order-word

As Volosinov [Bakhtin] says, as long as linguistics extracts constants, it is incapable of helping us understand how a single word can be a complete enunciation; there must be “an extra something” that “remains outside of the scope of the entire set of linguistic categories and definitions,” even though it is still entirely within the purview of the theory of enunciation or language [1]. The order-word is precisely that variable that makes the word as such an enunciation. The instantaneousness of the order-word, its immediacy, gives it a power of variation in relation to the bodies to which the transformation is attributed.

Pragmatics is a politics of language. A study such as Jean-Pierre Faye’s on the constitution of Nazi statements in the German social field is in this respect exemplary (and cannot be directly transferred to the constitution of Fascist statements in Italy). Transformational research of this kind is concerned with the variation of the order-words and noncorporeal attributes linked to social bodies and effectuating immanent acts. We may take as another example, under different conditions, the formation of a properly Leninist type of statement in Soviet Russia, basing ourselves on a text by Lenin entitled “On Slogans” (1917). This text constituted an incorporeal transformation that extracted from the masses a proletarian class as an assemblage of enunciation *before* the conditions were present for the proletariat to exist as a body. A stroke of genius from the First Marxist International, which “invented” a new type of class: Workers of the world, unite! [2] Taking advantage of the break with the Social Democrats, Lenin invented or decreed yet another incorporeal transformation that extracted from the proletarian class a vanguard as an assemblage of enunciation and was attributed to the “Party,” a new type of party as a distinct body, at the risk of falling into a properly bureaucratic system of redundancy. The Leninist wager, an act of audacity? Lenin declared that the slogan {*mot d’ordre*) “All power to the Soviets” was valid only from the 27th of February to the 4th of July for the peacetime development of the Revolution, and no longer held in the state of war; the passage from peace to war implied this transformation, not just from the masses to a guiding proletariat, but from the proletariat to a directing vanguard. *July 4 exactly* the power of the Soviets came to an end. All of the external circumstances can be assigned: the war as well as the insurrection that forced Lenin to flee to Finland. But the fact remains that the incorporeal transformation was uttered on the 4th of July, prior to the organization of the body to which it would be attributed, namely, the Party itself. “Every particular slogan must be deduced from the totality of the specific features of a definite political situation.” [3] If the objection is leveled that these specific features pertain to politics and not linguistics, it must be observed how thoroughly politics works language from within, causing not only the vocabulary but also the structure and all of the phrasal elements to vary as the order-words change. A type of statement can be evaluated only as a function of its pragmatic implications, in other words, in relation to the implicit presuppositions, immanent acts, or incorporeal transformations it expresses and which introduce new configurations of bodies. True intuition is not a judgment of grammaticality but an evaluation of internal variables of enunciation in relation to the aggregate of the circumstances.

[1] Volosinov [Bakhtin], Marxism and the Philosophy of Language, p. 110. And on “symbolic relations of force” as variables internal to enunciation, see Pierre Bourdieu, “L’economie des echanges linguistiques,” in Linguistique et sociolinguistique, Langue Francaise, May 1977, pp. 18-21.

[2] The very notion of the proletarian class hinges on the question, Does the proletariat already exist at a given moment, and if so as a body? (Or, does it still exist?) It is evident that Marxists use it in an anticipatory sense, as, for example, when they speak of an “embryonic proletariat.”

[3] [TRANS: V. I. Lenin, “On Slogans,” Selected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975), vol. 3, p. 148.]

Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari 1980 A Thousand Plateaus

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