What if we refuse to be citizens?
A Manifesto for Vacating Civic Order
Today’s citizen is no longer a free person. Citizens are no longer free people who want to live in a free community. A political consciousness that is not taught, but rather conquered, has gradually disappeared. It could not have happened another way. Public space has become a street full of shops that never close, an ongoing television show in which an idiot tells us in detail why he separated from his wife. School, in turn, is not asked to promote a critical consciousness but to merely impart learning of ‘correct’ civic behaviors, variations of a pretense ‘education for citizenship’. Political struggles seem likewise to have disappeared from a world in which there are only diverse types of catastrophes (economic, environmental, natural, etc.). However, when politicians address us, when they pay lip service to calls of participation, they keep calling us citizens. Why? Why is this word, which little by little has been emptied of all political force, still in use?
Santiago López Petit
University of Barcelona
Translated by Sebastian Touza
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© borderlands ejournal 2011