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12 2020

The Parasitic Folding

Humans-as-Animals, States and Machines that Come from the Outside: Homologies between a Virus and Finance

Marios Emmanouilidis

Translated from the Greek by Barbara Santos


“If you wish–
I’ll rage on raw meat like a vandal
Or change into hues that the sunrise arouses,
If you wish–
I can be irreproachably gentle,
Not a man—but a cloud in trousers”.
Vladimir Mayakovsky, “A Cloud in Trousers”
(1914, trans. by Andrey Kneller)


The public and all but violent reaction of readers and theorists alike to the positions of Giorgio Agamben on the measures of the States amidst a pandemic as a state of exception and on the condition of fear that becomes a necessary component to collective panic concerns the hitting of a limit. It is the limit of the living, of living individual experience and of the collective desire for the preservation of our existence. It is this very desire that the positions of Agamben bypass as well as subsume into the politics of security and the state of exception, thus expunging its autonomy.[2] However, the object “epidemic” also comes from a space beyond that of politics, from the animal non-human, and forces us to turn our gaze towards the threshold of the living, while, despite a shared political experience imposed by the epidemic, we find ourselves, as individuals, each “confronted with the adverse values of disease and of death, through which life is confirmed, in the form of an affirmation of negation that expresses the fundamental impulse that drives every living to persevere in its being” (Macherey 1998: 72).

In the modern-postmodern condition, we can recognize two interlocking tendencies: (a) a tendency towards the repression of biological death as a public event. Notably: the bureaucratization of the rituals of death, the hospitalization of death, the abandonment of the ritual of staying with the dead body in its household before burial (along with the invocation of public health regulations), the distancing of the bereaved from any contact with the deceased;[3] (b) a tendency towards the repression of the living processes which have hitherto long been left in the hands of experts, or of alternative experts. The entire transfer of care for the living processes to specialized medical practices was the path to the transformation of individual experience of the body into the body-as-skin. The primary diseases of our times, those diseases which (pre-)occupy both private and public discourse—cancer, heart disease, even the HIV virus (despite its contagious nature)—are, or are conceived as, personal illnesses, illnesses related to the way we conduct our lives, to our diet, or even to an anomaly in our anatomy. They are thought to be generated by something for which we ourselves are responsible. That something is health, a repercussion of diet and exercise, of our endeavours to attain a state of “well-being”, proof of personal care (health, aside from the longing to revel in a visceral silence,[4] is conceived as a debt towards the self). And yet, in spite of such excessive attention given over to care for the body, all of this care is an ascesis that is connected to and associated with dissonant motions and the repression of a part of the body: the fierceness of the viscera and its living processes are spurned. The living processes of body-matter become individual body-skins. Under such a condition, the (collective) return of the viscera and of the living processes is pain-filled. Having spurned the viscera, we have ceased to be animals: the animal being a thing of the outside, cast off and banished. The included is excluded. The latest reminders (SARS, etc.) do not contest this reasoning. (We could say that our relations with the Earth’s climate, presupposition of our existence, and which could be perceived as our “external viscera”, are of the same cognitive order.) Yet, what is now taking place with a suddenness and utmost urgency is the return of the public disclosure of our viscera, of the public disease of the human being, in the form of the invasion of a small, invisible stranger, as if we were once again becoming animals.

I shall approach Covid-19 in this text from two points of view: (a) as a war machine that threatens State apparatuses. In the last ten years we have been assailed by two war machines: that of finance, and that of the Covid-19 virus—two machines that came from afar. This text attempts a juxtaposition of a virus and finance, and accordingly, a diagonalization of the event that tyrannizes us, pushing us towards a quest for as much the homologous movements of a virus and finance, as for the homologous responses of State and society, in both crises. I shall consider the virus as exemplary of financial practices and will ascribe to it the quality of a methodological protocol, at least in part (could it be otherwise?), of an enquiry into our times; (b) as an event exemplary of the living process by which the human within is formed as a processing of the outside (a virus). This processing introduces turmoil to an intact repression, coerces the biological confession of our animal composition and triggers a crisis de novo in the historical formation of the “Human being”, that “human compound” (Deleuze 2006: 88) as was structured in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

“Capital is a point of subjectification par excellence” (Deleuze-Guattari 2005: 130), and financial capital is the “capital par excellence” (Marx 1991: 499), as money is the “commodity par excellence” (ibid.: 648). Finance, as the capital exemplary of the era of financialization,[5] is a point of subjectivation par excellence and elicits the financial confession of the contemporary subjectivation processes. The precise processes, fields, forms and bendings of the financial subjectivation of our times, for nearly twenty years now, shall not be examined here; only its terms shall be set. Before continuing, some elucidation of methodology is likely to be necessary concerning: financialization as a dispositif, the meaning of the outside, the use of the paradigm in the enquiry into the analogous-homologous relations of a virus with finance, and a critique of the perspective of finance as parasitic to a real economy.

(a) When referring to financialization and finance I use the term system but a few times, as I do not mean a closed, homogenized system arranged on an economic level. The financial sphere is not a structure, but clusters of techniques, financial and discursive practices associated with actions and processes that branch out onto all social levels, penetrating into all levels of society. It is a dispositif (device, apparatus, Foucault), or an assemblage (Deleuze). A dispositif consists of the following elements: lines of visibility (an optical machine of the world, relations and events), lines of enunciation (a specialized mode of syntax), lines of subjectification and lines of force (see Deleuze 1992: 160-162).[6] Financialization as a dispositif is a formation that carries out “a dominant strategic function” that is found in a “perpetual process of strategic elaboration” (Foucault 1980b: 195): “Financialization has been developed as a power technology, to be superimposed on social power relations for the purpose of organizing them and reinforcing their strength and effectiveness” (Sotiropoulos-Milios-Lapatsioras 2013: 2). In the text, by questioning the function of the financial dispositif, we shall approach finance as a means of production: as a machine. As a machine, finance relentlessly engineers tactics of valorization in a way that (initially) lifts social-State codifications, converts every present and future event into profit expectation and the discounting in the present of this expectation into profit, and it mutates—it alters its forms of appearance. The financial dispositif is composed of many machines, functions as an assemblage of machines. It is not a structure, as there is no one machine of machines, but machines and clusters of machines: it is an interlocking process with other machines, a dynamic ensemble of machines within machines, an interconnectivity of machines (with language, with science, with States, with events, with politics, with viruses).

And finance is one such machine that, in contrast to technical machines and mechanisms, can continue to produce in a state of dysfunction. Like Friedrich Nietzsche (writing of himself), it is 'one of those machines that can burst asunder'. This is possible since it is not like those mechanisms that “[serve] to designate specific processes in certain technological machines, or else a specific organization of a living being” (Deleuze 2004: 219). Only if we view financialization as a machine that “goes beyond both the mechanism of technology and the organization of the living being” (ibid.) and as a dispositif that “trace[s] balances which are always off balance” (Deleuze 1992: 159), are we able to discern its critical role in the production of governmentality and non-governmentality: from order to the limit of chaos.

(b) In this text, money and viruses-parasites are machines, and nomadic machines at that, as they are machines that come from the outside. But the outside is not of spatial relevance; there is no space of the outside. The outside is the incompatibility, the fracturing of the presence of forces and knowledge, an invisibility between forces and subjects. This invisibility originates the conception of the outside: “a thought that stands outside subjectivity, setting its limits as though from without” (Foucault 1980a: 15; emphasis added). This outside is a form of a fabricated outside, a motion of withdrawal-dissociation so that the inside and knowledge may again be woven together. This fiction of the outside “consists not in showing the invisible [the outside and between of things and people], but in showing the extent to which the invisibility of the visible is invisible” (ibid.: 24). For, “how could one know the law and truly experience it, how could one force it to come into view […], without resolutely going ever farther into the outside into which it is always receding?” (ibid.: 34).

The outside of the financial machine and the outside of the virus alike, come not from a space, but are a product of our fictions of an outside so that we may recognize the ascesis of the forces of forms on humans-living beings and State apparatuses.

Accordingly, the object that comes from the outside, be it finance or a virus, does not truly stand as an object-thing outside of relations that exerts force on the terms of relations. As we shall see, even the parasite comes from without, but exists only within the human body, in relation to it (and within this relation it intervenes in social relations). It comes from afar, but “lives” only within relations.

As a result, bringing into play this use-mode of the machines-of-the-outside, and in spite of the use of the concept of infinity, a use which we negotiate in the present footnote, the forces of the outside are not “raised to infinity”[7] and thus do not enjoy a transcendental nature.

(c) I use the rather harsh wording of homologies between a virus and finance in order to point out their exemplary relations.[8] The virus is introduced as a metaphor for finance, and accordingly, there is a stretching in meaning of these two elements.

Certain elements of the virus are associated with certain elements of finance, and the viral-financial modality is identified depending on the analogy. The introduction of the exemplary relations of a virus with finance serves a double purpose: (a) to avoid a certain anthropomorphism imposed by the mind of the sovereign Subject, and to highlight the repressed presence of an animal continuum; (b) to demonstrate the possibility of a reversal. If, through an analogous expansion of the exemplary relations, capital becomes the (powerful, destructive, governmental) virus and “we the many” the hosts, the text intends to demonstrate the inherent potential of a reversal in the direction of the exertion of force upon the two terms of those exemplary relations; to demonstrate the potential incoming reality of we the hosts becoming viruses, the dangerous parasites themselves, a reality that we experienced during the crisis of subprime loans in 2008 and during the events of 2011-2015 in Greece. A word of caution: within financial governmentality (and within the virus-riddled body), the positions of the terms are not polarized.

(d) It is customary for the recent crisis to be viewed as the product of the difficulty or absence of regulation and ‘democratic control’ of the markets, of the avaricious practices of the banks. Finance sucks the people dry and creates debtocracies, or debt colonies. As far as personal debt is concerned, it is the price paid for our longing to live beyond our means.

Criticism by Keynes and Marxists alike of the parasitic nature of finance that deregulates the economy, the loathing (and the cryptic desire) of each one of us, not so much (or not at all) for industrial capital as for financial, the enmity (as a stolen pleasure) towards brokers (or moneylenders, a name that persists ahistorically since Mediaeval times), that entire community of scientific assertions and common discursive formations that persist through time: (a) uphold scientific knowledge; (b) are articulated together with knowledge (savoir, Foucault) with which subjects wrestle; and (c), write the public history of our times (kairos).

Finance becomes the sole adversary, the solitary foe. These fixed forms of knowledge encounter the objects of their criticism (money, banks, debt, interest, the State) as things and properties that originate from the very things –nnate qualities, and these forms, in full unity, produce a sort of fullness of speech [  as their imes (kairos).atred (as the pwith which they grapple: capital becomes a thing that produces itself, as if that were its distinctive attribute.[9] It is as if the reverberations of these forms flow out as properties intrinsic to them, and these forms, in full concert, produce a sort of fullness of speech, constituting stable forms with innate properties, and not shifting objectivizations of heterogeneous practices historical in nature.[10]

Finance draws our attention, but at the same time it diverts knowledge. Nevertheless, this fetishistic gaze, comprising an eye on the surface, on the fictitious, on the mask, is the only eye we are able to cast. As much as we attempt to rein in the fetish-simulacrum, try to point to an actual reality behind the simulacrum (that is, to the productive-real capital behind the financial, and all other permeations of finance), we are unable to shake off this fetish-simulacrum, for it is a manifest form of the obscure.

The present text examines homologies between parasites and finance, yet does not consider finance as parasitic or counter-productive to a real economy. Things happen differently and are far more complex; but in this text we have not the space to address that critical question.[11]

1. The Parasitic Folding

“Τhe switch to human testing had not involved too much hocus pocus. It is very easy to adapt. The only thing I changed were some of the ingredients. In our normal work it is specific to fish virus and fish bacteria and in this case I just changed the three components specific to the coronavirus”.
Debes Christiansen, veterinary scientist,
Faroe Islands, The Guardian, 8.4.2020

The experience of living, and therefore, the experience of illness, as expounded by Georges Canguilhem, is singular (only) at a primary level: “There is no such thing as an experience of the living as a whole, but only singular life experiences, which draw their singularity from the fact that they continuously come up against the negative values of life, for which every living is obliged first to find, at its own risk and at its own expense, the responses that it gives as a living” (Macherey 1998: 74). Particularly in our current state of affairs, we can consider the individual biological-somatic crisis that our bodies are now able to experience due to Covid-19 as contingent, precarious and confrontational. Contingent, as contamination by the virus is not (only) a question of the possibility of an encounter-collision with viruses, but of our individual and distinct somatic constitutions as well—given that our relation with every virus is one of contingency, due to the potential of our individual, respective genetics aligning with the virus;[12] precarious, to the extent that the body continues to live alongside the virus, creating antibodies, and therefore mutating itself; and confrontational, as the body strives to kill the virus that lives off of it.

The individuality of living experience presses us to define it as an annulment of statistical normality: in this case, the individual living experience is defined as “antistatistical individuality” (Deleuze-Guattari 2005: 335].[13] For our purposes here, however, as the individual living experience is classified as an epidemic condition, the statistical probability is transformed into an intact danger, and the thus classified danger transformed into a demand for State and social action to safeguard the life of the population. From the individual living experience to an epidemic, and thereafter to the epidemiological political crisis.

It is worth noting two points regarding the transformation of the individual living experience into a social living experience with a virus as mediator: (a) The parasite “attacks relations more than beings. […] It is the logic of epidemics: the virus multiplies; it goes everywhere. The action of the parasite is to go to the relation. It instinctively goes to the mediations, occupying them all. [...] It intercepts all the relations between all the locations” (Serres 1982: 206). It is the third of the two, the third bystander, the onlooker in between the more elementary relations. “He is third in secrets of love and of the State”; (b) but also, for Michel Serres, “this third, it must be said, is included. It is distributively included in every relation. It captures all the flows. It is the included third” (ibid.). The logic of the epidemic is the pervasiveness of a parasite that moves about and interferes as an enfolded third party (at times inconsequential, at times deadly). And conversely, as the virus is transferred via relations, it is the social relation that (re)produces the virus.

The movement is from the singular living experience to the third that is in between, to that which mediates relations, and, with the (likely) penetration of that in-between third, to the included third that has been folded into the body. This third exists only as long as we do, the human animal living as public. And, contrariwise, we ourselves eventually become that third, as it exists only within us, it occupies us and exists because of us. And, as the virus anchors itself into the human body, as we shall see further down, finance is anchored into the population. This form of capital, which did not come from afar, despite a certain mystique contained therein, exists because of us (its effects are directly material in our lives) and exists within us (it produces us as it moves about). These machines, finance and viruses-parasites, come from the outside (from afar), but move about as we move them (they are close to us, with us).

“The outside is not a fixed limit but a moving matter animated by peristaltic movements, folds and foldings that together make up an inside: they are not something other than the outside, but precisely the inside of the outside” (Deleuze 2006: 96-97). The folding, the inside that is but a fold of the outside, the theme that seems to haunt the work of Foucault, according to Deleuze (ibid.), refers to processes of subjectivation. That being said, perhaps it would be worth pointing out that there is also a biological folding process, a living folding—in this case, a parasitic folding: that we are, as beings, not (only) human beings, but humans-as-animals, an inside of the outside. Ergo, our living body is already a virus, a parasite: a notion quite familiar to most, but objectionable perhaps, even repressed. Viruses and finance constitute two forces of the outside that, as individuals and as a population, we repress, we scorn and we fight, both medically and moralistically (I refer to the pandemic moralistic contempt for finance). Nevertheless, as forces of the outside, they form our insides.

The introduction by the virus in question to our animal-humanness sparks anew a crisis in the concept of “historical Man”, the sovereign Subject, as a specific form of domination of the Earth (of nature, of other living beings, of the climate) and of relations with its conditions of life and with itself. This crisis is not a recognition of the finitude of relations with our body and with nature, as the espousal of such a finitude is already inherent in the formation of the modern historical human; for, for Foucault, the formation of the historical human is based upon the acceptance of the finitude of things and beings (conditions of life, other beings, the economy, language), that is, of their historicity, and only in a second state, in a gesture of “reversal”, does the human transform the passivity into which the acceptance of this finitude of its character drove it: “he too has a right to a development quite as positive as that of beings and things […]. Thus, [with this second movement of the historical formation of the nineteenth-century human] behind the history of the positivities, there appears another, more radical, history, that of man himself—a history that now concerns man’s very being, since he now realizes that he not only ‘has history’ all around him, but is himself, in his own historicity, that by means of which a history of human life, a history of economics, and a history of languages are given their form” (Foucault 2002: 403).[14] The historical human becomes the human who makes history, who forms the world and the elements of its life. It is the human alone, this exceptional species, who undertakes the appropriation of the world. If the historical and post-historical human is thence formed within a horizon of domesticated nature and consistently hijacked natural and social points, the financial crisis (as part of an incoherent financial war machine), as much as the pandemic, oblige the recognition of the financial and animal forces as forces of the outside, non-appropriatable. The world remains savage. There will always be a dangerous, undifferentiated reserve. Perhaps fifty years in the wake of the event of French thought in the sixties and seventies, now, at a moment of historic cunning (mētis), history is encountering that moment of thought, positioning the regime of historicity of the “human compound” of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries under public scrutiny. The pandemic recalls the horrific disclosure of a crisis specific to that historical compound called “Man”: the unforeseen mass circulation of a marginally living being that forces the individual into hiding, subjecting itself to the history of another species (in biology, viruses are both living and non-living beings).

The human-as-animal is a host, the historical human compound of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is a parasite: “But history hides the fact that man is the universal parasite, that everything and everyone around him is a hospitable space. Plants and animals are always his hosts; man is always necessarily their guest. Always taking, never giving. He bends the logic of exchange and of giving in his favor when he is dealing with nature as a whole” (Serres 1982: 26). The pandemic presents the potential for yet another invention, an I-/We-as-animal creation that we have repressed. The human-as-animal is perforated, susceptible to infection by microorganisms (viruses, fungi, bacteria) that, as operators, transform its condition. We, too, are animals, subject to a “nature politics” (and not to a politics of nature), where her ways are those of perpetual admixtures, variations, at times conflicting and dangerous, as incursions of parasites, bacteria and viruses previously dormant take place, penetrate us, make us ill, kill us and strengthen us. We are part of a never-ending process of exchange, admixtures with the small, the insignificant. This is the visibility that the pandemic invites: the outside of our body is already within, and this outside is relational and enfolded within us. And thus, as a folding process of the animal-of-the-outside, the human is transformed into an animal continuum, is a part of it, a cutting-folding of the animal:[15] at one point an inconsequential, at another, a decimating, catastrophic folding. Relations with the virus invite the possibility of a desubjugation (désassujettissement), a disencumbrance of the notion of the pent-up human: our decoding as enclosed humans by accepting our body as a body of flow and amorphous matter with manifold potential for unexpected encounters, positive or negative. We are once again transformed into hosts, to receivers of the other.

The parasite decodes the human by rendering its flesh a host, or even fully decodes it by decomposing it. The espousal of parasitic folding as part of our animal condition does not necessarily pertain to a demand for historical regression or return, and accordingly, does not incite a crisis in the tendency towards post-humanness, nor in inventions of a post- or trans-humanness. The opposite may well be the case, as this tendency could be a representation of an an evasion, or an escape of sorts, or a sort of human overcharging within the human continuum.

Virus and finance, machines-of-the-outside, are the formless forces, the “moving matter” that forms us, since it materializes inside us: we are very much the processing of small somatids and material operations. The relations of small exosomatids with the body are homologous with financial processes: as with the virus, they exist only as long as we exist and they exist because of us; in this way financialization, that present form and regulation of capitalism, materializes as it is anchored into the body of the population (and is folded into individuals, rendering them financial subjects). “Financialization is a precarious regulation […]; an institutional configuration unstable and vulnerable to shocks” (Sotiropoulos-Milios-Lapatsioras 2013: 127, 110), according to whose terms the State is not (able to be) a producer of security for capital movement, but only a factor in it. Under the condition of financialization, the measure of confidence critical to the fulfillment of the profitability process is not produced by a centre-source, but generated as a network of infinite points of the fleeting positions of financial products. Because of these transitory, fleeting positions and the ongoing pricing and repricing process of financial products, the measure of confidence becomes shaky, and hence no longer serves as a point of reference in a distribution of certainty-uncertainty. Financial products are priced relative to the degree of specific risk that they bear in relation to the anticipated course of the production of profit, a pricing process that is an “adaptation to chance” (Sotiropoulos-Milios-Lapatsioras 2013: 161). “In order to price securities of different types, financial markets do indeed become the terrain upon which every market participant acquires a risk profile, which serves as a basis for pricing any contingent claim against them. [...] Financial markets thus normalize market participants on the basis of risk” (ibid.). The object being evaluated in order to determine its risk profile, and thus, for the financial product to be priced, is, ultimately, the population: intellect, labour, wealth, its political actions, its life events. So that political and moral hazards that would shake up the financial system are restricted, the rules of the life of the population are necessarily defined according to capital rule. Finance (re)shapes the population by continuously evaluating the risk profile of market participants and the quantity of profits that can be captured. I would say that the population and individuals exist as a processing of financialization. In this way, financialization constitutes a means of governmentality of production processes[16] and the life of the population on a planetary level. Yet, if it indeed occurs thus, it is in this same population that the potential of this governmentality is produced and anchored. The anchoring of a measure of confidence into the elements of the life and labour of a population that solicits the financial dispositif transforms finance from a parasite that captures the life and labour of the population into a host of the population, the latter of which, in turn, thence slides into the position of the parasite. If finance is anchored to the most powerless point (something which decimates and drains—cf. when brokers are dubbed economic hitmen in public discourse), this anchoring constitutes the precariousness of finance, its impotence (something which remains unrecognized by theorists and in public discourse). “Finance creates the social world in the image of capital, and the social world becomes the anchor of finance. Going forward, this precarious regime is the perpetual crisis of finance” (Bryan 2012: 175-176). We shall see further down how the poor of the world became the tempestuous parasite of finance.

2. State Apparatuses and Machines-of-the-Outside

The State comprises human beings, goods, money, territories, citizens and laws, but has a hard time integrating viruses and “parasitic” capital; contact with such has to be tamed or subjugated. The State comprises neither finance nor viruses, because both move about, regarding the elements that constitute a State—territories, goods, money, citizens, laws, etc.—as permeable ones with which they do not form stable relations (at the very same moment they both form and do not form relations). For finance and viruses, these elements are simply the quantities of risk profile and value that they possess: they are objects up for evaluation for “capturing” profits (through finance), and are thus objects of indifference. Viruses are only interested in bodies that circulate, with which they form relations or do not. It is now a matter of common discourse that Covid-19 has proved itself unconcerned about boundaries, that it penetrates State segmentation and cultural codifications (the introduction of nationalist and racist classification comes later). There is a problem in State-virus relations, in State-finance relations, which appears homologous to us.

The virus-parasite as the third term of Serres, that “ultimately” included third, is not an exteriority,[17] but we should probably conceive of it as an outside in relation to the State: as a machine, and particularly as a war machine. A war machine “brings a furor to bear against sovereignty, a celerity against gravity, secrecy against the public [as does the parasite of Serres], a power (puissance) against sovereignty, a machine against the apparatus” (Deleuze-Guattari 2005: 352). What more are viruses and finance, and what more do they do in spite of all this? They insinuate a furor, a frenzy, a speed, a secret (the virus has to be decoded and we do not know how long its motion will endure; details of financial derivatives are considered unintelligible even by economists); they introduce the force against the codified political hegemony, State codifications—against territorial barriers, against the power of law. Faced with this overpowering of the virus-financial machines, State centrality in the organization of power relations seems debilitated or infirm (when speaking of State centrality, I do not mean a State territory-center). As war machines, they are without internal properties and without a gravitational center. They exist as forces that move at a high speed of motion-contamination. Their movement, nevertheless, is not from point A to point B. Their movement goes from point A to every possible point B, and thus does not constitute a linear movement. Every point on Earth, every human being or animal, may function as a point of profitability or as a point of viral reception. Impediments present an opportunity for deviation. “Each partial regulation that does not question the roots of financialization is essentially pointless. From the moment that it is written ‘on paper’, financial institutions […] will not risk doing what has been prohibited, but will do what is immediately next in line that permits them to get around or override that regulation” (Milios-Sotiropoulos 2011: 469). The potentiality of this viral and financial movement in any direction sparks a crisis in the segmented, homogenized spatiality-temporality of classical capitalism and the nation-State.[18] If movement is possible in any direction, then striation of space dissolves and temporality becomes dense—its time is converted into that of the tiniest of units. Something additional happens due to the dispersive motion of heightened speed: all points become subjects in their presence, the whole of space becomes theirs, territories and living beings alike become points of reception-contamination. As a consequence, space for war machines ceases to be dimensional and becomes permeated, punctured from the intensities generated at their points of reception (an infinity of potential points).[19] The virus, as it is spread from point A to the infinity of potential points B, becomes the noise that smothers all other noises.[20] Financial relations occupy the entire space, stretching its limits; and further, new levels of space are created as new objects of capital relations (objects of profitability) are contrived. A virus is always virus-generating, productive as it produces itself and transforms the state of the body into which it enters. And, as with the virus, finance is a thing that produces itself. “This form capital-interest is precisely the form in which any mediation disappears, and capital is reduced to its almost general formula, but for this reason also it is a form that is absurd and inexplicable in its own terms” (Marx 1991: 956). If, as Karl Marx writes, interest-bearing capital is the capital par excellence according to popular perspective, what does the widespread allegation that financial capital is parasitic and unethical suggest? Perhaps it is an image of the thought of where a certain something takes place that gets caught up at the point where capital appears. Perhaps, however, consistent with the logic of this text, it may also be a loathing of parasites, that is, for the moist element, the all-pervasive, permeating, diffuse motion, and/or the desire to be a host, to have an organized body, to be in a contained space.

If it is thus, viruses and finance are amorphous forces of the outside. Their formless force tends to disarticulate State apparatuses (making the apparatuses permeable, blind and crippled) and the human species (turning it into animal matter). These two outsides are amorphous forces, which, as war machines, move against State apparatuses and the “State logic” of the human species (the formation and classification of the species). If the financial machine lays siege on States and the “real economy” (sic), it correspondingly attacks their assemblage—reorganizing States, the “real economy” and their arrangement, while governing them (by way of evaluation, as we have seen)—and this attack originates from an outside that is identified as the abstract form of capital. It is financial capital that tends to become the abstract form of capital and not the market, as the market is more of an assemblage of capital and States (and hence, an assemblage of territory or of immaterial space that tends towards or reveals a territory). Finance attacks the State, seeing it as a point of profitability, and is either indifferent to the State or circumvents it, while, for the axiomatic of capital itself, the State does not comprise a production point that guarantees the security of capital movement (I shall speak of this further down). The regulation of State-capital relations (subject to the political level as well) comes (analytically) later as a continuously varying relation, while, via the financialization process, the risk profile garnered by the players (States, labourers, other forms of capital, natural resources, social events, natural phenomena) is perpetually being repriced. In this one sense, that of continuous evaluation, the financial crisis that erupted in 2008 will never be overcome; and yet in a similar vein, the current condition is a state of perpetual crisis, with all the political consequences and opportunities that any such condition bears (kairos).

The virus attacks from an outside that is the human element external to life on Earth. And, the topology here pertains to a certain level of analysis, in that we have seen that the virus exists because of us, it comes from us. It is of particular interest that the virus resembles us, its hosts, and not its own species: viruses share greater similarities with the genetic material of their hosts than with the genetic material of other viruses. The parasite, that foreign body, that outside that enters us and becomes us, can be conceived as an expression of our repressed animal-ness. Put another way, this outside is the likely result of a contact, an invitation-challenge, a closeness. As multiple studies have shown, the relations of influenza viruses with humans penetrate even the outermost objects of capital evaluation. The outside of the virus can be produced by the activity of capital evaluation to points of dangerous engagements between living species.[21]

Financial machines and epidemics are not, unfortunately, of a symbolic order, and thus can be painfully destructive. Our subsumption into financial evaluation does not remit, and relates to all aspects of our lives.[22] The unexpected, incongruous-perilous clashes of our bodies with viruses, parasites, etc. with such dangerous smallness have always been present, enfolded in our history, though there may be a temptation to perceive them as something returning from a long-forgotten and repressed past. Perhaps because, aside from the question of the historical Human as herein presented, there is no collective memory of such an experience. Nevertheless, the current crisis proves that as living beings we are embedded in an endless process of unanticipated and incongruous meetings, and that from that standpoint, we are both public and earthbound. An experience as this cannot be incorporated into a State logic, as State logic is forged as it classifies and excludes (or circumvents) these discordant, menacing encounters.

And something still: at the level of the parasite’s ingression into the human body, of the perilous biological encounter of a virus and the human body, it is not likely to be a question of biopolitics, at least not initially. Biopolitics transforms elements of life into political objects, and these elements are conceived as individual elements of a population. As such, they are already present in the regulated-classified human species (the human species is a threshold after the encounter of the non-classified human-animal body with the machines-of-the-outside). Therefore, the biopolitical elements of life and death are elements already inherent to the historical human species, and thus become objects of State politics. Foucault maintains, (re)creating the concept of biopolitics, that this became possible when “a relative control over life averted some of the imminent risks of death […]; when “death was ceasing to torment life so directly. In the space for movement thus conquered […] one would have to speak of bio-power to designate what brought life and its mechanisms into the realm of explicit calculations and made knowledge-power an agent of transformation of human life”. However, Foucault (as if to us) even then cautions (against abuse of the concept) that life (and death) continually eludes biopolitics: the transformation of the elements of the life of the population into political objects does not mean “that life [and hence, illness as well] has been totally integrated into techniques that govern and administer it; it constantly escapes them” (Foucault 1978: 142-143). With the pandemic, life has slipped the biological-demographic-medical control of the population, and hence, each respective individual as a living being,[23] via a foreseeable—to the extent that we are living beings—albeit repressed in large part by the western world, encounter of our bodies with a dangerous animal material-ness. On this threshold of the animal laboratory, where the notion of life shrinks before a mass threat to life, biopolitics is put on pause. Biopolitics lies beyond, and is situated, not so much in terms of time as analytically, beyond that threshold.

3. “The Parasite Invents Cybernetics” (M. Serres)

It has already been noted that the parasite-virus-bacterium, the financial product-derivative, contaminates-interferes with the relations of beings and economic goods. It is the third that at once intervenes-intercedes in the relations of beings, and it is the included, the contained aspect of beings and things. It is that which has no place, as its place in the outside is a place of non-place—it could be said that it is a place alongside things (it concerns an analytical outside-side, as the third is found within the body-matter). Yet, it is this third which governs relations by intruding, evaluating, pricing, repricing; by disrupting networks, integrations, structures. This “imperceptible” third is the strategy-point, it is the governmental-logic. It inducts the logic of the strengthening and weakening of beings and relations, the governmentality and non-governmentality of the chaotic dynamic. Governmentality is produced as much by the imperceptible small, the inconsequential, the undocumented, as by big, obvious integrations and State apparatuses. Parasites are governmental and incite turbulence.

“Parasitology uses the vocabulary of the host: hostility or hospitality. […] A small difference and a return to a reinforced stability; a small difference and there is unbelievable multiplication and uncountable destruction. […] The third that is excluded, when such logics are excluded, is quite simply history. It multiplies wildly with its smallness; it occupies space with its imperceptibility” (Serres 1982: 193-194). A virus and finance are the logic of the small. The small, moving imperceptible which wreaks havoc on the individual body and the global space: an event which the financial dispositif will not be able to discount, an imperceptible animal-ingression to which the body will not manage to adapt due to a deficiency in antibodies (that is, since it has not discounted the viral intrusion into the body). The small or the poor that are invited into and challenged by the financial networks, viruses that come out of nowhere, or that come from the far-flung locations of the corporate food chain, these motions of the small, motions of entry and infiltration, have the potential to obstruct global flows. The parasite moves swiftly and unpredictably-decisively, and only with this quality of motion is the burden of financial and political chaos that it bears effective in averting the discounting of its movement by the host or the financial dispositif. As an example, in 2015 the financial dispositif had already discounted and absorbed the sudden and unforeseen threat of the dynamic entry of SYRIZA (Greece’s Coalition of the Radical Left) into parliamentary procedures in Greece in May of 2012. In turn, this invasion-intervention of SYRIZA is more effectively understood not in terms of representation or expression, but in the chthonically violent, even if ambiguous, terms of contagiousness and reception: the viral entry-interference-digression (digression as a straying from the presumed role of host, but also of parasite) at a political level of social processes (demonstrations, social action) that took place from 2010 to the beginning of 2012. SYRIZA was host to the virus of the many. The parasitic relation, however, the relation of the intruder-virus with its receptor-host, is not a relation of exchange, not a relation of transaction, nor a relation of a continuity-completion, or an adoption by the host of an ideal, of an initiative thought to incite the masses. It is a strategic relation, as “the function of strategic logic is to establish the possible connections between disparate terms which remain disparate” (Foucault 2008: 42). It is more or less how the multitude votes, exercising a “non-strategic strategy” (Gavriilidis 2015, Gavriilidis-Lalopoulou 2012). Nonetheless, as the contagious-digressive motion of the parasite enfolds itself within the body of the host, it excites shifts in the state of the receptor-host and inbound virus alike. And thus the shift in the social dynamic of the years 2010 to 2012 on the central political stage meant its change in course, its acclimatization, its misappropriation or its capturing: something inevitable. Forces and discourses meet, clash, are transposed and redirected. We are thereby able to recognize the denial of, the fear of or even the assault on the parasite of the many by SYRIZA, whose political-party body either received or was invaded by this parasite-of-the-multitude. Εnlightenment-Leninist language at this point does not suffice: it leads either to an appeal for ties to parliamentary representation (reformism, to use an older word), or to betrayal (the abiding, unflagging temptation of leftism).

That being said, the ascription of fixed positions to the parasites of systems—to the ‘underclasses’, to the many, or to the poor—is erroneous and misguided. A conscientious enquiry into their successive positions and movements throughout 2010 and thereafter would in all likelihood find that these many, as with the poor, prefer the allocation of assets and political hedging against the danger of assuming politically dangerous positions, as they perform a kind of block, a hedging, and do not give in to the explosion of desire or to the still of fear; or, more precisely, they choose to give in to both, to the still of fear and to the explosion, henceforth having to negotiate a path of conflicting and precarious positions. A certain cognizance by the many of the adoption of political actions that are financial in nature is critical for an understanding of the period, and begs further scrutiny. The predication of “amnesia” to the political choices of the last few years is apt and to the point, yet not the angle from which it is articulated—that is, as a lack that must be compensated for, as an enlightenment that must take place so that political subjects recognize their place in History. In all probability there is no subject that is able to become enlightened enough to unveil its full identity. We must accept the terms of the prevailing regime: financialization injects another kind of temporality, it creates an intermittance, it inducts a perforated singularity into the historicity of time; accordingly, memory is vulnerable to the “re-evaluations” of the choices and varying positions of subjects. The subject of financialization is the subject that, in calculating the (financial and non-financial) future, acts in the present, aiming to hedge profits, simultaneously employing contradictory actions to thwart the dangerous effects of this hedging. In a financial (and non-financial) act, both the management of the potential for damage and the prospect of hedging profits from this potential are closely bound: danger and benefit no longer constitute inversely proportional magnitudes, the one is produced by the other. This stacking of years into the present does not constitute a mere presentism; it relates to a form of presentism that embodies insight into the future, a sort of hedging against potential damage in the future. “The CEO who announces that ‘... going forward we will ...’ is invariably seeking to equate the future with competitive success. [...] But going forward, there is no going back, for the future is one of increasing entanglement with financial products, not detachment” (Bryan 2012: 172, 173).  At the very moment that a relation between present and future is secured, the fluctuating expectations of the future are necessarily and continuously re-evaluating that very relation. We then have the induction of an intermittence, a punctuation in the seriality of time, and thus in the historicity of time, which is produced by the fluctuations in the present which are dependent upon the evaluation of the future and its ongoing redefinition. The future becomes an uncertain, vulnerable future.[24] Not a modernistic melancholy, nor a happy, carefree (post-modern) patchwork, but an anxiety-ridden, depressing temporality, fragments of the future forever being re-evaluated: the vulnerability of a punctuated time, the time of the elusive instant (istante, see Agamben 2003: 32, 38). Guilt then slips through the infinite lines of this time and subjectivity becomes ever-fluctuating. The contemporary subjects of the era of financialization could easily bear a resemblance to Odysseus (Ulysses), who becomes Nobody (Outis) before the superior strength of the Cyclops, only to remember shortly thereafter to autograph his ingenius, resourceful action. The cunning (me-tis) of Nobody (Ou-tis), the versatile, ingenious politics of the fictitious self, expelled from the canon of western philosophy and the identity politics of modernism, unleash a deep realm of knowledge, vital to recognizing and appreciating the present condition. In this article, I try to bring in some like (cognitive) tools: the slanted, oblique, circuitous ways of a versatile cognition (mēkhanaímētis) that can play with form and moves in manifold directions, the machines-of-the-outside of the ever-accumulating assemblages that interrupt flows and disrupt State apparatuses and the parasites of Serres that mutate host bodies. With such tools, the problem of the tactics of the poor or of the many within financial governmentality, even if unresolvable (besides, what problem can, in fact, be resolved?), raises a question for further investigation without inopportune, modernistic regressions.[25]

But let us return to the parasitic relations of SYRIZA and the political-financial dispositif, and when in the aftermath of the negotiations of 2015, the government of SYRIZA did not act in accordance with the logic of a dangerous parasite. The transitional agreement of the Eurogroup (“Eurogroup statement on Greece, 20.2.2015”) as such, was the submission to the delaying action that would be sought for by the host (Eurogroup) to capture the parasite (the government of SYRIZA). The government of SYRIZA was modernistic; it tried to persuade the “institutions” that it had an inalienable right to dignity, that the markets should be regulated and that the “undignified” (sic), debt-ridden parasites be forgiven.

And now, during the pandemic, “we”, too, have chosen the same delaying tactics as hosts against the coronavirus: the delayed spreading of the epidemiological intrusion-invasion serves to benefit the State-population-host. Sandro Mezzadra, at the height of the pandemic, notes (on 20 March 2020), spurred by the occasion: “With regard to global capitalism, a metaphor of ‘obstruction’ seems to be the most apt in illustrating the present situation” (Mezzadra 2020). Certainly, relations of the virus with the production-financial machine are differential. The obstruction may take place in tandem or be articulated by an overheating of other points. The financial production of profit with the object itself being Covid-19 is already happening.[26]

The poor, the many, are the turbulent parasite. Schematically, the instability and precariousness of the financial dispositif is produced by the networked coordination of the players’ disparate possession of financial might, the value of goods and the meaning of events. With such coordination, the financial networks chained to structured sequences are disrupted by the sudden appearance of a specific danger at a specific time. The downfall of a very small player potentially sparks a collapse of the sequence, and likely a total collapse of the network as well. And thus, in 2007, the poor of the world proved dangerous: they were the object initially, but then also became the producer, of credit expansion and new financial products, integrated into (even if unbeknownst to them) structured sequences and cash-flow networks; they were not just simply the consumers of goods or depositers-savers. They were the good parasite that was invited to encourage cash flows and broaden capital profitability, bringing their very lives, their desires and their words as assets to the table. Nevertheless, it was ultimately also the parasite that triggered the destruction of its host, either by overheating the economy or in the form of a crisis in subprime loans. The precariousness of these households was devastating to the system, and was the noise that was transferred onto the communication networks of structured profit production, a noise that precedes the transfer onto the profit networks, as a situational condition of its life. “Households may not be ‘too big to fail’ individually, and they were and are never likely recipients of bailouts. But the collective capacity to create a global crisis does signal that something is changed about the position of households in relation to finance” (Bryan-Rafferty 2009: 359). But as things turned out, it was these poorest of the poor (whom it is customary for theorists, intellectuals and publicists to designate as consumer and debtor, while relegating them to a passive position of little or no power), the unreliable debtors, who were the parasite that from its feeble, compromised position, would govern the financial dispositif.[27] The poor of the population, having been invited into the processes of financialization, promptly withdrew assets or money as a discount to future labour and assets (debt), thereby constituting the viral-parasitic third of Serres. Further, and this, too, is a crucial point, this third of the poor is already embedded in financial relations, which is why it becomes a dangerous parasite to financialization. The arrow of the crisis was loosed from the dangerous households towards investment institutions and banks, from there it went to the States, and thereafter towards society as a whole; it then continued from the globalized economy of the USA towards the European Unionof ontoizescannot take place. /  exclusive, f understanding]-evaluating it .n all probability / presumably cannot take place. / , with varying degrees of intensity and speed, depending on the country (whereupon the management of the crisis aimed directly at the initial parasitic element: something foreseeable).

The management of an epidemiological threat is a management steeped in financial logic. The cost of risk is dispersed-distributed into the population: “Growing genetic monocultures of domestic animals removes whatever immune firebreaks may be available to slow down transmission. Larger population sizes and densities facilitate greater rates of transmission. Such crowded conditions depress immune response. High throughput, a part of any industrial production, provides a continually renewed supply of susceptibles, the fuel for the evolution of virulence. In other words, agribusiness is so focused on profits that selecting for a virus that might kill a billion people is treated as a worthy risk. [...] These companies can just externalize the costs of their epidemiologically dangerous operations on everyone else. From the animals themselves to consumers, farmworkers, local environments, and governments across jurisdictions. The damages are so extensive that if we were to return those costs onto company balance sheets, agribusiness as we know it would be ended forever. No company could support the costs of the damage it imposes (Wallace 2020).

Ultimately, it is not capital that bears the risk of its capital movement, a risk that legitimizes capital profit (according to the classic rhetoric of capital discourse), nor is it the States or the transnational institutions, but it is the population that is the final supplier of a security of profitability. This transfer of risk onto the population means the subsumption of its life into the process of financialization; yet this transfer-refuge of finance onto the population is a refuge in the most questionable of positions. I shall again cite the position of Dick Bryan: “Finance creates the social world in the image of capital, and the social world becomes the anchor of finance. Going forward, this precarious regime is the perpetual crisis of finance” (Bryan 2012: 175-176). It is this specific sense of the perpetual crisis that paves the way for a likely strategy until we are presented with new givens; the tactics of the parasite are the tactics of the weak.[28] However, at a certain point, and in general, the strength of the parasite dwindles, flagging, spent, as it wends its way through the overlapping cycles towards the central point of an integration which we continue to refer to as State.

4. The Capturing of the Machines-of-the-Outside

Machines that come from the outside threaten States, which are forced to stand up to them in order to preserve their existence, to continue to function as central power nodes and integrations, so that their finality and legitimation remain unchallenged: the government-protection of the population, which comprises the pillar of the formation of the modern State. They alter their internal arrangement so as to respond to the challenge of the machines-of-the-outside; they hazard to “capture” (Deleuze-Guattari) them, to smooth them out, to normalize them, to regulate relations with them. State apparatuses are re-arranged in order to check the virulent onslaught and to control the potential for the transformation-transmission of the machines-of-the-outside, to stifle the capacity for metamorphosis that is grounded exclusively in the axioms inherent to the outside-machines (See Deleuze-Guattari 2005: 513): the derivative that becomes an evaluation, which becomes a grouping of heterogeneous goods and events, which becomes an individual risk profile, which becomes credit-debt, which becomes “labour determining”, which becomes production (without the need to resort to a State guarantor), which becomes every potential territory-point (and not a national territory), which becomes instant time (and not national memory); the virus that becomes the human body, which becomes illness, which becomes a diseased population, which becomes death. Machines-of-the-outside as these are dangerous to the logic of the State and organizations: they are liaisons of discrepant terms that produce a riotous and uncontrollable (even deadly) becoming, and they must be “captured”. The technique in the last instance (analytically) for "capturing" the machines-of-the-outside is the State’s taking refuge in the population. Through the devaluation and liquidation of the terms of life and labour of the population, the State attempts an anodyne assemblage with the financial war machine. In confining the population, impediments to constrain the activity of a virus are set up within the nation-State. Further, in the case of viruses, help comes from elsewhere: from medicine. Here, I regard medicine as exclusively a force-of-the-outside, as a thought, an idea which will enfeeble the virus, spend it, domesticate it for the purpose of familiarizing it with the body. Economics is already ensconced within capitalist-State logic. Medicine engineers and machinates; economics does neither.

Thus, the State apparatus adapts in part to the tempo and manifold nature of the viral (money-)flows. It accelerates (a barrage of legislative regulations or administrative directives are introduced, contradictory or not, effective or not, it matters not), it becomes lighter (it gives up material for control and points of responsibility), it decentralizes. It becomes light enough to the point where it transfers the entire burden of responsibility onto the population. Perhaps there has been a tendency over the years—a tendency that remains obscure and yet can be traced—for it to decentralize enough so that only a single letter of the law remains, to decentralize enough so as, ultimately, to become the population itself, to cease to have a reason to exist, to become so open to the logic of the machines-of-the-outside, of capital, that the population is fully subsumed under capital. The politics of herd immunity is one such savage capturing of the viral machine that transforms the population into “smooth territory” for the virus, contemporaneously opting for as much a refuge in the whole as in individual difference (as the response of each human being to an encounter with a virus differs). The politics of herd immunity have been denounced as neoliberal policy; but it is likely something different, something else, something post-neoliberal, which just may be akin to the relations between the financial machine and States: “Capital (or a crucial modality of it, finance) now moves in a way that is indifferent to State security (it strays from it), because neither consensus, nor marginally, legitimacy, is a prerequisite for capital to move, to be produced and to accumulate. If this is the case, to the extent that capital moves in such a way, the economy does not comprise a space as a security-reference point for the State in the population. Conversely, economic legislation of the State aims to transform the social body into a wasteland of open flow; the economy no longer constitutes a space for the production of consensus” (Emmanouilidis 2013: 78). This is but a tendency, a limit that we shall not reach, but that can be traced.

Beyond the precarious position of the State, State policy to counteract financial and viral machines is defined in terms of limited knowledge of the object and by a limited visibility of the field of action of the war machine. As much in the economic crisis as in this present epidemiological one, the State and science have shown an ineptitude for prediction.[29] Not only does the State follow society (and the machines-of-the-outside), but it appears not to be able to have the visibility requisite for the financial and population field in order to successfully define a State strategy.

The State does not attempt to document the presence of the virus in the population, either because it considers it wasteful (as announced by official lips in Greece and other countries), or because in doing so it admits to its own inadequacy. However it may be, even in the best of circumstances, that documentation falls short of having adequate knowledge. The virus is always at the forefront, and the dynamic of its load, its activity cycle (a virus can spend itself), and the precise cause and number of deaths it causes cannot be determined. The onus falls on the hospitals that minister only to severe cases.

In addition, a certain frailty in State policies also originates in the alignment of State logic with the logic of profitability: the scarcity of tests for the tracing of the coronavirus could be eliminated if States bought or seized the test patent so that it became openly coded, and not commodified, and could therefore be freely reproduced even to the point of glutting the market.

The limited visibility of State apparatuses also corresponds to the field of financial activity. If an action of the State is founded on both knowledge and the record of a population’s deeds, over-the-counter securities (securities that are traded over-the-counter are traded via a broker-dealer network as opposed to on a centralized exchange), in which vast sums are moved, elude documentation by institutional bodies.[30]

In the current phase of capitalism, that is, financialization, the acceleration in the evaluation and pricing acts of financial products, which is extracted from statistical models that execute these operations measured in time units of nanoseconds, sparks a crisis in knowledge in the market itself (for example, the incomplete or blind evaluation of financial products), in transnational management and in State governance. This crisis in knowledge, which is not ascribable to statistical models and to the speed of making a statistically-based decision, but comes from within the very structure of the financial dispositif, is, in any case, also an irony in the iconography of the knowledge and information society in the last 30 to 40 years. A crisis as this is not a matter of asymmetric information or a violation of the abiding principle of prudence in financial activity. Not a single autoregressive method of evaluation of future value based on historical data series, nor any stochastic model, will be able to detect the small-event difference (asymmetric or integrated, e.g., as in the field of class struggle) of the symmetrized planetary ‘real’ in the smallest unit of time as is required by contemporary financial practices. In turn, blind, inconsistent, contradictory and precarious statistics of State administration and market mechanisms are an indication of a crisis in statistics based on administrative decision-making, as the economy becomes “invisible” at its swiftest planetary interfaces and the virus of events may be transmitted to the most remote point on Earth. The time needed for an administrative decision is asthmatic, and this wheezing of the administrative pulse is the anxiety of a decision that must seem solid while in fact remaining “liquid” within a vague, watery field. Perhaps the issue throws the centrality of the modern State into crisis, or perhaps it changes the way this centrality occurs, since it is built upon the capacity to see, to know, to organize the economy and to make rational decisions with the support of economics.

Beyond the logic of the State, however, and hence, beyond State positivism, the question must not be posited in terms of knowledge. According to Sotiropoulos-Milios-Lapatsioras, the evaluation of financial products is not a question of having correct knowledge or complete information, since within the financial market there are real effects of a truth-dispositif that come about beyond any trace of true knowledge (Sotiropoulos-Milios-Lapatsioras 2013: 159-162). Any weakness in the understanding, in the control, in the visibility of things, fundamentals and social relations, does not mean, in spite of this failing, that a speech-act is not created, a speech-act that produces control, discipline, governance. 

State apparatuses thereby opt to do what is logical, or simply do what they know how to do, and lodge themselves in the carved up, segmented space of the nation-State. National segmentations, by nature mutually exclusive, function as modes of containment, intercepting transmission. Subsequently, State apparatuses ask us to shelter ourselves from a virus which has occupied everything, from a virus which is both present and non-present. At a primary level, the State policy of salvation is introduced horizontally: the entire internal national space goes into quarantine. Certainly, within its own logic, the State will accuse the population of not sheltering enough, of disobeying, of attempting to transfer the moral onus (as during the financial crisis). Yet the State carves up the internal space and manages it differentially. Some places are free of quarantine restrictions and others are completely shut down. Workplaces, nursing homes, prisons, refugee structures (even cruise ships), to a great extent are all vital disciplinary structures; they become spaces-apertures of a concentration of either a useful or abandoned—albeit publicly-cloistered—population where the quarantine is not in effect, resulting in internal transmission of the virus.

In another instance, a community of Roma in Larissa, Greece—and naturally not the town of Larissa itself or the community at large—was proclaimed to be in a state of emergency when twenty people were diagnosed positive for the coronavirus. It was not just these particular individuals and their contacts that were put in quarantine, but the entire community. Further, a community of Roma in Xanthi, Greece was also shut down for no real reason. For State apparatuses, nomadic populations are undocumentable and thus uncontrollable, and their movement renders them both vulnerable and “public health bombs”. State logic is sovereign and racist: the nomadism of “nomadic populations” becomes the nomadism of the virus, and the solution is the excising of the dangerous space, its temporary conversion into an enclave (an amputation of a space that also flows into the differentials of the statistical documentation of cases).

To summarize State policy: (a) the spatial continuum created by financial and viral machines alike is segmented for the creation of inter-State and intra-State public health zones of responsibility to avoid the spreading of the financial and public health menace and for the parceling out of responsibility, with differential outcomes; (b) a petition for responsible conduct is being directed at the population: recall the appeal for a “New Responsibility” per Barack Obama on 20.1.2009[31] (let us call it a technique of governmentality); (c) a disobedient and immature population is performatively created, and thus is culpable, and measures of sovereign and disciplinary aspect are imposed.

We have to park ourselves at home. From the sluggish movement (stationary and palindromic movement) within and without the squares and public spaces of the Occupy Movement of 2011, to being parked at home now, we can recognize the common tactics of deceleration against the machines-of-the-outside.[32] The home has become a refuge as never before, for a home is never a static stationing. The home contains-envelops the ceaseless movement from itself towards its exterior. Quite unexpectedly, Hestia (the Roman Vesta), goddess of the hearth, household and home life, and Hermes (the Roman Mercury), god of passage, exchange and transactions, of movement and of the arbitrary, are depicted and described in ancient Greek texts as a couple, or are considered to be friends and neighbours. This surprising portrayal of them as a pair points to the polarity of space: “Hestia appears capable of ʽcenteringʼ space while Hermes can ʽmobilizeʼ it” (Vernant 2006: 161). The household exists as long as there is movement outside of it and towards it. However, Jean-Pierre Vernant articulates something further, that “[t]he polarity that is so marked a characteristic of all the goddess’s relation with Hermes is such a basic feature of archaic thought […] as though part of Hestia already belonged to Hermes. […] Through her, the house and the household enter into contact with the underworld […]. Hestia sends the family offerings up to the dwelling place of the Olympian gods. [Thus,] [t]he center of which Hestia is the patron […] also represents the passageway par excellence […]” (ibid., 194). The outside, the street, is already inside, constituting in part and commending itself to the household. Once again, we see the interior as a processing of the exterior, the inside as a folding of the outside. Now, however, the unheard of is being assayed, the household has become only an inside, severed, cut off from the outside, with no apertures, an enclave. I could easily venture that this is not stable, from one point of view; not only because we are constantly leaving the household under various pretexts, but also because the outside is already present and within, as the immaterial network. All the same, having restricted ventures to the outside invalidates Hermes, who co-constitutes and constrains-maintains Hestia; the immaterial does not exist without its polarity with the material. Now, the body must endure the inside alone, with(in) an invalid(ated) Hestia. The exterior of the household has been occupied by the dangerous, disorderly and disarraying forces of a virus. The hazard of this stationing is that we become perforable, thus susceptible, as subjects to their perilous swiftness: the elements of our lives lose certain qualities, interest in things and relations becomes scant, solidarity becomes absent, fear leads to racism. It is then that the enveloped third captures all flows, ensnares relations and destroys them. This is one version of a catastrophic hypersubjectivation of the virus.

5. The Desire for a Return

As much with the financial crisis as with the present epidemiological one, the presence of two tendencies can be traced, both of which touch on the nostalgic: (a) a desire to return to a pre-crisis normativity (perceived as ‘normalcy’ by some). A number of years passed before we resigned ourselves to the idea that in all probability, the financial crisis was not a deviation from normativity, to which we would return if and when the necessary reforms were implemented and the State and the economy were “modernized”; or, for some leftists, until the States imposed reforms to rein in “rapacious”, “speculative” and “immoral” finance. Or even, when the population would pay off debt accumulated by years of squandering, wasteful spending due to years of credit. This same tendency can be observed in the crisis imposed by the pandemic; (b) a persisting desire to return to the welfare state, as much by the Left as by many theorists.[33] The invocation of the Keynesian State would likely constitute a cure of sorts for any crisis, something which does not appreciate or grasp the dynamics of today’s capitalism, and which permanently and fruitlessly ties the Left to the State. In the current situation, whatever consolidating activity the State may engage in does not constitute a tendency towards or need for a return to the Keynesian State, but a localized, restricted, emergency restructuring against the disjointedness with which the virus threatens both State and society.

The articulation customary to a crisis-transition condition is accompanied by a desire to return to a normativity, and draws its lineage from the medical genealogy of the term ‘crisis’,[34] and the association of medical crisis in the body with the return to normativity by way of treatment. This is the part of crisis as a crisis of disease that leads back to an earlier condition: to a restoration of health. But Serres (paraphrasing  René Leriche) will write: we see in sickness “the result of a deviation, minimal at first, in the physiological order. In sum, it is a new physiological order; thermapeutics must adapt the sick man to this new order” (Serres 1982: 198). The prospect of such a transformation originating from but a slight aberration is for Serres the effect of parasitic action. “[And] precisely that is the pandemic, a situation that will hit everyone, whether they like it or not, whether they see it coming or not; a condition that imposes another way of forming society and social bonds (or many ways, in fact), and this is perhaps the ultimate in stakes which the majority of us confront now, a violent, forced deviation from the accustomed way of existence-life, a way that we oftentimes mistake for natural law (recall Hume and the example of the sun)” (Lalopoulou 2020).

Nevertheless, there once again appeared, as during the financial crisis, viewpoints maintaining that the crisis is an opportunity, not for a cure-return, but for a cure-expiation of sorts, a purgation. For example, Constantinos Tsoukalas (a professor of Sociology) spoke of the quarantine as an opportunity “for the whole world to break free [...] of competitive, self-centered consumerism” (Tsoukalas 2020). Beyond the wearisome moralistic basis of such takes, which coincide with a moralistic and financial contempt for finance, and ergo, with a weakness in recognizing what capital relations actually are and how they function, ordinary reality proves them wrong: the desire of the housebound to consume has clogged courier services. And whilst such viewpoints circulate, another genealogical moment in the concept of crisis (a politico-theological one), the crisis as decision, is conceded to the State, as though the State by itself is able, using the crisis as opportunity, to decide that a condition as this constitutes only loss for us, seizing our powers and securing the devaluation of the labour force. That being said, every situation has its positives, and that which we have been experiencing has coaxed to the surface, along with the medical-hospital disciplinary power-knowledge, the notion of “medicine as a practice that was of interest to the public” (Foucault 1986: 99) and as an art of living (by doctors and patients alike). The undertaking of a treatment protocol for the diseased body and for the protection of life now appears to be diverging from the sheer disciplinary and sovereign relations of doctor and diseased body-as-vector of medical indicators. In ancient Greek medicine, “disease was indeed something poikilon [polymorphous]; the forces which the medical art must confront are multiple and shifting. […] If he is to be able to find his way in this world of fluctuating symptoms, the doctor must have at his disposal all the resources of the intelligence as polymorphic as his enemy; […] an art of the fleeting moment” (Detienne-Vernant 1991: 311-312). I know nothing about medicine, nor the degree to which the emergence nowadays of medicine as such a practice has to do with it having found itself on unknown paths amidst a state of emergency.

To the extent that this particular crisis in our living condition is at once individual and societal, a radical critique of this condition would not have the State usage-management of an epidemiological threat as its main object. A State usage-management of the crisis is to be expected, yet this State policy will sustain both criticism and sabotage, or even more interestingly, will endure a breaking away from State measures so as to benefit “another policy” within a strategy of action folded upon action.[35]

Ideally, on another level, a radical politics would have to do with the invention of a living, “impolitical” (impolitique[36]) critique of labour, with the exploration of an affirmative uselessness and ascesis concerning this notion: the possibility of our thinking not as a mechanism, nor on a premise rooted in a State logic, a plan-linear logic, but our thinking from the position of the precarious point of the viral (and financial) anchoring, from the affirmative pause in our usefulness, a pause in the norm as when “a man should always try to look useful if he's not rich” (Céline 2006: 72). The quarantine that we impose upon ourselves (and that has been imposed upon us by the State) to ensure protection against the onslaught of the machines-of-the-outside precipitates a political recognition of this “impolitical” experience of a pause in our supply to production. There is the idea of yet another kind of return hovering about us: a return-desertion. Philoctetes of Sophocles is abandoned on a desert island, “reduced […] by a harsh disease” (“ἀγρίᾳ νόσῳ”, Sophocles 2003: 140, lines 265-266), where he lives in kinship with wild beasts (“ὦ ξυνουσίαι θηρῶν ὀρείων”, ibid.: 180, lines 936-937). He wants not to go to Troy to fight, but desires to return from the savage, liminal state of disease to his homeland (οἶκος, οἰκία) of Oeta, and asks Neoptolemos to take him away with him as a para-ergo (or, parérgo), a “secondary task, a cargo” (“ἀλλ' ἐν παρέργῳ θοῦ με”, ibid.: 152, line 473). Again we encounter the prefix “para-”, the alongside, the supplementary, the additional, yet also the oblique, diagonal, parasitic and exemplary situation-motion; now, somewhere hereabouts, lies an aslant-obliqueness of the work involved with a return. Philoctetes persuades Neoptolemos not to lust for victory as Odysseas does, but to return to his home, even if this return proves perilous: the Akhaioí  (Achaeans) may, in retaliation, ravage their lands. The return home, the staying at home, may also be a motion of desertion, a withdrawal, a pause, a sort of sequestration-stasis in our subsumption under the valorization process of capital.[37] Marx thinks in terms of the historical human compound that shapes the history of society and the planet by dominating them. It is this Marx who speaks of freedom as a freedom that consists in, “that socialized man, the associated producers, govern the human metabolism with nature in a rational way, bringing it under their collective control instead of being dominated by it as a blind power” (Marx 1991: 959). But there is another Marx who reflects outside of the historical human compound of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries when he recognizes that that other freedom, that other communism in terms of production, “remains a realm of necessity”, and that only “the true realm of freedom, the development of human powers as an end in itself, begins beyond it, though it can only flourish with this realm of necessity as its basis” (Marx 1991: 959).[38] The recognition of the potential for such a freedom outside of Marx’s realm of necessity, of the freedom found in a pause in the poor’s usefulness in Louis-Ferdinand Céline, or in Philoctetes’ desire for a return, may be the degree zero of politics—even if a numerical overflow, a density, may emerge from degree zero.

In the end, the question at hand may not be the discovery of a congenial arrangement between human and non-human life—that will always either eventuate or not when subjected to the terms of a catastrophic encounter; or, it will be painfully and belatedly encountered. It may, in fact, be a question of the re-configuration of the oft-times turbulent, at other times impossible, continuum of human, animal and plant. “Or perhaps we need to understand that we can never be all too human, and that that exactly is the element which is infinitely more than us” (Nancy 2020).

Thessaloniki, 24.3-19.4.2020

A first version of the text (in Greek) was published in Nomadic Universality (20.4.2020), and subsequently in the journal Theseis, 152 (2020): 15-52.


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[1] Ignorance of anything having to do with medical science, along with a quest for homologies between the pandemic and finance and the recent financial crisis, may perhaps render this text uncongenial relative to the urgency of the situation in which we find ourselves, and may set the matter at hand into its moral context. Such were the personal reservations that have accompanied its writing. The text was eventually completed, only to be placed alongside the depressing experience we are currently living, while the boisterous planetary presence of a virus constitutes a topic of manifold ramifications. I should note that the association of epidemics with financial crises had already been pointed out at the beginning of the nineteenth century, likened to those crises that are global in nature, beyond national borders: “For the past 150 years, the history of commerce and monetary affairs, like the history of epidemics, has been an integral part of world History”, Barthold Georg Niebuhr, cited in Koselleck (2006: 389-390).

I would like to thank Akis Gavriilidis, Sophia Lalopoulou, Vassilis Lambropoulos and Gerasimos Kakolyris for their generous discussion and encouragement, and Katerina Georgantziki for proofreading the original text. And, as always, the text was read by Dimitris C. Sotiropoulos prior to circulation. The translation of the text from Greek to English proved to be more than the simple process of rewriting, as every proper act of translating is. In articulating a path between two languages—the translative act—Barbara Santos recreated the text, coaxing forth lines of thought that were at times silent, subdued or frail. I am deeply indebted to her. A first version of the text was published in Nomadic Universality (20.4.2020), and subsequently in the journal Theseis, 152 (2020): 15-52 (in Greek). 

[2] See Agamben (2020), published on 26.2.2020, in addition to his articles published on successive days. For Gavriilidis, in the theory of the state of exception, “there is a variation of ‘exception’ that is emancipating and not ‘repressive’”, and that Agamben, making political use of the concept in the present situation, neglects. “This variation is called ‘inoperativeness’—désoeuvrement, according to the French term often used in his work. Désoeuvrement is the suspension of the universality of the law, its inactivation: something that causes the law to dangle in a state of limbo, to be held in abeyance, without being repealed or replaced by another law” (Gavriilidis 2020a).

The pervasive public use of the theory of the state of exception throughout the years of the financial crisis by the anarchic and leftist currents most likely blocked the potential for the recognition of the new dynamics of things/relations and of the rise of fascism, but did not keep them from engaging in political action.

[3] See Ph. Ariès (1977), L’ homme devant la mort, Paris: Seuil and M. Vovelle (2000), La mort et l'Occident de 1300 à nos jours, Paris: Gallimard.

[4] Cf. “Health is life lived in the silence of the organs”, René Leriche (1936).

[5] “Finance is the real of capitalism, a place that cannot be properly symbolized, and a factor that can never be completely absorbed into the mainstream ideological discourse” (Sotiropoulos-Milios-Lapatsioras 2013: 103). It concerns a repression and diversion of attention discerned by authors of political economy and Marxism, a repression-diversion of research on the financial sphere. Any discussion of the topic of financialization, that is, of the condition of our times, presupposes a clash with the problematic raised by the research programme of the authors: differently, we will find ourselves constantly revisiting the haven of an ineffectual left or pop-Keynesianism. Further, Capitalism with Derivatives: A Political Economy of Financial Derivatives, Capital and Class by Bryan-Rafferty (2006) proved to be a landmark book. It is this specific repression-diversion of thought on finance that drives notable theorists such as Wendy Brown, Judith Butler and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak to an impressionistic and moral critique of the markets and of economic discourse, resulting in a tendency to regress to Keynesianism. Perhaps exaggerated attention has been devoted to Michel Foucault’s Birth of Biopolitics, and not to the political economy of money in Anti-Oedipus by Gilles Deleuze-Félix Guattari, nor perhaps to Foucault’s line of thought concerning money in his Lectures on the Will to Know (1970-1971). The positions therein are necessarily set aphoristically, yet the relations of contemporary creative currents of thought with the (Marxian) critique of political economy is a subject for further research. I will take this opportunity to admit that upon completion of this text, and following a hiatus of many years, I once again opened the book by Butler and Athena Athanasiou (2013), Dispossession: The Performative in the Political, Cambridge and Malden: Polity Press, to realize that I should have used it: one of the shortcomings of this text.

[6] An assemblage differs from the dispositif of Foucault to the extent that Deleuze-Guattari, in contrast to Foucault, recognize the non-stratified, non-hierarchical, desiring lines of an assemblage/dispositif, the primary lines of flight that they have; regarding these differences, see Deleuze-Guattari (2005: 530-531). Deleuze will later attempt to expound on the creative, “diagnostic”, “coming to the present” elements of the foucauldian dispositif (Deleuze 1992: 165-166).

[7] As regards issues of infinity, the forces of the outside and the God-form, see Deleuze (2006: 124-126).

[8] Agamben has explored the problem of the paradigm (para-digm, “what is shown beside”) as a diagonal motion of an example that produces a new ontology, a para-ontology, in Agamben (2009: 9-32).

[9] “Capital shows itself more and more to be a social power with the capitalist as its functionary—that no longer stands in any possible kind of relationship to what the work of one particular individual can create, but an alienated social power which has gained an autonomous position and confronts society as a thing, and as the power that the capitalist has through this thing” (Marx 1991: 373).

[10] “There are only multiple objectivizations (population, fauna, subjects under law), correlatives of heterogeneous practices” (Veyne 1997: 160).

[11] For a critique of economic discourse concerning parasitic finance, see Sotiropoulos-Milios-Lapatsioras (2013, part I: “The long tradition of finance as a counter-productive activity in heterodox thinking: a Marxian appraisal”, 7-57); for a critique of this book, see Emmanouilidis (2019).

[12] “To ask an undiagnosable possibility, do your immunogenetics, the genetics underlying your immune response, line up with the virus or not?” (Wallace 2020).

[13] For Deleuze-Guattari, antistatistical individuality is not referred to as “between the individual and the statistical. In fact, it is always a question of populations; statistics concerns individual phenomena, and antistatistical individuality operates only in relation to molecular populations […] setting up direct communications between individuals of different orders” (Deleuze-Guattari 2005: 335).

[14] See also the comments of Deleuze about this excerpt, in Deleuze (2006: 143-144).

[15] Regarding the animal continuum, I was inspired by Brian Massumi: “This project requires replacing the human on the animal continuum. This must be done in a way that does not erase what is different about the human, but respects that difference while bringing it to new expression on the continuum: immanent to animality” (Massumi 2014: 3), where one can find an investigation of a nature politics, and not a politics of nature; see also Massumi (2016). The notion of the animal continuum does not suggest a return, as nature and technique are equally inscribed onto a continuum. For more on the particular way I perceive the continuum, see footnote 18.

[16] This sentence constitutes the central position of Sotiropoulos-Milios-Lapatsioras (2013).

[17] Deleuze makes the following distinction: “We must distinguish between exteriority and the outside. Exteriority is still a form […]. But the outside concerns force” (Deleuze 2006: 86). As regards the outside as an amorphous force and the difference between the outside and exteriority, see Deleuze (85-87). Additionally, what follows is also of significance for this text, as perhaps is already evident, that the outside for Deleuze “it is an outside which is farther away than any external world and even any form of exteriority, which henceforth becomes infinitely closer. And how could the two forms of exteriority be external to one another, if there were not this outside, which is both closer and farther away?” (86).

[18] Regarding this issue: “The money flows traverse and perfuse the hierarchized spaces, forging permutations of an anthropological spatial continuum, with intersectings and a coalescing of striations. Naturally, we do not speak of the neoliberal fantasy of a surface, of a spatial glissando as an aggregation of conflating intervals or of a continuum as a continuous line that materializes from one point to the next (the speed of which can now be infinite) (Emmanouilidis 2013: 62). “The continuum is manifested by the possibility of partitioning space according to certain laws […]. In extreme cases smooth and striated space fuse in a continuous line” (Boulez 1971: 85). It therefore concerns a coalescence (differences in tonality, temporality and rhythm remain strong), and not an alignment.

The logic of money flows that allow the possibility of the continuum to exist differ from the spatial matrix of classical industrial capitalism, “[which] is composed of gaps, successive fracturings, closures and frontiers; [...] Τhis space also becomes homogeneous in the end, it does so only through a second-degree and problematic homogenization, which arises on the basis of its essential segmentations and gaps” (Poulantzas 2000: 103).
I use the meaning of the infinity of space as the “peirar apeiron [infinite limit] in the double sense […]: being without direction it cannot be crossed, is impassable but, at the same time, for those who find themselves in this place which is in a sense the opposite of organised space there is no way of ever escaping from it” (Detienne-Vernant 1991: 294). Escape from the inextricable snares (apeirona diktya, Ibykos) is possible only through diekplous (the way to disengage), a manoeuvre in naval warfare, and of mētis (cunning); this is a concept of machines (mēkhanaí) in the ancient Greek language. It can be seen that the significance of machines in the ancient Greek meets the desiring machines of Deleuze-Guattari, since these latter interrupt the flow of mechanisms, penetrate them and continue to produce in spite of their dysfunctions.

[19] “Movement is extensive; speed is intensive” (Deleuze-Guattari 2005: 381). On the contrary, the disadvantage of immigrants vis-à-vis the itinerancy of virus-financial machines lies in the former’s decision to move from point A to point B. This choice compromises their movement, something which constitutes a difference between nomadic war machines and immigrants; see ibid.: 381-382.

[20] Covid-19 imposes silence upon the Earth. “Seismometers may be built to detect earthquakes, but their mechanical ears hear so much more: […] Today, in cities large and small, the thumping pulse of civilization is now barely detectable on many seismograms”, The New York Times, “Coronavirus Turns Urban Life’s Roar to Whisper on World’s Seismographs”,

[21] “There are spatial clues in favor of the notion. Contact tracing linked infections back to the Hunan Wholesale Sea Food Market in Wuhan, where wild animals were sold. Environmental sampling does appear to pinpoint the west end of the market where wild animals were held. But how far back and how widely should we investigate? When exactly did the emergency really begin? The focus on the market misses the origins of wild agriculture out in the hinterlands and its increasing capitalization. As industrial production—hog, poultry, and the like—expand into primary forest, it places pressure on wild food operators to dredge further into the forest for source populations, increasing the interface with, and spillover of, new pathogens, including Covid-19” (Wallace 2020).

[22] See the groundbreaking book of Randy Martin (2002).

[23] In neoliberal governance, the population is broken down into individuals. The population is everyone, the whole, the partitioned whole, but also each individual. “For the so-called human sciences of the nineteenth century, [Man] is nothing other than a figure of population” (Foucault 2007: 79).

[24] And here there opens up the possibility of a fascist overcoding, a demand for the solid, but mostly a demand for an immediate, imaginary solution to this perpetual crisis. Concerning the relations between the crisis of neoliberal governmentality and the Greek Nazi party “Golden Dawn”, see Emmanouilidis (2013: 15-100).

[25] Obviously, while writing all of this, I allude, albeit epigrammatically, to a tendency that I have been tracing, and not an actual situation. As this tendency coexists with other tendencies, they intertwine, encounter one another or come up against one another. Given these intertwining tendencies, even within the very tendency I present here, I could venture a recognition of a presence of a refusal that Vassilis Lambropoulos refers to as the “renunciation of every emancipatory promise and covenant with history”[…]. “I call this phenomenon ‘left renunciation’ to indicate the philosophical and existential stance that refuses to accept entitlements, properties, rights, and responsibilities, that is, it rejects every form of legal, philosophical and moral possession. Not only does it not claim; it does not accept. It dissociates itself, rejecting predictable strategic concessions and tactical compromises, and refusing to participate, without denouncing its principles. For this it suffers ostracism from both governmental and oppositional power” (Lambropoulos 2019).

[26] See, for example: “Cryptocurrency developers create a new digital coin inspired by Corona virus’ deaths”, Token post, 3.3.2020,

[27] “The parasite [...] obtains energy and pays for it in information. He obtains the roast and pays for it with stories. Two ways of writing the new contract. He establishes an unjust pact; relative to the old type of balance, he builds a new one. He speaks in a logic considered irrational up to now, a new epistemology and a new theory of equilibrium. He makes the order of things as well as the states of things—solid and gas—into diagonals. […]. He invents cybernetics” (Serres 1982: 36).

[28] In a critique of the “indebted man”of Maurizio Lazzarato, I attempt to explore the terms of these tactics in Emmanouilidis (2015).

[29] Regarding the financial crisis of 2008, see Colander et al. (2009); Bryan-Martin et al. (2012). Regarding the pandemic, related studies have not yet been published, but the article below is indicative of the situation: P. Pena (24.3.2020), “Europe’s failure to cooperate on Covid-19 is a universal problem”, available at:

[30] According to the official website of the EU, in October of 2008, the commissioner at the time Charlie McCreevy asked counselors to devise plans for the movement of derivatives onto the central market. On 10.11.2010, the EU issued a directive for “alternative investments”, as they were called, in order to impose certain administrative regulations on a market of two trillion euro. A pointless directive.

[31] “What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility—a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly” (Obama 2009).

[32] I shall not elaborate on this point due to a certain degree of weariness. Were I to continue, I would end up with a simple exposition of homologies; something like that would do a disservice to the Occupy Movement (The Movements of the Public Squares in Greece), complicated in nature, as is every great movement, and oddly distant now. I attempt to discuss the question of the tactics of deceleration of the Occupy Movement in Emmanouilidis (2016).

[33] As an example, in 2010 Mitchell Dean writes: “For Foucault's crisis of governmentality, Keynesianism was the problem; for us, it appears to be part of the solution” (Dean 2010: 265). David Harvey now writes: “The spiral form of endless capital accumulation is collapsing inward from one part of the world to every other. The only thing that can save it is a government funded and inspired mass consumerism conjured out of nothing. This will require socializing the whole of the economy in the United States, for example, without calling it socialism” (Harvey 2020).

[34] “The primary point of departure for the expansion of the term into the political and economic sphere was the medical usage” (Koselleck 2006: 365).

[35] Concerning this vital question: “To denounce the digressions, the transgressions, the dark designs of those that govern, is something immensely serviceable to whomever takes pleasure in elevating themselves as a solitary, intellectual leader and seer, who remains perched on the sidelines and warns ‘his people’ that we are heading towards disaster; for whomever has not the patience to endure the trials of collective action and the processing of various tactics, of which some perhaps may not succeed, or may be modified on the way. […] Naturally, every player in this game of power relations tries to turn every unforeseen event to their gain. Since such is the current reality, let us do the same: let us aspire to something, and let us endeavour to consider what that is. Rather than contest the referee’s decision not to give us that penalty kick and to exclude us from the game, let us seek ways in which we ourselves can become the exception (of the exception): let us use the power of external reasons in order to reinforce our power: the power of the multitude” (Gavriilidis 2020b).

[36] Concerning the politics of the impolitical (impolitique):"The notion of the "impolitical" […] draws its meaning from the exhaustion of modernity's political categories, which have become incapable of giving voice to any genuinely radical perspective. The impolitical is not the opposite of the political but rather its outer limit: the border from which we might glimpse a trajectory away from all forms of political theology and the depoliticizing tendencies of a completed modernity", Esposito (2015).

[37] With a certain relevancy to the dangerous choice of a return to the homeland in Philoctetes, but also of a return to Estia, who coexists with Hermes, now, under the regime of financialization, the “remote” households are situated in the center of the money production processes and have been evolving techniques of governance, discipline and antidiscipline which have nothing to do with the image typical of the honest and dignified poor and the traditional, closed management of the working-class family—classic objects of leftist-leaning ridicule or ethnocommunist glorification. In times as these, to either ridicule or glorify the “working-class family” is simply a concession to naïveté. 

In any event, Philoctetes' desire for a return does not pan out, as the Deus ex machina Hēraklēs (Hercules) drives him to Troy: “As in all Sophocles’ plays, the gods’ plan is accomplished without the actors realizing it. […] It is the divine order that makes it possible for men to become the master of wild nature” (Vidal-Naquet 1996: 173, 175). Concerning the spatial triangle of disease-savagery, city-war and household-desertion in Sophocles’ Philoctetes, see Vidal-Naquet (ibid.).

[38] The question put forth by Marx in his drawing a distinction between freedom from the realm of necessity and that from the realm of non-necessity is complex, and calls for further investigation; e.g., see Hamacher (1999).