Let us begin by noting the equivalence between discourse and social bond : « In the final analysis, there’s nothing but that, the social link. I designate it with the term discourse there is no other way to designate it once we realise that the social link is instated only by anchoring itself in the way in which language is situated over and etched into what the place is crawling with, namely, speaking beings. » Thus, any change in discourse operates on the social bond since discourse compresses the real, structures language and assigns each one to a place in relation to the other.
If we consider woke as a new form of discourse that is spreading « instaure un nouveau régime de la parole, un nouveau régime du rapport au corps, un nouveau rapport à la jouissance », we will probably have to distinguish the form of discourse, its matrix and the content within it. Although this discourse aims to denounce the arbitrariness of patriarchy, does it not insist on substituting this arbitrariness for a new arbitrariness ?
What is certain is that it pretends to build a new ideology whose impact causes the social bond to waver : cancel culture excludes anyone who does not comply with the rules ; the past is revised, perpetrators of historical atrocities should disappear from schoolbooks, at the risk of forgetting their wrong-doing ; even fairy tales should be censored ; language, writing and culture are affected. We cannot therefore ignore that this discourse comes in response to the fading of the Name-of-The-Father.
Which ideology ?
The struggle put forward by woke supporters concerns the injustices that affect minorities by turning them into victims. The signifier woke refers to the awakening against racial segregation driven by Martin Luther King, the movement has spread to other activist spheres to denounce all forms of oppression suffered by minorities, whether sexual, ethnic or religious. It has to be noted that the singularity highlighted for the concerned minorities relates to the body, whether it is gender or ethnicity. The respect for the religions is achieved through pragmatic claims – it is less the beliefs than the practices that are put forward. We are not therefore done with longing for « s’oupirer » since, according to Lacan, what « is rooted in the bodies, in the fraternity of the bodies, is racism ». Identity politics that rely on a body identity does not bode well for the future. It should also be noted that the neuro wave significantly contributes to the phenomenon since it places the truth of the subject in his organic functioning.
It is now a question of defending all singularities… but one by one. The woke discourse has included this contribution of Lacan : it is not about charity, it is not about wanting the good for the other – which would be a way to cancel his desire and reduce it to one’s own – nor about defending the rights of a minority to which we do not belong. No ! It is the responsibility of each one to speak about their own identity.
Judith Butler tried to develop a universalist ideology to account for that movement and to shed light on the paradox of the woke discourse. According to her, the male-female binary is the focus of the normalising patriarchal heritage; it should be replaced by a multiplication of genders (LGTBQI), that is to say to create a universal subdivided into categories.
The extension of the field of possibilities in the mode of the unlimited is translated into a list of categories. Let’s wager that there will always be one left to signify his not belongting in these categories. Furthermore, the addition of signifiers to binarism does not cancel the fundamental binarism, it simply moves it to each element of the series : queer or not queer, trans or not trans etc.
Note that the questioning of the binary man-woman opens up more generally to the question of trading between partners. Thus Paul B. Preciado steps into this breach by stating that « heterosexuality is dangerous » and that « love is not an emotion. It’s a kind of government technology of bodies, a politics to control desire, its goal is to capture the power to act and take pleasure from two living machines in order to put them at the service of social reproduction ».
The logic unfolded by J. Butler can be applied to all the extensions of the woke discourse. Believing that it would disrupt the norms, it multiplies them. The most vivid thing J. Butler teaches us is that an ideology that strives to erase the fundamental binarism puts an end to all dialectical possibilities, renders all arguments null and void. Censorship is back. The only performative pathway that remains is : what I affirm is true. Equivocation is prohibited: out with the other of discourse, out with the unconscious that makes me other to myself, out with the embodiment of the Other. Thus, far from fighting intolerance, this process can only fuel the ostracism of minorities among themselves. The confrontations between trans-women and radical feminists have on several occasions, gone from verbal abuse to physical harm.
Singularity versus Universalism
Erasing binarism by promoting the universal, isn’t it hoping to eradicate all difference and all negation in order to establish a relationship which, if not between one and an other, would be between the same compatible ones. A relation which one might think would not fail, that it would deliver the expected jouissance. And yet, failure is the rule : the father is neither the source of all evil, nor the cause of dysfunction between speaking beings. Failure is due to jouissance itself, since that which is obtained is never « the right jouissance, the one that there should be ». On the other side of the woke discourse, far from multiplying « universals », psychoanalysis, more subversive, introduces singularity.
Translation : Manuela Rabesahala
Reviewd : Claire Hawkes
Picture : @Nathalie Crame
 Lacan J., Seminar, book XX, Encore, ed. Miller J.-A, trans. Bruce Fink (New York : Norton,1998), p. 54.
 Miller J.-A, « L’orientation lacanienne. Un effort de poésie », enseignement prononcé dans le cadre du département de psychanalyse de l’université Paris 8, leçon du 13 novembre 2002, inédit.
 The damage by the Evian operating company in 2021 has doubled : the invitation to drink one litre of water per some as an Islamophobic plot : their apology did not put an end to the controversy as it was suspected of singling out fasting practitioners.
 Lacan J., Seminar, book XIX, ..or Worse, ed. Miller J.-A, trans. A.R. Price (Cambridge : Polity2018), p. 211.
 Preciado P. B., L’hétérosexualité est dangereuse, 3 décembre 2020, Disponible sur le site Mediapart : Mediapart.fr.
 Preciado P. B., « La Saint-Valentin est une ordure », disponible sur le site de Libération : libération.fr, 13 février 2015. Aussi Preciado P.B. Un appartement sur Uranus, Paris, Grasset, 2019.
 Miller J.-A., « A Fantasy », Mental, n°15, février 2005, p. 26. trans. T.Sowley (Lacanian Praxis, May 2005).