other.
Zylinska, Professor of New Media and Communications at the University of London, 2004 (Joanna, “The Universal Acts: Judith Butler and the biopolitics of immigration,” Cultural Studies 18.4, pg. 533-35) MM
The problem of openness which is to be extended to our current and prospective guests - even, or perhaps especially , unwanted ones - is, according to Derrida, coextensive with the ethical problem. ‘It is always about answering for a dwelling place, for one’s identity, one’s space, one’s limits, for the ethos as abode, habitation, house, hearth, family, home’ (Derrida 2000, pp. 149/151, emphasis added). Of course, this absolute and unlimited hospitality can be seen as crazy, self-harming or even impossible. But ethics in fact spans two different realms: it is always suspended between this unconditional hyperbolic order of the demand to answer for my place under the sun and open to the alterity of the other that precedes me, and the conditional order of ethnos, of singular customs, norms, rules, places and political acts. If we see ethics as situated between these two different poles, it becomes clearer why we always remain in a relationship to ethics, why we must respond to it, or, in fact, why we will be responding to it no matter what. Even if we respond ‘nonethically’ to our guest by imposing on him a norm or political legislation as if it came from us ; even if we decide to close the door in the face of the other, make him wait outside for an extended period of time, send him back, cut off his benefits or place him in a detention centre, we must already respond to an ethical call. In this sense, our politics is preceded by an ethical injunction, which does not of course mean that we will ‘respond ethically’ to it (by offering him unlimited hospitality or welcome). However, and here lies the paradox, we will respond ethically to it (in the sense that the injunction coming from the other will make us take a stand, even if we choose to do nothing whatsoever and pretend that we may carry on as if nothing has happened). The ethics of bodies that matter also entails the possibility of changing the laws and acts of the polis and delineating some new forms of political identification and belonging. Indeed, in their respective readings of Antigone, Butler and Derrida show us not only that the paternal law towards the foreigner that regulates the idea of kinship in Western democracies can be altered but also that we can think community and kinship otherwise. If traditional hospitality is based on what Derrida calls ‘a conjugal model, paternal and phallocentric’, in which ‘[i]t’s the familial despot, the father, the spouse, and the boss, the master of the house who lays down the laws of hospitality’ (2000, p. 149), openness towards the alien and the foreign changes the very nature of the polis , with its Oedipal kinship structures and gender laws. Since, as Butler shows us, due to new family affiliations developed by queer communities but also as a result of developments in genomics it is no longer clear who my brother is, the logic of national identity and kinship that protects state boundaries against the ‘influx’ of asylum seekers is to be left wanting. This is not necessarily to advise a carnivalesque political strategy of abandoning all laws, burning all passports and opening all borders (although such actions should at least be considered ), but to point to the possibility of resignifying these laws through their (improper) reiteration. Enacted by political subjects whose own embodiment remains in the state of tension with the normative assumptions regarding propriety, gender and kinship that underlie these laws, the laws of hospitality are never carried out according to the idea/l they are supposed to entail (cf. Butler 1993, p. 231).It is precisely Butler’s account of corporeality and matter, of political subjectivity and kinship, which makes Levinas’ ethics (and Derrida’s reworking of it) particularly relevant to this project. Although the concepts of the body and materiality are not absent from Levinas’ writings - indeed, he was one of the first thinkers to identify embodiment as a philosophical blindspot - Butler allows us to redraw the boundaries of the bodies that matter and question the mechanisms of their constitution. Her ‘others’ are not limited to ‘the stranger’, ‘the orphan’ and the ‘widow’ of the Judeo-Christian tradition, the more acceptable others who evoke sympathy and generate pity.10 It is also the AIDS sufferer, the transsexual and the drag queen / people whose bodies and relationships violate traditional gender and kinship structures - that matter to her. By investigating the contingent limits of universalization, Butler mobilizes us against naturalizing exclusion from the democratic polis and thus creates an opportunity for its radicalization (1997, p. 90). The ethics of bodies that matter does not thus amount to waiting at the door for a needy and humble asylum seeker to knock, and extending a helping hand to him or her. It also involves realizing that the s/he may intrude, invade and change my life to the extent that it will never be the same again, and that I may even become a stranger in the skin of my own home.
We control all the internal links to their policy and framework impacts – as long as the paradigm of modern politics is biopolitics, the aff is the only way to overcome the demonic nature of the management of life.
Dean, 04 – professor of sociology at the University of Newcastle (Mitchell, “Four Theses on the Powers of Life and Death,” Contretemps 5, December 2004, http://sydney.edu.au/contretemps/ 5december2004/dean.pdf)//HK)
Fourth thesis: Bio-politics captures life stripped naked (or the zoē that was the exception of sovereign power) and makes it a matter of political life (bios). Today, we seek the good life though the extension of the powers over bare life to the point at which they become indistinguishable. In this formulation, the emergence of a government over life in the eighteenth century does mark a rupture in forms of rule, which the search for an ʻoriginary structureʼ of sovereignty cannot capture. For Foucault, the nature of this rupture is the displacement, articulation or re-inscription of sovereignty within a peculiarly modern form of politics, bio-politics. However, this capture of the government of the state by bio-powers is already present in the structure of sovereignty. It would be a mistake, in this sense, to view Agambenʼs quest for the structure of sovereignty, with its multiple thresholds, as ahistorical, that is, as insensitive to temporal thresholds. His thesis offers a kind of history of modernity. Here, the demonic character of modern states lies in the possibility that the thresholds that maintained bare life as a state of exception are breaking down. Zoē is entering into a sphere of indistinction with bios in modern politics. For Agamben the paradigm of modern politics—the new Nomos—is not the liberal governing of freedom, but the concentration camp. The camp is the material form of the stabilization of the state of exception, the excluded inclusion, both inside and outside modern political and legal ordering. Because the camp is established by law as a space of exception, it is subject to no order itself, only direct police command. It is thus a space of ordered disorder in which bare life enters into a zone of indistinction with legal order. While such views may appear to lead to a kind of radical condemnation of many instances of bio-politics, such as the attempt to develop humane processing procedures for asylum seekers, the idea of mapping zones of indistinction would seem to locate arenas of analysis and spheres of contestation rather than a site of dogmatic rejection. We have become used to a style of criticism in which liberal notions of the individual citizen have been revealed to be constituted through a series of exclusions (of women, the disabled, prisoners, the insane, the poor, the indigene, the refugee, etc). Note that Contretemps 5, December 2004 28 bio-power today holds the promise of extraordinary solutions to disability, criminality and insanity. The inclusion of women through their state of exclusion, also, would appear to raise interesting questions concerning sovereign violence given womenʼs historic biological relationship to the reproduction and care of human life. This relationship, itself excepted under the universality of law, is thus produced as bare life; and women are required to take responsibility for sovereign decisions. If we are to take Agamben seriously, this desire for inclusion may have the effect not simply of widening the sphere of the rule of law but also of hastening the point at which the sovereign exception enters into a zone of indistinction with the rule. Our societies would then have become truly demonic, not because of the re-inscription of sovereignty within bio-politics, but because bare life which constituted the sovereign exception begins to enter a zone of indistinction with our moral and political life and with the fundamental presuppositions of political community. In the achievement of inclusion in the name of universal human rights, all human life is stripped naked and becomes sacred. Perhaps in a very real sense we are all homo sacer. Perhaps what we have been in danger of missing is the way in which the sovereign violence that constitutes the exception of bare life—that which can be killed without committing homicide—is today entering into the very core of modern politics, ethics, and systems of justice.