McKenzie Wark on Tue, 11 Mar 2003 22:15:43 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Re: There is no America and Europe

The Untied States
McKenzie Wark

The vectoralization of power produces a split in the powers of empire.
Empire is not unitary. It is a dual power. On the one hand, the vectoral
class has its (neo)liberal wing. It is committed to the accelerated
vectoralization of world trade, and the consolidation of its own power
through a global regime of intellectual property, aided and abetted by the
monopolization of the means of the realization of information as value --
media and communication.

But the vectoral class has another faction, more dependent on the national
state, not least in its capacity as military procurer. It is less
interested in the commodity game of the vector, more interested in the
strategy-game of the vector. It conceives of vectoralization not as a
regime in which any object, regardless of location, can be valued,
ordered, and brought into the marketplace. Rather, it is interested in
spatially fixed resources, which it views as subject to calaculation and
command in the aggregate, under a regime of strategy.

While it may seem that oil is the classic 'old economy' staple, it too has
been subject to a vectoral transformation. The vector puts all resources
on the same plane of calculation. The control over resources is much more
about the control over the relevant information, allocation management and
so on.

Now, what is significant is that these two forms of vectoral power are not
necessarily in agreement. And neither are they synonymous with 'America'.
They are, if anything, what is tearing the United States apart. They are
the forces that prevent it from becoming a 'normal' state.

And so there is an additional reason to think the argument Franco Berardi
makes is pertinent. In his terms, not only is there no 'Europe', there is
no 'United States'. One might rather speak of the Untied States.

Rather than imagine that the new movements confront "the dynamics of a
profiteering world system", as Brian Holmes suggests, what might be more
to the point is to realize that this too is a totalizing, dialectical
figure. It too can blind us to the internal dissonance within the regime
of empire itself.

It may be time to look for ways to leverage a whole series of
contradictions. Between the two aspects of the vectoral empire, for a
start. Between the vectoral class in either of its guises and the
interests of the American people. Between the vectoral class and other
states. Between these other states and their peoples, whose interests are
hardly captured by those states, as Berardi and Holmes point out.

                   ... we no longer have roots, we have aerials ...

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