Mille plateaux: 12, 13 These two plateaux are organized in propositions (along with problems and axioms). I see three groups of propositions. A first group (four propositions, the first half of nomadology) insists on the difference between the State and the war machine, or as D&G say, the exteriority of the war machine to the State. A second group of propositions (four more, the second half of nomadology) focus on the relation of the war machine to nomadic movements, or rather its emergence from nomadism. The last large group of propositions (the whole apparatus of capture plateau) deal with the means whereby the war machine is appropriated or capture by the State apparatus.
1. The State and the War Machine The State and the war machine are defined in contrast to each other, but let's start first with the State itself. "The State is sovereignty" (360). And political sovereignty itself has two poles, the despot on one hand and the legislator on the other, or rather, power (or might) on one hand and right (or law) on the other. This is the two headed image of the State we get in the section on noology: "The image has two heads, corresponding to the two poles of sovereignty: the imperium of true thinking operating by magical capture, seizure or binding, constituting the efficacy of a foundation (mythos); a republic of free spirits proceeding by pact or contract, constituting a legislative and juridical organization, carrying the sanction of a ground (logos)" (374-75). Normally these two poles of sovereignty, the empire and its power and the republic and its right (or juridical formation) are conceived as alternative possibilities of a State, but D&G pose the State-form as always containing or rather distributing these two poles. The State is a double articulation of empire and republic, power and right. This double articulation is what makes the State apparatus into a stratum. The space of the State apparatus is thus always a striated space, striated precisely by the distribution of these two poles of sovereignty. Political sovereignty (authority and rule) is located in the striae. Now, we should remember the definition of the State that we got earlier in the micropolitics and segmentarity plateau. There the State was characterized both by the rigidity (rather that flexibility) of social segmentation and by the centralization (rather than dispersal) of power. The rigid segmentation and centralization were conceived together by posing the State as a kind of resonance chamber in which the various social powers or segments would reverberate. The State itself was thus a virtual point of redundancy or resonance that we could recognize through the repetition of common diagrams (such as the panopticon) through various social institutions -- the school, the prison, the barracks, the factory, etc. These two definitions of the State ought to go together. The stratification that operates through the distribution of the two heads of sovereignty ought to be the same as or at least consistent with the centralization and rigid segmentarity of the resonance chamber. This is finally how D&G define the State, with three elements: "Each State is a global (not local) integration [centralization], a redundancy of resonance (not of frequency), an operation of the stratification of the territory (not the polarization of the milieu)" (433). I guess, then, I understand these different definitions of the State as coordinated elements of one more complete definition. The centralization or global integration of the State is achieved by the redundancy or really by repetition of a common diagram in the various rigid social segments. And specifically what is repeated in each of the centers of power (prison, barracks, school) is a common striation of social space, a common double articulation between the two poles of sovereignty, between power and right. The State is thus, backwards now, striation, redundancy, centralization. Centralization is achieved by the repetition of the striae, which because repeated or redundant resonate with each other. You might ask: What are these striae that run through social space and distribute sovereignty? Well, I'm reading the striae as the institutions themselves: the school is a striation of society, the prison a striation, etc. In fact, I'm understanding the institutions as striae in the sens that they organize and direct social flows. Finally, I'm understanding sovereignty as an instance of power separate from the social field, transcendent to society -- as, for example, Hobbes talks about sovereignty as a power overarching society. Striation is sovereignty, then, insofar as the striae are raised up above the surface of society. The walls of the institutions, which might be understood as these striae, are transcendent above the social field. (The height of the walls is their transcendence.) Putting all that together, then, the striae of the institutions are the redundant instances of sovereignty that resonate in the central (if virtual) chamber of the State. The war machine, however, is something completely different, and this is difference is the main point of the first half of the nomadology plateau. "... the war machine was the invention of the nomad, because it is in its essence, the constitutive element of smooth space, the occupation of this space, displacement within this space, and the corresponding composition of people: this is it sole and veritable positive object" (417). The war machine is thus defined as the constitution of smooth space, including both the movements across this space and the distribution of peoples in it. It is distinct from, and even opposed to the State, precisely insofar as its smooth space is opposed to the striated space of the State. It seems then that "war machine" is really a misleading term because its essence has nothing to do with war; it should rather I would think be called the smooth machine or the nomad machine. In any case, when we start from this definition it is obvious that, as D&G insist several times, the war machine does not have war as its object. "If war necessarily results, it is because the war machine collides with States and cities, as forces (or striation) opposing its positive object .... It is at this point that the war machine becomes war" (417). The war machine only develops a relation to war (not an essential but an accidental relation) when it comes into contact with striated space, that is, with the State. Although the war machine only arrives at war afterwards, the violence of the State is always already. State violence, not the violence of the warrior but the violence of the cop and the jailer, is difficult to pinpoint, D&G say, because it always presents itself as preaccomplished, as already done, even if it is redone every day. "State policing or lawful violence ... consists in capturing [power] while simultaneously constituting a right to capture [right]. It is an incorporated, structural violence distinct from every kind of direct violence" (448). The paradigm that D&G point toward to explain this indirect, structural violence of the State is what Marx calls primitive accumulation, whereby the two classes are created. The proletariat has always already been proletarianized, even if the violence that recreates class divisions is exerted every day. I would say, and I think this is consist with D&G, that the striation itself is this always pre-existing violence. The walls themselves of the prison and the school are a violence that combines power and right, that from within the prespective of a State society always already exists. So, paradoxical as it may seem, the State (and its striation) has an essential relation to violence and the war machine (and its smooth space) only become violent under certain, accidental conditions, when it runs into striation. If the State and the war machine are so different, if they are so exterior to each other as D&G say, how are they related and how do they come to be integrated? Well, from the point of view of the war machine they can't become integrated, because when the war machine comes into contact with the State or with any striated space it only objective is to destroy it. The war machine has no use for the State. In contrast, when the State comes into contact with the war machine, it does not try to destroy it but rather to appropriate it, to put it to work. This is the process of capture, the State's appropriation of the war machine. "One of the fundamental tasks of the State is to striate the space over which it reigns, or to utilize smooth spaces as a means of communication in the service of striated space. It is a vital concern of every State not only to vanquish nomadism but to control migrations .... If it can help it, the State does not dissociate itself from a process of capture of flows of all kinds, populations, commodities or commerce, money or capital, etc" (385-86). So the State does not simply want to destroy smooth space, to striate it, it wants also to use smooth spaces as a means of communication; it does not want simply to make nomads sedentary, but to transform nomadic paths into migrations that serve its power. The State operates by the capture of flows, which means preserving their movements but channeling them in defined paths. It seems to me that the State could not exist without smooth space and nomadism subordinated to it. The striae of the State are themselves static and isolated; the movement and communication among the striae only comes from the smooth space that lies between them, subordinated to them. (Perhaps in the same vein one could say that sedentary State production depends on labor migrations -- labor migrations being a kind of captured nomadism.)
2. Capture and Labor D&G present three apparatuses of capture: one that derives rent from land, another that derives profit from labor, and a third that derives interest or tax from money. All of these apparatusses of capture have to do with the creation of a stock. The landlord gains rent through a stock of land; or more clearly, the entrepreneur gains profit through a stock of labor or suplus labor. Now I think it's important to recognize this stock not really as something static. In other words, it's not that the flow has been halted, but rather it has been channeled, the way for example a nomadic movement might be channeled into a migration. The State depends on this dynamism, even if it is a channeled dynamism. I want to focus just on one of these apparatusses of capture, the one having to do with labor. But first I want to go back to a discussion of labor in the fourth section of AO, which I think is more or less taken up again and repeated here with different terms. In that part of AO, D&G linked labor directly to desire: "the identity of desire and labor is not a myth, it is rather the active utopia par excellence that designate the capitalist limit to be overcome through desiring-production" (AO 302). Desire and labor are thus if not the same thing at least isomorphic; they are both defined by flows. And moreover, they are captured in the same way by abstraction and representation in capitalist society: "subjective abstract Labor as represented in private property has, as its correlate, subjective abstract Desire as represented in the priviatized family. Psychoanalysis undertakes the analysis of the second term, as political economy analyzes the first" (303-04). Labor is thus the same kind of productive, creative force as desire, but just as desire is reigned in by Oedipus labor is reigned in by capitalism. Clearly the labor being refered to in AO is not wage labor -- that would be its reigned in form. This labor (which D&G say corresponds to desire) is what Marx calls living labor. "Labour is the living, form-giving fire, it is the transitoriness of things, their temporality, as their formation by living time" (Grundrisse, 361). Living labor is transformed into the dead labor of capital, or really, undead labor, zombie labor. In MP, however, D&G shift their terms to describe this same capture of labor in capitalism. Now "free activity" takes the place of living labor and "labor" takes that of waged labor. And now the process that was described in terms of representation in AO is characterized in terms of stockpiling: "by virtue of the stock ... activities of the 'free action' type come to be compared, linked, and subordinated to a common and homogeneous quantity called labor. (...) labor itself is stockpiled activity" (442). What stockpiling seems to mean here is imposing a repetition on activity and thus transforming the free activity that is essentially heterogeneous into labor that is homogeneous. Labor is thus the apparatus of capture of activity. Through its process of repetition and homogenization, it transforms living labor into dead labor, or it makes free activity into the activity of the living-dead. That is why D&G claim that the myth of the zombie is the myth of labor, the movement of the living dead (425). You might also say here that free activity has been striated in the sense that its unrestricted flow has been channeled by the striae of wage labor. The capture of the worker by the State is accomplished not only through the homogenization of activity in work, but also through a channeling or restriction of the workers' movement. The proletariat is fundamentally nomadic, or even a "force of nomadization" and capital has to block or direct its flows. "Even Marx defines the proletariat not only as alienated (labor) but as deterritorialized. [You might understand this as the Marx writing about primitive accumulation, about the formation of the English proletariat through the clearing of the peasants from the land, the creation of a vagabond class that would later be available to work in the new factories.] The proletariat, in this second perspective, appears as the heir to the nomad in the Western world. Not only did many anarchists invoke nomadic themese orignating in the East, but the bourgeoisie above all were quick to equate proletarians and nomads, comparing Paris to a city haunted by nomads" (558 n. 61). So, in the first place free activity is heterogeneous and has to be homogenized in labor and second the proletariat is deterritorialized, a force of nomadization that has to be made sedentary or migrant through labor. Gravity has to be imposed on its speed. These are the two aspects of labor as an apparatus of capture: homogenization of activity and control or channeling of movement. Both of these aspects of capitalist labor as capture involve the striation of smooth space.
3. Axiomatics of the Global War Machine What we generally have in these plateaux is the appropriation of the war machine by the State and thus the striation of smooth space (or rather the use of smooth space between striae). This relationship seems to change, however, when D&G consider the present situation when the world is not organizated by sovereign nation-States, but rather States are in some ways subordinated to a global order. They reject right away the possibility that there is emerging some sort of global State that stands above the various nation-States. "It is an absurdity to postulate a world supergovernment that makes the final decisions" (461). The various States are thus superceded by what I would call a smooth global Empire. "The war machine reforms a smooth space that now claims to control, to surround the entire earth. Total war itself is surpassed, toward a form of peace more terrifying still. The war machine has taken charge of the aim, worldwide order, and the States are now no more than objects or means of that war machine. (...) [The enemy is] no longer another State, or even another regime, but the 'whichever enemy' [l'ennemi quelconque]" (421-22). Whichever enemy -- Quaddafi, Noriega, Saddam, whichever. I think this is a very interesting description of the contemporary global order, but how in the logic of the text do D&G move from the State continually getting the upper hand over the war machine to this situation where the war machine has subordinated States to its order? And how is it that now the war machine and its free space that used to be associated with creation and free activity now has taken only global order for its object? Or the question is posed most clearly for me in terms of soveriegnty. If I understand sovereignty as an instance of power transcendent to the social field and specifically as residing in the striae of the State space, then how can we say that this global war machine (which is by definition on smooth space) is sovereign? How can a war machine rule? I think the answer has to lie back in the question of the axiomatic, which we first saw in AO and which reappears here in these plateaux. As you remember, the axiomatic was introduced as a way to understand the immanence of capitalism and its controlled schizophrenia. In the present situation, D&G say, the relationship between axiomatics and politics becomes more and more close. "[A]n axiomatic is not at all a transcendent, autonomous, and decision-making power opposed to experimentation and intuition" (461). Axiomatics involve combinations of indeterminate variables that sometimes come up against undecidable propositions. The system of "whichever enemy", for example, refers to an axiomatic. (And this is an axiomatic that better describes the post Cold War world ever better than it did the workd of D&G's time.) Whichever enemy is a variable that can be filled in the equation by a variety of different terms, yeilding different solutions. The global war machine doesn't need fixed relations and striated spaced ruled by a transcendent power. It can deal with a variety of configurations through its immanent laws. If the global war machine is not capital, then at least we can say that it is constituted by an axiomatic just as capital is.
A new sovereignty. Capitalist sovereignty.