www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> Response to McKenzie Wark's Globalisation piece
Molly Hankwitz on Thu, 17 Jan 2002 04:44:56 +0100 (CET)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Response to McKenzie Wark's Globalisation piece


> Globalisation from Below:
> Migration, Sovereignty, Communication
> 
> McKenzie Wark <mw35 {AT} nyu.edu>
> 
> For a country that prides itself on its multiculturalism,
> the disgraceful treatment meted out to ‘boat people’
> who arrive on Australian shores speaks to an
> underlying problem in the constitution of the
> Australian state. And indeed all states. As I will argue,
> the problem is not caused just by an 'opportunist'
> Prime Minister exploiting insecurities in the Australian
> electorate, as Guy Rundle and others have argued.
> While Rundle is quite right to hold Australian Prime
> Minister John Howard's behaviour up to a critical
> light, there is a much deeper problem, the problem
> that the boat person, the asylum seeker, the refugee,
> poses to the very concept of national sovereignty.

Leadership is supposed to support broad agendas not the narrowest
closeminded position.

> As Anthony Burke argues in his book In Fear of
> Security, the construction of Australian statehood and
> nationhood is inextricably linked to the way what it is
> outside its borders is conceived.  The construction of
> a national history is also the construction of a space of
> internal consistency, marked off from an outside. This
> outside then appears as that which threatens internal
> consistency. We become the opposite of what we
> oppose.
> 
> We have an excellent emblem of the workings of
> power within the state in Michel Foucault's
> Panopticon. But as Giorgio Agamben has recently
> pointed out, this internalised power of discipline now
> appears quite secondary to an externalising power of
> security.  To which one can only add: perhaps it
> always was. One of Bentham's pamphlets was called
> 'The Panopticon or New South Wales'. As every
> Australian knows, British power took the latter route -
> - transportation, not the former, the Panopticon.
> 
> A much more profound understanding of the modern
> power of security, or what I would call vectoral
> power, may be found in Bernard Smith's European
> Vision and the South Pacific, where Smith brilliantly
> exposes the way in which the British warship
> traversed and mapped the open space of the globe.

Along with vectoral power which is military mapping, don't
we also have media mapping and the demographic mapping associated
with broadcast and media "distribution"?

> Perhaps Australian anxiety about 'boat people' stems
> from the nagging memory of the fact that most of us
> are descendents of boat people. For most of us, our
> ancestors followed the vectoral line opened up by
> naval power.

It seems kind of simplistic to me - i think the anxiety about
dark skinned boat people from the middle east is part of a long
history - of ancestoral history - of racial supremacy by whites
in australia  and the fear of sharing "national" space with
people of color - or any space it seems these days. Howard's
response to this "problem", remember, is also bolstered and
channelled by a dominant media which fails to report on much
else but the "problem" with respect to the "problem." Perhaps
it does stem from the history of arrivals by boat, but it could
just as well be an appeal to the history of fear and loathing
and colonial destruction of aboriginal people by the brits and
other settlers, no? The "War on Terror" is a "new" mapping of
global space - it is also an extension of an increasingly
criminalized space for people of color.
> 
> It's a paradox of security that the mapping and
> navigating of the world not only secures an imperial
> state's place in it, but it sets in motion flows of
> information, people, goods and weapons that creates
> still new spaces, which in turn undermine security and
> require still more vectoral power.

I think this depends on who is being secured. It may undermine
security in western states - but they are also securing their
security.

 Thus, the
> technologies of vectoral power, from the 18th century
> warship to the 21st century Raptor unmanned
> surveillance aircraft, experience accelerated
> development.

Vectoral power - if i catch your meaning -emanating from
powerful western states and those who hold the power, like
Howard and Ruddick, in or for those states.

> Sovereignty, or the autonomy of a centre of power,
> rests on both security, the externalising power, and
> discipline, the internalising power. But these are times
> in which disciplinary regimes are breaking down, not
> least because of the effectiveness of vectoral
> technologies in mapping routes of movement and
> opening up territories.

How so? It seems that the art of discipline is right
behind this "war on terror" for example - which I, for
one, don't see as separaate particularly from the military, racist
response to an influx of middle eastern people to Australia.
George Bush is bent on military tribunals and criminalizing
black men - an extension of his practices in Texas, as governor,
when he "officially" executed proudly 160 people, in a state
with one of the three largest budgests for penetentiary building.
The appeal to disciplinary society - is i think also found in
the rhetoric of Tony Blair and his crusades recently in the
Middle East to deal with "the problem" in the name of the
west - or perhaps more importantly in the manner by which
Prince Charles has been describing the way the royal family
has "dealt with" Harry's drug-use - "he's been rehabed."

> The vectoral techniques that have their roots in the
> power of security are breaking away from the security
> function, and becoming an autonomous power.

Virtual security? I think you really have something here.

The
> same vectoral technologies that secure lines of
> movement for imperial powers also undermine the
> integrity of their relations of dominance in the world,
> setting loose unmanageable flows and demands for
> flows.

By unmanageable flows, what do you mean? From whose perspective -
those seeking the security - state power - or cracks into which
critique of the "secured" systems can thrive? This seems to be
more complex than what you have here.

> I know that the free flows often characterised as
> 'neoliberalism' are a taboo subject: denounce it first,
> ask questions later. But I tell you, we haven't seen
> anything yet. The world will become much more
> vectoral if it is to become any more just. The boat
> people are the symptom of an aporia in left-liberal
> thinking on vectoral power.

I don't understand this part -

> Illegal migration is globalisation from below.

Why does "illegal migration" have to be the manner
by which these asylum seekers are categorized. Now
you sound a bit like John Howard! I think the desperation
and danger of arriving by boat from countries where there
is an obvious problem in the way people are forced to live
is different than someone forging papers at a border or
extending one's stay on a visa...

If the
> 'overdeveloped' world refuses to trade with the
> underdeveloped world on fair terms, to forgive debt,
> to extend credit, to lift trade barriers against food and
> basic manufactured goods, then there can only be an
> increase in the flow of people seeking to get inside the
> barriers the overdeveloped world erects to protect its
> interests. While sovereignty equals self interest, there
> can be no security.

Again, i ask you, security for whom. If boat people
seek western democracy because it is nicer and more
liveable than repressive states of their own, but are
then denied access to those western democracies after
risking their lives because the heads of state of
western democracies fear their presence and want to
bolster their consituents confidence that their interests
are secure and will  not be undermined by "foreigners" then
are we dealing with western democracy any more - has the
penchant for security started to eat its own tail?

> The 438 people rescued by the Tampa, their very
> presence in this stateless state, was testament to the
> absence of effective international justice.

True, although Howard and Ruddick have defied the UN
which holds forth on some international justice at least.

Trade
> between states, taking place as it is in the absence of
> justice, can only produce injustice, which in turn
> produces flows of people who come to exist outside
> the space of justice.

Yes, I think this is a monument of globalisation.

 The most telling human critique of
> globalisation is not the black-clad protesters in Seattle
> or Genoa, it is the still, silent bodies of the illegals, in
> ships, trucks or car boots, passing through the
> borders. The placeless proletariat. The involuntary
> border-hackers.

While refugee families are a sadder and perhaps more oppressed
evidence of globalisation - the black-clad protesters in Seattle etc.
risking arrest defiant in the streets of powerful western
countries and the boat people who border-hack  are bothdoing something
about globalisation, no?
 
> Those 438 people, which the media for the most part
> rendered nameless are a critique of the limits of
> sovereignty.

Yes, the Australian national media has been extremely biased
in supporting the narrow position of the government on this issue.

 Asylum seekers are in the paradoxical
> position of being a standing critique of the failings of a
> regime of sovereignty, and at the same time totally
> dependent on finding a state that will accept their
> claims to refugee status.
> 
> Some asylum seekers demand access to CNN and the
> internet. It is the vectoral flow of information around
> the world, along ever proliferating vectors, that
> creates the possibility of seeking this leave of absence
> from the space of the nation and the state. The
> overdeveloped world feels free to advertise its charms
> -- and yet withholds access to the trade in the very
> goods it advertises through its domination of the
> trade in images.

Yes, indeed. Consider the lie that Howard's government
told over the boat people throwing their children into
the water - that was never really dealt with in the media here.
this was just prior to the election when Mr. Howard also
granted working women fallen pregnant - rebates for their
pregnancies providing they had paid their taxes - AND was
seen in numerous photo opps kissing babies on Australian national
TV.

> The Australian state takes a hard line against asylum
> seekers so as not to encourage others to test their
> borders. But it is the rule of the border in general that
> the refugee challenges.

Inadvertantly, perhaps not consciously until it is denied.

 Every state seeks to secure
> itself at the expense of other states. While the
> Australian government deserves special
> condemnation for its callous disregard for suffering, it
> is not the only state that stands accused by refugees
> of a foreclosure of justice.

Do not apologize for the Australian governments treatment of these people!
In some ways it makes no difference that there are other states just as
bad. In another way I suppose it is also part of a trend. When have
refugees ever been treated nicely? or rather, without repercussions -
were the Vietnamese boat people let in to Oz in the 80's a catalyst
for anti-Asianism under Hanson and others?


 It is the justice of national
> sovereignty in the abstract that the body of the asylum
> seeker refutes in particular. The asylum seeker is a
> force in revolt against the privileges sovereignty
> grants us.

I think this is a tad romantic.

> Many who put themselves in the way of globalisation
> -- the so-called anti-globalisation movement

Why so-called, why the skepticism?

-- do so
> in the name of some local and particular demand.
> These demands are not always just. Why should
> French farmers have more rights to grow food for the
> French than Brazilian farmers? Why should American
> steel workers have more rights to make steel for
> Americans than Polish steel workers?

Because American steelworkers don't like the
idea of cheap labor being abused by the people who
already have exploited them? Not all workers are
out simply to protect their jobs at the expense of
others.

But that is what
> the return to protectionism that many anti-
> globalisation protesters demand would amount to. A
> demand for more local and particular privileges.

Maybe. Maybe less exploitation in the third world.

> The asylum seeker, who is outside the state, rather
> than the local interest, inside the state, is the body that
> calls upon the absence of a global justice, who calls for
> it. 

Yes, but only after it is denied them. Why get on a boat
if you don't beleive that you will be let in? Others in
the anti-globalisation movement critique the fact that
they see fewer and fewer rights perhaps for immigrant workers
or even legal immigrants.


Those who seek refuge, who are rarely accorded a
> voice, are nevertheless the bodies that confront the
> injustice of the world with a total critique of it. They
> give up their particular claim to sovereignty and cast
> themselves on the waters. Only when the world is its
> own refuge will their limitless demand be met.
> 
> That may be a utopian demand, but the possibility of
> what Hardt and Negri call "global constitutionalism"
> are now firmly on the horizon.  It is evolving out of
> particular interests.

A process which global media events from Seattle to Christmas Island
all feed into - in global consciousness of a constitutionalism -
these events are part of vectoral space as well!!!! Maybe a differing
kind of vector, a vector which emanates more and more from new
critical arenas which traditional vectoral space cannot touch -
such as the democratic Net and the anti-globalisation movement.


Clearly, a global regime of trade is
> far more strongly developed than a global regime of
> justice. Global trade without global justice ends up
> being unfair trade, trade that tries to strengthen the
> sovereignty of interests within some states at the
> expense of others. Global justice without global trade
> merely secures the interests of the overdeveloped
> world against the interests of the rest. However, these
> limitations to global constitutionalism are precisely the
> reasons to push further, to demand a global justice
> adequate to the challenge posed to it by the figure of
> the asylum seeker.

This is the mantra of the anti-globalisation movement.
You are a protester!

> In his famous work on postmodernism, Jameson calls
> it an "effacement of the frontier".  It was the frontier
> between high and low culture that he was referring to
> in that context. But as is clear from his writings, this is
> not the only frontier that disappears in the shift from a
> modern to a postmodern sensibility. The frontier
> between inside and outside, on which sovereignty is
> founded, is also the faultline where it founders.

Probably true. Or, where communication exists inside
and outside, where it survives?

> While theory works out the end game of modernist
> fables of inside and outside, the boundary has already
> imploded. It's simply not helpful to call it hybridity,
> when there's no way of assigning origins to any of the
> elements in cultural formations in the first place.

I dont' agree, i think hybridity is usually described
by its multi-valent makeup - when it is done well.

 We
> no longer have roots, we have aerials. Its not helpful
> to propose extension to the logic of the Panopticon,
> when it is not the disciplinary apparatus of
> internalising an external potential for observation that
> is the dominant form of power. We no longer have
> origins, we have terminals.

We have subject positions from which we use our terminals -
if we deny these then we are erasing history itself -
our subject-positions are complex these days - but we
are still speaking/writing from somewhere intellectual,
cultural, physical.

> Vectoral power, which is forever exceeding the limits
> of the inside/outside boundary, has been the
> dominant form of sovereign power from Botany Bay
> to Afghanistan. What those in the old world think of
> as modern power, disciplinary power, was always a
> subsidiary institution built on the back of the
> expansive and expanding vectoral power, of which
> we in the antipodes are the direct product.

I dont' understand the distinction between modern disciplinary
power and the vector which produces it? This is like saying
that the media says one thing and the corporate advertisers
who support the broadcast are something different - ha!

> As September 11th makes chillingly clear, vectoral
> power has broken away from its origins in regimes of
> security.

yes, if you look at September 11 as a global media event -
it's as if its perpetrators were simply bored with "the news"
and decided to give people something real to talk about.

 Even counter-powers to an emerging regime
> of global constitutionalism take a vectoral form. Even
> totalising negativity has become globalised. This is the
> great paradox of Osama Bin Laden -- how much his
> anti-western rhetoric appears to mimic very western
> forms of anti-modern reaction, but couple it with
> vectoral technology.
> 
> So what is the progressive position in all this? These
> are times when two hypocritical positions face off
> against each other. The right wants to open the
> borders to flows of goods, but close them to flows of
> people;

Among people-smugglers, boat people are goods!

 the left wants to open the borders to flows of
> people, but close them to flows of goods.

at least while the flow of goods bolsters out of control
capitalism. Besides which left are you talking about?
Is it the Australian left which wants everything to be
grown and made in Australia? I dont' think so. This is
a position you will hear among unionized labor in the
US but not so much among black-clad anarchists.
There is more than one speaking-position in this debate.

 Both
> positions rest on attempts to secure an inside against
> an outside, and both partake of curious new rhetorics
> to achieve it.
> 
> But at the end of the day, neither position is coherent
> or consistent. It makes no difference whether one
> discriminates against the passage of the body of
> another across one's borders, or the passage of the
> efforts of his or her labour. Both are discriminations,
> and both are, prima facie, unjust. Thus the argument
> between right and left in Australia, as elsewhere,
> comes down to an argument over the mode of
> discrimination that secures interiority and sovereignty.
> Neither is a progressive position.
> 
> The debate is further muddled by the existence of a
> clearly more reactionary position, one that would
> secure the borders and assert a radically secured
> interiority against flows of both goods and bodies. By
> pointing to a more reactionary position, both the right
> and left obscure their compromises.
> 
> One can map these three positions as a diagram: two
> are progressive on one count, and reactionary on the
> other; one is reactionary on both counts. But where is
> the position that would count as progressive on both
> counts? That is in favour of a just and open
> globalisation, of flows of people and flows of the
> products of their labour?

Anti-capitalist anarchy!!!!

> Slavoj Zizek has called for the building of
> "transnational political movements and institutions
> strong enough to constrain seriously the unlimited
> rule of capital and to render visible and politically
> relevant the fact that local fundamentalist resistances
> to the New World Order, from Milosevic to Le Pen
> and the extreme right in Eruope, are part of it."  But
> this doesn't go far enough to addressing the critique
> that the asylum seeker poses to national sovereignty -
> - the total critique of a privileging of the insider over
> the outsider -- a privileging of which the trans-
> national anti-globalisation movement is not entirely
> innocent.

Howard's response to this "problem" is viewed internationally
as precisely the bizarrely unreasonable position that it is.

> As Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, say: "perhaps
> the flows are not yet deterritorialised enough, not
> decoded enough...".

Right, its all very complex! Complexity and contradiction -
post-modernity, right?

Perhaps one needs "to go
> further". Globalisation as it exists may offend the
> reactionary left as much as the reactionary right, but
> "the truth is that we haven't seen anything yet."

yes, the globe is changing rapidly because it can.
I think what you get at is the need for some human rights
safe-guarding legal institutions, not to erode because
they can in a time of obfuscation as we are seeing.

> What if we have not thought far enough down the
> road to what Deleuze and Guattari call
> deterritorialisation? This is the call to which I would
> like to answer, and that I think the body of the asylum
> seeker calls us. Where can the asylum seeker actually
> find asylum? 

right. and do western democracies still promise asylum
without having to have all the paperwork done?

She or he cannot find it where they seek
> it. It is surely better to be admitted to the country than
> to languish in detention, but there is no guarantee of
> security even if one gets inside the border.

Right and do western democracies still uphold civil rights
laws for all their citizens in a time of terror on their
own people? Are they still democracies in this sense?

In the US,
> Arabs, even Sikhs, have been assaulted, even killed,
> over the panicky need to police the interior of
> sovereignty.

In Australia - consider treatment of Lebanese communities
in Sydney - consider the two mosques burned to the ground
by night in Brisbane and the many other reports of violence.

> It is right and necessary to draw attention to the racist
> dimension in these attacks. But race, as left-liberals
> understand it, is no longer an adequate category for
> understanding injustice, either within the space of
> sovereignty, or without.

Why not? Why not look at it as fundamentally about racism and race?
Does not Australia have a long history of this fear of the Other?
Blatant genocide? Atrocities towards races not like their own?
What do you mean by race?

> The deployment of race is changing. What the asylum
> seeker confronts everywhere is what Balibar calls
> "racism without race". The global constitution as it
> stands recognises states as sovereign, but no longer
> associates the state with a nation as a one to one
> relationship.

That's interesting.

> One of the perverse developments in cultural practice
> around the world is the rarity with which racism is
> now explicitly argued in terms of race. Even racists
> have understood and adopted the social
> constructionist critique of the essentialism of race.

this needs clarification. Just what is the essentialims of race?
Just what social constructionist critique are you describing?

> Now almost everyone is agreed that differences are
> socially and culturally constructed -- even racists. The
> difference now is between those who see differences
> as something that can coexist, and those who don't.

True. Although i don't know that racists see differences as
socially constructed - some may, Hanson exploited this - but
others don't see what they are doing as a social function of
their well-being at all.

> Race is not the problem; sovereignty is the problem.
> Sovereignty purged of its racist baggage, sovereignty
> with a culturalist, even multicultural rhetoric, is still an
> obstacle to justice. This is a big problem for the
> Australian left -- seeing through its complicity with
> sovereignty, critiquing the form in which it
> understands multiculturalism, and thinking instead of
> a global justice.

This is true. 

> As Michel Feher argues, a striking characteristic of the
> (non) responses to the Bosnian and Rwandan crises
> on the part of a would-be system of global justice is
> the extent to which policies of inaction were justified
> in culturalist terms.

yes, and Australia was nicer to white european Bosnians
than it has been to the recent boat people.


 Due to the supposedly
> intractable historical roots of cultural differences in the
> Balkans, there's nothing one can do but sit on one's
> hands. One simply takes at face value the claims and
> counter claims of competing cultural groups, one acts
> as a 'peacekeeper' for a non-existent peace, and by
> default lends support to the more aggressive party,
> by virtue of treating the parties as equal -- but
> different.
> 
> The monstrous policies of NATO powers in the
> Balkans faced only a very incoherent and inconsistent
> critique from the left. On the one hand, when they
> failed to act, the western powers would be accused of
> neglecting genocide. On the other hand, when they
> did act, they were accused of acting like imperialists.
> There were exceptions, but all too often, what one got
> was hardly a consistent critique of modern
> sovereignty.

Could you please define what you mean by modern sovereignty
and sovereignty?

> The world won't wait for politics any more than it will
> wait for theory. Whether one backs intervention --
> let's say, in Afghanistan -- or opposes it, either way,
> the "effacement of the frontier" proceeds apace.

Yes, people have interests, interests are backed or don't
have enough backing - push comes to shove. The boat people
are also acting on their interest when they jump in the water -
either to get away from being held at gunpoint or to demand
being saved. Oil interests in the middle east - have the
military industrial complex behind them.

Either
> there are interventions in oppressive states, thus
> challenging their sovereignty; or there are flows of
> asylum seekers, thus challenging ours.
> 
> Either way, social forces are emerging that push
> against the limits of sovereignty. Two kinds of social
> forces are abstracting themselves from local and
> contingent ties, and may have an interest in a new
> global justice. One does not do so entirely by choice.
> The asylum seeker runs out of options, and while he
> or she chooses flight, it is hardly against the
> background of a wealth of choices. Nevertheless, the
> asylum seeker is a social force that challenges the form
> of the nation state.

True. By being there, doing it.

The asylum seeker is an objective
> challenge to sovereignty, a vectoral challenge.
> Nothing depends on the asylum seeker's identity,
> only on his or her disposition.

Or his or her physical body - the Australian government
has not allowed people to drown like rats yet, but they
are working on it. The body is very tenous in the government
policy at the moment - they seek to legislate that sea captains
cannot pick up asylum seekers any more.

> There is another social force that breaks out of the
> bounds of national sovereignty, but unlike Negri and
> Hardt I don't see it as a resurgent mobilisation of the
> labouring and multiple masses. Marxists always say
> that the concept of class will make a comeback -- and
> for once I agree.

yes, I think this is very much behind the anti-globalisation protests.
an increasing awareness of exploitation and haves and have nots.

But in much of the 'overdeveloped'
> world, the labour movement cut a deal with capital
> within a protected national market. While the
> envelope of the nation appeared relatively secure,
> people worried instead about the envelopes of
> communal or self identity. The cultural politics of
> racism without race emerges out of the shelter of an
> historic compromise between labour and capital,
> which lasted from the 40s to the 70s.
> 
> With the class compromise secured, other differences
> became points of antagonism. But in the 80s and 90s,
> class is back on the agenda, partly because of the
> success capital has enjoyed in breaking out of its
> national compacts, and decamping to the newly
> industrialising world. But also in part because of new
> developments, as yet barely understood.

True enough.

> Deleuze and Guattari once argued that "it is capitalism
> that is at the end of history, it is capitalism that results
> from a long history of contingencies and accidents,
> and that brings on this end..."  But there is a tension
> in their historical thinking between the notion of
> capital as the end of history, and the possibility of the
> world becoming still more abstract.
> 
> I would argue that the abstraction of the world is a
> process without end, but one that has taken a
> significant leap beyond the abstraction of capital
> already. First land, then moveable property, then
> information have formed the basis of regime of
> commodity production and accumulation.

What about people? People smugglers treat refugees like
commodities.

> Let's not forget that in much of the underdeveloped
> world, accumulation based on land as property is still
> going on. Its conflict with the overdeveloped world
> accounts for two of the great global struggles of our
> time. Agricultural accumulation seeks to open the
> markets of the overdeveloped world, against the
> stubborn resistance of the state-protected farmers in
> Europe, America and Japan.
> 
> The other great movement for land based
> accumulation is resource based. Here the
> overdeveloped world acts to secure its interests at the
> expense of the sovereignty of the underdeveloped
> world. One great exception is the OPEC cartel, which
> succeeded in securing a rent from a partial resource
> monopoly, but at the expense of the arrested
> development of the commodity economy of the oil-
> dependent states.
> 
> Accumulation based on capital as property is --
> curiously -- migrating out of the overdeveloped
> world, into the newly developed world. If you buy a
> car or a computer, chances are a lot of it was made in
> Korea or Taiwan. If you buy sneakers or a sweater,
> chances are it was made in Indonesia or China. The
> brand name might say Honda or Nike or Sony or
> Apple, but increasingly the wealth of these
> corporations is invested in the intellectual property it
> commands -- its trademarks, patents and copyrights,
> not in the making of things, which is of so little
> strategic importance to these companies that it can be
> contracted out elsewhere.

Cheap labor is a commodity!
> 
> So what does the accumulation of wealth in the
> overdeveloped world increasingly rest on? Not land
> or capital as property, but information. And not just
> on intellectual property, but on the capacity to realise
> its value, in other words on communication vectors,
> on a vectoral power breaking free from regimes of
> security.

And at the same time demanding to be secured.

> But media vectors have gone beyond troubling the
> boundaries of self and community, and now trouble
> national boundaries just as much. The proliferation of
> ever faster, cheaper, more flexible media vectors with
> a more and more global reach makes possible the
> colonisation of more extensive spaces by commodity
> relations. 

True enough.



The national space, and the national
> compromise between labour and capital comes
> undone. So too as the international space, as a space
> governed by rival national sovereignties.
> 
> This shifts the anxiety toward one of two options.
> Either towards a resurgent nationalism, or towards a
> resurgent class awareness. Either one fends off one's
> anxiety about the permeable borders of the nation,
> community, and self by hardening the national
> boundary against the other. Or one follows the
> vectoral line that traverses self, community and nation
> and discovers the class interest that potentially forms
> along it. One either demands more boundary, or one
> starts to question who owns and controls the vectors
> that both traverse and incite the boundary.

This is one good outcome of the war on terror in Afghanistan -
the US is consistently under critique. and the powers that
have led to this war are under critique. The problem is
diversified.
> 
> This is the problem that bedevils the 'anti-
> globalisation' movement which, even on the left, falls
> into anxiety about borders rather than seeking a New
> Deal for the vectoralisation of space, one that
> abandons the dialectic of inside and outside and takes
> up instead an embracing of the vector. An open world
> with plural forms of ownership, not just private
> ownership, in which justice and well being has a place
> alongside profit and 'productivity'.
> 
> But we need a new concept of class to grasp
> vectoralisation. Marxists still think only of the force of
> production, steel and concrete, as being material.

I think we are somewhat beyond the factory metaphors.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's terminator films of the late
80's and 90's and also Robotcop as Mark Dery has pointed
out - have ended up as battles in steel mills - which
is somewhat peculiar. I think the concept of a working
class or what that means has been significantly reworked
among writers and artists to include intellectual labor
for example, but perhaps i am too idealistic or because
of working in film, have a strong class consciousnes.
Besides, class without consciousness of class and politicization
amounts to nothing.

 The
> forces of communication -- media vectors -- are also
> material. And like the forces of production, they and
> their products can be turned into property --
> intellectual property.

Don't they already represent and signify property in
order to be the strong vectors that they are? if you
own a laptop and a phone line you have property and
have a vector.


 If commodification starts with
> the enclosure of land, continues with the accumulation
> of capital goods as private property, its next phase
> grows out of intellectual property.
> 
> The commodification of information, which begins to
> accelerate with the invention of the telegraph, has two
> dimensions, a technical and a legal one, both form the
> basis of a new regime of accumulation, and, arguably,
> a new kind of ruling class.

Yes, that controls the vectors.


No longer a pastoralist
> ruling class, extracting rent from landed property, no
> longer a capitalist class, extracting profits from
> fungible things as property, but what I would call a
> vectoralist class, whose accumulation of wealth is
> based on ownership and control of information.

Media space.
> 
> If the asylum seekers are globalisation from below,
> then the vectoral class is most definitely globalisation
> from above. With its rise to power within the ruling
> block, the ruling block as a whole frees itself in an
> unprecedented way from all local and contingent
> constraints.

right - ee - oo, a jet setting transnational body
of credit card supplied power-hungry tourists!


 The vectoral ruling interest provides the
> means for other branches of the ruling class to extract
> themselves from national compacts with subordinate
> classes. It is not quite, as Ghassan Hage says, the
> capital becomes transcendental, rather it is that a
> vectoral class-power transcends the limits of capital,
> abstracting commodification still further.

Yes, they have obtained the leisure to imagineer
the future.
> 
> Pop open the back of your television, and you will
> find components from Ireland, Nigeria, Indonesia or
> Peru. Pop open a television of the same make made a
> year later, and the same components may be from
> Hungary and China. The sourcing of components may
> be based on nothing more than fluctuating exchange
> rates, or slight variations in the spot markets for
> capacitors. Either way, it's the technologies and
> services of the vectoral class that create the imaginary
> 'global' space within which these components are
> traded.
> 
> Australians as a whole have done pretty well out of
> this vectoralisation of the globe. In the 19th century,
> the country grew rich as an agricultural exporter, in
> the 20th, as a mineral exporter. In this dependent part
> of the world, the pastoral class long dominated the
> ruling block. In the late 20th century, Australia
> experienced a crisis in its relation to the world. Its
> security appeared to be threatened by the declining
> terms of trade in its primary commodity exports.
> 
> Ironically, just as the proliferation of peripheral states
> which faced the world as primary producers
> undermined Australia's trade with the world; the
> proliferation of peripheral states that faced the world
> as secondary producers is restoring the terms of trade.
> Manufactured goods are now also falling in price. The
> falling prices for Australian primary exports is offset
> by declines in falling prices for manufactured imports.
> 
> However, both primary and secondary producers in
> the peripheral world confront the overdeveloped
> world of Europe-USA-Japan which secure their
> internal class compromises at the expense of
> peripheral states. Peripheral states also confront a
> new global ruling class, which uses its monopoly over
> intellectual property as a form of imperial leverage.
> And the peripheral world also confronts what one
> might call the undevelopable world -- those states
> now left out of all pretense of incorporation in a
> vectoral space of trade and security.
> 
> Part of the challenge for the left-liberal position is to
> put the illegals in the context of these three linked
> developments, to prevent the collapse of the issues of
> globalisation into the demand for a new disciplinary
> response for the illegals, who are just an element of
> this larger pattern of development. Punishing the
> bodies who are globalisation from below does nothing
> to address the inequities posed by globalisation from
> above.

In fact, possibly, obscures these inequities further -
oddly, by having someone really obvious to blame.


 But ultimately, the refuge-seeker poses just as
> much of a challenge to left-liberal discourses that have
> not thought through their investments in sovereignty.

----------------
> 
> Notes:
 <...>

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net