Turn-about and fair play

“The rhetoric of the war of the sexes, and thus for now, of women’s revenge, operates as the ultimate ruse through which the logic of virility will have vanquished women without their knowledge: by enclosing them, at the price of a simple role reversal, in the submission/domination alternative, to the exclusion of all else.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl

Getting away with murder

Justifiable homicide is that which is committed either, 1st, by unavoidable necessity, without any will, intention or desire, or any inadvertence or negligence in the party killing, and therefore without blame; such as, by an officer, executing a criminal, pursuant to the death-warrant, and in strict conformity to the law, in every particular; or, 2dly, for the advancement of public justice; as, where an officer, in the due execution of his office, kills a person who assaults and resists him; or, where a private person or officer attempts to arrest a man charged with felony and is resisted, and in the endeavor to take him, kills him; or, if a felon flee from justice, and in the pursuit he be killed, where be cannot otherwise be taken; or, if there be a riot, or a rebellious assembly, and the officers or their assistants, in dispersing the mob, kill some of them, where the riot cannot otherwise be suppressed; or, if prisoners, in gaol or going to gaol, assault or resist the officers, while in the necessary discharge of their duty, and the officers or their aids, in repelling force by force, kill the party resisting; or, 3dly, for the prevention of any atrocious crime, attempted to be committed by force; such as, murder, robbery, house-breaking in the night time, rape, mayhem, or any other act of felony against the person. But in such cases, the attempt must be not merely suspected, but apparent, the danger must be imminent, and the opposing force or resistance necessary to avert the danger or defeat the attempt.” – Simon Greenleaf, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence (footnotes omitted; emphases in original)

Who’s there by your side

“Any writer who accepts or partially accepts the discipline of a political party is sooner or later faced with the alternative: toe the line, or shut up. It is, of course, possible to toe the line and go on writing—after a fashion. Any Marxist can demonstrate with the greatest of ease that ‘bourgeois’ liberty of thought is an illusion. But when he has finished his demonstration there remains the psychological fact that without this ‘bourgeois’ liberty the creative powers wither away. In the future a totalitarian literature may arise, but it will be quite different from anything we can now imagine. Literature as we know it is an individual thing, demanding mental honesty and a minimum of censorship. And this is even truer of prose than of verse.” – George Orwell, “Inside the Whale”

Let those who have eyes see

“When one looks back at the twenties, nothing is queerer than the way in which every important event in Europe escaped the notice of the English intelligentsia. The Russian Revolution, for instance, all but vanishes from the English consciousness between the death of Lenin and the Ukraine famine—about ten years. Throughout those years Russia means Tolstoy, Dostoievsky, and exiled counts driving taxi-cabs. Italy means picture-galleries, ruins, churches, and museums—but not Black-shirts. Germany means films, nudism, and psychoanalysis—but not Hitler, of whom hardly anyone had heard till 1931. In ‘cultured’ circles art-for-art’s-saking extended practically to a worship of the meaningless. Literature was supposed to consist solely in the manipulation of words. To judge a book by its subject matter was the unforgivable sin, and even to be aware of its subject matter was looked on as a lapse of a taste.” – George Orwell, “Inside the Whale”

Immoral majority rules

“The majority of parents are poor psychologists and give their children the most questionable of moral trainings. It is perhaps in this domain that one realizes most keenly how immoral it can be to believe too much in morality, and how much more precious is a little humanity than all the rules in the world.” – Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child (trans. Marjorie Gabain)

Do you call that equitable

“If one man strikes another a blow, that other has a right to defend himself, and to strike a blow in his defence; but he has no right to revenge himself; and if, when all the danger is past, he strikes a blow not necessary for his defence, he commits an assault and a battery. It is a common error to suppose that one person has a right to strike another who has struck him, in order to revenge himself.” – Justice Coleridge, Regina v. Driscoll

The new gods, same as the old gods

“By investing young people and women with an absurd symbolic surplus value, by making them the exclusive carriers of the two new kinds of esoteric knowledge proper to the new social order—consumption and seduction—Spectacle has effectively emancipated the slaves of the past, but it has emancipated them as slaves.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl (emphasis in original)

Will it go round in circles

“Progress is not an illusion, it happens, but it is slow and invariably disappointing. There is always a new tyrant waiting to take over from the old—generally not quite so bad, but still a tyrant. Consequently two viewpoints are always tenable. The one, how can you improve human nature until you have changed the system? The other, what is the use of changing the system before you have improved human nature? They appeal to different individuals, and they probably show a tendency to alternate in point of time. The moralist and the revolutionary are constantly undermining one another.” – George Orwell, “Charles Dickens”

Same as it ever was

“When hatred of Hitler became a major emotion in America, it was interesting to see how promptly ‘anti-Fascism’ was adapted to pornographic purposes by the editors of the Yank Mags. One magazine which I have in front of me is given up to a long, complete story, ‘When Hell Came to America’, in which the agents of a ‘blood-maddened European dictator’ are trying to conquer the U.S.A. with death-rays and invisible aeroplanes. There is the frankest appeal to sadism, scenes in which the Nazis tie bombs to women’s backs and fling them off heights to watch them blown to pieces in mid-air, others in which they tie naked girls together by their hair and prod them with knives to make them dance, etc., etc. The editor comments solemnly on all this, and uses it as a plea for tightening up restrictions against immigrants.” – George Orwell, “Boys’ Weeklies and Frank Richards’s Reply” (1940)

Don’t look twice, it’s all right

“The most superficial observation is sufficient to show that in the main the legal sense is far less developed in little girls than in boys. We did not succeed in finding a single collective game played by girls in which there were as many rules and, above all, as fine and consistent an organization and codification of these rules as in the game of marbles. A significant example in this connection is the game of ‘Marelle’ (Engl., Hop-scotch) (also called ‘la Semaine’ or ‘le Ciel’) which consists in hopping on one leg and kicking a stone through various sections drawn on the ground representing the days of the week or anything else one likes. The few rules embodied in this game (not to put the other foot down, to make the pebble go into the right square with one kick, not to let the pebble stop on a boundary line, permission to rest in a special section called Heaven, etc.) show well enough how possible it would have been to complicate the game by constructing new rules on these initial data. Instead of which girls, though they are very fond of this game and play it much oftener than boys, have applied all their ingenuity in inventing new figures. For the game of Marelle exists in a multitude of forms; the sections drawn in chalk on the pavement succeed one another in a straight line, in parallel lines, in the shape of a spiral, a circle, an oval, of the pipe of a stove, etc. But each game in itself is very simple and never presents the splendid codification and complicated jurisprudence of the game of marbles. As to the game of marbles itself, the few little girls who take any interest in it seem more concerned with achieving dexterity at the game than with the legal structure of this social institution.” – Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child (trans. Marjorie Gabain)

Everything’s for sale and you’re broke

“At the beginning of the 1920s, capitalism realized that it could no longer maintain itself as the exploitation of human labor if it did not also colonize everything that is beyond the strict sphere of production. Faced with the challenge from socialism, capital too would have to socialize. It had to create its own culture, its own leisure, medicine, urbanism, sentimental education and its own more, as well as a disposition toward their perpetual renewal. This was the Fordist compromise, the Welfare-State, family planning: social-democratic capitalism. For a somewhat limited submission to labor, since workers still distinguished themselves from their work, we have today substituted integration through subjective and existential conformity, that is, fundamentally, through consumption.” – Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials For a Theory of the Young-Girl (emphasis in original)

Instant karma’s come and got you

“If the imperial perspective had a slogan it would be ‘All Power To The Apparatuses!’ It is true that in the coming insurrection it will most often suffice to liquidate the apparatuses sustaining enemies in order to break them, enemies that in times past would have had to be shot. At bottom, the slogan has less to do with cybernetic utopianism that with imperial pragmatism: the fictions of metaphysics, these grand barren constructions which now compel neither faith nor admiration, are no longer able to unify the debris of universal disintegration. Under Empire, the old Institutions are deteriorating one after the other in a cascade of apparatuses. What is happening, and what is the truly imperial mission, is the concerted demolition of each Institution into a multiplicity of apparatuses, into an arborescence of relative and unpredictable norms. The educational system, for example, no longer bothers to present itself as a coherent order. It is now but a hodgepodge of classes, schedules, subjects, buildings, departments, programs, and projects that are so many apparatuses meant to keep bodies immobilized. With the imperial extinction of every event comes the world-wide, managed dissemination of apparatuses. Many voices can now be heard lamenting such a dreadful age. Some denounce a pervasive ‘loss of meaning,’ while others, the optimists, swear every morning to ‘give meaning’ to this or that misery only, invariably, to fail. All, in fact, agree to want meaning without wanting the event. They seem not to notice that apparatuses are by nature hostile to meaning, whose absence it is their job to maintain.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphasis in original)

Neither body nor soul, it was the one

“The West’s dualism has long consisted in establishing two antagonistic entities: the divine and the worldly, subject and object, reason and madness, soul and flesh, good and evil, life and death, being and nothingness, etc., etc. The latter established, civilization developed as the struggle of one against the other. This was an exceedingly costly way of going about things. Empire clearly proceeds differently. It still deals in these dualities, but it no longer believes in them. In fact, it merely uses each couple of classical metaphysics with the purpose of maintaining order, that is: as a binary machine. By apparatus, one should therefore understand a space polarized by a false antimony such that everything that passes through it and happens within it is reducible to one or the other of its terms. In this regard, the most immense apparatus ever created was obviously the East-West geostrategic macro-apparatus, which opposed term for term the ‘socialist bloc’ and the ‘capitalist bloc.’ Every rebellion, every alterity that happened to appear anywhere either had to pledge allegiance to one of these two sides or would find itself unwittingly thrown into the official enemy camp of the power it challenged.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphases in original)

Every eight seconds

“The immediate affirmation of a need or desire—in so far as it implies a certain knowledge of oneself—ethically contravenes imperial pacification; and it no longer has the justification of militancy. Militancy and its critique are both in different ways compatible with Empire; one as a form of work, the other as a form of powerlessness.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program

Down tools, walk

“Of the entire putrid legacy of the workers’ movement nothing stinks as much as the culture, and now the cult, of work. It is this culture and this culture alone, with its intolerable ethical blindness and its professional self-hatred, that one hears groaning with each new layoff, with each new proof that work is finished.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphasis in original)

The ontic telos of need

“The logic of the present situation is no longer of an economic but of an ethico-political kind. Work is the linchpin of the citizen factory. As such, it is indeed necessary, as necessary as nuclear reactors, city planning, the police, or television. One has to work because one has to feel one’s existence, at least in part, as foreign to oneself.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphases in original)

BBQ Beckies all

“Citizens, insofar as they are made to compensate more and more frequently for the failures of the welfare state, will be paid more and more overtly for their work in comanaging social pacification. A citizen’s dividend will therefore be established as a form of coercion to maintain self-discipline, in the form of strange, extremely tight-knit, community policing. If necessary, they maight even call it ‘existence wages,’ since it would in fact entail sponsoring those forms-of-life most compatible with Empire.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program

Watching Paint Dry

“I have come to think that boredom is the worst of all a tramp’s evils, worse than hunger and discomfort, worse even than the constant feeling of being socially disgraced. It is a silly piece of cruelty to confine an ignorant man all day with nothing to do; it is like chaining a dog in a barrel, only an educated man, who has consolations within himself, can endure confinement. Tramps, unlettered types as nearly all of them are, face their poverty with blank, resourceless minds. Fixed for ten hours on a comfortless bench, they know no way of occupying themselves, and if they think at all it is to whimper about hard luck and pine for work. They have not the stuff in them to endure the horrors of idleness. And so, since so much of their lives is spent in doing nothing, they suffer agonies from boredom.” – George Orwell, “The Spike”

It was nice work while we could get it

“Citizens are those who, at the very heart of the general conflagration of the social sphere, persist in proclaiming their abstract participation in a society that now only exists negatively, through the terror it exercises over everything that threatens to abandon it, and in so doing, to survive it. The accidents and the rationality that produce the citizen all point to the heart of the imperial enterprise: to attenuate forms-of-life, to neutralize bodies; and the citizen advances this enterprise by self-annulling the risk he represents to the imperial environment.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphases in original)

Is it bleeding, screaming, or burning

“Under Empire, the very persistence of the formal trappings of the state is part of the strategic maneuvering that renders it obsolete. Insofar as Empire is unable to recognize an enemy, an alterity, an ethical difference, it cannot recognize the war conditions it has created. There will therefor be no state of exception as such but a permanent, indefinitely extended state of emergency. The legal system will not be officially suspended in order to wage war against the domestic enemy, against the insurgents, or whatever else; to the current system will simply be added a collection of ad hoc laws designed to fight the unmentionable enemy. Common law will thus transform into a proliferative and supererogatory development of special rules: the rule will consequently become a series of exceptions. The sovereignty of the police, which have again become a war machine, will no longer suffer opposition. They will recognize the police’s right to shoot on sight, reestablishing in practice the death penalty which, according to the law, no longer exists. They will extend the maximum time spent in police custody such that the charges will henceforth amount to the sentence. In certain cases, the ‘fight against terrorism’ will justify imprisonment without trial as well as warrantless searches.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (internal quotes and citations omitted)

We have met the enemy, and they are us

“Imperial war has neither a beginning nor an end, it is a permanent process of pacification. The essential aspects of its methods and principle have been known for fifty years. They were developed in the wars of decolonization during which the oppressive state apparatus underwent a decisive change. From then on the enemy was no longer an isolable entity, a foreign nation, or a determined class; it was somewhere lying in ambush within the population, with no visible attributes. If need be, it was the population itself, the population as insurgent force.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphasis in original)

Going rogue

“Empire’s reconfiguration of hostilities has largely gone unnoticed. It has gone unnoticed because it first appeared outside metropolises, in former colonies. The prohibition on war—a simple declaration with the League of Nations that became actual with the invention of nuclear weapons—produced a decisive transformation of war . . . . Since all war between states has become criminal with respect to the world order, not only do we now see only limited conflicts, but the very nature of the enemy has changed: the enemy has been domesticated. The liberal state has folded into Empire to such an extent that even when the enemy is identified as a state, a ‘rogue state’ in the cavalier terminology of imperial diplomats, the war waged against it now takes the form of a simple police operation, a matter of in-house management, a law and order initiative.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphasis in original)

It’s just a flesh wound

“The warrior is not a figure of plenitude, and certainly not of virile plenitude. The warrior is a figure of amputation. The warrior is a being who feels he exists only through combat, through confrontation with the Other, a being who is unable to obtain for himself the feeling of existing. In the end, nothing is sadder than the sight of a form-of-life that, in every situation, expects hand-to-hand combat to remedy its absence from itself. But nothing is more moving, either; because this absence from self is not a simple lack, a lack of familiarity with oneself, but rather a positivity. The warrior is in fact driven by a desire, and perhaps one sole desire: the desire to disappear. The warrior no longer wants to be, but wants his disappearance to have a certain style. He wants to humanize his vocation for death. That is why he never really manages to mix with the rest of humankind: they are spontaneously wary of his movement toward Nothingness. In their admiration for the warrior can be measured the distance they impose between him and them. The warrior is thus condemned to be alone.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphasis in original)

It’s survival in the city, when your back’s against the wall

“Every war machine is by nature a society, a society without a state; but under Empire, given its obsidional status, another determination has to be added. It is a society of a particular kind: a warrior society. Although each existence is at its core essentially a war and each will know how to engage in confrontation when the time comes, a minority of beings must take war as the exclusive aim of their existence. These are the warriors. Henceforth the war machine will have to defend itself not only from hostile attacks, but also from the threat of the warrior minority breaking off from it, composing a caste, a dominant class, forming an embryonic state and, by turning the offensive resources at its disposal into the means of oppression, taking power.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphases in original)

Sanding and filling

“Empire is well-armed to fight the two types of secession it recognizes: secession ‘from above’ through golden ghettos—the secession, for example, of global finance from the ‘real economy’ or of the imperial hyperbourgeoisie from the rest of the biolpolitical fabric—and secession ‘from below’ through ‘no-go areas’—housing projects, inner cities, and shanty-towns. Whenever one or the other threatens its meta-stable equilibrium, Empire need only play one against the other: the civilized modernity of the trendy against the retrograde barbarism of the poor, or the demands for social cohesion and equality against the inveterate egotism of the rich.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program

Rethinking it over

“Rethought as a totalizing system (differentiated into private, interdependent, functional subsystems or fields of autonomous decision-making and auto-regulating capacity), that is, as a modular-corporate system, the computerized metropolis appears as a vast, barely disguised penal colony.” – Renato Curcio and Alberto Franceschini, Gocce di sole nelle cità degli spettri (translated and quoted in Tiqqun, This Is not a Program)