tiqqun, this is not a program (2009, eng. translation 2011)


„A world long settled in the house of catastrophe now warily grasps that the fall of the ‘socialist bloc’ didn’t portend its triumph but rather its own ineluctable collapse.“ 10

„Despite the flights of fancy of the imperial police, current events have no strategic legibility.“ 10

„What has in fact been lost is the ability to establish a communicable relationship between our history and history as such. (…) Blooms believed that it was enough to abandon the battlefiled for the war to end. But nothing like that happened. War didn’t stop and those who have refused as much now find themselves a bit more disarmed, a bit mor disfigured, than the rest.“ 11

„A redefinition of historical conflict is needed, not intellectually: vitally.“ 12

„I say redefinition because a definition of historical conflict precedes us … : the class struggle. That definition no longer holds.“ 12

„The front line no longer cuts through the middle of society; it now runs through the middle of each of us, between what makes us a citizen, our predicates, and all the rest. It is thus in each of us that war is being waged between imperial socialization and that which already eludes it.“ 12

„one plane of consistency is common to all of them: that of anti-imperial subversion. (…) We have called this plane of consistency the Imaginary Party. (…) building the Party means establishing forms-of-life in their difference, intensifying, complicating relations between them, developing as subtly as possible civil war between us. (…) fihgting against Empire essentially means never confusing the conservative segments of the Imaginary Party – libertarian militias, right-wing anarchists, insurrectionary fascists, Qutbist jihadists, ruralist militants – and its revolutionary-experimental segments. Building the Party must therefore no longer be thought of in terms of organization but in terms of circulation.“ 13 f.

„1970s Italy remains, in every respect, the insurrectional moment closest to us. We must start there, not in order to write the history of a past movement, but to hone the weapons for the war currently taking place.“ 14


„there is the retreat from the world – into art, philosophy, the home, food, spirituality, critique – as the exclusive and impracticable line of flight on which the thickening flows of local mortification feed.“ 15


‘ ’77 wasn’t like ’68. ’68 was anti-establishment, ’77 was radically alternative. This is why the ‘official’ version portrays ’68 as good and ’77 as bad; in fact, ’68 was co-opted whereas ’77 was annihilated. This is why, unlike ’68, ’77 could never make for an easy object of celebration’ Nanni Balestrini, Primo Moroni, L’orda d’oro

„On several occasions over the course of the 1970s the insurrectionary situation in Italy threatened to spread to France. It would last more than ten years and THEY would finally put an end to it with the arrest of more than 4’000 people.“ 19

„No effort was spared, however, in transmitting to the French a bit of the Italian insurrection: there were A Thousand Plateaus and Molecular Revolution, there were Autonomy and the ‘squat’ movement, but nothing had enough firepower to break through the wall of lies of the French spirit.“ 22


‘What was happening to the movement was clear: the union and the PCI came down on us like the police, like fascists. It was clear then that there was an irreparable divide between them and us. It was clear from then on that the PCI would no longer be entitled to speak within the movement.’
A witness to the clashes at the University of Rome on February 17, 1977, quoted in L’Orda d’Oro.

„Mario Tronti observes that ‘the workers’ movement wasn’t defeated by capitalism: the worker’s movement was defeated by democracy.’ But democracy didn’t defeat the worker’s movement as if the workers’ movement were a kind of a foreign creature: it defeated it as its internal limit.“ 25

„In all Western countries ’68 marks the meeting and collision of the old workers’ movement … with the first constituted segments of the Imaginary Party.“ 26

„When the hostis is no longer a portion of society – the bourgeoisie – but the society as such, the society as power, and when, therefore, we find ourselves fighting not against classical tyrannies but against biopolitical democracies, we know that every weapon, just like every strategy, must be reinvented. The hostis is Empire, and, for Empire, we are the Imaginary Party.“ 27


„The revolutionary element is the proletariat, the rabble [Pöbel]. The proletariat is not a class.“ 29

„The proletariat knows that its fate hangs on its cooperating with its own kind, that it needs the latter in order to persist in being, in short: that its individual existence is fundamentally collective. In other words: the proletariat is that which epxeriences itself as a form-of-life.“ 29 f.

„the working class has always been hostile to the revolutionary movement, to communism. (…) the proletariat has only ever worked for the expansion of the human basis of Capital. The so-called ‘socialist’ regimes have carried out its program perfectly: integrating everyone into capitalist relations of production and incorporating each person into the process of valorization. Their collapse, conversely, has but shown the impossibitlity of a total capitalist system.“ 30

„Today’s social movement … is in this the heir of the workers’ movement: it uses the inclusion of workers in the process of reformed valorization as a bargaining chip with the conservative agents of Capital.“ 31

„Because no one is more interested than the social movement in maintaining order, it was, is, and will be on the avant-garde of the war waged against the proletariat. From now on: against the Imaginary Party.“ 32

„the most intense confrontations of the Movement of ’77 … would pit the Imaginary Party against the workers’ party; and later on it was naturally the ‘red judges’ who launched the ‘anti-terrorist’ legal offensive and its series of police sweeps in 1979-1980.“ 34


„Empire is the kind of domination that knows no Outside, that has gone so far as to sacrifice itself as the Same in order to rid itself of the Other.“ 37

„The Imaginary Party is therefore nothing, specifically; it is everything that impedes, undermines, defies, ruins equivalence. Whether it speaks with the voice of a Putin, Bush, or Jiang Zemin, Empire will thus always label its hostis a ‘criminal’, a ‘terrorist’, a ‘monster’. If need be, it will itself secretely organize ‘terrorist’ and ‘monstrous’ acts which it will then ascribe to the hostis (…) On the other hand, Empire will never recognize its own military operations as acts of war, but only as ‘peace-keeping’ operations, ‘international policing’ efforts.“ 38

„’Class against class’ actually means ‘classes against the non-class’“ 40

„Stalinism must first of all be interpreted as the hardening of the workers’ movement as it is effectively surpassed by the Imaginary Party.“ 40

„For Bataille, the Imaginary Party stands in opposition to homogeneous society. ‘Production is the basis of social homogeneity. Homogeneous society is productive society, namely, useful society. Every useless element is excluded, not from all of society, but from its homogeneous part.’ (…) The Imaginary Party is what consequently manifests itself as heterogeneous to biopolitical formation.“ 41

„Bataille’s error … was to continue to conceive of the Imaginary Party as a part of society“ 42

„under Empire the negation comes from the outside, that it does not occur as a heterogeneity with respect to the homogeneous, but as a heterogeneity in itself, as a heterogeneity between forms-of-life playing within their difference.“ 42

„The Imaginary Party is not substantially a remainder of the social whole, but the fact of this remainder, the fact that there is a remainder, that the represented always exceeds its representation, that over which power is exercised always eludes it.“ 43

„There is no ‘revolutionary identity’. Under Empire it is instead non-identity, the fact of constantly betraying the predicates that THEY hang on us, that is revolutionary.“ 43

„For Empire, the Imaginary Party is but the form of pure singularity.“ 43

„it is only for Empire, that is, for representation, that the Imaginary Party exists as such, that is, as negative.“ 44

„The cardinal error of all subversion therefore lies in the obsession with negativity, in an attachment to the power of negation as if that were its most characteristic feature, whereas it is precisely in the power of negation that subversion is the most dependent on Empire, and on Empire’s recognition of it.“ 44

„Foucault, too, made a decisive contribution to the theory of the Imaginary Party: his interviews dealing with the plebs.“ 45

„The same logic is at work today when gangsters become security guards: in order to neutralize the Imaginary Party by playing one of its party off the others.“ 46

„Foucault: ‘The ‘plebs’ no doubt has no sociological reality. But there is indeed always something, in the social body, in classes, in groups, in individuals themselves, that in some way escapes power relations, something that is by no means the more or less docile or recalcitrant raw material, but rather the centrifugal movement, the inverse energy, the breakaway part.’“ 46

„we owe the most decisive contribution to the theory of the Imaginary Party … to the militants of the Red Brigades Roberto Curcio and Alberto Franceschini. In 1982, in a supplement to Corrispondenza internazionale, the little volume Gocce di sole nelle cità degli spettri [Drops of sun in the city of specters] was published.“ 47

„’Rethought as a totalizing system … the computerized metropolis appears as a vast, barely disguised penal colony (…) A penal colony made transparent by the computer networks that keep it under constant surveillance.’“ 48

„’it isn’t surprising that antagonistic communication strategies emerge which refuse the authorized language of power; it isn’t surprising that the significations produced through domination are rejected and countered with new decentralized productions. (…) In the ideology of control, an at-risk individual is already synonymous with a ‘potential terrorist madman’, with a fragment of high-explosive social material. That is why these dividuals are tracked down, spied on, and followed with the discretion and tireless rigor of the hunter by the great eye and the great ear.’“ 49

„’In the metropolis, perpetrating violence against the necrotropic fetishes of Capital is humanity’s greatest possible conscious act because it is through this social practice that the proletariat constructs – by appropriating the vital productive process – its knowledge and its memory, that is, its social power.“ 50

„’The ‘power of arms’ does not imply, as the militarists believe, absolute power, because absolute power is the power-knowledge that reunifies social practices. […] A guerilla party means: the party of power/party of knowledge. (…) the greater the party’s invisibility, the more it opposes global imperialist counterrevolution (…) the guerilla party is the party of transgressive social communication.


„For us, the aim is of course to combine with the event as gesture the event as language. This is what Autonomia Operaia achieved in Italy in the 1970s.“ 53

„The big misunderstanding here is that autonomy wasn’t the predicate demanded by subjects … but by becomings“ 54

„it is also workers’ autonomy with regard to their role as workers: the refusal to work, sabotage, wildcat strikes, absenteeism, their declared estrangement from the conditions of their exploitation“ 54

„the remarkable fact here is not the affirmation of ‘new subjects’ … but rather their violent, practical, active desubjectivation, the rejection and betrayal of the role that has been assigned to them as subjects.“ (…) This secession is … a flight, a line of flight.“ 55

„’The only way to develop our culture and to live our lives, as far as we are concerned, is by being absent’ (…) that is the permanent nightmare of cybernetic domination, ‘to which power responds by criminalizing all foreign behavior and one’s rejection of capital’“ 56

„the essential thing is to increase our power, to always follow the line of increasing power in order to strengthen the force of our deterritorialization, to make sure that THEY won’t be stopping us anytime soon.“ 56

„They will always try to make ONE movement out of our movements in order to speak in its name, indulging in their favorite game: political ventriloquism.“ 57

„This is exactly the move that Negri now atavistically reproduces when he calls a singular multitude something whose essence is, in his own words, a multiplicity.“ 58

„we still haven’t addressed the problems the Italian autonomists faced at the time. Given the circumstances, the move from struggles over places of work to struggles over territory; the recomposition of the ethical fabric on the basis of secession; the reappropriation of the means to live, to struggle, and to communicate among ourselves form a horizon that remains unreachable as long as the existential prerequisite of separ/azione goes unacknowledged. Separ/azione means: we have nothing to do with this world.“ 61

„’But what do we really want?’ Our response is, ‘we aren’t citizens. We will never adopt your point of view of the whole, your management point of view. We refuse to play the game, that is it. It is not our job to tell you which sauce to cook us with.’ The main source of the paralysis from which we must break free is the utopia of the human community, the perspective of a final, universal reconciliation.“ 61 f.

„my relationship with the totality of capitalist development, is secure only through the force of destructuration determined by the movement, through the total sabotage of the history of capital undertaken by the movement.“ 62


„The first campaign against Empire failed. … The failure was not one of this or that millitant organization, of this or that ‘revolutionary subject’, but the failure of a conception of war, of a conception of war that could not be reproduced beyond the sphere of organizations because it itself was already a reproduction.“ 65

„After twenty years of counterrevolution, the second act in the anti-imperialist struggle has now begun.“ 65

„The return of war requires a new conception of warfare. We must invent a form of war such that the defeat of the Empire no longer obliges suicide, but rather to recognize ourselves as living, as more and more ALIVE.“ 66

„The unique think about Empire is that it has epanded its colonization over the whole of existence and over all that exists.“ 66

„the hipsters … are both the guinea pigs and the avant-garde.“ 67

„the war against Empire … is a war of annihilation. (…) Empire is not the enemy. Empire is no more than the hostile environment opposing us at every turn.“ 67

„from now on our very existence, every aspect of it, is war. That means that the first movement of this war is reappropriation. Reappropriation of the means of living-and-struggling. Reappropriation, therefore, of space: the squat, the occupation or communization of private spaces. Reappropriation of the common: the constitution of autonomous languages, syntaxes, means of communication, of an autonomous culture“ 67 f.

„Empire is well-armed to fight the two types of secession it recognizes: secession ‘from above’ through golden ghettos … and secession ‘from below’ through ‘no-go’ areas.“ 68

„That said, Empire is powerless to prevent the exodus, the secession, we are working towards precisely because the latter’s territory is not only physical, but total.“ 69

„What we are simply getting at here is the constitution of war machines. By war machines should be understood a certain conincidence between living and struggling“ 69


„It is commonly acknowledged that the Movement of ’77 was defeated because it was incapable … of relating in any significant way to its offensive strenght, to its ‘violence’. In Empire’s fight against subversion, its entire strategy consists in isolating the most ‘violent’ … from the rest of the population“ 73

„there is no problem with armed struggle except for the state, which wants to conserve its monopoly over legitimate armed force. On the other hand, there is indeed the question of the use of arms.“ 73

„Although each existence is at its core essentially at war and each will know how to engage in confrontation when the time comes, a minority of beings must take war as the exclusive aim of their existence. These are the warriors.“ 74

Clastres, 1977, The Sorrows of the Savage Warrior

„The warrior is … condemned to be alone.“ 75

„The society to which the warrior belongs cannot help but distrust him.“ 76

„’the existence in a given society of an organized group of ‘professional’ warriors tends to transform the permanent state of war … into actual permanent war’“ 77

„the state wanted to cut the minority off from the Movement and in so doing to make it as hated within the Movement as the state already was. The idea was to liquidate the Movement as a war machine by compelling it to take as its exclusive objective war with the state.“ 79


„It is obvious, for example, that in the sole case of the BR, one can distinguish between the ‘frist BR’, those of Curcio and Franceshini – who were ‘invisible to power, but present for the movement’, who were implanted in factories where they kept the loudmouth bosses quiet (…) and those of Moretti, more distinctly Stalinist, who went completely, professionally, underground, and who, having become invisible to the movement as much as to themselves, launched an ‘attackt on the heart of the state’ on the abstract stage of classical politics and ended up just as cut off from any ethical reality.“ 81

„the account confirms two mechanisms specific to every political group that is constituted as a subject, as an entity separated from the plane of consistency on which it depends: (1) It takes on all the features of a terrible community. (2) It finds itself projected into the realm of representation, into the sphere of classical politics, which alone shares with it its same degree of separation and spectrality. The subject-subject confrontation with the state necessarily follows, as an abstract rivalry, as the staging of an in vitro civil war; and finally one ends up attributing to the enemy a heart it doesn’t have. One attributes to the enemy prescisely the substance which one is on the point of losing.

The other strategy, not of war but of diffuse guerilla warfare, is the defining charcteristic of Autonomia. It alone is capable of bringing down Empire. (…) disseminating oneself in a multiplicity of foci“ 84

„not only is there no longer a revolutionary subject, but that it is the non-subject itself that has become revolutionary, that is to say, effective against Empire.“ 85

„Empire’s response to this any enemy [whatever enemy] will always be to represent it as a structured, unitary organization, as a subject and, if possible, to turn it into one.“ 86

„Empire constructs for itself the fantasy of an enemy it is capable of destroying.“ 87


„Empire’s reconfiguration of hostilities has largely gone unnoticed. (….) The prohibition on war … produced a decisive transformation of war, a transformation that Schmitt attempted to account for with his concept of ‘global civil war’. (…) the enemy has been domesticated.“ 90

„Imperial war has neither a beginning nor an end, it is a permanent process of pacification.“ 90

„not only has the army become the police, but the enemy has become a ‘terrorist’“ 91

„the only way to fight guerilla warfare, to fight the Imaginary Party, is to employ its techniques.“ 92

„Thus Kitson, before confiding his doctrine in Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency and Peacekeeping, took part in the decolonization wars in Kenya against the Mau-Mau, in Malaysia against the communists, in Cyprus against Grivas, and, finally, in Nothern Ireland. From his doctrine we will focus on only a bit of first-hand information concerning imperial rationality. We will condense them to three postulates. The first is that there is absolute continuity between the pettiest crimes and insurgency proper. For Empire, war is a continuum – warfare as a whole (…) Civilian-military integration is the second imperial postulate (…) The computerization of the public sphere, that is, the fact that every movement tends to produce information, is at the heart of this integration. (…) The third principle of imperial action following this preparatory insurrectionary phase – which is the normal political situation – involves ‘peace movements’. (…) Peace movements serve to isolate the rebels while they are infiltrated in order to make them commit acts that discredit them.“ 94 f.

„There will therefore be no state of exception as such but a permanent, indefinitely extended state of emergency. The legal system will not be officially suspended in order to wage war against the domestic enemy, against the insurgents, or whatever else; to the current system will simply be added a collection of ad hoc laws designed to fight the unmentionable enemy.“ 96

„’anti-extremism laws’ passed in Belgium in November 1998, which penalize ‘all racist, xenophobic, anarchist, nationalist, authoritarian, or totalitarian conceptions or aims, whether political, ideological, religious, or philosophical in nature, contrary […] to the functioning of democratic institutions.“ 98

„In spite of all that, it would be wrong to believe that the state will survive.“ 98

„Just as everyone recognized in Berlusconi the clone of the neighborhood asshole, the perfect copy of the worst local parvenu, everyone knows that he was a member of the P2 Lodge that turned the Italian state into its own personal instrument. This is how, bit by bit, the state sinks into the Imaginary Party.“ 99


„The most troubling thing about the last twenty years is without a doubt that Empire has managed to carve out from the debris of civilization a brand new humanity organically won over to its cause: citizens.“ 102

„the heart of the imperial enterprise: to attentuate forms-of-life, to neutralize bodies; and the citizen advances this enterprise by self-annulling the risk he represents to the imperial environment.“ 102 f.

„There is therefore a factory of the citizen, whose long-term implantation is Empire’s major victory; not a social, or political, or economic, but an anthropological victory.“ 103

„The restructuring was everywhere initiated by advanced columns of employers, theorized by enlightened union bosses, and put in place with the approval of the principal union organizations.“ 103

„The objective was rather to purge the productive center of a society in which production was becoming militarized, to purge it of all the ‘deviants’, of all the at-risk individuals, of all the agents of the Imaginary Party.“ 104

„The most simple-minded voluntarism and the most gnawing guilty conscience: these are the citizen’s defining characteristics.“ 106


„the project of a guaranteed salary was … proposed by the para-Nazi intellectual movement led by Georges Duboin“ 108

„the origin of the concept of biopolitics. Its first occurence in French dates to 1960. La Biopolitique was the title of a short pamphlet by the peace-drunk Genevese doctor A. Starobinski.“ 108

„’We must recognize that everything we have, that everything we are … we owe to civilization. This is why our basic duty is to do everything we can to protect and save it.’ (Starobinski)“ 109

„All they [the Negrists] are doing is reciting, to a techno beat, the old patristic doctrine of oikonomia, a doctrine which they know nothing about and have precisely no idea that the first millenium Church came up with it in order to found the limitless range of its temporal prerogatives.“ 112


„There is no need to refute Negrism. The facts do all the work. (…) The purpose of Negrism … is to provide the party of the citizens with the most sophisticated ideology.“ 115

„’A new world order must be envisioned then built, one that embraces the difficult and necessary submission of all – individuals, corporations, and states – to the common interest of humanity’ (Jean de Maillard, Le marché fait sa loi: De l’usage du crime par la mondialisation).

„the Negrist perspective is in no way different from the imperial perspective but rather a mere instance of perfectionism within it. (…) Negrism indeed expresses an antagonism, but one within the management class, between its progressive and conservative parts.“ 117

„work time and life time are effectively becoming indistinguishable“ 119


„With the exception of a tiny minority of half-wits, no one believes in work anymore. No one believes in work anymore, but for this very reason faith in its necessity has become all the more insistent.“ 124

„The less self-evident the value and necessity of work, the more its slaves feel the need to assert its eternal nature.“ 125

„the sole rationality driving present-day production is the production of producers, the production of bodies that cannot work.“ 126

„in 1974, 200’000 Italian households refused to pay their electricity bills.“ 130

„the same mistake of their [the organized Autonomia] direct heirs, Tute Bianche, who in Genoa believed that it was enough to behave like cops, to denounce the ‘violent elements’, for the police to leave them alone. On the contrary, we have to start from the simple fact that our struggle is criminal from the outset and behave accordingly.“ 131

„in this war of annihilation we should fear the worst from the left, because the left is the official trustee of the faith in work, of the particular fanaticism for negating all ethical difference in the name of an ethics of production. ‘We want a society of work and not a society of those aided by the state’ (Jospin)“ 132

„We should recall … that commercial activity, when it appeared as such in ancient societies, couldn’t be named by itself since it was not only deprived of ethical substance but the very deprivation was raised to the level of an autonomous activity. It could therefore only be defined negatively, as a lack of schole for the Greeks, a-scholia, and a lack of otium for the Latins, neg-otium. And it is still … this old art of nonwork in the Movement of ’77 that makes Empire tremble the most.“ 133

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