Intimacy, the tv series

If you harass a fellow worker, is that politics? If you publish intimate pictures of your sexual partner, or of your former sexual partner, is that politics? I suppose one could argue that you only harass, you only give yourself over to harassment, for political gain. One could even argue that all political gain is the result of harassment. But that is a slippery slope from which one can only take some distance by claiming what seems to so many a dubious distinction: there is politics, whatever measure of dignity you may want to accord to it, and then there is infrapolitics. Infrapolitics precedes and determines politics in every case. Any form of political gain that comes from your harassing practices is probably despicable as a matter of taste, and yet it is the most common one in everyday places such as your workplace; or the US Senate. And harassing practices come in many forms, they are pollakhos, like being itself. But if we accept some forms of harassment and not others we are simply hypocrites. Do not worry: you would not be the only hypocrite, they–you–are legion. Infrapolitics–the very thought–enables the distinction, makes it possible for anyone to say that your political gain out of bad infrapolitics is disgusting and should be taken away from you. In a democratic society if there were any. This is not a call for some buenismo but the very opposite: it is a denunciation of the fact that political moralism in the Kantian sense has today taken over politics totally and absolutely and that a militant return to a moral politics–politics based on the rule of democratic law–is essential, even a reason for war.

Granted that you only harass someone when you think you can get away with it, when you think you will pay no price: that is, when you occupy, or at least think you occupy, some miserable space of your own within hegemony. Or within so-called counterhegemony when it is legitimized as such (having become therefore a part of the hegemonic apparatus). But what if someone were to tell you that there is an alternative, and that alternative is definitely a threat to you.

The Spanish tv series Intimidad, Intimacy, in Netflix, is a curious mixture of thriller and militant position-taking. Yes, I think it is true that only recent changes in hegemony as it is normally understood make it possible: the relative naturalization of feminist discourse, for instance. So one could consider Intimidad feminist militancy. But I think that is a limiting perspective. I prefer to see it as posthegemonic militancy against masculinist and patriarchal aggression. I prefer to see it as an awakening to infrapolitics.

You should see it, it is easy enough. It features the double case of a politician and a factory worker in the city of Bilbao. The point the series makes is that harassment occupies a social space that antecedes the political space and conditions it drastically. Such a simple lesson no one wants to assume. Why?

The crucial issue of presenting harassment–acoso laboral, acoso sexual, acoso intelectual, acoso pure and simple–as social murder is significant. The series includes mention of the English term “mobbing,” mispronounced as “moo-bing.” Infrapolitical jurisprudence is moving in that direction, but certainly not yet in the United States. Mobbing = mortification = consignment to (social) death = social murder. Which sometimes becomes murder pure and simple.

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