Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, in their two volumes of “Capitalism And Schizophrenia”, brought up a very important issue or question. That is, why do people desire their own repression, and how does that allow the formation of fascism. Even in democratic societies this question needs to be answered and analyzed in order to prepare humans to exist with and use free agency in opposition to the nature of structures that develop hierarchy and domination. A full understanding of how fascism occurs on the micro-level can result in a more fleshed out critique of the larger structures of power that grow from this foundation. This understanding begins with the definition of general fascism as the intersection of corporate power, militarism, and religious fundamentalism which in turn is taken apart to look at the conundrum of humans dealing with absolute determination and absolute freedom.
The phenomenon of anomie was initially touched upon by the sociologist Emile Durkheim in his study of suicide. Anomie is the anxiety produced from either absolute determination or absolute freedom. For Durkheim, this anxiety prompted suicide rates in the modern era that he studied. The absolute determination of structures is not equal to absolute freedom in terms of power. Obviously, if every human action is controlled by an outside source, then it is quite different from the full choice and responsibility of humans to decide their own destiny. However, absolute determination can be equal to absolute freedom in terms of meaning. The subjective experience and understanding of these two states both induce a sense of helplessness, where absolute freedom is also absolute difference and the possibility of complete isolation. Conversely, absolute determination is also absolute equivalence and the possibility of complete conformity. Though it is not explicitly stated, Max Weber also dealt with anomie in “The Protestant Work Ethic And The Spirit Of Capitalism”. With the Protestant Reformation, predestination stated that human beings are already saved or not saved regardless of what actions they took in their lives. For Weber, this anxiety about whether one was saved or not compelled them to engage in frugal activities that set the stage for capitalist structures and choices. Humans did this rather than engage in lives of sin and hedonism, which would have been a valid response to the idea of not having the power to change one’s fate, in order to establish a sense of purpose and order in their lives. In other words, when feeling the anxiety of either absolute determination or absolute freedom, they chose some form of determination rather than the groundlessness of total freedom.
Therefore, anomie can be defined as a cause of structural recuperation. It stimulates a need to be regulated by structures in order to avoid the sense of existential chaos that can occur where humans feel they are trapped and restricted or wandering and without purpose. In both cases, human actions seem to have no meaning. If there is no point to human actions, then it would make no difference if freedom was exercised or not. The appearance of a lack of meaning and purpose obscures the amount of power that humans would in fact have in a state of absolute freedom, a power that would not exist under absolute determination. The inability of internal freedom within the determination of purpose is then in direct proportion to the inability of external purpose within the autonomy of freedom. Therefore, the choice to act on that freedom and to exercise power is dependent on some sense of an external purpose to be in balance to that freedom. That external purpose must seem natural and eternal in order to anchor acts of freedom, so a structural recuperation is an imposition of limits through a process of transcendence. Transcendence allows individual desire to be channeled in ways that limit the initial movement of desire, and transforms the human sense of freedom to something quite foreign to freedom.
The phenomenon of capitalism as it has developed has exacerbated this condition of anomie and a supposed need for external purpose that in turn limits desire. From the beginning, as it was analyzed by Weber, capitalism has two natures. One that presents freedom and one that practices restriction. The territorialization as a structural formation is what existed before the emergence of capitalism. These were the transcendent categories of power, meaning, and production which could be manifested as the political, the cultural, and the economic that are subsets of the social. These structures were perpetuated by tradition and appeared as natural and eternal. The formation of capitalism in the modern era was a deterritorialization as a structural rupture. With the disruption of previous social structures, the immanent totalities of power, meaning, and production were formed. In this stage, the political can be defined as choice, the cultural defined as truth, and the economic defined as desire. Any immanent structures are organized by free agency within a space where the older structures no longer have any influence. This is where capitalism presents itself as a method of freedom, but this freedom is eventually redirected into new structures. The growth and perpetuation of capitalism is a reterritorialization as a structural recuperation where there is a movement from immanent totality to a new transcendent category. The political and the cultural become subsumed under the economic. The containment of desire that results is the resource for reterritorialization that creates drive and the small partial objects of desire. In other words, as the system of capitalism is the result of the human need to find purpose after the modern feeling of anomie, its existence and continuation converts freedom into determination. The corporation as the basic unit of capitalism operates under the appearance of freedom but actually consolidates power in the maintenance of hierarchy and oppressive order.
The phenomenon of fascism can be considered the culmination of what Weber described in the very beginning of the modern era. The intertwining of religion and economics results in a strong political force that seeks to perpetuate itself regardless of the cost to human life and communities. Capitalism needs growth in order to survive and the natural entropy of capitalism requires new stages of growth, both extensive and intensive. Extensive growth of the body of capitalism is the physical quantitative expansion of this economic system across the globe. It is shown in the increase of the various types of infrastructure needed to accomplish capitalist goals in widening circles of influence in space and time. Extensive growth is where countries that were never capitalist become capitalist. The intensive growth of the spirit of capitalism is the qualitative consolidation of capitalism in places where the economic system already exists. It is shown in the increase of the commodification of a culture where all social relationships are subsumed under economic exchange and interaction. Intensive growth insures that capitalism is not only ubiquitous but appears to be the only choice. The reproduction of structures results in new forms of growth that is truly revolutionary in erasing previous social forms, with the exception that this revolutionary change only serves those who are already in power. The order of capitalism is one that is both the accumulation of men as the regulation of life, as well as the accumulation of capital as the organization of its infrastructure. Both accumulations are made possible by structures of meaning that construct what can be considered truth. Therefore, there is the requirement of an internalized truth regime within the human unconscious that increases production and decreases transgression. In order for the system of capitalism to survive on a structural level, power is reinstated despite the radical change of growth that demands both utility and docility. The original fear of existing without purpose where actions are meaningless, that occurred with the Protestant Reformation, allowed the desire for repression as the self-imposition of repression through capitalism and a nationalism that replaced the older positions of authority. Ideology cements this process in its presentation of a explanation of reality that demands obedience to it as a supposed truth. In this scenario, where fascism is the intersection of corporate power, militarism, and religious fundamentalism, the larger political structure of fascism is made possible by small cases of personal fascism. The political application of fascism needs the requirement of governmentality which is the discipline of subjects and the regulation of populations. Governmentality is the perfection of fascism through the completion of force, sovereignty, and hegemony as stages of power.
The phenomenon of the event is the chance to either escape the consolidation of fascism or be subjected to it further. The disruption of structures that occurs during the event can be an opportunity for the exercise of free agency in its aftermath. In this context, the event is the space for original choices, counter-narratives, and desiring-production. Immanent structures are created to solve specific problems and can be seen as finite structures contained by infinite reality. These structures do not appear as absolute truth but deal with the overarching void of reality by serving human needs in particular cases. It is a process that begins from the virtual potential to the actual implementation through these many immanent structures. The individual creation and collective use of immanent structures insures that they remain tools for humans rather than a larger restriction of freedom. However, the event can also be defined as the state of emergency, depending upon how forceful the disruption that occurs. Those in power use the event as a space for the definition of the enemy or ally and the state of exception of the law. In other words, humans will turn to the authorities that already exist in order to feel safe and here they will be willing to be repressed and have freedom erased or curtailed. These freedoms, though limited within the structure of the previous law, were openings that could have been enhanced after the event if there was no great sense of fear. The division between what constitutes an ally or enemy is made by those in power, regardless of the perceptions of the people, and this division can place some people outside of the law where power can do whatever it wants with them. This would be considered a containment of infinite reality by finite structures. The relationship between the virtual and the actual is reversed to such a degree that one starts from the actual to a simulation through one unifying transcendent structure. The appearance of the collective experience of immanent structures as a transcendent structure obscures the fact that all structures are created by humans in particular times and places.
An important issue is whether structures can be seen as a cage or a skeleton. If they are a cage, then they serve only to restrict and limit human action and possibility. However, if they are more like a skeleton that can act as an armature upon which various actions and choices are arranged, then structures can serve as tools to solve human problems. The emergence of overall fascism in governments is made possible by the personal tendency toward fascism that desires one’s own repression. The initial condition of whether or not there is purpose or meaning to human action and choice can lead to a craving for structures that act like a cage. On the other hand, humans can be very conscious in the creation of structures in order to use them as tools rather than an inverting of the relationship between humans and structures. The event can clarify the process where humans retake control over the various structures they formulate.
Reality, outside of the intervention of humans, is a multiplicity of singularities. This multiplicity is an aggregate of parts and the subsets of all combinations. From the human perspective, it may appear chaotic since each part is absolutely different from every other part and all potentials exist equally. The event is the imposition of this reality into transcendent structures, and is not only the disruption of structures but a realization that these transcendent structures are really immanent creations of humans. The supposed danger of the event, as it relates to the feeling of absolute determination and absolute freedom as similar, is the loss of a purpose where individual choices and actions have no meaning. Humans will want to create an artificial purpose that can only be fulfilled by oppressive structures of power, but the work of creating new immanent structures after the event can prevent this compulsion. Humans can have knowledge before the event within structures of meaning, but there is truth after the event when humans are faced with unmediated reality. Truth can be defined as the fidelity to the event through immanent structures, a commitment to the new, where individuals are free from the confinement or tradition of preexisting structures. These immanent structures are the consistency of the subset of reality as well as the actualization of the virtual through the particular case of being. The truth of immanent structures is a retroactive reorganization of history that is the inclusion of what was previously excluded. This is its great positive characteristic, and a project that humans can take up as an authentic purpose. The most reliable way to oppose fascism in its nascent form, as the desire for one’s own repression, must be to take on the responsibility of remaking the world when all that is assumed is cleared away. Purpose must not be found outside of oneself. The revolution must be lived every day.