Walls Must Be Felled

Walls Must Be Felled

Counter-Currents has published part three of my continuing examination of Deleuze and Guattari’s potential to influence what I am now calling the revolutionary Right, including the New Right, Right anarchism, and secessionism. This expansion is due in large part to Deleuze’s impact on my conception of the social and political forms of affirmative revolution against the liberal State. But it is also due to my discovery of Attack the System, which combines the “true Right” of the New Right with anarchism and secessionism.

Ultimately, this is of singular importance for me, as, while reading Deleuze has only strengthened the Nietzschean foundations of my revolt, this revolt cannot be comfortably assimilated to a nationalist or statist strategy or philosophy. That being said, its seems likely that the philosophy that we now call New Right will eventually include Right anarchism, with the revolutionary potential of either only being realized after they combine their energies. Walls must be felled in order to create the revolutionary Right.

This impetus might take the form of something similar to Jack Donovan’s anarcho-fascism or the Nietzschean fascism of my Romulae Genti. In musical terms, it would fuse Rage Against The Machine with SPQR (a fascist Roman hardcore band).

In the meantime, part three of the D&G series was originally to be part of a longer part two. But with Difference and Repetition playing such a huge role in how the series was actually written, part two was divided. Sometimes it is suicidal to begin reading new sources after a paper is already in production. This time was no exception, as I received Difference and Repetition three working days into part two, and it immediately made what I had already written obsolete.

On that note, anyone wanting to introduce the bomb known as Gilles Deleuze to their revolutionary arsenal, I suggest beginning with Nietzsche and Philosophy, then read Difference and Repetition, followed by Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus. Of course, at the very least one must read On the Genealogy of Morality before anything by Deleuze. Even as I came to write part three without using what I had previously written, some of it is good and might even clarify what Counter-Currents is to publish.

Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Toward a Simple Explanation

After meeting Félix Guattari, Deleuze immediately shifted his radical philosophical methodology to contemporary politics and, in particular, a sustained critique of capitalism and the new social forms that it promotes. While he never left behind his deeply philosophical sensibilities (unlike Nietzsche, for instance), his gaze shifted from philosophy-itself toward philosophy-in-the-world. Thus, while maintaining his empirical philosophy of man as a series of affects, he began looking more closely at society as a machine that organizes those affects by codifying human desire. This only furthered his disdain for popular culture, seeing it as something odious at best and at worst, an organization of affects designed to homogenize the various particular forms of human life in the terms of humanism, liberalism, and bourgeois desire.

Deleuze’s philosophical elitism is, then, a form of distance between critical and popular thought, just as it is a form of distance between critical men and popular men. Why, Deleuze wondered, is liberalism promoting opinion at the expense of critical thought? Might it have something to do with enslaving man to the image of an egalitarian and universal human? Of course, and thus the need for a new image of thought. But what does that mean? For starters, it means the need to be liberated from the laziness of representational thought. Only then may the creative potential of man be realized. But if society still organizes affects and codifies our desire, then what good does it do? Precisely! After becoming more philosophical – in Deleuzian terms, a monstrous proposition – we must become more revolutionary. We must become diligently aware of how modernity impacts our bodies. And we must devise methods for creating derelict spaces in which to disorganize affects and decode desire.

The world of Capitalism and Schizophrenia is a world of desire, machines, micro-politics, flows, nomad thought, and war machines. It is a world created by shooting Nietzsche through Freud and Marx (to use Francis Bacon’s imagery). It is a world that will make no sense until it is lived. Nonetheless, we will do our best to make it, at the very least, an exciting proposition for those on the edges of modernity.

The problem of modernity, according to Deleuze and Guattari, is the creation of the bourgeois subject, and in the most simplistic terms, the bourgeois subject is created by entangling human desire in an economic superstructure. In other words, bourgeois man must be made to desire the form of life that ensures first and foremost his usefulness to the economic flow of capital and goods. This process is the basis Anti-Oedipus, whose title refers primarily to the psychical economy of Freud.

However, where Freud based his model of Oedipus, the libidinal production of (economically) useful subordination, on the interactions of the simple bourgeois nuclear family – and thereby canonizing the petty trials and tribulations of modern men as the basis for the human, full stop – Deleuze and Guattari seek not only to expand the purview of sites of Oedipal production to the Church, the school, the factory, and the political party (among others), but to demonstrate both that “the human” implies a viciously reactive homo economicus, and that Freud’s failure to problematize the human points to the utterly bourgeois nature of his thought.[1] They combined this line of inquiry with a similar critique of Marx’s material economy, itself uncritical of modernity’s quest to universalize homo economicus.[2]

Seeing how Freud’s curative methodology was itself corrupted by the very conceptual possibilities of the disease it purportedly sought to cure, Deleuze and Guattari created an entirely new model of the process of creating economic man. This model begins with desire.

Deleuze and Guattari start with a seemingly simple assumption: that desire is both positive and productive. It does not emanate from lack but from the will to connect with other desires. It is akin to puissance (capacity for existence, or pure energy), or Nietzsche’s will to power, in that it is metaphysical (although never defined that way), and is purely creative and expansive – making life itself the negation of negation. But if life and desire are so affirmative, how do we end up with the idea that desire = lack? The answer is psychoanalysis. It was Freud, and later Lacan, who popularized the idea that desire is connected to sexuality and an insatiable impersonal lack.[3]

By making desire productive, Deleuze and Guattari also make it social, and as such, it becomes the basis for an entirely positive notion of society, and begins their critique of Marx. Marx assumed that capitalism’s power over the individual was negative, using force and chicanery to disconnect the worker from his or her true interests. This chicanery he called ideology. Deleuze and Guattari have numerous problems here, from the idea of the normative economic man to the real materiality of the “real world” being distorted (remember the description of difference above, as it is still the operative conception of experience).

For now there are two things to consider: one, social wholes or communities are not formed through repressive power but positive power. These social wholes are congealed through interests that are formed from coded, collected, or organized flows of desire (no longer puissance but pouvior, or a quantifiable institutional relation of force). And two, being composed of flows of desire (among the other elements listed above), individuals’ supposedly personal qualities begin impersonally and politically, with the interests of the individual and the social whole intrinsically aligned. If we were to stop here, we would have a decent understanding of Michel Foucault. But Deleuze cannot abide a life so naturally reactive and negated. Thus, we must continue.

Deleuze and Guattari, desperate to know why there has never been a sustainable revolution against capitalism, no longer seek the answer in institutional macropolitics but in what they call micropolitics.

[1] Anti-Oedipus, 1-4

[2] Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations, 1972-1990, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 55.

[3] Anyone doubting the power that psychoanalysis holds over modern conceptions of the human needs to read both Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique and Yockey’s Imperium. Both of them grapple with the same assumptions about modernity, psychoanalysis, and Marxism reached by Deleuze and Guattari, albeit from more racialist (MacDonald) and statist (Yockey) positions. Otherwise, just attempt to define sexuality and see where you end up.

  1. Hi Mark, thank you for these articles. I have read three parts now, and I am intrigued by their anarchist direction, but all is not clear to me yet. One assumption that I find quite intriguing is that desire is both positive and productive, that it does not emanate from lack but from the will to connect with other desires. Not only psychoanalysis, but Christianity too, would consider this a horrible heresy. But your thoughts would resonate well with Satanists!

      • Now, now, don’t be so coy. You mention Hakim Bey and his Temporary Autonomous Zones in your concluding article. There are surely convergences between anarchist and satanist ideas.

        Apropos your article: how do you draw borders between outsiders and insiders of a group? And when is this organic, and when a case of “evil homogenization”? It rather seems that no group can exist without a certain amount of homogenization. The ultimate anarchist ideal might be that there are only individuals, or better: persons. But I think groups are a fundamental necessity for humans, both to project together their will to power more effectively and as identification.

        Furthermore, your terminology gives me an impression of associating magical formulas instead of a logical composition. It reminds me of Heidegger. Is this on purpose, to avert the logos?

        And I am just curious if you studied Schopenhauer, as some people maintain that Nietzsche just made some footnotes and inversions of his thought.

        My questions are probably naive.

      • The group question is a huge one and I have no super great answer. I tend toward ethics rather than universal determinants, though, and am comfortable saying that my people are those who think similarly to me (that is, completely at odds with modern thought) and who desire to fight for the same reasons for which I fight. Once that simple model is racialized, for instance, it ends up including a veritable mob of people that I have to embrace abstractly and without value. Sometimes that is inevitable, I suppose, but it its not my “image” of cohesion.

        If you mean magic as non-philosophical/non-logocentrism, I can accept that, but I have no expectation that things understood scientifically are actually happening magically. I wonder if what you picked up on was just my own struggle with making Deleuze useful without losing all touch with the world.

        Finally, I have only “studied” AS via Nietzsche. I think it would be a harsh injustice to say that Nietzsche had merely reworked AS – maybe if one had only read The Birth of Tragedy this would make sense. The inversion is closer to how I read Nietzsche, however, given the immense transvaluation of pessimism that buttresses almost the entirety of Nietzsche’s thought. Pessimism/ressentiment, Christianity, and morality are no doubt introduced to Nietzsche by AS, so he really had no choice but to speak to AS as he was destroying these idols.

        Finally, I am a neophyte regarding anarchism and Bey. I’ve only just begun to attempt to think through this stuff, and fear I’ll never see the end of it. I’m always searching, but I’m also getting old!

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