The Storming of the Capitol

Where is the power?

Regarding the history of revolutionary or insurrectionist flash points, the goal in such moments was always to seize power: the most obvious example, in 1789 the French revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, an institution that represented for them the power of the French state that they wanted for themselves. In other words, the point of such moments is always to seize power away from those that hold it.

But what happened in America in early January, what did the “revolutionaries” of Donald Trump’s America do when they “stormed the Capitol building?”

Did they seize power away from the corrupted and degraded American state that they felt undermined their own candidate?

No, not at all. Instead they took selfies, they videotaped the fact that nothing actually happened; that no power was seized or transferred.

What this means is actually horrifying, which is the fact that there was no power to even to grab in the first place; that the power that appears to reside in American institutions and its symbolic architecture is no longer even present.

In other words, the true power of our planet, the real power that now runs and controls our world can no longer be seized in such a manner. And it can no longer be seized because such power is now completely invisible: it resides in computational process, algorithmic power, and the satellites that orbit around us in outer space. It is a power that is everywhere and nowhere; it is within and without us.

And this is why the American “revolutionaries” could only take selfies as their ultimate act of rebellion; they could only actively participate in the self-reflexive technological process that actually holds the power in our world, thus displaying their own spiritual and theoretical lack.

writer, filmmaker, cultural theorist / author of 15 books and writer/director of 3 films. www.brianculkin.com

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