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...

On the Militancy of 2011 and the Time of Revolution

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’ […]