Jasper Bernes

is lecturer in the English Department at UC Berkeley. He is the author of Starsdown (2007). Recent poems and essays can be found in Modern Language Quarterly, The Lana Turner, Los Angeles Review of Books, The American Reader, and Endnotes. His book-length poem, We Are Nothing and So Can You, will be published by Commune Editions in spring 2015.

The Ends of the State

The Ends of the State

It is in no way self-apparent that thinking more about the state, even if one promises to do it differently, is the sensible remedy for the problem of social movements that hurl themselves repeatedly against the colonnades of the National Assembly. If we are to confront practical problems in the struggle to remake the world, we should like to see the situation right side up. For us, the problem is not how to seize state power but how not to be seized by it – how we might elude being hailed by the question of power rather than that of social reproduction, and in turn, elude being forced to fight on terrain that is unfavorable.