The following quotations are from:

The Invisible Committee, Now

“It resembles a physical law. The more the social order loses credit, the more it arms its police. The more the institutions withdraw, the more they advance in terms of surveillance. The less respect the authorities inspire, the more they seek to keep us respectful through force.” 113

“When the orderliness of demonstrations can no longer be assured except by means of sting-ball grenades and kettlings, and the demonstrators are forced to flee the green lasers of the Anti-Crime Brigade’s LBD 40s, targeting its future victims, this is an indication that ‘society’ has already reached the stage of palliative treatment. When the calm of the banlieus comes at the cost of arming the CRS with automatic rifles, we know that a certain figure of the world has faded. It’s never a good sign when a democratic regime takes up the habit of having its population fired upon. Since the time when politics started to be reduced, in every domain, to a vast police operation conducted day after day, it was inevitable that policing would become a political question.” 113-114

“If one wishes to understand what is at stake in this eminently political question of policing, it’s necessary to grasp the conjuring trick operating between policing as a means and policing as an end. On the other hand there is the ideal, legal, fictitious social order—policing as an end—and then there is its real order, or rather its real disorder. The function of policing as a means is to make sure that the desired external order appears to reign. It ensures the order of things by using the weapons of disorder and reigns over the visible through its elusive activity. Its daily practices—kidnapping, beating, spying, stealing, forcing, deceiving, lying, killing, being armed—cover the whole register of illegality, so that its very existence never ceases being basically unavowable. Being proof that what is legal is not what is real, that order does not reign, that society doesn’t cohere since it’s not held together by its own powers, policing is constantly pushed into the shadows, where it occupies one of the world’s blind spots as far as thinking is concerned. For the ruling order, it’s like a birthmark in the middle of the face. It is the persistent and constant expression of the state of exception—that which every sovereignty wishes it could hide, but which it is regularly forced to exhibit in order to make itself feared. If the state of exception is that momentary suspension of the law that makes it possible to reestablish the conditions for the rule of law, through the most arbitrary and bloody measures, the police in their daily operation are what remains of the state of exception when those conditions have been restored. The police in their daily operation are what persists of the state of exception in the normal situation. This is why their sovereign operation is itself so concealed. When the policemen faced with a recalcitrant arrestee lets loose with ‘The law, I am the law!” it’s always out of earshot. Or when on a day of demonstration the riot cop dragging a comrade away for no valid reason waxes ironic: ‘I do as I like. You see, for me too it’s anarchy today!’ For political economy and cybernetics alike, the police remain like a shameful and unthinkable relic, a memento mori that reminds them that their order, which wants to think of itself as natural, is still not that and doubtless never will be. Thus the police oversee an apparent order that internally is only disorder. They are the truth of a world of lies, and hence a continuing lie themselves. They testify to the fact that the ruling order is artificial and will sooner or later be destroyed.” 116-118

“In reality, what we’re witnessing is a major turnaround in the relation between the government and the police. For a long time, the forces of order were those ignorant puppets, despised but brutal, that were brandished against the restive populations. Somewhere between a parachutist, a lightning rod, and a punching ball. The governing authorities have now reached such depths of discredit that the contempt they elicit has surpassed that of the police, and the police know it. The police understood, albeit slowly, that it had become the precondition of government, its survival kit, its mobile respirator. So that their relationship has reversed itself. Henceforth the governing authorities are rattles in the hands of the police.” 120

“If [the communist question] continues to haunt [the world], that’s because it doesn’t stem from an ideological fixation but from a basic, immemorial, lived experience: that of community—which nullifies all the axioms of the economy and all the fine constructions of civilization. There is never community as an entity, but always as an experience of continuity between beings and with the world. In love, in friendship, we have the experience of that continuity. In this riot where we all stick to the plan we’ve decided on, where the chants of the comrades give us courage, where a street medic delivers aid and comfort to an unknown person with a head injury, I experience this continuity.” 131

“By considering the human subject in isolation from its world, by detaching living beings from all that lives around them, modernity could not help but engender a communism destined to eradicate a socialism. And that socialism could only encounter peasants, nomads, and ‘savages’ as an obstacle to be shoved aside, as an unpleasant residue at the bottom of the national scale of importance. It couldn’t even see the communism of which they were the bearers. If modern ‘communism’ was able to imagine itself as a universal brotherhood, as a realized equality, this was only through a cavalier extrapolation from the lived experience of fraternity in combat, of friendship. For what is friendship if not equality between friends?” 132-133

“The genius of the economic operation is to conceal the plane on which it commits its misdeeds, the one on which it conducts its veritable war: the plane of bonds. In this way it confounds its potential adversaries, and is able to present itself as totally positive whereas it is quite evidently motivated by a fierce appetite for destruction. It has to be said that the bonds readily lend themselves to this. What is more immaterial, subtle, intangible than a bond? What’s less visible, less opposable but more sensitive than a bond that’s being destroyed? The contemporary numbing of sensibilities, their systematic fragmentation, is not just the result of survival within capitalism, it’s the precondition for survival. We don’t suffer from being individuals, we suffer from trying to be that. Since the individual entity exists, fictitiously, only from the outside, ‘being an individual’ requires remaining outside oneself, strangers to ourselves, forgoing any contact with oneself as well as with the world and others. Obviously everyone is free to take everything from the outside. One only has to keep from feeling, hence form being present, hence from living. We prefer the opposite mode—the communist mode. It consists in apprehending things and beings from the inside, grasping them by the middle.” 139-140

“Communism does not hinge on self-renunciation but on the attention given to the smallest action. It’s a question of our plane of perception and hence of our way of doing things. A practical matter. What the perception of entities—individual or collective—bars our access to is the plane where things really happen, where the collective potentials form and fall apart, gain strength or dissipate. It’s on that plane and only there that the real, including the political real, becomes legible and makes sense. To live communism is not to work to ensure the existence of the entity we belong to, but to deploy and deepen an ensemble of ties, which sometimes means cutting certain ones. What is essential occurs at the level of the smallest things. For the communist, the world of important facts extends as far as the eye can see. Perception in terms of bonds dismisses the whole alternative between individual and collective, and does so positively. In a real situation, an ‘I’ that says what needs to be said can be a ‘we’ of extraordinary power. And so, the particular happiness of any ‘commune’ reflects the plenitude of its singularities, a certain quality of ties, the radiant energy of each fragment of world that it harbors—good-bye to entities, to their protrusiveness, good-bye to individual and collective confinement, adios to the reign of narcissism. ‘The one and only progress,’ wrote the poet Franco Fortini, ‘consists and will consist in reaching a higher level, one that is visible and visionary, where the powers and qualities of every singular existence can be promoted.’ What is to be deserted is not ‘society,’ or ‘individual life,’ but the dyad they compose. We must learn to move on a different plane.” 143-144

“…the theater troupe, the seminar, the rock group, the rugby team, are collective forms. They are assemblages composed of multiple heterogeneous elements. They contain humans allotted different positions, different tasks, who make up a particular configuration, with its distances, its spacings, its rhythm. And they also contain all kinds of non-humans—places, equipment and materials, rituals, cries, and refrains. This is what makes them forms, specific forms. But what characterizes ‘the collective’ as such is precisely that it is formless.” 146

“In this epoch, the means of communication are the forms of organization. It’s our weakness, for the means aren’t in our hands, and those who control them are not our friends. So there’s no other choice but to deploy an art of conversation between worlds that is crudely deficient, but from which, in contact with the situation, the right decision must emanate. Such a discussion can gain the center, from the periphery where it is currently contained, only through an offensive from the domain of sensibility, on the plane of perception and not of discourse. We’re talking about addressing bodies and not just the head.” 158