This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: or power and those who acquire it. The Black qua the worker. Orlando Patterson has
already dispelled this faulty ontological grammar in Slavery and Social Death, where he demonstrates how and
why work, or forced labor, is not a constituent element of slavery. Once the “solid” plank of “work” is
removed from slavery, then the conceptually coherent notion of “claims against the state”—the
proposition that the state and civil society are elastic enough to even contemplate the possibility of an
emancipatory project for the Black position—disintegrates into thin air . The imaginary of the state and civil
society is parasitic on the Middle Passage. Put another way: no slave, no world. And, in addition, as Patterson
argues, no slave is in the world. If, as an ontological position, that is, as a grammar of suffering, the Slave
is not a laborer but an anti-Human, a positionality against which Humanity establishes, maintains, and
renews it coherence, its corporeal integrity; if the Slave is, to borrow from Patterson, generally dishonored,
perpetually open to gratuitous violence, and void of kinship structure, that is, having no relations that
need be recognized, a being outside of relationality, then our analysis cannot be approached through the
rubric of gains or reversals in struggles with the state and civil society, not unless and until the...
View Full Document
- Spring '14