Tue, 17 Sep 2019 14:36:58 +0000 de-DE hourly 1 32 32 How to take back our streets: lessons from 10 months of resistance in France Tue, 17 Sep 2019 14:36:53 +0000

This is a translation of the article ‘Comment reprendre nos rues‘ from the Cerveaux Non Disponibles website. They can be followed on Twitter via @CerveauxNon

Over ten months, the Gilets Jaunes movement has managed again and
again to surprise: to surprise the authorities, the police, the media,
public opinion. And even the GJs themselves! Apart from determination
and a burning desire for change, what has really changed the landscape
of social struggle in France is the new reality of totally decentralised
and autonomous actions. Blockades, occupations, demonstrations,
disorder. So many possibilities that can no longer be found in the
standardised world of trade unions, opposition parties, NGOs and other
well-established structures.

As protests step up again after the summer of 2019, the field of
possibilities seems even more vast. Much more vast than the authorities
and the media are saying. But if we are to make waves again, perhaps
even bigger ones, we need to think about strategies of struggle, whether
that be for the demos which lie ahead or for other kinds of actions.
Here are some suggestions and observations which could usefully be
developed and fleshed out. Please note that these suggestions are from a
clearly insurrectional, even revolutionary, perspective. Since so many
GJs (and other citizens) have been calling and hoping for this for
several months now, let’s dare to think about it calmly. A sort of
manual for “acting like a primitive and planning like a strategist”, as
recommended by the poet and resistance fighter René Char.

GJ streets5


This has always been the case but is becoming more and more blatantly
obvious in France: it is important, even crucial, to take to the
streets in pretty large numbers if we are to succeed in staging actions
which actually bother the authorities. This does not mean that any huge
demo is, per se, a success. The climate marches have shown us over
recent months that you can have tens of thousands (or more) in the
streets and still not bother the government and the economic powers. On
the other hand, if you want to overwhelm an increasingly aggressive
police presence, which directly engages you and is increasingly mobile
(with motorbikes), you need thousands of people.

The moments that have really scared the authorities over these last
months have always been when the balance of power in the streets has
tipped towards the GJs because of their numbers. Even with the massive
human and material resources at their disposal, the police were unable
to control the anger of thousands of protesters, in different parts of
town, for the duration of several hours.

The most striking example of this was surely during Acte 23 of the
revolt (Ultimatum 2). Following the authorities’ impotence during the
first Ultimatum of March 16, they mobilised a huge police presence to
prevent any disorder. The Ultimatum page posted, at the last minute,
several meet-up points. The GJs who went to these points were,
unfortunately for them, met by dozens of riot cops. Nothing could be
done. Except that on that same day, there were so many GJs in Paris that
a big “authorised” demo got underway at Bercy. There, again, the police
had seen this coming and decided to split the demo up into lots of
small sections which they could control more easily. But this didn’t
work because the march was so huge and determined, to the extent of
breaking through several police lines to regroup.

Finally, taking to the streets in large numbers is also a way to
protect those who have decided to take action (and not necessarily
violently, but in civil disobedience). By their presence, with their
bodies, thousands of protesters, even without taking direct action
themselves, can help to make a protest really effective and a problem
for the authorities. This is how the “front of the demo” emerged a few
years back in France. We could also take the example of the revolt in
Hong Kong, where this strategy has been taken to an incredible level and
where the presence of “basic” protesters is essential for the
front-line protesters.

One of the major challenges for the weeks ahead is therefore to
achieve turn-outs of the same massive size (or greater) than in November
and December. And this is completely possible. Virtually nobody who
took part in at least one act of the GJ protests has today been won over
by the government. If some of them have disappeared from the streets,
it’s due to weariness and/or fear (of police brutality and arrests)
rather than because of any change in their opinion on the social and
economic situation. Indeed, the numbers of potential resistance fighters
are surely even greater than last year. GJs only have to look around
themselves: who today is satisfied with Macron and his world? Who isn’t
aware of the climate and social crisis? Each of us has to persuade our
friends and loved ones to get out into the streets for the upcoming

GJ streets4


What is most striking about GJ demos today is their repetitive,
unchanging quality. But what actually made the movement a success was
its capacity to create, to be innovative with its occupations of streets
and towns. New songs, new ways of mobilising, new economic blockades
(eg: the Champs Elysées). It even had its own language distinct from the
norms of social struggle: you can make fun of the succession of “acts”
and “ultimatums”, but the GJs have created their own calendar, their own
battle terrain and their own way of gathering. When they occupied the
roundabouts, everyone found that peculiar. Same thing when they took
over motorway toll booths. And same thing again when they decided to
head into town centres every Saturday. And when the new songs came
along, it was like a minor victory. The creation of a new space for
self-expression, exchange and action.

Those in power have always tried to blinker the population and make
it think that nothing is possible, apart from expressing your anger
through elections or institutionalised struggles (trade unions,
political parties, NGOs..) But the reality is very different. Life is a
huge playing field. And so are towns and cities.

Nothing annoys the authorities more than people who enjoy coming
together and resisting. They do all they can to make protests
unpleasant, whereas they can provide the chance for meeting people, for
feeling alive, for having fun… Everything they will never know in their
comfortable little bourgeois lives. It is therefore important to bring
joy, madness, fire and life into the streets. To smash their dream of
greyness, to enjoy ourselves but also so that other citizens want to
join us. So that they understand that what is happening is not just
about burning cars or banks. So that the revolution has its heart not in
destruction, but in encounters, complicity, exchange and


It is important to have photos and videos of what is going on in the
streets, notably at the most insurrectional moments and especially when
police are being violent, to bear witness to these realities which the
authorities try to conceal. But today too many people have got into the
habit of whipping out their phone for every burning dustbin or, worse,
for the smallest police charge. These people are still part of the
movement, in solidarity with it, yet they don’t realise that by filming
with their phones they are quitting the ranks of protesters who are
capable of actually doing something. They are physically present but can
no longer take action. They become spectators. How many videos have we
seen of someone being maltreated by the police where nobody is helping
them, although dozens of protesters are filming what’s happening? This
isn’t about passing judgement and awarding good or bad scores. Each
person is free to do whatever they want, not least on a demo. And it is
totally understandable to want to film a crunch moment. But you need
nevertheless to analyse the phenomenon in a general way and see what it
implies for the protest as a whole. And from that vantage point we have
to acknowledge the problems with this tendency and be aware that it
serves the interests of the authorities because it makes the protest
less pro-active and less cohesive. Not forgetting that the videos are
sometimes used in evidence against protesters accused of misdemeanors.

It is therefore time to put away your phone and actively take part in
the next protests. This could take various forms: singing, running,
graffiti, banner-making, keeping other protesters informed, suggesting
actions. So many things that the brain stops doing when it sees the
protest via the screen of a phone.

GJ streets3


It is important to consider the place and degree of combative action
on protests which see themselves as insurrectional. This question is
highly complex and sensitive because nobody has the right to set out a
precise limit to the moral rightness of combative actions. We all refuse
to go along with the framing imposed by society which regards all
illegal action as immoraL. It goes without saying for many of us that a
Fouquet’s restaurant on fire is no worse than a boss who lays someone
off to increase his profits. But this doesn’t mean that smashing or
burning is necessarily appropriate for the struggle and for advancing
the revolutionary cause.

While we should take care not to condemn a protester who has broken
the law, we should also not veer off in the opposite direction and
applaud, de facto, all acts of damage or violence. At some moments, in
some places, vandalising street furniture or shops or attacking the
police can turn out to be strategic mistake and play into the hands of
the authorities.

Damage or violence are in no way a yardstick for assessing the
success or otherwise of a protest. In either way. Offensive actions are
merely tools to reach goals which are more significant than the
immediate outcome of a torched car or a ransacked bank.

In a society governed by images and appearance, where the authorities
rely on illusion to persuade us that they have everything under control
and that there is no alternative, these offensive actions make sense
when they help shatter that illusion. It works when whole areas of Paris
seem to have slipped out of the authorities’ control despite the
deployment of thousands of cops and troops. But to achieve this, it is
necessary to create the conditions conducive to such a situation.

It must also be borne in mind that offensive action and rebellion can
take very subversive forms without necessarily being violent. Thousands
of people on the Paris ring road, on the tracks at a station or
occupying a government building can also hurt the powerful.

So let’s refuse to label protesters as violent or non-violent. Only
those who fear change have a vested interest in this totally artificial
separation. This classification (stigmatisation) is merely a tool for
domination. Violence is not immoral in itself. Even the history books
sing the praises of resistance fighters who fought evil. Fought in its
true sense. In the violent sense.

Act 23 of the Yellow Vests in Paris


In the face of the new strategies for “maintaining law and order”
with highly mobile and aggressive police units, it is more than ever
necessary for protesters to pay attention and adapt rapidly to
situations. In Hong Kong when the police line becomes too dangerous in
front of them, the protesters don’t just stay put. Very quickly, the
demo moves elsewhere. It is very difficult to take decisions
collectively in these situations, especially in a totally horizontal
movement without leaders, but it works. And often it is better to take
the decision and move rather than remain static for fear of making a

We should also bear in mind that sometimes confrontation with the cops does not make strategic sense. When the balance of power is clearly tilted in their favour, it is sometimes better to think about alternative solutions which allow protesters to continue to occupy the space, to blockade, to be on the offensive. The police are not our objective. They are the tool of the authorities which can stop us from reaching our objectives. Focusing on them can sometimes stop us from creating more beautiful and constructive moments of struggle.

taken from here

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Marx and the Machine Tue, 17 Sep 2019 06:47:08 +0000

With the reference to the phylogeny of machines, which ranges from complex tools to machines driven by motors to automatons, Marx always combines a genealogy of technology shaped by capital and thus clearly sets himself apart from a transhistorical theory of the evolution of technology. Marx writes: "Work is organized and divided differently according to the tools it has at its disposal. The hand mill requires a different division of labor than the steam mill. It is thus a matter of slapping history in the face when one begins with the division of labour in general, in order subsequently to arrive at a special instrument of production, the machines". (MEW 4: 149) Marx does not seem to attach too much importance to the phylogenetic evolution of machines when he writes, for example, that the machine simply lacks the historical element that he qualifies here as its purely economic determination. (Cf. Bahr 1983: 152) Marx rejects an evolution-theoretical pattern for the description of machines, because he is always concerned with the aspect of maximizing the efficiency and efficient functionalization of machines, as long as the improvements serve the economic calculation of capital.
In his discussion of Proudhon, Marx emphasizes that the machine is not in itself a historical or economic category, and only as part of a socio-economic structure or with its integration into the context of capital does it become an economic concept. Marx is therefore particularly interested in the question of how the machinery is to be analyzed under the aspect of the dominance of the economy of capital. Here, the term machinery is to be preferred to that of the machine because it makes it clearer that technology, which always represents a structure (of technical objects), can be described as the material mode of existence of capital. At the same time, it should be noted that Marx's use of the term "mechanism", which he uses to describe machinery, implicitly results in a certain neglect of the concept of production (in the sense of production) in relation to that of reproduction. Even the introduction of the concept of "extended reproduction" does not change this, and so Marx must at the same time adhere to an asymmetrical concept of force, which he associates with the ecstatizing labor force, the output of which shoots beyond its input (non-equivalence) or the use of which by the capitalist drives its value generation beyond its reproduction costs.1
The historical sequence of stages embedded in the economic concept of machinery, according to which the manufactory division of labor has provided the basis for the specialization of the instruments of labor, whereupon the unification of the specialized instruments of labor (and with it a new stage of the division of labor) has enabled the transition to the machine, remains questionable. In the study of Marx's excerpts on the division of labour, machinery and industry (Marx 1982), it is noticeable that Marx, with regard to his studies on manufactory, initially still proceeds from a living active "organism", within which the living labor force combines with a series of assembled ahuman technical objects, in order finally to be subordinated in this structure itself, not only with regard to the dissection of the functions of the labor force, but also through the mathematically writable dissection of the social labor body as a whole. (Cf. also MEW 23: 401)
Marx writes with regard to the living total worker in the manufactory: "The division of work according to the manufactory not only simplifies and multiplies the qualitatively differentiated organs of the social total worker, but also creates a mathematically fixed ratio for the quantitative size of these organs, i.e. for the relative size of the working groups in each special function. With the qualitative structure it develops the quantitative rule and proportionality of the social working process". (MEW 23: 366) So there is a mathematically writable, a calculable relationship when many who are gathered in one space do the same thing at the same time. And certain partial operations on the object take place uniformly within the already divided total worker in the manufactory upon instruction. And this type of production also requires specific tools, which are initially created by adaptation to the partial operations of the partial workers, who in turn function as parts of a total worker (division of labor). (Ibid.: 361) Finally, there is a permanent restructuring of the work equipment or tools, which can finally incorporate several partial tasks as machine tools. The development of the machine tool almost inevitably leads to a single element to complex and assembled machine tools that reflect the division of labour of the manufactory in some way; the individual parts are now similar organs within a movement mechanism or a combined tool mechanism. (ibid.: 399ff.)
It is thus the internal division of labor in the manufactory that produces the "machine" as a tool that is initially only composed, and thus it seems only possible to grasp the machine as a socio-economic concept (objectification of a socio-economic practice). However, in many of Marx's statements a positive attitude towards mapping theory still continues, in so far as machine tools first of all depicted simple manual tools and then expanded their potential by carrying out operations much more effectively than a worker used to do them with simple tools. (ibid.: 393) Almost in the same breath, Marx speaks of the machine tool as a mechanism in the sense of a structure of material bodies, and at the same time he extends the term "mechanism" to the axiomatics of machinery in general. Only in this sense did the machine tool become decisive for industrial production, "namely as the transformation of a still partially qualitative concept of machine into an axiomatized, mathematical-logical one". (Bahr 1983: 261) Tools are then under no circumstances to be understood as the extension or reinforcement of the physical organs of the worker, whereby the problem of force still sticking to the anthropological loses its significance compared to the regulated, quantifiable arrangement of the workers in space. In general, one can already say here that for Marx the technical objects coagulate into elements of extended technological systems in which the cooperation and division of labor as well as the partial workers enter alongside the machines themselves. (ibid.: 268)
Any change in the constellation (division and composition) of the total worker as a social worker entails a restructuring of the working instruments and vice versa. What the individual tool and the worker already begin to integrate into a "machine" in the manufactory is first and foremost the internal division of labor between human and non-human actants. The division of labor already tends to form the (tool) machine. Marx writes: "This part of the machinery, the machine tool, is what the industrial revolution of the 18th century was based on". (MEW 23: 393)
It should be noted, however, that production in the manufactory, which took place in Europe from the 16th century onwards, initially had only a model character; it had by no means been generalised into the 18th century as the materialisation of a dominant capitalist mode of production. It is necessary to take into account the craftsmanship of the manufactory, with which the division of labour could not go beyond a certain degree of complexity over long periods. Christine Woesler explains in this context that between the 16th and 18th centuries it was rather the division of labour in the entire body of society that increased and in some areas led to the higher qualification of activities in areas such as weaving and lace-making.2 (Woesler 1978: 317) In the early stage of the manufactory, the relationship of the worker who works on an object with a tool to the craft was still largely intact, insofar as expression of power and dexterity were essential characteristics of his work. On the one hand, intellectual capacities materialized in the tools; on the other hand, the worker's production knowledge from the craft continued to exist for generations. (Incidentally, the transmission mechanism in the manufactory often consisted of women or children who transported the respective partial products). From the 16th to the 18th century, the most common form of manufacture was therefore a heterogeneous manufacture, in which a large number of workers concentrated in one place produced a common end product (printing and cloth production) within the framework of the division of tasks into different sub-areas. In France, the manufactories (silk spinning in Lyon, pottery in Sevres, etc.) were mostly under the control of the absolutist state. (ibid.: 322) And the supply of the army with products - weapons and clothing - played a role not to be underestimated in the socio-economic establishment of the manufactory.
If Marx refers in his analyses of capital to the manufactory, then rather to the manufactory of the 18th century, in which the handicraft character of the work is increasingly suppressed and the cooperative character of the overall work in favour of the emergence and dominance of management functions has been changed. In the manufactory, the clock, or more precisely the time of day, was by no means as important as it would later be in industrial production.3 The clock is not identical with the time of day; it only becomes the time of day when economy, technology, power and nature converge under very specific conditions. The manufactory did not yet materialize one of the essential principles of the capitalist production process, namely the uniform movement of machines. (ibid.: 198) Only as a tendency can concepts such as uniformity, continuity, regularity and order, as decisive characteristics of a divided work organization, be applied to the manufactory.4 (MEW 23: 365) "In der Tendenz" also means that, viewed purely from the technical point of view, there was no compelling necessity of development from the manufactory to mature industrial production in the factory, whereby only with this did the material mode of existence of capital according to the monetary utilization of capital be achieved. In general, with Ellen Meiksin's Wood, it should be noted that industrialization or the industrial factory was the result, not the cause, of the capital economy, which is characterized by the imperatives of profit maximization, capital accumulation, and the increase in productivity qua competition inscribed in it. (Meiksins Wood 2015: 84) Only in and with industrial production could the constancy of product quality, anticipatory calculation and mathematically exact calculation of output quantities be guaranteed. Woesler points out that the struggle of the capitalists in the cloth industry against factory legislation in 1864 was counterproductive in terms of enforcing the principle of machinization and increasing relative value-added production, because it was precisely these capitalists - who were successful at the time - who wanted to maintain the principle of increasing the absolute added value by extending the working day, while it was precisely by setting the working time (8-hour day) that the absolute exploitation of the living labour force was limited and, as a result, the relative production of added value by technical innovation could be intensified. (Cf. Woesler 1978: 195) Finally, the individual capital must advance innovation, rationalisation and machinisation in order to be able to escape the tendency of the general fall in profit rates. It is the methods of relative value-added production that lead to an increase in the value-added and profit rates and at the same time to an increase in the technical composition of capital (and possibly to an increase in the organic composition of capital). And this does not prove to be a cunning plan of capital! Once recognized, according to Marx, these methods necessarily constitute the continuous progression of the accumulation of capital also at the overall level, through competition and its principles of correction (and, tendentially, the fall of the general rate of profit).
In Capital Vol. 1, Marx adopts certain statements by Charles Babbage on the structure and function of the division of labor in the manufactory and sharpens them to the question of the social function of the combined total worker in machine production. This total worker is equated with productive work; in addition to the manual worker, it also includes managers, engineers, technicians and supervisors. According to Marx, a very specific group of wage earners emerged within the overall worker: "Like an army of military officers, a working mass of industrial senior officers (conductors, managers) and non-commissioned officers (labour inspectors, foremen, overlookers, contre-maîtres) working together under the command of the same capital is needed. (MEW 23: 351) The concrete form of the total worker is determined according to the technical level of the division of labour. In the factory, in which the social body is already present as a (symbolic) machine and as hardware, the combined total worker gradually occupies only a subordinate position vis-à-vis the machinery or the mechanical automaton. Marx writes: "In the factory a dead mechanism exists independently of them, and they are incorporated into it as living appendages … While machine work attacks the nervous system to the extreme, it suppresses the versatile play of the muscles and confiscates all free physical and mental activity. Even the facilitation of work becomes a means of torture, in that the machine does not free the worker from work, but his work from content. It is common to all capitalist production, insofar as it is not only a working process, but at the same time an exploitation process of capital, that not the it is not the worker who applies the working condition, but conversely the working condition which applies the worker, but only with the machinery does this reversal become technically tangible reality. Through its transformation into an automaton, the means of labor during the labor process itself confronts the worker as capital, as dead labor that dominates and sucks out the living labor force. (MEW 23: 445-446) It is striking in this quote that Marx first, perhaps a little too forcefully, emphasizes the purely levelling pressure of dead labor on manual labor and the repressive function of machinery and therefore underestimates that the productivity impetus of capital must, to a certain degree, also aim at the mobilization of the progressive composition of human organs (brain, hand, muscles, etc.) as well as at the increase of human abilities as a whole (memory, perception, cognition, etc.). In addition to the tendency towards levelling work, Marx also considers the differentiation of work in the complex "factory" when he writes, for example, that a "partly scientifically educated, partly handcrafted working class is formed outside the circle of factory workers and only aggregates with them" (MEW 23: 443). It is the engineering and scientific work that is now definitely becoming the driving mode of production. Bahr writes: "The solution of capital was above all to transform factory and industrial production purely into reproduction, into mechanical machines, and to assign the convulsive of inventions and innovations its own controllable place in the form of scientific, technological and organizational laboratories. (Bahr 1983: 159) Here the dominant role of the control and logification of innovation finally begins, above all as the logification of the discourse in mechanical engineering itself (automation).
Only in the factory, whose constitutive, all-encompassing "element" is machinery, is the mathesis of relationship numbers consistently inscribed in the technical structure, and this inevitably requires certain systems of drive, tool, and transmission, which ultimately can also be written as symbolic machine operations. Internal division of labor also means the infiltration of functions such as organization, administration, planning and, in particular, the infiltration of new technologies into production processes. The factory is already a specific structure that, in addition to the scientific forms of expression, is composed of time axis manipulations and space organizations that are generated technically and mechanically. (Cf. Lenger 2003: 166) Thus, a completely new téchne is spreading to the structure of production, as a result of which, on the one hand, human work tends to be reduced to pure monitoring functions (while at the same time maintaining the uniform, monotonous partial work), but on the other hand, the worker's mind is released, and this as a condition for the emergence of technical-scientific intelligence. After all, it is the machine commands in particular that are supposed to configure the social body in the factory and let it be processed, so that monetary capital can increasingly smoothly blend into all possible production processes. (Marx identifies the machinery with fixed capital, which thus proves to be the adequate materialization of monetary capital).
Marx speaks of the fact that the constitutive functions of the machinery form a mechanism, i.e. a serial concatenation of fixed and moving parts, in which liquid and gaseous substances are later integrated, chemical transformations, magnetism, etc. Marx speaks of the fact that the machine's constitutive functions form a mechanism, i.e. a serial concatenation of fixed and moving parts, in which liquid and gaseous substances are later integrated. For Marx, who in Capital Vol. 1 is largely oriented towards his own excerpts from Babbage and Ure with regard to the analysis of machinery, the machinery of classical industrial production is composed of three types: It is a conglomerate of drive, transmission and machine tools, whose basic structure forms a mechanism (concatenation of parts).5 Drive/force and tool function are combined by the transmission mechanism, a structure that is potentially already present in the working medium. Both the labor force, if it mutates into an integrated part of the production process, and the working objects or materials, if their qualities are understood purely instrumentally and as relations to be quantified, are then to be understood as parts of the machinery. It is the general functionality of the individual parts (auxiliary materials, manpower, raw materials) for production that makes them work equipment, and even the manufactured products are in turn means for further production etc..
Mediation becomes reality in the machinery. The transmission mechanism - one of three machine components - tells the machine tool the respective energy form and motion form (pendulum-like, circular etc.), so it can change the (structured) working object purposefully. The transmission itself is again produced by movement machines, wheel shapes such as the gear wheel or connecting cords, which enable uniform movement according to an identical time scale. Such a machine already tends to be a medial machine, which exists in between. However, one should not ascribe transport techniques to medial machines that transfer very specific meanings, contents or significates - the medial machine does mean, but without meaning anything specific. The medial machine, as the third, comes to the fore itself, as it were, without speaking. This describes the property of reference, with which materiality becomes indifferent sign carriers, insofar as the signs are preserving and maintaining. Materiality here becomes the carrier of a semiotic reference (microscope), but both pragmatically (the handling of machines) and semantically the referent of these signs remains indeterminate, indeed the medial machine itself refers again and again to new signs, statements, etc.. Thus technology theory increasingly turns to the syntax of tools and the axiomatized language of the sciences. Here the purely calculating or quantifying diagrammatics of mechanics is applied, a logic that proves itself and preserves itself through all transformations of the tools.
Marx points out that in the complex mechanical corpus of the factory - apart from transmission - it is not only the energetic drive machine (steam engine) with which the technical revolution of capital is forced that remains relevant, but also the machine tool, whereby it increasingly relieves the hand as a privileged organ of the productive body (and today almost completely replaces it if the pressure on the red button, which affirms or initiates a self-acting process, is the last residue of the work). Thus, in the course of the mathematization of production, work is increasingly broken down into partial operations; industrial machine tools are used, which not only relieve the hand, but finally break completely with the metaphysics of the hand (cf. Lenger 2003: 176), so that a multiple constellation of intelligibly productive machine bodies and parts emerges. Today's machine tools, their relations and parts, are sui generis purely inter-machine. Marx initially accentuates the enormous power and size of machine tools as an enormous multiplication of (human) forces. Soon, however, Marx will also focus on the technically instructed size of machine tools, the technical amplification of their force, for example when he speaks of "giant razors" or when he describes the operator of the drilling machine as an "enormous drill". (MEW23: 406)
At the same time, Marx is also concentrating on the engine and the drive units, of course - influenced by the experience of the energetic upheaval represented by the steam engine. Here, the engine stands in a certain contrast to the purely reproductive mechanics, in which the engine is merely understood as a transformer of energy or as a transmission mechanism. The heat (including its difference) causes the movement by producing the transformation of the aggregate state of the bodies. In the steam engine, the steam moves the piston, a process that requires the permanent restoration of equilibrium after its rupture (Serres 1993: 50); an equilibrium that is itself, however, only temporary, because the difference always erupts anew. Michel Serres writes: "The engine produces something, but by doing so it destroys something else, irrevocably. (Ibid: 51)
The heat machine with its difference production or its voltage gradient is the universal motor, insofar as its reservoir is universal - ark or capital, beginning and prerequisite of every chain of energetic transformations. Energy, be it force or heat, precedes work as nature, the earth as the first mover, which itself is movement. Or, to put it another way, the motor functions through the difference (temperature, explosion), but is not fed by it, so that it needs a reservoir, which at best is always full. (ibid.: 63) Serres writes: "Difference plus motion, that is the motor. And before him the reservoir." (Ibid.: 64) The reservoir encloses, it completes the real or chaos by rationalizing the real or chaos, i.e. capitalizing, by completing the potency of uncontrollable quantities. Through the reservoir, also the cloud becomes which Serres calls the primordial reservoir. The machines live from the cosmological energy, which is irreversibly transformed. The energy itself is not consumed in the machine, but the differences or voltage gradients of various forms of energy are.6
If the machines themselves finally function only as intermediate parts in the production processes, so that the machines largely mediate themselves, then each individual machine is to be understood as a machine element within machine complexes. So it is not only the different types of machines that justify the concept of the automatic system (the machinery), rather this concept is also to be understood as the consequence of another incision that was already visible in the manufactory, but could only materialize finally in the factory, namely the existence of the machine mechanism itself, whose constitutive characteristics are division and division, uniformity, repeatability, quantity and identical reproduction. (Cf. Bahr 1973: 44) In this machine mechanism, even living labor is still integrated as a machine element, while the tools have long since been transformed into working machines, "each of which forms a special organ for special functions in the system of the combined tool mechanism" (MEW 23: 400). It is only now that it can be said that at the level of the concrete production processes the uniform movement produces a measure, namely the identical unit of time. And so the factors division of labor, uniform movement, partial worker, identical serial production, division, structuring and time form the essential elements of a mechanical mechanism. And beyond this, the mechanism, according to Bahr at least, is regarded as a concept that indicates the tendency towards the axiomatization of the machine beyond the translatability of physical phenomena. It is only in this sense that the industrial revolution then actually proceeds from the machines, "namely as a transformation of a still partially qualitative machine concept into an axiomatized, mathematical-logical one" (Bahr 1983: 261). Marx himself already sees clearly that the processes of sewing machines, as opposed to organic processes such as hand sewing, hold a completely different structural principle, and for this reason alone, machines as projections of the body and cognition in the course of mimetic imitation should no longer be spoken of at all. After all, automation means the increasing elimination of the body from production with simultaneous intervention of the natural sciences in production and the associated combination of self-referential and recursive technical processes with technically accessible natural substances (plastics). In these processes, the qualitative properties of the substances must be transformed into calculable and quantitative cause-effect relationships. Calculability also implies the anticipation or calculation of sales, the calculation of quantities and costs, the standardisation and alignment of the respective production parts, the end products and the machines. In the machinery, the tendency of living labor is reduced to activities such as assembly, which in the production process is often at the end of the mechanical partial operations, whereby the natural material to be processed is already confronted by the worker as a social natural form. (Bahr 1973: 46)
Let us come to the productivity of living labor and especially of machinery itself: Marx sees the productive aspect of machinery, the increase in its organic and inorganic potencies, first of all in the compression, in the approaching of its various elements in production and in the reduction of unproductive time intervals. Thus, at the level of individual capital, the time-saving linking of machinery with living labor must first, before innovation, aim at eliminating unproductive phases and thus increasing the output per given unit of time, i.e. a higher output than before should be achieved in the given factory body with a given amount of labor. However, Marx clearly sees a lack of innovative potential in a concept of production that aims above all at intensifying working times (and also the functional times of machines), and at consolidating the various machine elements (including the human element) and thus at eliminating the unproductive, which Marx must consequently locate outside of production, namely in research and science, which breaks into the capitalist production process especially as engineering science with its corresponding technologies, often those of technical administration. It can therefore be assumed that the driving functional operation of value-added production consists first in the elimination of the unproductive elements and phases of production and later in the replacement of living functions by new technological constructions, innovations and machines that function purely according to the principles of the monetary form of capital (relative value-added production).
The transformation of labour activity into machine assembly, transport, regulation and control formed the basis for the emergence of engineering, which in the 20th century incessantly seeped into industrial production. Polytechnic universities, the first of which was founded in Paris in 1895, developed a technological device containing three essential elements: the idea of totality, encyclopaedic plurality and the idea of progress. While in theoretical mechanics the machine was increasingly reduced to an intermediate part serving the transformation of energy, in the course of anthropologizing enlightenment the moment of cunning returned to the machine discourse with the figure of the engineer, who was often ascribed an extraordinary inventive power. Bahr sums up: "The mechanical-deductive definition of the machine could only be enforced because the concept of growing productive power and progress was conceived purely anthropologically and referred to the progress of knowledge and ability". (Bahr 1983: 247) Thereby it is no longer only a question of outwitting nature, but of the téchne of knowledge inscribed in the machine itself, whereby by no means only the present of the machines is depicted, but in the course of the belief in progress knowledge is related to an as yet unknown future, so that here already from reference to "Inference" (Robert Brandom) is changed over.7
The practical-theoretical analysis of the industrial production process (and the inherent de-qualification of human labor) leads to a duplication, namely to engineering planning and the specific realization of the production process qua constant capital. Bahr writes: "Planning became, as it were, the internal price form as a process, i.e. the ideal form of the measure of value, while its objectification in proletarian work constitutes the emergence of constant capital as machinery". (Bahr 1973: 47) At the same time, the mechanization of knowledge takes place through the construction of specific organizations of education and research, and this in turn leads to new technologies, whereby technology and scientific knowledge remain integrated into reciprocal processes of increase. According to Simondon, the essence of invention lies in the technical object, which performs a previously unknown transindividual achievement. For Simondon, the invention marks the added value of the technical object over the deduction of engineering science. The specific way of concretizing gives the technical object a status that oscillates under its own direction between the natural objects and the scientific representation.
It is the specific structural form of constant capital that mediates between the scientific organization of production processes and the operative rationality of natural science. And with Marx, we can continue to proceed from total capital as the decisive form of capital, which, as a quasi-transcendental connection a priori and through competition and its correction mechanisms, imposes the use of new technologies on the individual capitals for the purpose of their self-preservation, completely independent of whether a concrete socio-political need for new machines or production processes exists at all; indeed, the individual capitals are even more and more forced to anticipate new technological innovations within the framework of their operational planning. Here, as Bahr rightly says, there is a virtually anticipated lack or the idea that without innovation and its realization in production, one's own company would simply disappear from the market. (Bahr 1983: 139) Here, too, the speculative moment is already set.
It is the experimental natural sciences and their inherent mathematical analytics that are adequate to the economically productive production process, the structured and clocked continuum of the processes integrated in these. However, experimental natural science does not translate itself one-to-one into technology, which would thus be degraded to a simple means of that, and in addition, the economy itself decisively negotiates the status of technology and technology in capitalist reality. And yet a strange reversal is already emerging here: The capitalist production process becomes a place of (extended) reproduction transforms while the productive processes (innovation and creation) also take place outside the factory, whereby scientific-experimental research in turn inscribes itself into the structure of the production processes by means of its material-discursive practices and apparatuses. Today, even the growth theory of economics has recognised the momentum of technology (the result of targeted investment in research) as an essential growth factor (alongside labour and capital), provided that technology is capable of producing growing economies of scale. (Cf. Mazzucato 2014: 51) In a sense, industrial production becomes a derived process that lives, among other things, on the logification of a discourse that refers to all possible innovations in mechanical engineering, while work in the factory presents itself only as purely mechanical work. The monetary capital quantifies and controls the industrial production (mechanical, reproductive machinery), while the realization of inventions and innovations requires an equally controllable institutional site or scientific-experimental apparatus, the laboratory and its various measuring procedures.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, as Hans-Dieter Bahr also points out, Franz Reuleaux was deeply involved in the development of a deducible axiom system in mechanical engineering. (Bahr 1983: 139) Reuleaux eliminated the concept of the tool from the machine discourse and turned to an immanent description of the machine elements - concepts such as leadership, posture, drive and design emerged, the latter replacing the concept of the tool. However, Reuleaux was far from successful in developing a machine concept that describes machines purely as ensembles of functions, as is quite obviously the case with the computer today. It should be emphasized once again that, as Marx rightly pointed out, the use of industrial machines had in principle already completed the mathematization of production. In order to solve the problem of forces, theoretical mechanics initially understood the machine purely as the transmission of energy, whereby the force of action or capability was attributed entirely in the anthropological sense to the ingenuity of the engineer. In order to do this, it was necessary to imagine nature as constructed and constructible nature, in order finally to catch up with the difference between nature and machine, and this by introducing kinematics into mechanics. (ibid.: 250) The machine was then demonstrated as the result of a mobility of parts, the most important of which were the kinetic parts of posture and drive. At this point, Reuleaux already performed the deduction of a binary, purely mathematical theory of the machine. And this was later extended into the logic of the circuit, which processed with the binary pair working contact and rest contact and the disjunction. The technical relations in the mind are not only mapped, but also further developed by the mind. As deductive, discursive and mathematical logic, the production of knowledge gains a certain independence from industrial production processes, but is itself subject to industrialization, which leads to the separation of means of thought (laboratory, computer, data processing, etc.) and power of thought, and often produces enough processes of disqualification of scientific-technical intelligence. Thinking power insists here as a term as dark as productive power; it finally finds its most appropriate expression (condition/result) in scientific-experimental practice, insofar as it remains bound to a logical-mathematical system that materializes qua apparatuses in machines. (ibid.: 251) Even Marx was fully aware of the fact that the optimization of machinery and living labor, which tends to include the reduction of the latter (number) compared to machinery, must follow the imperatives of the capital economy, even the calculation of profit. Thus the experimental natural sciences only possess a utility value for capital if they materialize profitably as technology in the spatio-temporal constellations of individual capital for it, which touches the temporal relation of living and dead working time, which takes on an empirical-material form in the concrete works and machinery.
At this point it is necessary to distinguish at least two types of automation - the industrial-thermodynamic and the digital-electro-computational model. The industrial type produces a system consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs plus the associated motors, whereby the workers are integrated as divided parts into the mechanical chains. In this field, Taylorism can be considered the decisive technological innovation of capital. With the assembly line, which transports the individual parts in a clocked, continuous mode in one line from one workflow to the next, a uniform time measure is installed, which integrates the worker into a new man-machine system. Taylorism divides the organism into specific movements and motion sequences in order to shape it according to the optimization of the production processes, i.e. to produce the effective synthesization of human-organic movement, the movement of the belt and the movement of the machine. According to Bahr, the body tends to lose its integral function as a utility value-forming and value-added-forming force. (Bahr 1973: 50)
The digital type of automation involves and mobilizes especially cognitive work and thus the brain and the nervous system as its parts, both of which are fed into machine networks producing endless data and information streams, but we also find pure machine-machine systems. In pure machine systems or, as Luciano Floridi says, third order technologies, machines interact as intermediate parts with technologies that act as users and triggers. (Floridi 2015: 52) If a machine is able to store data about its own respective state, i.e. incorporates a technology that writes data into it in recursive mode and, in the best case scenario, is capable of trouble-free feedback, i.e. transmits data back to itself as an instruction, then it is on its way from the mechanical machine to the cybernetic data machine that controls itself. (Cf. Lenger 2003: 182) Smartphones, laptops and tablets are primarily data processing machines. (Floridi 2015: 27) Cybernetic machines are already structured complexes that can deal with the laws of difference, relation and speed self-referentially. Thus, the machine automaton, when it processes the symbolism of binary difference, for the most part performs its iterations self-referentially by both writing and reading them in order to control, which, however, gives it monetary capital in the final instance as a guideline. The leap from the mechanical machine to the (universal) calculating and data machine of Turing, however, is not only to be thought of as a fundamental break, but also as a further step towards the completion of the machinery, so that one can state that the digital machine remains integrated into a productive technology with which the capitalist production processes are subordinated to a higher order. We can even associate the machine complexes and their calculating machines in the broader sense with Heidegger's frame, or even more precisely with a matrix whose diagrams (circuits, punched cards, tables, etc.) are transformed into an "algorithm" of time. (Cf. Miyazaki 2013: 36) The entire production process ultimately becomes diagrammatic, i.e. it is controlled by calculating machines that store various diagrams, which in turn are just waiting to become operative.
In the course of the expansion of relative value-added production, as Marx has already partially anticipated, capital is increasingly switching to the "intellectual" (and still physical) performance of the machines themselves, which correspond to certain protocols and the adequate organization of the sciences with their discourse and sign systems. The productivity of capital is now directly coupled with diagrammatic-machine relations. The automation of digital tracking systems, which regulate the shipment and distribution of goods, is dependent on low costs and fast transport routes, just as algorithmic forecasts of demand (just-in-time production) are dependent on ubiquitous monitoring. The system of a "standing reserve" of goods based on past labor is liquidated as unnecessary loss and replaced by a system of potentials of the future; it is a system designed to maximize profit and continue to need barter, but at the same time creates continuous uncertainty because any interruption creates the risk of shortages and shortages. (Marx repeatedly points out that on the one hand the workers are trapped in the integral of the machine-technological factory body, on the other hand the machinery is also confronted with them as externality. Thus the machine relation itself seems to attain subject status, whereby the productive capacities are increasingly to be found in the organization and the internal composition of machine parts, while in the tendency the ego-assuring gesture of the working subject is reduced to an offended narcissism.8)
According to Marx, one of the essential performances and functions of capital is to open a téchne that makes constructible an energetic-temporal-spatial continuum, namely that of the factory, a period that capital can capitalize in nuce. To do this, the workers must be in a simultaneity, they must arrive at synchronous times in the factory, which appears as the point of space. (Cf. Lenger 2003: 162f.) At this point one already has to deal with the worker as a per se divided individual, i.e. an individual, that belongs to a simultaneity in space. But not only the worker and his physical and mental potentials are divided in the factory, but overall the productive body or the mechanical complex is subordinated to a logic of the digital and discrete, with which permanent divisions are carried out and the mechanical complex is set into ever new spatial variations (and temporal oscillations). Here, space implies the staging of a simultaneity that monetary capital ultimately has at its disposal. Here, space is the material result of monetary inscriptions that are presupposed to it.
Capital contains the claim to multiply infinitely in principle, thereby also capitalizing time, inserting it into a continuum of a specific return, the equalization of what is to come. Incessantly, with the calculation of the future, capital generates a present that is entirely under the dictum of added value, which in turn is to be gained from future exploitation. And thus the capital of mere simultaneity in space always tries to escape as well. When Lenger speaks in this context of the "crowding together of time and space by means of communication and transport" (ibid.: 162), then he refers to a technological incision that repeatedly generates the space of the factory anew and thus itself becomes a function of transmission, which in turn enables the techniques of time to include a future to be calculated as the best of all possible presences, in order to thus completely accomplish the appropriation of the future.
The clock was the first automaton used for practical purposes, Marx wrote in 1863 in a letter to Engels. (ibid: 178) It is an automaton that generates an infinite sequence of even ticks and with the help of which the multiplicity of bodies in the factory can be smoothly integrated into the mechanical structure and condensed into "poreless suppleness" (ibid: 178), so that with the assertion of the economy of time, production acquires a temporal structure adequate to the monetary capital relationship.
The mechanical clock provides the exact and continuous measurement of time, taking into account the uniformity of movement, and this may be regarded as central to the development of machinery if it is examined from a temporal point of view. (Cf. Woesler 1978: 208) The clock refers to a precise concept of the machine in so far as the trap (field of blasting) is set as a trap qua barrier, whereby the barrier in turn becomes the mode of triggering (blasting); that is, the inhibition (trap that binds the projectile) not only blocks the spring's rebound, but at the same moment also triggers its fall, it censors the fall. And it is only through the repetition of the caesura that the uniform movement occurs. (Cf. Bahr 1983: 210) The continuity of movement must be ensured by a rigid mechanism that is supposed to be in flux at the same time, and this particular constellation indeed produces the inhibition mechanism. Thus, in the case of the watch, which consists of a movable gear wheel, the escapement mechanism interrupts the movement of the wheel and produces the ratio of continuity and discreetness in the uniform flow. 9
Although Marx often analyses the machine complex in the universe of thermodynamics (motor, force, mechanics and transmission; energy constancy and entropy), he expresses his conviction by referring to the clock that material-machine practices and complexes have specific time techniques attached to or even superior to them, which discretely break down the analogue continuous process of production into individual elements in order to reduce or, better still, completely eliminate as far as possible any interruption and any unnecessary noise of the analogue. The forms of today's digital technology conceal the logic of division and discrete that inscribes itself with its own rhythmology into the concrete machine and media structures that store, calculate and transmit. And this is perhaps the uncanny thing that makes many people talk about the animation of the machine again today. It is mathematics, or, as Marx says, the science of relational numbers, which determines the logic of the machine. And the automatism of machinery today takes place in the medium of self-reference or self-control, which means that the binary code, due to its simple technical realizability and numerical efficiency, is regarded as the most effective number system (also in demarcation from language) and refers to itself mechanically. However, the logic of data recursions already flashed in the automatic loom, which anticipated the machine of all machines, the computer, at least from a techno-logical point of view. It can be seen that it was the mathesis of the discrete clock that on the one hand standardized the daily routines in the factory, and on the other hand controlled the production or the machine complexes, insofar as it could establish itself in reality as time and quantitative measurement.
So it was digital time techniques that, in the course of the industrial revolution, already immigrated into the energetics of drive, power and transmission as well as into machine tools, that is to say, generally materialized in machinery. Thus it must be noted that digital techniques are inherent in capitalist production processes per se. (Cf. Lenger 2003: 178) This also includes the fact that the discourse on the machine at the above level had long since encircled the detonating machines in order to determine the machines entirely from the point of cognition, from the point of becoming integrated with perception (time and space) and transcendental subjectivity. (Bahr 1983: 211) Space and time have to be presented as a priori structures in order to subordinate the machines as moments of blasting and encounter (trajectories) to the trap and thus to grasp them as containers of all movements. Every machine that rushes out or escapes seems already caught up by space and time, even though it exists only in the curved energetic space-time and can thus also register back again and again as a blasting machine. It is precisely against every type of detonating machine that the clock repeatedly raises its bleak objections: if time cannot be a measure of movement without itself becoming a movement machine (clock), then "uniformity" is a symmetrical reflection of the machine, its own reflexivity. (Bahr 1983: 219) The a priori of time and space (space as such and time as such) may be a "philosophical artifact" (Serres 1994: 86), but it has not missed its power-political and economic effect. The certainty that Euclidean space and universal time hold in themselves is ultimately a result of the socio-storical-material practices of economy, science, politics and theology. However, if space is locally Euclidean, there is no reason to define global space as Euclidean. (Ibid.: 90) And so it is with linear time, which was first measured by water clocks and sundials, mechanical clockworks, whereby it was assumed that linear time would also run in the future as it had run in the past. Nevertheless, and the steam boiler of the industrial revolution already shows this, order or reversibility - in the unity of an objective system - is constantly moving in the direction of disorder or irreversibility. But we also have to deal with the opposite tendency. Michel Serres states here an extremely interesting paradox:"At the moment when a new work, the production of power and energy, is about to burn with almost vertical acceleration all the reserves that have been slowly deposited during the history of the Earth; at the moment when this new work decides to burn time, because the raw materials are ultimately nothing but time; at the moment when the new work strengthens the irreversible through this regression, the social and political order suddenly freezes in the notion of work, the eternal return of the reversible.« 10(ibid.: 99-100)
One can now first of all sum up that from a technological point of view it is the clocked machine that combines the relation of division, digitality and discreetness in one unit, and that at the same time is conceivable as a continuously flowing quantity, thus opening up the war history of capital in a temporal respect. Lenger writes: "In the machinism of industry, which extends to indefinite times, the time war of capital becomes the economic principle itself". (Lenger 2003: 184) And Marx writes about the genealogy of these time wars: "The doctrine of friction and thus the investigations of the mathematical forms of gear train, teeth, etc. all made at the mill; ditto here first of all the doctrine of measuring the degree of the moving force, of the best way to apply it, etc …". (MEW 30: 321) The mill is considered by Marx here in its function of time measurement since it on the basis of uniform movement of dynamic mechanics can solve in real terms the problem of preservation and change from the point of view of quantitative optimization. Hans-Dieter Bahr revises Marx to the effect that it is not the water mill, but rather the transmission, independent of the respective driving force, which is to be regarded as the elementary form of the modern machine (lever and wheel). (Bahr 1983: 345)

In the much quoted - and perhaps also somewhat overvalued - "machine fragment" from the ground plans, Marx suggests that the factory in which technological knowledge and technology (capital fixe) are linked in a specific way, involves special forms of communication or cooperation that ever point beyond the mere division of labor in which the economic determinants and the differential logic of the relational numbers have already settled. (Cf. Lenger 2003: 164) Cooperation, whether already incorporated in the manufactory or in the factory, indicates that in the production processes the spatial-temporal continuity is also repeatedly broken up, so that the coming together of the many (many do the same work) disturbs the pure function of utilization, which is realized with the help of the linear time economy of sequences and the arrangement of a homogeneous space. As part of a machine structure, the cooperation that first arrived in the manufactory seems to point beyond the time economy of capital, through moments of collective subjectivation that are part of a social brain. Lenger has identified the superfluous or parergonal (accessory), which cannot be eliminated by the work (érgon), above all in the cooperation that insists for him himself still in the factory, so that here non-linear, abysmal and multidimensional entanglements of technology and the social brain occur, which are not exhausted in the adaptation of the workers to the movement of the machinery. Lenger points out that for Marx himself, with regard to capitalist production, Platonic speech still remains in play. (ibid.:158) Alluding to the politeía, Marx writes: "If something is done only as a secondary work, the time corresponding to its production is often missed. The work cannot wait for the leisure of the one who has to carry it out, but rather the one who has to carry out the work has to orient himself according to the conditions of his production etc., therefore he may not operate it as an ancillary work. (MEW 43: 277) Nevertheless, according to Lenger, even the technique could still split, since on the one hand it appeared as a "means" that served the calculated purposes, while on the other it kept a parergon at least in its seed, the accessory or the virtuality, the disturbance or the interruption, the coincidence or the anarchy of unpredictable effects. The machine and the worker thus cannot be completely isolated from the parergonal free gifts, and certainly not from the side effects, be they internal disturbances in the production process or the resistance of the workers in the class struggle, which must be overcome by capital in such a way that productivity can be increased as frictionlessly as possible by means of relative value-added production. According to Lenger, the time economy of the factory guarantees smooth processes only by not being able to free itself from a resistive distribution or cooperation in the same breath.11 With the implementation of the time economy of capital, the use of disciplinary techniques, which bind the teachable body of the entire worker to the organization of the technical mediality of the machines, becomes indispensable in the factory. Here, then, the "class struggle" intervenes in a very specific way in the body of the factory: Capital leads it above all with the various methods of producing relative added value (innovation and rationalization), with which the necessary labor is reduced in relation to overtime and at the same time the autonomy of the workers is attacked, while the workers react to it with a multitude of resistances, and these also in turn cause capital to further force the relative production of added value. With regard to relative value-added production, not only the natural sciences play a decisive role, but also the combinatorial "logics" of capital fixe, especially when they implement certain innovations as the mathesis of machine programs.
Lenger points out that in Marx's text the terms technical composition of capital (relation of living labor to raw materials and machines) and value composition of capital (value-based relation) are not identical: Marx therefore rightly assumes the interaction of the two areas. Marx writes: "There is a close correlation between the two. To express this, I call the value composition of capital, in so far as it is determined by the technical the organic composition of the capital." (MEW 23: 640) It is well known that Marx assumes that capital at least tends to have a growing organic composition, i.e. that in the course of the various thrusts of technical innovation there will be a growth of the constant versus the variable capital share. The organic composition is therefore less about some kind of liveliness than about the mediating function (between economy and technology), with the capital economy tending to push for the continuous revolutionization of production technologies.12 Insofar as Marx speaks in this context of the relationship between dead labor (constant capital) and living labor (variable capital), the former absorbing the latter, one can also assume a constellation in which life and death intermesh as terms of economy. Lenger, in his Marx Zufolge paper, even goes so far as to speak of the law of the tending case of the general profit rate as an indicator of the death instinct of the capital economy, whereby in the processes of capital accumulation dead labor - the materialization of labor in the machinery - permanently increases in relation to living labor in the form of the worker. (Lenger 2003: 206) Just as Freud was not primarily concerned with the implosion of organic life in the formulation of his theory of the death drive, so Marx was little concerned with the assertion of the tendency of an increasing organic composition of capital to be a kind of theory of collapse that recurs to the fact that capital is increasingly losing its only value-adding factor, the living labor force, in the course of the technologization of all production processes. Rather, here the term "death instinct" primarily concerns the inorganic matter of means, which cannot be separated at all from semiotics, although semiotics is less a text that is always different from economics, as Lenger assumes, but rather a specific a-signifying semiotics related to capital. If Lenger at this point cites Lyotard in agreement, who in his writing Der Widerstreit writes that the economic discourse extends itself to propositions that are not subject to the rule of exchange, or that at least the latter intends this (Lyotard 1989: 284f.), Lenger situates his concern still entirely within the framework of the discourse of linguistics, in particular the grammatology of Derrida. When the téchne is crossed by the grapheme, the difference continues in it west, but the writing that here concerns the difference of technical sentences can also be transformed into the concepts and sentences of capital. Lenger writes: "It concerns the question of the extent to which the exploitative value of its equally withdrawn and inalienable linguistic or graphematic preconditions can be used to postpone its 'death instinct. (ibid.: 213) And Lenger's answer remains consistently ambivalent, insisting on the differential shifts triggered by the grapheme. On the one hand, capital, which only recognizes difference to itself, designs a mathematical writing that naturalizes itself as a machine process of zero and one in the computer and progresses as mathesis. On the other hand, the caesura of writing could not be translated purely into economic expression; on the contrary, its parergonal potential would repeatedly attack the economic concept.
Lenger finally points out that not every increase in the technical composition of capital must lead to an increase in the value composition, because constant capital can also become cheaper in the course of productivity increases, which, as can be stated today, was actually the case with the introduction of new production methods at the beginning of the 20th century and later with the cybernetization of production processes and the introduction of microelectronics. Cybernetic machines not only replace manpower, accelerate and make production processes more efficient, they also reduce machine wear. They thus reduce the speed of circulation of constant capital and reduce the cost of its amortization. But it is precisely in this way that capital releases at the same time new medial flight speeds, and this not only with regard to the blocking of the tendency of the fall of the general profit rate, but also in so far as it now migrates into hardware, which has developed as thinking from the conditions of writing (and semiotics, as is to be added). (Ibid.: 212) At the same time, however, material synthesis in the universe of digital machines - machine writing and semiotics - can only develop in correlation to into a functional machinization that serves capitalization rather than evading it. The cybernetic production processes, which imply techniques of processing, storing and controlling data and information, are to be understood here as strategic conditions of capital-infected rationalization, insofar as they must be profitable per se.

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Class in the 21st century: Asset inflation and the new logic of inequality Mon, 16 Sep 2019 16:20:02 +0000

What becomes of class when residential property prices in major cities around the world accrue more income in a year than the average wage worker? This paper investigates the dynamic of combined wage disinflation and asset price inflation as a key to understanding the growth of inequality in recent decades. Taking the city of Sydney, Australia, as exemplary of a dynamic that has unfolded across the Anglo-American economies, it explains how residential property was constructed as a financial asset and how government policies helped to generate the phenomenal house price inflation and unequal capital gains of recent years. Proceeding in close conversation with Thomas Piketty’s work on inequality and recent sociological contributions to the question of class, we argue that employment and wage-based taxonomies of class are no longer adequate for understanding a process of stratification in which capital gains, capital income and intergenerational transfers are preeminent. We conclude the paper by outlining a new asset-based class taxonomy which we intend to specify further in subsequent work.


The purpose of this paper is to outline the contours of a new
understanding of class, one that is attuned to the way in which several
decades of property inflation have generated new logics of inequality
and stratification. Our point of departure is the simple, and largely
uncontested, observation that the past decades have seen a dramatic
growth of property prices in a context where wages have, by and large,
stagnated. In advancing this idea, we are arguing that property
inflation cannot be seen as just a speculative bubble, or a result of
incoherent neoliberal policymaking, or a symptom of the failure to
materialize a post-Fordist accumulation regime. It may be all those
things in part, but it is also a structural feature of the current phase
of capitalism and has been central to the production of a new social
structure of class and stratification that is characterized by a logic
of its own. The positive characteristics of that logic have received
insufficient attention both in public debate and in the scholarly
literature, and this paper takes some first steps towards remedying

When it comes to questions regarding assets and growing inequality,
the work of Piketty has become a central point of reference. The central
finding of his Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014) is
that the growth of capital and wealth, especially the wealth generated
from assets, has in recent decades significantly outstripped the growth
of the economy in general and of wages in particular. Piketty’s work has
sparked a large number of debates and has done more than any other book
to bring the question of economic inequality back onto the scholarly
agenda. But although it has brought renewed attention to the question of
wealth inequality in particular, much of the more sociologically
oriented literature has failed to take this into account and remains
premised on the idea that class correlates primarily with work and
employment. Too often, empirical observations about the growing role of
wealth operate on top of a conceptual model of inequality that is still
centred around employment-based categories such as wages and
occupational status. In the present era, where mid-size homes in large
Western cities often appreciate by far more in a given year than it is
possible for middle-class wage earners to save from wages, such a
continued focus on employment as the main determinant of class is
increasingly untenable.

From a certain angle, the distance from an analysis of accelerating
capital accumulation and growing inequality to a theorization of class
and stratification would seem to be a short one. It is therefore useful
to consider what it is about Piketty’s framing of growing inequality
that has prevented it from being translated more readily into a theory
of class and stratification. Conceptually, it is significant that
Piketty’s work vacillates between two images of the shift that has
fostered the growth of inequality. On the one hand, it relies on a
theory of natural economic laws that display inherent tendencies to
wealth accumulation and that can only ever be interrupted or slowed down
from the outside. In so far as such a perspective is concerned with
questions of policy and institutions, it tends to emphasize the absence of policy interventions that might have redressed trends
of growing inequality; but his work is largely silent on the specific
institutional mechanisms of policymaking and the way these have
constructed qualitatively new patterns of capital accumulation. On the
other hand, it emphasizes the ways in which large fortunes have captured
the institutions of politics and governance, a plutocratic structure
that blocks any attempts to reverse the inegalitarian effects of the
logic of capital.

These images are of course not specific to Piketty’s work, but mirror
more general tendencies to attribute the trends of recent decades to
economic or political logics, or a combination of them. Even when these
factors are combined and articulated in sophisticated and complex ways,
the result is often still an analysis that portrays developments of
recent decades as a return to a more basic form of capitalism modelled
on the experience of 19th-century liberalism – that is, capital as it
operated before the innovations associated with the 20th-century welfare
state and the way those effected an integration of the population into
the capitalist system not simply by higher wages and full employment,
but also through connecting them to mechanisms of saving, investment and
asset-building. Of course, the observation that especially in
Anglo-American countries the promotion of asset ownership was a key
aspect of mid-20th-century capitalism is far from new; but its
implications are insufficiently recognized when it comes to the analysis
of class restructuring in the contemporary era – a connection that has
become especially salient because many governments viewed asset
inflation as a useful tool to mitigate the impact of stagnating wages.
In other words, the fact that over the course of the 20th century large
segments of the population have come to participate in dynamics of asset
and home ownership means that the model of semi-automatic accumulation
of rentier wealth in the hands of a small set of elites is of only
limited use.

Connecting capital to class requires a more institution-based understanding of capital. Along such lines, Naidu (2017) has
proposed a useful perspective on the way mainstream and critical themes
intertwine in Piketty’s work, distinguishing between a ‘domesticated
Piketty’ and an underdeveloped ‘wild Piketty’ who becomes visible only
at times. Domesticated Piketty relies on an understanding of capital on
the neoclassical model, which sees capital as a fund of savings and is
incapable of doing justice to the specific character of capital compared
to other production factors. Wild Piketty develops close affinities
with the definition of capital that has dominated the institutionalist
tradition, which emphasizes both the political and legally constructed
nature of property rights and the forward-looking, always partially
speculative character of capital. From this perspective, capital is ‘a
forward-looking claim on future resources’ (Naidu, 2017:
108). The ability to define and enforce property rights in order to
secure income flows from assets is an issue that prominently involves
legal, political and other institutions and the contestations that take
place inside them. As Naidu points out, in this respect, the ‘rise of
housing wealth is uniquely interesting, as housing and land are
intrinsically tied to particular policies and local politics’ (Naidu, 2017: 120).

Housing plays an important, if largely unacknowledged, role in the story that Piketty tells. The widely publicized Rognlie (2015) paper
noted this, and conservatively inclined commentators have seized on it
to downplay the importance of Piketty’s findings and to shift the
conversation from the taxation of wealth to the way regulations create
an artificial scarcity of real estate (e.g. DeVore, 2015).
From the perspective of our analysis, however, acknowledging the role
of housing allows us to bring out the real point of Piketty’s analysis
more fully (Guyer, 2015). In other words, the significance of Piketty’s results resides precisely in
the fact that so much of the growth of wealth has been due to the
growth of house prices: it demonstrates the extent to which the current
phase of capitalism does not represent a return to an era of old money,
haute finance and aristocratic rentiers, but involves the structural
reconfiguration of patterns of inequality in a context that has seen the
rise of home ownership and the growth of asset ownership across
numerous layers of the population. This opens up the possibility of a
closer connection to the issue of class, one that is sensitive to the
fact that the spread of asset ownership has created new, complex
dynamics of stratification.

This is by no means to deny that other asset classes have also played
a significant role in the growth of inequality. For instance, the role
of stock holdings has already received extensive analysis (e.g. Nau, 2013),
as have the paradoxical class positions that emerge when pension funds
own stock in companies and so acquire an interest in the kind of
restructuring strategies that typically are to the detriment of
employees (Skerrett et al., 2017).
By contrast, the implications of the financial dynamics of housing and
mortgage markets for our understanding of stratification have yet to be
fully pursued. Nor is this simply a question of empirical scope: as an
asset, housing works in a distinctive way that gives it a specific role
in the creation of inequality. On the one hand, almost all households
participate in the housing market as either renters or owners, and the
wish to own a house is often not simply driven by financial
considerations but equally by cultural influences and family
considerations. On the other hand, switching from renting to buying is
not nearly as easy as switching savings from a bank account to a mutual
fund – instead, it requires a down payment and then leveraging that by
taking on debt. The need for a lump-sum payment to break into the market
means that intergenerational transfers of wealth come to play a central
role and that the generational dimension shapes the logic of class in
new ways – no longer limited to the inheritance of large fortunes but
necessary also for people on relatively high wages who wish to break
into an inaccessible property market.

By focusing on the role of property inflation, we seek to
conceptualize a specific tendency that has produced a new reality of
stratification – one that has been highly visible in our case study
(Sydney, Australia). Recent data from the Australian Bureau of
Statistics (ABS) clearly demonstrates that it is housing, more than any
other asset class, which is driving both the dramatic increase in net
wealth among high-income households and stagnant levels of net wealth
among the poorest (ABS,20152016; Davidson et al., 2018:
59). We expect that the ideal-typical model of asset-based
stratification that we generate on this basis will have relevance to a
number of other cases. However, we make no strong claims about the
extent of generalizability and emphasize that this should be the subject
of further empirical research.

This paper analyses house price inflation as a complex institutional
construction in order to trace its connections to the changing landscape
of class. The paper proceeds as follows. The next section presents an
overview of the general contours and consequences of several decades of
property inflation in Sydney, Australia. We then account for these
developments in terms of the policies adopted by successive Australian
governments. The significance of this emphasis on the institutional
construction of asset inflation should be seen against the background of
the current state of class theory, which is the subject of the
following section. We argue that, despite some selective incorporation
of Bourdieusian notions of cultural and symbolic capital, as well as
attempts at building class analyses intended to apprehend the
mainstreaming of debt-fuelled and precarious lives, contemporary
theories of class and stratification have yet to thoroughly incorporate
the reality of 21st-century capital. In this section we propose a new
analytical scheme to capture the specific effects of asset inflation on
the structure of inequality.

Sydney: housing inflation without a housing crash

Australia has some of the most inflated residential dwelling prices
in the world. According to the latest annual report by the research firm
Demographia, Sydney now ranks as the second most unaffordable city in
the world, after Hong Kong (Demographia, 2018).
It is followed by Vancouver, San Jose, another Australian city –
Melbourne, Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, Auckland and London.
The report lists Australia’s five biggest cities as ‘severely
unaffordable’ on the basis of house price to income ratios. Unlike many
of the other major cities listed in the report, dwelling prices in
Australian cities such as Sydney and Melbourne continued to rise long
after the global financial crisis and even as a construction boom in
high-rise apartments was in full swing.

As in many cities across the Anglo-American world, the phenomenal
upsurge in dwelling prices stands in stark contrast to stagnant wage
growth, which has barely kept up with inflation over the same period.
Between 1999 and 2019, wages grew by an annual average of 3.10%, while
property prices grew by an annual average of 7.55% (ABS). This has led
to a steady increase in the average house price to income ratio – with
dwelling prices at nine times the median household income – and an
unprecedented rise in household debt, with many more people continuing
to hold mortgage debt into old age (Chau, 2018Collett, 2018). These figures are all the more astonishing, given the very high levels of insecure employment among Australian households (Bryan and Rafferty, 2018: 51–72). Figure 1 plots the growth of wages against house prices, showing a progressive divergence between the two over the past decades.


Figure 1. The evolution of wages and house prices.

Source: ABS, as used in Yates (2011); updated by Varun Satish using post-2011 data.

It is important to appreciate the relatively sustained nature of
property inflation. At different points in the past decades commentators
have declared the collapse of the housing market, but this has yet to
pass. The financial crisis of 2007–2008 was widely expected to put a
stop to several decades of credit growth and real estate inflation, but
failed to do so. Indeed, the rise in house prices has been particularly
pronounced since then. Commentary on the state of the Sydney housing
market has often assumed the form of ‘what goes up, must come down’. And
it is true that in an important sense rising real estate valuations are
purely speculative – that is, heavily bound up not with a sense of
‘fundamentals’ but with what people think others will be willing to pay
for it in the future. In other cases, such as a rising stock market,
things are more complex because the degree to which the nature of
underlying assets is itself changing is often highly unclear as they are
undergoing rapid innovation. In the case of real estate, it is apparent
that the underlying asset isn’t changing much – that is to say, there
is little innovation taking place in the property industry, and as a
consequence it is very apparent to buyers themselves that their
purchases are speculative, that is bound up not with any beliefs about
true underlying values but about the future of market sentiment. And
yet, despite this element of ‘transparency’ (which one might expect
would amplify even minor shocks into full-blown meltdowns), property
markets in large urban centres have been remarkably resilient.

This suggests that an upward momentum has been built into the market –
that property inflation is not simply an effect of ‘the market’ or
volatile market sentiment, but equally a product of the way in which
public policies have constructed a particular ‘logic’ of asset inflation
that is anchored in a particular institutional configuration of
path-dependent public policymaking and widely perceived as such. This is
the case not just in the sense that public policies encourage home
ownership, but also in the more specific sense that they do so by
providing asset owners with benefits and protection from risk that
effectively work to put a floor under the market (i.e. prevent market
slumps from developing into meltdowns). Even though downturns in the
property market do occur, they often resemble momentary setbacks or
brief pauses rather than the kind of housing crashes that are
anticipated. In the next section we will analyse in more detail the
series of policy shifts that have constructed this institutional

These points have particular relevance in the current conjuncture: in
2018 Sydney property prices, after several years of rapid growth,
stopped growing and prices began to decline. Key in producing this
turnaround have been the restriction on property ownership by overseas
investors, regulatory restrictions on interest-only loans (popular among
investors) and an official enquiry into the (mal)practices of banks, in
response to which banks have pre-emptively restricted their lending.
Currently, many commentators are trying to predict how long this will
last and what the extent of the downturn will be, but tellingly no
serious commentators are projecting the kind of wholesale deflation that
would be required to return the relationship between wages and property
prices to early postwar levels. Nor is it unambiguously the case that a
more significant decline would really resolve some of the most pressing
policy problems. Although it would bring home ownership in reach for
some people who are currently locked out of the market, the loss of
wealth would put a huge strain on economic growth due to the
restrictions on demand. In addition, it would produce a great deal of
discontent among mortgagors and homeowners that would need to be
addressed in some way or other. Rising house prices are the single
greatest source of investment and consumer demand in the Australian
economy and housing debt is the most common form of liability on the
balance sheets of banks. The spectre of excessive deflation is why
authorities have been quick to reassure the public that if there is a
chance of more than a healthy correction, they will step in to relax
restrictions on mortgage lending and be ready to lower interest rates.

How did we get here? The institutional construction of asset inflation

This section analyses the phenomenal rise in house prices during the
last four decades as the result of economic and political strategies
that have actively contributed to the long-term moderation of wages and
simultaneous inflation of asset prices (Palley, 2012: 32–56). As wages
have stagnated and consumer credit has become more abundant, the
Anglo-American economies in particular have looked to housing as an
alternative source of welfare, one based on the expectation of
ever-rising asset prices rather than income from labour. Several studies
have outlined the ways in which the combined instruments of monetary
and fiscal policy have contributed to house price appreciation in
countries outside of Australia. These studies variously point to the
importance of asset-based welfare policies, the selling off of public
housing, the liberalization of consumer credit and the securitization of
mortgages as important factors in the supercharging of the housing
market (Aalbers, 2016; Rolnik, 2013Schwartz and Seabrooke, 2008).
All of these factors were in play in creating the house price inflation
evident in Sydney and other major cities in Australia. However, there
are a number of distinct features to the Australian history of labour
and wage struggles, on the one hand, and housing, on the other, that
help to account for the extremity and longevity of its house price boom.

While it is clear that Australia, like other Anglo-American
economies, moved towards a new accumulation regime involving a trade-off
between wage and asset inflation after the stagflation crisis of the
1970s, the solidification of this new regime occurred some 10 years
later than it did in the US and UK and had the distinct feature of being
negotiated by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in alliance with the
trade unions. As noted by Pierson and Castles (2002),
the Australian experience of ‘neoliberalism’ was unique, at least with
respect to its Anglo-American and Commonwealth counterparts, in that it
was initiated by ‘third way’ social democrats before it took a
distinctly right-wing turn in the mid-1990s under the leadership of John
Howard. In this respect, the historical trajectory was the reverse of
that in Britain and the United States, but similar to the experience of
France and Italy.

When the ALP came to power in 1983, it was with the promise that it
would put an end to the problem of combined unemployment and wage-push
inflation that its conservative predecessors had repeatedly tried and
failed to resolve. Paradoxically, then, the wage moderation which in
other countries appeared to take the explicit and often violent form of
an attack on union power, in Australia was ushered in with the full
consent of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) (Humphrys, 2019; Humphrys and Cahill, 2017).
The first iteration of the Prices and Incomes Accord (henceforth, ‘the
Accord’) was negotiated between the ALP and the ACTU in 1985 and went
through multiple revisions up until 1996, when the ALP lost power. As
part of the initial round of negotiations, the trade unions agreed to
abandon the ‘excessive claims’ of the 1970s by indexing all wage claims
to the consumer price index; in exchange, they were promised progressive
tax reform and a government guarantee to increase the social wage, in
the form of government-provided health care or ‘Medicare’.

A separate clause in the 1985 Accord stipulated that employers should
be required to pay an equivalent contribution into employees’
individual accounts in nominated superannuation funds rather than a pay
rise of 3% (Gruen and Soding, 2011:
4–5). At first confined to the awards system, this innovation was later
generalized with the introduction of the Superannuation Guarantee Levy
in 1992, which enshrined compulsory superannuation contributions in
federal legislation. This was envisaged by Treasurer Paul Keating as a
way of weaning workers off the aged pension and sold as part of the
‘social wage’ trade-off for ‘wage restraint’. In fact, access to
superannuation had little to do with the social wage as such and more to
do with the socialization of capital gains from potential asset price rises.
The trade-off can be seen as part of a broader, international movement
away from defined benefit to defined contribution pension plans that
wagered on continuous appreciation of asset prices in the equity markets
to guarantee above-average returns to workers (Blackburn, 2002).
What was being offered here was a buy-in to the asset price
appreciation that was expected as a consequence of wage moderation and
financial liberalization. Workers were to be compensated for stagnant
returns from labour with the promise that they too could participate in
the returns from financial assets.

At first, the ALP really did seem to pull off the impossible in
reconciling the multiple aims of wage moderation, social wage expansion,
financial liberalization and a larger profit share for business (Bell and Keating, 2018:
59–60). However, this precarious balancing act became more difficult to
sustain as time went on and the terms of the Accord became increasingly
skewed towards the interests of asset holders as the decade progressed.
Although the ALP had originally sought to offset wage moderation with
both an increase in the social wage and democratization of asset
ownership, a few years into his first term, Prime Minister Bob Hawke was
already putting the brakes on public spending. In the midst of a
balance-of-payments crisis and a precipitous fall in the exchange rate,
the Hawke government embarked on a policy of sustained fiscal
consolidation, slashing outlays by more than 5% between 1985 and 1989 (Brenton, 2016:
48). For the most part, these savings were achieved by sacrificing the
scope of the social wage, that is, by implementing stricter eligibility
criteria for social assistance programmes, increasing user charges for
government services and offering less generous assistance to the states,
who in turn transferred these cuts to social services (Bell and Keating, 2018:
64). At the same time, the wage moderation pressures exerted by the
Accord also became stronger as the decade progressed. Increasingly, wage
claims were tied to productivity measures in the hope that this would
discourage the kind of wage-push inflation seen in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, asset prices were booming thanks to the financial market
deregulation of the early 1980s and the subsequent drive by banks to
compete for market share in consumer and corporate credit (Berry and Dalton, 2004:
76–77). During this period, median share prices increased more
spectacularly than house prices, although both saw impressive gains
(median house and share prices increased by 133% and 219% respectively
between 1982 and 1989) (Bell and Keating, 2018: 65).

When, in 1991, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) finally made a
move to soften the share price boom by raising short-term interest
rates, the Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating made use of the recession
to put a final break on wage-push inflation rather than (in the long
run) asset price inflation. Invoking the need to ‘snap the stick of
inflation’, Keating referred to high unemployment rates as the
‘recession we had to have’ (Bell, 2004:
58–79). This in fact was Australia’s answer to the Volcker shock – an
opportunistic over-response to the stock price boom that was designed to
break the back of the union movement and install permanently low
(consumer price) inflation rates as the new horizon of monetary policy.
In the midst of the recession, a more radical measure to keep a lid on
wage inflation was introduced: centralized wage bargaining was gradually
phased out in favour of enterprise wage bargaining, an institutional
measure that greatly undermined the negotiating powers of the trade
unions (Bell and Keating, 2018:
63). The RBA lent its hand to the task by adopting a strategy of active
pre-emption with regard to any sign of wage-push inflation (Bell and Keating, 2018:
65–66). The new monetary orthodoxy of central bank independence and
inflation-targeting was steadily gaining ground around the world (Pixley et al., 2013).
Implicit in this formula, though rarely acknowledged or analysed as
such, was the idea that consumer price inflation, as the translation of
surging wages and powerful trade unions, was to be suppressed at any
cost. Although asset prices had provided the immediate pretext for
Keating’s recession, they were not in the long term the target of
central bank moderation strategies. Instead, as noted by Charles Goodhart (2001),
central banks since the 1980s have adopted a strategy of benign neglect
vis-à-vis asset price inflation at the same time as they have doggedly
pursued the task of wage suppression via the selective targeting of the
consumer price index.

By the early 1990s, then, the terms of the Accord had morphed into
something very different from what was envisaged at the outset. The
promise of an expanded social wage was now marginalized in favour of
fiscal austerity and outright wage suppression. What remained was the
promise of worker participation in the ‘wealth effect’ of asset price
inflation. Housing formed a significant component of this wealth effect
and the ALP was not averse to promoting it in these terms. It was, after
all, the Hawke–Keating government that first began dismantling
Whitlam’s public housing legacy when it moved to replace low-rent
government housing with rental assistance in the private sector (Howe, 2009).
And it was Keating who reluctantly reintroduced negative gearing, a
formidable tax incentive to housing investment, under pressure from the
real estate lobby in 1987. Nevertheless, Keating remained ambivalent
about ‘asset-based welfare’ through housing, a policy model that in his
eyes was too closely associated with the Liberal Party strategy of the
1950s, when Prime Minister Robert Menzies had sought to create a stable
conservative voting base through the expansion of home ownership. Much
more congenial to Keating was the idea that workers might be seduced
into the world of pension fund capitalism via their superannuation
accounts and soaring stock prices (Kelly, 2011:
144). By contrast, John Howard, who had been an active exponent of
Menzies’ conservative home ownership strategy in the 1960s, was much
more attuned to the possibilities of housing as a financial asset (Eslake, 2013: 7–8; Quiggin, 2004:
186). The idea that housing should form a fourth pillar of welfare was
longstanding within the Australian political tradition, but under
Howard’s prime ministership its role changed dramatically from a
consumption good and passive store of wealth into a source of financial
collateral and generator of capital gains (Yates, 2011). The ‘wealth
effect’ of housing was now promoted as an outright alternative to the
wage-earner’s welfare state of the post-Second World War era.

As theorized most notably by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan,
the so-called ‘wealth effect’ could be understood as a serendipitous
outcome of the successful war against (consumer price and wage)
inflation: as consumer prices and wages flattened across the
Anglo-American economies, bond holders no longer demanded the inflation
premium that had hitherto driven up interest rates (Woodward, 1994:
228–230). The result of this new low-interest rate environment was
historically cheap consumer credit and a steady rise in household debt,
as workers found they could compensate for stagnant wages by borrowing
their way into asset ownership (Select Committee on Housing
Affordability in Australia, 2008: 54). Income from assets was now being
reconceptualized as a more plausible route to economic security than
income from labour. This shift is reflected in the sharp divergence
between consumer price inflation and house prices which occurred in the
early 1990s: throughout the 1980s, house prices were certainly rising
dramatically, but this growth was in line with high consumer price
inflation. From the 1990s onwards, however, house price (or asset)
inflation increased to 7.2% against a background of historically low
consumer price inflation (Kohler and van der Merwe, 2015: 21–22).

In Australia, as elsewhere, the turn to the housing ‘wealth effect’
was aided and abetted by the further liberalization of housing credit
that took place in the mid-1990s, as wholesale lenders entered the
Australian market allowing mortgage brokers to originate high-risk loans
without funding them, via recourse to mortgage-backed securities
(Select Committee on Housing Affordability in Australia, 2008: 56–58; Yates, 2014:
363–367). As lenders competed for market share and found ever more
ingenious ways to offload risk, they became much more willing to ‘move
out the risk spectrum by loosening their credit standards’ (Laker, 2007:
1). The effect of consumer competition for housing was to steadily bid
up housing prices, creating a positive feedback loop between the value
of collateral and debt-to-income ratios, such that lenders were assured
that they could always recuperate the value of any losses by reclaiming
collateral. Historical data on the trajectory of house prices from the
1990s onwards demonstrates a close correlation between consumer access
to mortgage credit and house price inflation (a recent tightening of
credit conditions, by contrast, has proven the same relationship in
reverse, by inducing an unexpected decline in house prices) (Lowe, 2017: 2).

Beyond the liberalization of credit, however, the transformation of
the home into a financial asset could not have occurred without the help
of exceptional tax incentives. To begin with, the house as primary
residence is entirely exempt from capital gains tax, and Australians who
wish to access their pension do not need to declare their house as part
of their assets, despite extraordinary house price rises in recent
years. But it is Australia’s tax incentives to housing investment (over
and above home ownership) which are truly extraordinary by international
standards. The first of these incentives, so-called negative gearing,
allows investors in a loss-generating asset to claim their losses
against all other forms of income. For example, if a house purchased as
an investment generates less in terms of rent than the interest payments
due on the mortgage, the investor can offset these losses as tax
deductions. Negative gearing works best when credit to rent ratios are
extreme and thereby serves as an active incentive to levels of leverage
that may have looked exorbitant by earlier credit standards (Daley, Wood
and Parsonage, 2016: 21 and 24). Importantly, it is also of most
benefit to high-income wage- and salary-earners. In most countries,
investment losses can only be claimed against income on other
investments. Australia is one of the few countries in which losses can
be claimed against any source of income, including income from
labour, making negative gearing a lucrative tax shelter for wage- and
salary-earners on a high marginal tax rate (Daley, Wood and Parsonage,
2016: 20). Thus, in a context in which government policy is otherwise
actively seeking to moderate wages, negative gearing has allowed high
earners and investors to exempt themselves from progressive taxation –
an innovation that might go some way to explaining the phenomenal surge
in earnings at the upper end of the income scale (Atkinson and Leigh, 2007; Katic and Leigh, 2016).

Ultimately, however, it was Howard’s sweeping cuts to capital gains
tax that have proven to be the most significant incentive to housing
investment. Inspired by the work of American supply-sider Alan Reynolds,
who had been commissioned by the Australian Stock Exchange to report on
incentives to investment, Howard introduced changes to capital gains
tax in 1999 which meant that investments held for at least 12 months
should be taxed at half the usual rate (Review of Business Taxation, 1999Reynolds, 1999Sydney Morning Herald, 2004).
The reform was sold as an incentive to stock market investment and
innovation, but served, more prosaically, as a phenomenal boost to the
market in housing investment in Australia (Quiggin, 2004:
186). According to the RBA, between January 2001 and July 2002,
mortgage lending to investors increased by 113% compared to only 48% for
owner-occupiers (RBA, 2002). Housing was now an investors’ market and first-home buyers were increasingly finding themselves outpriced (Berry and Dalton, 2004: 75–76).

It was Howard’s decision to introduce preferential tax treatment for
capital gains that turned negative gearing into a permanent tax haven
for investors in housing. Until Howard’s tax reforms, negative gearing
only allowed investors to postpone their income tax burden to the moment
of sale, when they would become fully liable for the capital gains tax,
calculated at an individual’s highest marginal tax rate. But when
Howard halved the capital gains tax for investments, negative gearing
became much more attractive since it was no longer simply a means of
deferring income taxes but of permanently reducing them (Eslake, 2013:
9). In fact, as pointed out by Daley, Wood and Parsonage (2016: 16),
the combined effect of these tax incentives is to allow investors to convert income from labour into income from capital at will – and thus to halve their marginal tax rates.

Distributional consequences of asset inflation

It should be clear from this detailed overview how changes to the tax
system, adopted reluctantly by Hawke and Keating, then strategically
supplemented under Howard, have actively contributed to the process of
combined wage moderation and asset price inflation in Australia. The
degree to which this new dispensation has favoured investors in
particular is evident from the changing distribution of mortgage
lending. Between 1990 and 2005, credit for owner-occupiers grew by an
impressive 642%, but over the same period credit for investors grew by a
massive 2184% (calculated from ABS D2 Lending and Credit Aggregates).1 In
2015–2016, the proportion of overall mortgage credit going to landlord
investors stood at 35% Australia-wide – about three times higher than
the USA, UK and Canada – and a phenomenal 50% of the Sydney market (Watermark Funds Management, 2017: 4). Of all apartments in Sydney, 49.6% are owned by investors (CoreLogic, 2016: 18) and in central areas of the city this percentage is often far higher (CoreLogic, 2016: 19).

In contrast to most other countries, amateur investors (rather than
large institutional investors or public housing trusts) play a central
role in Australia’s housing market.2 Although
popularly referred to as ‘mum and dad’ investors by politicians keen to
justify their continued support for house price inflation, analysis of
census data suggests that most of these investors belong to the top two
income quintiles and are typically either high-income-earning,
middle-aged men or small family partnerships hoping to capitalize on
housing assets as a sort of family wealth fund (Dungey et al., 2018; RBA, 2015: 22; Yanotti, 2017).
It is these players in the housing market who are able to take out the
largest loans (due to the value of their collateral), and consequently
it is they who have set the bar for property prices over the last few
decades (Kusher, 2017: Watermark Funds Management, 2017).

It is important to recognize that the growth of property investment
does not simply promote the accumulation of wealth but introduces a
skewed distribution within the income scale itself. Tax incentives on
investment not only serve to inflate house prices relative to wages,
they also create a positive feedback loop between high earnings and
income from capital gains. Put simply, those who are most likely to
benefit from the wealth effect of asset price inflation are also those
who earn the highest wages or salaries (Grudnoff, 2015).
For the tax year running from mid-2014 to mid-2015, Grudnoff reports a
highly unequal distribution for the benefits associated with negative
gearing: 34.1% of total negative gearing benefits went to the 10% of
household incomes; 62.2% went to the top 30% (Grudnoff, 2015:
5). The benefits associated with the capital gains tax discount are
distributed even more unequally: 73.2% of total capital gains tax
benefits went to the top 10% of household incomes (Grudnoff, 2015:
5). Even these figures, however, underestimate the true
wealth-generating effects of asset appreciation in as much as they only
register capital gains at the moment of sale and thereby exclude the
impact of unrealized capital gains (as pointed out by Robbins (2018),
the tax datasets used by Piketty and Saez suffer precisely from this
limitation). A hidden leveraging effect is provided by the simple
appreciation of asset prices, which may greatly inflate the imputed
value of an investor’s collateral and hence allow easier access to
credit and a tremendous accumulation of new wealth without ever
appearing in the tax data. Although entirely ‘virtual’ and prone to
volatility, the market valuation of capital gains generates powerful
leverage effects that can generate real and long-lasting increases in

The cumulative effect of government incentives over the past few
decades has been to facilitate the debt-plus-equity pathway to asset
purchase at the expense of the work-savings route that prevailed in the
immediate postwar era, where mortgage repayments were set at 30% of a
‘breadwinner’s’ wages (Yates, 2014:
365). The situation openly favours the owner-investor at the expense of
the wage-earner and prospective first-time purchaser. It is simply much
easier to accumulate housing assets when you already own a house that
is subject to rapid price appreciation: wealth begets wealth. With
investors setting the bar, first-home buyers have had to take on rising
levels of debt simply to remain in the game. But the effect of this
competitive spiral has been to push house prices even further out of

These trends have a pronounced generational dimension, leading many
to assume that the problem is essentially one of intergenerational
injustice (Daley and Wood, 2014).
But this ignores the fact that capital gains are spread unevenly among
the baby-boomer generation and that the adult children of the wealthiest
baby boomers are likely to benefit from these capital gains in the form
of intergenerational transfers (Christophers, 2018).
What distinguishes successive generations, then, is less a difference
in absolute wealth holdings than a difference in modes of access to
wealth: while older ‘baby-boomer’ generations were in a better position
to buy property through wages alone, this option has become less
accessible to younger generations who are increasingly dependent on the
ability and willingness of their parents to lend or give them money for a
deposit in order to enter the housing market (Simon and Stone, 2017:
23). This is confirmed by analysis of Australian Census and HILDA
(Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) data, which reveal
that young adults who are competing against each other and investors to
make a first-home purchase are significantly more likely to purchase a
dwelling (and a dwelling of higher relative value) if they receive
financial help from their parents (Barrett et al., 2015).
Kohler reports a dramatic increase in the reliance on parental support
for the purpose of purchasing a home, and the sum total of these
commitments would make the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ a mid-size home lender,
smaller than ING but larger than HSBC (Kohler, 2018).
There is growing evidence that parents are not only engaging in direct
forms of support to adult children, but also taking on debt or
guaranteeing loans to support them (Yeates, 2016). In short, social mobility is increasingly associated with the asset position of parents not only for the super-rich (cf. Gilding, 2005) but also for ordinary households.

The decades of sustained property inflation have thus had a major impact on the distribution of wealth in Australian society. Figure 2 shows
that during the period 2003–2011 the highest quintiles have experienced
far greater increases in wealth than lower ones. These consequences
were perhaps not so visible in the 1980s or 1990s, when for substantial
parts of the population capital gains compensated for stagnating wages
and house price inflation catapulted many working class (that is,
lower-income but home-owning) households into a higher wealth bracket.
Some of these households may well have permanently changed their class
profile, especially if they went on to purchase an investment property.
But the very logic of this dynamic means that it is increasingly
difficult to access for newcomers. As wages have continued to moderate,
existing wealth inequalities are being consolidated and accentuated. We
have moved, then, from a brief period of wealth democratization to a
period of lock-in, where social opportunities are becoming heavily
dependent on family wealth. Taken together, these trends open up the
possibility that, if current policy conditions remain the same, access
to housing wealth will become more concentrated with time.


Figure 2. Percentage change in household net worth between 2003 and 2011.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (2013), Household wealth and wealth distribution, Australia, 2011–2012.

Growing segments of the population are now finding themselves locked out of the property market (La Cava et al., 2017).
Ownership as a percentage of the total Australian population has
declined over the past 20 years – from 71.4% in 1994–1995 to 67.5% in
2015–2016 (ABS, 2015–2016), showing that many of the policies that were
presented as measures to promote more widespread home ownership have in
fact arrested and reversed the growth of home ownership. Furthermore,
the composition of ownership is changing away from outright ownership
towards mortgage-based ownership, reflecting the growing cost and
duration of mortgages. These trends are depicted in Figure 3,
which shows that in about two decades the percentage of owners without a
mortgage fell from 41.8% to 30.4% of the Australian population. The
decline of home ownership is most pronounced among young people. Whereas
in 1981 61% of Australians aged 25–34 owned a home, by 2016 this had
dropped to 44%; for the age group 35–44, the decline was similar, from
74% to 62%. Only Australians older than 55 had similar rates of home
ownership in 2016 as they did in 1981 (Wiltshire and Wood, 2017).


Figure 3. Percentage of Australian households that owns a home, without mortgage (orange line) and with mortgage (blue line).

Source: ABS, Housing occupancy and costs, Australia, 2015–16, table 1.

This means that a growing number of Australians are becoming lifetime
renters and many more of them are finding that their wage incomes are
being eroded by rising rents. The ABS reports that between 1994–1995 and
2013–2014, private renters experienced a 62% increase in average weekly
rental costs, after adjustment for inflation (ABS, 2015).
These figures are likely to be much higher for cities such as Sydney
and Melbourne, where low-cost rentals are becoming a vanishingly small
component of the overall housing market. The ABS also reports a
significant increase in homelessness across the nation over the same
period, with rising rental costs and financial problems accounting for
14% and 13% of new cases respectively (ABS, 2014). Again, the figures
are catastrophic for Sydney in particular. The Australian Homelessness
Monitor found that the number of homeless people increased more than
three times the national average in Sydney in five years of rapid house
price inflation between 2011 and 2016 (Launch Housing, 2018: 6).

Average wage earners who, three or four decades ago, may have been
able to enter the housing market by saving up for a deposit, are now
increasingly reliant on intergenerational transfers to make their first
leap into home ownership. To this we should add the fact that even the
possibility of pursuing a tertiary education or the now compulsory
unpaid internship very often requires monetary or in-kind support from
parents in the form of rental assistance or rent-free shared housing (Oliver et al., 2016).
Not only does housing wealth beget housing wealth, progressively
narrowing the pool of those able to enter the housing market; it also
increasingly determines one’s educational opportunities and hence one’s
future earning potential and professional status. In such an
environment, class can no longer realistically be identified as a simple
function of wages from labour (working, middle and upper class) or
professional status (blue collar, white collar, pink collar), and must
instead be rethought in terms of asset ownership and intergenerational

Rethinking class theory

The significance of our argument about the importance of asset
ownership for an understanding of class needs to be gauged against the
fact that class has conventionally been understood first and foremost
with reference to work and employment. From the 1970s onwards, both
broadly Marxist and broadly Weberian perspectives have elaborated this
basic idea in detailed ways.

Marxist and neo-Marxist analyses have focused on the antagonistic
relationship between owners/employers (including the bourgeoisie, small
employers and the petty bourgeoisie) and waged workers/employees, as
well as on the ambiguity associated with the self-employed and the
managerial and supervisory occupations that expanded in the post-Second
World War era. US sociologist Erik Olin Wright, for example, proposed a
6-point (1978, 1979), and then a revised 12-point (1985, 1997, 1998),
class scheme. In his 12-point scheme, class positions ranged from the
bourgeoisie at one end to the proletariat at the other, with 10
intermediate classes. Wright understood these intermediate classes as
sitting in a complex set of relations to each other and, in the context
of the growth of white-collar jobs, included semi-credentialed workers,
uncredentialed supervisors, expert managers and small employers. Despite
this complexity, at its core positions in Wright’s scheme depended on
relationships to the means of production, and especially the abilities
of classes relative to each other to extract surplus value from labour.

While Marxist and neo-Marxist class schemes focused on the antagonism
between employers and employees, the model of class developed in the
postwar period that has unambiguously been the most influential has been
the functionalist scheme developed by John Goldthorpe and colleagues at
Nuffield College, Oxford. This scheme – sometimes referred to as the
Nuffield class schema – rejects the emphasis on the antagonistic
owner–worker dynamic found in classifications such as Wright’s, and
instead emphasizes processes of the differentiation of labour in
advanced industrial societies (see, e.g. Goldthorpe and Marshall, 1992).
This differentiation (especially that relating to the emergence and
diversification of administrative and managerial functions) is
understood to be the outcome of the complexities and bureaucratization
inherent to advanced industrial societies. For Goldthorpe and his
colleagues, such processes – including the transformations of property
into corporate forms and the bureaucratization of labour and
organizations – produce a class structure whereby the social position of
actors is constituted in employment relations – that is, in their
occupational position.3

In large part because of its functionalism and scientism, and in
providing a class scheme that could be effectively operationalized by
using measures of occupational and employment positions (see Savage, 2016), the Nuffield class schema has been the most successful and influential classificatory class scheme (see Crompton, 2008Savage et al., 2013).
Most notably, in 2000 it became the UK government’s official measure of
class in the form of the National Statistics Socio-Economic
Classification (NS-SEC). In addition, a Europe-wide classification – the
European Socio-economic Classification (ESeC) – based on the Nuffield
schema has recently been initiated (Rose and Harrison, 2011).
As this suggests, one of the key virtues of the schema is that its
operationalization has allowed the generation of comparable datasets
across different national domains. Such comparisons were previously not
possible given the predominance of nationally specific class measurement

In their writings, Goldthorpe and his colleagues were at pains to
highlight the difference between the Nuffield schema and its Marxist and
post-Marxist counterparts (see, e.g. Goldthorpe and Marshall, 1992).
It is, however, critical to register that the competing schemes shared
in common the view that class positions were embedded in the division of
labour, and especially in the occupational structure. The two competing
approaches therefore shared in common the view that work, employment
and the employment relationship were the key drivers in the constitution
of class positions. Indeed, this view remains social science orthodoxy
(see, e.g. Connelly et al., 2016; Lambert and Bihagen, 2014McGovern et al., 2007).
This is the case despite the fact that the significance of employment
and employment relations in the constitution of inequalities has been
actively eclipsed by the rise of the significance of asset ownership and
intergenerational transfers in shaping class positions. Despite their
orthodox status, employment and occupationally based class schemes
therefore appear as anachronistic and unable to come to grips with the
present-day realities of asset-led inequality and the institutional
dynamics that have organized such inequality.

This is not to say that this orthodoxy has gone unchallenged. One of
the more significant developments in class theory to have strained
against employment-based class schemes was the reconsideration and
broadening of the term ‘capital’ in sociological theory under the
influence of Bourdieu’s work and the role these various forms of
(economic, cultural and social) capital played in the constitution of
class. Initially anchored in qualitative studies (see, e.g. Reay, 1998; Skeggs, 1997),
larger scale and national survey-based studies emerged that were
designed to consider how stocks of different capital interact to produce
class positions (see, e.g. Bennett et al., 1999; Lamont, 1992).
The Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion project in the UK, for
example, designed by Mike Savage and colleagues, explored the social,
cultural and economic dimensions of class, and involved a national
sample survey (Bennett et al., 2009).
It found that while clear class boundaries in the structure of cultural
tastes existed, ‘key class boundaries were not the same as those
identified in the Nuffield class schema’ (Savage, 2016:
68). As Savage put it, these findings ‘opened the way for Bourdieusian
perspectives to more directly engage with Goldthorpe’s models of class’ (Savage, 2016:
68). They led, for example, to the high-profile Great British Class
Survey (GBCS), which developed a new model of class for contemporary
Britain (Savage et al., 2013, 2015).4 This
survey established a seven-point class scheme (from the elite to the
precariat) in which class positions are grounded not only in occupations
but in economic capital more broadly stated (including household
income, household savings and house price) as well as in cultural and
social capital. The key finding of this survey was that the British
class structure had changed such that the conventional fixation on the
boundary between middle and working classes in class analysis ‘should be
replaced by a greater focus on the elite at the top of the social
structure, the precariat at the bottom, and a more complex range of
classes in the middle ranges’ (Savage, 2016: 68).

While the opening up of the role of capital in the GBCS to include
assets is certainly to be welcomed, there is a sense it which it is too
little too late.5 It
is not able to do justice to the significance of asset holdings in
shaping class positions, in part because of the continued strength of
the assumption that class status is determined in the last instance by
employment position and in part because of the ways in which a
continuing fixation on the role of symbolic and cultural forms of
capital (at the expense of attention to economic and financial capital)
has blunted the critical edge of this move.6 Thus,
although the GBCS attends to house value and total household income
over and above wages, it nonetheless fails to distinguish between
sources of income (income from labour or wages versus income from assets
such as rents, dividends, interest and capital gains), and asset
ownership does not operate as a key variable in the final list of class
categories. This has the effect of obscuring the growing relative
importance of asset ownership in shaping class positions and determining
the source of one’s income (wage income versus capital income).
Importantly, our data on the Australian housing market demonstrate that
the wealthiest housing market investors are also those who are most
likely to receive tax-preferenced investor income, in the form of
capital gains. Moreover, the focus of these studies on the aggregate
level of the household is not fine-grained enough to tell us how
decisions are made with regard to intergenerational transfers, loans and
bequests. (This is a point recognized by the authors themselves – see Savage et al., 2013: 243.)

To the extent that the field of class analysis has seen the emergence
of significant challenges to such frameworks, this has come from
authors operating within the traditions of political philosophy and
heterodox political economy. Such analyses are less concerned with and
restricted by orthodox social science stratification debates and more
interested in capturing the stratifying consequences of long-run
economic developments. The emergence of indebtedness as a necessity and a
norm (to access housing, healthcare and education) has, for instance,
provoked analyses focusing on the credit–debt relation (see, e.g. Graeber, 2011Lazzarato, 2011Soederberg, 2014).
These analyses posit that since the majority need access to credit and
creditworthiness in order to live, the power of creditors (financial
institutions and financial elites) has become elevated such that the
asymmetrical creditor–debtor relation has become a constitutive and
generalized social relation, one that is lived and structured as a class
relation. This class relation is understood to be evident in how the
necessity of debt directly benefits creditors, not least in extended
opportunities to extract profits from the bearers of debt, especially in
the form of interest payments on loans, mortgages and other forms of
contracted debt. In turn, the indebted find themselves exploited and
governed by their creditors.

While such analyses have a certain cultural valence, they nonetheless
mistake the asset economy for a credit–debt economy. They fail to
recognize that indebtedness is very often a necessary condition of asset
holding including, for instance, that most household debt is mortgage
debt held by owner-investors against residential property as a financial
asset. They also fail to recognize that the value of assets on which
mortgages and loans are held often outstrips that of any contracted
payments on those assets, and that (for the asset-rich) debt holdings
against investments can be packaged as losses for the purposes of
capital gains. Analyses of the dynamics of credit and debt as the pivot
of class relations therefore fail to take into account the dynamics and
significance of sustained and institutionally organized asset price
inflation. As a consequence, such analyses produce an overly bifurcated
and simplistic model of class that sidesteps and obscures the
stratifying effects of asset ownership in terms of the distribution of
wealth and of life chances.

Guy Standing (2011) has
edged closer to recognizing the stratifying significance of asset
ownership by pointing to a growing differentiation between a precariat
class who live off casual and short-term labour contracts and a rentier
class who live off the income flows from financial assets.7 Although
this approach has the merit of foregrounding the role of assets in
shaping class positions, as with analyses of the credit–debt relation,
Standing’s taxonomy of class is too dichotomous and fails to account for
the fact that significant proportions of the population have been
included in the asset economy via their access to superannuation and
mortgage finance. As we have argued in this paper, important class
differences exist within the population of asset holders, with
owner-occupiers distinct from owners of investment properties and
outright owners distinct from prospective, indebted owners. In other
words, to the extent that existing class models have been challenged, it
takes the form of what we referred to earlier as the supplementation of
such models with an emphasis on the growth of rentier wealth
concentrated in the very top echelons of society (see Atkinson et al., 2017). Savage (2014:
603), for example, has commented that ‘[the] fundamental point which
Piketty’s class analysis leads to … is the need to focus on the very
wealthy, and how far this group might indeed be crystallizing as a
class’. A focus only on the very wealthy, however, fails to grasp how
large proportions of the population are included in the asset economy,
how asset inflation is a long-term political project and how class
differences exist within the population of asset holders. It obfuscates
just how profound the effects of the asset economy have been in
reshaping the social structure.

To capture this reshaping, it is possible to propose a class scheme
analogous to the Marxist and Weberian schemes, but which captures asset
ownership (rather than place in the division of labour and/or stocks of
cultural capital) as the key distributor and driver of life chances. In Figure 4 we
offer such a scheme. Based on the data we have presented in this paper
for the Australian case, especially the distributional dynamics we have
highlighted in regard to wealth distribution and wage moderation, this
is an inductive as well as heuristic scheme. Our scheme differentiates
five classes defined by their relationships to asset ownership, and
especially to property ownership: from investors who live off the income
generated from portfolios of assets through to non-asset owning classes
(renters and the homeless). The scheme therefore captures the
stratifying effects of asset ownership and property inflation. While the
scheme is classificatory (whereby different relationships to asset
ownership define class positions), it also recognizes that these classes
exist in relation to one another. Positions in the asset-based class
scheme therefore concern the abilities of classes relative to each other
to own assets and to benefit from asset holdings. These abilities are,
however, not constituted by certain classes appropriating those
abilities or capacities from others. Certainly, there are significant
elements of relationality. Renters who are dependent on income from
labour, for example, are likely to be servicing the mortgages of
landlord investors and hence providing the conditions of possibility for
investors to enhance their asset holdings and asset-based capital
gains. But it is critical to recognize, as we have stressed throughout
this paper, that these capacities and abilities, and hence asset-based
class positions, have been constituted and distributed institutionally
via the twin processes of asset price inflation and wage moderation.
This means neither that asset-based classes are locked in a zero-sum
game (where benefits for some rest on losses for others), nor that the
existence of classes and their relationship to assets is necessarily
structurally dependent on the existence of other classes and their
relationship to assets. Instead, prevailing and embedded institutional
conditions have constituted and distributed asset class positions. As
such, for the case of the asset economy, it is critical to understand
asset class positions (that is, different relationships to asset
ownership) as institutionally structured.


Figure 4. Asset-based class scheme.

In foregrounding different relationships to asset ownership, our
scheme makes the full implications of the asset economy for the
reshaping of the social structure explicit. The scheme therefore moves
away from simplistic models of a bifurcated class structure (e.g. of
rentiers and renters or of creditors and debtors) and articulates a top,
bottom and middle range of classes defined by complex relationships to
asset ownership (including mortgaged home ownership, and ownership of
investment properties). It captures how the population as a whole is
incorporated into the economy of assets and demonstrates how positions
within the hierarchy of asset ownership overdetermine the wage
relationship. At the upper end of the scale, housing market investors
are likely to be less dependent on income from labour and more dependent
on income from capital, particularly in the form of capital gains. This
means that while most wage earners have experienced stagnant income
growth over the past few decades, the incomes of the wealthiest
investors have experienced a phenomenal inflationary upsurge of housing
assets in general. This correlates with recent studies that have
demonstrated the significance of investor or capital income, in
particular capital gains, in shaping today’s class inequalities (Nau, 2013Robbins, 2018).
As a heuristic device, the scheme requires further empirical
verification, including the stratifying effects of other assets such as
superannuation and shares (cf. Bryan and Rafferty, 2018: 73–104).8 It
is certainly true that financial assets of all kinds are concentrated
among the highest quintile of income earners, who hold 53% of investment
real estate, 60% of all shares and other financial assets and 46% of
all superannuation wealth (Davidson et al., 2018:
55). And housing is not the only asset to offer lucrative tax
protections to high-income earners: superannuation in particular
benefits from extraordinary tax concessions that have barely been dented
by recent legislative reforms (Daley, Coates and Young, 2016a).
Nevertheless, housing continues to be the key driver of wealth
inequality among Australian households, followed by shares and business
income, then superannuation.9 In
as much as it is property ownership, property inflation, property-based
capital gains and wage moderation that have produced such marked
stratifying effects in the Australian case, we believe our proposed
scheme correctly focuses on the key asset. As such, our proposed scheme
represents a major advance on those that simply layer a rentier class
over established employment and cultural capital-based class schemes.10

Our asset-based class scheme has some historical antecedents that are
important to acknowledge. In the late 1970s and across the 1980s, in
the context of the selling off of public housing stock in the UK, a
debate took place among urban studies scholars and political scientists
regarding the relationship between housing tenure and social and
political divisions, including class divisions (see, e.g. Dunleavy, 1979Forrest and Murie, 1986Saunders, 1984). This included explicit discussion of the relationship between home ownership, wealth accumulation and class (Saunders, 1984).
Ultimately, these debates did not impact on or change the course of the
social science orthodoxy in regard to class. In part this was because
housing tenure (and especially home ownership) was framed as an issue of
consumption. As a consequence, the debate did not engage with (or
appreciate) the key process that we have foregrounded in this paper,
namely the construction of residential property as a financial asset.
But these debates also had little impact on the social science class
orthodoxy because at that historical juncture the full force of wage
moderation, asset price inflation and intergenerational wealth transfers
had yet to be felt even though, as we have shown for the Australian
case, the selling off of public housing forms a critical element in the
pathway towards fully fledged asset-based inequalities. Now, 40 years
after those debates, this full force is being felt, with asset ownership
eclipsing the significance of employment and employment relations in
the shaping of class positions.


In this paper we have made a number of interventions that contribute
to understanding the dynamic interplay between wealth accumulation,
asset inflation and social stratification. We have done so in a context
in which, although Piketty’s Capital has mapped growing
inequalities based on wealth, and especially on asset-based wealth, the
implications of such inequalities for understanding the logics and
dynamics of class and stratification have not been theorized or
elaborated. We have suggested that in part this problem lies with
ongoing attachments to orthodox employment-based class schemes as well
as with an ongoing fixation on symbolic or cultural forms of capital. At
the very best, existing class models have been supplemented by the
addition of a rentier class. We have suggested that this problem also
relates to how Piketty understands wealth accumulation to be driven by
natural economic laws. In contrast, we have proposed that present-day
asset-based wealth accumulation and asset-based inequalities are better
understood as institutionally and politically shaped. Drawing on the
case of Australia, we have shown not only how property inflation,
asset-based capital gains and wage moderation are institutional and
political outcomes, but also how institutional and political
interventions have resulted in a structural reconfiguration of patterns
of inequality. Far from only concerning the very rich or a rentier
class, this structural reconfiguration is thoroughgoing, such that it is
the relationship to assets rather than employment that operates as the
key decider and distributor of life chances. On this basis, we have
proposed that employment-based class schemes should be replaced with an
asset-based scheme. While requiring further empirical verification, we
believe that our proposed five-point asset-based class scheme will go
some way in explaining how the current structural mutation of capital is
central to the production of a new social structure of class. In short,
we see our scheme as providing a long-overdue sociological translation
of the implications of growing asset-based wealth inequalities.


We would like to acknowledge Judith Yates for permission to build on her original graph in Figure 1,
and Varun Satish for his help in updating the data and visuals. We
would also like to thank Ewald Engelen for his invaluable feedback on
our paper. Finally, we owe thanks to SSSHARC (Sydney Social Sciences and
Humanities Advanced Research Centre), the Sydney Policy Lab and the
Faculty of Arts and Social Science’s FutureFix programme at the
University of Sydney for their generous support of our ongoing research.

Declaration of conflicting interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with
respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.


The authors received financial support from the Faculty of Arts and
Social Science’s FutureFix programme at the University of Sydney.


1. The rate of growth investment credit
has declined since then, but this has been in part compensated for by
the increased funds flowing into the Australian housing market from
Chinese investors.

2. In contrast to the USA and UK, the
‘build to rent’ model and involvement of large corporate landlords have
not taken off in Australia, despite recent interest from policymakers.
See AHURI Brief (2019).

3. While this scheme has been subject
to adjustment, it sorts occupations into seven classes grouped into
three clusters defined in terms of the character of employment relations
found within them. It differentiates working, intermediate and service
classes and, critically, between employees whose work is governed by a
labour contract (including routine, semi-routine and technical
employees) and those involved in a service relationship with employers.
The latter includes managers, professionals and administrators.

4. This survey was subsequently replicated in Australia (see Sheppard and Biddle, 2017).

5. It is worth registering here that the post-Bourdieusian landscape also includes Boltanski and Esquerre’s (2016; see also Boltanski et al., 2015)
recent analysis of what they term the economy of enrichment. Noting a
tendency in the world economy towards the production of expensiveness,
and recognizing that the production of expensiveness is connected to
increasing wealth inequalities as well as to divisions of social class,
the focus of Boltanski and Esquerre’s analysis is the modalities through
which the value of expensive objects is established and maintained. One
such modality that Boltanski and Esquerre explore is the asset form,
but this is posited as one modality operating alongside and with many
others. This pragmatist approach to value and valuation therefore fails
to take into account the institutional basis of asset appreciation and
hence is unable to deliver an analysis of the consequences of this
appreciation and asset holding in the shaping of social class positions.

6. Payne (2013) has
observed that the GBCS simply adds an elite class category to a set of
classes that approximate to those found in the NS-SEC classification –
that is, the UK government’s official class classification based on the
Nuffield class schema.

7. Standing is not alone in foregrounding a return of the rentier class, see, for example, Duménil and Lévy (2005)Lapavitsas (2009)Stockhammer et al. (2011).

8. As the next step in this project we
are carrying out a survey across Greater Sydney to test the robustness
of our scheme. The survey pays special attention to the significance of
intergenerational transfers in the shaping of asset class positions.

9. According to Davidson et al., the
three asset classes making the greatest contribution to wealth
inequality at the end of 2016, when the Gini coefficient was 0.61, were
‘owner occupied housing (contributing 0.22, reflecting its high weight
among household assets), shares and business income (contributing 0.15,
reflecting its high concentration in high-wealth households), and
superannuation (contributing 0.12, reflecting its high weight among
household assets)’ (Davidson et al. 2018: 59).

10. While beyond the scope of the
current article, our scheme provides a basis for exploring the spatial
dimensions of asset classes, especially for exploring which asset
classes are more likely or unlikely to reside in the place of their


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taken from here

Der Beitrag Class in the 21st century: Asset inflation and the new logic of inequality erschien zuerst auf

Athen/Exarchia: Über die Demo vom 14.9. und ihre Interpretation in den sozialen Medien Mon, 16 Sep 2019 10:10:41 +0000

Samstag, 14. September demonstrierten mehrere Tausend Menschen im
Zentrum Athens gegen die jüngsten Räumungen von Squats und den
staatlichen Terror im Stadtteil Exarchia. Dazu aufgerufen hatte zunächst
das Bündnis NO PASARAN, andere Gruppen folgten in den letzten Tagen mit
eigenen Aufrufen. Die Demonstration an sich kann als Erfolg bewertet
werden, wenn die hohe Zahl der Teilnehmenden, die vielen neuen und
jungen Leute, als Beweis der Tatsache angesehen wird, dass die Bewegung
noch lebt und sich der Repression entgegen stellen wird.

Was in den linksradikalen und sozialen Medien weltweit falsch
interpretiert wurde, ist der Charakter von NO PASARAN und deren
Verständnis vom Kampf um Exarchia. Die darin beteiligten Gruppen, die
Besetzungen Lelas Karagianni , Notara 26, K*Vox, und die Gruppe Class Counterattack,
sprechen sich seit Jahren gegen Auseinandersetzungen im Kiez aus. Die
einzige von ihnen in Exarchia praktizierte Militanz richtet sich gegen
„sozialen Kannibalismus“, womit bestimmte Squats, bestimmte Dealer,
bestimmte Zigarettenhändler und Rioters gemeint sind.

Die Unwissenheit der Twitter-Linken führt zu absurden Interpretation von Rouvikonas Facebook Posts
zum Exarchia Konflikt. Rouvikonas hat keine einzige Aktion in diesem
Gebiet durchgeführt; die Fixierung auf dieses Viertel ist oft zurecht
kritisiert worden, daraus abzuleiten, dass plötzlich alle Gruppen, die
diese Kritik in den letzten Jahren formuliert haben, nun mit Gewalt den
Kiez verteidigen werden, ist bizarr. Vielmehr warten sie seit Jahren auf
den „richtigen“ Zeitpunkt für die Revolution, der sich aus ihrer
Verbundenheit und Akzeptanz in der Nachbarschaft ergeben soll und
irgendwann die Legitimation zur Machtübernahme erteilt. Bis dahin ist
der Kiez nur ein Ort für Einnahmequellen und Struktur, hier soll Ruhe
herrschen. Die eigene Praxis leitet sich also eher aus einer
kommunistischen als aus einer anarchistischen Analyse ab. Immerhin
konnte die ehemals einflussreiche Gruppe Alpha Kappa keinen Zugang zu NO
PASARAN bekommen, was vor allem an ihrer inzwischen nur noch
mafiotischen Wahrnehmung liegen soll. In Assemblies berichten
migrantische Zigarettenhändler von Schutzgelderpressungen des "Security
Team", eine von Alpha Kappa protegierte Schläger Truppe, die nach dem
Anschlag auf Notara 26 vor einigen Jahren für Sicherheit sorgen sollte
und versucht von der Perspektivlosigkeit vieler Menschen zu profitieren.

Alleine die Uhrzeit und die Route der Demo vom 14.9. sprechen für
sich: 12:00 Mittags auf der üblichen Route im Zentrum. Es war eine Demo
ohne jede Polizeipräsenz, das hat es selbst unter Syriza nicht gegeben.
Die Einsatzleitung der Bullen konnte sich auf den informell verbreiteten
Gewaltsverzichtkonsens von NO PASARAN verlassen.


Neben NO PASARAN hatte sich nach den vier Räumungen am 26.8. ein
weiteres Bündnis von Squats und migrantischen Gruppen gegründet. Dazu
gehört auch das geräumte GARE
. Auch wenn dieses Bündnis dem von NO PASARAN kritisch gegenüber steht,
entschloss sich deren Versammlung zur Teilnahme an der Demo.

Aufruf der Open Assembly of squats, collectives, stekia, internationalists, refugees-migrants and solidarians.

Die friedlichste Demo der letzten Zeit endete gegen 15 Uhr an der
Platia von Exarchia, wo sich der NO PASARAN Block in Luft auflöste.
Einige Menschen hatten mit dem Versuch einer Wiederbesetzung eines der
geräumten Squats gerechnet, was in der anfänglichen Dynamik möglich
gewesen wäre. Aber die Initiative wurde nicht ergriffen, stattdessen gab
es nach einer Stunde statischen Wartens einen Angriff auf den neuen
Bullen Checkpoint an der Tositsa Straße. Der Angriff dauerte keine
Minute und MAT bewegte sich im Viertel
wie es von BFE in Deutschland gewohnt ist – der Aufbau spezieller
Festnahmeeinheiten wurde in den Zeitungen letzte Woche bekannt gegeben.
Zusätzlich operierte zum ersten Mal in Auseinandersetzungen ein OPKE
Jeep an der Platia, Zeichen für die sinkende Furcht vor Molotov
Treffern. Von den laut Presse angeblich 50 Angreifenden wurden 20
Verdächtige teilweise in Hauseingängen in Gewahrsam genommen und 4
Menschen warten in Haft auf die Vorführung beim Gericht.

Weitere Infos und Call zur Kundgebung vor dem Gericht am Mittwoch.

Das Ende der Demo wird von einigen Leuten als Zeichen der Schwäche
gesehen, keine Gruppe war bereit Verantwortung für eine Initiative zu
übernehmen, die mit Risiken verbunden ist.

Angriff auf Polizeistation Zografou

In der Nacht vor der Demo wurde die Polizeistation in Zografou von 40
Vermummten angegriffen. Hier befindet sich der größte Uni Campus
Athens, auf dem eine Party mit Tausenden Teilnehmer*Innen statt fand.
Die Meldung der Polizei behauptet, das die Vermummten von diesem Gelände
gekommen wären um die Wache, die direkt vor dem Zaun liegt, mit
Molotovs zu bewerfen. Unterschiedliche Presseberichte schreiben, dass
sich die Beamten mit Blendschock Granaten oder Teargas Launcher
verteidigt hätten. Partybesucher berichten, dass der Eingangsbereich der
Wache und die davor abgesperrte Straße in Flammen gestanden habe. Die
Gewerkschaft der Polizei berichtet auf Facebook von einem Besuch ihrer
Führung noch in der Nacht bei der betroffenen Station, um die Moral der
Beamten zu stärken und gemeinsam die Furcht zu besiegen. Die Regierung
solle endlich gegen die Gewalt vom Campus vorgehen, was komisch wirkt,
weil das Uni Asyl aufgehoben ist und die Bullen reingehen könnten.

Weitere Unruhen

Unbeachtet von dem ganzen Exarchia Trubel liefern sich fast täglich Migrant*Innen auf den griechischen Inseln oder an den Grenzen, sowie in den als „Hotspots“ bezeichneten Konzentrationslagern, Kämpfe mit der Polizei. Wie diese Kämpfe miteinander verbunden werden könnten, sollte in die Überlegungen der europäischen Solidaritätsbewegungen einfließen. Der Krieg gegen die Flüchtenden wird sowohl in den Straßen Athens als auch an den griechischen Grenzen in enger Abstimmung mit dem Europäischen Parlament geführt. Hier bildet die Nea Dimokratia eine Fraktion mit der CDU.

taken from here

Der Beitrag Athen/Exarchia: Über die Demo vom 14.9. und ihre Interpretation in den sozialen Medien erschien zuerst auf

The gilets jaunes, an analyser of the reproduction of capitalist social relations [Temps critiques] Sun, 15 Sep 2019 13:29:21 +0000

From lundi matin #207, 09/09/2019, reflections on the yellow vests’ movement …

The gilets jaunes, an analyser of the reproduction of capitalist social relations [Temps critiques]

For the irregular publication Temps Critiques (to be consulted on this free site),
the yellow vests’ movement must be seen “as a resistance to the
revolution of capital” (and which also “functions” as an ‘analyser’ of
the crisis of reproduction of capitalist social relations”). The authors
of this article, yellow vests themselves (the
gilets jaunes
being “nothing outside of its community of struggle”), describe the
movement of the roundabouts as a “collective heresy” marked both by “the
refusal of planned protest marches” and the outline of “less
capitalised life practices shared in the joyful conviviality of

Now with a little hindsight, we can ask ourselves the question of
what links a movement such as the yellow vests can maintain with what we
have called “the revolution of capital”.(1) One can not say that it is
the product of capital, because that would be close to a truism. It also
can not be said that it is the expression of capital, because the
revolution of capital is not a ‘subject’, but a process of forces
tending towards what we have called capitalised society. There are
forces that go in the direction of reinforcing this process or that fuel
its dynamics and others that are counter-fires. The recurrent
resistances that do not fail to occur during this process are part of
these forces, but they have no final, fixed meaning, as we see in the
history of workers’ movement and that of socialist theories in general
which have espoused the course of a ‘progress’ (in the so-called
“progressive” camp, as opposed to the reactionary or conservative camp),
something that today is very controversial.

Closer to us, a movement like May ’68 carried within it the notions
of emancipation and the end of alienation, but we now know (well, it’s
been a while) that this significance was overturned electorally by the
Gaullist election victory (what political scientists call “the prize to
the winners”)(2); and that it thus finally participated in, with most of
its activists defending as a body (Hegel’s good old ruse of reason in
history, of Hegel), this revolution of capital (what some have called
“recovery”, which for us is not one).

There is therefore no reason to proceed in any other way with the
yellow vests’ movement and it is moreover the majority of the positions
defended within Temps critiques, and this precisely because we
can not prejudge movement’s principal meaning. It is therefore not
surprising that we did not adopt the position of denouncing the
“confusions” that could find expression in it, coming from extreme or
ultra left groups, with their revolutionary ‘principles’ as measures,
principles invalidated and consigned to the dustbin of history, as the
good Marx would say if he lived today. On this account, one could return
the accusation against them, so much are most of them in a situation of
great theoretical confusion because of the little efficiency of their
patented compasses, incapable of turning their GPS’s towards the
revolution. To criticise one or more “confusions”, one must have, if not
particular theoretical and political certainties, at least a body of
doctrines that permit “illuminating” (cf. enlightenment) the dark and
troubled dimensions of an historical event.

This was the case with Marxism and anarchism since the First
International; this is no longer the case with the exhaustion and then
the defeat of the revolutionary workers’ movement (in the 1920s,
although other periodisations are possible). In the yellow vests’
movement, a great diversity of individuals have been involved and have
expressed themselves and among them, some from the extreme right and
others from the extreme left; but there has never been a combination of
these two currents; they coexisted until the end of December and
disappeared in the practice of the movement, without their positions
being at any time adopted by it. In other words, there has been no
“coming together of the extremes”, as has been analysed in certain
aspects of fascism and Nazism (cf. Jean-Pierre Faye and his critique of
totalitarian languages) and, moreover, could there have been such a
junction, given that the yellow vests’ movement has no ideology in the
doctrinal sense of the term?

In this ideological no-man’s land, the Blacks blocks will
finally find their place, at the service of the movement, no doubt, but a
movement of which one of the limits is precisely not to have determined
more precisely how far it wanted to go in its confrontation with the
State and what relationship it had with the police. There was
clarification between the almost friendships of the beginning on the
roundabouts on weekdays because these law enforcement officers were
perceived as part of the dominated, in contrast to the harsh reality of
the “legitimate violence” of the State and its armed guards during the
subsequent Saturday urban protests. But the emphasis on repression to
attract solidarity has been rather counterproductive, for not only has
there been no active solidarity towards the movement by other social
forces, but this latter has reduced the number of truly determined
people. This was the intended goal of the government.

So no particular or specific “confusion” or combination of
heterogeneous political forces, but rather individuals who, on the
immediate basis of difficult conditions in everyday life, would
aggregate on the basis of what appears to them (the governmental
measure) like the drop of water that breaks the camel’s back. From then
on, a community of struggle gradually emerges which literally pulls the
yellow vests out of their social atomisation and which appears to them
moreover as an opening up onto an outside world that many seem to
discover for the first time (see the discussions with the many
first-time protesters). After the close meetings on the roundabouts on
weekdays follow open discussions and opportunities for action with
people “from outside”, during the city demonstrations on Saturday and
quick, targeted actions.

Rather than expressing the revolution of capital, it seems more
accurate to speak of a movement which acts, in the first place, as a
resistance to this revolution of capital (3) and acts as an “analyser”
of the crisis of the reproduction of capitalist social relations; a
particularly acute crisis in the sector that we have identified and
defined as that of the reproduction of social relations. Indeed, the
main contradictions of capitalism are now carried from the level of
production to that of reproduction. But contrary to what some people
think, like Laurent Jeanpierre in his book In Girum: les leçons politiques des ronds-points
(La Découverte, 2019), the question of reproduction of which we speak
is not comparable to that of the reproduction of a species in which, in fine,
this author comes to oppose social and societal by giving primacy to
the second term, into which he introduces the ecological/environmental
dimension. In this, he finds himself completely in sync with a slogan
more or less accepted under the influence of climate groups like Alternatiba,
then brandished by fractions of yellow vests: “End of the month, end of
the world, same struggle”. And we had considerable difficulties in
trying to correct an “End of the month, end of the world, same struggle”
which specified more precisely the capitalist dimension of what we
fight against, that it is the politics of great infrastructures, the
systematic development of platforms to accelerate flows of capital or
commodification of health care.

As for our active participation in the yellow vests’ movement, we can
say that it is quite “natural” insofar as we had previously developed
theses on the human revolution, the tendency to capitalise all human
activities and not only those deemed “productive”; and also in a more
down-to-earth way, because we think that a movement capable of making an
event by the surprise and the force of revolt, disobedience and even
insubordination that it projects, is better than all the speeches around
‘value’ in the Place de la Republique during Nuit Debout.
So it was not for us to intervene as professional activists ready to
support any movement or any ’cause’ engendering agitation, but to grasp
the importance of this moment that from the outset caught everyone off
guard. But after a first borrowed and timid approach in November, by
December we felt like fish in water, even if it was necessary to mix
sometimes with strange specimens.

That’s why our critical activity turned into concrete political
intervention. For this time, we were not ‘standing above’, as we were
criticised by some insurrectionist currents and what we said met with
such an echo that the group that formed around us in the ‘Journal de bord
was gradually transformed, certainly in Lyon, into a sort of yellow
vests group in itself, recognised as such, which we had never asked for
and which sometimes bothered us.

If the revolution of capital is not a ‘subject’, the yellow vests are
also not one, and above all they do not constitute a ‘subject of
substitution’ for the proletariat because they have no vocation to
continue. However they do not form thereby an undifferentiated and
heterogeneous magma because they have been traversed by processes of
individualisation that have upset the old class structures and
contributed to the atomisation of individuals in urbanised geographical
areas (see Henri Lefebvre), having the allure of the city, with all of
its constraints but without its benefits.

What gave this impression of an undifferentiated mass was the fact
that, contrary to prevailing current trends of recomposition of
capitalist social relations, the yellow vests rejected the new forms of
particularisation (gender, youth, communitarian, racialist, etc.) in
their first statement, “Tous Gilets Jaunes/We are all Yellow Vests”. Of
course, this led to the disarray of sociologists, journalists, trade
unionists, etc.; it went against the political sense of those who still
want and always find the “class line” and who could only cry screaming
at the image of small bosses in four-by-fours alongside single mothers
employed in supermarkets or old retirees; an original representation
that did not last long for those who participated in a nine month
movement and who were able to note its sociological and political

Thus, all the analyses in terms of classes that flourished at the
beginning of the movement have been relativised or even invalidated. An
attempt all the more ludicrous in that those who sought to set up these
categorisations are those who are usually the most critical or reserved
in relation to the contemporary use of this notion (sociologists or
journalists who gargled “lower middle class” or leftists who saw a
return of the class struggle). And this inadequacy of class
interpretation even arose amid the yellow vests, when Drouet tried to
launch a call for a general strike starting with his followers and
noticed, after an internal poll, that the latter, for the most part,
because of their objective situation, were unable to go on strike,
either because they were not employees or because they worked in very
small businesses!

To put it bluntly, the yellow vests are only their own movement, that
is, they are only pure subjectivity in the movement of struggle. The
conditions of life which underlie it play certainly as objective
conditions, but they are unrelated to any general objective conditions.
Only the struggle and the setting in motion produce a dialectic of
conditions. This is the specificity of this type of movement in relation
to the traditional dialectic of class struggle that implied a fixity or
permanence of the relationship (a proletarian worker or a boss,
remained a worker and a boss, even outside a cycle of struggle), with
the labour unions mediating the reciprocal capital/labor dependence.

A yellow vest is nothing outside her/his community of struggle, hence
a tendency for self-reference, to think of the movement as a totality
(the people); a tendency which makes it difficult for it to grasp the
current reversal of the balance of power. A difficulty that has visibly
appeared in the outraged reactions or stupor vis-à-vis the results of
the European elections, then, since the summer, in the desperate
attempts of some to hold on at all costs. What creates the confusion,
within the movement itself, is that while representing an event in the
strong sense of the term marked by a limited duration, it has persisted
in time without it being lead to become institutionalised (the refusal
to participate in the “Great debate”, the failure of yellow vest
electoral lists in the European elections, the little decision-making
weight of the Assembly of Assemblies) nor to continue in history (it is
not a movement in the sense of the labor movement or the feminist
movement; it is a movement in the sense of the one against the new labour law,
but with a higher charge of insurrection). This persistence can be
explained in part by its diversified and discontinuous modes of action
and also by the fact that it did not seek to sort out or filter, keeping
a lot of discussion open (avoiding issues that annoy) and focusing on
objectives that guarantee unity in decision-making and action, without
requiring an ideological unity, even one produced along the way by the
movement itself. This does not mean that it did not incorporate elements
that were not originally expressed, such as the question of the
relation to nature, but it did not make it a criterion of discrimination
or autonomy, even less a dominant criterion of identity. It integrated
it not ideologically but as part of the ordinary experience of people
from below, who doubt their near future (the end of the month) as well
as the distant future (the end of the world).

In this sense, we can say that the movement has gone beyond its
exclusive character as an event. Not because it would have formed a
vanguard of a more general uprising, in the sense that this term could
have been used for the role played by student insubordination in the May
1968 movement, but as a “collective heresy” without millenarianism, a
notion which, although indefinite and marked by its religious
dimensions, nevertheless accounts for the will to discontinuity that
manifested itself in the absence of any declaration with prefectures of
police for demonstrations and their paths, the refusal of overly planned
marches in the manner of the labour unions with their marshals doubling
the police presence, as well as in the collective life of the
roundabouts where less capitalised practices of life shared in the
joyful conviviality of the “cabins”, without thereby shattering new
revolutionary norms, as expressed, for example, in the ZAD of

The yellow vests: heretics “in every matter”, if one cares to mimic the complete formula of the fundamentalists of the RIC – Référendum d’initiative Citoyenne: “the RIC in every matter”.

The yellow vests never saw themselves as avant-gardist. We have
emphasised it: no utopia, not even a clear alternative other than that
of a RIC stuffed with everything under the sky … or social networks, no
projection into any particular future; but also no nihilism of the “no
future” type. On the one hand, a revolt and cries of anger in direct
actions marking a “that’s enough” and a desire to get rid of the
political leaders; on the other, a general contestation of the
authorities who hampered the development of the movement (resumption of
the “police everywhere, justice nowhere” of the leftists during the

It is this heretical side that rejected the traditional workers’
organisations that could no longer tolerate this outrage in 2018, no
more than they had tolerated it in 1968. If on the one side we have
heretics, the least we can say is that the others are Orthodox. But more
generally, it is all of the elements of the “left” that found
themselves at odds with the movement because still living on the memory
of a “proletarian experience”, well analysed by Claude Lefort in the
journal Socialisme ou barbarie (nº 11, 1952), which is little
more than memory and at best nostalgia. Left-wing activists who,
moreover, have no knowledge of this ordinary experience uniting the
yellow vests because it is no longer determined primarily by the
relation to labor-activity (the big factory, the neighborhood). This
left, which can no longer and no longer wants to be “social” in the old
sense of the “social question”, then becomes “moral” by tracking
non-ordinary experiences and limit situations everywhere, even if it
means finding themselves towed by information entrepreneurs for whom the
spectacularised situations of the diversely and variously discriminated
against seem to be the only subjects worthy of attention, because on
the one hand they have resonance in the media and on the other hand
because they do not imply in themselves an attack against the powers in
place and capital. Their political correctness then comes to collide
head-on with the return of the incorrectness in politics of which the
yellow vests gave an example. But this incorrectness is not a
provocation as could be, from the left, the surrealists of the 1920s or
that of the right, amid the “nonconformists” of the 1930s. It is also in
this sense that the notion of avant-garde is no longer appropriate.

It is the expression of a political language, certainly basic, but
which constituted a taking back of speech by people who had been
deprived of it for a long time and who inevitably, for lack of habit,
found themselves exposed to all the mockeries and criticisms of those
who monopolise it … or who rise up radically within the limits of their

And this event of political heresy, as sudden as it was unexpected,
suddenly occupying the public and informational space, could not escape
its share of what some bad omens call “confusions”. But was there not
also “confusion” in 68 within the leftist groups influenced by Maoism,
Guevarism and other third-worldisms? Are there not also “confusions”
today when one sees the development of ever more marked anti-Semitism of
the left? The idea would certainly not have come to us, in 1968, to
brandish the tricolour flag and we opposed it even when the Stalinists
brandished it, but in a symbolic battle where we opposed it with red and
black flags! And who today would like to brandish a red flag whose
revolutionary historical value stopped roughly in 1923 and a black flag
perhaps less devalued historically, but without any current meaning
except for a very small fringe of people in a very limited number of
countries? It is the same for the singing of the International.
Internationalism is certainly not defined by the Marseillaise, but from
Hong Kong to the Arab countries, and throughout many others,
demonstrations of all kinds are covered with yellow … and not red. Like
most people, we do not particularly like the colour yellow and in
addition, for those who have claimed the red thread of class struggles,
it is an enemy color, but the movement has been able to make it its
color by ease first, because it accompanies people everyday when, by car
or bicycle, they keep a yellow vest in reserve by obligation and also,
perhaps, because it was distinguishable from the colours of the union

To judge the movement by stopping at its immediate symbolism, if it
is not primary, it is to forget that many in the movement did not wear
yellow vests, much less flags, nor did they sing the Marseillaise.

The reference to the French Revolution has long been perceived as a
betrayal of the ‘social’ and is therefore difficult to accept,
especially among Marxists influenced by the historical left-wing
communists. However, it can be a point of reference and departure for
many revolts, provided you do not stop there and work to clarify the
difference between the taking of the Bastille by the sans-culottes
and the feast of the federation celebrated by Macron with his
fireworks. In our booklet on the right to petition,(4) we tried to
highlight the contrasting and sometimes contradictory path of the
struggles that lead from the 1792 right of petition to the 2018 RIC,
through the ‘right’ of rebellion of 1793. All of this was and has been
the subject of discussions within the movement, as there have also been
discussions around the question of the monopoly of legitimate violence
that the State arrogates to itself, or whether or not the term citizen
should be used to describe individuals and their actions, etc. These are
seeds that can produce their fruit from the moment when we do not just
reason in the traditional terms of political awareness, as this was
conceived of by the socialist theories of the nineteenth century.

Temps critiques, September 10, 2019

  1. Cf. J. Wajnsztejn: Après la révolution du capital, L’Harmattan, 2007 and all the issues of the journal Temps critiques starting from Nº 15.
  2. Similarly, the 2019 vote in Europe is marked above all by the confirmation of a larger Macronian hard block than expected and a progression of the RN; two results that were received as a real blow by the yellow vests.
  3. Cf. Special issue of Temps critiques of April 2019: “Gilets jaunes: une résistance à la révolution du capital“, written in response to a request from the Swedish magazine Subaltern. /spip.php?article400
  5. taken from here

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Protests in HK: a talk with the ‘Workers Group’ Sat, 14 Sep 2019 12:09:57 +0000

The following interview was made over internet during the month of August. Comrades from different countries – some Bad Kids of the World – made questions about the anti-extradition movement to the Workers Group,
a proletarian collective based in Hong Kong. We want to understand how
the mass protests relates to the broader context of class struggle in
the region. The text is being published simultaneously in English,
French and Portuguese.

Bad Kids of the World [BKW]: Can you
present to us the stakes of the fight against Extradition Bill and the
impact that such a legal provision will have on everyday life, from the
point of view of worker's material conditions of existence, but also on
the side of the organizational capacity of the revolutionary groups and
social movements?

Workers Group [WG]: I think
this is one the most difficult questions to answer. It is quite clear
that ordinary people are not going to be affected directly, even after
the bill is passed. There are three kinds of people who are most
seriously under threat.
1. The super rich people from China, who are escaping from the Chinese
judiciary system in order to escape from the prosecution for commercial
crimes, or internal conflicts within the Communist Party;
2. Political activists in Hong Kong. Since there is no political freedom
in China at all, there is no organized opposition parties in the
country. On the other way, we can say that Hong Kong is the only place
within Chinese territory where some opposition parties exist. So, many
of us believe that these political activists are under threat because of
the bill.
3. They may not be Chinese or Hong Kong citizens, but they are people
all over the world who are related to China but not welcome by China.
Maybe they are NGO workers, religious people, business people, or anyone
that the Chinese government did not like.

When you're talking about workers and everyday life, it is very
important to understand that, almost all Hong Kong people are Chinese
migrants or descendents of Chinese migrants. Many of them have relatives
in mainland China and they go back to the home town for family
gathering every year. On the other hand, since the 80's, the economic
ties between Hong Kong and China is getting more and more complicated.
And a lot of Hong Kong people are actually working cross-border,
especially for the business sectors. First, it is the factory management
and business people who go to mainland China to set up the factories.
Later, not only the manufacturing industries, but accountants,
designers, engineers, NGO workers, social workers, or even university
professors are developing connections and cooperations in China. On the
other hand, a lot of Hong Kong people who cannot afford an apartment in
Hong Kong may choose to buy an apartment in mainland China in order to
keep their assets having a better value added. So that is the close tie
of ordinary people with China. Many people also fear that anything
happening to them in China may result as a criminal charge. If there is
an Extradition Bill, they may also have trouble of being sent to China.

For the organizational capacity of revolutionary groups and the social movement... I would say that the organizational capacity is tiny. The Workers Group only consists of ten to twenty active members. Many people are doing very different things during the struggles, and we do not work in a very coordinated way. But, one characteristic of this kind of mass movement is that a lot of first-time protesters want to do a lot of things. That's why we are also recruiting new people to take part in different kinds of work. For example, we openly recruit some people to help in the street exhibition to show to the neighbourhood about the video of what it's happening in the struggles. On the other hand, we also recruit some new members to visit workers who have to work during the night. Many of them are suffering from the clash between the cops and the protesters. For example, the cleaning workers are directly exposed to tear gas without any protective device. So we are going to visit these workers to talk to them about how to protect themselves and what the struggle is about.

read more here

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Laruelle: The One, The Real Sat, 14 Sep 2019 11:46:12 +0000

Laruelle tries to liberate the real and the one - terms he mostly uses as synonyms - from any determination by philosophical being. If the One is not a synonym for being, it cannot be realized in it either. The One should also not be equated with existence, it is neither being nor pure being. (Cf. Laruelle 2012: 29ff.) And to anticipate it right away, the real/one and reality do not agree for laruelle, but the concepts are also not separated and related to each other in the manner of Lacan. If one first assumes that reality is an economically, culturally, aesthetically, socially, politically coded milieu of consistency or a zone of fact, then for Lacan the real is the unattainable hole that points the evidence of reality to its ontological uncertainties and fragilities. If Laruelle would perhaps not completely contradict this definition of reality, he would certainly not contradict the Lacanian definition of the real, which does not escape the absence syndrome, although the real can never be stripped off. Surprisingly, it was Jean Baudrillard who saw the denial of the real as the characteristic feature of consumerism generalized by mass communication, as we know it from Baudrillard, as the unquenchable curiosity for the combinatorics of signs that corresponds to the synthesis of abundance and calculation. (Baudrillard 2015: 52)
For Laruelle, the One must also be distinguished from the Absolute. Laruelle introduces the one as a first term. Laruelle is about the one of which one can say "the pear", "the glass" or "the east". This is definitely not the One in the sense of Hegel's Absolute, in which all terms are relativized according to the Absolute. And even if one could still say that the One is absolute, it is far from being the Absolute. It is also worth mentioning that there is no problem with the appearance or manifestation of the One. The essence of the One is the detachment from any conventionally thought relation, but this does not mean that it can be held as the quasi-theological Other or as the reason of being. It is neither decoupled from the relations of manifest individuals nor does it escape being, rather it is merely the One that is indifferent. Or let's say it differently, it is simply given (without giving) because it has nothing to do with the world. (Laruelle 2012: 33) But what does the world have to do with him now?
Even if one assumes that the One is a finite object, this does not mean that it can be subsumed as real under an a priori scheme of objectivity. This is not the point, rather the One itself gives the answer to objectivity, which consists in indifferent self-indexing of its meaning and its being. If it does not problematize itself, this does not mean that it does not participate in a uniform way (in the world). And that as a negative possibility. If with it the One is not exclusively given-without-gift, but is also generated transcendently as a negative possibility (every possible existence and every object of experience is conditioned), then it is still given as a finite object, but as something, whatever. The one is given-without-gift and at the same time transcendental is set as a negative possibility that stands for every "graspability" of objects and for the rigorosity of thinking - for the object that ceases to be empirical and for thinking that ceases to be philosophical or scientific. (Laruelle 2015: 23) In short, it is about the One that is not (negative possibility), but is real (given-without-gift).1 (Laruelle 2012: 32)
Philosophy is always about how to find the right approach to the unknown object X. Or to put it another way, the relation of the subject to reality is always at stake. How does Laruelle treat or circumvent the problem of relation? By first understanding the "object" of his discourse as the one-in-one or as a direct given as such. This means that there is no particular or general content (object, ego, being) that is directly given. The "object" is always directly in one, is given-without-gift, but finally no longer even given as such, insofar as one can speak here neither of an objective nor of a logical form, which could be filled with any contents: there is the determined finite mode of the One as the modality strictly determined by itself, i. e. its finiteness, which is limited solely and solely by itself (one-in-one), and there is indistinguishably the transformation of all forms of relation and correlation in the light of this strictly separate finiteness, and nothing else is called uni-lateration. (ibid.: 36) Even the difference still appears in one, but without completely losing its relational, correlative or differential structures. It is simply (not)-one.
The transcendental setting of the One is a simple analytical truth (one-in-one), and such a One is not only everywhere, it is also somewhere and somehow, it is something, whatever. And the One is definitely not given by the fact as a given-without-giveness. (ibid.: 33) One is simply in one and the one by which fact is given is simultaneously in one. So the One is not only true for that which is given, but also for every mode of fact. The One is the given and stands for all modes of the given (as negative possibility, as far as it remains indifferent), or, to put it another way, the One is not related to any thing due to its indifference, but nevertheless determines every thing uni-laterally. In one is the unified term that transcendently makes possible the question of access to all that is given, without the One being determined by this question itself. This is a strictly unidirectional condition that makes Laruelles a description of the One both transcendental and real. The One is simply in one qua its essence and this implies that it does not emerge in the sense of Plotin, it does not immanate or differentiate, and it also subtracts nothing. (Not)-one is then everything that is not the One, but is ever transcendental in one.2
The one and the real, although determining precisely because of their indifference, remain insufficient and in non-philosophy also possess the status of co-determination. If a distinction between the One and the Real is possible at all, then it refers to the "dimensionality" of the determination in the last instance. While the One appears at the level of language, insofar as a non-philosophical decision is indicated, the Real by no means appears as part of language and its ontological claim, which consists in capturing the Real. Rather, the real is characterized by its radical isolation from language and thought. The real is thus not a sphere or instance, insofar as it does not belong to the world or the world of ideas by definition. The real remains closed to idealism, it is simply given-without-gift; real experience that is indifferent to knowledge and is therefore outside any reciprocal relation with knowledge, but is not absolutely exterior or transcendent to knowledge (it is also the uni-lateral and negative possibility for it) and therefore has the capacity to determine knowledge. The real determines thinking by making itself its ground-through-immanence. It plays the structural role of a negative possibility for the objects and for thinking, it is irreducible to any idealization and conceptualization and therefore determines thinking as a negative possibility.
While the One still possesses the traditional philosophical character of the transcendent, the negative and the unknown, i. e. it is thought of from the side of being that is to be revealed, Laruelle thinks the One more strongly from the side of the existing (positive, immanent and recognizable), at the same time being capable of determining qua transcendental setting (but this from the point of view of philosophy, not as the One itself or as the thinking that takes place in One). In Laruelle, a shift from "there is" to "is" is to be reported, from "being" to "being" to be noted. The real knows no declensions or cases, and the one knows no before and after, it is simply real and the next to us. And in radical contrast to the transcendental standard model, according to Alexander Galloway, the real is to be understood more as a "prevent" than as an event, with which the operator "virtualization", which is contained in the term "negative possibility", is even more strongly emphasized. (Galloway 2014: 217f.)
After all, how can one avoid mixing or exchanging the one-in-one with "being" or reality? The laruellesche One stands neither for a first mover nor for a first substance (of being). Conversely, the laruellesche One is rather the "last" mover, a finite and an immanent real. The One is real immanence or unilateral individuality without presupposing a point or a level for itself (it is a radical and not an absolute immanence); as interiority it cannot fold back into itself either. For Laruelle, the One is radically immanent, it is not convertible with anything, and that also means that there emerges out of itself like something in Plotin in order to enter into a relation with something, but it can only establish an inauthentic relation to the historical or logical or structural. (From the perspective of the object, the One is not a thing, from the perspective of the relation it does not form relations, and from the perspective of the event it does not occur and is not actualized.) In its immanence, Laruelle radically understands the One as identity: it is identity or communality with itself (one-in-one). (Laruelle 2012: 31f.) It is one-in-one, and this not as a relation to itself (in the sense of the folding of the subject of self-care, as Foucault conceived it), or, to put it another way, it is only recognizable and given within the One, and thus already in one. Laruelle calls the One the In-One, to further emphasize that it cannot be synthesized with other things or thinking. The One is not hermeneutic because it does not open to interpretation. In this sense, the indivisible One has no holes either, and it cannot be linked to anything else and grasped by anything else that might perhaps restore a synthesis.
The immanent One also calls Laruelle the indivisible, it is without divisibility or the non-interpretable and thus the unattainable. Its identity, however, does not refer, as one might prematurely assume, to the individual, but to the heterogeneous (it is something, whatever), which in turn is the prerequisite for any relation of the common. The heterogeneous here is by no means to be understood as a collection of different things, but as pure differentiation. Laruelle does not say that the real is virtual, but it must be borne in mind that while it remains immanent in itself, it is at every point and therefore virtual to every point. And the more radical immanent it is, the more universally it determines in the last instance philosophy and the philosophizable, i.e. the world.3
Uni-materiality is the essence of the one-in-one, which remains separated from philosophy and science by its own immanence and thus asserts its unilaterality as determination. Accordingly, the real is immanent-without transcendence, it is simply identity, and through it the real determines precisely philosophy. At the same time, it must be noted that both the sciences and philosophy maintain relations to themselves, and therefore the determination must also be transcendental or conceived as a determination-in-the-last instance. (Laruelle 2015: 41ff.) From this point of view, laruelle is concerned with a radically new way of thinking about the real, and not merely with attempting to reflect the real differently than before, or to reflect on the real in order to get into a game of mirror games again. On the contrary, one would have to look at a mirror without reflection, and this requires the affirmation of the radical immanence, the uni-lateral duality of seeing the real. The real or the seeing-in-one can never be completely inscribed in language, the best way to bring it into a (linguistic) form is to call it "unilateral duality". According to Laruelle, the autoreferential use of philosophy and its language, its Logos (the historical-systematic structure of the Logos), must be radically transformed into a new theoretical practice that recognizes a real that is irreducibly presupposed to the Logos; it requires the theoretical practice of uni-lateral identity that has an axiomatic (real) and a theoretical (transcendental) aspect. (Laruelle 2012: 45ff.) The utterances deduced from the one-in-one and its causality are not or do not concern objects4 (not even Althusser's cognitive object), themes or instances of philosophy, but rather possess the power of a theoretical style or imply a function other than … is philosophical. And this includes contingency: The signs are what they are, but they could also have been different. They are 1 without 0, where 1 is not a number that can be compared with 0, but a sign whose difference is immanent and which directly expresses that what is is only insofar as it could have been different.
The demand that non-philosophy or non-standard philosophy makes of thinking can only be speaking/thinking according to-the-one, with which no relation, synthesis or fusion can be brought about between the real and language, the one and being.5 It is a matter, if already a relation, then one that is determined by a non-relation, i. e. unilateral duality, which is determined by the completely impoverished relation of the real to everything else. Philosophy likes the eternal play with prepositions that display linkages and relations, while Laruelle tries to avoid as far as possible those prepositions that imply a link or affiliation, such as with, from, against, for … Laruelle prefers clearly non-relational links that often have enough structures of parallelism in which the entities remain separated, even though they somehow belong to each other. They do not exchange each other, or to put it another way, their parallelism is so radically superimposed that the entities attain a mutual immanence. The corresponding prepositions would be here: in, as, through, according to, without … In a sense, Laruelle persistently searches for a relation that takes place without exchange. (ibid.)

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Der Beitrag Laruelle: The One, The Real erschien zuerst auf

Deleuze/Guattari and quantum finance Fri, 13 Sep 2019 14:49:28 +0000

Deleuze/Guattari invite us to apply at least three models of thought to the theoretical analysis of economics, by tracing the image of the current that, in their view, articulates each model. It is only the third, the molecular-performative model, that correctly stages the force of thought. (Laruelle contrasts the concept of force of thought with thought. Thoughts or thinking are "false" representations that are developed and acted upon in the academic fields of concepts. The force-of-thinking, on the other hand, is the most important experience of thinking, which follows the transcendental axiom of the real). The first model of thought related to philosophical classicism permanently questions in a kind of philosophical self-assurance how the tree model can succeed in linearly distributing chaotic currents through unidirectional processes under certain circumstances. A centralized tree trunk is divided into two; such a binarity provides the dualistic distribution of currents. Or to put it another way, from the center of power the sprouts radiate by means of a uniform, synchronized set of homogenized binary processes. Digitalization, the division of one into two, means that two terms, whatever they may be, are placed in relation to each other: with regard to information, they are divided into two forms; with regard to language, they are divided into representation and the represented; with regard to thought, they are divided between the thinker and what he thinks. The digital thus contains the potential to separate things and objects and to continuously make further differences between them. With Alexander Galloway we don't grasp the digital as a distinction between zero and one, but as the more fundamental distinction/division into one and two that makes it possible to generate more and more distinctions. And this kind of distribution affects even those trees that are not strictly vertical in their organizational distribution.

With regard to the analysis of the economy this means that we have to explain how the tree system succeeds in linking different 'unit dipoles' (institutions, agents, assets etc.), which all expand in a linear direction, in such a way that the Euclidean established routes, which have always been prescribed by a centre (link dipole), are followed. Here, Deleuze/Guattari is not exclusively concerned with the investigation of the functioning of planned economies, but also with analyses of the functioning of institutions such as the central banks of today's capitalist economies. For example, the American FED combines "Open Market Operations" - an open market policy oriented towards the financial secondary markets and their course - with sovereign decisions (regarding the "short term interests rates") in order to create root or tree-like modes of distributing money capital flows. Such actions by central banks can certainly change the money supply and the speed of money circulation, but today they influence prices and liquidity on the financial markets to a lesser extent than 30 years ago, with which the prices of classic commodity flows are ultimately manipulated (there is no fixed relationship between money supply and money supply nor between money supply and inflation qua money creation multiplier). As non-state institutions, the central banks are at the same time authorised by the state to act as a 'link dipole' on the money and capital markets in order to interfere with the rest of the 'unit dipoles' of the economy (commodity, equity and consumer goods markets). They try to implement so-called target-interest rates, with which they have certain possibilities to actually regulate the demand for money (by buying and selling treasuries), and thus continuously give signals to the markets within the framework of a hierarchical distribution of information. In fact, the central banks try everything to control and regulate the relations between the molar and the molecular, but ultimately they remain determined by what escapes them, or, to put it another way, by their impotence, which prevents them from being able to comprehensively regulate the flow of money capital and thus repeatedly exposes their supposedly irrevocable zones of power and influence to the danger of crisis. The setting of growth and money supply targets - intermediate targets such as interest and discount rates, determination of bank reserves, etc. - have lost much of their effect in recent decades in the economies and are now more intensely than ever influenced by real-financial capital and its machines, which, in the course of their ultra-fast transaction chains, have a strange effect on credit movements, interest rates, currency fluctuations and prices. On the contrary, the central banks now see themselves forced to conduct open market policy more offensively than ever and to trade on the money markets; they themselves mutate into investors, if not speculators, and this with the consequence that the definition of the quantities of money, which are supposed to show a stable relation to price formation processes as control variables, is shifted further and further by their own activities.

According to Deleuze/Guattari, the second model of thought is characterized as a system of small roots, as used especially in modernity. Deleuze/Guattari write: "The main root is (here) atrophied, its end dead, and already a multitude of secondary roots begins to proliferate wildly." For Deleuze/Guattari, however, this model does not differ significantly from the tree model, because the system of small roots must clearly miss the idea of multiplicity because of a number of social restrictions; it takes into account the diversity of the phenomena of the outer world, but nevertheless only an identical subject seems to be able to coordinate them. Thus, the principal duality of thinking is not eliminated at all; rather, it proliferates even more strongly in the continuous division of the object, while the subject is simultaneously invented as a new type of totalizing unity.

Also with regard to economic analysis, this model contains the secret agreement with the higher unity, and this beyond a tendency that leads to molecular multiplicity: Contingencies such as those in the supply-demand relationship, decentralized causality and the stochastics of price movements may be regarded as examples of multiplicity, but these contingencies are limited; in the end, they are supposed to be the so-called "contingencies" of the supply-demand relationship. They should finally affirm "free market capitalism" as the model of a determinant, hierarchically organized capital and its state (idealistic total capitalist) by easily recognizing the power of higher unity (quasi-transcendenceality of capital), which at best has to guarantee a balanced organization of the distribution of money capital flows. It is Deleuze/Guattari's concern to show that the second model considers the (apersonal) "general" - a thoroughly apersonal unit that, however, remains bound either to the object or to the subject - of the first model, which is necessary for n entities to manage them in unison, indispensable in view of the modes of operation of capitalist competition when it comes to keeping capital accumulation cyclically stable or in a state of equilibrium.

Let us now turn to the third model. For Deleuze/Guattari, the multiple or multiplicity must be produced continuously, not by constantly adding higher dimensions to the previous models, but conversely by avoiding unity in the simplest way, i.e. always writing n-1. In a certain way, the rhizome is not, it is at most a multifaceted movement excluding the central unity, it performs a subtraction that eliminates from each movement what wants to present itself as unity or determinant unity. Deleuze/Guattari call such a construct a rhizome characterized by six basic principles or properties: a) n-dimensional connectivity, b) heterogeneity, c) multiplicity, d) asignificant fraction or non-linearity, e) cartography, and f) decalcomania.

One could now imagine whole clusters of markets populated by multiple operators and vectors that engage at once in hedging, arbitrage and speculation, with the help of different assets and their different classes of exchange and the requirements given by the economic properties/objects of each asset, to finally create the market continuously as a mobile horizon of heterogeneous, qunatifying regimes of signs, diagrams and technologies. Deleuze/Guattari call these processes economic war machines. The volatility of the price movements of an asset has to be regulated to a certain degree by differentiating concepts (innovation of a derivative or a derivative market), techniques (mathematical formalisation or standardisation) and operations (strategies such as dynamic hedging), for which procedures of constant calibration and recalibration are required, since calculating forecasts can be divided into new forecasts (derivatives are written not only on underlying assets but also on derivatives). Future events need to be identified and quantified, their probabilities evaluated in order to allocate them appropriate prices and apply them to future investment decisions. Today, this is done primarily by means of quantitative (mathematical) operations in which stochastic series are used.

In this context, Randy Martin speaks of a newly emerging possibility of introducing derivative sociality on a planetary level, or of a phantasmatic break with linear time. He writes: "While derivatives are conceived in a language of futures and forwards, the present anticipation of what is to come, […] the act of bundling attributes suggests an orientation in all directions, which is an effect of mutual commensurability". However, we have to note that the deterritorialized or virtualized money capital flows or derivatives themselves have long since been processing rhizomatic properties, i.e. molecular-dynamic, volatile processes, which are able to link even the metrised payment flows with more fungible, exact and topological flows of finance money, whereby - this seems to be essential here - these molecular compositions of the money capital flows dominate the metrised segments of the economy and its payment flows today, which, however, still have important macro-economical parameters such as interest rates, supply/demand ratios, etc., but which are not yet the same as in the past. The latter refers to the extensive determination of value or cardinal value. In economic reports and balances, lines and segments are recorded in specific metrics, numerical registers or measures, based on given values or stock sizes. These lines are stratified; they are the notched metrics of money capital flows or the dominant metrics of cardinal value, e.g. empirical-statistical data such as wages, net savings, net profits, interest rates, capital claims, investments, consumption etc.: This is the classical approach of economics to represent values - cardinal values. The power centres of the economy, as they are condensed in the central banks, for example, are constantly trying to mediate the molar and molecular flows. Even quantitative finance has a mediating function here. It is closely linked to computer science and big data technologies, makes use of research on artificial intelligence or evolutionary algorithms that are used in game theoretical simulations and serve to optimize computer hardware and communication networks. The molar is defined by macroeconomics (rigid, veridical, euclidean, tree-like, etc.). Microeconomics, on the other hand, is characterized by properties such as fungibility, horizontality, topology, rhizomatics, etc.

There is a double reciprocal dependence between the two areas: Whenever a fixed line is identified, one may perceive that it continues in a different form, e.g. as a quantum flow. In each instance, a power apparatus can be located at the border between the molar and the molecular, which is by no means characterized by the absolute exercise of power, but by relative adaptations and conversions that entail certain effects in the money capital flows.
With the concept of the rhizome, Deleuze/Guattari begin to sketch more precisely their concept of ordinal value, which immediately raises the question of the economic quantification, valuation and movement of differential prices in smooth spaces that elude metrication. Any stratification, representation and metrisation, whether enforced by price or any other economic parameter, must today refer to the non-quantitative differentiation of a rhizomatic financial economy. It could even be that, according to Deleuze/Guattari at least, in an economy of molecular war machines even money is no longer needed, at least in its functions as measure and means of circulation through which it metricizes and moves valuations.

In both spaces discussed here there are points, lines and surfaces. In notched space the lines are usually subordinated to the points, i.e. lines only establish the connections between the points; in smooth space we find the opposite principle, i.e. the lines pass through the points. In the smooth space of capital, the line inevitably transforms into a vector (one direction) - produced by localized operations and directional changes, and thus it is to be understood as non-dimensional and non-metric. In smooth space, the materials refer to manifold forces or serve them as symbols, while in notched space it is always the forms that organize the matter. Organless bodies, distances, symptomatic and judgmental perception of smooth space stand in the way of the organism and the organization, the measure unit, the dimensional unit, the dimensional unit and the dimensional unit.

Lines are understood as constitutive elements of things and events; the line does not mean unity of the One, but a unity characterized by diversity (one-all). In the open system of the rhizome (a network/folding of lines), the individual capital with its manifold components continuously draws lines and is drawn by them in the context of total capital - it uses the lines for the continuous efficiency of accumulation in order not only to produce static products, but for itself to achieve the optimization of the lines in the context of its capitalization.

It is no longer primarily about the production of products (number and quality including input and output), but about the creation of profitable lines/waves/vectors that run non-linearly and spirally - infinite and a-linear lines that flee in all directions. This per se virtualizing aspect of capital is supplemented, updated and thus always restricted by the economic mathematics and its quantifying mode. It should be noted that the cult around "the" dialectic as Ariadne's thread for mastering the labyrinth of capital has basically always attempted to think the algebraic only as a derivation of the linguistic conceptual. Although this is a certain necessity of theoretical access, the polarity of the opposition has been shifted in favour of the linguistic logo. The differentiation, temporalization, modulation and smoothing of the measure (of money) provided by the deterritorialized money capital flows correlates the mathematics of economy (modularization) or the complex logic of the algorithm that performs the measurements today. In derivatives markets, non-quantifiable rhythmization plays an increasingly important role, although it must be incorporated and updated by the algorithms described elsewhere, which perform temporal-rhythmic, derivative "measurements" (volatility) in discrete steps. The first type of rhyhtmization serves purely to exploit the money capital, which pemanently draws speculative lines that document less the value of the goods or the companies than the optimization of the money capital strives for.

In order to get direct access to price formation, which is increasingly getting by without the "latency period" of human action speed, it was first necessary to make the electronic markets the paradigm of price formation. An important moment in this development was the introduction of the kind of open source platform Island, which allowed buy and sell orders to be placed away from the well-known stock exchanges and their market makers. It was launched in 1996 and paved the way for automated trading. This innovation not only led to radical changes in stock exchanges (such as the NYSE or NASDAQ), but also to a reduction in the human labour force (with a few exceptions) that had dominated stock exchange trading up to that point: Traders based on affective and intellectual interaction, which determined pricing on the trading floor, had become redundant. Trading the future in increasingly microscopic contemporary moments, taking into account gigantic amounts of historical data and the automation of order flow, promised markets with high liquidity and fairness in pricing. As Haim Bodek points out, the regulatory authorities were also impressed, as these systems led to a narrowing of the spread, the difference between buying and selling prices on which market makers lived, and thus to better order execution for all market participants, including relatively inexperienced private investors with small budgets.

Gerald Raunig speaks of a purely speculative or virtual line, of an abstract individual line that crosses things and relations, of the social factory of the new precarious companies, of deterritorialized mortgages and loans, etc., which are bundled and reassembled as risks qua derivatives and transformed into a singular cash flow and a single risk in order to break this up again into tranches (CDO) with the aim of generating further profits. In this context, he quotes Randy Martin, whose argumentation here again refers to the dominance of financial capital over "real capital", which is inseparably linked to it. Martin writes in his book Knowledge Ltd: "While the mass assembly line gathered all its inputs in one place to produce a tightly integrated commodity that was more than the sum of its parts, financial engineering reversed this process by decomposing a commodity into its constituent and variable elements and dispersing these attributes.

The aim is to bundle them together with the elements of other goods that are interesting for a globally oriented market for risk-controlled exchange. All these moving parts are reassembled with their risk attribute so that they become worth more as derivatives than their individual commodities." The derivative is much more than just a written contract regulating the exchange of an object or commodity at a future point in time and at a certain price; it is a financial instrument that, contrary to the notion of the separation of financial and real economy in a manner complementary to money (it must always be realized in money), enables a kind of measurement qua comparison of future money capital flows, and thus enables the regulation and coupling of the various economic areas, individual capital and capital fractions, makes them commensurable with one another precisely via certain differentiation processes, whereby the derivatives are each already realised in money and are themselves to be understood as a form of money capital. Randy Martin writes about the differentiation processes of derivatives: "While commodities appear to us as a unit of wealth that can abstract parts into a whole, derivatives are still a more complex process in which parts are no longer uniform, but are constantly disassembled and collected again when different attributes are bundled and their value exceeds the whole economy under which they were once summed. Shifts in size from the concrete to the abstract or from the local to the global are no longer external standards of equivalence, but within the circulation of the bundled attributes that multiply derivative transactions and set them in motion.

In the diagram of a synthetic asset, the discrete elements, which are nothing more than the economic properties of the asset (cash flow, maturity, price, risk, volatility, etc.), are related to each other. You can leave it at that and say, the relations exist before the relations, which however do not dissolve, or you can even go one step further with Nietzsche and say that the properties of a thing are only effects on other things, and if you then take away the term "other thing", then a thing has no properties at all anymore, so there is definitely no thing without other things. Thinginess dissolves into the flux of differential events. (If one, acknowledging the dominance of the relations over the relations, does not completely dissolve them into events and leaves them in a relative independence, then this still remains within the relation "relation and relation". If, however, with Heidegger, the objective particularity of the relation could be thought of as dependent on a real, on a non-objective transcendence that separates each relation into two formally distinguished sides, one side being assigned to the uncovering and concealment in the direction of the being of the existing, and one side being assigned to the object that is indifferent to the other side. Here Heidegger poses the question of irreversibility as such, which in the end does not deny itself. The Kantian thing itself is an essential subtraction, as a tautological subtraction in itself as the essence of being. Nothing is niece.)

What is to be understood by a "quantum flow"? It is a deterritorialized stream of financial money that knows no segments and no stratified lines, but singularities and quanta. Here, the poles of the respective flows are regarded as condensations where money is created and destroyed; singularities mean the nominal liquid assets and quanta stand for processes such as inflation, deflation and stagflation. Derivatives can be used to observe certain distributions and corresponding rhythms of money capital flows into other forms and at the same time. For Deleuze/Guattari, each quantum stream is "deeper" than the money capital flows, whose metrics refer to elements of cardinal values: The quantum flows are mutant, convulsive, creative, circulatory and material flows that are bound to desire and always lie lower than the solid lines and their segments that determine, for example, interest rates and the relationship between supply and demand. For Deleuze/Guattari there are thus two economic ways of thinking, a) that of economic accounting (segments and solid lines of a molar organization that represent determinative metrics of cardinal value), b) that of financial money, which today is called the flow of finance or financial flows. In his book "Algorhythmus" (Algorhythm), Miyazaki has countered the metaphor of flow by bringing into play the concept of rhythm, which is used to describe digital networks and the microstructure of the financial system . It is more precise because it displays a discrete, catastrophic flow, which is to be located as an algorhythm between the discrete-impulsive and the continuous-flowing. By means of algebraic logic, control can be described as a chain of circuits which serve to produce equilibria of flow, "whereby the expression 'flow' only conceals the fact that at any moment it is only a matter of more or less large distances of binary states, up to the limit value of their collapse". (Bahr)

The problematization of quantum physics promises to provide clarification at this point. It has shaken the foundations of classical physics by Max Planck's groundbreaking insight that radiation such as light, which until then was regarded as a continuous phenomenon, can be a quantum under certain conditions or have a discontinuous character. According to the classical view, light behaves like a wave, but since Einstein's discovery that light can behave as a particle under certain circumstances, the classical position in physics had to acknowledge that there is uncertainty, i.e. the wave- or particle-like state of light cannot be observed at the same time. The visualization or representation of the quantum phenomenon in a single image is not possible.

The concept of complementarity, invented by Nils Bohr, establishes a relationship between quantum mechanics and philosophy in a similar way to later Derrida (persistent opposites at the same time). If the main question is whether an object can assume opposite properties of wave and particle at the same time, later experiments show that wave-like and particle-like are not even properties or attributes that can be attributed to quantum objects, because these designations are based on classical concepts that try to describe radically new phenomena. New designations even raised the question of whether quantum objects can be thought of as objects at all. This suddenly confronted physics with the indeterminable, which can only be observed in its effects. The unrecognizable objects of quantum phenomena were defined as "efficacities", i.e. they are only accessible to us through their effects, which can only be observed and understood with the concepts of classical physics. Classical physics and its own principles of causality require the construction of a model with which the interaction between natural objects and natural phenomena can be observed, measured, explained and verified. Such a model would not be possible in quantum mechanics, since only the interactions between the effects of the efficacities and the measuring instruments can be described. As Bohr says, all this requires a departure not only from the classical principle of causality and its visualization, but geerel from the classical attitude towards the problem of physical reality. But if the unknowable is recognizable only by its effects - by the concepts of classical physics - then such a situation requires a revision of what constitutes reality, and thus it is hardly possible to follow the model of a model, or the concept of the model of classical physics. In contrast to classical, causal and deterministic ways of constructing models according to models, the quantum phenomena proved that such ways of modelling do not work, because in quantum mechanics in general what was previously considered to be guaranteed was at stake. From this perspective, quantum theory can be seen as a crisis of representation, of its models and of mimesis, the Platonic model of a model with which science in general was able to represent certain phenomena as reasonable. With the rise of quantum theory, the visibility of such phenomena and thus their representation was at stake. In this sense, Bohr was not a Hegelian; his concept of complementarity not only fundamentally challenged the Hegelian concept of synthesis, but contained the critique of a metaphysics of presence. Bohr could perhaps be assigned to Derrida's deconstructivism, which considers synthesis possible only if one affirms the metaphysics of presence. For Bohr, an abyss really opened up at this point. And Bohr was perhaps the bataille of physics, a non-hegelian hegel who interrupted every kind of synthesis between opposites in order to continue them endlessly in their disintegration.

Money capital flows and their rhythms cannot be indexed at the level of virtualization, nor can they be measured by the common metrics of operational accounting, and they are not regulated by new metrics and segments, rather they operate between and through the poles in order to constantly create new singularities and quanta - they determine not least the molar determinants of cardinal values. Molecular money flows cannot therefore be represented, they resist metrics and can even show lines of flight (from macroeconomic indicators) that are characterized by deterritorialization, destruction, and transformation of classical economic thought, belief, and desire, but in a sense they always come too late, insofar as macroeconomic indicators have already reterritorialized molecular movements again.

Liquidity often appears to be the most important property of an asset. This aspect can be described as transaction liquidity, i.e. an asset has liquidity if it can be exchanged for money (the object has liquidity). But liquidity can also be used to penetrate those capital markets that are populated by differential varieties of assets. Here one no longer speaks of the liquidity of the assets, but of market liquidity in order to attribute the liquidity within a simulative space to the exchange, in which the market participants can liquidate their positions quickly enough without having to accept excessive price reductions of the involved assets (one can here assume a shift of liquidity as a purely objective property to a property of the simulative space with objective consequences). Of course, liquidity is also referred to as a property that is entirely related to the debtor and is then called funding liquidity. This involves the debtor's creditworthiness and his ability to borrow assets at an acceptable interest rate so as not to suffer the conversion of liquidity into bankruptcy.

The fundamental prerequisite for developed financial markets is so-called secondary trading, which is based on trust in highly liquid money and capital markets. The pricing process, from primitive collateral to individual financial innovation (derivatives), requires "continuous" financial values; and "continuous" pricing depends on the availability of financeable liquidity. The smooth functioning of the financial system is based on the notion that the option to trade can be exercised even under constantly tested conditions. But it is also one of the problems for the current financial capital, because although modern finance improves the conditions for capital realisation, it remains heavily dependent on market liquidity. When this evaporates, the whole setting quickly becomes fragile. In other words, the demand for higher discipline in capitalist power relations makes the economic milieu more fragile and vulnerable. Liquidity must be assigned to the financial system as endogenous. In times of danger, the assessment of risk opportunities and asset prices tends to go down, market participants draw their credit lines and/or raise margin requirements to protect themselves against the risks posed by counterparties, and liquidity disappears when most needed, so that eventually the whole pricing process can collapse. This would be a description that could be called Marx's financial instability hypothesis.

Economic objects never stand for processes such as inflation, deflation, etc., but here it is the relations that indicate the price spreads between the objects and the imago of value (money), relations that in turn refer to processes of inflation or deflation. Also quanta are not objects, but rather stochastic processes through which economic objects attain the status of objectivity. In this context, the phenomenon of inflation does not seem to differ much from that of weather, it is a Haeccietas, it articulates the differential price movement and/or the stochastic of price movements, which in turn condense in objects without ever being able to be reduced to such objects. We can therefore say that quantum flows and their rhythms are often stochastic processes, whose dynamics are formed around singularities in order to refracted themselves into lines and segments, into metrics of representation or cardinal value. In contrast, the theory of ordinal value insists that money capital flows emerge from the double reciprocal determination of molecular and molar machines, each with its own modalities and two unequal reference systems, although the two circulation circuits, which are only analytically separable, remain materially coupled and always flow only as one stream. The sedentary distribution deals with spaces (markets) and objects in space (assets), with territories (characteristics and their relations) and their zones and regions. And it processes like all forms of distribution with the help of points and paths. The nomadic distribution also deals with these parameters, it can even follow ordinary paths, from one point to another, but the points remain subordinate to the paths they determine. In the nomadic mode of distribution, a point is reached only to leave it behind, so that each point represents a kind of relay and exists only as a relay. Thus the in-between (between the points) or the intermezzo acquires its own consistency, even a new autonomy and dominance, which in the field of financial theory consists in the continuous recalibration of assets. A becoming, whose characteristic feature lies between two points in between, indicates in practice the abstract principle of Cantorian set theory. The Cantorsche set theory comprises an infinite dust of points, whose continuous becoming creates a continuous space between the points - the principle of activity consists in the continuous repetition of division, so that the set goes continuously towards zero, although it is always enclosed in a finite space, so that it remains at the same time infinitely diverse and economical. Continuous recalibration is a practical method of endless deterritorialization.

With the euphoric use of the term microstructure or rhizome, a post-historical, post-romantic, post-genealogical phantasy about the network society was initiated, in which the various sub-areas could allegedly develop forward in a coevolutionary manner and no longer need any causal relationships to apply, instead the respective areas were interwoven with each other as a colorful patchwork. Today the talk of the ecological system or the network pervades almost every experienced social analysis. Thus, in his paper "Deciphering the Riddle of Capital", David Harvey has listed factors such as class relations, institutional structures, production processes, relationships to nature, reproduction, everyday life, demographic development, and intellectual conceptions in addition to the parameter of capital accumulation, which taken together would form a network or an open complex whole. According to Harvey, it is important to show how these areas influence each other, how they organize and structure their relations, from which tensions, contradictions, evolutions and inventive processes can result, which, however, are by no means causally determined, but simply contingently mediated. According to Harvey, exactly this theoretical structure was developed by none other than Marx himself in Chapter 13 of Capital Bd1 in discussion with Darwin's theory of evolution. Allegedly Marx knew no primacy of an instance and he also did not know the concept of determination. Harvey also shows the strategic influence of the network metaphor, which today goes far beyond the mere description of a data-organized infrastructure and a relational ecology. After all, today everything is a network, and the best answer to networks is even more networks, in fact there is almost a paranoid intellectual atmosphere, according to which everything is a network.

In this context, even the term "rhizome" had to be used to describe the fashion in art, architecture, computer science, neurobiology, economics, etc. for a network model reduced to the term virtuality (at least the terms virtuality and digitality were used congruently), which followed the almost paranoid premise that everything is networked. In fact, many of today's large corporations are network companies. While Google monetarizes its network designs by clustering algorithms, Facebook overwrites subjectivity and social interaction along the lines of channeled and discrete network services. In military theory, the most effective response to terrorism is network building, in operaism of the negative variety the best response to empire is multitude, in ecology networks are the most effective response to the systemic colonization of nature. In computer science, distributed architectures are the best answers to connectivity bottlenecks. In the economic sciences, heterogeneous economic latitude is the best answer to the distributed nature of the long tail. Ecological or system-oriented thinking has attained an unprecedented popularity, as a kind of solution to the problem of diachrony, in which space and the landscape occupy the place of time and history. The postmodern "spatial turn" goes hand in hand with the devaluation of the temporal moment, one thinks of Riemann's complex surfaces, of the path from phenomenology to the theory of assemblages, from the time image of cinema to the data-based image on the Internet. Finally, the old manta ray of historicization was replaced by the mantra of constant connectedness and networking. (Sloterdijk has designed the phase of network compression for the period from 1492 to 1974, and thus misjudges the very essence of the so-called digital revolution.)

During the age of clocks, the universe was still thought of as a mechanism in which the heavens rotated according to the music of the spheres. In the age of the steam engine, the world mutated into an engine of indescribable thermodynamic forces. And after the fully developed industrialization, the body transformed into a factory enriched with the seductive metaphors of technology and infrastructure. Today, in the age of networks, a new template (paradigm) inscribes itself in everything that shows itself as presence, even more so, the idea that everything is network opens a new tautology of presence.

translated by: DeepL.

Foto: Bernhard Weber

Der Beitrag Deleuze/Guattari and quantum finance erschien zuerst auf

Release on Mille Plateaux out! Gianluca Iadema: Aphàiresis Fri, 13 Sep 2019 09:32:02 +0000

Mille Plateaux MP3

Artist: Gianluca Iadema

Title: Aphàiresis

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watch here


anteriore/Presente continuo”

Gianluca Iadema

a series of video music works that investigates the relationship
between Materiality and Immateriality, between Presence and

is from the fruitful relationship between Materiality - Imperfection
- and Immateriality - Perfection - that, through a process of
filtering and re-generation, another new world is created, in which
the individual elements lose part of themselves in their journey and
reconstitute themselves in a higher order. The numerical nature of
the most advanced technologies places the artist, and Man in general,
in a position of apparent control in which, on the contrary, the
medium, for its power, risks conditioning it and making it lose its
way: for the first time in history technological objects are built
before their possible uses have been sensed. But the Evolution of man
and life itself is often the result of errors, deviations, accidents,
and singularities. The most subversive and contemporary creative
gesture, witnessing the Human Presence, can be the creative control
of error, the controlled deviation of the numerical series in a
dimension in which the human presence contributes to curving time, to
grafting a colour into a sound, a cinematographic image into an
aseptic texture, a musical sequence in the background of a tree, in a
slower time, purified and richer in meaning.

from disturbances, interferences, imperfections, distortions of
obsolete projection and vision equipment (VHS, analogical
projectors...) the composer performs an arbitrary operation and, for
this very reason, a poetic of "induction to error" of the
software and, through the creative and controlled enhancement of the
error itself, he obtains new sounds, iridescent forms and colours
that try to assume plastic value. The Aphàiresis
(from the Greek "L’Apha",
abstraction) thus becomes the process through which the different
visual and musical codes re-functionalize each other, giving plastic
value to error, capable of generating new forms and sounds, in
critical dialogue with the society of "liquid music" and
the (apparent) infallibility of digital. The idea of
re-functionalisation, resemantisation and reinterpretation of
analogical and digital, visual and auditory errors is an
acknowledgement of the almost metaphysical power of paratesto
all its various expressions. In addition to the resemantization of
error, the project "Aphairesis" is a "letting go and
finding yourself" in an infinite historical path, thanks to the
strong contrast that present the sound and visual elements on which
it is based:

electronic object (musical pieces entirely made through Data bending
processes and numerical permutations);

concrete object (videos made through imperfections due to old analog
projectors). Using digital imperfection artifacts (distortion,
clicks, noises...);

is revealed about the otherwise opaque nature of the digital medium.
Using artifacts from analog projectors, on the other hand, reveals
the specificity of transmission of this obsolete device of visual
reproduction, with the consequent presence of an intrinsic historical
contrast. Each element of the composition is managed through precise
processes of permutation and analysis, which touch on the spectralist
current and the abstract image. A sonic and visual investigation that
brings back to the surface the beauty of the invisible, showing the
cellular components that define it. A microscopic and macroscopic
journey at the same time. Visual fluidity and musical freshness live
on their own life, two elements leave each other and meet in an
infinite dialogue. The association between sound and image is not
always due to synchronisation, but to the management of space,
repetition, colour and its fluidity. The human psyche plays a
fundamental role in the visual audio composition, allowing new
interactions between its constituent elements thanks to the audience,
which observes the gear that jams and then starts again in a
completely unexpected way.

"We must occasionally remind the dust (aphar) that it was once man and immortal matter. A vibrant and pulsating presence anxieties. Uncertain whisper and accurate and imperfect “silere”. Fear of glances at the announcement and the contraction of the day. For always and again the shattered appears to us with each discolouring. Always and again we propose ourselves in the molecular colours of nembi. It is felt more intense far away, where the lenses barely perceive the dense breath of other universes. It insuffles itself decisively and, by leaps and bounds, it infiltrates into our poor houses and bodies. A little sparkles out in the open and soothes in the sacred enclosure of dreams. Perhaps this is why a piercing pain resonates in the hollow organs and reverberates inadvertently. And so it is worthwhile to step aside and listen to one another on the sidelines. Let yourself be traversed by flows and be disoriented by sounds. Ah, what purest form is this of gift? A return again to feel, to return again to see, with the whole body no longer just astral. More than a luminous abstraction of sounds, Aphàiresis presents itself as a compact sequence of signs, of distinct and filtered pictures and reconfigured into pulses of regenerative light. Pulviscular compositions of sounds, that rekindle worlds, but not to misinform their noises. Instant intensifier semicolon. Even at a distance. In its being here and there and in the hour. In his presence and in the opening up of worlds, with every poignant passing vanity"

Der Beitrag Release on Mille Plateaux out! Gianluca Iadema: Aphàiresis erschien zuerst auf

Can Coffee be Sustainable ? Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:35:36 +0000

After participating at the Sustainability Congress one day before WOC Berlin June 2019, I was thinking: what a mess…can coffee really be sustainable?

Especially after the presentation from Nespresso i had
to LOL !

I questioned Mr.Ranitzsch about Nespresso Mexico and
the Problems and Resistanceagainst the Robusta Project in the State of Veracruz
and Oaxaca. 20 years ago they started with this project in Tezonapa. It´s part
of my docmovie ´Cafe Rebeldia´,Mexico 2000-2008, 75 min – which you can find on
the webpage downwards . I also wrote articles about that.

First answer: ´ I don´t know , I´m not from Nestle ,
only from Nespresso !`´and there are no problems with Nespresso in the Huatulco
and Ixthuatlan Region.`Again I mentioned the actual resistence from CNOC , El
Barzon, SPP /CLAC against the new Nestle Factory in the Industrial Zone of the
City of Veracruz!

The new mexican president AMLO (Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador) is supporting that project too. And again: ´I don´t know about Nestle´s activities! ` I could not believe it… But ,he answered:´ I know you and your articles about the project ! `

Also the Audience was astonished and had to laugh and
I was thinking by myself: better then nothing !´he knows me´? I never met him
before…nore in the future I hope. This is only one example how big companies
act for their own purpose.They are using the actual coffee (price) crisis
because of Climate Change and Roya, use in Mexico big support from SAGARPA with
the Sarchimor/Catimor /Robusta Programand the campesinos have to accept-get
poor money or ´die´, leave their fields and migrate!

Nestle pays sometimes only 5 Mexican Pesos per Kilo
and sell Nespresso capsules in Germany for around 70 € /kg.

I hope you all know the words from Ex-Ceo Peter
Brabeck-Letmathe, something like:

´Nestle is sustainable,when the products also will buy
your grandsons and grandchilds` Fairtrade have no chance against them. The
influence is too small because, they only have for example in Germany 4% of the

The consumers know Fairtrade ,but mostly now decision
to buy, because supermarkets offer cheap , bad quality coffee .On the other
side we have the Fairtrade importers,like Gepa and Mitka, who are struggeling
very hard to get more approach to the market. I´m supporting this more than 30
years, starting in Nicaragua in the mid 80´ties, El Salvador after the war 1992
and 1997 after the 1994 Zapatista uprise in Chiapas/Mexico with the Zapatista
Coffee Cooperatives.

But there was also resistance from Max Havelaar
founders like Frans Vanderhoff/ UCIRI against our activities. He wanted not
that they will be certified by Flo-Cert and tried to crash up a Swiss contract
from Bertschi Kaffee with the Zapatista Coop Mut Vitz in this time.But it does
not work – luckily the international solidarity movement was strong , builded
up imports first to the US, Germany, Suisse, Italy, Spain, Greece etc. like
Coop Coffees in Canada/USA.

Years later the coffee crisis and the roya pushed them
down too. Minus 80% to -90 % coffee harvest in Chiapas and caused big troubles
ans splittings between the zapatista coffee importers in europe,in germany till
the court! Ok Roya , you all know that. Other cooperatives got credit programs
like Oikocredit or from the state to renovate their cafetales/coffee-fields.
Zapatistas not. So bad chances to renovate their small fields .The average
income of the producers in the mountains of Chiapas is 500 $ per year ! And the
migration rises up.

In El Salvador our actual partner Coop Las Lajas will
need 20-25 years to reach the same harvest as before the Roya Tsunami came!The
have bank credits and pay 9% .I asked Oikocredit but for them the risk is to
high.On the other side they gave big money to Caravela Coffee. So we buy 3-4
containers per year from Coop Las Lajas and one from Coop
Combrifol/Marcala-Honduras for the german market and our brand ´Cafe la

They next actual idea because of the
climate crisis and CO2 footprint is the transport by sail-ship
Avontuur(Advantage) from Nicaragua and Mexico to Europe+Germany organized by
different importers like our partners from Mitka, El Puente and El Rojito . The
brand is called ´Cafe Vela´. Is this sustainable or only a good advertising gag
? I thought.

Well on the one side it´s nice idea, no ship-diesel ;
no contamination…ok! But there are little problems too. In Bluefields-Atlantic
coast of Nicaragua- it´s not possible to load the coffee. So they have to
transport the harvest from Boaca Nicaragua by truck around 800 km to Port La
Ceiba in Honduras. Ok they can do CO2 certificates…hmm, not really a good
solution. But the main problem is : the sailor-ship goes back empty across the
Atlantic to Mexico and Honduras.

The transport costs are rising up…and the selling
price in future is not comparable with the normal import with containers and
big ships and from Corinto-Pacific Coast of Nicaragua or Port of Veracruz

They are looking now to fill up the boat but with the
actual crisis in Nicaragua it´s very difficult to import goods via Honduras.
Corruption at the borders is the main problem.

But the politics and the violence against human rights
by paramilitars from the actual Regime of Murillo/Ortega, can give the coffee
production in Nicaragua the rest.

I did not talked about Colombia . El Puente imports
from Red Ecol Sierra and Juan Tama Coops. The actual notices about the
re-arming from FARC and the Paramilitar Exralegal Murdering of Ex-Farc members
and sindicalists + environment activists are horrible!

So we will see what Coffee-Future brings – the
discussion is open!

Thank you-Muchas Gracias
Jan Braunholz

Der Beitrag Can Coffee be Sustainable ? erschien zuerst auf

#MenAreTrash als antisexistische Dialektik Zum Fall weiße Männer und Staat versus @zugezogenovic Thu, 12 Sep 2019 11:17:44 +0000

Mitte letzten Jahres schrieben @apolitAsh und @zugezogenovic ( über das Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) und seine Instrumentalisierung durch Rechte. Ursprünglich gedacht um endlich gegen „Hate Speech“ im Internet vorgehen zu können, entwickelte sich das Gesetz schnell zu einem Instrument, um antirassistische und antisexistische Accounts anzugreifen. Teilweise wurden Accounts von migrantischen Linken 20 Mal pro Tag gemeldet.

Die Instrumentalisierung des Netzwerkdurchsuchungsgesetz funktioniert darüber, dass auf Plattformen wie Twitter in der Beurteilung, was „Hate Speech“ ist, gesellschaftliche Macht- und Ausbeutungsverhältnisse und Diskussionsdynamiken keine Berücksichtigung finden. Stattdessen war es nun Rechten möglich, Tweets für Inhalte wie #MenAreTrash zu melden, weil darin angeblich Menschenfeindlichkeit gegen Männer ausgedrückt würde.

Der Hashtag #MenAreTrash bezieht sich auf eine Radikalisierung der antisexistischen Diskussionen, die durch #MeToo ausgelöst wurden. Sibel Schick schrieb, sich auf den Hashtag beziehend, am 30. Juli 2018: „Es ist ein strukturelles Problem, dass Männer Arschlöcher sind“. Durch den darauffolgenden reaktionären Angriff u.a. von Jutta Ditfurth gab es in der Folge eine breite Diskussion über antisexistische Kritik.

Wichtig ist dabei zu verstehen, dass #MenAreTrash aus einem Diskurs hervorgeht, bei dem abwehrend immer wieder davon gesprochen wurde, dass man keine pauschalen Aussagen über Männer treffen könne. Diese Strategie des Derailing1 versucht antisexistische Kritik die Zähne zu ziehen und von der strukturellen Ebene von Ausbeutung und Sexismus abzulenken. Es seien doch nicht „alle Männer so“.

Der Hashtag #MenAreTrash verschlagwortete nun also, dass es ein systematisches Problem von Sexismus im Patriarchat gibt. #MeToo beschrieb die betroffenen Perspektiven, #MenAreTrash zeigte antagonistisch, dass es nicht nur Opfer, sondern auch Täter von patriarchaler Gewalt gibt. Die Benennung als „Abfall“ war dabei sogar noch moderat, wenn man dabei z.B. an die Massenmorde neuer Männlichkeitsbewegungen wie der Incels („Involuntary Celibates“) denkt. Abfall ist passiv und kann weggeworfen werden, Männer hingegen haben gesellschaftliche Macht und Femizide passieren fast täglich.

Vor dem Hintergrund dieser Debattenlage entwickelte sich #MenAreTrash schnell zu einem öffentlichkeitswirksamen Meme, das vielfach auch in Online-Diskussionen benutzt werden konnte. Wenn Männer anfingen strukturelle Probleme von patriarchaler Gewalt kleinzureden, konnte einfach mit dem Trash-Symbol geantwortet werden.

Damit gelang es vielfach Gesprächssituation umzukehren, sodass sich nicht immer die von Gewalt betroffene Seite gegenüber Anfeindungen vereidigen musste. Männer konnten durch den Hashtag erfahren, wie es sich anfühlt, nicht immer wieder eine nette Erklärung auf ihr Derailing zu bekommen, sondern ihr Verhalten als Teil einer problematischen Gesamtstruktur begreifen.

Von reaktionärer Seite wurde schließlich – teilweise erfolgreich – versucht, den radikalen Teil des antisexistischen Aktivismus als „überzogen“ zu diffamieren und in immer neuen Variationen die strukturelle Kritik aufzuweichen. Eine besonders perfide Variante bestand darin, homosexuelle Männer gegen den Hashtag zu instrumentalisieren, sich beim Derailing im Sinne von „nicht alle Männer“ mit Homosexualitätsfeindlichkeits-Vorwürfen zu immunisieren. „Aber ihr könnt nicht sagen, dass schwule Männer Abfall sind.“

Vor dem Hintergrund dieser Diskurslage sprach @zugezogenovic davon, dass auch schwule Alman-Männer Abfall seien, gehören sie doch strukturell im Patriarchat ebenfalls zur Kategorie „Mann“. Die rassistischen und sexistischen Angriffe auf den Account, die seit dem Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz schon mehrfach zu Sperrungen geführt hatten, erreichten nun in Anzeigen von weißen Männern wegen Volksverhetzung ihren Höhepunkt. @zugezogenovic wurde als eine antirassistische und antisexistische Stimme wahrgenommen und in Folge durch das Zusammenspiel von patriarchaler Reaktion und Rassismus vor Gericht gestellt. Die Rechten jubelten, die Solidarität von links blieb allerdings ambivalent.

Grundproblem ist, dass viele männliche und weiße Linke im Zweifelsfall eher zu Männern und/oder Weißen halten, anstatt sich mit antisexistisch-migrantischen Stimmen zu solidarisieren. Die ‚Solidarität‘ nahm z.T. eine Form an, in der zwar die Anklage kritisiert wurde, jedoch eine Entschuldigung für den Inhalt werden wollte. Und auch in dem Fall, wo der Schuldspruch der „Volksverhetzung“ zu Abschiebung führt, bestanden Linke darauf, dass es immer noch wichtiger sei, wie der antisexistische Inhalt solcher Aussagen ganz genau formuliert wurde. Die sprachpolizeiliche Verfolgung, die gerade jene migrantischen Stimmen trifft, ist weiß-männliche Identitätspolitik, die als solche allerdings nur selten be- und angegriffen wird.

Solange die „Solidarität“ von weißen Männern so aussieht, spalten sie Klasse, anstatt sie im Kampf gegen Patriarchat und Rassismus auch durch auch Reflexion und Veränderung ihrer eigenen Handlungen zu einen. Diese Spaltung wird dann gerne denjenigen angedichtet, die in erster Linie unter Patriarchat und Rassismus leiden, nicht denen, die davon strukturell profitieren. Der weiße Deutsche liebt die Täter-Opfer-Umkehr. Weil sich diese verkehrte Welt der falschen Solidarisierungen fortsetzt, ist es für Marginalisierte erste Priorität, sich selbst zu organisieren und dadurch eigene Stärke, Diskursmacht und schließlich organisierte Klassenmacht zu erlangen.

Während Linke immer noch zweifeln, ob der Tatbestand der Volksverhetzung nicht doch richtig wäre, musste selbst das Amtsgericht Tiergarten die Verhandlung gegen @zugezogenovic am 10. September 2019 in erster Instanz mit einem Freispruch auflösen. Die Repression gegen die antagonistischen Teile der antisexistischen/antirassistischen Community wird indes weitergehen.

Zu dieser Strategie des
Derailing wurde ausführlich schon 2015 geschrieben

Der Beitrag #MenAreTrash als antisexistische Dialektik Zum Fall weiße Männer und Staat versus @zugezogenovic erschien zuerst auf

Laruelle, the myths of and about Marxism Wed, 11 Sep 2019 13:22:52 +0000

Marx has often spoken of the dwarfish and narrow-minded idea of the German petty bourgeois. Without a doubt, this also applies today to the remaining stocks of German left-wing academics and their Marx reading, as one could see again on the occasion of this year's Marx Party. There is swaggering, as if there were no foreign Marxists at all, such as Milios, Meister, Norfield, Kliman, LiPuma, Shaikh, Freeman and Laruelle, who despite all the differences have succeeded in delivering more than just the umpteenth reconstruction of Marx's theory. One does not know why their approaches are not taken into account, one does not know, but it is striking that the German Marx readings are mostly within the sphere of influence of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Anyway.

In his book Introduction to Non-Marxism, Laruelle summarizes the problems surrounding the mistakes of Marxism, which continue to grow today, as follows (ibid.: 11ff.):

1) There are no errors of Marxism, but in its discontinuous history there are only a number of symptoms of errors. 2) The circumstances or business cycles of non-Marxism include the Marxist concept of circumstances and business cycles plus the errors of Marxism. 3) The individual objects of Marxism are still subject to the dominance of philosophical doctrine. On the other hand, the scientific object of non-Marxism is capital with all its facets. The universal object of non-Marxism in turn comprises "capitalism" plus the set of its philosophical representations, i.e. universal capitalism in the radical sense and its synthesis with philosophy under the auspices of the world. 4) Non-Marxism demands a real identity of science and philosophy, which must be constructed as science fiction and in particular puts the hegemonic claims of philosophy in its place. Under the current predominance of the dialectical synthesis of science and philosophy, philosophy takes its place twice, once as party or part (within duality) and once again as judge (within a ternary structure), that is, as term of synthesis and as synthesis itself. This rejects Laruelle all around. 5) Finally, non-Marxism demands a unified theory of Marxism with which it pursues the radical detachment from dialectics. And this is possible for Laruelle only with the elaboration of the concept of determination in the last instance (DLI), the unification of science and philosophy in the last instance. But it is not a matter of identifying the two disciplines all too quickly - as dialectical materialism and, to a certain extent, historical materialism, which itself is still far too philosophical, have done - but Laruelle calls for both disciplines to be developed according to the real, according to an immanence that can be cloned, whereby science has clear advantages over philosophy here.1

For Laruelle, there is also a strange riddle about the mistakes of Marxism, whether its empirical, sociological, economic or philosophical (theoretical and practical) failures, whereby the critique of Marxism is often charged with a certain resentment by intellectuals, especially today those who try to create a hypermodern social theory that meets the contemporary aesthetic-theoretical taste of the academic audience. On the problem of the scientific failures of Marxism, the following can be said: It was Popper, as is well known, who, in order to be able to judge scientific errors, stated the (ultimately metaphysical) criterion of falsification. It must be possible to contradict the hypothesis that claims universality in the experiment sui generis, and for him this constitutes the actual affirmative of science towards any form of metaphysics. (Ibid.: 13) In this context, Marxism would have mirrored or copied history and the world of ideas far too often to this day, insofar as it stands more strongly in the tradition of verification; it affirms its hypotheses as relatively adequate to the worldly phenomena and, to all misfortune, tries to verify them. (ibid.) And still every philosophical thesis, according to Laruelle, tends more towards verification than falsification. Although the objects of philosophical Marxism were never directly congruent with reality, as the positive sciences demand, but being (as matter) was its outstanding object, and yet at least philosophical Marxism constantly tried to intervene affirmatively at the level of the concrete (the proletariat leads history to a correct end). Marxism in the version of the labor value doctrine has the proletariat not only messianically charged, but he has used the proletariat as a means to mitigate the critique of capital relations through the ideology of labor, which is equal to the philosophy of variable capital. And this continues in disgust at the demand for a basic income, in rebellion against the allegedly useless reindeers for production, who live only from trading in securities and insist on the right of interest. Ultimately, with the conception of the transhistoric logic of work, the utility value is preserved by understanding work sui generis as man's process of self-generation, a principle that can certainly compete with the figure of Hegelian world spirit. Consequently, the political is also understood purely as the potentiation of economic antagonism, which is the result of the capitalist exploitation of the worker. As philosophy, labor value Marxism has no objects of its own, it is rather a dualistic game of positions and objectivities, it constantly confuses its practical transformational power, which is actually supposed to be of unprecedented historical efficacy, with philosophical transcendence qua the demanded healing power of the proletariat, which under certain circumstances ends in the "social workers' state" (Kautsky) or the ideal total wage earner, who can hardly be distinguished from the "ideal total capitalist" (Engels). For Laruelle, a decisive mistake of Marxism lies in the fact that one actually imagined that it had created a special philosophy - dialectical materialism and even historical materialism - the utility value of which would be to provide the theoretical means to qua proletariat the whole of humanity, which operates the real abolition or destruction of the working class, a proletariat that leads humanity into the land of equality, justice and freedom, but at least in the transition phase still needs a strong state that creates the organic connection between planning, organization and consciousness and can thus be regarded as an instrument that opens the way to communism.2

Marxism and its errors are only in the last instance the same or coagulate into forms of a combination that is irreducible to one of the terms. Marxism is inseparable from its mistakes, but at the same time it is not identical with its mistakes. According to Laruelle, his mistakes lie less in the unsuccessful realization of a theory than in his transcendental illusions, which he constantly took from philosophy and still takes today. (ibid.: 15f.) These illusions can by no means be corrected by the instances of theory alone, but for non-Marxist theory the "last" criterion of correction is to assume the real, which radically indicates immanence; the real functions as the reason in the last instance, which sui generis determines every rigorous theory and every real practice. Moreover, the arbitrary adjustment of Marxism with regard to "participation" in new scientific theories should rather be avoided - it should instead be treated as scientific material itself, in order to create new opportunities/situations/circumstances with the methods of non-Marxism, which, however, do not necessarily have to be empirically observable, but rather universally understandable in their performativity. And this is only possible through the invention of axioms that remain without any direct reference to the historical-philosophical concepts commonly assumed to be determinant in contemporary Marxism. A new conjuncture of non-Marxism must refer to the combination of "Marxism and its mistakes", but is irreducible in both terms. (ibid.: 15) If there is a pervasive problem in (philosophical) Marxism, it is the practical and theoretical lack of anti-capitalist radicality that distinguishes its positions and definitions, which continue to make possible no non-capitalist critique of capital and no non-worldly critique of the world of ideas. Marxism has not been and is not defenseless to history, but has been and is defenseless to the world of capital (for which history is only a mode), and this is because it remains to this day too committed to the philosophical world of ideas. With his critique of Marxism, Laruelle is concerned with the construction of a new theoretical causality that stands for the invention of non-Marxism, even for a repetition of Marxism, but if so, then for a repetition without return, and this means that non-Marxism can no longer recognize itself in Marxism, or in other words, it is far too heterogeneous to its symptom, especially if it if he thinks this through the theoretical means of uni-versellen, which are much more radical than those of Marxism.

For Laruelle, then, only a non-Marxist repetition-without return can avoid the ideological comedy of a philosophical return to Marxism, repeatedly staged by some Marxists, as well as the tragicomedy of its deconstruction. (Ibid.: 67) Non-Marxism neither wants to escape Marxism, nor does it want to return to it; it simply goes to it and offers it a blunt gesture of radicalization, which in no way strives to make a fundamental separation from it, but merely states that one neither has to find one's way back to the core of Marxism, nor must one constantly renew Marxism. Only when non-Marxism experiences its own fictional elaboration as a theory operating according to the real can it understand Marxism itself as its symptom and thus simultaneously be regarded as an interpretation of the real and as a practice of transformation. It seems to Laruelle completely senseless to want to improve, reform or re-philosophize Marxism, at best non-Marxism presents itself as an emergent repetition of Marxism (according to the real in the last instance). Non-Marxism wants to be rigorous (a form of theory that rests exclusively on its real ground) and uni-versell (not particular like philosophy and not regional like science, but a unified science fiction theory as philosophy and science at the same time). (ibid.: 70f.) It calls on Marxism to radically break with empiricism, as well as with any philosophical limitations or illusory ambitions, to create a new humanity by constructing the proletariat as the subject of history. Thus, in the course of a teleology of the execution of history, classical working class Marxism imagined the proletariat as the carrier of a historical mission and the communist party as the carrier of historical truth.

1 It was Heidegger who pointed out that dialectical materialism by no means merely comes up with the assertion that everything is only material, but adds the metaphysical destiny which, according to everything that exists or matter, is to be understood as material of social work. (Heidegger 2000) This metaphysical determination of the essence of work and matter had already been laid out in Hegel's Phänomenologie des Geistes as the objectification of reality by the human subject. Indeed, Marx had essentially retained this position in the early writings. Althusser's intervention in the 1960s, which was directed against humanist-existentialist Marxism Sartres, aimed at depicting the break in Marx's thinking (between his early writings before 1845, especially the economic-philosophical manuscripts and the so-called late writings from 1857). Heidegger, however, did not perceive this break, instead he made Marx appear as a naive humanist under the aegis of Hegel.

2 For Badiou, too, the working class and the proletariat cannot be identified. While the working class is defined by the field of social and economic positions and roles, the proletariat, as an active, destructive force, has the task of destroying the respective object placements. For Badiou, the proletariat assumes, at least as far as its early phase is concerned, the historical mission of destroying a structural field in which the distribution of economic and social places takes place. (Cf. Power 2015: 231)

Literature: Laruelle, F. (2015): Introduction to Non-Marxism.Minneapolis

translated by deepl.

Der Beitrag Laruelle, the myths of and about Marxism erschien zuerst auf

Barbarism of Employment Wed, 11 Sep 2019 06:58:01 +0000

principle, fictitious capital always arises when a money owner leaves
his money to another person and in return receives a title of
ownership (bond, share, etc.) representing the claim to this money
and its increase (e.g. in the form of interest or dividends). In this
way, the original sum of money is doubled. It now exists twice and
can be used by both parties. The recipient can spend the money on
consumption, investments or financial assets and for the donor his
money has become money capital, which yields a regular profit.
money capital, however, consists of nothing more than a securitized
claim representing the anticipation of future value. Whether this
anticipation is actually covered becomes clear only after the fact.
If the sum of money in question is invested in a production plant and
this investment is successful, the value is preserved in the form of
the acting capital and increases through the use of labour in the
production of goods. If, on the other hand, the investment fails or
the borrowed money is spent immediately on private or state
consumption, the original value is consumed, but the claim to it
lives on (for example in the form of a credit agreement or a bond).
In this case, the fictitious capital is uncovered and must be
replaced and "serviced" by the creation of new claims to
future value (such as the issue of new bonds) so that the monetary
claim can be redeemed. The financialisation of developed economies
can be measured by the relative size of the financial sector compared
to GDP, the volume of profits realised by financial institutions
compared to other enterprises, and the portfolio income of
non-financial enterprises. Beyond those indicators that demonstrate
the transfer of funds from the real economy to the speculative
financial circuits that lenders today are characterized by, their
power to select those projects that deserve to be financed is their
power to select those that deserve to be financed, which in turn
requires those that are dependent on credit to constantly demonstrate
their attractiveness to investors and thus to align their economic
activities not only to generating profit but also to the creation of
creditworthiness. Above all, the stock corporations must not only
strive to maximize the difference between revenues and production
costs in the long term, but also to work in the short term for the
benefit of the shareholders on an increase in stock prices, which are
valued by the financial markets. Thus, the real success of these
companies does not result exclusively from the realization of profits
from the sale of products and services, but is based on the capital
gain that can also be obtained from share buybacks.
Now the
anticipation of future value in the form of fictitious capital
belongs to the capitalistic normal operation. But in the fundamental
crisis of exploitation in the wake of the Third Industrial Revolution
it took on a fundamental new meaning. While the creation of
fictitious capital has so far essentially served to flank and support
the process of capital exploitation (for instance by pre-financing
large investments), a change of role has now taken place since the
basis of this process broke away. From then on, capital accumulation
was no longer largely based on the use of labor in the production of
goods such as cars, hamburger rolls and smartphones, but on the mass
issuance of securities such as stocks, bonds and financial
derivatives, which represented claims to future value. In this way,
fictitious capital itself became the engine of capital accumulation,
while the production of goods market goods decreased to dependent
This form of capital accumulation, however, differs
in one crucial respect from the previous form of capitalist
self-purpose movement. Since it is based on the anticipation of value
to be produced in the future, it is capital accumulation without
capital utilization. Its basis is not the current utilization of
labor in the production of value, but the expectation of future real
economic gains, which in the last instance must come from the
additional utilization of labor. However, since this expectation
cannot be fulfilled in view of the development of productive power,
the demands must be renewed again and again and the anticipation of
future value must be stretched further and further into the future.
The consequence of this is that the mass of financial stocks is
subject to an increased exponential growth constraint. For this
reason, the number of financial securities exceeds the number of the
produced and traded goods market goods many times over. In public
opinion, this "lifting off of the financial markets" is
usually criticised as the alleged cause of the crisis; in fact,
however, once the foundations of exploitation have been lost, the
accumulation of capital can only continue in this way.
compulsion to exponentially increase exponential growth, however,
marks a logical limit for the accumulation of fictitious capital; for
the real economic reference points to which the expectations of
future profits refer cannot be multiplied at will and emerge one
after the other as chimera (new economy, real estate boom, etc.).
Nevertheless, this limit can be postponed to a considerable extent,
as a glance back at the era of fictitious capital, which has now
lasted around thirty-five years, shows. However, this postponement is
at the expense of steadily rising social costs, which are becoming
increasingly intolerable. Income and wealth have concentrated in
fewer and fewer hands, the precarization of working and living
conditions has increased worldwide, and the remaining natural
resources have been squandered mercilessly - just to keep the
dynamics of capital accumulation going.
In order to better
understand the causes of this, we must first examine what effects the
shift of capital accumulation into the sphere of fictitious capital
has had on the basic form of social relationship, mediation through
work. Then we have to ask how the relationship between the two sides
of the capitalist form of wealth, abstract wealth in the form of
value and material wealth, has changed at the same time.
I have
argued above that until the 1970s social mediation through labor was
characterized by a mutual dependence of capital and labor. This was
based on the fact that capital in its urge to exploit was dependent
on living labor, while the owners of the commodity labor depended on
the successful sale of precisely this commodity in order to be able
to live. In the era of fictitious capital, however, this relationship
changed fundamentally. Not only did the Third Industrial Revolution
make masses of living labor superfluous, but more importantly, the
focus of capital accumulation has shifted from the use of labor in
the production of market commodities to anticipating future value. As
a result, capital has become self-referential in a whole new sense in
its movement for its own ends. The anticipation of future value,
which is capitalized and accumulated in the here and now, remains
within the logic and form of the production of goods; for it is
produced through the sale of a good, namely through the sale of a
title to property, which securitizes the claim to a certain sum of
money and its multiplication. But the sellers of these property
titles are by no means any workers who sell the promise of work in
ten or twenty years' time, i.e. receive a kind of long-term advance
whose fulfilment would remain uncertain; it is rather the
functionaries of capital itself, first and foremost the banks and
other financial institutions, who sell each other the securitized
claims to future value and thus produce and accumulate fictitious
capital. In this respect, therefore, capital has indeed become
completely self-referential; the commodity that represents additional
social capital arises within the sphere of capital
Conversely, however, this now means that the sellers of
the commodity Arbeitskraft largely lose their bargaining power. Not
only can they in any case be replaced by machines or by cheaper
competitors anywhere in the world in the face of the advancing
development of productivity and globalization; even more decisive is
the fact that their commodity is no longer the basic commodity of
capital accumulation. This results in a structural imbalance. For the
overwhelming majority of the world's population, social mediation
through work is still central insofar as they have to sell their
labor or their work products as goods here and now in order to be
able to participate in social wealth in return, i.e. to buy the
necessary means of consumption. Capital, on the other hand, also
remains related to social mediation through labor; for it has by no
means left the universe of commodity production. To the extent that
capital accumulates through anticipation of future value production,
that is, anticipates the results of possible labor in the future, it
frees itself from its dependence on the future.

And the work is everywhere, anytime. When
oppression is absolute, there is no leisure, no "free time".
Sleep is monitored. The sense of work is then the destruction of work
at and through work. But if, as has happened in some concentration
camps, work consists of dragging stones to a place at a run, piling
them up and then, still running, taking them back to the starting
point … Then work can no longer be destroyed by any sabotage if it
is already destined to destroy itself. Nevertheless, it retains its
meaning; not only to destroy the worker, but, directly, to occupy
him, to fix him, to control him, and at the same time to give him the
awareness that producing and non-producing are one and the same
thing, is also work … Maurice Blanchot to the labour camp
today's situation quite similar? In the mostly precarious working
conditions there is a large number of meaningless and even
capitalistically unproductive occupations, which Graeber calls
bullshit jobs1, and which, no matter whether they are connected with
long waiting in which nothing happens or intolerable hustle and
bustle, are complementary to the ubiquitous circulation logic of
capital (the main thing is that work circulates as employment); The
affectively occupied, lightning speed that one has to cultivate in
dealing with digital devices and media is often expected in dealing
with people, objects and materials, and this attitude, if it is paid
for, is today disguised as employment. Nonstop-doing is hip and
trendy, even if it is still the very last nonsense that is carried
out, at least a little spiritual profit should arise from employment,
for which the rampant hobby sector from the hardware store to the
nudist oasis, the boom of therapeutic wellness and leisure activities
with their patchworks of self-enhancing activities and the spiritual
feel-good industry from Tantra to Yoga to Thai Chi provide the
affective model, whereby monetary profits from such activities are
usually only obtained through mediation.
Industrial labor has
always been about hiring the worker (as variable capital), whose
labor was never identical to the labor he performed and created the
added value for capital. Today, however, the employee (not the
worker) is increasingly no longer primarily the owner of a labour
force composed of wealth, skills, qualifications and potential, which
the owner offers on the labour market and rents out for a certain
period of time in order to function as a producer who, in addition to
performing the (extra) work guaranteed by his labour force, also
exists as a leisure person. As a modern consumer of work or as a
customer of work (at the Employment Agency for Work), however, the
employee is regarded as human capital in the 24/7 mode or as a
customer of work. as a holder of a self-portfolio, to be filled with
professional, social and emotional competences (not qualifications)
and to be constantly improved, whereby a feeling for favourable
opportunities and options in the jobs is to be developed and the
speculation of opportunities is to be taken for granted, so that the
employee translates into the language of the economy, can be regarded
as a conglomerate of various small types of capital that is
constantly in need of improvement; indeed, the employee is this
conglomerate that he must credibly embody for the Employment Agency
as a client by providing evidence of small securities documenting his
employment history and ability. As a consumer of labor he is at the
same time the small capital x, the speculative competence
conglomerate, which he has to increase in his alleged
inexchangeability or singularity, at least these are the neoliberal
imperatives, but he always remains a profile attributed to him by
companies, social media and labor agencies, a product oscillating
between consolidation and versatility. At the same time, the consumer
always remains frozen in a volatile work process (training for job),
which is sometimes even called "life". Wringing its hands,
as far as it has reached a certain status, the competence
conglomerate looks for its always refreshing talents as well as for a
unique selling proposition, which of course lies in its (never to be
updated) potential to embody it in the distant future, while it
remains entirely subject to the techniques of the plusquamperfect of
a "it will have been", techniques that transform the future
into the past in a continuous process.
Today, wage labour must
endure a particular paradox. On the one hand, work is a general
virtue that inscribes itself in life. Everything has become work, be
it body work, relationship work, sex work, mourning work etc…
Really free time thus becomes a state that should be avoided in any
case. On the other hand, the importance of work as occupation and
vocation decreases, so that only the job and the occupation remain,
whereby a working life is often enough regarded as the accumulation
of the next best opportunities, without the chance to tell his
employment biography as a successful life (Sennett). In addition,
fewer and fewer people have access to a job that ensures their
livelihood. And finally, the fear of unemployment hangs over almost
everyone who buys their labour". Then one would have to ask why
people do not understand their bullshit jobs as such.
it has to be said that Marx replaced the subjectively oriented
concept of alienation later on in capital by the concept of the
extraction of added value, which subjectively cannot be experienced
without further ado, because the separation of necessary and extra
work is not visible. The added value is necessarily evoked by the
capital relation.
Instead of the producer, who in the course of
capitalist history had emancipated himself, at least for certain
phases of his life, from his internment in the factory and from
complete lawlessness in matters of freedom, and who thus nevertheless
possessed the freedom to offer his labor at markets, today the
employee or the consumer of "labor", who is chained to this
day and night, is increasingly taking the place of the producer.
While the potential producer on the labor market embodies an offer as
a labor force, the consumer of labor represents the embodied demand
for the agencies that mediate labor, whereby the labor force on the
labor markets is permanently designed and traded, coached, and cast;
it now becomes the flexible mode for the business model of a
labor-design industry that imposes permanent casting on the labor
force. And even if today the producer still spends his labor force,
it tends to be cut off from him insofar as he no longer defines
himself solely through a production act, but also as a consumer of
labor through an act of purchase. And the less today, in view of
automation and the excessive increase in bullshit jobs, it is still
possible to convey the necessity of work to employees, the more the
demand for work is to coalesce into the ubiquitous model, which also
means that potential producers are transferred into the role of
consumers of "work" via the job centres and the various
private placement services.
The flexible labour market today is
characterised to a large extent by precarious services, which the
Federal Employment Agency, among others, offers, but which can only
actually provide employment if it is also available, which is
something that the Federal Employment Agency automatically assumes.
Consequently, the unemployed must also be responsible for their own
unemployment, which in turn implies that they are mostly lazy or
redundantly unwilling to work subjects. If we now refute this claim
with facts/figures, then nothing remains but the lack of work. And it
is precisely this lack of work that the Federal Employment Agency, as
its "service on the labour market", must constantly deal
with by miraculously transforming the lack of work into a work of
potency. And if one continues to assume that work is often precarious
and underpaid work, with workers either potentially hounded to death
and bullied or subjected to pure occupational therapies, the lack of
work will never be absent.
To repeat it, the Federal Employment
Agency defiantly maintains that there is no lack of work, turning the
lack of work itself into work.2 Whatever work is offered by the
agency, it now seems to circulate itself as a potential commodity
(the classic misconception of work as confusing or equating work with
labour), but it is usually only updated for a limited time, with the
potential involvement of clients in the search for work no longer a
guarantee that it will result in actual participation in work. When
the unemployed mutate into customers of state or private employment
agencies, another reversal comes into play: unemployed people who by
definition are producers without work potentially become consumers,
buyers of work. It follows from this that the unemployed, as
demanders of labour, are at the same time the entrepreneurs of their
own who seem to buy their own labour. In any case, they have to
increase their small capital X, and since this is usually zero except
for their potency to be labour force, they came to the conclusion
that the unemployed are the entrepreneurs of their own companies who
seem to buy their own labour. In any case, they have to increase
their small capital X, and since this, apart from their potency to be
manpower, is usually equal to zero, the Federal Agency at work one
day came up with the clever idea of improving this small capital X,
password "I AG", but more or less quickly gave up these
efforts again. The precarious employee should now experience for
himself what responsibility and entrepreneurship means, so that he
can finally identify himself with the victims who the state and
capital provide for him, in order to release the state apparatuses
and companies from their legal and social responsibility.
precariously employed person has to repeat the act of buying work
quite frequently in the course of his job life, so that factors such
as further training, performance potential, knowledge acquisition and
improvement of qualifications and competence are set in the long
term, with the result that a proliferating range of consulting,
training and further training opportunities is created on the labour
and coaching markets. We are dealing here with the logistification of
an employment mobility regime that consists of transferring the right
amount of labour, with the right skills and qualifications, at the
right time and at the right cost, to the right place, with permanent
tracking of labour movements in order to do justice to this type of
just-in-time production, and this applies in particular to
to-the-point migration (logistical frontiers 54), the management of
which requires logistics of waiting times, comprehensive monitoring,
control and prevention of friction.
The knowledge mostly
acquired on the screen results in a fluctuating information value (of
the consumer of work), whereby this has little to do with the
manpower of a classical producer who is confronted with a site-bound
machine park designed for a specific production. The new paradigm of
employment is the computer, which is mobile and flexible and
integrated into a network. In order to be successful, one has to be
networked in almost all professional areas today, because this is the
only way to attract investors who promote and advance one's own
humane investment capital. Through the purchase and application of
affective and social skills, as well as the professional knowledge
that comes from consulting, coaching and training programmes, which
seem to be well informed, the consumer of work must be able to sell
himself flexibly and attractively, precisely by constantly acquiring
a type of asset, namely certificates, expertises, employment
contracts, time vouchers, tax relief, etc., which he, as well as his
identity card, must present at every presentation.
In some
professions, labour is still spent, but its symbolic value, which is
represented by the right to work that is fought for, has been largely
eliminated. It is thus replaced by the information value of the
consumer of work, who is characterized by coaching competence, the
value acquired through education and training, the performance
self-portfolio and the genetic code. In this fourfold connotation of
the information value exists the small capital x, which covers the
information processing of the competences and the purchased knowledge
in self-sales. Now we can see whether the consumer of labour
functions as a self-informing network or not. The act of purchase is
then processed via the recognition of the assets, provided that the
consumer of labour has an attractive information value (and possibly
also the necessary purchasing power). And if his assets are then
updated by an employment contract, then he is sufficiently mobilized
for employment as a temporary worker. The assets, like all financial
assets, contain a potency which, however, is only updated as
participation in the work or as employment. If an asset is then also
updated, then everything has to be accepted at work, because
according to the Federal Employment Agency there is no unreasonable
work. If, however, the capitalisation of one's own information value
does not succeed, the market will pronounce the judgement that the
creation of work through its absence failed.
Temporary work and
agency work put the permanent creation (and disappearance) of jobs on
a permanent footing, with which nothing more than unemployment is to
disappear, so that temporary work knows intermediate times without
work, but no more unemployment. In these interim periods without
work, the assets circulate without interruption in the form of
applications by the private and state agencies, because although
temporary work is limited in time, the application period is not, so
that the assets are not used for work. In these interim periods
without work, the assets circulate without interruption in the form
of applications by the private and state agencies, because although
the temporary work is limited in time, but the application period is
not, so that the assets circulate on the labor market years or almost
the entire life, but they are not lost years, because the assets
traded by the agencies (allegedly) always serve to improve their own
information and competence value. It should now be clear that the
consumer of labour is a risk subject, and if he sells his information
value invested in assets for a while or even forever below value,
then that is his bad luck, because of all things in the "loan
and temporary work game with profit and loss" there are no
insurance claims.
And to go further, unemployment benefit is
only a right if the right to work is presupposed. It was fought for
by the producers and their organizations in long class battles with
reference to the alleged world-forming potency of the industrial
labor force, which today is cut off from the consumer, with which
actually also the right to unemployment assistance is cancelled and
was finally consequently transformed into Hartz4, which resembles a
panic laboratory with a charity (which introduces criminal law into
social law), for the self-inflicted misfortune, which actually only
falls to those who consider any work mediated by the "Modern
Service on the Labor Market" unreasonable. The Hartz4 recipient
has no place on the official labour market where there is a highly
qualified, academic, privileged wage-working class, i.e. the secured
core workforce of large and medium-sized enterprises and the partly
independent and at least in some phases well-earning precariat. The
rest of the population is in the low-wage sector or at the level of
state-subsidised and/or state-forced employment, or is completely out
of employment, which only exacerbates the misfortune.3 Part of the
superfluous remainder, as Hartz4 recipients, is commonly referred to
forced labour, where employment itself is the marginal income, as a
basic income independent of work is still strictly rejected. Forced
labour means permanent mobilisation for work. And there is one more
point to be made: The sharply delineated division between employment
and unemployment (unemployment as the flip side of employment), which
goes back to an entirely different accumulation regime
(standardisation and continuity of production, hence stability and
continuity of employment), has changed into an ever closer
intertwining of periods of employment and periods of unemployment.
The fact that unemployment has become structural does not mean that
millions of people are waiting for a permanent contract, but that
they are working while being registered as unemployed. Unemployment
is now part of the norm of employability. To be unemployed means to
be available and ready for immediate use, not for a permanent
contract, but for a fixed-term contract with a
If larger parts of the work, in particular
auxiliary work, cannot be completely detached from the income, they
become a service which does not consist in the work itself, but in
the submission to work ordered by the state. As such, service today
is a service to work which is expressed in compulsory labour. This is
de facto labour service. And the less the service is still a service
to work, the more it mutates into a service to competence and
information by absorbing, processing and storing it. The information
migrates into the body and its cognitive faculties and tends to
become identical with the service. The demand for work, which is
objectively lacking, becomes the demand for what takes its place, it
becomes the demand for what replaces work: competence, information,
automation and digitisation. Therefore, more and more powerful
software must be available to interconnect the data and information
streams with the bodies, affects and brains of individuals, who are
literally imprisoned by the control, regulation and feedback
processes encoded in the digital programs, because the traceability
of each individual action and the anticipation of further actions are
built into the circulating logic of the information streams.
transitive normalization of behavior, i.e. the full integration of
the actors into systems, in which they merely function as points in
networks that are to be captured and utilized, is quite oddly
transformed by the consumption of the offerings which in turn make it
possible to use all the forces of self-increase in the pull of
performance activities like a service. The competence, fitness and
wellness status here acts like "systemic doping", providing
a host of positive placebo effects. To the same extent that the new
consumer of work, who tends to be unemployed, affirms his unemployed
as the execution of a service, he continually appropriates his
precarious appropriation with self-responsibility, the blackmail
inherent in the classical employment contract seems to be lifted, as
if out of nowhere there were an endlessly creative and performatively
applicable work capacity, as if the service provider were the
reincarnation of the deification of positive work and competence.
This also reflects the fact that the loss of work for the individuals
today appears as a catastrophe that must be averted with all
available means - if no one believes in work any more, only then does
belief in its necessity become universal. While Marx could still
dryly state that the worker does not produce for himself, but for
capital, in order to really exclude any apotheosis that elevates work
to an idol, the creative self-configuration through the purchase of
work, which is stylishly accompanied by the constant consumption of
coaching, casting and enhancement programs, rediscovers a truly
uncanny joy of enjoyment in (digitized) work, whose propagandists
constantly proclaim that the persons integrated into the
informational networks are indeed the embodiment of creative
participations and singularity demonstrations - instead of simply
admitting that these persons are still mostly recipients of orders
who may give each other orders in the team at a lower or middle level
of the company.
Work, which is increasingly disappearing as
industrial work (in the metropolises), remains a scarce commodity and
an occupation that is simultaneously administered as amphetamine and
tranquilizer. As a result, work, which in fact is no longer work, but
employment, which consists either in waiting or, alternatively, in
the worst agitation, must be embellished in a special way: it is
rewritten as self-realization and self-increase, a euphemism that not
only those who are in the process of doing so are able to do, who
once benefited from a job center measure, but also those who do a
normal job in the office - a frightening convulsion of mobbing,
agitation and paralyzing boredom at the same time, as meaningless
activity - can only be understood as a bad joke. If they don't, and
even show some delinquent behavior, then data science engines today
extract data and signals from the web and other sources that indicate
exactly this deviant behavior, and this quickly turns you into a work
risk that is classified on a risk index, so that the company and its
management can intervene preventively and simply put the personalized
risk outside the door. Because most employees do not do anything
different, they have to consume their own employment as a
self-actualization project as a punishment, the maximum punishment
that the capital has available for such beaten up subjects, who
themselves are still denied the work in the sweat of their faces. And
such a consumption of labor today often enough resembles the
scrapping of labor, so that the imperative of labor is still dropped,
because the new Stakhanovs of vulgar hedonism and affective
competence no longer need orders to perform whole work (in itself)
and for the others, they only need the emotional and empathetic
touch, the impetus that the coach or leader constantly instills in
And this punishment continues in leisure time; as is well
known, the seriousness of life - inseparable from the fun of life -
begins in leisure time, in which not only the conglomerate of
products, affects and events, but also consumption in a loop wants to
be consumed. Designations such as leisure industry, wellness centre,
leisure pedagogy and the like point to the affiliation of leisure to
business, whereby leisure and work compete with each other for the
highest recognition, whereby in life it is no longer just a matter of
working as much as possible, but also of having consumed or enjoyed
plenty of leisure time within the framework of supposedly highly
individualised worlds of experience. This applies especially to the
elites and the high-income part of the middle class, who, dissolved
in their madness of singularity and excess of uniqueness, constantly
mix leisure and work with each other and have both undergone the
glamour of the "creativity".

people who are happy all around with their kind of singular
self-increase, while the greater part of the population even in the
western feel-good oases of the West can only bear the bizarre nature
of daily occupation so well that they can somehow get to the most
precious weeks of the year and enjoy their holidays, that is to say
to hang around in some hotel bunkers in the south, that is to say to
be under the supervision and guidance of professional specialists,
coaches and entertainers, who teach you day and night how to dance,
to do gymnastics, to eat and to sleep. Wolfgang Pohrt writes about
it: "The hard fact that the capital relationship, according to
its historical purpose, transforms the wage workers into superfluous
human material, into useless eaters who can be starved to death in
poor countries, while in rich countries they have to be kept halfway
in a good mood as recipients of support, this hard fact is thus
treated with a lot of ideological fabric softener, and at the end of
the fabric softening cycle, which some call a rethink, others a label
fraud, the cleaning lady to the room attendant has transformed the
simple time killing into, for example, finding her own identity.« A
breath of mink pohrt.186
And if even the left still wants the
work, which in the hip circles is now called creative work, to be
understood as the self-realization of the individual one last time,
then one is not at all in the neighborhood of Marx, but one is in the
wake of the philosophy of life of a youth movement that cannot be
killed, which, in turn, in the wake of being absorbed within a pool
of "interesting options", relies on the permanent
implementation of cultural novelties with which the inflated self of
little bourgeois willing to ascend is confronted with the illusion of
uniqueness, in new speech, singularity, distinctiveness and
ingenuity, something that the powerless specimen absolutely needs
today in order not to have to visit a life-therapeutic specialist
against the daily mix of paralyzing boredom and stressful occupation,
which adds two and two together, namely that for living beautifully,
drinking well and eating healthier must be added to the creative
work, otherwise you can not be happy and content, but remain the
meaningless hedonist, of whom, one must add, no one has warned you.
And so the freedom to create something new out of nothing is combined
with the compulsion to be constantly creative in the various
attractiveness competitions, and the more everyone has to be
creative, the less the individuals can still do it, but because they
continue to try desperately, a world of pseudo-originality, of fakes
and plagiarisms emerges, which above all shows one thing: That
despite the millions of inventions and the abundance of goods with
alleged uniqueness character, there is nothing left to invent. And
the faster the object decays today, the more it has to be dressed up
with a creative idea, from the creative fruitcake to the creative
wall decoration to the creative self, which one can multiply at the
labour and attention markets as the small capital x, invest or simply
buy from a consulting firm. But here, as Seeßlen/Metz think, there
is no destruction of old meanings and their replacement by new
meanings, what they call surreal, but the energetically produced
surplus of meaning only refers to the fact that meaning must be
meant, what is meant is completely indifferent. But still every
meaning must be capitalized.
Even today, even the less fragile
life and work designs still fray the omnipresence of the cuts, with
which life, employment and the generation of the surplus are divided
into intervals, pressed and scattered again or recombined ever faster
beyond a chronological time, thus replacing continuity with a kind of
indeterminate postponement - truly a lasting state of suspense of a
speculative time, with which the never-ending coming of lifelong
learning and investing is also perpetuated. There is an ever deeper
fragmentation of working time and life time, and both times remain
caught up in the process of a furious, deterritorializing
recombination in which, for example, work on the telephone can be
called up for a week, a day, or an hour, thus making employment
fractal and recombinant. The digital work is fragmented; the
individual - itself a cellular form - experiences a recombinant
fragmentation in the digitized production processes in cellular and
at the same time recombinable segments. It is not only a question
here of the work itself becoming precarious, but also of the work
processes being constantly divided, possibly leading to the
dissolution of the person as an unified productive agent, as a labor
force. It is quite clear that as cells of productive time, the
individuals in the punctual and fragmented forms of work processes
can be constantly mobilized, incited, and recombined anew. We are
dealing with an immense increase in depersonalized working time,
inasmuch as capital is increasingly moving over to it, instead of
hiring the worker who works eight hours at a time to rent various
time packages in order to recombine them just in time (out- and
crowdsourcing) - and this regardless of their interchangeable and
thus more or less random carrier. Even the "self" now
fluctuates as a fluid residual ego and is recombined in ever new
relations, and this formation resembles a kaleidoscope, "which
shows a new pattern with every shaking. "10 This kind of spasmic
recombination of employment, which extends far beyond labor
relations, is also carried out today in the various social networks.
In the mastery of accelerating and decelerating, stretching and
postponing, compressing and resetting schedules, employees also
create expanded possibilities for generating surplus for financial
capital with non-chronological flows of money. Prerequisites for this
kind of surplus generation, which goes hand in hand with debt, are
both low wages and precarious forms of work, in which the employees
have to constantly adapt to unpredictable working hours and volatile
wages, not least to leveraging their debts, so that they are almost
drawn into undetermined and unpredictable streams of time.
the share economy, the digital interfaces that are now called
platforms control and steer work in a completely restructured labour
market. Thus, the drivers and bicycle couriers of new platforms such
as Uber differ from the dependent employees of traditional companies
in that they themselves offer a service, and the means to provide the
service that an app on the platform gives them, be it the car or the
bicycle and in any case the smartphone, must be provided by
themselves. So what is worn out during the execution of the service
is the property of the drivers and couriers. The drivers, who, for
example, are able to pick up passengers, are under strict digitalised
control and are forced to follow the platform's algorithms. The
routes they drive are dictated by the GPS, while their efficiency,
availability and interaction with passengers are the subject of
constant evaluation, which then continues to determine how, when and
where the drivers are deployed.
The drivers and couriers do not
act as official employees, but are private contractors to the
companies of the platforms. Far from offering an alternative to
precarious work, those who ultimately provide the service to
customers oscillate in the tension between the restrictive conditions
of wage labour and the risk of self-employment. Thus, service
providers who use the platforms' services are freed from the
repression of wage labour, but also from the associated social
guarantees (because the platforms do not pay social security
contributions). In this way, they seem to represent the epitome of
neoliberal subjects. At least the personal dependence on a boss who
sweetens a working day with all sorts of commands disappears, because
the drivers have little to do with the organizers of the platform,
even in an emergency it is hardly impossible to contact them. So it's
apparently up to the drivers themselves how they organise their daily
work, but they must never become too slow during work and they have
to keep up with the competition at all costs, and that's why it's so
important to just step on the pedal whatever happens.
companies always increase the hourly wage for the most effective of
their drivers, but this means nothing more than that the permanent
monitoring and automated evaluation of the drivers' performance
ensures the competition, the comparison and the scaling in the long
run. For self-employed drivers, for example, earnings are measured by
the number of deliveries made. And this usually increases the
driver's willingness to take risks while driving and thus also the
demand for accident insurance benefits; the rising insurance premiums
reflect the courage to take risks. which in turn boosts the
performance of the drivers, because they also have to earn the money
for accident insurance. If no orders are received during a shift, the
drivers do not receive any wages, but their working hours are
converted seamlessly into free time. But because the couriers can't
and don't want to do anything with this free time - who wants to eat
their way through the paralyzing time porridge of everyday life - not
only are the really stressful shifts the most popular among
self-employed drivers, but they also constantly demand new shifts.
Drivers usually take care of the so-called market clearance in a very
reliable manner and, due to their own lack of financial resources,
they also constantly register further demand for work shifts and thus
increase the demand for courier workstations, which is why the
algorithm can further worsen the financial conditions for its
customers with every update, but this in no way leads to a noticeable
drop in demand.
For many theorists, the major platforms are
nothing more than the assemblage of commercial contracts between a
principal authority that concludes contracts on behalf of the company
and a multiplicity of agents that independently provide services to
the companies. The platforms thus multiply partnerships based on
purely commercial encounters that offer services to third parties
without regulated employment contracts and wage earners. (However, it
is still difficult for a number of companies in different sectors to
produce without the recruitment of wage earners.) Finally, the new
service providers are dependent not only on their own work but also
on their integration into networks structured by ratings and rankings
and other regulatory procedures, and this means that the exploitation
of their labour resources and their risk management ultimately depend
on credit, which is promoted by positive ratings and which they
absolutely must accumulate. That is why one's work performance and
the promotion of one's skills in the course of self-marketing
constantly requires positive evaluation and recognition by customers,
which manifests itself in scores, likes, friends and followers, and
optimising these evaluations is an important task that a driver must
perform. And the accumulation of reputational capital must
necessarily result in an efficient credit score in order to gain the
confidence of banks and insurance companies. The sustainability of
the service providers' operations therefore depends much more on the
approval of the lenders and sponsors than on the entrepreneurial
ethos put into the foreground by neo-liberal ideologues or the price
of human capital to be increased, whereby the sponsors are mostly
financial speculators, who use production means based on digital
machines for the extraction and forecasting of certain resources and
raw materials (in this case the behaviour of users), which serve to
profitably modify the behaviour of customers, which in turn cannot be
achieved without the total control of the drivers, so that today
these are also tracked on Facebook, for example, by track-reading
On the web pages of the platforms where service
providers and their customers can exchange information with each
other, the platforms assign their service providers a specific set of
assets to be continuously evaluated, which the service providers in
turn have to combine, move and manage as part of their "reputational
capital". Some theorists already see the management of the
reputational capital as the main resource that the mobile players
must manage and cultivate in order to ascend the hierarchy or simply
survive. In the end, service providers such as drivers or couriers
will have to manage a Facebook hyperpage themselves, on which the
various recommendations of friends, mentors, lenders, sponsors,
customers and service providers are documented. These open profile
portfolios, designed using algorithms, make it possible to show the
attractiveness and trustworthiness of a person, to determine his or
her reputation value and thus his or her ability for a job, a credit
line or a partnership. Obviously, private asset managers now have to
speculate on their own reputational capital or follow the
speculations of others, but they are also seduced or guided into
their most secret desires by using complex and yet difficult to
comprehend behavioural modification machines and that is, algorithms
operating in the black box or automated protocols that attempt not
only to steer work behavior, but even the spread of emotions via the
platforms. (zuboff)

it finally happens that the time of work and the time of non-work are
no longer separated by an exact boundary, then there is no longer any
significant difference between employment and non-work. That is why
Paolo Virno can write in all exaggeration: "Unemployment is
unpaid work; work is then paid unemployment. So with good reason you
can say that you never stop working, as you can say that there is
less and less work. Paolo Virno thus points to the fact that the
customer of the "modern service on the labour market" has
long since corresponded to the subject Günther Anders calls
"automation servant" or to the "work mannequin"
described by Baudrillard, which simulates the non-existent work as if
it were present, or simulates it despite the too much work as if it
was not present at all. Today, a widespread form of employment, which
is completely integrated into machine complexes, is that of the
employment mannequin, who in certain cycles carries out the activity
of waiting or pressing a key, depending on a programmed sequence of a
machine feedback system elsewhere. Thus the agility, cleverness and
speed of today's divide, a prozak and ritalin mutant, often consists
in the devastating waiting, in waiting to be allowed to press the red
button, while the decision elsewhere has long since expired or been
made, namely in the recursive loops of the machine system
Strangely enough, this kind of abysmal desolation
(employment) requires a whole series of conditions in terms of pay
and control, be it the individual management of time accounts, the
logging of the length of telephone calls, the meticulous recording of
meetings in companies or the detailed study of compliance,
sustainability and control compendia, all in all methods that
intensify the hustle and bustle at the workplace. There are
ADHD-producing activities where the time that office workers have to
deal with various tasks is notoriously interrupted by communication
via telephone, fax, email, with the times of these interruptions
often being longer than those of task completion. The interruption,
which is due to the rhythm of information flows in communication
networks, partially suspends the time of task processing. With the
ubiquitous propaganda of work, the weekends, the late evenings, even
the dreams are colonized until the employees not only have a job or
perform a job, but are the job itself.
Since the new management
methods with their proliferating semantics and semiotics constantly
place the word "performance" at the centre of their
strategies, the difference between performance, casting and pure
bravado, which can also be a measure for self-modification, seems to
be tending to disappear for the employees. The decisive factor is no
longer just the product or the quality of the work, but the
performance added as a supplement, in which one may savour all
possible roles, from the ethicist to the bad guy, the performance may
only not go too far and harm the company, because then one acts up a
reference. The performance must in turn be assigned a profile that
shows the potential that constitutes the (alleged) peculiarity of an
employee and that is systematically simulated and ultimately even
demanded in the company. This pseudo-difference, which makes a
difference, is firmly inscribed in the company system.
singularization and self singularization interlock like a perfectly
functioning zipper. (Reckwitz 3441) Precisely this tension, which
drives performance activities to the cutting edge, leads not only to
non-linear phases of career building, which can be influenced to a
certain extent by networking potential, profile enhancement, matching
and competencies, but also to the universally feared career stress
that lives from fear, that one's own performance, which is to be
treated like "capital", could not correspond to the
supplementary performance (or vice versa), so that in the end one is
forced to synchronize one's own performance with the performance,
which in turn means that in addition to the tiresome completion of
the tasks the representation of the tasks is added. This generalized
performativity, which is closely welded to the ideal of creative work
and incessantly propagates self-invention and at the same time
self-increase, creates the functional psychopath, who includes the
subject afflicted with ADHD, in case of success, or in case of
failure, the depressive subject unfolds. In addition, the
acceleration of the exchange of information often enough generates
further pathologies, because the employees in the offices are often
simply unable to process the immense and constantly increasing
amounts of information that penetrate the brains like voracious
parasites via computers, smartphones, screens and electronic diaries.
One reacts with a further acceleration of communication, works as
well as possible on solutions and if something does not work out,
then one relaxes best, according to the script of the coaches, for a
few minutes in the small, pseudo-exotic and warm-hearted wellness
oases of the offices under artificial palm trees or runs a round on
the treadmill in the fitness room of the company.
That the
employees are also busy training the readymades of
neo-Buddhist-inspired coaching discourses and other soft skills in
order to create something like a community of socially competent and
at the same time self-reliant actors, especially in office
operations, where, beyond the corridors of the factory system, wage
labour continues to be the determining principle, this really makes
you sit up and take notice, because a polite tone or a brief tactical
conversation, which is contrary to any tendency towards "you"
or over-communication, is no longer sufficient to facilitate
cooperation in the office under conditions that one has truly not
chosen oneself. Large companies have been using data software for a
long time, which analyses and predicts the behavior of their
employees by searching the Internet for their data traces. The
machine learning models of certain software companies then assign the
company's employees to a risk index, and the predictions made on this
basis about employee behavior should at best be identical to the
actual staff turnover. Thus, the company's management can intervene
preventively by purchasing information and forecasting products about
its own employees, if it pursues an active personnel policy. But this
is only the machine-objective side of the game, to which the
subjective constitution of the employees must be added.
surfing on the waves of employment requires perseverance and
suppleness for the employees in the mode of auto-operative
manoeuvrability, in order to immediately perceive surprising options
in the job or quick decisions in order to carry out new tasks almost
abruptly, it demands playful opportunism as a maxim of action, with
which one always keeps oneself open to a multitude of possibilities
in order to seize the best that is just offered, or, in order to drop
an option without hesitation, in favour of a better opportunity; so
this kind of perfromative surfing requires the formulation of a
cynical interest that often enough defames the same excretions made
by others as unfortunate but inevitable deformations. This form of
employment corresponds to a volatile subjectivity that is extended to
the limits of digital mobility, in particular, in order to be able to
bring in any affective and monetary surplus. In this context,
Bernhard Stiegler sharply criticizes a mentality (of the functional
psychopath) prevailing today, which he describes as
"I-don't-give-a-fuckism," a general attitude of organized
irresponsibility. And the more intensively the employees of a company
expose themselves to the operational rules, programs and dispositives
and at the same time make use of them - including the cybernetic
feedback mechanisms that no stupid state with its organs and
apparatuses of surveillance and control could ever invent - due to a
temporary but at the same time unrestricted agreement, because there
is actually no current need for ultra-hard research, spying and
imprisonment of agents of dissatisfaction (and yet this monitoring
takes place) - the more the range of variation of individual options
and performance in the operational field shines out. So today the
office employees remain obligated to the half-hearted and
nevertheless dutiful introduction into the office everyday life just
because of their tormenting opportunism, which tries to use still the
smallest advantage, at any time, without there absolutely must exist
a bad-hard work instruction, and this happens in the context of an
operational control and optimization of the own person, which like
which in turn in the best case presupposes or requires 100%
identification with the company's objectives. In this, the rather
whispering community of employees takes over the business of a
therapeutic, secondary control, which flank and complete the primary
control of the wage worker and the precarious, staged by the
capitalist economy.
Instead, they are embedded in flexible
technological control systems and horizontal group dispositives,
which keep their own effectiveness, their status, their professional
and emotional competencies and operational tasks, as well as those of
the other employees, in some cases also available on the screens at
all times. Being "online" condenses the hegemonic form of
work and life, constantly mobile and mobilizable availability in the
context of flexible normalization is the work itself, which the
employees additionally train themselves by consuming worlds of
experience, wellness and fitness programs, until they virtually
smoothly incorporate employment in the course of a permanent
recursion with the machines. Using microtechnologies, laptops and
smartphones, which are usually operated sitting down, the employees
are constantly integrated into the information streams circulating in
the networks of the companies, following a modular logic. The
employees remain mentally stimulated to react excitedly in real time
during working hours to the fluctuations of the information flows,
which constantly flicker across their screens. Within the framework
of technical scientific and psychological dispositives, programming
and construction principles, there is hardly a workplace today that
is not permanently put on evaluation and at the same time not
questioned about the creative potential and the performance ability
of individuals and project groups, only to be evaluated again, i.e.
examined for new performance potentials, but this less due to the
totalitarian pressure of a leader, but the evaluation remains mostly
integrated into the team; and not a team that doesn't demand
discussions, speeches and agreements qua anglizierter language games,
which Wittgenstein wouldn't have dreamed of in his sleep. In the
middle of the team, however, there is the leader who, for example,
enthusiastically comments on a PowerPoint presentation in a kind of
action art, so that everyone can get an idea of the company, the
product or the project. Of course, the leader is not wearing a tie
and on the casual, open, white leisure shirt the logo of the company
shines at heart level, the grey coloured hair with white strands and
the small snake tattoo on the back of the neck also reveal a little
bit of individualism, which, however, is put to the service of team
spirit when it counts. This situation perpetuates itself into the
hair ends of the company, when contemporary bosses give themselves
up, when they impose this on the employees and notoriously claim that
their companies have a wonderfully flat hierarchy and an almost
cosmological wellness atmosphere, while the bosses mob their
employees in the same breath, often cut them off from the flow of
information out of pure harassment or shower them with ill work or
chase them through the various departments. Instead of proceeding
strategically as before, the task of managers today is to reduce the
susceptibility to errors and the slowness of human decisions in
comparison to algorithmic processes, just to keep the algorithmic
technocracy going. The managers themselves are completely deskilled
to act as unscrupulous enforcement bodies of the companies and as
social police in the organization itself. They do not give any
directions and also have no explanation for the direction the company
is taking, they are highly flexible, offensive and defensive at the
same time, mobbing, cheering up and hurting, focused and apparently
insecure, that is clever, and in the end they are limited to
reflecting the imperatives of the shareholder value system and
following their guidelines meticulously, spurring on the employees,
but also giving them a nice violin of opinion, of course only within
the framework of creative teamwork and for the benefit of the team.
Anyone who is good at finishing floppy cocks has a future today.
performance of the employees and their valorisation does not aim at
the devaluation of the average at all, as Reckwitz assumes, but the
average is now based on its amplitudes, configured by the team, the
leader and the project you are working on, with the leaders trying to
focus on reinforcing the skills and abilities of the employees and
selling the enthusiasm for new tasks, a soft tolerance and tactical
friendship, opportunism and quick-wittedness, the ability to present
oneself in and in front of the team as potency. The project-oriented
employee, who has to present his ego in fundamental casting
splendidly on the stage of the office, even if the obsessive search
for the ego turns out to be the search for a ghost, perhaps still for
a virtual ego, which is strangely congruent with the adaptable
subject, can only follow the narration of casting if coaching and
casting are mutually dependent.
The ethos, which is composed of
opportunism, creativity and social commitment and articulates itself
in Heideggerian as talk or system-German as singularity game or
communication, an ethos about which every application event today
provides sufficient information, is constantly renegotiated or
balanced, without a coach, who in his function as a management
consultant rather resembles a postmodern itinerant preacher,
constantly having to explicitly recommend it. Nevertheless, the coach
in his special kind of clown remains a not unimportant figure,
besides whom sometimes even the manager fades as the remixer or DJ of
post-industrial production. Seeßen 97 Within the framework of the
demanded and willingly also executed and above all very operatively
talkative, creative and performance-impregnated forced harmonization,
with the help of a pseudo-sadism, i.e. secretly mutual contempt as
well as the paradoxical interest in active passivity, a fight of all
against all is waged, which results in the intensification of
resentment as well as of experience, which no longer knows any
reference in talk, in the process of a public segregation of opinion.
All stages of social exchange are tried out in the office, from games
that promote community and at the same time tickle out the
individual's willingness to perform, the infamous flat hierarchies
and the mixture of work and leisure, through the promotion of
competition, the slapping away of failures and the surveillance of
everyone by everyone to the joint consumption of
performance-enhancing drugs, amphetamines and vitamins. But in the
end, everyone is next to himself. "Clever is," writes
Wolfgang Pohrt, "who knows how to take them (the others) for
himself or to trick them. He who does not understand it is the
(The logic of office space consists, among other things,
in removing an employee, if necessary, in accordance with specific
organisational strategies, without immediately replacing him with
another employee, because the (social) place and not the person is
constitutive for the social space of the office. If both the work
productivity and the flexibility potential of this employee were
miserable, then it was not necessarily due to his personal variables
& coefficients, not even to his lack of motivation or creativity,
not to his skills, but to certain systemic conditions, sufficient but
not necessary conditions under which a place is a place. One has
favoured the wrong conditions and thus encouraged the employee to all
sorts of nonsense.)The key to a successful performance lies in the
fact that speculations on a falling course are well balanced with
those on a rising course.)
The absolute automat shifts the
working world from manpower to brainpower. Just as at the beginning
of industrialization there was a coupling of hand and machine, so
today the brain and the machine are coupled in a new economy, which
Stiegler calls "economy". This transformation involves a
transductive relation in which production is no longer based on
working time but on machine time. Even with the coupling of hand and
machine, it is the latter that really works, and it does so blindly
and automatically, with which this process can hardly still be
described as work, insofar as it always also contains an opening,
while serial and automated production is always completed. In this
respect, the products are then ready-made goods.
The question
today is whether the (alleged) escalation of productivity achieved
with automated production should end in free time or in liberated
work.4 If automation liberates time in general, how do we avoid this
liberated and thus available time becoming an available brain time, a
time that is no longer transmitted to television, but is connected to
Google, Amazon and Facebook. The social media networks create a
reality that is real, but as a technology of immediacy you can't get
satisfaction even though we love them right now because of their
separation from the present. They are social drugs for those who want
the humane localized somewhere in time and space. It's the
pseudo-other that users connect to, not the radical other or the
stranger or even the real other. We work on the weakness and
vagueness to promote the exhibition of the self, but no matter how
stylish, aggressive, desperate or diplomatic the promotion of the
self is on the dominant media platforms, it remains part of the old
logic of the media: the message is emptiness.
Liberated time
must be liberated work, in which energy and its potential must not be
abstracted, hand, brain and energy must be connected. Today things
look quite different. Maurizio Lazzarato writes: "In order to
guarantee growing revenues for financial investors, the availability
for precarious and inadequate employment as well as for poorly
compensated unemployment, for austerity as well as for "reforms"
must be total. To refuse work today means to deny this availability,
which financialisation would like to have, without limits and in
return. To practice the refusal of work under the conditions of
current exploitation means to invent new modalities of struggle and
organization in order not only to preserve the inherited rights of
historical struggles against wage labor, but also and above all to
enforce new rights, adapted to the new modalities of the exploitation
of time, to construct forms of solidarity capable of preventing the
expropriation of knowledge and savoir-faire, and to avoid the
modalities of production being dictated by the requirements of
financial valorisation that neither art nor cultural industries can
escape.” Outside the unbearable system of employment, it is
necessary to search again for activities in the Marxian sense that
create sustainable wealth and abolish wage labor in favor of
knowledge that is today completely materialized in machines, but of a
transformed knowledge, insofar as time is liberated through the work
of de-automation, in order to achieve a free time of
transindividuation, in the sense of otium or sholhe, a leisure, new
techniques of the self and the others, and that is, to work for
oneself and through the other. This requires an organological
revolution, the invention of new instruments of knowledge and
publication, an epistemic and epistemological revolution, and this
cannot then be reduced to the expansion of the service sector or the
creation of new jobs, or to a minimal basic income subordinated to
capitalization, the market and money. Wealth is time and time must
also be available for interruptions, because it provides xer quantum
leap for mental and social individuations, which in turn are formed
and metastabilized by transindividuations. This time of interruptions
is important to invent a new form of work that differs from entropy
and promotes negentropy, an energeia, a passage to action, where
energies like fossil energy can always be only a condition for
neotenic energy, not itself. "The possible, the becoming and the
event open up areas that are neither controlled by time nor space and
that are animated by other speeds (infinite speeds, Guattari would
say), be it of highest speed or of greatest slowness (Deleuze)…

Gorz assumes that his income will be divided into two parts: on
the one hand, an income from creative work, which falls with the
duration, and a basic social income. While Hegel synthesizes work
with abolition and therefore knows no proletarization, Marx knows
this negative aspect of deproletarization very well, but synthesizes
work in communism again, thus eliminating the pharmacon, which is
also to be considered, that it is not the proletarization of labor,
but the end of employment combined with the organological mutation
(freely available software) made possible by digital ternary
retention, as a caring-carrying of a pharmacon transindividualized by
the objectified knowledge. Today, the power of the computer -
determined by the speed of microprocessors and data transfer -
empties creative work and energeia, although Stiegler does not want
to return to an original intuitive intelligence, because intelligence
sui generis artificial, i.e. organological, i.e. the coupling of life
with inorganic organs.

translated by Deepl.

Foto: Stefan Paulus

Der Beitrag Barbarism of Employment erschien zuerst auf

Außer Kontrolle – Hongkongs aufständische Bewegung und die Linke Tue, 10 Sep 2019 16:13:03 +0000

taken from here

Dieser Beitrag ist das Ergebnis jüngster Diskussionen mit Protestierenden und linken Aktivisten in Hongkong. Er gibt einen kurzen Überblick über die eskalierte Konfrontation und behauptet, dass das weitgehende Wegschauen der globalen Linken ein Fehler ist. Die Bewegung fordert trotz ihrer Beschränkungen das rechte Regime der Kommunistischen Partei Chinas (KPCh) ernsthaft heraus und könnte der Auftakt sein für weitere Kämpfe gegen die kapitalistischen Verhältnisse in Hongkong, der Volksrepublik China und anderswo.

Große Demonstrationen, Kundgebungen,
gewaltsame Auseinandersetzungen, Tränengas und Wasserwerfer, brennende
Barrikaden, Angriffe auf Polizeiwachen, Blockaden von Straßen und
U-Bahnlinien, Streiks und mehr – dies sind die dramatischen Formen der
gegenwärtigen Massenbewegung in Hongkong. Sie wuchs im Juni 2019 stark
an in Reaktion auf ein geplantes Auslieferungsgesetz, dass die Übergabe
vermeintlicher Krimineller an die Unterdrückungsorgane der Volksrepublik
China erlaubt hätte. Bis September eskalierte die Bewegung und wurde
zur massivsten sozialen Konfrontation in Hongkong seit den Aufständen
gegen die britische Kolonialmacht 1967. Und da Hongkong ein
halbautonomer Teil von China mit bestimmten ‘demokratischen
Freiheitsrechten’ ist, seit die Stadt 1997 von Britannien an China
zurückgegeben wurde, stellt die Eskalation des Konfliktes auch eine
ernsthafte Herausforderung für das Regime der KPCh dar.

Westliche Politiker (und
Mainstream-Medien, die der KPCh kritisch gegenüberstehen) beschreiben
die Bewegung als eine “für Demokratie und Freiheit” – und ignorieren gar
deren gewalttätige Taktik oder bezeichnen sie einfach als Reaktion auf
Polizeigewalt. Sie sehen Chinas globale Expansionspolitik als Bedrohung
ihrer eigenen wirtschaftlichen und politischen Interessen und wollen
diese Chance nutzen, um Chinas Position und Einfluss zu schwächen. Die
westliche liberale und institutionelle Linke wiederholt die
Hymne auf “Demokratie und Freiheit” auf die gleiche Art, wie sie
ansonsten unter Zuhilfenahme von Menschenrechtsargumenten die Interessen
national-kapitalistischer Regime verteidigt. Dass ein Teil der orthodoxen
Linken stattdessen die Position des KPCh-Regimes unterstützt, ist kaum
überraschend angesichts ihrer überholten ‘anti-imperialistischen’
Reflexe und ihres mangelnden Verständnisses des kapitalistischen Wesens
der KPCh.

Die entscheidende Frage ist, warum die antikapitalistische
Linke weitgehend schweigt und kaum auf die Eskalation des Konfliktes in
Hongkong reagiert. Wird sie von den Mainstream-Berichten geblendet und
will keine bloße ‘Demokratie’-Bewegung unterstützen? Glaubt sie den
Behauptungen der orthodoxen Linken, dass China immer noch
‘sozialistisch’ wäre? Wird sie von den nationalistischen und
rassistischen Diskursen eines Teils der Bewegung in Hongkong oder den
Bitten um Unterstützung an die US-Regierung abgeschreckt?[1]
Oder befindet sich Hongkong, das keine lange Geschichte größerer und
ausdrücklich linker politischer Bewegung hat, einfach außerhalb des
Radars der antikapitalistischen Linken und ist ‘zu weit weg’, um sich
darum zu kümmern?

Immerhin handelt es sich bei der
gegenwärtigen Konfrontation zwischen der Protestbewegung und den
Regierungen von Hongkong und China um einen wichtigen historischen
Bruchpunkt. Ein Blick auf die unterschiedlichen Entwicklungsphasen der
Bewegung zeigt, dass sie a) radikale Formen von Bewegung und Kampf
hervorgebracht hat, b) den bestehenden sozialen Konsens über die
Beziehung zwischen Hongkongs Bevölkerung, der Regierung und der Polizei
gebrochen hat und c) Hongkongs Rolle für Chinas Kapitalismus (wie auch
den globalen) zu zerstören droht.

Der Ausgang der Konfrontation ist noch
offen, aber die antikapitalistischen Linke sollte die Entwicklung genau
analysieren und diejenigen Strömungen innerhalb der Bewegung
unterstützen, die progressives Potential haben.


Die Bewegung nutzt die Erfahrungen
früherer Mobilisierungen seit der Übergabe 1997, vor allem der
Regenbogenbewegung von 2014, als Zehntausende von Chinas Regime “freie
Wahlen” in Hongkong forderten und wochenlang ein großes Gebiet vor
Hongkongs Parlament besetzten – bevor sie abgeräumt wurden, ohne ihr
Ziel zu erreichen.

Die erste Phase der
gegenwärtigen Mobilisierung begann im Februar 2019, als die
Hongkong-Regierung das Auslieferungsgesetz ankündigte. Anschließend gab
es einen öffentlichen Aufschrei und mehrere friedliche Demonstrationen.

Da die Regierung die Gesetzgebungsprozedur nicht stoppte, folgte die zweite Phase ab dem 9. Juni.[2][3] Nach mehreren Massendemonstrationen mit bis zu zwei Millionen Beteiligten im Zentrum Hongkongs[4]
– erstaunlich, wenn wir bedenken, dass die Stadt nur 7,5 Millionen
Einwohner hat – kam es zu schweren Auseinandersetzungen mit der Polizei,
bei denen diese Tränengas, Gummi- und beanbag-Geschosse gegen Demonstranten einsetzte, die Barrikaden bauten und die angreifenden Polizeikräfte mit Gegenständen bewarfen.[5]
Die Hongkong-Regierung setzte das Gesetzgebungsverfahren für das
Auslieferungsgesetz am 15. Juni aus, ohne es jedoch ganz
zurückzunehmen.[6][7] Mittlerweile hatte die Hongkong-Regierung bereits jedes Vertrauen des Großteils der Bevölkerung verloren.

Die Bewegung formulierte nun fünf
Forderungen: 1) Die vollständige Rücknahme des Auslieferungsgesetzes, 2)
den Ausschluss von Anklagen wegen ‘Aufstand’ (riot,
Landfriedensbruch) gegen Protestierende, 3) die Freilassung verhafteter
Protestierender und das Fallenlassen aller Anklagen gegen sie, 4) eine
unabhängige Untersuchung der Polizeigewalt und 5) die Einführung echter
allgemeiner Wahlen (zuweilen auch der Rücktritt von Carrie Lam, der
Hongkonger Regierungschefin). Die zweite Phase endete am 1. Juli, als
während einer großen Demonstration Hunderte Militanter ins
Parlamentsgebäude eindrangen und es verwüsteten.

In der dritten Phase entschied
die Bewegung, sich in andere Stadtteile auszudehnen. Diese Aktionen
sollten die Proteste anderen Teilen der Bevölkerung Hongkongs
näherbringen, aber auch Besuchern und Immigranten aus China die Ziele
der Bewegung erklären.[8]
Weniger Menschen nahmen teil als zuvor, bis die Situation sich am 21.
Juli wieder änderte, als Hunderte Männer mit ‘weißen Hemden’ von
örtlichen (pro-KPCh) Triaden in einer Vorstadt-U-Bahnstation
heimkehrende Protestierende angriffen und verletzten. Die
offensichtliche Kollaboration von Polizei und Triaden bei dem Angriff
stieß auf öffentliche Empörung.[9]
Die Polizei selbst wurde nun zum Ziel von Wut und Hass eines großen
Teils der Hongkonger Bevölkerung, und eine Spirale von zunehmend
gewalttätigen Aktionen und Gegenaktionen begann. Überraschenderweise
sind die gewaltsamen Angriffe auf die Polizei bisher von der Mehrheit
der Protestierenden unterstützt (oder wenigstens toleriert) worden, weil
sich herausgestellt hat, dass die Regierung kaum auf ‘friedliche’
Demonstrationen regiert.[10][11][12]

Die Protestierenden änderten ihre Taktik
weiter und machten ‘Flashmob’-Aktionen, indem sie in einem Stadtteil
Straßen blockierten, Barrikaden bauten usw. und dann mit der U-Bahn in
andere Stadtteile fuhren, um dort das Gleiche zu tun, immer bestrebt,
der Polizei einen Schritt voraus zu sein – eine Taktik, die sie selbst
als “wie Wasser sein” beschreiben (unter Bezug auf ein Zitat von Bruce
Lee).[13] Die Polizei hat unterdessen bei Ausstattung und Taktik nachgerüstet, mit mehr Schutzausrüstung,[14] neuen Waffen, verdeckten Polizisten, die sich als Protestierende ausgeben,[15]
und flexibleren und aggressiveren Angriffsformen. Der Höhepunkt dieser
Phase war der 5. August, als Hunderttausende einem Streikaufruf
nachkamen, die U-Bahn zum Stillstand brachten und Massendemonstrationen
mit koordinierten Angriffen auf mehrere Polizeiwachen stattfanden.[16][17][18][19]
Danach konzentrierten sich die Demonstranten auf den Flughafen, ein
zentraler und wirtschaftlich wichtiger Transportknotenpunkt nicht nur
für die Stadt, sondern die gesamte Region. Er wurde am 12. und 13.
August teilweise lahmgelegt.[20]

Die vierte (und noch laufende)
Phase begann mit der Entscheidung der Bewegung, die gewaltsamen
Konfrontationen zu unterbrechen und ihre Kräfte neu zu formieren.
Friedliche Demonstrationen am 17. und 18. August, letztere mit 1,7
Millionen Teilnehmern,[21]
zeigten die immer noch massive Unterstützung der Bewegung, ebenso wie
die (von einer ähnlichen Aktion im Baltikum 1989 inspirierte)
Menschenkette von mehreren Hunderttausend am 23. August.

Da die Regierung weiter keine
Zugeständnisse machte, kam es ab dem 24. August wieder zu gewalttätigen
Auseinandersetzungen. Die Polizei befahl der U-Bahn-Gesellschaft, in den
Protestregionen Stationen zu schließen, setzte weiter auf Tränengas,
Gummigeschosse und brutale Knüppelangriffe und begann kürzlich mit dem
Einsatz von Wasserwerfern.[22][23] Die Protestierenden griffen zu Molotowcocktails, zündeten Barrikaden an,[24] verwüsteten U-Bahnstationen,[25][26] und blockierten Bahnverbindungen und Straßen zum Flughafen.[27][28]
Am 2. September kehrten die Studierenden und Oberschüler aus den
Sommerferien in die Schulen und Hochschulen zurück und begannen mit
Streikaktionen.[29][30] Am 4. September erfüllte Carrie Lam tatsächlich die erste Forderung und nahm das Auslieferungsgesetz zurück,[31] aber das hat weitere Auseinandersetzungen nicht verhindert.[32][33]

Warum eskalierte die Bewegung von
friedlichen Demonstrationen gegen ein Gesetz zu einer großen und
teilweise gewalttätigen Bewegung gegen die Polizei, die Stellung der
Hongkonger Regierung und den Einfluss des KPCh-Regimes? Als Britannien
und China die Übergabe vereinbarten und das “Basic Law” als
Verfassungsdokument formulierten, das Chinas Regel ‘Ein Land, zwei
Systeme’ nach 1997 definierte, erwarteten die Menschen in Hongkong und
anderswo, dass sich China ändern und demokratischer werden würde im Zuge
seiner Industrialisierung, Urbanisierung und Integration in die
Weltwirtschaft. Stattdessen hat sich China nicht in diese Richtung
bewegt, sondern nicht nur sein autoritäres Unterdrückungsregime
verschärft, sondern auch seine wirtschaftlichen und politischen
Eingriffe in Hongkong verstärkt.

Heute erwarten viele Menschen in
Hongkong, dass China gar nicht bis 2047 warten wird, dem offiziellen
Ende des ‘Ein Land, zwei Systeme’-Arrangements. Das Auslieferungsgesetz
wird als weitere Bedrohung der relativen Freiheiten der Meinungsäußerung
und Vereinigung sowie einer ‚Rechtsstaatlichkeit‘ wie im Westen
gesehen. Protestierende wähnen sich in der ‘letzten Schlacht’, erkennen
eine letzte Chance, die vollständige Übernahme und die Einführung eines
noch repressiveren Regimes durch China zu stoppen.

Außerdem leiden viele Menschen in
Hongkong, vor allem jüngere, unter der immensen soziale Ungleichheit in
der Stadt, den hohen Mieten und relativ niedrigen Löhnen, dem Wettbewerb
mit chinesischen Einwanderern um Jobs, Wohnungen und Sozialleistungen.[34][35][36]
Sie spüren, dass Chinas wachsender Einfluss ihre wirtschaftliche
Situation weiter verschärfen wird, wenn sie nichts dagegen tun.

Organisierter Kampf

Wenigstens ein Drittel der Bevölkerung
Hongkongs (2,5 Millionen Menschen) hat aktiv an der Bewegung
teilgenommen – wahrscheinlich ein Weltrekord. Die Bewegung ist
heterogen, mit Menschen unterschiedlichen Alters, Geschlechts,
verschiedener sozialer Position und Berufe: Oberschüler, Studierende,
Büroangestellte, öffentliche Bedienstete, Flughafenbeschäftigte,
Krankenpfleger und viele mehr. Umfragen zufolge sind die meisten
Beteiligten gut ausgebildet und gehören eher zur ‘Mittelschicht’, aber
viele Arbeiter und Arbeiterinnen nehmen ebenso teil oder unterstützen
die Bewegung, können jedoch aufgrund wirtschaftlichen Drucks und langer
Arbeitszeiten nicht teilnehmen. Viele Protestierende leben tatsächlich
in zwei Welten, wochentags mit einem vollen Arbeitsplan und abends und
am Wochenende als Teil einer rebellischen Bewegung auf der Straße.[37]
Auffällig ist die weitgehende Abwesenheit der Hunderttausende als
Hausangestellte arbeitenden Migrantinnen von den Philippinen und aus

Die vielen beteiligten jungen
Oberschüler und Studierenden wuchsen im Hongkong nach 1997 auf und haben
nie eine ‘chinesische Identität’ entwickelt. Sie fürchten das
repressive KPCh-System und wollen ihren Hongkong-‘Lebenstil’ behalten.[39]
Derweil sind viele ältere Protestierende Migranten und Migrantinnen aus
der Volksrepublik China oder deren Abkömmlinge, die unter den
Säuberungen der KPCh oder anderen Kampagnen gelitten hatten, bevor sie
in den letzten Jahrzehnten nach Hongkong kamen. Sie misstrauen der

Den Protestierenden steht ein kleinerer
Teil der Bevölkerung gegenüber, der die Hongkonger Regierung und Polizei
sowie die KPCh tatsächlich unterstützt und eigene Demonstrationen mit
Zehntausenden Teilnehmern organisiert hat.[41]

Die Protestbewegung zeigt eine
erstaunliche Fähigkeit zur Selbstorganisation, zur Entwicklung und
Änderung von Strategien und zur Entscheidungsfindung – trotz der enormen
Größe.[42][43][44][45] Debatten und Aktionen werden oft über Foren wie das (Reddit-ähnliche) LIHKG,[46][47] Telegram- und Facebook-Gruppen sowie andere digitale Tools organisiert.[48][49]
Manche Chatgruppen umfassen Tausende oder Zehntausende Mitglieder, und
sogar Entscheidungen über die nächsten Schritte während einer
Demonstrationen werden über Apps gefällt. Während der friedlichen und
gewalttätigen Aktionen übernehmen Menschen bestimmte Funktionen: Kampf
in vorderster Reihe, Barrikadenbau, Bereitstellung von Ausrüstung wie
Masken und Helmen, medizinische Versorgung, usw. Andere administrieren
die digitalen Kommunikationstools, posten Informationen zur Position von
Polizeieinheiten oder PIN-Codes für Türen in der Nachbarschaft, damit
Leute flüchten können, sie produzieren künstlerische Darstellungen der
Bewegung und kümmern sich um die ‘Lennon Walls'[50] –
Poster, Sticker, Fotos usw., die an bestimmte Häuserwände geklebt
werden. Viele Leute setzen ihr eigenes Geld ein, um Wasser,
Lebensmittel, U-Bahnfahrkarten oder Ausrüstung wie Gasmasken zu kaufen
und an Demonstranten zu verteilen, oder sie spenden einfach Geld, wenn
sie keine andere Möglichkeit haben, die Bewegung zu unterstützen.

Auffällig ist das Fehlen von Anführern und die schwache Position politischer Parteien.[51][52] Die KPCh-Führung und die Hongkong-Regierung können das kaum glauben.[53]
Sie, wie auch westliche Medien, präsentieren Leute gewisser
‘demokratischer’ oder ‘lokalistischer’ Parteien, die während der
Regenbogenbewegung eine Rolle spielten, heute als Anführer oder
Vertreter, auch wenn diese für die gegenwärtige Bewegung tatsächlich
kaum wichtig sind. Das Fehlen von Anführern ist teilweise Resultat der
Unterdrückung nach der Regenbogenbewegung, da viele prominente Figuren
angeklagt wurden und Gefängnisstrafen kassierten. Ein weiterer Grund ist
die spalterische Taktik jener Anführer der Regenbogenbewegung, wie der
von ‘lokalistischen’ (nationalistischen) Gruppen. Es gibt einen breiten
Konsens, dass Führungskämpfe und Spaltungen die Regenbogenbewegung
schwächten und nicht wiederholt werden sollten.

Die gegenwärtige Bewegung vertritt vor
allem die fünf Forderungen und benutzt allgemeine Parolen wie „Befreit
Hongkong, die Revolution unserer Zeit“ oder „Hongkong, geh voran“.
Andere Themen sind wiederholt vorgebracht und diskutiert worden, wie
eher linke Forderungen in Bezug auf die soziale Ungleichheit oder rechte
Forderungen zur Begrenzung der Einwanderung von Chinesen aus der
Volksrepublik oder nach der Unabhängigkeit Hongkongs. Die Bewegung
bleibt jedoch bei den fünf Forderungen, um ihre Einheit zu erhalten und
zunächst diese gemeinsamen Forderungen durchzusetzen.

Chinas Interessen

Die Hongkong-Regierung unter Carrie Lam
ist durch die Bewegung offensichtlich angeschlagen und bleibt weitgehend
im Hintergrund. Es ist klar, dass die Entscheidungen über den Umgang
mit der Bewegung in Beijing getroffen werden. Nachdem die KPCh anfangs
keine öffentliche Berichterstattung in China erlaubte, hat sie später
ihren Kurs geändert und eine nationalistische Medienkampagne
angeschoben,[54][55][56] welche die Protestierenden in Hongkong als “Kriminelle” oder “Terroristen” bezeichnet,[57]
die von “ausländischen Anstiftern” angetrieben würden und eine “farbige
Revolution” gegen die KPCh und Chinas nationale Interessen verfolgten.[58][59][60][61][62] Chinesische Staatsmedien und Regierungsvertreter haben eine direkte Intervention chinesischer Sicherheitskräften angedroht,[63][64][65][66][70]
und chinesische Aufstandsbekämpfungseinheiten der Bewaffneten
Volkspolizei hielten in Shenzhen, nahe der Grenze zu Hongkong,
öffentliche Manöver ab.[71][72]
Das KPCh-Regime hat auch ihre wirtschaftliche Macht eingesetzt und
Druck auf Firmen wie die Fluglinie Cathay Pacific ausgeübt, nachdem
deren Angestellte sich offen an Protestaktionen beteiligt hatten.[73][74][75]

Das KPCh-Regime will die Legitimität der
Protestierenden untergraben und die Bewegung schwächen, um seine
politischen und wirtschaftlichen Interessen zu schützen. Hongkong spielt
für China eine entscheidende Rolle,[76][77]
und ebenso für das chinesische und das ausländische Kapital, als
Schnittstelle für eingehende und abgehende Kapitalflüsse, Investitionen
und damit in Zusammenhang stehende finanzielle und juristische
Dienstleistungen. Die Stadt kann diese Rolle wegen ihres besonderen
politischen Status, ihrer eigenen Währung und des westlichen
Rechtssystems übernehmen.[78][79] Die Proteste und der anhaltende chinesisch-amerikanische Handelskrieg beeinträchtigen bereits Hongkongs Wirtschaft.[80][81][82]

Jede direkte Intervention der
chinesischen Bewaffneten Volkspolizei oder gar der Armee könnte
Hongkongs wirtschaftliche Funktion zerstören und massive finanzielle
Schäden verursachen. Allerdings untergräbt eine anhaltende Bewegung, die
offen Chinas Herrschaft über die Stadt in Frage stellt und mehr
Autonomie oder gar die Unabhängigkeit Hongkongs verlangt, die Autorität
der KPCh und könnte sogar ansteckend wirken und mehr soziale Aufstände
in China provozieren.[83]
Trotz der KPCh-Propaganda und der nationalistischen Mobilisierung in
China gegen die Hongkong-Proteste haben die Menschen in der
Volksrepublik unterschiedliche Auffassungen zur Bewegung.[84]

Die KPCh-Führung will deshalb die
Bewegung (und die Verbreitung von Bildern brennender Barrikaden)
schleunigst beenden, spätestens zum 70. Jahrestag der Gründung der
Volksrepublik China am 1. Oktober 2019.[85][86]
Das wird eventuell ohne verschärfte Repression und die direkte
Intervention chinesischer Sicherheitskräfte nicht möglich sein. Das
KPCh-Regime ist nervös. und die Eskalation des Konflikts und die
Unfähigkeit der Regierungen in Hongkong und Beijing, diese einzudämmen
und zu beenden, hat auch bereits zu Spekulationen über die geschwächte
Position des KPCh-Führers Xi Jinping geführt.[87]

Grenzen und Möglichkeiten

Viele Linke haben offensichtlich
Schwierigkeiten, mit den jüngsten sozialen Bewegungen zurechtzukommen,
die nicht ihren Erwartungen entsprechen, sich nicht von linken
Vertretern repräsentieren lassen wollen und Elemente einschließen, die
politisch problematische Positionen und Forderungen vorbringen, wie zum
Beispiel die ‘Gelben Westen’ in Frankreich oder jetzt die Bewegung in
Die latenten rassistischen Positionen eines Teils der Bewegung in
Hongkong und ihre verschwommene und problematische Forderung nach
‘Demokratie’ (oder nach der Verteidigung des Status quo) sollten ein
Grund sein linke Aktivisten sich Bewegung einzumischen, jene Positionen
zu bekämpfen und die progressiven Strömungen der Bewegung zu unterstützen – wie das einige in Hongkong bereits versuchen.

Die Bewegung in Hongkong gehört sicher
zu den erstaunlichsten Massenmobilisierungen der letzten Jahrzehnte.
Schließlich ist sie die größte Herausforderung der KPCh durch Proteste
der Bevölkerung seit der Tian’anmen-Bewegung 1989 – auch wenn dieser
Vergleich aufgrund der Veränderungen in China und der Welt seitdem
Grenzen hat.[90] Sie kommt auch an einige der Bewegungen während der ‘Arabellion’ 2010 und 2011 heran.

Die Bewegung ist tatsächlich noch keine
antikapitalistische Mobilisierung, aber sie hat die Stellung der
kapitalistischen Klasse, welche Hongkong regiert (und praktisch
besitzt), sowie die der Herrschenden der KPCh in Beijing in Frage
gestellt. Die Angriffe auf die Polizei zeigen, dass viele in der
Bewegung das Vertrauen in zentrale staatliche Institutionen verloren
haben. Streiks und andere Mobilisierungen in Betrieben (Krankenhäusern,
dem Flughafen, Schulen und Universitäten, dem öffentlichen Sektor usw.)
haben die Akzeptanz kapitalistischer Verhältnisse untergraben, oder, wie
ein Protestierender sagte: „Die Beschäftigten arbeiten jetzt nicht mehr
so hart wie üblich und widersprechen den Vorgesetzten.“

Wie wird es weitergehen? In einem pessimistischen
Szenario könnte die aufständische Bewegung Hongkongs genauso wie die
meisten der ‘Arabellion’ enden, in Niederschlagung und Niederlage. Die
Hongkong-Regierung spricht bereits von der Ausrufung des
Ausnahmezustands,[91] und die KPCh scheint unfähig zu sein, eine sanfte Lösung zu finden[92] und könnte ihre Sicherheitskräfte mobilisieren, um die Bewegung zu unterdrücken.[93][94][95]

In einem weniger dramatischen
Szenario könnte die gegenwärtige Bewegung schlicht und einfach an
Dynamik verlieren. In dem Fall sind dennoch härtere Repressionsmaßnahmen
und zahlreiche weitere Verhaftungen wahrscheinlich, zumal die ja
bereits begonnen haben.[96][97][98]
Wenigstens könnten einige der ‚demokratischen Freiheiten‘ in Hongkong
bestehen bleiben, was Erfolg der Bewegung verbucht werden könnte. Viele
in der westlichen Linken unterschätzen die Wichtigkeit dieser
‚Freiheiten‘ für die Organisierung von Widerstand und sozialen
Bewegungen. Hongkong ist bisher für Unterstützergruppen von
Arbeiterkämpfen, Feministinnen und andere Aktivisten, welche die Stadt
für ihre Aktivitäten jenseits der Grenze in China genutzt haben, ein
Zufluchtsort gewesen, und jedes harsche Eingreifen des KPCh-Regimes in
Hongkong könnte ihr Ende bedeuten.[99]

In einem optimistischen Szenario könnte die Bewegung der Beginn einer rebellischen Generation und weiterer sozialer Kämpfe sein.[100] Die
tieferliegenden sozialen Probleme, denen sich große Teile der Bewegung
gegenübersehen (hohe Mieten, niedrige Löhne, lange Arbeitszeiten,
soziale Ungleichheit, niedrige Qualität der Gesundheitsversorgung usw.)
könnten antikapitalistische Strömungen auslösen, und die Erfahrung des
kollektive Aufstands und Kampfes gegen mächtige staatliche Autoritäten
könnten der Beginn von weiteren Kämpfen sein, welche die
kapitalistischen Verhältnisse selbst in Frage stellen. Das
könnte ähnliche Bewegungen in der Volksrepublik China auslösen, die
sich demselben Gegner gegenübersehen – dem rechten KPCh-Regime, dass
seit Jahrzehnten im Zentrum der kapitalistischen Restauration in China
steht und in den letzten Jahren verschärft gegen linke Aktivisten

Viel hängt von der Begrenzung des
KPCh-Einflusses in Hongkong und der Eindämmung rechter ‘Lokalisten’ und
ihrer nationalistischen und rassistischen Politik in der Stadt ab. Die
Beteiligung linker Aktivisten, die Forcierung antikapitalistischer
Themen und Debatten und auch die Unterstützung durch linke Bewegungen
anderswo[102] könnten entscheidend sein, um das letzte Szenarios wahrscheinlicher zu machen.

Der Beitrag Außer Kontrolle – Hongkongs aufständische Bewegung und die Linke erschien zuerst auf

Out of Control – Hong Kong’s Rebellious Movement and the Left Tue, 10 Sep 2019 15:56:44 +0000

taken from here

This article is the result of recent discussions with protesters and left-wing activists in Hong Kong. It gives a short overview of the escalated confrontation and argues that the broad ignorance of the global left is a mistake. Despite its limitations, the movement constitutes a major challenge for the right-wing regime of China’s Communist Party (CCP) and could be the prelude for more struggles against the capitalist relations in Hong Kong, the People’s Republic of China, and elsewhere.

Massive demonstrations, rallies, violent
clashes, tear gas and water cannons, burning barricades, attacks on
police stations, blockades of streets and subway lines, strikes, and
more – these are the dramatic forms of the current mass movement in Hong
Kong. It expanded in June 2019 in reaction to a planned extradition
bill which would have allowed handing over alleged criminals to mainland
China’s repressive forces. Until September, the movement has escalated
into the most serious social confrontation in Hong Kong since the riots
against British colonial rule in 1967. And, as Hong Kong has been a
semi-autonomous part of China with certain ‘democratic freedoms’ since
the city was handed over by Britain to China in 1997, the escalation of
the conflict also constitutes a serious challenge for the CCP regime.

Western politicians (and mainstream
media critical of the CCP) describe the movement simply as one “for
democracy and freedom” – and even ignore its violent tactics or call it
simply a reaction to police violence. They see China’s global expansion
politics as a threat to their own economic and political interests and
want to use this chance to weaken China’s position and influence. The
Western liberal and institutional left repeats the
“democracy and freedom” hymn in the same way it usually defends the
interests of national capitalist regimes using human rights arguments.
That a part of the orthodox left has expressed support for the
position of the CCP regime, instead, is also no surprise considering its
outdated ‘anti-imperialist’ reflexes and lack of understanding of the
capitalist nature of the CCP.

The important question is why the anti-capitalist
left has been largely silent and inactive regarding the escalation of
the conflict in Hong Kong. Is it being blinded by the mainstream
reporting and does not want to support a mere ‘democracy’ movement? Is
it believing the claims of orthodox leftists that China is still
‘socialist’? Is it deterred by the nationalist and racist discourses or
requests for help from the U. S. government of parts of the Hong Kong
Or is Hong Kong  – which has no long history of bigger and explicitly
left-wing political movements  – simply outside the radar of the
anti-capitalist left and ‘too far away’ to even bother?

The point to be made is that the current
confrontation between the protest movement and the governments in Hong
Kong and China constitutes an important historical rupture. A look at
the different phases of the movement’s development reveals that it a)
has come up with radical forms of movement and struggle, b) has broken
the existing social consensus on the relation of Hong Kong’s population,
government and police, and c) threatens to destroy Hong Kong’s role for
China’s (and global) capitalism.

The outcome of the confrontation is
still open, but the anti-capitalist left should thoroughly analyze the
development and support those currents within the movement that have a
progressive potential.


The movement in Hong Kong makes use of
the experiences of previous mobilizations since the handover in 1997,
namely the Umbrella Movement in 2014 when tens of thousands demanded
“free elections” in Hong Kong from China’s regime and occupied a large
space outside Hong Kong’s parliament for several weeks – before they
were pushed aside without having reached their goal.

The first phase of the current
mobilization began in February 2019 with the Hong Kong government’s
announcement of the extradition bill. A public outcry and several
peaceful demonstrations followed.

As the government did not stop the proceedings to introduce the bill, a second phase started on June 9.[2][3]  Several mass demonstrations with up to two million participants in the center of Hong Kong[4] –
surprising if we consider a city population of just 7.5 million – were
followed by major clashes with the police using tear gas, rubber
bullets, and bean-bag rounds against demonstrators building barricades
and throwing objects at the charging police forces.[5] The Hong Kong government suspended the bill on June 15, but without withdrawing it.[6][7] By then, the Hong Kong government had already lost all the trust of large parts of the Hong Kong population.

The movement formulated five demands: 1)
the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, 2) the withdrawal of
the ‘riot’ charge against protesters, 3) the release of arrested
protesters and the drop of charges against them, 4) an independent
inquiry into police violence, and 5) the implementation of genuine
universal suffrage (sometimes also the resignation of Hong Kong
government leader Carrie Lam). The second phase ended on July 1, when
during a large demonstration hundreds of militants broke into the
parliament building and ransacked it.

In the third phase, the
movement decided to spread to other city areas. These actions were meant
to take the protests to other parts of the Hong Kong population but
also to outreach to mainland visitors and immigrants to explain the
movement’s demands.[8]
They drew smaller numbers as before until the situation changed again
on July 21, when hundreds of men in ‘white shirts’ from local (pro-CCP)
triads attacked and injured homecoming protesters in a suburbian subway
station. The obvious collaboration of police and triads during the
attack led to public outrage.[9]
The police itself became the focus of anger and hatred of large parts
of the Hong Kong population, and a spiral of increasingly violent action
and counter-action began. Surprisingly, the violent attacks by
protesters on the police have so far been supported (or, at least,
tolerated) by the bigger part of the movement as it became obvious that
the government hardly reacted to ‘peaceful’ demonstrations.[10][11][12

The protesters further changed tactics
using ‘flash mob’-like actions by blocking roads, setting up barricades,
etc. in one part of city, then using the subway to move to other parts
to do the same there, always trying to be ahead of the police – a tactic
self-described as “be water” (referring to a Bruce Lee quote).[13] Meanwhile, the police upgraded its equipment and tactics, with more protective gear,[14] new weaponry, undercover cops posing as protesters,[15] and
more flexible and aggressive attacks. The height of this phase was
August 5, when a strike call was followed by hundreds of thousands, the
subway was brought to a halt, and mass demonstrations including
coordinated attacks on several police stations took place.[16][17][18][19] Then
the demonstrators shifted their attention to the airport, a central and
economically important traffic hub not just for the city but for the
whole region. It was partially shut down on August 12 and 13.[20]

The forth (and ongoing) phase
began with the movement’s decision to halt the violent clashes and
regroup its forces. Peaceful demonstrations on August 17 and 18, the
latter with 1.7 million participants,[21]
showed the still massive support of the movement, as did the human
chain action (inspired by a similar action in the Baltic states in 1989)
of several hundreds of thousands on August 23.

As the government still made no
concessions, the violent clashes have returned on August 24 and after.
The police have ordered the subway authority to shut down stations in
protest areas, continued to use tear gas, rubber bullets, and brutal
baton attacks, and recently started to employ water cannons.[22][23] The protesters have used Molotov cocktails, set fire to barricades,[24] ransacked subway stations,[25][26] and blocked train services and roads to the airport.[27][28] On September 2, university and high-school students returned to school after the summer break and started strike actions.[29][30] On September 4, Carrie Lam actually fulfilled the first demand and withdrew the extradition bill,[31] but so far that has not stopped further clashes.[32][33]

Why did the movement escalate from
peaceful marches to bring down a bill to a massive and partially violent
movement that targets the police, the position of the Hong Kong
government, and the influence of the CCP regime? When Britain and China
agreed on the handover and formulated the “Basic Law” as the
constitutional document that defined China’s ‘one country, two systems’
rule after 1997, people in Hong Kong and elsewhere believed that it was
China that would change and become more democratic in the course of its
industrialization, urbanization, and integration into the world-economy.
Instead, China has not moved into that direction but has not only
tightened its authoritarian repressive rule but also amplified its
economic and political interventions in Hong Kong.

Today, many people in Hong Kong expect
that China will not even wait until 2047, the official end of the ‘one
country, two systems’ arrangement. The extradition bill was seen as just
one more threat to the relative freedoms of expression and association
and the Western style ‘rule of law.’ Protesters see their struggle as an
‘end game,’ the final chance to stop a full takeover and the
introduction of an even more repressive regime by China.

Besides, many people in Hong Kong,
especially young people, suffer from the immense social inequality in
the city, the high rents and relatively low wages, the competition of
mainland immigrants for jobs, housing, and welfare.[34][35][36] They feel that China’s increasing influence will further worsen their economic situation unless they stop it.

Organized Struggle

At least a third of Hong Kong’s population (2.5 million people) have actively
taken part in the movement – probably a world record. The movement is
heterogeneous, with people of different ages, genders, social positions,
and professions involved: high-school and university students, white
collar workers, civil servants, airport workers, nurses, and many more.
According to surveys, most of the participants are highly educated and
rather ‘middle class’ but many blue and pink collar workers are also
taking part or simply support it but cannot participate much due to
economic pressures and long working hours. Actually, many protesters
live in two worlds, a full work schedule during weekdays, and the
rebellious movement on the street in the evenings and on weekends.[37]
Notable is the general absence of the city’s hundreds of thousands of
immigrant female domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia.[38]

The masses of participating young
high-school and university students grew up in post-1997 Hong Kong and
never developed a ‘Chinese identity.’ They fear the repressive CCP
system and want to keep their Hong Kong ‘way of life.'[39]
Meanwhile, many of the older protesters are migrantsfrom the mainland
or their descendants who suffered from CCP purges or other campaigns
before they came to Hong Kong in the past decades. They don’t trust the

The protesters are confronted by a
smaller part of the population that does, indeed, supports the Hong Kong
government and police as well as the CCP and has staged own
demonstrations with up to tens of thousands of participants.[41]

The protest movement shows an amazing
ability to self-organize, develop and change strategies, and make
decisions – despite its massive size.[42][43][44][45] Debates and actions are often organized through forums like (Reddit-like) LIHKG,[46][47] Telegram and Facebook groups, as well as other digital tools.[48][49]
Sometimes thousands or ten thousands of members use these chat groups,
and even decisions on the next step during a demonstration are made
using apps. During peaceful and violent actions, people take over
certain functions: front-line fighting, building barricades, providing
supplies like masks or helmets, offering medical treatment, etc. Others
administer the digital communication tools, post information on the
location of police squads or PIN-codes for doors in the neighborhood for
people to escape, provide visual art work related to the movement, and
take care of the ‘Lennon Walls'[50]
– posters, stickers, photos, etc. put up on certain walls. Many people
also use their own money to buy water, food, subway tickets, or
equipment like gas masks and distribute it to demonstrators, or they
donate money if they have no other way to support the movement. 

Striking is the absence of leaders and the weak position of political parties.[51][52] For the CCP leaders and the Hong Kong government, this is hard to believe.[53]
They, as well as Western media, present people from certain
‘democratic’ or ‘localist’ parties (who played a role during the
Umbrella Movement) as today’s leaders or representatives, but those are
hardly important for the current movement. This absence of leaders is
partly a result of the repression after the Umbrella Movement because
many outstanding figures were charged and got prison sentences. Another
reason are the divisive tactics of Umbrella Movement leaders like those
from ‘localist’ (nationalist) groups. There is a wide consensus that
leadership conflicts and divisions weakened the Umbrella Movement and
should not be repeated.

So the current movement is mostly
pushing for the five demands and uses general slogans like “Liberate
Hong Kong, revolution of our times” or “Hong Kong, go forward.” More
issues have frequently been voiced and discussed, e. g. left-wing
demands regarding social inequality or right-wing demands regarding the
limitation of mainland immigration or Hong Kong independence. However,
the movement stays with the five demands to ensure its unity and push
through these common demands first.

China’s Interests

The Hong Kong government under Carrie
Lam is visibly shaken by the movement but has largely remained in the
background. It is clear that the decisions on how to deal with the
movement are made in Beijing. After the CCP did not allow any public
reporting in mainland media at first, it later changed its course and
started to push a nationalist media campaign[54][55][56] that portrays the protesters in Hong Kong as “criminals” or “terrorists”[57] who are driven by “foreign black hands” and pursue a “color revolution” against the CCP and China’s national interests.[58][59][60][61][62] Chinese state media and government representatives have threatened a direct intervention of Chinese security forces,[63][64][65][66][70] and Chinese anti-riot units of the People’s Armed Police organized public drills in Shenzhen, close to the Hong Kong border.[71][72]
The CCP regime also uses its economic power and put pressure on
companies like the airline Cathay Pacific after its employees had openly
taken part in protest actions.[73][74][75]

The CCP regime wants to undermine the
protesters’ legitimacy and weaken the movement as it looks to protect
its political and economic interests. Hong Kong plays a vital role for
as well as Chinese and foreign companies as a transitional hub for
capital inflows and outflows, investments, and connected financial and
legal services. The city is able to play that role because of its
special political status, its own currency, and its Western legal
system.[78][79] The protests as well as the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war already take a toll on Hong Kong’s economy.[80][81][82

Any direct intervention by the People’s
Armed Police or even the army could destroy Hong Kong’s economic
function and bring massive economic losses. However, a continuing
movement that openly challenges China’s rule in the city and demands
more autonomy or even Hong Kong independence undermines the CCP’s
authority and could even prove contagious and provoke more social
uprisings in China.[83] Despite
the CCP propaganda and the nationalist mobilization in China against
the Hong Kong protests, mainlanders do, indeed, have different
perspectives on the movement.[84

Therefore, the CCP leadership wants to
quickly stop the movement (and the spreading of pictures of burning
barricades), at least not later then the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 2019.[85][86]
That might not be possible without increased repression and the direct
intervention of Chinese security forces. The CCP regime is nervous as
the and the escalation of the conflict and the inability of the
governments in Hong Kong and Beijing to contain and stop it has already
led to speculation about a weakened position of the CCP’s leader Xi

Limits and Potentials

Leftists have shown apparent
difficulties in dealing with recent social movements that don’t fit into
their expectations, that refuse to be led by leftist representatives,
and that include elements that voice politically problematic positions
and demands, as, for instance, the Yellow Vests in France and now the
movement in Hong Kong.[88][89]
However, the latent racist positions of parts of the Hong Kong movement
and its blurred and problematic demand for ‘democracy’ (or for the
defense of the status quo) should be a reason for left-wing activists to
get involved, resist those positions, and support the movement’s
progressive currents – as some in Hong Kong already try to do.

The current movement in Hong Kong is
surely one of the most amazing mass mobilizations seen in the past
decades. After all, for the CCP it is the biggest challenge by popular
protests since the Tian’anmen Movement in 1989 – even if this comparison
has its limits due to the changes in China and globally since.[90] It also comes close to some of those during the ‘Arabellion’ in 2010 and 2011.

The movement is, indeed, no
anti-capitalist mobilization, yet, but it has questioned the position of
the capitalist class that governs (and virtually owns) Hong Kong as
well as that of the rulers of the CCP in Beijing. The attacks on the
police show that many in the movement have no trust in core state
institutions. Strikes and other mobilizations in workplaces (hospitals,
the airport, schools and universities, the public sector, etc.) further
undermine the acceptance of capitalist relations, or, like one protester
said: “Workers don’t work as hard as usual and speak up against
managers now.”

What will happen next? In a pessimistic
scenario, it could end up just like most of them, in a crackdown and
defeat, as the Hong Kong government is already talking about declaring a
state of emergency,[91] and the CCP seems unable to find a smooth solution[92] and might mobilize its security forces to crush the movement.[93][94][95]

In a less dramatic scenario,
the movement might just run out of steam. In that case harsher
repression measures and many more arrests are still likely as they
already have begun.[96][97][98]
At least some of the ‘democratic freedoms’ in Hong Kong might be kept,
which could be seen as a success of the movement. Many in the Western
left underestimate the importance of these ‘freedoms’ for organizing
resistance and social movements. So far, Hong Kong has been a haven for
labor groups, feminists, and other left-wing activists who have used the
city to organize activities across the border in China, and any serious
crackdown by the CCP regime in Hong Kong could mean they have to stop.[99]

In an optimistic scenario, the movement could be the beginning of a rebellious generation and further social struggles.[100]
The underlying social issues that large parts of the population face
(high rents, low wages, long working hours, social inequality, low
quality of health care, etc.) could spark anti-capitalist currents, and
the experience of collectively standing up and struggle against powerful
state authorities might be just the start of more struggles to come
that question the capitalist relations as such. That
could trigger similar movements in mainland China which face the same
enemy – the right-wing CCP regime that has been at the center of the
capitalist restoration in China for decades and engaged in a highly
repressive drive against left-wing activists in the past few years.[101]

Much depends on the limitation the CCP’s
influence in Hong Kong and the containment of the right-wing
‘localists’ and their nationalist and racist polices in the city. The
involvement of left-wing activists, the promotion of anti-capitalist
topics and debates, and even the support from left-wing movements
abroad[102] could play a decisive role in making the last scenario more likely.

Der Beitrag Out of Control – Hong Kong’s Rebellious Movement and the Left erschien zuerst auf

Imperialism, State Fascism and the War Machines of Capital (Extract) Tue, 10 Sep 2019 10:56:34 +0000

In this book The Patchwork of Minorities (Lyotard 1977), Lyotard writes that capital is a pseudo-organism which, since it has no metaphysics, is not even able to formulate a discourse that justifies its own truth that could explain and justify its existence. The statement recently made by the Invisible Committee in its book Now (Invisible Committee 2017) that we now live in a world without justification is thus true, and has been ever since capital has functioned as the dominant mode of production. Nowhere have the capitalists and their discursive elites had and have a "This is why I am here". According to Lyotard, capital would find a tricky way out if it said that I propose various axiomatics1 to you and with them you could then choose a meaning. This is one of the reasons why elections take place at the political level. Ultimately, however, this kind of semantics only thrives if everyone agrees with what it can at least formally function with. The fact that everyone really agrees is something that the state sometimes does by force, but the belief of the population that everything is right is usually enough.
But all this can only go well as long as the growth of productive forces enables that of the economy as a whole. But if the productive forces turn into destructive forces, as we can currently observe, then capital will change from a nihilistic operator to a suicidal fascist. And this phase begins now. It remains a question of probability whether dwindling resources such as water, food and energy, global warming, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, chemical pollution, and changes in soil conditions will lead to the destruction of human livelihoods. But the probability is high, as much can be deduced from the climate researchers' models, which are based on a multitude of empirical studies and detailed analyses.
And global warming corresponds quite peculiarly to the existence of a huge surplus population in the global South, which with high probability - you see, we are operating here with probabilities - will no longer be able to bring capital into wage labour and thus use it as variable capital. The last move is the integration of parts of the surplus population of the global South into the financial debt cycles via microdite, but the success remains questionable. This part of the global proletariat therefore no longer needs to free itself from its chains; it is set as potential freedom. It has nothing at all to lose and can, in principle, smash all social relationships in which man is a subjugated and humiliated being. The pre-eminence of this proletariat today are migrants and refugees. In the feel-good oases of the North, not only the elites but, because of their complicity with the system, also those parts of the workers, the precariat and the employees who were able to make themselves at home in the heteronomy of the financialized capital landscapes, even at the expense of the populations of the South, have meanwhile come to suspect not only the elites but also those parts of the workers, the precariat and the employees, that the present time of the pre-apocalypse is both the result of the impossibility of foresighted insight into a futurized capitalization and the instability of financial capital that fails to regulate, and that capitalization entails the production of a globalized surplus population that at least potentially embodies the return of the rejected negativity of the proletariat.2
Incidentally, capital does nothing, it is not a subject, but a relationship, as we last described in detail in Capital and Power in the 21st Century (Szepanski 2018a). There we define the concept of capital as potential or as unlimited movement (production for the sake of production and circulation for the sake of circulation), in which, starting from a present quantity of money, a greater quantity of money is to be achieved in the future, and this again and again. This potential, made possible by the extraction of added value, is the effective engine of the economic system. The speculation that accompanies it is not a perversion of the capitalist economy, but a function of power, indeed its essence. And capital is not equal to profit, which is merely a greater quantity of money realized through the circulation of capital. But the finiteness of profit also limits capital as potential itself. (The contradiction between infinite movement and finiteness manifests itself in the tendency case of the profit rate.) Here, the hegemony of the Money capital is immanent in the capitalist mode of production, in which more money functions as the universal value and thus the production of goods for the multiplication of money capital is merely a means and not an end.

This logic of the movement of capital takes place within the framework of total capital, which, as a virtual power, compels the strategies of companies to reproduce what is objectively given from the outset, the comprehensive context of differential capital accumulation, without ifs and buts. And speculative capital today represents the dominant fraction of capital over "real economy", whereby financial products such as derivatives are no longer limited by the structures of industrial production and their pricing is not necessarily dependent on them, even though they produce real effects of the most drastic kind. Derivatives are a speculative capital of their own kind - a capital construct that manages the fabric of a highly mobile, cynical and opportunistic economy and circulates self-referentially in its own markets, but at the same time directly influences the "real economy". Without exception, all capitalist enterprises today have to execute important financial operations. If capital as logic is the engine of the breathing monster called total capital, then the financial system is its central nervous system. (Norfield 2016)

The essays published here are connected in a subterranean way. In the first essay, with the drawing of a few abstract and expansive lines, an attempt is made to construct that peculiar object, the "state", without succumbing to the temptation to reproduce even the slightest attempt at those discourses that are produced in endless repetition by the state itself. The state, which has long since sacralized its doxa, its naming privileges, and carries before it like a sign of its choice, as if it were the point of view of all points of view, so that every question about the legitimacy of its point of view has already become superfluous, has established itself as a secularized hyper-church in centuries of agony for the populations. But it must never be forgotten that without the appropriation of general wealth by self-reproducing capital, the state would never be able to carry out its executive, administrative and governmental functions. This confluence leads us directly into the second essay.
From a certain period in the history of capitalism, capital was no longer satisfied with maintaining an equal alliance with the state and its war machines3 . The construction by capital of its own war machine integrated the state, its political, military and symbolic sovereignty and all its administrative apparatuses and modified them under the imperatives of financial capital. The extension of capitalization to the entire planet, gullibly called "globalization," today tends to collapse state sovereignty, pushing at least for global governance without sovereignty, without states disappearing from the scene. At the international level, the US can only partially fulfil its role as global sheriff, global banker and driver of capital accumulation. At the national level, the state, which oscillates between the functions of an idealistic total capitalist who is partly generous to the populations and the more repressive social police, must expand the latter function by - since the financial crisis of 2008 - on the one hand further tightening austerity policy, and on the other hand considerably expanding the scope of intervention of its social police forces. This brings us to the third essay.
The coming fascism, which as such is to be placed in quotation marks, is forced by the state policy of pre-emptive crisis and risk management, which, driven by prevention policies and hypertechnologized paranoia aggregates, suspects chaos or an enemy of the system everywhere and nowhere and must therefore intervene with ever more drastic means in order to prevent - in the opinion of the state - the worst. In close contact with the global war machines of capital, the state has long since not only addressed the terrorists as enemies, but has also sighted enemies everywhere and nowhere, and that is to say, in the form of a company as well as a motorized executive machine of directives, it functions as an instrument of exploitation, control and discipline of a labor force that has long since been globalized. And what had to come is coming: the keyboard of racisms and nationalisms institutionalized by the states themselves after the financial crisis of 2008 is today increasingly played by the right-wing populist movements that have been the mainstay of the state faction. The latter defines refugees, Muslims and foreigners in general as his primary enemies, in order to finally achieve, in close cooperation with the state, such a highly explosive state in which the politics of feelings, for the sake of one's own happiness, demands the genocide of the surplus population in the global South.

extract of the book

translated by deepl.

Foto: Stefan Paulus

Der Beitrag Imperialism, State Fascism and the War Machines of Capital (Extract) erschien zuerst auf

Capital and Power in the 21st Century (Extract) Tue, 10 Sep 2019 06:20:22 +0000

The world economy is currently in a phase of secular stagnation with persistently low growth rates of the real gross domestic product.1 The litanies of boundless economic growth that the representatives of capital and the imperialist states repeatedly prayed to the populations after the Second World War have literally come to nothing. Since the 1980s, the global economy has been increasingly driven and determined by financialized capital, which today operates at a high level of financial consumption, investment and speculation. At times, debt has risen far beyond the capacity of debtors to repay it at all. The assertion that a rise in inflation would lower the debt level by lowering its value has so far proved invalid. The financial problems surrounding indebtedness are also linked to other crisis situations, such as the weakening of accumulation rates and the decline in capital investment, the insufficient renewal of the capital stock, deflationary price developments and chronic low interest rates, slower population growth and an ageing population, lower growth rates in the productivity of capital accumulation2 and a slowdown in innovation. Finally, there are declining natural resources such as water, food and energy, climate change initiated by capital - biodiversity reduction, stratospheric ozone depletion, ocean acidification, extreme weather conditions, precarious drinking water supplies, chemical pollution and changes in soil conditions, to name but a few. There has been less growth in international trade, emerging markets and capital flows. The idea that the increase in government spending, low interest rates and the provision of liquidity and cash on the money and capital markets would generate higher economic growth has so far been refuted by reality.
In those countries that have recovered somewhat since the financial crisis of 2007 ff., we have long been confronted with a growing financial industry again, while even there the standard of living and the real wage for large parts of the population is stagnating or continues to fall. Public goods such as health, education and pensions continue to be privatised and their quality standards are falling, not to mention the standard of living of future generations. Youth unemployment is rising almost everywhere in the world. At the same time, debt has also risen due to low interest rates and increased government spending, while the size and market power of the banks (together with the shadow banking system) continue to play an important economic role. The policy of light money or quantitative easing has increased the prices of equities and financial assets and destabilized the growing emerging markets.
Fictitious and speculative capital (financial instruments and promises of payment) were present as a kind of embryo from the very beginning of capitalism, especially when one considers that the capitalist production of companies must in principle be pre-financed and that debts, which are quasi insured with the goods produced in the future, will thus ever arise. Accordingly, capital is not to be understood as an (absolute) positive value, as the famous economist Joseph Schumpeter, for example, still assumed, but as a socio-economic relationship in which precisely the intentional negative (debt) is to be understood as a positive condition for capitalist production, as the former GDR Peter Ruben, for example, explains - capital or capitalization is debt production sui generis. (Ruben 1998: 53) In many cases, apart from the self-financing of large enterprises, capitalist production processes are set in motion uno actu with a credit contract. And the possibility for capitalist enterprises to pledge their future goods as security implies that their products (the right to extract a surplus with them) are potentially already capital before anything is even produced and then realized as a commodity. So we've ever faced a financialized capital production and that's why Marx calls his book Capital and not Goods or Money.
Insofar as interest-bearing, fictitious and speculative capital in the form of loans, bonds, stocks and derivatives has increased much more rapidly today and has at least nominally taken on a much larger volume than priced industrial and commercial capital, the growth of assets can hardly be attributed solely to the accumulation of capital in the "real economy". Instead, we can assume here an endogenous, i.e. an immanent, financialized capital formation potential that affects the real economy and produces productive, but also negative, economic effects.3 Financial capital today operationalizes loans, fictitious and speculative capital and other multiple capital equivalents in enormous sums, which are characterized by their high liquidity, mobility and commensurability and therefore process in very specific forms of movement that are perhaps not dissimilar to those of the fashion and marketing industry. The increase in fictitious and speculative capital in particular in relation to the abstract wealth of an economy is reflected in an ever-increasing share of financial profits within the pool of total company profits. Even the profits resulting from the derivatives are not to be regarded as fictitious in a vulgar sense, for the derivatives are realized in money and thus possess all the characteristics of capital power, especially in access to the abstract wealth produced in an economy. Although these profits (dividends, interest and the profitable realization of assets in money) have no direct relation to industrial production and the circulation of classical goods, they are generated auto-referentially by the financialized processes, but nevertheless they have quite real effects on the "real economy".
The modern financial system is an immanent social relation of capital, which not only includes the multiplication of capital by diverting money capital from the shrinking to the expanding sectors of the economy, but also by the financial system self-referentially generating profits and at the same time securing capitalist power relations in a comprehensive, albeit crisis-like way. The permanent evaluations, evaluations and calculations of the exploitation processes of capital, which currently take place particularly via the financial system, have important consequences for the national economies and for the organization of capitalist power relations as a whole and strengthen the implementation of the hegemonic capital tendencies in a given economic cycle in the entire antagonistic socio-economic field.
This Marxist position is contrasted by a number of theoretical approaches dating back to Ricardo, which extend from Veblen, Hilferding and partly also Keynes to the positions of post-Keynesianism and accelerationism, post-Marxism (Negri/Hardt, Zizek, Lapavitsas, etc.) and such positions as those of Bichler/Nitzan, which are heterodox today: The power of capital here is derived primarily from the property relations, the profit of capital appears in part as an absolute pension (see the talk of financial feudalism); the financial system organizes the sabotage of industrial relations, which are mainly shaped by technicians and workers, and it is based, following system theory, on a system of second-order observation (cf. Luhmann 1984, Esposito 2010). The rise of the modern financial system is summarized as unrealistic, hypertrophic and dysfunctional, possibly still as the distorted image of an ideal productive capitalism. This is a position diametrically opposed to Marxism.
The financial markets today have a dual function - on the one hand they evaluate the economic actors (companies, states and households) by means of statistical and stochastic power technologies, and on the other hand they function as a functional instance of the capitalization of future promises of payment, whereby these are now traded at the speed of light on a global scale. While accounting in the "real sector" has long been past oriented, from the 1970s onwards future oriented capitalisation, i.e. the calculation or discounting of expected payment flows and promises, mutated into the most important method of the capitalist financial system, with which the attainment of monetary profits either takes place in real terms or is at least financed. Derivatives and all other exotic financial instruments, which on the one hand have to be understood as power technologies and on the other hand as new speculative forms of capital with which profits can be made, are today a necessary condition for the continuous implementation of financialisation in the entire economic field. They introduce a formative perspective on the current concrete risks, make them commensurable with one another and thus reduce the heterogeneity of the concrete risks to a single security, i.e. to a single social attribute, namely the abstract risk that the derivatives sell.but which must always be realized in money.
The analysis of the financial system4 must not be carried out as that of an independent financial sector or as that of a specific type of institutionalisation, but must assume that today, without exception, all large capitalist companies carry out important financial operations. Here, in his new book Finance Capital Today, the French economist François Chesnais distinguishes between finance as a highly interconnected and interdependent conglomerate of major banks, insurance companies, pension and investment funds, shadow banks and central banks, transnational industrial and commercial corporations and powerful wholesalers (organizational level), and finance qua finance, the processes of expansion of fictitious capital and derivatives held, designed and traded by large banks, investment funds and hedge funds on the financial markets (procedural and functional level). (Chesnais 2016: 36) With regard to such factors that characterize companies as number, size, balance sheet total, business volume, degree of networking, position in the capitalist reproduction process and power position, there has been an important change in the global financial system and world markets in recent decades. In their analyses, the authors Glattfelder, Vitali and Battiston show that 737 companies currently influence around 80 percent of the entire global market, with a highly networked core group of 147 companies alone influencing almost 40 percent. This network consists almost exclusively of British and American banks and financial firms. (Cf. Sahr: Kindle-Edition: 8621). At its peak, the financial industry in the US generated 40% of all domestic corporate profits and represented 30% of the market price of US equities. (Satyajit Das 2015: Kindle Edition: 571). The financial system benefits from the asymmetries of the enormous amount of information resulting from the actions of buyers and sellers of complex financial products, which in turn exploit the discrepancies in ratings to generally lower the cost of capital. In addition, the practice of share buybacks and capital repatriations leads to rising share prices. In January 2008, large US companies used 40% of their cash flow to buy back their own shares. (ibid.: 604).
The metaphor of the "central nervous system of capital" used by Tony Norfield in his book The City to characterize the current financial system aptly suggests this development of capitalist economies. If the principle of capital is the engine of the breathing monster called total capital, then the financial system is its brain and central nervous system.5 (Norfield 2016: Kindle Edition: 168) Randy Martin (Lee, Martin 2016: Kindle-Edition: 3312) has pointed out in this context that the financial system is immanent in the three volumes of Marx's capital insofar as it assumes an important function for the reproduction of capital in the movements of production and circulation and the associated need to anticipate risk. The financial system executes to a not inconsiderable extent the competition, coordination and regulation of companies (in all sectors), which in turn presupposes the a priori of total capital, which is updated by the real competition of companies, which for Marx is always a war rather than a ballet. Financial capital constantly modulates the competition of all companies and rekindles it - it is therefore an integral part of the capital economy and not a cancer that a doctor removes in order to restore the health of the capital body.6
For Norfield, the operations of the financial system are by no means limited to the manifold strategies of banks, investment funds and other financial institutions; rather, they affect the capitalist system and its enterprises as a whole, insofar as industrial and commercial enterprises must also constantly carry out a multitude of financial transactions. For example, international companies use private banks to obtain the currencies they need to buy imported goods, or to exchange profits from their export transactions for local currency. Companies borrow short-term credit from private banks to secure their cash flows, or take out longer-term loans to finance their investments. They issue bonds or shares in financial markets to raise money from investors, and they use derivatives to hedge against adverse movements in interest rates that limit their profitability. For example, purchasing for the purchase of raw materials, IT systems, buildings, machinery and labour to produce new goods to be sold at a profit can be reduced by pending interest payments. And the net profits of industrial companies are affected by all sorts of financial transactions, from hedging currencies to interest rate risks, especially when companies themselves invest in financial collateral. The financing of capitalist production and circulation is a crucial aspect of the reproduction of capital on extended ladders.

translated by deepl.

extract from the book: Capital and Power in the 21th Century

Foto: Bernhard Weber

Der Beitrag Capital and Power in the 21st Century (Extract) erschien zuerst auf

Von #Besetzen und #TuMalWat – In Erinnerung an Klaus Jürgen Rattay Mon, 09 Sep 2019 16:10:05 +0000

cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I

junger Mann, vielleicht auch noch ein Junge, trotzig in Vollbart und
Lederjacke, steht im Hinterhof der besetzten Häuser in der
Winterfeldstraße, der eher eine große Freifläche denn ein
Hinterhof ist, viele Häuser, die den Krieg überstanden haben, sind
schon abgerissen. Morgen sollen hier in der Winterfeldstraße zwei
besetzte Häuser geräumt werden, man geht davon aus, dass es auch in
anderen Teilen der Stadt zu Räumungen kommen wird. Die Berliner
Abendschau hat ein Filmteam entsandt, man will Impressionen vor dem
großen showdown sammeln. Ruhig und sachlich spricht der Junge in die
Kamera: Er sei aus der Provinz nach Berlin gekommen, habe keinen Bock
mehr auf eine Arbeit, bei dem ihm der Meister zusammen scheiße und
überhaupt sei die Sache mit der Maloche Mist. Er wolle sich an den
Hausbesetzungen beteiligen, fände den Zusammenhalt und die
Solidarität und auch die Sache mit dem Kiffen, und da umspielt ein
wunderbares Lächeln seine Lippen, eine prima Sache. Auf Nachfrage
räumt er ein, dass er auch Angst vor dem morgigen Tag habe, ist sich
nicht zu stolz, zu sich, zu seinen Gefühlen zu stehen. Markiert
nicht den straighten Fighter, der er gar nicht ist. Aber er habe auch
Mut zu kämpfen, betont er noch. Nicht einmal vierundzwanzig Stunden
später ist der Junge tot. Sein Name war Klaus Jürgen Rattay.

habe damals selber in der Winterfeldstraße 24 gewohnt. Aus Spandau,
wo wir ebenfalls ein Haus besetzt hatten, war ich in die
Winterfeldstraße gezogen, wollte näher am Geschehen sein. Damals
gab es eigentlich jeden Tag irgendeine Versammlung oder irgendeine
action. Die Winterfeld 24 war ein Haus mit wunderbaren riesigen
Wohnungen, ich war in einer Trabantensiedlung aufgewachsen, ungläubig
wanderte ich immer wieder durch die riesigen Räume mit all dem Stuck
an der Decke und dem Fußboden aus Holzparkett. Wir waren nur ein
dutzend Leute in dem Haus und nutzen nur ein Teil des Gebäudes, dass
von ein paar kaputten Fenstern und fehlenden sanitären Anlagen
abgesehen in einem sehr guten Zustand war. Keiner von uns ging
arbeiten, bis auf eine junge Frau, die gegenüber im alten
Telegrafenamt arbeitete und eines Tages einfach bei uns eingezogen
waren. Wir lebten von Spenden, geklauten Lebensmitteln und der einen
oder anderen Mark, die wir von Eltern, Freunden oder sonst woher
organisieren konnten. Der Kühlschrank war eigentlich immer leer und
einmal als es ganz hart wurde, gab es Katzenfutter. Ich bin da zu
meinen Eltern gefahren und habe mir da ein Stulle geschmiert. Und
mich geschämt.

Nachbarn waren die Besetzer der Winterfeldstraße 20/22. Die hatten
nicht so schöne Wohnungen wie wir, aber immer einen vollen
Kühlschrank. Die hatten sich ein paar Dutzend Paten an Land gezogen.
Liberale Universitätsprofessoren, Pfarrer, usw.. Ich glaube in der
20/22 gab es nicht viele Arbeiterkinder. Als es hieß, dass unsere
Häuser geräumt werden sollen, sind die, also die Paten, auch mit
ein paar Dutzend Leuten angerückt. Die hatten riesige durchgehende
Balkone in der 20/22 und am Tag der Räumung waren die randvoll mit
lauter wichtigen Leuten oder Leuten, die sich dafür hielten.

hatten keine Paten. Nur ein paar Freunde, die uns am Vortag der
Räumung geholfen haben, das Haus ordentlich zu verbarrikadieren. Bis
in die Nacht haben wir geschuftet, aus dem umliegenden Straßen Zeugs
von den Baustellen ins Haus geschleppt, das große Treppenhaus war am
Ende bis zum ersten Stock mit allem möglichen Material voll
gestopft, die Bullen haben später über eine Stunde gebraucht, um
überhaupt ins Haus zu kommen. In der 20/22 waren sie in fünf
Minuten drin.

selber war gerade unter Auflagen aus der Untersuchungshaft entlassen
worden, zweimal in der Woche musste ich in dem Bullenrevier
erscheinen, dass für meine Meldeadresse zuständig war. Also habe
ich mich irgendwann in der Nacht schweren Herzens verabschiedet, alle
meine Leute ganz fest umarmt und dann meine paar Habseligkeiten in
ein befreundetes Haus in der Maaßenstraße geschleppt. Am frühen
Morgen dann verbreitete sich die Nachricht, dass die Bullen anrücken
würden. Zu meiner Enttäuschung hatten sich nur einige wenige
hundert Menschen an den Häusern in der Winterfeld eingefunden und so
hatten die Bullen innerhalb von nicht einmal einer halben Stunde die
Straßenbarrikaden, die in der Winterfeldstraße errichtet worden
waren, unter Einsatz von Tränengas geräumt. Als klar war, dass die
Bullen gleich durchbrechen würden, habe ich mich zu meinen Freunden
ins besetzte Haus in der Maaßenstraße zurückgezogen. Die Lage hat
sich dann erst Mal beruhigt, wir haben den Bullenfunk verfolgt und
aus den Fenstern die Bullen beobachtet.

kam dann wieder Bewegung auf, viele Leute sind in Richtung
Bülowstraße gezogen, zur 89, dem Bobby Sands Haus. Das wurde am
22.09. auch geräumt. Es hieß, der Innensenator sei dort
eingetroffen und wolle im geräumten Haus eine Pressekonferenz
abhalten. Lummer hieß der, ist gerade kürzlich verstorben. Ein
Rechtsaußen der CDU, mit Verbindungen bis hin zu organisierten
Neonazis. Typ reaktionärer Kleinbürger. Klein, untersetzt,
schmierig. Alle haben den gehasst. Schon vor der Geschichte mit Klaus
Jürgen Rattay. War vom Regierenden Bürgermeister Weizsäcker, der
sich ja auch gerade später gerne als liberaler elder statesman
inszenierte, eingesetzt worden, um mit uns aufzuräumen. Ich bin da
nicht mit, von wegen Haftverschonung, dass war mir der Lummer nicht
wert. Deshalb kenne ich das Geschehen, dass sich dann in der
Bülowstraße ereignete, nur aus Erzählungen.

müssen sich einige wenige hundert Leute in Sichtweite zur
abgesperrten Bülow 89 versammelt gehabt haben und haben da gestanden
und Parolen gerufen. Einfach nur Parolen gerufen. Kam natürlich
trotzdem der Befehl die Straße zu räumen. Und das hieß damals in
Berlin immer sofort „Knüppel frei“. Also sind die Leute in Panik
vor den knüppelnden Bullen die Bülow in Richtung Potsdamer Straße
runter gerannt. Gibt es auch alte, unscharfe Filmaufnahmen von. Auf
der Potse war natürlich voll Verkehr, sogar noch mehr als sonst,
weil ja viele der umliegenden Straßen wegen der Räumungen gesperrt
waren. Sind die Leute also in Panik mitten auf die Potse gelaufen,
mitten in den Verkehr gelaufen, um nicht verprügelt zu werden. Klaus
Jürgen Rattay ist dann da von einem Doppeldecker der BVG erfasst und
mitgeschleift worden. Auch davon gibt es alte, unscharfe
Filmaufnahmen. Er war sofort tot.

der Leichnam vom Klaus Jürgen Rattay abtransportiert worden war,
haben sich viele Leute an dem Ort versammelt, wo er gestorben ist.
Besetzer, Punker, Langhaarige, aber auch türkische Malocher und alte
Frauen in Kittelschürze. Viele haben Blumen mitgebracht und da
abgelegt, man konnte ja noch das Blut auf dem Asphalt sehen. Haben da
einfach nur gestanden oder auf dem Boden gesessen, viele haben
geweint. Sich in den Arm genommen und gegenseitig getröstet. Die
Bullen haben dann Tränengas in die trauernde Menge geworfen und alle
weg geknüppelt, einfach so. Mit ihren Stiefeln die abgelegten Blumen
weggetreten. Auch davon gibt es alte, verwackelte Filmaufnahmen.

Abend gab es dann eine große Demo, ein Trauermarsch, der von der
Alternativen Liste angemeldet worden war. Damals konnte man mit denen
noch zusammen arbeiten, waren viele aufrichtige, ehrliche Leute
dabei. Ich bin da nicht hin, wegen der Situation mit der
Haftverschonung. Weil mir war klar, wenn die nur meine Personalien
kontrollieren, sitze ich wieder im Bau. Ich schäme mich heute noch
dafür, dass ich nicht auf der Demo war. Aber meine Eltern sind hin.
Die sind sonst nie auf Demos gegangen. Ich komme aus einer
klassischen Arbeiterfamilie. Vater Schlosser, Mutter Tipse. Immer die
Sozis gewählt, außer danach, da hat meine Mutter die Alternative
Liste gewählt. Die haben mir von der Demo erzählt. Zehntausend
Leute sind da spontan zusammengekommen und die Bullen natürlich
wieder Tränengas und rein knüppeln. Meine Eltern sind dann auf der
Potse in einen Hauseingang geflüchtet und mein Vater ganz alte
Schule, hat sich vor meine Mutter gestellt, damit sie nicht
verprügelt wird. Meine Mutter ist danach nie wieder auf eine Demo
gegangen, die hatte einfach nur noch Horror, als sie die ganze
Brutalität der Bullen erlebt hat. Meinen Vater hat das nicht so
beeindruckt, ich glaube, der war auch dabei, als sie 1965 die
Waldbühne bei einem Rolling Stones Konzert zerlegt haben, aber so
ganz genau weiß ich das nicht, er hat wenig von sich erzählt. Haben
die Männer seiner Generation nicht so mit gehabt mit dem Erzählen.
Und später konnte ich ihn nicht mehr danach fragen, weil er leider
ziemlich jung gestorben ist. Aber ich glaube, er fand die ganze
Geschichte mit den Hausbesetzungen und das sich mit den Bullen
kloppen irgendwie in Ordnung und war auch stolz, dass sein Sohn da

der Demo mit den 10.000 Leuten gab es noch den ganzen Abend und bis
in die Nacht Randale und überall in der Stadt sind Scheiben kaputt
gegangen und sogar in Spandau, wo ich herkomme, sind Molotows auf den
Betriebshof der BVG und ein Bullenrevier geflogen und das gab es
vorher nicht und auch danach nie wieder.

der Maaßenstraße haben sie uns noch eine Tränengasgranate direkt
in den Gemeinschaftsraum geschossen, weil wohl ein Blumentopf oder
was weiß ich aus dem Fenster geflogen ist, als sie Leute vor unserer
Haus einfach zusammen geschlagen haben. War ziemlich Scheiße, das
ganze Tränengas in so einem geschlossenen Raum und ein Hund war auch
noch dabei, der hatte die volle Panik und es war gar nicht so
einfach, den dann aus dem Zimmer zu schleifen. Ein paar Wochen später
bin ich dann wieder zu allen Demos gegangen, auch wenn es da geknallt
hat. Irgendwie war mir das mit dem ausgesetzten Haftbefehl egal

26.-29. September finden ja jetzt in Berlin die 'Tu Mal Wat'
Aktionstage statt. Es soll Diskussionen, Demos und auch reichlich
Besetzungen geben. Und da wäre es doch schön, wenn man auch dem
Klaus Jürgen Rattay gedenken würde. Ich glaube, das hätte ihm
gefallen, dass wir ihn nicht einfach vergessen. Wo er doch so viele
Hoffnungen und Träume gehabt hat in seinem kurzen Leben.

Lotzer, 9. September 2019

Der Beitrag Von #Besetzen und #TuMalWat – In Erinnerung an Klaus Jürgen Rattay erschien zuerst auf

The political economy of pulse: Techno-somatic rhythm and real-time data Mon, 09 Sep 2019 10:03:41 +0000


In the context of ubiquitous data capture and the politics of control, there is growing individual and managerial interest in ‘pulse’, both in the literal sense of arterial pulse (now monitored through wearable technology) and in a metaphorical sense of real-time tracking (for instance taking the ‘pulse of an organisation’). This article uses the category of ‘pulse’ to explore post-Fordism as a set of techniques for governing rhythms, both of the body and of technologies. It draws on Lefebvre’s work to introduce notions of eurhythmia, arrhythmia and ‘internal measure’ as ways of exploring somatic and organisational life. It then introduces two case studies where the idea and physical nature of ‘pulse’ are at work. These provide an insight into the real-time nature of post-Fordist life, where a chronic sensing of quantities becomes the basis of co-operation, rather than a judgement via measures.

read here

Foto: Stefan Paulus

Der Beitrag The political economy of pulse: Techno-somatic rhythm and real-time data erschien zuerst auf

Hongkong, Paris, Marseille – Be water my friend Mon, 09 Sep 2019 05:52:47 +0000

And if we should
die tonight
Then we should all die together
Raise a glass
of wine for the last time

milder Spätsommernachmittag am alten Hafen von Marseille. Die kids
aus den 'Quartiers Populaires' sind gekommen. Haben ihre Mütter
mitgebracht. Alte, müde, stolze Gesichter. Hart von der Mühsal der
tagtäglichen Arbeit, die mit einem Hungerlohn entlohnt wird. Sind
alle tragen ein Banner vor sich her, die Sonne wirft ihnen heute ein
Lächeln ins Gesicht. Sie hüpfen, tanzen, singen, lassen immer
wieder die Gilets Jaunes hochleben.

stehen da an der Mole, wie jeden Sonnabend seit bald einem Jahr,
verlegen gerührt. Der eine oder andere alte Gewerkschafter unter
ihnen, vielleicht seit Jahrzehnten in der CGT. So viele Kämpfe, so
viele Niederlagen, so oft von der Führung verraten und im Stich
gelassen. Aber was soll man machen. Man muss sich doch organisieren.
Und immer wieder Hoffnung geschöpft. Das sich etwas ändern wird,
ändern muss. Die ganz Alten erinnern sich noch an den Mai 68 als sie
die CRS durch die Straßen getrieben haben.

Im Sommer trägt der Wind manchmal den Wüstensand aus Afrika herüber, ganz anders ist dann die Luft Abends am alten Hafen. Wenn der Scirocco kommt, flüstern er den Menschen ganz alte, fast vergessende Träume ins Ohr. Dann geht keiner früh schlafen. Dann sitzt man draußen bis tief in die Nacht und keiner denkt an die Maloche des kommenden Tages. Man sitzt bei billigen, aber guten Wein aus der Gegend mit den Nachbarn und der Familie zusammen, erzählt sich Geschichten, hört sich zu, in sich hinein, erkennt im Anderen sich selber. Keiner wird laut, keiner krakelt, wenn der Scirocco weht, es ist, als wenn er eine tiefe Wahrheit mit sich trägt.

war der 'Acte 43'. Seit 43
Wochen gehen sie nun schon auf die Straßen. 43 Samstage in Folge. Ob
es regnet, schneit oder die Sonne brennt. Sie sind in Paris durch die
Luxusviertel gezogen und haben sie verwüstet
und geplündert. Bei Dior
haben sie Uhren und Schmuck für 2 Millionen raus geschleppt. Mit
einem Ladestapler haben sie das Tor eines Ministeriums aufgebrochen
und sind in das Gebäude eingedrungen. Der Regierungssprecher musste
samt seiner Entourage evakuiert werden. Die Bullen haben sie am Arc
de Triomphe ordentlich verprügelt und auf den Champs Élysées das
'Le Fouquet's angezündet, wo Sarkorzy, der die Vorstädte und den
Pöbel hasst, zu feiern pflegte. In
ganz Frankreich hat es geknallt, bis in die tiefste Provinz und
keiner weiß woher all das Tränengas kommt, das Woche für Woche
durch die Innenstädte zieht. Tausende sind festgenommen worden,
viele sitzen im Knast. Dutzende haben ihr Augenlicht verloren durch
Gummigeschosse, in Marseille haben sie einer alten Frau eine
Tränengasgranate an den Kopf geschossen, als sie die Fenster ihrer
Wohnung im vierten Stock schließen wollte. Sie ist im Krankenhaus
gestorben. Als es ganz heiß herging in Frankreich, stand im
Präsidentenpalast ein jederzeit startbereiter Hubschrauber für
Macron bereit, zusätzliche militärische Sondereinheiten waren zu
seinem Schutz verlegt worden. Die Angst hatte die Seite gewechselt.

hat der ganzen Angelegenheit Herr zu werden versucht. Bürgerdialoge
inszeniert, selbsternannte
Anführer eingeladen und sie ermuntert mit eigenen Listen zur
Europawahl anzutreten. Keiner hat sie gewählt und auf den Demos
wurden sie beschimpft und bedroht und können sich dort nicht mehr
blicken lassen. Die Faschos haben auch anfänglich versucht
Fuß zu fassen in der Diffusität der Bewegung. Sie haben so lange
auf die Fresse bekommen, bis sie sich verpisst haben. Stattdessen
sind die organisierten Leute aus den Vorstädten dazu gestoßen, die
unabhängigen Gewerkschaftler und in vielen Städten auch die Basis
der CGT, was der Führung sauer aufgestoßen ist, die versucht hat
ihr eigenes Süppchen zu kochen. Und nun kommt der Herbst und die
Bewegung ist immer noch da. Keiner
weiß, wie sie das geschafft hat, tausend Mal haben die Medien sie
für tot erklärt, sie kann keine Erfolge vorweisen und ihr
Ansammlung von Forderungen
ist so umfangreich wie ein Möbelkatalog.
Vielleicht ist das ja auch Teil ihres Geheimnisses. Keiner weiß, was
genau gefordert wird und so bleibt es
schwierig, sie zu spalten und
zu integrieren. Nicht das von den Schattenseiten geschwiegen werden
soll. Es gab und gibt
Spinner unter ihnen, harmlose
und gefährliche, Verschwörungstheoretiker und Antisemiten. Aber sie
sind eine klare Minderheit und bekommen immer wieder die Quittung
verpasst für ihre Ansichten. Man hat sich auch landesweit getroffen
und organisiert. Die Versammlung der Versammlungen. Ein bisschen
Chiapas in der französischen Provinz. Sind ein paar schöne,
aufrichtige Erklärungen bei raus gekommen. Keine Partei, keine
Organisation, keine Blaupause für die Machtübernahme. Man sagt, es
wären wenige Linke dort gewesen.

Hongkong brennt seit Wochen die Luft. 'Be water my friend'. Keine
Anführer, kein Protestcamp wie bei der Umbrella Revolution. 'Be
water my friend'. Mobile flashmobs ziehen durch die Straßen, tauchen
auf dem Flughafen oder vor dem Bullen HQ auf. Schleppen mobiles
Barrikadenmaterial mit sich und tauchen in die Metro ab, wenn die
Bullen Überhand
gewinnen. Anwohner legen dort Wechselklamotten und anonymisierte
Fahrausweise für die Demonstranten ab. Überwachungskameras werden
sachgerecht zerlegt, abschirmt vor
neugierigen Blicken durch dutzende Demonstranten mit Regenschirmen
wird das subversive Tagewerk verrichtet. 'Be water my friend'. Die
Leute in Hongkong sagen, sie hätten von den Gilets Jaunes
gelernt. Auf den Mauern von Hongkong finden sich Graffiti mit Grüßen
an die Gilets Jaunes. In Frankreich schleppen sie auf
den Demos mitten im Hochsommer aufgespannte Regenschirme mit sich
herum. Die Grüße aus Hongkong sind angekommen.

Der soziale Krieg war schon immer asymmetrisch. Die Linke hat das nur nicht begriffen. Wer den Aufstand in Hongkong auf die Frage des umstrittenen Auslieferungsgesetzes nach China oder auf die Forderungen nach Partizipation reduziert, weiß nicht um die Wohnungsnot und das soziale Elend in der Stadt, dem Alptraum eines chinesischen Kapitalismus unter der Führung einer „kommunistischen Partei“, den in den Massenmedien nicht berichteten wilden Streiks und sozialen Revolten im chinesischen Kernland. Wer in Frankreich der 'Convergence des luttes' das Wort redet, begreift nicht, dass die Kämpfe sich schon aufeinander beziehen, weil sich die Träger der Revolten in den Ausschreitungen und Riots der Anderen schon lange wieder erkennen. In Frankreich gab es in diesem Jahr schon um die achtzig Suizide unter den Angehörigen von Polizei und Gendarmerie. Bullen prügeln auf Kinder und Behinderte ein.

Perspektivlosigkeit eines Empires in seinen letzten Zügen strahlt
bis in seine ausführenden Organe aus. Wenn es nichts mehr zu
verteidigen gibt, gibt es nur Untergang oder alles zu gewinnen. Am
21. September gibt es eine
weitere landesweite Demo der Gilets Jaunes in Paris. 'Be water my

Der Beitrag Hongkong, Paris, Marseille – Be water my friend erschien zuerst auf

The functional psychopath Sun, 08 Sep 2019 09:29:19 +0000

The last man living in the age of posthumanism, a small and apparently tough monster, who not only wants to have everything in his insatiability, but also wants to have it immediately, likes to have his life profit, which is always to be organized, transfigured by the great other as the last wisdom of life. The last human being lives entirely in the semolina mash or, optionally, in the chewing gum season of the present, and therefore future incomes, on which one can speculate today, can compensate him even halfway for the enjoyment that has been lost as a result, whereby enjoyment coincides with his existence. He must rely on the discounting1 with which his future expected incomes can be discounted down to his present existence value. The value of life to be realized in the future, or, to put it another way, the performance lifetime value of life, does not lose any significance, but life always remains tied to the present value and enjoyment. It is only a question of time and the estimation of the future income streams of an infant will be made, the expected income streams will be discounted and thus the initial price of the infant will be obtained. It is therefore no coincidence at all that the French business association is proposing to assign a VAT number to every French person from birth. In terms of social control, we are already in China, where citizens have to carry around an identity card with a birth permit, biometric data and the infamous social credit ranking.

The last human being, as a living financial investment, is a relation that possesses a material carrier that stands in a specific relationship to itself, that urges reproduction, it is a surplus fold that has nothing left to do but unfold its performance and monetization potential. In the future, every need, every desire and especially every behavior will give rise to punctual and dotted evaluations, to manifold evaluations and rankings - the last human being will have to relate to these evaluations and improve them in his future, and finally he will be divided into components that are subordinate to the optimization or efficiency of the multiplication of the small ego capital x (relationship of the self to its future self). The such monetarized life that is assigned a performance lifetime value is thus a spread that must be constantly evaluated by the self and the others. The performance lifetime value comprises an underlying asset, namely the current priced-out life, which is to be regarded as an investment and on which an investment contract is to be written with regard to the monetary efficiency of the future life and on whose fluctuations one can speculate. And everyone must endure these waves of speculation, even more so, one must not only follow speculation and its specifications, one must also outperform them. Best of all like the banker who, after a successful short sale, strolls to the toilet with complete satisfaction and masturbates into the kidney-shaped stainless steel washbasin, which is the art-technologically outperformer of the luxury penthouse cabin on the 33rd floor of the bank. Once the broker is chained to the screen again in the trading room, he defends himself against the fact that he is now purely embodying a function; rather, at least in the hegemonic discourse, he embodies pure creativity, which is codified as a subjective experience of speculation.

Wage labor begins to shine when it stands under the Aegean Sea of creativity, whose utility value is increasingly stimulated by the exchange value of potentials and capacities that want to be updated, because by products. In the course of speculation, subjectivity mutates into a self-evaluating value analogous to the self-evaluation of financial capital, which now allows possessive individualism to blossom again in its entirety. The speculative form of capital is the new movement of both the boundlessness of capital and the new creativity of subjectivity. Both subjectivity and money are encoded, encoded with the freedom of an infinite economy, but a freedom structured by specific absences (of capital). The invisibility of the effort required for this freedom is a result of speculation as a matrix for economic and subjective valorization. In addition to the performance lifetime value, the customer lifetime value (clv) is also used today. In order to determine this value, companies operating in the traditional consumer goods markets use their customers' personal data to calculate the sums of money a particular customer would spend.

A high clv guarantees the customer a range of additional services from the company, such as discounts, upgrades, personal hotline contacts and other special services, while a consumer with a low clv must lead a consumer life in the telephone loop. All possible service companies (fashion companies, mobile operators, credit card companies, hotel chains, airlines, car dealers, etc.) today maintain comprehensive databases on the consumer behaviour of each individual customer, often passing on the personal data to special analysis companies so that they then evaluate and weight the data and calculate individual customer lifetime values from it. These are profiles based on thousands of individual pieces of information. The marketing service provider Zeta Global, for example, the newest start-up company of the former Apple and Pepsi boss John Sculley, allegedly offers profiles of 700 million people that are based on more than 2500 individual pieces of information per person. In particular financially strong customers are lured and lured due to their extraordinary profiles with purposeful offers to further consumption, and some analysts go even so far to maintain that the addition of the customer lifetime values of all customers documents the future prospects of a company of a company in approximately, whereby the customer lifetime value possesses a similar meaning as the stock price. It can be assumed that the majority of US residents, who have at least a bank account and a mobile phone contract, can now call several different clvs their own without knowing it. And the more you travel, shop and go out, i.e. climb the stairs of the all-round consumer, the more clvs you have that are assigned to you as if by an invisible hand and that you don't know yourself, at best you notice that with increasing clv, companies feverishly try to offer you a number of benefits, such as a more attractive credit card, expensive replacement cars or a better class in airplanes.

Back to the performance lifetime value. In order to successfully monetize life with the help of performance, one's own activities must be permanently leveraged, and this also means that connections to other people must be designed in such a way that one always gets more back in personal traffic than one uses. This way of applying the capital calculation to the life (and that of others) requires a determined and success-oriented work in the networks and offers a surplus above all to those who manage it, reputation. To accumulate performance values and references somehow related to self-increase, always taking care to reduce uncertainty about follow-up decisions concerning the surplus. Leverage2 thus becomes a way of giving the projections of the ego a self-fulfilling, performative quality, so that at best all others affirmatively respond to their own speculative demands. However, it cannot be ruled out that the capacity to successfully master one's own risks may become a danger to others. What is more, the imperative to achieve superperformance for one's own life requires - analogous to stock market events - the elimination of the below-average performers and their replacement by a monozygotic twin. (Kroker 104) If these requirements concern in particular the elites and larger parts of the academic middle class, then life continues to insist for larger parts of the lower-income population as a process of permanent indebtedness, which does not, however, completely close the future for them either, but even opens it in a specific way, because the lenders no longer take into account the income of the borrowers, which serves as the basis for lending, only with regard to the probability of being able to repay loans, but with regard to the possibility and potential of being able to service payments in the future at all. In this way, even the lives of those in debt are still geared towards the surplus.

The "value" of the last person is not simply a conglomerate of characteristics such as competence, performance, qualification, health, efficiency, knowledge, relationship osmosis, creativity, desires, ability to work, etc., but these characteristics are to be treated constantly effectively for their capitalization in the future, without the desire to enjoy everything immediately disappearing even in the beginning. All this can only be achieved through the implementation of rationality, which, however, can no longer be distinguished from irrationality. Here, rationality refers not only to the motivations and preferences of the subject, but also to enforceability of budget restrictions and promises to pay at the potential to become either a creditor or a debtor3 , which simply forces profitable actions that are as compatible with irrational individuals as they are with highly talented traders, who themselves often enough trade with "noise" rather than "information". Such rationality, resulting from the capitalization of everything and everyone, resembles the market behavior of addicts whose survival is tied to the availability of certain resources, which, however, is less reminiscent of the drug addict than of the addiction to maintain the behavior for increase, which requires not only lifelong practice, but also the mostly unacknowledged insight that the case can be dramatic. Such a monetarised life always takes place in a mode of prevention and risk management that tends to drift into irrationality. We owe this insight to Luhmann: "With a rational attitude to risks, it is often more correct to wait for the damage to occur than to invest a lot in (probably unnecessary) prevention. Yes, to the extent that a system can cope with and compensate for damage, it becomes more rational to rely on this ability instead of trying to prevent everything imaginable. (That doesn't necessarily speak against brushing your teeth.)"

In the end, the yield value that the last human being has to realize in the course of his life culminates in the intersection of parallels, which lies in the infinite and therefore nowhere and therefore in death. The yield value always remains a virtual value in which the subjects have a value only in relation to the speed of their own disappearance, under the paradoxical assumption that further and further acceleration and, at the same time, further and further stretching of life is to be achieved. We are talking here not only about overcoming scarcity or about the accumulation of economic and symbolic capital, but about a subject that is like a vector that only accelerates in relation to the end of life and gets going in psychopathic doses. (Kroker/Kroker 1996: 166)

The monetarized life value is more than just ornamentalized by information that is permanently assigned to each person, because the information has binding and self-reinforcing functions and fluctuates analogously to the performance life value like derivatives, but which must still be realized in money. This logic of the capitalization of life is regulated by a seemingly invisible authority that organizes, controls, and optimizes life, whereby every utterance, every transaction, every sex, every exchange, every chat can ultimately have monetary consequences, which mostly materialize in the various risk profiles that are assigned to a person as digital doubles and whose prices calculate complex algorithms, databases, and data analyses. The soft control by the various ranking, rating and scoring control procedures, which are nothing more than quantifications of the derivative, affects almost all areas of life today.

Yet the top athletes, artists and celebrities are currently the set-aside and model images of such a life to be capitalized, whose self-ishness, oriented on orthodox microeconomics, is carried before them by the representatives of these groups as a characteristic of their selection like a trophy of gold, which, however, must be polished up anew every day in the media. With this high esteem that one brings into play towards oneself, those affected easily forget that self-increase for their own sake is staged by structural coercion, which permits or conforms to every variation of life only as a shifting of the objects of valorization and experience, a coercion that is to be internalized and to be set as a claim to performance against oneself. Now a self permanently investing in all sorts of things appears on the screen, walking the fine line between the psychology of satisfying desires, monetary self-increase and a psychology of vulnerability. Whereas Foucault in his analysis of neoliberalism was still able to show that individuals transform themselves into enterprises of their own, the individual that can currently be found is a financially risky subject or a financial manager of its own, who manages a self-portfolio for which new investments and investors must constantly be sought in order to generate the optimal self-returns for the portfolio. The rest of the subject is the financialized self, whose activities the subject constructs at best as a project worthy of a financial investment. At the same time, however, this subject is very vulnerable, insofar as the price of one's own investment is always dependent on the assessments of other investors, so that the subject of self-esteem must take into account that the financial investments have their source in loans. Similarly, the transformation of wages - the exchange of labor for money, which in turn serves to reproduce labor - into a function that grants access to credit and assets can be observed. The wage is thus no longer merely a sum of money that guarantees life-supporting purchasing power, but a form of money that serves as a basis for taking out loans and ensuring that they are fed into the channels of financial capital. Thus money is transformed from a mediator of exchange or a measure of value to existence on a speculative surface.

It is now definitely the hour of a new social character, namely that of the functional psychopath, who wants to break out of the tight corset of the previously dominant social character, which has been identified as the narcissistic infantile, who loves childlike dependence in order to counter it constantly with his egoism without ego, or at least wants to surpass the narcissist in terms of self-increase. The functional psychopath works tirelessly, it would be better to say, he performs tirelessly in the medium of a quasi-sports practice the enhancement of his psycho-capital, which is regarded as the preferred resource of an excess of authenticity that leads to a constantly monetarized concern for himself, or, if you want to put it another way, to an unfortunate sewing of an entropic high-energy dispersion to himself. If, in this context, the struggle for one's own career becomes more and more sporty, burnout is the limit for an increase behavior that actually constantly spurs on the appearance of the functional psychopath, whereby the performance principle is ultimately measured against the war standard of the respective capital accumulation.

Thus the functional psychopath is one to whom the system fits like a Hugo-Boss suit, and when he then freaks out, then only to take the immanence of the system itself to extremes, or to put it another way, he is one who is fundamentally affirmative of the system, but also tries to trick him by living out his eccentricity in an incredibly creative and brutal egomaniac at the same time, but in the end remains so quiet, that the strangely tame breaking of the rules can harm the other one, but by no means the system. The functional psychopath is a castrated psychopath.4 And that's even the case when he is extremely successful in his job and the success is also very visible, because he masters the rules of the game to the full and therefore pathological play of positive effects virtuosically. With every second, he inhales the excessive taste of the successful, who has come out in the wake of his cleverness, which makes him authentic in the first place, very large, whereupon he reacts again with a narcissistic vanity, to finally personalize everything as far as possible in the wake of being affected by himself and thus on the risks and the chances to maintain this status or to speculate with every move, if possible, to even increase it. He is like a broker walking through the trading rooms of a large bank, with a radiantly cool look and greedy hallucinations of superdeals and Lehman tragedies. And the functional psychopath must be successful at all costs, because he can only prove himself as a living transmission belt of the specifically neoliberal logic if he permanently makes financial investments that induce further investments. The functional psychopath, who generally abhors ambivalence and negation, is not Nietzsche's last human being by chance.

If the psychic interior of the last human looks like an Ikea living room that has been built in "Do it Yourself" mode, even though the instructions for handicrafts continue to come from the company, then he is deprived of his inwardness, even though he remains condemned to Ikea narcissism. Its components are the imaginary representatives of the outside world, derivatives of the social role, which the functional psychopath in turn understands as the legitimate expression of his personality, but which he also constantly tries to escape without succeeding in the slightest. A strange non-identification takes place here, which is transferred into the cement of identification with the role through mental distancing from the role one assumes. Such a successful life then has the result that the functional psychopath automatically executes the role and the deviation from the role at the same time, socializing and normalizing it as much as he can to remain as socialized and normalized as possible authentically autistic. Today's narcissism is without face and empty, and where the narcissist unrestrainedly wants to love himself, he finds nothing but a diffuse conglomerate of stereotypes, media waste and resentment, occasionally also a destructive creativity with which one wants to outperform the others. At the same time, however, the contemporary egoist also does everything that the success initiated by capital demands of him, if he is only allowed to step down from time to time or continuously. Such a constituted narcissism glides seamlessly into the paranoia with which one feels permanently surrounded and persecuted. And right-wing populism then manages to construct an object for the paranoia, which in itself is objectless: The refugee.

It was also the restructuring that took place in the course of the neoliberal transformations that introjected the financially risky subject into the individuals in the 1990s as a new social character, with which the authoritarian character and the narcissistic type were creepingly replaced, but still within a short historical period, where the financialized subject transcends the narcissistic character, expands and transforms it until it finally embodies the functional psychopath, who however must not be confused with the clinical image of the psychopath, although it is the representatives of the ruling class (managers, lawyers, brokers, politicians, doctors, etc.) who are the most important and most important of all the most important.) sometimes come dangerously close to him in the meantime. The observation of the psychologist Götz Eisenberg, for example, is quite agreeable that today most psychopaths are by no means sitting in the rubber cells of psychatries, but are free to run around on the street and, to their (un)luck, can also prove the successes they have celebrated themselves in their respective professions. Functional psychopaths usually operate hyper-efficiently in their everyday lives and possess characteristics such as unconditional focus and excessive egocentricity, as well as an incessant tendency to optimise their own selfishness, which ranges from subtle profiling artistry to murderous unscrupulousness, they mobilize the sympathy of others than their very own privilege, which serves purely to optimize their own profits and the endless pursuit of singularity, which in turn is cobbled together from the offers of the marketing industry for the recipients of higher incomes; they live the insincerity, the corruption and the bossy appearance right down to the tips of their hair, but they remain a versatile and experimental personality, and all this is supposedly done in the intoxication of complete spontaneity, the reality of which has become flesh and which today is roughly the product of art Trump. In the White House, supposedly not even the inner circle knows what Trump will tweet in the next moment, the purely short-term decision prevails as an opportunity for clownish narcissism and for insincerity, which in Trump's case apparently promotes the inner growth further and further, the abundance of that self, which still wants to sell its last fart as an albeit wicked creativity of the good man. The miracle of the soul that circulates successfully and at the same time hysterically across all media is today the psychopathic authenticity that opens and frees the inner living space for the successful person, but also colonizes it in a certain way, but does not constrict it too far, but continues to give it the possibility of hiring itself as a self-insurer of its own soul life, a service whose endlessness produces the desired meaning of life quasi assembly-line. The functional psychopath must accumulate events of success in the flow of affirmative at-risk being, while those who lose in the game of at-risk being merely accumulate disappointments and therefore die in depression or even try to run amok in a short circuit. On the other hand, the life of the functional psychopath could also be understood as a permanent killing spree that does not require a bloody scenario to prove its catastrophic effects on the lives of others. If one were to follow Adorno, the functional psychopath would be an egocrat who performs the impertinence in the long run, even more so, he is the changing impertinence. He performs the exploitation of the worker, of the machines, of knowledge, of contacts, of intelligence and stupidity at the same time - and every output ends up in his filthy mouth. In this way, the wealth of money generates indifference, because although it is a social relationship, it also dissolves social relationships, in which people become carriers of goods and thus carriers of Charaktermasken of the market traffic. It has an unbounding effect because money can be piled up at will as a general equivalent, especially since status competition "upwards" knows no functional boundary. Accumulated money thus generates greed. Indeed, the striving for money is associated with apathy, compassionlessness, ruthlessness, i.e. lack of commitment, with the characteristics of a narcissistic social character, unfolds social destructive power, is regarded as the destroyer of the community. Below its enveloping surface, money as a debt (credit) and social obligation system tends to multiply without limits. The life so set on success and so authenticated ficts itself as a means of dressage to autistic sociopathy and is entirely subordinated to the function of efficiency and the "self", which unfortunately always remains affected by the real subsumption under capital rounding, and so subsumed, life is a single movement and oceanic catastrophe that reaches to the fusion of the self with the function of the invisibly performed functionalization of the brain for the purposes of capital. Philipp Mirowski writes: "While the actors congratulate themselves on having repeatedly broken the shackles of identity, the control companies persistently pursue them through time and space as identical persons. For for better or for worse, the functional psychopath must achieve the success that is permanently evaluated, valued and rewarded in various markets in order to be even better valued and to rise in the ranking, and not to be left with an individual singularization act, because in most cases this requires intensive networking (with which success and reputation are constantly checked and tested), so that the authenticity performance cripple "under supervision" can slowly mature into a functional psychopath, who is exactly expected by the economy of capitalization. The psychopath we mean is a functional psychopath who remains connected in the company to the team and to algorithmic machines, whose task it is to process the desired and to be optimized behavioral modifications and to use them profitably for the capital, thus subordinating the behavior to completely economic goals, whereby by no means behavioral norms such as conformity and appropriateness are striven for, but cynicism and opportunism.

Today, the practices of machinic enslavement dovetail permanent online life with the imperative of lifelong learning, and this in accordance with the indissoluble merging of individual company forms and pre-individual affects. One is now more and more sewn to the accelerating machines in the sense of a complex being with one another, which quite rightly induces an addictive behavior that, in contrast to drug addiction, does not promote suicide in installments, but rather mobilizes the urge for an authentic life in the long run. In a world of artificiality and technology, authenticity must be permanently produced and experienced, with the subjects being objects, journeys or events that are supposed to lead to authenticity being interchangeable, so that it is a matter of occupying an empty signifier or an empty sign form (rechwitz), which in turn entails a constant preoccupation with authenticity, a kind of performance with which the authentic also evaporates further and further. After all, the sociologist can babble so much about the irony of the authentic and the meta-authenticity of the authenticity markets, and he too remains caught in the game of the as-if of authenticity, in what the authenticity game is meant to avoid, namely fake. And the more abstruse the fake, the better the authenticity game succeeds. It is not at all the power of Deleuze's False, which is at stake here, but the free circulation of the interchangeable, the fictionalization of cloacal news in pure indifference, whereby objects only want to be appropriated because they satisfy an affectively charged economization (game & adventure), which in turn, in the context of ranking and rating, drives competition among those who can network and improve their economic position with a surplus of attractiveness. The often propagated ambiguity of an object, which is supposed to stand for its meta-authenticity, is more like an arbitrary guessing game that points to complete confusion. Accordingly, in this hyperculture, the objects circulate without any reason and truth content and yet not without a direction that consists in nothing more than their economization, which not only concerns the object but also the affective itself, whereby the optionality that the circulating objects offer us is a faked one, a pseudo-resource of pseudo-singular goods, and this kind of pseudo-, which aims entirely at the short-term nature of their consumption, only produces the urge for the exchangeable object that comes from the propensity or truthfulness of the object and yet not without a direction that consists in nothing more than its economization. the addiction to it, which above all concerns its interchangeability, is hardly distinguishable any more

(The concept of the character mask has also been erased; behind the masks there are no more faces; this Marxian concept of the individual reduced to the function of his productive private property is polemically oriented on the ideology of his autonomy, that of the private personality. They no longer exist - just as adaptation to mimesis is hollowed out. Destruction of the ego. Hans-Jürgen Krahl

When people today become addicted to internet sex, teleshopping, video games and automobility (jogging, car and internet), the desire for independence and authenticity merges with the grandiose dependence on digital machines. Rather, the slot machines, with their graphics, the mathematical arrangement and the touch screen, which invite the player to linger and even merge with the machine, create a kind of manic machine sex (Zuboff 2018: 517). This creates a closed cycle of self-loss and automatic gratification that keeps the player trapped in the machine zone through small rewards that the machine spits out from time to time. Kittler points out that Adorno liked to play pinball and was even considered unbeatable. In Kittler's case, on the other hand, the frustration of the loser is felt when he sees pinball as a "confrontation of the individual with the apparatus of horror". Today, the player constantly simulates the winner who transforms the apparatus of horror into the apparatus of machine sex.

On the one hand, one craves unconditional independence, while on the other hand, if one is not mobile or online for even a second, one falls into total frustration because one perceives the detachment from the net as a dependency. In this way, real dependence is not negated, but is to some extent lived out pervertedly and of course online. It is precisely the possibility of doing one's business, actions and affects in an independent speed mode and on one's own initiative, whereby one knows, however, that the satisfaction of one's own drive currents is not possible at all without ubiquitous attachment to the media machines, that seems to be the most important factor in the immense measure of the "real" dependence. Addiction is precisely what prevents life from becoming alive and inorganic.

After all, it's about an affect logic that wants to turn decisions and dependencies into a new excess. Even the desire of the miser is libidinös occupied long ago (miser is horny), if for example the excessive spending is pursued, in order to save and/or the rebate home, which offers again an incentive for it to consume always further. In contrast, the material penetration of the technical machine into the human body appears to be a second-degree horror scenario. Addiction today is operational like performance and aims purely at the formula of the body, its virtuality as an operational field, something that can do nothing but function, as any machine requires (and yet does not achieve) smooth functioning. The mechanisms of addiction, which deepen the permanent emotional investment in one's own self, which is visually manifested, for example, in the addiction to the selfie, let the subject run empty, and the addiction tires and ends in burnout. Ultimately, it also contains the call for permanent self-increase that wants to be experienced and fought out in competition with others. Since, under the pressure of productivity, everything is ultimately meant to serve self-increase, but this must always run empty again, the individuals eventually tire of themselves, secretly knowing that they only simulate authenticity, while at the same time, as divinees, they must continue to embody the work mannequin … the vitality of an earthworm.

Seen in this light, the functional psychopath energetically copulates energetically and endlessly with his desires in order to finally coagulate into a living consumption machine that completes the usurpation of the leisure worker by the capital apparatus. Through my talent for cleverness, through my yoga, through my penchant for French wine and through the excellent singular Thai food, through my gender behavior and that of my friends, through my successful career at Deutsche Bank, according to Reckwitz, I gain in self-complexity and become special, whereby the special is precisely that product of the general, so that the specials can almost be smelled, more than two of them appear in their trendy restaurants or bars, where they do not curate the offer, but are curated and controlled by the offer, made creative in consumption by adding one module into the other, the food, the drink, the designer women, the ambience. The functional psychopath appears as the gang leader of himself, who receives the order from the unconscious to win at any cost, and whose face is a light of recognition to speak for the many that he is. The more one has arranged his life so on himself, the more perfectly represents the systemic logic. But the procedure does not become any newer, either, if one speaks, as Reckwitz does, of something relatively new. A co-creation of a special kind that is consumed there and in which nothing new is invented that moves the world. Nevertheless, the functional psychopath continues to immerse himself in a kind of hyper-activism, in the intoxication of spasms, which if, then only proved one thing: how valuable one is for oneself and the world, with which virtuoso abilities, which however cannot be distinguished from opportunism, the world can be conquered, a cannibalism that potentially extends to everything that can serve the monetarized self-development. This means that you actually only have friends on Facebook, you are confronted with the tyranny of positive energy anywhere and at any time, so that life consists only of uplifting energies, money, Redbull and coke. But still, even the psychopath seems to be flourishing like coke, yahoo, sushi or netflix. It is still going well and somehow, but the symbolic capital associated with it is dwindling. The disenchantment has long since been mixed with the enthusiasm, the myth has disappeared in the ever-same everyday life and the attraction has been lost to see more in it than what is to be seen in it, namely a dog-ordinary practice. Only the functional psychopath is not really challenged by this, and it is no secret how he tries to transform the powerful emptiness of everyday indifference into a rather original gain in singularity.

The never-ending career of the functional psychopath is not primarily the contingent result of the permanently varying composition of a profile or the skilful adaptation to the market, the networking and capitalization of one's own potential, and the appropriation of various types of capital, from economic to social to cultural capital, many times over. Rather, it obeys first and foremost the requirements of a hypercompetitive capitalization economy that puts functional psychopaths from the subjective side at the forefront of what can be drawn from the merciless profiling games of the networked subjects. To summarize it briefly, the functional psychopath - understood not as a clinical symptom but as the present dominant social habitus - is a state in which desire and reality, will and world are to become identical, but cannot, because the self-optimizing subject remains subject to the optimization demands of capital in the wake of a fitness, resilience and therapeutics to be permanently worked on. Especially when, as Reckwitz claims, the accumulation of capital is not the goal of the elites and the privileged parts of the middle class, one clearly recognizes the mechanism of repression that prevails here; the more free and unbound by economic constraints the subjects imagine themselves in their search for the optimal lifestyle, the more they remain bound to the demands of capital.

Thus the functional psychopath unintentionally confirms the undeniable truth that economic capitalization (the economic "value") today has long since overtaken every form of cultural appreciation, so that even the most extraordinary and scandalous cultural value gesture cannot catch up with a lack of capitalization. As Metz/Seeßlen also write: "Of course, taste is also liberated in the middle class to the extent that economic value has outstripped cultural value to such an extent that a cultural value gesture can no longer compensate for a socio-economic deficiency. This, incidentally, also applies to the advanced part of pop culture; no one can raise his status any more through music, films, clothing or reading." (Metz/Seeßlen 2018: 176) The hard school of capitalization incessantly imposes on functional psychopaths the imperative not to impoverish economically-performatively in order perhaps to miss out on the right connections, even if this means that they become increasingly indebted in order to continue to gain access to connections and to the assets and their securitization possibilities. And this kind of selection must still show itself optically on one's own body, which, if the finances allow it, is hung with patchworks of expensive accessories that, together with the plastic surgery operations, make up the new functional lifestyle zombie that can be fixed by the influencers to Instagram and the winners of the ubiquitous casting shows, without wanting to perpetuate their real unsuccessfulness, so that he mutates into a kind of spooky investment doll, the clown of a virtually set superfluous, which in turn must treat the world as the product of an inner world, as the materialized projection of a paranoid self. The social now becomes psychomorphic.

The functional psychopath glides uninterruptedly, glued to the smartphone, into absolute subjectivity, mobilizing the very last decadence to the objective motorism of digital technologies and capital. For him, intelligent machines produce the most positive prediction products possible, which calculate exactly what he will soon have to do. His delusion resembles a telephone system with thirteen smartphones. Anyone who is unable or unwilling to come along will first be thoroughly embarrassed and then psychologically executed. Clever is someone who, in the wake of his social media charm, can persuade others to do what he wants, who makes quick decisions and uses his lack of commitment to weld himself completely to the success of his company and his team colleagues, and who must also succeed in auctioning off this kind of disinhibition and connection as particularly cool on the attention markets. In the future one will have to add a psychopathy check to his application documents, which naturally has to turn out positively, so that one can win the race in the interview completely according to the rules of a mechanical casting procedure, in order to outperform the ego porn, which is equal to the small capital x, in the future if possible still. This becomes clearest with the top athletes: without plan and self-confidence, but with great ego. No one would recognize Mathias Ginter or Niklas Süle on the street - any more than most SPD ministers. Their faces are all babyfaces, but this is misleading, as they are now the perfect expression of an unconditional will to win.

And one thinks again of Trump, who embodies the Fuck-Up and Check-Up of the democracy at the same time. He is their precedent and their representative. Here, the representative is absorbed into a legal entity that shows that those who are nothing but themselves are nothing, because they do not speak for the people, do not speak on their behalf, while he, the representative who speaks for the people, is everything. Trump does what everyone wants, but only a few can do. If you read the tweets of the King of Fake News, Donald Trump, you come to the conclusion that such fake news can only be that of a functional psychopath who interprets everything as his sign, but who nevertheless refers to superordinate patterns, perhaps the residual traces of the man-signifier. Seemingly unquestionable facts are no longer discoverable events and things that are waiting to be discovered; rather, they are produced in the context of a narrative brought here at short notice, as if on an assembly line, in order to blur the final distinction between trace and garbage. The referential or the reference to reality becomes arbitrary, the reference only has to be present in itself. Thus the hyper-volle of the media is constantly rewritten, the information becomes (targeted) disinformation, thinking becomes garbage of thought. The winner in this production chain is the one who succeeds in surfing on the wave of oversupply of information that washes away recognizable reality. But this also means that he has to assert himself in the floods of fake news, the hate speeches and the relentless competition for likes, always having to bring up new energies to improve his performance (The Increase of Likes & Clicks. There is the binary code of the Likes and Dislikes, an infantile friend enemy suggestion). Vaknin The language style Trump cultivates bears eloquent witness to the fake performance, words and phrases are brought into circulation as sounding coins to mean something weird or even to twist reality. The biggest dirt is pure, the capitalist, called employer from the start, offers jobs, wars are waged only for peace, video surveillance serves to release people into freedom and the police state is synonymous with the rule of law.

The more faked the existence of the psychopathic person, the freer he becomes. There are those here in the game who think that broken is broken anyway, so rather bring my sheep into the dry as long as I still exist, much more, play the careerist and hedonist again, because those who prefer to swing back and forth between table dance bar, upper class office in the bank tower, armored limousines and cocaine-containing casinos simply can't be wrong. On all levels we are now confronted with phenomena of a dynamic dissolution of boundaries, which on the one hand leads to clear collective transgressions of intimacy thresholds, and on the other hand to a constant comparison of behaviour with that of relevant others. It now seems that collective psychopolitics give birth to individuals who constantly make efforts at self-improvement, which in the end, however, can hardly be surpassed in ridicule, embarrassment and tactlessness. Paradigmatically, companies that engage professional coaches and even put colourful cardboard noses on the higher employees to trim them for the implementation and improvement of their own performance by means of a group-dynamic setting in which one learns how to prepare the others for the soft tour, to pursue investment status work, to navigate successfully in the markets of all kinds, from the partnership market via the derivatives market to the education market, stand for this, to strengthen the belief in oneself in any situation, however precarious, and above all to think positively and networked, and this is precisely the freedom of excess in the self to be capitalized and capitalized, which, however, must always be controlled by a higher-level manager, a plan, a watch, a smartphone or another digital device, by an institution or authority. (The functional psychopath does not live in a vacuum, but is constantly connected to gadgets and digital devices in apartments and offices, mainly in the function of making himself and others fit to successfully use algorithmic metrics.) Best of all, of course, by yourself, as does the dogged jogger who struggles through the dirty city air and wants to exaggerate his performance affinity to the point of puking.

Even the remnants of commodity aesthetics today are still geared to the performance of the pseudo-aesthetic transformations of the successful and to their flexibility, which is shown by the fact that it is also possible to wear objects that are trashy and expensive at the same time (washed-out jeans spiced up with pop-cultural trash and emblems, which are best created by a world-famous designer as unique pieces); the thing must adapt to the seemingly polyfunctional ego, which, however, in its diversity and diversity, reveals an astonishing tenacity and at the same time one-dimensionality, because it is entirely owed to the capitalization of small capital x. Then the infamous homo oeconomicus reappears for a moment, and the playful performance of allegedly individual delusional aggregates may shipwreck.

Then, for example, the yacht as the venue for various party happenings of the bunker elites, which turn out to be a mixture of children's birthday parties, small talk, luxury pornography and stupid bragging, quickly mutates into a military-logistic center. The culture of the super-rich and the gangster culture, which were already a complex game in classical capitalism, read by Chandler and Hammett, are today often completely merged together. The open secret therefore remains that the rich often mix crime, insolence and the vulgarity of wealth, without there being a rudimentary breakthrough aesthetic style that could mask the vulgarity of wealth, and only the sophiscated art can still cover with difficulty that the wealth of the super-rich is as vulgar as the one-euro commodity at Kick. The monstrous luxury villa only comes to itself when those excluded from luxury are allowed to stare at it on their flat screens in the Tui catalogue. And every life event of the elite broadcast on television undercuts trash television not only in obscenity, but also in unimaginativeness, so that the last, true event of the super-rich may be the enjoyment of temporary homelessness on the street, as Chuck Palahniuk has described in detail.

The utility values of the goods do not disappear, but are branded and sent around the world, often monetized in real time. In relation to life, this means that its exchange value no longer tends to differ from its material existence, even more so that it is transformed into a financial investment that capitalizes the future of the material thing of life. This applies at least to the privileged sections of the population in the feel-good oases of the metropolises, who are accustomed to inhabit and travel the globe, while large parts of the vegetating proletariat in the peripheries, but also in part already in the core zones of capital, are mercilessly tied up in their places - apartments equipped with digital consoles that allow a view of the world on a flat screen. At the same time, day and night, an army of sniffer dogs, i.e. the analysts of insurance companies, banks and other private companies around the world, are searching for hidden sources that could point to the future multiplication of various aspects of life and that are not yet reflected in the derivative value of a person.5

In order to visualize the differences in the social field, a medial machine of contempt must be set in motion that targets the impoverished, the prolls, the migrants and refugees, constructs them as vermin and dependents. The functional psychopath, who is even admired by the socially deputies because he walks over their corpses, needs the outcasts as victims who, if possible, offer no resistance, but at best cultivate his indisposition as a kind of sick feeling. A large part of mankind, which one classifies as the surplus population and which, with Günther Anders, one could also call "vegetarian proletarians", will definitely remain excluded from the increase of small capital x. There is here a "non-simultaneity of the simultaneous", or a "locality" of globalization to report. The surplus population is completely incapable of cancelling the restrictions of space and thus remains behind in the impoverished space destroyed by climate change, is thrown onto the rubbish dumps or parked in shadow zones, is forced to decelerate in time and only lags behind the dynamic hipster subjects, who mostly inhabit the feel-good oases of the West, in order to wait for death in the stagnating "time pap" of their own superfluity. "Some inhabit the globe, others are tied to their place," says Zygmunt Bauman accordingly. The former define their feel-good subjectivity through their massive disposition of purchasing power, while for the Surplus population babies are considered human waste from the outset. Due to the largely irreversible pollution of surface waters and groundwater resources, the natural supply of drinking water (especially in Africa and Asia, but also in the USA and Europe) is endangered for the Surplus population. One becomes in the future suggest to the poor producers of infants that they should no longer produce them in the future. This is called birth control.

Capitalisation involves the calculated (discounted) current value of the risk-adjusted profits of an economic unit to be expected in the future. The prices of derivatives are based on the market calculations of future monetary and volatile profit flows, which are discounted on the basis of market interest rates and the expectations of market players. Or, to put it another way, they result from discounting expected future profits at the current market interest rate and a risk premium or discount (weighted interest rate) depending on the quality of the security and the economic situation. Today, speculation and measurement in the economic sphere are most effectively carried out through the writing and pricing of derivatives. The standard view of financial economics defines a derivative contract as an asset (asset or speculative "investment") whose value depends on something else called the underlying, speculating on the possible future value of the underlying. The derivative is therefore not something you hold in your hands like a book. It is essentially relational, yes it is a relation of relations. It is the speculator's task to estimate the volatility of the derivative in relation to the volatility of the underlying over time. With derivative contracts, two counterparties "bet" on what will happen to the relationship between the underlying asset and the derivative in the future. In a way, bets are placed on the relation and a tango is played over time. However, this is only true insofar as the principles of Euclidean geometry are not always wrong, but only sometimes true. There is also speculation about the future value of the asset itself, i.e. there is a reference of the derivative to itself and not only to the underlying. The decisive factor in replicating the derivative is its size and the speed of volatility. 

2 If there is a double movement at work in the self-referential movement of money, it is not the movement between fundamental values and speculative impulses that insists, but rather the constant necessity to respond productively to speculative provocations in order to reconstruct reality by means of new relations. It is in this context that the leverage can also be seen, which obliges actors located in higher social positions to leverage their activities, i.e. they set up their relationships with others in such a way that they can draw the highest profit, the greatest output, for a given input. The concept of leverage functions immanently, relationally and performatively at the individual level through the recursive activation of the connections and operations that compose it. It shows that relational forms are immanent and constitutive at the same time to create new norms. Leverage is the way in which one gives one's fictitious projections a self-fulfilling, performative quality x by forcing the world to respond affirmatively to one's own speculative demands.

To the extent that speculation means more than just "betting," it involves leverage. Leveraging does not simply involve the improvement of the speculator's economic position, but shapes his configuration of reality. Mainstream economics sees speculation only as a non-performative risk management that eliminates uncertainty and insists that the future is calculable if only the right data and methods are available. Since it is assumed that there are no significant differences between the past and the future, the latter can be calculated on the basis of knowledge of the former using perfect probability theory knowledge. It is actually like a lottery: Since randomness can be produced systemically and the influence of the subject can be isolated, we get complete knowledge. But the uncertainty cannot be separated from the calculable risk so easily, but the question arises how to use the uncertainty of the future to exploit it without being paralyzed by it. Leverage within the framework of speculation then has a pre-emptive quality here, responding to the fact that we can never fully know the future and therefore need strategies that permanently deal with the moment of uncertainty. Leverage then means understanding oneself as a nodal point within an interactive logic of speculation, as an attractor in the social field. The way to understand the uncertainty of the other is to get them to invest in my promises (as a way to hedge the uncertainty they are exposed to). Leveraging shifts the emphasis on the possibility of correctly calculating risks towards the way actors try to institutionalize their promises as relevant units of calculation. Economic power consists not only in knowledge, but also in being (recognized) in the context of a rampant uncertainty. Leveraging can thus be understood as a secular form of sovereignty with which one does not transcend the field of risks, but has the possibility of transforming one's own risks into dangers for others.

3Cash money, for example, is booked by making oneself the creditor and the cash register the debtor; goods that one wants to buy are made the debtor and the cash register the creditor.

4 The cadaver subject clearly condones a psychotic structure as described in detail by Deleuze/Guattari. The two authors write that the deterritorializations (divisions, liquefactions, etc.) are always accompanied by reterritorializations (narcissism, individualization, etc.).

5 The value of life nestles closely to the logos of the derivative, which one refers to the environment of the person and to himself. The difference between small capital x and the person is increasingly erased, insofar as life as a whole is oriented towards monetarization, towards the transformation of a small social affair into a machine for the multiplication of small capital x. Life profit is now directly linked to the derivative profit logic of capital.

Foto: Stefan Paulus

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Der Beitrag The functional psychopath erschien zuerst auf

The Trans Classical Machine (G. Anders, H.D. Bahr, F. Neyrat, G. Simondon) Sat, 07 Sep 2019 13:07:11 +0000

If one follows the theory about technical objects as developed by the French theorist Gilbert Simondon (Simondon 2012), and then the statements of Frédéric Neyrat in the anthology Die technologische Bedingung (The Technological Condition, Hörl 2011), it is necessary for today's hyper-technical societies to fundamentally rethink the already disturbed identity of nature and technology (neither is there a total integration of nature into technology, nor is technology to be understood purely as an expression of nature) by using the machines or the technology of the future. technical objects, which by no means prolong human organs like prostheses or serve human beings only as a means of use, are first affirmed in their pure functionality, so that in their inconclusive supplementarity they can finally attain the status of coherent and at the same time individualized systems, the localizations of which are embedded in complex machine associations or networks.1 (ibid.: 37) Günther Anders had spoken almost simultaneously with Gilbert Simondon of machines as apparatuses, but of a world of apparatuses that had made the difference between technical and social designs obsolete, and had even rendered the distinction between technology and society in general irrelevant. (Anders 1980: 110) According to Günther Anders, every single technical device is integrated into an ensemble, is itself only a part of the device, a part in the system of devices - the apparatuses - with which it satisfies the needs of other devices on the one hand, and stimulates the need for new devices by its mere presence in other devices on the other. Anders writes: "What is true of these devices is true mutatis mutandis of all […] of this system of devices, this macro-device, to claim that it is a 'means', that it is available to us for free use, would be completely pointless. The device system is our 'world'. And 'world' is something other than 'means'. Something categorically different." (Anders 2002: 2) Or to say it with the terms of Simondon, in view of our post-industrial situation we should speak of technical objects whose elements always form recursions and entertain inner resonances to each other, while the objects at the same time stand in outer resonances to other technical objects, in order to possibly be able to play out their own technicity in the mechanical ensembles as open machines. In addition, many technical entities develop a plural functionality, executing instead of executing several functions within a machine system, such as the combustion engine, whose cooling fins assume the function of cooling as well as amplification when they counteract the deformation of the cylinder head. Simondon has not adopted the deeply pessimistic view of post-industrial technologies as found in Günther Anders' work. Rather, in those technical objects that elude the hylemorphistic juxtaposition of form and matter still envisaged in the working model (matter formed by tools), Simondon has just identified a possibility for technology to approach nature's autonomy, a tendency that leads to the dynamic unity of the technical objects themselves, in that these and other objects are not in a position to be able to be integrated into the work model. a. incorporate a part of the natural world through the creation of associated milieus, the connection of their interior (resonance of different parts and multifunctionality of parts) with the exterior, with other objects, whether natural or artificial. The technical object cannot be completely separated from an excess of abstraction that characterizes the so-called artificial, heteronomous object. Simondon attributes the power of abstraction above all to the human being as his constitutive contribution to technology, who thus prevents the technical objects from concretizing themselves in open structures and playing off their tendency towards autonomy.2 (Neyrat 2011: 154) Simondon, however, is by no means tempted by the thesis that in a post-industrial future everything living must be rigorously subordinated to open technical ensembles; on the contrary, Simondon advocates a social concept of technical ensembles or open machine associations, in which the human being coexists with the "society of technical objects". But where man intervenes too decisively in the technical, we are dealing with heteronomous artificial objects, whereas the technical object at least tends towards an autonomy (it cannot completely abandon abstraction) that includes the natural moment: i.e. the unity and consistency of a machine system. Paradoxically, for Simondon it is precisely the artificial that prevents technology from gaining autonomy. (ibid.) According to this, the technical object is always based on a lack of technicality, whereas the technical object is to be concretized in coherent processes, whereby every local operation of the technical object is to be integrated into a comprehensive arrangement of the mechanical ensembles. (Hegel defines the concrete as that which includes the relational, while the abstract is regarded as one-sided or isolated. The terms "concrete" and "abstract" therefore do not designate types of entities, such as the material and the immaterial, but they are used to describe the way in which thinking is related to the entities. Thus, as Hegel often explains, the abstract can prove to be the most concrete and the concrete the most abstract. A materialistic concept must be able to explain what constitutes the reality of a conceptually formed abstraction without, however, wanting to hypostasize the form. It must be able to show how abstractions are "treated" by social practices, whereby the latter are more than just work processes that form matter, if they repeatedly reposition themselves in a very specific way, i.e. also concretize themselves in relation to the concretizing technical objects, as Simondon proposes.) Thus the technical object always functions in associated milieus, i.e. it is connected with other technical objects or it suffices itself, and in doing so it must always respect nature.

Simondon's technical objects refer to their embedding in network structures, whereby he foresees the contemporary coupling of technical objects to the digital, information- and computation-intensive ecology of new media as early as the 1960s, the dispositive of digital, transformational and modular technologies including a non-intentional and distributed neo-subjectivity deformed by machine speeds. A subjectivity situated at the interfaces of the technological and monetary currents flowing at the border of the speed of light, where it proves to be flexible, modular and recombinable through all self-relationships to the extreme. Almost in tune with cybernetics, Simondon is also aware that the machine is not used as or like a tool, but rather that it is operated. Technical objects are neither prostheses of the human being, nor, conversely, can the human being be completely dissolved as a prosthesis of the machines. First of all, the technical objects should be conceived purely in terms of their functionality, and this with regard to their explainable genesis, in the course of which, according to Simondon, they increasingly concretize (not abstractize) themselves on the basis of an immanent evolution, beyond the adaptation and expediency of their use or their fixation as means. However, the technical object is not a creative agent in its own right, it remains confined in an economic and scientific context, and the process of its concretization asserts synergetics, the interaction with other functional subsystems by modifying and completing the functionality of the technical object. The movement of the concretization of the technical object includes the organization of functional subsystems, in which the technical object matures into a technical ensemble, which in turn is characterized by comprehensive social, economic and technical processes and their structuring. Concretisation also means the tendency towards innovation, in which a series of conflicting requirements are satisfied by multifunctional solutions of individual technical objects, which create causal cycles in order to integrate the respective requirements. Technical elements (parts of the machine), technical individuals (machine as a whole) and technical ensembles (machine as part of social, technical and economic systems) are each already in a dynamic relationship that potentially releases a process of technological change. However, the economy is not dominated by the media/machines; rather, capital and its social economy continue to determine the technological situation in the final instance. We are dealing with a feedback loop, with the economy and its social environments on the one hand, and the machine ensembles on the other. The economy nourishes the machines, sets the conditions and simultaneously uses their knowledge for the organization of their fields of power, while conversely the machine ensembles shape the consistencies of the economy, its communications and its power relations, its way of shaping the social and subjectivizing processes.

According to the French theorist Frédéric Neyrat, the identity between nature and technology that has ever been disturbed refers to the "Hyperjekt", which describes the mechanical autonomization of technology in relation to human actants as well as the material substitution of the material by the artificial, without, however, having to assume a total integration of nature into technology. (ibid.: 168f.) (Technology as a detachment from nature, as a substitution of natural materials by plastics, and as a detachment of technology from man by means of mechanical autonomy. It must be assumed that machines and their materials are in a relationship of interference.) One can identify the hyperjekt as a substitution and autonomization milieu (materials and machines) of the technical, independent of subject/mind and object/nature, whereby one should not speak of associations, but of superimpositions with regard to the contextualization of the two milieus, if one thinks about the internal and external resonances of the technical objects.

Post-industrial technology, e.g. Gotthard Günther's concept of the transclassical machine, is in between nature and spirit, because precisely because of the processes of double detachment it is forbidden to reduce the transclassical machine purely to scientific-human creation, since it follows an independent logic of reflection. It is about the transclassical machine, whose essential function is to deliver, transform and translate information. The information articulates the difference that makes a difference, as Gregory Bateson sees it, but not because the smallest unit of information, a bit, as Bateson assumes, is simply given, but because, as Bernhard Vief writes in his essay Digital Money, there are two: bits are immaterial, relative divisors, they stand for a movement of differentiality that is neither present nor absent, and thus the binary code, the binary sequence of numbers, can only be positioned as an effect of the alternance that articulates them. As Lacan has shown with the example of the cybernetic machine, the articulated is of the same order as the symbolic registers, whereby the switches of the switching algebra represent the third of that order: The articulation, which itself is neither open nor closed, only indicates the possibility of the purely positional states.]The transclassical machine can be mapped neither on the object nor on the subject, rather it holds a trivalent logic: subject, object and the transclassical machine as hyperject. The hyperjekt thus belongs neither to nature (object) nor to the spirit (subject), and thus it is subject to an exteriority that, however, is by no means to be understood as the outsourcing of the interior of a subject, but rather indicates an independent "region of being" - it contains a trivality that proves its incompleteness per se, because it does not synthesize the opposites (subject and object) - on the contrary, these non-trivial machines (Heinz von Foerster) are ever withdrawn from the complete analysis as well as from the synthesization. At this point, however, the concept of technical being must put up with the question of whether the media of technical objects can be captured ontologically as modes of dispersion into open spaces or the dispersion of space itself. In the last century, Second Order Cybernetics had created its own constellation of concepts (feedback, autopoiesis, temporal irreversibility, self-referentiality, etc.) that had long since immigrated into mathematical models or computer simulation. Although this does not dissolve the material substrate or the physicality on which those processes sit, the autonomous-immanent relations and interactions of a multi-level complexity reign here, with complexifications taking place in each individual contingent process: Systems transform random events into structures, and conversely, certain events can also destroy structures, so that a single system indicates a continuous fluctuation between disorganization and reorganization as well as between the virtual and the actual in almost every conceivable case. Gotthard Günther has above all tried to present the ontological implications of these forms of knowledge and has introduced the concept of polycontextuality. In a polycontextural world context, the transclassical machines that operate in a divide or as the third between subject/spirit or object/nature are scattered over a multitude of objects, qualities and differences. (Neyrat 2011: 165f.) These transclassical machines are conceivable as ensembles of universes, each of which can raise an equivalent demand for objectivity without having to represent or even eliminate the demands of other ensembles. In it, the concept of the contexture is a continuum of potential reality that changes shape with each quantification. Günther therefore speaks of the contingency of the objective itself, whose difference does not convey an intelligible hierarchy, with the consequence that in these technological fields we are dealing less with classifications or taxonomies, but with decision-making situations and flexible practices. On the other hand, the computers known to us so far operate only auto-referentially, i.e. they cannot process the difference between their own operations and the environment within themselves.

Frédéric Neyrat introduces the so-called holoject as a fourth level of technology, which in contrast to the hyperject as a medium of absolute connectivity refers both to the subject and to the object, to the superposition of both components, which is always continuous, unstable and endless. (ibid.: 168f.) As such, the holoject does not exist, but it can transfer its continuity properties to the hyperject and thus give it shape, which we then call an organless body, a mechanical ensemble that is machinic in all its parts. This in no way leads to the fusion of areas (subject/object, knowledge/thing, etc.), but rather, in accordance with quantum physics, to the assumption of superpositions in which, for example, two waves retain their identity when they generate a third wave, which, however, neither represents a synthesis of the two preceding waves nor their destruction, but, according to François Laruelle, indicates a non-commutative identity. Idempotence, a term from computer science, includes a function that is linked to itself or remains unchanged through the addition of further functions, so that the generative matrix persists as a non-commutative identity through all variations without ever requiring transcendence. According to Neyrat, idempotence is the characteristic feature of the holoject, which, in terms of idempotence, focuses primarily on the function of the "and", i.e. on the insistence of subjunctive syntheses, and this leads us to an open technical structure, in which the technical object, as an "in-between", already appears with a certain delay, and as an inexhaustible reserve of the technical medium itself. In this context, McLuhan's formula "The medium is the message" does not postulate an identity of terms, nor is the message degraded to a mere effect of technical structures; rather, something resounds in the "is" that recurs in the medium as difference, virulence, or dissension, without it ever being possible to shut it down. The message of the medium occurs in the fact that difference only joins a media "together" in order to return as disparation in it and to repeat itself as difference, thus simultaneously undermining its previous technical modes and modifications. At this point Jean-Luc Nancy speaks of an eco-technique of intersections, twists and tensions, a technique that is alien to the principle of coordination and control, and as a structure he describes this pure juxtaposition, this unstable assembly without any sense.

Alexander Galloway has defined the black box with regard to the cybernetic situation as an apparatus in which primarily the inputs and outputs are known or visible, with the various interfaces establishing their relationship to the outside. Whereas in Marx's fetishism critique of the commodity was still about deciphering the mystical shell in order to penetrate to the rational core, in today's post-industrial technologies, on the other hand, which constantly produce the commodity information, the shell that functions purely via the interfaces is open and visible, while at the same time the core remains invisible. The interactive interfaces occupy the surfaces in the black boxes and usually allow only selective passageways from the visible outside to the opaque inside. Blackboxes function as nodes integrated into networks whose external connectivity is subject to strict architecture and management that remains largely invisible. According to Vilém Flusser, the camera can be regarded as exemplary for most devices and their function. His agent controls the camera to a certain extent by controlling the interface, i.e. by means of input and output selections, but the camera controls the agent precisely because of the opacity of the inside of the black box. For Simondon, on the other hand, digital technologies with their visually attractive and "black-boxed" interfaces would prove to be highly problematic today. These technologies usually derive their popularity from a suggestive aesthetics of the surface; they attract the user to the surface. They do not attract the user because they offer him the possibility of indetermination of technology, of flexible couplings between machines and with the human, as Simondon may consider worthwhile. Simondon insists that the fundamental movement of technological development is not an increase in automation, but rather the emergence and evolution of those open machines that are susceptible to social regulation. In the case of black boxes, on the other hand, we are dealing with technological objects that are described as ensembles of readable rational functions, and this with regard to their input-output relations that are as smooth as possible, whereby on the one hand their core remains invisible, and on the other their material construction in the discourse at best still exists as a rather negligible speaker. Simondon, on the other hand, urges us to take a look inside the blackboxes.

In addition, the problem of connectivity with regard to the non-emitting, transmitting machines has to be considered, which have a plurality of processes and effects, and this proves to be a matter of highest economic relevance, if these machines produce multiple machine functions and effects in and with their complexes, contrary to a one-dimensional chain of effects, even releasing explosions of previous machines and thus producing new conjunctions. "The spheres of production and energy technology, transport, information and human technology indicate vague field definitions of machines in which the machine-environmental is already inscribed," writes Hans-Dieter Bahr (Bahr 1983: 277), and in principle the mechanical ensembles and processes can thus be described as transmitting information, information into which also natural, economic and social structures and processes, including their postponements, complexifications and layer changes, enter, whereby it is by no means just about communications, but also about absorptions and filters of the information itself, about the manipulation of the data qua algorithms - and thus the respective relations and programming/functionalizations could also be decoded inside the technical objects themselves, which, however, the hegemonic discourses on technology almost obsessively know how to prevent. In contrast to the darkening of the interior of the black boxes, Simondon pleads for a discus that focuses on the perfect transparency of the machines. The aim here is to recognize potentials and relations that are sometimes already condensed in the machines, and which then concretize themselves qua a functional overdetermination of the technical objects. For Simondon, the machines represent something like mediators between nature and man, which we have to grasp, among other things, in the dicourses on media. The machine, as Hans-Dieter Bahr explained in his paper Über den Umgang mit Maschinen, could therefore be described less as the concept of an object "machine" than as a discursive formation. (ibid.: 277). Every (digital) machine is functionalized by programming, whereby it quickly becomes apparent, however, that the mere description and maintenance of the constructive functions does not necessarily mean that a machine has to "function"; rather, the manifold dysfunctionalities of the machines must be taken into account, which can cross the functioning system of input and output relations at any time, accidents, crashes, crises, etc., and which are the result of the "machine". (It may well happen that a deceleration of the machine speed is cost-saving for an economy as a whole, think, for example, of the (external) climate costs that are not incurred, although the deceleration for the individual capital increases costs; a machine may well become obsolete due to competition between companies, i.e. from an economic point of view, although it is still fully functional in terms of materials, a constellation that Marx called moral wear and tear). The in-between of the machines or the machine transmissions, respectively, enormously block a teleological view: The outputs of the complex machines are today less than ever commodities, which are mostly already further machine inputs, but produce much more complexes of effects including the unintended side effects, with which the machines themselves mutate into the labyrinthine and therefore constantly need new programming and functionalities for orientation and control in order to maintain their input selections and outputs, because the machines are supposed to function in particular through the rule-guided supply of programs, materials, information and by controlling the input-output relations.

Possible outputs of the machines can be utility values, but also other dysfunctions that disturb the continuous operation of the machines - but most of these outputs are inputs into other machines. So machines emit energy and information streams that are cut or interrupted by other machines, while the source machines of the emitted streams have themselves already made cuts or withdrawals from other streams, which in turn belong to other source machines. Every emission of a current is thus an incision in another emission and so on and so forth, at least that is how Deleuze/Guattari see it in Anti-Oedipus. At the same time a double division emerges with the mechanical incisions, whereby the concept of the incision does not ascend as meaning from one inside to then be translated or transported into the inside of another, but rather something is indicated in the communication of the incision that already "exists" as an outside, e.g. a network of mechanical series that flee in all directions. ( Each communication or translation takes place over an inexpressible incision into which the net divides. This division remains unexpressive in the message, but only because an open space is opened that allows everything to be communicated and expressed. And these divisions take place today via interfaces. Interfaces are usually referred to as significant surfaces. An extension of conceptuality takes place when it is conceived as transitions or passages, when it is described as thresholds, doors or windows, or when it is furthermore understood in the sense of a flexibilisation of input selections as fields of choice, whereby we can then speak of an intraface that identifies itself as an indefinite zone of the translations of inside and outside. The intraface opens the machine structures in an indefinite way to associated milieus, with which we are ever confronted with open machines or processes in which several intrafaces are always integrated, namely as effects of the translations that function or do not function, whereby even this distinction is questionable if one considers that machine transmissions simply cannot do without manifold side effects and disturbances.

Now the cybernetic hypothesis is characterized precisely by the fact that it defines the technological object or the technical system by the sum of the inputs and outputs, whereby black boxes (computers, data objects, interfaces, codes) permanently have to eliminate dysfunctional inputs. Among the unfavorable inputs are climatic conditions, incomplete classifications, influences of other machines, faulty programs, economy, wear, etc., and it is up to the cybernetic machines to absorb these structures and correct them according to their own criteria, and these transformations in turn affect the outputs. When machine systems select and transform different types of input, this means that a multitude of economic, social, natural, cultural, and legal functions count among their inputs as well as among their expenditures. (Bahr 1983: 281) Here, the disciplining function of the feedback mode of cybernetic control loops, the attempt to feed back outputs to inputs in such a way that dysfunctional inputs can be faded out or eliminated in the future, or at least more functional selections of the inputs take place than before, becomes quite evident. Cybernetics is thus characterized not only by automation, but above all by the mechanism of input selections. If now the human element is taken out, one speaks of the automaton. This contradicts of course a posthuman situation as Gilbert Simondon had still imagined it: When Simondon's technical objects individualize themselves, they are always also in external resonance, whereby the resonances in between of the technical individual and the associated techno-logical milieu insist, creating a recursive causality in between. But cybernetics wants to subject the in-between entirely to its automatism or to its input selections, whereby the identity of living beings and machine is thought of purely from the point of view of the automaton, while Simondon conceives the asymptotic analogy between the human and the machine for him from the perspective of the machines that have ever been oriented towards open spaces and associated milieus, which in turn corresponds to a certain affirmation of non-selective inputs and a variety of stratagems that continue themselves as incisions, divisions and crossings of the machine milieus. Today, technical objects are generally integrated into digital networks, with the corresponding architecture of the protocols regulating their information exchange among themselves, which sprawls over a complex topology of densifications and dispersions, and even from this a cultural force would probably arise for Simondon. This does not use the machines, but confirms that cultural dignity lies precisely in the recognition of the pure functioning of the technical objects, with which the human being only enters into a dialogue with the technical ensembles and this dialogue can lead to a true transindividuality. We speak here generally of technicity. If the input and output selections are considered on the basis of their intersecting contingencies, then we are not dealing with more automatons, but actually with open machines - and concretization then means appreciating the contingency of the functions as well as the interdependence of the elements in order to do justice to their inner resonance, which makes them probable machines, which cannot be measured against the ideal of precision, but display different degrees of precision by expanding their range of application, expanding into new areas, until they occupy or at least affect all fields of the social, cultural, economic and technological, as in the case of computer technology, though in a usurping manner. It is the process of disparation between two realities, in Deleuze's sense the disparation between the virtual and the current, which ultimately activates information differently from the digital and sets in motion a process of individuation that comes from the future. Information is located less on the homogeneous level of a single reality than on at least two or more disparate levels, e.g. a 3-D topology that knots our posthuman reality; it is a fabrication of reality that folds the past and the future into the present, as an individuation of reality through disparation that is information in itself. If individuation encompasses the disparation of the virtual and the current, then information is always already there, already the present of a future present. What is called past or present is therefore mainly the disparation of an immanent source of information, which is always in the process of dissolution. For Simondon, the idea of the capacity or potential of a technical object is closely linked to his theory of individuation. The individual object is never given in advance, it must be produced, it must coagulate, or it must gain existence in an ongoing process. The pre-individual is not a stage that lacks identity, it is not an undifferentiated chaos, but rather a condition that is more than a unit or an identity, namely a system of highest potentiality or full potentials, an excess or a supersaturation, a system that exists independently of thinking.

Digital networks today not only encompass the globe that they themselves generate, but they also penetrate into the social microstructures of the capitalist economy, whose human agents in turn subject them to permanent addressability, online presence and informational control. (Lenger 2013) Being "online" today becomes a hegemonic mode of existence, the permanently mobilizable availability is part of a flexible normalization that affirms the user in toto with the practice of everyday wellness, cosmetics and fitness programs until, in the course of their permanent recursion with the machines, they finally completely incorporate the processes of normalization. In the postscript on the control societies, Deleuze described human agents as "divinees", mostly a-physical entities, infinitely divisible and condensable to data representation, which, precisely because of the effects of a-human technologies of control, at some point act similarly to computer-based systems. At present, we can at least assume that there is a homology between post-Fordist management methods, which propagate non-hierarchical networks, self-organization, flexibility and innovation in heroic litanies, and the neurosciences, which describe the brain as a decentralized network of neuronal aggregates and emphasize neurological plasticity (Christine Malabou) as the basis for cognitive flexibility and adaptation. According to Catharine Malabou, neuronal and social functions influence each other until it is no longer possible to distinguish between them. At the very least, we must start from the possibility that the human species, with the rapid translation of its own material history in data streams, networked connectivity, artificial intelligence and satellite monitoring tends to become a decalcomania of technology. If events - mobile apps, technological devices, economic crises, digital money, drone wars, etc. - process at the speed of light, then the reference systems of traditional techno discourses will definitely be destabilized, and their definitions and hypotheses as useful indicators of what the future of hyper-accelerated capitalism could still bring will increasingly fail. The darkening of clearly defined boundaries between bodies and machines, the interpenetration of human perception and algorithmic code, the active remixing of the components of humans, animals, plants and inanimate objects - all this leads to the injection of a fundamental technological drift into the social, cultural and economic, while the economy and its machinery continue to determine the technological. Implemented in social reality, the currently important signifiers of technological acceleration include concepts such as "big data", "distant reading" and "augmented reality", with which capital as power shoots the words and discourses still bound to gravity into the weightless space of the regime of computation. There will be more migrations into this weightless space in the future, for example, of thoughts in mobile technologies, and at the same time we will have to deal with an increasing volatility in the field of digital financial economics, triggered by trading algorithms based on neural networks and genetic programming, we will dive further into the relational networks of social media, and last but not least we will be confronted with a completely distributed brain modulated by experiments in neurotechnology. Nothing remains stable, everything is in motion.

1Much of the history and science of technology, as Simondon notes, had up to then been animated by an instrumentalism whose restrictive perspective conceived the machines either as an extension or replacement of organs, or as a projection of human thought, and this notion is based on an image of thought in which the individual and society are entirely under the law of scarcity.

2 Ernst Bloch, too, has in principle held hope to the utopian moment of the technical: "Meanwhile, it is precisely the triumph of non-euclidean practice, which is represented by the technique of radiation, that calls salutary anticipations from the image of a society that is no longer apparatized to the plan. In technology, these concrete utopian lines emerge particularly clearly from the task of a concrete subject-object relationship". (Bloch 1979: 777)

Anders, Günther (1980): Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen 2. On the Destruction of Life in the Age of the Third Industrial Revolution. Munich.

(2002): The Antiquatedness of Man 1. About the Soul in the Age of the Second Industrial Revolution. Munich.

Bahr, Hans-Dieter (1983): On the use of machines. Tübingen.

Neyrat, Frederic (2011) : In: Hörl, Erich: The technological condition. Contributions to

Der Beitrag The Trans Classical Machine (G. Anders, H.D. Bahr, F. Neyrat, G. Simondon) erschien zuerst auf

Transcending the nation: a communist strategy in the era ofglobalization. A reply to Velissariou Sat, 07 Sep 2019 06:26:30 +0000

Neoliberalism and austerity are not ‘false policies’, but strategies of
increasing profits by reducing labor and welfare costs. In the process of
dismantling labor rights and the welfare state, a part of the population
is being marginalized. It becomes ‘superfluous’, and its living conditions
approach those of the inflowing refugee masses. However,
between indigenous and ‘foreign’ (refugee and immigrant) superfluous
populations a clear demarcation line is being reproduced by state
apparatuses and the ruling ideology: the demarcation line created by
the nation, which excludes the non-nationals (refugees and immigrants)
from the polity and certain state provisions. In fact, the nation
may be regarded as a facet of the state itself: the ‘historically homogenized’
population of a given capitalist state. Marginalized Greek (or
other European) ‘nationals’ tend to consider themselves ‘superior’ to
(equally marginalized) foreigners. Fighting nationalism and, even
more, transcending divisions reproduced by ideologies of particularism
(often being reproduced in solidarity movements that focus on
‘the rights of the ethnic other’), is a precondition for shaping of a radical
left internationalism, through the consolidation of what is universal in
all subaltern classes and communities: the need of proletarian unity,
first of all within the country, struggling against capitalism.

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Der Beitrag Transcending the nation: a communist strategy in the era ofglobalization. A reply to Velissariou erschien zuerst auf