Lodge Yourself on a Stratum (or, For Exodus)


This is how it should be done: Lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.

I have always loved this passage from A Thousand Plateaus, but I have also chafed a bit at how they want us to spend so much time paying attention to the stratum.  I thought it was just a kind of unreflective pragmatism, an acceptance of the fact that, like it or not, you have to start from where you are.  But Hardt & Negri (Commonwealth) suggest something more positive.  They say that the family, corporation, and the nation are the most important social institutions that capture us presently.  But mostly what these institutions are doing is gathering and mobilizing our common power.  As such, we should pay very careful attention to them, not because they are currently dominant and we have no choice but to work with them, but because they are storehouses of our common power.  As we struggle to leave capitalism and the state and build an alternative common life together, we will have to reappropriate our common power, make it our own again, and turn it toward our own common project.  So it makes sense to know intimately where that common power is currently stored, and how it is being put to use.  Lodge yourself on a stratum.


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