The Coming Insurrection

140 posts / 0 new
Last post
Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 18:26

Anarchy and communism are desired states of existence; in their current form, they are no more than theories. I may be incorrect, but I vaguely remember reading Guy Debord present an argument against ideology by presenting the primacy of theory over ideology, in Society of the Spectacle. Theory is my counter-action against ideology, it is my defense against it. Therefore, I am in opposition to any political ideology; and any dickhead who says shit like this:

“Anarchy is the only moral way to run a society “ - Alan Moore

I rather prefer this:

Quote:
(4) Like standards and values, the anarchist "isms," old and new, are best regarded as resources, not restraints. They exist for us, not us for them. It doesn’t matter if I, for instance, may have gotten more out of situationism than syndicalism, whereas another anarchist has gotten more out of feminism or Marxism or Islam. Where we have visited and even where we come from are less important than where we are and where, if anywhere, we’re going – or if we are going to the same place.

So when I say I'm against politicization, I mean I'm against the idea that one must have their consciousness molded by political tenets in order to even be considered a pro-revolutionary. Being consciously opposed to the social order does not require adherence to any form of politics. The problem humans face isn't political, it's existential, literally. And I'm not talking about Sartre or Kierkegaard.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 19:27
Quote:
"Therefore, I am in opposition to any ideology"

Fixed.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 19:51

Nihilist Communism: Cruelty or the Inclusion of the Distrubutive Sphere

That's only the last 40 pages of Nihilist Communism, but it is substantial and very intriguing. That's probably the only published text that is an overtly anti-political communist piece. The anti-political communism of Monsieur Dupont and the posters on Salon De Ver Luisant is much more developed than mine. My anti-politics is rooted more in my readings of Wolfi Landstreicher/Feral Faun and Renzo Novatore; not to say I'm in disagreement with Dupont and others, they've just taken the "anti-political project" in a different direction.

quint's picture
quint
Offline
Joined: 20-12-05
Jun 2 2009 20:08

It's not fair to say that insurrectionary anarchists are "anti-organizational". If most anarchists think the important distinction is between democratic and undemocratic organizations, IAs think it is between formal and informal organization. The thing is that the argument of IAs is usually very sloppy. You can't argue against formal organizations by saying that the political parties, the unions and the leftist activists suck. That's a bit like saying technology is bad because guns kill people, or Marxism is bad because of the horrors of the USSR, or unions are bad because the UAW sucks. In order to actually argue against formal organization, you would have to make an argument against organizations that are democratic, non-hierarchical, self-managed, and who's formalism still is stifling.

I actually have a lot of sympathy for insurrectionary anarchists. I think they're right that an organization's structure can be non-hierarchical, democratic, and still be stifling and bureaucratic. This in fact is a fair critique of some anarchist organizations. I can think of collective houses where everyone makes decisions together, but the need to constantly meet and divide up tasks democratically is a sap on energy. I lived in a collective house years ago, and I remember sitting in meetings where people were bitching about who's not doing their share of the dishes or the housecleaning. I remember feeling like it would be easier for me to just do everyone's dishes than sit through meetings about it. This isn't just in collective houses though. It happens in anarchist organizations that are trying to do interesting things, but the need to constantly decide on everything gets in the way of actually doing things. I think the IAs are insightful here, (although in my experience it's more often the decision-making structure that is the red tape than the need to recruit more people).

The problem is that the argument needs to be made much more specific. It should be about specific things like specific formal organizational practices. Should an organization ever... run an electoral campaign, sign contracts with a boss, negotiate with a boss, make demands, have formal decision making procedures, have formal membership, have dues, delegate decisions to one person, have regular meeting or meetings times, have a regular publication, have criteria for being a part of it, write down those criteria, exclude anyone. Arguing formal vs. informal doesn't make these things any clearer. Centrally controlled, representative, directly democratic, 2/3 voting, consensus, and informal decision making structures are all a means. Personally, I think different ones should be used in different situations.

But this is all arguing about organization. The tyranny of structureless misses the point, the same way that the critique of formal organization does. A highly formal organization can easily be flaky and a free and informal milieu can easily become a self-perpetuating monstrosity. The question can't be about someone dominating an organization or not. It has to be about the organization getting in the way of its own goals. I've seen examples of groups with argued and debated points of unity, where the members have very little in common politically. I know of examples of meetings called by anarchists who were very much for formal organization being completely disorganized. I even know of one example where the only reason the meeting had any structure at all was because one of the insurrectionary anarchists who was there offered to chair the meeting.

On the other hand informal organization can equally get in the way of organizing. In my experience, the heavy focus among insurrectionary anarchists on informal organization is at least as stifling as the heavy focus on formal organizing. I thought "The Coming Insurrection" has some interesting ideas, but when it comes to talking about struggle, it seems very disjointed. It talks about un-arresting people at protests, random acts of sabotage, rioting. There is a tendency for IAs to see all acts of sabotage, property destruction, crime etc... as a contribution to the social war, regardless of the context. Here a focus on informalism and direct action is stifling.

It's not that I'll do what I want in the class war and if people want to join me that's great. It's that the only way that anything other than crushing defeat can happen is if I join with other working class people and we do things collectively. Unity isn't some random attribute of struggle. It is one of the most important ways that you can tell if a struggle is going in the right direction or not. Sabotage, direct, autonomous actions that don't contribute to growing unity of the working class are at best ineffective (and at worst anti-social). Struggles can be marginalized just as easily as they can institutionalized. Both are defeats.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 21:33

I enjoyed your comment, quint. I'll try to respond to as much of it as possible.

You say, "It's not that I'll do what I want in the class war and if people want to join me that's great. It's that the only way that anything other than crushing defeat can happen is if I join with other working class people and we do things collectively."

Does collectivity take precedence over the individual? I would hope not. The idea that "society is more important than it's members" is something I disagree with, strongly. But to be fair, the insurrectionist concept of "generalized revolt" is an expression of collective revolt. The strength of generalized revolt or insurrection is not the thickness of formalities and "strength of the organization" but the severity of economic paralysis. The severity of the wound inflicted on work and all other forms of alienated productivity.

It also sounds like you're presupposing "proletariat" is synonymous with "working class". For all intents and purposes, the working class is no more of an agent of revolution than a rock or a leaf. The proletariat is an expression of all humans alienated from the means of existence. I would argue that the entirety of the human species has succumbed to proletarianization in some manner. We are all deprived of our "creative power". I believe that's where the shift from class struggle to social war began among insurrectionists. That - as the proletariat is no longer the agent of revolution (and never was, inherently) - anti-authoritarian revolt is actualized in all hierarchical relations. It is nihilistic, perhaps.

Quote:
Should an organization ever... run an electoral campaign, sign contracts with a boss, negotiate with a boss, make demands, have formal decision making procedures, have formal membership, have dues, delegate decisions to one person, have regular meeting or meetings times, have a regular publication, have criteria for being a part of it, write down those criteria, exclude anyone.

To the first one, no. Representation is not an expression of anarchy or communism; it's an expression of (political) ideology. Any form of representation/delegation is an act of mediation. The only one that can actualize the interests of an individual is the individual themselves. Constituencies are counter-revolutionary, IMO. To the second and third - another quote from Dauve:

Quote:
We're left with one decisive question unanswered, the question posed by Jocelyne's reaction: in "normal" peaceful life, habits and guidelines weigh upon us, and it is practically inevitable to submit. But when millions of strikers build up collective strength, render the State helpless and media words worthless, bring a whole country to the verge of overall change, and realize they're given pay rises which will soon be eaten up by inflation, why is it that they step back into what they know amounts to dire or soft misery for the next thirty years?

Hence my uneasiness with workers councils; as they function on delegation, correct? But my rhetoric isn't as strong as it sounds. I sympathize with workplace councils, somewhat. Hopefully I'll get around to presenting a critique sometime; present it's pros and cons and whatnot.

Making demands is paradoxical, don't you think? If we start making demands, then are we any better than the liberals demanding the government put a stop to pollution? Making demands of the social order is an act of dialogue with something that refuses dialogue unless it can be co-opted into the matrix of political issues we see the spectacle/mass media displaying constantly. That would be an ultimate act of irrelevance.

Procedural decision making eclipses self-determination. I believe that's the gist of Dauve's critique of democratism; that formal decision making disjoints communication from other living activity and pacifies it until a rudimentary "collective decision" is reached. Anarchy liberates human agency, democracy stifles it by forcing one's will into debased agreement with some abstract "collective will". That's the gist of the "equality" democratists - of all sorts - speak of: a "baseness" (as Novatore referred to it).

The only purpose of formal membership is to increase political and/or social capital. Political parties proselytize whoever they can get their slimy hands on in order to increase their power amongst the organizations of the State. Unions cajole workers into submitting to union formalities and work reform in order to increase their value and power in whatever trade/enterprise they're a function of. Leftist federations (like NEFAC) increase their membership in order to monopolize on social struggle and make sure their political tenets determine the functions of the post-revolution society (true fantasists if there ever were any).

The delegation of decision making to a single person translates into sovereign power, for me. I could never see anti-authoritarians compromising themselves to such idiocy.

Having regular meeting times sounds like democratist principles at work. Again, that implies that communication has to be a separate activity from all other activities. This isn't to say every human activity has to be ad hoc, I'm not trying to be dogmatic; but just that I would prefer formal meetings not become some sort of requisite. If anything, formal meetings is a source of major complaint among those who have abandoned formal organization; I hear it time and time again. Informal assemblies can be just as good. Consider this a very practical repudiation of formal meetings.

Regular publications are good; just as long as they're creative. But publishing is something that can be done in either formal ways and informal ways and still be a good project.

Having a "criteria" for joining an organization is formalism. That's one of the main pillars of formal organization. Isn't free association good enough? Although, here we arrive at what may be a major flaw among anarchists - inclusiveness. Letting everyone and their momma's momma get in on the goods. So perhaps a lack of procedure but a strong focus in a project is a good thing. The introduction of some sort of delegate body is where criteria turns to shit. The separation of decision making from individuals and placing it in the hands of some political representative is some BS.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 22:08

If anything, I believe the heart of this debate has something to do with the accumulative logic of purely formal organizations vs the attack logic of insurrectionist organization. Accumulate enough formal members to the point where the institutions of modern, civil society can be deposed and then diverted to serve socialism and democratism? Or gather reciprocal peoples in informal formations in order to destabilize the economy and civil society altogether?

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jun 2 2009 23:08

What the fuck is the difference between a formal meeting and an informal assembly? Seriously. Is an informal assembly one where people happen to stumble into the same place at once? Quint, how can you take this shit seriously? The florid language to cover up logical holes, the vague and inconsistent definitions, the hysterical denunciations of "formalism" "democratism" "leftism" without any explanation as to how or why...

Quint wrote:
But this is all arguing about organization. The tyranny of structureless misses the point, the same way that the critique of formal organization does. A highly formal organization can easily be flaky and a free and informal milieu can easily become a self-perpetuating monstrosity. The question can't be about someone dominating an organization or not. It has to be about the organization getting in the way of its own goals

Taking a pessimistic approach, the tyranny of structurelessness may not show that a structured organisation will be free of problems, but it does show that an unstructured one will be highly open to abuse and domination by an individual or group. People advocating loose organisation often do so because they want to be the ones in control. The question has to be about someone dominating an organisation, because this is the same question as that of self-activity and of direct action - put another way, the emancipation of the workers has to be the task of the workers themselves.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 22:44
Quote:
"the emancipation of the workers has to be the task of the workers themselves."

And yet you advocate representation, delegation, political platforms, institutions and all other sorts of systematization, formalities, and codes of conduct.

Your organizations are not synonymous with "the workers". Your dogma and ideology are not "the workers". If the workers want to emancipate themselves from the economy and all other capitalist productivity then let them do that as they see fit.

Your dogma is disgusting.

Shorty's picture
Shorty
Offline
Joined: 13-06-05
Jun 2 2009 22:47
Bisc wrote:
If anything, I believe the heart of this debate has something to do with the accumulative logic of purely formal organizations vs the attack logic of insurrectionist organization. Accumulate enough formal members to the point where the institutions of modern, civil society can be deposed and then diverted to serve socialism and democratism? Or gather reciprocal peoples in informal formations in order to destabilize the economy and civil society altogether?

Again, I think this is covered quite well in
http://libcom.org/library/strategy-struggle-anarcho-syndicalism-21st-century
though with different language and I think it's not focusing so much on formal versus informal as the problem. I'm also not sure if it's a straight up dichotomy of "the accumulative logic of purely formal organizations vs the attack logic of insurrectionist organization", that may be slightly disingenuous.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 22:46
Quote:
"People advocating loose organisation often do so because they want to be the ones in control."

LMAO!!! How pretentious can you get!!??

Shorty's picture
Shorty
Offline
Joined: 13-06-05
Jun 2 2009 22:52
Bisc wrote:
Quote:
"People advocating loose organisation often do so because they want to be the ones in control."

LMAO!!! How pretentious can you get!!??

Ah now in fairness, I have seen this happen (in a social centre type setting rather than a political organisation) and I'm sure there's others here who can attest to the same. It's not completely beyond the scope of reason.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 23:00

As I've said before, informal organization does not guarantee the negation of hierarchy anymore than formal organization does. And for the record, I'm not fetishing organization like some people do (like 888). If an organization, any organization, is a serious hindrance to me then I'll drop it like a rock.

And screw your fairness; that was the one of the most pretentious things I've ever seen anyone type onto a forum board, and I've seen some scary shit.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 23:03

If anything, that's one of the strengths of informality; people can gather and disperse at a moments notice. If it doesn't work out, then they can all go their separate ways.

Shorty's picture
Shorty
Offline
Joined: 13-06-05
Jun 2 2009 23:03
Bisc wrote:
And screw your fairness; that was the one of the most pretentious things I've ever seen anyone type onto a forum board, and I've seen some scary shit.

Serious business. tongue

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jun 2 2009 23:07
Bisc wrote:
Quote:
"People advocating loose organisation often do so because they want to be the ones in control."

LMAO!!! How pretentious can you get!!??

To be pretentious is to use words and ideas you don't understand.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 23:08

Get over yourself, 888. You're one of the most dogmatic people on this board. It's insane. You're like an iron wall of ideology.

What is that in your image, Cthulu? Nerd.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 23:10

That second bit about Cthulu was me being silly. So don't freak out.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 23:23

Okay, so now that we've established that people who advocate informality in their organization are, for the most part, authoritarians by nature; I just wanted to make an appropriate response by saying that "people advocating [formal] organization often do so because they want to be the ones in control."

See how that works, Mr. Octopus?

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jun 2 2009 23:23

To return to a question posed earlier on the thread:

Quote:
I was also struck by the name of the journal Coupat and co. published in - Tiqqun. Was this title an intentional nod to the kabbalistic tradition of Jewish mysticism?

The French Wikipedia entry on the Tiqqun journal points to its evocation of mysticisme hebraique - http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiqqun

Also found the preface to a collection of writings on Blanqui, written by 'The Imaginary Party', one paragraph of which (towards the end) seems to be made up of paraphrased quotes of Walter Benjamin, which would suggest Tiqqun was influenced by his messianic conception of history - http://bloom0101.org/toafriend.html

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jun 2 2009 23:27

I don't think I've been particularly dogmatic on this thread, just critical, but thanks for the compliment. I like being called an iron wall of ideology. smile

I'll repeat that you've failed to address my point that informal organisation can be very easily abused (saying "they were specialists" (etc.) doesn't count, it rather reinforces my point). It's dangerously naive not to be on the look out for people abusing organisational/power structures or the lack of them. An anarchist should be constantly on the look out for the potential corruption of power.

By the way, not calling yourself an activist does not make you not an activist.
Saying you don't have an ideology does not make it so.
Saying "it's democratism", "it's leftism", "it seperates decision from action" is not enough, you have to show why this is a problem, with real life examples if possible.

Quote:
"people advocating [formal] organization often do so because they want to be the ones in control."

Well in that case they are being rather stupid, if they are advocating direct democracy, mandated and recallable delegates, frequent rotation of posts, since these are rather inconvenient obstacles for staying in control. It would be much more sensible for them to advocate paid, full time, permanent positions with decision making power and so on.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 23:39

Lol....so communism and anarchy are ideologies? Not theories and desires? I have had this argument before and it went nowhere. Apparently, ideology is something inescapable and it cannot be negated or avoided. So I guess you prefer wanking off to abstract tenets over critical thinking. A question for you, and I expect you to answer it: must one be in possession of an ideology in order to be pro-revolutionary or revolutionary? Does your ideology grant you revolutionary agency?

Quote:
(saying "they were specialists" (etc.) doesn't count, it rather reinforces my point)

Unless of course you choose to negate specialism; then what? Activism is a form of specialism. I would recommend this article: http://www.geocities.com/kk_abacus/ioaa/guactivism.html. It provides "real life examples". Of course, you probably won't read it (ooohh! challenge!).

I'm a 17 year old high school drop out, I haven't had any interaction with other pro-revolutionaries yet, as it's a problem of proximity; having said that, I'm not going to carry myself around like some little ass kisser who's constantly asking "please mister, please mister, can you hold my hand while I recite the tenets of anarchist ideology!!!??". And don't even think of saying that because I've had no interaction with politicos of any sort that I'm not in a position to criticize. Unless of course you prefer fetishing the body over the mind; action over theory.

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jun 2 2009 23:45

Without doing a detailed exegesis this is part of the paragraph in question:

'The past does not pass. All that has really passed carries in itself a spark of eternity; it is inscribed in some nook of communal experience. One can efface the traces, but not the event. One can indeed pulverize the memory, [but] each piece of debris contains the total monad of what one believed to have been destroyed and will engender it anew, when the opportunity arises. We repeat: historicism is a brothel in which one takes care that the clients never believe [the illusion]. The past is not a succession of dates, deeds or modes of living; it is not a closet full of costumes; it is a reservoir of forces and gestures, a proliferation of existential possibilities. Knowledge of it is not necessary; it is simply vital. Vital for the present. It is from the present that one comprehends the past, not the reverse. Each era dreams its predecessors. The loss of all historical meaning -- like the loss of all meaning in general -- in our era is the logical corollary of the loss of all experience. The systematic organization of forgetting doesn't at all distinguish itself from the systematic loss of experience.'

This is almost pure Benjamin - nearly all of this can be found in his 'Theses on the Philosophy of History', such as 'A historical materialist approaches a historical subject only where he encounters it as a monad. In this structure he recognises the sign of a Messianic cessation of happening...in order to blast a specific era out of the homogeneous course of history...he establishes a conception of the present as the 'time of the now' which is shot through with chips of Messianic time'.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 2 2009 23:55

I apologize, Wellclose. I've participated in the complete derailing of this thread. I'm not going to continue this. I'm not going to stand on a box and try to out-shout 888 or any others; counter-proselytizing is a disrespect to myself and others.

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jun 3 2009 00:03

I can't say I haven't found it frustrating - but it's not 'my' thread, so don't be too hard on yourself, Bisc (sorry if that comes across as patronising, but I don't know what else to say at this time of night - I'm off to bed, if next door's dog can stop it's bleeding barking...)

jesuithitsquad's picture
jesuithitsquad
Offline
Joined: 11-10-08
Jun 3 2009 02:30

little bisc done gone away and got all growed up and come back as an insurrectionist.

Quote:
Does collectivity take precedence over the individual? I would hope not. The idea that "society is more important than it's members" is something I disagree with, strongly.

you call yourself a communist and don't realize this is a false choice? and you do, of course, understand dauve is not an insurrectionist.

honestly, i preferred your imbecelic teenager internet persona, as annoying as it was, to your new one. at least then you were willing to listen to what others said instead of instantly reverting to absurd levels of ad hominem-ery.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 3 2009 04:37

"at least then you were willing to listen to what others said instead of instantly reverting to absurd levels of ad hominem-ery."

Haha...you accuse me of attacking people personally - which I haven't done aside from call 888 pretentious, and I wouldn't consider that ad hominem as it was entirely justified - and yet here you are calling me an imbecile, using vaguely ageist mockery, and regurgitating your ideology like it was a second language. Well done. And what's this about a persona? What do you mean? This is an internet forum, not a rock star interview. I'm not using a persona.

And what false choice? Do you enjoy being vague or is it just a nervous reaction, like a twitch?

I also never said Dauve was insurrectionist. Now you're just making stuff up for convenience.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 3 2009 04:41

Nevermind, don't answer those questions. I'll just pick through the site's library and be on my way.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
Offline
Joined: 16-12-08
Jun 3 2009 04:53

I would welcome the moderators on this site to delete my comments made on this thread; I feel guilty enough having derailed it so much. Maybe those same mods could display some fairness and delete jesuithitsquad's troll comment and all of 888's comments too. There are other people on this thread that want to actually discuss The Coming Insurrection, and my comments, and the comments of others, are just taking up space.

Thanx.

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jun 3 2009 05:36

Haha, threads straying far from their original topic is hardly an uncommon thing on libcom... so no comment deletion please.

Boris Badenov
Offline
Joined: 25-08-08
Jun 3 2009 16:45
Bisc wrote:
Formalists run away from conflict and disagreement; insurrectionists embrace it, and if it occurs amongst ourselves then we deal with it in whatever way we see fit

which is? how exactly do you resolve conflict in an informal insurrectionist organization when it arises?