Politics today is nothing more than the expression of the domination of dead structures over the entire range of living production

The historical communist parties, prisoners of antiquated paradigms of production, did not even succeed in imagining the revolutionary force of the social mode of production which was in the process of emerging. Incapable of separating themselves from centralist organizational models deriving from a paradigmatic split between the avant-garde and the masses, they found themselves disoriented and frightened in the face of the unexpected self-organization of a social movement.

The left has attached itself even more to the traditional statist structures; and in doing so it has jettisoned its own relationship of conflict and compromise, and thus its own basis of legitimacy. But these structures were irrevocably altered by the counter-attacks of 1968; from then on, the old politics could no longer hide its cadaverous face. The constitutional and institutional structures of developed countries east and west find themselves to be doubly undermined: from the inside, by their severe inability to adapt; and from outside, by the new forms of labor protest, reflected in the increase of marginal and part-time precarious workers, as well as other numerous minorities who reject the status quo. This impasse has precluded any possibility of renewal.

All “progressive” capitalist perspectives, which would have involved increased popular participation, were systematically blocked. Constitutional structures, whether they be capitalist or socialist, democratic or totalitarian, have certainly experienced change, but typically in negative terms, always cut off from social movements whose effects they endure, and always by mystifying the actual operation of the system of political representation.

The roots of the crisis of politics were social.

Although much of it is empty and mystified, this type of power is nonetheless terribly effective. Moreover, one should not underestimate or overlook the great mass of pain and anguish that lies concealed behind its cynicism and its technocratic indifference: the insecurity of everyday life, the precariousness of employment, the fragility of civil rights, and, perhaps most of all, the impossibility of locating meaning in individual and collective life, the de facto banning of communitarian projects, of all “creative becomings” from establishing themselves on their own terms. This pain, which accompanies the lack of humanity in the capitalist brand of subjectivity, can be converted into an infinite array of reaction formations and paradoxical symptoms: inhibitions, evasions of all sorts, but sabotage as well, the transformation of refusal into hatred. This to-and-fro movement reaches its limit when the fear of destruction articulates a consciousness of the madness of power; then the pain itself becomes the vertigo of annihilation. This monstrous will to death in all its different forms today constitutes the true character of politics and the true cause of human misery.

-Negri and Guattari, New Lines of Alliance, New Spaces of Liberty, p39-42

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