Here’s a fascinating 2013 piece by Andrew Robinson (theorist and activist) about Deleuze & Guattari’s work on the state and the relation with different forms of ‘war-machine’ (a problematised term he does well to unentangle) as well as the correlatives of social dynamics of relation and production (the dimension of the social field).
Its written in a political theory vein and is a bit of a treat for its schematic extraction style that aids clarity in this space of thinking. There’s a bit of a whistlestop vibe going through some concepts and it feels like there should be some things to bear in mind when reading. Primarily that the mode employed by Deleuze and Guattari is not in creating new categories (per se), although the writer is clear that the new or additional conceptual spaces they open are connected with altered modes of perception and cognition (and emerging social forms in that respect). As a kind of ancillary field map of terrains featuring stratification and their functioning – and for those especially living in the midst of formative state modes it is a handy methodology for understanding.
It seems important to also make clear that what the writer here terms antiproduction are in fact modes of production thmselves and more clearly stratificatory as forms of production in relation to those differences which are policed in the state-social architecture (crucially a simultaneous form of reality policing). This doesn’t necessarily detract from the reading, in part antiproduction is certainly a kind of end to this production, but it is fundamentally an additional form of production in itself that takes on some of the modes described in the piece (namely stratification, overcoding, re/-territorialising etc).
It feels like part of the strength of the line of flight of the article, is in also taking the productive focus to the intra-personal, wherein ‘statist’ forms of behaviour need to be understood as being present within groups and individuals that may need to be warded off (a profoundly impersonal state of affairs). That the oppressive tendencies in this kind of production are likewise instantiated within modes of activity and production of individual subjectivities and their relational intensities. But it shows the fundamental opening that seems apparent from their work :
“The proliferation of concepts is intended to support such <social> constructions of other ways of being”
That this moment is rooted in the social, gives a sense of the ‘collectivist’ approach at work in the article, but also I think, a necessary connection with the amplificatory mode of a pragmatically collectivising, engaged approach to the production of intensive materials, lucid and practical for the acts of waking beyond those forms of ourselves dreamed in from deadened and deadening modes of being. What the article cannot give us as such, is the specificity as to how one brings to alignment those divergent break outs of our being and those we are with, to better form an ongoing consistency. Although becoming aware of the nature and habits of formations (mirco-politics) that instance different kinds of behaviour within and beyond ourselves, can surely only be a helpful step along such a path, and maybe that’s where things like this or this come in.
The piece is very good on identifying why there are misappropriations of the work of Deleuze and Guattari and presents good examples throughout of concepts that come up repeatedly, though they pertain largely to this space of abstraction (the state-oppressions, modes of social production).
The identification of the warmachine as the contrasting mode to the state highlights the problematic of the term (its inherent warrishness) while going through the ecology of the mode in terms of its historical nomad origins and its (ongoing) appropriation by the state. It would seem in fact as if this term, being brought to bear as part of understanding groups and social assemblages forming new ‘ways of being’ is far too enshrined in the language of the state itself (‘war is the continuation of politics by other means’) and that much of the older ways of being and relating on the planet, which are still available within state forms of socialisation; namely the pre-civilisation threads of native american ontology, of eastern and daoist spiritualities) suggest a warrior mode which is also about finding a harmonic balance that seems to unsuggest the violence of war at each turn (partly referred to in the piece in respect of Clastres’ studies of indigenous people’s partial overcoming of murderous war as a practise).
‘return is the movement of way’
However, and in that latter context it feels as if the idea and its nominate, is the application of a necessary conceptual thread, that the formation most suitable in terms of attributes to form groups that travel beyond the normative state of the production of state paradigms – are fundamentally nomadic in the social origin of practises and that at the basic level, one can only understand the necessary framework of one’s context as being in the first instances, about one’s involuntary constitutional abiding – in that we are made-taught to a certain kind of form (of understanding and being and perceiving) without much option to consistently form the production of alternative modes (generally speaking). The piece goes on to say in fact that war is not the aim of the war machine, but an imposition in the form of the incommensurability with the difference of its existence in the context of state formations.
Although in fact it also feels like the systematicity of human responses to the unknown of life has always been the form of a warrior mode. Much like with the Kate Bush track ‘Army Dreamers’ – which features the dreaming out of the warrior mode into the form of the state army. (I looked at it in more detail here).
Its also productive to find that the iteration of the genuinely warmachinic is here given to the form of packs, bands and multiplicities along with their tendencies in relation to the mass or molar to:
“…detach materials from the connections in which they are inserted in the dominant system, instead reconstructing different ‘universes’ or perspectives around other ways of seeing and relating.”
Though the risks and dangers of such lines of flight are there also (groups can implode) but are in fundamental ways seemingly necessary. In fact it feels like its most strident opening is left to the end, where it reasserts the reality of composition of groups/multiplicities (to which one could usefully include oneself) to be spaces effectively of production, in which it is also likely that a warding off must take place. This is attributed also to the defense of autonomous spaces, ‘in full understanding of their underlying potential.’
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