- Against the state politicians’ fair-weather use of war analysis, Tiqqun proposes the conceptual framework of “diffuse guerrilla warfare.”123 It begins with “disseminating oneself in a multiplicity of foci, like so many rifts in the capitalist whole.”124 This shifts war from the defense of a collective subject (nation or people) to a struggle for autonomy. This difference was amplified during Italy’s tumultuous Years of Lead, when numerous armed militants simply imitated the state while others spread the creativity of true guerrilla thinking without becoming guerrillas. These rifts were filled by “radio stations, bands, celebration, riots, and squats” that existed not as occupations, but as an empty architecture of indistinction, informality, and semisecrecy that became anonymous, “signed with fake names, a different one each time,” and thus “unattributable, soluble in the sea of Autonomia.”125 These operations did not speak with the voice of a coherent subject, but rather their frequency and intensity formed a consistency that nonetheless, “like so many marks etched in the half-light,” left but mere traces of authorship and thus constituted a multifaceted offensive “more formidable” than their hardened counterparts in the armed ranks of the Brigate Rosse and Prima Linea.126 The noncoherence of the autonomous elements therefore outlined the struggle, which was not simply between revolutionary and conservative forces, but between different ways of doing politics. On one side was the coherence of the Italian state “derived from popular Italian perceptions that the authority of the state was genuine and effective and that it used morally correct means for reasonable and fair purposes,” and on the other was a diffusion of fragmented appearances that formed “a certain intensity in the circulation of bodies between all of [its] points.”127
- 123. Tiqqun, This Is Not a Program, trans. Joshua David Jordan (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2011), 84.
- 124. Tiqqun, 84.
- 125. Tiqqun, 84–85. Tiqqun suggests that such spaces worked best when they were abandoned, when they either stopped emitting lines of becoming or became too costly to maintain.
- 126. Tiqqun, 85.
- 127. Max G. Manwaring, Shadows of Things Past and Images of the Future: Lessons for the Insurgencies in Our Midst (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2004), 7; Tiqqun, This Is Not a Program, 85.
This is not a program, s. 84-87.
- The other strategy; not of war but of diffuse guerilla warfare, is the defining characteristic of Autonomia. It alone is capable of bringing down Empire. This doesn't mean curling up into a compact subject in order to confront the state, but disseminating oneself in a multiplicity of foci, like so many rifts in the capitalist whole. Automonia was less a collection of radio stations, bands, weapons, celebrations, riots, and squats, than a certain intensity in the circulation of bodies between all these points. Thus Autonomia didn't exclude the existence of other organizations within it, even if they held ridiculous neo-Leninist pretentions: each organization found a place within the empty architecture through which—as circumstances evolved—the flows of the Movement passed. As soon as the Imaginary Party becomes a secessionist ethical fabric the very possibility of instrumentalizing the Movement by way of its organizations, and a fortiori the very possibility of its infiltration, vanishes: rather, the organizations themselves will inevitably be subsumed by the Movement as simple points on its plane of consistency. Unlike combatant organizations, Autonomia was based on indistinction, informality, a semi-secrecy appropriate to conspiratorial practice. War acts were anonymous, that is, signed with fake names, a different one each time, in any case, unattributable, soluble in the sea of Autonomia. They were like so many marks etched in the half-light, and as such forming a denser and more formidable offensive than the armed propaganda campaigns of combatant organizations. Every act signed itself, claimed responsibility for itself through its particular how, through its specific meaning in situation, allowing one instantly to discern the extreme-right attack, the state massacre of subversive activities. This strategy, although never articulated by Autonomia, is based on the sense that not only is there no longer a revolutionary subject, but that it is the non-subject itself that has become revolutionary, that is to say, effective against Empire. By instilling in the cybernetic machine this sort of permanent, daily, endemic conflict, Autonomia succeeded in making the machine ungovernable. Significantly, Empire's response to this any enemy [ennemi quelconque] will always be to represent it as a structured, unitary organization, as a subject and, if possible, to turn it into one. "I was speaking with a leader of the Movement; first of all, he rejects the term 'leader': they have no leaders. [...] The Movement, he says, is an elusive mobility, a ferment of tendencies, of groups and sub-groups, an assemblage of autonomous molecules. [...] To me, there is indeed a ruling group to the Movement; it is an 'internal' group, insubstantial in appearance but in reality perfectly structured. Rome, Bologna, Turin, Naples: there is indeed a concerted strategy. The ruling group remains invisible and public opinion, however well informed, is in no position to judge." ("The Autonomists' Paleo-Revolution," Corriere della Sera, May 21, 1977). No one will be surprised to learn that Empire recently tried the same thing to counter the return of the anti-capitalist offensive, this time targeting the mysterious "Black Blocs." Although the Black Bloc has never been anything but a protest technique invented by German Autonomists in the 1980s, then improved on by American anarchists in the early 1990s—a technique, that is, something reappropriable, infectious—Empire has for some time spared no effort dressing it up as a subject in order to turn it into a closed, compact, foreign entity. "According to Genovese magistrates, Black Blocs make up 'an armed gang' whose horizontal, nonhierarchical structure is composed of independent groups with no single high command, and therefore able to save itself 'the burden of centralized control,' but so dynamic that it is capable of 'developing its own strategies' and making 'rapid, collective decisions on a large scale' while maintaining the autonomy of single movements. This is why it has achieved 'a political maturity that makes Black Blocs a real force'" ("Black Blocs Are an Armed Gang," Corriere della Sera, August 11, 200 1). Desperately compensating for its inability to achieve any kind of ethical depth, Empire constructs for itself the fantasy of an enemy it is capable of destroying.