Invisible butterflies: bifurcating self and political militancy in contemporary Germany
Bob Kurik (Charles University)
Paper short abstract:
The paper explores cultivation of "dual self" of young protest militants from Germany which is constituted through an art of switching between two political modi operandi - studying middle class one and rioting "butterfly" one.
Paper long abstract:
Political engagement of thousands of young global justice, anti-austerity and antifascist activists from Germany embraces formation of two detachable, yet interwoven modi operandi which constitutes the core complex of activist's bifurcating self. On one side they navigate their lifes through middle class milieu as university students communicating critical opinions through discussions, texts, arguments and having symbiotic relationship with the state. On the other side they cultivate invisible and confrontational modus operandi of Black bloc rioters, neo-nazi hunters, Zapatista-inspired "butterflies", anti-austerity rebels with fighting and disobedient bodies trained in street direct actions, martial arts, stealing, urban and virtual techniques of anonymization, and communicating through non-discursive, yet highly symbolical attacks on the state as well as the market. The logic of political practice lies in the art of switching between these two modi operandi which constitutes "dual self". This paper explores the process of re/activation of invisible butterflies and argues that the cultivation of activist's "dual self" enables in liminal stadium of life to practice militant protest as well as pursue middle class trajectory.
Youth and social movements