Tag Archives: Tiqqun

Comrade Foucault?

Insurrectionary Foucault – Andrew Culp

This is a convincing, well sourced analysis.  An overall pleasure to read, notwithstanding a demonstrably confused sub-commentariat.  For me it hardly seemed that Foucault was being specific in terms of the ‘what is to be done,’ let alone specifics as supporting references to the follow-on question of ‘how is it to be done;’ irrespective of suggestions that something indeed should be done which was inherent in his work, statements and acts.  An apparent theoretical confusion between Claire Fontaine’s logical response to the questions of ‘how’ and ‘what’ with ‘presently we don’t know how or what,’ and the IC who held forth in TCI on the power of communes superimposed as a autonomous network over the existing landscape; metropolis and barnyard alike presumably; may have found a bridge in Giorgio Agamben’s essay “Metropolis,” where he stated:

“I think that a confrontation with metropolitan dispositifs will only be possible when we penetrate the processes of subjectivation that the metropolis entails in a more articulated way, deeper. Because I think that the outcome of conflicts depends on this: on the power to act and intervene on processes of subjectivation, in order to reach that stage that I would call a point of ungovernability. The ungovernable where power can shipwreck in its figure of government, the ungovernable that I think is always the beginning and the line of flight of all politics.”

The superimposition of un-governability; de-subjectivizing from programmed violence which only manages to produce governability; a relentless and resonating drain of biopower from mechanisms and nodes.  The spread of re-appropriated ‘human strike’ forms of communism bereft of management centers.  Information highways and highway robbery.  An end to state violence – here the daily propaganda that convinces citizens to perform violence on one another.  New purposes found in a general resonance where the questions of ‘what’ and ‘how’ are left open ended – a precise Foucauldian maxim by way of omission concerning example or subject – where more and more blooms awaken in typical confused fashion, but where it seems pointless to complain too much about it anymore.

The Problem of the Bloom?

The Bloom does not experience a particular finitude or a determined separation, but the ontological finitude and separation, common to all men. As well, the Bloom is only alone in appearance: because it is not alone in being alone, all men have that solitude in common.  It lives as a foreigner in its own country, non-existent and on the fringe of everything, but all the Bloom together inhabit the homeland of Exile.  All the Bloom are indistinctly part of a same world, which is forgetting the world. So therefore, the Common is alienated, but it is only so in appearance, because it is still alienated as the Common – the alienation of the Common only signifies the fact that which is common between them appears to men to be something particular, their own, private.  And this Common originates from the alienation of the Common, and what that forms is none other than the true Common that is unique among men, their original alienation: finitude, solitude, exposition.  There, the most intimate merges with the most general, and the most “private” is the best shared.

The world is forgetting the world.  And so it would appear to the chagrin of Breivik or with the ‘take back our country’ crowd, or with the ‘don’t retreat, reload’ set.  But what is it that they would like to remember and to continue sharing, whether in alienated form or as collaborators of intimately familiar principles?  Alienation persists in either event, existing as an island in both instances, where it finds a natural state of contentment blissfully estranged from the common.  Success would imply that potential remedies, whether or not any remedy beyond outright oppression or brutality occurs.  Thus the necessary fits of violence routinely directed beyond the immediate sphere of control, beyond the self, with the ultimate aim of controlling everything.  Bloom is held out as the figure of a revolutionary, as an agent of transformation.  Bloom as a forlorn, resentful being who searches for and reacts to something lost or stolen as an act of recuperation.

Raw Materials

Theory of The Young Girl

Let’s be clear: the concept of the Young-Girl is obviously not a gendered concept.  The nightclub-going jock conforms to it just as much as the second-generation North African girl painted up to look pornstar old.  The spirited telecom retiree that splits his leisure time between the Cote d’Azur and the Parisian offices where he’s kept a foot in the door, and the metropolitan single too caught up in her career in consulting to realize that she’s already lost fifteen years of her life to it – both obey the concept.  After all, how would it be so easy to see the secret connection linking the plugged-in, puffed-up, civil-unioned humanity from the hip neighborhood and the petty-bourgeois americanized girl in the suburbs with her plastic family, if it were a gendered concept?

In reality, the Young-Girl is only the model citizen such as commodity society has defined it since world war one, as an explicit response to revolutionary threats against it.  As such, she is a polar figure, guiding becoming more than predominating in it.

At the beginning of the 20s, in effect, Capitalism noticed that it couldn’t maintain itself as the exploitation of human labor without also colonizing everything found beyond strictly the sphere of production.  Faced with the socialists’ challenge to its dominance, it too needed to socialize itself.  It thus had to create its own culture, leisure, medicine, urbanism, sentimental education, and morals, and also create a disposition towards their perpetual renewal.  This would become the fordist compromise, the welfare state, family planning: social-democracy capitalism.  And now, submission by work, limited because the worker is still separate from his or her work, has been replaced by integration through subjective and existential conformity, meaning, at root, by consumption.

From being merely formal, Capital’s domination has become little by little real.  The commodity society now seeks to find its best supports in the marginalized elements of traditional society themselves – women and youths first, then homosexuals and immigrants.

Commodity society can now give an air of emancipation to those that in the past it treated as minorities, who were the most foreign and most spontaneously hostile to commodity society, not having been folded into its dominant norms of integration.  “The youth and their mothers,” acknowledges Stuart Ewen, “will supply the social principles of consumer ethics to the lifestyles offered by advertising.”  The youth, because adolescence is “a period of life defined by a relationship of pure consumption with civil society.” (Stuart Ewen, Captains of Consciousness ).  And women, because at the time it was the sphere of reproduction, over which women still held sway, that they needed to colonize.  Youth and Femininity, hypostatized, abstract, and recoded into youthitude and feminitude, are then elevated to the rank of ideal regulators of empire-citizen integration.  And the figure of the Young-Girl thus realizes an immediate, spontaneous, and perfectly desirable unity between those two variables.

The tomboy is indispensable as a kind of modernity, much more thrilling than all the stars and starlets so quickly invading the globalized imagination.  Albertine, found on the wall around a seaside resort, exhausts the whole collapsing world of [Proust’s] “in search of lost time” with her relaxed, pansexual vitality.  The high school girl makes her will the law in Ferdydurke.  And a new authority figure is born, one that out-classes them all.