Saturday, 4 July 2015

fugal state

The terrorist life-world improvises its own meaning from the standard rationale of 'living according to principle.' But this principle is to be found only in its militants' ends and not in their means. Even as the life-world becomes operational through the agency of its militants, they are bound by their conditions to refuse the applicability of its constraints upon themselves.  
The militant feels no remorse at not embedding his principles within his practice. His power consists of expropriating a reactive freedom from the laws he forces onto others. He cannot belong  to the world that he gives rise to and must except himself from its constraints. He embodies the contradiction of human action under conditions determined by the expulsion of living labour from world production. His agency is confronted with the impossibility of 'positive' world-building intervention and at every turn he is driven to express his humanity through the violent imperative of exterminating 'all the brutes.'

The domain of terror is the epitome of the cleared space. But it is ground purchased through an indebtedness to the deep ordering of the world which permits episodes of value destruction and the clearing out of social reproduction's haywire relations. In place of the mess of the world, social relations are reorganised according to the simplifying reductionism of direct domination. But this is only ever a temporary suspension of business and the debt is soon foreclosed upon when full social reproduction again becomes a possibility.

Through subjective efforts, the militant must maintain that which is already objectively untenable: the capacity of human decision to change the direction of society's trajectory. That the revolution always depends upon the intervention of a cadre of militants, even as it proclaims a forward historical momentum into uncharted territory, is proof only of a temporary resetting of social organisation to an earlier moment where human action could still make a difference. The revolutionary whose cause always degrades into the path of terrorism must live out the maxim: 'all that is broken will be brought up against the limits to its mending.'

The militant's principles are a defence against the untruth of what is militated for. The more radical the cause, the wider the gap between the life-world as it is and how the militant desires it to be. The greater the void is between present reality and the objective potential for realising his principles, the more content the militant must supply to world as violent correction. The more untrue the cause, the greater the perceived necessity for subjective violence. 

The struggle of the militant is the struggle against the defeat that he realises as his project - it is a defeat which he expresses as reaction formation (his bread is paper dry). His ardent commitment to possiblism is the measure of his despair. His freedom to act is limited to the form of action available to him, and he cannot but commit acts of terror. But it is also absurd not to acknowledge that, at some level, a measure off awareness feeds back into the militant's decision making, which increasingly becomes more knowing, more cynical, and thus transcends his otherwise tragically driven subjectivity (a 'third generation' phenomenon as observed in the dynamics of the RAF). 

At the point of his growing self-awareness, the militant orientates himself towards those conditions where he may both safely justify his own exception from the tedious duties and obligations demanded by the cause (if all must pray, he does not pray; if all must dig, he does not dig), and also excuse himself for committing those Kurtzian crimes of extermination which, stepped in blood so far, he can find no reason not to commit. 

Nobody gets out of this alive, is the logical conclusion of all armed struggle - it is the culmination of the subject's project of world-changing agency. The defining characteristic of the Islamist terrorist regime is therefore precisely not found in the militant's pious observance of Islamic values but rather in that which lies behind them; and the adherents of communism decide when and where to suspend their implementation of communising measures. Power is always the power to extract subjective advantage from the revocation of rules which are otherwise universally enforced. At the same time, that advantage is always and only of the same type, the militant's freedom to act is etiolated to the minimal gestures of barbarity.

Then, as a carrier of non-conformity, the terrorist is to the domain of terror as the domain of terror is to the realm of the productive relation. At each descending level of recursion, a subjective formation emerges from out of automatic process only to contest the immediate constraints of its objective conditions. Opposition self-transforms into the overcoming of the possibility of opposition. The militant struggle against the police-state constitutes itself as militant meta-policing, and invokes the abstracting force of a higher and yet more violent ordering. The subject is fated to come to in a world, the terms of which it immediately refuses, self-identifying its role as agent of another, latent, hidden, and potential power.

The terrorist life-world suspends the cycle of proletarianisation in favour of armed intervention and thereby aligns itself with a truer, higher, movement of instrumentalising force. The terrorist seizes possession of a domain that does not possess him. In excepting itself from the everyday intercourse of domination it re-integrates into the pure flow of objectification. In deviating from the path, it follows it more closely.

Terror's mode of domination forms a diverticular pouch upon the labour process, but it is still not an 'ideology' in that it does not mystify the productive relation. It is an outcome of generalised relations even as it suspends those relations within its space. But just as the labour process is really a manner of domination, so the terrorist life-world strips away production's relational reciprocity to wilfully inhabit its violence. Terror is an escape from the complex mediations of value production, a flight into perfected expropriation. Then, it does not escape but inhibits escape. Then, it does not flee but prohibits flight. 

For the terrorist, the domain of repressive terror is in practice a domain of vaulting freedom, or 'obscene' freedom as Zizek describes it, which is actualised through the enforcement of a set of transcendent and arbitrary laws that are not themselves legally constrained - the law is given by that force which is not bound by it. 

The law appears as the voice of an ambivalent force which the law also protects against - the terrorist implements his principles to prevent him from killing everyone. Thus, if terrorism's single command is all must conform, then its strategy operates on the assumption that this is only realised through the terrorist's constantly maintained threat to transgress against conformity. 

The terrorist represses but does not submit himself to that repression - the one who revolts against repression is constrained to subjectively compensate for the reduction of his available reactions by reproducing the world as a repressive apparatus. Similarly, the iconoclast's preoccupation with erasing the 'false' images that interrupt a direct relation to the law, actually communicates an overriding desire to endlessly reproduce the image of himself in the act of smashing images - his ultimate goal being a monopoly use of visual representations of power.