Multitudes 11 on Networked Power and Permanent Warfare

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* Special Issue: Multitude 11


Article 1: Philippe Zafirian on "permanent" warfare

Michel Bauwens, 2004:

The author notes that we have entered a new era of permanent warfare, for which 9/11 was a watershed since it clearly delimited the enemy,i.e. 'international', but especially 'islamic' terrorism; and which at the same time, allows for the strengthening of an international security regime.

Note that the new enemy is a mirror image of the networked society, it has not state, no center, no clear political ideals and strategy. Unlike the Cold War, the enemy is no longer rational: he hates us, and so should we ...

Thus, it is regressive, making us react at a passionate level ourselves, and democracy and human rights are seen as obstacles.

But Zafirian disagrees that the US strategy is itself regressive, and argues that the Iraq intervention was not done for oil nor essential geostrategic reasons. The intervention was not needed to adequately protect oil, and though the US have a definitive geostrategy of further penetrating the Eeast, through the encirclement of Russia and Iran, while keeping an eye on China, this in itself cannot explain the intervention. Though there is opposition, to the Iraqi intervention especially, the new war regime is supported by mny other governments such as Russia, France, Italy, Spain, etc ... Zafirian says that internally, this new permanent war helps to speed up the setting up of a control society, as predicted by Foucault and Deleuze. This concludes by wondering, "what is it that they are afraid of". And he answers: it is the very form of mixed globalisation, which they fear would "dissolve" the West, not by a frontal attack, but by a fundamental shift in perspective. This is why they are afraid of immigration as well.

Article 2: On Power and Control

Michel Bauwens, 2004:

The "synoptique" is the technique of the mass media, creating a spectacle for everybody to see, to induce fear and to entertain; by contrast te superPanoptique is the worldwide system of databases, that allows for fine degrees of control.