Empire of Disorder

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* Book: Empire of Disorder. By Alain Joxe.



Michel Bauwens, 2003:

This is an analysis of the geopolitical situation in the twelve years since the Gulf War, by a French geostrategist describing the thrust towards Empire by the U.S. - and a possible resistance by the 'Republics', i.e. Europe.

Joxe makes a crucial difference between the passionate violence which erupts between adversaries, and the 'cold and cruel systemic violence' that could arise: - 1) when one side becomes absolutely domiant in an 'oppressive globality'; and

- 2) if machines and techno-strategy using cold functionaries sitting behind computers, completely take over the process.

In discussing the genesis of sovereign power, (instead of divine power), Joxe reviews Hobbes' Leviathan, which is based on the chaos and 'revolution' of the English Civil War, where a king is killed, replaced by Parliament and Cromwell (a tyrant, i.e. a popular dictator), then back to the new king. This made it clear to him that without a state, the people would revert to a state of nature. "of each against each other", but also that the people can effectively destroy it, but thus also create it. This is a proof that popular sovereignity is real. But the best protector, and this ability is the key feature of the state, was to him the absolute monarch. Nevertheless, he is also the formulator of popular sovereignity, and once the people become strong enough to protect themselves, they can have a 'Hobbesian Republic', without the quaint notion of a monarch.

For Hobbes, the death of sovereignity is caused by religion, historically by the claims of the clergy for temporal power or for excessive spiritual power (abuse or fear of eternal death, that surpassses the fear of death induced by the sovereign). The power behind Cromwell were religious forces. In particular Hobbes defined the three-way war (as in Cromwell's time, but also today in Columbia, Lebanon, Bosnia) as a specific moment of the destruction of the protective power of the sovereign.

Interestingly, Joxe makes a comparison between the Church, and the current usurpation of power by multinational corporations.