For a Revolutionary Becoming of Attention: Perception, Movement, Technicity Within and Against Racial Capital ~ Amit Rai's seminar from Confluence to Confluence

May 2024: Confluence 5 in Middelburg

In Middelburg NL, we will continue our discussions of attention in late fascist racial capitalism. Themes to include:

  • What is a revolutionary becoming of embodied perception in the contexts of anti-apartheid struggle in Palestine?
  • In what sense is fascism a mass movement?
  • What is the relationship between late fascism and racial capital?
  • What does abstraction of concrete living labour and the fetishism of work have to do with fascism as a mass movement? 

Day 1:

Alberto Toscano, Late Fascism:Race, Capitalism and the Politics of Crisis, London: Verso, 2023.

Chapters: “Out of Time,” “Racial Fascism,” “Fascist Freedom,” “Conclusion”

Day 2:

Benito Mussolini, “The Doctrine of Fascism,” 1935.

Arthur Rosenberg, “Fascism as a Mass-Movement,” 1934.

Jairus Banaji, “Translators Introduction” to “Fascism as a Mass Movement,” Historical Materialism 20, nr. 1 (2012): 133-143.

April 2024: Confluence 4 in Essaouira

We discussed: Anti-Blackness and Palestine; slavery and comparing oppressions/suffering; the nature of history, the relation of history to Europe and to white supremacy; subaltern histories and subjugated knowledges; the critique of the stranger in African and Global north societies; Hartman’s critique of Ghanian politics of memory and nationhood. 

How does this relate to a political economy of attention? We can say that memory, its politics and its archivalisation, is a kind of attention, a (in)voluntary memory being a kind of unconscious-intentional flux of attention. The value form of this memory-attention resides in the commodified bodies of racialised surplus populations from the 15th century on. Hartman allows us to see the complex, intersectional torsions of this commodification of the Black woman’s body and the on-going counter-insurgency against Black people (and also against some more than others—class, lineage, endogamy, and privilege in different African societies. . . ) that is as old as that history of commodification … 

Bring my mind back to memories . . . trying to find resemblances and similarities to the context … tracking my attention . . . wondering and wandering . . . familiarity and alienation . . . lack of agency . . . maze trying to position myself . . . infrastructures . . . different cultures . . . microaggression . . . micro-racism . . . city of crossings, belief system and politics . . . ideology and belief systems . . . looking to acknowledge complexity . . . what is not fixed can hold some truth … lump in my stomach . . . landscapes . . . karen barad . . . multiple time-spaces . . . its what I’m dealing with. . . . the white tourist … I feel uncomfortable . . . a Dutch person in Morocco . . . §

On the first day:

Saidiya Hartman, Lose Your Mother: a Journey Along the Atlanic Slave Route


  • If the Jew was abstraction, the Black enslaved subject was first of all property, the commodity, second, speculative risk. 
  • Between equal rights force decides (Marx)
  • Racism, according to Michel Foucault, is the social distribution of death
  • Stranger from forgetting
  • Attention: I hadn’t missed a thing.
  • Slavery and forgetting
  • Memory tourism, “Remembering slavery”, Place Branding Ghana

On the second day:

Moishe Postone, "Anti-Semitism and National Socialism: Notes on the German Reaction to 'Holocaust'"


  • What is “an incomplete image of Nazism” -- the years 1933-39: “a terroristic, bureaucratic police state operating in the immediate interests of big capital, based on authoritarian structures, glorifying the family and using racism as one means of social cohesion. Nazi crimes again humanity were isolated from a socio-historical examination of National Socialism;
  • What is the specificity of Nazism and the extermination of European Jewry?
  • What does the Holocaust relate to Marx's analysis of the commodity, money, capital as social forms and not merely as economic concepts 
  • The “non-functionality” of the extermination of the Jews
  • European Jewry and the Fetish of Abstraction

On the third day:


Intimacy of attention . . . complexity can become overwhelming . . . when the complexity becomes too much to hold . . . how to linger in the specificity of the complex . . . intimacy . . . closeness and proximity . . . and distance . . . To bring complexity to the binary is to allow for intimacy . . . holding space for complexity creates the space for intimacy . . . chemistry . . . does chemistry just happen? To loosen things up . . . humour . . . 

We discussed: The force of European law, the intertemporal principle that allows for Germany to deny its role in the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama people… That the law needs extra-judicial violence and that it literally produces its own loopholes . . . We discussed the profound resonances between what happened in South West Africa and what is happening in Palestine today. We discussed the strategy of taking recourse to the law . . . We discussed what happens when we practice attention as vector of energy. 


Postone, Moishe. "Anti-Semitism and National Socialism: Notes on the German Reaction to 'Holocaust,'" New German Critique 19, Special Issue nr. 1: Germans and Jews (Winter, 1980): 97-115..

Hartman, Saidiya V. Lose Your Mother: a Journey Along the Atlanic Slave Route. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

March 2024: confluence 3 at PAF

In our November Nida seminar we discussed at the start:

Difference, writing, publishing, sound and voice making, poetry, editing, attending to oppression, manipulation of attention, attend to history otherwise, compartmentalisation of attention, criminalisation, otherisation, curator, unexpected (public spaces, art festivals, forms of writing), class relations, energies and vibrations, inability to read and class struggle, burnout and attention, deep listening, listening with empathy, care and radical relationality,

gendering of care, ecology, use of voice operative voice, opera as a social practice, audio visual background, private/public/imaginary space, technology as oppression and resistance, how mind works, the state and attention, fashion design, art history, non-institutional projects, collaborative practice, attending to the other, communication design, unwaged work, visual culture, valorisation and attention, collective publishing, facilitating and mediating in the formation of a collective, coordinating attention, turning the conditions of alienation into a resource of collectivity making.

What do we mean by difference as it relates to attention in racial capitalism? Friction and difference, nuance, a more subtle difference, control; multiple personalities, to be able to open oneself to internal differences; uncertainty and differences; predict and foresee; fear of the unknown; difference and sameness; marketable difference

In this our second seminar we will continue to explore a range of topics that relate attention to political economy and decolonial ontology, anticolonial insurgency, radical ecological practice, and postcolonial critique. We will again begin with a 15 minute free writing session where we practice a kind of un-Mindfulness (ongoing quasi-definition).

Day One:

Please watch beforehand: Simondon of the Desert, 2012, by director François Lagarde.

We will begin with the Introduction to

Amaro, R. The Black Technical Object: On Machine Learning and the Aspiration of Black Being. Berlin: Sternberg, 2022.

We will screen:

Amaro, Ramon. "Data Then and Now #2 Ramon Amaro." Youtube, user UW eScience Institute, 21 May 2021.

Jocelyne Saab (dir.), Beyrouth, jamais plus (Beirut, Never Again), 1972.

Day Two:

We will turn to Marx: “Fragment on Machines,” from the Grundrisse

In the afternoon we will discuss:

Moishe Postone, Ch. 7 “Toward a Theory of Capital in Time, Labour and Social Domination.” (1993) pp. 263-285.

We will screen:

Jocelyne Saab (dir.), Beyrouth Ma Ville (Beirut My City), 1983.

Jocelyne Saab (dir.), Adolescente sucre damour (A Suspended Life), 1985.

Jocelyne Saab (dir.), Le bateau de lexil (The Ship of Exile), 1982

Jocelyne Saab (dir.), War Children (Les Enfants de la Guerre), 1976.

January 2024: confluence 2 at NAC, Nida

In this first seminar we will introduce a range of topics that relate attention to political economy and decolonial ontology, anticolonial insurgency, radical ecological practice, and postcolonial critique. We will begin with a 15 minute free writing session where we practice a kind of un-mindfulness (to be defined). 

Day One:

We will begin with a discussion of the movement to end genocidal apartheid against the Palestinian peoples, and what it means to attend to settler colonialism today and historically (Pankaj Mishra, “Memory Failure: Germany’s commitment to Israel” LRB). We will then discuss the introduction of Claudio Celis Bueno’s ‘The Attention Economy Labour, Time and Power in Cognitive Capitalism’; with (and to an extent against) Bueno’s text we will pose the question of the labour theory of value and the racial capitalist transformation of attention-value ecologies in the global north and south. 

We will screen on the afternoon of the first day: Jenin by Mohammad Bakri (2001): 

Day Two: 

We will resume with a discussion of pages 6-45 of adrienne maree brown’s Holding Change (2021) in the morning. brown is one of the organising forces in contemporary Black feminist thought and this book is a portal for us to really take a deep dive into the theorisation of attention in contemporary emancipatory movements for social and economic change (BLM, MeToo, Zapatista). 

In the afternoon we will discuss: Jonathan Crary, “Spectacle, Attention, Counter-Memory” (1989)

We will screen: A Night of Knowing Nothing, by Payal Kapadia (2021).

Day Three: 

Check in with each other and the practice of non-extractive care in a seminar on attention. 

Free writing as meditation on Days 1 and 2. 

Discussion of topics of interest and concern emerging from your free writing. 

After lunch, we will end our first session together through a discussion of: Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, “Ch’ixinakax utxiwa: A Reflection on the Practices and Discourses of Decolonization” (2012)

November 2023: introduction days at PAF, St. Erme:

DAI-BULLETIN 2023—2024 nr. 1 November 2023