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01 2011

Im/Potential Politics

Political Ontologies of Negri, Agamben and Deleuze

Katja Diefenbach

Translated by Aileen Derieg


Unraveling Politics and Ontology

Since the late 1970s, triggered by another crisis of Marxism and the collapse of a series of militant sequences, the concept of potentiality has been used antithetically in poststructuralism, post-operaism and left-Heideggerianism to propose a politics of potentiality[1]. Their different conceptions belong to a series of heretical Marx readings, in which Marx was read in the late 1970s through concepts not derived from the critique of political economy and not taken from German idealism. Central concepts were primarily Spinoza’s concepts of conatus and potentia, Nietzsche’s concept of becoming, Sorel’s concept of class division, Bataille’s concept of inoperative negativity and Heidegger’s idea of the abandonment of Being as a relation that proceeds from the disjunction of its terms. These heretical readings faced the catastrophic experience of the self-destruction of communism, the instability of Marx’ concept of politics and the aporias of class struggle. At the same time, they began to ontologize and to existentialize politics using several privileged philosophemes.

Taking the example of Negri, Agamben and Deleuze, this text traces how this reading mechanism worked. It investigates how the ontological problem of potentiality is sutured together with the strategic and compositional problem of politics and how the thinking of politics is ultimately reduced to the praxis of one or a few philosophemes. What this text calls for is an end to subsuming politics under one principle. This subsumption has led to a multitude of post-Marxist theories failing to grasp the paradoxes inherent to politics and to compose their thinking from multiple theoretical elements, none of which can be a foundation of politics, also not in the sense of a paradoxical or empty foundation, which withdraws into the impossibility of the grounding or the abyss. What is astonishing about this failure is paradigmatically evident with Rancière, who has written a brilliant genealogy of the subsumption of politics under the philosophy in Disagreement, only to once again employ a principle as the prince of politics: the ability of the uncounted part to exhibit and interrupt the order of society.[2] Ontological, ethical or existential philosophemes are considered as supplements of political thinking in this text, which exhibit problems of politics in the field of philosophy, but so that it would not make sense to absolutize them. This text thus crosses through several aporias, into which the political ontologies of potentia have led – Negri’s auto-affection of politics, Agamben’s hypostasizing of separation, Deleuze’s involuntarism of politics – to negotiate the ontological and ethical efforts articulated in these aporias: the excessivity of joy, the arbitrariness and unqualified belonging of Being and its absolute singularization. In short, this text seeks to explain to itself why the suture between ontology and politics is to be unraveled, the absolutization of single philosophemes is to be interrupted, and a thinking of politics is to be developed that takes leave of onto-theology and metaphysics, also in the forms of their distortion (Verwindung), of non-metaphysical metaphysics and of post-foundational founding. The starting point is the insight that neither can the distance between becoming, poteniality and organization be compacted in an ontological, existential or ethical instance, nor can the problem of the reactionary effects of politics (discipline, decisionism, indoctrination) be solved in it.

Auto-affecting Politics: Love

Negri’s politics of potentiality is devoted to a “biopolitics of Leninism”[3], that is, to the question of how the multitude by means of its potency can produce the party immanent to it or the organs immanent to its body.[4] It is structured by the combination of two concepts of activity of Marxist and Spinozian origins: living labor and conatus (striving). Negri understands potentiality not in the Aristotelian sense as the transition from the possible to the real, but rather in the Spinozian sense as the variable capacity of action of an existing being-ness, which can increase itself to beatitude and divine love. Negri first developed this conception in his book on Spinoza, The Savage Anomaly, written in 1979 and 1980 in prison, in which he grafts Spinoza’s idea of the conatus from the third and fourth part of the Ethics onto the idea that Marx developed in the Grundrisse of living labor as the capacity to shapingly change objects and the world. The conatus is the striving immanent to the existing thing (mode) to “persevere in its being”[5] and to increase it. It is a kind of jumping board of existence, a force that, as Deleuze emphasizes, reconciles mechanical (persisting, preserving), dynamic-organizational (increasing, favoring) and antagonistic dimensions (opposing that which opposes).[6] Conatus as a self-organizing, self-accumulating force enables us to graduate from joyful passions to an increased capacity for activity, to insight into the reasons for this increase, and finally to active affects and to intellectual self-possession of the singular potentiality that distinguishes a being (knowledge of the third kind, union in the love of God):[7] “For Spinoza, in other words, love is a production of the common that constantly aims upward, seeking to create more with ever more power, up to the point of engaging with the love of God, that is, the love of nature as a whole, the common in its most expansive figure.”[8] In this perspective, Negri’s reading of Spinoza enables him to imagine the project of communism as an infinitely creative production, which starts from below through a force immanent to life with local, corporeal affections and is impelled by joyful passions: it is the joy arising from a positive chance encounter, which urges the accumulation movement of conatus from persistence to increase. It enables forming an adequate idea of why elements are positively composed, because adequate ideas emerge (common notions or knowledge of the second kind), according to Spinoza, from the experience of having something in common. These first common notions catalyzed by joy put people and groups into the situation of being able to organize their encounters, no longer leaving them to chance, to the permanent oscillation between composition (joy) and decomposition of their elements (sadness). It is from here, on the open path of “conatus-potentia-mens”,[9] that Negri sees the creative and proto-communist self-increasing process of Being set in. For him, conatus becomes the trans-individual subject of a coming communism, in which the elements and modes of Being merge, in order to increasingly agree, to become the immanent cause of themselves, a God on earth, auto-affectionate: “Infinitely extended toward infinite perfection. A continuous transition toward always greater perfection. Being produces itself.”[10]

This heretical reading of a great heretic is characterized by forcing and escalation, driven by the extent of its effort: if the thinking of communism is anchored in an ontology of constitutive potentiality, explains Negri, then “the will to revolution survive[s] the crisis of Marxism and quite rightly break[s] away from it”.[11] In order for his reading operation of grafting the concept of conatus onto the concept of living labor to succeed, Negri especially emphasizes two of Spinoza’s themes: on the one hand, his anti-juridism, which places him in a tradition of Machiavelli and Marx and which is expressed in the idea that the forces of Being need no mediation to produce the relations corresponding to them: “They are elements of socialisation in themselves”;[12] on the other, the succession of two theoretical foundations of the Spinozian system of thinking, with which it progresses from neoplatonic idealism to revolutionary materialism. Macherey explains that Negri ironically returns a dialectic movement to Spinoza by imbuing his thinking with a dramatic performativity, with which it learns from the negativity of its blockages until it is able to produce a revolutionary materialism centering around the notion of conatus.[13] This allows Negri to write all of the difficulties and contradictions out of Spinoza’s thinking, from the ascetic community of the few[14] to the mysticism of the auto-affection of Being in the knowledge of the third kind, which encloses itself, as Deleuze explains in the Spinoza lectures, in a self-contemplation perceiving its perceptions.[15]

Negri links the communist reinterpretation of conatus with a reinterpretation of the Marxian concept of labor power. By circumventing the value theoretical definition of abstract labor, he derives from the Grundrisse a definition of labor power as naked potentia and negative universal that is turned into a positivity developed on all sides – a radical de-individualization, to which a radical individualization inheres: negatively and historically viewed, as Marx explains in the Grundrisse, labor power is absolutely expropriated: “As such it is not-raw-material, not-instrument of labour, not-raw-product: labour separated from all means and objects of labour, from its entire objectivity”[16]; considered positively and ontologically, however, this “absolute poverty” embodies the “general possibility of wealth as subject and as activity”[17]. As Negri inscribes an immanent telos into Being (“infinitely extended toward infinite perfection”), he also recognizes in the capitalist mode of production a teleological development, with which mere human potentiality – speaking, improvising, cooperating, inventing – has become the central productive force of postfordist regulation. Labor power is thus no longer variable capital, subordinated to the mechanisms of discipline and exploitation, but has instead since the dawn of the “third period of the capitalist mode of production, after manufacture and large-scale industry”[18] become autonomized through the incorporation of the means of labor.[19] This means that a de-realized capital, which now merely represents a robbery machine, confronts a substantialized potentiality of living labor. With this, Negri sees the extremity of the eschaton approaching. The time dawns that time needs to touch the threshold of eternity: according to Negri, we are moving toward an extraordinary moment, in which ontogenesis, anthropogenesis and capitalist development converge. For Negri, communism can emerge from this convergence as a self-affecting and self-multiplying community of the active, which exists without conflictual division, because non-agreement, exteriority and death are absent in it. In the course of this reading of Marx with Spinoza, idealizing, essentialist, and anthro-ontological arguments universalizing tendencies as periodization return to Marxism, which have been deconstructed by (post-)Althusserianism since the 1960s.

Deactivating Politics: Impotentiality

In “The Absolute Immanence”, a text dedicated to Foucault and the late Deleuze, Agamben queries the possibility of using Spinoza’s concept of conatus to imagine existence in terms of a creative life, which socializes itself and produces its own politics. At the same time, Agamben highlights the ambiguity of Spinoza’s idea of absolute immanence. A Being determined by conatus, he says, strives only to contain itself as its own cause. It articulates “desire’s self-constitution as desiring”[20], in which persisting, nourishing and preserving are inseparable from perfect beatitude. Biological and political life coincide. Agamben affirms this perspective, as it repeats the original inseparability of bios and zoe. Unlike Negri, Agamben interprets self-immanent beatific Being not as the climax of forceful increase, as “exaltation of the fullness of the existent”[21], but rather as a deactivated abiding in itself, a “potentiality that does not act”, a “force that is, but does not effect”.[22] As a final consequence, Agamben retreats from imagining life as conatus, because what remains misunderstood is “the element that marks subjection to biopower in the very paradigm of possible beatitude”[23]. According to Agamben, the Spinozian perspective of absolute immanence provides no conceptual means for penetrating this aporia. For this reason, he develops his politics of potentiality not from a reading of Spinoza, but rather of Aristotle, culminating in a different self-relation, not self-affecting love, but letting being be such as it is, the taking place of a “whatever”[24] existence, to which he is led by a non-dialectical negativity of désoeuvrement or a non-synthesizing dialectic of impotentiality.

In several essays written in the 1980s, Agamben developed the thesis of an autonomous effectivity of the possible from a heretical reading of Aristotle.[25] He points out that potentiality does not mean possibility in a logical, but rather in an existential sense. The possible articulates a mode of existence that is based on the capacity to not do or not think something, in other words on incapacity: “The potentiality that exists is precisely the potentiality that can not pass over into actuality.”[26] That the possible implies that it could also not occur, because it would otherwise have always already passed over into actuality, is for Agamben the great mystery of the Aristotelian theory of dynamis and energeia. Inspired by a single remark from De anima, that impotentiality gives itself in the transition to actuality, gives itself to actuality and to itself, Agamben develops the messianic figure of a salvation of impotentiality in the act, which consists of a kind of self-giving. Impotentiality is not destroyed in the actualization of potentiality, but rather preserved deactivated.[27] This survival or suspension of impotentiality in actuality has a messianic dimension for Agamben, which sets a dialectic of deactivation in motion. In his book on St. Paul he explains that a reversal of the relation of act and potency occurs in the messianic moment. The impotentiality that was suspended in actuality is now returned to potency and completes itself in deactivating all juridical-factual relations.[28] In this sense, Agamben takes up Marx’ early notion of “a class of civil society which is not a class of civil society”[29], and declares this the messianic proletariat capable of making all class separations ineffective and deactivating itself to allow for a “whatever”[30] being.[31]

In Homer sacer Agamben introduces a dramatic problem into the dialectic of impotentiality and the declassifying class. With reference to the same passage in Aristotle, the potentiality of impotentiality thus becomes the distinguishing feature of sovereign Being and a right that enables its own exception by transferring its force to extra-legal measures: “For the sovereign ban, which applies to the exception in no longer applying, corresponds to the structure of potentiality, which maintains itself in relation to actuality precisely through its ability not to be.”[32] With reference to Nancy’s concept of the ban[33], Agamben defines the state of exception as the zone, in which “bare life” is produced by a law retreating into its potentia. The crucial question of Agamben’s politics of potentiality thus becomes the question of which force is capable of separating law and violence or law and life again – in his reflections on Benjamin, Agamben equates life with anomic, non-lawful violence. The extraordinary instability of Agamben’s politics of potentiality opens up in this issue.

On the one hand, he presses sovereignty and salvation into the corner of a minimal difference. Disaster and redemption stand back to back: in the messianic state, the potential of law to become special law is inverted into the potential of law to be made ineffective. On the other hand and quite the opposite of this, Agamben insists on drawing from the experience of the relationship of sovereign exception the conclusion of envisioning ontology and politics beyond all figures of relationship, which means also beyond deactivating suspension and messianic gift. He argues this demand with Heidegger’s idea of the abandonment of Being as a relationship that consists of the non-relationship of its terms: “[t]he being together of the being and Being does not have the form of a relation”.[34]

Considering the abandonment of law and of Being as analogous highlights the structure of Agamben’s thinking. He recognizes two major conflicts in politics and metaphysics that take place on a single battlefield: onto-theology integrates pure Being in the logos, the sovereign relation of exception integrates violence in law. Agamben accordingly formulates the problem of politics as an arcanum, in which onto-theology and sovereignty are mirrored. He reduces political action to a violence that is able to interrupt the exceptional relation between law and life: “Ultimately, at stake is only the absolutisation of discontinuity itself.”[35] He narrows his ethical perspective down to the question of how existence could transform into inactivity, which does not consist in doing nothing or that all works and deeds are absent, but rather in a whatever Being that is allowed to be such as it is, to belong to itself, an undetermined existence embodying a potential, without having to realize it. The figure of a potentiality that does not act supersedes Bataille’s unemployed negativity. Absolute singularization means, in this sense, a movement that “transports the object not toward another thing or another place, but toward its own taking-place”.[36] Just as Negri’s ethics of excessive joy presents a kind of originary supplement of politics, rejecting the cult of resentment and sadness, Agamben also appends a theorem to the thinking of anti-capitalist politics, namely that of unconditional belonging and unqualified whatever existence, opposing a logic, in which inactivity is presented only as a creative resource of future action or as failure and punishment.

Exhausting Politics: Absolute Singularization

Deleuze shares with Agamben the question of the weak force of deactivated Being, which he again traces back to Spinoza. Whereas Negri presumed that the Spinozian ontology of constitutive praxis “allows the will to revolution to survive the crisis of Marxism”, Deleuze, especially in his later texts, remains with the question of which expression the will to revolution will assume, to ultimately define it with Spinoza as an involuntary will before all objectives and preferences.[37] Spinoza writes that the will corresponds to the conatus, which relates to the intellect; it is a corporeal and intellectual striving for what agrees with us and urges toward absolute singularization in the knowledge of the third kind.[38] Whereas Negri understands singularization in maximal terms – “from poverty through love to being”[39] –, Deleuze interprets it in anomal terms, turning Spinoza’s third kind of knowledge into a politics of exhaustion.[40] Deleuze emphasizes less the composition of being, but rather that which could be called immanation, a transgression abiding in itself, a self-exhausting intensification shifting toward its thresholds. Deleuze is less interested in more and more singularities agreeing with one another by sharing elements with one another, but more in the subtractive dimension of singularization. It is a matter of what is subtracted when a body seizes its degree of singular potentiality: what is first subtracted, as Deleuze emphasizes in anti-Aristotelian polemics, is the possible as that which is to be actualized; the variation of options is subtracted, the alternation of intentions, “because one can never realize the whole of the possible; in fact one even creates the possible to the extent that one realizes it.”[41] If actualizing means varying what is possible and replacing one with the other, then singularizing means “exhausting the possible”[42] and breaking off with it. In an act of intensive completion, all the variables of a situation are exhausted in every sense, “on the condition that one renounce any order of preference, any organization in relation to a goal, any signification”[43]. This condition is the crucial element of Deleuze’s politics of exhaustion. What results from it is what Agamben called a potentiality that does not act, or in the words of Deleuze: “one remains active, but for nothing”.[44] Inclusive disjunction is what Deleuze calls this mechanism of singularization, a combination without intentions, which he translates in his text on Bartleby into a proletarian politics of potentiality, from which all compositional, strategic and decisionist functions have been subtracted, until a wholly non-Leninist, non-Machiavellian politics of non-politics emerges. For Deleuze, everything starts with Bartleby leading a revolt against the mechanisms of philanthropic morality and discipline, against responsibility, foresight, accomplishing and explaining – mechanisms that Deleuze summarizes under the term “paternal function”[45]. This revolt is consequently also directed against the logic of revolt itself. This means that Bartleby eludes the subjectification of the militant and suspends all classic forms of expression of leftist politics, especially critique and proposal. “If Bartleby had refused,” says Deleuze, “he could still be seen as a rebel or insurrectionary and as such would still have a social role.”[46] Bartleby’s politics of non-politics is thus still distinguished by a special relation of negativity and positivity. It oscillates between a weakly positive negativity and a weakly negative positivity, which Deleuze presents to us as the pragmatism of the passive, which generates an activity of its own. A kind of dissolution emanates from it step by step, an increasing shift pushing normality further and further, until the attorney has to give up his own office. This special relation of positivity and negativity is famously expressed in Bartleby’s phrase I prefer not to, which allows a zone of indeterminacy to emerge, growing between a preference that refers to nothing and a rejection that appears as preference. What is left is what Deleuze calls “the growth of a nothingness of the will”[47], a positive becoming-negative, which he calls becoming-stone, with a jab at Heidegger’s anti-anorganic thesis of the worldlessness and lifelessness of the stone. Politics initially appears here in a Blanchotian and left-Heideggerian perspective in its withdrawal, in the traces of its absence. Bartleby embodies an archi-passivity, in which negation, as Blanchot writes, “effaces preference and is effaced therein: the neutrality of that which is not among the things there are to do—the restraint”[48]. Deleuze takes up Blanchot’s motif of “a life so passive […] that it does not have death for an ultimate escape”,[49] only to overwrite it with the weak force of involuntaristic politics. Continuing the ideas from Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus that the praxis of class struggle was accompanied by a normalization of proletarian articulation, for Deleuze Bartleby takes over the function of interrupting paternalizing forms of leftist politics demanding responsibility. Deleuze turns Bartleby into a proletarian fighter, who adds the ontological supplement of becoming-stone to politics, which deactivates Badiou’s experienced revolutionary who watches over the organization.

There is a repeatedly interrupted argumentation in A Thousand Plateaus, in which Deleuze and Guattari provisionally dissolve their suturing of politics and ontology and envision politics not in the sense of absolute singularization, but rather as a relative composition. With the concept of molecularity they introduce a category that refers to the relative speed of political articulation and defines the area of translation between absolute singularization (becoming-imperceptible) and the molar fixation of political acts (disciplined organization) as the proper sphere of politics. Counter to Negri and Hardt’s ontological perspective of a production of the common, Deleuze and Guattari posit the no less ontological perspective of the production of the heterogeneous, which is punctured, however, and interrupted by multiple political and analytical theorems and prevents an absolutization of ontological principles (love, deactivation, singularization). Molecular acts (becoming-anomal) are not emancipatory per se: “The more molar the aggregates become, the more molecular become their elements and the relations between their elements.”[50] The molecularization has to intervene in social institutions, in mechanisms of distribution and relations of exploitation, otherwise it is politically non-existent: “molecular escapes and movements would be nothing if they did not return to the molar organizations to reshuffle their segments, their binary distributions of sexes, classes, and parties.”[51] Due to their excessivity, they are in danger of entering into a reactionary becoming all the way to the point of self-destruction, as well as of accelerating so much that they singularize themselves absolutely and vanish. At the edge of their ontology of potentiality, Deleuze and Guattari thus touch on the problem of politics, which cannot be solved a priori by any principles, and the paradoxes of which require developing a series of theorems and practices that confront the multivalent tensions between becoming and organization, being-such and discipline, event and preparation, expansion and escalation.

Paradoxes of Politics

Politics is exposed to contingency; it wants to produce a radical change and thus a process that can neither be conclusively planned nor guaranteed by a principle or a subject. Politics consists of the process of assembling heterogeneous forces that are not bound together by any band, but which produce moments that surpass their summation by far.

As a process of assembling heterogeneous practices, politics eludes the demand for universality, also in the form of concrete or singular universality. Politics does not articulate the general, nor is it a placeholder for the general, but rather a relationship of the unrelated that wants to become arbitrary and is exposed, at the same time, to the paradox that the struggle for this possibility, counter to the intertwined logics of capital and biopower, requires a mobilization that opposes becoming-arbitrary.

Politics thus oscillates between too much and too little: on the one hand, political acts are not only an effort on behalf of a society of free and equal people. This freedom is already articulated in them. Beyond symbolic articulation they are a condensation of a different time, an intensification that is called singularization. On the other hand, political acts are not absolutely singular. As purely singular instances, they would not enter into any connections. They would not point beyond themselves, but only within themselves. In contrast, politics seeks to stabilize and condense the composition of dissident, singular points, until organized militant formations emerge, which are able to prepare a radical break, but which engender conservative and reactionary effects at the same time.

Politics is always exercised under conditions, also under the conditions of its own effects. It is never autonomous. It is perpetually exposed to norming or disciplining shifts. Its energies permanently reintegrate, vanish or are destroyed. Every politics must first of all start from the possibility of its becoming-reactionary and politicize this possibility in a second order politics: it invents procedures to keep its reactionary effects, such as discipline, identification, bureaucratization or militarization, at a distance through interruptions.

For this, it must detach itself from a series of traditions, including the romantic tradition, to the extent that it embodies the political in subjectivity, action or production, equating life and a common to be produced; from the micropolitical tradition, to the extent that it considers the emergence of dissidences and their provisional connection sufficient; and from the (post-)Leninist tradition, to the extent that it does not interrupt reactionary elements of politics, but rather naturalizes them.


[1] The Greek, Latin and English terms dynamis, potentia, potentiality and potency will be used here synonymously and interchangeably.

[2] Cf. Rancière, Jacques: Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy, trans. Julie Rose, University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, 1999, p. 61-93.

[3] Negri, Antonio: “What to Do Today with What Is to be Done?”, in: Budgen, Sebastian, Kouvelakis, Stathis and Žižek, Slavoj (Ed.): Lenin Reloaded: Toward a Politics of Truth, Durham, London 2007, p. 297–308, here p. 303.

[4] Ibid., p. 302.

[5] Spinoza, Baruch de: The Ethics, in The Collected Works of Spinoza vol. 1, trans. Edwin Curley (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985) [III, P6] , p. 498.

[6] Deleuze, Gilles: Spinoza. Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley, City Lights Books: San Francisco, 1988, p. 101.

[7] Cf. Spinoza, Ethics, op.cit., [V, P15]: “Who clearly and plainly understands himself and his affects, loves God and all the more so, the more he understands himself and his affects.”

[8] Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio: Common Wealth, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 2009, p. 181.

[9] Negri, Antonio: Savage Anomaly: The Power of Spinoza’s Metaphysics and Politics, trans. Michael Hardt (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991) p. 176: “conatus-potentia-mens” means “striving-potentiality-intellect”.

[10] Ibid., p. 228.

[11] Negri, Antonio: “The ‘Return to Spinoza’ and the Return of Communism”, trans. Timothy S. Murphy, in: ibid.: Subversive Spinoza. Uncontemporary Variations, Ed. Timothy S. Murphy, Manchester, New York 2006, p. 94–100, here p. 95.

[12] Deleuze, Gilles: “Preface to The Savage Anomaly”, in Two Regimes of Madness: Texts and Interviews, 1975-1995, ed. David Lapoujade, trans. Ames Hodges and Mike Taormina, New York: Semiotext(e), 2006, p. 190-91.

[13] Cf. Macherey, Pierre: “Negri’s Spinoza”, in: Murphy, Timothy S. and Mustapha, Abdul-Karim (Ed.): The Philosophy of Antonio Negri: Revolution in Theory, Vol. 2, London, Ann Arbor 2007, p. 7–27, here p. 9–11.

[14] Cf. Balibar, Étienne: “Spinoza, the Anti-Orwell: The Fear of the Masses”, in: Masses, Classes, Ideas, Routledge: London and New York, 1993, p. 3-38

[15] Cf. Deleuze, Gilles: Vincennes Lectures on Spinoza: 24/03/81 - The affections of essence:, in:, (last access: 15. 2. 2011).

[16] Marx, Karl: Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Ökonomie, in: Marx-Engels-Werke, Vol. 42, Berlin 1983, p. 217;

[17] Ibid., p. 217f.

[18] Negri, Antonio: “Twenty Theses on Marx. Interpretation of the Class Situation Today”, in: Makdisi, Saree, Casarino, Cesare and Karl, Rebecca E. (Ed.): Marxism Beyond Marxism, London, New York 1996, p. 149–180, here p. 156.

[19] Cf. Negri, Antonio: “Zur gesellschaftlichen Ontologie. Materielle Arbeit, immaterielle Arbeit und Biopolitik”, trans. Thomas Atzert, in: Pieper, Marianne, Atzert, Thomas, Karakayalı, Serhat and Tsianos, Vassilis (Ed.): Empire und die biopolitische Wende. Die internationale Diskussion im Anschluss an Hardt und Negri, Frankfurt/M., New York 2007, p. 17–31, here p. 21.

[20] Agamben, Giorgio: “Absolute Immanence”, in: Agamben, Giorgio and Heller-Roazen, Daniel (Ed.), Potentialities. Collected Essays in Philosophy, Stanford University Press 2000, p. 237.

[21] Negri: The Savage Anomaly, op.cit. p. 167.

[22] Agamben: “Absolute Immanence”, op.cit., p. 233-4.

[23] Ibid., p. 238.

[24] Agamben, Giorgio: Coming Community, trans. by Michael Hardt, Minneapolis, London, University of Minnesota Press, 2001, p. 1.

[25] Agamben uses the following synonymous series of terms: potentiality, potency, capacity, possible, dynamis; impotentiality, impotency, incapacity, impossible, adynamia; actuality, act, reality, energeia.

[26] Agamben, Giorgio: Homo sacer. Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen, Stanford University Press: Stanford, 1998, p. 45.

[27] Ibid., p. 46; Agamben refers to De anima 417b, 2-16.

[28] Cf. Agamben, Giorgio: The Time That Remains, trans. Patricia Dailey, Stanford University Press: Stanford, 2005, p. 100.

[29] Marx, Karl: “Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie”, Einleitung, in: Max-Engels-Werke, Vol. 1, Berlin 1976, p. 378–391, here p. 390. []

[30] Agamben: Coming Community, op.cit., p. 1.

[31] Cf. Agamben: The Time That Remains, op.cit. p. 29-35.

[32] Agamben: Homer Sacer, op.cit., p. 46.

[33] Cf. Nancy, Jean-Luc: The Birth to Presence, trans. Brian Holmes et al., Stanford 1993, p. 36–47.

[34] Agamben, Homo sacer, op.cit., p. 60.

[35] Liska, Vivian: Giorgio Agambens leerer Messianismus, Vienna 2008, p. 42.

[36] Agamben, Giorgio: The Coming Community, trans. Michael Hardt, University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, 2003, p. 3.

[37] Cf. Zourabichvili, François: “Deleuze et le possible (de l’involontarisme en politique)”, in: Alliez, Eric: Gilles Deleuze. Une vie philosophique, Le Plessis-Robinson 1998, p. 335–358.

[38] Cf. Spinoza: The Ethics, (III, P9, Schol.), p. 500.

[39] Negri: Common Wealth, op.cit., p. 100

[40] Cf. Deleuze, Gilles: “The Exhausted”, in: Essays Critical and Clinical, trans. Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco, University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, 1997, p. 152.

[41] Ibid.

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid., p. 153.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Deleuze: “Bartleby, or: The Formula”, in Essays Critical and Clinical, p. 77.

[46] Ibid., p. 73

[47] Ibid., p. 71.

[48] Blanchot, Maurice: The Writing of the Disaster, trans. Ann Smock, University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, 1986, p. 145.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Félix: A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi, University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, London 1987, p. 228.

[51] Ibid., p. 216-217.