Everything is public

«GD: Are delirium and interest, or rather desire and reason, distributed in a completely new, particularly “abnormal” way in capitalism? I believe so. Capital, or money, is at such a level of insanity that psychiatry has but one clinical equivalent: the terminal stage. It is too complicated to describe here, but one detail should be mentioned. In other societies, there is exploitation, there are also scandals and secrets, but that is part of the “code”, there are even explicitly secret codes. With capitalism, it is very different: nothing is secret, at least in principle and according to the code (this is why capitalism is “democratic” and can “publicize” itself, even in a juridical sense). And yet nothing is admissible. Legality itself is inadmissible. By contrast to other societies, it is a regime born of the public *and* the admissible. A very special delirium inherent to the regime of money. Take what are called scandals today: newspapers talk a lot about them, some people pretend to defend themselves, others go on the attack, yet it would be hard to find anything illegal in terms of the capitalist regime. The prime minister’s tax returns, real estate deals, pressure groups, and more generally the economical and financial mechanisms of capital — in sum, everything is legal, except for little blunders, what is more, everything is public, yet nothing is admissible. If the left was “reasonable,” it would content itself with vulgarizing economic and financial mechanisms. There’s no need to publicize what is private, just make sure that what is already public is being admitted publicly. One would find oneself in a state of dementia without equivalent in the hospitals.

Instead, one talks of “ideology”. But ideology has no importance whatsoever: what matters is not ideology, not even the “economic-ideological” distinction or opposition, but the *organisation of power*. Because organization of power– that is, the manner in which desire is already in the economic, in which libido invests the economic — haunts the economic and nourishes political forms of repression.

Q: So is ideology a trompe l’oeil?

GD: Not at all. To say “ideology is a trompe l’oeil, ” that’s still the traditional thesis. One puts the infrastructure on one side– the economic, the serious– and on the other, the superstructure, of which ideology is a part, thus rejecting the phenomena of desire in ideology. It’s a perfect way to ignore how desire works within the infrastructure, how it invests in it, how it takes part in it, how, in this respect, it organizes power and the repressive system. We do not say: ideology is a trompe l’oeil (or a concept that refers to certain illusions) We say: there is no ideology, it is an illusion. That’s why it suits orthodox Marxism and the Communist Party so well. Marxism has put so much emphasis on the theme of ideology to better conceal what was happening in the USSR: a new organization of repressive power. There is no ideology, there are only organizations of power once it is admitted that the organization of power is the unity of desire and the economic infrastructure. Take two examples. Education: in May 1968 the leftists lost a lot of time insisting that professors engage in public self-criticism as agents of bourgeois ideology. It’s stupid, and simply fuels the masochistic impulses of academics. The struggle against the competitive examination was abandoned for the benefit of the controversy, or the great anti-ideological public confession. In the meantime, the more conservative professors had no difficulty reorganizing their power. The problem of education is not an ideological problem, but a problem of the organization of power: it is the specificity of educational power that makes it appear to be an ideology, but it’s pure illusion. Power in the primary schools, that means something, it affects all children. Second example: Christianity. The church is perfectly pleased to be treated as an ideology. This can be argued; it feeds ecumenism. But Christianity has never been an ideology; it’s a very specific organization of power that has assumed diverse forms since the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, and which was able to invent the idea of international power. It’s far more important than ideology.»

– Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, “Capitalism: A Very Special Delirium

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