Let's come back to this question of fascism and to its relation to Stalinism and Western style "democracies." We are not interested in establishing reductive comparisons, but, on the contrary, in complexifying the models. Any halt in the course of this analytic path will come only once one has reached a position where one has a minimum of real grasp on the ongoing process. There are all kinds of fascisms, all kinds of Stalinisms and all kinds of bourgeois democracies. These three groupings break up as soon as one begins to consider, at the heart of each grouping, the relative status of, for example, the industrial machine, the banking machine, the military machine, the politico-police machine, the techno-structures of the State, the Church, etc. The analysis will have to consider each of these subgroupings while, at the same time, not losing sight of the fact that, in each case, it is only concerned with provisional stages of molecular reduction. Contemporary totalitarian systems have invented a number of prototypes for a police party; the Nazi police party would merit being studied in comparison with the Stalinist police party; in fact, perhaps they are closer to each other than the corresponding structures of the State. It would be interesting to pick out the different kinds of machines of desire that go into their composition. But we would then discover that it is not enough to consider things from so far off. The analysis would have to progress constantly in the direction of a molecularization of its object to be able to grasp, from up close, the role that it plays in the heart of the large groupings within which it functions. There is not one Nazi party; not only has the Nazi party evolved, but during each period it has had a different function, according to the various domains wherein it has carried out its action. Himmler's 55 machine was not the same as the SA machine or as that of the mass organizations conceived by the Strasser brothers. Certain points of view of quasireligious inspiration are found at the very heart of the 55 machineremember that Himmler wished the 55 to be trained using methods similar to those of the Jesuits-coexisting with openly sadistic practices, like those of a Heydrich ... We are not talking about a gratuitous investigation, but about a refusal of those simplifications which prevent us from perceiving the genealogy and the permanence of certain fascist machineries. The Inquisition had already put together a type of fascist machinery which kept developing and perfecting itself up to our own time. Thus, we see that the analysis of the molecular components of fascism can deal with quite a variety of areas. It is the same fascism under different forms which continues to operate in the family, in school, or in a trade union. A struggle against the modern forms of totalitarianism can be organized only if we are prepared to recognize the continuity of this machine.
There are all kinds of ways in which to approach these questions concerning desire in the social field. We can simply ignore them, or else reduce them to simplified political alternatives. We can also try to grasp their mutations, their displacements, and the new possibilities which they afford to revolutionary action. Stalinism and fascism are generally placed in opposition, since they seemingly answer to radically different definitions, while the different forms of fascism have been placed under the same rubric. And yet, the differences are, perhaps, much greater between the fascisms than between certain aspects of Stalinism and certain aspects of Nazism. It is in no way contradictory to want to preserve these differences, and, at the same time, wish to disengage the continuity of a totalitarian machine which pursues its course through all structures: fascist, Stalinist, democratic-bourgeois, etc. Without going all the way back to the Late Empire of Diocletian and Constantine, its filiation can be traced from the repression against the Communards of 1871, right up to its present forms. In this way, different totalitarian systems produced different formulas for a collective seizing of desire, depending on the transformation of productive forces and the relationships of production. We must endeavor to disengage its machinic composition, much as we would a chemical composition, but a social chemistry of desire which runs not only through History, but also through the whole social space. The historical transversality of the machines of desire on which totalitarian systems depend is, in fact, inseparable from their social transversality. Therefore, the analysis of fascism is not simply a historian's specialty. I repeat: what fascism set in motion yesterday continues to proliferate in other forms, within the complex of contemporary social space. A whole totalitarian chemistry manipulates the structures of state, political and union structures, institutional and family structures, and even individual structures, inasmuch as one can speak of a sort of fascism of the superego in situations of guilt and neurosis.
But what is this bizarre totalitarian machine that traverses time and space? Some prop in a science-fiction story? I can already hear the sarcastic remarks of the right-minded psychoanalysts, Marxists, and epistemologists. "What a confusion of levels! Everything's been thrown into the same bag ... " May I point out that it was only by conducting an analysis at the molecular and atomic levels that the chemists later succeeded in realizing syntheses of complex elements! But they will still say: that's nothing but mechanistic talk! Granted; up to this point we're only making a comparison. And besides, what's the use of polemicizing: the only people who will put up with listening to me any longer are those who feel the interest and urgency of the micropolitical antifascist struggle that I'm talking about. The evolution of the social division of labor has necessitated the creation of ever more gigantic productive groupings. But this gigantism of production has involved an increasing molecularization of those human elements activated in the machinic combinations of industry, of the economy, of education, of information, etc. It is never a person who works-the same can be said for desire-but a combination of organs and machines. An individual does not communicate with his fellow humans: a transhuman chain of organs is formed and enters into conjunction with semiotic chains and an intersection of material flows. Today the productive forces provoke the explosion of traditional human territorialities, because they are capable of liberating the atomic energy of desire. This phenomenon being irreversible, and its revolutionary scope impossible to calculate, the totalitarian-bureaucratic capitalist and socialist systems are forced to constantly perfect and miniaturize their repressive machines. Therefore, it seems to me that the constant search for this machinic composition of totalitarian powers is the indispensable corollary of a micro political struggle for the liberation of desire. The minute you stop facing it head-on, you can abruptly oscillate from a position of revolutionary openness to a position of totalitarian foreclosure: then you find yourself a prisoner of generalities and totalizing programs, and representative instances regain their power. Molecular analysis is the will to a molecular power, to a theory and practice which refuse to dispossess the masses of their potential for desire. Contrary to a possible objection, we are not trying to look at the smallest side of history, nor do we claim, like Pascal, that if Cleopatra's nose had been bigger, the course of history would have changed. We simply don't want to miss the impact of this totalitarian machine which never stops modifying and adapting itself to the relationships of force and societal transformations. Certainly the role of Hitler as an individual was negligible, but it remains fundamental inasmuch as it helped crystallize a new form of this totalitarian machine. Hitler can be seen in dreams, in deliriums, in films, in the contorted behavior of policemen, and even on the leather jackets of some gangs who, without knowing anything about Nazism, reproduce the icons of Hitlerism.
Let's return to a question which involves, in other forms, the present political situation. After the debacle of 1918 and the crisis of 1929, why is it that German capitalism didn't resort to a simple military dictatorship for support? Why Hitler rather than General von Schleicher? Daniel Guerin says that large capital hesitated to "deprive itself of this incomparable, irreplaceable means of penetrating into all the cells of society, the organization of the fascist masses." Indeed, a military dictatorship does not compartmentalize the masses in the same way as a party that is organized like a police force. A military dictatorship does not draw on libidinal energy in the same way as a fascist dictatorship, even if some of their results may seem identical, and even if they happen to resort to the same kinds of repressive methods, the same tortures, etc. The conjunction, in the person of Hitler, of at least four libidinal series, crystallized the mutation of a new desiring machinism in the masses:
1) A certain plebeian style that put him in a position to have a handle on people who were more or less marked by the socio-democratic and Bolshevik machines.
2) A certain veteran-of-war style, symbolized by his Iron Cross from the war of 1914, which made it possible for him to at least neutralize the military staff elements, for want of being able to win their complete confidence.
3) A shopkeeper's opportunism, a spinal flexibility, a slackness, which enabled him to negotiate with the magnates of industry and finance, all the while letting them think that they could easily control and manipulate him.
4) Finally, and this is perhaps the essential point, a racist delirium, a mad, paranoiac energy which put him in tune with the collective death instinct released from the charnel houses of the First World War. To be sure, all this is still too schematic. But the point that I wanted to insist upon, and that I could only allude to, is the fact that we cannot consider as indifferent those local and singular conditions which allowed this mechanical crystallization on the person of Hider. I insist that historico-psychoanalytic generalities are not enough: today within political and trade union movements, within groupuscules, in family life, academic life, etc., we are witnessing other fascisizing microcrystallizations, which take over from the phylum of the totalitarian machine. By pretending that the individual has a negligible role in history, they would like to make us believe that we can do nothing but stand with hands tied in the face of the hysterical gesticulations or paranoiac manipulations of local tyrants and bureaucrats of every kind. A micropolitics of desire means that henceforth we will refuse to allow any fascist formula to slip by, on whatever scale it may manifest itself, including within the scale of the family or even within the scale of our own personal economy. Through all kinds of means-in particular, movies and television-we are led to believe that Nazism was just a bad moment we had to go through, a sort of historical error, but also a beautiful page in history for the good heroes. And besides, was it not touching to see the intertwined flags of capitalism and socialism? We are further led to believe that there were real antagonistic contradictions between the fascist Axis and the Allies. This is a way of concealing the nature of the selection process which was to lead to the elimination of a fascist formula which, after a while, the bourgeoisie finally decided was dangerous. Radek defined Nazism as something external to the bourgeoisie, somewhat like iron bands used by the bourgeoisie, in an attempt to consolidate "capitalism's leaky tank." But wasn't this image a bit too reassuring? Fascism only remained external to a certain type of bourgeoisie, which rejected it only because of its instability and because it stirred much too powerful forces of desire within the masses. The remedy, welcomed in the paroxystic phase of the crisis, later seemed far too dangerous. But international capitalism could only consider its elimination to the extent that other means were available by which to control class struggle, not to mention totalitarian formulas for subduing the desire of the masses: as soon as Stalinism had "negotiated" this replacement formula, an alliance with it became possible. The Nazi regime never really mastered its internal contradictions; the Fuhrer's practically insoluble mission consisted of an attempt to establish a sort of compromise between different machines of power which fully intended to maintain their autonomy: the military machine, the politico-police factions, the economic machine, etc. 1 At the same time, he had to keep in mind that the revolutionary effervescence of the masses threatened to sway them towards a Bolshevik style revolution. In fact, the alliance of the Western democracies and totalitarian Stalinism was not formed to "save democracy." It was formed only because of the catastrophic turn which the fascist experiments had taken, and, above all, in response to the deadly form of libidinal metabolism which developed in the masses as a result of these experiments. During this whole period, the planet was seized by a crisis that seemed like the end of the world. Of course, we shouldn't forget that the leftist organizations in Italy and Germany had been liquidated at the very beginning .
But why did these organizations collapse like houses of cards? They never offered the masses a real alternative, at any rate, none that could tap their energy of desire, or even divert this energy from the fascist religion (on this subject I find Reich's analysis final). It is often asserted that, at their outset, the fascist regimes supplied a minimum of economic solutions to the most urgent problems-an artificial boost to the economy, a reabsorption of unemployment, a large-scale public works program, control of capital. These measures are then contrasted, for example, with the powerlessness of the socio-democratic governments of the Weimar Republic. Explanations like, "The socialists and communists had a bad program, bad leaders, a bad organization, bad alliances," are considered sufficient. Their deficiencies and betrayals are endlessly enumerated. But nothing in these explanations accounts for the fact that the new totalitarian desiring machine was able to crystallize in the masses to such an extent that it was felt, by international capitalism itself, to be even more dangerous than the regime that came out of the October revolution. What almost everyone refuses to acknowledge is that the fascist machine, in its Italian and German forms, became a threat to capitalism and Stalinism because the masses invested a fantastic collective death instinct in it. By reterritorializing their desire onto a leader, a people, and a race, the masses abolished, by means of a phantasm of catastrophe, a reality which they detested and which the revolutionaries were either unwilling or unable to encroach upon. For the masses, virility, blood, vital space, and death took the place of a socialism that had too much respect for the dominant meanings. And yet, fascism was brought back to these same dominant meanings by a sort of intrinsic bad faith, by a false provocation to the absurd and by a whole theater of collective hysteria and debility. Fascism simply took a much longer detour than, for example, Stalinism. All fascist meanings stem out of a composite representation of love and death, of Eros and Thanatos now made into one. Hitler and the Nazis were fighting for death, right up to and including the death of Germany; the German masses agreed to follow along and meet their own destruction. How else are we to understand the way they were able to keep the war going for several years after it had been manifestly lost? Beside such a phenomenon, the Stalinist machine seemed much more sensible, especially when viewed from the outside. It is no wonder that English and American capitalism felt few qualms about an alliance with it. After the liquidation of the Third International, Stalinist totalitarianism could appear to the capitalist strategy as a replacement system, having certain advantages over the different forms of fascism and classical dictatorship. Who could be better equipped than the Stalinist police and their agents to control any excessively turbulent movements of the working class, the colonial masses, or any oppressed national minorities? The last World War will thus have been the opportunity to select the most efficient totalitarian machines, those best adapted to the period.
Félix Guattari - Chaosophy, Everybody wants to be a fascist, p.159-167/ Published by Semiotext(e)
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