The following quotations are taken from:
Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War. Trans. Alexander R. Galloway and Jason E. Smith. Semiotexte 2010. Pp. 67-105, 173-224.
“The Modern State,
The Economic Subject
The history of state formation in Europe
Is a history of the neutralization of
and otherwise—within the state.
Carl Schmitt…” 67
“We can recognize the fragile formations of power by their relentless attempts to posit fictions as self-evident. Throughout Modern Times, one of these fictions typically emerges as a neutral center, setting the scene for all the others. Reason, Money, Justice, Science, Man, Civilization, or Culture—with each there is the same phantasmagoric tendency: to posit the existence of a center, and then say that this center is ethically neutral. The State is thus the historical condition for the flourishing of these insipid terms.” 69
“Etymologically the modern State stems from the Indo-European root st-, which refers to fixity, to unchangeable things, to what is. More than a few have been fooled by this sleight of hand. Today, when the State does nothing more than outlive itself, the opposite becomes clear: it is civil war—stasis in Greek—that is permanence, and the modern State will have been a mere reaction process to this permanence.” 70
“In both theory and practice, the modern State came into being in order to put an end to civil war, then called ‘wars of religion.’ Therefore, both historically and by its own admission, it is secondary vis-à-vis civil war.” 72
“In the West, the unity of the traditional world was lost with the Reformation and the ‘wars of religion’ that followed. The modern State then bursts on the scene with the task of reconstituting this unity—secularized, this time—no longer as an organic whole but instead as a mechanical whole, as a machine, as a conscious artificiality.” 74
“The modern State renders religions obsolete because it takes over for them at the bedside of the most atavistic phantasm of metaphysics; the One. From this point forward the order of the world will have to be ceaselessly restored and maintained at all costs, even as it constantly slips away from itself. Police and publicity will be the purely fictive techniques that the modern State will employ to artificially maintain the fiction of the One. Its entire reality will be concentrated in these techniques, through which it will ensure the maintenance of Order, only now that of an outside order, a public order. And so all the arguments it advances in its own defense will in the end boil down to this: ‘Outside of me, disorder.’ Quite untrue: without it, a multiplicity of orders.” 78
“The modern State, which purports to put an end to civil war, is instead its continuation by other means.” 79
“The fate of the communards, of the Action Directe prisoners or the June 1948 insurgents tells us plenty about the bloody origins of republics. Herein lies the specific character of and obstacle to the modern State: It only persists through the practice of the very thing it wants to ward off, through the actualization of the very thing it claims to be absent: Cops know something about this, paradoxically having to apply a ‘state of law,’ which in fact depends on them alone. Thus was the destiny of the modern State: to arise first as the apparent victor of civil war, only then to be vanquished by it; to have been in the end only a parenthesis, only one party among others in the steady course of civil war.” 80
“What at the molar scale assumes the aspect of the modern State, is called at the molecular scale the economic subject.” 82
“The economy appears well prior to the institutions typically used to signal its emergence—the market, money, usury loans, division of labor—and it appears as a kind of possession, that is, as possession by a psychic economy. I tis in this sense that the true black magic exists, and it is only at this level that the economy is real and concrete. This is also where its connection with the State is empirically observable. By flaring up like this the State ends up progressively creating economy in man, creating ‘Man’ itself as an economic creature. With each improvement of the State the economy in each of its subjects is improved as well, and vice versa.
It would be easy to who how, over the course of the seventeenth century the nascent modern State imposed a monetary economy and everything that goes along with in order to glean fueled for the rapid development of its machinery and its relentless military campaigns. Such work has already been performed elsewhere. But this approach only scratches the surface of the linkage between the State and the economy.
The modern State means, among other things, a progressively increasing monopoly on legitimate violence, a process whereby all other forms of violence are delegitimized. The modern State serves the general process of pacification which, since the end of the Middle Ages, only persists through its continuous intensification. It is not simply that during tis evolution it always more drastically hinders the free play of forms-of-life, but rather that it works assiduously to break them, to tear them up, to extract bare life from them, an extraction that is the very activity of ‘civilization.’ In order to become a political subject in the modern State, each body must submit to the machinery that will make it such: it must begin by casting aside its passions (now inappropriate), its tastes (now laughable), its penchants (now contingent), endowing itself instead with interests, which are much more presentable and, even better, representable. In this way, in order to become a political subject each body must first carry out its own autocastration as an economic subject. Ideally, the political subject will thus be reduced to nothing more than a pure vote, a pure voice.
The essential function of the representation each society gives of itself is to influence the way in which each body is represented to itself, and through tis to influence the structure of the psyche. The modern State is therefore first of all the constitution of each body into a molecular state, imbued with bodily integrity by way of territorial integrity, molded into a closed entity within a self, as much in opposition to the ‘exterior world’ as to the tumultuous associations of its own penchants—which it must contain—and in the end required to comport itself with its peers as a good law-abiding subject, to be dealt with, along with other bodies, according to the universal proviso of a sort of private international law of ‘civilized’ habits. In this way the more societies constitute themselves in States, the more their subjects embody the economy. They monitor themselves and each other, they control their emotions, their movements, their inclinations, and believe that they can expect the same self-control from others They make sure never to get carried away where it might prove fatal, and stay cooped up in a room of their own where they can ‘let themselves’ go at their leisure. Sheltered there, withdrawn within their frontiers, they calculate, they predict, they become a waypoint between past and future, and tie their fate to the most probably link between the two. That’s it: they link up, put themselves in chains and chain themselves to each other, countering any type of excess. Fake self-control, restraint, self-regulation of the passsions, extraction of a sphere of shame and fear—bare life—the warding off of all forms-of-life, and a fortiori of any play established between them.” 83-85
“The founding act of the modern State—that is, not the first act but the one it repeats over and over—is the institution of the fictitious split between public and private, between political and moral. This is how it manages to crack bodies open, how it grinds up forms-of-life. The move to divide internal freedom and external submission, more interiority and political conduct, corresponds to the institution as such of bare life.” 88
“Of course it was Kant who crafted the general motto of critique in his What is Enlightenment? Oddly enough the motto was also a saying of Frederick II: ‘You are allowed to think as much as you want and on whatever topic you wish; as long as you obey!’ Mirroring the political, ‘morally neutral realm of State Reason, critique establishes the moral, ‘politically neutral’ realm of free usage of Reason. This is what is meant by ‘publicity.’” 91
“And just as the gestures of State reason had to be shrouded in silence, the idle chatter and the flights of fancy of critical reason will have to be shrouded in the condemnation of these gestures… Gesture without discourse on the one hand and discourse without gesture on the other—the State and Critique guarantee by the techniques specific to each (police/publicity, respectively) the neutralization of every ethical difference. This is how THEY conjured away, along with the free play of forms-of-life, the political itself.” 92
De Tocqueville: “And finally, at the end of the Revolution: ‘You will see an immense central power, which has devoured all the bits of authority and obedience which were formerly divided among a crowd of secondary powers, orders, classes, professions, families, and individuals, scattered throughout society.’” 94
“At each moment of its existence, the police reminds the State of the violence, the banality, and the darkness of its beginnings.” 105
“All those who cannot or will not conjure away the forms-of-life that move them must come to grips with the following fact: they are, we are, the pariahs of Empire. Anchored somewhere within us, there is a lightless spot, a mark of Cain filling citizens with terror if not outright hatred. This is the Manichaeism of Empire: on one side there is the glorious new humanity, carefully reformatted, thrown open to all the rays of power, ideally lacking in experience, and oblivious to themselves until they become cancerous. These are the citizens, the citizens of Empire. And there’s us. Us—it is neither a subject, nor something formed, nor a multitude. Us—it is a heap of worlds, of sub-spectacular and interstitial worlds, whose existence is unmentionable, woven together with the kind of solidarity and dissent that power cannot penetrate; and there are the strays, the poor, the prisoners, the thieves, the criminals, the crazy, the perverts, the corrupted, the overly alive, the overflowing, the rebellious corporealities. In short, all those who, following their own line of flight, do not fit into Empire’s stale, air-conditioned paradise. Us—this is the fragmented plane of consistency of the Imaginary Party.
Insofar as we stay in contact with our own potentiality, even if only in thinking through our experience, we represent a danger within the metropolises of Empire. We are whatever enemy against which all the imperial apparatuses and norms are positioned. Conversely, the resentful ones, the intellectual, the immunodeficient, the humanist, the transplant patient, the neurotic are Empire’s model citizens. From these citizens, THEY are certain there is nothing to fear. Given their circumstances, these citizens are lashed to a set of artificial conditions of existence, such that only Empire can guarantee their survival; any dramatic shift in their conditions of existence and they die. They are born collaborators. It is not only power that passes through their bodies, but also the police. This kind of mutilated life arises not only as a consequence of Empire’s progress, but as its precondition. The equation citizen = cop runs deep within the crack that exists at the core of such bodies.” 174-175
“For us, the hostis is this very hostility that, within Empire, orders both the non-relation to self and the generalized non-relation between bodies. Anything that tries to arouse in us this hostis must be annihilated. What I mean is that the sphere of hostility itself must be reduced.
The only way to reduce the sphere of hostility is by spreading the ethical-political domain of friendship and enmity. This is why Empire has never been able to reduce this sphere of hostility, despite all its clamoring in the name of peace. The becoming-real of the Imaginary Party is simply the formation—the contagious formation—of a plane of consistency where friendships and enmities can freely deploy themselves and make themselves legible to each other.
An agent of the imaginary Party is someone who, wherever he is, from his own position, triggers or pursues the process of ethical polarization, the differential assumption of forms-of-life. This process is nothing other than Tiqqun.
Tiqqun is the becoming-real, the becoming-practice of the world. Tiqqun is the process through which everything is revealed to be practice, that is, to take place within its own limits, within its own immanent signification. Tiqqun means that each act, conduct, and statement endowed with sense—act, conduct and statement as event—spontaneously manifests its own metaphysics, its own community, its own party. Civil war simply means the world is practice, and life is, in its smallest details, heroic.” 178-181
“Every form-of-life tends to constitute a community, and as a community tends to constitute a world. Each world, when it thinks itself—when it grasps itself strategically in its play with other worlds—discovers that it is structured by a particular metaphysics which is, more than a system, a language, its language. When a world thinks itself, it becomes infectious. It knows the ethic it carries within, and it has mastered, within its domain, the art of distances.
For each body, the most intense serenity is found by pushing its present form-of-life to the limit, all the way to the point where the line disappears, the line along which its power grows. Each body wants to exhaust its form-of-life and leave it for dead. Then, it passes on to another. This is how a body gets thicker, nourished with experience. But it also becomes more supple: it has learned how to get rid of one figure of the self.” 183-184
“Under the current conditions imposed by Empire, an ethical grouping has to turn itself into a war machine. The object of the war machine is not war. To the contrary, it can ‘make ware only on the condition that they simultaneously create something else, if only new nonorganic social relations’ (Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus). Unlike an army or revolutionary organizations, the war machine has a supplemental relation to war. It is capable of offensive exploits and can enter into battle; it can have unlimited recourse to violence. But it does not need this to lead a full, complete existence.
This is where the question of taking back both violence and all the intense expressions of life stolen from us by biopolitical democracies has to be posed. We should start by getting rid of the tired idea that death always comes at the end, as the final moment of life. Death is everyday, it is the continuous diminution of our presence that occurs when we no longer have the strength to abandon ourselves to our inclinations. Each wrinkle and each illness is some taste we have betrayed, some infidelity to a form-of-life animating us. This is our real death, and its chief cause is our lack of strength, the isolation that prevents us from trading blows with power, which forbids us from letting go of ourselves without the assurance we will have to pay for it. Our bodies feel the need to gather together into war machines, for this alone makes it possible to live and to struggle.” 186-187
“We do not believe in the revolution, we believe a bit more in ‘molecular revolutions,’ and wholeheartedly believe in the differentiated ways of taking up civil war.” 191
“To begin again means: to exist the suspension. To
Reestablish contact between our becomings.
To start out from,
wherever we are,
“ripping off, from this or that imperial network of
production-consumption, the means to live and
fight in order, at the chosen moment,
to scuttle it.” 203
“Perform this slight shift.
No longer fear our time.
‘Not to fear one’s time is a question of space.’
In a squat. In an orgy. In a riot. In a train or an
occupied village. In search of, amid unknowns, a
free party that is unfindable. I experience this slight
shift. The experience
of my desubjectivization. I become
a whatever singularity. Some play opens up between
my presence and the whole apparatus of qualities
that are ordinarily attached to me.” 204
“Everything THEY—fiancé, family, environment,
business, the State, public opinion—recognize in
me, THEY use to seize hold of me.
By constantly reminding me of what I am, of my
qualities, THEY would like to abstract me from each situation. In every circumstance, THEY would like to extort from me a fidelity to myself which is a fidelity to my predicates.
THEY expect that I should act as a man, as an
Employee, as an unemployed person, as a mother,
As an activist, or as a philosopher.
THEY want to contain within the bounds of an
identity the unpredictable flow of my becomings.
THEY want to convert me to rthe religion of a coherence
That THEY chose for me.
The more I am recognized, the more my gestures
are hindered, hindered from within. And here I am
caught in the ultra-tight meshwork of the new
power. In the impalpable snares of the new police:
THE IMPERIAL POLICE OF QUALITIES.
There is a whole network of apparatuses that I slip
into in order to ‘integrate’ myself, and which
incorporate in me these qualities.
A whole little system of filing, identification, and
A whole diffuse prescription of absence.
A whole machinery of comport/mental control,
Aiming toward panopticism, toward transparent
privatization, toward atomization.
And in which I struggle.
I need to become anonymous. In order to be present.
The more I am anonymous, the more I am present.” 205-206
“There is a politics of whatever singularity.
Which consists in tearing back from Empire
the conditions and the means,
to experience yourself as such.
This is a politics, because it presupposes a capacity
and because a new human aggregation
corresponds to it.
Politics of whatever singularity: freeing up these
spaces where an action is no longer assignable to
any given body.
Where bodies rediscover their aptitude for gesture,
something that the canny distribution of metropolitan
apparatuses, computers, automobiles, schools,
cameras, mobile phones, sports arenas, hospitals,
televisions, cinemas, etc.—had stolen from them.
By recognizing them.
By immobilizing them.
By letting them spin against nothing.
By making the head exist separately from the body.
Politics of whatever singularity.
A becoming-whatever is more revolutionary than
any kind of being-whatever.
Liberating spaces liberates us a hundred times more
than any kind of ‘liberated space.’
More than putting a power into action, I enjoy
the circulation of my potentiality.” 207
“What happens between bodies during an occupation is
more interesting than the occupation itself.
How is it to be done? means that military confrontation
with Empire must be subordinated to the
intensification of relations within our party.” 211
“You can only oppose the global order locally. By
extending shadowy zones over the maps of Empire.
And by progressively putting them into contact.
“Rather than new critiques, new cartographies
are what we need.
Cartographies not for Empire, but for lines of flight
out of it.
How is it to be done? We need maps. Maritime maps. Tools
for orientation. That don’t try to say or represent
what is within different archipelagos of desertion,
but show us how to meet up with them.
Portolan charts.” 216
“Conspiracy of bodies. Not critical minds, but critical
corporealities. That’s what Empire is scared of.
That’s what’s slowly coming about,
with the increasing flow
of social defection.
There is an opacity inherent to the contact between
bodies. And that is incompatible with the imperial
reign of light that no longer illuminates things
except to break them down.
Zones of Offensive Opacity do not have
to be created.
They are already there, in any kind of relation that
brings about a veritable
putting into play of bodies.
What’s needed is to embrace the fact that we take
part in this opacity. And to give ourselves the
means to spread it,
Everywhere you manage to sidestep the imperial
Apparatuses, to ruin all the daily work of Biopower
and the Spectacle in order to extricate a fraction of
citizens from the population. To isolate new
untorelli. In this indistinction that’s won back,
an autonomous ethical tissue,
plane of consistency
Bodies gather. Get their breath back. Conspire.
That such zones are doomed to be flattened mili-
tarily means little. What matters is that each time
we arrange a fairly secure escape route. In order to
gather together again elsewhere.
“Empire is when the means of production have
become the means of control and the means of
control the means of production.
Empire signifies that henceforth the political
the economic moment.
And the general strike is powerless against it.
What must be opposed to Empire is
the human strike.
Which never attacks the relations of production
without attacking at the same time the affective relations
that sustain it.
Which undermines the unavowable libidinal
restores the ethical element—the how—repressed in
every contact between neutralized bodies.
The human strike is the strike that, whenever THEY
this or that predictable reaction,
some contrite or indignant tone,
PREFERS NOT TO.
Slips away from the apparatus.” 220-221
“A new Luddism must be invented, a Luddism
against the human gears
that turn the wheels of Capital.” 221