2 Minor politics: The Style of Cramped Creation

Minor politics

The styles of cramped creation

we are not interested in characteristics; what interests as are modes of expansion, propagation, occupation, contagion, peopling.

(ATP: 239)

hold to the Particular as an innovative form.

(ATP: 471; emphasis changed)

Deleuze's task is to develop a politics adequate to the complexity of life, a politics that can make the human worthy of the material universe of infinite interaction. This is not the same thing as a simple affirmation of chaos. Deleuze is misrepresented as a theorist of abstract and general becoming, or pure deterritorialization. Politics is primarily a process of (minor) difference against (molar) identity, but one does not easily leave identity behind, and the composition of territory is a necessity for life. As I showed in Chapter 1, the minor and the molar exist in continuous interrelation as two tendencies in matter. Politics exists, in its most general sense, to amplify minor processes. But it only does this through a continual engagement with molar stratifications and specific socio-historical relations, and in the intricate composition of ways of life. In this engagement and composition politics is, to say the least, a complicated process. This chapter seeks to explore the techniques and styles of this process - the modes of composition of minor politics.

The chapter starts by marking the socio-historical emergence of the possibility for minor politics on the condition that 'the people are missing' (Deleuze 1989: 216). It shows that politics begins with the experience of small peoples or minorities who exist in 'cramped spaces' fully traversed by social forces, such that the first principle of the minor is not identity but creation. After exploring this general situation the chapter considers the problematic of 'deterritorialization' to show how the minor is a continual process of engagement with molar regimes, rather than an autonomous political space. The way that the 'particular' and the 'social' are treated in minor composition is then considered in detail. In this section the concepts of 'inclusive disjunction' (to show how a milieu emerges of continual experimentation and reconfiguration within and against each 'particular' situation or identity) and the primacy of social 'lines of flight' (such that the minor has affinities with the 'proletariat') are brought out. After a discussion of the minor author-function and Marx's own minor authorial aspect the chapter considers Guattari's analysis of groups and Deleuze's relation to Marx's understanding of the party. Because of the resonance between Foucault's and Deleuze's work, and the prominence of Foucault's model of 'resistance' in contemporary political discussion, the chapter ends with a consideration of Deleuze's critique of Foucault's model of resistance. It is important to stress that the minor politics developed here describe abstract techniques. In concrete practice the manifestation of minor politics is necessarily immanent to the contours of each particular situation. In order not to get too abstract, however, each section employs literary or political events to exemplify the particular point. In subsequent chapters, aspects of minor politics will be seen in operation in more concrete fields.

The people are missing

Minor politics begins with the founding condition that, as Deleuze (1989: 216) puts it, 'the people are missing'. Deleuze and Guattari's privileged figure for this diagnosis, and its political elaboration, is Kafka, and this chapter is centred around Deleuze and Guattari's engagement with Kafka. But before pursuing this engagement, it is useful to situate the minor condition in historical perspective. For Deleuze (1997b), the two great historical models of 'the people' are the American 'new world man' and the Soviet 'proletariat'. In these figures there is a mutual and intermingling messianism of a wholly 'new man' without fathers and without particularity: for one, this is a 'society of brothers' composed through a universal immigration (without the European trappings of nation, family, heritage), and for the other, it is a 'society of comrades' composed through a universal proletarianization (without property, family, nation).1 In discussing the forms of composition of these models of the people, Deleuze (1989: 216) shows how they find expression in Soviet and American cinema. In Eisenstein, for example, we see the people coming to unanimity through the twists and turns of class struggle as the vanguard of change against the tsar (Ivan the Terrible), and against the bosses and their lackeys (Strike). In American cinema it is in the struggle against economic crisis, moral prejudice, profiteers and demagogues that the people exist (as evident in the Westerns of Capra and Ford).

These models, these people, were not, however, to last "” 'universal emigration was no more successful than universal proletarization' "” and, with the 'birth of a nation' (signalled by the Civil War) and Lenin's liquidation of the Soviets, the fathers came 'galloping back in' (Deleuze 1997b: 88). At least in the discussion of the American people Deleuze seems to have a slight lapse of historical memory: primary drop-out communities aside (cf. Sakolsky and Koehnline 1993; Linebaugh and Rediker 2000), the model of the people in American universal immigration was tainted from the start inasmuch as it was constituted on the absolute denial that the indigenous population formed a people.2 Nevertheless, the important point is chat from the failures of the American and Soviet experiments "” and the final spectacular confirmation of the failure of this model in the form of the people constituted in Stalinism and Hitlerism "” the model of the people is increasingly recognized as being dead. For Deleuze, this recognition is first made in the 'third world' experience of colonialism, 'where oppressed and exploited nations remained in a state of perpetual minorities, in a collective identity crisis' (Deleuze 1989: 217). Colonized nations, of course, were infused with the model of the people "” both that of the external 'civilizing' process and of the internal popular myths made functional to colonial regimes - but, Deleuze suggests, it was more clearly apparent that these were subjugating figures, and reflected little of the teal political potential and hope of the colonized. This recognition manifests itself in the emergence of a modern cinema which breaks with the representation of the people, and begins the process of invention on the condition that the people are missing. In the case of 1970s black cinema, for example,

instead of replacing a negative image of the black with a positive one, [it] multiplies types and 'characters', and each time creates or re-creates only a small part of the image which no longer corresponds to a linkage of actions, but to shattered states of emotions or drives, expressible in pure images and sounds.

(Deleuze 1989: 220)

That the people are missing, then, is not a lament. Rather, it is an assertion that the socio-political figure of the people is at best redundant, and at worst in itself the closure of politics (and dangerously so, in so far as the model of the people can become so easily functional to the parcelling out of complex desiring relations around identitarian attractors, most notably of 'race' and 'nation'; cf. AÅ’, esp. Ch. 2). For Deleuze, both the social democratic model of the 'citizen' and the orthodox Marxist model of 'becoming conscious' are hence over.3 Politics thus becomes a process not of the representation of the people, but of the invention of a 'new world and a people to come'.

From this founding condition, Deleuze and Guattari develop a series of minor techniques or modes of composition. Kafka is the privileged figure. Deleuze and Guattari (K) explore 'Kafka' as a form of creation that challenges psychological, biographical, and individualist readings with a model of a 'writing machine' that seeks to turn everything into assemblages (with their functional relations and lines of flight), and to induce experimental effects in its readers.4 As Morris (1994: 130) puts it, 'Kafka is a biography of a particular mode of creation.' Kafka is simultaneously a minor practice itself in 'treating' the works of a canonical literary figure, and an elaboration of the conditions and processes of the minor mode of creation. It is these latter conditions and techniques that this chapter explores.

Deleuze and Guattari describe three components of Kafka's writing machine - the letters, the short stories, and the novels. Though there is communication across these components, each has particular modes of composition and effects. The novels are singled out as the true achievement for their emphasis on social assemblages (cf. K: 39), and Kafka's diaries are seen as 'the rhizome itself': the milieu or site of distribution of all the work (K: 96). It is with the diary entry for 25 December 1911 that Deleuze and Guattari begin their elaboration of minor processes. Here Kafka (1999) ponders the situation and benefits of the literary production of 'small peoples' "” undeveloped 'nations' in the midst of national majorities. Literature has the task of developing a 'national consciousness' which is 'often unrealized in public life and always tending to disintegrate ... in the face of a hostile world'. This literature of small peoples is a kind of 'diary' of a nation - 'something entirely different from historiography and results in a more rapid (and yet always closely scrutinized) development, the spiritualization of the broad area of public life' (148). In Deleuze and Guattari's reading this diary of small peoples becomes the paradigmatic condition - and milieu of invention - of minority composition when the people are missing. From it they draw out three closely interrelated defining characteristics of minor literatures: they affect language and major forms generally with a 'high coefficient of deterritorialization, the individual is fully traversed by social concerns such that 'everything is political', and they enact a mode of 'collective enunciation' (K: 16"”18).5 Because I am considering the minor in a more general account of Deleuze and Guattari's politics, these three characteristics are discussed below in conjunction with other aspects of their conceptual apparatus.6 I should say here (though it was signalled above, and will become clear in the discussion) that 'minor literature' is not a specifically 'literary' concern. At one level it concerns any art form. Cinema and theatre in particular get singled out (Deleuze 1989; 222; 1997c), and it is noteworthy that Beckett, a privileged figure in the discussion of the minor, works in all three mediums. But more than this, 'minor literature' describes a process of the composition of minorities where 'art' and 'life', content and expression, are fully entwined: 'living and writing, art and life, are opposed only from the point of view of major literature' (K: 41). The important aspect of minor literature is thus not the literary, cinematic, theatrical product itself, but its expression of a general process of minor composition. Aspects of this discussion focus more on literary and linguistic production, whilst others are more concerned with intervention in more apparently material social relations, but when situated around the general economy of 'minor politics', minor 'literature' should be read in this chapter not as a literary procedure, but as a general term for the composition, intrigue, and practice of minority groups.

Cramped space and the centrality of creation

If the people are missing, minor politics begins not in a space of self-determined subjective plenitude and autonomy, but in 'cramped space' (K: 17), amongst oppressed, subaltern, minority peoples who find their movements and expressions 'cramped' on all sides. Minorities, in this sense, are those who are cut off, as Spivak (1996: 289) puts it, from the 'lines of mobility' of a culture. They lack the ready-made structures of history, narrative, and tradition, that would enable the easy passage of a demarcated autonomous identity through a culture. Life for minorities is thus somewhat complicated. Practice is thus not a simple case of self-expression along legitimate social routes within which one 'fits', but is a tentative manoeuvre around and within each situation. This cramped minority condition induces a particular response. In a manoeuvre that confronts liberal humanist notions of freedom and creativity (as a space of individual autonomy and self-expression) head on, Deleuze and Guattari suggest that it is precisely in cramped situations, in the enforced proximity of peoples, histories, and languages that creation occurs: Creation takes place in choked passages' (N: 133).7 Indeed, Deleuze goes so far as to write that 'A creator who isn't grabbed around the throat by a set of impossibilities is no creator' (133). Thus, alongside a perceptual sensitivity to very real cramped minority conditions, in minor politics there is also a certain 'willed poverty' (K: 19) - a continual deferral of identity and plenitude - such that 'one even strives to see [the boundary] before it is there, and often sees this limiting boundary everywhere' (Kafka, cited in K: 17).8 This deferral not only serves to open minor politics to 'everybody' who would experience the molar standard as restrictive, but also acts as a mechanism to induce continuous experimentation. For, rather than allow the solidification of particular political and cultural routes, forms, and identities, such 'willed poverty' serves to draw thought and practice back into a milieu of contestation, debate, and engagement, and forces ever new forms of experimentation from the intimacy of cramped experience.

The minor is thus marked by a certain 'impossibility'. Every movement presents a boundary or an impasse to movement rather than a simple possibility or option. There is no identity that is not 'impossible' to inhabit unproblematically. Yet the impossibility of action is matched with the impossibility of passivity if anything is to be lived. As in Beckett's (1979: 382) formula, 'I can't go on, I'll go on',9 creation thus becomes a process of 'tracing a path between impossibilities' (N: 133). The difference between cramped creativity and liberal understandings of freedom and creation is expressed well by Kafka (1978) in A Report to an Academy, a short story which displays much of the minor sensibility. Here, an ape 'pinned down' in a cage on a ship such that he has no possibility for movement chooses to mimic his human captors and create a certain human-becoming to effect a way out of his predicament. It is the very condition of being cramped that leads to, or compels, his innovative change, but not because he desires abstract freedom, or indeed anything particular about being human. Whilst 'freedom' appears to have some value, it is an ambiguous form (as he puts it, 'all too often men are betrayed by the word freedom'; 150), and in this case only offered a suicidal flight overboard. Instead, the ape simply seeks a 'way out' of his particular condition, for which the human presents a boundary and a possibility.10 Thus, through intimate observation and engagement with the contours of his situation, and Laborious repetition, he learns and embodies a series of human attributes (aided by a certain animality in the sailors, which is reflected in a little double becoming when his first teacher is almost turned into an ape as the narrator's ape nature flees out of him). The ape-becoming-human describes his form of 'escape' thus:

I fear that perhaps you do not quite understand what I mean by 'way out'. I use the expression in its fullest and most popular sense. I deliberately do not use the word 'freedom'. I do not mean the spacious feeling of freedom on all sides . . . 'self-controlled movement'. What a mockery of holy Mother Nature! Were the apes to see such a spectacle, no theatre walls could stand the shock of their laughter.

(Kafka 1978: 150)

Minor politics, then, is not a pluralist process of minority groups 'speaking out', of voicing an identity. Whilst the minoritarian is concerned with expression (Deleuze even writes that it is a question of getting 'people without the right to speak, to speak.'; N: 41), such expression is not 'communication' in the sense of the manifestation of an identity or a process of bringing people into a public sphere where all may be heard. The question is rather one of the invention or creation that occurs in a cramped space. The minor political questions are not 'are we communicating enough?', or 'are we all heard?', but are of a different order, concerned with how we are composed and how we create in fashions that deterritorialize dominant or major forms, where 'Creating has always been something different from communicating' (N: 175). We can now move to consider the ways such creative engagement with cramped space occurs.


The minor is a rather self-effacing figure. Not only is it without demarcated subject positions, but it lacks the arrogance, certainty, and self-inflation of much overt statement of the political. This is not to say that its effects are not 'violent' in the sense conjured by Deleuze and Guattari's related concept of the war machine' (to be minor is 'To hate all languages of masters'; K: 26). But its violence is directed at the order, direction, and structure of major forms that cramp minority potential, and hence is manifest as an indeterminate, uncertain, tentative, and mutable process (thus Deleuze and Guattari's fondness for Kafka and Beckett, whose work they characterize in terms of 'stammering', 'dryness', 'sobriety', and a 'willed poverty'). Deleuze and Guattari's first characteristic of minor literature is thus that it effects language 'with a high coefficient of deterritorialization' (K: 1-6). To explain this it is necessary to elucidate the difference between major and minor language.

For Deleuze and Guattari, language is never a distinct plane of human relationship that can be considered in itself outside of particular material assemblages. Language is not 'representation' but is as much a material form as any more apparently concrete practice or process (though it has no primary structuring agency), and is hence immanent to the system of relations that actualize configurations of matter, or assemblages. As with Foucault (1970), it is the composition of the milieu that counts, not any 'words and things' distinction,11 A 'major language' is not, then, an autonomous language, but a language that is immanent to the formation of molar identity (though one of the characteristics of major language is that it is naturalized, not least by linguistic science, as an autonomous practice). It operates in terms of constants, universals, standardization, and regularized grammar: it composes 'codes' and 'territory'. A 'minor language', on the other hand, is any language immanent to the process of 'deterritorialization' of molar identity. It is less a process of communication between identities than creation across and against identities. But the minor does not designate a different language as such. Minor languages are not ghettoized languages of minorities that exist as self-identical reflections of autonomous communities. If the people are missing, they can never be 'at home' in a language, but rather always live in a language that is 'not their own' (hence Kafka, a Prague Jew, writes in German). Minor languages, instead, describe different treatments of a major language: 'Minor languages do not exist in themselves: they only exist in relation to a major language and are also investments of that language for the purpose of making it minor' (ATP: 105). The different techniques and characteristics of minor language vary in different authors, but essentially minor languages are characterized not by-constants, but by 'continuous variation'. Minor languages restrict constants and overload and extend variables (though, it seems, more with sobriety and dryness "” as in Beckett and Kafka - than excess and exuberance - as in Joyce; K: 19) such that constants are 'sidestepped' (ATP: 104). Deleuze (1994b: 25) writes, 'as in music . . . the minor mode refers to dynamic combinations in a state of perpetual disequilibrium'.

Deleuze and Guattari describe 'ghetto languages' in these terms. For example, the language of American black popular culture is presented not as an autonomous 'black' language (or even a distinct patois) as an other to English, but as a minoring of English, a 'black English' (cf. ATP: 104). Kafka (1954) himself exemplifies the point in his description of Yiddish theatre, where he presents Yiddish as a 'tangle' in 'continuous flux' without coherent grammar (382). Though Yiddish is of course a language in itself, for Kafka its importance is as a composite form and mode of practice:

It consists solely of foreign words. But these words are not firmly rooted in it, they retain the speed and liveliness with which they were adopted. Great migrations move through Yiddish, from one end to the other. All this German, Hebrew, French, English, Slavonic, Dutch, Rumanian, and even Latin, is seized with curiosity and frivolity once it is contaminated with Yiddish, and it takes a good deal of strength to hold all these languages together in this state.

(Kafka 1954: 382)

This deterritorialization of language has effects on identity. Kafka suggests that the mode of engagement with Yiddish, mutating tangle that it is, is not only more one of 'intuition' than 'sense' (as representation), but, in this, is a process of deterritorialization of the molar subject:

You begin to come quite close to Yiddish if you beat in mind that apart from what you know there are active in yourselves forces and associations with forces that enable you to understand Yiddish intuitively . . . But once Yiddish has taken hold of you and moved you - and Yiddish is everything, the words, the Chasidic melody, and the essential character of this East European Jewish actor himself - you will have forgotten your former reserve. Then you will come to fee) the true unity of Yiddish, and so strongly that it will frighten you, yet it will no longer be fear of Yiddish but of yourselves.

(Kafka 1954: 385-6)

The minor, then, is not a question of who one is, but where one is situated vis-a-vis a particular set of identities, relations, practices, and languages, and what one does with this situation. One is always 'in the middle' of a major language, working with a set of conditions and possibilities that this language offers. Inasmuch as one feels cramped and seeks to express a different community, the minor is a process of forming relations with these conditions that deterritorialize them, or cause them to mutate as something new is created:

One must find the minor language, the dialect or rather idiolect, on the basis of which one can make one's own major language minor ... It is in one's own language that one is bilingual or multilingual. Conquer the major language in order to delineate in it as yet unknown minor languages. Use the minor language to send the major language racing.

(ATP: 105)

Two moments from the work of Jean Genet can help exemplify the relations between cramped space, creation, and deterritorialization. In exploring the language used by George Jackson (1971) in Soledad Brother, Genet foregrounds a certain cramped and deterritorializing mode of composition. After a discussion of the cramped conditions of prison (the necessary complicity with the guards, the intensification of racism) and the 'delicate and brutal' labour demanded of the prisoner's mind and body if he is to compose means to endure the penalty, Genet moves to consider Jackson's mode of literary expression. '[N]othing' of Soledad Brother - a collection of Jackson's letters - was 'willed, written or composed for the sake of a book' (17). The desires, loves, hatreds, and political alliances that drive the letters have too much of a cramped immediacy for the book-form. The letters appear tor Genet, also, to express a new aspect of black literature - a refusal or 'stripping' of a certain coherent tradition, and a 'raw', 'singular', 'clear-eyed' immediacy. 'The time for blues is over, for them. They are creating, each according to his means, a revolutionary consciousness. And their eyes are clear' (24). From Richard Wright to George Jackson, Genet argues, 'we now hear almost no echoes of the great Hebrew prophets' (20-1). This singularity is infused with a craving for 'a separate language belonging only to his people' (22), but its immediacy is premised on a recognition of a complete lack of plenitude. Jackson - living under the condition that the people are missing "” is in practice thus compelled to engage with the dominant language, and to strain to open it to something else:

He has then only one recourse: to accept [the enemy's] language but to corrupt it so skilfully that the white men are caught in his trap. To accept it in all its richness, to increase that richness still further, and to suffuse it with all his obsessions and all his hatred of the white man. That is a task . . . [W]ords will no longer serve concepts inculcated by the whites, but new concepts.

(Genet, in Jackson 1971: 22)

A second example can help stress the non-exclusively literary aspect of minor literature. In Prisoner of Love "” a book which circulates around Genet's experience of the struggles of the Palestinians and the Black Panther Party (BPP) -Genet (1989) reports the radical effects (rendered here in minor terms) produced in a television interview with the BPP's Bobby Seale, filmed in San Quentin prison. Whatever the motives behind the Californian authorities' decision to let the film be broadcast, one cannot doubt that the broadcast occurred in a rather heavy majoritarian framework (it was certainly not the BPP's 'own' or 'natural' territory and mode of expression). And, indeed, as Seale responds to the first question about food with detailed descriptions of his mother's and his wife's cooking, Genet reports being 'shattered' at seeing the revolutionary leader reduced to 'talking like a chef. But then, 'suddenly' "” for it was at first imperceptible to Genet - he realizes that within the molar framework of the talking-head broadcast, something else was occurring that deterritorialized the molar subject positions of 'chef or decontextualized 'revolutionary'. The familiarity, ease, and loving detail of Scale's account of food served to actualize an affective consistency with his community such that when Seale moved to talk about politics, he was able to open an active and intense space of composition:

Then suddenly "” and it was suddenly, again "” both his face and his voice hardened. And to all the Blacks listening in the ghetto he addressed revolutionary slogans all the more open and uncompromising because the sauces recommended at the outset had been so smooth.

(Genet 1989:216)

The particular and the social in minor composition

Deleuze and Guattari's second characteristic of minor composition is that 'everything is political' "” or, put another way, the particular individual concern is immediately merged with social forces; 'the arteries of the inside are in immediate contact with the lines of the outside' (Deleuze 1989: 220). In major composition, autonomous, particular, or individual concerns are able to soar into a self-actualizing grandeur since the social exists as a facilitator of the molar individual form. Of course, these individual concerns meet with others, in a society of sorts, but there is no real intensity in the relations since each individual concern is on a similar scale, as an 'exclusive disjunction' (either this identity, or that, but never in between)12 with a closeted interior space:

In major literatures . . . the individual concern (familial, marital, and so on) joins with other no less individual concerns, the social milieu serving as a mere environment or a background; this is so much the case that none of these Oedipal intrigues are specifically indispensable or absolutely necessary but all become one in a large space.

(K: 17)

The relation between the particular and the social in minor composition is rather more complex. In minor composition the social milieu is everything. There are 'individual concerns', but because there is no autonomous identitarian space, each individual concern is comprised of a conjunction of many different individual concerns of different forms and scales cramped and interlaced together, all of which are in intimate contact with the social forces that traverse and compose them. This relation needs considering in some depth.

The particular and inclusive disjunction

In minor composition there is a certain move away from grand themes, traditions, and projects toward a focus on particular, quotidian, minor detail. Kafka (1999: 150) suggests that the quotidian 'petty theme' takes on an importance that is amplified to a matter of 'life and death', yet at the same time it is kept from exceeding its position as a 'small enthusiasm' because, in cramped space, it is unable to hook up to the normative structures that would enable the easy passage or elevation of the particular into a grand autonomous event in the erection of a 'language' or a 'work'. As we saw in the case of Soledad Brother, minor literature does not operate in conditions of conventional literary production. Kafka talks of 'schools' and 'magazines' as the site for the polemic, debate, and contestation of minor literatures. In these milieux, the apparently petty theme is intimately debated, and infused with and subject to a 'multiplicity of interpretations' (Kafka 1999: 149):

There is universal delight in the literary treatment of petty themes whose scope is not permitted to exceed the capacity of small enthusiasms and which are sustained by their polemical possibilities. Insults, intended as literature, roll back and forth. What in great literature goes on down below, constituting a not indispensable cellar of the structure, here takes place in the full light of day, what is there a matter of passing interest for a few, here absorbs everyone no less as a matter of life and death.

(Kafka 1999: 150)

In this focus on the particular, however, there is no retreat to individual concerns. As Deleuze and Guattari show through their discussion of Beckett, the mode of engagement with the particular has effects that break open individualized concerns, even at the most intimate levels.

Beckett does not present a vast array of character and intrigue, and neither is his composition of individual autonomous forms. Instead he develops an intricate focus on the most limited, stripped-down of spaces. Beckett's (1954) Waiting for Godot is a case in point. In Beckett's most successful play, the 'end' or 'reason' is suspended through the almost masochistic deferral of the eponymous Godot's arrival. In the space of this deferral we are left with a series of particular, quotidian events. The play opens with Estragon sitting in a near deserted place, involved in a simple process that he starts, stops exhausted, and starts again, before uttering an apparent closure as the first line:

A country road. A tree.
Estragon, sitting on a low mound, is trying to take off bis boot. He pulls at it with both hands, panting. He gives up, exhausted, rests. tries again.
As before.
Enter Vladimir.
ESTRAGON: (giving up again). Nothing to be done.

(Beckett 1954: 6-7)

This move into the stripped-down space "” where nothing is to be done "” is important not so much for its focus "” something like a 'poetry of the everyday' "” but for the mode of engagement with particularity which arises in it. For Beckett, even the simplest situation (or demarcated 'disjunction') is a composite form to be explored, reiterated, and reconfigured. Deleuze suggests that Beckett's characters 'exhaust' the possible variations of a situation in a continual process of combination without order, preference, or end: "one combines the set of variables and permutations of a situation, on the condition that one renounce any order of preference, any organization in relation to a goal, any signification' (1997c: 153). In the space created by the deferral of Godot's arrival there is, then, a continual repetition of simple concerns and practices "” Estragon's attempt to pull off his shoe, the two tramps' failed efforts at hanging themselves, their discussion of 'waiting' for Godot, the return of Lucky and Pozzo "” in a circuit which seems to mutate through degrees of differentiation, even as 'nothing' is done.

This process is explained in Anti-Oedipus as the 'inclusive disjunction'. In the minor mode of engagement with particularities or disjunctions, the exclusive disjunction of 'decisive choices between immutable terms' as an 'either/or' formula where each disjunction is 'closet[ted] . . . inside its own terms' (AÅ’: 78) is replaced with an inclusive disjunction of 'either ... or ... or' of continuous movement and relation across the disjunctions (AÅ’: 12). This relation 'across' disjunctions is not a Hegelian manoeuvre of a new synthesis of identity from the disjunctions (AÅ’: 76), and neither is it a simple affirmation of 'flow' "” the operation of the three syntheses is such that disjunction is immanent to all life (cf. note 12). The disjunctions do not subsume in a new whole; the differences between them are maintained. But, as they are placed in relation with each other in continuously reconfiguring permutations and the 'subject' 'wanders' across them, a process of deindividualization occurs that breaks the structures of exclusive disjunction. The net effect of such inclusive disjunction is the construction of an intensive milieu that is never autonomous in itself, but always composed of different variables in ever new configurations. However small, personal, or individual such a milieu, it is still always characterized by a combinatorial process. Particularities and anomalies are not seen as alien bodies to be synthesized or negated (as if a 'better', more 'appropriate' disjunction could be found); rather, they are to be actively engaged with. As the engagement with the disjunctions (everything in a milieu that can in some way be embodied or used) accelerates, the components of a group (its members, theories, literatures, concepts) lose their distinct identities in a space of experimentation and reconfiguration. Even the smallest intrigue becomes connected, debated, affirmed, negated, and above all, 'taken up' within the milieu. At extremes, the inclusive disjunctive process affirms the infinite virtual - the potential of infinite permutation - within any particular actual, as in Nietzsche's delirious formula, 'every name in history is I' (cited in AÅ’: 21), where each name signifies a state of being, a zone of intensity on the Body without Organs that is affirmed as part of a reconfiguring series that the 'subject' traverses. The extreme is evident too in Deleuze and Guattari's account of the 'schizophrenic' process:

[The schizophrenic] is and remains in disjunction: he does not abolish disjunction by identifying the contradictory elements by means of elaboration; instead, he affirms it through a continuous overflight spanning an indivisible distance. He is not simply bisexual, or between the two, or intersexual. He is transsexual. He is trans-alivedead, trans-parentchild. He does not reduce two contraries to an identity of the same; he affirms their distance as that which relates the two as different. He does not confine himself inside contradictions; on the contrary, he opens out and, like a spore case inflated with spores, releases them as so many singularities that he had improperly shut off.

(AÅ’: 76-7)

This limit point, however, is not particularly useful in accounting for minor composition, which is always a situated, tentative, and pragmatic process and does not reach the limit point. The point to stress, instead, is that politics begins from each particular disjunction, and that each disjunction is always a composite and open to combinatorial relations with other disjunctions. Bensmaïa (1994: 214-15) makes this clear in her discussion of Kafka and minor literature. 'Literature no longer begins with man in general . . . but rather with this particular man or that particular woman'. Since the particular, even at its smallest levels is itself a complex inclusive disjunction, Kafka's 'particularity' is actually an inclusive series as 'a Jew, a Czech, one who speaks Yiddish and Czech but writes in German in a Prague ghetto'. Minor composition, then, is not a synthesis, but an amplification of disjunctions. It creates a milieu or a collectivity that emerges not through a unity, but through the reconfiguring of differences. It is as if without an autonomous space of manoeuvre every disjunction triggers an intensive vibration, some kind of rhizomatic domino effect, such chat 'everything' in minor composition 'is political' (K: 17). One reaches boundaries, intrigues interconnect and multiply, nothing can stand alone. As Guattari (1996b: 220) writes of Genet, 'His writing resulted not in a dialectical uplifting, but an exacerbation of his contradictions and upheavals.'

The social and the line of flight

The second point to stress about the particular in minor politics is its intimate relationship with social forces. If it is concerned with minor detail and small intrigue, this is far from a parochial concern. Indeed, the parochial is a much more fitting characterization of: major literatures, for, inasmuch as they flourish in a given environment, major literatures leave social forces largely un-problematized. For minor literature, since social forces fully traverse and cramp minority milieux, social, even global concerns are their very substance. Thus, if the minor tends to deterritorialize 'sense' (as Kafka was seen to say about Yiddish), this is in terms of the identities that are composed in sensible, molar regimes. The minor does not signify nonsense but non-identity. Indeed, inasmuch as the deterritorialization of identity is an engagement with the 'real' - the primary machinism of matter - it is immanent to a greater understanding of the world (cf. AÅ’: 87; Deleuze 1990: 72-3).13

Pursuing this minor relation to the social, Deleuze and Guattari (K: 41, 95) point out that what made Kafka most indignant was being presented as a writer of intimacy and solitude withdrawn from the world. Indeed, they suggest that Kafka studies only truly began when critics started to notice the importance of the 'double flux' of his belonging to the strong bureaucracy of the Workmen's Accident Insurance Institution,14 and his attraction to Prague's socialist and anarchist movements:

from one end to the other, he is a political author, prophet of the future world, because he has two poles that he will know how to unify in a completely new assemblage: far from being a writer withdrawn into his room, Kafka finds that his room offers him a double flux, that of bureaucrat with a great future ahead of him, plugged into real assemblages that are in the process of coming into shape, and that of a nomad who is involved in fleeing things in the most contemporary way and who plugs into socialism, anarchism, social movements.

(K: 41)

By situating Kafka at this 'double flux' of most contemporary social relations and social movements that seek to flee these relations, Deleuze and Guattari present two very important aspects of the minor relationship to the social. First, the minor is specifically concerned with the intricacies of modern social arrangements within which life is enmeshed. Thus, in contrast to the definition of major literature given above, Deleuze and Guattari write:

Minor literature is completely different; its cramped space forces each individual intrigue to connect immediately to politics. The individual concern thus becomes all the more necessary, indispensable, magnified, because a whole other story is vibrating within it. In this way, the family triangle connects to other triangles "” commercial, economic, bureaucratic, juridical "” that determine its values.

(K: 17; emphasis added)

Kafka does not, then, write abstract treatises on becoming, but explores "” especially in the novels "” the modes of composition of these commercial, economic, bureaucratic, and juridical forces, and displays a continuing fascination with maids, servants, workers, judges, bureaucrats, lawyers, bailiffs, and technical machines - all of which are considered as parts of social machines. Second, moving to the other side of Kafka's 'double flux', politics does not develop an ideal form or programme that it seeks to manifest, nor does it abstractly affirm 'every name in history', but rather it is brought forth around a 'most contemporary' problematization of these social forces in the social movements of anarchism and socialism, or what, for ease of argument, I will call communism.

There are two aspects to this politics. First, it is contemporary, and most apparent problems that start the political process. Deleuze and Guattari (ATP: 470-1) thus write: 'Once again, this is not to say that the struggle on the level of the axioms is without importance; on the contrary, it is determining (at the most diverse levels: women's struggle for the vote, for abortion, for jobs . . .).' Essentially pragmatic process that the minor is, minorities could be expected to begin with conditions they felt most pressing, or that offered some possibility for improvement of their situation. Yet, to turn to the second aspect, this is only the start of the process. The minor is only actualized in so far as these major forms are deterritorialized, and hence the passage continues: 'But there is also always a sign to indicate that these struggles are the index of another, coexistent combat.' This 'other coexistent combat' is the general process of deterritorialization that Deleuze proposes is the essence of life. But deterritorialization only emerges within social systems, each of which engineers its own lines of deterritorialization, such that there are 'objective lines [of flight, or deterritorialization] which cut across society' (Deleuze 1997d: 189). If the minor is an engagement with social forces and begins from problematizations of particular cramped social sites, the second aspect of Kafka's 'double flux' does not simply link the minor to deterritorialization in the abstract, or to situated social movements in general, but to social movements that seek to engage with the 'objective' lines of flight immanent to the social system.

This is a crucial point and needs elaborating. Deleuze and Guattari's affirmation of the primacy of flows and difference rather than identity is such that in their account of social assemblages, emphasis is placed not just on what makes an assemblage cohere, but also on what causes it to mutate - the 'lines of flight' which are immanent to it: 'the diagram and abstract machine have lines of flight that are primary, which are not phenomena of resistance or counterattack in an assemblage, but cutting edges of deterritorialization' (ATP: 531). Assemblages are thus determined as much by what escapes them as by what they fix. Or, rather, the composition of an assemblage is always through its lines of flight. Deleuze and Guattari often pose this primacy of the line of flight against a Marxist affirmation of the primacy of 'contradiction' (cf. ATP: 216). Yet, whilst it is true that Deleuze and Guattari's conception of flight challenges a simple bi-polarity of contradictions (forces of production/relations of production, bourgeoisie/proletariat), this is not such a profound difference with Marx.15 For Marx and Deleuze and Guattari, capitalism is a radically transformative social system that is premised on lines of flight; it was born through a new means of mobilizing and conjoining flows of money and flows of labour. The essence of capital is that it continually sets free its lines of flight "” its mad scientists, its countercultures, its warmongers "” in order to open new territories for exploitation. It is thus a perpetual process of setting and breaking limits. Politics is not an assertion of a class or minority identity, but is a process of engagement with these 'objective' lines of flight. Inasmuch as an assemblage 'works' in a social system, its lines of flight are functional to it "” they are not in themselves revolutionary. Politics thus seeks to engage with these flows (of people, ideas, relations, and machines in mutual interrelation) and, in a sense, push them further or take them elsewhere, against their immanent reterritorialization in fashions functional to the realization of surplus value. This is why for Marx the communist movement needs to follow a path through the flows of capitalism, not oppose an identity to it, and why Deleuze and Guattari suggest that minorities do not so much create lines of flight, as attach themselves to them (cf. Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 43).

In relating the second aspect of the minor political double flux to communism one does, however, have to be careful. One must at the very least distinguish between the communist mode of engagement in general "” as I sketched through Marx in Chapter 1 - and specific communist and anarchist movements. If we take Kafka as a case in point, the communism of his double flux is not so much through the concrete manifestations of communist practice, though Kafka has relations to this,16 but through his approach to the social processes of deterritorialization. The point, then, is not to name Kafka as communist, but to see how communism and Kafka's minor mode of engagement resonate. And it is such a resonance - operating at the level of modes and styles of engagement "” that, I would suggest, is the basis for Deleuze and Guattari's (ATP: 472) alignment of the minor with the proletariat, following their argument that 'The criteria [of proletarian literature] are obviously difficult to establish if one doesn't start with a more objective concept "” that of minor literature' (K: 18).

The minor author-function

Deleuze and Guattari's third defining characteristic of minor literature "” that it enacts a 'collective enunciation' "” concerns the specific mode of minor authorship. Deleuze and Guattari refute two models of authorship: collective 'representation' and the individual 'master'. If in minor composition 'everything takes on a collective value' (K: 17), this is not because the minor author is an 'ethnologist of his people' (Deleuze 1989: 222). Such a model of authorship is still based on an archetype of 'consciousness', where the author expresses or represents the conditions and truths of a particular group as a fully present people. This model dies with the political model of the people:

The death-knell for becoming conscious was precisely the consciousness that there were no people, but always several peoples, an infinity of peoples, who remained to be united, or should not be united, in order for the problem to change.

(Deleuze 1989: 220)

But neither is the author an individual 'master', where composition is the product of an autonomous author separated from a community. Instead, minor authorship is a 'collective enunciation' that emerges in the cramped conditions of a culture - it is the elaboration and proliferation of the collective intrigue as it is expressed in particular moments by particular authors:

Indeed, precisely because talent isn't abundant in a minor literature, there are no possibilities for an individuated enunciation that would belong to this or that 'master' and that could be separated from a collective enunciation. Indeed, scarcity of talent is in fact beneficial and allows the conception of something other than a literature of masters; what each author says individually already constitutes a common action, and what he or she says or does is necessarily political, even if others aren't in agreement.

(K: 17)

This emphasis on collective enunciation is not to say that there is no space for innovation or singularity "” far from it. The author is both of the milieu that s/ he actualizes 'collectively' and, inasmuch as the people are missing or lack coherence, is in a position to express a different configuration, a different sensibility unconstrained by a fixed identity, and relatively freed from the weight of tradition that would come with a coherent people. At the same time, because there is no space for the elevation of master authors (cramped as the community is), the author-function is distributed across the milieu, such that the collective and the author are both implicated in each other, in a process of continuous feedback. The minor author-function is thus a reversal of that identified by Barthes and Foucault as that which functions to produce a coherent and regular individual oeuvre. As I said above, moments of minor authorship tend to emerge in what Kafka (1999: 148) describes as the 'incessant bustle' of 'magazines' and 'schools' in a series of ever new and changing 'borderlines' or 'anomalous' points that incorporate and amplify difference in a community.17 The minor author is like the subject of this account of the 'pack-form', only it is a characteristic of all elements of the pack:

I am on the edge of the crowd, at the periphery; but I belong to it, I am attached to it by one of my extremities, a hand or a foot. I know that the periphery is the only place I can be, that I would die if I let myself be drawn into the centre of the fray, but just as certainly if I let go of the crowd.

(ATP: 29)

If the author-function is situated on the periphery, between the community and the outside, it is driven by the concerns of the limited community, but also by the relations that cross it and the anomalous points that lead it elsewhere. In this sense the authorial moment, just like the general process of minor composition, is an engagement with an outside that is almost 'forced' rather than 'chosen', but that finds in such engagement new relations, new possibilities for inclusive disjunction. As such, the minor author is not a subject, but an event or a singularity, a composite 'foci of creation' (Deleuze 1998d: 42). In these foci of creation there is, as Kafka (1999: 150) writes, plenty of space for polemic. Or, as Guattari (1998: 196) puts it, 'It's not a question of creating agreement; on the contrary, the less we agree, the more we create an area, a field of vitality.' But polemic and disagreement must develop as points of relation across disjunctions, as productive borderlines, not as means to harden disjunctions into the self-certainty of autonomous identity.18

Marx as a minor author

For an example of minor authorship we can turn to Marx's own mode of creation. It is, of course, easy to see Marx as a molar author "” to accept the dominant twentieth-century image of Marx as the 'father of modern socialism', whose role in the descent of orthodox Marxism is guaranteed by the iconic portraits which graced the walls of the Kremlin and its Communist Party outposts for more than seventy years. But a look at his own practice can reveal something else. The combination of Marx's iconic status and the importance of his analysis of capitalist dynamics are such that relatively few texts have sought to examine his mode of authorship. One notable exception is Lyotard's (1993) essay in LibidinalEconomy, 'The desire named Marx'. It is too dense and complex a text to be fully explored here, but it presents a useful position to start a discussion of Marx's minor authorial mode of composition.

Lyotard discerns a split in Marx's libidinal economy between an obsession with the textual 'prosecution' of capital "” the 'old man' Marx, the 'accuser' "” and a continual deferral of the conceptual and practical elaboration of the proletariat - the 'girl Marx' who desires the communist reconciliation of humanity with nature. Lyotard sees a model of bad conscience operating in this tension, and a religio-redemption narrative where the proletariat Is necessarily deferred through a continual emphasis on its suffering in Marx's 'perpetual postponement of finishing work on Capital (96):

the little girl Marx, offended by the perversity of the polymorphous body of capital, requires a great love; the great prosecutor Karl Marx, assigned the task of prosecution of the perverts and the 'invention' of a suitable lover (the proletariat), sets himself to study the file of the accused capitalist.

What happens when the person assigned to the prosecution is as fascinated by the accused as he is scandalized by him? It comes about that the prosecutor sets himself to finding a hundred thousand good reasons to prolong the study of the file, that the enquiry becomes meticulous, always more meticulous . . . [T]his swarming of perverse fluxes that is supposed to have to produce (dialectically), never stops moving away, escaping him, being put off.

(Lyotard 1993:97)

Lyotard (1993: 99) cites as evidence a letter from Marx to Danielson, his Russian translator, concerning the delay in his revisions of Capital. Here, referring to the workers' movement, Marx writes: 'there ate circumstances where one is morally bound to busy oneself with things much less attractive than study and theoretical research'.

Though he does not say it, Lyotard's argument is a kind of holding to account of Marx to the eleventh thesis on Feuerbach: 'The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it' (Marx and Engels 1974: 123). As he gets sucked into the perverse body of capital, Marx, it would seem, fails to leave the level of interpretation. There are, however, other ways to read Marx's engagement and his 'perpetual postponement'. Lyotard's argument is problematic, for it posits two dichotomies in Marx -prosecution/practice (as evident in his choice of Marx's letter to Danielson), and capital/the full body of inorganic nature (the 'suitable lover' of the proletariat). In showing the problems with these dichotomies, Spivak's (1996) reading of the eleventh thesis is illuminating. Spivak argues that Marx's concepts are part of a method that is politically motivated toward the transformation of the situation it conceives, without ever fixing the subject of transformation. In returning to the German, Spivak shows how the apparent distinction between 'interpretation' and 'change' in the eleventh thesis is not as simple as it might first appear. Whilst 'interpret' (haben interpretiert) is a completed meaning commensurate with a phenomenon, the word used for 'change' (zu verändern) is an open-ended 'making-other' (of, by inference, the self-identical) rather than a completed transformation (Spivak 1996: 217"” 18). The eleventh thesis, then, does not present a dichotomy between theory and practice, but, rather, is an injunction to a form of critique and practice that seeks to continually 'make-other' the self-identical.19 In this framework, Marx's critique of capital (Lyotard's moment of accusation') is not one side of his engagement, but is immanent to his practice "” it is in this critique, this fascinated engagement with capital (as part of the milieu of the workers' movement), that the proletariat as a movement of overcoming is called forth. If the dichotomies of theory/practice and proletariat/capital are not so clear cut, then we can consider Marx's mode of engagement less as a product of bad conscience than as a minor politics. The tension displayed between the writing of Capital and the engagement with the workers' movement that the letter to Danielson exemplifies can be seen as the tension of a minor author "” Marx as part of the workers' movement (along with many others), but a workers' movement that is not an already arrived people that Marx should somehow represent, but a people in formation. Marx's engagement with capitalist dynamics in the writing of Capital would then be his contribution on the borderline of the group, his polemic, his intrigue with the group with whom he is never fully at one: a group which may well be 'less attractive', for, following Kafka's (1999: 150) characterization of the literature of small peoples, disagreement, intrigue, even insult are essential to its formation. Marx is famous for endlessly moving in and out of the writing of Capital (the first volume of which arrived a full sixteen years after he wrote of it: 'The material I am working on is so damnably involved that, no matter how I exert myself, I shall not finish for another six to eight weeks'; cited in Wheen 1999: 188) and for moving into and withdrawing from the affray of the workers' movement (after the collapse of the Communist League in 1851 Marx did not become involved in a workers' organization until the formation of the International Working Men's Association in 1864 ).20 In his anomalous situation, what seems to drive him "” to the frustration of Engels "” is not the great work, but the particular intervention. A political event, an adversary, a war, a revolution, an economic crisis sets him off and he produces yet another pamphlet, forms one more alliance, partakes in another heated polemic; that is, he takes up the particular event, the apparently 'petty theme' and intricately engages with it. This mode of engagement is amply evident in Engels' comment about Marx's journalism:

He is no journalist, and will never become one. He pores for a whole day over a leading article that would take someone else a couple of hours as though it concerned the handling of a deep philosophical problem. He changes and polishes and changes the change and owing to his unremitting thoroughness can never be ready on time.

(Engels, cited in Wheen 1999: 131-2)

And in this incessant and intricate engagement, Marx does not limit himself to a particular and autonomous discipline, but draws on the wealth of fields that surround him, from political economy to literature (notably Shakespeare and Dickens) and even gossip columns (cf. Wheen 1999: 237), and employs diverse modes of argument, from technical elaboration to literary flourish and polemic (Capital would not be the same without the scatological tones of its denunciations of the bourgeoisie). His work seems to take him over, becoming, perhaps, that 'matter of life and death' (Kafka 1999: 150): the pamphlets, sometimes arising from petty squabbles, multiply in length (The Holy Family grows from a 20-page polemic to a 200-page work), and he invariably develops illnesses, boils, and carbuncles at the point of writing.

There is, then, some truth in Lyotard's suggestion that Marx practises an endless postponement, but this postponement is not driven by a ressentiment of endless 'accusation', and neither is it a diversion from the real point in hand (be that the completion of Capital or the formation of the workers' movement). Rather, like the deferral of Godot's arrival, this postponement "” induced by capital's endless overcoming of its limits, and by the proletariat's need to overcome itself through capital "” is immanent to the construction of a plane within which intense and intricate engagement occurs.

Guattari's analysis of groups

The problematic of group organization has been evident throughout this discussion of the minor, but it is useful at this point to consider the question of the group in more depth. To do this I will focus on Guattari's work on group formation, with particular reference to the problematic of the political group. Guattari's political, clinical, and theoretical work is thoroughly infused with the problem of group formation. Deleuze and Guattari's (ATP: 3) insistence on the 'crowd' of the self aside, Deleuze writes that 'Félix was a man of the group, of bands or tribes' (Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 16). As such, the problem of the group is more a perspective to read Guattari's work as a whole rather than one of its distinct aspects - and, indeed, the minor is essentially a problematic of group formation. But Guattari also presents some specific analyses of the modes of group formation "” in particular, in relation to the institutions of mental health (including those of anti-psychiatry; cf. 'Mary Barnes "Trip"' in Guattari 1995a) and the left-political milieu. Though these analyses are interlaced, it is Guattari's work on the latter that I want to explore.

Deleuze and Guattari's respective relations to political groups is a useful place to start. Deleuze must he unique in his generation for never having joined the Communist Party (even Foucault had a brief stint in the French Communist Party; cf. Macey 1993: 37), just as he was never in analysis; he remained outside the two dominant schools of French theoretical and political practice. Deleuze had some involvement in post-'68 group activity - notably with Foucault in the Prison Information Group "” and wrote a number of articles and letters in support of the Palestinian struggle, and against the bombing of Vietnam, the firing of politically active homosexuals from faculties, human rights violations in Iran, the imprisonment of Antonio Negri and the repression of Italian autonomia, the extradition of the Red Army Faction's lawyer Klaus Croissant, and the Gulf War.21 Nevertheless, Deleuze's politics was not particularly practical (cf. Guattari 1995a: 28-30; Deleuze 1997a). Guattari, on the other hand - no doubt as part of the 'wild rodeo' of his life (Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 11) - had a life-long involvement in radical politics, from a ten-year membership of the French Communist Party, through Trotskyist groupuscules and the FGERI (Federation of Study Groups in Institutional Research), which was central in the occupation of the Odéon in May '68, with his base not in the academy but in the psychiatric clinic La Borde (cf. Guattari 1995a; Genosko's introduction to Guattari 1996b; N: 13"”24, 183). The difference between Deleuze's and Guattari's styles in this matter is marked by Guattari's account of their meeting and decision to work together:

the pre-project work [for Anti-Oedipus] with Deleuze was still very much along these lines [of the FGERI]. The idea was to discuss things together, to do things together - it was 1969, a period that was still marked by the turmoil of '68. Doing something together meant throwing Deleuze into the stew. In truth, he was already there, he was meeting people, he was doing all kind of things ... It was during the time of the GIP (Group Information on Prisons) that I had gotten Deleuze together with Foucault to embark on what eventually became the CERFI (Centre for Study, Research and Institutional Training), by obtaining a research grant for them and their co-workers. In a way then, there really was a moment for this kind of collective work. But as soon as we agreed to work together, Deleuze immediately closed all other doors. I hadn't anticipated that.

(Guattari 1995a: 28-9)

The presentation of Deleuze's withdrawal from group activity here is interesting. Guattari (1995a: 27-8) clearly perceived his involvement with Deleuze as an aspect of his group work. In this context, Deleuze's withdrawal is presented as at least a little problematic. At the same time, and in the same conversation, Guattari talks about the way Deleuze helped him problematize a certain relation to groups: 'Deleuze', Guattari (1995a: 31) says, 'carefully, and with a light touch, broke down a kind of myth about groups that I had.' The passage is ambiguous, but Guattari appears to be saying that he invested too much in the idea of group work as in itself a progressive mode of activity "” as if the formation of a group was always a movement in the right direction. This is manifest in what he says was 'my way of pushing everything toward a positive project, a "good cause'", and, in another piece, his 'contributi[on] [to] a certain activism, an illusion of effectiveness, a headlong rush forward' (Guattari 1995a: 32, 1984: 29). Given Guattari's increasing sense of the dogmatism of the post-'68 groupuscules, Deleuze, it would appear, gave him a way out.22 In the context of his problematization of group work, Guattari thus draws attention to another side of his relations to groups: 'the other dimension of unconscious sabotage, a kind of passion for returning to the zero-point' (32). This tension between immersion in and distance from the group is clearly evident in Deleuze's comment that whilst Guattari was a 'man of the group', he was at the same time 'a man alone' (in Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 16). This sense of group formation is central to Deleuze and Guattari's elaboration of the 'pack-form' - the minor mode of group relation. In the pack, one exists on the periphery or the borderline - at once part of the group and the outside. As Fanny Deleuze is quoted as saying in A Thousand Plateaus: I know that the periphery is the only place I can be, chat I would die if I let myself be drawn into the centre of the fray, but just as certainly if I let go of the crowd' (ATP: 29). The tension in Guattari's position is most apparent in his essay 'The group and the person', when he writes of the denunciations his attempts at introducing group analysis to the class struggle received. 'One Trotskyist group', Guattari writes

did me the honour of devoting over half a sixteen-page pamphlet to a vehement denunciation of my tedious theories of group subjectivity. I almost collapsed under the weight of their accusations: petit-bourgeois, impenitent idealist, irresponsible element! 'Your false theories could mislead good militants'. They compared me to Henri de Man, a Nazi collaborator sentenced in his absence to forced labour when the war was over.

(Guattari 1984: 25)

More or less extreme experiences of the kind of micro-fascist group ego that this denunciation reflects have turned - and still turn - many away from radical groups. But Guattari - displaying the tension and affective complexity of minor engagement "” is still adamant that involvement with radical groups was essential to his political projects, and he writes 'Yet I believe that no one who had the experience of being a militant in one of those youth organizations or mass movements, in the Communist Party or some splinter group, will ever again be just the same as everyone else' (Guattari 1984: 29).

It is in the context of Guattari's own mode of engagement that he elaborates his theories of group analysis. Guattari's analysis of groups seeks to account for the wealth of attributes and modes of being of a group "” its enunciative and tactical structures, its forms of leadership and militancy, its affective relations, and its relations with the outside.23 This complexity is evident in the context of his discussion of the groupuscules:

It's a whole axiomatics, down to the phonological level "” the way of articulating certain words, the gesture that accompanies them "” and then the structures of organization, the conception of what sort of relationships to maintain with the allies, the centrists, the adversaries.

(Guattari 1995a: 58)

Guattari's analysis of political groups starts from a rejection of the dichoto-mous models of spontaneist anarchism and the Leninist party and its 'democratic centralism' (cf. Guattari 1984: 63; 1995a: 24, 62). The model of spontaneous anarchism (considered in Chapter 3 as a humanist politics) is woefully inadequate in the face of the unified machine of capital. 'It is obvious', Deleuze (1977: 104"”5) writes in his foreword to Guattari's Psychanalyse et Transversalité, 'that a revolutionary machine cannot content itself with local, punctual struggles'. But the orthodox party model, on the other hand, merely serves to cathect desiring production to the state-form and thus integrates politics to capital - for Deleuze (1977: 102), the prime function of the Communist Party. The problem is to develop a form of what Deleuze describes as a 'unification' that is functional to a diffuse collective production, and Guattari (1995a: 60) proposes as a model of chemical 'crystallization' of invention across the socius. Against a model of stages, where the revolutionary moment is seen to need mass spontaneity in the first stage and centralism in the second (as in the Soviet experience), Deleuze (1977: 104) provocatively writes that 'From the outset we should be more centralist than the centralists.' This sounds like a worrying irruption of Leninism, but Deleuze's 'centralism' or 'unification' is proposed as a process of 'analysing' - or drawing out, problematizing, and connecting - the complex of social, political, economic, and libidinal relations of group and mass formations: 'The . . . unification must be brought about by analysis, and should have a role of analyzer with respect to group and mass desire, rather than the role of synthesis that proceeds by way of rationalization, totalization, exclusion, etc' The 22 March Movement24 in the French uprising of '68, though it had its problems (not least, a cult of spontaneity which 'probably indicated a massive resurgence of anxiety at facing the unknown') is, for Guattari, exemplary: everything revolved around it without its becoming part of any overall movement or being taken over by any other political group. Those involved set out to interpret the situation, not in terms of some programme laid down at successive congresses, but gradually, as the situation itself unfolded in time . . . They refused to present their movement as the embodiment of the situation, but simply as a something upon which the masses could effect a transference of their inhibitions, and opened the way to a new understanding and a new logical formulation outside of any framework of conformism.

(Guattari 1984: 214-15)

Guattari poses the general problematic of the group as analyser in terms of two kinds, or modes, of group formation "” subject groups and subjugated groups. Partly because of Guattari's increased wariness toward groups, after Anti-Oedipus he stops using these categories in favour of the analysis of specific territories (be they 'groups' or not) in a fashion more akin to this chapter's account of minor politics.25 When it comes to the analysis of specific political groups, however, these categories are still useful. The two modes, of course, interrelate, and as such are best seen as tendencies immanent to any formation (cf Deleuze 1977: 103). 'Subject groups' are the group correlate of minor politics - they seek to put minor practices into play, to open to the outside, and develop innovative forms of enunciation and collective composition. In this they allow for the 'death' of the group. 'Subjugated groups', on the other hand, are those which manifest molar modes of organization and seek to maintain coherence against an outside identified as hostile. In Deleuze's words:

Subjugated groups are just as subjugated in terms of the 'masters' which they take on or accept, as they are in terms of their own masses. The hierarchy, the vertical or pyramidal organization that characterizes them is constructed in such a way as to avert all possible inscriptions of nonsense, death or explosion into the body of the group, to prevent the development of creative breaks, thereby assuring the mechanisms of self-conservation based on the exclusion of other groups. Their centralism operates by structuration, totalization and unification, substituting a setup of stereotyped statements, cut off both from reality and from subjectivity, for the conditions of a real collective 'enunciation'.

(Deleuze 1977: 103)

The classic model of the subjugated group is the Communist Party and its Trotskyist splinters, but for Guattari these models also manifest themselves in the groupuscules. Anarchist and Maoist groups, for example, may differ in their style - 'the definition of the leader, of propaganda, a conception of discipline, loyalty, modesty, and the asceticism of the militant' "” but the subjugated group-form of the 'little church' is never far away (Guattari 1995a: 59).26 Guattari locates the emergence of this model in what he calls 'the Leninist break' of 1917 (cf. 1984: 30-2; 184"”95), and it is worth considering his argument to illustrate a little of the style of analysis. Here Guattari perceives a number of attributes of the leftist subjugated group that were to dominate twentieth-century radical milieux. It is important that Guattari sees something creative in the Bolshevik intervention between February and October 1917 - an interpretation of the military, economic, social, and political collapse as the potential for the immediate socialist revolution,

despite the weakness of the Russian proletariat, and without regard for the possible reaction. In this the Bolsheviks

prevent[ed] the natural development of things; they blocked what would 'normally' have taken place following a national débâcle on such a scale "” some kind of coalition of the left and centre, living in hopes of better days and the recovery of power by traditionalist parties.

(Guattari 1984: 184)

One could interpret the subsequent development of the revolution and the Soviet state in terms of the 'recuperative' power of Bolshevism, or of the revolution's ultimate impossibility, given the failure of the German revolution and the incorporative effects of social democracy. However, Guattari proposes instead a more complex analysis of the 'different orders of determination' of the event. He focuses in particular on Lenin, and the organizational, political, theoretical, and ethical aspects of Bolshevism, and goes back to the 'moment of the fundamental Leninist breakthrough' at the end of the Second Congress of the All-Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903. A series of disputes - around two words in the membership statutes, the number of members of the Iskra editorial committee, and the Jewish militants' desire to maintain a minimum of organizational identity "” set off a 'claustrophobic psychodrama' of splits and assertion of party discipline, from which 'a new signifying system came into being, a new axiomatic of the revolutionary movement, on which our thinking is still largely dependent today' (Guattari 1984: 189). Guattari describes the characteristics of this 'professional Bolshevik style and attitude' and the new 'militant subjectivity' as the solidification of statements into dogma, the formation of dominant utterances that function to control divergent utterances, a fondness for creating splits on matters of principle combined with an almost duplicitous flexibility of tactics, a new area of inertia that functions to restrict openness and encourage uncritical acceptance of slogans and doctrine, and a domineering and contemptuous attitude to those who would be henceforth known as 'the masses'. At the centre is the model of the militant "” the 'hateful "love" of the militant who knows everything a priori and systematically refuses to listen to anything other than the party line' (190). Due to this group formation, Guattari argues that despite the power of the 'Leninist break', ultimately the Bolsheviks were only able to conceive of the development of the revolution through the party and its 'messianic vocation' (187). There was never, then, as Trotsky had it, 'a healthy proletarian State supposedly perverted by bureaucracy', but rather, in the way the Bolsheviks answered the crisis in and through the party, 'everything was already played out or betrayed' (Deleuze 1977: 1 03).27

Returning to Deleuze and Guattari's understanding of the subject group as analyser, one should not infer from the critique of the Leninist break that Deleuze and Guattari offer a simple anti-party position. In his forward to Deleuze's Foucault, Bové draws attention to what he sees as Deleuze's suggestion that Foucault brings us towards 'another conception of the Party' (in Deleuze 1988: xxix-xxx). Bové's incredulity - 'one must think that Deleuze has made an error' - is not surprising. Foucault's attention to the subtleties of authority and his wariness of Marxian conceptual figures would not lead one to expect to find any forwarding of the party formation in his works, and Deleuze is no doubt being a little mischievous in suggesting otherwise. Bové's conclusion that Deleuze is displaying his own desire 'to have a Party again', however, is not quite as bizarre as one might think. If we draw back from the Leninist model to Marx's own comments on the party in The Manifesto of the Communist Party we can discern a formation that is not so alien to Deleuze's understanding of the role of the group as analyser of struggle. The Manifesto has very little to do with the kind of party one might expect. It sets itself up to present a 'Manifesto of the party itself to counter the bourgeois 'nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism' (Marx and Engels 1973: 31). But this party is not announced as a set of organizational statutes or programmes. Rather, it is presented as the immanent critique of the capitalist socius (Parts 1 and 2) and of contemporary socialist organizations (Part 3). Given this, as Marx writes:

The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class parties.

They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.

They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.

The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.

(Marx and Engels 1973: 49)

In the last section of the Manifesto "” and it is by far the shortest "” which elaborates the 'Position of the Communists in relation to the various existing opposition parties', Marx simply points to a series of contemporary European struggles and highlights the specific aspects that the Communist minorities would support "” with the only proviso that the 'property question' would be brought to the fore. It draws to a close with the comment 'In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things' (Marx and Engels 1973: 77).

Marx presents the Communist Party, then, not as a distinct and timeless organizational form, but as a mode of engagement that is immanent to the content of the proletariat-in-struggle, which in turn is immanent to the particular configurations of capital.28 This is not to say, of course, that Marx did not at times partake in, or actively contribute to, the formation of specific groups "” notably the Communist League and the First International - but he was wary of these becoming separate bodies apart from the proletarian movement as a whole, and it was actual struggle "” as he saw, for example, in the Chartists "” where he located the movement of capital's overcoming, not in a distinct political formation or a state in waiting.29 It is possible, then, to conceive of 'the party' in Marx as a plane of the development of a body of experience, practice, and knowledge that develops through particular historical experiences and movements, and that is able, at the same time, to transcend particular experience, and maintain a critical stance to aspects of these movements, whilst, at certain moments, operating as a catalyst of struggle.30 Odd as it might seem, it is in this context that I would suggest that Deleuze's model of 'unification' and the group as 'analyser' should be considered; with the proviso, of course, that critical activity would draw out and problematize the wealth of relations and forces "” not just tactical, but libidinal, affective, and personal "” that operate in any group and in the socius as a whole. I am not suggesting that Deleuze and Guattari are theorists of the party "” there is no need to draw them into a category that would seem to have to become too problematic to be politically productive today (though cf. AÅ’: 344). But, against models which affirm the spontaneity of struggle in itself or the adequacy of local punctual struggle, Deleuze and Guattari's understanding of group activity and Marx's figure of the party have points of resonance that should not be lost to a false subsumption of the two into different sides of the rather limited pro- and anti-party dichotomy.

Creation against resistance (Deleuze and Foucault)

Before concluding this chapter I want briefly to turn to Deleuze's interpretation of the problematic of 'resistance' in Foucault in order to emphasize how minor politics challenges a theory of resistance, and show some of the relations between Deleuze's and Foucault's politics31 The concept of resistance has had some prominence in postmodern political discourse, as if it conveys a situated-ness and a more modest remit than the modern paradigm of class struggle. This focus has often, if implicitly, been associated with Foucault (no doubt this has been aided by Foucault's refusal to link his work to the Marxian project)32 Once the more malevolent critique of Foucault, that he foreclosed politics in a disciplinary archipelago,33 was overcome, his name has come to signify not only our times of micro-powers, but also our appropriate political response "” seeing, as he did, that a 'multiplicity . . . of points of resistance are present everywhere in the power network' (Foucault 1980: 95). Yet this idea of resistance has its problems.

The problematic of resistance is a persistent theme in Deleuze's engagement with Foucault. The great resonance between Deleuze's and Foucault's work (cf. N: 85) is such that it would be a stupid move indeed to pose this question in terms of a serious disjunction. It is much better to think of it as a productive differential in their relation, as the fact of Deleuze's not infrequent return to the subject conveys. The nub of Deleuze's argument is that in his later years Foucault had a sense of becoming 'trapped in something he hated' (N: 109), namely 'power'; that Foucault felt he was 'getting locked into the play of forces' that he had mapped and that 'he needed "some opening'"(N: 92, 109)- Deleuze thus attaches considerable importance to Foucault's eight-year break in book publication after the first volume of The History of Sexuality - a period Deleuze describes as one of 'general crisis' (N: 83) - when the planned structure of the series was suspended (even though the research was probably mostly completed; N: 108-9), and from where emerge volumes II and III around the new paradigm of 'subjectification' and 'techniques of the self in what Foucault (1982: 208) calls his third 'mode of inquiry'. Deleuze is rightly very careful to present this third dimension as the product of the whole of Foucault's work, as a 'broken line' (N: 92) of invention, crisis, probing, and blockage that itself is 'the mark of its creativity, the mark of its ultimate consistency', rather than as some kind of 'new Foucault' (it is 'a creative crisis, not a recantation') (N: 83, 98). However, it is clear that Deleuze sees this point as Foucault's overcoming of the problem of resistance.

It is precisely at this time of 'crisis' that Deleuze takes it upon himself to pass on to Foucault a series of notes on his interpretation of their similarities and differences - a piece which circulates around the questions of resistance and the line of flight (Deleuze 1997d)34 Of all Deleuze's commentaries on Foucault, these notes are the most critical. Though the notes follow Deleuze's usual practice of drawing out lines of resonance with other works, here he also quite explicitly marks his and Foucault's differences. Deleuze's argument centres around his positioning of the primacy of assemblages of desire (rather than power) and the centrality of lines of flight in the constitution of assemblages (cf. also ATP: 530-1). Deleuze suggests that, since for him lines of flight or desiring relations are primary, and hence the site of political composition, he 'ha[s] no need for the status of phenomena of resistance' (1997d: 189). In Foucault, on the other hand, because dispositifs of power are primary, and there appears to be no equivalent of the line of flight in his work, politics can only be a 'resistance' to power. Politics is hence left as a strangely unmotivated, almost reactive phenomenon (188). It is true that for Foucault (1982) resistance lies at the heart of power, but in this it is always functional to power configurations. Although in volume I Foucault (1980) presents three political possibilities - a fully situated set of micro-resistances that work 'vis-Ã -vis' the dispositifs, a new conception of a counter-politics of truth, and the affirmation of 'bodies and pleasures' against 'sex' identity "” Deleuze sees Foucault grappling with the problem of the 'status' of these phenomena and the question of where they come from, and he argues that 'their character, their origin, their production were still vague' (Deleuze 1997d: 188; N: 98, 109). Deleuze perceives this as most evident in Foucault's (1979) essay The life of infamous men' "” a text which Deleuze presents as both a masterpiece and as a text of the 'crisis' (N: 90, 108). Here, Foucault grapples with the problem of bringing little moments of excess, crime, and transgression into analysis without losing their intensity. In the past, Foucault (1979: 77) says, 'for want of the necessary talent' these intensities were left outside his analysis, yet he credits the vibration and intensity of these moments as a fundamental driving force of his research. We can think of Foucault willing himself to do something with this intensity, but his solution here is to present these little transgressions in picaresque fashion as they are lit, for brief moments, by power relations. Their intensity is not theorized, but displayed.

In Foucault's (1990, 1992) work after the 'crisis', however "” once he moves into the problem of 'subjcertification' and 'techniques of the self in volumes II and III "” Deleuze sees the problem of resistance overcome. He reads the new work as the final working-out of a problematic of the 'Outside' that pervaded all of Foucault's work, as itself the line of flight, or the primacy of undetermined force in a kind of vitalism (N: 91). This is no return of the subject, but an emphasis on the ways power is deflected and opened, and a space of the self-as-event (or series of events) is produced in 'foldings' of the Outside/force in the invention of 'styles of life' (N: 93, 108-9, 1 14-16). Against a model of the outside - as infamy, madness, and so on "” which is either functional to power, or a flash of transgression, the outside becomes a site which - through careful, tentative work on the self- emerges immanently to a life, as a way of escaping the self. The problem Deleuze sees Foucault addressing is one of 'need[ing] both to cross the line [of the Outside], and make it endurable, workable, thinkable' (N: 111): 'how far can we unfold the line without falling into a breathless void, into death, and how can we fold it, but without losing touch with it, to produce an inside copresent with the outside, corresponding to the outside?' (113). Thus in Foucault's later work the fold becomes a matter of

Bending the line [of the Outside] so we manage to live upon it, with it: a matter of life and death. The line itself is constantly unfolding at crazy speeds as we're trying to fold it to produce 'the slow beings that we are', to get (as Michaux says) to 'the eye of the hurricane'.

(N: 111)

Deleuze's (1988) reading of Foucault's work as a whole thus ends with a consideration of Nietzsche's overman through a kind of Foucauldian 'primacy of resistance' which has resonance with his own emphasis on composition (and includes none of the positioning of his and Guattari's differences to Foucault that were evident before). This is not to say that Deleuze's Foucault presents the two authors as one; the distinctions between them are, to extend Deleuze's (1997d: 189) comparison on the question of the primacy of desire, 'more than a question of words'. It is, rather, to say that for Deleuze 'resistance' is a bad model of politics, and ultimately one that Foucault himself overcomes.


This chapter has argued that minor politics poses a direct challenge to political models founded on a delineated identity - whether in the form of a 'people' or a self-declared marginal - where a particular people seeks to determine a coherent consciousness, history, and trajectory bolstered against the becoming of the world. Against these molar models, which are premised on the fetishization of an already present-identity, minor politics is seen in the processes of creation, composition, and change within and across identities, programmes, and practices. This chapter has sought to describe the minor modes and techniques of this creation. First, politics begins with specific and particular experience and oppression in the 'cramped spaces' and 'impossible' positions of 'small peoples' who lack or refuse coherent identity - those who, constrained by a wealth of determining social relations, exist under, and in a sense affirm, the condition that 'the people are missing'. But minor politics is not a resigned turn to the local or particular as such. Rather, it is a politics oriented towards social relations and their possibilities for becoming beyond identity. For, in cramped space "” without self-secure delineated identity and autonomous concerns "” politics ceases to be a self-referential process of self-actualization, and becomes a process of engagement with the social relations which traverse minorities and determine their movements: a necessary move if anything is to be actively lived. Each cramped situation shows a point of departure, a point of deterritorialization. In this sense, politics emerges across the social "” there is no privileged site or subject of minor politics. This is not, however, a pluralist process of the affirmation of each minority concern. Minorities only actualize minor politics in so far as they continually open up to social relations and to the lines of deterritorialization of the social. Because of the relay between the particular intrigue and social relations, politics is driven as much by situation and event as by the concerns of the particular minority. Gone, then, is any existential or political security of a ghettoized margin. Deleuze is indeed somewhat contemptible of such states: 'Marginals have always inspired fear in us, and a slight horror. They are not clandestine enough' (Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 139)35 Marginals in this sense are those who appreciate the cramping force of major forms, but, rather than choose to engage with these relations, seek instead to carve out an autonomous identity against them, shoring up their own particularity against the world. This is perhaps the greatest threat to the minoritarian becoming of minority groups, who after deterritorializing major identity (as cultural or national minority, worker, heterosexual, and so on) can easily reterritorialize around a particular minority identity (as self-affirming - and outside-excluding - minority nationalist, communist, anarchist, feminist, homosexual, and so on). Rather than a fetishization of marginal identity, in minor politics particular minority situations or disjunctions are intensively engaged with, elaborated, and complicated, to open out the either/or disjunctions of identity into movements and permutations across disjunctions such that an intensive milieu of inclusive disjunction emerges. The particular thus becomes the site of innovation (not identity) as minorities rework their territory and multiply their borders. At each moment, even as its concerns become collective matters of 'life and death', the little intrigues are prevented "” through a certain 'willed poverty' and a continual engagement with the social "” from solidifying into determined modes of practice, such that minor intrigue is always drawn back into a milieu of experimentation. As such, the milieu of such an engagement is never able to settle, or soar into the self-actualizing grandeur of a people, or its representatives, master authors. Instead, it is an 'incessant bustle' charged with vitality, with polemic, and with a continuous process of interrogation, intrigue, and invention as minorities engage with these social relations and seek to turn them away from their molar effects, towards, as Deleuze and Guattari (AÅ’: 382) enigmatically suggest, a 'becoming everybody/everything' in the ever renewed calling forth of a 'new earth'.

Beyond this general process, the minor relation to the social is characterized by Kafka's 'double flux' as a site of contemporary social arrangements and their lines of flight. The first part of the double flux requires a perceptual awareness to both the ways social machines work (for example, the bureaucracy of The Trial, as a complex machine of endless deferment) and to the ways they mutate and to the lines of flight they engineer (hence Kafka's bureaucracy, as a sign of 'diabolical powers to come' (K: 83), is seen to make 'impossible' connections where people and rooms are polymorphously connected in a self-transforming labyrinth). It is at this point of social assemblages and their flight that the little intrigues of minor composition emerge and operate. Hence, following the second side of Kafka's double flux, minor politics has affinity with the 'most contemporary' political movements "” with the proletariat and communism "” which have sought to find and actualize fissures, cracks, and deviations in the flows and arrangements of the capitalist socius.

As I argued, such minor engagement has its correlate in forms of authorship as foci of creation on the borderlines of a group that operate as relays between the group and the social. Marx's mode of creation was seen to manifest such authorship. The chapter also showed how this style of composition related to the question of group formation through discussion of Deleuze and Guattari's understanding of subject groups, the group as analyser of social formations, and the resonance between Deleuze and Marx's understanding of the party.

Beyond these modes, styles, and techniques, however, the minor has no programme. As Deleuze and Parnet (1987: 137) put it: 'Politics is active experimentation, since we do not know in advance which way a line is going to turn.' One does not judge political movements by their success or failure "” whether they achieved a set of goals or not "” because the minor has no final goal: 'only stagnation can do harm' (Kafka 1999: 148). This is not to say that creation is unrelated to intended goals, or that this is a renunciation of the possibility of radical social change in favour of little, punctual creations. This would be a misunderstanding of Deleuze and Guattari's politics, and one which Deleuze (1994a: xx) suggests is the 'greatest danger' of his invocation of difference: letting it lapse 'into the representations of a beautiful soul: there arc only reconcilable and federative differences, far removed from bloody struggles'. The point is that the way to interpret political movements is to consider their major and minor tendencies, what relations of identity they deterritorialize, and what they manage to create, following the sense of Guattari's (1996b: 124) observation that 'One cannot understand the history of the workers' movement if one refuses to see that, in certain periods, institutions of the labor movement have produced new types of subjectivity': 'mutant' workers in 'veritable wars of subjectivity'.


1. 'America sought to create a revolution whose strength would lie in a universal immigration, emigres of the world, just as Bolshevik Russia would seek to make a revolution whose strength would lie in a universal proletarianization, "Proletarians of the world" . . . the two forms of class struggle. So that the messianism of the nineteenth century has two heads and is expressed no less in American pragmatism than in the ultimately Russian form of socialism' (Deleuze 1997b: 86).
2. When discussing the contemporary persecution of the Palestinians Deleuze argues that certain forms of colonialism "” notably those which seek a terra nullius (1998b) "” operate through the absolute denial of the existence of those who are not part of 'the people' being composed: 'From beginning to end, [Zionist terrorism] involved acting as if the Palestinian people not only must not exist, but had never existed' (1998c: 30). A certain degree of commonality between the experiences of the Palestinians and the indigenous North Americans is then marked in a conversation between Deleuze and Elias Sanbar (1998) entitled 'The Indians of Palestine'.
3. Ever since the reterritorialization of the Soviet revolution, 'There's no longer any image of proletarians of which it's just a matter of becoming conscious' (N: 173).
4. 'Writing has a double function: to translate everything into assemblages and to dismantle assemblages. The two are the same thing' (K: 47).
5. Kafka (1999: 150"”1) himself characterized the 'literature of small peoples' thus: '1. Liveliness: a. Conflict. b. Schools. c. Magazines. 2. Less constraint: a. Absence of principles. b. Minor themes. c. Easy formation of symbols. d. Throwing off of the untalented. 3. Popularity: a. Connection with politics. b. Literary history. c. Faith in literature, can make up their own laws.'
6. My discussion of the criteria and techniques of minor politics is more closely related to the structure of Deleuze's (1989: 215"”24) account of the criteria of minor cinema in Cinema 2, where the first principle is that the people are missing.
7. See Patton (2000: 83"”7) for a wider discussion of Deleuze's break with liberal understandings of freedom.
8. Kafka seems to reflect this when he says to Janouch (1971: 20) that he is in a cage, 'not only in the office, but everywhere ... I carry the bars within me all the time.'
9. I am grateful to Derrol Palmer for helping me find this reference.
10. Pascal (1982: 197"”201) argues that the difference between the ape's 'way out' and romantic ideas of freedom and the authentic independent self is a central aspect of the story: a story that he suggests presents the dilemma of existence under social constraints as an open, continuous, subtle, and pragmatic experimentation.
11. Deleuze and Guattari (ATP: 83) put it like this: 'A type of statement can be evaluated only as a function of its pragmatic implications, in other words, in relation to the implicit presuppositions, immanent acts, or incorporeal transformations it expresses and which introduce new configurations of bodies.'
12. Chapter 1 of Anti-Oedipus describes three 'syntheses' of desiring production: the connective synthesis of production, the disjunctive synthesis of recording, and the conjunctive synthesis of consumption-consummation. Essentially, the first synthesis is the site of the undifferentiated 'flow' of desiring production where desiring machines make continual couplings of the 'and . . . and . . . and' type. The second is the recording 'break' of desiring production that inscribes production on a surface (the Body without Organs) as a series of disjunctions which are distributed as a grid, network or series of coordinates. The third synthesis emerges on the recording surface of the BwO to produce a kind of subject through a localization and consumption of the sensual pleasure, or the product of the disjunctions. Operating together the three syntheses describe the production and investments of subjectivity in a social system. Relations of 'exclusive disjunction' serve to reinforce the demarcation of identity formed in the three syntheses as the subject - a product of the syntheses, and hence always 'adjacent' to them - comes to recognize itself as the cause. Relations of 'inclusive disjunction', on the other hand, serve to set the subject free to continuously and variously 'consummate' itself in every new disjunction, 'garnering here, there, and everywhere a reward in the form of a becoming or an avatar, being born of the states that it consumes and being reborn in each new state' (ACE: 16). See Holland (1999: Ch. 2) for an incisive explication of the three syntheses.
13. Writing of fetishism, value, and common sense in Marx (following the sense of his analysis of the fetishism of commodities; Marx 1976: 163"”77), Deleuze (1994a: 207-8) says that every 'solution' to a social problem is doubled with a 'false problem' where the identities produced in social regimes become objective truths in social consciousness (such that 'The natural object of social consciousness or common sense with regard to the recognition of value is the fetish') (cf. also ACE: 4).
14. See Wagenbach (1984) and Werckmeister (1997) for discussion of the importance and complex effects of Kafka's work in the Workmen's Accident Insurance Institution, as against the common interpretation of Kafka's employment as merely a strain on, and a distraction from his art.
15. Indeed, in Difference and Repetition Deleuze (1994a: 207, 327) aligns himself with the position developed by Althusser and the group around Reading Capital that Marx presents a theory of capital as premised on processes of difference and variation rather than contradiction: 'Those commentators on Marx who insist upon the fundamental difference between Marx and Hegel rightly point out that in Capital the category of differenciation (the differenciation at the heart of a social multiplicity: the division of labour) is substituted for the Hegelian concepts of opposition, contradiction, and alienation, the latter forming only an apparent movement and standing only for abstract effects separated from the principle and from the real movement of their production' (Deleuze 1994a: 207).
16. It is worth saying a little about Kafka's relations with socialist and anarchist movements. As Kafka reports to Janouch (1971: 86), an incident in his youth when his family cook playfully called him a Ravachol (the name of a French anarchist, though he knew this only later, being told at the time that it meant murderer and criminal) left him with a lasting 'groundless sense of guilt' such that he says 'I knew that I was an Ishmael, a criminal, in short "” a ravachol' (89). Later he studied in depth the lives and ideas of the historical figures of anarchism, and frequented various circles and meetings, including, in 1910, the anarchist Club of the Young. He says that he 'devoted much time and money to the subject' (90). Brod comments on Kafka's diary entry 'Don't forget Kropotkin!' that 'Kropotkin's memoirs were among Kafka's favourite books, as were the memoirs of Alexander Herzen' (in Kafka 1999: 233, 496). But Kafka's relationship, as one might expect, is clearly not a simple one of identity with these movements. A sense of ambiguity is clear in this section from Janouch (1971: 90): '"[The anarchists] all attempted to realize the happiness of mankind without the aid of Grace. But "”," Kafka lifted both arms like a pair of broken wings and let them fall helplessly, "I could not march shoulder to shoulder with them for long.'" Kafka also says to Janouch that he knows the Czech anarchists 'A little', but, Very nice, jolly people' that they are, he has trouble taking their radical pretensions seriously. And when coming across a workers' march he says: 'These people are so self-possessed, so self-confident and good-humoured. They rule the streets, and therefore think they rule the world. In fact, they are mistaken. Behind them already are the secretaries, officials, professional politicians, and all the modern satraps for whom they are preparing the way to power ... At the end of every truly revolutionary development there appears a Napoleon Bonaparte' (in Janouch 1971: 119-20). In response to Janouch's questioning of his feelings about an expansion of the Russian revolution, Kafka says: 'As a flood spreads wider and wider, the water becomes shallower and dirtier. The Revolution evaporates, and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. The chains of tormented mankind are made of red tape' (119"”20).
17. 'The Anomalous is always at the frontier, on the border of a band or a multiplicity; it is part of the latter, but is already making it pass into another multiplicity, it makes it become, it traces a line between' (Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 42). The anomalous can equally come from outside the pack: 'Sometimes the borderline is defined or doubled by a being of another nature that no longer belongs to the pack, or never belonged to it, and that represents a power of another order, potentially acting as a threat as well as a trainer, outsider, etc' (ATP: 245-6).
18. Slater (2001) provides an excellent analysis of the possible directions that disagreement, polemic and debate can take in a minority community in his analysis of the formation and splits in the Situationist International. The tendencies in this case are seen on one side as a movement towards an open and experimental critical engagement expressed in the Situationist Bauhaus slogan 'divided we stand' and Asger Jorn's understanding of 'open creation', and, on the other, towards the solidification of an autonomous racket through Debord's emphasis on theoretical coherence and Situationist discipline.
19. Though it might have been presented as a critique of the eleventh thesis, Deleuze (n.d.a) proposes something similar when he writes of Nietzschean interpretation: 'It is possible that in the current idea of interpretation, there is something that might go beyond the dialectical opposition between "knowing" [connaître] and "transforming" the world.'
20. In his period of non-involvement with groups after the collapse of the Communist League, Marx told Engels: 'I am greatly pleased by the public, authentic isolation in which we two, you and I, now find ourselves' (cited in Wheen 1999: 265). In this context, Marx's distaste for the cult of personality is also worth noting. Camatte interestingly presents this as a necessary aspect of the deferral of group identity, and cites Marx: 'Both of us scoff at being popular. Among other things our disgust at any personality cult is evidence of this . . . When Engels and I first joined the secret society of communists, we did it on the condition sine qua non that they repeal all statutes that would be favourable to a cult of authority' (Marx to Blos, cited in Camatte 1995: 20). Such an avoidance of identity is explained by Bordiga "” who did not sign his own work "” thus: 'it is the attribute of the bourgeois world that all commodities bear their maker's name, all ideas are followed by their author's signature, every party is defined by its leader's name . . . Work such as ours can only succeed by being hard and laborious and unaided by bourgeois publicity techniques, by the vile tendency to admire and adulate men' (cited in Camatte 1995: 175). Though the minor aspect of these positions is clear, it is worth pointing out "” following Camatte (1995: 175"”6) "” that there are always attendant dangers of the return of a self-sacrificial militancy and a subsumption of the singularities of life to the dictatorship of 'doctrinal monolithism'.
21. See Murphy (n.d.: section 6), Macey (1993: 392"”4), and the collection of Deleuze's short political articles and letters in Discourse 20(3).
22. 'For me, the aftermath of '68, was made up of action committees, psychiatric alternatives; the feminist and gay movements ... I was hoping that a collective development could be pursued, but instead a sort of prohibition against thinking set in. Today it's hard to imagine the kind of demagoguery that reigned at Vincennes and in those milieus: "What are you talking about?" "I don't get it!" "What does that mean?" "Why use complicated words like that?" Deleuze's course was continually interrupted by unbelievable idiots' (Guattari 1995a: 30).
23. A sense of the complexity of Guattari's (1984: 35) mode of group analysis is evident in his lament that 'There is, for instance, no description of the special characteristics of the working class that established the Paris Commune, no description of its creative imagination'.
24. See Cohn-Bendit and Cohn-Bendit (1969: esp. 48"”57) for an account of the formation of the 22 March Movement.
25. In a 1980 interview Guattari says: 'I've changed my mind: there are no subject-groups, but arrangements of enunciation, of subjectivization, pragmatic arrangements which do not coincide with circumscribed groups. These arrangements can involve individuals, but also ways of seeing the world, emotional systems, conceptual machines, memory devices, economic, social components, elements of all kinds' (Guattari 1996a: 227-8).
26. Jacques Camatte (1995) presents a left communist critique of the groupuscule, or 'racket' form in proletarian milieux in a fashion that resonates with Deleuze and Guattari's critique of subjugated groups. Camatte argues that political rackets are the political correlate of business organizations in the phase of the real domination of capital. The racket tends to coalesce in terms of what it collectively affirms itself to be rather than in terms of its critical practices: what it does, as internal differences are subsumed into models of 'authentic' unity in opposition to external relations (be they social forces or other rackets). Coherence and internal hierarchy are produced around attraction points of leaders (be they formal, or informal (cf. Freeman n.d.) "” sometimes being based around, for example, a particular member's cultural capital, such as their theoretical sophistication), revered texts, conceptual abstractions and particular political models, or sanctioned practices, and are enforced through the motive power of political 'commitment', continual 'racketerist marketing', and fear of exclusion.
27. Guattari (1984: 187"”8; 192"”3) offers an insightful account of Trotsky's relation to Lenin and the Soviet state, following the argument that having 'previously been among the loudest in denouncing the danger of the "political substitutionism" inherent in Leninist centralism', 'Trotsky, forced into Leninism by the revolution . . . came to apply with savage rigidity a grotesque Bolshevism' (188).
28. For developments in this understanding of the party as a movement immanent to capital, as against what Dauvé and Martin (1997: 67) identify as the false problem of 'need of the party/fear of the party' expressed by Leninism and councilism respectively, see Antagonism (2001), Camatte (n.d., 1995), and Dauvé and Martin (1997: 63-76).
29. Here I am making a point about which, at the time of the Manifesto, Marx was more ambiguous. In the Manifesto Marx does in fact write of the need 'to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State' (Marx and Engels 1973: 59). Whilst this is problematic, as Marx's theory develops "” particularly after the experience of the Paris Commune "” he breaks with this understanding of the state, such that, as Engels writes in 1888, the formulation of the state in the Manifesto becomes 'antiquated'. Citing Marx's The Civil War in France, Engels writes: 'One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made State machinery, and wield it for its own purposes'" (in Marx and Engels 1973: 14).
30. Building on Marx's distinction between the 'formal' and 'material' party, Bordiga and theorists and groups related to the Italian left have developed one of the most useful communist analyses of the party in these terms. For Bordiga, there is no necessary continuity of a formal party across time. Indeed, devoid of a strong proletarian movement, the formal continuity of the party can function "” as it did with the Russian model "” as a mechanism of domination. Instead, in times of waning proletarian activity, Bordiga proposes a more informal and diffuse material party. The introduction to Antagonism (2001: 18) describes Bordiga's position: 'The party may exist as a more diffuse movement, perhaps of several groups, all or none of whom may be called parties. Or it may consist of fractions of such groups, or of informal connections amongst individuals who are not members of any group.'
31. I am only reading this problematic from Deleuze's perspective, not assessing the adequacy of his reading of Foucault. It is beyond the scope of this book to approach the question through Foucault's work. It is worth noting, though, that if Foucault had problems with the question of resistance, he did not feel the need to respond directly to Deleuze's interpretation. Perhaps there is some truth in Deleuze's rather touching comment after Foucault's death about their relationship: 'I needed him much more than he needed me' (N: 83). For a more detailed consideration of Deleuze's and Foucault's biographical and philosophical relations see Goodchild (1996: 131-5).
32. Foucault's 'anti-Marxism' is misconceived if it is seen as a refusal of a serious and wide-ranging political project. If anything, Foucault's problem with Marxism is that it is not radical enough "” being caught, as he sees it, in the nineteenth-century paradigm of Life, Labour, and Language, and its model of Man. Whilst at one point Foucault (1970: 262) thus, rather uncharitably, describes 'Marxism' as something which 'exists in nineteenth-century thought like a fish in water: that is, it is unable to breathe anywhere else', it is noteworthy that he also presents Marx alongside the privileged figure of Nietzsche as a force that decentres anthropology and humanism, albeit one that is continually subject to reterritorializations: 'One is led therefore to anthropologize Marx, to make him a historian of totalities, and to rediscover in him the message of humanism; one is led therefore to interpret Nietzsche in the terms of transcendental philosophy and to reduce his genealogy to the level of a search for origins' (Foucault 1972: 13).
33. Bringing together the two dominant misinterpretations of Foucault "” that the 'death of man' was a nihilism, and that Foucault's later works marked a 'return to the subject' "” Deleuze writes that 'misinterpretations are never innocent, they're mixtures of stupidity and malevolence' (N: 99).
34. François Ewald (1994) explains how in 1977 Deleuze had entrusted these notes to him to pass on to Foucault, and describes them as having something intimate, secret, and confidential about them.
35. In a passage that is worth citing at length, Deleuze continues: 'In any case, they scare me. There is a molecular speech of madness, or of the drug addict or the delinquent in vivo which is no more valid than the great discourses of a psychiatrist in vitro. There is as much self-assurance on the former's part as certainty on the latter's part. It is not the marginals which create the lines; they install themselves on these lines and make them their property, and this is fine when they have that strange modesty of men of the line, the prudence of the experimenter, but it is a disaster when they slip into a black hole from which they no longer utter anything but the micro-fascist speech of their dependency and their giddiness: "We are the avant-garde", "We are the marginals" (Deleuze and Parnet 1987: 139).