Empire Part 1

Empire, Part 1: The Political Constitution of the Present (1-66)

   I. Preface
         A. Definition of Empire: political subject of globalization: a new form of sovereignty
         B. Despite decline of national sovereignty
               1. Imperialism not Empire
               2. Empire is decentered and deterritorializing: manages hybrid identities, flexible production
         C. Marks passage in capitalist mode of production
               1. Factory work no longer primary
               2. Biopolitical production now primary:
                     a. production of social life itself:
                     b. overlap of economic, political and cultural
         D. Role of the USA
               1. Privileged role, but no longer imperialist
               2. Imperial constitution of USA important clue to Empire
                     a. Formal constitution: documents
                     b. Material constitution: continuous formation & reformation of composition of social forces
         E. Concept of Empire
               1. Lack of boundaries: rules over entire “civilized” world
               2. Suspension of history
               3. All registers of social order: biopower
               4. Dedication to peace outside history
         F. No nostalgia! Empire offers possibilities to forces of liberation:
               1. Creative forces of the multitude: invent new democratic forms and a new constituent power
               2. Not limited to any geographical region: resistances, struggles, desires
         G. Methodology of Empire
               1. Interdisciplinary: philosophy, history, culture, economy, politics, anthropology
               2. Goals: general theoretical framework and a toolbox of concepts

      II.   (1.1)  World Order [Juridical Formation of Empire: Formal Constitution] (3-21)
         A. Introduction (3)
               1. That there is world order: primary fact
               2. Expressed as a juridical formation [content = biopolitical production]
               3. Task of the book: grasp the constitution of the order being formed
                     a. Formal: expression in juridical formation
                     b. Material: constitution of forces
               4. Ruling out two options
                     a. Spontaneous order arising from interaction of global forces
                     b. Imposed order from single rationality transcendent to global forces
         B. United Nations (3-8)
               1. Long transition from sovereignty of nation-states to imperial right
               2. Genealogy of juridical forms leading to and beyond the UN
                     a. Co-constitution of order and crisis: beyond international to the global
                     b. Notion of right in UN charter: new positive source of juridical production
               3. Hans Kelsen: concept of international right [beyond power balance]
                     a. Formal sequence: international juridical system as source of national systems
                     b. Kelsen ignored the real drive of European modernization
               4. Gap between formal and real: UN domination of supranational project leading to perversions
               5. Inadequacy of previous theoretical frameworks: “domestic analogy”
                     a. Hobbesian model of transfer of title of sovereignty: contracts
                     b. Lockean model of decentralized networks: counterpowers
               6. Imperial sovereignty as paradigm shift
         C. The Constitution of Empire (8-13)
               1. Objections
                     a. World-systems theory:
                              (1)   capitalism has always been global:
                              (2)   blind to shift in capitalism project to unite economic and political power
                              (3)   globalization as source of juridical definitions tending to single political power
                     b. Globalization as imperialist
               2. Response:
                     a. Point of departure should be new notion of right [followed by material analysis]
                     b. Juridical figures are [only] a good index of process of imperial [material] constitution
               3. Genealogy of concept of Empire
                     a. Classical: uniting juridical categories [order] & universal ethical values [right]
                              (1)   Empire = universal peace and justice
                              (2)   universal space [no borders]
                              (3)   ahistorical time [permanent, eternal, and necessary]
                     b. Renaissance: separation
                              (1)   [liberal] order:
                                    (a)   international treaty mechanism
                                    (b)   analogous to contracts guaranteeing order w/in nation-state and civil society
                              (2)   [socialist] ethical right:
                                    (a)   perpetual peace
                                    (b)   union of right and ethics: ideal of reason
                     c. Postmodern reunification of order and right: rebirth of Empire
                              (1)   just war: war as police action [order] conducted by sacralized power [right]
                                    (a)   legitimation of military apparatus as grounded in right
                                    (b)   effectiveness of military action to achieve order
                                    (c)   enemy as banalized [criminals] and absolutized [Axis of Evil]
         D. The Model of Imperial Authority (13-17)
               1. Both system and hierarchy:
                     a. Hybrid of Luhmann [system] and Rawls [consensus]
                     b. Constituted power over and above nation-states:
               2. Ancient model
                     a. Capacity to present force in service of order and right
                     b. Interventions solicited by powers in already existing conflict
               3. Contemporary reality: perpetual crisis:
                     a. The “exception” [Carl Schmitt]:
                     b. Source of imperial right: the right of the police to create and maintain order
         E. Universal Values (17-21)
               1. Why use the term “right”?
               2. Juridical status of Empire: overdetermines administrative law of individual nation-states
                     a. Right of “intervention”: legitimated by coalition/consensus
                     b. Permanent state of exception justified by appeal to essential values of justice
               3. Definition of Empire: science of police in practice of just war to address continual emergency
               4. Ontological status of Empire:
                     a. Still virtual, but nonetheless apply actually to us
                     b. Empire as concrete universal
               5. Contradictory functions of Empire [analogous to ancient Rome]
                     a. Center that supports globalized biopolitical production networks
                     b. Peripheral police function against new barbarians
               6. Liberating power nurtured w/in Empire [analogous to Christianity]

      III.  (1.2)  Biopolitical Production [Material Constitution of Empire] (22-41)
         A. Introduction (22): juridical forms only expressions of material conditions
         B. Biopower in the Society of Control [basic concept of material Empire] (22-27)
               1. Foucault as the resource
                     a. Historical shift from discipline to control society
                     b. Biopolitics: only consummated in control society [whole social body: corporeal, affective]
               2. Marx: real subsumption of labor / Frankfurt School: culture industry [unidimensional analyses]
               3. Unification of society in biopower reveals new pluralized singularities
                     a. We’re all important thinkers, doers, feelers
                              (1)   our consumption patterns are monitored
                              (2)   and are fed back to modify production
                     b. So new social movements can sweep along this plane of immanence
               4. Limits of juridical analysis
                     a. Old theoretical frameworks cannot reach the new biopolitical reality
                     b. Hence imperial right cannot grasp the real motor of history [the multitude]
         C. The Production of Life [critique of predecessors] (27-30)
               1. Foucault: saw plane of immanence but limited by “structuralist epistemology”
               2. Deleuze and Guattari: focus on ontology of social production but ... [very weak stuff here]
               3. Italian immaterial labor theorists:
                     a. Supercession of industrial labor by immediately social and communicative living labor
                     b. But they present this labor as linguistic rather than material and corporeal [affect]
               4. Hardt and Negri:
                     a. Three aspects of immaterial labor [cf. Ch 3.4: 280-304]
                              (1)   Communicative labor: information networks
                              (2)   Interactive labor of symbolic analysis
                              (3)   Affective labor of corporeal production
                     b. Collective biopolitical body as unfolding of life itself, as motor of history, as [re]production
         D. Corporations and Communication [multinational corporations as fundamental] (31-34)
               1. Functions of multinationals:
                     a. Direct articulation of territories and populations
                     b. Making nation-states mere recording instruments
               2. Monetary perspective: [but cf. Wallerstein and subsistence]
                     a. complete commodification
                     b. subjectification: production of producers: needs, social relations, minds ...
               3. Language and communication:
                     a. Production of the imaginary
                     b. Legitimation of new world order: producing its own image of authority
                     c. Critique of Habermas:
                              (1)   internality of communication to biopolitical production
                              (2)   eviscerates critique by communicative reason
                     d. Production of master narratives [we’re all one global village / Olympic movement]
         E. Intervention [exercise of legitimate force] (34-38)
               1. New characteristics: unbounded terrain, symbolic localization, biopolitical saturation
               2. “Intervention” is a misnomer, as it implies independence and sovereignty
               3. Instruments of Imperial force:
                     a. Moral: NGOs as leading edge of globalization [discounts resistance in Afghanistan?]
                     b. Military: US leading role: enemies as terrorists [police mentality]
                              (1)   ethnic conflicts
                              (2)   international mafias [drug trade]: Colombia
                     c. Juridical: international courts
         F. Royal Prerogatives [flux of center and margins] (38-41)
               1. Sovereignty of Empire realized at the margins: center and margins constantly shifting
               2. Discontinuous sovereignty: virtual power that intervenes at margins and fixes breakdowns
               3. Limits of juridical model
                     a. Imperial normativity born from globalized biopolitical machine
                     b. Rationality from industrial management and political use of technology
               4. Neo-Weberian model: functional, rhizomatic, undulatory: management of language
                     a. Traditional forms
                     b. Biopolitical bureaucracy
                     c. Rationality of the event and of charisma
               5. New world order:
                     a. virtual, dynamic, functionally inclusive
                     b. mixing political constitution and economic production

      IV.   (1.3)  Alternatives within Empire (42-66)
         A. Introduction (42-46)
               1. Flirting w/ Hegel: Empire good in itself, but not for itself
                     a. Struggle against modernity always pointed beyond nationalism, colonialism, imperialism
                     b. Construction of Empire as response to multitude
               2. Refusal of nostalgia: against the current left
                     a. Localized identities
                     b. Nation as last bulwark against global capital
               3. Critique of local identity politics
                     a. Devolution into romantic primordiality and authenticity
                     b. Some local identities feed back into globalized production
               4. Localism hides the real alternatives that appear via concrete analysis of de-re-territorialization
         B. The Ontological Drama of the Res Gestae (46-49)
               1. How to conceive history of modernity
                     a. Not as history of what has happened [slavery, colonialism ...]
                     b. But as history of process [resistance and flight re-territorialized]
               2. Preventing turning ontological drama of the multitude as constituent power into mere dialectics
                     a. Critical and deconstructive subversion
                              (1)   of hegemonic narratives of necessity of Empire
                              (2)   revealing possible alternate social orders w/in events [counter -actualization]
                     b. Constructive and ethico-political focus
                              (1)   on subjectivity of multitude leading to new constituent power
                              (2)   real ontological referent of philosophy of liberation:
                                    (a)   historical event as potentiality
                                    (b)   philosophy as desire and praxis applied to the event
         C. Refrains of the “Internationale” (49-52)
               1. Internationalism as anti-nationalist: will of active mass subject of labor movement
               2. Such proletarian internationalism is over
                     a. Used to be cycles of struggles: international echoes of struggles
                              (1)   1848 to 1905
                              (2)   1917 to 1945
                              (3)   1948 [Chinese Revolution] to 1968
                     b. These struggles were real motor driving development of institutions of capital
               3. Empire thus as response to proletarian internationalist struggles:
                     a. Force of living labor as deterritorializing and capital as reterritorializing:
                     b. Here Hardt and Negri are DG romantics
                              (1)   at least in this instance, although it might simply be a lapse of terminological rigor.
                              (2)   it should be that the struggle is for process of de-re-territorialization:
                                    (a)   there must be territory / channels / organs / body as ordered set of organs
                                    (b)   all desire is machined: “the enemy is the organism, not the organs”
         D. The Mole and the Snake [the old and the new left] (52-59)
               1. New proletariat no longer industrial, but “all those whose labor is directly or indirectly exploited
         by and subjected to capitalist norms of production and reproduction”
               2. Hetero-proletariat where immaterial labor is most important, but other forms co-exist
               3. Survey of post 1989 events: no horizontal communication, but immediate leap to globalization
                     a. trace of multitude’s struggle:
                     b. paradox of incommunicability in age of communication
               4. New quality of social movements
                     a. Although firmly rooted in local each leaps to global level and attacks Empire
                     b. Destroy distinction between economic, political, and cultural: they are biopolitical
               5. Obstacles to communication of struggles
                     a. Absence of recognition of common enemy
                     b. No common language of struggles
               6. Mole versus snake image:
                     a. contemporary immediate rhizomatic subversion
                     b. thus no more search for the weakest link [point of contact w/ outside]: bcs no more outside
         E. Two-Headed Eagle (59-63)
               1. Contemporary form of Empire: struggle of constituted and constituent power
               2. But this is not an equal struggle on same plane
                     a. Empire stands above the multitude and subjects it to new rule
                     b. But from the “ontological perspective”
                              (1)   multitude is the living force of world history:
                              (2)   Empire is vampire, apparatus of capture
         F. Political Manifesto (63-66)
               1. Althusser reads Machiavelli against Marx and Engels
                     a. Similarities: “materialist teleology”
                              (1)   politics as the movement of the multitude w/ goal of self-production of subject
                              (2)   theory as praxis
                     b. Differences
                              (1)   for Marx and Engels, co-presence of
                                    (a)   subject [proletariat]
                                    (b)   and object [communism]
                              (2)   for Machiavelli, there is ineluctable distance between
                                    (a)   subject [multitude]
                                    (b)   and object [Prince and free state]
               2. What is a postmodern manifesto then?
                     a. Marx-Engels co-presence unthinkable
                     b. Machiavellian dispersal seems more likely, but eviscerated by utopianism
                     c. Spinozist material teleology: prophet [desire of multitude] produces own people
                              (1)   immanent production: we have our own “money” and “arms”
                              (2)   radical counterpower ontologically grounded in actual activity of multitude