File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0109, message 92

Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 22:50:09 -0500
Subject: Operation Infinite Panopticon

Steve wrote about nomads and Empire, the postmodern and the
"determination of space for the play of libidinal intensities, affects
and passions."

Here is a quote from Negri and Hardt along similar lines:

"A specter haunts the world and it is the specter of migration. All the
powers of the old world are allied in a merciless operation against it,
but the movement is irresistible."

One also hears stories....

The CNN film footage which shows rejoicing in the Middle East was
reportedly shot in the nineties and conveniently pulled from the
archives at the right moment.

The reason for the action which has been given as an attack upon our
precious freedom, democracy and the American way of life was reportedly
thought up in the fifties and conveniently pulled from the archives at
the right moment.

Highly placed government officials reportedly cancelled their fight
plans scheduled for 9/11 at the right moment.

Rumors fly fast and furious, but even if you believe as I do that no
one, including the perpetrators, realized the scope of the outcome, the
Administration has lost no time in making their response and
consolidating their gains.  One hates to trivialize such a tragedy, but
the events have merely bolstered Bush's previous demands for greater
militarization and greater social restriction.  Now, the "country"
stands united and President Bush has been given a blank check to do what
he wanted to do anyway.... Play war like his daddy.

Suppose the nomad is the real terrorism, what then?

To take a riff on what Reg has said: "This new war is a crusade that can
only be fought by soldiers not wearing uniforms."  An army on the march.
Road Warriors.

Perhaps, what the state really fears is this invisible army of
individuals and groups who cannot be predicted, whose actions cannot be
controlled.  It is not a question of bombs.  It is a question of free
agents, atoms that swerve, what Lucretius termed the clinamen.  This is
what the administration has declared war on.

The internet is a space of nomadism where information emerged the media
could not package and control. Already, there is talk of a government
back door on encryption.  Who knows where this will end, but this space
is sure to become more restricted.

Genoa, Seattle were sites of nomadism that inspired fear in the
capitalist heart.  Already, one can imagine greater restriction on
counter-global groups and counter-global gatherings in the name of
fighting terrorism.

Labor has had a recent resurgence. Already, one can see unions curtailed
to a much greater extent in the name of our need for national unity.

Mexico has criticized the US recently on its double standards with
regard to immigration from the south and our continued violation of
NAFTA agreements for more open borders.  These arguments will now fall
completely on deaf ears.

There had been a gathering of progressive forces committed to the goal
of countering Bush's reactionary social agendas, the utter foolishness
of his tax cut and the need for safety net in a failing economy. Now,
who cares if the poor are nickeled and dimed when a war is raging. We
will have a guns and caviar economy instead.

I fear a new kind of McCarthyism where the word terrorist becomes the
new stand-in for communist and a general state of fear and panic

The question comes in the night - what if this war on terrorism is
secretly a war on nomadism in disguise?

Already, there are calls for a national ID, more wiretaps, computertaps,
invasion of civil liberties, censorship and surveillance technology to
create a new society where nomadism will not be completely eradicated,
but monitored, controlled and rendered politically harmless to the
powers that be. What I call Operation Infinite Panopticon.

To quote Negri and Hardt once more:

"In the dark world of cyberpunk fiction, for example, the freedom of
self-fashioning is often indistinguishable from the powers of an
all-encompassing control."

So, put on your mirror shades and jack into your holodecks, nomads, we
have met the terrorists and they are us.

The worldsky tonight is like your television when the cable fails. Just
static everywhere. 

My fear, Reg, is that the fundamentalists won't destroy each other. The
winner will come after us next (if he even waits that long.)

These colors never run. They just want to stand still.  



Driftline Main Page


Display software: ArchTracker © Malgosia Askanas, 2000-2005