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Frédéric Keck “Les usages du biopolitique”

Keck, Frédéric 2008. Les usages du biopolitique. L’Homme 3: 295-314.

Si la politique porte sur la vie, alors tout peut devenir biopolitique : chaque phénomène social trouve immédiatement sa traduction en phénomène vital. (295)

L’hypothèse du biopouvoir est alors une façon de reposer le problème de l’apparition des sciences humaines, en cherchant l’explication du côté des techniques de pouvoir, et non d’un mystérieux basculement d’épistémè. (298)

Le terme de biopouvoir apparaît donc chez Foucault à la jonction entre deux réflexions sur la notion de sujet : d’une part, celle des Mots et les Choses, sur le sujet comme pôle de connaissance constitutif des sciences humaines, d’autre part, celle de l’Histoire de la sexualité, sur le sujet comme pôle d’activité et de passivité dans le rapport entre les corps. (299)

À travers ce que Foucault appelle une « biopolitique de la population », c’est l’État qui trouve dans les sciences sociales un outil permettant de se réfléchir comme organe de savoir. (299)

Un deuxième usage attribue au contraire la réflexivité aux individus en tant qu’ils sont des corps vivants – ce que Foucault appelle une « anatomo-politique du corps humain ». Dans le sillage des études de Foucault sur la discipline, il ne s’agit plus seulement de montrer en quoi les corps sont soumis à l’emprise d’un pouvoir qui les contrôle en les mesurant et en les redressant (Vigarello 2004), mais aussi de voir en quoi la réflexivité des sujets est nécessaire à l’établissement de ce contrôle. (299)

Un troisième type d’usage réflexif consiste à articuler l’hypothèse du biopouvoir avec l’analyse des sociétés libérales. Foucault rattache en effet la naissance de la biopolitique à la formation de la pensée libérale autour de la question : comment ne pas trop gouverner ? Si les individus d’un État sont des corps vivants dont il faut maximiser la production, le pouvoir doit leur laisser la plus grande liberté compatible avec la production en commun. Foucault appelle « gouvernementalité » cet art de ne pas trop gouverner, qui vise à suivre les mouvements des individus pour les laisser opérer. (300)

Ces trois types d’usage restent tributaires d’une hypothèse lourde de la pensée de Foucault : celle d’un basculement du pouvoir souverain au biopouvoir avec l’apparition des sciences de la vie et des sciences de l’homme. Poussé par une logique des conceptions du monde qui était déjà à l’œuvre dans Les Mots et les Choses, Foucault tend en effet à considérer la biopolitique comme une époque du pouvoir venant en remplacer une autre. C’est pourquoi on peut dire que ces usages sont davantage réflexifs que critiques : ils font retour sur les opérations des sciences humaines, découvrant ainsi de nouveaux objets et de nouvelles subjectivités, mais ils ne donnent pas de nouveaux appuis à la critique. Pour faire une critique de la biopolitique, il faut en effet partir d’une position d’extériorité par rapport à ce régime de pouvoir, rendue intenable par l’hypothèse généalogique. (300)

[…] Negri et Hardt modifient la conception foucaldienne du biopouvoir : ce que Foucault avait décrit comme discipline des corps individuels dans Surveiller et punir serait en fait de l’ordre du pouvoir souverain, alors que le biopouvoir serait seulement ce que Foucault appelait biopolitique des populations. Autrement dit, Foucault aurait conceptualisé le biopouvoir au moment où celui-ci était en train d’apparaître, raison pour laquelle il ne pouvait pas véritablement décrire la nouveauté de son mode de fonctionnement, et restait pris dans une grille de lecture structuraliste encore appliquée dans l’analyse du Panoptique de Surveiller et punir. C’est pourquoi Negri et Hardt se réfèrent finalement aux analyses de Deleuze sur les « sociétés de contrôle », gouvernées par les multiplicités organisées en rhizome dans des séries divergentes de flux temporels (Deleuze 1990). (301)

Le travail immatériel, c’est donc l’ensemble des rapports sociaux qui produisent de la substance vitale par le simple fait de communiquer et d’échanger des informations. (302)

[…] alors que le peuple est un ensemble d’individus unis dans le cadre d’un territoire sous un pouvoir souverain, et que la masse est une population animée par des désirs entièrement irrationnels et imprévisibles, la multitude est un ensemble d’individus dépourvus de frontières délimitées et pourtant unis par des affects et des concepts communs. (302)

On voit que l’analyse d’Agamben est radicalement inverse de celle de Negri : car au lieu de chercher une histoire générale du pouvoir dans la façon dont sont pensées des populations ou des multitudes, il en cherche la structure logique intemporelle dans le rapport entre le souverain et l’individu. Selon Agamben, en effet, la structure paradoxale de l’Homo Sacer illustre la logique du pouvoir souverain qui, comme l’a montré Schmitt, repose entièrement sur l’exclusion et l’exception : la règle énoncée par le pouvoir ne peut fonctionner que si elle pose à l’extérieur de son champ d’application une exception, ce geste d’exclusion constituant originairement le pouvoir dans une sphère délimitée. (304)

Agamben appelle « vie nue » cette forme d’être que le pouvoir souverain pose à l’extérieur de son ordre comme insacrifiable et pourtant tuable. Cette expression désigne un être qui n’a pas d’autre vie que biologique, parce qu’il ne fait pas partie de l’espace politique : c’est au sens propre un survivant, en état de vie végétative, que la mort guette à chaque instant parce qu’aucune instance politique ne le protège, donc un être sans droits, pas même celui de vivre. (305)

Tout se passe alors comme si Negri et Agamben exploraient deux axes inversés de la combinatoire construite par Foucault pour analyser le biopouvoir : Negri retient l’axe qui fait passer du pouvoir souverain à la biopolitique de la population par un ensemble de savoirs, selon un schéma horizontal de progrès situé sur le plan d’immanence, laissant ainsi dans l’ombre le mécanisme par lequel le pouvoir souverain se porte sur l’individu (ce que Foucault avait appelé la discipline, et que Negri rejette du côté d’un structuralisme obsolète) ; alors qu’Agamben explore précisément ces mécanismes structurels du pouvoir politique et juridique, selon l’axe vertical du sacrifice, insertion de la transcendance dans l’immanence, laissant alors de côté l’axe par lequel le pouvoir porte sur les populations en produisant un ensemble de savoirs, ce que Negri appelait travail immatériel. (306)

Agamben et Negri ont bien posé la question critique : celle du passage du pouvoir souverain à la biopolitique, par lequel le pouvoir acquiert une prise sur la vie. Mais ils ont échoué à répondre à cette question parce qu’ils visent une ontologie de la vie. Il leur manquait un champ d’expérience dans lequel les reconfigurations du biopouvoir puissent être analysées. (307)

À la suite de Paul Rabinow, on peut formuler l’hypothèse selon laquelle la biopolitique produit des sujets critiques parce qu’elle fait apparaître de nouveaux événements rendant inadéquates les formes de problématisation antérieures. L’articulation entre pouvoir souverain et biopouvoir se rejoue à chaque fois que des technologies introduisent dans le social de nouveaux êtres dont l’ambivalence pose problème. (309)

David Camfield “The Multitude and the Kangaroo”

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Camfield, David 2007. The Multitude and the Kangaroo: A Critique of Hardt and Negri’s Theory of Immaterial Labour. Historical Materialism 15: 21-52.

[…]Maurizio Lazzarato defines the concept as ‘the labor that produces the informational and cultural content of the commodity’. (22)

However, when Hardt and Negri describe biopolitical labour as ‘labor that creates not only material goods but also relationships and ultimately social life itself’,13 a conceptual slippage occurs. Tis definition expands the concept to encompass labour that produces material as well as immaterial products. (24)

Te rise of immaterial labour has profound consequences. One is the breaking down of the division of time between work and non-work or leisure. This split was clear-cut in the age of the factory, but, under the hegemony of immaterial labour, ‘an idea or an image comes to you not only in the office but also in the shower or in your dreams’. (26)

Co-operative and communicative qualities are ‘internal to labor and thus external to capital’. For this reason, immaterial labour has a great potential for self-management. In fact, its social cooperation outside of capital ‘seems to provide the potential for a kind of spontaneous and elementary communism’. (27)

As immaterial labour defines social production, even the unemployed poor become participants in biopolitical production.42 Empire needs the biopolitical production of the entire population of the world: ‘no group is “disposable”’. Biopolitical production is obviously not confined to a working day with a clear beginning and end. Tus it cannot be measured, and it produces more value than capital can ever capture. Here is another way in which immaterial labour is subversive with respect to capital. Social life is a productive machine, but society is not seen as the social factory of autonomist Marxism. This is because, even though ‘the real subsumption of society under capital’ has taken place, capital is unable to fully harness biopolitical productivity to value production, although it tries. (28)

As Read notes, Hardt and Negri relate their concept of biopolitical production to a historical shift in capitalism and to an ontological shift, ‘a reconsideration of production not simply as the production of things but as the production of relations and subjects, as the constitution of the world’. (30)

It is also worth pointing out that the idea that labour produces social relations and human subjects as well as goods and services is neither novel nor the special contribution of poststructuralism in the vein of Deleuze, Guattari, Hardt and Negri. Marx’s concepts of labour and production are far removed from the narrow notions of many Marxists and non-Marxists: humans ‘have history because they must produce their life’. […]‘Marx’s basic position’, as Raymond Williams puts it, is that “fundamentally, in this human historical process, we produce ourselves and our societies, and it is within these developing and variable forms that ‘material production’, then itself variable, both in mode and scope, is itself carried on.” (32)

Dyer-Witheford, who, as we shall see, attempts to save the concept by revising it, raises a pertinent warning: “analysis that puts under one roof multimedia designers, primary-school teachers . . . and strippers . . . may reveal valuable commonalities, but can also cover up chasmic differences, fault lines of segmentation, veritable continental rifts that present the most formidable barrier for the organization of counterpower.” (34)

Hardt and Negri’s claim amounts to a contention that the real subsumption of labour to capital is retreating, making capital parasitically exploitative of autonomous production. They do not attempt to reconcile this with their contention that the real subsumption of society as a whole to capital has taken place. One reason for their failure to address this contradiction is their ‘neglect [of] the forms in and through which labour exists in capitalism’. Hardt and Negri see immaterial labour as increasingly outside-and-against capital, rather than in-and-against it. (35)

For Marx, industry referred to commodity production organised around a ‘machine system’ operated by ‘associated labour’ and geared to the extraction of relative surplus-value.92 In this sense, industry need not be limited to the production of material commodities; it is also applicable to the production of commodified services, from health care to fast food to finance. The provision of services in contemporary capitalism is often industrial in the sense that workers are organised through a detail division of labour in a labour process to which not just machines but technological systems are central. (39)

But is information technology causing work to ‘become intelligent’? Many jobs that involve computer use involve either what the above-mentioned Australian study calls ‘knowledge handling and service provision’ or merely the routinised and repetitive input of information. (43)

My claim is not that Hardt and Negri ignore commodification altogether; Multitude discusses the private ownership of immaterial products in such cases as the online music file-sharing site Napster, ‘bio-property’ (life-forms), and the privatisation of public transport and utilities. However, even though the message that ‘Our World is Not For Sale!’ has been expressed in many different languages by movements of protest and resistance from Bolivia to France to India, and has had great popular resonance because it connects with people’s experiences, global commodification is not a central theme in their thought. Perhaps this is because acknowledgment of its importance is theoretically incompatible with Hardt and Negri’s commitment to the belief that immaterial labour and its products are increasingly autonomous of capital? (44)

Rather than theorising wagelabour as a tendentially world-historical social form of labour and exploring the diverse unfree and ‘free’ concrete arrangements in which it always exists, Hardt and Negri erroneously posit the hegemony of a self-configuring sociotechnical figure of labour in each historical era of capitalism. (48)

Michael Hardt “Affective labor”

February 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Hardt, Michael 1999. Affective Labor. boundary 2 26(2): 89-100.

It has now become common to view the succession of economic paradigms in the dominant capitalist countries since the Middle Ages in three distinct moments, each defined by a privileged sector of the economy: a first paradigm, in which agriculture and the extraction of raw materials dominated the economy; a second, in which industry and the manufacture of durable goods occupied the privileged position; and the current paradigm, in which providing services and manipulating information are at the heart of economic production. The dominant position has thus passed from primary to secondary to tertiary production. Economic modernization named the passage from the first paradigm to the second, from the dominance of agriculture to that of industry. Modernization meant industrialization. We might call the passage from the second paradigm to the third, from the domination of industry to that of services and information, a process of economic postmodernization, or rather, informatization. (90)

The term service here covers a large range of activities from health care, education, and finance, to transportation, entertainment, and advertising. The jobs, for the most part, are highly mobile and involve flexible skills. More importantly, they are characterized in general by the central role played by knowledge, information, communication, and affect. In this sense, we can call the postindustrial economy an informational economy. (91)

The new managerial imperative operative here is “treat manufacturing as a service.” In effect, as industries are transformed, the division between manufacturing and services is becoming blurred. Just as through the process of modernization all production became industrialized, so too through the process of postmodernization all production tends toward the production of services, toward becoming informationalized. (92)

A first aspect of this transformation is recognized by many in terms of the change in factory labor – using the auto industry as a central point of reference – from the Fordist model to the Toyotist model. The primary structural change between these models involves the system of communication between the production and consumption of commodities, that is, the passage of information between the factory and the market. The Fordist model constructed a relatively “mute” relationship between production and consumption. The mass production of standardized commodities in the Fordist era could count on an adequate demand and thus had little need to “listen” closely to the market. A feedback circuit from consumption to production did allow changes in the market to spur changes in production, but this communication was restricted (due to fixed and compartmentalized channels of planning) and slow (due to the rigidity of the technologies and procedures of mass production). (93)

Toyotism is based on an inversion of the Fordist structure of communication between production and consumption. Ideally, according to this model, the production planning will communicate with markets constantly and immediately. Factories will maintain zero stock and commodities will be produced just in time, according to the present demand of the existing markets. This model thus involves not simply a more rapid feedback loop but an inversion of the relationship because, at least in theory, the productive decision actually comes after and in reaction to the market decision. (93)

[…] immaterial labor – that is, labor that produces an immaterial good, such as a service, knowledge, or communication. (94)

Robert Reich calls this type of immaterial labor “symbolic-analytical services” – tasks that involve “problem-solving, problem-identifying, and strategic brokering activities.” This type of labor claims the highest value and thus Reich identifies it as the key to competition in the new global economy. He recognizes, however, that the growth of these knowledge-based jobs of creative symbol manipulation implies a corresponding growth of low-value and low-skill jobs of routine symbol manipulation, such as data entry and word processing. Here begins to emerge a fundamental division of labor within the realm of immaterial processes. (95)

The other face of immaterial labor is the affective labor of human contact and interaction. This is the aspect of immaterial labor that economists such as Reich are less likely to talk about but that seems to me the more important aspect, the binding element. Health services, for example, rely centrally on caring and affective labor, and the entertainment industry and the various culture industries are likewise focused on the creation and manipulation of affects. (95)

[…] embedded in the moments of human interaction and communication. This labor is immaterial, even if it is corporeal and affective, in the sense that its products are intangible: a feeling of ease, well-being, satisfaction, excitement, passion – even a sense of connectedness or community. (96)

Such affective production, exchange, and communication is generally associated with human contact, with the actual presence of another, but that contact can either be actual or virtual. In the production of affects in the entertainment industry, for example, the human contact, the presence of others, is principally virtual, but not for that reason any less real. (96)

Whereas in a first moment, in the computerization of industry, for example, one might say that communicative action, human relations, and culture have been instrumentalized, reified, and “degraded” to the level of economic interactions, one should add quickly that through a reciprocal process, in this second moment, production has become communicative, affective, de-instrumentalized, and “elevated” to the level of human relations – but, of course, a level of human relations entirely dominated by and internal to capital. (Here the division between economy and culture begins to break down.) (96)

By biopower, I understand the potential of affective labor. Biopower is the power of the creation of life; it is the production of collective subjectivities, sociality, and society itself. The focus on affects and the networks of the production of affects reveals these processes of social constitution. What is created in the networks if affective labor is a form-of-life. (98)

Michael Hardy & Antonio Negri “Empire”

December 13, 2016 Leave a comment

Hardt, Michael; Negri, Antonio 2000. Empire. Cambridge; London: Harvard University Press.

 

1.2 Biopolitical Production

[Foucault n]ever succeeded in pulling his thought away from that structuralist epistemology that guided his research from the beginning. By structuralist epistemology here we mean the reinvention of a functionalist analysis in the realm of the human sciences, a method that effectively sacrifices the dynamic of the system, the creative temporality of its movements, and the ontological substance of cultural and social reproduction. In fact, if at this point we were to ask Foucault who or what drives the system, or rather, who is the “bios,” his response would be ineffable, or nothing at all. What Foucault fails to grasp finally are the real dynamics of production in biopolitical society. (28)

 

The first consists in the analysis of the recent transformations of productive labor and its tendency to become increasingly immaterial. The central role previously occupied by labor power of mass factory workers in the production of surplus value is today increasingly filled by intellectual, immaterial, and communicative labor power. It is thus necessary to develop a new political theory of value that can pose the problem of this new capitalist accumulation of value at the center of the mechanism of exploitation (and thus, perhaps, at the center of potential revolt). The second, and consequent, research project developed by this school consists in the analysis of the immediately social and communicative dimension of living labor in contemporary capitalist society, and thus poses insistently the problem of the new figures of subjectivity, in both their exploitation and their revolutionary potential. The immediately social dimension of the exploitation of living immaterial labor immerses labor in all the relational elements that define the social but also at the same time activate the critical elements that develop the potential of insubordination and revolt through the entire set of laboring practices. After a new theory of value, then, a new theory of subjectivity must be formulated that operates primarily through knowledge, communication, and language. (29)

 

The productivity of bodies and the value of affect, however, are absolutely central in this context. We will elaborate the three primary aspects of immaterial labor in the contemporary economy: the communicative labor of industrial production that has newly become linked in informational networks, the interactive labor of symbolic analysis and problem solving, and the labor of the production and manipulation of affects. (30)

 

The most complete figure of this world is presented from the monetary perspective. From here we can see a horizon of values and a machine of distribution, a mechanism of accumulation and a means of circulation, a power and a language. There is nothing, no “naked life,” no external standpoint, that can be posed outside this field permeated by money; nothing escapes money. Production and reproduction are dressed in monetary clothing. In fact, on the global stage, every biopolitical figure appears dressed in monetary garb. “Accumulate, accumulate” This is Moses and the Prophets!” (32)

 

The great industrial and financial powers thus produce not only commodities but also subjectivities. They produce agentic subjectivities within the biopolitical context: they produce needs, social relations, bodies, and minds – which is to say, they produce producers. In the biopolitical sphere, life is made to work for production and production is made to work for life. It is a great hive in which the queen bee continuously oversees production and reproduction. (32)

 

What the theories of power of modernity were forced to consider transcendent, that is, external to productive and social relations, is here formed inside, immanent to the productive and social relations. Mediation is absorbed within the productive machine. The political synthesis of social space is fixed in the space of communication. This is why communications industries have assumed such a central position. They not only organize production on a new scale and impose a new structure adequate to global space, but also make its justification immanent. Power, as it produces, organizes; as it organizes, it speaks and expresses itself as authority. (33)

 

The communications industries integrate the imaginary and the symbolic within the biopolitical fabric, not merely putting them at the service of power but actually integrating them into its very functioning. (33)

 

It would be difficult to say which is more important for the Empire, the center or the margins. In fact, center and margin seem continually to be shifting positions, fleeing any determinate locations. We could even say that the process itself is virtual and that is power resides in the power of the virtual. (39)

 

4.1 Virtualities

When we say that political theory must deal with ontology, we mean first of all that politics cannot be constructed from the outside. Politics is given immediately; it is a field of pure immanence. Empire forms on this superficial horizon where our bodies and minds are embedded. It is purely positive. There is no external logical machine that constitutes it. The most natural thing in the world is that the world appears to be politically united, that the market is global, and that power is organized throughout this universality. Imperial politics articulates being in its global extension – a great sea that only the winds and current move. The neutralization of the transcendental imagination is thus the first sense in which the political in the imperial domain is ontological. (354)

 

Throughout modernity, the immeasurable was the object of an absolute ban, an epistemological prohibition. This metaphysical illusion disappears today, however, because in the context of biopolitical ontology and its becomings, the transcendent is what is unthinkable. When political transcendence is still claimed today, it descends immediately into tyranny and barbarism. (355)

 

Labor appears simply as the power to act, which is at once singular and universal: singular insofar as labor has become the exclusive domain of the brain and body of the multitude; and universal insofar as the desire that the multitude expresses in the movement from the virtual to the possible is constantly constituted as a common thing. Only when what is common is formed can production take place and can general productivity rise. Anything that blocks this power to act is merely an obstacle to overcome – an obstacle that is eventually outflanked, weakened, and smashed by the critical powers of labor and the everyday passional wisdom of the affects. The power to act is constituted by labor, intelligence, passion, and affect in one common place. (358)

 

Imperial command produces nothing vital and nothing ontological. From the ontological perspective, imperial command is purely negative and passive. Certainly power is everywhere, but it is everywhere because everywhere is in play the nexus between virtuality and possibility, a nexus that is the sole province of the multitude. Imperial power is the negative residue, the fallback of the operation of the multitude; it is a parasite that draws its vitality from the multitude’s capacity to create ever new sources of energy and value. A parasite that saps the strength of its host, however, can endanger its own existence. The functioning of imperial power is ineluctably linked to its decline. (362)

 

Today’s celebrations of the local can be regressive and even fascistic when they oppose circulations and mixture, and thus reinforce the walls of nation, ethnicity, race, people, and the like. The concept of the local, however, need not be defined by isolation and purity. In fact, if one breaks down the walls that surround the local (and thereby separate the concept from race, religion, ethnicity, nation, and people), one can link it directly to the universal. The concrete universal is what allows the multitude to pass from place to place and make its place its own. This is the common place of nomadism and miscegenation. Through circulation the common human species is composed, a multicolored Orpheus of infinite power; through circulation the human community is constituted. Outside every Enlightenment cloud or Kantian reverie, the desire of the multitude is not the cosmopolitical state but a common species. As in a secular Pentecost, the bodies are mixed and the nomads speak a common tongue. (362)

 

Biopower is the name for the real subsumption of society under capital, and both are synonymous with the globalized productive order. Production fills the surfaces of Empire; it is a machine that is full of life, and intelligent life that by expressing itself in production and reproduction as well as in circulation (of labor, affects, and languages) stamps society with a new collective meaning and recognizes virtue and civilization in cooperation. (365)

 

Intelligence and affect (or really the brain coextensive with the body), just when they become the primary productive powers, make production and life coincide across the terrain on which they operate, because life is nothing other than the production and reproduction of the set of bodies and brains. (365)

 

4.3 The Multitude Against Empire

The multitude today […] resides on the imperial surfaces where there is no God the Father and no transcendence. Instead there is our immanent labor. The teleology of the multitude is theurgical; it consists in the possibility of directing technologies and production toward its own joy and its own increase of power. The multitude has no reason to look outside its own history and its own present productive power for the means necessary to lead toward its constitution as a political subject. (396)

 

A material mythology of reason thus begins to be formed, and it is constructed in the languages, technologies, and all the means that constitute the world of life. It is a material religion of the senses that separates the multitude from every residue of sovereign power and from every “long arm” of Empire. The mythology of reason is the symbolic and imaginative articulation that allows the ontology of the multitude to express itself as activity and consciousness. The mythology of languages of the multitude interprets the telos of an earthly city, torn away by the power of its own destiny from any belonging or subjection to a city of God, which has lost all honor and legitimacy. To the metaphysical and transcendent mediations, to the violence and corruption are thus opposed the absolute constitution of labor and cooperation, the earthly city of the multitude. (396)

 

If in a first moment the multitude demands that each state recognize juridically the migrations that are necessary to capital, in a second movement it must demand control over the movements themselves. The multitude must be able to decide if, when, and where it moves. It must have the right also to stay still and enjoy one place rather than being forced constantly to be on the move. The general right to control its own movement is the multitude’s ultimate demand for global citizenship. This demand is radical insofar as it challenges the fundamental apparatus of imperial control over the production and life of the multitude. Global citizenship is the multitude’s power to reappropriate control over space and thus to design the new cartography. (400)

 

In postmodernity […], time is no longer determined by any transcendent measure, any a priori: time pertains directly to existence. Here is where the Aristotelian tradition of measure is broken. In fact, from our perspective the transcendentalism of temporality is destroyed most decisively by the fact that it is now impossible to measure labor, either by convention or by calculation. Time comes back entirely under collective existence and thus resides within the cooperation of the multitude. (401)

 

[…] time is reappropriated on the plane of immanence. It is not given a priori, but rather bears the stamp of collective action. The new phenomenology of the labor of the multitude reveals labor as the fundamental creative activity that through cooperation goes beyond any obstacle imposed on it and constantly re-creates the world. The activity of the multitude constitutes time beyond measure. Time might thus be defined as the immeasurability of the movement between a before and an after, an immanent process of constitution. (402)

 

In the biopolitical context of Empire, however, the production of capital converges ever more with the production and reproduction of social life itself; it thus becomes ever more difficult to maintain distinctions among productive, reproductive, and unproductive labor. Labor – material or immaterial, intellectual or corporeal – produces and reproduces social life, and in the process is exploited by capital. (402)

 

There are no time clocks to punch on the terrain of biopolitical production; the proletariat produces in all its generality everywhere all day long. (403)

 

This generality of biopolitical production makes clear a second programmatic political demand of the multitude: a social wage and a guaranteed income for all. The social wage stands opposed first of all to the family wage, that fundamental weapon of the sexual division of labor by which the wage paid for the productive labor of the male worker is conceived also to pay for the unwaged reproductive labor of the worker’s wife and dependents at home. (403)

 

It is not even possible to support the old slogan “equal pay for equal work” when labor cannot be individualized and measured. The demand for a social wage extends to the entire population the demand that all activity necessary for the production of capital be recognized with an equal compensation such that a social wage is really a guaranteed income. Once citizenship is extended to all, we could call this guaranteed income a citizenship income, due each as a member of society. (403)

 

[…] in the imperial regime ideology, critique becomes directly the critique of both political economy and lived experience. How can sense and meaning be oriented differently or organized in alternative, coherent communicative apparatuses? How can we discover and direct the performative lines of linguistic sets and communicative networks that create the fabric of life and production? Knowledge has to become linguistic action and philosophy has to become a real reappropriation of knowledge. In other words, knowledge and communication have to constitute life through struggle. A first aspect of the telos is posed when the apparatuses that link communication to modes of life are developed through the struggle of the multitude. (404)

 

Now we can formulate a third political demand of the multitude: the right to reappropriation. The right to reappropriation is first of all the right to the reappropriation of the means of production. Socialists and communists have long demand that the proletariat have free access to and control over the machines and materials it uses to produce. In the context of immaterial and biopolitical production, however, this traditional demand takes on a new guise. The multitude not only uses machines to produce, but also becomes increasingly machinic itself, as the means of production are increasingly integrated into the minds and bodies of the multitude. (406)

 

[…] reappropriation means having free access to and control over knowledge, information, communication, and affects – because these are some of the primary means of biopolitical production. Just because these productive machines have been integrated into the multitude does not mean that the multitude has control over them. Rather, it makes more vicious and injurious their alienation. The right to reappropriation is really the multitude’s right to self-control and autonomous self-production. (407)