examination of marxist politics for a new century – publisher weekly
we dedicate this book .. to those who, against all odds, continue to fight for freedom..
the script is by now familiar: inspiring social movements rise up against injustice and domination, briefly grab global headlines, and then fade from view. even when they topple individual authoritarian leaders they have been unable thus far to create new, durable alternatives..
why have the movements, which address the needs/desires of *so many, not been able to achieve lasting change and create a new, more democratic and just society.
protest is not enough.. social movements also have to enact a lasting social transformation..
today we are living in a phase of transition, which requires questioning some of our basic political assumptions.
not to take power as it is but to take power differently
‘leaderless’ movements must org the production of subjectivity necessary to create lasting social relations
instead of dismissing leadership completely we should start by individuating its core political function and then invent new mechs and practices for fulfilling them (whether this still is called ‘leadership’ matters little) two key leadership functions are decision making and assembly..
the fact that leadership is defined by a decision making capacity presents a paradox for modern conceptions of democracy: leader make decisions at a distance in relative solitude, but those decisions must in some sense be connected to the multitude and represent its will and desires
ability of leaders to assemble the multitude demos this same tension.. must be political entrepeneurs who gather people create new social combos and discipline them to coop w one another.. demo leadership ultimately appears as an oxymoron..
our hypothesis is that decision making and assembly do not require centralized rule bu instead can be accomplished together by the multitude, democratically..
this is not an elimination of leadership, then but an inversion of the political relationship that constitutes it, a reversal of the polarity that links horizontal movements and vertical leadership
leadership, then, if it is still to have a role, must exercise an *entrepreneurial function, not dictating to others or acting in their name or even claiming to rep them but as a **simple operator of assembly w/in a multitude that is self org’d and cooperates in freedom and equality to produce ***wealth
if you mean ***wealth as eudaimoniative surplus.. then yeah that..
the problem of organization .. resides here w the problem of the ‘constitutionalization’ of the common
human/e constitution ness
the ‘differently’ in other words, means not repeating the hypocrisies that pose freedom (w/o equality) as a concept of the right and equality (w/o freedom) a proposition of the left.. and it means refusing to separate the common and happiness
the title of this book, assembly, is meant to grasp the power of coming together and acting politically in concert..
but that reference is not really right.. we are interested in fuller forms of participation in which the roles are equal, interchangeable..
now is the time to find each other and assemble.. t.. as machiavelli frequently says, don’t let the occasion pass
indeed.. let’s try the ultimate of multiplicities of assembly.. 7bn everyday.. a new..
p1 – the leadership problem
1 – where have all the leaders gone
moreover, and this is the greater obstacle. the people are not yet ready to rule themselves.. the revolution needs time
rather.. it needs detox.. built in (ie: as we go.. from the get go).. the people are ready.. they just need to be truly free.. if we can let go of control enough for that.. (free art ists) .. then no prep.. no train .. no time.. needed..
representation connects and cuts
i think it just cuts
in effect, the modern paradigm of representation is coming to an end w/o there yet taking shape a real democratic alternative
the goal is to raise the consciousness and capacities of everyone so that *all can speak **equally and participate in ***political decisions..
rather.. so *everyone can speak.. their truth/curiosity/authenticity.. (as it could be) and if that truly happens.. w/every last one of us **getting a go everyday.. i’m pretty sure we’ll wonder what all the fuss about ***political decision ness was..
blm.. they are rejecting the charismatic leadership model that has dominated black politics for the past half century , and for good reason – frederick c harris.. the centralized leadership preached by previous generations, they believe, is not only undemocratic but also ineffective..
intellectuals, at least the best of them, have learned a fundamental lesson: never speak in the name of others..
one exception that proves the rule: when leaders of liberation movements appear today they must be masked.. ie: zapatistas.. but.. even the mask of the leader must fade away..
problem today: how to construct organization w/o hierarchy; and how to create institutions w/o centralization..
non sovereign forms of org and institution can be powerful and lasting
2 – strategy and tactics of the centaur
leaders are responsible for strategy.. as its greek etymology tells us, strategy indicates the command of a general.. and the analogy between politics and warfare in this conception is not coincidental..
tactics ..is the domain of the followers
the centaur – half human and half beast is emblematic of the union of the leaders and the led..
dialectic between spontaneity and authority..
a good first step toward unearthing them (capacities for strategy in movements) is to demystify the concept of ‘spontaneity’.. distrust anyone who calls a social movement or a revolt spontaneous.. belief in spontaneity, in politics as in physics, is based simply on an ignorance of causes .. and, for our purposes, ignorance of the existing social organization from which it emerges..
3 – contra rousseau; or, pour en finir avec la souveraineté
sovereignty is too often confused w independence and self determination, but in contrast to those concepts sovereignty always marks a relationship of power and domination: sovereignty is the exclusive right to exercise political authority.. the sovereign always stands in relations to subjects, above them, w the ultimate power to make political decisions..
keep in mind that the concept of sovereignty that functioned in early modern europe was also a pillar of the ideological justification of conquest and colonization..t
alvaro reyes and mara kaufman argue convincingly.. the concept of sovereignty emerges from the colonial mentality and is conceived explicitly in relation to the natives of ‘america’ who are considered populations that remain in the state of nature..
?.. state of nature..? america..?
the sovereigns must rule over those who cannot rule over themselves..
oi.. meadows undisturbed law.. et al
no notion of custom or tradition or natural right can negate the need for political decision making.. and the rule of law does not provide an alternative decision making power..
ugh.. why political decision making..?
another modern strategy has been to appropriate sovereignty from rules, reverse positions w/in the structure, and establish a new sovereign power: the third estate will be sovereign, the nation will be sovereign, the people will be sovereign..
the people or the nation or the proletariat can be sovereign only when it speaks w one voice. in contrast, a multitude, since it is not one by many, can never be sovereign.
we must focus more intensely on the processes and structure that can support collective decisions..
2 convos – although not really decisions.. and not collective decision.. except w/in daily tribe
opposing sovereignty in this way poses a central task for our analysis: to discover how the many can decide – and rule themselves together w/o masters..t
ie: meadows undisturbed ecosystem
critique of representation
to rep oneself is an intriguing limit concept.. but really it is an oxymoron.. representation, like sovereignty is necessarily founded on a relationship fo unequal power of political decision making. people claiming their own decision making powers undermines both sovereignty and representation..
rousseau is well known for pronouncing the impossibility of political representation. the will, he explains, cannot be represented: either it is yours or it isn’t; there is no middle ground..
when he celebrates the ‘general will’ in contrast to the ‘will of al’ rousseau theorizes a form of rep that underwrites sovereign power.. the general will constructs a rep public, not as a form of plural voices but unified, unanimous political subject that mystifies and stands in for all.. how could you differ w or oppose the general will? after all rousseau tells us, it’s your will and expresses our interest
whereas the will of all, because of its plurality, is inimical to sovereignty, the general will, unified and indivisible, is sovereign.. in fact, sovereignty is nothing but the exercise of the general will..
‘just as nature gives each man absolute power over his members’ rousseau argues, ‘ the social pact gives the body politic absolute power over all of its members, and it is this same power which, directed by the general will, bears, as i have said, the name of sovereignty’
the only plurality that rousseau can accept w/in the political body of this representative public is pushed to the extreme of individualism, since individual voices can be nullified in the general will
viewed in historical context, and in particular, the context of the social and econ conflicts of his times, rousseau’s conceptions of general will and public are complex, and even contradictory.. and correspond to the contradictory phase of class struggle in 18th cent europe.. gen will brings together and negotiates between two poles.. on one side.. a revolutionary direction… it seeks to liberate the common from the dominion of the ancient regime … give back to multitude..
on other side.. a bourgeois direction.. makes rep into a form of command, a new form of transcendence, and constructs the public as an authority charged w defending the private..
this latter position.. dominant stream of modern political thought must be demystified..
let us set aside the historical question regarding rousseau’s theory in the 18th cent context and focus instead on how today his concepts designate a regime of rep that supports and protects private property against democracy and the common..
yeah.. i wish we could have stayed here: rousseau is well known for pronouncing the impossibility of political representation
seems just what you were saying shouldn’t be done.. a building of it w/in the existing (corruption)
the mystification of contemporary capitalist relations rests on the almost permanent re proposition of two terms, the private and the public, which function together as a kind of bait, but correspond to two ways of appropriated the common..
in the first case, as rousseau says, private property is an appropriation (the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission) of the common by an individual, expropriating (the action by the state or an authority of taking property from its owner for public use or benefit) it from others;
‘the first man, who, having enclosed a piece of ground, to who it occurred to say this is mine, and found people sufficiently simple to believe him, was the true founder of civil society…
dang.. i hope this is saying what i hope this is saying.. ie: property/mine-ness is killer and foundation of civil society (as in civilization is killer)
how many crimes, wars, murders, how many miseries and horrors mankind would have been spared by him who, pulling up the stakes or filling in the ditch, had cried to his kind: beware of listening to this imposter; you are lost if you forget that the fruits are everyone’s and the earth no one’s’..
today private property negates people’s right to share and together care for not only the wealth of the earth and its ecosystems but also the wealth that we are able to produce by cooperating w one another.. rousseau’s indignation at the injustice of private property remains today as viral as it was over 200 yrs ago
indeed.. root of the disturbance to our ecosystem..
where rousseau was so lucid and severe when identifying private property as the source of all kinds of corruption and cause of human suffering, he stumbles when he confronts the public as a problem of the social contract.. given that private property creates ineq ..as rousseau says.. how can we invent a political system in which everything belongs to everyone and to no one..
it was necessary to come up with something to dress up its grip on the common, and to convince us that it reps us.. it is legit that public assumes rights to and makes decisions.. goes back to ‘we’ .. what allows us to exist.. the common, the state tell su, does not belong to us since we don’t really create it: the common is our foundation.. our nature, our id.. and if it does not really belong to us.. being is not having.. the grip of the state on the common is not called appropriation but rather (economic) management and (political) representation.. don’t worry.. the action and expression of the public is *really our will.. a kind of antecedent expression and an infinite debt..
yeah.. that.. cool.. *krishnamurti free will law et al.. so weird that they are talking/writing so much over my head.. but speaking my heart (for the most part)
while reading.. this tweet from yaneer ..
Yaneer Bar-Yam (@yaneerbaryam) tweeted at 8:21 AM on Sun, Jul 08, 2018:
Worth rereading the amazing Exupére story “The Little Prince” on relatedness. See attached. See also Relational properties: https://t.co/GzTSbDI7PMhttps://t.co/gcZTq1I2Qb
with this embedded in medium:
In a sense, just as molecular lock/key relationships are central to biology, so possession/ownership is central in society as an essential general purpose relatedness concept.
haven’t read it all yet.. but from first glance.. have relatedness so wrong.. also richard‘s on belonging..
Richard D. Bartlett (@RichDecibels) tweeted at 8:42 AM on Sun, Jul 08, 2018:
Wow I got the best reader feedback I can imagine: this story helped someone find their way out of a coercive ‘spiritual’ community.
Go humans go!
the passage from property to the common.. requires the creation of new institutions..private property which is characterized by a monopoly of access and decision making is at base an instance or derivative of sovereignty.. maintain the common, that is, goods and forms of wealth to which we have equal access, requires that we create structures to manage democratically this wealth and our access to it..
for a multitude to take power a first req is this: to invent new, nonsovereign institutions..
such a program would have to present development not as simply producing more goods but instead as an ontological expansion of social being
4 – the dark mirror of right wing movements
over the course of the 20th cent, two primary characteristics define right wing movements: authority and id, specifically, the exaltation of leadership and the defense or restoration of the unity of the people.. the sense that people are under siege and need to be defended remains at the heart of right wing movements..
carl schmitt’s analysis of the nazi movement is an extreme ie
man stands in the reality of this belongingness of people and race’.. the primary political obligation, then, i sot defend one’s own kind against aliens..
to say that populism is grounded in the love of id (a horrible, destructive form of political love, in our view) is undoubtedly trued.. but behind id lurks poverty.. sovereignty and racialized property are the stigmata that mark the body of right wing populisms..
right wing movements.. are reactionary.. not only in that they seek to restore a past social order but also in that they borrow (often in distorted form) the protest repertoires, vocabs and even stated goals of the left resistance and liberation movements..
begs gershenfeld sel – non reactionary..
‘that is the task’, corey robin asserts, ‘of right wing populism: to appeal to the mass w/o disrupting the power of elites or, more precisely, to harness the energy of the mass in order to reinforce or restore the power of elites..’
land rights are thus a recurring theme.. this relationship between id and property takes two primary forms 1\ id provides privileged rights/access to property superior race.. whiteness, christianity, civilizational.. 2\ id itself is a form of property.. the possession of something exclusively one’s own..
property and sovereignty .. are intimately mixed in the twinned operations of possession and exclusion..
the need to defend id and its privileges.. sometimes eclipses all other goals.. id and property thus have a double relation in right wing populisms:id serves as a privileged means to property and also as a form of property itself.. which promises to maintain or restore the hierarchies of the social order.. t
the violence of religious id’s – one key to understanding many religious movements today is the way they combine the defense of religious id w resentment against alien powers..
the focus on the purity and stability of id is why religious movement often tend toward dogmatic closure .. and why religious movements can communicate and mix so freely w movements based on racial or civilization id..
the cult of id, religious fanaticism, and social conservatism are interwoven in a deadly and explosive mix of sad passions ta nourish violence and totalitarian tendencies..
religious movements thus line up w disastrous political projects: saintliness is offered to those who hate and destroy…
ghandi’s key insight, we think which remains equally vital today is that no religion per se but religious id, the construction and defense of a religious people, leads inevitably to violence and barbarity, and must be destroyed..
movements must be nonidentitairan..t
let out only label be our daily curiosity
id based on race and ethnicity, religion, sexuality or any other social facto closes down the plurality of movement,s which must be instead internally diverse, multitudinous..
poverty as wealth
the crucial point is that the affirmation of poverty and the critique of property are not conceived as deprivation or austerity but rather as abundance
act 4:32: and the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common
the refusal of property is thus not only essential to spiritual transformation, according to franciscans, but also to a life of plenitude.. poverty is not the absence of wealth, but perhaps paradoxically, its fundamental precondition: ‘everything for everyone’ .. to cite a zaptista slogan..
in the capitalist world poverty became inextricably linked to exploitation.. the poor tend to become no longer slaves, beasts of burden, untouchables at the margins of the human race, but instead integrated and subordinated as producers..
the proletariat, a multitude of re sellers of labor power who have nothing else to sell and no other means to survive is cast in a ‘second nature’ constructed by capital and reinforced by theological justification of the work ethic and the hierarchies of the social order.. the poor are invited to participate responsibly in their own exploitation, and that will be considered a dignity.. .. capitalist asceticism becomes the damnation of the poor and exploited..
marx, after denouncing the poverty of workers, links that poverty to their power, in the sense tha in capitalist society the living labor of workers, although stripped of the means of production is ‘the general possibility of material wealth’.. that explosive mix of poverty and potential represents a mortal threat to the private ownership fo the means of production..
richard on capitalism
a second response (to precarity and poverty – first is to double down on id).. refuses the siren calls of id and instead constructs, on the basis of our precarious condition, secure forms of life grounded in the common
vulnerability of the poor, disabled… forces us to recognize the ineluctable dependence on other that all of us share.. the development of circuits of interdependence.. are the primary (perhaps the only) path to a real security..
this combo of precarity and possibility is expressed esp powerful in the lives of migrants.. multitudes that cross over, around and thru national boundaries have the potential to undermine fixed id’s and destabilize the material constitutions of the global order
these subjectivities, ever more mixed, are increasingly able to evade the fusional, identitarian powers of control.. undermine the hierarchies of traditional id’s.. in the inferno of poverty and in the odyssey of migration resides a new power..
again.. the essence of the franciscan project: poverty as not deprivation but a state of wealth and plenitude that threatens every sovereign and transcendent power.. practices of nonproperty … once again have revolutionary potential in the struggles of the common against teh financial power of capital..
even deeper: does poverty contain the seeds of a radical refusal of id and the creation instead, of an antagonistic, multitudinous subject grounded in the common?.. there is indeed a sacrilegious, corrosive element in poverty that dissolves all kinds of id, including religious id.. w/o strong identitarian concepts (nation, race, family, etc) .. there is no way to project in god oneself and one’s own eminence, which is the essence of religious id, along w fanaticism and superstition. but would that still be *religion..?
5 – the real problem lies elsewhere
can we discover (beyond modernity) an ‘other’ terrain , which lies on a path between the multitude and the common, a path on which the multitude produces and reproduces the common..?
yes.. ie: a nother way
and yet these cycles have not managed to invent a new and effective organizational form that is adequate to today’s needs.. demos a poverty of organization..
we cannot fully understand this plural ontology or arrive a this political project if our vision remains fixed on the political terrain… the movements themselves are only symptoms of a deeper social reality, embodied in the daily practices and capacities of the multitude and it circuits of social production and reproduction
(on 3rd way).. to take power, not simply by occupying the existing offices of domination w better leaders, but instead by altering fundamentally the relationships that power designates and thus transforming power itself..
look at the capitalist management theories and you will find more or less explicit proposals to dominate the subjectivation of workers – imploring them, above all, to love their work, despite its odious reality
this resonates w how deleuze interpreted, correctly in our view, foucault’s conception of power: ‘power has no essence; it si simply operational. it is not an attribute but a relation’
p 2 – social production
what does from below mean..
from below is indeed the standpoint of a wide range of projects for liberation, and this is the perspective we will try to develop in our analysis..
machiavelli.. howard zinn.. web dubois.. affirms that the standpoint of the subordinated offers the potential for a more complete knowledge fo society.. black americans gifted w a second sight.. they see society more fully..
some of the great theorists of power in modern tradition share much of machiavielli’s analysis but never fully draw its consequences.. thus arises the conception of legitimation or, really, the idea of how command must be bound by consent.. the need for command to rep the interests of the obedient..
machiaveli sees power as relationship and born from below.. power always exceeds fixed relations..
6 – how to open property to the common
for centuries the ruling power have told us that private property is a sacred and inalienable right.. the bulwark that defends society against chaos.. the right to property is written into constitutions.. so embedded deeply in social fabric that it defines our common sense.. w/o property it seem impossible to understand ourselves and our world.
today, however, as property is increasingly unable to support economic needs/political passions.. cracks begin to appear in those common sense understandings..private property is not the foundation of freedom, justice and development.. but the opposite.. an obstacle to econ life, the basis of unjust structure of social control, and the prime factor that creates and maintains social hierarchies and ineq’s..
the problem w property is not merely that some have it and some don’t. private property itself is the problem..t
kool beans.. adding page property in anticipation of this chapter (ie: creates obsessions/myths w id; security; et al .. because it disturbs our commons/commons house/common\ing.. aka our undisturbed ecosystem.. )
we have only meager intellectual resource to think outside property.. let alone conceive of a world in which private property is abolished.. resources are available paradoxically in the tradition of property law itself..
? not sure about that.. seems too compromising
some alt legal traditions lead away from property and toward the common, but faced w the precipice, as we will see, fail to take the leap and end up mystifying the common
property grants a monopoly of access and decision making to an individual owner to the exclusion of others..
first year law students are often taught, however, contrary to the classical definitions, that property denotes a plural set of social interests: a bundle of rights
the legal realists’ conception of property rights is particularly powerful because it combines the pluralism of the notion of a bundle w the claim that property implies sovereignty, a form of domination that is equally political and economic..
coercion is always mobilized by property rights in order to regulate and suppress the rights of others, even (and esp) when classical liberal, laissez-faire advocates sing the praises of freedom..
the notion that property is a bundle of rights or, better, ‘a set of social relations’ highlights the social hierarchies that are created and supported by property..
a second core tenet of cls (critical legal studies) is the law is not autonomous from politics; law is itself a political weapon..
like the legal realists, however, cls scholars do not extend the implications of their arguments toward an abolition of property but instead strive to reform property from the inside: they use the pluralism of property law to affirm the rights of the subordinated..
several theorist of intellectual property seem to peer over the edge of property and glimpse the common, pushed in that direction by the phenom they study, and their work is very useful, but they ultimately pull back from the precipice and find ways to express their project w/in rather than against the property paradigm..
in capitalism society the possession of private property is legitimated (at least in principle) by labor..
john locke: what was common becomes private when individuals add their labor to it
ownership of one’s own labor is the building block.. when it engages w and mixes w the common, then the common too becomes property thru a logic of contagion.. intellectual labor.. legitimates intellectual property..
capitalist property accrues not to those who produce but to those who own the means of production..
marx moves in the opposite direction: the abolition of private property requires also the refusal of work.. ‘.. ‘labour’ by its very nature is unfree, unhuman, unsocial activity, determined by private property and creating private property.. hence thw abolition of private property will become a reality won when it is conceived as the abolition of ‘labour’ ..
the equation between private property and labor, in marx’s vision, effectively doubles the challenge: we must imagine and invent not only social bonds and social cohesion w/o property but also systems of cooperative social activity and creativity beyond work, that is, beyond the regime of waged labor..t
ie: short bp to get us there
it no longer makes sense to isolate the one whose labor created some thing or, as patent law imagines, some idea. the one never produces. we only produce together, socially..
if it ever did..
if wealth today tends to be produced not by individuals but only in expansive cooperative social networks, then the results should be the property of the productive network as a whole the entire society, which is to say the property of no one; the at is property should become non property and wealth must become common
legal projects to reform property .. have had beneficial effects but now we need finally to take the leap beyond..
it is becoming increasingly clear.. that property can and must be stripped of its sovereign character and transformed into the common.
the common is defined first, then, in contrast to property .. it is not a new form of property but rather non property.. that is, a fundamentally diff means of organizing the use and management of wealth.. the common designates an equal and open structure for access to wealth together w democratic mechs of decision making..
how about 2 convos.. to facil have/need ness (esp because unless we’re doing daily self-talk/detox.. we’re faciling fake wants.. no where near true needs/desires.. completely changes what it means to make decisions)
private property is not intrinsic to human nature or necessary for civilized society, ..t.. but rather a historical phenom: it came into existence w capitalist modernity and oe day it will pass out of existence..
we whole heartedly endorse ostrom’s claim that the common must be managed through systems of democratic participation. we part ways w her, however, when she insists that the community that shares access and decision making must be small and limited by clear boundaries to divide those inside from outside.. we have greater ambitions and are interested instead in more expansive democratic experiences that are open to others, and we will have to demo the feasibility of such a new, fuller form of democracy today in the following chapters..
ostrom’s formation of ‘common-pool resource’ often seem to name merely another form of property.. the common stands in contrast to property in a more radical way, by eliminating the character of exclusion from the rights of both use and decision making, instituting instead schema of open, shared use and democratic governance..
fable of the bees; or, passions of the common.. passions prompt them to be wicked.. you are what you have.. key passions:
1\ security (against fear) – private property promises to connect you in community.. but instead separates you.. property’s promise of security.. but really no one is safe
2\ prosperity (against misery) – there is a world of needs/wants beyond private property
vulnerability can be a form of strength when it is mobilized w others..
3\ freedom (against death) – state action is always enlisted to protect private property and to exert coercion against all who are excluded from tis use. perhaps such state coercion is invisible to those whose property is defended, but to those who are excluded it is just as real and powerful as any other form of violence..
on the one hand, only the extension of freedom can construct coop, org the common and guarantee social security. on the other only the rules of coop and the norms of democracy can construct free, active subjectivities..
i go w the first hand.. if we do that right.. we don’t need rules of coop.. if we go w the second hand.. and start w rules.. it won’t ever work.. and if it does for a bit.. it won’t last.. we need the energy from the coop coming from w/in alive people.. first.. ie: meadows undisturbed law
alexander kollontai argues that the logic of possession is so deeply ingrained that it infuses even the modern conception of love. people have no way to think of their bonds to each other except in terms of property: you are mine and i am yours..
not having.. but in being
private property will not dissolved on its own.. humanity needs a push in order to leap over the precipice into the common
7 – we, machinic subjects
instead of rejecting tech, then, we must start from w/in the tech and biopolitical fabric of our live sand chart from there a path of liberation..
this is a radical loss of the sense of being
many early theorists of cybernetic grasped the ontological relation between humans and machines but were confused about its implications.. they conceived of the development of new techs effectively in terms of lowering the human to the level of machines.. ie: norbert wiener.. generally conceived human neural structure in terms of info processing and grasped subjectivity in disembodied form
deleuze and guattari.. ‘the object is no longer to compare humans and machine.. but to bring them into communication.. to show how humans are a component part of the machine..’ .. part of a mutually constituted social reality
they (machines) contain the potential for both servitude and liberation.. the problem lies at not the ontological but the political level.. how human actions, habits.. in techs are separated from humans and controlled by those in power… calling it: fixed capital..
today we must immerse ourselves into the heart of techs and attempt to make them our own
workers are no longer merely instruments that capital uses for transformation nature and producing commodities. having incorporated the productive tools and knowledges into their own *minds and bodies, they are transformed and have the potential to become **increasingly foreign to and autonomous from capital.. this process injects class struggle into productive life itself..
not sure what to make of this section.. focus on capital (a disturbance to ecosystem).. then saying we have incorp’d the fixed capital (in my mind thinking – poison/cancer).. into our *minds/bodies transforming us to be **free..? of capital..
fourth call: take back fixed capital (this fixed capital being man himself)
when marx proclaims that fixed capital, which we normally conceived in terms of machines, ahs become ‘man himself’ he manages to anticipate the developments fo capital in our time..
in other words, as it becomes an increasingly social power, living labor ( and life activity more generally) operates as an ever more independent activity, outside the structure of discipline that capital commands
just now.. this sounds like academics/theorists trying to logically work our way back to an undisturbed ecosystem keeping the story inline (ie: making the history of humanity flow.. rather than saying we screwed up and need to disengage and leap out of the mess/cancer)..
labor has reached such a level of dignity and power that it can potentially refuse the form of vaporization that is imposed on it and thus, even under command, develop its own autonomy..
where is labor dignified..? thinking bs jobs et al
paolo vrimo emphasized the performative nature of social labor, forms of production that have no material result, which he calls ‘virtuosity’.. luc boltanski and eve chiapello similarly highlight the ‘artistic’ character of labor..
do these seem like exaggeration when you are faced w deadening jobs in the convenience store or the call center or the factory? such propositions have to be understood as indicative of a tendency, pointing toward those who are spread throughout society and active in production even when they are not paid at work..
on pagerank: whereas industrial machines crystallize past intelligence in a relatively fixed, static form, algos continually add social intelligence to the results of the past to create n open, expansive dynamic..
? google’s pagerank is surveying/tallying action/attention of people who are not themselves..
it might appear that the algo machine itself is intelligent, but that is not really true; instead, it is open to continuous modification by human intelligence..
rather.. by human zombies..
most often when we say ‘intelligent machines’ we are really referring to machines that are continuously able to absorb human intelligence
wow.. whales at sea world
today we can really begin to think of a reappropriation of fixed capital by the workers and the integration of intelligent machines under autonomous social control into their lies, a process, for ie, of the construction of algos disposed to the self valorization of cooperative social production and reproduction in all their articulations..
(on deleuze and guattari); ie: in order that he shall make the gestures and actions of his subjection ‘all by himself’..
a machinic assemblage then is a dynamic composition of heterogeneous elements that eschew identity but nonetheless function together, subjectively, socially, in cooperation.. it thus shares characteristics w our concept of multitude..
except .. all this coop is w zombies.. so data/input.. and thus parts and output..et al.. is non legit.. begs we detox ourselves first.. focus on self-talk as data.. then take a look at the multitudinal dance..
donna haraway’s cyborg ness
the machinic is always an assemblage, we said, a dynamic composition of human and other beings, but the power of these new machinis subjectivities is only virtual so long as it is not actualized and articulated in social cooperation and in the common.. if , in fact, the reappropriation of fixed capital were to take place individually, transferring private ownership from one individual to another, it would just be a matter of robbing peter to pay paul, and have no real significance.. when i contrast, the wealth and production power of fixed capital is appropriate socially and thus when it is transformed from private property to the common, then the power of machinic subjectivities and their cooperative networks can be fully actualized..
common is only constructed thru forms of resistance and processes the reappropriated fixed capital
i think that’s cancerous..
if capital can expropriate value only from the cooperation of subjectivities but they resist that exploitation, then capital must raise the levels of command and attempt increasingly arbitrary and violent operation of the extraction of value from the common..
i see the common as all or nothing.. meaning.. it has to be all of us from the get go
8 – weber in reverse
the problem w kafkaesque characterizations, however, is that they tend to portray modern admin as a behemoth, autonomous and inscrutable, when in fact, like all forms of power, modern admin is a relationship divided in two.. 1\mediator function 2\ power of those who struggle against it .. crumbling it.. replacing essential functions..
the widespread and alt production of knowledges is an essential *weapon in the arsenal of protest and liberation movements tha recognize tha knowledge corresponds not only to power but also to freedom
noticing use of battle terms
the modern bureaucrat, blinkered to see only what is measurable and calculable seems more machine than human… in the machine of modern bureaucracy, as the saying goes, you become a number
just as modern, mechanical admin does not make human labor obsolete but instead forces humans to act more like machines.. so too contemp machinic admin creates new realms of routine digital work and rote analytics..
ie: every admin unit, every banking division, every large business requires an army of workers who enter unstructured data in the appropriate form fields, answer standard questions or perform some other routinized task in front of the screen
paradoxically, although these tasks are ‘mindless’ because so routinized, the require a relatively high level of ed.. the rising higher ed rates in many parts of world are creating not only ‘grads w no future’ but also armies of grads w a future of digital tedium..
and pkg deal assured to zombie ize us into whatever
9 – entrepreneurship of the multitude
(on entrepreneur being the one who gets things done.. and not always able to pay everyone whose cooperation he requires): the analogy w the sovereign and its police emphasizes the threat of force or violence required by the entrepreneur. mar similarly compares the capitalist overseeing cooperation as general on the battlefield, dictating strategy for the troops under his command.. cooperation in capitalist society is always accomplished under the threat of force
because being forced to do solve other people’s problem .. as work.. if it’s about your own problems.. rather curiosities.. no force needed.. rather .. ongoing energy..
social labor, in addition to being unpaid, must also be functionally subordinated and ordered toward a specific productive goal..
yeah.. that’s poison..
more important is his conception of the ‘man of action’ the weight of whose personality demands obedience..
the increasingly powerful rule of finance, schumpeter realizes, reduces the entrepreneur from a leader whose force of personality or ideas gains the consent of the masses to a supplicant of the banker. the power of money, finance, and property and the economic coercion they deploy.. replaces the traditional modes of authority and consent required for leadership
and we need leadership..? like that..?
conceiving the slave organization of labor, for ie, as a distinct mode of production separate form capitalism led to both conceptual confusion and insidious political effects.
mode of production .. another way of saying form of life or rather production of forms of life.. producing, in other words, means organizing social cooperation and reproducing forms of life..
the neoliberal mandate to become the individual entrepreneur of your own life in other words, is an attempt to recup and domesticate a threatening form of multitudinous entrepreneurship that is already emerging from below
the rise of social entrepreneurship .. coincides w the neoliberal destruction fo th welfare state, as its flip side, its compensatory mechanism, its caring face, forming together a ‘social neoliberalism’.. charles leadbeater a former advisor to tony blair.., who is credited as originator of the term, argues for social entrepreneurship to fill the gap left when state benefits and assistance disappear
social entrepreneurship (se), leadbeater explains, involves a combo of volunteerism, charity and philanthropy, which create nonstate, community based systems of services ‘in which users and clients are encouraged to take more responsiblity for their own lives’..
further more, se, true to its social democratic roots, does not question the rule of property and the sources of social ineq but instead seeks to alleviate the worst suffering and make capitalist society more humane.. noble.. but makes se’s blind to the potentially autonomous circuits of cooperation that emerge in the relationships of social production and reproduction
the illusory claims of se are even more damaging.. in the circuits of international aid, philanthropy and ngo activity in the most subordinates countries.. in the name of empowerment, recipients of aid are often required to orient social life toward commodity production and internalize neoliberal development culture and its market rationalities.. thus abandoning local and indigenous community structures and values or mobilizing them as entrepreneurial assets.. ie: microcredits.. thought celebrated.. results show such loans have don little to alleviate poverty.. and instead saddled populations w lasting debt burdens
the nexus of social neolib and se destroy community networks and autonomous modes of coop that support social life..
only when social wealth is shared and managed together can the productivity of social coop realize its potential
indeed.. and it has to be all of us to work
the social strike, however, must be not only a refusal but also an affirmation.. it must, in other words, also be an act of entrepreneurship that creates or , better, reveals the circuits fo coop and the potentially autonomous relationships of social production that exist inside and outside waged labor.. making use of social wealth shared in common..
any political subjectivities seeking to take the word w legitimacy today must learn who to speak )and to act, live, and create) like migrants..
imagine if we could re create that image now w radically heterogeneous .. bodies .. in all their singularity.. moreover bodies in motion, encountering one another, speaking different tongues, but nonetheless able to cooperate in both shared and conflicting relations.. the image of such a multitude would depict how the processes of translation – taking the word – subvert the structure of sovereignty and construct the common
language/translation as ie: idio-jargon
p 3 – financial command and neoliberal governance
the ‘great transformation’ of the economy in the socialist direction, foreseen by illustrious economists of the 20th cent, from schumpeter to karl polanyi, has thus been reversed – not by anew theory but by state sanction accompanied by a strong dose of violence
the only possibility of countering and overthrowing neoliberalism and its forms of rule resides in the same social forces that neoliberalism is designed to contain: the multitude and its projects of liberation
10 – finance captures social value
finance emerged as a significant component of the capitalist mode of production in the late 19th and early 20th cents.. supplemented industrial capital.. offered instruments of abstraction and centralization… facilitated passage from manufacture to rule of large corps and monopolies…. 20th cent.. industry & finance inverted.. finance now predominates..
(finance) began dominate role around 1970
the ‘solution’ to fiscal crisis, repeated in states through out the world over the last decades of the 20th cent , was to shift public debt to private banks, and in the process transfer public governance mechs to the rule of the financial markets….
the general sequence goes something like this: resistance and revolt –> govt spending –> fiscal crisis –> financialization
a smaller version of this sequence of revolt –> public debt –> fiscal crisis was particularly clear and pronounced in major us cities..
these crises were ‘resolved’ only w the intervention of private banks and financial funds, which took advantage of the ’emergency’ to appropriate large portions of public goods and to undermine the democratic functioning of public institutions
david harvey writes of this in 70s in ny.. detroit and flint ..continues today..
the mode of production of finance capital is based, on one hand, on the control of social cooperation and the extraction of value produced in the innumerable circuits of social life, and, on the other, on the extraction of value from the earth and the various forms of natural wealth we share in common
the center of gravity of the capitalist mode of production is today becoming – this is our general defn – the extraction of the common..
finance, like all rent generating activities, is characterized by its abstraction from production and its capacity to rule at a distance
david – on bs jobs/work.. making/doing nothing..
one window into the way that finance and social production rose to prominence hand in hand from the 70s is provided by the operation of derivatives and, specifically, how they create mechs of measure and commensuration..
a derivative in its most basic form is simply a contract that derives its value from some underlying asset, index, or security; derivatives typically refer to an unknown future and thus can be used either to hedge against risk or as vehicles of speculation..
derivatives have become so extraordinarily complex and esoteric than adequate analysis of their operation is swell beyond our scope, but our argument here is focused on a specific function: the measurement role of derivatives..
we have argued elsewhere that when confronting social production, capital is no longer able to measure value adequately, at least not in the way it had previously..
clearly value can no longer be measures.. as david ricardo and karl marx theorized, in terms of the quantities of labor time… this is not to say that labor is no longer the source of wealth in capitalist society ,ti si. but the wealth it creates is not (or is no longer) measurable.. how do you measure the value of knowledge, or info, or a relationship of care or trust, or the basic results of ed or health services.. and yet the measure of social productivity and value are still required for capitalist markets..
derivatives are part of finance’s response to the problem of measure..
‘a complex web of conversions, a system of derivatives.. in which any ‘bit’ of capital, anywhere and w any time or spatial profile, can be measured against any other ‘bit’ of capital, and on and on -going basis – bryan and rafferty
‘the core operation of derivatives’ writes randy martin ‘is to bind the future to the present thru a range of contractual opps and to make all manner of capital .. commensurate w one another’
are values accurate may not be the right question. the important fact .. is that measures are precise and effective.. values may be unknown, immeasurable, unquantifiable, but financial markets nonetheless manage to stamp quantities on them, quantities that are in some sense arbitrary but still quite real and effective
critics disparage finance – and derivatives even more so – as fictional and parasitical.. captains of fiance.. can laugh as they accumulate vast wealth thru extraction from the common.. but we should be clear – such financial mechs do not prevent crises but instead intensify them.. the volatility of finance.. is one element that makes permanent crisis the primary mode of neoliberal governance..t
finance tweets while reading:
Global Taskforce (@GlobalTaskforce) tweeted at 4:35 AM – 12 Jul 2018 :
Local and regional governments need to access long-term financing, this includes climate related financing, to carry out the provision of public services and leave no one behind #Listen2Cities #HLPF2018 #HLPF https://t.co/5ERUC3wjf7 (http://twitter.com/GlobalTaskforce/status/1017356645133897728?s=17)
Skoll Foundation (@SkollFoundation) tweeted at 4:40 AM – 12 Jul 2018 :
By targeting the invisible barriers to success––like governance, finance, and capacity development—@WSUPUK is transforming the way that cities provide access to water and sanitation https://t.co/ag0OZFwguw (http://twitter.com/SkollFoundation/status/1017357936820150272?s=17)
MarketplacePlatform (@MrktPlacePfm) tweeted at 3:51 PM – 11 Jul 2018 :
The Bank of North Dakota: Reliable financing for the common good https://t.co/JxmdVLjjTG @Shareable https://t.co/UmstJAWdjw (http://twitter.com/MrktPlacePfm/status/1017164562552909824?s=17)
(on extraction) – bill mckibben on earth.. vandana shiva on ‘biopiracy’ ie: patenting knowledge of medicinal properties of a plant.. which was long ago developed by a traditional community and held in common.. so too.. patenting of genetic info.. data mining stored/sold.. et al
whereas industrial capitalists discipline and exploit labor for profit, the rentier extracts the common and accumulates existing wealth w little involvement in its production..
debt provides one mech to extract value from social life.. ie: home mortgage and rental value.. matthew desmond.. evicted
finance is itself an extractive industry..
if you want to understand extraction from above, then follow the money; but if you want to grasp it from below, you need to follow the common
thru logistics, expanding their vision and engagement beyond the terrain of production, businesses both increase their profits and expand the field of class warfare.. ie: 70s .. adopt shipping containers.. allowed for mass firings of dock workers.. et al..
developments in logistics are always a response to the rebellious, uncontrollable forces fo production.. stefano harney and fred moten trace this response back to he birth of modernity.. ‘modern logistics is founded w the first great movement of commodities.. in atlantic slave trade.. logistic could not contain what it had relegated to the hold’ beneath every revolution in logistics reside unruly subjects and new forms of rebellion
also thinking – stamped from beginning
primitive accumulation and formal/real subsumption helps us articulate then, how today’s centralist of extraction.. does not indicate either a further step in a linear history or a cyclical return to he past.. contemp marxist debates make clear instead that capitalist development is defined by multiple temporalities.. mixings..
11 – money institutionalizes a social relation.. t
money is power only in the sense that those who have it can use it to accomplish their will
so let’s do this.. ie: short bp to purge ourselves of it
when we look deeper we see that money is not just affected by social relations; money is itself a social relation. the dynamic between money and social relations, in other words, i snot external but internal.. more accurate/useful to define money not by what it is but by what it does.. money designates and reproduces a specific social structure.. money institutionalizes a social relation .. or rather, a set of relations of social production/reproduction..
money’s determination of a schema of measure of the value in an entire social field..
money can be understood only by grasping how it is embedded in a determinate social formation .. in particular.. mode of production and exploitation..
3 broad phases of capital (all this in chart on p 192-3):
1\ primitive accumulation.. ie: enclosures of the commons.. and various forms of theft that accompanied colonization..
2\ manufacture & large scale industry
3\ social production.. contemporary post fordists.. realization of the world market… typical finance.. .. carlo vercello calls this the ‘phase of general intellect’.. assuming.. now characterized by hegemony of cognitive labor, laboring coop, digitization and ..
a – temporalities of production:
1a\ labor time linked to rhythms of earth
2a\ clock time & division of working day
3a\ 24/7 nonstop global..as jonathan crary says ‘dispossessed of time’
b – forms of value:
1b\ absolute surplus value – dispossession of the common .. possession of money as power
2b\ relative surplus value – extraction of surplus .. wage/welfare.. new deal..credit.. insurance..
3b\ biopolitical surplus value – extracted from precarious class of workers.. rent.. removing all guarantees of previous period.. melinda cooper calls this ‘shadow money’.. .. whereas monetary guarantees previously corresponded to guarantees of employment now the monetary instability of finance and speculation correspond to the precarity of labor
c – modes of extraction:
1c\ conquest and dispossession – immediate, localized, violent capture
2c\ industrial exploitation & colonial extraction – portions of working day
3c\ extraction as appropriation of the common – value from circulation of commodities created by banks..taken from common wealth of productive social cooperation.. up to.. extracted throughout entire society..
d – forms of property
1d\ immobile .. mostly land.. grounded in a personal relation to the sovereign..
2d\ mobile.. commodities flowing out of factories.. money takes ever more impersonal/mobile forms..
3d\ reproducible – intensifies anonymity and mobility ie: code, images, patents.. floating liquid nature of money..
e – composition of labor power
1e\ artisanal – from survival to factory… intelligence considered a natural quality of ‘human biped’ such that bodies and brains function together..
2e\ manufacturing/(sci form)industrial – mass worker.. w/in subjugated mass are liberated new tech knowledges..
3e\ social and cognitive labor..
f – temporalities of realization
1f\ synchronic realization of value
2f\ temporality of the fordist credit regime – synchrony replaced by temporality of credit
3f\ financial realization projected to future – financial agreements/investments.. higher risk can control only thru state power.. this verifies marx’s dictum regarding money: ‘its functional existence so to speak absorbs its material existence’
g – forms of class struggle
1g\ popular – ie: small acts of sabotage for theft of commons
2g\ working class – ie: strikes for wages/welfare
3g\ biopolitical/social class – ie: social strike as mobilization..
h – forms of antagonistic political organization
1h\ workers’ guilds & mutualistic structures
2h\ trade unions and parties – action now tied to political and party org..
3h\ social coalitions – global terrain.. undergoes conflict w/restless movements of multitude..
i – sources of monetary creation
1i\ state-bank – .. in form of credit by making loans of greater value than reserves.. states maintain relative control over banks..
2i\ state-bank-corporation – reversed.. banks and firms are sources.. .. circulation.. purchase
3i\ financial creation – fin instruments.. finance has power to create money over state, bank and business.. ie: rent bearing capital..
j – forms of govt
1j\ colonial monarchies and sovereignty – violent accumulation, dispossession of commons, defn of private property.. ie: gold/silver stolen from mines; slave trade; … equal parts gold and blood
2j\ imperialist oligarchies of discipline – same as 1 but diff forms.. ie: plantation to factory
3j\ empire and biopolitical control – financial markets.. based on abstraction of extraction.. biopolitical exploitation of value produced by social life in its entirety
georg simmel.. interprets money in era of industrial capital as an institution that structures the entire social terrain..
simmel is perhaps first philosopher to develop his research w/in a completely ‘reified’ world.. that is , reduced to a horizon of commodities.. simmel recognizes a contemporary condition in which money has become the horizon of life, the lived experience of human interchange..
simmel emphasizes the growing social role of the intellect and cognitive production as parallel to the expansion of the money economy.. ‘.. the idea that life is essentially based on intellect, and that intellect is accepted in practical life as the most valuable of our mental energies, goes hand in hand w the growth of a money economy’… econ value thus.. objectifies subjective values.. money is ‘a reification of the general form of existence according to which things derive their significance form their relationship to each other..
indeed..(10 day cares et al).. and why we’re messed up.. intoxicated.. in need of detox
(simmel) cannot manage to transform his analytical and critical standpoint into a praxis of liberation..
ubi as temp placebo.. that’ll do it
simmel’s occasional mystifications regarding money and finance should not blind us to the real power of his analysis..
for simmel.. money is not merely for counting/storing value.. (it) is the reality of a social relationship, indicating, variously the division of labor, the separation of the social classes, .. there is no money stripped of social relationships;..
digital currencies, even when autonomous from states and generated by algo machines, will be no diff at heart than other contemporary forms of money as long as they continue to reinforce the dominant social relations..
a new money.. must institutionalize a new social relations..
rather.. no money.. for a new/old social relation
david harvey goes one step farther (than simmel’s: structured, institutionalized world in which the relationships interpreted by money have replaced nature w the metropolis).. drawing the consequences of the power relationships that simmel does not manage to confront.. money, he asserts, claims to rep the value of social labor but in may respects distorts or even falsifies it.. ‘this gap between money and value it reps constitutes a foundational contradiction of capital’ .. and that contradiction for him, is a potential point of departure for struggling against capitalist social relation sand eventually, creating an alt
david – cool.. hope this means david is for no money
money reproduces not so much the material figure of property but the set of condition that permit the existence of a society of private law (or private property, contract, credit, and individual rights), understood as the interindividual fabric and institutional structure of the social order..
the constitutional order of property and the market becomes an insuperable horizon, and the state becomes the ‘guardian of a competitive order’..
state debt progressively became the prime mech to guarantee the regulation and reproduction of the capitalist system..
inflation, public/private debt.. are so many mechs to ‘buy time’ and defer the crisis, although none of theme can address its foundations..
12 – neoliberal administration out of joint
neoliberal admin is a weapon designed to contain and absorb the energies and abilities that made modern bureaucracy no longer tenable.. response to resistances/revolts.. et al
neolib ideology sings the praises of freedom.. when you hear someone celebrating private property as the basis of freedom you should remember robert hale’s argument that when govts protect property rights they are exerting coercion against all those excluded from access to and control of that property..
huge.. thinking we need to do that.. is what creates tragedy of commons ness
seen at a social rather than individual level, in a kind of orwellian reversal, freedom means servitude.. similarly when neolibs preach small govt they most often mean large budgets to fund the protection of property, security, border fences, military.. et al… in other words.. neolib is not laissez faire and does not involve a decline of govt activity or coercion..
the power of the resistant subjectivities that are subjected to neolib and emphasize how neolib admin attempts to mold them into subjects that are, as foucault says, ’eminently governable’
in practical terms, the freedom to be an entrepreneur of yourself and administer your own life translates for most in to precarity and poverty..
drucker maintains that the primary obstacle for workers to become entrepreneurs of themselves is the stable, guaranteed job for life.. to create an entrepreneurial society, therefore, the power of trade unions must be broken because the employment stability they offer discourages workers from innovating in their lives and continuously refashioning themselves..
similarly, he continues, the permanence of public institutions, such as unis and govt agencies, must be destroyed because the social stability they offer similarly discourages self innovation ..
‘one implication of this is that individuals will increasingly have to take responsibility for their own continuous learning, and relearning, for their own self development and their own careers.. ‘
workers in a neolib entrepreneurial society are essentially bird free, that is, free from stable employment, welfare services, stat assistance – free to manage their own precarious lives as best they can and survive.. what lovely hypocrisy..
the japanese term used to refer to the growing population fo precarious youth ‘freeter’ (furita – a combo of ‘free’ and ‘arbeiter’), contains all the bitter irony of the neolib freedom of individual workers made entrepreneurs of themselves.. japanese media and politicians pin the blame for ever greater levels of labor and social precarity not on the neolib transformations but on the victims themselves: youth have bad attitudes toward work.. too lazy to commit to hard work of stable job.. in inverted reality of neolib ideology the only freedom imaginable is that of the freeter, a freedom of poverty and insecurity..
escape from freedom ness
the characteristics of neolib entrepreneurship are repeated in various forms of compulsory individual self management/admin.. ie: self service.. gas/groceries..
‘every new product or service presents itself as essential for the bureaucratic org of one’s life.. and there is an ever-growing number of routines and needs that constitute this life that no on has actually chosen’ – jonathan crary..
and the key is that you want all this.. it’s easier/faster to do it yourself..
voluntary compliance ness
neolib creates, at its lowest level, a bureaucracy of one, a structure of individual self management in which it is difficult to distinguish freedom from constraint.. it appears to be ‘liquid’ and ope to more decentered and participatory mechs that function from below, but that apparent participation and fluidity are really captured from above..
much like spinach or rock ness
finance and the forms of capital that extract value form social production rely on the self management and self org of production and cooperation..
is neolib freedom, then, merely freedom from social responsibilities of the wealthy and he corps while the rest are convinced that their enslavement is actually their freedom..? yes, in part, but something more substantial is going on too.. which can be recognized only from below.. beneath neolib, as gago suggests, are social forms of self management/coop, whose value it seeks to extract..
remember self management was one of core demands of struggles.. that reached peak in 60s 70s..
those struggles not only made society ungovernable and threw modem admin into crisis but they also developed widespread alt capacities of social org and institution.. ie: back panther liberation schools and free breakfast; bauen hotel in buenos aires.. abandoned owners during 2001 crisis.. run by workers
the neolib appropriation takes place by reducing notions fo freedom and self management from the collective to the individual scale and by capturing and appropriating the knowledges and competences of the multitude.. neolib freedom is thus not only a cipher that remains of past freedom struggles, like some ancient word we repeat but whose meaning has been lost, perverted; it is also indexical, that is it points toward really existing forms of knowledge, autonomy and collective self management tha tis captures and redeploys.. as foucalult says ‘power is exercised only over free subjects, and only insofar as they are free’..
the key is to find that freedom and build on it..t
let’s do this first: free art-ists.
the key to neolib admin is how it is able to function in a state of permanent crisis and to exert command and extract value even when it cannot ultimately control or even comprehend the productive social field beneath it
1\ one crisis point of neolib admin centers on the measure of value.. ie: value of care .. intelligence.. arts.. et al.. that’s why you feel a kind of revulsion when a monetary value is assigned to an act of care/idea.. just as when insurance co’s designate the monetary compensation for the loss of a limb.. et al..
the value of the common is, by its nature, beyond measure..t
not to say, of course, the death knell of capital. various techs are deployed to domesticate immeasurability.. derivatives, for ie.. provide benchmarks for unknowns values and create conversion mechs.. they stamp values on immeasurable and allow such products to be traded in markets
‘the new economy reveals the crisis of the commensurability that was the key to its own success’ – christian marazzi
under rule of finance capital.. governance and crisis are not contradictory.. finance permits (or forces) state administrations to become more elastic and variable, leading to forms of admin action unknown to the old modes of govt.. capital, in effect adopts crisis as a mode of governance..
2\ access to info and communication is a second crisis point of neolib admin.. authoritarian regimes still believe they can maintain control over access to internet sites and social media..
secrecy and surveillance are justified w claims of security.. no matter how well they fortify their dams, however, the internet police will always be face w new leaks
begs gershenfeld sel
paul mason: ‘fb to form groups.. twitter for real time org.. youtube and twitter linked photos.. instant evidence.. link shorteners to disseminate key article via twitter’.. these of course already out of date and can be sure activists will experiment w new forms..
state secrets also.. the ferocity of the us govt persecution of both snowden and manning give indication of how those in control feel their hold on info to be tenuous.. neolib admin is built to weather such storms.. as form of crisis management
3\ migrations constitute a third crisis point of neolib admin.. in 2014 nearly 60 mn people.. forcibly displaced.. today over 200 mn people live outside their country of origin.. not including internal migrants.. in china alone.. 230 mn.. it is reasonable to estimate that one in ten of all inhabitants of the earth are migrants..
rather.. all (or none) .. no..?
the squalor of migrant camps… even before the brexit vote, europe was coming apart at the seams..
recognizing migrants as protagonists often requires an ethnographic approach to reveal their linguistic capacities, cultural knowledges, and survival skills, as well as their courage and fortitude in the decisions they have made.. the challenge is to hold together a paradox of poverty and wealth..
being stripped of scaffolding that supports stable and productive lives.. migrants certainly need assistance.. on the other hand.. flight is an act of freedom..
the crisis posed by migrations is not only that they overflow borders and cannot be contained from a demographic perspective, then, but also that in terms of subjectivity migrants exceed all admin and capitalist logics of measure.. so here too.. neolib admin takes form of permanent crisis management.. don’t be surprised when each year you hear reports from head of un agency.. or ngo of a new migration crisis..
the production of subjectivity always exceeds the boundaries and the techs of measure required for e the functioning of admin.. yet.. neolib admin is more like a sieve w an adjustable mesh designed to regulate and respond continuously to flows and leaks..
in the coming years.. world event swill continue to show, we fear, that the violence that results from such failures of admin can lead both to empowering emergency authorities to rule over a state of exception and to the outbreak of wards..
neolib regimes privatize
we need to step back, though, from the standard laments about how neolib is emptying the public powers, however just they are, because we have no desire to restore the public and the political to their previous positions in admin power.. instead, for us the critique of neolib admin must reveal the productive social subjectivities that have the power to resist and creat alts..
seems to be nowhere outside neolib we can stand.. power, however.. and neolib power is not exception.. is not organic or unitary but is always defined by relationship and antagonism..
how can the common be reappropriate by the multitudes that produce it..?
how can plural subjectivities construct and manage autonomously their own cooperative social relations..?
it is a matter of stripping cooperation from command – simple to say, difficult to do.. t
the battle against capital must be also a battle for new social relations..
ie: a nother way book.. not even a battle
in ch 15 we will argue that this critique should lead us not to oppose money as such but instead to invent an alt to capitalist money, tha tis, an alt social tech for institutionalizing new social relations – a money of the common
no no no
edge of seat till this.. dang
when we advocate for money of the common.. we are not .. thinking of those (however noble) local/digital currencies.. our analysis of money is not concerned primarily, as we said, with its function as a means of exchange.. we are interested instead in deconstructing the social relations that capitalist money imposes and institutionalizes, and institutionalizing new social relations thru a new money..
a money of the common must first be a subversive money: it must transform the capacity of struggles over social production and forms of life into weapons that block (to use old terms) capital’s power to coin money and (in newer terms) the increasing domination over the common thru the financialization of society..
dang the fighting words.. let’s just focus on this: gershenfeld sel
along w those destituent effects, a money of the common must also consolidate and extend the autonomous relations of social coop, confirming the values of the common and generalizing its principles of open access and democratic decision making..
see.. i think focusing production and decision making.. is killing us
a money of the common, then, must be asocial tech to crown the processes of subjectification, making lasting and socially expansive a production of powerful subjectivities..
wish you could hear me
p 4 – new prince
a new prince, though, will not be an individual or a central committee/party. a prince of the multitude is something like a chemical precipitate that already exists in suspension.. dispersed throughout society and under the right conditions, it will coalesce in solid form..
13 – political realism
the entrepreneurship of the multitude is a process of commoning..
this constitutive project can be legit only when it grows out of ‘being together’ the ontological condition of the multitude, with all of its knowledges, desires, habits, and practices..
too many communist movements have run aground on this point, operating on the false presumption of being able to represent the majority and thus make self consciousness and totality coincide..
rather than theorizing ‘as if’ the majority were the author or concepts and actions, the multitude must actually be engaged in the constituent process aimed at creating new institutions.. as long as planted in the ontology of the present, the ‘being together’ of the multitude..
many projects emerging from the movements of 1968 failed to pass from action to institution..
1\ regarding the institutional.. our assumption is that today the common comes first, prior to every other configuration of social action..
walter benjamin: ‘organized labor is, apart from the state, probably today the only legal subject entitled to exercise violence..
the private not rules over the public and empties it of its contents.. posing need for a new constructive logic of ‘being together’ .. this is what ‘the common comes first’ means in institutional terms
2\ also from political pov, the common comes first.. we alluded to that..to construct a ‘money of the common’.. to configure institutionally the equality and freedom of the multitude in the common
ie zapatista experiences in 2011.. could summarized their actions.. paradoxically ..w nazi theorist carl schmitt.. ‘appropriate, divide, and produce’ social space
today.. appropriate spaces and produce wealth they want.. but have no propensity to divide ..ie: arab spring, indignados, occupy, gezi park.. common as basis for construction of society
thus not a matter of ‘dividing’ but once the common is recognized and interiorized, of ‘distributing’ it.. we could say, revising augustine’s famous phrase.. in interiore homine habitat comuni.. inside humans resides the common.. t
3\ producing too .. tends toward common – ‘production of humans by humans’.. the activities of care
guattari: spontaneity and production come together in their new era of humanity in a developed ecological consciousness or, rather, a consciousness of care and interaction among humans and with the earth
only by immersing ourselves in the experience of the present, on the side of resistance, can our standpoint express and alternative – and, relying on the common, produce subversion
resistance and subversion can’t be our goals.. so.. shouldn’t even talk about them..
although we have not yet treated sufficiently the question of organization.. some elements have come to light: first, org if born of the *struggles, accentuating resistance and antagonism; second org must adopt the common as its foundation ; third, org also regards the common as its telos. project/program; fourth, org is from the beginning both political and productive; fifth, a radical dualism w respect to the capitalist institutions of production and political command defines the terms of org.. productive autonomy and political independence are *presuppositions of the org’s of the multitude
dang.. ie: not born of *struggles/resistance/antagonism.. rather.. of curiosity.. we have to go offense.. not defense.. live as if already free.. et al.. and no presuppositions.. just do this first.. and trust us.. all of us
a strike is born against exploitation and domination but contains in itself the urgency to create new social relations..
on this not being george sorel style: believes from violence and destruction will spontaneously arise a new society.. .. but they are wings *weighed down by subordination and misery.. to fly they need to free themselves and constitute together the bases of a new society.. we.. understand general strike completely **differently than sorel.. seeing it instead as an instrument of the multitude’s ***struggle for the construction of the common
not so **differently if still a ***struggle.. there will still be a *weighing down ness.. a compromise
the general strike thus gives flesh to the bare skeleton of the language of human rights..
in order to renew the general strike as a weapon for subversion and constitution
although the struggle against abstraction is *horizontal (gaining social extension) and that against extraction is *vertical (increasing the intensity of social coop), together they form a powerful machine for the construction of the common
* both of those are natural in an undisturbed ecosystem. let’s focus on that..
could take the form of ubi.. address the precarity of contemporary society and provide an autonomous space of creation.. struggle today can become decisive only when it is able to break capitalist rule over social life and create autonomous alts
we can do better.. ie: ubi as temp placebo
rosa luxemburg: ‘struggle against the commodity character of labor power’ that is against capitalist production in its fundamental core..’the struggle against a decline in relative wages.. is thus no longer a struggle of the basis of the commodity econ, but rather a revolutionary, subversive initiative against the existence of this economy, it is the socialist movement of the proletariat’.. for us, this is a process of commoning
seems too defensive to me.. to be commoning
14 – impossible reformism
in neolib hands, reform has come to mean, primarily, a shift of control from states to financial markets accompanied by sometimes hidden but often overt forms of violence..
we recognize that sovereignty is a theological concept, and that is precisely why we need to destroy it.. a concept of revolution based on sovereignty, to return to our point, is an empty notion of revolution that is opposed to an equally empty notion of reform..
we need to construct instead a nonsovereign revolution, which overlaps and mixes w reformist action – when reform means instituint counterpowers..
a new prince must: 1\ attack the vertical axis and empty its repressive power 2\ construct against it counterpowers formed in the horizontal axis 3\ only then, can a new prince initiate a process of constituent power
in some respects documentary film has today become the central art form of indignation.. indignation is a first expression of strength..
but indignation is not enough.. to disarm the perpetrators we need to forge new weapons.. .. new counterpowers..
most sexual violence takes place down in the fog.. no one pays attention.. but the secret of the world is hidden in them – robert bolano
ecological violence, suffered disproportionately by the poor, almost always takes place silently, unseen in the fog..
same too – systemic violence of capitalist relations against working class.. the weapons of finance leave wounds that cripple just as other weapons do: indebtedness creates stunted forms of life that exclude all manners of social development and flourishing..
the strategy of social unions.. bringing together trade union and social movement.. to address issues .. is one of the most promising developments for addressing these forms of violence..
on drones.. making war in a fog.. clouded.. allow those who are killing not to see those who die
migrants can testify to the violence of war.. in a fog
invective and indignation are vital (after saying of the racists et al.. may the putrid rot of their souls gnaw at them from w/in).. of course, esp when organized as movements of resistance…. finally.. counterpowers need to be formed into a project for liberation.. a real social alt..
we need to formulate the problem better before we can see clearly the challenges we really face today..
indeed.. ie: problem deep enough.. for 7bn to resonate with.. let’s start there..
empire.. is incomplete.. same way that capitalist society is.. numerous authors working along the same lines in recent years have helped us see the problem of empire even more clearly.. saskia sassen for ie.. puts to res useless arguments that pose nation states and globalization as opposed and mutually exclusive.. she argues instead that nation states and the interstate system maintainingimportant roles but they are being transformed from w/in byforces of the emerging global political and institutional order.. .. the problem these authors make clear.. is not globalization or nation state.. but rather understanding the mixed constitution of the emerging empire.. and inventingadequate political means to intervene in and combat its rule..
the return of the state is an illusion.. we are convinced, in fact, that if the rebirth of the nation state were not an illusion ,.. i fit were to come to pass, it would bring only tragedy..
task is to interpret empire from above.. and below
but we must also analyze all th other struggles endowed w the powers of social production and reproduction .. ultimately.. against the power of money and the social relation it institutionalizes.. against the power of property.. stand the struggles for the common in their many diverse forms..
yeah.. let’s just see money and property as disturbances to ecosystem.. and try something that has neither..
15 – and now what?
we must protect ourselves and disarm the perpetrators. but our weapons must also serve, inwardly, to build autonomy, invent new forms of life, and create new social relations..t
the key is to reverse the order of these two function.s the productive use of arms just have priority and the defense application will follow..
the real power of the commune resided not in its artillery but in its daily workings, its democratic governance..
well.. it never worked totally.. or we’d have equity now.. so let’s say.. daily workings.. but not democratic/governance.. ie: gershenfeld sel
if you begin w war you will end w it
the real power resides in the ability of the community to transform the old social order..
ie: gershenfeld sel
biopolitical weapons, such as digital algos, might in fact be the most important focus of contemporary struggle
let’s try this: as it could be..
our task is to transform the structures of rule, uproot them entirely, and in their stead cultivate new forms of social org..t
it is difficult to live in a prefigurative community while also being part of the larger dominant society
more important that the difficult experiences.. is their limited capacities to affect their outside.. to transform the broader social order..
prefigurative experiences in themselves lack the means to engage the dominant institutions.. let alone overthrow the ruling order and generate a social alt..
not anymore.. not if we do this right.. if we focus on what matters most
1\ exodus to prefigurative/utopian model 2\ reform institutions 3\ transform directly society as a whole..
so this would be 1 and 3 – short bp
(on none of the three.. rather a combo.. and/or.. commons): the establishment of the common not only removes the barriers of private property but also creates and institutes new democratic social relations based on freedom and *equality..t
crucial is the establishment of the multitude’s capacity for *strategy – to interpret the structures of oppression in all their forms, to form effective **counterpowers, to plan w prudence for the future , to ***org new social relations
the strategic power of the multitude is the only guarantee
the problem then is not money but rather the social relation it supports
what we need is to establish a new social relation – based on *equality and freedom in the common – and then (and only then) can a new **money be created to consolidate and institutionalize that social relation
*not equality.. equity..
**not money.. cure ios city.. a better means to consolidate/facilitate us
how can we imagine money that is grounded in the common, instead of being constituted by property relations.. t
a quantitative easing for the people.. helicopter drops of moneys.. via yanis et al
how about ubi as temp placebo
a useful platform of political training and management of the construction of a real counterpower, but is only a small step
and a wrong step if not done right.. do this: ubi as temp placebo.. with goal being.. no one thinks about money anymore
kathi weeks.. ‘rather than preach the ethics of thrift and savings.. point in direction of a life no longer subordinate to work..’ .. in itself a ubi even if it were achieved.. would not be sufficient..
do this: ubi as temp placebo..
to all according to their needs…
have/needs ness.. begs all 7bn of us are alive/detoxed first
a money of coop must be accompanied by a money fo singularization.. .. a right to difference and ssutains the plural expression from elow of the multitude
like this: listening to the daily curiosities of 7bn people.. each having the bravery to change their mind everyday.. using that as data.. in order to facil gatherings that matter.. ie: 2 convos.. as infra
from all according to their abilities might thus be translated to from all according to their differences..
rather.. from all according to their curiosities (as only label)
we also need a money of social and planetary investment.. ie: expansion of society thru ed, research, transportaion, health, communication..
that all comes from having a focus deep/simple/open enough for 7bn people to resonate/access w today..
is it utopian to propose a money of the common
no.. rather.. it’s a compromise..
16 – portolan
debois is certainly right that people are not innately capable of collective self rule and that democracy is not and cannot be spontaneous
people are capable of collective self rule.. perhaps thinking democracy (whatever your defn) is getting in our way..because spontaneity is a key piece..
i don’t know.. but i do believe meadows undisturbed ecosystem
even when functioning properly rep defined by a separation between the rulers and the ruled is a sovereign apparatus.. what we need is to complete rep – or destroy rep, depending on your pov – by reducing to a min the separation between rules and ruled..
as it could be.. all the voices.. everyday
a democratic, nonsovereign institution can be a structure that allows and encourages us to repeat productive and joyful habits and encounters..
our task is to create the means for collective self admin..
entrusted to the multitude.. this is when the voice skeptical of democracy creeps into your head – and you should listen. people, it whispers,will make a mess of it.. they will never agree enough to make a decision; even if they could decide, it would take forever; and even then *they don’t have the info and intelligence to make good decisions..
then .. *they’re facing the wrong decisions..
thru coop we realize the capabilities of the species in the sense that we create a world in which we are no longer forced to choose between our individual good and the good of humanity.. but instead can pursue them as one and the same..t
create mechs of articulation that allow the multitude (many, it is a swarm), in all its multiplicity, to act .. t.. politically and make political decisions..
no need to emphasize politically and make political decisions.. that’s been distracting us for too many years..
people have a right to gather and form associations w/o govt interference..
let’s try gathering like this.. in a space
the right to form new combos and new asesmblages..
we have not yet seen what is possible when the multitude assembles..t
on edge of seat reading assembly.. except (for the most part) when talking about ‘money of the common’.. i believe if we let go enough.. (ie: try ubi as temp placebo).. so that we can see how truly free people dance/assemble.. we do/will have the means today to get back to an undisturbed ecosystem
remember this: ;
value of common is, by nature, beyond measure..
negri interview via pascal gielen
Negri interviewed about the ideas in his book ‘Assembly’ (open! | Platform for Art, Culture and the Public Domain ) https://t.co/STuq5gIjzO
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/mbauwens/status/1084632451417280512
On Commonism: An Interview with Antonio Negri
Their central issue this time concerns why the social movements that express the demands and wishes of so many and show that the common is a fact, have not succeeded in bringing about a new, truly democratic and just society.
The struggle of the commons therefore is working people re-appropriating that of which they were robbed by capital. Re-appropriating what was taken from them and putting it to work for the benefit of the common: that is the meaning of liberation and emancipation.
What I’m trying to say is: my distrust of the term ‘meta’ is that it suggests that there is no difference or antithesis anymore between left and right. Well, of course left and right are inaccurate concepts, but to put it more plainly: it means that capitalism is no longer recognised and that being liberated of capitalism is regarded as something that could easily happen or would even be a battle that is already won.
I see an urgent need to create spaces for developing initiatives outside of capitalism..t
There are a number of interesting initiatives in Belgium: the start-ups, with already 50,000 participants, and Michel Bauwens, the founder of the P2P Foundation. And yes, the commons is a domain that very much interests ‘the right’. The same goes for social democrats, by the way.
So, the entire problem consists of understanding what the alternative could be, how to respond, what to do, and this is in fact the very theme of autonomy..t
We argue that the assembly is already there. It is already there in the structure of the present-day economy in which labour has transformed itself in language and in cooperation that is largely autonomous. The assembly is what we are confronted with. The problem therefore is how these labour forces or subjects / people who produce subjectivity can become political subjects.
This is demonstrated by the recognition of the common, by the transition to the common and being together, by the transition of the mere finding of being together to being aware of it. The transition of collaboration and being-in-common to the production of common subjectivity is the central element of the assembly.
commonism is much more feasible today than in the previous situation, in which the workers were organized and brought together by capital. Before, the workers were brought together, they did not come together of their own initiative..t
because today we have a means to listen to every voice.. everyday
This is no longer the case and precisely this means an enormous boost for the possibilities. The possibility for liberation is infinitely larger and wider today, because there is this being-together, an ontological fact that is also a point of departure.
The assembly is an ontological fact that must become political, that is the heart of the matter.
indeed.. as it could be..
today, we have the opportunity to transform the assembly into a force..t
yeah.. if it’s this assembly: undisturbed ecosystem
How does one give a voice to those who remain silent?..t
wrong question.. rather.. How does one listen to every voice?
there’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. there are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard. – Arundhati Roy
how? tech as it could be.. listening to every voice.. everyday
The problem is that we have to develop a different model..t
indeed.. ie: cure ios city
we have to bring back the leadership to the movement and it is within the movement that the hegemonial strategy of leadership must be developed. We have to take the decision authority away from the leader, or rather, take the abstraction and transcendence of the decision away from the leader.
we have to redefine decision/making.. ie: we’re spending our days flapping about decisions that aren’t (in your words) from our own initiative
Our work is about searching for a type of institution that is not sovereign and is not connected to ownership. How this works out in practice, well, that is exactly what we need to discuss, think about, try out…t
this type: undisturbed ecosystem
‘in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’
The most important of these dying concepts are national sovereignty and property, both private and public.
Our brains are globalized and have no more use for the concept of border, so we need to get rid of it. That is the theoretical work that needs to be done: giving short shrift to moribund principles and concepts such as the border. As abundantly clear as this is for national sovereignty, so it is for ownership, both private and public: ownership is based on the same logic as the border, an obsolete concept that is at odds with reality. Even more so: property and border are one and the same thing..t
siddiqi border law: every border implies the violence of its maintenance – Ayesha A Siddiqi
The concept of the common, by contrast, is not one of ownership..t
We cannot be expected to predict the future, and it is not our ambition to do so. To me this is one of the core issues: we will have to wait until the future announces itself, breaks out. That takes place in practice, whereas in my work I wish to point out directions, and formulate a critique of the principles of ideas and structures.
The (worker’s) subjectivity of today is a production of ‘being’, as it is an innovation and a surplus. It is a practice of freedom and therefore the production of subjectivity is something that transcends any identity. The subject is non-identic, is not an identity (hence the impossibility of providing exact definitions for it). The subject is formed in the collaboration, in being social, and it is something historical.
As I have tried to clarify in my book Art and Multitude (1989), art can always be linked to its mode of production. Art is production. Its dignity is derived from the fact that it is production of ‘being’, of meaningful images. In other words, of images that shape ‘being’, that take ‘being’ out of a hidden condition and transform it into an open and public condition. This always happens during a process of production. This is why there is an analogy between how goods are produced in general in a certain historical context and how art is produced in that same context. In art there is always a ‘making’ in the sense of constructing something. Art is always a form of building, a bringing together, a productive gesture. When looking at things from this point of view, it becomes clear that it is all about making distinctions within this world. There is beautiful art and there is ugly art, useful art and useless art; likewise there is art that markets itself as a commodity and there is art that is a form of productive artistic making
Like language, art produces communication, it makes connections. Especially nowadays, art is like the practice of language in constructing connections, becoming event. Art is getting rid of materiality and is increasingly linked to immaterial production.
In other words, everything that we propose, our entire theoretical building, has its material, efficient and final cause in solidarity. The ‘commontism’ is drenched in solidarity. One cannot live alone, in loneliness, one cannot produce alone, and one cannot love alone.
Our proposals cannot be read in any other way but as proposals of solidarity, or how to escape from loneliness. We have to escape from loneliness in order to define a solidary, close community, as we cannot survive alone in a barren desert. We must escape from loneliness in order to produce, because alone we would never have the means or the time. We must escape from loneliness in order to love, because on your own and without someone else there can be no love. This is the only way to understand this radical transition of / to the common, a transition that we are evolving towards, by the way. There is truly a developing tendency towards solidarity and towards an escape from loneliness
So it is not about being more or less optimistic, but about grasping the problem in a realistic manner and about thinking of ways to solve the problem and this is what we try to do in our work.
You also deal with populism in Assembly. Shouldn’t we discard the term ‘people’ anyway?
Yes, that’s what the common is all about. The term ‘people’ stays within the logic of Hobbes and the bourgeois line of sovereignty and representation. It is a fiction that violates the multitude and has only that purpose: the multitude should transform itself into one people that dissolves itself in forming the sovereign power.