domenica 27 marzo 2016

4.1. To subvert the braking effect of totality - Pt. XXII - Excerpt from the essay «Money, Revolution and Acceleration in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus», Obsolete Capitalism Free Press/Rizosphere, 2016

chapteR iv

The infinite money: desire, value and simulacrum

Truths are coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, On truth and lies in a non-moral sense
We need units in order to count, but it may not be assumed that such units [of measure] exist.
—Friedrich Nietzsche, fr. 14[79]

To subvert the braking effect of totality

If we examine the main works of Deleuze, Foucault and Klossowski published between 1968 and 1972, we can observe that the courses of these texts objectively bear enigmatic and common features that could allow us to regard them as ‘fragmentary research projects’; these are investigations that could hardly be conceived and envisaged if we evaluate them from a ‘revolutionary’ perspective with the aim of identifying on which common battleground and common agenda these three intellectuals act. They swing with remarkable aplomb from far-sighted and vibrant essays with an academic flavour, such as Difference and Repetition or The Archaeology of Knowledge, to hermeneutic works on Nietzsche – which include both anthologies of fragments like Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, and of first editions of his Œuvres Complètes published by Gallimard – continuing with literary criticism or tout-court literature works such as The Logic of Sense or The Women of Rome, and finishing with cryptic economical essays, La Monnaie Vivante, or aggressively political pamphlets, The Anti-Œdipus; not to mention, then, their academic lectures ranging from Freud to Marx, from Aristotle to Nietzsche, from Greek currency to the Medieval Inquisition or history of sexuality, without any interruption. Foucault himself, with a certain irony, in his first lecture on 7 January 1976 part of a course titled Society Must Be Defended, wants to terminate a line of research that he himself defines incoherent and discontinuous. Foucault feels the need to end and systematise, in some way, the several lines of research, insight and analysis that he had been carrying on since he started his lectures at the Collège de France (1970). From a certain point of view, Foucault does not mention only his research, but alludes also to a common path of the French revolutionary rhizosphere when he lists among the relevant, or at least interesting, elements of the previous fifteen years “I am thinking of the efficacy of a book such as L 'Anti-Œdipe, which really has no other source of reference than its own prodigious theoretical inventiveness: a book, or rather a thing, an event, which has managed, even at the most mundane level of psychoanalytic practice, to introduce a note of shrillness into that murmured exchange that has for so long continued uninterrupted between couch and armchair” (PK, 80) . This is an important indication to his students since
the philosophical work of Deleuze has always been a crucial point of reference for Foucault, because it had openly established itself as an “ally” of his theories since the early sixties, or at least from the beginning of the “Nietzsche Renaissance” and, thus, from the publication of Nietzsche and Philosophy (1962) and the Royaumont conference (1964). What is most surprising is the importance that Foucault confers to the anti-œdipic text, because his analysis takes into account “the last ten, fifteen, twenty years at most”, hence the timeframe that goes, approximately, from 1956 and 1976: not only the Anti-Œdipus is the only book to be referenced, but its position in Foucault’s argument surprises us the most. The volume, indeed, is referred to in the context of “this amazing efficacy of discontinuous,particularandlocalcriticism” and its efficacy is compared to that of entire movements such as anti-psychiatry, existential analysis, and attacks upon the legal and penal system. Foucault concludes: “I would say, then, that what has emerged in the course of the last ten or fifteen years is a sense of the increasing vulnerability to criticism of things, institutions, practices, discourses. A certain fragility has been discovered in the very bedrock of existence- even, and perhaps above all, in those aspects of it that are most familiar, most solid and most intimately related to our bodies and to our everyday behaviour. But together with this sense of instability and this amazing efficacy of discontinuous, particular and local criticism, one in fact also discovers something that perhaps was not initially foreseen, something one might describe as precisely the inhibiting effect of global, totalitarian theories. It is not that these global theories have not provided nor continue to provide in a fairly consistent fashion useful tools for local research: Marxism and psychoanalysis are proofs of this. [...] In each case, the attempt to think in terms of a totality has in fact proved a hindrance to research” (PK, 80-81) By following Foucault’s outline, we can identify two opposite fronts: on the one hand, the «accelerationist» front, irregular, peculiar and local; on the other hand, a front more “restraining”, “braking”, continuous, global, total, and openly totalitarian. Marxism and psychoanalysis can still be useful instruments at a local level, but, according to Foucault, when confronted with facts, they have had a “braking” thus negative function for the insurrectionary front. L 'Anti-Œdipe, in Foucault’s opinion, fits perfectly in the domain of those critical entities capable of causing landslides and provided with some peculiar characteristics that could be summarised as follows: 1) autonomous – instead of centralized – technical production 2) wisdom returns to scale which descend from the insurrection of subjugated wisdoms.


domenica 20 marzo 2016

E.3.7. Second portrait of the revolutionary: the Deleuzian rhizomatic nomad - Pt. XXI - Excerpt from the essay «Money, Revolution and Acceleration in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus», Obsolete Capitalism Free Press/Rizosphere, 2016

Second portrait of the revolutionary:
the Deleuzian rhizomatic nomad

Following the words of the book
Anti-Œdipus we portray a quite canonical image of the schizo-delirious revolutionary man: “... a schizo-revolutionary type or pole that follows the lines of escape of desire; breaches the wall and causes flows to move; assembles its machines and its groups-in-fusion in the enclaves or at the periphery—proceeding in an inverse fashion from that of the other pole: I am not your kind, I belong eternally to the inferior race, I am a beast, a black.” (AO, 277) But in other writings Deleuze’s position is less reassuring: “Militant revolutionaries cannot be concerned with delinquency, deviance, and madness — not as educators or reformers,but as those who can read the face of their proper difference only in such mirrors.” (DI, 201). The subversive is then a prismatic simulacrum who collects various points of view: the criminal’s or the diverse and fool man’s and is forced to elaborate the different aspects in which he mirrors his diversity: himself, his marginality, the phantasmal world he belongs to and the
rest of the social body, reaching a deformed singularity which self-affirms differently from what the false counter-identity of a presumed antagonistic vocation would do, once compared to «respectable people». Differently from Nietzsche the rhizomatic is not nihilist, he appreciates the revolution as an accelerated event of transvaluation of all values, and provided that he accepts the register of Nietzsche’s corrosive parody, he will revolve it in positive looking for «new ways». This new rhizomatic politics is very different from the more traditional one of the communist and socialist movements in the XIX and XX century. To evaluate such difference let us read the conspiracy notion as interpreted by Klossowski and Deleuze: “There is a topic which Klossowski addressed, I believe, at the same time that he was addressing the loss of identity, namely, the topic of singularity, by which he means the “non- identical”. A conspiracy, if one understands Klossowski’s thinking, is a community of singularities. The question, then, configured in term of the political (understood either in its contemporary or ancient sense) is this: how are we to conceive of a community of singularities?(CV, 46). For the first time in history one could here locate a new way of being revolutionary, a strategy of ways, of non-identities: an overturning of the basic concepts of revolution as expression of organization of a social group, in favour of a heuristic insurrectional. A revolution which does not recognize useful any of the previous revolutionary models, and whose final aim is not gaining power. As Deleuze said, the so-called society is a community of regularities or more precisely, a certain selective process which retains select singularities and regularises them. In order to maintain the proper functioning of society it selects for regularisation, to use the language of psychoanalysis, what might be called paranoiac singularities. But a conspiracy - this would be a community of singularities of another type, which would not be regularised, but which would enter into new connections, and in this sense, would be revolutionary.(CV 46, 47). Here lies the real “heart” of the fragment The Strong of the Future and of Deleuze’s Nomad Thought. With the eyes of the book Anti-Œdipus the great process of regularization is the same great process of the Western oikonomia which allows the rational functioning of a highly numbered community of market- subjugated singularities: “... the human species... articulates itself, through production, in order to maintain itself at the level of humanity, [and] can only do so through the absurdity of a total reduction of its moral resources achieved through work itself.” (CV,37) What remains open is the way singularities can be linked among them, we mean «connections» and not «institutions». The selective criterion of the Eternal Return - if the perspective is the extreme bifurcation of discrete productions of non-identities from macro-repetitions of homogenous identities - is possible only on the basis of a double selection of human types: the essential - seen as «mass-value»
in relation to the mercantile society, and the surplus - seen as «waste-value», an impersonal and singularized-plusvalue apt to form societies and groups (CV, 47). According to Deleuze the «surplus men» “are motionless, and the nomadic adventure begins when they seek to stay in the same place by escaping the codes.”(DI, 259) The nomad is defined by Deleuze as a mobile centre of resistance, an enchanted traveller with inconceivable horizons, a motionless traveller on collective bodies. The last big problem to face now is the following: both gregarious and unassimilated ones live and fight in a demoralizing unjust macro- scenario. How is it possible to weave the net of light self-organized bounds in the existing massive-unifying social structure? Will such a net be able to support the various connections among diversities in future times? 


domenica 13 marzo 2016

E.3.6. The Great Politics and the revolutionary - Pt. XX - Excerpt from the essay «Money, Revolution and Acceleration in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus», Obsolete Capitalism Free Press/Rizosphere, 2016

The Great Politics and the revolutionary

Another point we have to make is to identify the revolutionary type of the Anti-Œdipus. The physiognomy has been already outlined in two different forms in Anti-Œdipus. Guattari in an interview for the magazine «Neue Zeitung» in 1972 with regards to the identification among analyst, patient and activist says: “First of all no one has ever said that the analyst is the same as the schizophrenic man but that the analyst, as well as the activist or the writer or anybody else, is more or less engaged in a schizoid process and there is always a difference between the schizo process and the process of a schizophrenic man interned in an insane-asylum, as his schizo process is blocked or goes uselessly around in circles. We are not saying that the revolutionary group need to identify with the madmen going uselessly round in circles, but that they need to push their actions into a schizo- way process.” According to Guattari the schizophrenic man does not coincide with the madman but becomes schizo when he clashes with an individual or collective «desiring process» which holds at its centre a «libidinal energy» able to drive him from an assessed subject to a new open code subject, passing through a metamorphosis and a process of both de-subjectivation and neo-subjectivation. In this transition we can identify parts of former subjectivity - the doctor, the worker, the white man, the human being - and some of the new one - the homosexual, the trans-gender, the foolish man, the analyst. It is therefore not possible to locate one single typical revolutionary man, but multiple individual and/or group connections in schizo- revolutionary processes. What revolution really requires, according to Guattari, is an experimental revolutionary process and not revolutionary subjects tailored by ideology. “Repeated mistakes and insignificant results are more necessary than a stupid passivity and claw back mechanisms.”
To deeply understand the concept of the revolutionary man as intended by Deleuze we need to look at Klossowski again and in particular to his speech at the Collége de Philosophie in Paris during a conference entitled Nietzsche, Polytheism and Parody in 1957. Klossowski was considered one of the central figures in French Nietzsche’s studies, especially after his masterful translation of Nietzsche’s The Gay Science in 1954. In this speech Klossowski underlines the figure of the «actor as interpreter of a celestial revelation» able to contrast the catechontic institutions with artistic antinomic «accelerated» creations: “But art has a very wide meaning, and in Nietzsche, this category includes institutions as much as works of free creation. For example - and

here we can see immediately what is at issue- how does Nietzsche consider the Church? For him, the Church is constituted grosso modo by a cast of profound impostors: the priests. The Church is a masterpiece of spiritual domination, and it required that impossible plebian monk, Luther, to dream of ruining that masterpiece, the last edifice of Roman civilization among us. The admiration Nietzsche always had for the Church and the papacy rests precisely upon the idea that truth is an error, and that art, as willed error, is higher than truth. This is why Zarathustra confesses his affinity with the priest, and why, in the Fourth Part, during that extraordinary gathering of the different kinds of higher men in Zarathustra's cave, the Pope -the Last Pope- is one of the prophet's guests of honor. This betrays, I think, Nietzsche's temptation to foresee a ruling class of great meta- psychologists who would take charge of the destinies of future humanity, since they would know perfectly both the different aspirations and the different resources capable of satisfying them. (NPP; 106, 107) What he is saying is that Nietzsche at the end of the 80’s of the XIX century had already understood that the Great Politics needed an entertainment sphere where institutions, dominating castes, gregarious masses could express a certain will to power. Deleuze admires Klossowski and his Nietzsche (as he will write in a letter sent to him in December 1969) and will retrieve the concept of acceleration of processes of a community of irregulars who confound all codes, thus entwining Klossowski- Nietzsche’s conspirative theory with the political riots of the 70’s in France. Their alliance is clearly detected in the talks at the famous meeting of Cerisy-la-Salle in July 1972 where Klossowski defines the fragment entitled The Strong of the Future - 9 [153] - as the «heart of conspiracy». After he has finished reading the fragment he poses a question wondering what Nietzschean comportment we would adopt in relation to the current upheavals - namely youth poverty, revolutionary riots, clashes between the adverse forces - "no longer from the point of view of power but from the perspective of the vicious circle” to conclude that he would support the comportment "of the vicious circle, seen as a manifestation of the nihilist judgment passed upon all acting." (CV, 38)
Klossowski, choosing the comportment of the nihilist judgment, reaffirms Nietzsche’s parodistic behaviour on the economic planetary planning scenario and again he reminds an attentive audience - Deleuze, Lyotard, Derrida, Calasso and Nancy - the thought of eternal return: “As I have insisted, this thought, as the theme of Nietzsche’s highest contemplation, becomes the instrument of conspiracy. It is from this stage that the god of the vicious circle can truly be considered the blossoming of a delusion. The question that I now pose is whether delusory or deranged behaviour, in this sense, when confronted with reality, can become in any way efficacious, or if, more generally,
any deranged comportment might be said to constitute an efficient resistance in the face of a determined adverse force.”(CV, 38) According to Klossowski, Nietzsche moves from the position of the biological contemplative observer of the law of the Eternal Return to the one of the strong political watcher, thus building - employing Deleuze and Guattari terminology - a real war machine so to be able to transform the Eternal Return into a conspiracy which should subvert the current domination of the levelled industrialized man. But why should such conspiracy be delirious? For at least two reasons: the first one because the double parody of the current social model and of its simulacrum subvert all codes, as a consequence of the nihilist judgment passed upon all acting. The second reason is linked to Deleuze and Guattari’s interpretation of the post-68 revolutionary riots: “Delirium is the general matrix of every unconscious social investment. Every unconscious investment mobilizes a delirious interplay of disinvestments, of counterinvestments, of overinvestments”. (AO, 277) Similarly Klossowski’s delirium - the radical departing from the established path - coincides with the delirious polarity in Anti-Œdipus: if every social investment is delirious, the same will be for a no longer secret conspiracy plotted by idle urban dissidents whose aim justifies and realizes itself through the same means of manifestation. The question at this stage is about fulfillment: can the schizo-delirious approach be incisive both in the revolutionary riots of the ‘70s and on a any other future moment to come, as the law of the Vicious Circle seem to suggest? In Klossowski words the question is: does the schizo delirious process simply represent the current version of the Vicious Circle or are we in front of a general peremptory coherent identity between Process, Circle and Return? 


domenica 6 marzo 2016

E.3.5. The nomadic unity and the Guattarian schizophrenic man - Pt. XIX - Excerpt from the essay «Money, Revolution and Acceleration in Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus», Obsolete Capitalism Free Press/Rizosphere, 2016

The nomadic unity and the Guattarian schizophrenic man

The last molecular question inquires which

hidden philosophical and political thought lies in the accelerationist passage of The Civilized Capitalist Machine. Let us analyze the historical and political background of those years in France. Deleuze and Guattari in the two-year period 1972-1973 speak about the political issue in various occasions “We also know that the problem for revolutionaries today is to unite within the purpose of the particular struggle without falling into the despotic and bureaucratic organization of the party or status apparatus. We seek a kind of war machine that will not re-create a status apparatus, a nomadic unit related to the outside that will not revive an internal despotic unity.” (NT, 149) These are Deleuze’s words at Cerisy-la-Salle, words that he will reaffirm in an interview with Vittorio Marchetti for the Italian philosophical magazine «Tempi Moderni»: “The problem is not determining which science will be the human science par
excellence; the problem is determining how a certain number of "machines" endowed with revolutionary potential are going to fit together. For example, the literary machine, the psychoanalytic machine, and political machines: either they will find a unifying point, as they have done so up to now, in a particular system of adaptation to capitalist regimes, or else they will find a shattering unity in a revolutionary utilization.” (DI, 236). Guattari is on the same level of analysis when he answers to Michel Antoine Burnier in an interview for the magazine «Actuel» published in 1973: “The most important thing is not authoritarian unification, but a kind of infinite swarming: desires in the neighborhood, the schools, factories, prisons, nursery schools, etc. It’s not about a make-over, or totalization, but hooking up on the same plane at its tipping point. As long as we stick to the alternative between the impotent spontaneity of anarchy and the hierarchical and bureaucratic encoding of a party-organization, there can be no liberation of desire.” (DI, 266)
He continues underlining the issue of «opponents» in the revolutionary organization: “It's always the same old trick: a big ideological debate in the general assembly, and the questions of organization are reserved for special committees. These look secondary, having been determined by political options. Whereas, in fact, the real problems are precisely the problems of organization, never made explicit or rationalized, but recast after the fact in ideological terms. The real divisions emerge in organization: a particular way of treating desire and power, investments, group- Oedipuses, group-super-egos, phenomena of perversion... Only then are the political oppositions built up: an individual chooses one position over another, because in the scheme of the organization of power, he has already chosen and hates his opponent.” (DI, 264)
To overcome such political poverty Deleuze and Guattari firmly believe that only a brand new type of revolution can produce a brand new type of politics: “... revolutionary organization must be the organization of a war-machine and not of a State apparatus, the organization of an analyzer and not of an external synthesis” (DI, 269). Guattari insists: “And in our view, this corresponds to a certain position vis- a-vis desire, a profound way of envisioning the ego, the individual, and the family. This raises a simple dilemma: either we find some new type of structure to facilitate the fusion of collective desire and revolutionary organization; or we continue on the present course, heading from one repression to the next, toward a fascism that will make Hitler and Mussolini look like a joke.” (DI, 269). Fascism then becomes the main strategic enemy of the ethical-political option proposed by Deleuze and Guattari and it will be the basis on which the two philosophers will develop their theory of molar and molecular fascism in the second volume of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, A Thousand Plateaus in the chapter entitled 1933 Micropolitics and Segmentarity. Foucault himself will highlight this important anti-fascist feature in his introduction to the American edition of Anti-Œdipus when he defines the book as an “introduction to a non fascist life because it tracks down all varieties of fascism, from the enormous ones that surround and crush us to the petty ones that constitute the tyrannical bitterness of our everyday lives(INFL, 13).