"Alien Subjectivity"

By Surge
We must discover new frontiers... People have been standing for centuries before a worm-eaten door, making pinholes in it with increasing ease. The time has come to kick it down, for it is only on the other side that everything begins. – Raoul Vaneigem

Social control takes many forms throughout history. Discipline produces docile bodies; security creates bodies of movement, bodies that flow through the world, routinely reaching certain check-points where they must identify themselves – ‘I am black;’ ‘I am a woman;’ ‘I am a worker.’ Sometimes they may be all of these – though postmodernism's instances on fragmentation make instances of the (necessarily limited) recognition of wholeness rare.

Integral to social control is this strange split, these peculiar identities, places and times that are all contained within a logic of Oneness. The ideology of Capital is this One; the One-world market, the global village; in Capital’s eyes there is no outside and nothing is anterior to it.

Even ‘the end of history’ expresses this perverted totality, that which abuses its parts in the fetishisation of the whole – which separates to contain (fragmentation is the by-product of the One that sustains itself through violence) – it tames us. This is the eternal truth of the One, whether it is represented in the figure of Judo-Christian God, the Freudian father, Capital or the Police Order, the essential moment is submission.

‘I am All!’ it proclaims, ‘and so I am you,’ when the truth is it has ensnared us within it. And we flood to the Church, to the Analysts couch or to the shopping centres. When the police forbid we accept its authority.

Domestication has produced us as tamed, channeled, our lives free as long as we follow the preordained lanes (like so many protesters on an official march, self-policing and rubberstamped.) This is the truth of security, as Agamben claims; that it can only exist within a spatio-temporal arrangement that allows the free movement of bodies. Thus we are not made to submit totally or absolutely but partially. There is no longer the old methods of a King or Fuehrer regulating everything to the very minutia, with the brutal and open punishments and state murders on the street… at least not as there were. Instead we are granted a certain freedom, the freedom of Capital.

Uncontrollable in its own way because being that there is no sovereign force directing it, be it a cabal of Jews or the bourgeoisie, Capital is a chaos. In chaos there is a freedom, but against what some anarchists have thought on this topic this is not the freedom we desire. It is the freedom of consumers and atoms; the freedom to choose between identical commodities, the freedom to consume, the only freedom Capital accepts. We are free to move within the One, free to mill about the market-place. But the market-place, in order to exist, needs rules. Not the absolute rules of old, but rules which reflect the new situation of precarity and ‘flexibility.’ It must be secured, patrolled, it needs its check-points, its ‘entrance’ and ‘exit,’ even if one did not choose to come through the former and cannot find the latter.

If there is a beast growling at the outskirts of the market, the new rules do not decree you kill it. Just like the wolves around ‘primitive’ humanity’s campfire were not killed but were allowed to scavenge, to feed so that gradually it was assimilated and, by degrees, bred, conditioned and fixed in a place. It came to man as wolf but it stayed as dog – man’s loyal, subservient, best friend. Happy with the scraps it receives, the trinkets and treats, the bits of the feast that no one ate. And all this on the understanding that it will not attack, will not bite the hand that feeds: it is free to move about amongst its betters as long as it lives like a dog, as long as it submits and renounces itself as wolf – its primal truth.

When I read the term feral revolution something particular strikes me. What is it to be feral? To be wild and brutal, first off. It means to be wild, to be the opposite of domesticated; to be the wolf and not the dog. This does not necessitate a belief in returning to some alienated nature that the techne of domestication subtracts from us or cuts us off from. It is not so simple as to return to the default settings. Indeed, in these terms we get the full effect of this belief, that there is something essentially generic beneath us, some sort of Heideggarian hidden truth – beneath being there is Being, there is an absolute commonality – this is really no more than to say that at bottom, when all is said and done, at the end of the day, and other such banalities, ‘we are all the same.’

No. To be wild, as has been stressed before, is to be uncontrollable, to be ‘barbaric.’ Socialism or barbarism: a false dichotomy. To be wild is to lack restraint, to experience to the fullest: fullness of joy, fullness of anger. To be uncontrollable here does not mean to be out-of-control, to be manic or chaotic. It is not so much without sovereignty as it is without submission.

To be brutal is means to be cruel and merciless. But this is a simple fact. If one is becoming feral, exploding out of domesticity, how can one be anything but cruel in the face of domesticating forces? To step out side of the politeness of requesting, of lobbying, of everyday role-play, will always make itself apparent as cruelty: the cruelty of attack, critique and honesty. One does not sympathise with or love the policeman as he shoots.

To be feral, overall, means not to be domesticated. It has the force of negativity: an exploding negativity. We are not X, Y or Z. If work makes us docile then we are not workers. If commodity consumption destroys our desires, we are not consumers. If television is spectacle, we are not its audience. We identify ourselves through and as negativity. The very essence of the proletariat, as the young Marx wrote, is that it is nothing.

What is the negative of the One? It is not the many, the multitude, or any other such notion for they still demand a certain Oneness (the oneness of the general intelligence, of species-being and so on.) No, if the earth is an ecosystem we are the heavens beyond it. That is to say, we are the outside. Outside of the stately home of Capital, we must be the wolf that terrorises the domestic. It cannot deal with the Wolf at its door, crashing into its home: it is intolerable. [note – we are ‘the wolf at the door’ – the door – the checkpoint – the security protocol – stop – identify – friend or enemy?]

There is no outside of Capital, but that is exactly what we are. We are the outside inside. We are what it denies. If society is a machine, we are the broken down cogs. As soon as the machine recognises what we are, that we are not reducible to functional elements within a productive process, it rejects us. We may look like the rest of humanity, we may speak with the same words, go to the same places, but we are not part of the machine anymore… we are no longer human, because we are feral. This is not because, as insurrectionists and revolutionaries, we choose to be. We are insurrectionists and revolutionaries because we are feral. The original choice is made for us, as always in a police order the decision, the judgement, is made before the trial begins.

Whatever we call it, the bourgeoisies, the governments and all the other agencies of Capital have named it parasitism, as taking without giving back. The parasite lives on or in something, but it is not that thing: the head-louse is no more the head than the tape-worm is the intestine. And here the bourgeoisie and its morality reveal themselves, reveal how they produce us. Though we are supposedly members of humanity, parts of the sovereign people, singular moments or the general will – whatever – they actively tell us we are not. They don’t even fucking hide it! We are attached to these curious abstractions, these fictional unifications, but we are not of them.

We are the parasite on the One, inside the bowls of Capital, trudging in its shit.

Capitalism, so strong in its insistence in telling us that there is no outside, there is only Capital’s identity to itself, actually reveals us, produces us in a sense, as not-part-of-the-One. This is the truth of the criminal, the criminal, the insurgent. We are not of the One. The matter is not one of degrees, but kinds. Completely other to the one, we are like aliens – another species. Excluded not because we have escaped control or because we break with the One – we are always already so definitely other as to be completely unknowable, unrecoverable, uncontrollable. The extent to which we are made to submit is always partial, because this feral element can never be expunged because Capital cannot grasp it, only attempt to channel it.

“I shall remain an impossible person so long as those who are now possible remain possible." – Bakunin.

The proletariat is not superior to the bourgeoisie, not more worthy or deserving of sovereignty (the dictatorship of the proletariat) but is of a different order. As soon as we shake of this logic of submission, as Wolfi Landstreicher calls it, we are made into this feral alien. And what is more, we always have been. Genetic mutations occur spontaneously, but the capacity to mutate was always there. Capitalism creates the conditions for this specific mutation, this becoming-feral that creates us as aliens. And it is always defined negatively.

The wolf is not of the domestic.

The alien is not of the human.

And the wolf will tear the mansion to bits; it is the body of the outside brought inside; it is impossible but this is no argument against revolution because we, as feral-aliens, are impossible.

There is no One except the One of Capital, the One of domination, the One that continually embraces everything through commodification and domestication, continually grows… just, as someone said, like the cancer cell.


The importance of the term alien should not be neglected. If words can or do condition our possibilities, if names and naming create who we are, we must be choose these words ourselves. The alien has many connotations. Firstly, the alien is “a person who is not a subject of the country in which he or she is living.” Before going on, I’m gunna get all philosophical.. but not to far. The term subject, it has been noted, has a dual significance in English: first off, it is ‘one who acts’, a willing individual, a person capable of judging, deciding and carrying-out an action. Interestingly here, the alien is the negative of this; it is that which is not a subject. In other words the alien is someone who cannot determine their own life, someone who’s power to act for themselves is alienated from them.

Equally, a subject is one who “owes obedience to…is under the authority of…’ It is one who is dominated, the one who is domesticated, it is the slave who reproduces her own slavery. Apply this to the Alien as the person who is not-a-subject and we get something paradoxical and familiar. The Alien is the one with no power but is also the one who does not owe obedience, the one who rejects domination.

This contains a crucial moment; a negation of the negation. Our power to act is negated, it is taken from us and is reduced to nothing (for us.) But the Alien refuses to partake in the reproduction of his powerlessness, in doing so negating the original negation. It is the negative movement of superseding her situation. Negatively this entails refusal, destruction of the current order, but it also means empowerment.

The Alien is thus the figure of the anarch insurgent; the one who refuses powerlessness, rejects his situation and so [begins to] surpass it. The Alien is the one who lives projectually.

The alien is also not a subject in the sense that he is not the subject of knowledge or representation. She cannot be described, studied or known and so cannot be represented by the media or in the parliaments. Like the guerrillas and insurgents of Islam it cannot be understood by Capitalism, it can hardly be seen by it, it does not identify itself at the checkpoint, it blows the door to pieces. It is not that it rejects representation and identities, it is simply a condition of the Alien’s existence that it cannot fall into these traps.

A being from another world (the old world is behind you); unfamiliar; not one's own; of a different nature; contrary; and impossible. The Alien is not human. Who defines what is human? The bourgeoisies and the intellectual and the ‘humanitarian’ and the bio-police. These specialists of knowledge and guardians of morality, everything bourgeois is human. But we are not of their kind. Insurgent, feral and alien! For them we are the singularity at the heart of the galaxy; the black hole; the heart of the void.


originally from Antipolitics Forum