The Speed of State
From Negative Horizon
by Paul Virilio
The State apparatus is in fact simply an apparatus of displacement, its stability appears to be assured by a series of temporary gyroscopic processes of delocalization and relocalization.
Let's look again for a moment at the Peruvian world: despite its inferior mobility due to the absence of the horse, it relied upon the distances between outposts to maintain state power; however, these distances would prove fatal with the arrival of the European equestrian forces: 'In the Incan Empire borders and subjugated provinces were defended by garrisons, strategic points were guarded by fortresses, pacification was effected, by moving people from one point to another: the conquered tribal colonies were installed in secured areas and colonies of the dominant race were established in the subjugated provinces'.
We note that pacification is accomplished here, as elsewhere, through a complete distancing between the vanquishers and the vanquished, and a similar practice is at work among the Guarani Reducciones. Transport is at the heart of the State apparatus just as it is at the heart of war, while these logistical necessities are to be traced back to their beginnings assured by the woman of burden.
Nevertheless, these displacements are still only displacements in space, transplantations from one place to another and not yet transmigrations in the time of acceleration; the weak and irregular performance of vectors is up to this point incapable of prompting a dromocratic revolution of the State, beyond the walled city, the limits of the town or region.
The distancing occurs through territorial conquest, it does not yet occur through the conquest of time. If invasion contributes to the institution of public law, its speed is not yet the Law of the world, the State is as yet only the state of siege of citadels, and not yet the state of emergency of vectors.
Delocalization is effected through colonies of populations until it comes to be realized in the perpetual movement of columns of vehicles, and this will last until the nineteenth century, when the rail will contribute less to consolidating the colonial conquest than to preparing this historical transformation that today takes the illusory title of'decolonization.
The 'liberation of colonies' brought about by the passage from the era of moving people from place to place to that of outright migrations is in fact only the most evident sign of deterritorialization; it announces the future of an anarional 'state of emergency' beyond the old state of siege on the city, where the capitalization of speed attains to such a degree that the old geopolitics tends to become a simple chronopolitics, a true war of time, beyond that of space and territories.