Introduction to the night

I

Soy un pobre venadito
que habita en La Serranía, como no soy tan mansito,
no bajo al agua de día,
de noche, poquito a poquito, y en tus brazos vida mía.
(I am a poor deer
that inhabits the mountains,
and as I am not so tame,
I don’t go for water during the day, I only do at nighttime, little by little, And in your arms, my dear.)

We begin this writing assuming this Mexican ranchera that dates from the times of the Zapatista Revolution as our song of war. On the one hand, it tells us figuratively about the situation of isolation and renouncement that affects every soldier involved in a guerrilla war, we can recognize in it a certain distressing cadence, a latent fatigue; but on the other hand, we feel the vectors of a function of war, a becoming inhuman. The deer as an allegory or, rather, a threshold of the man-soldier; the mountains: there where the guerrilla grows; ‘your arms’, composite of woman: ritornello, bloc of territorial intensities; and the night: the time when deer move.

Nights are the hours that inform the rebellion, the time when a soldier chants the body of an awaiting woman, the hours during which the guerrilla groups advance positions through the mountains. The mountains are themselves also a sort of night in relation to the populated areas. They are a way of making night in the night. At daytime, the guerrilla men camp or test weapons, they plan or sleep, they resolve their visibility. At nighttime, they depart.

Night favors the time of catastrophes. The relationship between night and the expression of anger cannot be simply of a strategic kind. Anger and night show a strange intimate complementarity, they must have been always together, everywhere. Conspiracies are hatched at nighttime, or if they happen at daytime, they must produce night, they must entail their own modality of night. For instance, the June Rebellion of 1832 in Paris invented its own night: les amis des abaissés (1); in the Jerez Events of 1892, during the night of the 8th of January, hundreds of peasants burst into the city claiming the death of the bourgeoisie. Homer, in Book One of the Iliad, writes about an enraged Apollo: the god came as night comes down (2). There is a wilderness proper to the nighttime. She walks in beauty, like the night (Lord Byron) (3).

Our anger is gestated by the warmth of a light that “illuminates what is happening at a distance by virtue of the speed of light” (4), a space-light, where the Empire circulates. And our night does not propose the advent of darkness but something either graver or lighter. The night we talk about is a potentiality that exists in the things. In his small treatise “On Sense and the Sensible” (5), Aristotle considered that in the transition from luminosity to darkness, every object, to some degree, must be transparent. Our night, as the nights of our shy adolescence, aims to be a desire of transparency. We exercise the advent of an unrecognizable presence. Any future resistance, whatever it stands against, will imply specific formalizations between night and anger. Rebels will have to ask themselves what the night is. Not only in order to cultivate a strategic clandestinity but to invoke the invisible, the unspeakable, in the last instance, the beasts. Those who bring the new anger will oppose night against the empire, an empire of endless daylight. 

1 In reference to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, where The Friends of the ABC (in french [a be se] abaissés, which means “lowly”/”abased”) referenced the secret societies that conducted the revolts in Paris during the June Rebellion in 1832.

2 Homer. The Iliad. (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul

Ltd., 1951) p.60

3 Lord Byron, Hebrew Melodies, in “Byron: Poetical

Works”. (London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1967) p.77

4 John Armitage. Virilio live: Selected interviews. (London: Sage Publications, 2001) p.87

5 Aristotle. On Sense and the Sensible. http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/sense.1.1.html (accessed 23 September 2015).

 

 

From 'First Attempt of a Politics of Vanishing' by the Visible Waiters Committee.