Le Monde diplomatique - English edition

July 2006


Middle East in crisis
Lebanon: the other Palestinians


As the world focuses its attention on the grave crisis in Lebanon and Gaza (see “A long week in Gaza City”), which risks being transformed into a regional conflict, it is time to listen to the Palestinians in Lebanon - in particular those still living in the refugee camps.

By Marina Da Silva

The current crisis in Lebanon has revived the debate about disarming Hizbullah and returned attention to the Palestinians, who mostly live in Lebanon’s refugee camps, forgotten by history and left out of negotiations. Now they are being pushed to the centre of the political stage and are trying to assert a right of return which they have never renounced.

Khadda, who lived in the biggest camp in Lebanon, Ein al-Hilweh, on the edge of Saida, so dreaded the tensions and armed conflicts in it that she left the camp, risking the cohesion of her family. Her husband, who runs a small shop, has stayed, and her children go back every weekend. She said: “The refugee camps, and Ein al-Hilweh in particular, are always described in the national and international press as no-go areas that harbour criminals and Islamic extremists. But we are the camp, more than 45,000 of us, and we cherish our identity and our history. It’s not those tearaways, at most a couple of hundred, who are the products of insecurity and political stalemate.” Even more than the violence, Khadda is weary of the sense of suffocation, of the poverty clearly visible in the narrow, filthy streets and crumbling houses, fertile ground for Islamic radicalisation.

The turning point came in 1982 with Israel’s invasion and the forced departure of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its fighters. The PLO had provided work for nearly 65% of the Palestinians, as well as funding for health and education (also open to destitute Lebanese). Lebanon’s Palestinians then felt forgotten by the Oslo agreements of 1993: the PLO concentrated its diplomatic efforts on the West Bank and Gaza, which also received international aid. The budgets allocated to Lebanon by international NGOs, Unrwa (1) and other UN agencies were drastically reduced. The refugee camps that bore the brunt of war and economic hardship have been passed over.

The Islamist movements, mainly Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), have touched the poorest sections of the population by providing much-needed aid. Hamas benefited from popular anger after Israel deported 415 Palestinians close to the movement from the occupied territories to southern Lebanon in December 1992; Hamas benefited again when Israel began targeted assassinations of Palestinian Islamist political leaders: Sheikh Ahmad Yassin in March 2004 and Abdelaziz al-Rantissi a month later, both in Gaza. Their portraits are everywhere. Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian elections in January has added to its strength.

Um Fadi, who is close to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, was surprised “like everyone else” at the Hamas victory, but she was pleased with the result, a vote “against corruption and for Palestinian rights, including the right of return”. Ein al-Hilweh is not like it was when her children were born there: in those days the camps were the symbol of Palestinian political life and of building a society in exile. “Today,” she said, “the population is hostage to political factions settling internal scores. Often there are deaths and people are afraid. But they don’t want to leave, because the camp still symbolises our long wait for return and the struggle for our rights.”

On 1 May a member of Fatah was killed by a militant member of Usbat al-Ansar (League of Partisans), a Salafist group thought to have links with al-Qaida. The death was the latest in a long list of casualties. These confrontations, political as much as criminal, often go beyond internal rivalries: they are part of a strategy of tension orchestrated by the various organisations’ secret services and meant to confuse. Ein al-Hilweh retains its symbolic status as a political camp where all Palestinian parties are recognised and respected, a real capital of the Palestinians in exile.

Sensitive situation

“The situation is sensitive,” said Abu Ali Hassan, a former leader of Ein al-Hilweh who is now at Mar Elias, a small, mainly Christian camp in Beirut, where he is in charge of relations with the Lebanese political parties. “The disarmament of the Palestinian organisations, called for by resolution 1559 of September 2004, at the instigation of France and the United States, constitutes one of the issues in Lebanese political life (2). The national unity government in Beirut has formed a committee to negotiate the disarmament of the bases outside the camps and control the arms inside them. We’re working towards creating a united delegation and ensuring that this issue isn’t dealt with just from a security point of view, but that the outcome will advance our political rights and improve the humanitarian situation in the camps.”

Abbas Zaki, from Fatah, heads the PLO representation in Jnah, in the southern suburbs of Beirut. He believes that its reopening in May was a strong political signal: “The government doesn’t want to deal with this issue by force; it’s mainly armed Palestinians in a dozen bases spread out across the Beqaa valley and in the coastal town of Nahme, 15km south of Beirut, who cause problems.” The statement by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, in Paris last October, that Palestinians living in Lebanon had to “obey the law” and that they were there as “guests” was not welcomed.

Lebanese newspapers regularly report infiltrations of Palestinian militants from Syria into the western Beqaa, which have led the Lebanese army to seal off some 40 illegal crossing points between the countries and to tighten its control of Palestinian factions that are linked to pro-Syrian organisations based in Damascus, such as the PFLP-GC, Fatah-Intifada (a splinter group of Fatah, led by Abu Musa) and Al-Saiqa (the Palestinian wing of the ruling Ba’ath party in Syria).

“Because we’ve led the armed resistance to Israel and are still active and influential, we’re seen as obstacles to peace”, said Nabil, who heads the people’s committee in the camp at Beddawi, below Tripoli, in the north. Beddawi has less crowded houses, rebuilt roads and sewers, and is further away from the battle zone. It might seem peaceful, but to Nabil ,war remains a threat: “Israeli planes still fly regularly over Lebanon, north to south and back again, with total impunity. Sabra and Shatila will remain forever in our memory. We were massacred while we were under the protection of international forces. The arms in the camps are there to ensure our protection” (3).

The arms question conceals the Palestinians’ living conditions and their banishment. According to Unrwa’s March figures, there are 404,000 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, of whom 220,000 live in a dozen camps around the country. These include: in Beirut, Mar Elias, Burj al-Barajneh, Sabra and Shatila, and Dbayeh; in the south, near Saida, Ein al-Hilweh and Mieh Mieh; also in the south, near Tyre, al-Buss, Rashidieh, Burj al-Shemali; in the north by Tripoli, Nahr al-Bared and Beddawi; and Wavel in the Beqaa valley. There are also small illegal ghetto-camps, not recognised by Unrwa and therefore without aid.

The Lebanese army keeps up pressure around the camps, particularly those in the south which provide shelter for some 100,000 refugees; access to these is restricted and requires a permit.

Fatah remains the most powerful organisation here, while in the camps in Beirut, northern Lebanon and the Beqaa, the pro-Syrians have maintained a significant presence. Everywhere the increasing strength of the Islamist movements is noticeable: some think it now puts Fatah and Hamas on an equal footing.

According to Unrwa, 60% of Palestinian refugees live in poverty and as many as 70% are unemployed. Until recently there were 72 jobs they were unable to practise outside the camps; they were not allowed to bring construction material into the camps; and they cannot leave or re-enter Lebanese territory without a visa, which lasts for only six months.

In June 2005 the Lebanese minister of labour, Trad Hamade, who is close to Hizbullah, signed a memorandum in favour of Palestinians born in Lebanon and registered at the interior ministry, which partly lifts the ban on doing certain jobs. But this does not change anything for qualified Palestinians, who still cannot practise medicine, law or architecture. There is total silence about a 2001 law that forbade Palestinians to buy houses or property in Lebanon, which has led to legal confusion, particularly on inheritance.

Samira Salah heads the PLO’s department for Palestinian refugee affairs and coordinates the campaign for the rights of refugees in Lebanon and the right of return, in accordance with UN resolution 194. She sees Hamade’s measures as a step forward, though they will not change anything in real terms: “Proposals were already made in 1995 indicating that a Palestinian born in Lebanon had the right to work, on condition he had a permit; but this permit is still almost impossible to obtain and the minister’s proposal doesn’t include social security or insurance.”

The campaign for Palestinian rights was started in April 2005 by a collective that brings together 25 Palestinian associations, the Palestine National Council, the PLO’s refugee affairs department and members of civil society. The campaign includes workshops and training, and seeks to gain the support of the Lebanese population to create a broad movement of political pressure. Under the slogan “Civil rights until we return; together with the Lebanese we will resist settlement and naturalisation of refugees”, the campaign has four main demands: the right to work, to own property, to security and to free association. These are not new but they have never been answered.

There are now some 4 million refugees, about 60% of the Palestinian community, who were originally forced into exile in their hundreds of thousands when the state of Israel was created; 90% live in the Palestinian territories and neighbouring Arab countries. Lebanon’s Palestinians crystallise the most sensitive issues in both Lebanese and regional politics. They are a reminder that any move in the Arab-Israeli conflict is linked to a resolution of the refugee problem.

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balmas 2006-07-24 03:10   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL
"There are now some 4 million refugees, about 60% of the Palestinian community ..."

올리는 김에 하나 더 올립니다.

아시는 분들은 아시겠지만, 이전에 발리바르가 쓴 "사라지는 중개자"(Vanishing Mediator)에

관한 글의 연장선상에 있는 글입니다. :-)


Diacritics, Volume 33 (4/February 2006), pp. 36-44


Europe, An "Unimagined" Frontier of Democracy


Translated by Frank Collins


In my Berlin talk I spoke of the ever more massive and ever more legitimate presence in the old European states of people from their former colonies, and this despite the discrimination to which these people are subjected [see "Europe, Vanishing Mediator?"]. I added that this was the basis for a lesson in alterity that Europe can use to define more uniquely its power (or lack of power—"puissance" vs. "im-puissance") in the world today. This idea might appear to be excessively optimistic, if not a delusion, but I wish to clarify what it means by examining the ideas of two Italian sociologists, Alessandro Dal Lago and Sandro Mezzadra. These two scholars have for a long time been engaged in analyzing the effects of postcolonial immigration in a Europe caught up in the process of globalization.

In their essay "I confini impensati dell'Europa," they examine the way in which, in today's Europe, two meanings associated with "frontier" conflict with each other. They are referring to what Italian calls confini (which I would translate into French as frontières [English "frontiers"]) and frontiere (which I would translate into French as confins [English "confines"/"outer reaches"]).2 The end of the Cold War and the nullification of the Yalta agreements have reopened a historical and philosophical question with respect to the the very meaning we attach to the name "Europe." In the bloody wars that followed the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, that question took on a particularly dramatic form and prefigured other events of the same kind.

Dal Lago and Mezzadra place this question in the context of the changes undergone by imperialism. The fight by the capitalist powers to control world resources and to impose a "Western-style" economic model upon the rest of the world is now becoming a full-scale battle that includes all the social, demographic, and humanitarian aspects that tend to impose a global constraint against the movement of peoples. This constraint is particularly felt in those "frontier-zones" in which political control coexists alongside military control (as in Yugoslavia), but where the two are violently separated. In these zones, men are at once displaced, forced into migration, yet also confined to house arrest. Here we are touching upon the profoundly equivocal nature of the "European" project:

We can thus state that the frontiers of Europe have multiplied and diversified. As a consequence, the political concept of Europe has also significantly [End Page 36] fragmented. We might say that today there are as many distinct Europes as there are functions undertaken on the international stage by that nebulous continental entity. [. . .] This multiplication, however, cannot hide the chasm that separates on the one hand ideological or utopic pretentions to self-determination for the whole of Europe, and on the other the inescapable need strategically to align itself with the center of the Western empire, namely the USA. Recent global wars—such as the Gulf and Afghanistan wars—periodically remind us of this reality.

Dal Lago and Mezzadra go on to describe the self-fulfilling prophecy inherent in European discourse on identity and security, an ever more insistent discourse since the 1990s.3 This is true for the supporters of "populism" who, from Austria to Italy to Denmark have built their electoral successes on the concept of "unassimilable difference" and insecurity. It is also to be seen in the practices of European governments today and in the way civil societies are "conditioned." True, constructions that define identity (constructions identitaires) following the end of the Cold War have established nothing positive with respect to European identity, but they stigmatize a group of excluded people in order to mark the difference between Europe and the rest of the world. Essentially these refugees and migrant workers occupy that slot in society, both imaginary and real, of internal or domestic political enemies4 who are nothing more than a construct of the State. These people are seen as a threat to security while in fact having no security themselves.

This defining of the immigrant in term of his alterity, as a potentially dangerous temporary guest, is the culmination of procedures through which European States have managed immigration in the post-war era: from the urban and territorial segregation characteristic of the French model to the construction of ethnic and social ghettos of the English model. Germany, for its part, has chosen to exclude such immigrants from the political process, and in Italy and Spain, the presence of foreigners has been simply ignored. The overall result is that immigrants are reduced to the status of an inferior population and subjected to all kinds of police controls. They are non-citizens. Far from representing a contradiction, this is fully consonant with their being assigned [. . .] the most menial jobs in the hidden sectors of an illegal economy.

Thus globalization tends to knock down frontiers with respect to goods and capital while at the same time erecting a whole system of barriers against the influx of a workforce and the "right to flight" that migrants exercise in the face of misery, war, and dictatorial regimes in their countries of origin. This recent history reenacts a pattern that we see with the salaried proletariat. At the same time as they are supposed to enjoy "liberation" with respect to traditional forms of authority and dependence, their movements are strictly controlled through a system of differential citizenship. At the bottom of this ladder we see the migrants who suffer the most discrimination: the "illegals," or "undocumented."

We must thus turn our attention to the relationship between European history and its colonizing and decolonizing phases. Dal Lago and Mezzadra remind us that the [End Page 37] pattern of imposing borders was extended to the entire world through European colonization5 with the result that any instance of imposing borders in Europe is in harmony with the organizing of the whole world. We cannot forget, however, that the tracing out of these borders is based upon a global delimiting of spaces and of rates of development and incorporates an irreductible anthropological racism into the very notion of political citizenship. While certain peoples are legitimately part of history, others languish in history's "waiting room."6 As Gayatri Spivak shows, the "universal" political subject of modernity (whose institutional figure is the citizen) is always geopolitically differentiated. The decolonization of the twentieth century was based on the illusion that this border-world phenomenon could be erased, an illusion soon destroyed by all subsequent "new wars." The practice of "zero death" war inaugurated in the Gulf and perfected in Kosovo implies an incommensurable difference between the human cost on the Westerners' side and that on the others' (where casualties are above all civilians). This assigning of a null value to whoever is not a citizen of a Western or developed country is not restricted to military theaters; the consequences of the way in which the status of illegal or clandestine immigrants is subsequently assimilated into that of a juridically inexistent nonperson transform the way we control frontiers, under the pretext of checking traffic in human labor. The consequences of this transform the way we control frontiers, under the pretext of checking traffic in human labor. This control instead becomes a true war, on land and sea, and is waged right up to the borders of the Schengen countries, and its victims can be counted in thousands of dead bodies.7 This is why our critical thinking on this subject must now begin with questioning the external and internal frontiers of Europe, and we must also reverse our exclusionary practices. Only then can we see, when we make claims as to a political Europe, the resurgence of its as yet unfulfilled constructive forces, and only then can Europe move further along the path of material progress.

The last part of Dal Lago and Mezzadra's analysis has to do with what resistance against this "differential" globalization might mean. Inseparable from this analysis is the question as to who are the most typical perpetrators of that differential globalization. Movements to resist it sketch out an alternative to the predominance of modernization, both in Europe and globally. They constantly remind partisans of the federalist dream of a supranational European State (one that might hold American hegemony in check) of the potential for conflicts inherent in that dream. But what migrants who are victims of these frontier wars "demand" is not multiculturalism or a "right to difference," [End Page 38] an "essentialization" of cultures, but rather the "equaliberty" of citizens of the world, with corresponding rights:

Raising the question of the right to live where the wealth they produce is enjoyed, migrants contest the fundamental asymmetry according to which they should remain where they are, as producers, not consumers, of that wealth. In this sense they are not only fleeing the various forms of forced labor that result from the geographical shifting of industries, but also contravening the very essence of Western "racism," a racism that is the politicocultural expression of the material superiority of the most developed countries. [. . .] The potential for political resistance on the part of these migrants is the only thing that can explain the unheard-of violence with which they are rejected when and where they are no longer seen as necessary for the Western labor market.

To interpret these resistances and conflicts requires both a particular view of the history of postcolonial Europe and reflection on what might be in store for universalism. What has truly unified the planet is not just colonial expansion, but the revolts, the liberation struggles that put into question the notion of "different natures" that separate the peoples of the "metropoli" from those of the colonies, producing a dialectic between these two demographic groups that results in a reversal of roles, a "particularizing" of the old metropoli and a "universalization" of the former colonies. The consequences are felt in Europe itself because of the mixing of races and because of shifting populations. It is thus just as impossible to reject universalism as it is to try to stick to its "European" definition, its manner of being appropriated by Europe. In this situation, one we might properly call "postcolonial" (and not neocolonial), the determining factor is the new nature of these migrations and what new claims to which they are producing. They accelerate modernity by joining with other forms of globalization from the bottom up to fight economic and military imperialism. We have seen this in action from Seattle to Gènes to Porto Alegre.

I can see no reason whatsoever to question the validity of this line of thought. It is a salutary reminder of the realities of today's Europe and its "dependence." The same can also be said, for opposite reasons, of Robert Kagan's criticism of European pacifism, with its moral and juridical illusions. I am bound to note what he says about the "frontier wars" that are raging, in silence, from the upper Adriatic to the Straits of Gibraltar, and in all the zones of "nonrights" surrounding ports, airports, and various land and water links between countries. These wars rage also in the "suburbs" of the great European cities, illustrated once again by the lockdown of the Sangatte collection area for refugees in Pas-de-Calais. We have a true hunting-down of men here, compounded by a hunting-down of people with certain features. Any definition of "Europe as a cosmopolitan frontier" that does not take this into account is naïve, if not obscene. Considering that we are at the very heart of a question that is decisive in our understanding of the European political model, however, I would like to suggest two interpretive nuances. They are closely linked, one having to do with analysis and the other with prespectives.

I will express my first reservation by asking the question as to whether the most enlightening model we have for understanding this rule of sociopolitical discrimination in Europe today is in fact a war model (or, even better, a model of a "new war"). This is what Dal Lago and Mezzadra propose. Is a better model, as I have asked in various earlier papers, one of a rampant apartheid that is the dark side of the emergence of a European transnational citizenry, an apartheid that is one of the major obstacles to a European [End Page 39] development that might go beyond its fragile and contradictory beginnings?8

Of course we might say (and this is what I really think) that we are not dealing with an alternative strictly speaking, and that there is no call abstractly to choose between certain complementary aspects of Europe's "material constitution." One such aspect is seen as a dynamic, in terms of flux and tendencies, while the other is viewed as static, in terms of institutions, states, and effects. We think of this Europe, with its multiple identities and functions and uncertain destiny, in terms of "frontier" or "border." Starting with the observation that the function and location of frontiers have ceased to be a matter of "outer margins" (another possible translation for confini) and instead determine the regime itself, it becomes clear that we have both institutional segregation (which emphasizes "exteriority," rejects alterity within "interiority"), and social war, both bloody and not bloody (irreversibly blurring distinctions between the "local" and the "global," when in fact preferring to preserve those distinctions). But it is also clear that the fact of assigning privileged status to one or other such aspect, making it the key distinction of one's political analysis, can bring about serious divergences with respect to conclusions reached.

I am aware of the limits and risks inherent in an analogy between institutional forms of racism in Europe and the South African apartheid of yesteryear (and I mostly use this term to provoke thought),9 but I want above all to draw attention to the correlation between two facts. On the one hand we have a statutory line of partition separating citizens and noncitizens which (counter to the transnational tendencies of the citizenry) is instituted by "forcing" the category of foreigners on noncitizens (in some respects they are "residual" foreigners, since many others who were once just that are no longer such, given the progressive integration of Europe. In other respects they are "foreigners par excellence" because "europeanicity" functions as a supernationality, or as an extra layer of citizenship).10 On the other hand there is the creation or recreation of complementary residential zones of completely unequal status from the point of view of rights and living conditions. Their apparent autonomy barely conceals that certain of these zones have the right to prescribe to others concerning their right to freely move about, and this is backed up by force. Of course anthropological difference and the extreme violence that comes with it (from the racist model of the division of humanity into civilized peoples and barbarians, humans and subhumans, to police screening and the war on "illegal transients") are not clarified by this representation but are rather its immediate counterpart, and I am not surprised that security practices in Europe are increasingly secret, leading to a blurring of the distinction between police actions and war. I emphasize that these obsessive and showy security practices (designed, indeed, as much for show as for real action) end up stigmatizing and threatening the security of whole populations of "nationals" or "citizens" who in fact are the relatives, comrades, [End Page 40] or descendants of migrants. In this sense these security measures do not just constitute an obstacle to a new citizenship but also tear down and render null any existing, already acquired citizenship. For their part, Dal Lago and Mezzadra adopt the model of war for their analysis and see the violent control of migrants as being in the category of "new postmodern wars," a category that includes other more concentrated forms of "punishment" and "dissuasion" of Third World peoples (and there is a Third World in Europe itself, as Balkan history has shown). They also suggest that all this violence is an answer to the intrinsic mobility of the mass of peoples the world over, a mobility that corresponds to the final stage of capitalist modernization. Based on all of the above, Dal Lago and Mezzadra thus see statutes and frontiers essentially as the intruments by which imperial capitalism controls and defends itself against the threatening vitality, in its eyes, of this new transnational proletariat.11 Our disagreement, if it is really that, has to do with the relationship between territories and populations, a relationship that determines current subversive phenomena nationally. We also question the political nature of the resistance brought about by that relationship.

This question is clearly linked to the debate on "postcolonialism" and "neocolonialism." I adopt as my own the idea according to which in one way or another all societies today are "postcolonial" in the twofold sense that they were created in the twentieth century, based on the results of colonization, and based too on the ambivalent effects of subsequent decolonization (plagiarizing Marx we might say that decolonization "transformed the world"). I also adopt the idea according to which modern societies have put colonization behind them. These positions lead me to maintain that there is a sense of the term "neocolonialism" that we cannot ignore. We need it in order to understand the various forms of postcolonialism, whether the status of "displaced peoples" from the former colonies within the former metropoli, or the interference of those metropoli in the politics and economies of their former colonies. This persisting of neocolonialism (or, if you prefer, the sinister reality that decolonization is never finished, indeed is always having to be started over again) within postcolonialism is clearly illustrated in the demographic makeup of Bobigny (south of Frankfurt) and in the way the police behave in that town. It is just as clearly evident in the French military expeditions to Congo Brazzaville or to the Ivory Coast. Essentially it is the extreme ambivalence of its relationship with the colonial past which makes Europe, in a sense, the postcolonial locus par excellence, and the place where the political effects of recognizing this reality will be decided. In fact it is Europe (part of Europe) that colonized the world in the strictest sense of the word (as opposed to other forms of imperialism also practiced by Europe), and therefore it is Europe that suffered a backlash.12 Thus it is in Europe that neocolonialism (a form of continuation of colonialism beyond its official abolition) is most entrenched. However, it is also in Europe that the illegitimacy of neocolonialism is the most flagrant, as seen in the age-old mixing of peoples and in the claims of equality in rights without any imposition of social homogeneity or "assimilation." All this ignores the resistance that historically neocolonialism has met, while in fact claiming to reconstruct that history. Now, this claim is already inscribed in law and in culture, at the cost, of course, of a power relationship that is both tense and fragile (think of the place of the state for the "second" and "third generations"). Of course, it might be useful to pursue this contradiction in order to discuss what, in current manifestations of "populism," "nationalism," and European "racism," is a matter of archaism (not just [End Page 41] the return of a once-rejected colonialization, but indeed the inscribing of the "colonial form" at the heart of the European idea of civilization). Pursuing this contradiction will also help us discuss those elements that are part of the way a world economy works, an economy that is trying to acquire a political system. Dal Lago and Mezzadra, evoking willy-nilly various nationalisms, regionalisms (Lega Norte), fundamentalisms (Christian or Muslim), further suggest that pursuing this contradiction will also help us discuss the deflected expression of conflicts caused by globalization.

Here we are touching on the essence of my second reservation, one that is more abstract and, maybe, more profound. Rightly or wrongly (this is what I think I learned from the struggle of the "undocumented" in France in the 1990s—an experience that maybe I should not generalize upon), I do not believe that the political "demands" of migrants (be they "refugees" or "workers," two not necessarily separate categories)—extremely powerful demands that are ever rejected but never obliterated and which are fundamental if we are to have democratic change—constitute a demand that mobility as such, a "deterritorialized" mobility, be recognized. I believe that the relation of these demands to the construction of modern Europe is solely a relation to the "mechanisms of control" of capitalist globalization. Surely freedom of movement is a basic claim that must be incorporated within the citizenship of all people (and not only for representatives of the "powerful nations," for whom this is largely a given). But the droit de cité (rights to full citizenship) includes everything from residential rights as part of having a "normal" place in society to the exercise of political rights in those locations and groupings into which individuals and groups have been "thrown" by history and the economy. Let's not be afraid of saying it: these citizenship rights include the manner of their belonging in state communities, even, and indeed especially, if they belong to more than one such community. Given the above, the right to full citizenship is indissolubly linked to freedom of movement. "Migrants" are not an undifferentiated floating mass (certainly not in the eyes of Dal Lago and Mezzadra). They are precisely travelers (forced, free, discriminated against) who create relationships between communities that are foreign to each other (and therefore work objectively, not to abolish these communities, but rather to soften their isolation). They also create relationships between distant or neighboring territories (working to short-circuit those distances and construct a human counterpart against the universalization of communication and economic differences). In their lived experience as well as in their contribution to the birth of a political "subjectivity" with respect to globalization (for which I adopt, of course, a point of view that assigns privileged status to the idea of equality, or equaliberty), the diasporic aspect is no less important than the nomadic aspect. A "diaspora" forms a network, with fixed meeting points, while "nomadism"—at least in appearance—is a voyage with no end and no return.

In concrete terms that means that migrants demand to be able to move about between different parts of the world, between different "worlds," in the sense both of departing and returning, contributing both at home and abroad to a real "decolonization," to the creation of a citizenry that is not at all based upon a racist anthropology. This does not mean there will be no culture (civilization?) conflicts, conflicting interests, and power struggles. At stake is how, in a larger context, to place the political "becoming a subject" of migrants (and their specific contribution to the upsurge of political subjects today). Dal Lago and Mezzadra (echoing the thought of Hardt and Negri) suggest that this context is one of a "globalization from the bottom up," and this they link to the symbolic names of Seattle, Gènes, Porto Alegre. I am hesitant to adopt this position, while at the same time hoping that my reservations will not be interpreted as hostile to the "antisystemic" movements that seek to (and are finding) the evolutionary framework and modalities for uniting with each other in these demonstrations and [End Page 42] debates, which represent the alternative to liberal globalization. On the one hand I am not convinced with respect to the strategies for change that anchor resistance to international capitalism within freedom of movement, changing identities, and separating of territories. These same parties at one time anchored resistance to international capitalism within the concept of "being able to live and work in such and such a country" and in the defense of cultures and allegiances that are threatened by the steamroller of the market and its homogenizing effect. On the other hand, and above all, I believe that the models for resistance, and the model for political subjectivity and universality that are conceived exclusively in terms of the workforce and its exploitation by capitalism (forever inseparable from violence and exile), can cause us forever to bounce back and forth between an archaic "economism" and a futuristic "economism." On the one hand, there will be the idea that the political future of migrants lies in claims to social rights and integration into the labor structures of Western social democracy (in which I include communism, meaning reform movements that depend on revolutionary discourse). It is as if the inability of these structures to organize these new postnational proletariats, and even to simply give them a voice, were not in fact one of the causes of their decline. On the other hand, there will be the idea that the political future of migrants lies in becoming a "mass base." This is the ideal for antiglobalization militants (or alterglobalization, as is now said) who classify class struggle according to the same generalities they use in defining the concentration of international capital, as if the ultimate point in insecurity and oppression of uprooted migrants can automatically be translated into an avant-garde movement.

The "democratization of frontiers," a phrase in which I continue to see the essential element of resistance to the logics of segregation and deportation, and at the same time a condition (among others) for the construction of a democratic Europe, that is a Europe plain and simple—not out of idealism, because I would not want to use the name "Europe" for a Europe that would turn its back on the ideals it proclaims, but out of realism, because I see in the real progress of continental democracy, beyond its national and social traditions, the sine qua non condition for there to be mass support for its enterprise. The condition for the construction of this Europe plain and simple continues to be a posited problem rather than a solution or recipe that we can put to work. It is a vague notion, but at least it includes this negative clarification: frontiers, a system of "external" and "internal" frontiers, these are radically antidemocratic. And as long as they are applied according to someone's or some group's discretion, there is no chance for those who have to "use" frontiers, individually and collectively, to negotiate as to their manner of administration and the rules according to which one may pass through them. On the other hand, this is a contradictory notion, because it leads to confronting such ideas as the control (popular) of control (state) of the movements of populations, and such ideas too as nondiscriminatory administration of security. These are ideas that will always be linked to relationships of power and will always fall just short of or just beyond any ideal kind of citizenship. They will also be "manipulable" by the structural agents of power. This notion, however, also has the advantage of politically designating the territory where there will be enacted the conflicts inherent in trying to go beyond a nationalist closing-off of borders in the name of security on the one hand, and trying on the other hand to have a frontierless empire (which essentially are two archaic and modernist forms the police can take).

Europe-the-frontier, democratic Europe, these are ultimately synonymous: they both designate the impossibility today of unilaterally managing the now unavoidable question of patterns of circulation and of the integration of concrete "groups"—I'm tempted to say cultural bodies or bodies of civilization, from the proletariats to students, to professionals, to intellectuals—that the various "parts" of the world exchange among themselves in order to create a "whole" while remaining "many." This is why [End Page 43] the northern Mediterranean particularly needs the southern Mediterranean as much as the South needs the North, not only to provide jobs, but also to invent statutes and laws by which to define constitutions. This complementarity is not necessary, but it is possible. Unless, of course, a general destabilization, causing various wars and local conflicts to turn into a regional and global confrontation, increases the numbers of refugees, maximizes pressures for security and makes any "negotiation" as to frontiers impossible for a very long time. I want to believe that there is a chance for Europe to engage in the enterprise of decolonization at home. This will allow it thereby to fight "provincialization" and to participate in the (re)construction of universalism, a universalism set upon other, less "particularist" and less exclusive, bases.13

Étienne Balibar is Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy at Paris-X and Distinguished Professor of Critical Theory, French and Italian, and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine.

Works Cited

Balibar, Étienne. La crainte des masses: Politique et philosophie avant et après Marx. Paris: Galilée, 1997.

________. "Europe, Vanishing Mediator?" George Mosse Lecture. Humboldt Universität, Berlin. 21 Nov. 2002. Rpt. as chap. 11 of We, the People of Europe? Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2004. 203–35.

________. Nous, citoyens d'Europe? Les frontières, l'État, le peuple. Paris: La Découverte, 2001.

Bauman, Zygmunt. Globalization: The Human Consequences. New York: Columbia UP, 1998.

Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain. London: Hutchinson, 1982.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh. Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000.

Dal Lago, Alessandro. Non-persone: L'esclusione del migranti in una società globale. Milan: Feltrini, 1999.

Dal Lago, Alessandro, and Sandro Mezzadra. "I confini impensati del'Europa [The Unimagined Frontiers of Europe]." Europa politica: Ragioni di una necessità. Ed. H. Friese, A. Negri, and P. Wagner. Rome: Manifestolibri, 2002.

Deleuze, Gilles. Pourparlers. Paris: Minuit, 1990.

Goytisolo, Juan. "Un nouveau 'mur de la honte': Les boucs émissaires de l'Espagne européenne." Le Monde Diplomatique (Oct. 1992): 12.

Hardt, Michael, and Antonio Negri. Empire. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2000.

Huntingdon, Samuel P. The Challenges to America's National Identity. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004.

Mezzadra, Sandro. Diritto de fuga: Migrazioni, cittadanza, globalizzazione. Verona: Ombre Corto, 2001.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1999.


1. Dal Lago, a professor of cultural sociology at the University of Gènes, is the author, among other books, of Non-persone: L'esclusione dei migranti in una società globale. Mezzadra, a political historian, is the author of Diritto de fuga: Migrazioni, cittadanza, globalizzazione.

2. It is striking that in French, the two Italian words in effect trade their respective meanings, if indeed we agree that frontiers are "closed" and confines "open." The authors refer to the work of Simmel to illustrate the idea that a frontier has not only its geopolitical function but also an epistemological one. The frontier evokes the contradictory experience that is the product of the contingent and sacred nature of identities.

3. Cf. the works of Zygmunt Bauman, especially Globalization: The Human Consequences.

4. Dal Lago and Mezzadra note the influence of Huntington's discourse. For him the rejection of "Moslem" immigrants in Europe and of Mexicans in the United States can be likened to a "war between civilizations."

5. They cite my own thoughts in La crainte des masses: Politique et philosophie avant et après Marx [382, 387, et passim].

6. This is Dipesh Chakrabarty's expression, in Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference.

7. From a text by Juan Goytosolo we can see that this is not a recent development:

A new protective wall [. . .] but that is as effective and much more deadly, is being erected around the Twelve [. . .] the tragic harvest of the "death passage," the passage through the straits on the Andalusian coast alongside Morocco. The Spanish police do not shoot them: they simply catch them in nets and then send them back, dead or alive, to where they came from. While yesterday the attention of "Free Europe" was on the Berlin Wall, and those who got over it were welcomed, today it scornfully turns its back on the drama of these fugitives, as if this problem did not concern it [. . .] like Californian or Texan border people for whom the hunt and capture of wetbacks by the Border patrol constitute the only fun they have in their routine-bound and boring lives. Comfortably ensconced in their privileged, "nouveaux riches" lives, the Spanish, who are also newly free and newly European, are impassible in the face of this enactment of their own past. An almost generalized historical amnesia has taken hold of them.

8. See Balibar, Nous, citoyens d'Europe? Les frontières, l'Etat, le peuple, in particular chap. 3: "Le droir de cité ou l'apartheid," chap. 7: "Violence et mondialization," and chap. 12: "Europe difficile: Les chantiers de la démocratie."

9. I explained all this in a conversation with the editorial staff of Critique internationale, "Les nouvelles frontières de la démocratie européenne," scheduled for publication in no. 18 of the journal (January 2003). I likewise have to be careful about the confusion that might arise from using the term "apartheid" for very different situations, even thought they might belong to the same historical "space" and "moment," in particular occupied Palestine.

10. President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder proposed, during ceremonies to commemorate German/French rapprochement after the war (initiated by de Gaulle and Adenauer), the establishment of a symbolic Franco-German "dual citizenship." But Chirac and Bouteflika, or their successors, if they ever sign the "Friendship Pact" (Traité d'amitié) when they next meet, are not about to propose a Franco-Algerian "dual citizenship," the consequences of which would be much more effective.

11. Dal Lago and Mezzadra's theories, as is the case too for Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's analyses in Empire, are clearly influenced by Deleuze's propositions concerning "control societies" [see the "post-scriptum" to his Pourparlers].

12. Cf. The Empire Strikes Back: Race and Racism in 70s Britain, Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies.

13. These statements point to another difficulty, in many ways analogous to the problem concerning the different forms secularization is taking in Europe: to make "decolonization" a common task for all of Europe is necessarily to ask ourselves how the various countries of Europe can attack this problem and integrate it into their particular histories. It is clear that it cannot be done in the same way by the former metropoli of "world empires" (which do not boil down only to "Western democracies") as by the former "continental empires," or by countries without empires (which, for that very reason, used to be considered "historyless": such as Ireland or the Slavic countries of Central Europe). Nonetheless, these specific phenomena must be part of any general approach to the problem, especially since immigrants themselves more and more perceive Europe to be a whole.


댓글(1) 먼댓글(0) 좋아요(1)
balmas 2006-07-05 17:27   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL
행복나침반님/ ㅎㅎㅎ

며칠 전에 올린 "Politics As War, War As Politics"가 마르크스주의 전통의 전쟁/군사 이론을

배경에 깔고 클라우제비츠의 [전쟁론]을 재독해하는 글이었다면,

이번 글은 좀더 직접적인 현실 정세에 대한 고찰이네요.

발리바르가 요즘 엄청 바쁘군요. 학교에서 강의하랴 여기저기 강연 다니랴 책쓰랴(올해 안에

권의 책이 나온다고 하던데, 기대가 큽니다. ^^) ...

게으른 저로서는 배울 점이 한두 가지가 아니네요.

고맙게도 어떤 분이 보내주셨습니다. 그분께 다시 한번 감사드립니다. (__)

어쨌든 기쁘게 읽어보시길 ...  :-)


Strangers as Enemies.


Further Reflections on the Aporias of Transnational Citizenship



Étienne Balibar,

Université de Paris-X Nanterre and University of California, Irvine






The Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition was highly privileged to have Étienne Balibar as its Distinguished Visiting Lecturer for 2006. This research article is the text of his remarks delivered at McMaster University on 16 March 2006. The essay ranges widely, tracing the hybridity of globalization in counterposing the new forms of exclusion, imperialism, and racialization that accompany the "flows" of information and capital in the current globalized economy. As global capitalism penetrates more geographical areas and commodifies more forms of human activity than ever before, its emergent supraterritoriality is accompanied by new "borders," fences, restrictions,laws, police actions, and militarization to control human movement and to secure capitalist power. Building on the key concepts of the "stranger" and the "enemy," Balibar traces these processes and situates them in the present world context. He also expands on the discussion of forms of violence that appear to dominate at the end of the most violent century in human history. Reflecting on notions like "global civil war," he worries about detaching these conflicts from their local specificities and seeing them as a unified phenomenon.


In the latter part of his address, Professor Balibar explores options for hope and for political action. Beginning with a notion of transnational citizenship, he examines the possibilities for inter-cultural translation. He uses this examination to reflect upon "cosmopolitics" as opposed to "cosmopolitanism" and the "co-citizen" rather than the "citizen of the world." He suggests considering citizenship as a differentiated and partial notion that might be shaped in various ways to provide cultural, political, and social rights, constituting a "right to reside with rights." He then discusses the potential of a double possibility: freedom of circulation and the right of residency or settlement. These notions are helpful because they provide the basis for concrete political actions in the day-to-day of our lives.


William D. Coleman, McMaster University




These new reflections on the issue of "transnational citizenship" and its aporias, which I have the possibility to submit for discussion owing to the generous invitation of the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition at McMaster University,1 will be presented from a European point of view, as I have done in previous essays on the same subject. But I will try to do so also in the perspective of a comparison, or better said, a confrontation, with North America, of which you are part, and where I have been working now regularly for years, albeit across the border. I do not believe in the possibility of speaking about "the global" from a point of view itself "global" — that is, from nowhere or everywhere. But I believe in the (relative) possibility of dis-locating one's point of view, one's place of enunciation, and above all of exposing oneself to the dis-location that comes from others.


What I am offering here has no pretension to present a full doctrine of "transnational citizenship," no more than it was the case before, but I will try to clarify certain issues and to take into account some discussions that have developed over the last few years (in particular after the publication of important essays by our Italian colleagues Alessandro Dal Lago and Sandro Mezzadra),2 Which themselves were prompted by rapid transformations of the status of borders, the policies of "territorial defence" against illegal migrants, and the rise of "populist" ideologies and parties throughout Europe. All this, indeed, comes in the wake of the growing polarization of world politics after 9/11, and therefore is not unrelated to similar tendencies observable internationally.


My contention is that we are observing a growing confusion of the historical and political categories of the "stranger" and the "enemy," which in a sense only brings to the fore a tendency inherent in the structure of the nation-state, and periodically activated by situations of cold or hot war, but also "normally" limited in its expression by laws and customs, which now seems to become irresistible — as was the case in some tragic moments of the past century. But the scale is not the same, and the resulting political alternatives cannot be the same either. If the name "auto-immunity crisis," which has been proposed by the philosopher Jacques Derrida in some of his last essays (2005), is a good guiding thread, it would not be only a political question of choosing between fascism and democracy (and repelling one in the name and the perspective of the restoration of the other in its full comprehension), but more radically a meta-political or "constitutional" question of accepting a regression of the universalistic notion of citizenship, or inventing, against the current, a new historical advance of that notion. I feel indeed that we are only in the preliminary inquiries for achieving such a progress.


Walls Under Construction


In this paper, I focus on descriptive and interpretive issues concerning the "production" of the stranger, the alternative notions of a "global civil war," and a "translation process between cultures," the difficulties of cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitics. But I would like to take my departure from the consideration of an event with considerable symbolic impact and also dramatic consequences in "our" part of the world (I mean Europe): the construction of what I call the South-Mediterranean Fence. To a large extent, this "fence" is still virtual, or rather it is a complex of differentiated institutions and installations, legislations, repressive and preventive policies, and international agreements, which together aim at making the liberty of circulation not impossible but extremely difficult or selective and unilateral for certain categories of individuals and certain groups on the basis of their ethnic (i.e., ultimately racial) characteristics and their nationality. But there are two more concrete realizations of this "fence" which in the last period have become conspicuous and seem to crystallize many of the features and problems concerning space, mobility, and status, which characterize our political geography. They are located at the extremities of the "euro-mediterranean" domain, and they indeed have quite different immediate origins and rationales, but their physical similarity is striking for anybody who has visited them or seen pictures and videos, and this can suggest deeper analogies. These are the Israeli fence, currently built within the Palestinian occupied territories (which itself was preceded by a similar fence along the Gaza strip), and the fence that is currently raised and completed by other kinds of fortifications, including ditches, roads, towers of observation, the cutting of trees, and levelling of hills, on both sides of the border separating the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the Moroccan side of the Strait of Gibraltar.


The Israeli fence is supposed to block incursions of suicide bombers and other terrorists into Israel, but it also has clearly other functions: to stop Palestinian workers who used to find jobs in Israel, to divide the Palestinian society, cut farmers from their land, and prepare the unilateral definition of a state-border incorporating illegal colonies of the West Bank within the national territory. The Spanish fence, whose development was prompted by the tragic riots from last year, when African immigrants who had gathered in the neighbouring mountains tried to cross the border en masse in order to find themselves on "European" soil, is intended to repel would-be migrants coming not so much from Morocco than from African countries further South, who travelled across the desert in order to try this point of entry into the European Union (EU) where they are awaited as cheap labour. The fences share a property of being located on the South Bank of the Mediterranean and dividing from its environment a European (or more generally Northern) enclave, whose existence results from complex colonial processes and vicissitudes, and they are acquiring now a broader function. My hyperbolic suggestion is that they can be viewed as sections of a "great Wall of Europe" under construction, except, and this is very important, that the Great Wall of China was built over the centuries inside the Empire. The great Wall of Europe is built on the other side (but in fact what this shows is also that we find ourselves in a geo-historical situation in which the location of the border, and therefore also its concept, is a complex and equivocal notion). I know that there is something monstrous in this idea, but for a few paragraphs I want to associate some references and images around it.


First, let us note that fortified borders or hyper-borders — between geopolitical spaces and not only states or nations — either in the material form of walls or fences or in equivalent more mobile and more sophisticated forms, have existed throughout history, and have been associated with conflicts represented as clashes of civilizations, resistance against a "barbarian" threat, and confrontation between political systems. Not only the Wall of China comes to mind, but also the Roman limes, or more recently the electric fence that the French built along the borders of Algeria during its war of independence, or the "Iron curtain" and the "Berlin Wall" (which, it should be noted, was basically built by the Communist regimes against the mobility of their own citizens, their using a "right to escape," diritto di fuga, to put it in the words of Sandro Mezzadra). So, in a sense, history repeats itself, as always, albeit with new complexes of economic, political, and ideological causes.


Second, let us note that this is not a purely European phenomenon today: the closest analogy, in fact, is with the fence that the United States is erecting at its Southern border with Mexico, which also has a function to partially block the road of immigration for citizens of all Latin American countries, and particularly Central America, who travel across Mexico to enter the US territory (partially, but not entirely, since a complete blockage would deprive the US economy of a necessary source of cheap and unprotected labour). The fence already exists physically along the Californian border, where it has considerably affected the environment, and its prolongation along the borders of Arizona and New Mexico, which would cost millions, is under acute discussion right now. It is also very interesting to recall that part of the ideological rationale for this project, within established political science, is provided by the same Prof. Huntington who theorized the "Clash of Civilizations," and who in his recent book, Who Are We? (2004) explicitly compares the "Hispanic challenge" to "American" (i.e., US) identity with the "Muslim challenge" to European identity.


Finally, I want to note that the two "fences" to which I was alluding, the Israeli and the Spanish fence, become much more significant if you locate them on a map which also includes other "instruments" to control migrations in a repressive unilateral manner, particularly the "camps" of refugees and asylum seekers located at the external and internal borders of Europe. The attention of lawyers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has been drawn for some time now to the fact that these camps — a double-edged institution because they create a lot of trouble in their immediate environment — are now increasingly to be located not on the European territory itself, but on the territory of its Southern neighbours. There are projects to build more through administrative agreements with such countries as Morocco, Libya, and Turkey.3 The result of this dis-location has been called by some Moroccan and Algerian sociologists like Driss Ajbali (Libération, 18 October 2005) a "transfer of culpability," because it tends to "export" the violence of the police operations that the Northern States and economies have to perform in order to select and survey their immigrant labour force into the Southern space. The non-European states are thus compelled to take charge of the violence, and are therefore also compelled to be blamed by world opinion when the immigrants are conspicuously exposed to the risk of violent death, starvation, or deportation.


Production of the Stranger


All these phenomena, which indeed would deserve a much more careful description and distinctive analysis, nevertheless shed a new light on the importance of considering such questions as: who surveys a border, and for whom? Who crosses a border, or not, depending on the direction of the trip (or, if you prefer, for whom is a border a "symmetric" entity, and for whom a "dissymmetric" one)? What or whom does a border bring together, and what or whom does it divide? How can paradoxical border effects such as enclosing outside and liberating inside walls be explained? All these questions are related to the political complexity of contemporary borders, which is indeed as typical as global communications for the analysis of the contemporary world, or rather form its indissociable reverse side, and which testify to the new ambiguity of the distinction between stranger and enemy. Let us note in passing that in English or German there are two words: foreigner and stranger, Ausländer and Fremde, where the French has only one: l'étranger. Which means that the French at the same time conceals and accentuates what is here at stake: a shift of the status of the Foreigner from Stranger to Enemy, but also a perversion of the category of the Stranger. These are at the same time very concrete questions, belonging to everyday life, and very speculative questions, which direct our attention towards the impolitical side of the political — that is, its destructive but also constitutive contradictions.


I want to locate these questions within a philosophical horizon that questions the relationship between the construction of the stranger (or the reproduction of strangeness) and the status of the "citizen." I see citizenship not as a fixed notion, with a permanent essence that would become simply adapted to successive political cadres, but as a permanently open problem, which has already been subjected historically to mutations, collapses, and redefinition. In recent discussions concerning the new functions of borders and their relationship to Europe's becoming, not exactly a "sovereign" entity, but rather what we might call a "space of exception," it has been a question not only of the fact that "borders" tend to become really dis-located, if not ubiquitous, but also of another characteristic which has to do with the inversion of the relationship between the "border" and the "stranger/foreigner." Apparently, and legally, foreigners are those "other humans" or precisely strangers who already belong to other spaces, who are citizens from different states, either by descent or by adoption, and the borderlines (with the associated institutions: passports, ID controls, differential treatments in the public space, different social rights) merely register this preliminary fact. But increasingly it is the working of the border, and especially the difference between geopolitical economic and security borders and mere administrative separations, which constitutes, or "produces" the stranger/foreigner as a social type.


One of the great analysts of globalization as a cultural phenomenon, Zygmunt Bauman, has written that "all societies produce strangers; but each kind of society produces its own kind of strangers, and produces them in its own inimitable way" (1997, 17). But what we are concerned with here is a more institutional process. Since the establishment of a notion of "European citizenship," individuals from the member states are no longer "fully strange" to one another in the sense in which individuals from "third" states ("extra-communitarian residents") are strange to them. But of course, the category of the "thirds" is also split, because all the places of the world are not equivalent from a European (or an American …) point of view, in terms of security, economic partnership, or cultural difference. We could push to the extreme this idea that the status of borders determines the condition of the foreigner and the very meaning of "being foreign," rather than the reverse. Virtually, this category is dissolved, there are no longer any "foreigners" in a simple legal sense, because some are "assimilated" — they are less than foreign, no longer really "strange." Instead they become "neighbours," while others are "dissimilated" — they are more than foreign. They become "absolutely strange" or "aliens." As a consequence, inevitably, the category of the "national" (or the self, of what it requires to be the same) also becomes split and subject to the dissolving action of "internal borders" which mirror the global inequalities. Again, there are new, unprecedented aspects in this situation, but also disturbing resurgences of traditional patterns of exclusion which contradict the formal equality associated with the constitutions of the democratic nation-states. For example, the categories of "citizens" and "subjects" in colonial nations manifests this contradiction, where the border was also a concentric double border (between the metropolis and the subjected territories, between the Empire and the rest of the world). That this pattern seems now to have been reversed, to strike back upon the "old" nations, is an important aspect indeed of what has been called the "post-colonial."


"Strangeness" and the various conditions referred to by the category of the Stranger are nothing natural, but they are produced and therefore also reproduced. They are not stable, but unstable and mobile. (We may remember here that, in the past history of Europe, such categories as the Jews and the colonized so-called "native" or "indigenous" people successively ceased to be strangers , or at least foreigners, but also returned to that status, which in the long run is not univocal but equivocal.) The idea that each kind of society produces its own kind of strangers is in fact not only a phenomenological or sociological one, it is also at certain moments a political one, which means that it opens the doors to antagonistic choices. This has become increasingly clear with the troubles of the European construction, which is now blocked, probably for a long time, not only because of divergences between national policies and ideologies, not only because the institutional definition of the entity called Europe proves obscure and nevertheless a source of conflict, not only because the extension of the territory that it should encompass "in the end" seems to be impossible to define, but also because this political entity already treats many strangers as enemies, while leaving these categories in the dark. The contradictions are more and more acute between a democratic and universalistic claim and self-image, and a neo-imperialist ethnocentric practice, which seems to have combined legacies from different types of "empires" that existed in Europe's past.


To make this more complicated, and again it seems to me that this is a general characteristic of contemporary processes, this imperial after-effect is not associated with an increase in sovereignty or the emergence of a new sovereignty — a new "sovereign moment" in the history of Europe. It is rather associated with a fictitious power-policy, and in the case of the control of borders, with a double-bind situation which in other places I have described as a "powerlessness of the all-powerful" — that is, a State, which at the same time enforces a legislation and undermines it, not without devastating effects on its credibility and its legitimacy.4 I tend to believe that many of the forms of "petty racism" (which can become murderous indeed) in European society today are linked to this fictitious power-policy. Racism, which is never a purely "psychosociological" phenomenon, but always has a decisive institutional dimension (or, more precisely, involves an imaginary relationship to the institution as such, as I argued in Race, Nation, Class (see Balibar and Wallerstein 1991)) is encouraged by the fact that the State targets and stigmatizes immigrants, but also by the fact that, apparently, it does not want to really close the borders. In Foucauldian terms, it rather displays itself as a bio-political management of illegality.


I would like to suggest that the equivocal character of the stranger as virtual enemy, but also conversely the tendency to identify the enemy with the stranger in general, or the cultural stranger, in an indiscriminate manner, which increasingly affects the institution of the political in our societies (and in any case in Europe), forms one of the crucial points of "heresy" (or choice, alternative, bifurcation) within contemporary societies. At the same time these associate and separate antagonistic orientations, for which I discuss the allegoric names of "translation among cultures" and "global civil war," which both arise from contemporary debates. The production of the stranger as stranger is indeed a process which takes place in everyday life through a myriad of social practices and legal rules. At a deeper level, it is the site of a competition, or if you like a differential process, where extreme violence crosses a singular productivity and cultural creativity which could acquire an essential democratic function. It is this political (or perhaps meta-political) difference that I want to evoke now.


In my 2004 Humboldt Lecture (Balibar 2004), from which I will borrow some elements, I have associated the idea of a "cultural translation" or "translation between cultures" (see Glasson-Deschaumes and Ivekovic 2002; 2003), which comes from a certain post-colonial discourse, with the idea of a "philological model" of transnational citizenship. I quote again Zygmunt Baumann (1999):


Translating is not an idle occupation for a limited circle of specialists, it is the texture of everyday life, the work that we perform each day and each hour of the day […] The possibility of universalism lies precisely in this common capacity to reach an effective communication without possessing in advance common meanings and interpretations. Universality is not antagonistic with differences; it does not require a "cultural homogeneity", or a "cultural purity", much less the kind of practices that are evoked by this ideological notion […] Universality is only the capacity of communication and mutual understanding, which is common to all groups, in the sense of "knowing how to proceed" reciprocally, but also knowing how to proceed when confronted with others who have the right to proceed in a different manner.5


This is a crucial view, but which, I believe, has to be completed with the following consideration: in our political constitutions, in particular through their association with systems of mass education, the activity of translation has acquired both a political legitimacy and a restricted definition. Our teaching programs continuously involve the use of multiple languages, the results or the actual process of translations, but they restrict these confrontations to certain idioms and certain uses and styles within these languages, presented in a strictly hierarchical manner, and subjected to the laws of what Bourdieu (1991) called the reproduction of "symbolic capital." Not only should we therefore consider it a vital objective to preserve and improve our educational capacities to teach the skills necessary for translating between multiple languages as a "daily" practice, but also we should conceive it as a basic instrument to create the transnational public space in a democratic sense, where ideas and projects can be debated by the citizens themselves across the linguistic and administrative borders. It has been often remarked that there can hardly be a question of an "active" citizenship, therefore a democratic polity, without a real circulation of ideas in a "public sphere" (Öffentlichkeit) But the material condition for such a circulation is not primarily the Internet, neither is it simply the common use of an idiom — namely "international English" — both universalized and simplified, however useful they can be in allowing transborder communications, but it is a multilateral and multicultural regime of translations, whose bases exist in the society itself, but must be considerably developed. I would like to further qualify this idea of the political importance of the practice of translation by referring to other aspects of the same experience. They show that it is indeed a site of deep tensions and paradoxes. In a recent collection of her essays our colleague Rosi Braidotti from Utrecht University reflecting on the "existential situation of a multicultural individual" writes: "The nomad is perforce a polyglot and the polyglot is a nomad of language, constantly living between different idioms. He/she is a specialist of the treachery nature of every language […] Nomadism is not only a theoretical option, it proves to be also an existential condition which expresses itself in a determinate style of thought" (2002, 22). I agree with this formulation, at least as an ideal case, but it is important to see that this form of nomadism directly depends on the capacity of educational institutions to adapt and develop their potentialities in the "post-national" era. We might say that translation in all its forms, as a "spontaneous," "pragmatic," as well as an "elaborated" institutional practice, is a form of virtual deterritorialization, which makes it possible to anticipate and control political processes where the borders are displaced, and the meaning of borders is transformed. Therefore it makes it possible also to "appropriate" or "inhabit" a transnational political space and transform it into a new public sphere. A great deal in the future of post-national "communities of citizens" like Europe depends on whether and to what extent the mass of citizens will have access to this practice which represents their real "common" idiom.


Reciprocity and conflict are therefore the categories that must be associated with the idea of translation, but also in a different sense, which I want to associate with a complementary reflection on the limits of translation and the untranslatable (intraduisible). There are irreducible remainders or obstacles which prevent us from finding a perfect equivalent for a given idea when passing from one language to another, because they would belong to different "communities of meaning." But, as Benjamin (1968) and others have explained, it is precisely what makes difficult the passage from one language to another, that also makes the combined use of different languages creative and even revolutionary. I have become more and more convinced that this dynamic model of the process of translation, which has political conditions and effects, but basically represents a form of practical universalism and anthropological choice, provides an instrument (not sufficient, to be sure), and features a regulating ideal for the political handling of the conflictual issues of "multi-culturalism." We need namely to overcome twin prejudices: what we might call the hypothesis of the "state of nature among cultures" (the idea that cultures are unchanging and closed totalities, which must be "at war" with one another, metaphorically or even literally), and the hypothesis of pre-established harmony (the idea that all cultures — be they ethnic or religious or social — have the same universal "human" content, albeit expressed in different ways). To imagine that cultures could become compatible without individuals circulating between them (as "nomads" or " strangers ") is meaningless, but it is equally absurd to imagine this mediation to take place without a dialogic practice, and the intervention of the language(s) in which narratives are translated and compared, to the point of their irreducible differences, or where they become "untranslatable." However, this point is not "fixed," it is dependent itself on the available modalities of translation or codes.


This argument might appear as an utterly "elitist" way of posing the problem of transnationalcitizenship. The great difficulty is undoubtedly to elucidate what common ground there is between two experiences of circulation and association of cultures: the experience of immigrants crossing the North-South borders, deemed to be "incult" (most of the time because the average "Northern" citizen has no idea of their culture, or confuses his/her economic advantages with a cultural superiority), and the experience of the educated polyglots. Perhaps, in fact, there is no common ground yet, where they could merge in order to dialectically work on the issue of the untranslatable and displace it. One of the reasons for that (one of the causes of our pessimism) lies in the contradictions and the crisis of the mass educational system invented by the industrialized nation-states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, whose relatively democratic functions clash with the logic of mass culture, communication, and entertainment dominated by one single practice of language, or a "one-dimensional" mass culture.


I shall now turn to the other side of the point of heresy; what we are tempted to call anti-universalistic effects of globalization, the contemporary figure of what Marx in his Misère de la philosophie (1846, written in French) called "le mauvais côté," the bad side of history without which, nevertheless, there would be no "progress." They are not fully exterior domains, to be sure, particularly because there is little doubt that a global war culture is associated with the spread and imposition of one-dimensional mass communication: just look at the products of the contemporary movie industry. The idea of a global civil war — which has been increasingly used by philosophers like Hans-Magnus Enzensberger, Antonio Negri and Giorgio Agamben — is a counterpart of the declining legitimacy of the nation-state (which is not to say its suppression: it is even possible to speak of a declining legitimacy of the nation-states if some of them actually increase their interventions within civil societies, because they are no longer the sole institutions to claim collective loyalty, nor the owners of a "monopoly of organized violence"). This notion poses a problem that is not only sociological or political, but also ethical. Depending on our concept of liberty, we indeed do not see in the same manner the consequences of the policing of circulation. But above all it is related to the fact that the historical hegemony of the nation-state was constructed around an ideal differentiation between security and war: the police dealt with strangers, and the war concerned enemies. The notion of "civil war" was identified since the origins of the political institution with the anomaly, which should be suppressed at all costs. This identification made possible, precisely, the simplification of the political, the definition of the "public," and the fixation of borders. But this simplification was never completely achieved, at least over the long term, even in dominant or hegemonic parts of the world such as Europe. Internal enemies would proliferate, featuring a sort of malefic double of the external regular enemy, indicating a point where the distinction of the stranger and the enemy becomes irrelevant. Or, the stranger becomes the arch-enemy, the enemy whose simple existence imperils the capacity to fight enemies, as is clear in Carl Schmitt's The Concept of the Political (1976).


It becomes then possible, perhaps necessary, to reverse the point of view from which the wars and social conflicts are seen in the history of contemporary Europe, not to mention other parts of the world. Some historians, speaking from completely opposite ideological viewpoints, have endorsed the idea of a long "European civil war" in the twentieth century. This characterization might also apply to certain colonial wars and wars of colonial liberation, and their aftermath, such as the French-Algerian conflict where, seen from today's vantage point, the two parts cannot be said to be completely exterior to one another as I suggested in my essay "Algeria, France: One Nation or Two?" (Balibar 1999). From such examples we might be tempted to jump to the idea of a global "civil war," or a juxtaposition of global civil wars, which would underpin the various disorders and instabilities — the "war of all against all" — which have replaced the apparently simple distribution of conflicts of the immediate post-colonial and the Cold War era. This is, in particular, an idea which seems to be haunting the debates on the "new wars" and the "clash of civilizations." I am not sure, though, that it entirely corresponds to the reality because the tendency to merge a complex web of religious, social, ethnic, political, colonial, and post-colonial bloody conflicts into one single "hobbesian" state of "war of all against all," a sort of post-historical state of nature, as it were, or an "Empire of Disorder" or Empire du chaos (2002) as Alain Joxe aptly calls it, is itself a representation and perhaps a strategy used by a would-be sovereign power which seeks global leadership beyond its actual military and economic capacities. I would like to offer two sets of additional remarks on this point.


First is the idea that global civil war is not separable from a discussion on the general level of violence, and its tendency to increase or decrease in the last decade. We read very contradictory reflections on this point, because there will never be an agreement about the criteria that should be applied. A recent and widely publicized document, called the Human Security Report 2005. War and Peace in the 21st Century, by the Human Security Centre at the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada concluded that there has in fact been a decrease in political violence since the end of the Cold War, because "the number of armed conflicts has decreased by more than 40%, and the number of major conflicts has declined by 80%." It finds that "interstate wars now comprise only 5% of the armed conflicts, far less than in previous eras," that "the number of people killed in individual wars have declined dramatically in the past five decades," and that "the number of international crises fell by more than 70% between 1981 and 2001" (quoted from Rogers' commentary 17 October 2005). This kind of counting seems to rely still on a traditional definition of violence in terms of inter-national or inter-state wars, which paradoxically excludes the most conspicuous of the "new wars" or "new conflicts" — some of which are in fact continuations of very old conflicts, such as in the case of Israel and Palestine, and more generally the Middle East. It completely ignores the murderous effects of the superposition of "natural catastrophes," extreme poverty, ethnic wars, and social violence that tends to plague the wide dustbins of globalization.


This point is indeed what Paul Rogers of openDemocracy suggested in his commentary posted on 17 October 2005: "two issues in particular deserve closer attention: The first is the marked tendency […] for people to flee from major areas of conflict, seeking security either in neighbouring countries or even further afield. This means that large numbers of people are being exposed to sustained and often extreme dislocation and hardship […] The second issue is that in any case, the crude counting of casualties can be hugely misleading, especially when conflicts are happening in weak and impoverished societies […] In such circumstances, the effects of war can take years or even decades to overcome." And after he has directed our attention towards the different perception that citizens of the Global North and the Global South may have of the nature and degree of global violence, he proposes what he calls "two strong notes of caution" for the imminent future: "First, the very vigour of the American response to 9/11 may be creating the conditions for increased instability and conflict […] Second, the assessment of whether or not the world has become more peaceful needs to accommodate the greatest human test of all — the response to climate change and all the many new insecurities that will come in its wake if it is not brought under control […] The huge pressure to migrate they are likely to bring is only one of their likely effects." I cannot but compare these formulations with those of Secretary General Kofi Annan in his failed attempt at reforming the doctrine of "security" and "insecurity" at the United Nations last year, on the occasion of the Millennium project evaluation, when he urged member states to take into account a heterogeneous ensemble of "security threats," which include "terrorism" but should not be limited to it, if only because "terrorism" does not have the same definition and is not rated with the same capacity of destruction in all parts of the world.


The second remark is that the main form under which a global civil war is developing might be, precisely, what scholars like Alessandro Dal Lago and Sandro Mezzadra have described as the new European and American "war of the borders": not only can we say that we witness in "Northern" countries processes of institutional segregation which resemble apartheid, but we have to admit that political and economic entities like the New Europe are waging at their borders and also inside their territories a permanent "frontier war" where the hunting down of men is taking place along racial criteria, which is a savage way of regulating the fluxes of populations between complementary regions of the world. To adopt the model of war for an analysis of the violent control of migrations perhaps pushes reality to its extremes, but it accounts for the increasing confusion between police operations and war, and it bridges the gap with the category of "new postmodern wars" which includes other forms of repression and elimination of dangerous, unwanted, superfluous, and exploited populations. Dal Lago and Mezzadra (2002) suggest that all this violence is an answer to the intrinsic mobility of the mass of peoples the world over, a mobility that corresponds to the final stage of capitalist modernization. They see the status of frontiers essentially as the instrument by which imperial capitalism controls and defends itself against the threat of the Transnational Proletariat that it has produced and exploits. Whether this mobility and repression actually produce a new "nomadic political subject," as the concentration of industrial workers had produced one in the era of the first development of capital according to Marx, is another question on which we can have divergences without denying the veracity of the initial picture. This also would lead us to progressively reverse the traditional way of looking at the relationship between borders and wars. It is not the existence of borders which produces or gives way to wars, but increasingly the endemic social war which "territorializes" and "spatializes" itself though the institution and the localization of borders, as much as I said a moment ago that it was the social regime that produced the stranger, rather than adapting to a pre-existing cultural reality. We have here at the same time a complementarity and a sharp antagonism with the processes of cultural translation, the creation of nomadic and diasporic identities that are characteristic for the new global regime of communications. In fact we have here a dilemma (whose terms, though, are not fully external to one another), opposing a constructive and a destructive side of postmodern or post-national "real" universality. It could be said that civil war is the allegoric name for the extreme form of untranslatability, or that translation is the paradoxical equivalence that takes into account the irreducibility of conflict without transforming it into a matter or a pretext of war. These are not yet fully political questions, although they inhabit current debates about the "cosmopolitical" line of evolution of contemporary societies (according to Seyla Benhabib) — an evolution that some authors see as irresistible in the long run, and others as increasingly distant and lined with obstacles. In any case, they call for a more institutional and pragmatic reflection on the political.


What is "Cosmopolitics"?


With this notion of "cosmopolitics," I want to join, in my own way, a lively international debate concerning the forms under which it can be said that the globalizing processes have — at least potentially — produced a new transnational citizen, or opened a window for the emergence of a "post-national" institution of the political. It is the immense merit of Jürgen Habermas (1998 and 2001) to have raised this issue very early, but it seems to me that, while trying to install the question on a legal terrain of norms and institutions, he has also paradoxically reinforced the utopian element clearly involved in the "cosmopolitical idea" borrowed from Immanuel Kant. Or perhaps he made it more apparent inasmuch as the issue of cosmopolitics today is no longer one of an ideal alternative with respect to the real nation-state and its Machtpolitik, but becomes increasingly one of organization of already existing transnational processes, and the subjection of their current violence to an expanded and renewed notion of the rule of law. Undoubtedly, this would also involve that the figure of the stranger changes juridical, social, and also psychological or imaginary status, if it does not completely disappear. As it has been a question some years ago of a "declining significance of race" (Wilson 1980), it should be a question of the "declining significance" of the borders, in an utopian manner. The crisis of the nation state is interpreted by Habermas as a first step in the direction of its more or less inevitable (even if in a very long run) decline of the nation-state, an anticipation of its "withering away," opening the possibility of a world without borders, or only as relics of an old stage of the history of mankind.


Before I qualify this critique, which is certainly too quick, and explain what my own approach would be (at least in general terms), I need to rapidly allude to the classical dilemmas which surround any discussion about the themes of cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitics. I will do it in purely formal manner for obvious reasons of time (which is not to say that I underestimate the necessity of a more elaborate argument). The issue of terminology is in part a conventional one, but I also believe that it covers over really significant issues.


In short, I prefer to associate the idea of cosmopolitics with a transnational rather than a post-national perspective: the first does not imply that national identities are bound to disappear, even as political identities, but that they are increasingly relativized — much in the sense in which Schmitt (1976) described what he called "pluralism" (but to reject it indeed) — that is, they must compete and take into account other kinds of identities, interests, and norms which, seen from a national point of view, escape sovereignty and cross boundaries. I prefer the notion of cosmopolitics, referring to a practice or an agency, as it was used by Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins (1998), and more recently in France in a remarkable essay by Etienne Tassin (2003) rather than the notion of cosmopolitanism, referring to an ideal or an ideology. But then arises the issue of what distinguishes a "cosmopolitics" which aims at organizing different institutions and practices within the perspective of a redefinition of "citizenship," or a revolutionary transformation of the historical figure of the citizen, from a more traditional notion of geo-politics (even if reformulated as democratic geo-politics, whose protagonists are not only states, but also emancipatory or anti-systemic movements, as in Wallerstein (see Arrighi, Hopkins, and Wallerstein 1989, Wallerstein 2004), or from a notion of global governance (as advocated by Daniele Archibugi and David Held (1995)) from what I understand, with a special insistence on the necessary accountability and transparency of international organizations, and their being controlled by actors of the civil society), or a notion of multi-polarity as advocated by Chantal Mouffe (2005) who seeks to counteract the imperial tendencies of the global market by shifting the traditional notion of democratic community building to a higher level of cultural and geographic integration. What, on the other hand, distinguishes it from a radical and also virtual notion of the multitude, or the "nomadic" alternative to state power and global capital, as it is advocated by Hardt and Negri (2004), which also largely inspires the reflection of Mezzadra (2004)? It seems to me that these fine demarcations can come only from the fact that a philosophical reflection on "cosmopolitics," while taking into account as many practical issues as possible (e.g., concerning the status of borders) explicitly addresses the paradoxes involved in an unlimited or "global" use of the category of the citizen, which since its ancient origins until the Kantian idea of the Weltbürger or "citizen of the world," was always immediately associated with a notion of community (politeia indeed first means the community of the citizens) — either a very concrete, limited, exclusive community, or an unlimited (albeit perhaps not totally inclusive), and ideal community.


The "community" associated with the idea of a "citizen of the world" in today's world can no longer remain ideal, it must become materialized in institutions, and nevertheless it can not become identified with an actually unified or unitary community. There is and will be no such thing as a "global demos" — even less a global "sovereign demos" — as has been often argued. But perhaps this is simply because, in our representation of the political, the idea of the demos, the constituent power, has been so profoundly shaped by the mimetic rivalry with the State, the constituted power. There can and must be democratic tendencies within national and international politics, which push in the direction of equality, participation, and accountability of governing bodies, therefore in the direction of what is at the same time necessary and literally inaccessible: a polity for the transnational politis. Hence my use (after some others) of such oxymoronic formulas as "citizenship without community" or, if I may add, "democracy without demos." They point at the fact that such a polity is bound to remain conflictual and fragile, contingent (in the terms of Jacques Rancière's (1998) critique of the idea of the consensual community as a requisite of citizenship).


Habermas' suggestions — to which I return for a moment — may sound unreal, but they present themselves precisely in the modality of a "regulatory idea." They have undisputable value because they pose the problem of the nature and objects of politics in the era of globalization in terms of alternatives, of transformations of the relationships between state, law, and citizenship. In this way they have directly contributed to the intensification of the discussion concerning "cosmopolitism," where other more or less convergent contributions have rejoined them from a different philosophical angle. However, because Habermas tries to interpret the post-national constellation and the emergence of a Weltinnenpolitik or "human security as a world not a national responsibility" controlled by its own citizens as expressing the necessary direction of progress, he also has a tendency to interpret such phenomena as the development of populist ideologies, neo-nationalist and neo-racist policies, legislations against strangers which "normalize the state of exception" (to borrow from Agamben (2005) who himself borrowed the Schmittian and Benjaminian expression in order to qualify the current stage of societies), as "irrational" and "regressive." (One should note, however, that in his most recent declarations and analyses, after 9/11, Habermas (2004) has started to question his vision of the inevitable character of this progress.) This questioning leads him — in a strange formal analogy with the once famous soviet ideology of "socialism in one country," which was supposed to produce the withering away of the state in the long run through its actual reinforcement — to describing the construction of a supranational entity like Europe (with its own constitutional identity, security instruments, and policies) as a formation, or phase of transition towards a "communication" across borders, cultures, and geo-strategic spaces, whose first phase would paradoxically consist in the emergence of new superborders. We know from experience that such "transitional" forms — if they resist their adversaries and surmount their intrinsic resistance — have a tendency to become ends for themselves. Other legal theorists 6 propose alternative institutional models (particularly what concerns the lesser or greater role of international courts and judiciary institutions), but they basically share the same linear representation. The problem, it seems to me, lies with the fact that the current conditions under which a concept of the "real cosmopolitanism" could merge impose it to consider not only ideal temporal processes, but also very material spatial, geopolitical differences and interactions.


This was my starting point when (in "Europe as Borderland") I tried to compare different cosmopolitical models within which to locate the actors, the institutions, but also the conflicts and the bifurcations of the time-space in which the idea of a "citizen of the world" ceases to be a pure moral or juridical one, to become an actual political stake. I distinguished in principle four types of representations of the cosmopolitical battlefield:


1. "Clash of Civilizations" model (to acknowledge the importance of the scheme popularized by Huntington, not only as a self-fulfilling prophecy, but also as a challenge increasingly real), where the Schmittian criterion of the political as distinction of friend and enemy becomes dominant again, and the stranger is essentially identified with the enemy.

2. "Global network" model, where the borders are practically annihilated, or bypassed, ignored by the circulation of money, goods, information, and, ideally, humans, therefore the distinctions of "domestic" and "foreign" are formally abolished and the enemy becomes an ubiquitous, ghostly figure.

3. "Center-Periphery" model, with successive concentric regions around the "historical core" or centre of Hegemony, which is particularly influential in Europe, but also perhaps relevant for other regions such as the Far Eastern "zone of co-prosperity" or the Latin American emerging system of regional cooperation and autonomy — in short the various poles of a would be "multipolar world," where the degrees of strangeness are hierarchized and geopolitically determined.

4. "Cross over" model, in which — like in the Euro-mediterranean space, but also the Euratlantic, or the Eurasiatic zones — culturally hybrid social formations (perhaps very conflictual, but precisely for that reason acquiring a vital significance for the capacity of the world to reduce conflicts, most of which are also post-colonial social formations) are progressively taking shape, where the figures of the "stranger" and the "enemy" are conceptually and politically dissociated (but certainly not simply abolished).


The enigmatic issue of the border and its evolution linked with the successive figures of the stranger, become then seen and analyzed through the prisms of different relationships of State and political space, or "territory." As a "theoretical object," the border appears to be at the same time uniform and diversified, stable in its location and evolving in its social functions, transhistorical and in fact perishable (which could point toward processes of emancipation, but also toward catastrophic conflicts, or better said more catastrophic conflicts, since many are already under way). This is both a practical question, a question of facts, and a question of differences, "lines of escape," with respect to the extremely violent effects of globalization, therefore a question of openings towards new modes of "civility." Their invention will be the challenge of political theory in the twenty-first century.




In guise of a conclusion, what I offer is indeed only a new set of questions. I will organize them around the idea of a possible reversal of the formula " strangers as enemies," or rather several possible reversals. The question of a "cosmopolitical" institution of the citizens, or transnational citizenship, reveals itself indeed to be much more complicated as it seemed to be one or two centuries earlier, at the times of Kant, Saint-Simon, Bolivar, or Marx, as it becomes also more urgent and more practical. It finds itself clearly at the crossroads, because it could be purely and simply eliminated, but there is also a risk that such an elimination or dissolution of the utopian/ideal dimension of citizenship would also threaten citizenship as such.7


We can interpret this by forming the hypothesis that indeed those who are in need of a "cosmopolitical extension" of citizenship are not only those officially labelled " strangers," or the "others" in the middle of the "we," the people who see themselves and are designated as the sovereign in a given state, but also the "non- strangers." Citizenship for the strangers, or a transition from strangers as enemies towards strangers as citizens might be in fact a necessity for all. But such a reversal is haunted by other figures even more unlikely, such as the figure of the enemies as citizens (not so absurd, when we think of the necessity to restore certain basic protections of the "just war" theory — jus in bello — such as the Geneva conventions, abolished in Guantanamo); or the figure of the Citizen as Enemy (not really an exciting perspective, but which we cannot completely eliminate, if it were the case that the stranger cannot be physically or legally separated from the citizen, in many cases).


The political problem seems to be a circular one, and therefore an insoluble one: how to create or impose elements of a post-national citizenship or a new transnational figure of the citizen, if the conditions of world politics today are making every "democratic innovation" more and more difficult and unlikely? But also, conversely, how to "resist" the brutalization of world politics,8 how to set up a civic resistance when the institutions and practices of political democracy find themselves everywhere in the midst of a deep crisis and distrust? Since such a circle cannot become dissolved through a revelation, a sudden collective decision, or a revolution (at least very few among us imagine such a possibility), the only thing to do is to explore projects and efforts, which would be attempts at untying the knot, in the guise of a struggle against time — without illusions, if not without hope.


The first suggestion that I want to make is that the issue of "citizenship" (in the sense of the system of rights and duties which give the "citizen" its social status) should not be addressed in a total and unitary manner, but rather in a differentiated, and therefore partial manner. Perhaps this is one of the meanings that we can attach to the notion of "constellation" used by Habermas. This formulation particularly means that there are other aspects of citizenship, perhaps equally and more important today than the national franchise, or the pure "political citizenship."9 I am not saying that "permanent residents" in every country should not be given the right of taking part in the elections, as many of us, progressively developing a diasporic model of citizenship, argued already many years ago: but the ballot is not the key to every form of civic participation and recognition. What I have called the "national-social" state has created undoubtedly a very strong correlation of the political and the social rights, which in the democratic welfare state seemed to be consequences from one another, but since many of the social rights are (or were, until recently) attached to the condition of a wage labourer (in matters of education, health, pensions, access to employment), many immigrants in Europe partake in the rights of the "national." Conversely they are severely limited in the field of cultural rights, even in societies which claim or claimed until recently to be "tolerant," or adopted the motto of multiculturalism.10 Contemporary politics in the "North" (the only place where the problem until now seems to have political relevance) pushes this dilemma to the appearance of incompatibility, dramatically increasing the pressure for assimilation in a context of decreasing inclusion of the"other."


In fact, I keep reflecting on an idea that I had first envisaged twenty years ago, when I wrote an article with the title "Subjects or Citizens," about the condition of post-colonial minorities in a country like France (Balibar 1984). What is important is not that strangers become French citizens, or Canadian citizens, or US citizens, but that they acquire an increasing amount of equal civic right within a given constituency. In that sense they would become rather "co-citizens" (formed after the expression: "compatriots"), which in a sense simply returns to the origins of the notion, since in Latin civis is a relational notion, it does not mean the unity of the citizens, but before that the relationship between the co-citizens, those who are "equals," or "equally enjoy" the rights or freedoms of the city. So what I suggest is to think of citizenship within new territories not in terms of sovereignty, or not only (including popular sovereignty, membership in the "sovereign" or the "body politic"), but rather in terms of a droit de cité, a right of residing with rights (also a possible interpretation of Arendt's (1973) notion of the right to have rights).


This leads me to my second suggestion. In fact the notion of a "right to reside with rights" contains a strong tension which can be also productive, if only juridically, between two "polar opposite" aspects, which the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights already expressed when they spoke (albeit in different places) of the right to acquire a nationality (or not to remain "apatrid") and the right to change one's nationality. This idea goes beyond hospitality; it is at the same time strictly individualistic (although its applications always concern groups), and attached to the exclusive cadre of the nation. But it can be generalized in the form of a double freedom of circulation and right of residency (or settlement) — which indeed is a "principle," like the freedom of opinion or expression, or the freedom of enterprise are "principles" — that is, call for institutionalization, therefore limitations, conditions, and regulations, provided these regulations do not, in fact, reduce them to nothing. This indeed raises other difficult, but important questions (especially important for the development of post-national law), particularly the question of the collective authorities which could regulate the application of such principles. This question is certainly not without relationship to the perspective of global civil war that I have been evocating at the beginning, in a dialectical manner. What the (dreadful) perspective of a "global civil war" evokes is, a contraries, in a negative manner, a "virtual community," or a "community without a community" (i.e., without a common tradition or historical "substance"), a "civis" and "civil" community whose institutions and practices are precisely guarantees and obstacles before the spread of the civil war. In classical nation-states it was the institutional existence of the community which created the citizen and therefore made it possible to have a civic and civil space, but there are chances that the advances of post-national relations have reversed this relationship, without actually purely and simply destroying it. It was also this institution that created the virtuality of a perverse transformation of the stranger into an enemy that has been actualized by the Global Market. But this one in turn uses war or quasi-war as its savage instrument of regulation (or deregulation under the name of regulation), or control of the movements of populations and clashes of civilizations (which in turn makes them more chaotic and violent). Times would seem more than ripe for thinking about dialectical transformations of this contradiction. Walls indeed are not the solution.


Works Cited

Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. State of exception. Trans. Kevin Attell, Chicago: University of Chicago


Archibugi, Daniele, and Held, David. eds. 1995. Cosmopolitan democracy: An agenda for a new world order. Oxford, UK and Cambridge, MA: Polity Press.

Arendt, Hannah. 1973. The origins of totalitarianism (Part II: Imperialism). New York: Harvest Books.

Arrighi, Giovanni, Hopkins, Terence, and Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1989. Antisystemic movements. London: Verso.

Balibar, Étienne. 1984. Sujets ou citoyens: pour l'égalité. Les Temps Modernes 1726-53.

Balibar, Étienne. 1999. Algeria, France: One nation or two? In Giving ground: The politics of propinquity. ed. Joan Copjec and Michael Sorkin, 162-72. London: Verso.

Balibar, Étienne. 2002. Droit de cité. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France.

Balibar, Étienne. 2003. L'Europe, une frontière "impensées" de la démocratie? In L'Europe, l'Amérique, la guerre: Réflexions sur la médiation Européenne. 157-72. Paris: La Découverte.

Balibar, Étienne. 2004. Europe as borderland: The Alexander von Humboldt Lecture in Human Geography. Institute for Human Geography, Universiteit Nijmegen. Available: http://www.ru.nl/socgeo/colloquium/Europe%20as%20Borderland.pdf (Accessed: 8 May 2006)

Balibar, Étienne and Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1991. Race, nation, class: Ambiguous identities. London: Verso.

Bauman, Zygmunt. 1997. Postmodernity and its discontents. New York: New York University Press.

Bauman, Zygmunt. 1999. In search of politics. Cambridge, England: Polity Press.

Benjamin, Walter. 1968. The task of the translator. In Illuminations. Trans. Harry Zohn, 69-82. New York: Schocken.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1991. Language and symbolic power. London: Polity Press.

Braidotti, Rosi. 2002. Nuovi soggetti nomadi. Rome: Luca Sossella Editore.

Cheah, Pheng and Robbins, Bruce. eds. 1998. Cosmopolitics: Thinking and feeling beyond the nation. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Dal Lago, Alessandro and Mezzadra, Sandro. 2002. I confini impensati dell'Europa. In Europa politica: Ragioni di una necessità. ed. H. Friese, A. Negri, and P. Wagner, Rome: Manifestolibri.

Derrida, Jacques. 2005. Rogues: Two essays on reason. Standford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Glasson-Deschaumes, Ghislaine and Ivekovic, Rada. 2002. Traduire entre les cultures/Translating between cultures. Transeuropéennes 22 (Printemps-été):

Glasson-Deschaumes, Ghislaine and Ivekovic, Rada. eds. 2003. Divided countries, separated cities: The modern legacy of partition. New Delhi and New York: Oxford University Press.

Habermas, Jürgen. 1998. The inclusion of the other: Studies in political theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Habermas, Jürgen. 2001. The post-national constellation: Political essays. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Habermas, Jürgen. 2004. Der gespaltene Westen. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt.

Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio. 2004. Multitude: War and democracy in the age of empire. New York: Penguin.

Human Security Centre. 2005. Human security report 2005: War and peace in the 21st century. Vancouver: Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia.

Huntington, Samuel P. 2004. Who are we?: The challenges to America's national identity. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Joxe, Alain. 2002. L'empire du chaos. Paris: La Découverte.

Marshall, T. H. 1987. Citizenship and social class. London: Pluto Press.

Mezzadra, Sandro. 2004. Citizenship in motion, Makeworld paper No. 4. Available:

http://makeworlds.org/node/83 (Accessed: 8 May 2006)

Mezzadra, Sandro and Rigo, Enrica. 2003. L'Europa dei migranti. In Europa, costituzione e movimenti sociali: La crisi della sovranità statale, la dimensione europea e lo spazio dei movimenti sociali. ed. G. Bronzini, H. Friese, A. Negri, and P. Wagner, 213-30. Roma: Manifestolibri.

Mosse, George. 1990. Fallen soldiers: Reshaping the memory of the World Wars. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mouffe, Chantal. 2005. On the political. London: Routledge.

Rancière, Jacques. 1998. Disagreement: Politics and philosophy. Trans. Julie Rose, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Schmitt, Carl. 1976. The concept of the political. Trans. George Schwab, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Tassin, Étienne. 2003. Un monde commun: Pour une cosmo-politique des conflits. Paris: Editions du Seuil.

Teubner, Günther. 1996. 'Global Bukowina': Legal pluralism in the world society. In Global Law Without A State. 3-28. Dartsmouth: London.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 2004. Alternatives: The U.S. confronts the world. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Press.

Wilson, William Julius. 1980. The declining significance of race: Blacks and changing American institutions. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.



1. I want to thank the Institute very sincerely for its invitation (with a special expression of gratitude for William D. Coleman, Diane Enns, Peter Nyers, and Robert O'Brien). A previous version of the same material was presented at a seminar on "Politiques frontalières de l'insécurité et ethnocentrisms" organized by Françoise Lorcerie, Catherine Miller, and Cédric Parizot, 27-28 October 2005, IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence.


2. I discuss their essay in (Balibar 2003). (English translation of chapter in Diacritics, Volume 33, Issue 3-4, Fall-Winter 2003.) Mezzadra makes a reply in (Mezzadra and Rigo 2003)


3. See the map at www.migreurop.org.


4. In recent essays, Seyla Benhabib has rightly insisted on this aspect of current political evolutions. See her forthcoming "Twilight of Sovereignty or the Emergence of Cosmopolitan Norms? Rethinking Citizenship in Volatile Times." On what I have called "l'impuissance du tout puissant" (impotent omnipotence) see (Balibar 2002).


5. I re-translate from the Italian edition, La solitudine del cittadino globale (2000, 201-3) Milan: Feltrinelli Editore, at the risk — inherent in translations — of moving further away from the original formulations. See also my essay: Sub specie universitatis, forthcoming in Topoï, 2006, special 50th issue on "Philosophy: What is To Be Done?"


6. For example, Luigi Ferrajoli, whose own concept of "world police" or Weltinnenpolitik I have commented on in (Balibar 2003).


7. In her essay mentioned above, Seyla Benhabib quotes from Günther Teubner (1996) the following judgment: "Today's globalization is not a gradual emergence of a world society under the leadership of interstate politics, but a highly contradictory and highly fragmentary process in which politics has lost its leading role." She comments asking the question: "Does the 'twilight of state sovereignty' mean the end of citizenship and of democratic politics, the displacement of the political, or maybe even its eventual disappearance in the evolution of world societies?" But conversely, it can be said more than ever (with Max Weber) that politics is "world politics" or is nothing. The alternative is not between a national state politics and a cosmopolitics, but between cosmopolitics and no politics. Or the existence of politics is not necessary or "natural." It is historically contingent and depending on its agents acting on the historical stage.


8. In the sense in which George Mosse (1990) used this category for the European "long civil war" of the twentieth century.


9. That is, the second moment in the evolution of citizenship, according to the scheme of T.H. Marshall (1987).


10. To see how difficult it is to evaluate the real importance of "political" citizenship, it is only necessary to recall that in the "greatest democracy" in the World, namely the United States, presidents and congresses can be elected by a tiny majority of the official electorate, because 50 percent of the citizenry (at least) do not take part in the elections. But it should be recalled also that, for example, in the last (2005) local elections in Holland, the left won as a consequence of the heavy turnout of foreigners with local citizenship.

This is a pre-print version of Strangers as Enemies. Further Reflections on the Aporias of Transnational Citizenship by Étienne Balibar generated from the Globalization and Autonomy Online Compendium.



댓글(5) 먼댓글(0) 좋아요(1)
중퇴전문 2006-07-05 01:52   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL
부디 3줄 요약을..
발마스님의 실력을 믿습니다.

balmas 2006-07-05 01:58   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL

옛말에 이르기를,
"믿는 도끼에 발등 찍힌다 ..." 3=3=3=3=3

balmas 2006-07-05 01:59   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL
당장은 아니겠지만, 조만간 번역문이 나오겠지요.
관심있는 분들이 많으니까, 그 분들이 번역해주지 않을까요?? ^^;
조금만 기다려보세요. :-)

중퇴전문 2006-07-05 02:37   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL
요약을 빙자하여 님의 감상을 물어본다는 것이..;
역시 유행-어도 아무나 쓰는 것이 아닌 듯 싶습니다.

balmas 2006-07-05 03:11   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL
중퇴전문님, ㅎㅎ 그러셨군요.
저는 이 글과 관련된 책이나 글들을 꽤 여려 편 이전에 읽었고,
또 그 중 한 권의 책을 번역해서 출간할 예정이니까
특별한 감회가 있는 것은 아닙니다. ^^;;
다만 번역과 관련된 참고자료 삼아 읽는 거죠.
그래도 한 마디 해달라고 하시면, 저는 세계화와 관련된 이론적 분석이나
정치적인 방향의 설정에서 발리바르만한 통찰력을 주는 이론가는 없다고 봅니다.
또 그런 만큼 그의 논문들이나 저작들이 좀더 많이 출간되고 읽혔으면 하는 바람입니다. :-)

* 발리바르 글을 하나 올립니다.

날짜를 보니까 지난 달에 했던 강연이네요.

[사회운동] 같은 곳에 번역해서 실어도 좋을 것 같네요. :-)



Politics As War, War As Politics

Etienne Balibar

Etienne Balibar is professor in Paris X Nanterre and University of California, Irvine. He was invited to participate in the first edition of the Dictionary of War but unfortunately could not make it to Frankfurt. Instead he has sent us as his contribution an essay entitled: "Politics As War, War As Politics - Post-Clausewitzian Variations". It is the text of a public lecture he gave at the Alice Berline Kaplan Center for the Humanities, Northwestern University, Evanston, on May 8, 2006.


*   *

We seem to be really living in a post-clausewitzian era, in a double sense of this expression. First, there is a lively ongoing debate, which is not restricted to the narrow range of “polemologists”, concerning the clausewitzian or non-clausewitzian character of contemporary wars. This debate started about 25 years ago, when the typical Cold-War era obsession with mutual destruction of the Great Powers gave place to a keen interest among military experts and political theorists for “low intensity conflicts”, mainly located in the Third World (a category still very much in use after the Second World as such had collapsed), involving interventions from technologically sophisticated armies from the North against guerrilla-type adversaries, therefore highly dissymmetrical.

Martin van Creveld from Israel and Samuel Huntington from the US seem to have been among the first to launch the slogan of “non-clausewitzian” warfare in a post-clausewitzian political environment. Then came the “ethnic wars” in former Yugoslavia and other parts of the world, which prompted the British peace theorist and politologist Mary Kaldor and others to launch the idea of New Wars versus Old Wars, involving historical “subjects” which are not Nation-States with their regular armies, again suggesting that the explanatory value of ideas deriving from Clausewitz’s celebrated work On War – even generalized and adapted to new circumstances, new strategic interests and new technologies, which had been a major preoccupation of War theorists for 150 years – had reached its limit, and was henceforth unable to account for the kind of interaction now arising between war and politics, but also religion, race, economy. Just as, at a certain point, after a glorious career, Euclidian Geometry had to give way to Non-Euclidian Geometry to describe the real physical world, Clausewitzian strategy and polemology should give way to a new non-Clausewitzian understanding of the historical world, allowing another type of “calculations”. This did not prevent some analysts of contemporary wars to advocate a continuous use of Clausewitzian schemes and concepts, both analytical and normative, I am particularly thinking of Alain Joxe in his remarkable L’Empire du Chaos (translated as Empire of Disorder), who by the same token reinstalled Clausewitz in a series of theorists of War as a social and political phenomenon, and as the correlate of State sovereignty, which did not only include Thucydides, Machiavelli and Schmitt, but also Hobbes, Marx and Weber. But the situation has now changed again, which to a large extent is the result of the launching of the US War in the Middle East, and the way it has evolved in its first three years.

The rapid succession of a victorious attack and a more and more difficult defensive battle, haunted by the possibility and perhaps the necessity of retreat, has not only suggested parallels with the Vietnam War, it has renewed the classical discussion about the return of the political factors within the military operations, and the famous clausewitzian thesis of the decreasing efficiency of attacking armies over time, and the superiority of the defensive strategy over the offensive one in the long run, provided some geographical or geographical-cultural conditions are given. There is a difficulty here, however, which everybody has in mind: namely the fact that, in the “pure” Clausewitzian model, the “subject” of the defensive strategy which in the end became victorious, to use a philosophical category, could be identified with a certain typically modern unity of army, people and state, either already given, or formed in the war process itself. This was also the case for the Vietnamese resistance to the American invasion, but remains more than doubtful and probably inadequate in the case of the war in Iraq, where nobody except some abstract ideologues of “popular resistance” or “anti-imperialist Jihad” could identify the “subject” of the anti-US operations in any simple manner, and the very existence of an “Iraqi” State and unified people is at stake.

A similar difficulty seems to be affecting the other way of bringing back clausewitzian or quasi-clausewitzian ideas, or words, into the reading of the current situation, which concerns the representation of a “duel” (at world scale) between two adversaries, each of which seems to be seeking the annihilation of the other, called by the US Administration the “War on Terror”. In spite of the blatant dissymmetry of the two enemies, it is tempting to evoke Clausewitz’s idea of the “rising to the extremes”, which according to him is the law of the “pure war”. But again the analogy stumbles on the fact that, in Clausewitz’s model, the mobile of this rising to the extremes of violence is the will of each enemy to reach a certain “vital” political goal through the acceptance of a higher risk, which is presented as a rational wager. Therefore it also involves a principle of limitation, or self-limitation. War for the sake of war or at the expense of the destruction of one’s power is ruled out from a Clausewitzian point of view, and so is the idea of a war without limits, either in space or in time, against an indeterminate enemy identified with “evil” as such. Perhaps this could be conceived, but then it should not be called “war”: another name, less political and more theological or mythical, should be looked for.

However simplistic and abstract such considerations may sound, they can give us an idea of the reasons why, today as in previous situations along the 150 years that passed since the publication of Vom Kriege by Marie von Clausewitz after the manuscript left by her late husband, the reflection on the intrinsic, perhaps constitutive, relationship between war and politics remains profoundly post-clausewitzian, but this time in a more critical sense, notwithstanding the necessity to revisit and possibly reverse, or alter each and every of Clausewitz’s propositions and definitions. If I had time I would try and argue on the model of what Claude Lefort and Althusser have written on Machiavelli that there is a never ending “labor” or “perlaboration” of Clausewitz’s text within contemporary political theory that goes along with a permanent trouble produced by the reading of Clausewitz on theorists who, at the same time, do not recognize in him their definition of the political, and cannot deny that he touches the heart of what makes politics thinkable, albeit not always, or not entirely rational. But this would pre-empt conclusions deprived of a sufficient textual basis. Let us therefore return, precisely, to the texts, and examine in a schematic manner some of their conceptual singularities.

I will divide my presentation in two rather unequal parts, each of which would indeed deserve a much more developed treatment : the first and longest dealing with some problems of interpretation, or better said, reconstruction of Clausewitz’s theory of the articulation of war and politics; the second with a “derivation” from Clausewitz and a “reply” to Clausewitz that, in different ways, can be found, either explicitly or implicitly, in the Marxist tradition, where a “class” counterpart to the Clausewitzian conception of national wars can be retrieved. After which, in a conclusion inevitably very brief, I will return to the issue of the conception of the “subject” (or the non-subject, or the impossible subject) which is implied in these ways of articulating War and Politics in an intrinsic unity.

Let us now retrieve some of the problems raised by the reading of Clausewitz’s book. To find an internal consistency, either at the philosophical level or at the pragmatic level, in what (we should never forget that) remains an unfinished work, whose status has affinities with the Pensées of Pascal or the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci, and whose author has declared himself that he wanted to rewrite it entirely to take into account a crucial rectification that occurred to him in the middle, is a hard task that has produced hundreds of commentaries. Not ignoring them, or rather some of them, I will cut through and propose a procedure of interpretation perhaps incomplete or biased, but I hope not artificial, which relies on the observation that some of Clausewitz’s proposition never ceased to raise difficulties or call for renewed understanding. Selecting four such propositions, I will try to assemble them into a kind of system or axiomatics, and I will describe Clausewitz’s theoretical project as a continuous attempt at controlling their excessive consequences, either taken separately, or reacting one upon the other. And it is the same group of problematic theses that I will suggest “post-clausewitzian” thinkers tried to understand in a different way, or to reformulate, or to dissociate from one another.

Clausewitz’s most famous and most frequently discussed propositions (at least today), well beyond the circle of military experts, are the proposition which defines or characterizes war as “the continuation of politics by other means” (sometimes : the mere continuation, the German term being Fortsetzung), and the proposition which states that “defence” as a strategy (what is a strategy? this question is also clearly involved) has an intrinsic superiority over “attack” or the “offensive”, to which I alluded earlier. Let me briefly comment on each of them, but also suggest that they should be completed by two other propositions. Only this system or axiomatics of four virtually independent theses, I will suggest, allows us to understand where the intentions and the difficulties lie.

The “continuation” thesis is repeated twice, with some significant nuances, in two separate places, Book I and Book VIII of Vom Kriege, which not only find themselves at the two opposite ends of the text, but also, according to the author’s indications, correspond to different conceptions of his object.

On the one side, the accent is put on the idea that war is indeed a way to “continue” to pursue political goals, to pursue political goals “by other means”, or “through the introduction of other means”, which are the means of actual violence, or even of extreme violence – not only threat or constraint. Implicit here seems to be the idea that the usual or normal means of politics are non-violent, which in certain circumstances becomes insufficient, therefore political action would find its absolute limit if it were not for the possibility of using “other means” (violent means) beyond the normal ones, thus expanding the possibilities (and the power) of politics, and achieving its goals, but perhaps at the risk of an uncontrollable situation, of entering a dangerous field, and a limit domain, where not only the existence of the political subject is in danger, but the political nature of the action, or political “logic” of politics itself, can become subverted. It is in the same context that Clausewitz would bring in the idea that the use of violent means – the means of war, and the means of these means: the institution of the military, the development of patriotism, etc. – reacts upon politics itself, or modifies politics. Politics cannot make use of the violent means of war without being transformed itself by the use of these means, and perhaps radically transformed, denatured. The problem of the articulation of politics and war is therefore immediately posed in dialectical terms, in terms of a process where the identity of the initial terms is at stake.

But then, there is a second formulation, in which the accent is put on the idea that war is “nothing else than the continuation of politics by other means”, therefore not a trespassing of the normal limits of the political, but just another possibility within these limits, a shifting from certain political “instruments” to others depending on the circumstances, the forces and the interests at stake (Clausewitz explicitly uses the term “instrument”) for the political subject, who in turn becomes precisely characterized by its capacity (which we may call a sovereign capacity) to use of both kinds of means, violent and non-violent, or not to limit itself to the use of non-violent means. With such a formulation comes indeed a certain representation of the rational character of politics, particularly illustrated by the way in which it makes use of violence to achieve some of its goals or handle some situations, but again this proves to be a dialectical notion, or to involve a latent tension and a notion of risk. Since it can be read both ways, or either as a description or as a prescription, either as an assertion that politics makes use of the violent means of war without changing its nature, trespassing its limits, or as a warning that the violent means of war remain political means only if their own consequences and, again, retroactive effects on those who use them, their own “logic” do not escape the political rationality or subvert it, i.e. does not become an independent logic. But in fact would this be an “independent” logic? What Clausewitz seems to imply is that you either have an instrumentalization of war by politics, or an instrumentalization of politics by war, and since the second is impossible or utterly undesirable, it must be the first, therefore Clausewitz writes that there is a political “logic” and only a “grammar” of war, and the first has a primacy over the second.

Now it seems to me that the difficulty involved here, which is anything but easy to solve either for us or for Clausewitz himself, and which pushed him alternatively to different formulations, can be identified through the following considerations. What seems to be the case is that war, with respect to politics, has to be considered twice, from two different angles. It is not the whole of politics (since politics has other procedures than war, equally necessary), but it concerns and affects the essence of politics, which is revealed and, practically, determined by the ways in which it recurs to war, and the consequences on politics itself of the political use of the violent means of war. Certainly what Clausewitz wants to avoid (and we will see that it is not without difficulties, and that the question keeps haunting his successors) is to assert that recurring to war is the essence of politics, that the use of the violent means of war, with its logical and existential implications (such as the necessity to designate one or several “enemies”), defines the concept of the political, which in turn can lead to the reversal of the initial statement (namely that “politics is the continuation”, or the “consequence” of war). But Clausewitz wants (or needs) to be able to make the question of the use of war as an “instrument”, and the question of the converse effects of this use upon politics itself its crucial characteristic.

It would be tempting to see Clausewitz’s formula as a modern reformulation of the old Roman juridical and political principle : cedant arma togae, the armed activities of war and the military institution shall obey the primacy of the civil magistrate, but this formula which has a normative value, does not account for the problem that obsesses Clausewitz, namely the fact that war used as a political means reacts upon politics and transforms it, not into something else but into something new, a new political form where it meets with its most profound and difficult problems, and where its very possibility is at stake, and at risk. On the other hand, to permanently subject war to the primacy of the political is to assert that war is (and can remain) rational, this rationality being essentially expressed in a “practical” relationship between means and ends, which form a chain, therefore being a teleological rationality which comes from the political itself, which sets a measure for the rationality of war. This is all the more remarkable because Clausewitz is insistent on the fact that war reaches the extremes of violence.

But to reach the extremes of violence, where actual destruction is at stake, is not to exist in the form of “pure violence”. It is at the level of what Clausewitz call tactics, which he identifies with the management of combat (Gefecht), that the extremes of violence are reached: this is where men kill and die, individually and in masses. But tactics and the combat are not ends in themselves, as parts of the war they have to be subjected to “strategic” objectives, which themselves serve political goals. We can already understand here why the question of strategy (its definition, its function) is the most important one in Clausewitz, and perhaps also the most difficult, which in the end seems to escape. Strategy articulates within the analysis of war (both historical and conceptual) the level of extreme violence (the absolute means, so to speak), and the level of political rationality (the absolute ends). Bringing in an anthropological terminology, we might also say that the “violence” that Clausewitz associates with politics under the name “war” is not unqualified violence (the formula does not say that “violence is the continuation of politics”), it is institutional violence, which has to remain such. Therefore Clausewitz’s problem is: how is it possible for violence to reach the extreme and to remain institutional, within the limits of an institution? What happens or would happen if this unity of opposites proved unsustainable?

We may perhaps already understand here how and why post-clausewitzian variations are generated, each time indeed for practical reason and in a given historical circumstance : formally they will maintain the principle “war is a continuation of politics by other means, the means of extreme violence, using violence as an instrument hypothetically subjected to the political rationality, or teleology”, but they will give completely new contents, either to the notion of the political, or to the definition of what is a “war”, or to both, and conversely, it is only through this new interpretation of the terms politics, war, violence, that they will be able either to maintain or to question the idea of the “continuation”. By doing this, they will exhibit the circularity of the Clausewitzian idea, and also its productivity far beyond the initial conditions. But I would argue that this becomes possible only if we take into account the other proposition which, already in Clausewitz, is associated with the general principle in a more specific set of axioms.

The second proposition to be found in Vom Kriege that is probably most well known concerns the strategic superiority of the “defence” over the “attack”. Again it is not located in a single place and has several reformulations, but the main developments are in Book VI and VII which concern defence and attack and contain reciprocal discussions on this point. Clausewitz is eager to make clear that the idea of the superiority of the defensive concerns neither the tactical level nor the political as such, therefore it is typical for the relatively autonomous level of strategy and it can be said that the whole object of a theory of strategy aims at establishing this thesis and qualifying it according to its many conditions and circumstances. We find here again a typical circle. There is no question of asserting a tactical superiority of the defensive in general, much the contrary, the idea is that tactical attacks are an essential part of every defensive strategy since they exploit momentary and local imbalances in the relationship of forces in order to harm the enemy and progressively destroy its capacity to wage the war, that is to move and decide, which was maximum in the moment of the initial attack. Among the later followers of Clausewitz, Mao Zedong in his theorization of guerrilla warfare will consistently develop this complementarity, but it is already clearly there in Clausewitz. There is also no question of asserting a superiority of a “defensive politics” or a politics of defence (for instance, national defence, or defence of the national territory, or independence) as intrinsically superior, and this is probably the most difficult point. Such a thesis would amount, it seems to me, to a “realistic” version of the just war theory, or one aspect of it, the ius ad bellum, whose modern version is precisely that only defensive wars, waged by nations to react to an exterior aggression, are legitimate. In this case they would be not only legitimate, but victorious, at least in the long run, and all things considered, which means with possibly many exceptions. But this cannot be Clausewitz’s conception: Clausewitz has no moral or theological conception of war; he is a typical advocate of what Carl Schmitt later will systematize as the ius publicum Europaeum, the idea that nation-states have an intrinsic right to recur to war to achieve their political goals or pursue their interests, or what they view as their interests. The idea of the superiority of defence does not concern the political goals (in German Zwecke), it concerns “only”, so to speak, the military objectives (in German Ziele) through which these political goals can be achieved, and it does indeed impose an intrinsic limitation – should we say a “material” or “materialistic”? – upon the formal rationality of the articulation of politics and war. This articulation is rational, or displays a rational structure which makes it available for theory, inasmuch as politics imposes the ultimate goals of war (we might also say: the ultimate goals of any war are always political, whether consciously or not, whether the actors are conscious or not of the determinations of their politics), but also inasmuch as it is the feasibility of the military objectives that decide whether a politics was rational or not, most of the time in retrospect, and this will be indeed settled in the form of actual combat. Now we find ourselves again in a strange situation: there is no doubt that “strategy” is the main object of Clausewitz’s reflection, to which he devotes most of his analyses, comparing historical situations, discussing the examples of military genius which are examples of strategic genius, isolating a specific “grammatical” concept which is the concept of “war plan” or “strategic coherence”, trying to indicate the geographic and temporal limits within which such a plan can be devised and testes (the “campaign”, the “theatre of war”, etc.). However these efforts are paradoxical: the more they become precise and substantial, the more the autonomy of their object seems to escape or become problematic, or rather involved in a logical paradox, as if the main objective of strategic thinking and planning were precisely to demonstrate on the field, that is, the battlefield, that there actually can exist, in the long run, something like an autonomy of strategy. Strategy concentrates the inner tensions and perhaps the aporia of the concept of war. It seems to me that three additional considerations can illuminate this point.

First, this is where “theory” and “history” meet in a problematic unity. Clausewitz is insistent on the fact that wars are always singular processes, and there can be nothing such as a deductive science of war. But there can be a reflection on the regularities and the tendencies of the war-politics articulation, in the Kantian sense of the Critique of judgment, which remains hypothetical. We might say that the concept of the autonomy of strategy, which is entirely concerned with its own conditions and limitations, and their variations in history, is a regulative concept, or a category of judgment in that sense, it is permanently testing its own validity. We may also suspect that Clausewitz has an interest, both rational and subjective, in this reflection, which is to decide, in a given historical conjuncture, whether the “lesson” to be drawn from history, and more precisely from the history he has been taking part in, namely the history of the revolutionary and imperial wars between France and the rest of Europe, showing that with time a defensive strategy is bound to win, whether this lesson, I repeat, can be extended to the future. And whether this means that wars will remain an instrument of politics, or in some sense, might become (or already have become) impossible qua “continuations” of politics, or only at the risk of annihilating their logical function. It is striking to see that this question haunting Clausewitz, which is involved in his own argument concerning the superiority of the defensive strategy, in the reasons he gives for this superiority, as a tendencial result of history, will be permanently haunting the post-clausewitzian reflections on war – today more than ever. Clausewitz presents his thesis as a paradox (how come that the strategy which only has a negative result, defence, can be proved superior to the strategy which has a positive result, attack or conquest?), and he wonders if this paradox signals a latent impossibility that would become manifest when the means of war are pushed to the extreme.

Second, we should probably transform Clausewitz’s formulations in order to overcome the apparent scheme of a comparison between the respective qualities of two “different” strategies, one of which would be the offensive and the other the defensive, as if they existed separately, into a more profound question of the transformation, therefore the reversal of the defensive into offensive, or the quest of the point of inflection where the defence transforms into attack. This is a question of the space and time of the war, therefore of its “history”, and a question of its actors, therefore again of its history in a substantial sense. War, writes Clausewitz, is a complex form of the “duel”, which develops over time, i.e. progressively transforms the relationship of forces between its own actors, who themselves can be complex actors, since they involve governments and peoples, institutional and human forces which merge in the typical form of the “army” (armies are the general form in which historical actors present themselves in the domain of war), alliances and changes in the alliances, etc. And the time of war is an oriented time, which leads from attack to defence and from defence to attack; not a pure logical time, with a preestablished cycle, but a historical time which is dominated by the tendencial superiority of all the factors which in the long run reinforce one of the strategic “posture”. The general notion used by Clausewitz to summarize these temporal effects is friction. Contrary to what the connotations of the term might suggest, it is not a mechanical notion, but a historical one, which “integrates” moral and technical, psychological and sociological factors. Thus Clausewitz’s problem, the very object of a reflective strategy, becomes the possibility to understand why an attack that is not immediately successful (or completely successful) is bound to progressively yield to its defensive adversary, which means should be used to postpone this inevitable result, and above all to understand how a defensive strategy is a preparation for a victorious counter-offensive, which means that the counter-offensive is prepared from within the defensive itself and the defensive in a sense is continued, prolonged (fortgesetzt) in the phase of offensive, in an immanent manner. There must be an ideal point of inflection, and the whole question is whether this point can be identified, and with what kind of event it should be identified. This question was not Clausewitz’s absolute invention, but he gave it a theoretical formulation. It was staged on a grand scale by the confrontation between the “offensive strategy” of Napoleon and the “defensive strategy” of Kutuzov during the Campaign of Russia in 1812, in which Clausewitz himself took part, having decided after the defeat of Prussia and its more or less voluntary incorporation into the coalition led by the victor, to move to the other camp and enrol in the Russian army as a staff officer. The dramatic moment, to be commented again and again by war theorists in the 19th century and beyond, including Friedrich Engels and Leo Tolstoy who both relied on the account of the campaign written by Clausewitz before he embarked in the writing of Vom Kriege (and published later by Clausewitz’s sister), was the battle of Borodino, with its heavy death toll on the two “great armies” of nearly equal size and strength, which appeared as a tactical victory but proved a strategic defeat for Napoleon, and although it immediately lead to the conquest of the Russian capital, in fact prepared his final defeat. But this confrontation also displayed some of the typical conditions under which the inflection takes place : not only the duration of the campaign, the immensity of the geographic environment, the counter-productive effects of the conquest itself in terms of raising the hostility of the population, etc., but the combination of regular warfare and guerrilla warfare (a new notion, if not reality, imported from Spain), and the incorporation of the people in arms as the main actor of the war on both sides.

Which leads us to a third remark, where the dialectical intrication of the three levels, called “politics”, “strategy”, and “tactics”, becomes even more apparent. This is perhaps Clausewitz’s most profound dilemma. It concerns the relationship between what he would himself describe as two logical “opposite terms” or “extremes” in the understanding of the war: on the one side, the fact that where there is war there is a possibility of annihilation which is sought and has to be faced, and the fact that the proper political capacity within war itself is the capacity to decide whether a war that has been started should be continued or not, given the risks that it involves and the effects it produces at the political level, or should be interrupted: when to “finish a war”, and at what price, in short. As for annihilation, Clausewitz clearly believes that there is a limit to it, which should be approached but not crossed. He considers what he calls “absolute war”, where the duel rises to the extreme, involving all the forces of the state or the nation, but not what has been called later “total war”, where the civilians are targeted as well as the armed forces. The annihilation that is at stake in a war that continues politics is the physical annihilation of the armies, or their reduction to impotency, their disbanding, etc., which makes it impossible for one adversary to resist the imposition of the other’s will, or goals. Which conversely poses the problem of the capacity to halt a war. The reason why Clausewitz is so admirative of Frederick II, king of Prussia, called the great Frederick, is that he proved able to control his own victories and make peace at a favourable moment to retain some of his conquests, and the reason why Napoleon’s genius was bound to fail and end miserably, pulling his country with him into defeat, was that he found himself in a logic of conquest where the political goals could be achieved only at the cost of extending the scale of war beyond any preestablished limit, where the defensive should prevail and prepare a devastating counter-offensive, re-establishing the status quo ante. But there is a strong tension between these two extremes, since the capacity to stop the war (again a “negative” strategic notion, given primacy by Clausewitz in a paradoxical manner) is the greatest when the war only includes partial forces and resources, i.e. remains far away from the prospect of annihilation for one or both of the adversaries, whereas the strategic goal of annihilation materially involves the engagement of forces and resources, above all human forces, which cannot be withdrawn at will from the battlefield, or only at the risk of backfiring on the existence of the state. Again what is at stake here is a point of “equilibrium” which perhaps does not exist, or is an “impossible” point, a point of “impossibility” for what it makes possible, the articulation of politics and war, i.e. which raises the spectre of the impossibility of war, while making it intelligible. Which leads me to some final remarks.

I said in the beginning that we could arrange Clausewitz’s major propositions in the form of an axiomatics, whose status itself is hypothetic and problematic rather than apodictic. Since now I have only evoked two of the propositions forming this axiomatics, each of which poses hard problems. I will have to be very quick on the remaining two, but I cannot spare them because the idea that I want to defend is that Clausewitz’s discourse makes sense only as a combination of them all, that his ultimate question, which is a question about the “subject” of war (or the “political subject” of war, therefore the “political subject” as such, as revealed in war), is a question that circulates – perhaps endlessly, in an aporetic manner – between these four propositions. And this is also where post-clausewitzian discourses encroach and found their site within his own discourse.

The third proposition concerns the distinction between “absolute war” and “limited war”. This is precisely the point on which Clausewitz claimed that he had changed his mind while writing his book (which I remind you remained unfinished) and reached a “new” position after which the whole theory should become recast. But this is far from clear, and in fact calls for a symptomatic reading, after interpreters have tried to solve the riddle in all possible directions; by projecting on Clausewitz various epistemological schemes (dialectical, ideal-typical, etc.). First, Clausewitz hesitates between two terminologies to designate what is not the “absolute” war: he speaks of “limited” war and of “real” war, but to jump from there to the idea that real war, which actually take place, are always limited, while absolute wars are only a virtual model, after which we can interpret empirical cases, but which are not to be observed in practice, is much too simple and in fact contradicts the text. Very quickly said, I side her with Emmanuel Terray against Raymond Aron, and I believe that Clausewitz’s theory does not reduce the notion of “absolute war” to a virtual case or an ideal type, but concerns historical realities, a change of nature of the war which has been observed in history, and confronts us with a dramatic dilemma. To be sure, “absolute war” just as “limited war” represent antagonistic poles; they represent extremes in the logical sense between which real wars must shift and display various degrees and combinations. But reality has approached each of them in almost pure fashion in at least two circumstances –for which I believe that we could find equivalents in a more recent period : the Kabinettskriege or governmental wars of the absolute monarchies in the 18th century, waged by armies of mercenaries or professional soldiers or recruiting by coercion under the command of a military caste, which aimed at shifting the balance of forces and realizing antagonistic interests within the so-called “European equilibrium”, were limited wars by definition; even when they involved bloody battles. But the “new wars” starting with the French revolution, the Volkskriege that involved a “nation in arms” first arising out of a popular insurrection, then transformed by Napoleon into an imperialist instrument of continental hegemony, then in turn matched and fought against by other nations in arms, with each side developing a nationalist mystique, and fighting for what they believed was their very existence, were absolute wars, involving a rise to the extremes in terms of magnitude and violence. This evolution is sketched in Clausewitz’s extraordinary account of the world history of warfare in Book VIII, a model for many subsequent attempts (including Engel’s in his articles of the New American Cyclopaedia written and published in the 1860’s). And Clausewitz’s question clearly is: which reasons do we have to believe that this evolution is irreversible, that history is evolving into the direction of the “absolutization of war”, so to speak, and which possibilities do we have to resist this tendency, which at the same time makes war the most “serious” of all political matters, where the very existence of nations and states is at stake, and in the end could reverse the primacy of the political over its own instrument? It is useful to remember here who Clausewitz personally was: a Prussian officer coming from a family of dubious nobility, with a philosophical education (mainly Kantian), who had taken the risk of leaving his country to continue to fight the arch-enemy, privileging the patriotic interest over the immediate diplomatic arrangements. He would play a decisive role in the transformation of the Prussian army itself into a national army, in the invention of what would become the huge armies of the 19th and the 20th century based on popular drafting, but he would certainly not see without anxiety the possibility that this evolution deprive the military caste and the state bureaucracy of their unmitigated monopoly of the political decision – not to mention the social risks involved in the use of partisan or guerrilla warfare, which in extreme situations is the ultimate weapon. Which brings us to the fourth and last proposition.

The fourth proposition is also one of the most disputed ones: it states the primacy of “moral factors”, again in the last instance i.e. all things considered, over other strategic factors in the history of wars. When we start looking at the complex series of elements that are listed by Clausewitz under the notion of “moral factors” and what they imply in philosophical terms, we find a very complex system of forces. “Moral” indeed refers to considerations of morality, but they are inseparable from a broader problematic of the passions, individual and collective, which animate subjects in history. And they refer to the individual as well as the collective. So you have to take into account both the courage of the soldiers, which allows an army to confront the risk of violent death, and the genius of the commander in chief, which makes it possible to replace the infinite complexity of a situation on the theatre of war by a single intuition, and decide how to move. But you also have to take into account what Clausewitz calls the “intelligence” of the State, or its political rationality embodied in some individuals’ capacity to commensurate means and ends, and the people’s patriotism, which forms the background for the soldier’s capacity to fight and the nation’s ability to sustain sacrifices of resources and lives, and which is also political in the new, “modern”, sense. Upon reflection, it appears that all these moral factors are dimensions or instantiations of what might be called collective historical agency, or institutional agency, which is why Clausewitz most of the time discusses them in relation with the problem which, as I said, mirrors the possibility of isolating a “strategic” relatively autonomous level, namely as contributing to the consistency of the army, its resistance to dissolution and its capacity to overwhelm the violence of the enemy. And, conversely, the importance laid on the moral factor, if it is not a way to ignore other factors (for instance economic and technical), is indeed a way to subject their own efficacy to the deeper moral instance (as in the case of the capacity of a nation to mobilize its economic resources for war by raising taxes, etc.). it is on this point that later theorists, who deemed themselves more materialistic or more realistic, criticized Clausewitz sharply, for instance pointing at his relative lack of interest for the development of military technologies and in its influence on the historical transformation of strategies and the outcome of wars. But even Marxists like Engels, who devoted a long study (the article “Army” of the New American Cyclopaedia) to rewriting the history of warfare from the point of view of the impact of technological changes associated with successive modes of production, had to look for an equivalent of what he called the “moral factors”, which they found for example in class consciousness and more generally the influence of social ideologies on the possibility and the development of wars.

When you look at the relationship between Clausewitz’s four propositions, you realize that each of them is at the same time supporting and qualifying, or limiting the consequences of the others, which is why you have to turn in a logical circle indefinitely. So, for example, the modern transformation of limited state wars into absolute popular wars gives all its decisive role to certain moral factors, which in turn prove vital elements of the defensive strategy and its conversion into counter-offensive, in a sense “politicizing” the war, but also producing an ambivalence that threatens political rationality, because patriotism is a popular passion that the state needs to steer but never masters: patriotism in war becomes hate of the enemy – Feindschaft – which includes and overcomes fear, and which is neither identical with loyalty towards the rulers (it can even turn against them) nor subjectively controlled by the consideration of interests. It is the realization of politics that can destroy it. It seems to me that we have here the very secret of Clausewitz’s relentless interrogation about the subject of war. The immediate subject is the army, but the army is not and can never be an autonomous being, at least in modern times: it is continuously produced and reproduced, and the circumstances of war, as well as their cumulated effects over time, modify this reproduction. But the army is a monster; it is the combination and the meeting point of the state and the people, the two instances into which the idea of the nation splits again. This was Clausewitz’s dilemma: draw all the consequences from the fact that wars were now possible only in the form of national, therefore nationalistic wars, but control the new popular power that emerged as such on the historical scene, which might seem to involve that the state itself permanently run ahead of its people’s passions. This was the military or strategic equivalent of the political problem faced by national states in general: how to “institutionalize the insurrection”, or harness the multitude. What is amazing is the extent to which this problem remained on the agenda beyond the circumstances in which it had merged as a key to the understanding of the political, namely the aftermath of the revolutionary and imperial wars of the early 19th century.

But not without complications, and this is where, in a final part that I realize will have now to be very brief, I would like to bring in some post-clausewitzian discourses; limiting myself for today to the Marxists (if Marx himself is a Marxist…). The difference here comes from the fact that Marx had not read Clausewitz, or at least not initially: it is Engels – nicknamed “General” Engels after his brilliant retreat with a detachment of revolutionaries facing the Prussian army in 1849, and for his permanent interest for military matters – who read Clausewitz with admiration and advised Marx of his importance.

Nevertheless, the comparison has to start with a new reading of the Communist Manifesto, and more specifically the phrases in its first chapter which explain that the class struggles whose successive forms constitute the guiding thread for an understanding of historical transformations; and particularly different forms of the state and different institutions of the political, should be identified with a continuous civil war (the expression is at the end of chapter I, isolated but conspicuous), whose actors (or “parties”) are so to speak generated in the process of the war itself, which is now invisible now visible as such, and which can result, says Marx in an amazing formulation at the beginning of Chapter One, either in the victory of one of the contending classes, or in their mutual destruction.

Indeed we read these phrases after Foucault’s commentary which establishes the link with Clausewitz 1) by suggesting that Clausewitz has in fact “inverted” a previous scheme of interpretation of politics as war, more precisely “race war”, which was dominating European historiography before the French Revolution and survived it; 2) that the Marxian notion of the “class struggle” should be understood as a degenerate form of the “race war” (where classes are understood as the continuation of races within Ancien Régime societies), just as its antagonistic notion in the 19th century, the notion of the “race struggle”. To return to the initial idea of the “race war”, beyond Clausewitz and beyond Marx, would be, accordingly, to retrieve a certain purity, or authenticity of the political, identified with conflict as such, or agonism. From this I will only keep the idea that there is a historical and logical chasse croisé of the notions of war and politics around the emergence of a new intelligibility of history in terms of class struggles, but I will focus, even very briefly, around what for Foucault is deprived of any interest, namely the precise confrontation between Clausewitz’s and Marx’s concepts of this articulation.

What is striking first is indeed the fact that, by interpreting class struggles as civil wars, with their phases of dispersion and concentration, latency and manifestation (i.e., revolutions, in the general sense), Marx is indeed calling a “war” exactly what Clausewitz wanted to exclude from the comprehension of the category “war”. No more than the external wars, the national wars, civil wars are forms of “pure”, indiscriminate violence, they are also forms of institutional violence, from an anthropological point of view, even if they can reach degrees of cruelty that seem (or seemed, before certain contemporary wars) to bypass the limits of civilization. But civil wars appear (and have appeared, since the Greeks), as the destruction of the typically political institution, the “city” or the “state”, and for this reason in Clausewitzian terms, which clearly anticipate the definition of the State as “monopoly of the legitimate use of violence”, which could also become phrased as monopoly of the political use of violence, a civil war is not a political instrument, it is an anti-political instrument. It is not before Schmitt that anti-political instruments, including civil wars, are incorporated in the concept of the political in an antinomic manner; but I leave this aside for the moment. In fact Marx seems to be torn between two concepts of the political (and we know when are familiar with his work, and the problems it poses, that this dilemma was never resolved, and never ceased to weigh upon the development of a Marxian or Marxist “political theory”): if the political means “the political state”, the emergence of a separate sphere of the political around the state as public agency, acting in the interest of the ruling class but seemingly, or juridically above class interests as such, then the class struggle is not “political”, it is what exceeds the political and, in the end, will suppress it as a separate sphere (what Marx calls the “end of the political state”); but if the political means the conflict itself, its increasing polarization, its becoming “conscious” and “organized”, its role in the production of historical changes, then it becomes defined precisely in terms of this permanent, trans-historical “civil war”, which has never exactly the same form, but never ceases to exist (until the “end”, that is the final confrontation between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat).

Is this a metaphoric use of the term “war”? I don’t think so, and the comparison with Clausewitz helps understanding why, but it certainly is a reflective use of the concept, involving its questioning and transformation, not a simple application of a given concept of war. What we may read in these passages are the following theses, or hypotheses: 1) only the social war, as a “civil war”, becomes “absolute”, or radically antagonistic, reaching the extremes, where the risk of annihilation is run, therefore it is the “proper” war; 2) such a war is constitutive of “politics”, it reverses the clausewitzian formula, but also it pushes to its logical conclusion what remained only a tendency (and, as we have seen, a fear) in Clausewitz, namely the idea that violence as a “means” of politics reacts upon the political and make it a continuation of the war that was its instrument. Indeed this is inseparable from a total change in the representation of the “subject” of war: no longer an institutional and in fact a juridical subject, namely the state, but an immanent social subject, which is not really to be distinguished from the very process of its historical formation and its progressive autonomization. Nevertheless, this allows Marx (or would allow a Clausewitzian reader of Marx – we will see that there were quite a few) to retrieve clausewitzian propositions, or rather clausewitzian problems, with due displacement or “translation” in the code of the class struggle.

One of them concerns the possible representation of the classes as “armies”: this seems to be the inevitable consequence of a representation of the class struggle in terms of a confrontation between two antagonistic forces which become increasingly unified and polarized. In Marx’s presentation, this is subjected to qualification: it should be the result of the class struggle itself, which in this sense does really create or produce its own actors, and it is a tendency which finds its final realization only in the last stage or figure of the transhistorical confrontation between exploited and exploiting classes, the capitalist society. Only in that society does the state directly function as an organizer of the class struggle on behalf of the ruling class. But what about its adversary? You might think that from the point of view of the proletariat, the organizing force is the International Association, or the “party”. But this is precisely where Marx hesitated to push to concept to its last consequences, and returned to a more metaphoric use. We know that the representation of the revolution as a class war was very powerful for one century at least in the Communist tradition, but in Marx we find only the possibility of the conception of the revolutionary Party on the army type, a class party or an “party of the whole class” as it were, and I will say why in a minute. But before that I have to insist on a second post-clausewitzian or quasi-clausewitzian derivation, which concerns the question of the defensive. Here we witness – in the Communist Manifesto – an amazing reversal which prepares for the return of an “impolitical” element: Marx does present the struggle of the proletariat, even when it is preparing the Revolution and the overthrowing of the capitalist class, as a “defensive” struggle, but this defensive character becomes meta-political, and in fact apocalyptic: it is associated with the idea that the capitalist mode of production while reducing the workers to absolute poverty and unemployment does threaten their very life, and in this sense the reproduction and survival of society (since the workers, more generally the labourers, are those who feed and sustain society as a whole). There is a nihilistic element in Capitalism as portrayed here by Marx, which allows it to identify the assault against it as a defence of society against its internal enemy. But then comes also a more strategic or quasi-strategic consideration, which resides in the idea that the proletarian class struggle derives its own strength, consciousness, and organization, from the organization of the bourgeoisie against which it is pitted. Initially at least, Marx would not so much imagine the proletarian class party as an anti-state, he would rather see it as a negative of the State, therefore a “negation of the negation”, if the State is what suppresses society for the sake of the exploiting social order. All this derives from the fact that, contrary to external war situations, the adversaries in a “social war” conceived as “civil war” are not really external, separated from one another. They are and remain modalities of evolution of the same social subject in the form of a division.

Finally the consequence for the understanding of the articulation of war and politics is both crucial and ambiguous: it is by actualizing the unconciliable character of the antagonism that the model of the civil war reveals the essence of the political in class societies, and especially in capitalism; but at the same time it registers this manifestation in the figure of transition, the “vanishing mediator” which prepares for the end of the political as such, we might say its self-annihilation.

What prompted Marx to abandon or neglect this representation in his subsequent works? They would lead him to looking for other models of the development of the class struggle, but also to retreating in some sense from the acute picture of the political as anti-political that he had exposed in the Communist Manifesto: why? In my opinion a series of positive factors, including the increasing importance granted to the economic cycles of accumulation in the development of capitalism at the expense of the “apocalyptic” linear vision of the increasing polarization of poverty and wealth, played a role, but also negatively a greater experience of the phenomena of wars and civil wars, which made it difficult or impossible to endorse the analogy of class struggle as such with civil war, and, conversely, displayed all the negative sides of the model of revolution as civil war pushed to the extreme – “absolute civil war” if you like (a lesson hotly debated in the Marxist tradition subsequently, among “reformists” and “revolutionary”). The idea of a “limited civil war”, or a civil war “refrained”, seemed a contradiction in terms. Actual civil wars, in 1848 or in 1872 (the Paris Commune) were tragic experiences of bloodbaths in which the bourgeois State easily implemented the military apparatus formed in external wars (including colonial wars) to crush the proletariat, which itself was anything but an “army” (not even a guerrilla army). And beside that the 19th century (not to speak of the 20th) provided overwhelming evidence of the fact that national wars were not giving way to the class struggle, and remained the proper site of the articulation of politics and war, therefore strategic thinking. In spite of attempts, never completely convincing, to picture national wars as mere appearances, or simulacra, masking the “real” and really “political” process, which should be the combined effort of the ruling classes of different countries to exterminate their “own” workers by throwing them against one another and cheating them with nationalist discourses, this hard reality of the national wars had to be taken into account, and it called for a return to the direct understanding of Clausewitz and his problems.

This was prepared by Engels, who simultaneously criticized Clausewitz’s allegedly “idealistic” emphasis on moral factors, and sought a materialist equivalent, which would prove compatible with an insistence on the technological, economic and social factors of the wars. This equivalent was found in the idea that people’s armies, or mass conscription, would potentially introduce the class struggle within the army itself (at least in democratic republics), thus reversing Clausewitz’s fear of the masses in military matters into a prophecy of their emerging as new strategic actors at the expense of the State and its military machine. But it was only with Lenin and Mao Zedong that this dialectical principle would lead to a new articulation of war and politics, displacing the idea of the strategic combination from the state-army-people unity to a new unity of class, people, and revolutionary party. Lenin, as we know, intensively read Clausewitz, taking notes and writing marginal commentaries on his On War at the beginning of WW I, after the collapse of the Second International and its anti-war agenda. He drafted and successfully tried to implement (at least in his own country) the motto of the “transformation of the imperialist war into a revolutionary civil war”, which describes the “moral factor” (the internationalist class consciousness) as the political result over time of the horrors of a “popular” war (i.e. waged by mass national armies). It gives a completely original interpretation of the idea of an “offensive” prepared from within the “defensive”; and derives its necessity from the fact that “absolute” warfare is, in a certain sense, or rather becomes untenable. It must therefore destroy the State itself, better said it must recreate the conditions of politics at the expense of the State, who in a sense could incarnate politics only as long as it also retained the capacity to arm the people and control its use of the arms it receives, but would become a political phantom as soon as it would be deprived of it. Or, if you wish, as one would pass from the State monopoly of legitimate violence to the Class monopoly of historically decisive violence. It is this displacement of Clausewitz, let us note in passing, that forms the starting point of Carl Schmitt’s impolitical concept of the “political” – where sovereignty is identified with the capacity to install a “state of exception” in the core of the State, in order to repress the class struggle in a preventive manner, so that the definition of the “internal enemy”, the enemy of the “class civil war”, is used to recreate the monopoly of the state and its capacity to wage external wars.

But it is only in Mao Zedong’s theory of the “protracted war of partisans” that we find what can be considered at the same time a Marxist rescuing of Clausewitz’s concept of the War as “the continuation of politics by other means” and an alternative to Clausewitz’s idea of the political, which tries to solve the aporia on which, as we have seen, Clausewitz was permanently hitting his head. In fact I tend to believe, not only that Mao Zedong, as several commentators have acknowledged, was the most consistent Clausewitzian in the Marxist tradition, but that he was perhaps the most consistent Clausewitzian after Clausewitz, because he re-interpreted all his axioms, and not only one or two of them. It is hard to know if he actually had read Clausewitz in the text, or in some adaptation (I should have to check whether Clausewitz was translated into Chinese, the only language read by Mao): the references he gives in his various brochures and articles written in the late 30’s and 40’s during the Anti-Japanese War (after the end of the Long March properly speaking), only quote from Lenin’s own references to Clausewitz in his essays on imperialism. Which seems to indicate that, from these fragments, Mao actually reconstructed the problematic. His key idea is that the defensive strategy which is imposed by the fact that, initially, the imperialist adversary and the ruling bourgeoisie have armies whereas the proletariat and the peasants have none will become reversed into its opposite in the end, and lead to the actual annihilation of the “strongest”. So the length of the war, the dialectical equivalent of the “friction” now called “protracted war” (or the long March of the war) is the time needed for the tiny nucleus of revolutionary workers and intellectuals who have sought refuge within the masses of the peasantry (who find themselves within the people “like fishes swimming in water”) to achieve simultaneously a triple result: 1) to arm themselves at the expense of the adverse forces by performing local guerrilla attacks against isolated detachments of the invading army; 2) to “learn” the art of strategy by expanding the theatre of war to the national level (which in the case of China is semi-continental); 3) finally to “solve the contradiction in the people” and separate the people from its enemies (or the party’s enemy…), by transferring the hegemony from an external power (either a colonial conqueror or a national caste) to an immanent power, representing the common interest of all national dominated classes. The communist party is supposed to be (and to remain over a long period) precisely that immanent power.

The blind spot of this analysis seems today rather clear (and it was not without consequences on the subsequent developments): namely the fact that the international global context of WW II is practically ignored, as if only the national forces would count strategically in the anti-imperialist struggle. “Self-reliance”, the great Maoist motto, has a latent nationalist dimension itself. But the result remains impressive in terms of a new historical interpretation of the idea of a rationality of war which is political – therefore implies a political subject. So, in a sense, we have come full circle, and it is not by chance, probably, that the closure of this circle particularly consists in the reversal of the hierarchic relationship established between institutional warfare waged by the state and popular guerrilla warfare. But it is not the case, in my opinion, that this reversal completely resolves the aporia that we found in Clausewitz. It rather displaces it. Clausewitz’s difficulty came from the fact that the State could not be said a priori to have become the absolute master of the “instrument” it had to build and use in the course of the transformation of wars into “absolute wars”, i.e. wars waged by the people in arms. Mao’s difficulty, or the difficulty we read in Mao with hindsight, drawing some lessons from the history of the Chinese revolution itself, comes from the fact that the immanent power of the organization which, from the inside, transforms a people into an army, or a “popular army” with a class ideology, in given historical circumstances; namely the revolutionary party, can completely perform the strategic reversal and remain a political agency only at the condition of becoming a state itself (even if a State periodically destructed and reconstructed by revolutionary episodes, in the Maoist vision which led to, or was taught, during the “Cultural revolution”). The only thinkable alternative – very unlikely in the circumstances of war of national liberation – would be that it refrained from “taking power”, or carrying on the revolutionary war until the ‘final” goal (Zweck); which is the complete destruction of the enemy – thus somehow “scaling down” the war from “absolute” to “limited”.

So the subject of the strategic process (or the subject determined from within the strategic process) remains in every case a split subject, or a subject oscillating between sovereignty and insurrection. Some modern theoreticians and commentators of “molecular wars” (Enzensberger) solve the aporia by simply eliminating the category of the subject, or reducing it to negative or defective figures. But in this case it remains to be explained how the category of “war” itself can be maintained.

* Public Lecture, Alice Berline Kaplan Center for the Humanities, Northwestern University, Evanston, May 8, 2006

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청년도반 2006-06-22 18:14   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL
퍼가겠습니다. :)

balmas 2006-06-24 23:27   좋아요 0 | 댓글달기 | URL
그래라. ^^



일본식 法용어, 논문 베끼기의 참혹한 결과

2006년 06월 17일   류병운 영산대


예전에 한 개그맨이 일본이 독도 문제로 자신을 무척 화나게 해서 분을 삭이느라고 “노바다야끼에 가서 뎀뿌라 쓰끼다시 사카나로 니뽄쇼주를 이찌꼬뿌에 따라 이빠이 마셨다”라고 웃긴 적이 있다. 노무현 대통령이 실수로 독도를 일본식 표현인 ‘다케시마’라고 불러 물의를 빚은 적도 있다. 요즘과 같은 때에, 일본 사람이 아니고서야 독도를 ‘다케시마’라고 부르거나 동해를 ‘일본해(the Sea of Japan)’라고 부르겠는가. 국제적으로 동해와 일본해를 병기하는 것은 또 다른 문제이다.

최근 일본 탐사선 문제 등과 관련해서, 우리 국민들이 제일 많이 접한 단어는 ‘영유권’과 ‘국제사법재판소’라고 할 수 있다. ‘국제해양법재판소 재판관’이란 표현도 눈에 띈다. 그런데 이 ‘영유권’이란 단어는 점령과 소(점)유권을 조합하여 “점령해서 소유 내지 점유하는 권리” 정도로 해석될 수 있는 모호한 일본식 표현이다.


그럼에도 불구하고 요즘 우리나라 대통령을 포함하여 많은 사람들이 이 ‘영유권’이란 단어를 독도와 관련해서 애용하고 있다.(그러한 말 중에는 “배(동해)가 ‘일본해’라면 배꼽(독도)의 ‘영유권’이 위태로워진다”는 코미디 같은 것도 있고, “일본이 독도 영유권을 주장하는 상황에서, 1998년 新한-일어업협정 제15조의 ‘이 협정의 어떠한 규정도 어업에 관한 사항 외의 국제법상 문제에 관한 체약국의 입장을 해하는 것으로 간주되어서는 아니 된다’라는 규정을 일본의 주장을 인정해준 것이 다름없다”라는 어불성설도 있다.) 역사적으로 우리 영토인 독도와 관련해서는 ‘영토주권’ 내지 ‘영토관할권’이란 용어가 뜻도 분명하고, 국제법적으로 더 합당한 표현으로 생각된다.

 또한, 해방 후 우리는 ‘재판소’라는 일본식 표현을 더 이상 쓰지 않기로 하고 대신 ‘法院’이라는 말을 쓰고 있다. 이제는 ‘법원’이란 표현이 국민들에게 보다 친숙하고 더 일반적이다. 따라서 International Court of Justice는 ‘국제사법재판소’라는 번역보다는 ‘국제사법법원’으로, International Criminal Court는 ‘국제형사법원’으로, ‘국제해양법재판소 재판관’은 ‘국제해양법원 판사’라고 해야 마땅하다. (물론 ‘헌법재판소’라는 표현을 쓰기는 하지만, 그와 같은 명명은 일본 문헌에 너무 친숙하던 당시 헌법학자들의 실수가 아닐까 생각된다.)

그런데 바람직하지 못한 일본식 국제법 용어가 어디 이 뿐이겠는가. 수많은 일본식 표현 중에서 몇 가지만 예를 들어보기로 하자. 일상적으로 쓰는 ‘亡命’이나 ‘망명권의 보호’라는 표현 대신 ‘庇護’라는 말을 쓰고 있는 국제법 교과서가 다수이다. 자국 주재 외국대사관 등으로 망명하는 경우인 ‘외교 망명(Diplomatic Asylum)’을 ‘외교비호’라고 표현한다면, 이것은 오히려 외국과의 관계에서 자국민을 보호하는 ‘외교적 보호(Diplomatic Protection)’와 혼동될 수 있지 않겠는가.

형법에서는 일반적으로 '정당방위'로 표현되는 ‘Self Defense’가 국제법 교과서에서는 ‘自衛權’이란 일본식 표현으로 바뀌어 있다. 자위권과 일본의 ‘자위대’는 같은 맥락 아닌가. 앞으로 “독도 ‘영유권’ 훼손하려는 일본 자위대에 대해서 자위권을 발동해야 한다”라는 이상한 말을 듣게 될지도 모르겠다. 더욱이 ‘Collective Self Defense’를 ‘집단적 자위’라고 부를 때는 정말 일본책을 보고 있는 것으로 착각할 정도이다. 범죄인 인도조약 당사국들의 범인 인도 요건인‘Double Criminality’는 ‘이중 범죄성립’이라고 하면 좋으련만 굳이 어감도 좋지 않은 ‘쌍(방)가벌성’이란 일본식 표현을 써야만 할까.

해방 후 양식이 있는 학자들은 가급적 일본식 표현을 쓰지 않으려고 무던히 애를 썼다. 그런데도 왜 요즘 이와 같은 일본식의 법적 표현이 넘쳐나는가? 이것은 선배학자들의 노력이 후배들의 맹목적 일본 논문 베끼기로 말미암아 수포로 돌아간 것을 의미한다. 법조인의 산실인 사법연수원에서도 얼마 전까지 외국어로 오직 '일본어'만을 가르쳤다고 한다. 그 이유가 일본판결문을 참조하거나 베끼기 위한 것임은 두말할 나위가 없다. (좀 다른 이야기지만, 사실 현재의 우리 민법이 일본의 괴뢰국이었던 만주국의 것을 거의 베꼈다는 사실은 우리 국가인 애국가를 작곡한 안익태 선생이 만주국을 찬양하는 음악을 작곡하고 지휘했다는 것만큼이나 찜찜하다.)

일본식 표현으로 치장된 무성한 말들로 마치 독도가 곧 일본에 넘어가기라도 할 것처럼 위기 상황을 조장하기에 앞서 그러한 언어의 '일본해'물결부터 걷어 내야 한다. 세계화 시대에도 언어는 그 나라의 얼굴이다.

©2006 Kyosu.net
Updated: 2006-06-18 14:07

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