That we were at war, we did not wait for the Paris massacre of January 7 to understand it. The declaration by the facts of September 11, 2001, including ‘expert’ or authorized comments in general, was already quite eloquent in this respect. But who are ‘we’ who are at war, what war is it? This ‘we’ is neither the Empire, which claims to defend our ‘values’, nor, without absurdity, terrorism. We are at war because the Empire declares war on us who are neither the Empire nor terrorism. We are any form of life reluctant or even only likely to be reluctant to pass through the Procrustean bed(1) of globalized capitalist machinism.
This war, let’s make it clear from the outset, was declared by the Empire itself. Not that we were at peace with him before he declared his war on us, but we have been for a long time and perhaps always, and without remedy, out of condition to wage a victorious war against him, unless we paradoxically merge with him. Because, whatever the apparent victories of the figure of this ‘us’, the workers’ movement, were, they were never more than Pyrrhic victories, those victories that make us become similar to the opponent. The adversary was and remains that insane and monstrous mega-machine » sweating blood and mud from every pore « , as Marx says, which is called « modernity », that is, adds Mario Tronti with insight, « capitalism without a sentence »(2). Moreover, adds P. G. Bellocchio(3), it is too strong to be fought with its own methods.
This war is therefore not new and will not lead to new fundamental legal upheavals, similar to those that occurred in the United States first, immediately after the attacks on New York and Washington, and then declined into national legal languages in the rest of the European provinces of the American Empire. The scope of these upheavals in the field of criminal law and procedure, which have seen a number of milestones from the Patriot Acts I and II, under Bush jr. to Obama, extending in 2009 the principle of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to civil jurisdictions, was such as to bury the rule of law and its famous habeas corpus(4), that old glory of modern times, and to install us in the sovereign dictatorship. Carl Schmitt, in 1921, contrasts this with what he calls the dictatorship of the commissar inherited from ancient Rome and classically classified by Montesquieu in L’Esprit des lois, II, 3, with the state inquisitors, among those »
terrible magistracies, which violently bring the State back to freedom
« .(5) Sovereign dictatorship is not, therefore, about bringing back « freedom »; it is not the indeterminate action of constituted power, but the indeterminate action of a constituting power. It inaugurates a new form of state.
The point here is not so much, as Žižek reproaches some observers(6), to try to dissolve the new attack of allegedly desperate terrorists into the structural terrorism of the West, and the responsibility of one into that of the other. The globalized capitalist West, in conformity with the exterminist essence of its totalitarian power, is however well and truly illustrated by the devastation of a world transformed into a vast playground for multinationals that are squaring off the biosphere, transforming it into an immense human as well as non-human garbage dump, and selling the polluted ersatz of what, henceforth destroyed by them, used to be abundant and free; they provide moreover the accessories necessary to the accomplishment of the form of harmful life among all that engenders the insane mode of production of which they are the crowning and that we call without any humor « civilization » or still « Western values ». That this same Empire, going to « drone » in the antipodes, that is to say to liquidate at a very great distance and in an automated way (or at least strongly assisted by computer), under the democratic banner, even democratic, « terrorist profiles » of non-combatants, to pass off its crusade against life as a war on terrorism is thus of an obscenity comparable only to that of the aplomb with which its new Crusaders raise high the banner of freedom of the press, which is only notorious prostitution to the dominant interests of the devastators. Let’s not talk about the indecency of the cries of rage of those who, on the eve of the events in Paris, showed the purest indifference to this permanent torture inflicted in the Middle East (but the metropolises themselves and other areas of the world are not left out) by our remarkable modernity(7). The « liberated » press is therefore only this merchandise serving the circulation of all the others and the permanent praise of the existing state of things(8)when it is not, as in the case of Charlie Hebdo, the convenient spillway of the ambient racist sludge, turned against the most humiliated of the exploited, the immigrant Muslims, and disguised as an amiable pastiche of religions(9).
These grievances raised against what we will call « the Charlie operation », that is to say, without speaking about the facts themselves, the media hype and its at least partially successful reception, have already been courageously formulated, in view of the climate of furious hatred which, raging everywhere at the moment, would like to make a mockery of our dignity, that is to say of our intelligence, by wallowing in this « over adhesion » to the official version of the facts which joyfully converts the dolorous ordeal of the lack of sense which characterizes it, defect that this version itself exhibits(10). However, our only reservation with regard to these grievances, which legitimately question the notions of terrorism and freedom of expression, concerns the presupposition that their authors seem to make, namely the reality of the terrorism of others. By reality, we mean here that which remains of itself, and which is not of the order of the simple fabricat. Yet, of this little reality, not even the New York Times has invited us to form the suspicion(11). In order to dissolve the terrorism of others into Western terrorism, there would have to be something to dissolve. We are sure that terrorism is the globalized capitalist West, and that there is no other.
To get out of the state of stupefaction, according to the expression of J.-Cl. Paye, in which the power tries to install us, is at the moment an absolute emergency. We must get out of this state of mental disarmament that threatens to send us into the abyss in silence. Favourable signs appear however, and the stupor in which one tries to freeze us has not yet had reason to thaw that announces a little everywhere in Europe the collapse of the traditional political legitimacies, even if, from the day after the new attacks, one already calls the social actors to make prevail the social cohesion on the discord(12). Such a collapse fortunately accompanies the collapse of the prejudice of neutrality in terms of power that the « economic » mission of the multinationals enjoyed only yesterday. At the time of writing, the army is stationed in the streets of major Belgian cities. But the Greek party SYRIZA is only one step away from an electoral victory which, far from being an end in itself, of course, could be the spark that sets fire to the plain of courage and desire to live(13). The imitation could be dazzling, as the vital refusal to acquiesce to the destruction of all reason, that projects for us since 2001 at the latest the mutation of the form of State in the metropolises of the world at least. Global capitalism is in the throes of its terminal phase, which is also that of the biosphere of which we are a part. We are therefore hostages of this deadly monster. The beast at bay breeds the enemies it needs to feed the attitude of abandonment towards itself that it expects and too often obtains without a blow from the governed populations. The reception of the recent attacks convinces us that it is more difficult to stop believing in the mother state(14) than in God the Father. We are thrown into the mouth of the ogre and no great Other offers any guarantee of safeguarding the human species. But only a history of this capitalist death-mill purified of all that resists it would be linear or laminar. But such a history is « polluted » by the one it sacks, since this very sacking provides its only nourishment: our own history, which is that of the party of living and which is turbulent, open, unpredictable, made of knots, but also of whirlpools, of swerves, of reversals, of abrupt, massive and impersonal decisions. We are that opening.
- NDLR Procuste, surnom d’un brigand de l’Attique dans la mythologie grecque. « Le lit de procuste » désigne la tentative de réduire les hommes à un unique modèle, leur enjoignant une seule façon de penser et d’agir. Source : Wikipédia.
- Nous opéraïstes, L’Éclat, 2013.
- Dans Nous sommes tous des zéros satisfaits, Encyclopédie des nuisances, 2011.
- NDLR « L’ordonnance, bref ou mandat d’habeas corpus (en anglais writ of habeas corpus), plus exactement habeas corpus ad subjiciendum et recipiendum, énonce une liberté fondamentale, celle de ne pas être emprisonné sans jugement (contraire de l’arbitraire qui permet d’arrêter n’importe qui sans raison valable). En vertu de ce principe, toute personne arrêtée a le droit de savoir pourquoi elle est arrêtée et de quoi elle est accusée. Ensuite, elle peut être libérée sous caution, puis amenée dans les jours qui suivent devant un juge ». Source : Wikipédia.
- La dictature, Seuil, 2000. Cf. au sujet de tout ceci J.-Cl. Paye, La fin de l’État de droit, La dispute, 2004, Global war on liberty, Telos press, 2007, pour une édition augmentée parmi d’autres, plus récentes, mais toujours en langues étrangères.
- Cf. l’essayiste P. Thiellement, http://lmsi.net/Nous-sommes-tous-des-hypocrites; voir aussi Y. Najiels, http://blogs.mediapart.fr/blog/yvan-najiels/100115/je-ne-peux-pas-etre‑c….
- Voir « nous ne sommes pas tous Charlie », dans le dossier du Kairos 17, p.10–11
- Et ce, même si les œuvres de Wolinski, Charb, Tignous et Cabu ne sauraient se réduire à cette dérive dénoncée par d’ex-collaborateurs de Charlie eux-mêmes, comme ici par Delfeil de Ton: www.france24.com/fr/20150115-france-ancien-charlie-hebdo-regle-comptes‑c…. Cf. l’historien israélien Schlomo Sand, http://www.ujfp.org/spip.php?article3768.
- Voir J.-Cl. Paye, dans le quotidien belge La Libre Belgique: http://www.lalibre.be/debats/opinions/questions-autour-de-la-carte-d-ide… mais aussi Manlio Dinucci, dans le quotidien italien Il Manifesto, http://ilmanifesto.info/la-firma-dei-killer-noti-alla-polizia-e-ai-servi…
- Voir l’inénarrable hebdomadaire belge Le Vif-L’Express, du 16 au 22 janvier 2015, p. 19.
- On connaîtra malheuresement la suite…
- Selon l’expression de J.-Cl. Paye et T. Umay dans leur ouvrage inédit Au-delà de la propagande, en-deçà du langage.