„we think that this binary is not politically productive“

Interesting Interview with Sandro Mezzadra, also touches on the hunger strike in munich:

The concept of differential inclusion also points to the fact that violence is not only associated with exclusion. It points to the fact that also the production of regimes of social and political inclusion is crisscrossed by violence. So from this point of view it is quite clear that we are at unease with the kind of binary between exclusion and inclusion, citizens and non-citizens that has also shaped many debates and many practices among activists over the last decade. We are trying to go beyond this kind of binary because we think that this binary is not politically productive. It tends to reproduce divides within societies at large that must be contested.

Int: It is good that you mention this because the hunger strikers in Munich define themselves as non-citizens and they are very strong in their rhetoric about it. What do you think are the potentials of such articulation on the one hand, but also the underlying dangers of keeping this dichotomy of citizen/non-citizen intact?

S.M.: First of all I must say that I will not criticize what the hunger strikers in Munich are saying these days. This is an important principle for me. I never criticize people who are struggling, people who are putting their life at play so I only respect them. I am thankful to them for what they are doing. I think it is important to keep in mind that this particular hunger strike is part of a kind of cycle of struggles over the last few years in Europe. There were hunger strikes and other forms of struggles in many European countries including for instance Greece, Italy, and Austria. It is very interesting to see this kind of circulation of struggles on European level, this kind of circulation of practices, languages, and so on. I think this is really a kind of important chance for everybody who is interested in radically rethinking the European space as a space of freedom and equality, as I was saying before. At the same time I have to say that in my own work and the kind of collective debates I have been participating over the last years, there has been a growing awareness of let’s say the dangers but also kind of tricky implications of an emphasis on the status of non-citizens and more generally the excluded. I think it could be interesting to go a bit to the details of the history of this, rethinking of the sans papiers movement in France in 1996 and the kind of reproduction of that particular movement in many European countries in the following years. While I participated of course in these movements and struggles, and I think that they were really crucial in order to open up a new space for mobilization of migrants in Europe, I also think that this kind of exclusive emphasis on the status on the one hand, the movements and struggles on the other hand of the so-called “illegal” migrants is a bit dangerous because it paradoxically reproduces one of the main aspects of migration regimes: this division between “illegal” and “legal” migrants. While we know very well through our research that there is a continuum of subjective positions that crosses and continuously reworks the divide between “legality” and “illegality.” So I think that both from the point of view of research and from the point of view of political action what would be crucially important is precisely to work on and against this continuum, this process of production at the same time of “legality” and “illegality.” To challenge not simply a particular kind of position produced by that system but the “rationality” of the system itself.

Highly abstract, the way we know and sometimes love our post-operaist radical academics, but still recomended reading.