Cartels are small workgroups that allow each cartelisand to research their own question regarding a shared theme. It is a primary mode of psychoanalytic study within the World Association of Psychoanalysis (WAP). Thus the cartel, supervision, and personal analysis are considered the three pillars of analytic formation. In his “Founding Act,” Lacan designated the cartel as a vital organ of the School, one of two lungs, along with the pass.

We are all subject to not wanting to know, which Lacan called the passion of ignorance. Cartels offer the possibility of mobilizing desire to go beyond this passion. Lacan chose the signifier cartel for its Italian root, cardo (hinge), with its polyvalent meaning of openness to surprise and discovery, against the inertia of closed groups, and transfer of the cartel work produced out into the School, through written texts or presentations. The Plus-one pursues their own question, but also supports the others, addresses whatever challenges arise, and ensures the cartel’s hinge function in relation to the School.

Permutation is essential to the cartel’s function, so cartels are dissolved after 1-2 years (flash cartels are shorter than 1 year). Each cartelisand or Plus-one may decide to create a “work product”, a written text to be submitted for publication or presented at an event of the School (see “Cartel Events” section below).

The official cartel publication of the New Lacanian School (NLS), 4+one, can be found here.


Cartel Delegate: Jeff Erbe

Cartel Committee: Leticia Lopez, Maurien Caron


To create a cartel it takes a desire to work on a question or subject of interest. You need 3-5 cartelisands (4 is best) and a Plus-one. Meetings can be in-person or online. The cartel decides on a theme, trait of work (each one chooses their own topic related to the theme), and structure (modality, frequency, duration). Then the cartel must be registered by the Plus-one with the NLS directory (see “Cartel Declaration” below), and is knotted when the work begins.

If you are interested in participating in a Cartel, please complete the form below. For assistance connecting with others or a Plus-one, contact the Lacanian Compass Cartel Delegate, Jeff Erbe at


Cartels must first be declared and registered by the Plus-one to the New Lacanian School (NLS) using this form.

For cartels that include at least one member of Lacanian Compass, we request the Plus-one complete the form below to be included in our list of active cartels.


Once a cartel has completed its work and has been unknotted, we request the Plus-one to inform the Lacanian Compass Cartel Delegate by writing to


Hosted by the Lacanian Compass Cartel Committee

January 22, 2023 | 12pm EST
Zoom with Cameras On | Free

“The passage of the psychoanalysand to becoming a psychoanalyst has a door of which this remainder that brings about their division is the hinge, for this division is nothing but the division of the subject, of which this remainder is the cause.”

Jacques Lacan, Proposition of 9 October 1967 on the Psychoanalyst of the School

Like a Lacanian cartel, this event is without precedent. On the one hand there is the structure of the cartel, its assembled components, and on the other, there is the experience of each one, which awaits enunciation. There is no privileged position in a cartel, only those who choose to work with others. Sometimes a cartel functions—reading, speaking, writing—until its conclusion. Sometimes it may fail to knot, or stumble on the non-functioning of its parts: declaration to the School, the plus-one, scheduling, absence of bodies in-person, etc. In each experience, one’s desire is at stake.

The Lacanian Compass Cartel Committee is making a space to talk about our cartel experiences. The committee is inviting former and current cartelisands to share how they were or were not touched by these encounters. This is an open forum, based on the belief that we can learn from listening to others’ experiences and articulating our own—both about when a cartel works, but also in the handling of obstacles. We invite all of you to turn on your cameras and join this lively and important conversation.