- A Sales Pitch for the Insurrection: A Critical Look at The Coming Insurrection
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When, finally, the military rolls in, a political victory of some kind must be achieved over them, because a conventional military victory is not tenable. The text closes, just before a brief afterword, with the injunction: " All power to the communes! An impressionistic paragraph is sketched, in which conventional power is slowly crumbling, and insurgents face their new challenges with hope.
A rocket has just breached a wall of the Clairvaux prison. Impossible to say if it has been months or years since the 'events' began. And the prime minister seems very alone in his appeals for calm. A few of the Tarnac Nine were involved in producing Tiqqun , a French radical philosophy journal printed from — The Coming Insurrection bears traces of influence from the works of these philosophers, and also, most notably, Giorgio Agamben 's notions of the whatever singularity and being-in-common, and Alain Badiou 's ontology of the event and truth procedures.
Its analysis of capitalist civilization is clearly informed by Foucault's and Agamben's notion of biopower , Guy Debord 's society of the spectacle , and Antonio Negri 's concept of Empire. The revolutionary strategy outlined in the latter part of the book is reminiscent in some ways of the "exodus" or "secession" strategy espoused by many autonomist Marxists like Antonio Negri and Jacques Camatte , as well as influenced by the concept of war machine in Deleuze and Guattari's works.
The book was mentioned in The New York Times  and also in the anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters  in relation to the Tarnac Nine. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter , Michael Moore mentioned the book as being the most recent one he had read. Glenn Beck, host of The Glenn Beck Program , has at various times referred to the book as, "crazy" and "evil".
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Science fiction author Jeff VanderMeer writes in the acknowledgements of Acceptance Southern Reach Trilogy that The Coming Insurrection served for one of the main character's thinking, "quoted or paraphrased on pages , , and From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Anarchism portal Books portal France portal Socialism portal Politics portal. The Coming Insurrection. Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext e. The French 'grocer terrorists ' ".
The Independent. December 18, Retrieved January 4, Radical Philosophy, No. The Glenn Beck Program. New York, United States. Fox News. Retrieved November 5, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Revolutionary socialism. Politics portal Socialism portal. Categories : Books about anarchism Insurrectionary anarchism non-fiction books French books Works published anonymously. Among the signatory nations to the Kyoto Protocol, the only countries that have fulfilled their commitments, in spite of themselves, are Ukraine and Romania.
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In this apocalyptic atmosphere, here and there, life is reorganizing itself. In spite of occasionally strong- armed attempts to evacuate the area, in spite of white supremacist lynch mobs, a lot of people refused to leave the terrain. In a few weeks time, the Common Ground Clinic was set up. For more than a year now, the clinic is still the base of a daily resistance to the clean-sweep operation of government bulldozers, which are trying to turn that part of the city into a pasture for property developers.
Popular kitchens, supplies, street medicine, illegal takeovers, the con- struction of emergency housing, all this practical knowledge accumulated here and there in the course 2. A certain distance leads to a certain obscurity. Common Ground has been criticized in North America for the feet that its activities were geared towards a return to normality — that is, to the normal func- tioning of things, In any case itclearly remains in the realm of classical polidcs.
Far from the uniforms and sirens. On the other hand, anyone trapped in the anemic and atomized everyday routine of our residential deserts might doubt that such determination could be found anywhere anymore. Reconnecting with such gestures, buried under years of normalized life, is the only practicable means of not sinking down with the world, while we dream of an age that is equal to our passions.
Yet the resemblance stops there: at the level of appearances. The value of civilization is no longer so obvious that it can be brought to the natives as a package. All means to these ends are accept- able, even the least democratic, the least civilized, the most repressive. It was a century in which democracy regularly presided over the birth of fascist regimes, civilization constantly rhymed — to the tune of Wagner or Iron Maiden — with extermination, and in which, one day in , freedom showed its two faces: a banker throwing himself from a window and a family of workers dying of hunger.
Though it seems general in nature, the question of civilization is not at all a philosophical one. A civiliza- tion is not an abstraction hovering over life. In France, civilization is inseparable from the state. The older and more powerful the state, the less it is a super- structure or exoskeleton of a society and the more it constitutes the subjectivities that people it. The French state is the very texture of French subjectivi- ties, the form assumed by the centuries-old castration of its subjects. Thus it should come as no surprise that in their deliriums psychiatric patients are always confusing themselves with political figures, that we agree that our leaders are the root of all our ills, that we like to grumble so much about them and that this grumbling is the consecration that crowns them as our masters.
Here, politics is not considered something outside of us but part of ourselves. If there is a French exception, this is why. Every- thing, even the global influence of French literature, is a result of this amputation. In France, literature is the prescribed space for the amusement of the castrated. It is the formal freedom conceded to those who cannot accommodate themselves to the noth- ingness of their real freedom. There exists a credible thesis that modern litera- ture was born with Baudelaire, Heine, and Flaubert as a repercussion of the state massacre of June The neurotic affection that the French pledge to their Republic — in the name of which every smudge of ink assumes an air of dignity, and any pathetic hack is honored — underwrites the perpetual repression of its originary sacrifices.
It is hard for a country which created, out of nothing, the ideological framework of nationalism and exported it to the whole world to recognize that all that remains of it now is a docu- ment to be filed in the historical archives. Since , this malaise, which seems to have dissipated only during the insurrectionary fervor of May 68, has continually worsened.
The era of states, nations and republics is coming to an end, and the country that sacrificed all its vitality to these forms remains stunned by that fact. The fact that in this country the obituary of the age of nations has yet to be written is the key to the French anachronism, and to the revolutionary possibilities France still has in store. France is indeed the red lantern of the western zone. The West is a civilization that has survived all the prophecies of its collapse with a singular stratagem. Just as the bourgeoisie had to deny itself zzj a class in order to permit the bourgeoisification of society as a whole, from the worker to the baron; just as capital had to sacrifice itself as a wage relation in order to impose itself as a social relation — becoming cultural capital and health capital in addition to finance capital; just as Christianity had to sacrifice itself as a religion in order to survive as an affective structure — as a vague injunction to humility, compassion, and weakness; so the West has sacrificed itself as a particular civilization in order to impose itself as a universal cul- ture.
The operation can be summarized like this: an entity in its death throes sacrifices itself as a con- tent in order to survive as a form. A disintegrated society survives by propagating an epidemic of sociability and enter- tainment. So it goes with all the great, outmoded fictions of the West maintaining themselves through artifices that contradict these fictions point by point. There is no "dash of civilizations. You can see the dogmatism of constant questioning give its complicit wink of the eye everywhere in the universities and among the literary intdligentsias.
No critique is too radical among postmodernist thinkers, as long as it maintains this total absence of certitude. Yet it must be made secure. For the West, truth is not an attribute of beings or things, but of their representa- tion. A representation that conforms to experience is held to be true. Science is, in the last analysis, this empire of universal verification. Since all human behavior, from the most ordinary to the most learned, is based on a foundation of unevenly for- mulated facts, and since all practices start from a point where things and their representations can no longer be distinguished, a measure of truth that the Western concept excludes enters into every life.
The police and philosophy are two conver- gent, if formally distinct, means to this end. Of course, this imperialism of the relative finds a suitable enemy in every empty dogmatism, in whatever form of Marxist-Leninism, Salifism, or Neo-Nazism: anyone who, like Westerners, mistakes provocation for affirmation. Nothing is to be expected from the end of civilization, from its clin- ical death.
Such a thing can only be of interest to historians. Facts can be conjured away, but decision is political. To decide for the death of civilization, then to work out how it will happen: only decision will rid us of the corpse. We can no longer even see how an insurrection might begin. Sixty years of pacification and con- tainment of historical upheavals, sixty years of democratic anesthesia and the management of events, have dulled our perception of the real, our sense of the war in progress.
We need to start by recovering this perception. We have to get organized. To go on waiting is madness. The catastrophe is not coming, it is here. We are already situated withm the collapse of a civilization. It is within this reality that we must choose sides. To no longer wait is, in one way or another, to enter into the logic of insurrection. It is once again to hear the slight but always present trembling of terror in the voices of our leaders. Because governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the crowd will string you up, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the population.
An insurrectional process must be built from the ground up. Nothing appears less likely than an insurrection, but nothing is more necessary. Begin there. An encounter, a discovery, a vast wave of strikes, an earthquake: every event produces truth by changing our way of being in the world. We usually just avoid it, manage it, which produces the madness of so many in our era. In reality, everything involves everything else. The feeling that one is living a lie is still a truth. It is a matter of not letting it go, of starting from there.
It makes and unmakes me, constitutes and undoes me as an indi- vidual; it distances me from many and brings me closer to those who also experience it. An isolated being who holds fast to a truth will inevitably meet 97 others like her. In fact, every insurrectional process starts from a truth that we refuse to give up. A neighborhood was besieged by tanks and helicopters, with days of street battles, huge demonstrations — and a mayor who, finally, capitulated.
But all affinity is affinity within a common truth. Every encounter is an encounter within a common affirmation, even the affirmation of destruction. No bonds are innocent in an age when holding onto something and refusing to let go usually leads to unemployment, where you have to lie to work, and you have to keep on working in order to continue lying. They will all be led, sooner or later, to defection and to combat.
They had the strike to show their numbers and unmask the scabs.
They had the wage relation, pitting the party of capital against the party of labor, on which they could draw the lines of soli- darity and of battle on a global scale. We have the whole of social space in which to find each other. We have everyday insubordination for showing our numbers and unmasking cowards. We have our hostility to this civilization for drawing lines of solidarity and of battle on a global scale. Expect nothing from organizations. Among their members, one may even find individuals who are sincere — if a little desperate — who are enthusiastic — if a little conniving.
They are nonetheless empty structures, which, in spite of their grand origins, can never be filled. In all their affairs, at every level, these orga- nizations are concerned above all with their own survival as organizations, and little else. Their repeated betrayals have often alienated the commit- ment of their own rank and file.
A Sales Pitch for the Insurrection: A Critical Look at The Coming Insurrection
And this is why you can, on occasion, run into worthy beings within them. But the promise of the encounter can only be realized outside the organization and, unavoidably, at odds with it. Far more dreadful are social milieus. Flee all milieus. Each and every milieu is oriented towards the neutralization of some truth. Literary circles exist to smother the clarity of writ- ing.
The Coming Insurrection | LIBRARYSTACK∎
Anarchist milieus to blunt the directness of direct action. Scientific milieus to withhold the implications of their research from the majority of people today. Sport milieus to contain in their gyms the various forms of life they should create. Partic- ularly to be avoided are the cultural and activist circles. They offer nothing but the story of their many defeats and the bitterness these have produced.
Their exhaustion has made them inca- pable of seizing the possibilities of the present. Besides, to nurture their wretched passivity they talk far too much and this makes them unreliable when it comes to the police. All milieus are counter-revolutionary because they are only concerned with the preservation of their sad comfort. Form communes. Communes come into being when people find each other, get on with each other, and decide on a common path. The commune is perhaps what gets decided at the very moment when we would nor- mally part ways.
In every factory, every street, every village, every school. At long last, the reign of the base committees! And if possible, a multiplicity of communes that will displace the institutions of society: family, school, union, sports club, etc. Not by their membership, but by the spirit that animates them. A commune forms every time a few people, freed of their individual straitjackets, decide to rely only on themselves and measure their strength against reality.
Every wildcat strike is a commune; every building occupied collectively and on a clear basis is a commune. The action committees of were communes, as were the slave maroons in the United States, or Radio Alice in Bologna in Every commune seeks to be its own base. It seeks to dis- solve the question of needs. It seeks to break all economic dependency and all political subjugation; it degenerates into a milieu the moment it loses con- tact with the truths on which it is founded. We know that individuals are possessed of so little life that they have to earn a living , to sell their time in exchange for a modicum of social existence.
Personal time for social existence: such is work, such is the market. The commune needs money, but not because we need to earn a living. All communes have their black markets. There are plenty of hustles. Aside from welfare, there are various benefits, disability money, accumulated student aid, subsidies drawn off ficti- tious childbirths, all kinds of trafficking, and so many other means that arise with every mutation of control. The impor- tant thing is to cultivate and spread this necessary disposition towards fraud, and to share its innova- tions.
For communes, the question of work is only posed in relation to other already existing incomes. The exigency of the commune is to free up the most time for the most people. Vacant time, dead time, the time of emptiness and the fear of emptiness — this is the time of work. Plunder, cultivate, fabricate. Some former MetalEurop employees become bank robbers rather than prison guards.
Some EDF employees show friends and family how to rig the electricity meters. So it has to con- sider how to continually increase the level and scope of its self-organization. Nothing would be more logical than using the lathes, milling machines, and photocopiers sold at a discount after a factory closure to support a conspiracy against commodity society. The feeling of imminent collapse is everywhere so strong these days that it would be hard to enumerate all of the current experiments in matters of construc- tion, energy, materials, illegality or agriculture.
Yet this group of experiments is but one part of all of the intuitions, the know-how, and the ingenuity found in slums that will have to be deployed if we intend to repopulate the metropolitan desert and ensure the viability of an insurrection beyond its first stages. How will we communicate and move about during a total interruption of the flows? How will we restore food production in rural areas to the point where they can once again support the population density that they had sixty years ago?
Training and learning. What are we left with, having used up most of the leisure authorized by market democracy? What was it thatmadeusgo jogging on a Sunday morning? What keeps all these karate fanatics, these DIY, fishing, or mycology freaks going? Most recreational activities could easily be stripped of their absurdity and become something else.
Boxing has not always been limited to the staging of spectacular matches. At the beginning of the 20th century, as China was carved up by hordes of colonists and starved by long droughts, hundreds of thousands of its poor peasants organized themselves into countless open-air boxing clubs, in order to take back what the colonists and the rich had taken from them.
This was the Boxer Rebellion. Escaping this fate calls for a long and consistent process of apprenticeship, and for multiple, massive experiments. Create territories. Multiply zones of opacity. Or else total submission to it. People have been pushed out of their fields, then their streets, then their neighbor- hoods, and finally from the hallways of their buildings, in the demented hope of containing all life between the four sweating walls of privacy.
The rule is simple: the more territories there are superimposed on a given zone, the more circulation there is between them, the harder it will be for power to get a handle on them. Bistros, print shops, sports facilities, wastelands, sec- ond-hand book stalls, building rooftops, improvised street markets, kebab shops and garages can all easily be used for purposes other than their official ones if enough complicities come together in them.
Open our own lines of communication.
2/13 | The Invisible Committee – October 3, 2018
The principle of communes is not to counter the metropolis and its mobility with local slowness and rootedness. The expansive movement of commune formation should surreptitiously overtake the move- ment of the metropolis. We just have to be prudent, innocuous. Visits in person are more secure, leave no trace, and forge much more consistent connections than any list of contacts on the internet. One of the charms of the metropolis is that it allows Americans, Greeks, Mexicans, and Germans to meet furtively in Paris for the time it takes to discuss strategy.
Constant movement between friendly communes is one of the things that keeps them from drying up and from the inevitability of abandonment. It would be a mistake to underestimate how much can be decisively worked out over the course of evenings spent comparing views on the war in progress.
Remove all obstacles, one by one. Persevering in their nothingness, they ask for nothing more than to return to that state for good. Take a look at what surrounds us: all this will have its final hour. The metropolis suddenly takes on an air of nostalgia, like a field of ruins. In fact though, rage and politics should never have been separated. Without the first, the second is lost in discourse; without the second the first exhausts itself in howls.
As for strategy, we will remember that an obstacle that has been cleared away, leaving a liberated but uninhabited space, is easily replaced by another obstacle, one that offers more resistance and is harder to attack. Broadened to the dimensions of the whole social factory, the principles of sabotage can be applied to both production and circulation. The technical infrastructure of the metropolis is vulnerable.
Its flows amount to more than the transportation of people and commodities. The enragA and exaltfs were both radical groups in the French revolution. Nowadays sabotaging the social machine with any real effect involves reappropriating and reinventing the ways of interrupting its networks. How can a TGV line or an electrical network be rendered useless?
How does one find the weak points in computer networks, or scramble radio waves and fill screens with white noise? The prome- thean element in all of this boils down to a certain use of fire, all blind voluntarism aside. In BC, Erostratus burned down the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the world. In our time of utter decadence, the only thing imposing about temples is the dismal truth that they are already ruins. Annihilating this nothingness is hardly a sad task. It gives action a fresh demeanor. Everything suddenly coalesces and makes sense — space, time, friendship.
We must use all means at our disposal and rethink their uses — we ourselves being means. Flee visibility. Turn anonymity into an offensive position. The fires of November offer a model for this. No leader, no demands, no organization, but words, gestures, complicities. To be socially nothing is not a humili- ating condition, the source of some tragic lack of recognition — from whom do we seek recogni- tion?
Not claiming your illegal actions, only attaching to them some fictional acronym — we still remember the ephemeral BAFT. Brigade Anti-Flic des Tarteretsf — is a way to pre- serve that freedom. Visibility must be avoided. Our appearance as a force must be reserved for the oppor- tune moment. And once we become visible our days will be numbered. Organize self-defense. We live under an occupation, under police occupa- tion. These are reasons enough to no longer let ourselves be beaten down, reasons enough to organize our self-defense. To the extent that it grows and radiates, a com- mune begins to see the operations of power target that which constitutes it These counterattacks take the form of seduction, of recuperation, and as a last resort, brute force.
Preventing an arrest, gathering quickly and in large numbers against eviction attempts and sheltering one of our own, will not be superfluous reflexes in coming times. We cannot ceaselessly reconstruct our bases from scratch. The police forces blend in with the crowd. The ubiquitous model of police interven- tion, even in riot situations, is now the cop in civilian clothes. The effectiveness of the police during the last anti-CPE demonstrations was a result of plainclothes off icers mixing among us and waiting for an incident before revealing who they are: gas, nightsticks, tazers, detainment; all in strict coordination with demon- stration stewards.
The police are not invincible in the streets, they simply have the means to organize, train, and con- tinually test new weapons. None of the innovations in urban anti-guerilla warfare that are being taught in the French police academies are adequate to respond rapidly to a moving multiplici- ty that can strike a number of places at once and that tries to always keep the initiative. Communes are obviously vulnerable to surveillance and police investigations, to policing technologies and intelligence gathering. The waves of arrests of anarchists in Italy and of eco-warriors in the US were made possible by wiretapping.
Everyone detained by the police now has his or her DNA sam- pled and added to an ever more complete profile. A squatter from Barcelona was caught because he left fingerprints on fliers he was distributing. Tracking methods are becoming better and better, mostly through biometric techniques. And if the distribu- tion of electronic identity cards is instituted, our task will just be that much more difficult.
The Paris Commune found a partial solution to the keeping of records: they burned down City Hall, destroying all the public records and vital statistics. We still need to find the means to permanently destroy computer- ized databases. An insurrectional surge may be nothing more than a multiplication of communes, their coming into contact and forming of ties. As events unfold, communes will either merge into larger entities or fragment. A commune tends by its nature towards self- sufficiency and considers money, internally, as something foolish and ultimately out of place. The power of money is to connect those who are unconnected, to link strangers as strangers and thus, by making everything equivalent, to put everything into circulation.
Distrust is the basis of the credit relation The reign of money is, therefore, always the reign of control. The practical abolition of money will happen only with the extension of communes. Communes must be extended while making sure they do not exceed a certain size, beyond which they lose touch with themselves and give rise, almost with- out fail, to a dominant caste.
It would be preferable for the commune to split up and to spread in that way, avoiding such an unfortunate outcome. The uprising of Algerian youth that erupted across all of Kabylia in the spring of managed to take over almost the entire territory, attacking police stations, courthouses and every representation of the state, generalizing the revolt to the point of compelling the unilateral retreat of the forces of order and physically preventing the elections.
Choices will have to be made. Clearly these are, in turn, opportunities for other forces to consolidate or strengthen one another as they take the other side. People are not blind to this. As we mentioned above, the devastation of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina gave a certain fringe of the North American anarchist movement the oppor- tunity to achieve an unfamiliar cohesion by rallying all those who refused to be forcefully evacuated.
Street kitchens require building up provisions before- hand; emergency medical aid requires the acquisition of necessary knowledge and materials, as does the setting up of pirate radios. The political richness of such experiences is assured by the joy they contain, the way they transcend individual stoicism, and their manifestation of a tangible reality that escapes the daily ambience of order and work. It is usually up to the social movements to interrupt the normal course of the disaster. In all the affinity groups they spawned and left in their wake, we glimpsed the conditions that allow social movements to become a locus for the emergence of new communes.
Sabotage every representative authority. Spread the talk Abolish general assemblies. The first obstacle every social movement faces, long before the police proper, are the unions and the entire micro-bureaucracy whose job it is to control the struggle. Communes, collectives and gangs are natu- rally distrustful of these structures.
And when their dogged defense of apathy finally does the collective in, they explain its failure by citing a lack of political consciousness. It must be noted that in France the militant youth are well versed in the art of political manipulation, thanks largely to the frenzied activity of various Trotskyist factions. Another reflex is to call a general assembly at the slightest sign of movement, and vote.
This is a mis- take. The business of voting and deciding a winner is enough to turn the assembly into a nightmare, into a theater where all the various little pretenders to power confront each other. Here we suffer from the bad example of bourgeois parliaments. An assembly is not a place for decisions but for talk, for free speech exercised without a goal.
The need to assemble is as constant among humans as the necessity of making decisions is rare. Assembling corresponds to the joy of feeling a com- mon power. Decisions are vital only in emergency situations, where the exercise of democracy is already compromised. We just have to see that each person comes to an assembly not only with a point of view or a motion, but with desires, attachments, capacities, forces, sadnesses and a certain disposition toward others, an openness.
If we manage to set aside the fantasy of a General Assembly and replace it with an assembly of presences, if we manage to foil the con- stantly renewed temptation of hegemony, if we stop making the decision our final aim, then there is a chance for a kind of critical mass, one of those moments of collective crystallization where a deci- sion suddenly takes hold of beings, completely or only in part. The same goes for deciding on actions. On the one hand, people with mandates are by definition hin- dered in their actions, on the other hand, nothing hinders them from deceiving everyone.
As for deciding on actions, the principle could be as follows: each person should do their own reconnaissance, the information would then be put together, and the decision will occur to us rather than being made by us. The circulation of knowledge cancels hierarchy; it equalizes by raising up.
Proliferating horizontal communication is also the best form of coordination among different com- munes, the best way to put an end to hegemony. Block the economy, but measure our blockmg power by our level of self-organization. At the end of June in the State of Oaxaca, the occupations of city halls multiply, and insurgents occupy public buildings.
In certain communes, mayors are kicked out, official vehicles are requisi- tioned. A month later, access is cut off to certain hotels and tourist compounds. The movement against the CPE in France did not hesitate to block train sta- tions, ring roads, factories, highways, supermarkets and even airports.
In Rennes, only three hundred people were needed to shut down the main access road to the town for hours and cause a kilometer long traffic jam. Jam everything — this will be the first reflex of all those who rebel against the present order. How will we feed ourselves once everything is paralyzed? Looting stores, as in Argentina, has its limits; as large as the temples of consumption are, they are not bottomless pantries.
And in this regard, it seems pointless to wait any longer. Liberate territory from police occupation. Avoid direct confrontation, if possible. The push to liberate territory from police occupation is already underway, and can count on the endless reserves of resentment that the forces of order have marshaled against it. The movement against the CPE witnessed the recurrent return of the Molotov cocktail. On the other hand, the so-called insurrectionists are not clearly for an inurrection--a popular uprising--but are mainly interested in rebellious activities beinc carried out by themselves, a revolutionary minority.
As we shall see, "TCI" is especially ambiguous about wanting a popular insurrection. However, I will stick with the usual political labels. Actually the unnamed authors of this book do not explicitly identify with "anarchism," which they mention negatively. They prefer the label of "communism. I think that is safe to include them in the tradition of "insurrectionist anarchism. In any case, by now there has been so much overlap and interaction between anarchism and libertarian trends in Marxism, that it is not possible or relevant to draw a sharp line between them.
This view blurs distinctions among 1 the workers, who are misdirected by the unions but who get definite benefits from them; 2 the unions themselves as organizations which are created by the workers; and 3 the union officialdom, which is an agent of the capitalist class within the workers' organizations. In other words, the workers and unions and bureaucrats are seen as one bloc, which is exactly how they are seen by the bureaucrats and their reformist supporters.
Belonging to unions generally gives workers higher wages and better working conditions. This is something the Invisable Comittee ignores and would not care about anyway. We might expect the IC to at least care that striking workers can shut down society as can no other section of society-but they do not care about this either. Strikes have usually traded the prospect of revolution for a return to normalcy " p. Instead of organizing among workers, the IC advises its readers to find "hustles" and ways to scam the system outside of paid work.
At one point it was common on the far-left to deride the unions as solely agents of the capitalists. Supposedly the unions' only function was to control the workers in the interests of the capitalist class. This view has been disproven by history. The bosses turn on the unions when times get tough--as they have since the end of the post-WWII boom around The capitalists now oppose the power of unions, force givebacks and cuts in contracts, and fight tooth and nail against the establishment of new unions.
Clearly, the capitalist class believes that - on balance - it is better for them to do without unions. The capitalists find the labor bureaucracy to be useful to them, but--on balance--the capitalists have concluded that unions bring more benefits to the workers than to the bourgeoisie. And they are right. The IC's opposition to unions and, in fact, to the working class, is supported by a theory that there is no longer much of a working class. Workers have become superfluous. Gains in productivity, This wild exaggeration leads to seeing work as mainly imposed by the capitalists in order to control the population, not primarily to exploit the workers and to accumulate surplus value.
Were this true, then we no longer live under capitalism. Capital had to sacrifice itself as a wage relation in order to impose itself as a social relation " p. Without a capitalist class which buys the workers' labor power, there is no modern working class no "proletariat". Therefore, for "TCI" there is no longer a need to focus on working class struggles. From my point of view, class struggles interact with nonclass struggles, such as over gender, race, nationality, age, etc.
According to the "Black Flame" authors, " But class-struggle, mass, anarchists think that impossiblism means standing apart from the rest of working people. It means looking down on them for their desires for good jobs, decent incomes and housing, an end to racial or sexual discrimination, other democratic rights, ending wars, and safety from ecological catastrophe.
Of struggles for jobs, it says, " Excuse us if we don't give a fuck " p. The danger of economic crisis and mass joblessness " They contemptuously reject those who warn of coming ecological and energy disasters. This whole 'catastrophe,' which they so noisily inform us about By contrast, " We believe that reforms may be advocated as part of a revolutionary, nonreformist, strategy. My one qualification of this view is that these limited gains can only be won for a brief period of time.
The economy will get worse--and other disasters will increase, such as the spread of nuclear weapons and global warming. As a result, reforms become harder and harder to win, harder to carry out, and harder to continue under the counterattack from the right. The issue is not whether some limited gains can be won for a time. They can, and the fight for them is necesssary for building a revolutionary movement as Schmidt and van der Walt write. But the issue is whether it is possible to win the kind of changes which are necessary to prevent eventual total disaster. It is not possible.
This important point is not made in "Black Flame. They say that they often " cross paths with organizations - political, labor, humanitarian, community associations, etc Similarly, they call to " abolish general assemblies " p. There is a long history of popular insurrections which have created neighborhood assemblies, town councils, workplace committees, factory councils, soviets, shoras, and various forms of direct, face-to-face, forms of communal democracy. The IC members not only reject any form of delegated federation of such assemblies but the popular assemblies themselves.
A mass struggle requires decisions about mass actions. But the IC especially rejects the idea of democratic decision-making through discussion and voting. Instead they have a mystical fantasy of individuals pooling information and then " Such a fantasy is authoritarian, highly likely to be hijacked by cliques and charismatic leaders.
We class-struggle anarchists usually make a distinction between two types of organization. These are heterogeneous, composed of people with many opinions. Then there are the narrower, politically-revolutionary, type of organization, formed around a set of ideas and goals. These are formed by the minority of the population which has come to see the need for revolution and wishes to spread its ideas among the as-yet-unrevolutionary majority.
They include both anarchist federations and Leninist parties--the anarchist groups are not "parties" because they do not aim to take power, either through elections or revolutions. It does not see the need for a dual-organizational approach, because it does not see a problem in that only a minority is for revolution.
On the contrary, it insists, " Everyone agrees. It's about to explode " p. Actually, everyone does not agree. Those who do are at least as likely to be for the far-right as for the far-left. Which is why Glen Beck promotes this book. However, in "TCI" there is no discussion of the dangers of the far-right, not to speak of out-and-out fascism. The closest it gets is " But this is immediately followed by a discussion of police infiltration and provocation; the danger of attacks by armed right-wing "citizen militias" is dropped.
The crisis of our society will lead is leading to a decline in the moderate political middle and the growth of the extremes. In the U. Posing as heirs to the U. Revolution, they speak of the possible need to violently overthrow bourgeois democracy, as the "founding fathers" overthrew the British monarchy. To counter this, libertarian-socialist revolutionaries need to participate in large popular organizations such as unions and community groups. We need to organize ourselves, as part of the process of popular self-organization.
Instead of mass, democratic, self-organization, "TCI" advocates " This same lack of discipline figures so prominently among the recognized military virtues of resistence fighters " pp. The members of the Invisible Committee would do well to read accounts of Makhno's anarchist guerrilla army in Ukraine, or Durruti's anarchist milita column during the Spanish revolution, or any other account of guerilla warfare or underground resistance, before spreading such idiocy. There is no revolutionary process without democratic self-discipline and self-organization.
As opposed to what it is against, what does "The Coming Insurrection" advocate positively? It rejects organization, but says, " We have to get organized " p. This will supposedly be done through "communes. Communes will grow everywhere and take over everything. Communes will stay in touch with each other I can hardly say "coordinate themselves" by traveling members. To "TCI," the revolution essentially is the spread and integration of communes. The communes will do a number of things but central to the strategy is "sabotage. The technical infrastructure of the metropolis is vulnerable How can How can one find the weak points in computer networks, or scramble radio waves and fill screens with white noise?
A certain use of fire Roads will be blocked. Food and medicine and other goods would cease to circulate. As already mentioned, the Invisible Committee does not seem interested in the power of the working class to shut down the capitalist economy through mass strikes. If carried out, the widespread use of technical destruction, as advocated in "The Coming Insurrection," would cause great suffering. This does not seem to bother "TCI. After insurrectionists bring down capitalist society through sabotage and chaos, it will be followed by "communism," or so they think.