File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 64

Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 12:57:04 -0100
Subject: Re: Sublime Empire - First reaction.

Eric wrote, Hugh comments: :

> I just finished reading Empire and came across an article (In These
> Times) talking about Ya Basta!. Here is what it said:
> "To the usual calls for direct democracy, the leitmotif of the
> "anti-globalization" movement everywhere, they've made three major
> additions:

Direct democracy?  Democracy is direct when it is local, when a voter
sees and hears in the flesh the candidate he/she chooses. Global democracy
is virtual, a media representation of anyone anywhere, any time..
Genoa was actual for participants, officials, cops, protesters, prisoners -
virtual for the media  audience

 >A principle of global citizenship, the elimination of all  controls >over
:freedom of movement in the world (Ya Basta! especially has  targetted
>immigration detention facilities): a universally guaranteed
> "basic income" to replace programs like welfare and unemployment
> (originally derived from the French MAUSS group); and free access to new
> technologies - in effect, extreme limits to the enforcement of
> intellectual property  right. (Most Americans assume these ideas derive
> from Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's book "Empire."  They don't. They
> got them from Ya Basta!)

Empire includes part of these sentiments.

> One of the surprizes for me in reading "Empire" was how little of the
> book was spent in describing this political program. Maybe twenty pages
> or so at the very end. And I agree, in some ways the above statement is
> better than Empire because it is more direct and concrete.

Empire" tries to understand, philosophically, with much reference to
historical ideas, a potpourri of  generalizations about globalization. It
contains  minimal of facts and figures.  If I remember correctly it states
that there are 18,000 NGO's.  But I wonder, who is the multitude?  Where,
and how, does it live?  What does it produce?  As Hardt said on TV, the most
important question is how to make a revolution. N&G contribute
philosophically; the politics is yet to be invented.

> Nonetheless I think the value of "Empire" lies not so much in the
> politics it offers, but in laying down the conditions of possibility (or
> is that virtuality?)

"Virtuality" is representation, "live" or "taped".  "Possibility" is
thought(s) in living mind/bodies, as actual, as real, as pleasure and pain.
It may be transient, inaccurate, illusory.  Possibility is sometimes
actualized, often forgotten.

>- .that makes these politics real.  It is something  like a Kantian
?>transcendental deduction, only in this case, the ground  is below and
>immanent. Today the voice of god rises up from the ditch.

The Voice of God is immanent as ever, transcendent if heeded and
communicated.  It is heard by persons of  the multitude in the ditch, and by
persons of the minitude outside the ditch.

> There is great value in all this, even if there is no place on the earth
> where this value can be measured.  It is beyond even the fulcrum of
> Archimedes. The terminology of the sublime is not used,however, the
> concept of Empire seems sublime because Empire is not a place.  Empire
> is the non-localized space-time compression, a true u-topia.

If this is correct,Empire would seem to be visionary, a technicolor dream.
Meaning would be as diverse, as sublime as the capacity i.e.
memory/life-history of each person who reads it..

>Today, we  nomads are all real nowhere cyborgs. We don't go in circles. We
>move in mobeus strips of libidinal flesh.


 > What this Marxist-Deleuzian tendency gives us is a politics of the
> sublime (even though we know there is no politics of the sublime) and a
> new way to understand the postmodern, not as the exhaustion of politics,
> not as the mourning of lost forms of politics, not as the triumph of
> neo-liberalism, but as a Protean form of being against, the Great
> Refusal, a nondialectical subjectivity within the multitude which
> resists and resists again. By the very fact of this resistance it causes
> a response to occur which attempts to re-control and reterritorialize.
> The masters experience the  perpetual belatedness of recapture. The
> paralogical is furtive and agile like quicksilver

"Divide and conquer" is the honored  counter-move of princes, of those who
encounter refusals, and resistances. Solidarity wins revolutions.  "Empire",
translated into language(s) of the multitude, and augmented by
"to-be-determined" policy, could lead to a  project.  Democracy also votes
with feet in the street.

> History is not at an end. It has merely become sublime. Long live
> history.  The postmodern is the hydra which all the labors of Hercules
> cannot destroy.

**Hercules and other gods are alive and well in the minds of believers, and
so long as genetics and environment let humans produce new and teachable
generations, the gods will survive; their sublimity illuminating each



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