IX

 

"That's what generalized programs sharpen their teeth on; on little bits of people, on little bits of men who don't want any program."

Philippe Carles, Jean-Louis Comolli, "Free Jazz: Out of Program, Out of Subject, in Out Field", 2000

 

"The few active rebels should have the qualities of speed and endurance, be ubiquitous, and have independent sources of provisions."

T.E. Lawrence, "Guerrilla" Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume X, 1926

 

 

These questions, seen from the neutralized and neutralizing perspective of the laboratory observer or of the chat-room/salon, must be reexamined in themselves, and tested out.  Amplifying the fluctuations: what's that mean to me?  How can deviance, mine for example, give rise to disorder?  How do we go from sparse, singular fluctuations, the discrepancies between each individual and the norm, each person and the devices, to futures and to destinies?  How can what capitalism routs, what escapes valorization, become a force and turn against it?  Classical politics resolved this problem with mobilization.  To Mobilize meant to add, to aggregate, to assemble, to synthesize.  It meant to unify little differences and fluctuations by subjecting them to a great crime, an un-rectifiable injustice, that nevertheless must be rectified.  Singularities were already there.  They only had to be subsumed into a unique predicate.  Energy was also already there.  It just needed to be organized.  I'll be the head, they'll be the body.  And so the theoretician, the avant-garde, the party, have made that force operate in the same way as capitalism did, by putting it into circulation and control in order to seize the enemy's heart and take power by taking off its head, like in classical war.



The invisible revolt, the "coup-du-monde" [world coup] that Trocchi talked about, on the contrary, plays on potential.  It is invisible because it is unpredictable in the eyes of the imperial system.  Amplified, the fluctuations relative to the imperial devices never aggregate together.  They are as heterogeneous
as desires are, and can never form a closed totality; they can't even form into a "masses," which name itself is just an illusion if it doesn't mean an irreconcilable multiplicity of lifestyles/forms-of-life.   Desires flee; they either reach a clinamen or not, they either produce intensity or not, and even beyond flight they continue to flee.  They get restive under any kind of representation, as bodies, class, or party.   It must thus be deduced from this that all propagation of fluctuations will also be a propagation of civil war.  Diffuse guerrilla action is the form of struggle that will produce such invisibility in the eyes of the enemy.  The recourse to diffuse guerrilla action taken by a fraction of the Autonomia group in 1970s Italy can be explained precisely in light of the advanced cybernetic character of the Italian govern-mentality of the time.  These years were when "consociativism," which prefigured today's citizenism, was developing; the association of parties, unions, and associations for the distribution and co-management of Power.  This sharing is not the most important thing here; the important thing is management and control.  This mode of government goes far beyond the Providential State by creating longer chains of interdependence between citizens and devices, thus extending the principles of control and management from administrative bureaucracy.

 

It was T.E. Lawrence that worked out the principles of guerrilla war from his experience of fighting alongside the Arabs against the Turks in 1916.  What does Lawrence tell us?  That the battle itself is no longer the only process involved in war, in the same way as the destruction of the heart of the enemy is no longer its central objective; a fortiori if this enemy is faceless, as is the case when dealing with the impersonal power materialized in the Empire's cybernetic devices: "The majority of wars are contact based; two forces struggling to remain close to one another in order to avoid any tactical surprises.  The war of the Arabs had to be a rupture based war: containing the enemy with the silent threat of a vast desert unknown to it and only revealing themselves at the moment of attack."  Deleuze, though he too rigidly opposed guerrilla war, posed the problem of individuality and war, and that of collective organization, clarified that it was a question of opening up space as much as possible, and making prophecies, or rather of "fabricating the real instead of responding to it."  The invisible revolt and diffuse guerrilla war do not sanction injustices, they create a possible world.  In the language of the cybernetic hypothesis, I can create invisible revolt and diffuse guerrilla war on the molecular level in two ways.  First gesture: I fabricate the real, I break things down, and break myself down by breaking it all down.  This is the source of all acts of sabotage  What my act represents at this moment doesn't exist for the device breaking down with me.  Neither 0 nor 1, I am the absolute outsider/third party.  My orgasm surpasses devices/my joy infuriates them.  Second gesture: I do not respond to the human or mechanical feedback loops that attempt to encircle me/figure me out; like Bartleby, I'd "prefer not to."  I keep my distance, I don't enter into the space of the flows, I don't plug in, I stick around.  I wield my passivity as a force against the devices.  Neither 0 nor 1, I am absolute nothingness.  Firstly: I cum perversely.  Secondly: I hold back.  Beyond.  Before.  Short Circuiting and Unplugging.  In the two cases the feedback does not take place and a line of flight begins to be drawn.  An external line of flight on the one hand that seems to spread outwards from me; an internal line of flight that brings me back to myself.  All forms of interference/fog come from these two gestures, external and internal lines of flight, sabotage and retreat, the search for forms of struggle and for the assumption of different forms-of-life.  Revolution is now about figuring out how to conjugate those two moments.

 

Lawrence also tells how it was also a question that it took the Arabs a long time to resolve when fighting the Turks.  Their tactics consisted basically in "always advancing by making small hits and withdrawing, neither making big drives, nor striking big blows.  The Arab army never sought to keep or improve their advantage, but to withdraw and go strike elsewhere.  It used the least possible force in the least possible time and hit the most withdrawn positions."  Primacy was given to attacks against war supplies, and primarily against communications channels, rather than against the institutions themselves, like depriving a section of railway of rail.  Revolt only becomes invisible to the extent that it achieves its objective, which is to "deny all the enemy's goals," to never provide the enemy with easy targets.  In this case it imposes "passive defense" on the enemy, which can be very costly in materials and men, in energies, and extends into the same movement its own front, making connections between the foci of attack.  Guerrilla action thus since its invention tends to be diffuse.  This kind of fighting immediately gives rise to new relationships which are very different than those that exist within traditional armies: "we sought to attain maximum irregularity and flexibility.  Our diversity disoriented the enemy's reconnaissance services... If anyone comes to lack conviction they can stay home.  The only contract bonding them together was honor.  Consequently the Arab army did not have discipline in the sense where discipline restrains and smothers individuality and where it comprises the smallest common denominator of men."  However, Lawrence did not idealize the anarchist spirit of his troops, as spontaneists in general have tended to do.  The most important thing is to be able to count on a sympathetic population which then can become a space for potential recruitment and for the spread of the struggle.  "A rebellion can be carried out by two percent active elements and 98 percent passive sympathizers," but this requires time and propaganda operations.  Reciprocally, all offensives involving an interference with the opposing lines imply a perfect reconnaissance/intelligence service that "must allow plans to be worked out in absolute certainty" so as to never give the enemy any goals.  This is precisely the role that an organization now might take on, in the sense that this term once had in classical politics; serving a function of reconnaissance/intelligence and the transmission of accumulated knowledge-powers.  Thus the spontaneity of guerrilleros is not necessarily opposed to organizations as strategic information collection tanks.

 

But the important thing is that the practice of interference, as Burroughs conceived it, and after him as hackers have, is in vain if it is not accompanied by an organized practice of reconnaissance into domination.  This need is reinforced by the fact that the space where the invisible revolt can take place is not the desert spoken of by Lawrence.  And the electronic space of the Internet is not the smooth neutral space that the ideologues of the information age speak of it as either.  The most recent studies confirm, moreover, that the Internet is vulnerable to targeted and coordinated attacks.  The web matrix was designed in such a way that the network would still function if there were a loss of 99% of the 10 million routers - the cores of the communications network where the information is concentrated - destroyed in a random manner, as the American military had initially imagined.  On the other hand, a selective attack, designed on the basis of precise research into traffic and aiming at 5% of the most strategic core nodes - the nodes on the big operators' high-speed networks, the input points to the transatlantic lines - would suffice to cause a collapse of the system.  Whether virtual or real, the Empire's spaces are structured by territories, striated by the cascades of devices tracing out the frontiers and then erasing them when they become useless, in a constant scanning sweep comprising the very motor of the circulation flows.  And in such a structured, territorialized and deterritorialized space, the front lines with the enemy cannot be as clear as they were in Lawrence's desert.  The floating character of power and the nomadic dimensions of domination thus require an increased reconnaissance activity, which means an organization for the circulation of knowledge-powers.  Such was to be the role of the Society for the Advancement of Criminal Science (SASC).

 

In Cybernetics and Society, when he foresaw, only too late, that the political use of cybernetics tends to reinforce the exercise of domination, Wiener asked himself a similar question, as a prelude to the mystic crisis that he was in at the end of his life: "All the techniques of secrecy, interference in messages, and bluffing consist in trying to make sure that one's camp can make a more effective use than the other camp of the forces and operations of communication.  In this combative use of information, it is just as important to leave one's own information channels open as it is to obstruct the channels that the opposing side has at its disposal.  An overall confidentiality/secrecy policy almost always implies the involvement of much more than the secrets themselves."  The problem of force reformulated as a problem of invisibility thus becomes a problem of modulation of opening and closing.  It simultaneously requires both organization and spontaneity.  Or, to put it another way, diffuse guerrilla war today requires that two distinct planes of consistency be established, however meshed they may be -- one to organize opening, transforming the interplay of lifestyles/forms-of-life into information, and the other to organize closing, the resistance of lifestyles/forms-of-life to being made into information.  Curcio: "The guerrilla party is the maximum agent of invisibility and of the exteriorization of the proletariat's knowledge-power; invisibility towards the enemy cohabiting with it, on the highest level of synthesis."  One may here object that this is after all nothing but one more binary machine, neither better nor worse than any of those that are at work in cybernetics.  But that would be incorrect, since it means not seeing that at the root of these gestures is a fundamental distance from the regulated flows, a distance that is precisely the condition for any experience within the world of devices, a distance which is a power that I can layer and make a future from.  It would above all be incorrect because it would mean not understanding that the alternation between sovereignty and unpower cannot be programmed, that the course that these postures take is a wandering course, that what places will end up chosen - whether on the body, in the factory, in urban or peri-urban non-places - is unpredictable.

 

 


changed April 27, 2010