poetry on Sun, 17 Jun 2001 15:44:53 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] reading EMPIRE


Before Political Discourse the Poetic falls silent--intimidation, respect.
Before discourse, "repression, rhetorical force," the Poetic
	abandoning attachments to notions of Property (intellectual property)
	with a view to arriving somewhere, at an "open source."

Direct address does not exist, and cannot agitate thought.
Subject: art after the network communications media

	"and as a kind of shorthand we can conceive"
	(as with a kind of shorthand we conceive) "conceive
	the structure in a kind of intellectual shorthand as a hybrid"
	notation as a reproductive labor open to others, inviting variations.

A manifesto is what is revelatory, throwing light on dark matters
(mystifications, and silences, the stubborness of the Marti quote.
Is the "multitude" a variation on the "many" (the One and the Many)
as used by the Frankfurt School philosophers--Lukacs, "the people,
that chaotic concept." Is "multitude" any less chaotic? Undifferentiated.
Why does social class appear as a concept in 1848. Walter Benjamin:
"the energy with which philosophy answered history in 1848."

Thinking about classes is not the same as thinking with a class,
and this would appear to include examination of the class position
from which any contribution to Political Discourse asserts itself
[if] the time and place where this discourse is situated in relation
to social class conditions what this discourse can and cannot see.

Proneness to error in search of truth, "immaterial labor"?
The effort to expand the concept of the Proletariat in EMPIRE
and melt it into the many, the masses, the "multitude" (29):
"The central role previously occupied by the labor power of mass factory
workers in the production of surplus value is today increasingly
filled by intellectual, immaterial, and communicative labor power."

If it is accepted that "what Marx and Engels saw as the co-presence
of the productive subject and process of liberation is utterly
inconceivable" (the proletariat as both the producer of expropriated
surplus value, and maker of its own history), does this void labor,
industrial labor, replacing it with a concept of "immaterial labor"
and permit willful blindness by brain laborers of the concrete,
specific, local (bound by time and place) struggles of organized
and unorganized manual workers?

When industrial labor is dismissed from the horizon of what is possible
the space separating brain laborers from manual laborers widens
into an abyss that has in the past been filled by bonapartist "rationality"

	"the banalization of war and the celebration of it"
	"order dictated by a single power and a single center"
	"the terrain of history that theory cannot ignore"

Does 'Post-Fordism' explain the fragmentating and privatizing,
the individuating, of production in the networks?

Doesn't it need to be demonstrated that the surplus value
produced by this stratum or layer has displaced oil, cotton and coal?

The history of and continuing production/distribution crisis
of electricity, http://www.sonicsysit.co.uk/gorkydan/navhtml/tisma.html

	"the new nature of imperial power"
	"the accelerated rhythm, the violence, and the necessity"
	"the new imperial paradigm . . . a paradigm shift"

"even if his conception is limited to a formalist point of view"

(32): in what period of history hasn't 'life been made
to work for production and production to work for life'?

(33-34): The integration of the imaginary and symbolic
by means of mass media hyperabstractions dissolves
identity and history and prepares for validating intervention
(now) invasion (later). The arsenal of Empire includes,
in addition to the use of military force,

"deployments of monetary mechanisms and financial maneuvers
over the transnational field of interdependent productive
regimes and interventions in the field of communication."

(36): Empire cannot constitute itself
without "the symbolic production of the Enemy."
(37): "'Terrorist' may be "a crude conceptual and terminological reduction
rooted in a police mentality" but this does not dispense
with the hostility to terrorism in classsical proletarian political thought.

These fragmentary interruptions are intended to contradict
a train of thought called Political Discourse, and invite
the co-authors of Empire to remember what is in danger
of being forgotten and being forgotten, is dangerous
in the milieu of the event, the marginal event, and counter
to Deleuze and Guattari's "ungraspable event," (61):
"in the depths of the machine, at the heart of social production"
"the unforeseeability of the sequences of events"
and (not indexed in Empire) "the mechanics of events"
(Benjamin's letter to Gretel Adorno, Spring, 1932)
"There is no question but that you must read both books."

Now more than ever "now an ever more extreme separation
of a small minority that controls enormous wealth
from multitudes that live in poverty at the limits
of powerlessness" or a holocaust already underway
from "the ashes of the fire that consumed
the international proletarian subject"?

What could possibly stand in place of that subject
[if] a strike at the level of a 'local' represents
only 'local resistance', or does it contain within itself
the potential to spread and expand its affect
and stand for a "standpoint" (a word that recurs
in Hardt & Negri and which bears the imprint, or trace,
of familiarity with "authors as diverse as" (48).

"We should be done once and for all with the search
for an outside, a standpoint that imagines a purity
for our politics" (46). This outside for Luxemberg was the mass strike.
Proneness to error on the "horizon of activities,
resistances, wills and desires that refuse the hegemonic order."

either "proletarian internationalism is over" or
(re)"map the periods of extreme intensity of these"

"outdated, and [or?] anachronistic" (see Benjamin
on anachronism and historical time, somewhere in the Arcades).

What is buried, but not dead.
"The emblem of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
an eagle with two heads . . . the two heads
would have to be turned inward, each attacking the Other."

(15): "As Thucydides, Livy, and Tacitus all teach us
(along with Machiavelli commenting on their work),
Empire is formed not on the basis of force itself
but on the basis of the capacity to present force
as being in the service of right and peace.

All interventions of the imperial armies
are solicited by one or more of the parties
involved in an already existing conflict. Empire
is not born of its own will but rather
it is called into being and constituted
on the basis of its capacity to resolve conflicts."

A declared concern and proposed project
cognizing the decline and fall of Empire states,
alongside the figurative mapping of art forms,
"a classic problematic of political philosophy" (20).

	"proposition, desire, and praxis"
	"grasping the genesis of Empire and its virtual figure"
	"creative, colloquial, rhizomatic and undulatory"
	"throws open all the windows of history"

What is buried, but not dead.
What should always warn philosophy away
	from pressing the passing away
	of 'social factors of force' in time
(59): "the tactical preoccupations
of the old revolutionary school are irretrievable"

(40): "the fabric of class struggle"
(42): "'[o]nce embodied in the power of workers' councils'"
(44): "sites of resistance founded on the [class]
identities of social subjects" (the sense of the "local"
missing from its use in Empire: the trade union governing body

"autonomous" and "self-determining" instances
of direct representation and working class democracy.
(47): "the power of the multitude to make history" or
(48): a "deterministic conception of historical development"
["the imagined necessity of the historical development"]

For what once happened, the possibility exists
that it may happen again. The recognition and acknowledgment
of just such a possibility "must be proposed not
through ideal forms buth within the dense complex
of experience" (30).

The hypermediatized protest cannot communicate.
There is no paradox here, "from the point of view of tactics."

The alternative, "a constituent counterpower
that emerges from within Empire,"
would appear to restrict sites of resistance
to a bourgeois electoral framework.

"In the cold placidness of postmodernity,
what Marx and Engels saw as the co-presence
of the productive subject and the process
of liberation is utterly inconceivable" (64).

And yet,
"new figures of resistance are composed
through the sequences of the events of struggle."

"New figures of struggle and new subjectivities
are produced in the conjuncture of events."

The question of how they compose themselves,
in the direction of
"a standpoint that is both strategic and tactical,"
what can speak to that?

(65): "Perhaps along with Spinoza
we shall recognize prophetic desire
as irresistible, and all the more powerful
the more it becomes identified with the multitude."

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