Action. Intellect Day Two .Labor.

between spheres which. but of a widely shared pattern of me . depth the nation of multitude. I would like to discuss the classical division of human experience into three fundamental spheres: Labor (or poiesis). political Action (or praxis) and Intellect (or life of the mind). even during the Ford era. (political) Action and Intellect." let us not. As you will recall. So then. Action. The goal here is srill the same: to articulate and to investigate in. anthropological and ethical cluster: 'ethical. Today.p" I. ill high relief. this tripartitioning has seemed dar. multitude" is a central category of political thoughr: it is called into question here in order to explain same of the salient features of the post-Ford mode [production. beginning with the dialectic dread-safe haven. a social. VIRNO In OUI" previous seminar 1 tried to illustrate. Labor. the mode of being of the mulritude. but also a composite uniry of forms of life. The Human Condition). The multitude affirms itself. It has pUt down solid roots in the realm of common sense: it is not a question. 1 would like [0 maintain that the contemporary multitude has as irs background the crisis of the subdivision of human experience into Labor. realistic. of an undertaking which. nearly unquestionabl . as a mode of being in which there is a juxtaposition. seemed clearly distinct and separated. nor dimension of the must-be. in question here are common practices usages and customs. i only philosophical. Intellect: in the style of a tradltion which goes back ro Ari rotle and which has been revisited with particular efficacy and passion b¥ Hannah Arendt (Arendt. We do so all the condition that we understand «mode of produccion" to mean nor only aile particular economic configuration. until. very recently. and nor 'moral". or at least a hybridization. then.

and Politic remained essentiallyeLi tinct. to labor' it is rather that labor has acquired the traditional features of political action. it seemed to me as unquestionable as any immediate tactile or visual perception. this hererogeneiry did nor exclude inrersection: polirical reflection could be applied to politics. cruder and more simplistic version of these procedures and rylistic lements. I maintain that pcsr-Pordist Iabor. as a de-polit-icized multirude. This i the first a pecr of th most general form of hybridization which T would like co address. In fact. When I began to ger involved in politics. even if ina deformed and despotic manner. not between natural materials. 1 will maintain.bor and polirics-e-whereby politics does nor mean Ufe in orne local party headquarters. and willingly. and intellectual reflection constituted three spheres sup'ported by radically heterogeneous principles and criteria. to use the words of Hannah "the presence of others' (Human Condition. My reasoning is opposite and symmetrical with respect to [hat of Arendt. Incidentally. political Action i public. which was still encysted into the realm of common sense of the generation which made its appearance in the pub Iic scene in the 5 ixries. Bur. brings into play the talents and the qualifications which according to a secular tradition. Obviously. in her judgment. The pure intellect bas a solitary and inconspicuous character: [be meditation of the thinker escapes the notice of others. the context in which it operates. etc. in the Sixties 1 onsidered this ubdivision r b ornething indisputable. in turn political action was often. in a disastrous way. is exactly what has failed today. But let LIS note (hat even Hannah Arendt insisted on denouncing the collapse of the border between la. it has to do with the possible and the unforeseen. bas become a sort of fabtication of new objects: the State.rhis ancient cripartitlcning. the crisi of politics. Labor is the o~ganic exchang with nature. the beginning of new processes. today. me production of new objects. rue me . the sense of scorn surrounding political praxis today. There is already too much politics in the world of wage labor (in as much as it is wage labor) in order fOI politics as such to continue to enjoy an auconomous dignity. this explain. I maintain mat it is in the world of contemporary labor chat we find rhe "being in the presence of others. bur let us note: it follows them closely while offering a poorer. and labor have dissolved. history. The concept of political Action can be deduced by opposition with respect [0 the other rwo spheres. that the world of socalled post-Fordist labor has ab orbed into itself many of the typical characteristics of political action: and that this fusion between Politics and Labor constitutes a decisive physiognomic trait of the contemporary multi rude. So lhen. political action. consigned to exterioriry. according to Arendt. to the buzzing of che "many. V." ir involves. to contingency. I maintain that dhings have gone in the opposite direction from what Arendt seems co believe: it is not that politics bas conformed.ry context. in particular. rather. It was nor necessary to have read Aristotle's Nicomacbean Ethics to know that labor. like some superfluous duplication of rite experience of labor. Politics. inro irself certain structural characre ristics of political actio e. in the strictest sense of the word. an intimate relationship with C00tingeDCY and the unforeseen. Politics offers a network of communication and a cognidve content of a more wretched variety man what is carried our LD the current productive process. all the same.porary production helps us to understand why the post-Ford multitude might be seen. in my opinion. subordinate labor. Differently from Labor. unforeseen and the possible. has subsumed. and the constitutive famUiru'ity with contingency. political action. the disrepute into which action has fallen. theoretical reflection mutes the world of appearances. political action [lOW seems. For structural reasons." [he relationship with the presence of others. but the generically human experience of beginning something again. nourished by themes related ro the sphere of production. it modifies this ve.A c: WtMAt{ 01' nil! MUL1'lTUDF PAOLO VTRNO thought. "Action"). as numerous as the intersections were. beLng in the presence of ochers. etc. since lacter experience. 0 then. has taken to imitating labor. Differently from the Intellect. like something not very desirable at all. The politics of the twentieth century. Juxtaposition of poiesis and praxis Contemporary labor has introjecced into itself many characteristics which originally marked the experience of politics. the pnoductive labor of surplus. it does not obstruct. That is to say. political action seems. the boundaries between pure inrellecrual activity. While lesscomplex man. had more to de with. Chap. Poiesis has taken on numerous aspect of praxis. Labor. a repetitive and foreseeable process. political action. follows closely the procedures and sryliscic elements which define the current state of labor. Intellect. The sphere of politics. with ulterior motives. the political party. The inclusion of certain srruotural fearures 0£ political praxis in contern. political Action comes between social relations. labor and yet too similar to it.

etc. A virtuoso for example. or it is a. An activity which requires the presence of others: the performance [Author uses the English word here] makes sense only if it is seen or heard. This is the fmc type of inrellectual labor. passing off the production of records (excellent ones. the virtuosos. shares with virtuosity a sense ef contingency. Implicitly resuming Aristotle's idea. At a certain point Gould declared thar he wanted [0 abandon the "active tife. . the virtuoso has co rely on Witnesses." In order to avoid the public-political dimension ingrained in virtuosity. 'to pur it another way he detested public exhibi rion. Throughout his life he fa ugh r against the "pclirical dimension" intrinsic to his profession. we have praxis when the purpose' of action is found in action itself. without objectifying itself into an end product. aC#llity whiG·h requires tbe presence of ot/um. or a teacher who is never boring. He peaks of them in some of his most important writings: in his "Results of the Immediate Process of Production. which exists only in the presence of an audience. The GLenn Goulti Reader and Schneider. play-actors. GLenn Gould). An activity without an end produce: the performance of a pianist or of a dancer does not leave us with a defined object distinguishable from the performance itself. it appears here and there in modem political thoughr. crater . there i labor. J have indeed a scrong affinity with policies. without settling inno a 'finished product" or into an object which would survive the performance. or a priest who delivers a fascinating ermon. borh need a publicly organized space for their 'work.ry which finds its own fltifillmerrt (that is. by "virtuosity" 1 mean the special capabilities f a performing artist. which leaves behind extrinsic products. is the pianise wh offl!rs LL a memorable performance of Schubert. Virna add] itself is its end" (Nicomachea71 Ethics VI. Marx writes. On the other hand.skilled dancer.On virtuosity. just as acting men need the presence of others before whom they can appe:u·. utiJizillg precisely [be notion of vittuosity: we have labor when an object is produced. he sought to bring his activity as a performing artist as close as possible to the idea of labor in the strictest sense. Lacking a specific extrinsic product. "Results of the Immediate Process of Production": 1048). The category of virtuosity is discussed in the Nicomachean Ethics. In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle distinguishes labor (or poiesis) from political action (or praxis). I. he writes: "The performing arts [. Marx analyzes inrelleccual labor. nor. category: virtuosity. Between Past anti Future: 154). an object which will circulate through the world once the activity ha~ ceased. in almosridentical terrnsvin his Thearles of Surplus-vaLue. distinguishing between irs two principal types. its own purpose} in itself. Accepting. Hannah Arendt compares the performing artists.. dane rs.. and the Uke-need an audi n e [Q how their virtuosity. all virtuosity is intrinsically political. The only me .' the immediate and unavoidable presence of others. One could say that every polieical action is virtuosic. for now) the normal meaning ofthe word. Th. Even Marx peak of piani [5. Think about the case of Glenn Gould (Gould. polities. Secondly. musicians.. From Aristotle to Glenn Gould The subsumption into the labor process of what formerly guaranteed all indispurable physiognomy for public Action can be clarified by means of an ancient. On one hand there is immaterial or mental activity which "results in cornmedicies which exist separately from rhe producer [. Performing artists-dancers. Erst of all. Every political action" in fact.110 longer virtuosity." that is the act f being exposed to the eyes of others (nore: "active life" is the traditional name for politics). It is obvious that these two characteristics are inter-related: virtuosos need the pres nee of an audience preci ly beeau e they are not producing am end product.. but by no means ineffective. J books paintings and all products of art as distinct from artistic achievement f the practicing artist" (in Appendix to Capital. 1048)-those activities that is which find in themselves their own fuJfUlmenr without being objectivized into an end product which might surpass them. capable of continuing after the performance has ended. or a persuasive orator. VoL. Let us consider carefully what defines the activity of virtuosos of performing artists.. for good action [understood both as ethical conduct an as political action. 'theirs is an activi. even in the twentieth century: it even holds a small place in Marx's criticism of political economics. Where [here i an end product an autonorncus product. to chose who are engaged in political action. we need ro consider alJ those activities in which the 'product i not separable from the act of producing" (ibid. Arlstotle writes: "Por while making has an end other than itself action cannot. L1 order to make his own virtuosiry non-polinical. the absence of a "finished great pianist paradoxically. it is an.' and both depend upon others f0r the performance itself" (Arendt. On the one hand. 1140 b). This meant closing himself imide a recorcLing studio. be had to pretend that his masterly performances produced a defined object (independent of the performance itself). for tbat reason. Thi is the same distinction which Aristotle made between material production and political action. ha ed the distinctive characteristics f his activity as a perf o rmi Ilg artist. an opus which can be separated from action. by the way) as an "end product." and then.

Language is "without end product. o then if intellectual labor which produces an end product does not pose any pecial problems. or. on one . dedicationco one's goal. labor without an end product (virtuosic labor) places Marx in an embarra ing' iruarion. 'I'A010 VlltNu difference is that Marx: in thi instan e is not concern d with political action: rather. a virruoso . rh e who produce surplus-value b have-from the srruccural point of view. appropriates [he special characteristics of [he performing artist. obviously. Human verbal language.. Politics as a Vocation) Weber elaborates 01'1 a series of qualities which define the politician: knowing how [0 place The health of one's own soul in danger. but a wage is paid (example: the personal services of a butler).A GIl. Marx virtually accepts the equation work-without-end~prodllct = per onal services. In post- Fordism. etc. of the pianist. productive Labor is nor subordinate or fatiguing or menial labor. and for this reason. utterance is connected (direcrly or indirectly) co presence of others. etc. teachers. but is precisely and only chat kind of labor which produces surplus-value.") includes. produce surplus-value: the activity of the dancer." In posr-Pordism. they almost always converge iJHO the realm of servile/non-productive labor. In conclusion virtuosic labor. a not very significant exception to the quanrirative paint of view on the other hand. can be a source of profit. as Aristotle and Hannah Arendt suggest. at the same time. of course-like me pianists rhe dancers ere. in th languages of non-human animals: one need only think of bees and of the signal which they use for ceordinaring the procurement of food'. he is analyzing rwo differenr representations of what counts more." Every utterance is a virtuosic performance. as in Marx. tache productive mobilization of the cognitive faculties. even virtuosic performances can in principle. bu t. a virtuoso. One would need to reread h passages from Nicomacbean Ethics on the essential difference between poiesis (pro- me me . has its fulfillrnent in itself and does nor produce (at least nor as a rule. for the In st part one cannot speak of productive ( urplus-value) labor.). orators. etc. do not produce surplus value and thus return to the realm of non-productive labor.hand. co labor based upoo language. or. Hannah Arendt' observation OJl the activity ofthe performing anise and the politician rings clear: in order to work one needs a "publicly organized space. even if the "virruosist" workers represent. an equal balance between the ethics of convincing and the ethics of responsibility. the fundamental model of vi rruosiry the experience which is the base of [he COI1cept is the activity of the speaker. being exposed [0 the presence of others. This is nor the activity of a knowledgeable and erudite locutor. for Marx is a form of wage labor which is not. Weber's wisdom speaks to u of the qualities required today for material production. Language presupposes and. it takes on the features of "wage labor which is not productive labor. The firsr type of intellecrual labor conforms definition of "productive labor. This publicly organized space is called "cooperation" by Marx. etc. Let us try to sum diings up. more precisely.. a performing artist. at rimes mediocre or awkward. Do you remember the extremely renowned commentary of Max Weber on policies as profession? (Weber. institute nee again the publicly organized spa " whicb Arendt speaks about. One could say: at a cerrain level in me development of productive social forces. Servile labor i chat labor in which no capital is invested. To these specifically defined eype f poiesis he applies the distinction between. in any evenr. The second type of intellectual labor (activities in which "produce is not separable from the act of producing. Of course. according to Marx. butlers. Bur what about second eype? I remember in passing. if organized in a capitalistic fashion. not necessarily) an "object" independent of the-very act of having been uttered. that for Marx. thankless and frusnating as (hey are. at the same time. sense of co ntingeney. We should re-read chis [ext with reference to Toyotaism. According to Mal'x. But Marx is disturbed by the strong resemblance between the activiry of the performing artist and the servile dutie which. uch convergence is sanctioned precisely by the fact that their activity does nor give way to an independent end product: where all aunonomou finished product is tacking. a complex tome me of political actions. like the politicians. not being a pure tool or a complex of instrumental signals (these are characteristics which are inherent if anything. And this is 0 also because. Labor requires a " publicly organized space" and resembles a virtuosic performance {without end product). and this . du ct and acri viry-witho ur-end -p reduct. Witll referen e to contemporary producti 1'1.AMM:A1t Oil 'I1HE MI1I:J1lTUDF." This bifurcari D decays and faU to piece when productive labor in its totality. productive labor (Theorie5 of SurpLus-vahte: 410-41 1).In fact. labor cooperation introjecrs verbal cornrnunicarion inro irself. medical doctors priests. The speaker as performing artist Each one of us is. but of any locutor. and has always been. all those whose labor turns into a virtuosic performance: pianists. activ iry-w ith-end. Virtuosity is open to rwoalternatives: either it conceals the srrucrural characteristics of political activity (lack of an end product.

jump up. In fact. Culture industry: anticipation and paradigm Virtuosity becomes labor for masses with the. for now. above all> the analyses of Emile Benveniste (Benveniste ProbLems) on the subject of urteran e (where "utterance" is not understood to mean the content of what is uttered that "which is said. responsibilitie and roles are.enr and has become. or of a journalist. Therefore. we need co move.. There is an easy measuring stick for the worker and for [he peasant one which is quantitative: does the faceery produce 50 many pieces per hour. How does one measure the skill of a priest. In o-ther words. the an of conquering and maintaining power. ' but the interjection of a word as such. There is more to the story. hit the pavement. the dancer or the actor-can do without a script or a care. the other transforms one thing into another.ttel' 56 me Lifo]. nor transform. create dust possibly a cloud of dust and then hide inside it. whereas ordinary or derivative virtuosity. The protagonist of La vita agra. because on the line there are measured our periods of production. But the fact is that [he peasant belongs [0 the realm of primary activities and the worker to the [calm of secondary activities.. Ir is enough to say. J. Luciano Bianciardi. in short. Tertiary is what they are and what's . in Bach's "Goldberg" VaritUions lee us say). and if they do not move following that rhythm. is a distinctive..nd. La vita agra [Bi. sectors in which there is "production of communication by means of communicarion": hence. of purchasing desire. nor drive belts of rransmission. however we need to lift our feet nigh ofEthe greu. of the generic fa€luty of language: not of a pre-established [ext LIl detail. instead. communicative activity which has itselfas an end.porary production becomes "virtuosic" (and thus pelitical) precisely because it includes within itself linguistic experience as such. "virtuosic" and "political. In one remarkable page of this book. ends up becoming involved in [he budding culture industry. he is fired. Workers move quickly but if they are on the assembly line. After a brief time however. central and necessary element. 1he virtuosity of the speaker is [he prototype and apex of all other forms of virtuosiry. which can be relived over and over again. a distinguished Italian writer. that contem. If this is so. describes the splendors and miseries of the cultureindustry in Milan during the Fifties. having arrived in Milan from Grosseeo wid1 the intention of avenging recent job related deaths that took place in his cegion. in fact.rnore. [0 become a bishop. or of someone in public relations? These people neither produce from scratch. The speaker alone-unlike [he pianist. [move lowly. they are in trouble [. precisely because it includes within itself the potenrial/act relationship. presupposes a dere mined act (as. exactly for [his reason.duction) and praxis (politics) with very close CQ. Bur I will rerum to this point later.. They are neither primary nor secondary. In chis way one would establish that the differential characterisrics of praxis with respecr [0 pniesis coincide absolutely with the differential characteristics of verbal language with respect ro motility or even co non-verbal communication. They are neither instruments of production. today. ] even four times removed. of likeabiliry that these people have managed to muster up? No. ill the culture industry. as everybody knows has for a long time ceased to be the science of good govem. the very fact f speaking). at the same tune. I would dare say [. activity without an end product. The peeker's virtuosity i twofold: not only does it nor produce an end product which is distinguishable from performanee but it does not even leave behind an end product which could be actualized by means of performance.m. it is above all within the culture industry that the structure CDf wage labor has overlapped with [hat of political action. a public relations person? How can one calculate the amount of faith.. Wi. The following is a passage which. They are a lubricant. How can one evaluate a priest. he effectively illustrates what distinguishes sulrure industry from traditional industry and from agriculture. Within [he sectors where communication is produced by means of communication. at the most pure Vaseline. instead. Course) and. a journalist. J look around even when it is not abselutely necessary: In our business. onset of a culture induscry. and bang them down again on the floor noisily. the excellence of politicians is not mea57 . J And they fired me. bas unmistakable theoretical merit: "[ ." In his most important novel. or better yet. only on account of the fact that 1 drag my feet. chat is to say. The peasant moves slowly because the work is so related [0 the seasons: the peasant cannot sow in July and harvest in February. we have no other yardstick in ellis case than the one which can measure one's capacity to float above water. does the farm yield a profit? In our professions it is different there are no quantitative measuring sticks.]1JleCOOn [0 to the notion of parole in Saussure (Saussure. those who choose a tertiary or quaternary profession need skilis and aptitudes of a political kind. It is nor like being a peasant or a worker. Policies. Bur.. the act of parole makes use only of the potmtiality of language. One produces something from nothing.cbin '[he sphere of a culture industry. lr is here that the virtuoso begins to punch a timecard. and to ascend even higher. [he matrix of post-Fordism can be found in the industrial.

to communicative and creative improvisation: not in order to favor human creativity.. We should ask ourselves what role the culture industry assumed with relation to overcoming the F01'd !Taylor model. I should clarify: in the culture industry (as is the case after all. the conveyer belt. To clarify) let I!lS return. non programmed. to the unexpected. What counred wa the general Fordization of the culture industry. teday in the post-Ford era for industry in general) the finished products which can be sold at the end of the productive process are surely nor scarce. Where an extrinsic "end product" is lacking. since there is 1%0 visible production of goods to function as It measuring stick the criterion will be the same" (Bianciardi. the abrupt diversion [hat can enliven a television program (in general. In many ways. forme Frankfurt School. the dominant symbol of automobile factories. The informality of communicative behavior. in the pose-Ford era. one can grasp early signs of a mode of production which later. In the Dialectic ofE12lighten:ment (Adorno and Horckheimer: 120-167) the author maintain. one which was open to the unforeseen spark. but ill order [Q achieve satisfactory levels of corporate productivity. in the pose-Ford era. for a moment. this has now become the rule. Tills is [IUe not only for our contemporary culture industry. The crucial poinr is. La 1}ita agra: 129-32. it is at best superficial to reduce politics to a pure and sunple overthrowing of power. [0 the "unplanned") were. this critical approach allowed. but anticipatory omens. though. becomes generalized and elevated to the rank of canon. to the critique of the communication industry leveled by the thinkers of the Frankfurt chool. way. there lies me ground for political action. [hat while the material pro· duction of objects is delegated to an automated SYSCeD1 of machines the services rendered by UV1Jlg labor. Evidencly. If Bianciardi was discussing labor organized by a nexus between (virtuosic) activity-without-end-product and political attitudes as a marginal aberration. J In the same way in the tertiary and quaternary profes Ions..) also conform to Fordisr criteria of serialization and parcelization. These were not remnants. exemplary and perva ive. these aspects were nothing but un-influenrial remnants. Now. in fact. In the culture industry that is to say. be links this dimension to the fact char in the culrure industry there is no production of labor independent from activity itself. that the "fa toties of the soul" (publishing. this intuition recalls and rehashes Arendt's thesis on the similarity between virtuosos and politicians. from OUT present perspective. remains of the past. waste. the econometrics of feelings: these are the recurrent I'ifrains. we should linger a while on the concept of "spectacle" and "society of the ipecracle. loaded with future possibilities. a typical nrair of the entire realm of social production. seems to assern itself Capitalism-this is thesis-shows that it can mechanize and parcelize even irs spiritual production exactly as it has done with agriculture and the processing of metals. television erc. bur also for Fiat U1 Melfi. Has the very thing that once upon a rime anticipated the post-Ford turning point become entirely unfolded? In order (Q answer chis question. for the C011tU1Uarion of some elements which resi r a complete assimilation (0 the Fordisr organization of the labor process.J believe therefore. I believe rhae it f ne-tuned the paradigm of pas t-Pordis r production on the whole . after all. Moreover. of workers who in order to work. that the mode of action of the culture industry became. roughly. and rhi is crucial. rely on generically "political" skills).' though itself rather vague. inerna radio.sured according to the good that they manage (Q do for other . everything which it would have been dysfunccional to rigidify and regulate beyond a certain threshold) has become now.. a multitude of virtuosos. the competitive interaction typical of a meeting. However. provides a useful rool for deciphering some aspecrs of [be post-Ford multitude (which is. in the peculiar case of the culture industry. Within eh culture industry even in it archaic incarnation examined by Benjamin and Adorno. if anything is what specific role is carried our today by the communication industry. ie was therefore necessary to maintain a certain space that was informal.Tn its own. as well as Marx's notations about labor which does not have a separate end product" as its goaL Bianciardi underscores the emerging "political dimension' of labor within the culrure industry. Bianciardi's analysis is dearly dated. the passage which I have JUSt read shows exceptional intuition. ic seems to me. In those factorie also. S9 me me 8 . C ." Language on the stage I believe that the notion of "spectacle. from a certain point on. Serializarion. insignificance of individualtasks. that it is not difficult [Q recognize that ehese purported remnants (with a certain space granted to the informal.. naturally. The inrermingling of virtuosiry.bur is based on the swiftness with which they get to me rap and on the amount of time they last there. But. politics and tabor has extended everywhere. In spit of chis. What i left to question. instead resemble linguistic-virtuosic services mote and more. since it presents the functions of the culture industry as a marginal and outlandish exception to the rule. ince all industrial sectors are inspired by its model. Virno's italics [note: English translation from the original Italian by the rranslarorsj).

" coined in the Sixties byrhe Situaeionisrs. special and problematic case (one need only is an equivalent. in its potential. According to Guy Debord "spectacle" is human communication which has become a commodity. all industrial sectors. the core of the issue is not a rancorous objection ro consumer society (which is always slightly suspect. . which measures the result afa' productive process. manufactured by the State Mim. conspicuous part of (he so-called "means of production" consists of techniques and communicative procedures. imagination.rneans of cernmunication. with its intrinsic political dimension. isa truly theoretical concept. nor only characterizes the cu Iture ind us try b ut the to tali ty 0 f 'con cern porary social production . ln some ways. from a certain poinron. as in the case of Pasolini. On the other hand. As we can see. in this regard. On the other hand. What is delivered through thespectacle i. Human communicarion. irs eorallry.. in a situation in which the means of production are not reducible to machines hut consist of lingulstlc-cogn . organizacion of labor in (he post-Ford era. We must conclude.human ability to communicate.tces themselves of society as mey overlap. the productive process in fieri. chen the spectacle. experiments with) communicative procedures. But it also has a second nature: . with its specific techniques. it is legitimate to assume that a. though without a doubt an attractive one. to [be industry as a whole. which are then destined to function. etc. Traditionally. once POS[Fordism has become fully entrenched: an industry of the . to labor's past.. Now. does have a double nature which is different from that of money.The concept of "specrade. in ever-greater measure. This comparison. of all other commodities. which is human communicative capac~ . productive communication. the spectacle exposes in a separate form that which the aggregate of sociery can be and do . the so-called culture industry. knowledge. hecomesthe prototype of all wage labor. the culture industry) is an industry among others. thus showing whac society has already pr0~ duced. or even yet.. with. the "real abstraction" which paruays labor in Jrself the present tense of labor. pertaining. also as means of production in the mote rraditional sectors of our comemporary economy. the mast relevant productive forces of society. but also. are the productive fa. But different in what way? My hypothesis is rhae the communication industry (or rather." (Debord.sprecisely . a unit of measurement.: on the other hand. that of bemoaning the blessed cohabitation between low levels of consumerism and pellagra). the risk being. While money mirrors in me itself the value of co mmodl ties. of the double nature of money .. that the spectacle. instead. for an ever increasing numbers of professional tasks. i£ not in the. the industry of the means of production isthe Induseryehar produces machinery and other instruments to be used in the 100M varied sectors of production. so 1:0 speak.ity tumed inrocommodiry. erc. nor foreign to the tenet of Marxian a. one which has been concluded. In the spectacle we £LOdexhib~ ired. Iinguisrio-communicative competencies and with the general intellect. instead. One could say that in the. accordinges Debordthe spectacle is. If money spearheads exchange. at the same on which every contemporary work process must draw: linguistic competence. If money is the 'real abstraction" ([0 use a classic Marxian expression) which refers back to finished labor.rgu~ mentation. the quintessence ofthe mode of production In its entirety. its peculiar profits. spectacle concerns. the spectacle has a douhle natttre: a specific product of a particular industry. the fulfillment of an action is 60 . Thus. Unlike money. accordlng co Debord. endowed of a metallic or paper form. Marx's uncertainties). This is where the problem lies. spearheads. is incorrect. On one hand. The double nature of the spectacle is reminlscent. verbalIanguage as such. the spectacle. Let me repeat a point I made before: chis does not mean that car dashboards are no longer produced but that. This IS the role of the communieadon industry.jn a separateand fetishized form. human communicarion is also an essential ingredienr of productive cooperation in general. in the pest-Ford era.specracle isthe specific productof a specific industry. Money is particular and universal at ehe same rime: spectacle is particular and universal at the same time. Thesis 15) What presentsrhe spectacle. However. in fact. instead. its particular procedures. human communication which has become a eommodiry.. money is a commediryarrrong others. culture Industry? The culture industry produces (regenerates.tive competencies i inseparable from living labor. it is a commodity which concerns. those productive fon. then. co poiesis in. previously B. not outfitred with special qualities or prerogatives. in its unfolding. Debord writes that the spectacle is "the general gloss onthe rationaliry of the system. as spectacle is a commodiryamong others. where are these techniques and procedures created. reveals what Women and men can do. if anything. activity without an end product. ibid.As you know. it also plays the role of industry of the means of prOd1Jction. something that goes beyond the domain of its own sphere. in Rome. The spectacle. Virtuosity in the workplace Virtuosity. thus it is the reigning productive force.

the orator has at the least some notes to refer co. when he writes that with the advent of large. the local party headquarters-we can say that some diseinguishing traits of the human animal. knowing it was happening. refining. I am going to try to explain this better by means of a comparison. According to Marx the score of modern virtu(i)SOS is the general intellect. all performing artists can count on a score." One could say that the heraldic motto of post-Fordism is. But when virtuosity applies ro the totality of social Jabot. with regards to cooperation: it is not same thing iJ workers are coordinated de facro by the engineer or if they are asked to invent and produce new cooperative procedures. mat labor corresponds more and more co "a supervisory and regulatory activiry" (ihid. abstract thought which has become a pillar of social production.inrerual co action itself (char is. which is so complex and subtle in Marx. taking an extra break.." Thar is [0 say: when workers found a way to execute their labor with less dort. instead of being one ofits component. the capac. In other words: the tasks of a worker or of a clerk no longer involve the completion of a single particular assignment. There is. for the presence of ochers-all things that the preceding geneTatian was trying out within." solutions which ameliorate the organization of labor. if not a request to surrender to production a taste for action. A situation of this kind is foreshadowed by Marx himself in the Grundrisss. but radicalizes. one resource of capitalistic enterprise bas been the so-called "misappropriation of workers' how haw. things which are put in relation co one another by the engineer or byrne factory foreman: cooperation. it does nor consist of giving rise co an in dependen t semi -1abor) . ill the latter case. task. "tool box. ill my opinion. labor activities display a marked linguistic-communicative quali-ty. reduced ro wage labor." Afrer all. workers' knowledge is not used on [he sly bur it is requested explicitly: that is to say. rightfully.. the act of cooperating. auromated industry and the intensive and systematic application of the narural sciences to the productive process. productive cooperation is a 'publicly organized space. it has no relevance co the way in which individual workers function. transcends individual acriviry. their own communicative faculty. the actor is more or less faithful to a preliminary script. we must consider also a 'subjective" norion of cooperation: it materializes when a conspicuous portion of individual work consists of developing. can be thought ofin two different ways. first of all. then che question to ask is this: what is the score which [he virtuoso -workers perform? What is the script of their Linguistic-communicative performances? The pianist performs a Chopin waltz.i 0/ to face the possible and the unforeseen. insnead. in this case. When "subjective" cooperation becomes the primary productive force.session of a language. specific. which ene is the proper score? From my perspective. above all the possession of a language. linguistic integration. The same change takes place in fact. but the changing and intensifying of social cooperation. Nobody is as poor as IDose who see their own relation to the presence of others. Marx adds. in discovering expedients. the anninornies of economic-social capitalistic formation. that is to say. The inclusion of the very anthropogenesis in the existing mode of production is an extreme event. their own pO. Instead of remaining inthe background. a significant change rakes place when the cask ofthe worker or of the clerk to some extent consists in actually fincling. From beginning. Policies (in the broad sense) becomes productive force. intellect as generic human faculty. are subsumed within capitalistic production. The rnonclogical feature of labor dies away: [he .. the corporate hierarchy rook advantage of this minimal victory. "tricks. r maintain without roo many reservations that rile score performed by the multitude in the pesr-Ford era is the Intellect. Where labor moves to the side of d1C immediate productive process." This "publicly organized space"-intcrjected into the labor process-e-molailizes attitudes which are traditionally political. it becomes one of the stipulated working assignments. n t something accessory. The concept of social cooperation. Secondly however. This event does nor assuage..r: larionship with other is a driving. basic element. the general intellect of society. Forget the Heideggerian chatter about the "technical era" . This placing of labor activity "to the side" of the immediate process of production indicates. an "objective" meaning: each individual does different. the capaci ry to coramunicare something n. comes [Q the very foreground. etc. "politics above all.ew? When hired labor involves the desire for action for a relational capacity. and intensifying cooperation itself With posr-Fordism the second definition of cooperation prevails. labor activity moves "to the side of the production process instead of being its chief actor" (Grzmdrisse: 705). in order co modify the organization of labor. Please allow me to digress. 709). Intellect as score Ifthe entirety of posc-Fordist labor is productive (of surplus-value) labor precisely because it functions in a political-virtuosic manner. We thus go back to a 6 me 62 . [hey me me entail the presence of others. what else could the discourse of "total quality" mean.

a certain dissatisfaction arises with relation to Marx's fonnulanion . nature and in materials on the other"(CapitaL. the exchange of equivalencies) which exhibits the sophisticated structure of pure thought. is a real abstraction.) which we considered during the first day. where cooperation is truly a specific "product" of the activity of labor. above all. in fact. LInder the gui e of epistemic paradigms dialogical performances. and then. political life and labor) begins precisely when the Intellect. Th difficulty deriv &om the faCt that Marx conceives the "general intellect' as a scientific objectified capacity as a YSt m of machines. nh machine ystem. One could say: only then. It is certainly not legitimate as Iong as the activity of labor bas irs core in communicative performance. The general intellect manifests itself today. In the fifth chapter of the first book of the CapitaL. political act jon). In other words." which is avery beautiful expression also from a philoscphical point of view. the concept of general intellect does nothing bur advance. when be makes use of the expression "real abstraction.manifesrs itself in the direct activity of human Labor. preci ely because a consi tent portion of chi intellecc is not channeled in.real abstractions. in the broad sense. Above all. exists as artribure . If LD the case of abstract thought it is the empirical fact (for example. in relation with ones pu bliIe. I believe that [he hybridization between the different spheres (pure thcught. Up to this point we have discussed the juxtaposition berween Labor and Politics. The poliricization of work (that is. while remaining on this very general (almost anthropological) level. however. it is necessary that a part of the general intellect nor congeal as fixed capital but unfold in communicative interaction. can the activity of labor absorb into itself many of the characteristics which had previously belonged to the phere of political action. Only then does labor assume a virtuosic (or communicative) semblance. refined by those who cooperate. 1 . cine immediately acquire the value of material facts. It is impossible. Inrelleot.n The concept of cooperation comprises in itself. This idea.. one of the cardinal principles of human thoughc the idea ofequivalency. public intellect is one and the same a cooperation. With the term general intellect Marx indicates the stage in which certain realities (for instance. which is in itself utterly abstract. thi aspect of the "general inrellecr" matters. is where the problems arise. and. if you wish. "comrnenplaces. 1 Here. the acting in concert of human labor. a public disposition. It seems legitimate CO maintain that. abstraction. . but . in themselves. cast in iron) into the system of machines. bur rather it is our thoughts. becomes public. one's relation with other worker.00 longer have the value and validity of a thought. We should consider the dimension where the general intellect instead of being incarnated (0r rather. the subsumption into the sphere of labor of what had hitherto belonged to political action) occurs precisely when thought becomes the primarysource of rhe production of wealth. In this chapter Marx describe the labor process as a natural process of organic renewal between humans and nature. therefore have to present the worker in Ius relationship with other workers. thus in abstract and general terms without paying attention to historical-social relations. as principal productive force. even jingles inside a wallet. according to the very logic of economic development. the third facet of human experience comes into play. By general intellect Marx means science. for instance. when he dlscusses "general intellect. excessively. public inrellecr. On the ocher hand. Or. Obviously. Nonetheless. It is the' score" which is always performed. Money. a coin) ." erc. above aU. 1 We did not. is purposeful activity aimed :u the production of use-values [. to trace the process of labor without presenting. as the communication. to expUl'gare from the concept oflabor [he interactive aspect. makes real. bur it is uot everything. only when it has linguistic intellect as its barycenter. elaborated. Volume 1: 290). the know-how on which social productivity relies by now. thus it colors itself with political" hues. however. Thought ceases ro be an invisible activity and becomes something exterior. we should ask whether ir is legitimate. something which is promoted. On two different occasions. in its linguistic cooperation.of living labor. knowledge in general." Money. Marx attributes to thought an exterior character. then. The general intellect is the stage at which mental abstractions are immediately. self-reflection of living subjects. it was enough to presenr man and his labour on one side. as we have just presented it in its simple and abstract demerits. "public. or. over and again. A thought becoming a thing: here is what a real abstraction is. Marx writes: "The labour process." as it breaks into the productive process. lingui tic games. The general intellect demands virtuosic action (that is. Now. in the case of general intellea the relation is overturned: now it is OUI rhoughts which present themselves with the weight and incidence typical of facrs. fuJly the communicative capacity of human beings. the notion of real absrraction. bythe workers-virtuosos. as such. embodies.theme (geru:raLintelLect. acquires a concrete existence. the communicative competence of 64 65 . if we wish to employ again me category of vintuosiry. from nhe beginning the worker in relation with other workers. That IS true.

at th same time totally heterogeneous. Its hererogenei. is the heart of "srateness" ["statualita"J: but this is so. we must acknowledge the achieved statizarion LstatiuaziQne] of the intellect which bas occurred. the pur fa ulry rhcughc. In short. (political) Action and Inrellecr.rtrative ttppa7'tl. admini trative apparatus). irs typical publicness is also inhibited and distorted. that is." a locutor (any . as a perpecuaricn of wage labor. from the preliminary sharing of communicative and cognitive abilities. It is useful to add that the relation between "score" and virtuosic performance i regulated by the norms of capitalistic enterprise.locutor) articulates determined acts of speech: so then the faculty of Ianguage is the opposite of a determined script. we must observe however char OJ] e ir bas been linked no wag labor. as possible root of political Action. The general inteLLect is the foundanion of a social cooperation broader uhan rhat cooperation which is specifically related to labor. can not take for granted a determined md pl'o. deprived of i[S own true expression by mat very Labor which ar [he same time reclaims it as productive power. of surplus-value. "While the connections of the productive process are based on a technical and hierarchical division of task. Putting to work (and [0 profit) the most generic communicative and cognitive faculties of the human animal bas a historical index. The general intellect manifests itself. [he point of fu i n between knowledge and control. Reason '0£ State and Exit At this poinr we can sketch SOme of the consequences of the hybridization between Labor. and n. however.The intellect. a historically determined form. place itself at the crossroads between these two meanings of "public intellect. with pure and simple potential." the preeminence of the decree with respect to the law: here.lty of thin king. of an end product in its most proper and restricted sen e. The Intellecc becomes publi as soon as it links itself t labor. The administration. based on [he premise of a scriptthar coincides wid.r. Here it is useful co go back to the example of [he speaker which we have already examined. as a pillar of the production. an important point I have made before. manifests Itself indirectly within (he sphere of the State by way of a hypel·tmphic growth of the admini. pure and simple dynn.mi.") I would like to go back to. While the virtuo a in the tricte t sen e ef the word (the pianist. The old expression "reason of Stare" acquires for the first time a non-metaphorical significance.ry has neither voice nor visibility. The "general intellect" is nothing but the iniellec: in general. of an end product with these or those unmistakable characteristics. because the admini tration repre ents an authoritarian coalescence of the generaL intellect. Virtuosity for the post-Fordist multitude is one and the same as the virtuosity of [he speaker: virtuosity wiuhout a script. the posr-Fordisr vi1"cUOSO"performing" their own linguistic faculties. for in tance) makes use of a well defined score that is to say. in fact. but the facu. However cooperation in excess of the Intellecr. we no longer faGe the well-known processes of ranonalization of me State. 011 the contrary. Hobbes saw the principle of legitimization of absolute power in the transfi'r of the natural right of each single individual [Q the person >I 66 67 . the acting in concert beyond labor which it brings about: is in turn subsumed into the criteria and hierarchies which haracterize the regime of the factory. OJl the contrary. the acting in cone rt which. With the infinite potential of aile' own linguistic facility as the caly "score. as a hierarchical system. potential as such. the inverted image of exces cooperation. The intellect in our previous meeting was seen as an apotropaic resource.realizations. The fust pertains (Q the nature and form of political power. It is important to consider both of these concepts together: the contemporary multitude with its forms of life and irs linguistic games. (We should notice rhe difference in approach between coday' lecture and that of OUI previou erninar: what raday we are callingthe "score" of the virtuoso. We go back co one of the themes addressed during the first day of our seminar. 1 would Like co indicate a n~w threshold. here lies the "score" which is always and again performed by the pest-Fordist virtuosos. or rather. Consequences which occur both on the level of production and wirhin the public pbere ( tare. and ernpha ize here.duct. General intellect should not necessarily mean the aggregate of die knowledge acquired by [he species. th dancer. There are two principal c n equeoces of this paradoxical situation . the simple fact of having-alanguage: let us tepear. as shelter against the indeterminate hazards of the worldly context. Figures as its most eminent resource. This publicness is evoked over and over again in irs role as productive force. and it i uppressed over and over again in its role as pztbtz'c sphere (ill the proper sense of the term). hinges upOJ] the general intellect moves from common participation to "life of the mind. today.o longer the polirical-pacliamen rary system. The peculiar publicness of the In rellecr. Broader and. It is true that people have noticed for years the increasing and determining weigbt of bureaucracy within [he "body politic. instead of annulling the co-actions of capitalistic production.tus. since the appearance of the Intellect becomes the technical prerequisite of Labor. as a diJferem constitutional principle. nor irs countless particular .

It is a "publicness"-as wehave already observed during rhe firH day of our seminar-totally beterogeneoLLs with respect to that which. Hobbes maintains that the initial bond of obedience derives from "Lawes of nature. On the ouher hand. [he nullifying function of the "presence of orbed! in all concrete operations of production rakesthe f~[rn of personal dependence." that is from. the general intellect asserts itself as an autonomous public sphere only if the juncture char ties it 0 the production of goods and wage labor is severed." erc. confirmation in the epoch in which all wage labor has omething in common wirh the "performing artist. L t us digress for a moment in order to understand this betrer. XIV. that which tates' chou shale nor rebeU") would have no validity whatsoever. "by the unity of the body politic. the subversion of capitalistic relations of production can manifest itself at this point. reluctance would signal only a deeper loyalry to state control. a real para- 68 69 . a public sphere. On one hand. Conversely. The salient traits of posr-Fordisr experience ( rvile virtuosiry. it is encapsulated." we force ourselves to obey before we ev n know what we wiU be ordered to do: "our obligation to civil obedience. we should talk about a transfer of the Intellecr. "Civil disobedience" represents. All we can do is ro point to the LogicaL jol'm of ornething [hat: i still lacking a solid empirical experience. The affinity between a pianist and a waiter." which manifests itself today as an eminent productive resource. as a form of conAictual retaliation. me I I me The nan-state run pttblic sphere is a public sphere which conforms to the way of being of the multitude. between which. For this reason we shall not find a particular Jaw which explicitly dictates that people hould not revolt. provided that the multitude is emancipared from the liberal tradition within which. the Intellect (the general i12tetlect) and (wage) Labor. that is to a thick net of hierarchical relations. he quickly adds mar this "natural law. effectively becomes law only when we have left the state of narur . exploitation of the very faculty of language un ailing relation to the "presence of others. the fundamental form of political action of the multirude. which Marx." [he uper-law which compel people [0 observe all of [he orders of the sovereign. The crucial question goes like this: is It possible to split that which today is united. Since [he "publicly organized space" opened up by the Intellect is constantly reduced to labor cooperation. It benefits from the "publicness" of langllagelthought. had foreseen. According to Hobbes. above all the relation 0.) postulate. perhaps. When "the product is inseparable from rhe ace of producing. that is. hypothetically. for example to the constitutional charter. the radical disobedience which concerns us here casts doubt on the tate's actual ability to control. finds an unexpected. It is not a matter of ignoring a specific law because it appears incoherent or contradictory to other fundam mal norms. the inrellecr and language. that is. into a political community). How is non-servile virtuosity possible? How do we move. of political action based on the generaL intellect? We must: tread this terrain carefully. in principle.of [be sovereign: now. by vertue whereof the civi!l Lawes are valid is before a1J civil! Lawe" (De Ci1)(/. shared character of the Intellect in the guise of a score for the Vll'tUOSOS. of its immediate and irreducible publicness t state administrarion. because such community does nor translate into a public sphere (that is ro say. virtuosic activity shows itself as univer al servile work. Chap. I am proposing tWO key-terms: civil disobedience and exit. only with [he insrirurion of a non-state nmpubiic sphere. The second consequence pertains to the prevailing narure of the posrFordist regime. Section XXI). in fact. In other words. renders the impersonal. This rnarrer shows tWO distinct profiles. but is also induces a viscous personalization of subjection. the concrete legislative presupposi~ tions (including obviously. with the institution of the "body politic. In such 'easel in fact. or ramer." This "publicness. of the extrinsic conspicuous.[ this personhood to thar of the one who has commissioned the work or fer whom it is being done. however there exists strongest complementary bond. It is just that the very labor which produces the surplus-value is whar rakes on the appearance of servile labor. in opposition to it. Still. Purring to work that which is common." this act call inro question the personhood of [he ODe who performs the work and. nothing less than a radically new form of democracy. of a political community that hinges on the generaL intelLect. a common interest in elf-pre ervation and security. thus when the tate has already been instituted. If the unconditional acceptance of rhe controlling power were nat already pl'empposet/. is instituted by state sovereignry or to qUQte Hobbes. and to unite that which today is divided. technical division of tasks fictitious. from a servile virtuosity to a "republican" virtuosity (understanding "republic of the multitude" to mean a sphere of common affairs which is no longer state-run)? How do we conceive. T'hu . on the other hand. that is Intellect and poli ical Action? Is it possible to move from the "ancient alliance) of Ineellect/Labor to a "new alliance' of Inrelleer/polirical Action? Rescuing political action from its current paralysi js n different from developing the publicness of the Intellect outside the realrn of wage Labor. can become a consticutional principle.

dox cakes shape: [he duty to obey is both the cause and the effect of [be existence of the State' this duty is supported.round of disobedience does nor lie exclusively in the social conflicrs which express protest. Defecricn modifies the conditions within which the struggle takes place. Something similar took place in the late Seventies in Italy when. mat these are only allusions to what the true the power of state administration.political resource." By breaking a particular law meant for dismantling socialized medicine €It for stopping immigration. and above all. all pre upposed by [he publicness of the gerumd intellect. Hirschman has explained [Hirschman. N thing is less passive than the acr of Heeing. rather than fa log thi problem by opting for one or the other of the provided alternatives. giving rise [Q eclipse of industrial discipline and allowing for the establishing of a certain degree of self-determinacion. challenging all expecrarions." So then. exit hinges on a latent kind of wealth. the development of a "supreme empire. professional mobility functioned as a. obviously. DefeeIlion allows for a dramatic. it modifies the context within which a problem has arisen." bur the surplus of knowledge. it precedes and Follows.pon ir for the constirurion of irs own foundation. in short. or defection is the polar opposite of the desperate cry "there is nothing to lose but one' own chains:' on the contrary. Radical disobedience also "precedes civil Jaws. exit. virtuosic acting in concert. carried our by American workers in the middle of the nineteenth cenrury. and affirmative expression of this surplus' and in [his way it impedes the "transfer" of this surplus til. the young laborpower. at the same rime. they seized upon the opportunity [0 reverse their own initial condition. chose temporary and pare-time work €Iver full-time employmeur in big corporations. but. Though it lasted only for a brief period. however. But for the comemporary multitude. me 70 71 . impedes its configuration as productive resource of the capitallstic enterprise. While remembering whar was discussed on this subject during the first day of our seminar. in chose which express defection (as Albert O. It is clear.f. which i the foundarion oldy of the gloomy dialectic between acq uiescence and "transgression. is U0t a spatial "Irontier. By venturing inro the "frontier" to colonize inexpensive land. what is crus virtual abundance which presses for the Hee-opci n at the expense of the resistance-option? What i at stake. cornmunication. on th principle 0£ the tertium dat'l. and nor servile. rather than presupposing those conditions to be an unalterable horizon. by the very State which depends u. Exit]: not as uaice but as ex. Exit. the multitude aims precisely at rhis preliminary form of obedience without content. the multitude goes back to the covert presupposition hidden behind every act of mandating law and [runts its ability to remain ill force.r. on an exuberance 0f possibilities." since it is nor limited to the breaking of these laws bur also calls inca question the very foundation of their validity And now let us move on melle econd key word: exit. L1 short exit consists of unrestrained invention which alters the rules of [he game and throws the adversary completely off balance. we need only think of the mass exodus From the regime of [he factory. of exiting. Disobedience. The breeding g. virtuosity of the multitude could be.

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