Get Rid Of Yourself

Following the 2001 explosion of Tiqqun,* a debate raged.  How could Tiqqun be explored by other means?  The entanglement of ideas found in previous iterations of the journal describing Tiqqun were dense, almost impenetrable at times.  As far as an experiment or an investigation, ‘writing the tiqqun’ made serious interventions – incompleting a whole series of academic relays, causing many machines to splutter, break down, or gain new life in different contexts.  But despite its wide intervention, the audience produced by the text could only speak the high language of the academy, a contaminated discourse tinged with ivory.  Comrades and allies are still separated by the deep chasm of training received to speak with a tone of (author)ity still present in the author-less text.

“Tiqqun 3 should be a film!”  But if the committee that had been writing about the Tiqqun was no longer in (commun)ication – what would follow?

Bernadette Corporation hits the scenes with a narrative about the cannibalism of the summit protests.  It speaks volumes when contrasted with American Anarchist naval-gazing like “Breaking the Spell”.  What was the showdown in Seattle about anyway?  Is it about expressing moral outrage, radicalizing the Marxist notion of ‘accelerating the contradictions’ or smashing capitalist ideology — or is it something deeper, less containable, an unleashing of collective desire?  And how quickly, and in what ways does that collective desire just fold back into the capitalist axiomatic or the state-form?  To be facetious, why will we win, by doing ‘security’ better than the state, by being more destructive than capital, by being more willing to give up moralism?  And most frightening, could we simply be rehearsing lines given to us by the subjectivizing processes that put us in this place to begin with (hint: Chloe’s got an answer for you).

http://www.archive.org/details/get_rid_of_yourself (sorry, i couldn’t figure out how to embed it)

Compare to this to dreadful ideology critique “breaking the spell”

Continue reading “Get Rid Of Yourself”

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ontological communism – self-valorization

certain brands of post-structuralism scared off most ontological thinking. mapping the path would distract, so i’ll just lay it at the feet of post-sausserian epistemological analysis. recent returns to communism (no doubt partially due to the ground-clearing after the fall of ‘actually exiting socialism’) have begun highlighting the ontological definition of the concept: the production of man by man, the abolition of the present state of things, etc etc.

but the question begged by the autonomist citing of the ‘fragment on machines’ and the foucaultian concept of biopower is whether or not capitalism is already communism of a sort. changes marx attributed to the exclusive domain of communism seem to have been anticipated by capitalism – species being, etc etc. it is important to differentiate the subsequent strategy of capitalism from the old frankfurt school fear of complete colonization, however. instead of investing itself in communism (something that zizek comes too close to claiming by sarcastically entitling its subjects ‘liberal communists’), it offers a ‘third way’ that ideologically forecloses communism — ie: it naturalizes or de-libidinizes the potentiality of a communism that de-links from capitalist valorization.

early-mid negri follows the hegelian optimism for capitalism creating its own grave diggers via the tactic of the “self-valorization” whereby critical flows in the circuits of capital are diverted from capital valorization (understood here as the process of re-articulating or re-territorializing the flows necessary for the expanded reproduction of a given mode of production). the capitalist valorization process serves as the source of the freeing of flows, but its extraordinarily fine-tuned ability to re-capture those flows provides it a surplus to re-invest in additional circuits of valorization. the “self-valorization” (‘self’ being ‘auto‘ in both french/italian, indicating a auto-poietic feedback loop that its source is also its product, gesturing to Marxist assumption that the basis for surplus value is labor power) is the re-capture of relative amounts of surplus value which is then put to use within a non-capitalist valorization circuit. [i apologize if this prose is un-readable, it’s incredibly technical and i’m not proofreading very closely]

so a string of questions — what is the ontology of communism, and how is it reached? is this ontology unleashed by capitalist de-territorialization? are the conditions for a future ontology of communism produced by capitalism (the “it will have been” of the future anterior)?

a final provocation — in what ways does “communization” (or more continental, ‘communisation’) differ from self-valorization? my understanding is that ‘communization’ sees communism as the contingent possibility in every ‘moment’ (and for now, i’ll keep the definition of ‘moment’ open) — and in opposition to communism is socialization. so to restate: every moment has the contingent possibility of communization or socialization. the exact terrain of “the social” of course, varies. for a hegelian marxist, socialization is the tendency of increased relationality of abstract labor within the production process. further following the accompanying neo-hegelian state theory – the secular state emerges co-constitutively with its outside, the social, which is the private life of the citizen (civil society being the space of contact between the two). tiqqun’s subsequent work on these in “introduction to civil war” is pretty illustrative of their implication in the formation of Empire.

returning to the question at hand — communization appear to be a set of relations that doesn’t map onto any of this typology, in fact it seems to be relations necessarily take on a different articulation. rather than being strongly different than self-valorization, then, communization might be a clarification of the relationality necessary for a circuit of valorization to be properly defined as “self-valorization” rather than just alternately capitalist (surplus value not appropriated by the capitalist firm but still immediately placed back into circuits of capital valorization like 401k pay-ins, etc), parallel (black markets relations that look like capitalism only without the sanction of the law),or supplemental (non-capitalist relations partly used to benefit capitalist production, ie: household production).

i guess i skirted any deep ontological questions & any positive steps v/v ‘ideology’. whoops.

On Strategizing the Dispositif

What replaces the archive of archaeology?  Or put another way, what is the philosophical ‘object’ of genealogy?  The dispositif.

Quoting from my MA thesis:

A dispositif, for Foucault, is a heterogeneous system that connects its constituent elements through relations of power and knowledge (Power/Knowledge 194-6).  Foucault notes that his method follows the counter-intuitive claim that the phenomenon he’s examining doesn’t exist.  And instead of trying to establish the facticity, truth, or cause of its emergence, he asks how events and practices can be organized around something that never existed (Birth of Biopolitics 3, 33).  Drawing from the range of notes Foucault made about his methodology, we can surmise that the connections between its elements are not be based on linear or expressive causality, but are be based on partial, multiple, and indirect immanent relationships.  A dispositif has no essential constitutive elements, it is only the product of numerous contingent forces in an encounter.  As the elements and their force are intensified, reproduced, diminished, or replaced, the characteristics of the dispositif also change.  The concept was developed in order to describe formations, at any given historical moment, while maintaining a commitment to the radical contingency, indirect causal relationship, and weak ontology of its constituent elements.[1] While similar to his work in Archaeology of Knowledge, dispositif is put to use in more capacious ways.  Unfortunately, Foucault never developed his account of dispositif in any detail, making it difficult to find specifically articulated ways to distinguish it from the forms developed according to his archaeological method. The concept of strata, which Deleuze uses when translating archaeology into his own conceptual system, works as a bridge between archaeology and dispositif.  The use of strata is an attempt to make explicit the super-lingusitic semiology that is present in Foucault’s work that often gets ignored when systematized.  The two critical elements in strata are its forms of content and expression that establish a complex set of relations between discursive and non-discursive elements (Foucault 48-51).  Later, Deleuze argues that the archaeological task is to open up the discursive and non-discursive content of strata, making visible what and who is being spoken (52-60).  As Reid’s analysis shows, Foucault’s later work retained but also moved beyond the problematics of archaeology’s focus on what is being spoken.  Therefore, it may be useful to buttress Foucault’s dispositif with Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of an assemblage.  Similar to the dispositif, an assemblage is a collection of disparate elements, what in physics is referred to as a multiplicity.  Assemblages never make up a totality, there is always too much or too little, yet there are usually some elements that have cohered enough to create a contingently stable form.

The alternative I propose is tracing lines of force, following a topological mapping of strategic points of intervention within a dispositif or assemblage.   Continue reading “On Strategizing the Dispositif”

Tiqqun Apocrypha Repost

A kind NYC blogger did a quick-dirty translation of the Agamben/Hazan discussion on Tiqqun. It was later taken down. I can’t speak to the quality of the translation, some things are obviously wrong (for instance the translator remarks that FC is male when in fact she is female…). I also do not know why it was taken down.

A few quick notes – the re-publication of the Tiqqun texts by La Fabrique weren’t without controversy among those who formerly made up Tiqqun, we see some of these issues arise in the panel. Additionally, I’m not sure why or who it was in the audience who kept on pushing Agamben on perceived issues of ‘praxis’ (so much so that he got up and left). The second half of the video (the exchanges between people) seems to be missing now, too. I don’t know if it was taken down in order to make the debate no longer public (which is reasonable if the issues could be settled between friends) or other reasons.

So without any further ado:

Continue reading “Tiqqun Apocrypha Repost”

New Whatever Singularities

I think I may have found Claire Fontaine’s cousin!

Wu Ming.  They were initially a group that used the Luther Blissett nom de plome to write an anarcho-syndicalist novel and manifesto, later creating a new collective identity to continue their work.

Here’s a funny video introduction:


For more background info, check out the wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wu_Ming

They have written a ton of stuff (http://www.wumingfoundation.com/italiano/downloads.shtml).  A recent critique of summit protests has been making the rounds (also published as the preface to the Verso Revolution series book on Luther- http://www.wumingfoundation.com/english/wumingblog/?p=1014

Of personal interest appear to be their satire of primitivism Guerra agli Umani (War on the Humans).  Too bad it’s only in Italian and French.