From The Empire of Disorder
Ecole des Hautes Etudes, Paris
It is in the interest of the person who
wages war by choice and ambition to conquer
and preserve what is conquered. He acts to enrich both his country
and the one conquered instead of impoverishing it.
1. We must cast our eyes on the New World, if
that is the area with the dominant project today, in order to penetrate
the genetic code behind its strength. In a manner of speaking, however,
since this is just a biological parable. It serves to remind us
of the fact that we are confronted, no doubt, with a living being,
the North American state, albeit a political creature, a conglomerate
of citizens. How and why can the law that has guided the autonomous
development of American power since the discovery of the New World
by Christopher Columbus be understood and pronounced?
2. Invaded in the north by Anglo-Saxon Protestants from Northern
Europe, in the south by Spanish and Portuguese Catholics from Southern
Europe, the two parts of America provide two different examples
3. The genocide of Indians was almost total in North America and
the slave trade became the project behind the southern United States;
the Indian genocide in the South was interrupted by the encomienda
that inaugurated a personal regime resembling the colonies of the
Low Empire with vice-kingdoms that took over the Inca and Aztec
Empires, and slavery was tempered by the ritualized and generalized
emancipatory miscegenation that triumphed in South America along
with the Spanish and Portuguese languages. Then, in the two autonomous
new worlds founded by Washington and Bolivar, the North slowly but
surely overtook the South, to such an extent that the New World
as a whole described the potential image of the North-South relationship
in the entire world.
4. In Europe, Orthodox Christianity and Islam, as continuations
of antique culture, were immobilized in antique conquering structures
and slowly underwent the humiliating fate of economically inferior
countries corrupted by the petroleum windfall along with the venal
and police bureaucracies that are politically kept outside democratic
European culture. Europe has a South on its eastern and southern
flanks, but this South is already, due to the economic and military
constraints that weigh on it, under American control.
5. The future of Europe would therefore be as an associate dominant
zone, condemned by its divisions to submit to the visible center
of world military and economic power located in the United States.
Europe and its historic citizenship would resemble the Greek city-states
under the Roman Empire: the Greek source of Roman culture fell under
the control of Rome in 197 BC when the consul Flaminius declared
the freedoms of the Hellens restored'. His proclamation prophesied
their subservience when Rome banished forever the preeminence
of the Macedonians and other Middle Eastern peoples over Mediterranean
cities in favor of the Roman imperium, in much the same way that
the United States liberated Europe from the German empire and the
Soviet empire, proclaiming the freedom of the historic democracies
of Europe, in exchange for their submission to NATO.
6. To critique and perhaps alter this evolution of humanity, the
chaotic strategic configuration that currently defines the American
Empire must be taken as a whole, while considering its foundations,
even if it is necessary to remain attached to reality through local
investigations and anecdotes (which will entail the persistent analysis
7. In any case, no matter the scale at which the object - continent,
nation, neighborhood, family - is situated, we must always ask whether
the war we are faced with is a war of Balkanization, the destruction
of a type of political cooperation, or a war of Liberation, the
destruction of a mode of oppression.
8. When the two types of processes are superimposed or cumulative
due to scalar effects, political debate, which defines objectives
of intervention and third-party participation, themes of peace research,
must be refined as much as possible according to confirmed political
goals, and certainly not in the name of maintaining order
since it is a question of disorder.
9. Our contact with chaos must not become a chance for parties on
either side to depoliticize cynically or grossly simplify its implications
as a result of intellectual laziness or misinformation, as can be
seen in the many examples over the past few years in the Balkans,
the Mediterranean or the Caribbean.
10. Moreover, the analysis of wars in terms of dominant class and
new or old popular class interests must not be abandoned. Cruel
internal wars financed by Mafias and with paramilitary armies have
developed in many regions of the world since the end of the Cold
War, in forms and for reasons that, by definition, can no longer
be connected to the global bipolar dialectic between the Capitalists
and the Communists, even if they first broke out in this ideological
framework. During the bipolar period, all conflicts were reduced
to class conflicts. Today, we should not commit the opposite error
of seeing only bandits and intercommunity conflicts everywhere.
These cruel little wars have spread over the ruins of the system
of communist federal nation-states (Yugoslavia, Russia), in non-communist
nation-states once in full free-market capitalist expansion through
import substitution (Columbia) and in national states formed
by single party, non-communist revolutions/liberations (PRI Mexico,
Kemalist Turkey, FLN Algeria).
11. During the various processes of State decomposition, armed conflict
between linguistic, religious or Mafia communities (and usually
all three simultaneously) creates combat systems that legitimize
long-term strategies of assassination, kidnapping or territorial
cleansing involving more or less sadistic massacres provoking mass
exodus (Serbia, Columbia, Algeria). In Sub-Saharan Africa, the crises
of post colonial states have degenerated into conflicts between
communities across borders: Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, for Central
Africa; Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia for West Africa. In Indonesia,
the decomposition of the vast island federation, a legacy of the
Dutch East Indies Empire, might only have begun.
12. We might ask whether these Balkanizations are not also national
liberations or on the contrary reductions to protectorate
status or even slow processes of reunification of linguistic
nationalities, long sacrificed and di-vided by imperial frontiers
or prior Balkanizations (Kurds, Albanians, Basques, Irish).
13. Even if the combats have sometimes, literally, taken the form
of ethnic wars, the fact remains that they originate
in oppositions between the interests of ruling classes seeking to
take power by dividing the popular classes by means of massacres
between ethnic groups then joining them locally under
ruling class hegemony by creating security zones on
a smaller scale, along the lines of State decomposition. The wide
variety of identity cases leading to violence and war
should not occult the fact that all these cases can now be combined
and explained by a common and not at all secondary factor: the grand
macroeconomic process of economic globalization following the computer
14. The general effect of globalization, its most general strategic
definition, could be stated as follows: the disjunction of political,
military and economic criteria that were once coordinated by the
State, at the geographic level of the State. This disjunction constitutes
the common source of diverse individual cases, allowing us to understand
the proliferation of common symptoms, notably the outbreaks of cruelty
and savagery, despite the cultural, historical and sociological
differences that distinguish each of these suffering societies.
15. It is very important to preserve a global anthropological approach
to each of these cases, for it allows their common traits, and their
causes, to become more apparent. These wars cannot be attributed
to the barbarity of one ethnic group or religion but
always to the intolerable suffering that accompanies the destruction
of former solidarity by ruling Mafias and the great difficulty in
creating new solidarity with the risk of falling into the 'fraternity
of war crimes'.
16. In all the spaces where composite, multiethnic federal societies
of conviviality have been destroyed or have self-destructed, their
inhabitants preserve a melancholic and embellished memory of their
prior civilization or at least of the values it tried to represent
or in which it attempted to believe. The Soviet Union, Yugoslavia
under Tito, multicultural Bosnia all joined the Austro-Hungarian
Empire in the paradise of the past.
17. In memory of these disjointed hopes, the analysis of conjoining
destruction today must maintain a large-scale project for peace
and reject the blunt, day-by-day myopic realism of the sordid accountants
of other peoples misery. The contemptuous post- or neocolonial
mindset displayed by mediocre leaders often hastens these crises
towards the worst catastrophes, which they follow with a sort of
Schadenfreude, a neo-Darwinian pleasure in watching others suffer,
close to an unconscious fascism valid for the exterior.
18. Wars of balkanization and liberation become current
and not archaic when they are put in the context of
the processes of market economy globalization and the unification
of the chaotic imperial system known as the American
19. Here we must advance what might seem to
be a contradictory judgement: the danger of these little wars for
world peace is negligible, for even if global macroeconomic factors
are determinant, their implications and specific causes are, by
definition, local in nature. They actually take place within the
historical and geographical framework of the States in crisis and
their evolution depends on the specific political decomposition
that the individual states undergo.
20. Contrary to the famous domino theory, these conflicts do not
really tend to contaminate their neighbors and cross borders, except
perhaps in Africa where the post-colonial borders for states without
long historical consolidation cut through the tribal, linguistic
and ethnic groups that form living identities.
21. Elsewhere, contamination does not work, even in
the Middle East and in Northern Africa, despite the unity of the
Arab language and the preeminence of Islam, not even in Latin America,
despite the unity of the Spanish language and the preeminence of
the Catholicism. This non-contamination can no doubt be explained
by the constant attempts of the imperial system to maintain a certain
order while reinforcing divisions; but it must also be noted that
the Nation-States, even within the process of destruction, retain
the form of semi-sealed compartments; the effect of the mosaic structure
opposes a generalized crisis in the States of a subcontinent. A
state in crisis holds in place through the resistance
of its neighbors or the states of a given region simply maintain
their identity because of the substantial socio-political differences
between their respective national crises. Their differences counteract
the spread of social movements across frontiers.
22. Wherever a cross-border ethnic movement can join populations
combined prior to the formation of a colonial or post-colonial state,
the United States tends to favor minority indigenous peoples, which
is a way to Balkanize and limit political class struggle. However,
the choice of the political left by Indian movements in Latin America
(in Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Chili), like the Kabyle movement in
Algeria, have made them one of the unifying components of anti-imperialist,
anti-globalist thought. Even if by definition they cannot become
majority movements, they are symbols of liberation.
23. In the context of the Latin American narco-economy, the United
States, under Clinton, claimed to fear contamination
- a reincarnation of the domino theory - in many of
its official statements; truth be told, the United States might
have wanted it to occur. America does not exist as a decision maker.
It is a permanent debate. With this name, I am only designating
the result of the play of forces in competition.
24. In fact, abroad and at home, the trans-state factor of the narco-economy
unifies states around a police-military task, and thanks to this
activity across borders, the United States can save the element
that serves federal or imperial hegemony in the State: the minimal
justice-police state. Abroad, it is possible, with or without democracy,
and thanks to the narco-economy and the fight against narcotics
trafficking, to unify minimum states faster militarily
than by unifying the economic elite through generalized dollarization
and much more securely than by supporting an ideological Indianism
that could always end up becoming a social Indianism as with Chavez
or sub-comandante Marcos.
The Empire Wants No
Autonomous Peace Processes
25. If current narco States took
harder individual stances to solve the problem, there are chances
that they would have to strengthen their sovereignty, including
their economic sovereignty, to face the problems on a social and
political level; however, national management of the narcotics problem
would slow neoliberal globalization.
26. For all these reasons, Post-Cold War America sponsors a few
of the peace processes that emerge from zones of massacre,
called violence, but their theoretical approach to crisis
intervention lacks conceptual clarity; the moral or religious principles
that they defend keep them from recognizing the contradictions between
the strategies they decide to implement. Barbaric war appears to
imply only minuscule territories along with an apartheid or clan,
region, religious or neighborhood war dialectic that have little
to do with the splendid globalization unfurling over
the planet. These wars seem to involve delinquent groups serving
corrupted politicians, which is not incorrect but which reduces
political collapse to a form of delinquency while the delinquency
itself should be considered as a particular form of political collapse.
27. Finally, the virtual decision maker sometimes preserves its
ability to erase the macropolitical causes of all these disturbances
from the public mind by only defining, on the criminal or penal
level, microsociological causes like the growth of assassins
guilds, cartels, ordinary generalized corruption, bank accounts
in Miami, Switzerland or Cyprus. Maintaining the secrecy of these
acts has been made more difficult today thanks to the action of
highly specialized NGOs like Amnesty International, the International
Human Rights Federation, and even Doctors of the World or Doctors
without Borders and these organizations always relate the crimes
of a nation in crisis to its political, social and economic context.
28. In this sense, all of these wars are truly political civil wars,
even if they are skillfully diverted by the new ruling classes into
conflicts apparently between communities that are capable of eliminating
through bloodshed, in other words concretely, the interests
of the diverse social classes defined as trans-ethnic.
29. Our strategic approach to the study of violence
obliges us to note that a certain number of these little chaotic
disorders are formally bipolar and go back to the Cold War, imitating
its bipolarity even down to the smallest details - by building walls,
dividing cities and countrysides - but more often that not without
representing the same goals: capitalism versus communism.
30. Binary conflicts occur most frequently between communities where
one religious nationality is pitted against another
(Arab Muslims against Jews in Palestine, Orthodox Greeks against
Muslim Turks in Cyprus, Protes-tants against Catholics in Northern
Ireland, Muslims against Hindus in Kashmir). The creation of these
new sites of binary confrontations is insepa-rable from the desire
expressed by these nations and classes in conflict to escape the
binary logic of the Cold War, both its dual leadership and its latent
structures of class civil war by proclaiming a local bipolarity
between nations or religions. It is the international
equivalent of confrontation in certain democratic two-party systems.
Republicans versus Democrats in the United States, Conservatives
versus Liberals in Columbia are not the same as right versus
left, thus allowing political conflict to be distanced from
the ambition to incarnate pure social conflict peacefully. Greeks
versus Turks is not the equivalent of communists versus capitalists,
allowing them to avoid civil war within each nation and also war,
since the two countries are allies within NATO.
31. Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Columbia each contained binary
conflicts inherited from the Cold War and the guerilla movements
fighting armies defending the oligarchy. They continued to represent
Cold War polarity. The first three received peaceful treatment through
a process of negotiations that began while the world was reaching
the end of the bipolar context. Columbia is the only local binary
struggle that is still paying for the East-West conflict (agrarian
reform, welfare state demanded by the guerillas), though without
the presence of the former Soviet Union. The agrarian Colombian
war takes on added complexity with the financial and transnational
factor added by narco-agriculture. Its exception proves the rule.
32. Other local conflicts are even more complex and
more recently formed. One might say they seem to illustrate the
clash of civilizations theory proposed by Samuel Huntington.
They are engaged in wars between communities that sometimes resemble
wars between religions or between religions and the state (Bosnia,
Kosovo, Algeria). Often occurring in Post-Ottoman space, these wars
are ethnic as well as religious (Lebanon, Israel-Palestine) or ethno-linguistic
33. Moreover, they often go through periods of complex disorder
that could be defined as three-sided wars'. Obviously, this
would appear to be the case in areas that already have three religions,
as in Bosnia or Lebanon. But religion is probably not the defining
factor. The war in Columbia is also ternary even if the three groups
- guerillas, army and paramilitary forces - are not separated by
a religious membrane.
34. The Israeli-Palestinian war could become ternary or even quaternary
if the religious or class factors took a more open role in the conflict,
not only in Israel but on the Palestinian side as well. This might
happen soon enough.
35. There are peace processes that succeed after decades
of setbacks (Northern Ireland, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala);
and others that have yet to begin (Cyprus, Kurdistan, Algeria).
Others systematically fail (Spanish Basque country) by sinking into
horror (Rwanda, Zaire, Chechnya).
36. Still others breakdown, halted by retractions that reveal the
diplomatic failures of American leaders: when the United States
succeeds in imposing itself as the sole mediator (Palestine, Bosnia),
there is no way to conclude a lasting peace in the brief period
allowed by the four-year terms of American presidents, reduced to
three years by their election campaigns.
37. Broken-down peace processes are the most revelatory of the state
of the entire international system. They last long enough to define
themselves as endless conflicts tied to globalization
The Humanitarianization of War
and so-called "Non-Clausewitzian" Wars
38. Not the same as a local failure, a breakdown is
first and foremost a new product of globalized diplomacy.
39. Accelerated negotiations coupled with indefinitely postponed
implementation (Bosnia, Kosovo, Palestine, Columbia) are combined
with the spatio-temporal criteria of American domination and the
interplay of leadership divided by the hostility between the Executive
and Legislative branches: under Clinton, rapid diplomatic success
was required by the 4-year terms of Presidential mandates; codicils
signed for only one year by the Republican majority paralyzed or
undermined the long-term strategic engagements of the Democratic
Executive. The final product: powerlessness, or, at best, what American
jargon has termed mission creeping: the slow deformation of the
definition of military missions. A certain number of military writings
reveal the deep-set professional concern accompanying what we could
call the appearance of non-Clausewitzian wars, wars that do not
continue politics or diplomacy by other (violent) means
and are not started, as was the case during the Second World War
or the Cold War, to restore or establish democracy.
40. Nevertheless, the absence of common war goals between the UN,
the United States and European States should not be taken for a
lack of political goals. War is not non-Clausewitzian
but the (internal or external) coalitions are incoherent.
41. Let us return to this question.
42. The mission objectives first given to troops wearing light blue
or olive green helmets often change form imperceptibly along with
the political goals. What seems odd is that, in this situation of
disunion or non-cooperation, the deformation of the Ziel (the wartime
military objective, in Clausewitzian terms) by leading military
commanders deforms the Zweck (the political goal of war-peace, in
Clausewitzian terms) and not the contrary. This might shock the
external allies (States), and may also shock the interior allies
(the Congress) of the leader of military power (the President of
the United States).
43. Which means that in these cases military operations do not continue
politics by other (violent) means. Since there is no single common
policy, variable local military tasks can come to influence and
modify the vague or contradictory initial political goals. These
interventions are therefore not considered Clausewitzian,
which does not prevent Clausewitzian local wars from existing. Their
local goals are very much political and opposed, but the common
military objective of the outside participants, with no common political
goal, cannot be defined except as a desire to exercise military
control over the war. Because they take part at a level of autonomy
and coherence that is inferior to that of the local warriors, since
they disagree on the level of conflict with one actor or another,
they take time to control the conflict and can only do so through
the absolute use of military violence.
44. For the UN and NATO, this is not a war at all, but for the Serbs,
Croats and Muslims, it is a war and a Clausewitzian one at that.The
unbalanced Clausewitzian character of the interventions in cruel
little wars is accompanied by a particular perversion: their international
treat-ment through humanitarian aid. This humanitarian
action can pass for a purely political objective. Of course, humanitarian
actions exist for themselves; in the field, they usually precede
the expedition of UN soldiers. They are real and political and legally
founded and praiseworthy in themselves. The point of perplexity
concerns their connection with the classic scenario that makes war
a mere continuation of politics by other means.
45. The connection, to a certain extent contrary to nature, between
humanitarian aid and war, contributes to confusing the political
meaning of events: by countering the Clausewitzian politics-war
continuation with an il-lusory humanitarian aid-peace
continuation, the true political goals of war (Zweck) can be hidden
while its military operational goals (Ziel) are paralyzed.
46. By using humanitarian aid, war ceases to refer to politics to
become angelic or in other words disincarnate. The Celestial Blue
of the UN or the white background of the Red Cross represent this
disincarnation; the pres-ence of military units removing the war
from politics while at the same time removing it from armed action
simply bears witness to the purity of the humanitarian intentions
of the international community in the face of unchecked barbarity.
47. A great unease weighs on these undertakings since even deaf
and mute public opinion can see and understand that expeditionary
humanitarian forces are powerless to fight barbarity. It transforms
the world television audience into a Roman plebe of voyeurs, ashamed
of being constantly invited to watch the bloody circus games and
watch innocent victims be devoured by the lions. The number of UN
soldiers with serious neuroses continues to rise as they are submitted
to an unprecedented situation for a soldier, trained to fight an
enemy then stripped of the right to ride off in knightly armor to
protect the innocent, watching them get slaughtered without pity.
48. If it were only a question of pulling the wool over
peoples eyes, the situation would be serious from a democratic
point of view, but history has often done without democracy in affairs
of external violence. It would not be the first time that public
opinion has been ignored to lead a realpolitik in exte-rior spheres
that requires deathly silence from the fundamental moral principles
of democracy: human rights violations are always accepted as long
as they remain unspoken. War is the continuation of politics through
other means. War crimes are part of a strategy of means and they
do not interrupt the rationality of Clausewitzian continuation,
taking place on the level of the Ziel. Military goals justify military
means. It is not a military affair if the means used to serve a
military goal (Ziel) ruin the political goal (Zweck). Politicians
must judge these actions and be judged by them. Which is why the
clean conscience of torturers is protected by the bad conscience
of politicians. But we will have to wait thirty years for one of
them to have their Legion of Honor taken away.
49. Then again, Clausewitzian rationality has been broken and a
superior degree of moral perversion has been reached. When humanitarian
action accompanies and serves to compensate for or hide a crime
against humanity tolerated by policy, there is not only a breach
of morality but of political rationality on both sides, not far
from madness. For without political rationality, war is nothing
other than madness.
50. The massacres of civilians and planned genocide that often occurred
in ancient and medieval history have not always been contrary to
political rationality and to this extent, they were not considered
illegitimate until recently. Some Serb nationalists (or more recently,
Israeli nationalists) simply considered themselves to be traditional
Machiavellians and Clausewitzians. But in the modern conditions
of the economy, genocide and territorial expulsion of an ethnic
group do not correspond to a rational objective unless one admits
in the absolute that there are too many human beings on the planet.
In itself, the genocide organized by the Serbs to purify their territory
does not correspond to any reasonable objective in terms of politics
or economic development. It clearly led Serbia to lose all political
legitimacy and to military defeat. That is why it only took a few
years to award General Divjak the Legion of Honor because he served
his country, multicultural Bosnia, against the criminals against
humanity of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia, supported by the French
government. But Europe allowed them to continue along this path
by only opposing their politics with humanitarian intervention.
51. Through its proximity to crimes against humanity, humanitarian
war introduces a maximum level of moral and political confusion.
One could say that the humanitarian pretext when it is put in place
by the Empire always serves to blur the two Clausewitzian articulations
of politics and war, which require democratic political debate when
52. Democratic debate concerning the political goals of war is therefore
threatened by the deployment of this humanitarian smokescreen. The
Doctors of the World association, among other NGOs,
has spoken out against the scandal that has not kept it from intervening
in chaotic zones but has forced it to name political representatives
to avoid playing the role of a smokescreen for the Empire.
The Words that Hide or Reveal Things
53. In the transitional period that we are now crossing, even political
leaders sometimes do not know what they are doing, in other words
they do not have the words at their disposal to name their powerlessness
or their power and therefore their moral or political conscience
in the new international system remains clouded. They lack the landmarks
necessary to alter their understanding and therefore to propose
a rational policy in relationship to potential goals. It is important
for democracy to search actively for the means to punish the language
and words of political leaders, to invite them to speak about what
they are doing, to make them speak the truth. But there are many
democratic schools. Or rather many democratic cultures.
54. Journalists have a prominent role to play in this domain, as
do the elected representatives who have access to the media. They
can either clarify or obscure public understanding. The efforts
for clarity, for clarification are never unanimous; but it must
be said, today more than ever, that part of the search for power
involves handing the reins to an empire that reigns through the
chaos of words, as much as the chaos of things.
55. In order to determine political responsibility and criticize
it, one must admit that there has been a latent opposition between
American strategy and European strategies, but also a latent opposition
between two schools of speaking the truth and two schools of speaking
falsehoods, connected to two democratic schools. The involvement
of two European schools and two American schools has lead to a great
deal of incoherence in the representations that public opinion had
of these wars and in the humanitarian implications that the wars
in Yugoslavia overtly expressed. We hope, by untangling these webs,
to make things clearer in the future and strengthen the actions
that are capable of affecting the political future of the world.
56. If the form proposed for the world empire is a chaos, we have
the right to think that it begs the question of the end of liberal
capitalism. It is an ancient right. Except for the brief period
of militant neoliberal media triumph that we are now crossing, one
that started with Thatcher and Reagan, the question of the end of
capitalism has not stopped being asked since its rise in the 19th
57. It is tempting in fact to consider the contradiction between
empire and disorder to be insoluble and
to pose the general question of decadence: why the world,
dominated by the United States, seems to be heading towards a decline,
an imperial chaos that resembles, more than anything else, the Low
Roman Empire. This recognition seems to presage the end of the current
mode of production known as Capitalism, just as the Low Roman Empire
presaged the end of classical slavery.
58. The end of capitalism was a question that haunted Marx (who
wanted to topple it) as well as Weber (who wanted to save it). These
two 19th century men just as steeped in classical culture as Machiavelli
sought a method to predict and forge a political future.
59. Weber looked for a response to this question through the idealtype
method and historical comparison. He wanted to understand why the
Roman Empire arose from a city-state civilization then collapsed
without reaching capitalist accumulation; and why capitalism arose
from a new civilization of city-states in the Middle Ages, while
conserving and developing free labor. He admitted that the end of
the Roman Empire represented the collapse of a slave economy that
he perfectly defined as an Idealtyp.
60. Weber went farther in this search than Marx by subtly defining
the relationship between military violence and economy. He acknowledged
that the relationship between free and forced labor, which competed
in ancient Greece, shifted with the Roman Empire to a predominance
of slavery be-cause people without freedom were inexpensive, he
noted, because war took the form of a slave hunt. Weber, like Marx,
believed that free labor was the most progressive form: with free
labor, in fact, the division of labor - which leads to specialization
among workers and therefore progress in techniques - starts by being
identified with the growing extension of the market. A market economy
and areas of exchange can spread extensively by progressing through
space but can also develop intensively in a single space by including
the greatest number of people who had been excluded at first...
the urban bourgeoisie (Bürgerschaft) sought to destroy aristocratic
property by expanding the market both extensively and intensively.
61. However, in antiquity, in cases of forced labor, the progression
of the division of labor, he writes, developed through
the increasing number of people: the more slaves or serfs there
were, the more forced tasks could be-come specialized.
62. Free labor and exchange decline in the classical period because
people were inexpensive and people were inexpensive because wars
had all the characteristics of slave hunts, ...which put free
labor at the stage of salaried work without capital (auf des
Stufe der besitzlosen Kunden Lohnarbeit). Technical progress through
division of forced labor broke down due to the lack of a free market.
In the Middle Ages, on the other hand, free labor and exchanges
increased and free activity developed through salaried work and
accumulation of capital.
63. The military organization of violence therefore determined the
domi-nant mode of production and not the contrary, in any case in
the two modes of non-capitalist production, because violence alone
(or perhaps violence plus religion) can organize forced labor -
almost a tautology. The defeat of slavery was necessary for capital
to be accumulated.
But what about today?
64. Applying this Marxo-Weberian method to the analysis
of the present-day situation leads us to propose the following question:
Today, there is a form of servitude in all Third World factories
that weighs on the free labor of prosperous countries. People without
freedom are inexpensive. But they can be had without waging a slave-gathering
war by depreciating agricultural knowledge, destroying country life,
increasing influx to urban centers and turning the masses of the
agrarian popular classes into delinquent plebes. The accumulation
of free workers without work has now been disconnected from the
division of labor and progress. Progress occurs by introducing new
technology and electronic equipment into machines and the division
of labor is a division of machine labor. So free people are worth
as much as slaves as they are as workers. From a moral and profit-based
perspective, they can be massacred, not to conquer them or reduce
them to slavery, but just to subdue them.
Why? How? For whose benefit? For how much longer?
This Chaos is recent.
Alain Joxe is Director of Frances Center for Peace and
Military Strategies and Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes
in Paris. This is an excerpt from his forthcoming book The Empire
of Disorder to be published by Semiotext[e] in spring 2002.
The URL for this document is:
© semiotext[e] 2002
this excerpt © borderlands ejournal