People have often insisted — T.E. Lawrence is no exception — on the kinetic dimensions of politics and war as a strategic counterpoint to a quantitative concept of relations of force. That’s the typical guerrilla perspective as opposed to the traditional perspective. It’s been said that if it can’t be massive, a movement should be fast, faster than domination. That was how the Situationist International formulated their program in 1957: “it should be understood that we are going to be seeing and participating in a race between free artists and the police to experiment with and develop the new techniques of conditioning. The police already have a considerable head start. The outcome depends on the appearance of passionate and liberating environments, or the reinforcement — scientifically controllable and smooth — of the environment of the old world of oppression and horror... If control over these new means is not totally revolutionary, we could be led towards the police-state ideal of a society organized like a beehive.” In light of this lattermost image, an explicit but static vision of cybernetics perfected as the Empire is fleshing it out, the revolution should consist in a reappropriation of the most modern technological tools, a reappropriation that should permit contestation of the police on their own turf, by creating a counter-world with the same means that it uses. Speed here is understood as one of the important qualities of the revolutionary political arts. But this strategy implies attacking sedentary forces. In the Empire, such forces tend to fade as the impersonal power of devices becomes nomadic and moves around, gradually imploding all institutions.
“In a world of regulated scenarios,
minutely pre-calculated programs,
impeccable music scores,
well-placed choices and acts,
what puts up any obstacles, what
hangs back, what wobbles?
Wobbliness indicates the body.
Of the body.
This limping/wobbling indicates a weak-heeled man.
A God held onto him there. He was God by the heel. The Gods limp whenever they aren’t hunchbacked.
The dysfunction is the body. What wobbles, hurts, holds up poorly, the exhaustion of breath, the miracle of balance. And music holds up no more than man.
Bodies have still not been properly regulated by the law of commodities.
They don’t work. They suffer. They get worn out. They get it wrong. They escape.
Too hot, too cold, too near, too far, too fast, too slow.”
AB: But what is it that the people "decides"? Etymologically, democracy is the "power of the people." Yet it is moreover necessary that this power should not be materially appropriated by an oligarchy. And that is the case in capitalism, which you defend.
What do you think is the pressing task in 2017? You scoff at La France insoumise and its leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, as well as Nuit debout and the Invisible Committee…
For example, this debate:
"I believe it is always wrong to oppose the law by breakingit."
"Such a position is odious: it implies that you would nothave supported Martin Luther King."
"Are you saying that cryptography legislation is as importantas the struggle for Black liberation ?
These questions, seen from the neutralized and neutralizing perspective of the laboratory observer or of the chat-room/salon, must be reexamined in themselves, and tested out. Amplifying the fluctuations: what’s that mean to me? How can deviance, mine for example, give rise to disorder? How do we go from sparse, singular fluctuations, the discrepancies between each individual and the norm, each person and the devices, to futures and to destinies? How can what capitalism routs, what escapes valorization, become a force and turn against it? Classical politics resolved this problem with mobilization. To Mobilize meant to add, to aggregate, to assemble, to synthesize. It meant to unify little differences and fluctuations by subjecting them to a great crime, an un-rectifiable injustice, that nevertheless must be rectified. Singularities were already there. They only had to be subsumed into a unique predicate. Energy was also already there. It just needed to be organized. I’ll be the head, they’ll be the body. And so the theoretician, the avant-garde, the party, have made that force operate in the same way as capitalism did, by putting it into circulation and control in order to seize the enemy’s heart and take power by taking off its head, like in classical war.
Panic makes the cyberneticians panic. It represents absolute risk, the permanent potential threat that the intensification of relations between lifestyles/forms-of-life presents. Because of this, it should be made as terrifying as the appointed cybernetician himself endeavors to show it being: “panic is dangerous for populations; it increases the number of victims resulting from an accident by causing inappropriate flight reactions, which may indeed be the only real reason for deaths and injuries; every time it’s the same scenario: acts of blind rage, trampling, crushing...” the lie in that description of course is that it imagines panic phenomena exclusively from a sealed environment: as a liberation of bodies, panic self-destructs because everyone tries to get out through an exit that’s too narrow.
Defeating the process of cybernetization, toppling the empire, will take place through opening up a breach for panic. Because the Empire is an ensemble of devices that aim to ward off all events, a process of control and rationalization, its fall will be perceived by its agents and its control apparatus as the most irrational of phenomena. The lines that follow here give a cursory view of what such a cybernetic view of panic might be, and indicate a contrario its effective power: “panic is thus an inefficient collective behavior because it is not properly adapted for danger (real or supposed); it is characterized by the regression of mentalities to an archaic, gregarious level, and gives rise to primitive, desperate flight reactions, disordered agitation, physical violence, and general acts of self- or hetero-aggressivity: panic reactions show the characteristics of the collective soul in a altered state of perception and judgment; alignment on the basis of the most unsophisticated behaviors; suggestibility; participation in violence without any idea of individual responsibility.”
It would be naive to directly deduce, in this scientific description of the potential for disorder, a new political art. The error of the philosophers and of all thought that deploys itself without recognizing in itself, in its very pronouncement, what it owes to desire, is that it situates itself artificially above the processes that it is aiming to discuss, even when it is based on experience; something Prigogne and Stengers are not themselves immune to, by the way. Experimentation, which does not consist in completed experiences but in the process of completing them, is located within fluctuation, in the heart of the noise, lying in wait for the bifurcation. The events that take place within the social, on a level significant enough to influence fates in general, are comprised of more than just a simple sum of individual behaviors. Inversely, individual behaviors can no longer have, alone, an influence on fates in general. There remain, however, three stages, which are really one, and which, even though they are not represented, are felt by bodies anyway as immediately political problems: I’m talking about the amplification of non-conforming acts, the intensification of desires and their rhythmic accord; the arrangement of territory, even if “fluctuations cannot invade the whole system all at once. They must first take place within a particular region. Depending on whether this initial region has smaller than critical dimensions or not... the fluctuation will either regress, or, contrarily, it will invade and overtake the whole system.” So there are three questions, then, which require investigation in view of an offensive against the Empire: a question of force, a question of rhythm, and a question of momentum.
“Theory means getting off on immobilization... What gives you theoreticians a hard on and puts you on the level with our gang is the coldness of the clear and the distinct; of the distinct alone, in fact; the opposable, because the clear is but a dubious redundancy of the distinct, expressed via a philosophy of the subject. Stop raising the bar, you say! Escaping pathos — that’s your pathos.”
Jean-François Lyotard, Libidinal Economy, 1975
But still, a gouged eye is a gouged eye; a flogging is a flogging; and the grinding exploitation of serfs and slaves is a brutal class injustice whatever its cultural wrapping.