22 April 2011

Letter from Lhasa, number 220. (Virilio 1993): Guerra e Cinema

Letter from Lhasa, number 220. (Virilio 1993): Guerra e Cinema
by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Virilio, P., Guerra e Cinema, Editora Página Aberta Ltda, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil, 1993. [Titulo original em francês: GUERRE ET CINÉMA I. LOGISTIQUE DE LA PERCEPTION, 1984 © Cahiers du Cinéma]
(Virilio 1993).
Paul Virilio

This is work on the representational aspects of war.

War is also appearance, not only substance, brute force. Appearance and representation are tightly intertwined with the substance of war, its destructive side. In fact, material annihilation is and must be also spiritual annihilation of the enemy. 

Great efforts are reserved to propaganda, not only in wartime. Finally, the best propaganda consists in material achievements. A momentary exaltation cannot replace them. Propaganda does not win war. It is useful only as accessory tool [the brute force of the military police corps is more relevant] for avoiding the rebellion of soldiers sent, frequently senseless, to die and for keeping compact the whole internal front. Actually soldiers are not happy to die, even if they are convinced that their side will win a war. They simply choose between the sure death for execution and the possibility to survive in dangerous and quite suicide operations. 

The French academic taste for apparently paradoxical analysis cannot hide the French material and cultural subordination to the two Anglophone Empires. France was submitted with the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte and never restored its independence. It just surrogates it, simulates it, presenting itself as constantly critical of the Anglophone Empire. It is a tricked criticism. Lost the critique of the arms, it never used the arms of critique. Its academic world, tightly controlled from State bureaucracies and their Secret Police Bureaux, simply simulates, by the constant use of apparent paradoxes, an originality and an independence it has not. The contents of its elaboration are sure evidence of that.   

Not casually, this work of the “effervescent” and “brilliant” Virilio flies over the real question. War (look at the constant war of the U.S. and of the British Empire against the whole world as well as against each other!) is, in first instance, an internal device. For this reason enormous resources are wasted from military and police apparatuses for a state of permanent destructions which create not only world insecurity but the same state of permanent intern insecurity. Terrorism, for example, is a key accessory tool used from States/governments [an independent terrorism cannot exist]. It is not a movie coming from the shy. It is work of your military and of your “security” apparatuses [eventually in coordination/subordination to the military and “security” apparatuses of the Empires, in comprador and other subordinated areas of the words] against yourselves.

In the same way, and subordinated to them, first duty the civil police [where it is separated and independent from military police corps; differently, the same military police corps act also as a civilian police] is not to fight and suppress criminality, instead to create and to manage it, as its militia. 

French “critics” cannot talk about that, obviously. The world had been progressively plunged is a growing state of permanent war, with the connected internal permanent state of emergency [the permanent State of Exception or the State of permanent Exception]. Actually, the phenomenon is not new... Simply, “globalisation”, internationalisation, means the dramatic increasing of that, at State level and for the whole world. The alternatives are not “peace”, “revolution” [revolutions does not exist!; “revolution” was and is a concept taken from imperial centres from physics and introduced in the social sciences for propagandistic purposes; for instance, in the late XVII century it is yet used in its physical and para-physical sense as general mutability or movements of Fortune or Providence; in the very late XVIII century revolution is defined by its contemporary propagandistic meaning: “(...) from as late as 1796 we can find that distinction: ‘Rebellion is the subversion of the laws, and Revolution is that of tyrants’.” (Raymond Williams, Keywords. A vocabulary of culture and society. Revised edition. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, New York, NY, USA, 1985); who/which decides that a coup d’État was against tyrants and that it was not work of tyrants, or did not create tyrants or new tyrants?] or whatever. The same concept of alternative is generally tricky, in social sciences, because a negation, and the creation of something radically different, cannot generally build on the corrupted ground of what is negated.   

Enjoy this book [possibly in French], if you bump into it, for its information and its cultivation, not for its mystifying side, which is constant and dominant.

The book may also be useful for understanding the bureaucratization of the military and of war, which is a big business managed as multi-sectorial corporation, where advertising is not less important of what is concretely sold. 

Virilio, P., Guerra e Cinema, Editora Página Aberta Ltda, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil, 1993. [Titulo original em francês: GUERRE ET CINÉMA I. LOGISTIQUE DE LA PERCEPTION, 1984 © Cahiers du Cinéma