Tiqqun is a French collective of authors and activists formed in 1999. The group published two journal volumes in 1999 and 2001 (in which the collective author “The Invisible Committee” first appeared), as well as the books Théorie du Bloom and Théorie de la jeune fille.
Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl
Tiqqun, Associate Editor
Translated by Ariana Reines
The Young-Girl is not always young; more and more frequently, she is not even female. She is the figure of total integration in a disintegrating social totality.
–from Theory of the Young-Girl
First published in France in 1999, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl dissects the impossibility of love under Empire. The Young-Girl is consumer society’s total product and model citizen: whatever “type” of Young-Girl she may embody, whether by whim or concerted performance, she can only seduce by consuming. Filled with the language of French women’s magazines, rooted in Proust’s figure of Albertine and the amusing misery of (teenage) romance in Witold Gombrowicz’s Ferdydurke, and informed by Pierre Klossowski’s notion of “living currency” and libidinal economy, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl diagnoses—and makes visible—a phenomenon that is so ubiquitous as to have become transparent.
Traditional lines of revolutionary struggle no longer hold. Rather, it is ubiquitous cybernetics, surveillance, and terror that create the illusion of difference within hegemony. Configurations of dissent and the rhetoric of revolution are merely the other face of capital, conforming identities to empty predicates, ensuring that even “thieves,” “saboteurs,” and “terrorists” no longer exceed the totalizing space of Empire. This Is Not a Program offers two texts, both originally published in French by Tiqqun with Introduction to Civil War in 2001. In “This Is Not a Program,” Tiqqun outlines a new path for resistance and struggle in the age of Empire, one that eschews the worn-out example of France’s May ‘68 in favor of what they consider to be the still fruitful and contemporary insurrectionary movements in Italy of the 1970s. “As a Science of Apparatuses” examines the way Empire has enforced on the subject a veritable metaphysics of isolation and pacification, “apparatuses” that include chairs, desks, computers; surveillance (security guards, cameras); disease (depression); crutch (cell phone, lover, sedative); and authority.
Translated by Alexander R. Galloway and Jason E. Smith
Society is not in crisis, society is at an end. The things we used to take for granted have all been vaporized. Politics was one of these things, a Greek invention that condenses around an equation: to hold a position means to take sides, and to take sides means to unleash civil war. Civil war, position, sides—these were all one word in the Greek: stasis. If the history of the modern state in all its forms—absolute, liberal, welfare—has been the continuous attempt to ward off this stasis, the great novelty of contemporary imperial power is its embrace of civil war as a technique of governance and disorder as a means of maintaining control. Where the modern state was founded on the institution of the law and its constellation of divisions, exclusions, and repressions, imperial power has replaced them with a network of norms and apparatuses that conspire in the production of the biopolitical citizens of Empire.