Category: Tiqqun

The party has decreedThe party has decreed

“There is an official history of the State in which the State seems to be the one and only actor, in which the advances of the state monopoly on the political are so many battles chalked up against an enemy who is invisible, imaginary, and precisely without history. And then there is a counter-history, written from the viewpoint of civil war, in which the stakes of all these ‘advancements,’ the dynamics of the modern State, can be glimpsed. This counter-history reveals a political monopoly that is constantly threatened by the recomposition of autonomous worlds, of non-state collectivities. Whenever the State left something to the ‘private’ sphere, to ‘civil society,’ whenever it declared something to be insignificant, non-political, it left just enough room for the free play of forms-of-life such that, from one moment to the next, the monopoly on the political appears to be in dispute. This is how the State is led, either slowly or in a violent gesture, to encompass the totality of social activity, to take charge of the totality of man’s existence.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

Slight of many handsSlight of many hands

“Imperialism and totalitarianism mark the two ways in which the modern State tried to leap beyond its own impossibility, first by slipping forward beyond its borders into colonial expansion, then by an intensive deepening of the penetration inside its own borders. In both cases, these desperate reactions from the State—which claimed to encompass everything just as it was becoming nothing—came to a head in the very forms of civil war the State claims preceded it.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

The unwatched watcherThe unwatched watcher

“The State that ‘wishes to govern just enough so that it can govern the least’ must in fact know everything, and it must develop a set of practices and technologies to do it. The police and publicity are the two agencies through which the liberal State gives transparency to the fundamental opacity of the population. Witness here the insidious way in which the liberal State will perfect the modern State, under the pretext of needing to penetrate everywhere in order to avoid being everywhere in actuality, that in order to leave its subjects alone it must know everything.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

Running the tablesRunning the tables

“The police is that force that intervenes ‘wherever things are amiss,’ that is to say, wherever antagonism appears between forms-of-life—wherever there is a jump in political intensity. Using the arm of the police ostensibly to protect the ‘social fabric,’ while using another arm to destroy it, the State then offers itself as the existentially neutral mediator even in its own coercive excesses, as the pacified landscape for confrontation.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

Divided and conqueredDivided and conquered

“The inability of the State’s juridico-formal offensive to reduce civil war is not a marginal detail rooted in the fact that there is always a pleb to pacify, but appears centrally in the pacification procedure itself. Organizations modeled after the State characterize as ‘formless’ that which within them derives in fact from the play of forms-of-life. In the modern State, this irreducibility is attested to by the infinite extension of the police, that is to say, of all that bears the inadmissable burden of realizing the conditions of possibility of a state order as vast as it is unworkable.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War


“The State claims to assume the monopoly of the political, of which the well-known expression ‘monopoly on legitimate violence’ is merely the most vulgar indication. For the monopolization of the political requires the degradation of the differentiated unity of a world into a nation, then to degrade this nation into a population and a territory. It requires the disintegration of the entire organic unity of traditional societies in order to then submit the remaining fragments to a principle of organization.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

Mandelbrot politicsMandelbrot politics

“The essential function of the representation each society gives of itself is to influence the way in which each body is represented to itself, and through this to influence the structure of the psyche. The modern State is therefore first of all the constitution of each body into a molecular State, imbued with bodily integrity by way of territorial integrity, molded into a closed entity within a self, as much in opposition to the ‘exterior world’ as to the tumultuous associations of its own penchants—which it must contain—and in the end required to comport itself with its peers as a good law-abiding subject, to be dealt with, along with other bodies, according to the universal proviso of a sort of private international law of ‘civilized’ habits. In this way, the more societies constitute themselves in States, the more their subjects embody the economy.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

Hemmed inHemmed in

“The modern State means, among other things, a progressively increasing monopoly on legitimate violence, a process whereby all other forms of violence are delegitimized. The modern State serves the general process of pacification which, since the end of the Middle Ages, only persists through its continuous intensification. It is not simply that during this evolution it always more drastically hinders the free play of forms-of-life, but rather that it works assiduously to break them, to tear them up, to extract bare life from them, an extraction that is always the very activity of ‘civilization.’ In order to become a political subject in the modern State, each body must submit to the machinery that will make it such: it must begin by casting aside its passions (now inappropriate), its tastes (now laughable), its penchants (now contingent), endowing itself instead with interests, which are much more presentable and, even better, representable. In this way, in order to become a political subject each body must first carry out its own autocastration as an economic subject. Ideally, the political subject will thus be reduced to nothing more than a pure vote, a pure voice.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)

Dating the death of godDating the death of god

“In the West, the unity of the traditional world was lost with the Reformation and the ‘wars of religion’ that followed. The modern State then bursts on the scene with the task of reconstituting this unity—secularized, this time—no longer as an organic whole but instead as a mechanical whole, as a machine, as a conscious artificiality.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

The new and improved new and improvedThe new and improved new and improved

“The historicity specific to the fictions of ‘modernity’ is never that of a stability gained once and for all, of a threshold finally surpassed, but precisely that of a process of endless mobilization. Behind the inaugural dates of the official historiography, behind the edifying epic tale of linear progress, a continuous labor of reorganization, of correction, of improvement, of papering over, of adjustment, and even sometimes of costly reconstruction has never stopped taking place. This labor and its repeated failures have given rise to the whole jittery junk heap of the ‘new.’ “ – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphasis in original)

It’s obviousIt’s obvious

“We can recognize the fragile formations of power by their relentless attempts to posit fictions as self-evident. Throughout Modern Times, one of these fictions typically emerges as a neutral center, setting the scene for all the others. Reason, Money, Justice, Science, Man, Civilization, or Culture—with each there is the same phantasmagoric tendency: to posit the existence of a center, and then say that this center is ethically neutral.” – Tiqqun, Introduction to Civil War (emphases in original)