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On agile and war machines

Drawing of a wooden nomad chariot (fifth to fourth centuries B.C.) from "Treatise of Nomadology - The War Machine" by Deleuze and Guattari
Nomad Chariot, Entirely of Wood, Althai, Fifht to Fourth Centuries B.C. from "Treatise of Nomadology - The War Machine", Deleuze and Guattari

Set against rigid and slow traditional organisations is the war machine.

Despite its name, French thinkers Deleuze and Guattari didn’t necessarily conceptualise this image as a military machine.

From nomadic tribes and hacker communities to social and artistic movements, the war machine itself isn't violent or aggressive. Nor is it about conquest or domination.

Instead, it represents another way of organising and distributing power across social structures — ‌one that thrives on mobility, adaptability, and openness.

A way of thinking, organising and being.

Mobile and nomadic, the war machine isn’t tied to any one place or time. It’s always on the move, always looking for new opportunities.

Refusing to be confined by the fixed structures and boundaries of rigid hierarchies, it operates in a constant state of flux and movement.

A catalyst for freedom and creativity, it opens the door to experimentation, innovation, and resistance against entrenched power structures.

The war machine is about pushing boundaries, creating new possibilities and embracing change — becoming agile and adaptive on shaky, unpredictable grounds.

Contrasting with tree-shaped organisations (robust yet slow and maladaptive), root-like structures.

Networks of interconnected nodes constantly shifting and evolving: no clear hierarchy, no centre of power.

Creating space for more fluid, dynamic, and creative relationships to flourish.

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