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08 2018

The idea of a transdividual network system

Proximate notes

Raúl Sánchez Cedillo

Translated by Kelly Mulvaney

This text inquires into the theoretical and political virtue and fortune of a model of a network system that is emergent, autopoietic, open, and transdividual. [1] For the sake of simplicity I will refer to it here as SRT (sistema red transdividual, or transdividual network system). The SRT is as much a thing as a subject, and thus it cannot be defined by an opposition or dialectic between subject and object. As an assemblage of bodies and machines, algorithms and ideas, the SRT is an inseparable subject-object, a production of subjectivity intimately tied to the forms of political expression of the contemporary multitude.

This SRT is no mere idea or theoretical invention: it can be traced from its historical appearance, its coming into existence. In this sense we can say that the SRT was born with the revolts of 2011 and developed its characteristic traits above all in and with the Spanish 15M.[2] This should not be a surprise: rather, my hypothesis here is that—building on and in line with what I have written elsewhere (closer to the time and places of that cycle)—the SRT is inseparable from the capacity for revolt and disobedience; it is a revolutionary ontological entity that grows in the heart of the specific antagonisms of machinic and financialized capitalism.

I raise the question of the SRT today because, almost one decade after its powerful and stunning appearance, the temporal distance gained might help us to better understand its grandeur and novelty. Today, as the closure of historical capitalism (politically and economically, productively and juridically) leads toward generalized scenarios of dictatorship, apartheid, and war, we might appreciate from another perspective the peculiarity of those occurrences that were capable of manifesting and organizing a radical cut in the programmed destination of the capitalist world system. This cut will be called “ephemeral,” “ambivalent,” and therefore, in the eyes of the new global Stalinism, “suspicious.”

Let us recall that the contradictions of the global market’s political constitution burst as a result of the attacks of September 11, unleashing a “global war on terror” regime. The oligarchic interests of the U.S. hegemon imposed themselves with an internal coup, in order to regain command of the world markets based on imperialist military force and on the deployment of a regime of generalized vigilance and a modular state of exception in the Atlantic world. The neoliberal counter-revolution did not consider itself affected by this: rather, from Silicon Valley to the major financial markets, it managed to adapt, preying on various asset bubbles and constructing on that foundation its strategy of rents and social hierarchy in the Atlantic constitutional democracies and the emergent states governed by varying grades of authoritarianism. However, with the outbreak in 2007-08 of the enduring and present global financial crisis, some months of confusion amongst the Atlantic elites suggested that there would soon be a new twist in the always-already precarious relation between democracy and capitalism.

This is the transition that dominates the Atlantic world today: that is, the infernal alternative between, on the one hand, austerity-laden hyperfinancialization and its schemes of social stratification—in accordance with technologies of debt and differential access to parasitic rent—and, on the other, the rising populisms of the extreme-right, which, without having “decided” their relation to the megamachines of the global financial system, unequivocally aim to introduce a colonial order in the schemes of debt and parasitic rent in the societies and metropolises of the Atlantic centers—that is, to combine the violence of the financial system and the state apparatuses with an attempted “conservative revolution.” Rather than fascism, old or new, the classes of capital meet around a consensus that appears to aim towards the establishment of regimes of apartheid in the postcolonial societies of the world system’s center. This “apartheid attractor” configures itself as the middle ground in the narrations and “reasonable” objectives of the constellation-in-motion of the global right.

The transition underway was preceded, however, by the appearance of different points of revolt—in Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, the United States, Russia, Turkey and Brazil. A new kind of antioligarchic democratic revolt appeared on the global scene, at once local and global. As we know, these revolts led to successive crushes and defeats. But that is not my interest here. (And also, in the Spanish case, one cannot categorically speak of defeat and even less of a crush, but rather of a strategy of exhaustion and demoralization.) Instead I would like to draw attention to how the current “conservative revolution” was spurred in reaction to the revolts of 2011. In fact, the assemblages of enunciation of the new racist nationalisms draw on the same narrative schemes as those of the 1920s and 30s, swapping the scapegoat of the Judeo-Masonic-Bolshevik conspiracy for the threat of the global and cosmopolitan elite and its machinations: financial, military, and Islamic for a Putin; Western and anti-Islamic for an Erdoğan; Jewish and Euro-Atlantic for an Orbán. But the referential landmarks of these new Dolchstoßlegenden[3] are, in all of these cases, the respective revolts of the 2011 cycle, considered as a globalist conspiracy against the independence and identity of the nation.

It was not this way in the Spanish case. We must continue to insist on this: 15M preventatively and temporarily disarticulated the comparative advantages of the racist and fascist forces, creating a favorable setting for processes of emancipation and rupture with the regime of austerity and debt. For this reason, with some distance from the event, we can inquire into the unresolved key questions at the heart of 15M, namely, into the intensity, the thickness, the complexity, the duration, and the permanent effects of the SRT that emerged during this time. The presupposition of this inquiry should be explicit: despite its rarity, its role as an eventum tantum[4], the appearance of the phylum of the network systems implies a before and an after; it further implies a retroactive smoothing of the history of modern and contemporary revolts. This leads us to think about it not in the modality of nostalgia, but also not in the modality of the mere utility of its effects. Rather, we are led to think about it in the modality of its search and its untimely repetition. At the end of the 1980s Félix Guattari wrote about the beginning of the era of planetary computerization, after the historical fractures of the “age of European Christianity, marked by a new conception of relations between the Earth and Power” and the “age of capitalistic deterritorialization of knowledges and techniques, founded on the principles of generalized equivalence.”[5] Far from pointing with this claim towards a technological overcoming of the contradictions of what Guattari called “integrated world capitalism,”[6] planetary computerization opened up alternatives that were completely new, yet not foreign to their precedents, in which the worst wars, the most terrible fascisms, the worst ecological catastrophes fought with new modalities of emancipation, democracy, and communism over the possibility of their becoming-probable.

Our current times pretend to have overturned the emancipatory scenarios of 2011. The platforms of extraction of the living labor of networked brains appear to have definitively colonized the Internet; the algorithms of measuring attention, predicting and predetermining options, and surveillance and tracking rule in the service of megaplatforms and police States. With respect to the subjective atmosphere, social networks are filled with narratives of hate, exclusion, and war, from which the so-called alt-right nourishes itself, as do, more generally, new forces that promote aggressive nationalisms and forms of apartheid. For their part, the alleged libertarian alternatives, based in blockchain architectures, are correlatives of archaic universes of value (possessive individualism, gold standard fanaticism, etc.), delusions of cultural and civilizational superiority, and fantasies of the infinitude and resilience of ecosystems and energy sources. For its part, from Silicon Valley, the “parallel action” of the engineers, celebrity managers, and new captains of digital industry await the coming of the “Singularity” as if it were the apocatastasis, the salvation of the elected, a society akin to the one described in Altered Carbon.[7]

At the same time, and this is particularly important in the case of the post-15M scenarios in Spain, we have witnessed the attempt to oppose the forces of austerity-neoliberalism, as well as the forces of the conservative revolution, with a populist apparatus.[8] Here with respect to populism we must understand a certain assemblage of mottos and slogans, a work of programming signifiers and emotions, including work on desire, where by desire the populist theorists understand the object “petit a” of lack and incompletion, the absent name of unhappiness and subalternity. I have discussed this elsewhere. [9] It is important to contend that this populism, as a politics of the passions, presupposes the effects of the SRT, and that it does not constitute an emancipatory alternative independent from this. Its character as a technology of power and government, as a science of engineering the passions, is much indebted to the Gramsci’s Sorelian considerations about the passions and myth.[10] It points in the direction of affects as an ontological force, but it reduces them to irrational expressions that must be utilized in order to unify the dispersed and fragmented, and to construct the organic force that allows the power of the State to continue. In this way, the supposed political realism of the populist option can be seen as a voluntary idealism, especially in light of the deadly passions that are now fed by the enunciation assemblages of the new racist and nationalist rightwings.

It is thus crucial to appreciate the way in which 15M is outside of History, as becomings always are, but simultaneously inscribed in it in its results, or to be more precise, in its transformats.[11] There will be those who cast it from History as a lightweight, because, for example, there were no deaths and few prisoners were taken, as if this comprised the certificate of ontological thickness of a political event. It is ridiculous that this absence of historical passion is ascribed to an event that precisely wanted not to repeat just that, but rather to activate a path against the destiny of uninterrupted oligarchic domination in Spain.

The contours of the transdividual network system (SRT)

An SRT has nothing to do with the programming or algorithmic processing of behaviors, or with neuronal stimulation. In those cases we would have to speak of neuropolitics, although it would be more appropriate to speak of neuro-marketing, whether it depicts itself as a commercial pursuit or an activity of electoral politics.

With rare exceptions, the semantics of political action continues to operate with categories of the solid-state physics of the seventeenth century, such as force, mass, resistance, revolution, movement, action, reaction.

To a lesser extent, the twentieth century incorporated applicable concepts from the thermodynamics of the nineteenth century into this semantics, such as ebb and flow or critical mass.

For its part, political ecology has introduced other concepts, such as synergy, resilience, etc., all of which arise from systems theory, thermodynamics, and statistical physics.

Of course, everyone has used the expression “system” at some point, but it is rarely used except as a metaphor for an enemy Moloch.

Nevertheless, more and more parties, unions, NGOs, and movements are using statistics to a greater or lesser extent, and increasingly also systems theory.

A “coupure” has become necessary, a cut. But in opposition to the “scientific” Althusser, and more in line with the Althusser of “self-critique,” the new political semantics of physical and mathematical origin must be linked to political and existential ruptures that allow its use to be made productive and decisive. The cycle of 2011 is a primary example of this. However, what “technopolitics” means today in municipalist-governmental contexts in Spain consists fundamentally in introducing software for proposals, debates, and consultation, as a participatory complement to actions of the government, whose prerogative over the monopoly of legality and political authority is in no way impaired.

An SRT is not a model of artificial intelligence, nor is it a digital platform that executes programs concerning the actions of human beings. It is necessary to insist on this in order to counter any purely computational interpretation of the existence and agency of the SRT—a kind of interpretation agreeable to both proponents of algorithmic social engineering as well as the technophobic currents, who empty ethics and politics of their content in the era of planetary computerization.

The SRT can be called emergent, because it arises in the middle of, as a result of, a composition of heterogeneous components that is a priori neither determined nor determinable.

The SRT is autopoietic, because it is capable, departing from a punctual closure, of producing transformations of its internal properties.

The SRT is necessarily open, because as an assemblage of assemblages of machines and bodies, collective agents of enunciation and networks of networks, it is a system far from equilibrium, a system that cannot cease to (re)compose itself, to (re)assemble itself, to (re)modify its thresholds of consistence and persistence according to its process of self-constitution, in connection with the environments with which it comes into contact and communicates.

The SRT operates with heterogeneous distributions of singularities, and in this sense it is inseparable from a dividual politics, that is, from ethical vectors in which the relations of transformation between multiplicities are decided according to differential matrices of dividuation. I call it transdividual because the deployment of its ethical and political vectors leads to results (or transformats) that make distributions of singularities mutate into one another.

At this point I want to return to Félix Guattari’s theory of the four ontological functors of assemblage, which allow for the “metamodelization” of highly deterritorialized, heterogeneous systems and processes.[12] As we know, Guattari distributes deterritorialized entities into four kinds of functors, namely: finite existential Territories, which carry out fractal cuts of a precarious for-itself and a precarious alterity according to syntagmatic chains of expression, semiotic or not; Universes of reference or of value, which group themselves in constellations; Phyla of abstract and concrete machines, which enable all kinds of propositional syntax, semiotic or not, and which introduce different levels of (hyper)complexity and hybridizations and interactions between filiations and machinic modules; and material and energetic Flows of expression.[13]

The gradients of deterritorialization order themselves according to the axes of a parallelogram, as follows:


The gradients of greater deterritorialization prevail vis-à-vis those of lesser deterritorialization, as per the following matrix of the relations between the four functors according to the environments of the possible, the real, the virtual, and the actual. Here we see that the universes of incorporeal value make possible (possibilitize), the existential virtual territories realize (existentialize), while the possible machinic Phyla actualize, as do the material flows of expression.[14]


It must be noted that while the referential fields implied by the SRT’s definition strongly invoke graph theory, systems theory, and complexity theories, including particle physics among others, the SRT is defined in the first place because it exists subjectively, because it opens up and brings into existence heterogeneous concatenations of families of informatics machines with social fields—and therefore with humans, minds and bodies and their relations, constituting a subjective, mutating, and intensive existential territory.

The SRT is multilevel because its topology consists of the organization of heterogeneous layers of expression, including biological layers on par with the distinct layers of algorithmic computation of social networks or the communication of analog social networks, where these exist. Thus, it is not a matter of informatics or thermodynamic metaphors, but rather of tools capable of grasping a subjective and political pragmatics in which the incorporeal universes of value (ethics, aesthetics, philosophy, mathematics) and their connections with the filiations of abstract machines relate to the production of subjectivity: they create a finite existential territory that is precarious and nevertheless capable of generating processes of self-reference and a strategic conatus for a dividual distribution of singularities.

A fundamental example of the relation between incorporeal universals of value and physical-energetic machinic systems in an assemblage of labor can be found in the case of credit/trust. The case of bitcoin and blockchain technology more generally demonstrate the inconsistency of the assemblage when the value universe of trust/credit is isolated, neutralized, or reduced to its minimum in the assemblage as a result of the fanaticism of possessive individualism. Its energy expenditure, which involves a purely algorithmic replacement of the cognitive-affective apparatus of trust, makes the assemblage unfeasible, leading it sooner or later into black holes or to the parasitic existence of a privileged niche.

The SRT is appropriative with respect to other subsystems, with which it in turn establishes agonistic-antagonistic relations: the agonisms it contains can be resolved through the mutation and complexification of the SRT, which thereby augments its ontological potency, whereas the antagonisms can lead to a loss of its consistency and capacity to persist, resulting in its disappearance. The SRT can neutralize these, make them collapse, or enslave them in a cybernetic sense.

Similarly, an SRT is not predictable in a deterministic sense, but it does lend itself to probabilistic calculations based on each of its metastates. In this sense the aim of this network system is not, nor can it ever be, certitude, prediction, or measurement. We must recall that, unlike in strategy games like chess or Go, in the network system play occurs with strategic operations where hidden information is dominant. Hence the interest, on the one hand, in William James’ (1897) conception of belief:

“Our passional nature must, and lawfully may, decide an option between two propositions, whenever it is a genuine option that cannot by its nature be decided on intellectual grounds; for to say, under such circumstances, ‘Do not decide but leave the question open’, is itself a passional decision, just like deciding ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and is attended with the same risk of losing the truth.

… In truths dependent on our personal action, then, faith based on desire is certainly a lawful, and possibly an indispensable thing.”[15]

Thus, with respect to decision and its structure of Bayesian enunciation networks, the SRT operates according to nondeterministic algorithms. Or, it would be better to say that in the SRT decision is neither unique nor definitive, but rather the resultant (the transformat) of its nondeterministic recursive processes. At every moment it implies aleatory variables, products of the always-changing distributions at the heart of the SRT. In this sense, from a functional perspective we can understand the SRT as a nondeterministic Turing machine. What we have is thus a pragmatics of the probabilistic distributions that operate as Bayesian networks, networks of belief, constituent networks. We have here a key to understanding the “distributed direction” of struggles in technopolitics.

Conditions of possibility and contingency: how it works

A fundamental question should be addressed: How does an SRT come to be? What are its conditions of possibility and its regimes of probability? How does an SRT live and ‘die’, how and under what conditions does it perdure (persist) in time, in duration?

If we consider the case of the Spanish 15M, the SRT functioned along the lines of what Deleuze called a “dark precursor”,[16] a hidden operator capable of determining a political heterogenesis departing from differences in potentials for outrage, positions of interest, generational agitations and asymmetries between cities and towns, electoral behaviors, and so on.

The flows of affect and enunciation that circulate in digital and analog social networks constitute an immense general intellect that feels and suffers. The generic vital activity in the networks is inherently living labor, a discharge of physical and psychical energy; at the same time, it is also production. But production of what? If we consider the platforms of digital capitalism, it is the production of data, that is to say, codifications of flows of words, images, sounds and emotions and feelings. But it is obvious that something more is produced, although it is not immediately captured by the platforms. With Marazzi and others, we can say that what gets produced is humanity: to a large extent, this cooperation (re)produces the conditions of production in their complex ensemble. The Internet and the social networks in particular are one of the pillars of so-called anthropogenetic production.[17] Here, the distinction between machinic production and human labor exhibits opacities that are linked to the capitalist constitution of the body-machine, that is, to the subsumption of the cooperation between minds (bodies, of course) in the systems of algorithmic computation. Increasingly, the machine-bodies develop into systems of machinic servitude, that is, systems of modular capture by and for algorithmic machines that control, predict, interrupt, stimulate specific neuronal processes. In this sense, cerebral and sensory-motor wetware—and therefore cognitive and affective activity—lives and functions in this hybridization, which is a dimension of the distinct capitalist exploitation of the extraction of absolute or relative surplus-value according to socially necessary labor time. As the era of planetary computerization takes hold, the modular capture of bodies and minds on the part of the machinic systems of computational capitalism becomes increasingly dense and intensified. We must target this machinic exploitation and its effects of suffering and deep personal unhappiness if we want to find the catalyzers of emergence of the SRT.

On the other hand, I hypothesized that the SRT originates in a rebellion of the machinic unconscious.[18] Far from any Freudian formulation, we must understand the unconscious in the first place as a dimension that is not opposed to the conscious, that is, which can make itself conscious and decisive. And secondly, we must understand the milieu of the hyper-deterritorialized metabolisms of the four ontological functions. In this sense, with Guattari, we can speak of “four unconsciouses.” No absolute separation exists among them: the processes of one and the other enter into relationships that are concomitant and transitive, as well as oppositional and superimposing. But the degree to which they influence the production of subjectivity is markedly distinct:

The subjective unconscious must be fundamentally understood with regard to individualized and personal expression and its corresponding neurotic reterritorializations, including those of personal identity, normalization, and above all representation. Of course, it is more defenseless with respect to the modular captures of the machinisms of capital and its control of enunciation. The algorithmic control of the subjective unconscious is becoming more and more real through social networks, self-help techniques, coaching, and so on.

The material unconscious, in turn, has to do with the expressive proliferation of various stratified, non-semiotic flows. It is, as it were, the unconscious of the flesh, of elements, of formed materials, biological or not. It is the unconscious that devours and vacates words in psychotic experience, that converts them into glossolalia or cuts of material sonic flows. For that matter, it is subject to the avalanches of psychopharmaceuticals.

For its part, the territorial unconscious concerns a game involving territorialities of all kinds, from the body to kinship, heritage and landscape, the cosmic. There is no territory without deterritorialization, nor does any territory come to be without specific manners of marking time as the components of each territorial assemblage are traversed. But what generates these deterritorialities, particularly with regard to the SRT?

To the machinic unconscious corresponds the generalized enabling (possibilitization) of the transformations of assemblage, in labor, in enunciation, in micropolitics and becomings. The assemblage gets worked on by machinisms that function beyond equilibrium and completeness, opening modes of non-programmed expression and enunciation:

“[…] the first unconscious, linked to the structures of expression, seeks a certain kind of equilibrium, expression, mode of semioticization, hence its affinity with neurotic structures; the second unconscious, aimed more at the dimensions of content and the heterogeneous components that I referred to as psychotic, is, in some place, counterdependent on the neurotic unconscious; the territorial unconscious, that of the family, etc, also somewhere in search of a pseudo-identity, even as this identity is deterritorialized in many aspects, even if only in its systemic function.

For its part the machinic unconscious has no semiotic key in and of itself; it is not tormented by a kind of lost paradise beyond the psychotic unconscious, nor by territories. It is made of the ensemble of the possibilities that can inhabit all dimensions of the assemblage.”[19]

The relationships between the four functors and thus the relationships between the four unconsciouses run across what Guattari called tensors, which, in line with the mathematical definition, are matrices of vectors that combine, in this case, the heterogeneous compositions relative to each ontological dimension.

The semiotic tensors create waves of enunciative meaning in compositions between the four functors, that is, they are matrices of signs without which it would be impossible to speak of sensory or perceptive territories of subjectivity; without them it is also not possible to discern incorporeal affects and ideas of the virtual universes of reference, or to determine grammars, logics, or diagrams in the machinic compositions.

In turn, the tensors of the surplus-value of the possible, ΔT, ΔU, Δθ, ΔF allow for the transfer of creations of sense and for the determination of pragmatic effects (in extrinsic relations between the domains Φ and F, that is, in the determination of possibilities), on the one hand, and of subjective affects (in the relations between T and U, that is, in the existential mutations of subjectivities, in correlation with processes of dividual territorialization-deterritorialization, of alterification and becoming).

But determination is not realization or actualization: it is merely possibilitization. Realization and actualization are conducted by the synaptic tensors, which vectoralize quantums of the possible and the virtual via systemic extrinsic synapses of effect (transformats of assemblage) in the expressive and machinic dimensions of assemblages, and structural synapses of affect in the relations between incorporeal universes of value and existential self-referential territories, in correspondence with the intensive ritornelli of content.

These synaptic tensors have to relate to the mutations of affect and behavior-agency in the SRT, which lead to its emergence and inaugurate processes of proliferation and contagion, of consistency between sub-systems, of connection between networks of singularities, in short: those tensors are at the core of an SRT. In this sense we must always seek them if we want to trace the conditions of emergence of an SRT.

In considering the synapses of affect, we can distinguish between two kinds: sensible affect, which as Guattari writes concerns the (intensive) feeling of being, and problematic affect, which corresponds to an active manner (mode) of being. The key to the SRT’s coming-into-existence lies in the metabolic processes of these two affects. Why is the one “problematic”? Because it arises precisely in an open problematization of ontological sense, within an “optional material” in which constitutive directions are at stake. Its high degree of deterritorialization and its metabolic role between the virtual and the machinic-possible produce an enrichment of the ranges of ontological alternative, as well as an intensification of the practical existence of the SRT and, thereby, of all its components. The incorporeal universes of value are not only mathematic or artistic, but also ethical. In this sense the communist-common politicity of the SRT opens up in the problematic affects of transistent-intensive content, in which possible worlds, unprecedented distributions, existential territories of the common vie to persist. There is no speaking of the individual in the SRT, if we conceive of the individual as a psychic, ethical, juridical, and social atom. There are, certainly, persons (“masks”). Insofar as variable distributions of a dividual matter are concerned, individuals in the SRT are more precisely exdividuals, where “ex” has the same meaning, but turned around and without any possible symmetry, as the ex pluribus unum of the U.S. constitution, where the technologies of individualization of the machine-body are interrupted by dividual becomings linked to other machine-bodies. In this sense we can say that the relationships of the common to singularities are of an exdividual kind.[20]

At this point we should emphasize the role of the ritornellos, both the ritornellos of feeling and expression, whether these are made of discursive syntagms and semiotic materials or not, and the ritornellos of content, of the intensive kind, in relation to the abstract machines. Without these ritornellos coming into play we cannot explain how the SRT comes into existence. Consider, for example, the sensible ritornello of the images of the squares and the camps in 2011, in their repetition and difference, from Tahrir to Sol to Gezi. Consider that panoramic image of the camp, the constant live-streaming or the thousands of photos from all possible angles, and how these images of the Puerta del Sol functioned as a visual ritornello of the contagion of rebellion, as a ritornello of deterritorialization and reterritorialization in the dynamic thresholds of the SRT, always in the process of extension, appropriation, autopoiesis, determined by the incorporeal universes of alterity and the machinic and enunciative components that entered into their dimensions of consistence, as the mutating existential territory appropriated its new dividual distributions of bodies and algorithmic machines in its process of self-constitution. With Félix Guattari let us recall what ritornellos are made of:

Under the generic term ‘refrain’ [‘ritornello’], I will group reiterated discursive sequences, closed on themselves, having as their function an extrinsic catalysis of existential affects. Refrains can take rhythmic or plastic form, be prosodic segments, faciality traits, emblems of recognition, leitmotifs, signatures, proper names or their invocational equivalents; equally they can be established transversally between different substances - this is the case with Proust's ‘refrains of lost time’, which constantly enter into correspondence with each other.[21]

In other words, it appears that a connectionist-reticular hypercomplexity would tend, under conditions of the problematic affect, to determine phase ruptures or emergent processes, in which a relation takes shape between autopoietic emergence, the immanence of the open system and the environment, and the vectors of intensive coming-into-consciousness (sensible affects of the existential territory of the SRT). It goes without saying that this would have a Spinozan formulation, related to the strategy[22] of conatus as cupiditas or desire, capable of having experiences/encounters of many kinds, as diverse as their own com-positive multiplicity, where the hypercomplexity of common notions leads to the “amor Dei intellectualis,” the “intellectual love of God,” which we can but formulate here as a love for the common that is characteristic of the SRT.

Open problems

If the SRT is an entity that can redefine the contours of the political in the contemporary situation, it is necessary in the following to address a series of undeveloped or unresolved problems.

Insofar as it is an intrinsically political subject-object, we must consider the problem of antagonism, the problem of enemies. And we must therefore also consider the event horizon in which the SRT vies with the State-form to determine common life, which refers, on the one hand, to the management of violence, obedience to the norms of the law, and the regulation of the antagonism outside of civil war frameworks.

On the other hand, to what extent do algorithmic control, the control and elimination of anomalies, and access to as well as the interpretation and propriety of big data influence the emergent, consistent, transistent, and persistent possibilities of the autopoietic network systems? To what extent is the actual Internet increasingly immunized against transdividual network systems, against the SRTs, through the combination of algorithmic filtration, the elimination of profiles, and penal and repressive action via telematic social networks?

Another fundamental question relates to the historical limits of the SRT. In this sense the attempt is to advance the characterization of the SRT as an ecological system, that is, as an invention that is susceptible to giving life to the proposition of Félix Guattari’s three ecologies. The historical limits concern the technical inequalities of the world system, the energetic limits, climate change, the capitalist configuration of the era of planetary computerization. In this sense, the SRT cannot be a version of accelerationism.

The SRT is inherently incompatible with the private ownership of networks, data, technical network infrastructures, and algorithms. The SRT is an antiCapital, understanding by this, in line with Guattari, the integral of all formations of power.

The SRT is in its actual historical determination completely vulnerable to the repression of the State, to fascism, and to war. In this sense, until today, it has not resolved the problem of the State-form and its disappearance.

The SRT can be thought of as an ontological form of constituent exodus in relation to the era of planetary computerization. A precarious exodus, at the current moment completely dependent on fortune, if we account for the limits mentioned above. The SRT is, certainly, an instituent power whose limits of absorption-appropriation of the world of capital and the State-form cannot be determined in advance, except to point out the asymptote in which the more-or-less fascist violence of the State-form puts an end to its existence. The SRT is an exceptional form of the instituent common, of its capacity made into a politics of the multitude.



[1] This text can be read as a delayed appendix to my article “15M: Something Constituent This Way Comes,” South Atlantic Quarterly 113:3, Summer 2012: For examples and illustrations of the network system I refer to this text, and for references to other authors, see Democracia Distribuida. Miradas desde la Universidad Nómada al 15M [Distributed Democracy. Perspectives from Universidad Nómada on 15M], 2012:; and above all, see Javier Toret Medina (coord.) Tecnopolítica y 15M: La potencia de las multitudes conectadas. Un estudio sobre la gestación y explosión del 15M [Technopolitics and 15M: The potency of the connected multitudes. A study of the management and explosion of 15M], 2013:

[2] An occupation movement in all Spanish cities, which began with and around May 15, 2011; see Sánchez Cedillo, “15M: Something Constituent This Way Comes.”

[3] See: With regard to the languages of the German conservative revolution I cannot cease to recommend Jean-Pierre Faye’s Langages totalitaires, 1972.

[4] “Only event,” or the event as such, impersonal, “neutral”, purely infinitive: “The future and the past of the event are evaluated only with respect to this definitive present, and from the point of view of that which embodies it. But on the other hand, there is the future and the past of the event considered in itself, sidestepping each present, being free of the limitations of a state of affairs, impersonal and pre-individual, neutral, neither general nor particular, eventum tantum….”. Gilles Deleuze, “Twenty-First Series of the Event,” The Logic of Sense [trans. Mark Lester], Columbia University Press 1990.

[5] Félix Guattari, “De la production de subjectivité,” in: Chimères No. 4, 1986,; See also Félix Guattari, Schizoanalytic Cartographies [trans. Andrew Goffey], Bloomsbury 2013.

[6] Cf. Félix Guattari & Antonio Negri, New Lines of Alliance, New Spaces of Liberty, Minor Compositions, Autonomedia, MayFlyBooks 2010.

[7] See:

[8] Translator’s note: the author is referring primarily to the political form of the party Podemos, founded in 2014.

[9] See my article “L’assoluto della democrazia alla luce del 15M spagnolo,” in: Francesco Brancaccio, Chiara Giorgi (Eds.), Ai confini del diritto. Poteri, istituzioni, soggettività, Rome: Derive Approdi 2017.

[10] See Antonio Gramsci, Note sul Machiavelli, sulla politica e sullo stato moderno, Rome: Einaudi 1953.

[11] “Instead of majestic determinations of the Hegelian fashion, we thus have new narrative fields, and conceptual effects, which light up or darken, become monstrous or fertile anti-concepts. We thus approach what I have called the ‘transformat’: to study the genesis of these monstrous anti-concepts, the moment when these effects appear… results of the transformations, Jean-Pierre Faye, Entretien, Revue Conférence, núm. 28:
(This and forthcoming translations from French are my own, also relying on the Spanish. -KM)

[12] On “metamodelization” see Félix Guattari, Chaosmosis. an ethico-aesthetical paradigm [trans. Paul Bains & Julian Pefanis], Indiana University Press 1995 (There the spelling is ‘metamodelisation’. -KM); see also Félix Guattari, “Agencements. Transistances. Persistances.” Seminar on December 8, 1981, “An assemblage thus consists in that there are material or energetic flows, relations of segmentation, of territory, coordinates, references that articulate with machinic phylum, which work in some place on their own account and develop universes. It is based in the fact that the four kinds of elements are more or less articulated with one another.”

[13] The following graphics are by the author and translated into Spanish based on Félix Guattari, Cartographies schizoanalytiques, Editions Galilée 1989.


[14] See Guattari, Les quatre inconscients.” Seminar on January 13, 1981: “What is the status of the abstract machinic entities that, in the sense of the abstract nucleus of agency, ‘double’ the concrete dimensions? Precisely, not of the double: the abstract machinisms do not constitute worlds parallel to the concrete assemblages. There does not exist a correspondence of interaction between the abstract machines and the manifest concretes. One rather speaks, here, of a system of projection.”

[15] William James, “The Will to Believe,” 1896:

[16] “To begin with, what is this agent, this force which ensures communication? Thunderbolts explode between different intensities, but they are preceded by an invisible, imperceptible dark precursor, which determines their path in advance but in reverse, as though intagliated. Likewise, every system contains its dark precursor which ensures the communication of peripheral series. … Because the path it traces is invisible and becomes visible only in reverse, to the extent that it is travelled over and covered by the phenomena it induces within the system, it has no place other than that from which it is 'missing', no identity other than that which it lacks: it is precisely the object = x, the one which 'is lacking in its place' as it lacks its own identity.” Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton, New York & London: Continuum, 1997, p. 119.

[17] Christian Marazzi, “L’ammortamento del corpo macchina,” in: Jean-Louis Laville, Christian Marazzi, La Rosa, Federico Chicchi (Eds.), Reinventare il lavoro, Rome: Sapere, 2000 Ediz. Multimediali, 2007.

[18] Sánchez Cedillo, “15M: Something Constituent This Way Comes.”

[19] Félix Guattari, “Les quatre inconscients,” Seminar on 13 January 1981:

[20] On the ontology of the dividual and its philosophical and political relevance see Gerald Raunig, Dividuum: Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution, MIT Press 2016, (Orig. German:

[21] Guattari, Schizoanalytic Cartographies, p. 207.

[22] Cf. Laurent Bove, La Stratégie du Conatus: Affirmation et Résistance chez Spinoza, Vrin 1996.