It is due to the TRC, that South Africa had managed ..

The TRC, despite dropping disproportionality, salvaged this Norgaardian relation between history and reason by anchoring amnesty to demonstrated political motivation and the transparency of full disclosure, which guarded against the fall into the inchoate, the latter was assigned to the individualized, depoliticized, and psycho-pathologized perpetrator by the TRC and a significant section of South African media.16 Amnesty rendered a negative periodization of human rights violations coherent and serviceable for a reconstructed South African polity and its post-conflict periodization; state violence rendered transparent and amnestied became a sublimated landmark in the trajectory of historical progress and national reconciliation. Amnesty was a key inception point for the museumification of apartheid, but that conservation required a certain aesthetics of exhibition as regards violence that, like many aestheticizing gestures, banished the disproportionate.

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2 Witnessed by the author. Ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa took place in 1997, 1998, and 1999, where I attended human rights violation, amnesty, and reparations hearings; interviewed TRC witnesses at hearings and TRC witness handlers, translators, evidence handlers, police investigators, and legal staff in Cape Town, Durban; and conducted fieldwork and oral history research with TRC witnesses and families in Cape Flats, and Katlehong, Gauteng.

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1 This essay is the first part of a larger chapter of the same name in my forthcoming book, Archives of the Insensible: War, Terror and Aisthesis as Dead Memory. The second part of the chapter presents an ethnography of political torture as addictive racialized labor discipline in South Africa, drawing from my fieldwork at TRC amnesty hearings and with traditional Xhosa healers.

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10 The following statement from General Magnus Malan, former minister of defense, is illustrative of the theodicy of communism that justified the scope and degree of the violence of the security forces: “Although it is difficult to appreciate the threat which communism posed to the free world, and South Africa in particular, especially after the demise of communism in Eastern Europe during 1989, for purposes of a proper analysis of the policies and actions of the South African government during the 1980s… The threat was the expansion of Marxism by fomenting revolution in southern Africa. Its aim was perceived to be, first, the overthrow of the white regimes in southern Africa so that the militant Africa bloc could realize its aspirations with regard to the destruction of so-called colonialism and racialism and the establishment of Pan-Africanism. In its desire to destroy alleged racism, the Arab bloc can, with certain exceptions, be regarded as the partner of the Africa bloc in its hostile actions…” (recorded by the author at a TRC hearing on the army.)

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Foucault has theorized that the political, including political economy, is war by other means and identified this logic as originating in racially polarized social formations (Foucault 2003). The predicating and predicated violence of the state and its agents was never explicitly interrogated by the TRC for what light it could shed on the organizational mentalities and subject making practices of economic apartheid as a war machine in itself. This opens, not the ethical question of means and ends, but rather the question of what autonomous political means does it take to impose and support subjugating economic media. Separating the violence of political economy from the political economy of violence historically and ethically divorced the limitless movement of capital under apartheid from the correlative infinitization of its violence against persons of color as the striated substance of this self-moving circulatory apparatus.12 I have analyzed elsewhere how regimes of labor discipline in colonial and post-colonial South Africa deployed the body of color as an interchangeable economic and fetishized substance, the worked-upon body of color was the substrate for the interior chain of signifiers that constituted a racialized economimesis. With the emerging threat posed to capitalist labor discipline by the struggle institutions economimesis evolved into a counterinsurgency theater of structural nostalgia that restaged subjugated bodies of color through pain and disfigurement. In this theater the now threatened political economy was violently reenacted through the allegorical re-inscription of labor discipline onto the recalcitrant black body, both individual and collective. I do not seek to pose racism as the reductive truth about the violence of the apartheid state but to stress that like the infinite productivity of apartheid capitalism, which entailed the capitalization of race and the racialization of capital, state terror was as committed to the (re)production of racial subjects as it was to securing the economy of racial exploitation.13

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