Ali Riza Taşkale

MSc (Hacettepe University) & MA (Lancaster University) in Sociology, PhD Candidate in Human Geography (University of Sheffield).

Pasolini’s Salò: Torture is Political


Pasolini’s con­tro­ver­sial final film Salò (1975), based on Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom (1785), poses sig­ni­ficant ques­tions re­garding the in­ter­sec­tion between sad­istic tor­ture and sov­er­eignty. The film is di­vided into four seg­ments, heavily in­spired by Dante’s Inferno: Ante-​Inferno, Circle of Manias, Circle of Shit, and Circle of Blood. Salò fo­cuses on four corrupt…

On the Militancy of 2011 and the Time of Revolution

Occupy Wall Street Protesters at Time Square, New York

New York Police of­ficers at­tack pro­testers with batons, pepper spray and horses in an at­tempt to pre­vent them from gath­ering in Times Square. Police of­ficers’ rage is un­der­stand­able, for in this pho­to­graph, we wit­ness angry pro­testers who have turned the world up­side down. What the image sug­gests is that people are no longer de­term­ined by cap­it­alist ex­cess, but de­termine the con­di­tions that de­termine them. It shows the in­ter­ac­tion between the vir­tual (a philo­soph­ical ideal, re­volu­tion) and the ac­tual (angry pro­testers) that is at war with vis­ible reality (neo­lib­eral cap­it­alism). The image, there­fore, cap­tures a mo­ment in which the sta­bility and the cer­tainty of neo­lib­er­alism be­came yesterday’s bad memory. Times Square, the cap­ital of con­sumerism and the cap­it­alist spec­tacle, makes a powerful set­ting for this pic­ture: “shiny walls of towing glass, the cit­adels of cor­porate en­ter­tain­ment, dazzle among the giant screens” (Jones, 2011).

Debt as a Mode of Governance


Capitalism has com­plete con­trol over life: it has “bi­opol­it­ical” con­trol. In the prim­itive so­ciety, debt is charged through the prim­itive in­scrip­tion, or coding, on the body. Blood-​revenge and cruelty ad­dress a non-​exchangist power. In the des­potic so­ciety, all debts be­come in­finite debts to the di­vine ruler. In cap­it­alism, all debts fi­nally break free from the sov­er­eign and be­come in­finite by con­joining flows. With cap­it­alism, debt is con­tinuous and without limit: stu­dent debt, credit card debt, mort­gage debt, med­ical debt. Whereas in the prim­itive system debt is in­curred through in­scrip­tion and, in des­potism, ex­er­cised by di­vine law, in cap­it­alism “the market-​eye keeps a watch over everything”. In other words, the market-​eye be­comes the new normal that con­sti­tutes the bi­opol­it­ical con­trol around a weight­less, in­fin­itely cir­cu­lating, im­mortal debt. We now live in the era of debt in which it is the soul of the in­di­vidual that is imprisoned […]

Kettling and the Fear of Revolution


In November 2010, British stu­dents staged a series of demon­stra­tions in sev­eral cities of the UK and Northern Ireland. Organised by the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), thou­sands marched against spending cuts to fur­ther edu­ca­tion and an in­crease of the cap on tu­ition fees by the Conservative-​Liberal Democrat co­ali­tion gov­ern­ment. The 2010 protests have marked some­thing of a turning point in modern British his­tory: the polit­ical protest was back. After the 2003 anti-​Iraq war protest in London which at­tracted al­most a mil­lion people, the 2010 protests showed once more that it is the polit­ical protest that shapes the world for the better. But if these protests made dis­sensus vis­ible, and pos­ited it at the heart of British politics, they also gave po­lice an op­por­tunity to widely use a scare tactic, en­suring that protest against the status quo is ef­fective. The tactic is called ‘ket­tling’, which so easily turns a le­git­imate protest into a ‘vi­olent disorder’ […]