Friday, April 4, 2014

Sly like a dove

From Antonio Negri's Swarm: Didactics of the Militant (2004)

"Indignation fills my poor life. This morning, when I woke up, I once again had trouble breathing. I felt the weight of those who are suffering, I felt the absurd movement of it. An unrestrained movement, a weight that sickens. An unbearable sensation. . . solitude destroys all the desires of common practices and lives, solidarity and cooperation become the abstract images of a road that is impossible to follow. The words of all those who have regaled us with these sweet dreams, those very words are transformed little by little into mad and destructive stammers."

"You are a prisoner of impotence, of despair, you are mired in the lead of defeat . . ." the Chorus responds "but didn’t you build this prison of yours with your own hands?"

"[Yes] I must break this tension that overcomes me, I want this pig to die. I’m becoming delirious, and yet I continue to feel my body torn apart by the desire for violence. Whatever you want, it couldn’t be worse. Will hatred for this enemy who constrains us to war become thus the sun of our lives? Our life unfolds under the permanent threat of an imposed war, within the everyday sorrows of exploitation and alienation . . . don’t you feel it, this hatred that overcomes the flesh, that undermines the will, that dominates our destiny? Not only mine, but that of this poor generation that has been deprived of every hope for the future."

"No, you are alone" the Chorus responds, "don’t imagine you are the expression of a world, a generation . . . You are alone . . . You and him, the slave and the master. There is no philosophy of redemption that would be capable of helping you absorb this sorrow, this humiliation. There is no consolation. If you clap your hands, if you scream, you will hear no echo. The valley in which you live is deaf. So, try it, act! Perhaps awakening the consciousness of a single person is enough to allow all the others to rediscover the desire for rebellion. The fall of a single drop of water can create a river that will make the valley resound once again."

"[E]very desire I feel recognizes a cell that produced it in the past. Now that I know myself to be the product of the multitude, I can no longer accept the solitary halo of the combatant, the contracted decision of vanguard consciousnesses, the totality that it professes: they don’t open up hope, they crush it."

"They assert as well that the grass must be cut down so that it will grow back more vigorously, and desire must adapt to necessity so that it will blossom" the Chorus responds, "[t]here you have the syllogisms of an obstinate will that continually fails to distinguish between the frustration of need and the realization of dreamy desires . . ."

"No! The flux of history is like the sea’s undertow, it always returns like the seasons—and there are no storms or shipwrecks, no maritime glory or happy springtime that could efface this potency. When it has been nourished by the manure of death, grass doesn’t grow back. Only life nourishes life. Killing an enemy doesn’t make the meadows greener. Dying a hero doesn’t make desire more real."

"You are just barely beginning to understand this reality that is called immanence" the Chorus responds, "[a] world that is henceforth flat, smooth, and indefinite opens up before you. That world is aleatory, it offers you a thousand flight paths and a thousand courses of action . . ."

Antonio Negri, Trilogy of Resistance tr. Timothy S. Murphy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011).

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