File spoon-archives/postanarchism.archive/postanarchism_2004/postanarchism.0403, message 68


Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 22:13:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: [postanarchism] re: virilio vs. kroker


i think the primary difference betwee kroker and
virilio is that kroker thinks that there is at least
somewhat of a liberatory dimension to modern
technology, even if they have been developed and
deployed for authoritarian reasons, many of them can
be diverted to other uses, he says (perhaps a bit like
donna haraway) - i am not sure but this might come out
of the fact that kroker is heavily influenced by marx,
even if it is an ultimately antiauthoritarian marx
that he embraces, while in contrast, virilio distances
himself from marxism quite clearly, embracing a
catholicized version of what hakim bey calls
'spiritual anarchism' instead. the tendency within
marxism to make immanent rather than transcendant
critique may be the biggest reason for this space
between them, as kroker's approach is at least to some
extent influenced by dialectical thought, while
virilio explicity rejects this as necessarily
resulting in the reproduction of what is being
resisted, thus his spiritually transcendant approach.

in any case that is an interesting critique of the
title 'digital delirium', i don't think that kroker
would consciously have meant to argue in favor of any
kind of crude rationalism though. if anything in that
direction at all, i would guess that he would take the
frankfurt school approach of embracing 'critical
rationality' at the same that he would reject
'instrumental rationality'. i think that kroker
probably sees technology maybe something along the
lines of donna haraway, that it is not one thing, but
is potentially both authoritarian and
anti-authoritarian, instrumentally rational and
critically rational, and that what counts today more
than anything is the struggle to overthrow what has
become a virtual capitalism, in order to redefine our
worlds according to our principles, rather than those
of the global technocracy we are living under. This
can mean many things to many different people, for
some it might mean entirely doing away with technology
and reconnecting to organic life as virilio seems to
be arguing in favor of, while for others, like kroker,
it might mean humanizing technology into new forms we
had never thought possible before..

in the essay i posted a few days ago, kroker argues
that in response to virtual capitalism, today the
"'anti-virtual' class takes to the streets and to the
net in spontaneous forms of struggle that quickly
resemble a paris commune rebelling against the digital
mode of production". but he does not see the
anti-virtual class as rebelling against the digital
mode of production exclusively in real space
(offline), for him it necessarily takes place in real
time (online) as well. here he juxtaposes virtuality,
which he sees as more humanized, and digitality, which
he sees as more technocratic and capitalist. the
digital proletariat, for kroker, is manifest most
clearly in the antiglobalization movement which seeks
to replace the technocratic 'new economy' with a
plurality of antiauthoritarian, directly democratic
alternatives. 

like virilio, kroker embraces the heideggerian
fourfold of earth, sky, water and bodies as the
primary place of resistance, or what virilio calls
'popular defense'; as kroker put it, "reversing the
ruling logic of faux globalization with its
abandonment of the ancient elements of earth and sky
and bodies and water, the demonstrations against the
world trade organization went directly to basic earth.
Here, the politics of electronic resistance first
spiked: street politics, (not the digital nervous
system); symbolic politics (demonstrators dressed in
the beautiful costumes of soon-to-be-exterminated sea
turtles, not Bladerunner swat squads); media theatre
(squatting the world media, not bunkering down in
closed sessions to rewrite the rules of world trade
and protection of intellectual property rights at the
behest of the virtual class); direct anarchism
(disrupting even for an instant the circulation of the
digital circuit in order to allow electronic space for
a future of electronic perturbations)".

the question one might ask here though, is whether or
not the rhetoric of 'cyber-resistance' embraced by the
post-seattle antiglobalization movement - from
indymedia to electronic civil disobedience - is really
so analagous to the heideggerian fourfold as a space
of resistance, as kroker implies, or whether the
virilian conception of popular defense, based in the
conviviality of real space rather than real time, is a
better approach - empirically, it is easy to see that
kroker's argument is much closer to what is actually
taking place in the world, but then one might ask
whether this is a specifically first-world
observation, since in the global south, the virilian
approach may actually be more popular...but then,
towards the end of his essay, kroker seems to
vacillate back towards the virilian approach of
embracing the organic over the technological as a
space of resistance: "here [in the antiglobalization
movement], the key political issues of the 21st
century are joined: being human versus the
(electronic) post-human; living labor versus a
(robotic) future of post-labor; unrestrained
technicity versus social ethics; an emergent concern
with bio-ethics versus market-driven
bio-engineering...deep ecology versus
the biotech millennium [this last one is from the
final paragraph]". it should not be forgotten that
there is also an ambiguity of this kind in virilio,
where he argues that certain technologies can be used
in 'divergent' modes of resistance, such as the way
that for instance, godfrey reggio diverges film in his
dramatic cinematic critiques of technology,
koyanisqatsi, paqoyqatsi and naqoyqatsi... 


jason

===="Being at one is god-like and good, but human, too human, the 
        mania
     Which insists there is only the One, one country, one truth and
         one way."

- Friedrich Hölderlin, 1799

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