For years I have been involved in revolutionary formations which placed a premium on professionalism, the militant, and cadre. All subject-forms which I reject today. Perhaps, a long time ago they were poets of the future. Today those subject-forms are poets who destroy desire, repress desire, and repress new subjectivities.
No subjectivity machine which can not sing the song of the future will bring together artists, dancers, and poets of the future which places a premium on such subject-forms. The standard place to being such critique is of course the debates between Lenin on Luxemburg. Trotsky’s Our Tasks has some serious critiques too. But this is all poetry for an age that is forgotten!
Lenin’s What is to Be Done is the most dangerous text for creating anti-subjectivity machines. It is an Oedipalization machine, it is a paranoic machine, it is one of the codes for the body without organs. More simply, it is an instruction manual for those who no longer have the will to dream. It is a manual for those who want to re-create the family.
The father is the secretary or chairman. The central committee is the mother. The cadre are the children. Kill the chairman and take over the central committee is the game that must be played…. How this is done? Well there is a long history of this of ruined lives for anyone who wants a more detailed account… A good place to being are the works of G.P. Maximoff. And yet this family-form is constantly re-created. Why?
What is to Be Done is an instruction manual for the revolutionary who does not know what to do. It is the IKEA manual for those who do not know what to do with partial objects before them. The subtitle for What is to be Done should be “Don’t know what to do? Read this and apply generously.”
What is to be Done should be read next to Max Weber’s the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. The latter will explain the former…
Working through Anti-Oedipus by Delueze and Guattari, I ran into Foucault’s advice on life in the introduction. If I would read it years ago, I would have dismissed it and so would have many of my co-thinkers.
Foucault writes, “The art of living counter to all forms of fascism, whether already present or impending, carries with it a certain number of essential principles which I would summarize as follows if I were to this great book into a manual or guide to everyday life:
-Free political action form all unity and totalizing paranoia.
-Develop action, thought, and desires by proliferation, juxtaposition, and disjunction, and not by subdivision and pyramidal hierarchization.
-Withdraw allegiance from the old categories of the Negative (law, limit, castration, lack, lacuna), which Western thought has so long held sacred as a form of power and access to reality. Prefer what is positive and multiple, difference over uniformity, flows over unities, mobile arrangements over systems. Believe what is productive is not sedentary but nomadic.
-Do not think that one has to be sad in order to be militant, even though the thing one is fighting is abominable. It is the connection of desire to reality (and not its retreat onto the forms of presentation) that possesses a revolutionary force.
-Do not use thought to ground a political practice in Truth; nor political action to discredit, as mere speculation, a line of thought. Use political practice as intensifier of thought, and analysis as a multipler of the forms and domains for the intervention of political action.
-Do not demand of politics that it restore the ‘rights’ of the individual, as philosophy has defined them. The individual is the product of power. What is needed is to ‘de-individualize’ by means of multiplication and displacement, diverse combinations. The group must not be the organic bond uniting hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of de-individualization.
-Do not become enamored of power.”
Leninist forms of subjectivity inside organizations are the cadre, the militant and the professional. The multitude refuses such subjectivities. Why would the multitude spend its free time such places when it can be paid to be professional, to be the cadre of the state or a corporation, or the militant of some firm? All the supposed revolutionary groups have to offer are mind numbing meetings…
Lastly, later in Anti-Oedipus a new subject type emerges… the schizorevolutionary (277). What separates the schizorevolutionary from all the old forms of revolutionaries? What is this subject type?