You are on page 1of 7

5/30/2016

Intellectualsandpower:AconversationbetweenMichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze

recentposts login register

libcom.org

blog

news

library

history

gallery

organise

forums

search

Home

Intellectualsandpower:Aconversationbetween
MichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze

Featured

PostedBy
JosephKay
Sep9200619:13
Tags
GillesDeleuze,Michel
Foucault,class
struggle,philosophy ,
poststructuralism,
interviews

Rojava:realityandrhetoricGillesDauv
andT.L.
Adetailedcriticalanalysisofthe"Rojava
revolution".Thisisamuchenlargedversionof
'Kurdistan?'writtenbyG.D.andT.Lpublishedon
Troploin.
Comments(6)

Share
Tweet
Like

Share

983

Related

Thisisatranscriptofa1972conversationbetweenthepoststructuralist
philosophersMichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze,whichdiscussesthe
linksbetweenthestrugglesofwomen,homosexuals,prisonersetcto
classstruggle,andalsotherelationshipbetweentheory,practiceand
theory
power
ThistranscriptfirstappearedinEnglishinthebookLanguage,Counter
Memory,Practice:selectedessaysandinterviewsbyMichelFoucaultedited
byDonaldF.Bouchard.
MICHELFOUCAULT:AMaoistoncesaidtome:"Icaneasilyunderstand
Sartre'spurposeinsidingwithusIcanunderstandhisgoalsandhis
involvementinpoliticsIcanpartiallyunderstandyourposition,sinceyou've
alwaysbeenconcernedwiththeproblemofconfinement.ButDeleuzeisan
enigma."Iwasshockedbythisstatementbecauseyourpositionhasalways
seemedparticularlycleartome.

Conclusion:The
strangejoyofpolitics
2Minorpolitics:The
StyleofCramped
Creation
Bibliography
Philosophyfurther
readingguide
Capitalistdomination
andworkingclass
sabotageAntonioNegri

Attachedfiles

GILLESDELEUZE:Possiblywe'reintheprocessofexperiencinganew
relationshipbetweentheoryandpractice.Atonetime,practicewasconsidered
theory
anapplicationoftheory,aconsequenceatothertimes,itbadanopposite
theory
senseanditwasthoughttoinspiretheory,tobeindispensableforthecreation
theory
offuturetheoreticalforms.Inanyevent,theirrelationshipwasunderstoodin
termsofaprocessoftotalisation.Forus,however,thequestionisseenina
differentlight.Therelationshipsbetweentheoryandpracticearefarmore
theory
partialandfragmentary.ononeside,atheoryisalwayslocalandrelatedtoa
theory
limitedfield,anditisappliedinanothersphere,moreorlessdistantfromit.
Therelationshipwhichholdsintheapplicationofatheoryisneveroneof
theory
resemblance.Moreover,fromthemomentatheorymovesintoitsproper
theory
domain,itbeginstoencounterobstacles,walls,andblockageswhichrequire
itsrelaybyanothertypeofdiscourse(itisthroughthisotherdiscoursethatit
eventuallypassestoadifferentdomain).Practiceisasetofrelaysfromone
theoreticalpointtoanother,andtheoryisarelayfromonepracticetoanother.
theory
Notheorycandevelopwithouteventuallyencounteringawall,andpracticeis
theory
necessaryforpiercingthiswall.Forexample,yourworkbeganinthe
theoreticalanalysisofthecontextofconfinement,specificallywithrespectto
thepsychiatricasylumwithinacapitalistsocietyinthenineteenthcentury.
Thenyoubecameawareofthenecessityforconfinedindividualstospeakfor
themselves,tocreatearelay(it'spossible,onthecontrary,thatyourfunction

https://libcom.org/library/intellectualspoweraconversationbetweenmichelfoucaultandgillesdeleuze

UnionsagainstrevolutionG.Munis
Acritiqueoftradeandsyndicalistunionsfroma
communistperspectivebyG.Munis.
Comments(13)

Theunknownrevolution,19171921Volin
CompletetextofVolin'sextensiveworkonthe
RussianRevolution,itsusurpingbythe
Bolsheviksandonworkers'rebellionsagainst
thenewdictatorship.
Comments(2)

libcom.org
LikePage
Follow@libcomorg

32klikes

18.3Kfollowers

Info
Thelibcomlibrarycontainsnearly20,000
articles.Ifit'syourfirsttimeonthesite,or
you'relookingforsomethingspecific,itcanbe
difficulttoknowwheretostart.Luckily,there'sa
rangeofwaysyoucanfilterthelibrarycontent
tosuityourneeds,fromcasualbrowsingto
researchingaparticulartopic.Clickhereforthe
guide.

1/7

5/30/2016

Intellectualsandpower:AconversationbetweenMichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze

wasalreadythatofarelayinrelationtothem)andthisgroupisfoundin
prisonstheseindividualsareimprisoned.ItwasonthisbasisthatYou
organisedtheinformationgroupforprisons(G.I.P.)(1),theobjectbeingto
createconditionsthatpermittheprisonersthemselvestospeak.Itwouldbe
absolutelyfalsetosay,astheMaoistimplied,thatinmovingtothispractice
youwereapplyingyourtheories.Thiswasnotanapplicationnorwasita
projectforinitiatingreformsoranenquiryinthetraditionalsense.The
emphasiswasaltogetherdifferent:asystemofrelayswithinalargersphere,
withinamultiplicityofpartsthatareboththeoreticalandpractical.Atheorising
intellectual,forus,isnolongerasubject,arepresentingorrepresentative
consciousness.Thosewhoactandstrugglearenolongerrepresented,either
byagrouporaunionthatappropriatestherighttostandastheirconscience.
Whospeaksandacts?Itisalwaysamultiplicity,evenwithinthepersonwho
speaksandacts.Allofusare"groupuscules."(2)Representationnolonger
existsthere'sonlyactiontheoreticalactionandpracticalactionwhichserveas
relaysandformnetworks.
FOUCAULT:Itseemstomethatthepoliticalinvolvementoftheintellectual
wastraditionallytheproductoftwodifferentaspectsofhisactivity:hisposition
asanintellectualinbourgeoissociety,inthesystemofcapitalistproduction
andwithintheideologyitproducesorimposes(hisexploitation,poverty,
rejection,persecution,theaccusationsofsubversiveactivity,immorality,etc)
andhisproperdiscoursetotheextentthatitrevealedaparticulartruth,thatit
disclosedpoliticalrelationshipswheretheywereunsuspected.Thesetwo
formsofpoliticisationdidnotexcludeeachother,but,beingofadifferentorder,
neitherdidtheycoincide.Somewereclassedas"outcasts"andothersas
"socialists."Duringmomentsofviolentreactiononthepartoftheauthorities,
thesetwopositionswerereadilyfused:after1848,aftertheCommune,after
1940.Theintellectualwasrejectedandpersecutedattheprecisemoment
whenthefactsbecameincontrovertible,whenitwasforbiddentosaythatthe
emperorhadnoclothes.Theintellectualspokethetruthtothosewhohadyet
toseeit,inthenameofthosewhowereforbiddentospeakthetruth:hewas
conscience,consciousness,andeloquence.Inthemostrecentupheaval(3)
theintellectualdiscoveredthatthemassesnolongerneedhimtogain
knowledge:theyknowperfectlywell,withoutillusiontheyknowfarbetterthan
heandtheyarecertainlycapableofexpressingthemselves.Butthereexistsa
systemofpowerwhichblocks,prohibits,andinvalidatesthisdiscourseand
thisknowledge,apowernotonlyfoundinthemanifestauthorityofcensorship,
butonethatprofoundlyandsubtlypenetratesanentiresocietalnetwork.
Intellectualsarethemselvesagentsofthissystemofpowertheideaoftheir
responsibilityfor"consciousness"anddiscourseformspartofthesystem.The
intellectual'sroleisnolongertoplacehimself"somewhataheadandtothe
side"inordertoexpressthestifledtruthofthecollectivityrather,itisto
struggleagainsttheformsofpowerthattransformhimintoitsobjectand
instrumentinthesphereof"knowledge,""truth,""consciousness,"and
"discourse."(4)

IfyouhaveanebookreaderoraKindle,check
outourguidetousingebookreaderswith
libcom.org.
Ifyou'dliketouploadcontenttothelibrary
whichisinlinewiththeaimsofthesiteorwill
otherwisebeofinteresttolibcomusers,please
checkoutourguidestosubmittinglibrary/history
articlesandtaggingarticles.Ifyou'renotsureif
somethingisappropriateforthelibrary,please
askinthefeedbackandcontentforum.Ifyou
don'thavepermissionstopostcontentyet,just
requestithere.

Loginformorefeatures
Clickheretoregisternow.Loggedinusers:
Cancommentonarticlesanddiscussions
Get'recentposts'refreshedmoreregularly
Bookmarkarticlestoyourownreadinglist
Usethesiteprivatemessagingsystem
Startforumdiscussions,submitarticles,and
more...

Inthissensetheorydoesnotexpress,translate,orservetoapplypractice:it
theory
ispractice.Butitislocalandregional,asyousaid,andnottotalising.Thisisa
struggleagainstpower,astruggleaimedatrevealingandunderminingpower
whereitismostinvisibleandinsidious.Itisnotto"awakenconsciousness"
thatwestruggle(themasseshavebeenawareforsometimethat
consciousnessisaformofknowledgeandconsciousnessasthebasisof
subjectivityisaprerogativeofthebourgeoisie),buttosappower,totake
poweritisanactivityconductedalongsidethosewhostruggleforpower,and
nottheirilluminationfromasafedistance.A"theory"istheregionalsystemof
theory
thisstruggle.
DELEUZE:Precisely.Atheoryisexactlylikeaboxoftools.Ithasnothingto
theory
dowiththesignifier.Itmustbeuseful.Itmustfunction.Andnotforitself.Ifno
oneusesit,beginningwiththetheoreticianhimself(whothenceasestobea
theoretician),thenthetheoryisworthlessorthemomentisinappropriate.We
theory
don'treviseatheory,butconstructnewoneswehavenochoicebuttomake
theory
others.ItisstrangethatitwasProust,anauthorthoughttobeapure
intellectual,whosaiditsoclearly:treatmybookasapairofglassesdirected
totheoutsideiftheydon'tsuityou,findanotherpairIleaveittoyoutofind
yourowninstrument,whichisnecessarilyaninvestmentforcombat.Atheory
theory
doesnottotaliseitisaninstrumentformultiplicationanditalsomultiplies
itself.Itisinthenatureofpowertototaliseanditisyourposition.andoneI
fullyagreewith,thattheoryisbynatureopposedtopower.Assoonasatheory
theory
theory

https://libcom.org/library/intellectualspoweraconversationbetweenmichelfoucaultandgillesdeleuze

2/7

5/30/2016

Intellectualsandpower:AconversationbetweenMichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze

isenmeshedinaparticularpoint,werealisethatitwillneverpossessthe
slightestpracticalimportanceunlessitcaneruptinatotallydifferentarea.This
iswhythenotionofreformissostupidandhypocritical.Eitherreformsare
designedbypeoplewhoclaimtoberepresentative,whomakeaprofessionof
speakingforothers,andtheyleadtoadivisionofpower,toadistributionof
thisnewpowerwhichisconsequentlyincreasedbyadoublerepressionor
theyarisefromthecomplaintsanddemandsofthoseconcerned.Thislatter
instanceisnolongerareformbutrevolutionaryactionthatquestions
(expressingthefullforceofitspartiality)thetotalityofpowerandthehierarchy
thatmaintainsit.Thisissurelyevidentinprisons:thesmallestandmost
insignificantoftheprisoners'demandscanpuncturePleven'spseudoreform(5).
Iftheprotestsofchildrenwereheardinkindergarten,iftheirquestionswere
attendedto,itwouldbeenoughtoexplodetheentireeducationalsystem.
Thereisnodenyingthatoursocialsystemistotallywithouttolerancethis
accountsforitsextremefragilityinallitsaspectsandalsoitsneedforaglobal
formofrepression.Inmyopinion,youwerethefirstinyourbooksandinthe
practicalspheretoteachussomethingabsolutelyfundamental:theindignityof
speakingforothers.Peridiculedrepresentationandsaiditwasfinished,butwe
failedtodrawtheconsequencesofthis"theoretical"conversiontoappreciate
thetheoreticalfactthatonlythosedirectlyconcernedcanspeakinapractical
wayontheirownbehalf.
FOUCAULT:Andwhentheprisonersbegantospeak,theypossessedan
individualtheoryofprisons,thepenalsystem,andjustice.Itisthisformof
theory
discoursewhichultimatelymatters,adiscourseagainstpower,thecounter
discourseofprisonersandthosewecalldelinquentsandnotatheoryabout
theory
delinquency.Theproblemofprisonsislocalandmarginal:notmorethan
100,000peoplepassthroughprisonsinayear.InFranceatpresent,between
300,000and400,000havebeentoprison.Yetthismarginalproblemseemsto
disturbeveryone.Iwassurprisedthatsomanywhohadnotbeentoprison
couldbecomeinterestedinitsproblems,surprisedthatallthosewhobadnever
heardthediscourseofinmatescouldsoeasilyunderstandthem.Howdowe
explainthis?Isn'titbecause,inageneralway,thepenalsystemistheformin
whichpowerismostobviouslyseenaspower?Toplacesomeoneinprison,to
confinehimtodeprivehimoffoodandheat,topreventhimfromleaving,
makinglove,etc.thisiscertainlythemostfrenziedmanifestationofpower
imaginable.TheotherdayIwasspeakingtoawomanwhobadbeeninprison
andshewassaying:"Imagine,thatattheageofforty,Iwaspunishedoneday
withamealofdrybread."Whatisstrikingaboutthisstoryisnotthe
childishnessoftheexerciseofpowerbutthecynicismwithwhichpoweris
exercisedaspower,inthemostarchaic,puerile,infantilemanner.Aschildren
welearnwhatitmeanstobereducedtobreadandwater.Prisonistheonly
placewherepowerismanifestedinitsnakedstate,initsmostexcessiveform,
andwhereitisjustifiedasmoralforce."Iamwithinmyrightstopunishyou
becauseyouknowthatitiscriminaltorobandkill......Whatisfascinating
aboutprisonsisthat,foronce,powerdoesn'thideormaskitselfitreveals
itselfastyrannypursuedintothetiniestdetailsitiscynicalandatthesame
timepureandentirely"justified,"becauseitspracticecanbetotallyformulated
withintheframeworkofmorality.Itsbrutaltyrannyconsequentlyappearsas
theserenedominationofGoodoverEvil,oforderoverdisorder.
DELEUZE:Yes,andthereverseisequallytrue.Notonlyareprisonerstreated
likechildren,butchildrenaretreatedlikeprisoners.Childrenaresubmittedto
aninfantilisationwhichisalientothem.Onthisbasis,itisundeniablethat
schoolsresembleprisonsandthatfactoriesareitsclosestapproximation.Look
attheentrancetoaRenaultplant,oranywhereelseforthatmatter:three
ticketstogetintothewashroomduringtheday.Youfoundaneighteenth
centurytextbyJeremyBenthamproposingprisonreformsinthenameofthis
exaltedreform,beestablishesacircularsystemwheretherenovatedprison
servesasamodelandwheretheindividualpassesimperceptiblyfromschool
tothefactory,fromthefactorytoprisonandviceversa.Thisistheessenceof
thereformingimpulse,ofreformedrepresentation.Onthecontrary,when
peoplebegintospeakandactontheirownbehalf,theydonotopposetheir
representation(evenasitsreversal)toanothertheydonotopposeanew
representativitytothefalserepresentativityofpower.Forexample,Iremember
yoursayingthatthereisnopopularjusticeagainstjusticethereckoningtakes
placeatanotherlevel.
FOUCAULT:Ithinkthatitisnotsimplytheideaofbetterandmoreequitable
formsofjusticethatunderliesthepeople'shatredofthejudicialsystem,of

https://libcom.org/library/intellectualspoweraconversationbetweenmichelfoucaultandgillesdeleuze

3/7

5/30/2016

Intellectualsandpower:AconversationbetweenMichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze

judges,courts,andprisons,butasidefromthisandbeforeanythingelsethe
singularperceptionthatpowerisalwaysexercisedattheexpenseofthe
people.TheantijudicialstruggleisastruggleagainstpowerandIdon'tthink
thatitisastruggleagainstinjustice,againsttheinjusticeofthejudicial
system,orastruggleforimprovingtheefficiencyofitsinstitutions.Itis
particularlystrikingthatinoutbreaksofriotingandrevoltorinseditious
movementsthejudicialsystemhasbeenascompellingatargetasthe
financialstructure,thearmy,andotherformsofpower.Myhypothesisbutitis
merelyanhypothesisisthatpopularcourts,suchasthosefoundinthe
Revolution,wereameansforthelowermiddleclass,whowerealliedwiththe
masses,tosalvageandrecapturetheinitiativeinthestruggleagainstthe
judicialsystem.Toachievethis,theyproposedacourtsystembasedonthe
possibilityofequitablejustice,whereajudgemightrenderajustverdict.The
identifiableformofthecourtoflawbelongstothebourgeoisideologyofjustice.
DELEUZE:Onthebasisofouractualsituation,poweremphaticallydevelopsa
totalorglobalvision.Thatis,allthecurrentformsofrepression(theracist
repressionofimmigrantworkers,repressioninthefactories,intheeducational
system,andthegeneralrepressionofyouth)areeasilytotalisedfromthepoint
ofviewofpower.Weshouldnotonlyseektheunityoftheseformsinthe
reactiontoMay'68,butmoreappropriately,intheconcertedpreparationand
organisationofthenearfuture,Frenchcapitalismnowreliesona"margin"of
unemploymentandhasabandonedtheliberalandpaternalmaskthatpromised
fullemployment.Inthisperspective,webegintoseetheunityoftheformsof
repression:restrictionsonimmigration,onceitisacknowledgedthatthemost
difficultandthanklessjobsgotoimmigrantworkersrepressioninthefactories,
becausetheFrenchmustreacquirethe"taste"forincreasinglyharderworkthe
struggleagainstyouthandtherepressionoftheeducationalsystem,because
policerepressionismoreactivewhenthereislessneedforyoungpeoplein
theworkforce.Awiderangeofprofessionals(teachers,psychiatrists,
educatorsofallkinds,etc.)willbecalledupontoexercisefunctionsthathave
traditionallybelongedtothepolice.Thisissomethingyoupredictedlongago,
anditwasthoughtimpossibleatthetime:thereinforcementofallthe
structuresofconfinement.Againstthisglobalpolicyofpower,weinitiate
localisedcounterresponses,skirmishes,activeandoccasionallypreventive
defences.Wehavenoneedtototalisethatwhichisinvariablytotalisedonthe
sideofpowerifweweretomoveinthisdirection,itwouldmeanrestoringthe
representativeformsofcentralismandahierarchicalstructure.Wemustsetup
lateralaffiliationsandanentiresystemofnetworksandpopularbasesand
thisisespeciallydifficult.Inanycase,wenolongerdefinerealityasa
continuationofpoliticsinthetraditionalsenseofcompetitionandthe
distributionofpower,throughthesocalledrepresentativeagenciesofthe
CommunistPartyortheGeneralWorkersUnion(6).Realityiswhatactually
happensinfactories,inschools,inbarracks,inprisons,inpolicestations.And
thisactioncarriesatypeofinformationwhichisaltogetherdifferentfromthat
foundinnewspapers(thisexplainsthekindofinformationcarriedbythe
AgencedePressLiberation(7).'
FOUCAULT:Isn'tthisdifficultyoffindingadequateformsofstrugglearesultof
thefactthatwecontinuetoignoretheproblemofpower?Afterall,wehadto
waituntilthenineteenthcenturybeforewebegantounderstandthenatureof
exploitation,andtothisday,wehaveyettofullycomprehendthenatureof
power.ItmaybethatMarxandFreudcannotsatisfyourdesirefor
understandingthisenigmaticthingwhichwecallpower,whichisatoncevisible
andinvisible,presentandhidden,ubiquitous.Theoriesofgovernmentandthe
traditionalanalysesoftheirmechanismscertainlydon'texhaustthefieldwhere
powerisexercisedandwhereitfunctions.Thequestionofpowerremainsa
totalenigma.Whoexercisespower?Andinwhatsphere?Wenowknowwith
reasonablecertaintywhoexploitsothers,whoreceivestheprofits,which
peopleareinvolved,andweknowhowthesefundsarereinvested.Butasfor
power...Weknowthatitisnotinthehandsofthosewhogovern.But,of
course,theideaofthe"rulingclass"hasneverreceivedanadequate
formulation,andneitherhaveotherterms,suchas"todominate.....torule...
..togovern,"etc.Thesenotionsarefartoofluidandrequireanalysis.We
shouldalsoinvestigatethelimitsimposedontheexerciseofpowertherelays
throughwhichitoperatesandtheextentofitsinfluenceontheoften
insignificantaspectsofthehierarchyandtheformsofcontrol,surveillance,
prohibition,andconstraint.Everywherethatpowerexists,itisbeingexercised.
Noone,strictlyspeaking,hasanofficialrighttopowerandyetitisalways
excitedinaparticulardirection,withsomepeopleononesideandsomeonthe

https://libcom.org/library/intellectualspoweraconversationbetweenmichelfoucaultandgillesdeleuze

4/7

5/30/2016

Intellectualsandpower:AconversationbetweenMichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze

other.Itisoftendifficulttosaywhoholdspowerinaprecisesense,butitis
easytoseewholackspower.Ifthereadingofyourbooks(fromNietzscheto
whatIanticipateinCapitalismandSchisophrenia(8)hasbeenessentialfor
me,itisbecausetheyseemtogoveryfarinexploringthisproblem:underthe
ancientthemeofmeaning,ofthesignifierandthesignified,etc.,youhave
developedthequestionofpower,oftheinequalityofpowersandtheir
struggles.Eachstruggledevelopsaroundaparticularsourceofpower(anyof
thecountless,tinysourcesasmalltimeboss,themanagerof"H.L.M.,"'a
prisonwarden,ajudge,aunionrepresentative,theeditorinchiefofa
newspaper).Andifpointingoutthesesourcesdenouncingandspeakingoutis
tobeapartofthestruggle,itisnotbecausetheywerepreviouslyunknown.
Rather,itisbecausetospeakonthissubject,toforcetheinstitutionalised
networksofinformationtolisten,toproducenames,topointthefingerof
accusation,tofindtargets,isthefirststepinthereversalofpowerandthe
initiationofnewstrugglesagainstexistingformsofpower.ifthediscourseof
inmatesorprisondoctorsconstitutesaformofstruggle,itisbecausethey
confiscate,atleasttemporarily,thepowertospeakonprisonconditionsat
present,theexclusivepropertyofprisonadministratorsandtheircroniesin
reformgroups.Thediscourseofstruggleisnotopposedtotheunconscious,
buttothesecretive.Itmaynotseemlikemuchbutwhatifitturnedouttobe
morethanweexpected?Awholeseriesofmisunderstandingsrelatestothings
thatare"bidden,""repressed,"and"unsaid"andtheypermitthecheap
"psychoanalysis"oftheproperobjectsofstruggle.Itisperhapsmoredifficult
tounearthasecretthantheunconscious.Thetwothemesfrequently
encounteredintherecentpast,that"writinggivesrisetorepressedelements"
andthat"writingisnecessarilyasubversiveactivity,"seemtobetrayanumber
ofoperationsthatdeservetobeseverelydenounced.
DELEUZE:Withrespecttotheproblemyouposed:itisclearwhoexploits,who
profits,andwhogoverns,butpowerneverthelessremainssomethingmore
diffuse.Iwouldventurethefollowinghypothesis:thethrustofMarxismwasto
definetheproblemessentiallyintermsofinterests(powerisheldbyaruling
classdefinedbyitsinterests).Thequestionimmediatelyarises:howisitthat
peoplewhoseinterestsarenotbeingservedcanstrictlysupporttheexisting
powerstructurebydemandingapieceoftheaction?Perhaps,thisisbecause
intermsofinvestments,whethereconomicorunconscious,interestisnotthe
finalanswerthereareinvestmentsofdesirethatfunctioninamoreprofound
anddiffusemannerthanourinterestsdictate.Butofcourse,weneverdesire
againstourinterests,becauseinterestalwaysfollowsandfindsitselfwhere
desirehasplacedit.WecannotshutoutthescreamofReich:themasses
werenotdeceivedataparticulartime,theyactuallywantedafascistregime!
Thereareinvestmentsofdesirethatmouldanddistributepower,thatmakeit
thepropertyofthepolicemanasmuchasoftheprimeministerinthiscontext,
thereisnoqualitativedifferencebetweenthepowerwieldedbythepoliceman
andtheprimeminister.Thenatureoftheseinvestmentsofdesireinasocial
groupexplainswhypoliticalpartiesorunions,whichmighthaveorshouldhave
revolutionaryinvestmentsinthenameofclassinterests,aresooftenreform
orientedorabsolutelyreactionaryonthelevelofdesire.
FOUCAULT:Asyousay,therelationshipbetweendesire,power,andinterest
aremorecomplexthanweordinarilythink,anditisnotnecessarilythosewho
exercisepowerwhohaveaninterestinitsexecutionnorisitalwayspossible
forthosewithvestedintereststoexercisepower.Moreover,thedesirefor
powerestablishesasingularrelationshipbetweenpowerandinterest.Itmay
happenthatthemasses,duringfascistperiods,desirethatcertainpeople
assumepower,peoplewithwhomtheyareunabletoidentifysincethese
individualsexertpoweragainstthemassesandattheirexpense,tothe
extremeoftheirdeath,theirsacrifice,theirmassacre.Nevertheless,they
desirethisparticularpowertheywantittobeexercised.Thisplayofdesire,
power,andinteresthasreceivedverylittleattention.Itwasalongtimebefore
webegantounderstandexploitationanddesirehashadandcontinuestohave
alonghistory.Itispossiblethatthestrugglesnowtakingplaceandthelocal,
regional,anddiscontinuoustheoriesthatderivefromthesestrugglesandthat
areindissociablefromthemstandatthethresholdofourdiscoveryofthe
mannerinwhichpowerisexercised.
DELEUZE:Inthiscontext,Imustreturntothequestion:thepresent
revolutionarymovementhascreatedmultiplecentres,andnotastheresultof
weaknessorinsufficiency,sinceacertainkindoftotalisationpertainstopower
andtheforcesofreaction.(Vietnam,forinstance,isanimpressiveexampleof

https://libcom.org/library/intellectualspoweraconversationbetweenmichelfoucaultandgillesdeleuze

5/7

5/30/2016

Intellectualsandpower:AconversationbetweenMichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze

localisedcountertactics).Butbowarewetodefinethenetworks,the
transversallinksbetweentheseactiveanddiscontinuouspoints,fromone
countrytoanotherorwithinasinglecountry?
FOUCAULT:Thequestionofgeographicaldiscontinuitywhichyouraisemight
meanthefollowing:assoonaswestruggleagainstexploitation,theproletariat
notonlyleadsthestrugglebutalsodefinesitstargets,itsmethods,andthe
placesandinstrumentsforconfrontationandtoallyoneselfwiththeproletariat
istoacceptitspositions,itsideology,anditsmotivesforcombat.Thismeans
totalidentification.Butifthefightisdirectedagainstpower,thenallthoseon
whompowerisexercisedtotheirdetriment,allwhofinditintolerable,canbegin
thestruggleontheirownterrainandonthebasisoftheirproperactivity(or
passivity).Inengaginginastrugglethatconcernstheirowninterests,whose
objectivestheyclearlyunderstandandwhosemethodsonlytheycan
determine,theyenterintoarevolutionaryprocess.Theynaturallyenteras
alliesoftheproletariat,becausepowerisexercisedthewayitisinorderto
maintaincapitalistexploitation.Theygenuinelyservethecauseofthe
proletariatbyfightinginthoseplacestheyfindthemselvesoppressed.Women,
prisoners,conscriptedsoldiers,hospitalpatients,andhomosexualshavenow
begunaspecificstruggleagainsttheparticularisedpower,theconstraintsand
controls,thatareexertedoverthem.Suchstrugglesareactuallyinvolvedin
therevolutionarymovementtothedegreethattheyareradical,
uncompromisingandnonreformist,andrefuseanyattemptatarrivingatanew
dispositionofthesamepowerwith,atbest,achangeofmasters.Andthese
movementsarelinkedtotherevolutionarymovementoftheproletariattothe
extentthattheyfightagainstthecontrolsandconstraintswhichservethe
samesystemofpower.
Inthissense,theoverallpicturepresentedbythestruggleiscertainlynotthat
ofthetotalisationyoumentionedearlier,thistheoreticaltotalisationunderthe
guiseof"truth."Thegeneralityofthestrugglespecificallyderivesfromthe
systemofpoweritself,fromalltheformsinwhichpowerisexercisedand
applied.
DELEUZE:Andwhichweareunabletoapproachinanyofitsapplications
withoutrevealingitsdiffusecharacter,sothatwearenecessarilyledonthe
basisofthemostinsignificantdemandtothedesiretoblowitupcompletely.
Everyrevolutionaryattackordefence,howeverpartial,islinkedinthiswayto
theworkers'struggle.
ThisdiscussionwasrecordedMarch4,1972anditwaspublishedinaspecial
issueofL'Arc(No.49,pp.310),dedicatedtoGillesDeleuze.Itisreprinted
herebypermissionofL'Arc.(Allfootnotessuppliedbytheeditor.)
1."Grouped'informationdeprisons":Foucault'stwomostrecentpublications
(I,PierreRiviereandSurveilleretPunir)resultfromthisassociation.
2.Cf.above"TheatrumPhilosophicum,"p.185inLanguage,CounterMemory,
Practice.
3.May1968,popularlyknownasthe"eventsofMay."
4.SeeL'Ordredudiscours,pp.4753inLanguage,CounterMemory,Practice.
5,RenePlevenwastheprimeministerofFranceintheearly1950.
6."ConfederationGeneraledeTravailleurs",GeneralConfederationofWorkers.
7.LiberationNewsAgency.
8.NietzscheetlaPhilosophie(Paris:P.U.F.,1962)andCapitalismeet
schisophrenie,vol.1,'AntiOedipus,incollaborationwithF.Guattari(Paris:
EditionsdeMinuit,1912).BothbooksarenowavailableinEnglish.
9.HabitationsLoyerModrmoderaterentalhousing."

loginorregistertopostcomments

Comments
agreatsocialnomad
Jul29201004:46
Thanksforpostingthetranslation...twoofmyfavoritepeople,hangingoutand
becomingbuddies.

loginorregistertopost
comments

https://libcom.org/library/intellectualspoweraconversationbetweenmichelfoucaultandgillesdeleuze

6/7

5/30/2016

Intellectualsandpower:AconversationbetweenMichelFoucaultandGillesDeleuze

agreatsocialnomad
Jul29201004:49
Iamalsointerestedinthewaythatthisdialoguecanaidinunderstandingthe
currentcomplacency,thedesirefornonaction,fornothavingavoice,forthe
currentgroupthatdesiresconfinementtoaroomwithateevee...theproblem
is,asintellectuals,dowe"knowbetter"therepressionofthetelemesmerized
class,theteapartiers,andsoon?andifthisistheir"true"desire,thanwhoare
wetocriticizeasthoweknowwhatisbetter?

loginorregistertopost
comments

TonySee
Mar20201201:53
Thanksforthetranslation~

loginorregistertopost
comments

Ed
Aug10201513:48
ThistextasanXtraNormalvideo..

loginorregistertopost
comments

blog

news

library

history

NaoTemporarilyinactive

TheExpropriatedBankofGrcia:One
MoreStepForwardintheStrategyof
TensionArgelaga

Situationists:readingguide

PersonalhistoriesoftheearlyCIO

OpenlettertocomradeLeninHerman
Gorter

RudolfRocker:anarchistmissionary
(18731958)W.J.Fishman

Organisingatwork:somebasic
principles

Ashorthistoryofthepolicestrikesof
19181919KenWeller

ReddebrekTheSPEWandme
AngryWorkersWorldBeyondWhiteCity
SomeSnapShotsonWestLondon
Workers'History

Russiananarchosyndicalists
commemoratetheSpanishrevolution
DemocraticautonomyinNorth
Kurdistan:Aninterviewwiththe
DemocraticSocietyCongress

libcom.org

about|donate|helpout|submittingcontent|otherlanguages|az|contactus|sitenotes

https://libcom.org/library/intellectualspoweraconversationbetweenmichelfoucaultandgillesdeleuze

7/7