Three methods of approach to these questions can be schematized: first, a sociological approach, which we will call analytic-formalist; secondly, a neo-Marxist, synthetic-dualist approach; and thirdly, an analytic-political approach. The first and second approaches preserve the distinction between large and small social groupings, while the third approach attempts to go beyond this distinction.
Sociological analytic formalist thought attempts to disengage common traits and to separate out species, either by a method of perceptible analogies-in that case, it will try to settle small relative differences (for example, it will distinguish the three types of fascism: Italian, German, and Spanish); or, by a method of structural homologies-in that case, it will try to determine absolute differences (such as the differences between fascism, Stalinism and the Western democracies). On the one hand, the differences are minimized, in order to disengage a common feature, and on the other, the differences are magnified, in order to separate levels and construct species.
Synthetic dualist neo-Marxist thought claims to go beyond such a system by always refusing to sever representation from a militant social practice, but generally this practice gets caught up in another kind of gap, this time between the reality of the masses' desires, and the instances that are supposed to represent these desires. Sociological thought's system of description proceeded by reducing social objects into things, and by failing to recognize the desire and creativity of the masses; the militant Marxist system of thought surmounts this failure, but constitutes itself as the collective system of representation of the masses' desires. This system recognizes the existence of a revolutionary desire, but it imposes mediations on it: that of the theoretical representation of Marxism, and that of the practical representation of the party which is supposed to be its expression. A whole mechanism of transmission belts is thus put into place between the theory, the direction of the party, and the militants, so that the innumerable differences which run through the desire of the masses find themselves "massified," restored to standardized formulations whose necessity is deemed to be justified in the name of the cohesion of the working class and party unity. We have switched from the impotence of a system of mental representation to the impotence of a system of social representativity. In fact, it is no accident if this neo-Marxist method of thought and action is swamped in bureaucratic practices; this owing to the fact that it has never really disengaged its pseudo dialectic from an obdurate dualism between representation and reality, between the caste who holds the passwords and the masses, who are heard alphabetizing and catechizing like good children. Neo-Marxist thought contaminates by its reductive dualism, its conception of the class struggle, its schematic opposition between the city and the country, its international alliances, its politics of "the peace camp and the war camp," etc. The two terms of each of these oppositions always revolve around a third object which, though a third, still does not constitute a "dialectical synthesis"; this third object is, essentially, the State, the power of the State, and the party which is a candidate for the taking of that power. Any partial struggle must be brought back to these transcendent third objects; everything must be given its meaning by them, even when real history reveals them for what they are-namely, lures, lures just like the phallic object of the triangular Oedipal relationship. In addition, it could be said that this dualism and its transcendent object constitute the nucleus of the militant Oedipus, which must be confronted by a political analysis.
In fact, this analysis refuses to maintain the disjunction between large social groupings and individual problems, family problems, academic problems, professional problems, etc. This analysis will no longer concern itself with mechanically chipping the problematic of concrete situations down to a simple alternative of classes or camps. It will no longer pretend to find all the answers in the action of a unique revolutionary party standing as a central depository of theoretical and practical truth. Therefore, a micropolitics of desire would no longer present itself as representing the masses and as interpreting their struggles. Which does not mean that it would condemn, a priori, all party action, all idea of party line, of program or even of centralism, but it would endeavor to locate and relativize this party action in terms of an analytic micropolitics which, at every turn, would stand in opposition to the Manichean dualism that presently contaminates the revolutionary movements. It would no longer seek support from a transcendent object in order to provide itself with security. It would no longer center itself on a unique object the power of the State, which could only be conquered by a representative party acting in lieu of and instead of the masses-but rather, it would center on a multiplicity of objectives, within the immediate reach of the most diverse social groupings. Starting from the plurality of partial struggles (but the term is already equivocal: they are not part of an already constituted whole), far-reaching collective struggles could be launched. There would no longer be mass, centrally ordered movements which would set more or less serialized individuals in motion on a local scale. Rather, it would be the connection of a multiplicity of molecular desires which would catalyze challenges on a large scale. This is what happened at the beginning of the movement of May '68: the local and singular manifestation of the desire of small groups began to resound with a multiplicity of repressed desires which had been isolated and crushed by the dominant forms of expression and of representation. In such a situation there is no longer an ideal unity which represents and mediates multiple interests, but rather, there is a univocal multiplicity of desires whose process secretes its own systems of tracking and regulation. This multiplicity of desiring-machines is not made of standardized and regulated systems which can be disciplined and hierarchized in relation to a unique objective. It is stratified according to different social groupings, to classes formed by age groups, sexes, geographic and professional localizations, ethnic origins, erotic practices, etc. Thus, it does not realize a totalizing unity. It is the univocity of the masses' desire, and not their regrouping according to standardized objectives, which lays the foundation for the unity of their struggle. The unification of struggles is antagonistic to the multiplicity of desires only when it is totalizing, that is, when it is treated by the totalitarian machine of a representative party.
Seen from this perspective, theoretical expression no longer comes between social object and praxis. The social object can speak without representative instances. For political struggle to coincide with an analysis of desire, you have to be in a position to listen in on whoever is speaking from a position of desire, and above all, "off the track." At home, a child "off the track" is put down, and this continues in school, in the barracks, in the factory, in the trade union, and in the party cell. You must always stay "on the right track" and "in line." But by virtue of its very nature, desire always has the tendency to "stray from the subject," "to get off the track," and to drift from its proper course. A collective arrangement of enunciation will say something about desire without referring it to a subjective individuation, without centering it around a preestablished subject and previously codified meanings. Henceforth, the analysis is not something which takes place after the terms and relationships of force are established, or after the socius is crystallized into various closed instances which remain opaque to one another: it participates in this very crystallization. The analysis becomes immediately political. "When saying is doing." The division of labor between the specialists of saying and the specialists of doing ceases.
Collective arrangements of enunciation produce their own means of expression-it could be a special language, a slang or a return to an old language. For them, working on semiotic flows, or on material and social flows is one and the same thing. Subject and object are no longer face-to-face, with a means of expression in a third position; there is no longer a tripartite division between the realm of reality, the realm of representation or representativity, and the realm of subjectivity. You have a collective set-up which is, at once, subject, object, and expression. The individual is no longer the universal guarantor of the dominant meanings. Here, everything can participate in enunciation: individuals, as well as zones of the body, semiotic trajectories, or machines that are plugged in on all horizons. The collective disposition of enunciation thus unites semiotic flows, material flows, and social flows, well short of its possible recuperation within a theoretical corpus. How is such a transition possible? Are we talking about a return to anarchist utopias? Isn't it an illusion to want to give the masses permission to speak in a highly differentiated industrial society? How could a social object-a subject group-substitute itself for the system of representation and for ideologies? Gradually, as I go on with this statement, a paradox thrusts itself on me: how is it conceivable to speak of these kinds of collective dispositions of enunciation while seated on a chair facing a group that is soberly arranged in a room? In reality, everything I say tends to establish that a true political analysis cannot arise from an individuated enunciation, especially when it is the act of a lecturer, who is unacquainted with the problems of his audience! An individual statement has no bearing except to the extent that it can enter into conjunction with collective set-ups which already function effectively: for example, which are already engaged in real social struggles. If this doesn't happen, then who are you speaking to? To a universal interlocutor? To someone who already knows the codes, the meanings, and all their possible combinations? The individuated enunciation is the prisoner of the dominant meanings. Only a subject-group can manipulate semiotic flows, shatter meanings, open the language to other desires and forge other realities !
excerpt from the book: Chaosophy, Everybody wants to be a fascist, by Félix Guattari
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