All the aborted golems of self-caused “hyperstition” are but grist to the mill of an interminable analysis of interminable situations. Avant-futures by remote control. Eco-political teledildonics. What the technē of capital exteriorises is nothing but the movement of its own self-substitution: an excrescent, “alien” libido of inflationary excess, in which the unpresentable gives birth to the unconscionable. If spectacle is the accumulation of capital to such a degree that it becomes an image (Debord), this is because the movement of capital’s accumulation is itself imaginary. Yet what it “externalises” is not an image of any thing, but of the operation of expenditure that produced it: dissipation that accumulates only dissipation. If this, then, is the mode par excellence of that “adaptive forcing” which gives rise to the Corporate-State at the same moment as it announces its immanent supersession – if self-supersession is in fact the ontological condition of the Corporate-State – what is the relation of this “mode of being-becoming” to a revolutionary autonomy? If the relations of force that define “political” & “ecological” struggle are in fact competing vectors of dissipation (domination-expropriation-proliferation versus cooperation-integration-symbiosis as mutually ramifying functions of entropy), how does a “revolutionary movement” comprehend its own evolutionary situation – other than as the technē of an insufficiency that can be neither totalised nor negated (in other words, subjectified)?
CATASTROPHE ON THE INSTALMENT PLAN
There are no revolutionary conditions – no schedule of contingencies, no burden of teleology – capable of predetermining the outcome: there is only a certain metabolic chance; a chance which must be seized upon as catalyst in place of causality. Against a programme of recuperation-in-advance, this revolutionary chance presents a “metabolic flux” (Likavčan) irreducible to the dualistic thought that separates “ecological economics” from “human economics.” The predominant figure of this dualism in contemporary thought is the Anthropocene, in which the universal subject of History returns as global agent of an “autonomous” self-consciousness. While the tragic view of History has always confronted metabolic chance with a humanistic despair, morbidly bound to a romantic fatalism disguised as political science, the Anthropocene predicates History itself as its own strategic supersession. (Its universality announces the epoch of the post-historical, post-human, post-political.) It is a movement that mimics, without contradiction, the “inevitable progress” towards social relations defined as a fait accompli. Such an end of politics is not an accomplishment of the “work of revolution” – in which autonomy will have been obtained – but its mystification as eschatology. It signals not the final object of struggle – in the direction of social transformation – but a fatality of struggle. In this, merely the spectral form of revolution is extrapolated into the “coming singularity” as prosthesis or feedback tool of spectral power (capitalism is always already dead).
“A revolution must also be revolutionary in its mental structures” (Cortázar). It isn’t enough to subvert the Corporate-State, it’s also necessary to subvert the Corporate-State in language. But the subversion of linguistic corporatism only coincides with the subversion of monopolistic power at the point of struggle itself, since it is only in its reactionary, oppositional form that the Corporate-State withdraws within its supposed borders, in that instant before it accelerates in every direction. The very idea of revolution is, so to speak, opportunistic with regard to this moment of implosion from the polymorphous to the monolithic, in anticipation of the coming explosion (which it seeks to catalyse into a runaway reaction). (Just as, under the relentless adversity of police attacks, a mass begins to spontaneously coalesce into a “class” & to be forged into a revolutionary “movement,” whose political consciousness did not precede it but is produced by it in the convulsions of a life-&-death struggle; a struggle against weapons of deadly force, whether they be guns or the “mind-forged manacles” of Corporate-State ideology.) In the moment of struggle, power reveals that its essential nature is the reverse of what it appears to be. Thus the struggle itself is more than merely an eruption of “primitive impulses,” a “mob mentality,” or even an intuitive analysis of the “mass mind.” Nor is it simply a reaction, predetermined (in a seemingly inverse causality) by suppressive force. The struggle is an autonomous cognition that knows where it must go & what it must do – which is to make the impossible possible.
AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE
It’s not simply that the circulation of false “information” (fake news) somehow distorts reality, but that certain functions of “mass media” appeal to a scepticism towards (real) social relations, reinforcing a subjective fantasy premised upon their inversion. Every revolutionary undertaking must therefore be seen as the invention of a “politics” beyond reach of those definitional regimes that seek, for their own advantage, to place the very idea of the political in doubt. And not only the idea, but its possibility. The invention of public opinion in the mass media has, from its inception by way of industrialised “democracy,” governed the permissibility of political discourse. A permission which, arising from those technologies of opinion, confers itself only where it elicits a monopoly over the representation of the real. This quid-pro-quo has as its objective nothing less than the logic of revolution itself, whose possibility it alone must become (as the technocratic institutionalisation of revolution, or the neoliberal mechanism of perpetual growth). At every point, the political is appropriated to define the zone of capital relations (as a “diffuse social factory” of corporate subjects), so that the cybernetic Corporate-State itself operates as the autonomous political function of capital. It is precisely the same tendency which – despite every indication to the contrary – has given rise to the risible belief in an “ecological revolution” that transcends “politics.” A certain appeal to scientific self-evidence (the human cause of global warming) thereby equates itself, unwittingly no doubt, with the avowed self-evidence of capital: that is to say, with that mystic realm of a beyond-of-ideology.
Bound to a system of integrated, self-regulatory operations, ecology relates to the Model-T assembly line as complexity relates to aggregation (the accelerated accumulation of data-capital). And like the system of industrial economy, ecology defines direct relations of force. Such relations, contiguous with those of capital, define an expanded field of the political beyond a “social” ontology. Which is to say, of a generalised technē politikē. In the language of current debate, ecology is therefore indistinct from the possibility of what is called the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene is not some “technological exception,” rather it brings into view the immanence of technicity within the ecological itself. It is, in fact, the signifier of that immanence. Just as there is no teleological movement from the non-abstract to the abstract, so there is no devolution from a general ecology to those operations of capital that apparently negate it & which various “environmentalisms” would seek to negate in turn. Yet insofar as this Anthropocene marks an end to a certain idea of History – as the limit of an instrumental reason exercised as if upon the world – it simultaneously evokes that “absolute negativity” in which Hegel vested the essential nature of self-consciousness.
DEAD DON’T DIE
In this quasi-recursive arrangement, whose very structure seems nothing if not revolutionary, the Corporate-State appears to supersede itself in such a way as to preserve & maintain that which is superseded, & consequently survives its own end – contiguous with the socalled End-of-History – as autonomous negation-of-negation. It evokes the timelessness & weightlessness of a “political reality” that it causes to be perceived as a vast simulation, producing a pseudo-refutation of every rigid, verticalising, hierarchical structure behind which it conceals its own hegemonic enlargement. Thus it poses as the “positive property of loss,” by playing dead. Yet this sumulationism invites “the material subordination of material facts” (Bataille), at the same time as it seeks to expropriate their force. If at the origin of every system of exchange, of value, of transformation, of growth, is entropy, this characteristic is merely simulated in the Corporate-State, which attempts to cheat entropy by gaming the system, just as Zombie Capitalism attempts to cheat “death” by acting alive. What thus pretends to be autonomous (by constituting a reserve) is in truth an empty centre that defends itself by sacrificing everything (else) within its periphery.
THERE’S NO “I” IN REVOLUTION
Nothing could be more erroneous than to envisage the Corporate-State as an agent of abstract Reason, reducible to a mere schematic. Yet a false Cartesianism has all too often distracted from the realisation that, in the vocabulary of psychoanalysis, what “it” most closely resembles is an infantile polymorphous perverse under the tutelage of an obscene super-ego. Part Heliogabalus, part Ubu, the Corporate-State is not simply traversed by libidinal impulses, it is wholly constituted by them. For this reason, revolutionary thought has equally often been detoured into a call to order – in the misguided attempt to produce within it (the Corporate-State) the semblance of a “guilty conscience” (in truth, performing the task of a handmaiden). The dilemma that it represents is that of autonomy as such, being the preserve of what is called sovereignty. This sovereign power – in its convulsions & theatrical excess – surpasses understanding: “As soon as the effort at rational comprehension ends in contradiction” it turns to pure scatology: “the excretion of inassimilable elements” (Bataille). A social excretion that would school its master in the etiquette of chamber pots. Because the bourgeoisie has ceased to be anything other than historical fiction, it’s expected the Corporate-State can be goaded into performing the human viewpoint in lieu of it (“the morality that authorises exploitation”), so as – at the point of a revolutionary enema – to defecate the sovereign mind (OED: to arrive at “clarity”). Stripped of its sovereign exemptions & forced to assume those competencies necessary to submit to a capital trial (we are told), the Corporate-State will finally be made to act in character of its legal personage. It’s not for nothing such a debasement in prestige has always aroused general expectations of emancipation – if only for the seeming paradox that, “There is nothing less autonomous than an ego” (Lotringer).
GODS OF THE PLAGUE
Constitutively marginal, the alienation on which every claim to institutional autonomy secretly hangs haunts this system of serial recuperation, perturbing it across its entire structure; a structure it simultaneously makes possible. In this way, it causes the appeal to autonomy to re-create & re-produce the very struggle it is supposed to have overcome – & which henceforth defines its base of operations (not as a slave to Reason, but as a reflexive movement indistinguishable from technology). The struggle for the means-of-operation – in which technology (History) had formerly, in a crude dialectical schematisation, been opposed to ecology – gives way to struggle as means-of-production, whereby History dissipates itself in ecology as the prosthesis of an “autonomous” phyllogenetic movement: a spectral tele-technology, word-virus, resonance of the ghosts of futures past. If “struggle knows no chronology” (Marazzi), the movement of its recuperation is nevertheless ideologically bound, its proliferation at the margins (by means of market deregulation, political sabotage, coups, military interventions, speculation, wars, colonisation, debt bondage, resource thefts & every other form of exploitation) remains centred within its own decentring function. As such, the hegemonic status quo is never an equilibrium, but the contrary: its ideal form is that of an exponential, in an ever-increasing ratio of expropriation to expenditure (the law of inertia dictates that, as the rate of expropriation increases, the rate of expenditure in fact decreases, even though expenditure itself always increases, which is to say complexifies). But it is precisely by virtue of this “contradictory coherence” that revolutionary thought obtains its chance, by delimiting the negative capability represented by the Corporate-State as monopolistic agent of (accumulative) dissipation.