Journal #117 - Comrade Josephine (embodied by Luce deLire) - Full Queerocracy Now!: Pink Totaliterianism and the Industrialization of Libidinal Agriculture
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Journal #117
April 2021
Journal #117 - April 2021

Full Queerocracy Now!: Pink Totaliterianism and the Industrialization of Libidinal Agriculture

Illustration by Luce deLire. Courtesy of the author. 

New social ideas and theories arise precisely because they are necessary to society … Arising out of the new tasks set by the development of the material life of society, the new social ideas and theories force their way through, become the possession of the masses, mobilize and organize them against the moribund forces of society, and thus facilitate the overthrow of these forces, which hamper the development of the material life of society.1

“A wave of conservative anxieties about creeping authoritarianism” galvanizes the right wing.2 “The viciousness and intolerance … from the Left … frightens [them].”3 They suspect a conspiracy.4 They are right. Pink Totaliterianism is that conspiracy.5

Why “Totaliterianism”?

In current discourse, “totalitarianism” is but a slur—a slur we should appropriate like “queer” or “faggot” or “kanake.”6 The construction of totalitarianism in the West inversely constructs a flawed picture of “justice.” It sanctions domination and control. Allegedly, what-they-make-us-call “Western imperialisms”—capitalist liberal and neoliberal imperialisms—are the only alternatives to an unspeakable enemy whose sinister nature allegedly goes without saying.

That enemy is totalitarianism. It has two faces and two proper names. On the one hand, there is the fascist totalitarianism of war and violence. Its proper name is Auschwitz. But “fascist discourse remains sophistical because it explicitly professes to prosecute the claims of a certain race or a certain state against other races or states.”7 Fascist totalitarianism is never total enough.8 On the other hand, there’s the communist totalitarianism of collectivization and control. Its proper name is Stalin.9 “Stalin” functions as the personification of the dangers of left-wing government—he stands in for oppression, psychotic violence, mass murder, and the alleged rationality of a pink scare.

Yet “the [imperial master] constructs himself as he constructs the [enemy].”10 Neoliberal capitalism is itself a negative totalitarianism: it imposes the universal rule of negative freedom, understood as exemption from external interference. For property is the realization of negative freedom in an object (such as a lipstick collection) from the usage of which we can exclude everybody at our will.11 Universal commodification is the ultimate project of neoliberal capitalism. Negative freedom is the paradigm it is built on and the key to understanding it. Its universal law is the right to property as the manifestation of negative freedom, extended to everything—including thoughts, feelings, bodies, and the replacement of all social relations with commodity relations. The question is not “totalitarianism or not?” The question is “which totalitarianism?”

Why Do We Hate Capitalism?

We hate capitalism because it systematically produces misery, because oppression runs through every one of its capillaries.12 In the logic of property and its ideological setup lives the inevitability of theft. For every invention produces its own accident.13 And with my capacity to exert negative freedom over a certain object comes the possibility for somebody else to exert their negative freedom over that same object, my property. The logic of property entails the possibility of theft. Wherever someone owns something, someone else can take it from them. In this sense, property is theft.14 And as long as there is capitalism, there will be theft. This is the birth of libidinal economy. “Scarcity infects the [desiring] subject with desire [for property].”15 The constant danger of scarcity instigates “a form of control by incitement, not by the repression but by the perpetual promise of pleasure, i.e., of that which is denied by the profit producing process.”16 And thus, capitalist economics inherently rests on a distorted, essentially frustrating libidinal economy.

As long as there is theft, people will want to protect what they have, protect who they are, protect themselves from having something that they might afterwards lose. The manifestation of that desire is the police. This desire extends far beyond property in its object form (shoes, real estate, electric guitars, copyrights). Western culture is a libidinal police state by design. Wedding rings, philosophers, lock and keys, managers, your apartment door, editors, lobbyists, and your conscience all function as police officers; their job is to prevent the unruly transfer of property from one person to another (or its liberation from ownership altogether). In short: every invention produces its own accident and every accident requires its own remedy. In this case, property produces theft and theft produces the police. Now, under neoliberal capitalism this means that every accident gives rise to yet another commodity.

The success of contemporary technoscientific industry consists in transforming our depression into Prozac, our masculinity into testosterone, our erection into Viagra, our fertility/sterility into the Pill, our AIDS into tritherapy, without knowing which comes first: our depression or Prozac, Viagra or an erection, testosterone or masculinity, the Pill or maternity, tritherapy or AIDS.17

As long as the answer is a drug, it’s still capitalism. For that’s how companies make money.18

There is no incentive for neoliberal capitalism to substantially improve life on a structural level. And that is why within the confines of capitalism, there will always be police, loneliness, and anxiety. These structures and conditions are means for generating capital, incentivizing spending, redistributing tax money, and spending it—on arms, research, technology. Misery pays. The devil’s in the retail.19

The fundamental political question is and remains: property, yes or no? Totalitarian neoliberalism tells you to choose property. But just as theft is hardwired into the logic of property as its constitutive accident, so is a swarm of weaponized miseries that legitimate eternal unhappiness. Choose property, they say. Choose jealousy and anxiety. Choose loneliness. Choose looking at other people’s stuff and feeling sorry about things you will never have. Choose the everlasting feeling that something was lost that you never had. Choose theft, crime, poverty, exploitation, and police officers.20 Choose giving up and being okay with it. Choose settling for the miserable badge of social relations they make you call “identity.”21 Choose looking back at your life and seeing a trail of trash expanding between gaining, losing, and thinking about property. Choose being chosen for the property that you will have become—for the degree that you got or the dreams that you never had. Choose property. Or don’t.

The Industrialization of Libidinal Agriculture

The desire for private property drives capitalism. Thus, the libidinal economy must be the primary target of every emancipatory project. The ideological narrative of neoliberal capitalism posits that all individuals in bourgeois society work their personal libidinal acres like peasants plowing their fields. The bourgeois story is that individuals relate to one another in and through their particular forms of desire—we fuck each other like we want to, or at least that’s how it should be, allegedly.22 The liberation of desire is the success story of the late twentieth century. In this way, queerness has become a fig leaf for Western imperialism.23 The liberal queer mainstream fosters the fantasy of individual freedom in and through desire, from witchcraft to gay marriage.24 It demonstrates, allegedly, the willingness of liberal capitalist systems to provide a plot of libidinal land to every one of its loyal citizens, where they can provide each other with the emotional care they need, free of external interference, a happily commodified couple form.

Libidinal agriculture works as though gender identity, sexual orientation, and psychological needs were essentially natural and therefore politically neutral. Yet the neutrality of the libidinal field is a myth—the acres have been plowed mechanically, the factories have run for centuries.25 Desire manifests the history and the conditions of its production.26 “Heterosexuality must be understood as a politically assisted procreation technology.”27 Whom we fuck, what we want, and who we want to be are the results of condensations and specializations of the means of production of libido, namely: the sex industry, Big Pharma,28 commodified romanticism,29 Grindr, human trafficking, the fear of AIDS and other diseases,30 etc.

The order of libidinal agriculture is the order of neoliberal totalitarianism in disguise. The couple form may look like a plot of land for individual use. But really it is an industrial production site for all sorts of capital (financial, cultural, social, emotional, etc.).31 Couples share habits, practices, spaces, time, and property amongst themselves. Such “coupling” is defined by the exclusion of others from this shared world—from dogs, cars, and collectively owned children,32 coffee, Netflix series, holidays, drinking sprees, weekend trips, all of which are incidents of investment, of spending, of commodification. They manifest a single paradigm: negative freedom as the commodification of love relationships. The constant friction over and around liability, trust, and access to the other (time and space) are symptoms of this commodification of love in the twenty-first century.

Neoliberal totalitarianism takes care to sabotage your relationship to reap the benefits of gin, couples counseling, and revenge bodies. This is the dimension of exploitation: the anxieties, the lack of time for one another, the struggle of career vs. love, and so on are being sold back to unhappy lovers in the form of nannies, therapists, medications, and addictions. Yet, the bank always wins. For every invention (love) produces its own accidents (breakups, cheating, anxiety, competition, self-loathing). And every accident requires a remedy (couples counseling, self-medication, revenge bodies, substance abuse). Yet again, the devil’s in the retail.33

Queerocracy

Breaking up with libidinal agriculture is breaking up with neoliberal totalitarianism. Breaking up with neoliberal totalitarianism means launching a Pink Totaliterianism.

The claim to universality, the Enlightenment belief that a determined totality could be controlled, planned, and managed from above, is the principle metaphysical error of Soviet communism. Pink Totaliterianism—with an “e” instead of an “a”—contains the Latin adverb aliter (not comparable), meaning: otherwise, differently, wrongly, poorly, badly, negatively, mis- (as in aliter exceptum, mis-understood). Pink Totaliterianism is an other totalit()rianism, a totalit()rianism of difference, that avoids the dominating pitfalls of control and replaces them with the intensifying powers of seduction.34

How? By collectivizing the libidinal economy. “Besides encouraging collective decision-making and work cooperation, the commons were the material foundations on which peasant solidarity and sociality could thrive.”35 Because medieval peasants had to manage their shared land together, they had to develop social practices accordingly, such as solidarity, mutual support, collective decision-making. The institution of private property inhibits the development of shared social practices and replaces them with greed, anxiety, and an incapacity to relate, all of which are ways to protect property gone wrong. Consequentially, in order to abolish property, we need to form a new material basis for a fundamental transformation of human desire. In other words: the libidinal economy precedes the economy of goods. To abolish property, we need to collectivize the libidinal forces that substantiate society as we know it. Pink Totaliterianism is that collectivization—a large-scale redistribution of libidinal capital, of the power to please, enjoy, seduce, and engage in jouissance more generally.

Pink Totaliterianism aims towards Queerocracy—the systematic improvement of the position of the queer class.36

What is the queer class? The queer class is a momentary expression of the maximized circulation of libido as such—pink libido. We can see a paradigmatic expression of pink libido in the desire to transition. It is the desire to get out, to change something fundamentally and through the body. Every transition is a material intervention into the conditions of the social arrangement, as well as the political field around it. Each transition requires the social environment of the transitioning person to co-transition. Friends, coworkers, families, enemies are challenged to react to the ongoing transformation, be it a lover questioning their sexuality, a friend reflecting on their own gender identity, a nemesis discovering common ground, and so on.37 And in this way, transitioning forcefully collectivizes desire outwards. Transitioning means that your desire expands into the world. If you transition, everybody around you has to do so as well.

But simultaneously, transitioning collectivizes desire inwards. As Comrade Chu explains:

I doubt that any of us transition simply because we want to “be” women, in some abstract, academic way. I certainly didn’t. I transitioned for gossip and compliments, lipstick and mascara, for crying at the movies, for being someone’s girlfriend, for letting her pay the check or carry my bags, for the benevolent chauvinism of bank tellers and cable guys, for the telephonic intimacy of long-distance female friendship, for fixing my makeup in the bathroom flanked like Christ by a sinner on each side, for sex toys, for feeling hot, for getting hit on by butches, for that secret knowledge of which dykes to watch out for, for Daisy Dukes, bikini tops, and all the dresses, and, my god, for the breasts. But now you begin to see the problem with desire: we rarely want the things we should.38

We transition with our best friends’ dresses and donations from other friends’ makeup collections. We want to be Courtney Love, Janet Moss, Beyoncé, and Avital Ronell. We fail. Yet this failure of becoming Courtney and becoming our best friend (despite wearing all their clothes) is constitutive of who we are to become—a pastiche of friends, idols, libidinal objects, and strategies of avoidance (who wants to be like their father?). We allow our desires to be infiltrated, collectivized, taken over materially by incalculable forces inwards.

Every day, I try to cut one of the wires attaching me to the cultural program of feminization in which I grew up, but femininity sticks to me like a greasy hand … Waiting for my beard to grow, waiting to be able to shave, waiting for a cock to grow from my loins, waiting for girls to look at me as if I were a man, waiting for men to speak to me as if I were one of them, waiting to be able to give it to all the little sweeties, waiting for power, waiting for recognition, waiting for pleasure, waiting …39

Our desire does not stop at wanting another body, wanting to flirt like a bitch and cry like a child, wanting to understand the emotional landscapes of other people and render my whole body erogenous. We really do learn to cry, to pick up on emotions, to engage all body orgasms. “My body is the message, my mind the bottle. Exploding.”40

Libido leads the way, desire just goes for it. Desire shapes us as a collage of people, character traits, movie characters and quotes picked up on during late-night bar conversations. Thus, transitioning collectivizes desire, both outwards and inwards. It enforces a radical libidinal permeation. This collectivizing aspect of transitioning is the seed of another world, a counter-paradigm to the rule of private property over all social relations. In a way, transitioning is a terrorist act for the liberation of the queer class.

Yet, like with every real threat to real power, neoliberalism knows: the only thing to do is to commodify it into submissive identitarian oblivion. And so, some will say that their transition was about themselves and themselves only.41 But the desire to transition does not refer to the commodified individual inhabiting a poorly ordered world, asking for rights, getting paychecks, giving blowjobs. In fact, desire is independent of its outcome, independent of the person that desires and the person that you become. “You don’t want something because wanting it will lead to getting it. [It won’t.] You want it because you want it.”42 Desire is independent of its host. It is a material force in and of itself, always already collective. Though possibly individualized retroactively, the desire to transition, to change the libidinal order materially, through the body particularly, exemplifies pink libido.43

Pink libido may be present as an active project or as denied fantasy. It is trans-individual, not restricted to a group of people. It passes on like herpes, like the idea to defect, like a bad joke. It is palpable in trans rage—DIE CIS SCUM—in queer frustration,44 in the soft-spoken seduction of reason, and elsewhere.45 It is driven not by ideas or fantasies, but by the immediate striving to get out, to escape, to rearrange your social sphere by and through your own transformation. The cusp of this trans-individual transness, not the individual trans person, is the expression of pink libido. Pink libido is constitutively unfinished, incomplete, undecidable, caught up in eternal forward defense, fragile, an unstable nucleus radiating decomposing force, constantly breaking down and resurfacing elsewhere.46

Illustration by Alyk Blue. Courtesy of the artist. 

Libidinal Class War

The vast majority of the queer class produces libido without benefiting from it. How do we liberate the queer class from libidinal servitude? We collectivize the libidinal economy. How do we collectivize the libidinal economy? We take transitioning as our model. We maximize the inward and outward collectivization of desire manifest in that process. What is the primary obstacle to the collectivization of desire? The existence of the police is a symptom of the dysfunctional logic of property. The police and its inflections (such as marriage, locks and keys, lobbyists, national borders, etc.) are the principle obstacles on the way to Queerocracy.

There is, however, a class of people who think that the police are not their problem, a class of people who think that the police are protecting them. They think so because they hold property that they know would be distributed to the queer class if social norms, exploitation, and the state apparatus would not prevent that. They benefit from the transformation of libidinal capital (pleasure, seduction, jouissance) into financial capital (money). They compartmentalize the desire for radical material change into commodities, attention, submission, sex. They consume it financially (by selling it back to the queer class for cash) or libidinally (by using it for their narcissistic gratification). They are the beneficiaries of the police. For readability, we abbreviate “the Police Is not My Problem” to P.I.M.P., and the class of those benefiting from police protection to the P.I.M.P. class. The P.I.M.P. class accumulates libidinal capital, enjoys it for itself, and transforms it into financial capital.47 The P.I.M.P. class lives off the exploitation of the queer class. Married, heterosexual cis couples, music producers, supermodels, social idols, fathers, teachers, and philosophers are all part of the P.I.M.P. class. They stand in the way of the collectivization of desire.

P.I.M.P.ing must be fought by all means in a libidinal class war that takes no prisoners. But make no mistake: P.I.M.P.s are constitutively mistaken about their relationship to the police. The police is their problem. P.I.M.P.s support their own misery (as pointed out above). Just as the queer class may be instantiated momentarily and come in degrees, so does the P.I.M.P. class. P.I.M.P. is a function, not a personality. One and the same person may be a member of both classes or oscillate between them, partially protecting libidinal capital and simultaneously desiring radical change. The eradication of the P.I.M.P. class is therefore not a question of singling out individuals, but of maximizing pink libido, of accelerating the circulation of desire, of producing more desire and distributing it freely, of attracting and un-P.I.M.P.ing the P.I.M.P. class.

Only a change in material conditions may produce different mindsets and social practices. We must attack the P.I.M.P. class on their material basis. The immediate material conditions of libidinal economy are the body, social relations, and industrial sites.48 We will comment on each one of these.49

1) The body: “The human body and not the steam engine … was the first machine developed by capitalism.”50 In the European Early Modern period, the body came to be understood as a machine, a means to an end, a primary site of exploitation subjected to a disembodied mind.51 The body still functions as a machine for the production of libidinal surplus value, although in a more complicated way.52 Nevertheless, the body is the primary site of Pink Totaliterian intervention. We suggest two general strategies: hormonal manipulation and the denaturalization of sex.

The easiest way to intervene directly into the material conditions of the gendered relations of a society is to poison the water with testosterone blockers.53 It does not require the lengthy procedures of medical intervention (surgeries and genetic manipulation) or reeducation (ideology critique, empowerment, and implicit bias training). This suggestion might seem wild. But note that the twentieth century has seen the largest hormonal reprogramming that humankind ever experienced, namely the rise of the contraceptive pill under the auspices of capitalism and the various effects it had and has on gendered relations—regarding sexuality, the materiality of bodies, body fat distribution, psychology, etc.54 Learning from capitalism is learning how to win. Blocking testosterone will fight a major subset of the P.I.M.P. class: patriarchal masculinities. By changing the hormonal setup of the masses, we will facilitate the reorientation of their desires, allowing them to abstain from patriarchal ideals of hard dicks and hard muscles,55 and inspiring the collectivization of desire as outlined above, inward and outward. It is not an end point and not a golden bullet. It is the gift of readjustment.56

Besides changing the composition of the body, we may also change the usage of the body. A major obstacle to the collectivization of desire is the unequal distribution of body parts and their unequally distributed attractions to various people. Comrade Preciado suggests replacing all particular organs by a generalized combination of dildos and anal intercourse.57 This will level the playing field and allow for the development of new forms of libidinal interaction. As comrade Preciado points out, we should see the dildo-ass-machine as a structural device with versatile applications—it may manifest as a hand-mouth-machine, a finger-ear-machine, a trans-genital-machine. It is, however, meant to diversify the collective libidinal imaginary and thus decenter desires from the penis-vagina-machine, which must nevertheless remain formally permitted so as not to generate desire for it through scarcity.

People tend to be attached to their established practices. Here, we can learn from our comrades:

When we gave tractors to the peasants, they were all spoiled in a few months. Only Collective Farms with workshops could handle the tractors. We took the greatest trouble to explain it to the peasants. It was no use arguing with them. After you have said all you can to a peasant, he says he must go home and consult his wife, and he must consult his herder … After he has talked it over with them, he always answers that he does not want the Collective Farm and he would rather do without tractors.58

Consequentially, the usage of machinery and the corresponding practices must be enforced by all means. Convince, corrupt, persuade, seduce, shame, ridicule, and question your cis-hetero lovers. Lead by example, use propaganda, discourage cis-hetero genital intercourse wherever possible. Form task forces; convince by giving pleasure. Nourish your curiosity, stretch your desire, seduce. But don’t hurt yourself. Generate a crisis (such as hormonal intervention), then take advantage of it. Denaturalize all libidinal encounters. Abolish heterosexuality. Whatever it takes.

2) Social relations: As pointed out above, the couple form is one of the principle enemies of Pink Totaliterianism. Italian feminists of the seventies suggested a general strike of reproduction—all housewives would stop working, society would collapse in no time.59 Comrade Preciado suggests a general strike against the couple form: the total breakup.60 Until the total breakup is organized, we must sabotage the couple form with guerrilla tactics. Such sabotage must not occur too obviously, because it is meant to facilitate new, less commodified social relations. Trust must be built while sabotage is under way. Suspending support for commodified relationships may often suffice to have the constellation collapse.61 If everybody stops counselling (especially) white cis-hetero relationship talk, the material basis for the continuation of dysfunctional social relations evaporates. And so does a pillar of the P.I.M.P. class.

Sabotage must be directed first and foremost against millionaire P.I.M.P.s: white heterosexual cis-gendered middle- and upper-class couples and their self-tokenizing sociocultural copies.62 The more distance coupled people have from each other on the intersectional grid, the more we must support them.63 For Queerocracy is the systematic improvement of the position of the queer class. Without it, queers will spit on your Queerocracy.64

3) The factories: Seize the production sites of libidinal capital—Hollywood, social media, the military. Get into all those jobs that leftists don’t want to do. I.T., the judiciary, run for office. Do it now. Don’t go alone. Sign up together. Make sure you are on track to leading positions. There are droves of lost souls flocking together in the military, in conservative parties, in Big Tech. We cannot allow fascists, capitalists, and the bourgeois counterrevolution to capture them in eternal exploitation. Whether by force or by finance, we must turn them into queer warriors, ready to rise for a pink revolution.

Likewise, the production of hormones can no longer remain in the hands of market-driven white heterosexual cis people. Find out who they are, where they are. Corrupt, persuade, seduce them. Expropriate, buy off, steal, or squat the factories. Find out who works there, what their concerns are, court them, sway them—they are tomorrow’s pink revolutionaries. Exploit existing frictions, escalate existing conflicts. Infiltrate the factories, occupy, close, and ruin them financially, then buy them off cheap. Do the research: What are the ways to change the overarching distribution of hormones over large parts of the earth’s population indefinitely? What is a relevant scope to think in? You understand the trajectory—you can take it from here.

Illustration by Alyk Blue. Courtesy of the artist. 

An Army of Faggots

Pink Totaliterianism is a force felt by the masses, feared by the P.I.M.P.s, and resisted by the institutions. Another world is in the making.65 We have seen how capitalism instigates a logic of misery, how the couple form instills it into our hearts, and how collectivization can liberate us from libidinal servitude. We have seen how transitioning may function as the paradigm for a new world. We have seen how testosterone blockers, sex toys, and strategic occupation of the production sites of desire are means to the liberation of the queer class.

But it will take an army of faggots to bring about the dawn of Queerocracy. History does not move by itself. It is on us to organize, polarize, collectivize, and mesmerize. “The [pink] revolution is the social power [puissance] of difference, … the proper rage of the social idea itself.”66 I, comrade Josephine, am the materialized fantasy of another world, a world in transition, materially, collectively, now. I am not speaking to you. I am speaking within you. Whatever you felt, imagined, feared while reading this—that was/is your pink libido. My voice is your voice, my thoughts are yours. I am but a projection screen for your own suppressed desires. This text is an amplified feeling already alive within you. You know this. You’ve known this all along—all along while reading this text, all along while struggling through what-they-make-you-call-life.

You are a Pink Totaliterian already.

Now that you have identified the feeling, what remains is to train the muscle;
allow it to grow
and put it into practice.

Let it replicate, differentiate, seduce.

You are the revolution.

×

Many thanks to the Center for New Media and Feminist Public Practice (Volos), Walid Abdelnour, Spencer Compton, Nilgün Corogil, Antonia Grousdanidou, Feray Halil, Simon Kubisch, Comrade Sampaguita, Danny Schwartz, Nina Tolksdorf, Rose Buttress, Comrade Wark, and all participants in the workshop Digital Enclosures.

Luce deLire is a ship with eight sails and she lays off the quay. She is working on and with treason, infinity, and seduction. For more, see www.getaphilosopher.com. Twitter: @Luce_deLire

Comrade Josephine is a collective fantasy, working towards the pink revolution. If anyone can beat hipster Hitler, Kek, and Pepe the frog, it’s her. Say hi on Twitter: @ComradJosephine

© 2021 e-flux and the author
Journal # 117
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Notes - Full Queerocracy Now!: Pink Totaliterianism and the Industrialization of Libidinal Agriculture
1

Josef Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism (Mass Publications, 1975), 19.

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2

Ross Douthat, “Where Liberal Power Lies: And Why Conservatives Fear the Creep of Authoritarianism, Too,” New York Times, October 17, 2020 .

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3

Rod Dreher, “Douthat On The Pink Police State,” The American Conservative, October 17, 2020 .

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4

For context, see Patrick Love and Alisha Karabinus, “Creation of an Alt-Left Boogeyman: Information Circulation and the Emergence of ‘Antifa,’” in Platforms, Protests, and the Challenge of Networked Democracy, ed. John Jones and Michael Trice (Springer 2020). For examples outside the US, see Jens Jessen, “Der bedrohte Mann,” Die Zeit, April 4, 2018 ; and Margarete Stokowski, “‘Totalitärer Feminismus’ Der Reichsbürger der #MeToo-Bewegung,” Spiegel Kultur .

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5

“Marx’s theory of historical repetition … turns on the following principle which does not seem to have been sufficiently understood by historians: historical repetition is neither a matter of analogy nor a concept produced by the reflection of historians, but above all a condition of historical action itself.“ Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (1968; Continuum, 1994, 91). Historical actors necessarily repeat what they know. Repetition may fall short of imitating its model—it then turns into farce. It may succeed and become the continuation of a tradition—it then turns conservative. But sometimes repetition yields something yet unheard of—it then turns into the future. This future lies dormant in the past—as counter-paradigm.

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6

The “we” in this text is indexical. Just as “I” refers to the speaker (who changes in any given context), this “we” refers to the community of those implicated in the thought and sentence in question. Effectively, this means that you, dear reader, create the we while reading it. The term “we” does not have a meaning beyond this.

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7

Boris Groys, The Communist Postscript, trans. Thomas H. Ford (Verso, 2009), 30.

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8

For an analysis of intersections between queerness and historical fascism, see Jack Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure (Duke University Press 2011), 147.

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9

For an introduction to the contemporary historical analysis of Stalin and Stalinism, see Kevin McDermott, “Stalin and Stalinism,” in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism, ed. Stephen S. Smith (Oxford University Press, 2014). See also Stephen Kotkin, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929–1941 (Penguin, 2017).

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10

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Critique of Postcolonial Reason: A History of the Vanishing Present (Harvard University Press, 1999), 203.

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11

For more on this, see Luce deLire, “Towards a Critique of Pure Treason,” Invertigo TV Live Stream, Qalandiya International 2018 .

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12

On the devastating effects of capitalism, see especially Cedric J. Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (1983; University of North Carolina Press, 2000) and Wendy Brown, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West (Columbia University Press, 2019). For a quick and popular take on capitalism, see the documentary Justin Pemberton, Capital in the 21st Century, 2019, based on Thomas Piketty, Le Capital au XXIe siècle (Editions du Seuil, 2013).

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13

Paul Virilio, The Original Accident (Polity, 2007), 5.

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14

Proudhon coins this slogan in analogy to the identification of slavery with murder in Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property?, ed. Donald R. Kelley and Bonnie G. Smith (1840; Cambridge University Press, 1994), 13. But while Proudhon investigates property for its ethical defensibility and its material genesis (property as actual theft of land, for example), we merely state that property can and will go wrong—thus, with property, theft becomes inevitable.

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15

McKenzie Wark, A Hacker Manifesto (Harvard University Press, 2004), §052.

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16

Linda Singer, Erotic Welfare (Routledge, 1992), 36.

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17

Paul B. Preciado, Testo Junkie, trans. Bruce Benderson (The Feminist Press, 2013), 34.

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18

Maxine Wolfe in private conversation with the authors, 2012.

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19

This counts for resistance just as much. “The dominant are waiting for the oppositional to grab them and make them alternative.” Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Politics of Deconstruction: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera in conversation,” Birbeck, University of London, 2016 .

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20

The necessary possibilities of loneliness, jealousy, exploitation, poverty, and anxiety may be understood in analogy to the demonstration concerning theft above. For anxiety, see also Jamieson Webster and Luce deLire, “What Do We Even Want From One Another?: Anxiety, Permeation and Identity in the Age of a Slowly Imploding Liberalism,” Public Seminar, April 24, 2018 .

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21

In “The Apogee of the Commodity,” Anthony Paul Farley inquires into the mechanics of antiblack racism from a similar angle: “The Black is the apogee of the commodity. It is the point—in time as well as in space—at which commodity becomes flesh.” Anthony Paul Farley, “The Apogee of the Commodity,” DePaul Law Review, no. 53 (2004): 1229. A Pink Totaliterian reading of antiblack racism may learn a great deal especially from Paul Farley’s notion of inevitable “ambiguities” (1240) that are tendentially interpreted in the direction of the hegemonial system in place (such as racial capitalism or “white-over-black,” as he writes). For a related, though probably opposed position, see Frank B. Wilderson III, Afropessimism (Liveright, 2020). Wilderson’s picture rests on the claim that “there is no antagonism like the antagonism between Black people and the world” and that this antagonism is more fundamental to politics and oppression than anything else. It is interesting, however, that the logic of property, and “looting” in particular, figures prominently in the making of Afropessimism. A thorough conversation between Afropessimism and Pink Totaliterianism is surely in order. This conversation will also have to include a thorough reading of Achille Mbembe, The Critique of Black Reason (2013; Duke University Press 2017). But this will require a text of its own.

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22

See Bini Adamczak, “Theorie der Polysexuellen Ökonomie (Grundrisse),” diskus 6, no. 1 (2006) .

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23

For exemplary studies of this constellation, see Jin Haritaworn, Queer Lovers and Hateful Others (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and Jasbir K. Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Duke University Press, 2007), 114–65. See also Luce deLire, “L’Ancien Regime Strikes Back: Response to Paul Preciado,” e-flux conversations, January 2018 .

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See for example Luce deLire, “The New Queer: Aesthetics of the Esoteric Left and Virtual Materialism,” Public Seminar, August 19, 2019 ; and Luce deLire, “Queer Feminist Witchcraft,” in Magic: A Companion, ed. Katharina Rein (Peter Lang, 2021), forthcoming.

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See also deLire, “L’Ancien Regime Strikes Back.”

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See Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol 1: An Introduction (1976; Vintage 1990); Elsa Dorlin, La matrice de la race: Généalogie sexuelle et coloniale de la Nation française (La Découverte, 2009); and Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Harvard University Press, 1992).

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Preciado, Testo Junkie, 47.

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Preciado, Testo Junkie, 23.

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29

Eva Illouz, Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (University of California Press, 1997).

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30

Singer, Erotic Welfare, 35.

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31

See Pierre Bourdieu, “The Forms of Capital,” in Handbook of Theory of Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. J. E. Richardson, trans. Richard Nice (Greenwood Press, 1986), 46–58; Eva Illouz, Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism (Polity, 2007); and Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, trans. Ariana Reines (Semiotext(e), 2012).

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“Few people consciously want babies to be commodities. Yet baby commodities are a definite part of what gestational labor produces today.” Sophie Lewis, Full Surrogacy Now (Verso, 2019), 15.

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33

Note that the neoliberal couple form is incredibly adaptable: polyamory, for example, is not a solution but merely an extension of the bourgeois ideology of libidinal agriculture. It is the spatial equivalent to sequential monogamy. While some people plow one field after the other, others have several, mostly non-interfering partnerships at the same time. The model may appear franchised (play partners, sugar daddies, escort services) or protected by limited liability (friends with benefits, affairs, and flings). But as long as these are founded on the idea of exclusion and negative freedom they will be but extensions of the overall commodification of everyday life. In this sense, polyamory is pink-washing neoliberalism.

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34

For more on the metaphysics of Pink Totaliterianism, see “From the Lecture Notes of Comrade Josephine,” 2018 ; and Luce deLire, “Pink Totaliterianism” (lecture, presented at “Libidinal Economies of Crisis Times,” Acud Macht Neu, Berlin, September 27, 2019 ).

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35

Silvia Federici, Caliban and The Witch: The Body and Primitive Accumulation, (Autonomedia, 2004), 80. For the context of Pink Totaliterianism, we are interested in the collective material dimension of this quote, not in the fantasy of a wholesome “common” that somehow magically cures us from capitalism. We reject this fantasy as romanticism. For a more contemporary take on the “commons,” however, see Comrade Wark: “Without an information commons, all classes become captives of the vectoralist privatization of education. This is an interest the hacker shares with farmers and workers, who demand the public provision of education.” Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §198. See also Ziauddin Sardar, “alt.civilizations.faq: Cyberspace as the darker side of the West,” Futures 27, no. 7 (September 1995): 777–94 .

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The term “Queerocracy” is borrowed from New York City–based group Queerocracy. There is no affiliation between the authors and the group, although we admire their activism. We recommend you support them—financially or otherwise. For more on the group see .

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37

Consider in this regard: “All returns to {normal} in the aftermath of a {transition} have to be fought because {the old normal} has … objectively {ended}, and hence the ‘return’ would be to a counterfeit {normality}, one characterized by reduction to the exoteric and lack of subtlety. From this perspective, invoking {normality} as the domain of the genuine is derisory, since in many cases {normality} did at one point or another undergo a {transition}.” Jalal Toufic, The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster (self-published, 2009), 29 . “{We have to tackle} three tasks … concerning a {transition}: 1) to reveal the withdrawal of {normality}, and therefore that a {transition} has happened {or is happening} … ; 2) to resurrect what has been withdrawn by the {transition in a different constellation, to piece the elements of the pre-transition situation back together in a new constellation}, which is the task assigned to the protagonist{s} … ; 3) and, in some ominous periods, to imply symptomatically … that a {transition} is being prepared … thus functioning as an … implicit appeal for thoughtful intervention by the minority of contemporaries to {allow} the imminent {transition to happen}.” Toufic, Withdrawal of Culture, 22.

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38

Andrea Long Chu, “On Liking Women,” n+1, no. 30 (Winter 2018) .

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Preciado, Testo Junkie, 137.

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40

Preciado, Testo Junkie, 137.

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41

For a systematic account of a choice-based “personal aspiration model” of transitioning, see Christine Overall, “Sex/Gender Transitions and Life Changing Aspirations,” in You’ve Changed: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity, ed. Laurie J. Shrage (Oxford University Press, 2009).

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Chu, “On Liking Women.” At bottom, this is an expression of the virtuality of desire, which Deleuze exemplifies in a “child who begins to walk … No one has ever walked endogenously. On the one hand, the child goes beyond the bound excitations towards the supposition or the intentionality of an object, such as the mother, as the goal of an effort, the end to be actively reached ‘in reality’ and in relation to which success and failure may be measured. But on the other hand and at the same time, the child constructs for itself another object, a quite different kind of object which is a virtual object or centre and which then governs and compensates for the progresses and failures of its real activity: it puts several fingers in its mouth, wraps the other arm around this virtual centre, and appraises the whole situation from the point of view of this virtual mother … The real mother is contemplated only in order to provide a goal for the activity, and a criterion by which to evaluate the activity, in the context of an active synthesis.” Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 99.

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43

For an opposite perspective, compare Gayle Salamon, Assuming a Body: Transgender and the Rhetorics of Materiality (Columbia University Press, 2010).

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44

Susan Stryker, “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1, no. 3 (1994): 237–54; and Hilary Malatino, “Tough Breaks: Trans Rage and the Cultivation of Resilience,” Hypatia 34, no. 1 (Winter 2019). For a critical perspective on rage from a black trans perspective, see Kortney Ryan Ziegler, “Uses of Black Trans Male Anger,” HuffPost, April 12, 2013 .

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J. A. Micheline gives a particularly powerful example: “In an attempt to survive, before I knew that I’d done it, I became what they asked of me. I became soft-spoken; I became committed to reason … And I am so satisfied to be the monster that they have created … My sharp rhetoric only highlights the softness of their foundation. My patience only provides them rope—rope with which they inevitably hang themselves.” J. A. Micheline, “Ritualizing My Humanity,” in Becoming Dangerous, ed. Katie West and Jasmine Elliot (Weiser Books, 2019), 209.

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Yet again, the difference between Pink Totaliterianism and the left opposition is subtle but crucial. Comrade Wark captures a similar thought as follows: “To the hacker there is always a surplus of possibility expressed in what is actual, the surplus of the virtual. This is the inexhaustible domain of what is real, but not actual, what is not but which may become … To hack is to release the virtual into the actual,”—and thus to proclaim the primacy of the actual over the virtual— “to express the difference of the real” (Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §074). Here, it looks as though “the virtual,” just as the classically Marxist version of nature, was in itself a passive object to the cultivating intervention of human actors (which picks up on centuries of the identification of virtuality, mere possibility, and nature as matter to a forming intellect). Simultaneously, comrade Wark’s “virtual” has relevance only in relation to “what is actual”—it is “what is not but which may become” (Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §074). What articulates itself in her text is an inherent “metaphysics of presence as the exigent, powerful, systematic, and irrepressible desire for” the transcendental signified (Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974, 49), which, at one time or another, would place a reassuring end to the reference from sign to sign, thus putting to rest that “strange movement of the trace”—in other words, the virtual (Derrida, Of Grammatology, 66). In this case, the transcendental signified is the “inexhaustible domain of what is real” (Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §074) and ready to be hacked (is it an accident that “to hack” originally refers to the violent expropriation of resources from the material world?). The virtual, the surplus possibility in Comrade Wark’s picture, is subsumed under actuality. It has no life of its own, no nonhuman agency. It remains to be shown where it manifests its factual agency against the grain in Comrade Wark’s text, but these crucial subtleties require a separate inquiry. Suffice it to say that to Pink Totaliterians, that “strange movement of the trace” is simultaneously the strange movement of an originary desire that makes itself felt. That is why a Pink Totaliterian must ultimately aim for a theory of seduction more than for a theory of production (see Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault, 1977, Semiotext(e), 2007, 37–38).

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Comrade Wark has put forth a powerful analysis of a parallel development in what she calls the “vectoralist class” and the “hacker class” (Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §021). However, despite her striking analysis of the mechanisms of extraction, appropriation, and accumulation, the notion of libido is strangely absent from her approach. This is no accident. Omission of the power of libidinal economy was a major shortcoming of original socialist accumulation in the communist states and the way in which socialist theories have understood class conflict and the workings of capitalism more generally. For neoliberal capitalism, a particular analysis of libidinal economy is not necessary, because the production of scarcity works in its favor. Survival and trauma motivate capitalist consumption. “Communism was an idea, a dream palace whose attraction derived from its seeming fusion of science and utopia” (Kotkin, Stalin, 6). What remains open in Comrade Wark’s proposal is simply this: Why do anything? What is the motivational force behind resistance? It is the typical omission of the idealist, left opposition (for another powerful example, see Rose Buttress, “A New Social Contract,” Mask: The Rant Issue, 2017 ). But if you can’t say anything about the causal forces driving concrete action, your political proposal will remain flat footed. In short: while comrade Wark’s proposal is inherently Marxist, Pink Totaliterianism is inherently Spinozistic.

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For more on this, see Luce deLire, “Post-#metoo: My, Your, Our Pink Totalitarianism,” e-flux lectures, May 11, 2018 .

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For more on this, see “From the Lecture Notes of Comrade Josephine” .

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Anonymous, “Against the Gendered Nightmare: Fragments On Domestication,” Bædan, no. 2 (2014): 87.

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Federici, Caliban and the Witch, 183.

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See Preciado, Testo Junkie, and Illouz, Cold Intimacies.

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For a related fictional scenario, see Torrey Peters, Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones (self-published, 2016).

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Preciado, Testo Junkie, 31.

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Mira Bellwether, Fucking Trans Women, vol. 1 (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013).

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We think that gender terrorists should involve trans men in their actions so as to make sure that all necessary precautions for their protection are met.

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Paul B. Preciado, Countersexual Manifesto, trans. Kevin Gerry Dunn (2000; Columbia University Press, 2018), 57.

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Winston Churchill quoting Stalin from a private conversation they had in Moscow during Churchill’s visit there in 1943. Winston Churchill, The Second World War – Volume 3: The Grand Alliance (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950), 448.

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For context, see Nicole Cox and Silvia Federici, Counter-Planning from the Kitchen: Wages for Housework, a Perspective on Capital and the Left (New York Wages for Housework Committee and Falling Wall Press, 1975).

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Paul B. Preciado, “La statistique, plus forte que l’amour,” Libération, August 1, 2014 .

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For more on this, see Luce deLire, “Pink Totaliterianism.”

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For more on this, see “From the Lecture Notes of Comrade Josephine” .

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DeLire, “L’Ancien Regime Strikes Back.”

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Note, however, that mere abstract demolition of the couple form leaves us to the social blizzard that drives people into the couple form in the first place. Decoupling is not an end in itself. It is a precursor for other social relations. That is why “decoupling” is not “breaking up.” The latter singularizes the participants. “Decoupling” is a collective transition into a social form beyond the two.

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McKenzie Wark, Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse? (Verso, 2019).

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“C’est en ce sense que la révolution (pink) est la puissance sociale de la différence, … la colère propre de l’Idée sociale.” Gilles Deleuze, Différence et Répétition (Presses Universitaires de France, 2015), 268.

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Josef Stalin, Dialectical and Historical Materialism (Mass Publications, 1975), 19.

Ross Douthat, “Where Liberal Power Lies: And Why Conservatives Fear the Creep of Authoritarianism, Too,” New York Times, October 17, 2020 .

Rod Dreher, “Douthat On The Pink Police State,” The American Conservative, October 17, 2020 .

For context, see Patrick Love and Alisha Karabinus, “Creation of an Alt-Left Boogeyman: Information Circulation and the Emergence of ‘Antifa,’” in Platforms, Protests, and the Challenge of Networked Democracy, ed. John Jones and Michael Trice (Springer 2020). For examples outside the US, see Jens Jessen, “Der bedrohte Mann,” Die Zeit, April 4, 2018 ; and Margarete Stokowski, “‘Totalitärer Feminismus’ Der Reichsbürger der #MeToo-Bewegung,” Spiegel Kultur .

“Marx’s theory of historical repetition … turns on the following principle which does not seem to have been sufficiently understood by historians: historical repetition is neither a matter of analogy nor a concept produced by the reflection of historians, but above all a condition of historical action itself.“ Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, trans. Paul Patton (1968; Continuum, 1994, 91). Historical actors necessarily repeat what they know. Repetition may fall short of imitating its model—it then turns into farce. It may succeed and become the continuation of a tradition—it then turns conservative. But sometimes repetition yields something yet unheard of—it then turns into the future. This future lies dormant in the past—as counter-paradigm.

The “we” in this text is indexical. Just as “I” refers to the speaker (who changes in any given context), this “we” refers to the community of those implicated in the thought and sentence in question. Effectively, this means that you, dear reader, create the we while reading it. The term “we” does not have a meaning beyond this.

Boris Groys, The Communist Postscript, trans. Thomas H. Ford (Verso, 2009), 30.

For an analysis of intersections between queerness and historical fascism, see Jack Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure (Duke University Press 2011), 147.

For an introduction to the contemporary historical analysis of Stalin and Stalinism, see Kevin McDermott, “Stalin and Stalinism,” in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism, ed. Stephen S. Smith (Oxford University Press, 2014). See also Stephen Kotkin, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929–1941 (Penguin, 2017).

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Critique of Postcolonial Reason: A History of the Vanishing Present (Harvard University Press, 1999), 203.

For more on this, see Luce deLire, “Towards a Critique of Pure Treason,” Invertigo TV Live Stream, Qalandiya International 2018 .

On the devastating effects of capitalism, see especially Cedric J. Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (1983; University of North Carolina Press, 2000) and Wendy Brown, In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West (Columbia University Press, 2019). For a quick and popular take on capitalism, see the documentary Justin Pemberton, Capital in the 21st Century, 2019, based on Thomas Piketty, Le Capital au XXIe siècle (Editions du Seuil, 2013).

Paul Virilio, The Original Accident (Polity, 2007), 5.

Proudhon coins this slogan in analogy to the identification of slavery with murder in Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What is Property?, ed. Donald R. Kelley and Bonnie G. Smith (1840; Cambridge University Press, 1994), 13. But while Proudhon investigates property for its ethical defensibility and its material genesis (property as actual theft of land, for example), we merely state that property can and will go wrong—thus, with property, theft becomes inevitable.

McKenzie Wark, A Hacker Manifesto (Harvard University Press, 2004), §052.

Linda Singer, Erotic Welfare (Routledge, 1992), 36.

Paul B. Preciado, Testo Junkie, trans. Bruce Benderson (The Feminist Press, 2013), 34.

Maxine Wolfe in private conversation with the authors, 2012.

This counts for resistance just as much. “The dominant are waiting for the oppositional to grab them and make them alternative.” Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Politics of Deconstruction: Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Oscar Guardiola-Rivera in conversation,” Birbeck, University of London, 2016 .

The necessary possibilities of loneliness, jealousy, exploitation, poverty, and anxiety may be understood in analogy to the demonstration concerning theft above. For anxiety, see also Jamieson Webster and Luce deLire, “What Do We Even Want From One Another?: Anxiety, Permeation and Identity in the Age of a Slowly Imploding Liberalism,” Public Seminar, April 24, 2018 .

In “The Apogee of the Commodity,” Anthony Paul Farley inquires into the mechanics of antiblack racism from a similar angle: “The Black is the apogee of the commodity. It is the point—in time as well as in space—at which commodity becomes flesh.” Anthony Paul Farley, “The Apogee of the Commodity,” DePaul Law Review, no. 53 (2004): 1229. A Pink Totaliterian reading of antiblack racism may learn a great deal especially from Paul Farley’s notion of inevitable “ambiguities” (1240) that are tendentially interpreted in the direction of the hegemonial system in place (such as racial capitalism or “white-over-black,” as he writes). For a related, though probably opposed position, see Frank B. Wilderson III, Afropessimism (Liveright, 2020). Wilderson’s picture rests on the claim that “there is no antagonism like the antagonism between Black people and the world” and that this antagonism is more fundamental to politics and oppression than anything else. It is interesting, however, that the logic of property, and “looting” in particular, figures prominently in the making of Afropessimism. A thorough conversation between Afropessimism and Pink Totaliterianism is surely in order. This conversation will also have to include a thorough reading of Achille Mbembe, The Critique of Black Reason (2013; Duke University Press 2017). But this will require a text of its own.

See Bini Adamczak, “Theorie der Polysexuellen Ökonomie (Grundrisse),” diskus 6, no. 1 (2006) .

For exemplary studies of this constellation, see Jin Haritaworn, Queer Lovers and Hateful Others (University of Chicago Press, 2015) and Jasbir K. Puar, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (Duke University Press, 2007), 114–65. See also Luce deLire, “L’Ancien Regime Strikes Back: Response to Paul Preciado,” e-flux conversations, January 2018 .

See for example Luce deLire, “The New Queer: Aesthetics of the Esoteric Left and Virtual Materialism,” Public Seminar, August 19, 2019 ; and Luce deLire, “Queer Feminist Witchcraft,” in Magic: A Companion, ed. Katharina Rein (Peter Lang, 2021), forthcoming.

See also deLire, “L’Ancien Regime Strikes Back.”

See Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol 1: An Introduction (1976; Vintage 1990); Elsa Dorlin, La matrice de la race: Généalogie sexuelle et coloniale de la Nation française (La Découverte, 2009); and Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Harvard University Press, 1992).

Preciado, Testo Junkie, 47.

Preciado, Testo Junkie, 23.

Eva Illouz, Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (University of California Press, 1997).

Singer, Erotic Welfare, 35.

See Pierre Bourdieu, “The Forms of Capital,” in Handbook of Theory of Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. J. E. Richardson, trans. Richard Nice (Greenwood Press, 1986), 46–58; Eva Illouz, Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism (Polity, 2007); and Tiqqun, Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, trans. Ariana Reines (Semiotext(e), 2012).

“Few people consciously want babies to be commodities. Yet baby commodities are a definite part of what gestational labor produces today.” Sophie Lewis, Full Surrogacy Now (Verso, 2019), 15.

Note that the neoliberal couple form is incredibly adaptable: polyamory, for example, is not a solution but merely an extension of the bourgeois ideology of libidinal agriculture. It is the spatial equivalent to sequential monogamy. While some people plow one field after the other, others have several, mostly non-interfering partnerships at the same time. The model may appear franchised (play partners, sugar daddies, escort services) or protected by limited liability (friends with benefits, affairs, and flings). But as long as these are founded on the idea of exclusion and negative freedom they will be but extensions of the overall commodification of everyday life. In this sense, polyamory is pink-washing neoliberalism.

For more on the metaphysics of Pink Totaliterianism, see “From the Lecture Notes of Comrade Josephine,” 2018 ; and Luce deLire, “Pink Totaliterianism” (lecture, presented at “Libidinal Economies of Crisis Times,” Acud Macht Neu, Berlin, September 27, 2019 ).

Silvia Federici, Caliban and The Witch: The Body and Primitive Accumulation, (Autonomedia, 2004), 80. For the context of Pink Totaliterianism, we are interested in the collective material dimension of this quote, not in the fantasy of a wholesome “common” that somehow magically cures us from capitalism. We reject this fantasy as romanticism. For a more contemporary take on the “commons,” however, see Comrade Wark: “Without an information commons, all classes become captives of the vectoralist privatization of education. This is an interest the hacker shares with farmers and workers, who demand the public provision of education.” Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §198. See also Ziauddin Sardar, “alt.civilizations.faq: Cyberspace as the darker side of the West,” Futures 27, no. 7 (September 1995): 777–94 .

The term “Queerocracy” is borrowed from New York City–based group Queerocracy. There is no affiliation between the authors and the group, although we admire their activism. We recommend you support them—financially or otherwise. For more on the group see .

Consider in this regard: “All returns to {normal} in the aftermath of a {transition} have to be fought because {the old normal} has … objectively {ended}, and hence the ‘return’ would be to a counterfeit {normality}, one characterized by reduction to the exoteric and lack of subtlety. From this perspective, invoking {normality} as the domain of the genuine is derisory, since in many cases {normality} did at one point or another undergo a {transition}.” Jalal Toufic, The Withdrawal of Tradition Past a Surpassing Disaster (self-published, 2009), 29 . “{We have to tackle} three tasks … concerning a {transition}: 1) to reveal the withdrawal of {normality}, and therefore that a {transition} has happened {or is happening} … ; 2) to resurrect what has been withdrawn by the {transition in a different constellation, to piece the elements of the pre-transition situation back together in a new constellation}, which is the task assigned to the protagonist{s} … ; 3) and, in some ominous periods, to imply symptomatically … that a {transition} is being prepared … thus functioning as an … implicit appeal for thoughtful intervention by the minority of contemporaries to {allow} the imminent {transition to happen}.” Toufic, Withdrawal of Culture, 22.

Andrea Long Chu, “On Liking Women,” n+1, no. 30 (Winter 2018) .

Preciado, Testo Junkie, 137.

Preciado, Testo Junkie, 137.

For a systematic account of a choice-based “personal aspiration model” of transitioning, see Christine Overall, “Sex/Gender Transitions and Life Changing Aspirations,” in You’ve Changed: Sex Reassignment and Personal Identity, ed. Laurie J. Shrage (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Chu, “On Liking Women.” At bottom, this is an expression of the virtuality of desire, which Deleuze exemplifies in a “child who begins to walk … No one has ever walked endogenously. On the one hand, the child goes beyond the bound excitations towards the supposition or the intentionality of an object, such as the mother, as the goal of an effort, the end to be actively reached ‘in reality’ and in relation to which success and failure may be measured. But on the other hand and at the same time, the child constructs for itself another object, a quite different kind of object which is a virtual object or centre and which then governs and compensates for the progresses and failures of its real activity: it puts several fingers in its mouth, wraps the other arm around this virtual centre, and appraises the whole situation from the point of view of this virtual mother … The real mother is contemplated only in order to provide a goal for the activity, and a criterion by which to evaluate the activity, in the context of an active synthesis.” Deleuze, Difference and Repetition, 99.

For an opposite perspective, compare Gayle Salamon, Assuming a Body: Transgender and the Rhetorics of Materiality (Columbia University Press, 2010).

Susan Stryker, “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1, no. 3 (1994): 237–54; and Hilary Malatino, “Tough Breaks: Trans Rage and the Cultivation of Resilience,” Hypatia 34, no. 1 (Winter 2019). For a critical perspective on rage from a black trans perspective, see Kortney Ryan Ziegler, “Uses of Black Trans Male Anger,” HuffPost, April 12, 2013 .

J. A. Micheline gives a particularly powerful example: “In an attempt to survive, before I knew that I’d done it, I became what they asked of me. I became soft-spoken; I became committed to reason … And I am so satisfied to be the monster that they have created … My sharp rhetoric only highlights the softness of their foundation. My patience only provides them rope—rope with which they inevitably hang themselves.” J. A. Micheline, “Ritualizing My Humanity,” in Becoming Dangerous, ed. Katie West and Jasmine Elliot (Weiser Books, 2019), 209.

Yet again, the difference between Pink Totaliterianism and the left opposition is subtle but crucial. Comrade Wark captures a similar thought as follows: “To the hacker there is always a surplus of possibility expressed in what is actual, the surplus of the virtual. This is the inexhaustible domain of what is real, but not actual, what is not but which may become … To hack is to release the virtual into the actual,”—and thus to proclaim the primacy of the actual over the virtual— “to express the difference of the real” (Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §074). Here, it looks as though “the virtual,” just as the classically Marxist version of nature, was in itself a passive object to the cultivating intervention of human actors (which picks up on centuries of the identification of virtuality, mere possibility, and nature as matter to a forming intellect). Simultaneously, comrade Wark’s “virtual” has relevance only in relation to “what is actual”—it is “what is not but which may become” (Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §074). What articulates itself in her text is an inherent “metaphysics of presence as the exigent, powerful, systematic, and irrepressible desire for” the transcendental signified (Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974, 49), which, at one time or another, would place a reassuring end to the reference from sign to sign, thus putting to rest that “strange movement of the trace”—in other words, the virtual (Derrida, Of Grammatology, 66). In this case, the transcendental signified is the “inexhaustible domain of what is real” (Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §074) and ready to be hacked (is it an accident that “to hack” originally refers to the violent expropriation of resources from the material world?). The virtual, the surplus possibility in Comrade Wark’s picture, is subsumed under actuality. It has no life of its own, no nonhuman agency. It remains to be shown where it manifests its factual agency against the grain in Comrade Wark’s text, but these crucial subtleties require a separate inquiry. Suffice it to say that to Pink Totaliterians, that “strange movement of the trace” is simultaneously the strange movement of an originary desire that makes itself felt. That is why a Pink Totaliterian must ultimately aim for a theory of seduction more than for a theory of production (see Jean Baudrillard, Forget Foucault, 1977, Semiotext(e), 2007, 37–38).

Comrade Wark has put forth a powerful analysis of a parallel development in what she calls the “vectoralist class” and the “hacker class” (Wark, Hacker Manifesto, §021). However, despite her striking analysis of the mechanisms of extraction, appropriation, and accumulation, the notion of libido is strangely absent from her approach. This is no accident. Omission of the power of libidinal economy was a major shortcoming of original socialist accumulation in the communist states and the way in which socialist theories have understood class conflict and the workings of capitalism more generally. For neoliberal capitalism, a particular analysis of libidinal economy is not necessary, because the production of scarcity works in its favor. Survival and trauma motivate capitalist consumption. “Communism was an idea, a dream palace whose attraction derived from its seeming fusion of science and utopia” (Kotkin, Stalin, 6). What remains open in Comrade Wark’s proposal is simply this: Why do anything? What is the motivational force behind resistance? It is the typical omission of the idealist, left opposition (for another powerful example, see Rose Buttress, “A New Social Contract,” Mask: The Rant Issue, 2017 ). But if you can’t say anything about the causal forces driving concrete action, your political proposal will remain flat footed. In short: while comrade Wark’s proposal is inherently Marxist, Pink Totaliterianism is inherently Spinozistic.

For more on this, see Luce deLire, “Post-#metoo: My, Your, Our Pink Totalitarianism,” e-flux lectures, May 11, 2018 .

For more on this, see “From the Lecture Notes of Comrade Josephine” .

Anonymous, “Against the Gendered Nightmare: Fragments On Domestication,” Bædan, no. 2 (2014): 87.

Federici, Caliban and the Witch, 183.

See Preciado, Testo Junkie, and Illouz, Cold Intimacies.

For a related fictional scenario, see Torrey Peters, Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones (self-published, 2016).

Preciado, Testo Junkie, 31.

Mira Bellwether, Fucking Trans Women, vol. 1 (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013).

We think that gender terrorists should involve trans men in their actions so as to make sure that all necessary precautions for their protection are met.

Paul B. Preciado, Countersexual Manifesto, trans. Kevin Gerry Dunn (2000; Columbia University Press, 2018), 57.

Winston Churchill quoting Stalin from a private conversation they had in Moscow during Churchill’s visit there in 1943. Winston Churchill, The Second World War – Volume 3: The Grand Alliance (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950), 448.

For context, see Nicole Cox and Silvia Federici, Counter-Planning from the Kitchen: Wages for Housework, a Perspective on Capital and the Left (New York Wages for Housework Committee and Falling Wall Press, 1975).

Paul B. Preciado, “La statistique, plus forte que l’amour,” Libération, August 1, 2014 .

For more on this, see Luce deLire, “Pink Totaliterianism.”

For more on this, see “From the Lecture Notes of Comrade Josephine” .

DeLire, “L’Ancien Regime Strikes Back.”

Note, however, that mere abstract demolition of the couple form leaves us to the social blizzard that drives people into the couple form in the first place. Decoupling is not an end in itself. It is a precursor for other social relations. That is why “decoupling” is not “breaking up.” The latter singularizes the participants. “Decoupling” is a collective transition into a social form beyond the two.

McKenzie Wark, Capital is Dead: Is This Something Worse? (Verso, 2019).

“C’est en ce sense que la révolution (pink) est la puissance sociale de la différence, … la colère propre de l’Idée sociale.” Gilles Deleuze, Différence et Répétition (Presses Universitaires de France, 2015), 268.

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