mercoledì 16 gennaio 2013

Patricia Ticineto Clough, Craig Willse: Beyond Biopolitics: Essays on the Governance of Life and Death @ Duke Press University, 2012

  • Description Read more @ DUP

    Under the auspices of neoliberalism, technical systems of compliance and efficiency have come to underwrite the relations among the state, the economy, and a biopolitics of war, terror, and surveillance. In Beyond Biopolitics, prominent theorists seek to account for and critically engage the tendencies that have informed neoliberal governance in the past and are expressed in its reformulation today. As studies of military occupation, the policing of migration, blood trades, financial markets, the war on terror, media ecologies, and consumer branding, the essays explore the governance of life and death in a near-future, a present emptied of future potentialities. The contributors delve into political and theoretical matters central to projects of neoliberal governance, including states of exception that are not exceptional but foundational; risk analysis applied to the adjudication of “ethical” forms of war, terror, and occupation; racism and the management of the life capacities of populations; the production and circulation of death as political and economic currency; and the potential for critical and aesthetic response. Together, the essays offer ways to conceptualize biopolitics as the ground for today’s reformulation of governance. 
    Contributors. Ann Anagnost, Una Chung, Patricia Ticineto Clough, Steve Goodman, Sora Y. Han, Stefano Harney, May Joseph, Randy Martin, Brian Massumi, Luciana Parisi, Jasbir Puar, Amit S. Rai, Eugene Thacker, Çağatay Topal, Craig Willse, Eyal Weizman

    About The Author(s)

    Patricia Ticineto Clough is Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the editor of The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social, also published by Duke University Press.
    Craig Willse has a doctorate in Sociology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

    Introduction. Beyond Biopolitics: The Governance of Life and Death / Patricia Ticento Clough and Craig Willse 

    Part I. Unexceptional Control: Governance, Race, and Population  

    1. National Enterprise Emergency: Steps Toward an Ecology of Powers / Brian Massumi 19

    2. Human Security/National Security: Gender Branding and Population Racism / Patricia Ticento Clough and Craig Willse 46

    3. "The Turban is Not a Hat": Queer Diaspora and Practices of Profiling / Jasbir Puar 65

    4. Strict Scrutiny: The Tragedy of Constitutional Law / Sora Y. Han 106

    Part II. Preemption: Death and Life-Itself  

    5. Necrologies; or, the Death of the Body Politic / Eugene Thacker 139

    6. Mnemonic Control / Luciana Parisi and Steve Goodman 163

    7. Thanato-tactics / Eyal Weizman 177

    Part III. Transforming Value: The Measure of Life Capacities  

    8. Strange Circulations / Ann S. Anagnost 213

    9. Necropolitical Surveillance: Immigrants from Turkey in Germany / Çagatay Topal 238

    10. From the Race War to the War on Terror / Randy Martin 258

    Part IV. Technological Investments: Temporality, Media, and Methodologies  

    11. "Seeing" Spectral Agencies: An Analysis of Lin+Lam and Unidentified Vietnam / Una Chung 277

    12. Here We Accrete Durations: Toward a Practice of Intervals in the Perceptual Mode of Power / Amit S. Rai 306

    13. Fascia and the Grimace of Catastrophe / May Joseph 332

    14. Blackness and Governance / Fred Moten and Stefano Harney 351

    • Beyond Biopolitics explores new forms of life emerging while modern strategies for the governance of populations mutate and metastasize into strange new configurations—biosecurity, biocapital, thanato-politics, speculation, risk, and violence. The contributors document the myriad ways that the old racisms and colonial power relations are re-energized by state and market tactics to govern terrorism, environmental catastrophe, and the global flows of information, people, genes, and viruses. In its prescient identification of these dynamics, Beyond Biopolitics gives us a map of life’s near-future.” — Catherine Waldby, co-author of Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs, and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism
      “These essays by some of today’s most exciting and innovative theorists interrogate the connection between biopower and governance from an extraordinarily wide range of perspectives. Together they give us a complex and multifaceted view on the contemporary nature and functioning of power.” — Michael Hardt, co-author of Commonwealth

martedì 8 gennaio 2013

Margaret Walker, Patch Sinclair, Liv in(the)finite: A Walk through a Thousand Plateaus (2012)

This film/video is a collaborative work by Margaret Walker and Patch Sinclair, co-written by poet Liv in(the)finite, with original score by Ashley Blackmore. For an idea of context for this video, see post here: Also be sure to watch Peter Greenaway’s ‘A walk through H: the Reincarnation of an Ornithologist’.

lunedì 7 gennaio 2013

Virality : Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks by Tony D. Sampson - University of Minnesota Press, Usa, August 2012

A new theory of viral relationality beyond the biological
In this thought-provoking work, Tony D. Sampson presents a contagion theory fit for the age of networks. Unlike memes and microbial contagions, Virality does not limit itself to biological analogies and medical metaphors. It instead points toward a theory of contagious assemblages, events, and affects. For Sampson, contagion is not necessarily a positive or negative force of encounter; it is the way society comes together and relates.
Sampson argues that a biological understanding of contagion has been universally distributed by way of the rhetoric of fear used in the antivirus industry and other popular discourses surrounding network culture. This understanding is also detectable in concerns over too much connectivity, including problems of global financial crisis and terrorism. Sampson’s “virality” is as universal as that of the biological meme and microbe, but is not understood through representational thinking expressed in metaphors and analogies. Rather, Sampson leads us to understand contagion theory through the social relationalities first established in Gabriel Tarde’s microsociology and subsequently recognized in Gilles Deleuze’s ontological worldview.
According to Sampson, the reliance on representational thinking to explain the social behavior of networking—including that engaged in by nonhumans such as computers—allows language to over-categorize and limit analysis by imposing identities, oppositions, and resemblances on contagious phenomena. It is the power of these categories that impinges on social and cultural domains. Assemblage theory, on the other hand, is all about relationality and encounter, helping us to understand the viral as a positively sociological event, building from the molecular outward, long before it becomes biological.
Dr. Tony D. Sampson is senior lecturer and researcher in the School of Arts and Digital Industries at the University of East London.
Contents: Resuscitating Tarde's diagram in the age of networks -- What spreads? from memes and crowds to the phantom events of desire and belief -- What diagram? toward a political economy of desire and contagion -- From terror contagion to the virality of love -- Tardean hypnosis : capture and escape in the age of contagion.

Italy's web guru tastes power as new political movement goes viral by John Hooper @ The Guardian, Uk, 03.01.2013

Italy's web guru tastes power as new political movement goes viral by John Hooper @ The Guardian, Uk, 03.01.2013

Roberto Casaleggio's Five Star Movement aims to pioneer 'new, direct democracy' and annihilate traditional party politics
"It's like Jesus Christ and the apostles," said Roberto Casaleggio. "His message, too, became a virus."
With a shaggy mane of black, grey and silver hair that reaches to his shoulders, Casaleggio himself would make a good messiah. As it is, he is perhaps the most distrusted man in Italian politics: the web guru who, in just over three years, has turned a comedian's fan club into Italy's second biggest political force; an eminence grise with seemingly magical powers who has never before allowed himself to be interviewed by a newspaper.
Last May, the Five Star Movement (M5S), inspired by the comic Beppe Grillo, astonished pundits by storming to victory in a local election in the city of Parma. In October, it topped the polls in the regional election in Sicily. And, with around 17% of voters telling pollsters they will back it in the snap general election next month, the M5S is on course to win between 90 and 100 of the 630 seats in the lower house of the next Italian parliament.
As a newcomer, however, the movement needs tens of thousands of officially certified signatures to enter the contest. Last month in Casaleggio's consultancy in a fashionable part of Milan, his employees were mounting a nationwide operation to push through the necessary paperwork.
Most of what has been written about the M5S has put its success down to the euro crisis and Italians' anger at the austerity measures imposed by Mario Monti's government, a favourite target of Grillo's witty, ranting monologues. By this reckoning, it is an archetypal protest movement that will disappear along with the cause that promoted it.
But for Casaleggio the M5S is part of an altogether more durable phenomenon – the erosion by the internet of all forms of mediation. Just as newspapers, he argues, are doomed to extinction because they stand between journalists and readers, so parties are heading for annihilation because they stand between the electorate and the authorities.
The M5S is pioneering "a new, direct democracy that will see the elimination of all barriers between the citizen and the state". Like Julian Assange, Casaleggio combines unshakable confidence in his ability to interpret the impact of the internet with an air of boyish ingenuousness. The latter is particularly noticeable when he smiles to reveal a gap between his two front teeth.
He first met Grillo "about 10 years ago" after the comedian read a book he had written. By then, Casaleggio was a successful information technology executive, former head of the Italian operations of the British firm Logica. In 2004, he founded his own company, Casaleggio Associati.
"Without the web, Beppe and I would not have achieved a thing," he said. "It is the web that has altered all the balances."
The first step was the creation of Grillo's blog, which by 2007 had become the seventh most popular in the world, even though written in the language of a country with less than a fifth of the population of the US and one in which fewer than 40% of households had a computer.
Casaleggio ascribes the blog's success to the unique situation in Italy. For five years, from 2001 to 2006, Silvio Berlusconi had controlled six of Italy's seven main television channels.
"It was like living inside the Matrix," he said. Grillo offered information and comment that was free of self-censorship.
"And when people saw that what he said was true, they began to doubt the other information they were getting."
The blog also stimulated an extraordinary degree of participation: one post attracted some 10,000 comments. A community – and a very big one – had formed whose participants, guided by Grillo and Casaleggio, started using the social networking portal Meetup to form local groups. There are now almost 650.
The next step was to approach so-called liste civiche, slates of independent candidates in local elections, to see if they were interested in being endorsed by Grillo. Many were.
One result, said Casaleggio, was that some of the Meetup groups asked to put up lists of candidates of their own. A meeting in Florence in March 2009 agreed on a set of principles, strong on environmental protection, that would be common to all the slates bearing the Grillo "trademark".
The community was ready to become a movement (Casaleggio disavows the term party). For the foundation of the M5S later the same year, he and Grillo picked the feast day of St Francis of Assisi on 4 October.
So far, the movement has remained faithful to the Umbrian's mystic disdain for money. Casaleggio said it was about to return €800,000 to which it was entitled because of its success in the Sicilian election. "Our MPs will take salaries of €5,000 a month and give back the rest," he added. The M5S had no need of money since the only input it required was the time and effort of his employees.
Their latest exploit has been to organise the online selection of the movement's parliamentary candidates, "which I don't think has been done anywhere else in the world", said Casaleggio.
The operation was not a total success, however. According to a post on Grillo's site, the M5S has more than 255,000 members. But only 31,612 registered to take part in the selection process and, of those, only 20,252 did so.
In addition, Casaleggio has had to contend with bitter accusations from the rank and file that the process was not subject to independent verification – a row that came on top of another resulting from Grillo's insistence that the movement's representatives should not take part in TV talk shows.
Casaleggio is unrepentant. "The statute contains rules. If they want to change the rules, they can create another movement," he said.
And who wrote the statute? "Grillo and I," Casaleggio replied.
The affair has revived claims that the M5S is inherently undemocratic and that Casaleggio, in particular, has a hidden agenda.
"The problem with these people is that they think everyone does something to have something else in return," he said. "The only thing we get is the warmth of the people. It's the only thing we get in exchange."
And he smiled his boyish smile.

Casaleggio's rules

Roberto Casaleggio's five golden rules for building a successful, internet-based political movement:
1 Create participation. You need a community to start with.
2 Understand the internet, including its sociology. Don't think of it as something additional, but as a new reality – a new world.
3 Speak the language of the internet. In particular, do not say things that cannot be verified on the web.
4 Keep the rules of your movement simple.
5 Realise that you are empowering. The cells you create will take on a life of their own.
Read more on Guardian website

Blogpic: Roberto Casaleggio turned a comedian's fan club into Italy's second-biggest political force (from the Guardian)

mercoledì 2 gennaio 2013

Andrea Stroppa: In Italia Michael Slaby del team di Obama per la comunicazione web @ Huffington Post, 06.12.2012

In questi giorni in Italia c'è Michael SlabyChief Innovation and Integration Officer at Obama for America. In poche parole colui che insieme ad altri esperti ha mandato avanti la campagna presidenziale di Barack Obama attraverso i social media e la rete in generale.
Slaby, ieri era a Montecitorio, alla presenza dell'Ambasciatore Usa David Thorne, del vice presidente della Camera dei Deputati, di Gianni Riotta, altri esponenti politici, giornalisti, blogger e interessati alle dinamiche della rete.
Un intervento che mi ha sorpreso è stato quello di David Thorne, ha infatti detto che i social media sono una conseguenza della comunicazione in relazione allo sviluppo della tecnologia stessa. Anche prima di Twitter già si faceva ingaggio per l'elettorato online.
E' poi toccato a Slaby che ha raccontato quale è stato il ragionamento e la tecnica che lui e il suo team hanno adottato per confrontarsi ed ingaggiare gli elettori di Obama. Ha parlato delle differenze di comunicazione tra la prima volta nel 2008 e quest'ultima nel 2012. Tutto è stato affrontato in modo particolarmente facile e comprensibile anche ai neofiti.
Slaby ha sottolineato che ci sono dei punti fondamentali per avere una buona presenza su internet:
  1. Essere trasparenti.
  2. Dialogare.
  3. Coinvolgere gli utenti.
  4. Tenere sempre attivi gli utenti con contenuti interessanti.
E' poi intervenuto Maurizio Lupi che ha detto " Il primo digital divide è tra noi e chi ci legge ".
Ha poi continuato Roberto Rao che con un "mea culpa" riguardo il dialogo poco trasparente tra cittadini e politica.
L'incontro ha poi assunto un tono "gossip" quando Riotta ha chiesto a Slaby se erano vere le voci di un suo presunto incontro con Roberto Casaleggio guru di Beppe Grillo e responsabile del suo blog e della comunicazione del M5S.

E in Italia...
In Italia abbiamo assistito a delle "scenate" sui social media a dir poco scandalosi. I politici fondamentalmente non usano i social media per comunicare o interagire, ma per farsi dei monologhi che non colpiscono minimamente l'attenzione di chi li legge, se non con effetti negativi. L'esempio diFormigoni su Twitter è uno dei tanti (col contest Formaglione poi si è superato).

Negli Usa..
La Digital Diplomacy, la comunicazione in rete tra istituzioni e cittadini funziona molto bene perchè c'è una particolare attenzione a come ci si rivolge verso gli utenti. Fondamentale è dare sensazione di "parità" tra chi scrive, chi legge, chi commenta e chi risponde.

Interessante per tutti è l'apertura di un famoso manifesto della rete che inizia proprio così:
Governi del Mondo, stanchi giganti di carne e di acciaio, io vengo dal Cyberspazio, la nuova dimora della Mente. A nome del futuro, chiedo a voi, esseri del passato, di lasciarci soli. Non siete graditi fra di noi. Non avete alcuna sovranità sui luoghi dove ci incontriamo.
Maurizio Gasparri l'ha letto così attentamente che se n'è uscito tempo fa con un: "Hai pochi follower, non sei nessuno!".
Inoltre, per essere completi, la rete secondo alcuni politici del belpaese è solo Twitter e Facebook, invece contrariamente a questo, il team di Obama ha investito moltissime risorse nei blog, nella registrazione di podcast, in applicazioni mobile, nella cura di in mailing list, in chat online e contest per dare una esperienza "digitale" completa all'elettore, come ne ho già parlato precedentemente quì.

Onestamente in Italia, al momento gli unici che hanno ottenuto dei buoni risultati, spesso ottimi, sono stati Matteo RenziNichi Vendola e Beppe Grillo, quest'ultimo ufficialmente è solo il portavoce del Movimento Cinque Stelle.
I primi due attraverso i loro team hanno ottenuto sulla loro pagine Facebook, i loro siti e Twitter degli ottimi risultati a livello di condivisione, ingaggio e interazione. Il secondo ha come forza il blog che secondo Alexa è il 154° sito italiano per importanza. Per farvi capire la differenza, quello di Casini è 52,145°.
La differenza tra Renzi, Vendola e Beppe Grillo rispetto agli altri è abissale, sia come metodi, come qualità delle tecniche, come numeri.Certo ognuno ha degli stili diversi, Renzi ha dimostrato una grande "forza" con l'ausilio di potenti slogan, Grillo con post che sanno solleticare il malcontento.
Una cosa è certa: per quanto possano essere competitivi gli staff di comunicazione, deve essere il politico stesso a dimostrare trasparenza, umiltà e correttezza nella vita quotidiana, al di fuori del web, ed è questa forse la cosa che rimane più difficile alla nostra politica.

martedì 1 gennaio 2013

Yotam Feldman - Dr. Naveh, or, how I learned to stop worrying and walk through walls @ Haaretz, 25Jul2007

Dr. Naveh, or, how I learned to stop worrying and walk through walls - Yotam Feldman @ HAARETZ , 25.07.2007 (July 25, 2007)

Quite a number of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officers, tough types with berets on their shoulders, consider Brigadier General (res.) Shimon Naveh a nonpareil commander and intellectual who marched them into hitherto unknown realms. But Naveh thinks that most officers are boors and illiterates, and doubts that any of them understood the full depth of his thinking. 
Naveh, 59, was at the forefront of a new conceptual approach that evolved in the IDF at the end of the Oslo period and the start of the second intifada. Together with other officer-intellectuals, he tried to explicate and develop military activity by drawing, among other sources, on terms borrowed from postmodern French philosophy, literary theory, architecture and psychology. Recently he completed a book on his experience as head of the IDF's Operational Theory Research Institute (OTRI), or MALTAM in its Hebrew acronym. Naveh himself established the institute in 1995 and headed it until it was dismantled 10 years later, following a harsh report by the state comptroller. Two of his outstanding students at the institute, Brigadier General Gal Hirsh, commander of the 91st Division - who was removed from his post in the wake of his performance in the Second Lebanon War - and Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, former commander of the Paratroops and the Gaza Division, and now chief of the General Staff operations division, tried to apply what they learned at the institute in their activities in the territories. 
Can Naveh explain his conceptual doctrine in a way the public will understand? He is not optimistic. "It is not easy to understand; my writing is not intended for ordinary mortals," he says in an interview in his home in Hadera. He is not being entirely arrogant. A perusal of his dense flow charts and labyrinthine conceptual grids is liable to leave even the sharpest mind dizzy. 
Naveh may have the mind of a philosopher, but the body is pure Rambo. "Michel Foucault on steroids," as a student once described him. On the brink of his seventh decade, his tremendous mass of muscle and shiny bald head make him look like a commando still. In his study, which is crammed with volumes of philosophy, military history, psychology and literature, he articulates his ideas with extraordinary verve. Fortunately for the interviewer, he has to go the kitchen every once in a while to check on the pot of soup he is making for his wife, Prof. Hanna Naveh, dean of the Faculty of Arts and lecturer in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Tel Aviv University. The two met in first grade. 
Still, attending to his wife's meal calms him down only briefly. Questions that irk him get a furious response, and mention of the names of most of the top IDF brass generates something resembling an attack of Tourette's syndrome and a torrent of rage, verbal abuse and death sentences for some of them. "They should be executed," he asserts. The interviewer's look of astonishment does not faze him. "As you see, I shit on most of them, and I don't give a damn," he says. Earlier, when his dog greeted him as he entered the house he said exultantly, "See him? He is smarter than most of the people on the General Staff." 
The IDF's failure 
Naveh describes his last and perhaps most important military-academic project, OTRI, as a chronicle of failure. "It was a failure of the group and also my personal failure, but in a far deeper sense it was the IDF's failure. The IDF has not recovered because it doesn't have the ability, unless it undergoes a revolution." 
Naveh, who established OTRI together with Brigadier General (res.) Dov Tamari, draws on imagery from the world of construction to explain the project. "We wanted to create an intermediate level between the master craftsman, the tiling artisan or the electrician, who is the equivalent of the battalion or brigade commander, and the entrepreneur or the strategist, the counterpart of the high commander, who wants to change the world, but lacks knowledge in construction." 
Between the two levels, he continues, is the architect/commander-in-chief, whose role is "to enable the system to understand what the problem is, define it and interpret it through engineers." In the absence of this link, he maintains, armies find themselves unable to implement their strategic planning by tactical means. "Entrepreneurs and master craftsmen cannot communicate," he says. 
Already in his first book, "The Operational Art," published in 2001 and based on his doctoral dissertation, he described the level of the military architect: "The intermediate level is the great invention of the Russians. [The military architects] occupy the middle, and make it possible for the other fields, from politics to the killers, to understand, plan and learn." 
Why doesn't this work in the IDF? 
"The problem is that from the professional point of view, the heads of the army are nonentities, total ciphers. What is tragic about the army is that it has good craftsmen, but a good craftsman is always limited if his framework is not organized for him. There are no commanders-in-chief in the army, and it has been unsuccessful in creating them, with a few exceptions. Someone like [former chief of staff] Dan Halutz - it's obvious that he is a wild man politically, and maybe he was even a good pilot and squadron commander, but as an architect he is a nullity. He is even a victim of the system." 
And are the others also stupid? 
"They are on the brink of illiteracy. The army's tragedy is that it is managed by battalion commanders who were good and generals who did not receive the tools to cope with their challenges. Halutz is not stupid, even Dudu Ben Bashat [the chief of the Navy in the Second Lebanon War] is not stupid, even though he is an idiot, and his successor [Major General Uri Marom] is a total bastard. These are people without the slightest ability in abstract thought." 
And the new chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi? 
"I held him in very high regard, even though what is happening now doesn't look good. He is becoming the victim of a story that is bigger than him." 
Like a gnawing worm 
Naveh's art of operation is the military embodiment of system theory, an interdisciplinary theory that is used in thinking about computer, social and biological sciences, among others. System theory examines the operating principles of a particular unit (community, organism, computer network) through the totality of the relations between the elements that constitute it and the effect of their interactions on the overall system. 
In addition to Soviet system theory, Naveh and his colleagues tried to make use of different and newer conceptual methods. He is particularly fond of the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, authors of the books "Anti-Oedipus" and "A Thousand Plateaus." He sought to enlist their theory to describe a decentralized, irregular form of military activity, an attempt by an army to emulate guerrilla methods of operation. 
Naveh and his pupils took the Deleuze-Guattari theory, which was formulated as a philosophy of resistance and liberation and was influenced by the student revolt in France in 1968 as well as by feminist and anti-nationalist thought, and made it the theoretical underpinning for assassinations, defoliation, home demolitions and wall breaking in homes. These methods reached their peak in Operation Defensive Shield, carried out by the IDF in the West Bank in the spring of 2002. According to a United Nations estimate, 497 Palestinians were killed in the operation and, according to the IDF, 800 homes were destroyed. 
Naveh urged his officers to read the writings of Deleuze and Guattari and discuss them. Noncoms who served in Naveh's institute translated several of their texts and of other philosophers into Hebrew for the officers. The officers were also treated to texts by Jean-Francois Lyotard (on the postmodern situation) and by the architect- philosopher Paul Virilio. 
Maybe you continued the French philosophers' way of blurring the distinction between theory and practice? They translated their thinking into demonstrations against the establishment, and you into actions in the West Bank. 
"I tried to extricate us from the Western separation between practice and theory. This hero, the commander, the operative person, lives in a permanently coalescing space. He needs a theory in order to think critically about the object of his observation, and the moment he acts, he changes the world, thus obliging him to recast the theory." 
How was this conceptual conversion carried out in practice? The following is excerpted from an interview Brigadier General Kochavi gave to the architect and researcher Eyal Weizman (who devotes a chapter to Naveh in his new - English-language - book, "Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation"): 
"This space that you look at, this room that you look at, is nothing but your interpretation of it. Now, you can stretch the boundaries of your interpretation, but not in an unlimited fashion, after all, it must be bound by physics, as it contains buildings and alleys. The question is, how do you interpret the alley? Do you interpret the alley as a place, like every architect and every town planner does, to walk through, or do you interpret the alley as a place forbidden to walk through? This depends only on interpretation. We interpreted the alley as a place forbidden to walk through, and the door as a place forbidden to pass through, and the window as a place forbidden to look through, because a weapon awaits us in the alley, and a booby trap awaits us behind the doors. This is because the enemy interprets space in a traditional, classical manner, and I do not want to obey this interpretation and fall into his traps. Not only do I not want to fall into his traps, I want to surprise him! This is the essence of war. I need to win. I need to emerge from an unexpected place ... This is why we opted for the methodology of moving through walls ... Like a worm that eats its way forward, emerging at points and then disappearing." (From Eyal Weizman, "Lethal Theory," in English) 
An outsider won't get it, but the IDF attached considerable importance to Naveh's doctrine. "Systemic thought is an asset, and I recommend that the army continue to make use of it," says Brigadier General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, former chief of the research division of Military Intelligence and the intelligence officer of Central Command, speaking by telephone from the United States, where he is now a strategic consultant. "To understand the new reality, you have to understand what tensions develop, what trends characterize these systems, how it all works, and then you can understand how you can operate within it." 
Who took part in the conceptual process? 
"We made an effort to instill systemic thought in the lower levels. We believed that every person needed to understand certain components of this thought process, because every corporal is a strategic corporal. If he is manning a checkpoint, he has to understand that whether he behaves or does not behave in a certain way is meaningful." 
Doesn't the Second Lebanon War reflect a failure of this approach? We heard about vague orders and misunderstanding of the system of concepts. 
"I don't think that Lebanon exemplified failure. No discussion took place there between the political echelon and the security echelon - the discussion was pretty cursory. If you read the testimonies of the prime minister and the defense minister to the Winograd Committee [which is examining the management of the Second Lebanon War], you see that they understood a few things, but did not understand them in depth. That is why they did not understand on Wednesday that a policy change was needed - the whole systemic conception was that if we are embarking on a move like this, the reserves must be called up immediately, but the reserves were not called up. I think that the orders that were issued were perfectly reasonable, and in parallel, systemic thinking was implemented. The soldiers were not addressed in incomprehensible language." 
As left as it gets 
Naveh maintains that his theory is intended to minimize damage on the Palestinian side. He describes himself as left-wing, though he adds immediately, "I did not vote in the last elections, and in the elections before that I voted for Barak because of my wife, because, really, I find the left wing in Israel absurd. In my political outlook I am a lot more left than all of them. When I went to war in 1982 I went because I enjoy killing, but already in 1980-81 I said that a Palestinian state has to be established." 
The French philosophers would probably go ape if they heard how you converted their doctrine for the army. How did you find them? 
"I understood that Deleuze and Guattari make it possible to explain problems that no one I had read earlier could explain. For example, Aviv [Kochavi] talks about executing a 'fractal maneuver' in Nablus. I didn't say that to the IDF, but Deleuze talks about fractals, about a type of operation of that kind." 
Did IDF officers actually read Deleuze? 
"There were officers who went nuts over it, in the positive sense of the term - Gal Hirsh, Nitzan Alon [head of a Military Intelligence unit], Gershon Hacohen [commander of the IDF colleges]. But the vast majority of officers, who lack an educational and learning consciousness, always see everything through cow eyes anyway. Most of the people of Israel are like that, like monkeys." 
Deleuze viewed his thought as a philosophy of liberation. Is your use of him also liberating? 
"Of course. I can explain this in two very clear dimensions. First of all, this war against the Palestinians has to lead to their liberation. Take the date of the end of Operation Defensive Shield, half a year after Defensive Shield, interpret it and go to a different place, switch the disk. It is completely clear to me that it has to lead to the liberation of the Palestinians, after the price is exacted. The second liberation is to create a prison and dismantle it, create a form of thinking and dismantle it: the idea of permanent change is liberation." 
Is it liberation to smash and blow up walls of Palestinian homes in order to move through them? 
"I am a complex creative artist. On the one hand, you have a brilliant military stroke here, and plainly it has a price, but it also involves liberation. The movement of armies involves the liberation of thought from its shackles. The whole logic of moving through the houses was to conceal your form from the adversary, and once you do that he loses his relative advantage. Aviv invented something. The wonderful thing about it is that he succeeded in closing the gap between the creeping doctrine, which rolls along slowly, and the challenges posed by the subversives. If you want to call that postmodern, you may be right. In modernity the state is the ideal concept and you win by means of presence. In our case, you operate, but not by presence. The moment you deprive the adversary of the ability to give you form, you can, you can fuck him. Aviv did marvelous things with that." 
Doesn't it upset you that the enemy here consists of civilians in refugee camps? That the walls the army is going through are in people's homes? 
"That is why I think there had to be a change of direction after Defensive Shield. Everything we go on doing will supply an illusion of security; in the long term, we are destroying everything around." 
And the price of Operation Shield was reasonable? 
"That is already a different discussion." 
Surely an opinionated person like you has an opinion. 
"The relation between the damage that was caused and the achievement was reasonable. A new situation was created, a method of operation that bore a certain degree of success. The problem is that they are not moving out of this. To this day they are delaying, doing the same thing. And by the way, almost no civilians were killed in Defensive Shield." 
Quite a lot of homes were destroyed. 
"Well, all right, homes are built and destroyed. And not that many were destroyed, anyway." 
What do you think Deleuze [1925-1995] would think about your use of his ideas? 
"He would be enthusiastic, go wild over it." 
Shimon Naveh was born in 1948 in Hadera, and at 18 was drafted into the Paratroops. He describes himself as a highly motivated soldier with intellectual inclinations, who read Tolstoy and Hemingway during basic training. He took part in all the wars from 1967 on, and rose through the ranks to brigade commander and then the commander of a reserve division. In 1991 he began his undergraduate studies in history at Tel Aviv University and by 1994 already had a Ph.D. 
"I was a general, I conquered all the peaks," he relates with typical modesty. "I was surrounded by idiots who prattled nonstop. Along came [Prof.] Itamar Rabinovich, that idiot, and people told him, 'This guy is a genius, take him.' He asked me, 'Can you complete a doctorate in three-four years?' I did it in two. I didn't have a clue about writing a doctoral dissertation, I entered a new spatial order there. As soon as I build something, I immediately destroy it and move on to a different place. The dumb ones are the buffalos, they live in their puddle - why go out, there's food, there's grass. What characterizes a general is the Odyssean urge to go to other places, where you haven't been, and there were some who did just that. For example, Aviv [Kochavi] and Gal Hirsh; for example, Itzik Eitan [former GOC Central Command], who was erased from history because he is inarticulate and an antihero." 
Could it be that you missed your calling? That if you were not a general, you would be in academe? 
"I am army-crazy, it's the good part of my life. I love the field, that sharing of the burden, that slice of the action that carries tremendous potential. When you are a brigade commander with a brigade in the south you go to sleep at night, and no sooner do you finally fall asleep in the cold sleeping bag, when you get up in the morning and say: Let's do it today. It's a fantastic feeling." 
To Naveh's relief, he was not surrounded only by dumbbells in the army. He acknowledges his debt to some of his colleagues and pupils, who shared in the development of his ideas. For example, his admiration for Gal Hirsh is unbounded: "Gal is the most poetic, creative officer I have met for many, many years. That is part of his tragedy: people don't understand him." He also emphasizes the contributions of Kochavi, Tamari, Moshe Ya'alon (a former chief of staff) and Uzi Dayan (a former deputy chief of staff) to his project. 
He is less enthusiastic about other supporters. Thus, former chief of staff Shaul Mofaz "realized that this thing, which he never bothered to learn about, provides him with an intellectual facade," Naveh relates. "So in the end he became our strongest supporter. We reached the peak of our strength thanks to him. I know him. He stinks, he is an idiot, but a terrifying bastard, a paratrooper but absolutely from the garbage of ..." 
Naveh left the army in 2005, following a harsh report by State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on OTRI. The report was critical of the fact that all of the institute's work was carried out orally, without the ideas being put into writing. Allegations in the report about administrative irregularities were later refuted. 
"I will take apart this critique in seconds," Naveh says jocularly. "It is the critique of an idiot. He comes to examine a certain field and doesn't bother to learn about it, doesn't take the trouble to read a word about the operational art, about what it means, about our status in the world. I tell him, go to blazes, you're an idiot, you don't understand a thing. In the same breath he checks how we report on work hours and what is going on with the administrative side, allegations that were all refuted." 
Did you defend yourselves? 
"The subject under review is supposed to respond to the first draft of the comptroller's report, and then he takes it to the deputy chief of staff. In our case, even before we managed to respond to the draft, [Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe] Kaplinsky, that idiot, started to get on our case. He should have come out and said he wanted to destroy us. Kaplinsky said more than once that I had to be got rid of because I couldn't be controlled, and so did that idiot from Northern Command [the former GOC, Udi Adam], a command that is a wretched ruin." 
And then you left? 
"The examining officer was the deputy chief of the Personnel Directorate, and right away I understood that he wanted to remove us, so I said I wanted to leave. Halutz asked me why, and said 'We will talk about it on Friday.' I said, 'We are not going to meet on Friday.' I got up and left. That chapter is over for me. I won't go back there even if they offer me my weight in gold. Maybe if they offer me $40,000-50,000 a month I'll go back, but that would really be to prostitute myself." 
There was other criticism, too. Yaakov Amidror - former commander of the IDF National Defense College - said that your unit's work was tainted by "a non-distinction between truth and lie, prattle in the best postmodern tradition." 
"He is a person who has not read a word about postmodernism, a pathological liar, a pretender, a person who did nothing in his life in the army, a total idler, a showoff. He did everything by political manipulations. I do not accept acknowledgment of the worth of my theory from nonentities. That idiot was a student with me at the Command and Staff College and was always a blackboard below me." 
From whom do you accept acknowledgment? 
"From army officers in the United States, to whom I am now a consultant. In the United States I am a mentor. Do you know what a mentor is?" 
You draw on a vast array of spheres of knowledge - military thought, French philosophy, psychology, brain science. Can one person be knowledgeable about all that? 
"My main channel of activity is the military one, and in that I am the best in the world. I do not purport to be an interpreter of Deleuze; I am modest about that. I use him in a very particular way, and I am aware that there are those who will not accept my interpretation." 
Is it possible that there is a dangerous undemocratic element in the vast power officers are given here - the power to invent the language and explain the situation to the politicians as they see it? 
"There is nothing to fear here, because democracy has arranged a hierarchical structure. You are the one who recommends whether to go ahead or not." 
But don't the officers have an agenda, aren't they pushing for something specific? 
"You always promote your agenda, and of course you have an agenda - what kind of question is that for someone who studied Foucault? But people like that [officers] are from the outset not out to clobber you. The problem is not only that the generals do not know anything about commanding - they do not even know their own profession. The [former] GOC Northern Command is a piece of zilch, the [former] commander of the Navy isn't ashamed to say that he didn't think they [Hezbollah] had missiles. Beyond the fact that information existed, your role is to think. Someone like that should be executed, and I said the same about Halutz. In a well-ordered state they would be executed; the one is a criminal, the other a lout." 
How much did the change you led involve a transformation of language? Suddenly all kinds of new images and metaphors appeared in the military's conceptual world: burning [the Palestinians'] consciousness, dynamic molecule, 'snailing' [see box] and others. Some say that one effect of these unclear terms was to short-circuit communication in the Lebanon War. 
"Clearly, when your knowledge develops, one of its first manifestations is in language. Once you expand the boundaries of knowledge, the conceptual space has to evolve: new understandings emerge and have to be signified and understood. In this connection we had an accident of which we were not aware: We brought the army something new, which they were not familiar with, and it appalled people. What is all this logia? Some people were terrified, but the more courageous and the subversives ran with it. The problem was that we did not understand sufficiently the disparities between the culture of the organization, of the establishment, and what we tried to instill. So we crashed. I was critical of these developments. The fact that you discern new phenomena doesn't mean that you can say those words to plasterers and carpenters. Part of the verbiage becomes a fashion, and the worth of the expressions is lost. 
"The value of using a metaphor is not to encode something, but to help learn something, to understand something that you don't understand. Bogey [former chief of staff Ya'alon] understood that in his situation every problem was a distinct one, and he used metaphors to explain the problematic: the light at the end of the tunnel, riding a tiger. Some people didn't understand what he was saying, and twisted it. The idea is not to describe something from the military world, but to describe something external to the army, which we lack the tools to talk about. So everyone suddenly waxed poetic: the general is talking about light at the end of the tunnel. Some people hated it - Kaplinsky, because he is an idiot, a type of dolt." 
These words trickled into the general society. People outside the army also started to use them. 
"That has to do with the interface between the army and the society and the journalists, for whom I have deep contempt. You see this fashion, books like those by Amos Harel and Ofer Shelah. It's a disgrace."