It is not the first time that such screwing of language happens and it is in some ways instructive to look back to the economic crisis of the mid-seventies of last century, not for the purpose of obtaining some - useless here – comparison but for to verify the tight of this epistemological device.
In 1975, Michel Foucault grants an interview to the ineffable BH Levy for the newspaper L'imprévu in which the argument starts from the fast and fulminant analysis that Foucault provides about the magic word: crisis, precisely. We remind that the discussion is about one of the most famous and celebrated capitalist crisis of the twentieth century: the oil shock of 1973 through the quintupling of the price of the part of OPEC crude.
With his usual enjoyed sarcasm the philosopher-strategist begins by saying that crisis it's a word that marks the inability of intellectuals to capture their present, such a lack of imagination and seriousness at the same time prevents understanding this present and its problematization. This impediment is due rather to a bad habit than to a bad will: to fill the shortage of resources for a strategical analysis of the situation with some formula “all inclusive”.
In fact, Foucault continues, the crisis is always, it is, if you like, "this perpetual present” and “never had a moment of history that West did not have the strong consciousness of a crisis deeply felt, even in the bodies of the people. " Because of this constant present, crisis is a word that even though its indubitable "journalistic" strength , it's has not philosophical and more general theoretical and strategic sense . Even so, it seems to suggest here Foucault, it does not tell us much of what happens within and between the bodies. The poorly descriptive words of intellectuals are in the final analysis reducible to the fact that "there is only one language in this present, the one of the order, of delivery”. Even when things seem to be named "revolutionary", and when a second-hand subversive style is used, the watchword reigns.
The real question is not the crisis but the possible transformation of the balance of power. The difference is not little, just because insisting on the status of this present as a crisis, continues Foucault, it's sounds like or it's understood that it was in the midst of a break between two radically different historical moments or, better yet, that is in a time where "everything starts", a kind of degree zero of temporality that preserves some echoes of the religious millenarianism. It is not difficult at all, now to find these echoes of a 'new dawn', even if nothing has happened here that looks like a revolt.
But even further, at the heart of the concept of crisis there is something equally unbearable, as both refer to the idea of totality: the contradiction. But the contradiction, the breaking point after which you can not continue as before, “is just an image”. The picture instead is continuously broken by the possible advance of one of the contenders, where the advance of one corresponds to the grab of the other. And it's here that Foucault works for the overthrowing of the clausewitzian thesis. The war is not the continuation of politics by other means but politics is the continuation of war by other means. And it's here that Foucault says that we must abandon the ideas of crisis and contradiction.
The problem then is not to discuss the financial crisis and the thousands of welfare state but it's to deal with a masked face the aggressive decadence of liberal government. The problem is how to fight in this global civil war that penetrates the bodies of each and all in order not to destroy them, on the capitalistic side, but to produce a new type of body after the waged body, the flexibilizated, sexualizated, ethnicizated ... Which bodies the Empire needs today ? Perhaps the strong point and at the same time the weakness of the Empire lies in this: the ability to model and to tame the bodies through all sorts of devices - including the crisis – but its weakness lies in the possibility of their being intimately ungovernable.And it is only in the fight, in the dusty body to body, that every possibility will be revealed. To anticipate the power today, then, is to understand this battle, that everybody calls crises,as a new form of biopolitical domination. This may bring to and, at the same time, may highlight new points of ungovernability.
If we can answer to these questions we can know where to swarm the lines of escape and attack and where to build adequate defenses, that will provide us with more means of resistance.
Clearly, to develop the word means to have the power to make it true. We are really tired of reading descriptions of battles that never happened.