For Deleuze and Guattari, the regime of violence particular to the state is self-grounding, operating not only through the transparency of laws but through a magical inscription of its authority. In order for the state to emerge, the exterior elements it needs – citizens, property, material resources and so on – must already be at its disposal, such that the ‘capture’ effected by the state must also generate what it captures, as if by magic.46 This structural violence may in fact lead to a kind of peace more terrifying than war.47
Hegel writes that the state ‘is ethical spirit as the substantial will manifest and clear to itself, know- ing and thinking itself, accomplishing what it knows and insofar as it knows it’.28 Deleuze and Guattari agree that the state is self-grounding in this way and that it has not only served to legitimate certain forms of power but, more importantly, ways of thinking, feeling, desiring and producing. The state is both pure Idea and material reality. Precisely as an Idea, it marshals will, desire and material resources; it is a kind of machine, or assemblage of machines arranged around a central point distributing relative interior and exterior domains. Subjectivity, as psychoanalysis has shown, can be produced on the basis of an internalised model of the law of the father. Deleuze and Guattari’s war machine is thus offered not simply as a model of militant resist- ance to the state but, more importantly, as a means of conceiving a subjectivity beyond the state-form. If subjectivity is determined by the state-form as an interiority submitted to an external, law-giving transcendence, then the war machine is a way of thinking an utterly different assemblage of thought, desire and affect, a subjectivity of the absolute outside as opposed to a subjectivity of interiority/exteriority.
Stuart Elden writes that cartographic techniques became particularly important politically from the seventeenth century onwards because of the need to map ‘mountainous regions’ and ‘deserts or tundra’, and to create abstract divisions of ‘unknown places in the colonized world’.17
All laws first create a space in which they are valid, and this space is the world in which we can move about in freedom. What lies outside this space is without law and, even more precisely, without world; as far as human community is concerned, it is a desert.6