Deleuze, Guattari, & the New Right

Deleuze, Guattari, & the New Right

“A creator is someone who creates their own impossibilities, and thereby creates possibilities.” – Gilles Deleuze[1]

Dr. Mark Dyal is an American scholar and writer. He has an M.A. in black studies and a Ph.D. in anthropology. His dissertation is on Italian “Ultras” — soccer hooligans and skinheads — focusing on their “agonistic” subculture and its roots in Italian fascism; in Counter-Enlightenment thinkers like Friedrich Nietzsche, Julius Evola, and Georges Sorel; and in the indigenous European resistance of globalization, liberalism, and immigration.

It Begins with Nietzsch

It begins with On the Genealogy of Morality. It accepts the challenge of Nietzsche’s critique of morality, of his presentation of the origins and omnipresence of ressentiment and bad conscience. It explains what we must do to free ourselves from the reign of reactive forces. It is a philosophy of extreme affirmation, one that makes a metaphysics of force and desire. It is a philosophy – perhaps the only post-Nietzschean philosophy – that embraces the implications of his thought without reservation and without fear (which is not the same as without compromise). It is a philosophy that demands only one thing: that we think differently – that is to say, critically. The hard part, though, is in actually doing so. Because not only the content, but also the form, of how we think is given us by the modernity we so despise.

This idea is what makes reading Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari so challenging, because the content of their philosophy is a demonstration of how radical – how nonsensical – thought must be if it is liberated from modernity.

As with the band of loosely conjoined thinkers that we call the New Right, Deleuze and Guattari base their attack on modernity on Nietzsche’s de-naturalization (and re-naturalization) of morality.[2] However, where the New Right thinkers critique modernity from the standpoint of Nietzsche’s explanation of the Jewish slave revolt in morality (presented in the Genealogy’s First Essay), Deleuze and Guattari use the presentation ofressentiment and bad conscience (in the Genealogy’s Second and Third Essays) as the ground for a revolution in thought. It is hoped that, by incorporating the New Right and the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari, we might actually complete the mission of theGenealogy and more fully realize Nietzsche’s revolutionary potential – and our own.

The Illiberal Left and the Counter-Enlightenment

Although it is common for New Right thinkers to extend the search for examples of anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian thoughts and practices to the Greeks, those still confined to the corridors of State academia tend to begin their search for such odious refutations of truth and justice with reactions to the Enlightenment and French Revolution. It is this latter tendency that has given us an intellectual tradition called the Counter-Enlightenment. While there are serious consequences for choosing to begin with the Enlightenment itself – the most obvious of which are the normalization of the Enlightenment principles of reason, humanity, and equality; and subsequent denial of the ontological power and legitimacy of anti-democratic thought – one may still use Counter-Enlightenment as a valid designation of the vast current in Western thought that overruns the ramparts of the “city upon a hill.”

This current is comprised of an array of concepts – among them aristocracy, warrior-caste, tradition, particularity, reverence, and honor – and thinkers – such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Joseph de Maistre, Johann Herder, Georges Sorel, and Julius Evola.

However, any list of Counter-Enlightenment thinkers is incomplete without the names of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Like their May 1968 contemporary Michel Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari wage war against reason, freedom, democracy, and humanism, explaining the tyranny and reactive forces triumphant in each of them. It is a conundrum not lost on the liberal Leftists of the Academy: if it were the case that only the Right opposed modernity on behalf of cultural, political, and social aristocracy, no one would have noticed the continued power of the Counter-Enlightenment; nor perhaps when former colonial subjects like Amilcar Cabral and Frantz Fanon had the impudence to discount the value of Enlightenment ideals, for what could Nietzsche have possibly meant to them?

But, when modernity was attacked by French academics, well schooled not only inliberté, egalité, and fraternité, but also in the essentials of the logocentric secular philosophy of Man and the State, the liberal Academy not only took notice, but also sought ways to use the new illiberal philosophies of these “postmodernists.” In some cases, like Jean Baudrillard, most of what is said against modernity is interpreted as an easily assimilable attack on Ronald Reagan’s America. In other cases, like Michel Foucault and Jean-François Lyotard, the objects of scorn – governmentality, power, and metanarratives – are mistakenly believed to be the problem of clock-punching proletarian wage slaves.[3] Finally, in the case of Jacques Derrida, the methodological destruction of value and meaning is all too vengefully turned against the canon of Western literature, without the slightest inkling of how it undermines their own cushy authority.

In appropriating the illiberalism of these philosophers, the liberal Academy diffused the revolutionary potential of their thought. Instead of finally destroying the operative regimes of morality and truth in the modern West, the liberal Left used postmodernism to undermine instead “white privilege,” “racism,” and “patriarchy.” In other words, the liberal Left hijacked an illiberal conceptual revolution and brought it to a fight against conservative Rightist liberalism. However, the illiberalism of postmodernism’s skillful demolition of the foundations of the modern West paves the way to a final reconciliation of the Left and Right.

Richard Wolin merely alludes to this possibility, mostly because, as a textbook liberal Leftist, he understands the New Right as a collection of vulgar anti-Semitic, anti-immigration, racists without anything to offer political philosophy beyond low-brow hysteria and fear-mongering: in short, the typical reactionary capitalist swine that Trotsky railed against. Thus, while Wolin concedes that postmodernism anticipated the arrival of the Nouvelle Droite by undermining the very values of “Western civilization” (a mistake New Right thinkers also make by reading postmodernism as anti-Western instead of anti-modern) – including relativism! – he fails to consider how useful either group might be to the other.[4]

In many ways, both conceptual and political, the contemporary New Right is the promise of the reconciliation between the illiberal Left and Right. In short, both groups scorn modernity and the Enlightenment, and both groups have their origins in Nietzsche. Where the two diverge, though, is in problematizing the liberal state and in rehabilitating a pre-modern form of life. Whereas postmodernism often aims each of its attacks at the state, the New Right has little to say about it beyond the utopia of the ethno-organic-state. Conversely, the New Right maintains a super-legitimate claim to the Counter-Enlightenment by revitalizing pre-modern/pre-Christian European life forms, while, for the most part, postmodernism merely mines the Classics for useful sources without desiring to create a new narrative on which to found truly post-modern life. These two counter-forces, however, need not be mutually exclusive. This becomes clear when we read Deleuze and Guattari, two illiberal philosophers so radical that they still remain unreconciled with the liberal Left’s political/conceptual agenda.


Deleuze and Guattari were both born in Paris to petite-bourgeois fascist fathers. While Guattari’s was a member of the interwar Croix-de-Feu, Deleuze’s was an anti-Semitic sympathizer of the Croix who opposed the Popular Front and presidency of Léon Blum.[5] During the war Deleuze was sent to Normandy so as to continue his education without the disruptions of the Occupation. He was too young to participate in the war, but his militarily trained older brother was killed while working for the Resistance. It was in Normandy that Deleuze began studying philosophy. For his part, Guattari’s family stayed in Paris during the Occupation, and, despite his family’s support of Vichy, he was enamored of the Resistance.[6]

Already considered a prodigy, Deleuze moved back to Paris after the war to continue his studies, while Guattari (five years younger than Deleuze) joined a network of student hostiles and became a violent Trotskyite anarchist. Both would ultimately find their way to the Sorbonne’s philosophy department, Deleuze after failing to qualify for the École Normale Supérieure, Guattari after quitting pharmaceutical college; although they did not meet until 1969 when a mutual friend introduced them for a conversation about Lacanian structuralism.

In the meantime, Guattari continued his subversive Trotskyite politics, joining and/or infiltrating several Communist parties, and also becoming an apprentice to Jacques Lacan. This led him to get involved with radical psychotherapy and the La Borde psychiatric clinic in the Loire Valley. It is his combination of Marxian anti-party politics and Lacanian structural psychoanalysis that eventually shapes the form of his philosophy with Deleuze.

Coming to maturity in the shadow of phenomenology and the structuralisms of Ferdinand de Saussure, Claude Lévi-Strauss, and Jacques Lacan, which refused to differentiate between democracy and fascism – seeking instead to “dissolve” the conception of Western man that made both possible – it is no surprise that Deleuze found it natural to critique the foundations of liberal modernity.[7] But unlike Guattari, Deleuze’s politics were, and would always be, subtle and seemingly inconsistent. While Guattari was a literal street fighter, Deleuze was an extremely critical philosopher who used his vitality to do battle with the history of philosophy.

These battles were fought in order to exalt what he saw as a small elite handful of “non-philosophers” – or non-traditional, non-State philosophers – whose thought served no purpose for the liberal State. For Deleuze, traditional philosophy functions on the basis of codes that have effectively turned into a “bureaucracy of consciousness.”[8] The task of his philosophy is to revolutionarily controvert traditional philosophy by creating something that will not allow itself to be codified by the State.

Shifting now to the language he later used with Guattari, these codes become the conceptual foundation of his political philosophy, allowing him to ground desire, active forces, and reactive forces in the bodily, instinctual, and societal strata that give form to human life. The codes of which he speaks function both individually and collectively; ordering life, determining its forms, boundaries, and significance.[9]

Thus, while all of his Sorbonne classmates were de rigueur Marxists and phenomenologists – political and philosophical systems, that is, that fail to problematize the metaphysical belief in a rationally thinking and acting subject whose experiential nature (it just so happens, evidently) is perfectly compatible with the terms and conditions of the modern bourgeois form of life – he was expounding the virtues of thinkers like David Hume, Henri Bergson, and Friedrich Nietzsche, whose work demonstrated the fragility of the habitually and uncritically accepted model, or “image,” of thought in the West.

The image of thought is the “image thought gives itself of what it means to think.”[10] In philosophical terms, the image of thought is an immanent plane or set of pre-philosophical presuppositions that condition the determination of problems and creation of concepts. In the case of Descartes’ Cogito, the presuppositions that structure thought are identified by Deleuze as the essence of the dogmatic bourgeois image of thought: thought is a natural human capacity; it naturally possesses a good will and an upright nature; it has a natural affinity with truth, so that it is error and unsound thinking must be eradicated. Most importantly, though, thought is based on recognition: good morning; this is a train; I am a man.[11]

This recognition presupposes the harmonious coordination of each of the human faculties that relate to the different representations of a single object. This further implies an underlying agreement of the faculties themselves: the thinking subject. But this is only the most timid aspect of thought that functions at the most banal level of life. That it has been selected as the model of thought – even functioning as the dominant paradigm of philosophical thought in the modern West – demonstrates why we no longer distinguish between thinking and knowing. In Deleuze’s mind, this image of thought is a “betrayal of what it means to think and of life,” as it sustains a complacent conception of thought that is incapable of critiquing dominant values.[12]

Deleuze’s Nietzsche

Deleuze found his counter-image of thought in the then-largely-unknown-in-France thought of Friedrich Nietzsche. Firstly, the rational Cartesian subject was non-existent in Nietzsche’s work, replaced instead by a bodily-inscribed chaos of competing wills, instincts, and forces; making of thought a problem instead of the basis of humanness. Secondly, Nietzsche’s thought was affirmatively critical of dominant bourgeois values. Unlike Kant, who critiqued certain truths, certain beliefs, and certain morals, Nietzsche critiqued truth, faith, and morality.

He made a smooth space of the mountains and molehills modernity had created in its own decadent image. In language closer to Deleuze and Guattari’s spatial dynamism of A Thousand Plateaus (1987), Nietzsche creates thoughts no longer suffering the administrative machinery or moral economy of the state, but that are instead displaced into frontiers and labyrinthine streets where new movements and distributions become possible.[13]

Deleuze’s Nietzsche and Philosophy (2006) pushes Nietzsche’s thought to its absolute limit, making it clear that there can be no simple Manichean shift between active noble forces and reactive slave forces in order to transcend what is modern in each of us. In other words, there must be “no simple substitution” of values, but a radical conversion of valuing itself.[14] Transvaluation thus becomes less about a genealogy of oppositions between the Classical world and Judeo-Christian modernity than about re-constituting the very ground of human thought.

As mentioned above, where the New Right gravitates toward On the Genealogy of Morality’s First Essay, Deleuze concentrates on its Second Essay. This gives him an advantage in understanding the deepest implications of Nietzsche’s thought: namely, how even those on the most radical edge of modernity are still children of ressentiment as long as they think with bourgeois modernity’s image of thought.

As Deleuze says:

The instinct of revenge is the force that constitutes the essence of what we call psychology, history, metaphysics, and morality. The spirit of revenge is the genealogical element of our [i.e., modern] thought, the transcendental principle of ourway of thinking. [. . .] We do not really know what a man denuded of ressentimentwould be like. A man who would not accuse or depreciate existence – would he still be a man, would he think like a man? Would he not already be something other than man? To have ressentiment or to not have ressentiment – there is no greater difference, beyond psychology, beyond history, beyond metaphysics.[15]

Deleuze is clearly talking about the Übermensch, but whereas other thinkers – perhaps drunk on Nietzsche’s poetic proclamations of his arrival – discount the sacrifices necessary for moving men in his direction, Deleuze is unsparing in connectingressentiment with the very tools of modern consciousness:

Evaluations, in essence, are not values but ways of being, modes of existence of those who judge and evaluate, serving as principles for the values on the basis of which they judge. This is why we always have the beliefs, feelings, and thoughts that we deserve given our way of being or our form of life. There are things that can only be said, felt, or conceived, values that can only be adhered to, on condition of “base” evaluation, “base” living, and “base” thinking. This is the crucial point: high and low, noble and base, are not values but represent the differential element from which the value of values themselves derives.[16]

This is the capstone that maintains the verticality of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy. As Gregory Flaxman says, “One must come to terms with Deleuze’s relationship to Nietzsche for any of his work to make sense philosophically.”[17]


[1] Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations, 1972–1990, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 133.
[2] Nietzsche de-naturalizes morality by showing its genealogical association with certain reactive human forces. He re-naturalizes it by suggesting ways to judge that re-connect active men with their natural instincts.
[3] Thank you John Black Morgan IV for suggesting “wage slave.”
[4] Richard Wolin, The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), 269.
Wolin’s book is invaluable as a demonstration of the distance between the Left and postmodernism.
[5] François Dosse, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: Intersecting Lives, trans. Deborah Glassman (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 26, 89.
[6] While Dosse’s book is one of the most effective philosophical biographies I have read, it fails to consider what might have prompted both Deleuze and Guattari to reject their fathers’ Far Right politics. One suspects that Dosse’s progressivism leaves him uncritical of parameters of such a betrayal, as he devotes one paragraph to Guattari’s conversion, and hardly a sentence to Deleuze’s. In both cases the rejection of both father and Right politics is presented as natural, just, and logical.
[7] Richard Wolin, 5.
[8] Adrian Parr, ed., The Deleuze Dictionary, Revised Edition (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 160.
[9] Gregory Flaxman, Gilles Deleuze and the Fabulation of Philosophy: Powers of the False, Volume 1 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 56.
[10] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, What is Philosophy?, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 37.
[11] Paul Patton, “Introduction,” in Deleuze: A Critical Reader, ed. Paul Patton (London: Blackwell, 1996), 6.
[12] Patton, “Introduction,” 7.
[13] Flaxman, 197.
[14] Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 175.
[15] Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 35.
[16] Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 1–2.
[17] Flaxman, 23.

Part 2

The Affect of Truth

Part One of this examination of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari from a radical New Right perspective briefly introduced Deleuze and Guattari, placed their thought within an illiberal Leftist variation of the Counter-Enlightenment, and then grounded that thought in Deleuze’s reading of Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality. While it is hoped that Part One’s radical re-evaluation of postmodernism is not lost on the reader, it is more important that we understand the Nietzschean current that courses through Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy. This current will be familiar to any of Nietzsche’s closest readers, although it may be put to different uses than we are accustomed to.[2]

To be familiar with these uses can only be a good thing, however. Truth, as Nietzsche says, affects only comfort. That comfort, according to Deleuze, affects uncritical, thoughtless thought. We can afford none of these, but while we often speak against comfort, rarely do we do so regarding our own thought. This is because of the radical project to which we are devoted. But, as radical as it – and we – may be, we are still prone to noncritical acceptance of concepts and forms of thought that keep us connected to bourgeois modernity. Moving beyond those concepts and forms is the basis of what Deleuze and Guattari call becoming-revolutionary.

Before we get to that, however, we must maintain our focus on the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, for we have yet to be fully initiated in the transvaluation that makes becoming-revolutionary possible. This, in part, is the transvaluation of logos.

While the next two papers are based on Deleuze and Guattari’s two-part Capitalism and Schizophrenia, this one continues laying a foundation that might aid an understanding of why this philosophy is useful to the New Right. It focuses on Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition (1994) – his primary dissertation toward the doctorate in philosophy – and his “reversal of Platonism.” This means that, while on our way to an attack on the legitimacy of the liberal nation-state, we will make a quick stop to participate in a riot against transcendence and divine judgment.

Logos and Nomos

For all of its difficulty being translated from the Greek, logos can be coherently simplified as meaning word, reason, or law. In a logocentric world, everything has its right place; it is a structured and ordered conception of existence. Conversely, nomos is Deleuze’s name for a conception of arrangement that does not rely on an organization or permanent structure. Deleuze locates nomos etymologically in the open distribution of pastoral land in Homeric Greece, which had neither enclosures nor property in pastures. Instead animals grazed in open country-or-mountain-side. This space, without precise limits, was the nomos.[3]

While logos has a central role in North American New Right thought, acting as the foundation of both Traditionalism and Ethno-Statism, two solutions to the crisis of modernity rooted in the past, nomos has been largely relegated to the Nietzschean and anarcho-fascist fringes that solve modernity itself from the perspective of the future. Where one acts as the basis for truth and morality, large-scale social organization, and universal conceptions of man, the other promotes ethics, local tribalism, and irreducible particularity and difference.

In Deleuze’s terms, logos and nomos create different problems from life, and conversely, leave the problems of the other unexamined. Deleuze’s favorite example is Kant contra Nietzsche. Remaining faithful to logos, Kant problematizes doubt and untruth, but leaves rationality unscathed. Meanwhile Nietzsche takes the opposite approach. Problems, as we will see, force critical thought.[4]

Interestingly, the European New Right makes a problem of the logos/nomos split itself, seeking to create a model of Rightist revolution that benefits from the intellectual and political impetus embodied in each approach. This is apparent in the works of Alain de Benoist, Pierre Krebs, and Alexander Dugin, each of whom suggest an ethical basis rooted in the pre-modern past for the creation of new postmodern values.[5]

However, the biggest influence of nomos in their works is seen in the willingness to evaluate concepts and forms of thought that undermine the logoi of Western modernity. De Benoist’s upcoming book on Carl Schmitt is a case-in-point, as it critiques Schmitt from the perspective of Deleuze and Guattari’s attack on capitalism and modern citizenship.[6]

Deleuze posits nomos as a type of loose organizing principle found in pre-Socratic Greece, wherein heroism, manliness, greatness, and peoplehood is defined micro-locally. This is the Greece of ethics, myth and legend, before these are problematized and rejected by Plato as unreliable and irresolvable to truth. It is this spirit of rejection that prompts Deleuze to conceptualize logos as “moral law.”[7] After explaining how philosophy has been beholden to logos, from Plato and Aristotle to Hegel and Kant, Deleuze upholds Nietzsche as the model for moving thought beyond the “law,” making it clear that what is at stake in the opposition of nomos to logos is the very ability to create new values.[8]

Nietzsche Contra Platonism

In the twelve aphorisms of “The Problem of Socrates,” Nietzsche plays his last hand in the war against Platonic metaphysics.[9] He begins by explaining that Socrates and Plato are symptoms of decay and the agents of an unnamed (Hebrew) force of disintegration of the Greek affirmation of life. He then describes dialectics as the defeat of nobility by plebian ressentiment. Finally, he turns to the tyranny of rationality against the instincts, before settling on rationality’s dirty little helper: morality. This set of aphorisms reads like a descent into the modern mind, with plebian instincts and decadent positive valuation of rationality, health, and happiness settling into an abyss from which to condemn the complexity of life.

However, as he pushes us into the abyss he also pulls us back out, with the “history of an error” that is “How the True World Finally Became a Fable.”[10] In six steps, Nietzsche moves from Plato to his Zarathustra. After he lays the creation of a “true world” at the feet of Plato – he who is wise, pious, and virtuous enough to live this world – he immediately moves to the Christian promise of the true world for those sinners who repent. He then involves Kant – who finds consolation in the true world, even if he is skeptical of its existence – and the positivists, who, although they feel no obligation to believe in the true world, nonetheless leave its metaphysical power intact.

It is only with his Zarathustra that someone finally thought to get rid of it altogether. “The true world is gone: which world is left? The illusory one, perhaps? But no! We got rid of the illusory world along with the true one!”[11] Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition can be read as a companion to Nietzsche’s journey to and from the abyss, as he finds justification and motivation for his view of logocentric Being as a moralistic illusion from these parts of Twilight of the Idols and their corresponding entries in Nietzsche’s notebooks.[12]

But, while Nietzsche keeps a safe distance from Socrates, Plato, and Kant, firing from his mountaintop (as was his style), Deleuze engages in hand-to-hand combat with Platonism. And while the imperial Nietzsche led him into battle, Deleuze emerges from the battlefield with a more grudging respect for his foe.

Deleuze’s Reversal of Platonism

Deleuze seeks a reversal of Platonism, or a diminution of logos for the sake of nomos, because, like Nietzsche, he understands the former as a moral, aesthetic, political, and metaphysical solution to the complexity of life that is based in negation and ressentiment. Philosophically, he undertakes his reversal because Platonism is the basis of the representational Cartesian image of thought (discussed in Part One of this series as “an immanent plane or set of pre-philosophical presuppositions that condition the determination of problems and creation of concepts”), and his goal at this juncture is to create a new way of thinking and living without the transcendence that representation presupposes.

But more than merely overturning the problem and solution of Platonic thought – namely the truth or untruth of the relationship between an Idea, a genuine copy, and a simulacrum – Deleuze also wants to know what vitalist motivations lay behind the move toward the Platonic metaphysics of representation. Deleuze, then, wants to create a new image of thought based on a new thought of the image.[13]

Against common understandings of Platonism based on an opposition between essence and appearance, Deleuze finds the more fundamental distinction to be between images and simulacra. Plato, he says, introduces this distinction in the context of a critique of mimetic art’s ability to deceive the public and thus lessen the impact and value of the political and philosophical classes. This deception is the realm of the simulacra, or false images that seem to conform to an Idea, or the truth of a being-in-itself, but which, in fact, have no relation to that truth.[14]

Simulacra are dangerous because they are a threat to the thought, morality, politics, and art that positively correspond to Plato’s truth. As Deleuze says, “the will to eliminate simulacra or phantasms has no motivation apart from the moral. What is condemned in the figure of simulacra is the state of free, oceanic difference (or affirmation in Nietzsche’s language), and of (Dionysian) nomadic distributions.”[15]

Platonism’s attack on simulacra, or nonconformity, Deleuze continues, is motivated by a fundamental desire to establish a definitive, transcendent, authority against which everything in life can be measured – essentially introducing divine judgment into philosophy.[16] But, the problem with this is the same for Deleuze as it is for Nietzsche: transcendence is not native to philosophy, but injected into it from a religious, moral, and political attack on difference.

Difference: An Aside

In order to complete our examination of Deleuze’s reversal of Platonism, an explanation of difference and its importance to Deleuze’s (and Guattari’s) philosophy is necessary. Difference is the ontological reality of the world – a great mass of individual specimens that resist all forms of representation and universalization – as it is sensually experienced. Deleuze insists that there is no ground, subject, or being that experiences; there is only experience that flows and becomes in each passing instant.[17] There is no actual world that is then represented in virtual images by the privileged mind of man.

Deleuze’s difference is the concept that embodies the problem Nietzsche made of consciousness in the context of total affirmation of life (seen most clearly in the Eternal Return). Nietzsche naturalizes consciousness to just one of several bodily reactions to experience, but he did, however, include it, thought, and ideas in the flow of experience. This area of Nietzsche’s thought is normally discussed as his physiology, wherein human life is created from the flow of experience instead of it being the ground from which life is merely perceived.

Likewise, Deleuze understands that ideas are created through the problem of interacting with experience; but also that ideas extend and enhance experience. This does not create a second-order of evaluation but instead firmly roots ideas in the flow of experience. By making life an interaction of multifarious flows of information, time, ideas, and images, Deleuze seeks to give a better sense of the modern forces shaping human possibility, as well as give us a better chance of thinking beyond the dominant conception of thought and the bourgeois thinking subject.

This thinking would be utterly “new” and would force a rupture with time, making the past before the new thought something entirely different from what it might have been, and the future a new realm of possibilities.[18] While we might think of this as a rare, earth-shattering event, it was foundational to Deleuze’s transcendental empirical metaphysics.[19] Difference does not mean “difference by degrees” between two otherwise conceptually similar objects – which would assume a pre-existing transcendent unity between them, but instead a difference-in-itself that is the world as it is perceived.

Difference, then, is Deleuze’s answer to the dominant (Cartesian) image of thought that creates difference through resemblance, identity, opposition, and analogy (y=y not x). Instead, he posits an image of thought in which “the particularity or singularity of each individual thing, moment, perception, or conception”[20] is acknowledged above and beyond the Platonist/humanist/bourgeois desire to homogenize, universalize, and standardize each and all through the power of its representational image of thought. Here, Deleuze is marrying Hume and Nietzsche while Plato looks on in disgust.

The Idea and Difference

The Platonic Idea allows us to discriminate between images that are trustworthy – that lead toward truth – and those that lead toward error and illusion. It is the space between the Idea – the true image – and the simulacra – the potentially false – that Plato makes the domain of the philosopher – the new custodian of order! But keep in mind, Deleuze advises, that the Aristotelian division of life according to classification – although no less problematic – is not operative in Plato’s method, which is only concerned with the distance between the real/true and the untrue.[21] In other words, Platonism is only a system of judgment in favor of the true and Good.[22]

But what does this mean for representation? In order for the Idea to be linked with a copy, there must be an appropriate amount of likeness, sameness, or identity between the two. Plato thus subordinates difference to sameness, while making both knowable only through a representational relationship (created by resemblance, identity, opposition, and analogy) between Idea and object.

Differences or simulacra are rejected. In opposition to this model or image of thought, Deleuze proposes to think difference-in-itself – or, the uniqueness implicit in the particularity of things, conceptions, and perceptions – so as to connect more thoroughly with the specificity of concrete experience without simplifying phenomena in order to fit them within a unitary truth or Idea.

Looking ahead, it is important to know that in this conception of experience, individual humans cannot be made knowable genealogically as general or common manifestations of an Idea, but instead by understanding the processes of individuation determined by actual and specific differences, multitudinous influences, and chance interactions. While racial groupings – one of the hallmarks of modern thought – fall by the wayside, please take note that inequality – perhaps the very basis of pre-Platonic thought – does not.

The Cogito and Common, all too Common, Sense

Needing to attack representational thought head-on, Deleuze moves from Plato to Descartes and Kant. In doing so, however, he extends his reversal of Platonism to the rejection of the Cogito. As he says, a slippage occurs by the time the Platonic Idea reaches the thinking subject, but the same moralist orthodoxy remains, as does the same image of thought based in recognition of the same.[23]

In Part One, we saw that Deleuze rejects the Cogito both because it is bound up with bourgeois assumptions of a humanity, a good will, and a truth; and thought based in systemic recognition/representation. This quick summation can easily and clearly be expanded upon, especially if we shift to Deleuze’s words themselves.

While Descartes is interested in constructing a rationalist system of analytic truths, in which independently truthful propositions – “this is a book” – can stand as a ground for the deduction of other truths, Deleuze maintains that all knowledge is partial and open to revision.[24] What’s more, Descartes posits his rationalist system as the operative system for all men in all places, leaving no room for interpersonal distinctions. Men become Man, people become Human, and each and all perceive, remember, imagine, and conceive in exactly the same manner.[25] This manner rests upon each of these “faculties” of thought operating in concert each and every time a Human encounters a given object or event.

While both Descartes and Kant call this manner of perception and conception “common sense,” only Kant goes so far as to suggest that a system of common senses exists which corresponds to the “natural orientations of rationality.” Some of the common senses examined in Kant’s three Critiques are morality, reflection, faith, and knowledge – each of which is linked to the Human’s naturally occurring rationality.[26]

Deleuze rejects this humanization of men, making a further distinction between reason and thought and sensation and thought. Where Descartes places independent reason at the heart of the Cogito, Deleuze – following Nietzsche – argues that no thought is free of sensation. “The Cogito cannot be self-evident because sensation always extends to a multiplicity of further conditions and causes”[27] which point in the direction of Nietzsche’s vitalist physiology of conceptualization and transvaluation.

The fanciful universal (bourgeois) thinking subject (Cogitatio natura universalis) climaxes with the comical “common sense” upon which it is based. As Deleuze explains,

“It cannot be regarded as a fact that thinking is the natural exercise of a faculty, and that this faculty is possessed of a good nature and a good will. ‘Everybody’ knows very well that in fact men think rarely, and more often under the impulse of a shock than in the excitement of a taste for thinking. Moreover, Descartes’ famous suggestion that good sense (the capacity for thought) is of all things in the world the most equally distributed rests upon no more than an old saying, since it amounts to reminding us that men are prepared to complain of lack of memory, imagination, or even hearing, but they always find themselves well served with regard to intelligence and thought.”[28]

Concluding to Look Ahead

Finally, by the time we reach the “repetition” of Deleuze’s reversal of Platonism, we have “merely” come full circle with Nietzsche. For repetition is the recognition that only difference returns, and that the earth is in a continual state of becoming. Difference, then, as opposed to Platonic imitation and representation, is the only productive force in life. But difference and repetition do not point to chaos as much as the ontological reality of our radical potential.

Deleuze is not seeking a beyond of either representation or the Cogitatio natura universalis so as to demolish the gravity of human experience itself, but instead to demonstrate how fragile, narrow, and self-serving is the modern understanding of that experience. If we are new and unique from one minute to the next – only being held in check by the representational image of thought that convinces us of both the permanence of the law bound material world and of the inevitability of contemporary human institutions – then there is an almost limitless number of opportunities for creation and for thinking and acting beyond the modern bourgeois order of life in a single day.

Reading Difference and Repetition makes it clear that, while Deleuze respects Plato for having created a concept (Idea) that thoroughly impacts upon life, he leaves Descartes and Kant bruised and bloodied in a Strasbourg ally. In all three cases, though, Deleuze contends that the Being promised to life is not only an illusion but one based in the comfort of imitation (representation) and the secure foundations of old values. Against these he champions the reality of difference and becoming, a love of creation, an adoration of the abyss, and the necessity of creating new values.


[1] Miguel de Beistegui, “The Deleuzian Reversal of Platonism,” in The Cambridge Companion to Deleuze, Daniel W. Smith and Henry Somers-Hall, eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 59.
[2] This paper was reviewed and edited by Adam Smith.
[3] Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 309 (note 6).
[4] Deleuze 1994: 138.
[5] See Alain de Benoist The Problem of Democracy, Pierre Krebs Fighting for the Essence, and Alexander Dugin The Fourth Political Theory; each published in English by Arktos Media.
[6] Alain de Benoist, Carl Schmitt Today, forthcoming from Arktos, 2013.
[7] Deleuze 1994: 6-7.
[8] Deleuze 1994: 54.
[9] Friedrich Nietzsche, “Twilight of the Idols,” in The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other Writings, trans. Judith Norman, ed. Judith Norman and Aaron Ridley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 162-66.
[10] Nietzsche 2005: 171.
[11] Nietzsche 2005: 171.
[12] See in particular entries 72-83 in Notebook 11, November 1887-March 1888. Friedrich Nietzsche, Writings from the Late Notebooks, trans. Kate Sturge, ed. Rüdiger Bittner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 211-15.
[13] de Beistegui 2012: 77.
[14] Deleuze 1994: 62-63.
[15] Deleuze 1994: 265.
[16] Deleuze 1994: 64
[17] Claire Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze (London: Routledge, 2002), 87.
[18] Deleuze 1994: 89-90.
[19] Transcendental empiricism is Deleuze’s metaphysics. While it is empirical – seeking only sensual data, or at least data that is free from an imposed conceptual schema – it is transcendental in as much as experience is assumed to pre-exist human sensory data. After all, we are not the only sensuous beings on earth.
[20] Cliff Stagoll, “Difference,” in The Deleuze Dictionary, Revised Edition. Adrian Parr, ed. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 75.
[21] Deleuze 1994: 32.
[22] Deleuze 1994: 265-66.
[23] Deleuze 1994: 266.
[24] James Williams, “Cogito,” in The Deleuze Dictionary, Revised Edition. Adrian Parr, ed. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 51.
[25] Deleuze 1994: 133.
[26] Deleuze 1994: 137.
[27] Williams 2010: 52.
[28] Deleuze 1994: 132.

Part 3

The Search for Smooth Space

Part Two of this examination of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari from a radical New Right perspective introduced the Deleuzian split between nomos and logos, and Deleuze’s insistence on difference as a radical counter to Plato’s Idea, to representational thought, as well as to the logic of the bourgeois Cogitatio natura universalis. While the paper presented Deleuze’s highly Nietzschean reading of post-Socratic Greece, its thinkers, and its forms of thought, as the triumph of decadence and degenerative social forces, it did so with the intention of promoting critical awareness of how the radical impetus of nomocentric thought can bolster forms of rebellion that are deeply entrenched in  logocentric thought.

As we move deeper into Deleuze’s philosophy – and connect it with that of Félix Guattari – the elaboration of nomos becomes more clearly a celebration of forms of thought that do not conform to the foundations of liberal modernity, which themselves become identified as “State-sponsored” thought. If he draws a line from Plato to the liberal nation-State, it is not only to highlight the relationship between forms of thought and political possibilities, but also to show that forms of thought and political structures directly represent instinctual forces and their appropriate valuation of values. For the New Right, this has critical ramifications, as the transvaluation of values must include the forms of thought that give rise to the State, as these also give rise to the bourgeois liberal values and evaluations against which we are aligned.

It is entirely probable that the primordial pre-Socratic form of Greek thought that some corners of the New Right seek to emulate stands in direct opposition to the logocentrism that spawned representative democracy, egalitarianism, and even race and nation. That there is something to Deleuze’s evaluation of nomos as a break with modern quantitative rationality is apparent to any good student of Homeric Greece, as the lack of orthodoxy regarding the composition and function of the Olympian deities has led scholars to claim that the Olympians, therefore, are not even religious entities. Of course, modern religion is a product of logos, so the confusion is perhaps one of instincts and not merely of evaluation.

In Capitalism and Schizophrenia (the collective title of the two-part series Anti-Oedipusand A Thousand Plateaus), nomos and logos become the bases of two new binary oppositions: schizophrenia and paranoia, and smooth and striated space, both of which set the ontological and epistemological boundaries between modern man and his revolutionary counterpart. It is hoped that at the conclusion of this series, more political actors on the Right edges of modernity will understand themselves and their project as the search for schizophrenia and smooth space.

Without giving away the punch line, this would entail a complete transvaluation of modern values and forms of thought, the subsequent disconnection from modernity that that would entail, and finally a reengagement with modernity as a revolutionary adversary that creates spaces of exteriority in the heart of the liberal State.[2] In this too-brief summary, one clearly sees the potential for the New Right and other forms of Right revolution to be on the front lines of what Thomas Nail calls a “return to revolution.” For what the true Right has made essential – and that the Left has never understood – is precisely the transvaluation of modern values. And while the Left only fights for a more inclusive and compassionate modernity,[3] the true Right fights to destroy modernity itself.[4]

The State, Capitalism, and Desire: Secondo la Guerra Lampo[5]

This, more than “cultural Marxism,” explains the exclusion of New Right thought from the Academy; for the New Right is simply beyond the terms of inclusion, and rightly so, as nothing revolutionary can be included in the State. From the State’s perspective (and in Deleuze’s language), the New Right is different. It is minor – at odds with truth and morality. It is a derelict space.

And in turn, the liberal State is a taxation and conscription machine. It is repressive and destructive of logos, nomos, creativity, and all critical thought.[6] It seeks only one thing: human energy to labor for its economy. Not White, Black, Latino, or any other particular human energy – just plain ol’ universal bourgeois human energy. It makes of citizenship a right to labor. It discriminates or outlaws discrimination only in the name of commerce.[7] It psychologizes every man, woman, and child – making a teleology of development – so as to optimize the economic value of each and all.

It cares nothing of peoples, homelands, races, ethnicities, genders, or individuals, but only uses these to produce more economic production – as markets of labor and the production of consumption. It is the enemy of art, cultural particularity, and the will – unless these can be brought into the service of the economy by reducing them to multicultural fads.

It is not, however, the enemy of Philosophy, History, Anthropology, Biology, or Political Science, because these and other disciplines are in the service of the State, making the Academy merely the finishing ground of the State’s bourgeois purpose.

It forces us to send our children to school, it asks us to be pious and attend church, it provides us with entertainment and employment, and demands only that we obey laws put in place for our own benefit – and at each and every turn we not only become the rational homo economicus, but are also given a plethora of rewards for participating in the form of life at hand.[8] And it makes sense, but how? It does all of this without ideology or deception, but instead with our deepest consent. For how could it not?

Enter Deleuze and Guattari, who created a philosophical system designed to explain how the liberal State works to create a particular (bourgeois) form of life that is craved like the corporate death burgers and sugary chemical drinks with which it is most closely associated. The point of entry into Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy involves the State, capitalism, and desire.

The liberal State is an agent of capitalism, providing rational, economically sensible labor from the vast flow of human potential, and economically exploitable resources from the equally vast flow of natural potential.

Capitalism is a system of unceasing economic production that successfully utilizes these flows while demanding nothing in return beyond unceasing production.

And desire is the human will to produce, consume, and make connections with life.

The State, then, codifies desire in order to produce bourgeois humans. Capitalism uses these humans, but at the same time undermines (decodes, or deterritorializes) the State’s codes by reducing all of life – even the previously useful codes like myth, tradition, life, death, tribe, and peoples – to economic rationality.

But desire is always aloof. Like capitalism, it desires only production: to flow, to explore, and to connect.[9] Give it homo economicus and American Idol, and it will function as required, quickly falling in love with the opportunity to produce and consume in a bourgeois manner. Tell desire that it is defined by lack, as modern State-sponsored thought demands, and it will see lack everywhere and seek to fill it with the spoils of the labor, democratic politics, and popular culture that the State provides. But recode desire to connect with transvaluation and the destruction of liberal modernity and it will create new possibilities for life.

Why, then, do the masses shun revolution? The easy answer is because they desirehomo economicus, the comfort and safety of the liberal State, and the productive and consumptive possibilities of capitalism. The more complicated answer is that homo economicus, the State, and capitalism are easy investments for our instincts and desire.

So, where is the potential for revolt? Well, the body, say Deleuze and Guattari, is a desiring-machine, and as said above, it will produce, flow, and connect by nature. The problem, ultimately, is with what modernity, the liberal State, and capitalism give the body to connect. This is why mere regime change is of little value, revolutionarily speaking.

The locus of revolution must be desire.[10] In order to create new decoded or deterritorialized flows of desire, we must first create spaces that cause breaks in the bourgeois order. These derelict spaces have to be zones of schizophrenic bodily decoding, wherein state-sponsored thought, capitalist production and consumption, and liberal humanism are no longer functional.[11]

Perhaps we are beginning to see why the New Right and other forms of Right revolution have a prominent role to play in the revolt against modernity prescribed by Deleuze and Guattari.

Félix Guattari: An Aside

We have yet to spend much time on either the life or philosophy of Félix Guattari. This is partly symptomatic of a general neglect of Guattari’s contributions to Deleuze’s philosophy found in the secondary literature on the duo,[12] but also a purposeful neglect based on Guattari’s political life and a favoring of Deleuze’s profound Nietzscheanism. Nonetheless, Guattari played an important role in turning Deleuze toward explicit political philosophy.

While Deleuze always remained a committed academic and professor – keeping a respectful distance from liberal and anti-liberal politics, Guattari remained a radical Trotskyite – becoming known in the French press as “Mr. Anti-” for his role in the politics of anti-colonialism, gay rights, prisoner rights, and environmentalism.[13] He befriended Antonio Negri when the radical Leftist sociologist fled to France in the wake of charges that his Autonomia Operaia movement was the brains behind Red Brigade terrorism. Guattari openly supported the Autonomia movement and celebrated Italy as the only site of true revolution in the West.

Theoretically, Guattari combined Lacanian psychoanalysis with radical Marxian anti-capitalism, seeking to find links between the productive energy of desire and the process of capitalist production. Anti-Oedipus is the apotheosis of this project, which came to fruition only after Deleuze imposed Nietzsche’s vitalist naturalism on the matter.

Toward Capitalism and Schizophrenia

Deleuze and Guattari met in 1969. The student uprising of the previous spring enchanted both of them, and they sought a way to explain the unscripted and uncontained unrest as a revolution. While Guattari’s approach led him to discern exploitable ruptures in the State and capitalist market, Deleuze further developed difference and nomos into political concepts capable of debilitating the liberal human.

These are not concepts that seek to create more inclusion in the modern project, but to offer a way beyond that project. Nomos, as we have already seen, was developed as a counter to Platonic forms of thought. In Capitalism and Schizophrenia it functions as a political metaphor for spatial dynamics of thought and social organization, with nomosbecoming nomadic thought and behavior, and logos, “State science,” and economic rationality. Politically, logos is the regime of modernity, while nomos leads one beyond the regime.

Likewise, difference (the great mass of individual specimens that resist all forms of representation and universalization) leads one beyond the regime of universalization and standardization promoted by statist logos. In the context of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, difference entails a relationship between majority – or, those who conform to the standard or ideal type of the collectivity in question – and minority – or, those who are defined by the gap between themselves and that standard.

Far from vulgar liberal politics of difference, which defends the right of the minority to be included in the majority by continually reconfiguring the standards of majority inclusion, Deleuze and Guattari propose the process of becoming-minor, wherein individuals and groups actively diverge from the majority. In other words, becoming-minor involves the same active transvaluation of the bourgeois form of life that has prompted the creation of the revolutionary Right. Becoming-minor, then, places the onus of revolutionary action squarely on our shoulders, as the potential for social transformation is not a determination of those seeking majority inclusion, but of those who are no longer subjugated by a majority.

Desire is crucial for Deleuze and Guattari’s politics of difference, because it is the location of power’s influence on the individual. In Marxist terms, desire is central to the infrastructure – investing it, organizing power, and even organizing systems of repression.[14] But against the Marxist orthodoxy that conceptualizes power as repressive, Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy gives power a positive and creative quality. Life, as the continual interaction of various desiring-machines, strives to preserve and enhance itself by connecting desires with other desires. These connections produce social wholes and communities, from the level of human populations to the relationship between wasps and orchids.[15]

Power, then, is not the repression of desire, but its expansion. Social wholes do not use ideology to repress desire but are themselves productive and positive, using desire to produce interests – the coded, regular, collective, and organized forms of desire that make it quantifiable. Given this explanation of desire, power, and social forms, one concludes that interests like humanism, capitalism, and egalitarianism have their roots in desire.[16] Clearly, desire and the investments that it produces can turn against life, becoming reactive and producing values and evaluations based in ressentiment. For, what do our investments in the bourgeois form of life make of us? The body, individualism, willful ignorance, greed, and moralism are not merely personal features added onto character but impersonal forces from which bourgeois character itself is effected. Being bourgeois, then, is a symptomology of a collection of investments, but, as the derelict space of the “true Right” has demonstrated, it can be broken.

Capitalism and Schizophrenia

Welcome to the world of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, the two-part opus that first seeks to explain how capitalism makes an economy of desire and then to demonstrate how to destroy that economy. It is a world of erudition for those who read it – a true marvel of philosophical exposition – but a cloth and paper Molotov for those who use it. In fact, in one of Deleuze and Guattari’s interviews about the bipartite philosophy (Anti-Oedipus[1983] and A Thousand Plateaus [1987]),[17] they suggested that the books have far more uses than merely being read, that they have no inherent purpose. One might even find them useful as gas soaked and burning projectiles to hurl at a police line.

Anti-Oedipus focuses primarily on the relationship between the individual and capitalism, while A Thousand Plateaus focuses on the individual and the State. Both volumes create a rich tapestry of concepts, theories, and examples – none of which, the authors insist, are to be read metaphorically – that change the function of almost every word in either book on multiple occasions. That being said, it is Anti-Oedipus that is more rewarding to the reader, but A Thousand Plateaus that best rewards the man in revolt.

Capitalism and Schizophrenia begins by explaining how unconscious desire gets invested in economic, social, and political fields.[18] Desiring-production (desire in machinic form, as it makes connections and investments) is repressed by social-production (the social manifestation of desiring-production) in order to create specific forms of life. Oedipus enters the fray as the form of repression specific to capitalist modernity. Deleuze and Guattari demonstrate this by comparing social-production in three social forms: savage, despotic/State, and capitalist.

In the savage form, life and desire are determined by a superabundance of codes that connect the individual to the tribe and earth. Kinship relations are strictly social and are designed to make connections amongst families, not to prohibit incest. Social-production is entirely social as well, with individuals sharing the fruits of labor. While this leads to a repression of the desire to directly appropriate ones own production, it is a form of life with an open system of debt that does not work to castrate the flow of life.[19]

In the despotic/State form, life and desire are still determined by codes but where they were once horizontally organized, they are now vertical, as all value flows to and from the despot. It is the despot who imposes infinite and unilateral debt paid as tribute, which Deleuze and Guattari – following Nietzsche – explain as the origin of money. This is an important thread running through both books, as money is not only bound up with guilt and debt but also with the establishment of transcendent standards of equivalence and value – acting in both senses as a judgment against life.[20]

But the despot also makes existence a form of infinite debt, as he holds the power to make and extinguish life at will. Thus he has access to every woman beneath him, creating an overcoding of desire that in turn makes incest a symbolic form of sexual normalcy and makes desire a desire of what one lacks. This infinite debt also diminishes, if not demolishes, the alliances that once created the boundaries between life and death.[21]

Under the despot, desire becomes entirely reactive, lashing out in ressentiment at the State, even when it is democratic in form. From the perspective of desire, the State is a system of continual terror, as it holds the permanent possibility of death over every subject, either through transgression of law or simply the needs of the State. It is here that one may begin to enquire about the possibilities of personal enemy formation that is at odds with the enemies provided by the State.[22]

Whereas the savage form of life was constructed territorially – that is, with a specific and grounded association between individual, tribe, and earth – the State makes these affiliations abstract, turning the earth into land capable of producing rent and resources. This is striated space – “drawn and riddled with lines of divide and demarcation that name, measure, appropriate, and distribute space according to political designs, history, or economic conflict” – that is appropriated by the State in a form of capture.[23] Capture is the process whereby a form of thought or sociality is forcefully brought under the domain of the State, detaching it from its previous purposes in order to serve those of the State. Deleuze and Guattari use anthropological and historical sources to explain capturing processes, focusing upon the transformation of earth into land, and political reason into public opinion.

While striated space is opposed by smooth space, the latter is not embodied in savage territory, but instead – as we shall soon see – in striated space made smooth by war machines that stand opposed to the State.[24]

This abstraction is a boon for capitalism, which follows the same path laid out by the State in disconnecting peoples from territory. However, it goes even further, reducing all of life to the market. In capitalism, the codes and overcodes that once governed conception and behavior have no value, as all meaning is eliminated from life (hence the first function of schizophrenia, as a form of normalcy of a life devoid of meaning). Where savagery and the despotic State had need of codes in order to arrange/codify desire to local forms of social-production, these codes now impede the purely abstract, and global economic, flows of capital. This is because all desiring-production and social-production now flows through the market. “Alliances and filiations no longer pass through people but through money.”[25]

And because the market that determines the possibilities of life under capitalism is devoid of meaning – providing only the pure truth of economic rationality – Deleuze and Guattari describe its social field as an axiomatic, or a domain that need not provide definitions of its constituent parts in order to function. The capitalist axiomatic controls flows without the introduction of a transcendent agent – making it the most lethal form of domination ever invented.[26] As Eugene Holland says, “were it not for the inconvenience of having human workers, managers, and consumers, capitalism would do nicely without any meanings whatsoever.”[27]

For these, however, capitalism is dependent upon the State, which, while still producing codes and meanings – job training for workers, research for schools and corporations, image making for marketing – these never add up to a stable global code that could challenge the axiomatic life. To make their message more clear, Deleuze and Guattari actually switch from discussing codes to territories (making codification = territorialization, decoding = deterritorialization, and recoding = reterritorialization), because without meaning there can be no codes.

Under the capitalist axiomatic, the limited access to consumption that defined the status of the individual vis-à-vis the savage tribe gives way to a hyper-consumption that is not designed to sate the lack-full desire of the individual but instead to sate the capitalist demand to produce at any cost. But, in fact, the desire of the individual is sated, making desire immanent to the system of production. Thus while the infinite despotic debt remains, it is paid to capital itself, allowing surplus-value to flourish as a road to redemption, and making the individual a happy component of the ceaseless creation of capitalist over-production.

In other words (those of Deleuze and Guattari), capitalism deterritorializes the codes and meanings provided human life by savage and despotic/Statist forms of life – leaving the human in a position wherein the possibility of creating new values is possible. But, this moment is ever-so fleeting, as the axiomatic reterritorializes desire in the terms of the surplus-values of capitalist production. This, then, is not the terrain of the Marxist opposition between labor and owners of capital, but between the social-production of surplus-value and its private ownership and management, whereby sociality (desiring-production connected to a conformity-machine) and labor (desiring production connected to a profit-machine) are quantifiable in the terms of the production and consumption that valorize capitalism.[28]

However, this is a continual process, and as such, capitalism will soon enact a deterritorialization of the desire it previously reterritorialized in order to maintain production and the flow of capital. Over time, and from the perspective of the liberal State, this process establishes the purely economic basis of all social institutions. But, while all institutions are apparently social, the one major exception is the nuclear family, which becomes the site of a private submission to the authority and sensibility of the bourgeois regimentation of life.

Deleuze and Guattari return to Nietzsche’s suggestion that money is not only about exchange but also debt and guilt, making these central to how capitalism is lived by individuals. And this, as suggested above, is what makes capitalism truly insidious. Devoid of meaning but in need of subjects (laborers and consumers), capitalism hands responsibility for creating these subjects to the State.

But the State is beholden only to capitalism, so it leaves subject formation up to the family, and for the first time, makes reproduction a “private” affair. While this is the origin of the Oedipus complex, as primal sexuality is focused on members of the immediate family that are forbidden it (training desire to manifest itself as lack), it is also the perfect domain for making production, consumption, and submission a matter of free will, choice, opinion, taste, aesthetics, and many more bourgeois justifications. Thus, the State’s work is done for it by the family, and children are inculcated in the process by an unending succession of advertising, leisure activities, learning actions, and even food digestions that all point to the primacy of both the capitalist axiomatic and the bourgeois codes of the liberal State: produce to consume, movement is money, money is freedom.

The Nomadic War Machine against the State

But all the while, desire is flowing, wanting only to produce, taking no joy in consumption. This, for Deleuze and Guattari, is what points to a beyond modernity, especially when combined with the destruction of codes and the deterritorialization of desire inherent in capitalism. While the system seems monolithic – especially and perhaps exclusively from America – it is inherently unstable; but that instability can only be exploited if desire goes to war with capitalism and liberal modernity.

Deleuze and Guattari posit schizophrenia as a revolutionary process. Whereas the first function of schizophrenia, mentioned above, is a form of normalcy in an axiomatic life devoid of meaning, the second is as a radical opposition to Statist paranoia. At the macropolitical level, this opposition explains the contrary needs of the State and capitalism, in that capitalism seeks the diminution of the State and the creation of a single global market and what Deleuze and Guattari call “universal history.” The liberal State obliges these goals particularly because its entire existence is predicated on the triumph of the capitalist axiomatic, and not the elevation or well-being of its subjects. In this light, multiculturalism, security, and the prohibition against certain forms of violence are laid bare as tools of axiomatization.

At the micropolitical level, schizophrenia and paranoia become poles in an opposition based upon the nomocentric and logocentric forms of thought. Nomos as schizophrenia is the tool of the nomadic war machine – individuals, groups, or processes that lie beyond the sovereignty (or interiority) of the State – that can take the form of anything from social relations and methods of production to nomadic tribes and squadristi. And, while the war machine is often schizophrenic, it is less often revolutionary, because it is not enough to escape the State, but to “make what one is escaping escape.”[29]

In other words, revolution is not merely ascetic but must actively engage in warfare against the State. “The state is sovereignty,” say Deleuze and Guattari, “but sovereignty only reigns over what it is capable of internalizing, or appropriating locally.”[30] Sovereignty and appropriation bring us back to the idea of the State as a mechanism of capture, whereby communities (or local particularities) are brought into a general space of comparison – in which access is equal and free to all whom the State judges worthy (in effect justifying the capitalist axiomatic in one fell swoop by making money the adjudicating factor) – and sovereign power – through which the Good of the State trumps all other considerations of value.

Given this conception of sovereignty, logocentric thought becomes the lingua franca of the liberal State, with its paranoid insistence upon codifying and territorializing every aspect of life, as well as its normalization of universal conceptions of man.

But, while we are witnessing the omnipresent universalization of the bourgeois human, it is not the State that is driving his apotheosis but capitalism. For while there are many spaces of dereliction – smooth space that can neither be codified nor axiomatized – in relation to the State, there are less so in relation to the capitalist market. This explains why the post-WWII liberal State has allowed capitalism to dictate its foreign and domestic policy.

Much of A Thousand Plateaus consists of either making smooth space of one’s image of thought or of presenting a myriad of (mainly scientific and anthropological) examples of types of war machines and the lines of flight that they may use to escape the State. The important thing to remember is that escape is possible. In one of their most interesting chapters on nomadology and the war machine Deleuze and Guattari use Georges Dumézil – a fascist philologist who studied the creation of sovereignty in modern States – and Pierre Clastres – a radical anthropologist who studied how nomadic tribes in South America used agonic war as a tool to keep the State from capturing its people and territory – to explain the necessary gulf between the State and the war machine.[31]

Via Clastres, Deleuze and Guattari conclude that the liberal State ultimately uses labor to capture the war machine, by reducing warring to a job while keeping space striated so that men cannot war on their own behalf.[32]

While nomadic warriors vanished from Europe because of a process of capture involving sovereignty and the appropriation of the right to wage war, there are still aspects of European life that are irreducible – and exterior – to the State. These can be formalized in a line from Nietzsche’s thought to the examples of ultra-localism that have erupted since the establishment of the European Union. In other words, new forms of sovereignty, just like forms of representation, always leave a large swath of experience running free. While these experience used to be understood as civil society, they are now something much less central to State sovereignty due to the development of neo-liberal methods of controlling civil society through capitalism, communication, and perpetual connection to a global village.[33] Instead, Deleuze and Guattari point to the always local and particular instances of exteriority (like CasaPound Italia) that do not have to rival the sovereignty of the State but only call it into question. The challenge for these types of experiences, as mentioned above, is to do more than just escape, but to become-revolutionary.

The New Right, Right anarchism, and secessionism each point to a type of becoming-minor that can become-revolutionary. From the perspective of the war machine, the logic of the State is not all or nothing, but a relationship between interiority and exteriority: being at once engulfed by, and beyond, the State. While this is a dangerous existence, it is also one that affords maximum opportunities for revolutionary engagement.

The challenge to Deleuze and Guattari posed by the revolutionary Right hinges upon its own reading of Nietzsche’s naturalism. Does becoming – and becoming-revolutionary in particular – that points to a line of flight beyond the bourgeois liberal human look like peace or agon? Does modernity impose peaceful coexistence with impersonal forces of mediocrity on human desire or something else? Deleuze and Guattari ignored these questions, even while proposing that desiring-production is made knowable through Nietzsche’s – rather than Freud’s and Marx’s – engagement with modernity. Knowing the answers to these questions makes the true Right a nascent war machine.


As this concludes the critical exposition of Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy, it should be noted that several works by both authors – and many by each of them – have been ignored. The most important of these is What Is Philosophy? (1994), the last book Deleuze and Guattari wrote together. But while the book was ignored, its focus on philosophy as an exercise in the creation of concepts was not. In fact, the idea of creation – along with affirmation – has been central to this series of papers.

Affirmation as Nietzsche, Deleuze, and Guattari understand it, is the basis of a noble form of life; that is, a form of life that does not condemn as its primary energy and intensity, that knows and needs nothing of an oppositional force to justify its existence, that is critical in valuation and evaluation on its own terms. In sum, it is the diametric transvaluation ofressentiment. This affirmation is what separates the “true Right” from the liberal Right, the liberal Left, and illiberal Left.

However, this is not always apparent, given our propensity for “outing” our adversaries. But, as the conclusory paper to this series will make clear, to be a successful war machine we need to make use of every single weapon at our disposal. We must also have a greater desire to create than to destroy. As said Deleuze:

What we most lack is a belief in the world, it has been taken from us. If you believe in the world you precipitate events, however inconspicuous, that elude control, you engender new space-times, however small their surface or volumes. Our ability to resist control, or our submission to it, has to be assessed at the level of our every move. We need both creativity and a people.[34]


[1] Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), 139.
[2] Thomas Nail, Returning to Revolution: Deleuze, Guattari, and Zapatismo (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012), 50.
[4] This paper, like the two that preceded it, rests on an explanation of the revolutionary potential of both the New Right and Nietzschean transvaluation. But as was the case with the first two parts, this paper will move in directions that might obscure that avowed goal, as it will problematize many aspects of New Right thought – bringing to the fore the question of whether or not the New Right truly seeks to destroy modernity, or just make it less inclusive and compassionate.
[5] A lightning strike. This is a very light glossing of Capitalism and Schizophrenia’s political philosophy that is meant only to orient the reader. In no way does it suffice as an explanation Capitalism and Schizophrenia.
[6] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 442–43.
[7] The regulation of interstate commerce was the linchpin of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
[8] Brian Massumi, A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari (Cambridge: Swerve/MIT Press, 1992), 125.
[9] Gilles Deleuze and Fèlix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), 345.
[10] Félix Guattari, Chaosophy, Sylvére Lotringer, ed. (New York: Semiotext(e), 1995), 62.
[11] Functional is used in opposition to meaning. Deleuze and Guattari, unlike deconstructionists, care nothing about meaning, as it is erased from being human by Capitalism.
[12] Gary Genosko, “Deleuze and Guattari: Guattareuze & Co.” in The Cambridge Companion to Deleuze, Daniel W. Smith and Henry Somers-Hall, eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 154.
[13] Ian Buchanan, Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus (London: Continuum, 2008), 5.
[14] Gilles Deleuze, Desert Islands and Other Texts, 1953–1974, trans. Michael Taormina (Cambridge: Semiotext(e)/MIT Press, 2004), 264.
[15] A Thousand Plateaus 10.
[16] Claire Colebrook, Gilles Deleuze (London: Routledge, 2002), 91.
[17] For those seeking the context in which these ideas arose, Anti Oedipus was published in French in 1972 and A Thousand Plateaus in 1980.
[18] Deleuze 2004: 228.
[19] Anti-Oedipus 146.
[20] Eugene W. Holland, Nomad Citizenship: Free-Market Communism and the Slow-Motion General Strike (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 7.
[21] Eugene W. Holland, Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis (London: Routledge, 1999), 78.
[22] Anti-Oedipus 196.
[23] Tom Conley, “Space,” in The Deleuze Dictionary, Revised Edition. Adrian Parr, ed. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2010), 262.
[24] Deleuze 2004: 33.
[25] Anti-Oedipus 264.
[26] A Thousand Plateaus 460.
[27] Holland 1999: 21.
[28] Anti-Oedipus 250.
[29] Anti-Oedipus 341.
[30] A Thousand Plateaus 360.
[31] A Thousand Plateaus 351–60.
[32] A Thousand Plateaus 490–91.
[33] Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations, 1972–1990, trans. Martin Joughin (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 177–82.
[34] Negotiations 176.

Part 4


A Commentary on Deleuze, Guattari, and the New Right

“Deleuze, Guattari, and the New Right” was written for four reasons, equally ontological and epistemological. The first is the easiest to state: I want the New Right to begin thinking of itself as a revolution against modernity, not just a beautiful and deep critique of modernity. Epistemologically that means thinking all the way to the extreme edges of what is currently knowable, into derelict spaces and radical images of thought. Ontologically, that means taking seriously all of the means of revolt at our disposal.

The second is pragmatic: not only must the University of the New Right be able to critique postmodernism in a form that is worthy of the seriousness of its critique of modernity, but also to use it when necessary. In the course of writing these papers, I learned that many of us have been inculcated in the language and forms of critical thought promoted in the Western Academy; and that while we chafed at the reification of non-Western forms of life with the sole purpose of devaluing the West, we were still introduced to a critique of bourgeois modernity in the process.

But our instructors in the Academy could not have anticipated how we would use that critique; or that we would be the only ones to truly take it to heart, seeing the bourgeois human as a form of imprisonment created precisely to eliminate particularity and variance amongst peoples. After all, we are the majority that all minorities strive to become. This, in Deleuzian terms, is what makes the revolutionary Right so exciting, for we are the only possibility for revolt extant in the West today.

Our becoming-minor not only destroys the legitimacy of the bourgeois human, but also the legitimacy of the regimes of truth and morality that support all minority claims to majority status. In other words, our will to destroy the bourgeois form of life changes the terms of debate, leaving those who cling to notions of an inclusive and forgiving modernity looking like simpleminded philistines. This is why I too hoped that the Boston Marathon bombers had been white males, for when our revolution reaches that stage the world will know that something monumental has happened.[2] The old minorities will not only be the majority at that point, but they will be the only ones with anything to gain from the continuation of liberal politics.

The third reason these papers were written is strategic. To be sure, Deleuze and Guattari are on the margins of postmodernism, themselves critiquing deconstruction and the cult of degeneracy while insisting upon the necessity of ontology and metaphysics. But as they focus their critical philosophy on capitalism and the homogenizing forces of the liberal State, there should be no question about their usefulness to our critical stance against the contemporary world.

As a movement that has its origins in a number of variant sources – Hegel, Herder, Kant, Plato, ethno-Statism, National Socialism, Fascism, militarism, Nietzsche, anarchism, Mishima, vitalism, Evola, Guénon, Traditionalism, White Power, Third Way, Fourth Way, and so on – there is no reason to believe that we cannot add Deleuzian philosophy to that mix. Below I will consider the revolutionary consequences of doing so. Briefly put, Deleuze allows us to see problems that our canonical thinkers do not, while also clarifying the distance between the Hegel/Plato/ethno-State component of our revolt and the Nietzsche/anarchy/vitalism component. Before reading Deleuze, I felt that this divide would destroy the New Right before it could become revolutionary, for my natural inclination is “an eye for order, what’s in line.”[3] Now, however, I believe that it is a critical aspect of what makes us revolutionary at all.

The fourth reason I wrote these papers is Nietzsche. Soon after accepting the responsibility to write on Deleuze and Guattari, I realized that my previous reading of the duo was too dated to be of any value to the revolutionary Right. While it is true that my original reading of their philosophy propelled me into the world of Fascism, I was still too immature a reader of their work to make sense of it on its own terms. Even now, I am thrilled to find Nietzsche seeping through every concept, and I constantly fall back on Roman experiences of contemporary Italy in order to qualify Deleuzian attacks on the State; because as an American, I have never felt that a pre-Statist (and thus post-Statist) form of life is even conceivable that does not involve teepees and sweat lodges.

But it was Nietzsche more than Rome that gave me an “in” into Deleuze. Deleuze’sNietzsche and Philosophy is the single most explosive and radical work of philosophical explication I have ever read. Even though I was trepidatious when I opened it, two paragraphs into the book I was convinced of its merits. His focus on the transvaluation of the form – and not just content – of thought is earthshattering for a Nietzschean. Deleuze’s Nietzsche cannot be content with transvaluing values, but instead revels in the transvaluation of evaluation. “Nietzsche,” he says,

Does not see ressentiment and bad conscience and their common fruit as simple psychological events, but rather as the fundamental categories of Semitic and Christian thought, of our way of thinking and interpreting existence in general. Nietzsche takes on the task of providing a new ideal, a new interpretation, and another way of thinking.[4]

That not all of us are strident readers of Nietzsche is clear, but I wrote on Deleuze with the intention of making his Nietzsche the Nietzsche of the revolutionary Right. And I did so to ensure that – if taken to heart – this revolution entails the complete destruction of every aspect of modernity creative of, and operative in, our very bodies.

Smooth Space: the Liberal State and the Revolutionary Right

Deleuze and Guattari’s attack on the liberal State has the potential to be the most far reaching of their forays into New Right territory. There are at least three reasons for saying so. One, Capitalism and Schizophrenia paints a convincing picture not only of the depth of capitalism’s undermining of anything primordial still operative in bourgeois men and women, but also of the real possibilities for revolt. Two, these revolutionary possibilities involve a declaration of war against capitalism and the liberal State. And three, this war must commence with a deep understanding of what vitalist impact capitalism, liberalism, and the State have on us – especially given the bourgeois origins of Statist and universalist notions of the human.

In other words, there is no revolt if we are not transformed in the process. While it seems, in fact, that the true revolt will occur two generations removed from our destruction of modernity, Deleuze and Guattari propose that desiring-production will change immediately upon its removal from the bourgeois form of life, pointing to the importance of derelict spaces and their role in our revolutionary potential and experience.

Derelict spaces, smooth space, and nomadic war machines are social transformation-machines. They not only disrupt the processes of capitalist decoding and Statist liberal overcoding, but also the systemic entanglement, or capture, that defines our relationship with modernity. As the majoritarian examples of the modern human – the ones who maximize not only the Faustian but also the Last Man impulses of modernity – no one has been more deeply and intimately bound up with bourgeois instincts, images of thought, and forms of life.[5]

It is no small thing to reject our birthright; but I always wonder (thanks mostly to my original reading of Deleuze and Guattari) how much our conceptual sense-making apparatus keeps us ensnared by what we aim to destroy. “There is enslavement,” Deleuze and Guattari remind us, “when human beings themselves are constituent pieces of a machine that they compose among themselves and with other things (animals, tools) under the control and direction of a higher unity.”[6] The goal of nomadic thought is liberation from such a machine, and affirmation is its tool.

We must continue to create moments of hesitation and confusion in ourselves – wherein violence forces thought to think. Through such events, thought becomes thinking, but it also becomes active instead of reactive. Nietzsche implored thought to “dance” and to become “light,” to affirm difference, distance, and becoming. But the powers of creating affirmative thought are violent, and they are the foundation of Nietzsche’s understanding of culture. Negation and ressentiment do not create culture, but only lash out childishly at the world at hand.[7] Only that which affirms creates. But remember that we are doubly ensnared because, not only is the contemporary world the embodiment of negation andressentiment, but so is our image of thought.

Thus, to think in the terms of the modern logoi is to think via negation. It is the job of the State to ensure that thinking never encounters the “forces that do it violence.”[8] The revolutionary Right has the potential to be a firestorm of just such forces, for amongst our ranks are men and women who already understand the physiological bases of conceptualization; they must now understand the physiological bases of rebellion as well. Smooth space is affirmative space – affirmative potentialities for thought to become thinking, and for New Right thinkers to become New Right revolutionaries.

But, smooth space alone does not guarantee the efficacy of a line of flight away from liberal enslavement. It must be utilized – the epistemology must become ontology! – to make problems of each instance of our continual becoming-liberal. In other words, smooth space is only smooth when it demands that we create a new form of life. Things, events, thoughts, and people can neither be taken for granted nor given free passes; but should be subjected to continual evaluation.

For instance, how does Hegel’s elevation of the State keep us seeking a modern solution to modernity? How much of Hegel’s thought on the State is merely a teleological justification of his contemporary reality? How much of the energy of organic populations and peoples was destroyed by the imposition of the liberal State? How were the pre-Christian/pre-Statist forms of life – kinship systems, social structures, economies, population flows, religious practices, warring traditions, manhoods, wonders, joys, fears, motivations, knowledges, wisdoms – that many of us seek to emulate, impacted upon by the creation of the despotic State and its concomitant representational unification of humanity?[9]

These are the types of questions that Deleuze forces us to ask ourselves. They are questions that resonate with revolutionary Rightists because we already inhabit smooth spaces – our possibilities are no longer conditioned by the liberal equality-machine. But the answers to the questions and problems that we create are critically important, for they will either lead us to become increasingly minor and revolutionary or straight back into the loving arms of liberal modernity.

The answers usually point to the need for a serious understanding of the relationship between the State and whatever utopian future we envision. For my part, the answers have led me to begin thinking seriously about anarchism – and especially its relevance for the Übermensch – for the first time in my life.

Race, Nation, and War Machine

This brings us to the elephant in the room: why am I here? More specifically: it brings us to the question of the revolutionary potential of race and nation. Epistemically, race was created as a bourgeois project and was destroyed as a bourgeois project. Ontologically, it has avoided its epistemological fate, largely because of its comforting value to liberal racial minorities.

All of the Academy’s efforts to shift racial discourse toward ethnicity and multiculturalism fail only on this account. But even if multiculturalism is rejected by those it ostensibly aims to help, this is an incorrect assessment of the dogma’s implementation, because, as the New Right correctly understands, the diminution of race discourse and racial knowledge and the commoditization of ethnicity was only ever intended to de-racialize one race.

And because of this, the North American New Right holds on to race like grim death. Ironically, and despite so many appeals to primordial and genetic racial characteristics, this has left it defending the two linchpins of modernity: race and nation; as well as standing alone amongst the various New Rights as both the progenitors and descendants of white racial nationalism.

But really, all of the threads of the New Right are knotted to this issue. Race is the essence of logocentrism, seeking not only to bind the various humans into one universal family, but to quantify them as well. But, as it has become outlawed in State-sponsored thought, race has shifted to a form of nomos, grounding only those who stand beyond modern truth and morality.

Further muddling the issue is the suggestion, à la Nietzsche and Deleuze, that what we think of as primordial racial groups – those defined by genetic and cultural similitude in opposition to other groups – were, in Greece at least, the oppositional basis of the establishment of Platonic political citizenship.[10] In other words, the Platonic republic was the basis of a citizen-type based on “good thought, good laws, good arms, and good people bounded together by the practices of law and citizenship” at the expense of an idea of community based in kinship, blood, and likeness.[11]

So not only might we have a conception of racial primordialism that is less than secure in its foundations, but we have the ethno-Statist champion – Plato – being presented on the side of what can certainly be called modern forms of citizenship at the expense of what can also certainly be called the antecedents of modern race. Gregory Flaxman notices a similar juncture in Plato’s Republic, wherein Socrates exposes the autochthony of the Athenian aristocracy as a “noble lie” so that a transcendent value and motivational cudgel may be provided to each of the classes of Athenian social and political life.[12]

That Deleuze and Nietzsche problematize race is certain, but I suggest that they make the concept more radical. Plato understood that the organic nature of peoplehood posed a problem for the Athenian State, because it proposes a hyper-exclusive form of altruistic co-identification. I have already placed this primordial racial group, or people, on the side of nomos, because peoplehood – while internally stratified and hierarchical – operates in a context, or plane of immanence, that is organized horizontally.

Johann Fichte updated peoplehood first as motherland – which entails a sense of shared community and common culture – and then as nation – which combines community and culture with responsibility and trust.[13] In contemporary Europe, the normalcy of these peoples, motherlands, and nations is perhaps seeing its last days. Nonetheless, it is this level of organization, cohesion, and production that one is enchanted by there, more often than not in spite of the liberal State.

Platonic citizenship opposes the nation with a form of liberal political inclusiveness that seeks transcendent despotic values with which to judge claims to inclusion. Fichte understood this level of inclusiveness, and the protection it affords, first as fatherland – which prescribes above all a sense of order on the motherland – and then as the State – which combines order with defensive protection.[14]

Fichte, Deleuze, and Nietzsche point to an organic form of organization and responsibility in much the same way as Yockey (and Evola). And while Fichte ultimately does so in order to justify the State, Yockey turns the logic being presented here into a two-pronged explanation of race itself, as a “spirituo-biological community.”[15] And while he explains the Enlightenment notions of biological racial stocks, he is clearly more interested in how these stocks are thought to produce culture through the interaction of sprit with the processes of history.[16] In other words, he consistently points to a nomocentric understanding of race.

Yockey’s political abhorrence of liberalism perhaps explains why this is so, especially given the virtual nonexistence of the nomos-peoplehood-motherland-nation line of conceptualization in American history. Given the explanation of the liberal State in the third paper in this series, it is easy to see why America – the quintessential lapdog of capitalism – has no need of the forms of primordial codes being discussed here asnomos, but has had a great affinity for the race of the Enlightenment.[17]

It is in this context that Deleuze applies nomos to modern liberal politics, making it a useful weapon in the fight against standardization and homogenization. What we must understand is how the liberal State is bound up with a form of racial logocentrism that panders to capitalism’s needs for standardized workers capable of being judged by a rationalist common standard of value. In other words, race as it is discussed in biological terms, is bound up with the bourgeois marketization and mobization of man being promoted by liberalism as the contemporary basis of being human.

This is why race does not ring true for many European peoples. In Italy, for example, the subsumption of extreme local particularity by the imposition of a racial, or even national, model makes no sense to communities that are still defined organically. Everything native to Italian life points to extreme heterogeneity and difference. Even criminology, born in the 1880s in northern Italy, was designed to demonstrate the differences between northern and southern Italians.[18] And Serie A – the national soccer league – while being created by Fascism to unite the peninsula, was dismissed as a huge mistake because it exacerbated, rather than cooled, regional and civic rivalries.[19]

Homogeneity, by contrast, is implemented by the liberal State through the teaching of a common language and skills for standardized labor. Public education and mass media homogenize people into citizens and laborers. The local artisan traditions and vernacular order that define the nomocentric organization of the Italian’s local experience have been consistently under assault by the liberal State, enough so that people in Rome – more a large conglomeration of villages than iconic global city – often discuss the State as an occupying force.

Ultimately, I am suggesting that the racial origins and values being sought by many in the North American New Right lie not in Platonic logos – only finding that form in the 17th Century and the dawn of high modernity – but in a form of organization closer to Deleuze’s nomos. American racial thought has been dominated by logocentrism precisely because Americans have never been codified with smaller organic forms of community, but instead with abstract and quantifiable – liberal – notions of race meant only to standardize. This liberal understanding of race must die with modernity.

That being said, the New Right elevation of race in the contemporary revolt against modernity might not belong to the smooth space in which our revolutionary potential will be realized, but – more importantly for today – it does act as a war machine that moves us toward that space. Today, beyond all utopias, white racial consciousness is a break with modernity and the needs of the liberal capitalist State. It is a line of flight beyond what this world needs from us. It makes problems of every element of control. Thus it is better off in the hands of New Right radicals than in the halls of liberal justice. It is better off asnomos than as logos.

We Are the Real Subalterns, Revisited

In the preface to the Deleuze and Guattari papers, I suggested that we need to denude ourselves of notions that we are the rightful heirs of the liberal West, and instead take a minoritarian-revolutionary position against the West that mirrors those taken by other dissident and subjugated groups. America cannot be conserved, for there is nothing here worthy of conservation. Liberalism and the bourgeois form of life must be liquidated. And the State must dissolve into air.

We must understand how much of our freedom and daily autonomy has nothing to do with the State;[20] that the State, instead, acts to overcode, direct, and control every impulse and every quantum of puissance that our bodies produce. Remember the foundations of Nietzsche’s naturalism: the State, liberalism, and modernity – in short, the bourgeois form of life – are based in the ressentiment and bad conscience of the Hebraic ascetic denial and persecution of life. Adding the State to the forms of bourgeois weakness we already attack is what will make us a revolution.

Taking such a position entails an end to our defensive posture against terrorism and immigration – for anything that weakens the State or the people’s faith and confidence in the State is good for us. This means the aforementioned terrorism and immigration, as well as assaults on seemingly normative institutions like marriage – whose codified power vanished with the advent of capitalism – citizenship, and constitutional rights should be championed. Anything that creates disharmony, disillusionment, discouragement, and disgust is our friend.

“The formal order of the liberal State depends fundamentally on a social capital of habits of mutuality and cooperation that antedate it, which it cannot create, and which, in fact, it undermines.”[21] Scott suggests that we engage in and support massive noninstitutionalized disruptions like riots, attacks on property, unruly demonstrations, arson, theft, and the open defiance of established institutions so as to weaken the local capturing apparatuses of the State.[22] Harold Covington says that ultimately it is the accountants who pull the plug on a colonial occupation. But to that we must add that they only do so after the natives force the occupying force to retreat.

As Nietzsche advised us in Beyond Good and Evil, the processes of democratization, mediocratization, and ultimately the destruction of Europe should not be bemoaned or impeded on our part. But instead, these should be accelerated and applauded, for they hold the key to the conception of the types of men and women that will recreate the gore and glory of the pre-liberal world in a new form of life.[23]

Revolutionary Strategies

1. Sidle and Straddle[24]

The beauty, glory, traditions, and peoples of Europe will not perish with the fall of the West but will instead therewith be liberated. This leitmotif has prompted many European Right radicals to unite with numerous forms of mobilization against globalization. This creates a front against which the State has difficulty strategizing. In these events – seen in Athens, Rome, Genoa, Seattle, Berlin, and Paris – Left and Right no longer have a liberal context. Particularly in the recent upheavals in Athens and Rome, fascist and communist dissidents fought the police and attacked the banks and other symbols of multinational capitalism side by side.

I am proposing that the New Right unite with other revolutionary forms such as Right anarchism and secessionism, but also the illiberal Left, in a similar stratagem.

Within the revolutionary Right we must think revolutionarily about what we are doing – like outsiders. Our war will be fought in many spaces of the neo-liberal State, and thus we need to act in those spaces, thinking more about the battle (the becoming) than the war (the Being). At times logos will be necessary, at others nomos; likewise fascism and anarchism, headlong assault and camouflage.

2. Camouflage

Life in the contemporary neo-liberal West is predicated upon the involvement of each and all in a global marketplace. Just as the Italians use their nomocentric particularity as a break on Statist homogenization, they use the same nomocentrism to protect themselves and their communities from the ravages of global capitalism. This tactic involves people from every age, income, and political demographic uniting against corporate-driven immigration and expansion of control over civic spaces like piazzas, monuments, and parks. While such situations are less readily apparent in America, we must still attempt to make use of such camouflaging by involving more and more types of people in our struggle.

Another more obvious camouflage is related to sidling and straddling. We should continue to support the amorphous nature of Counter-Currents and Attack the System, which publish articles on a wide range of subjects and perspectives. Although the editors of these sites might have strict ideological reasons for selecting content, from the perspective of strategy the variance between my work and that of Matt Parrott, for instance, keeps our enemies off balance and unable to attack and dismiss us with a singular spearhead.

Likewise, it provides our struggle with vitality and various points of contact with those who might join our ranks. Greg Johnson is to be commended for designing Counter-Currents with this strategic initiative in mind.

3. Derelict Spaces

As Deleuze and Guattari say, the State and revolution is a game of interiority and exteriority – about creating zones of exteriority within the State, and using these as a way to mobilize rebellion. Hakim Bey describes these spaces as temporary autonomous zones – or nomadic camps from which to strike the authority of the State, both ontologically and epistemologically – that entail a type of “psychic nomadism,” or culture of disappearance from the sovereignty of the State.[25] The New Right is a war machine that will lead us to the smooth space of the revolutionary Right.

Certainly, we have utopian visions of a post-liberal world, but these visions should not cloud our ability to think strategically in the present. As I mentioned in “Subalterns,” look at what the New Right has already done to liberate whiteness from the liberal understanding of being-bourgeois. This is a strategic victory that has brought whiteness into a nomocentric relationship with the logos of the State, acting as a derelict bulkhead against liberal truth and morality.

Derelict spaces can be words, thoughts, and philosophies (Nietzsche is Deleuze’s favorite derelict space) and the ever-more virtual spaces they inhabit, but they need also be geographic and physical-spatial as well. Homes, social clubs, restaurants, and neighborhoods can act as lines of flight. But as our whiteness example makes clear, we cannot be content to just disconnect from the world but must aspire to transform it. This is the ultimate usefulness of autonomous derelict spaces, and it demands that they be interstitial more so than isolated.

4. Stop the World/Start the World

Jack Donovan’s call to “start the world” is the perfect call to arms for Right revolution, but first we must adequately disconnect “the automatic circuits between regularized stimuli and habitual responses . . . as if a crowbar had been inserted into the interlocking network of standardized actions and trajectories constituting the world as we know it.”[26] I am arguing that the revolutionary Right acts as such a crowbar, creating a deterritorialized zone in which the bourgeois form of life ceases to function.

Becoming-revolutionary involves different speeds. Sometimes a snail’s pace will serve our needs, while at other times we will be best served by the speed of sound. But the point is to keep moving toward the restarting of the world on our own terms.


“Deleuze, Guattari, and the New Right” was written to introduce Deleuze and Guattari’s thought to the audience best suited for revolution in the West. But as their work is predicated upon decentering the liberal human in each of us, it is hoped that each of us feels terribly violated and infuriated by what I have represented of their thought. Anyone seeking their own relationship with the duo will undoubtedly find their Leftist orientation problematic. But if one reads them revolutionarily, that is, with what their concepts mean to us right now, then their Leftism becomes as irrelevant as someone’s Rightism. The only thing that matters in our war is whether or not it helps us achieve victory.


[1] Brian Massumi, A User’s Guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1992), 8.
[3] Lyric from “What if we give it away?” by R.E.M.
[4] Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. Hugh Tomlinson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 21.
[5] Brian Holmes, Escape the Overcode: Activist Art in the Control Society (Eindhoven: Van Abbemuseum/WHW, 2009), 354-57.
[6] Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 456.
[7] Deleuze 2006: 108
[8] Deleuze 2006: 109
[9] James C. Scott, The Art of Not Being Governed: an Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), 187-88.
[10] Ivan Hannaford, Race: The History of an Idea in the West (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 18.
[11] Hannaford 1996: 18-20
[12] Gregory Flaxman, Gilles Deleuze and the Fabulation of Philosophy: Powers of the False, Volume 1 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012), 151-55.
[13] Johann Fichte, Addresses to the German Nation, Gregory Moore ed. and trans. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 104-13.
[14] Fichte 2008: 130-39
[15] Francis Parker Yockey, Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics (Newport Beach, CA: Noontide Press, 2000), 277.
[16] Yockey 2000: 273-91
[17] Michael O’Meara, “Yockey’s Manifesto of European Destiny,” in Francis Parker Yockey, The Proclamation of London (Indianapolis: Wermod and Wermod, 2012), xxviii.
[18] Jane Schneider, “Neo-Orientalism in Italy (1848-1895),” in Italy’s Southern Question: Orientalism in One Country, Jane Schneider ed. (Oxford: Berg, 1998), 10.
[19] Simon Martin, Football and Fascism: The National Game Under Mussolini (Oxford: Berg, 2004), 49.
[20] James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012), xx.
[21] James C. Scott 2012: xxii
[22] James C. Scott 2012: xvii
[23] Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future, trans. Judith Norman, ed. Rolf-Peter Horstmann and Judith Norman (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 133-34 (242).
[24] These strategic headings were taken from Massumi 1992: 103-6
[25] Hakim Bey, T.A.Z. The Temporary Autonomous Zone (Pacific Publishing Studio, 2011), 75 & 91.
[26] Massumi 1992: 103