The Coming Insurrection

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888's picture
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Jun 3 2009 18:25

Spontaneously! As we see fit! Or some other non-answer.

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Jun 3 2009 20:38

I'm a communist ("some sort of a Dauvéist" to use your phrase), not an insurrectionary anarchist. To be honest though, I don't think you (Bisc) are doing a fair job of defending insurrectionary anarchism.

The reasonable insurrectionary anarchists I've met (not the ones who were not just punk scenesters) have all called themselves anarcho-communists, and had an explicit class focus. I have never heard individualist arguments like "the individual is more important than society" from them. In fact "The Coming Insurrection" explicitly attacks this idea and makes exactly the opposite argument:

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"What am I? Tied in every way to places, sufferings, ancestors, friends, loves, events, languages, memories, to all kinds of things that obviously are not me. Everything that attaches me to the world, all the links that constitute me, all the forces that compose me don’t form an identity, a thing displayable on cue, but a singular, shared, living existence, from which emerges – at certain times and places – that being which says “I.” Our feeling of inconsistency is simply the consequence of this foolish belief in the permanence of the self and of the little care we give to what makes us what we are."

I think that's actually quite well said. What makes us who we are is what we have in common. And the fact that our living existence is shared means that any attempt to change that necessarily has to be collective. Anything less is just individualism.

I guess one of the reasons I don't call myself an anarchist is because I think decision-making structures are very secondary. A few people can have lots of influence in a group by knowing the bylaws and formal rules, or by controlling the informal channels of communication. A few people can have lots of influence in a group because they have some good ideas about what to do, and experience in a particular kind of struggle. There is no organizational structure where everyone will participate to the same degree and have the same influence on everything--and that doesn't worry me. To me, the important question is "what is the group trying to do?" What are a group's goals? What is it's strategy? I don't care if they pool their money by formally paying dues or by informally having different people pay for things when they print a magazine, what matters is what the magazine says. I don't really want to know how they decided to do an action, I care what the action is. Whether they meet somewhere every sunday or just call each other when they have something to do is extremely secondary. It's possible for groups with good goals to be too formal or too informal and for this to make them less effective. As a general rule more formality is necessary as a group gets bigger. I can think of examples of some anarchists groups that are so "pro-organization" that they think setting up a specific anarchist organization is an end in itself. I know otherwise good folks who spend all their time writing manifestos, position papers, to the detriment of getting involved in struggles. I know attempts to start "federations" with 20 people in 3 cities that have a half dozen elected officers and specialized secretaries.

On the other hand, a focus on informalism, can easily get in the way of a struggle growing. You can informally co-ordinate actions with a dozen people. If the actions of a few people are successful and contribute to and growing of the struggle, so there are now more people who need to co-ordinate, more formal structures are necessary. I was part of an anti-capitalist group that at times had several hundred people coming to our meetings in a city. You can't co-ordinate that by word of mouth. So we had regular meetings once a month. Obviously we had to have chairs for the meetings and a formal voting procedure, or people would just have talked over each other and nothing would have gotten done. If I was going to look back on this organization and critique it, I wouldn't have a lot to say about its internal structure. I would talk about its goals and strategies. A few workers in a large workplace can informal lyslack off, plan some small acts of sabotage, clandestinely distribute flyers. But if they are successful and this leads to a broadening of the struggle, then more formality is needed. It's ineffective and stifling for 4 people who work together to call themselves a federation and have long position papers on everything under the sun. It's also ineffective and stifling to insist on keeping informal structures when a struggle is broadening and larger co-ordination is possible. Organizational choices should be made based on practical considerations, not on political ones (or even anti-political ones).

I guess what I'm saying is that insurrectionary anarchists seem to completely miss the context. The exact same action at two different times can be completely different things. A small group acting clandestinely to sabotage something in the context of a larger struggle could be seen and welcomed by lots of people and be a contribution to the struggle. A small group acting clandestinely to sabotage something when there isn't that context of struggle, will be either pointless or anti-social crime. When rioting workers in Bangladesh burned down the offices of big corporation, it's a militant action in the class war. When a random group of kids from Southern California torch the offices of some corporation, it's something completely different.

The usual way that this is responded to by IAs is by some sort of argument about how we shouldn't wait. How we have to act now! And I completely agree. We have to act now. But property destruction and sabotage aren't often the kinds of actions that are helpful in pushing struggles forward these days... and can easily have the effect of just marginalizing people.

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Jun 3 2009 22:05

Quint, I'm not trying to "rep" insurrectionary anarchism; insurrectionary anarchism is a praxis, not a political platform. The majority of insurrectionists are anarchist-communists, but that doesn't mean all of them are. I made tons of bad arguments in this thread, yes; but the people I'm arguing against didn't do any better a job than I did. So far, it's just been a rudimentary matter of me trying to affirm "informality" (in some pure form I suppose) over the affirmations of "formality" made by 888 and others. It was a matter of one proselytizer vs another proselytizer. Not to say that affirmation is inherently theological; it was just that the form of the argument got out of hand. It also doesn't help that - it appears - most people on here are totally hostile to insurrectionists; but I'm not going to whine because I'm the underdog.

I also never said the "the individual is more important than society"; what I did say is: "The idea that "society is more important than it's members" is something I disagree with, strongly". I'm not a solipsist. Although, I have discussions with people who are influenced by egoism all the time; and I love Renzo Novatore. His poetry is a testament to the fact that communism is not collectivism. He was incredibly Nietzschean too.

That excerpt you quoted, I believe, was more connected to TCI's repudiation of political identity/roles - "activist", "leftist", "insurrectionist", "anti-capitalist", etc. At the same time TCI affirms the falseness of political identity, it negates and attacks all radical milieus. TCI does not fetish collectivity. If anything, it chooses to negate the dichotomy between individual vs collective. It attacks the fetish of individuality that activism presents - that individuals who possess pro-revolutionary consciousness by default possess revolutionary agency. That's a subject that has come up among insurrectionists and others (like anti-political types) repeatedly. It's also important to recognize that TCI is not an insurrectionist book/pamphlet/whatever. It's a reiteration of communist critiques. If I remember correctly, 3/4's of the book is a critique of French society, separated into 9 circles - the 9 circles of hell. Or is it 7? neutral

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When rioting workers in Bangladesh burned down the offices of big corporation, it's a militant action in the class war. When a random group of kids from Southern California torch the offices of some corporation, it's something completely different.

Why? Shouldn't a subversive action/project be in the self-interest of the individuals involved? It seems like you're defining class struggle as some abstract movement that can only be contributed to in "appropriate manners". Aren't those kids from Socal alienated from the means of existence as much as the workers from Bangladesh? Just because they don't fit into the collective working class identity, you dismiss them? Maybe I'm misinterpreting you?

I'm not affirming the Socal kids over the workers from Bangladesh; it's just that I see no distinction between the Socal kids and the Bangladeshian workers. Workers in Bangladesh possess no more revolutionary agency than the Socal kids. It's almost like you're trying to split form and content away from each other, when they're inseparable.

Maybe you could explain how you see the workers from Bangladesh as more revolutionary than the Socal kids? Again, I apologize if I'm misinterpreting you.

As a side note, social war seems to be the response many insurrectionists are providing as an "alternative" narrative to class war. Social struggle - no longer defined by one's position in class society - but defined purely by the contradiction between authority and individual peoples (the contradiction between individuals and any form of sovereign power).

social war:
The narrative of “class struggle” developed beyond class to include the complexities and multiplicities of all social relations. Social war is conflict within all hierarchical social relations.(from Earth First Means Social: Becoming an Anti-capitalist Ecological Social Force)

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Jun 3 2009 22:15

Not An Argument

That's from Letters Journal, an anti-political communist zine. I believe that's the third poster they've released. It's refreshing, because they try to escape the dichotomy between insurrectionists and leftists. They argue that leftists organize by accumulating political capital and insurrectionists organize through accumulating social capital (culture). I suppose it's more of a metaphor, but I find it interesting. And it also fits in with another comment I made earlier:

"If anything, the growth of insurrectionary anarchism has more to do with culture than politics."

And on the "flip side" leftism gather's it's influence/power/whatever through political platforms and whatnot. I don't know if that's relevant to this discussion, but it was similar to previous comments I've made (Letters Journal just said it in a more coherent way).

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Jun 3 2009 22:21

Also, just for clarification, when I say "collectivism" I mean fetishing collectivity; I'm not talking about anarcho-collectivism (well, not specifically).

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Jun 3 2009 22:41
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It seems like you're defining class struggle as some abstract movement that can only be contributed to in "appropriate manners".

To reiterate that statement, I meant that it seems like you're claiming that all subversive actions should be in the interest of some external, abstract "movement" rather than self-interest. Maybe pro-revolutionaries of all sorts should try to define "movement" in a more coherent way.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 3 2009 23:00

Bisc, I would still like you to explain how a conflict situation is resolved without any sort of democratic process (whether focused on consensus or majority).

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As a side note, social war seems to be the response many insurrectionists are providing as an "alternative" narrative to class war. Social struggle - no longer defined by one's position in class society - but defined purely by the contradiction between authority and individual peoples (the contradiction between individuals and any form of sovereign power).

what does this social struggle mean, in practical terms?

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Jun 3 2009 23:23

Bisc, you've largely misunderstood my comparison. I'm not comparing Bangladeshi textile workers to kids in SoCal. It's not about working class identity politics. I'm not saying one is inherently more revolutionary than the other. They're both workers--as are the vast majority of everyone. I'm comparing the action, burning down a building in the context of widespread strikes and class conflict, and burning down a building when that's not happening. The acts have very different effects on the struggle (and therefore of the lives of the people involved in the struggle).

By asking if something is in my interest or the collective's interest is just going back to individualism vs. collectivism. Which, as we know, is a false problem. All actions in the class war (social war if you prefer) should be coming out of our self-interest--and of course at bottom, our self-interest is to stop living our lives the way we have been, to stop being working class. That said, you can't drop out of capitalism. It has to be fought, and fought collectively. It is in the interests of the working class in general and of the individual workers to fight together. More than in the interests, it is an absolute necessity. It's important not to confuse the growth of an organization with the growth of unity and collective action within the working class. Still, this unity is one of the main ways you can tell if a struggle is deepening or stagnating and being marginalized.

By the way I'm using the phrase "class war" and "social war" interchangeably--to mean the struggle between the working class and the capitalist class. I don't much care about the conflict between "the individual and authority" outside of the context of the actual class society we live in.

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Jun 3 2009 23:50
Quint wrote:
I guess one of the reasons I don't call myself an anarchist is because I think decision-making structures are very secondary. A few people can have lots of influence in a group by knowing the bylaws and formal rules, or by controlling the informal channels of communication. A few people can have lots of influence in a group because they have some good ideas about what to do, and experience in a particular kind of struggle. There is no organizational structure where everyone will participate to the same degree and have the same influence on everything--and that doesn't worry me. To me, the important question is "what is the group trying to do?" What are a group's goals? What is it's strategy?

The decision making structures will affect what decisions are being made. All people make decisions that are, consciously or not, determined by their self-interest and social role. A few people having a permanent role of influence in the decision making in a struggle will affect the nature of the decisions. The form and content of the struggle cannot be seperated. A perfect organisational structure can never be achieved, because people will never all want to participate to the same degree. However, a structure where all are able to participate to the greatest extent when they want to is necessary. That's why an open, straightforward, directly democratic structure is the most desirable one. Influence due to good ideas or experience isn't a problem at all, it is to be welcomed.

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Jun 4 2009 00:09

In response to Vlad:

You want me to explain "how a conflict situation is resolved without any sort of democratic process (whether focused on consensus or majority)."

I will try to answer in my own way, but you do realize that their are innumerable ways that can come about, right? You don't specify whether you want an example of formal organization or informal or....and so on and so forth. So I really don't see that as a very good question. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but it seems like you're presupposing "direct democracy" is the shit and everything else is second hand. Maybe you could provide your own definition of "direct democracy"? That would help.

To begin, if two or more people conflict with each other, then they should handle it in ways that aren't mediated. That's the meat of my thought but I'll continue. . .

Democratic processes of "conflict resolution" disjoint collective communication from other activities; so, like in the previous example given by 888 when the Reclaim the Streets group had a mass meeting in order to get everyone on the same page (a fetish of synthesis?), the activity following the collective meeting turned to shit because some people in the group went against the agreed upon terms and reverted to hierarchical management. If anything, democratic principles fall apart if they can't be enforced by any formal group (informality and democratism don't mix) because they can't be overseen by any council or any other form of procedural body of "officials" (even if they are recallable delegates).

The important thing to do is to not fetish synthesis among an organized body of people. If there is an instance of disagreement, or maybe even open conflict, calling upon some sort of overseen and/or formal meeting where everyone will have to agree upon rudimentary and debased terms will not solve anything. "Baseness" is not agreement; in fact, it may be analogous to putting the top on a boiling pot of water. Best to dump it in the sink, no?

In informal organizations, I see it like this: if people disagree and can't get over themselves, then they should leave. I don't see democracy as you probably do; this is to say, I don't see "direct democracy" being synonymous with self-determination and autonomy; if anything I only see it as forcing everyone to agree to external terms set by a separate body of people.

Maybe I responded in an appropriate way, maybe I didn't. I'm not going to draw up some systematized model of conflict resolution. To reiterate one of my previous statements, I'm against the mediation of communication; and by communication I mean both in word and activity (action).

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Jun 4 2009 00:13
Quote:
"what does this social struggle mean, in practical terms? "

Are you saying that you would disagree that people can't conflict with authority in "practical terms"? I'm just not following. Perhaps it's a matter of determining whether or not hierarchical relations are simply a product of class society or not.

Boris Badenov
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Jun 4 2009 00:47
Bisc wrote:
In response to Vlad:

I will try to answer in my own way, but you do realize that their are innumerable ways that can come about, right? You don't specify whether you want an example of formal organization or informal or....and so on and so forth.

Yes, I do.

Vlad wrote:
how exactly do you resolve conflict in an informal insurrectionist organization when it arises?
Bisc wrote:
In informal organizations, I see it like this: if people disagree and can't get over themselves, then they should leave.

So rather than try to mediate a conflict by having a vote, the conflicting parties should rather split and do their own thing for the sake of informality; but I thought that was "the logic of the cancer cell"? Or am I missing something?

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if anything I only see it as forcing everyone to agree to external terms set by a separate body of people.

If everyone can make proposals as well as agree or disagree with other proposals, who is this separate body of people who forces everyone to agree? Are the people engaged in a democratic process of decision unwittingly oppressing themselves? That sounds a bit absurd.

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Maybe I responded in an appropriate way, maybe I didn't. I'm not going to draw up some systematized model of conflict resolution. To reiterate one of my previous statements, I'm against the mediation of communication; and by communication I mean both in word and activity (action).

what does that mean? communication is by definition mediated in that for it to be possible two or more individuals have to agree on a number of things, from the language being used to the significance of certain abstract concepts. That is not formalism, is just the way human beings function. We are not atomized "self-interests."

Quote:

Are you saying that you would disagree that people can't conflict with authority in "practical terms"? I'm just not following. Perhaps it's a matter of determining whether or not hierarchical relations are simply a product of class society or not.

No, I'm not saying that. I'm asking what do you mean by this so-called social war that is supposedly extraneous to class relations.

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Jun 4 2009 01:09

to 888: In general I agree with what you're saying. I just think those things are not the central point and anarchists focus on them far too much. They're more of an effect than a cause. Decisions do need to be made and decision-making structures and procedures should usually be open and based on some kind of assembly voting or small group consensus or delegate councils or whatever. But decision-making processes should be subordinated to the goals/strategy of the group. One of the goals of a group should be to involve more people and to develop the abilities of its members, but even that is not so much done by getting everyone to participate in decision-making, but by getting every to participate in the work of the group... planning actions, writing flyers, doing research, talking to people, etc... That's what builds confidence and ability in new members and then enables them to participate equally in decisions, not a specific voting structure.

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Jun 4 2009 01:28
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"So rather than try to mediate a conflict by having a vote, the conflicting parties should rather split and do their own thing for the sake of informality; but I thought that was "the logic of the cancer cell"? Or am I missing something?"

No, it's for the sake of not having to compromise our own interests in order to preserve synthesis. The logic of the cancer cell is continuous reproduction (accumulating membership in order to preserve the organization). I'd rather help preserve my own interests and the interests of others than the organization itself. Your hostility isn't helping you.

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If everyone can make proposals as well as agree or disagree with other proposals, who is this separate body of people who forces everyone to agree? Are the people engaged in a democratic process of decision unwittingly oppressing themselves? That sounds a bit absurd.

No, they're unwittingly mediating their own power of decision making.

Quote:
what does that mean? communication is by definition mediated in that for it to be possible two or more individuals have to agree on a number of things, from the language being used to the significance of certain abstract concepts. That is not formalism, is just the way human beings function. We are not atomized "self-interests."

From Wikipedia: "Communication is the process of transferring information from one source to another. Communication is commonly defined as "the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs".[1] Communication can be perceived as a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of thoughts, feelings or ideas towards a mutually accepted goal or direction."

Where's the mediation in that? You're juggling with overtly abstract concepts to back up your argument. In democratism, the "mutually accepted goal or direction" is determined by externalized procedures instead of people simply being attracted to the same "goal or direction". It tries to negate disagreement and conflict between all individuals involved.

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No, I'm not saying that. I'm asking what do you mean by this so-called social war that is supposedly extraneous to class relations.

It isn't extraneous to class relations. "The narrative of “class struggle” developed beyond [just] class to include the complexities and multiplicities of all social relations. Social war is conflict within all hierarchical social relations."

Again, it seems like your hostility (which is probably justified because of my previous arguments) isn't helping you.

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Jun 4 2009 01:27

I apologize if I made it seem like "social war" is outside or "extraneous" to class relations. It was probably a confusion of words.

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Jun 4 2009 02:13
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We are not atomized "self-interests."

[I forgot to respond to this]

Who said that? Does self-interest imply atomization to you? Atomization is being born into a world of strangers (mass society). It's having your living activity dictated by economy and sovereign power. It's being alone in the presence of so many.

Where does self-interest fit into that?

Boris Badenov
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Jun 4 2009 02:28
Bisc wrote:
I'd rather help preserve my own interests and the interests of others than the organization itself.

What exactly are your interests worth if any chance at organized effort is destroyed by the refusal to have any sort of democratic decision-making process?
The only purpose to a militant working-class organization is to assert its class interest with the understanding that its ultimate goal is self-dissolution and a classless society. I don't see any fetishizing of synthesis.
I mean do you at least agree that self-interest at a purely individual level is absolutely impotent and that some level of organization is necessary?

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No, they're unwittingly mediating their own power of decision making.

since you're fond of definitions, may I remind you that to mediate means to "act between parties with a view to reconciling differences". In this case you simply have a bunch of people agreeing or disagreeing with a set of proposals that they themselves authored. There is no external arbiter trying to influence any party to settle aside their differences; there is only the affirmation of individual will by means of the ballot.
If anything, I see informal organizations as more prone to unwanted mediation given the eschewing of a clear decision-making process. You say that if people don't agree they should just split, but what happens if a third party comes along and manages to impose their will through subterfuge? Is that really a preferable situation to the supposedly stifling formality of direct democracy?

Quote:

From Wikipedia: "Communication is the process of transferring information from one source to another. Communication is commonly defined as "the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs".[1] Communication can be perceived as a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of thoughts, feelings or ideas towards a mutually accepted goal or direction."

Where's the mediation in that?

The communicating parties will obviously need to agree on the speech, writing and signs part. If there is no agreement, communication doesn't occur, and nothing is resolved. Language, culture etc., i.e. forces external to the individual, dictate the nature of the communication.

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In democratism, the "mutually accepted goal or direction" is determined by externalized procedures instead of people simply being attracted to the same "goal or direction".

That's not true. People have to be at first attracted to the declared goal of an organization to want to participate in it. No one is imposing anything through externalized procedures. You vote on an issue because it interests you and affects your life.

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It tries to negate disagreement and conflict between all individuals involved.

No it doesn't. Individuals can freely express their disagreement with the issue at stake; that is the whole point.

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"The narrative of “class struggle” developed beyond [just] class to include the complexities and multiplicities of all social relations. Social war is conflict within all hierarchical social relations."

Honestly, I have no idea what you're trying to say with this. Please rephrase.

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Again, it seems like your hostility (which is probably justified because of my previous arguments) isn't helping you.

There is really no hostility on my part. I'm simply trying to understand your position by asking questions. If it seems like I'm trying to stump you, well sorry, but I'm not. I'm genuinely puzzled.

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Jun 4 2009 03:05

And I'm genuinely puzzled by you.

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What exactly are your interests worth if any chance at organized effort is destroyed by the refusal to have any sort of democratic decision-making process? The only purpose to a militant working-class organization is to assert its class interest with the understanding that its ultimate goal is self-dissolution and a classless society.

So the worth of an individual's interests is determined by whether or not they desire an "organized effort" and a "democratic decision-making process"? There's no scale of 1 to 10 on the value of individuals desires/needs. That's a value that can't be determined - only judged. Can that "class interest" only be expressed in a democratic and institutional manner? Can any "class interest" be expressed in a predetermined way? The only response one can give to the social order, as a proletarian, is one's own negation and the negation of any authority which seeks to stop that self-negation. How does that necessitate, well, anything conjured up by pro-revolutionaries (me, you, us)? Shouldn't the actions of that self-negation and revolt be determined by the dispossessed themselves, on an individual level? To narrow that question down, how does self-negation and anti-authoritarian revolt necessitate democratic and institutional/ "formal" organization?

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"There is no external arbiter trying to influence any party to settle aside their differences; there is only the affirmation of individual will by means of the ballot."

Is that the affirmation of the will, or is a collective group of people settling for basic terms of agreement? Does it really matter if the consequences of that ballot are carried out by either a sovereign power or the same collective group that made the ballot? Perhaps the ballot attains sovereign power. . .

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In this case you simply have a bunch of people agreeing or disagreeing with a set of proposals that they themselves authored.

So what happens when new people join? Do they get to author their own proposals that are in their self-interest or do they just accept the previously determined procedures? And if they do, what happens when the newly created proposals conflict with the old ones?

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If there is no agreement, communication doesn't occur, and nothing is resolved.

Really? So if a husband cheats on his wife, comes home and see's her crying at the kitchen table with his cell phone in her hand and realizes she's found out, no communication has occurred? You wouldn't call that "the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs". We have to agree on things in order to communicate with one another?

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That's not true. People have to be at first attracted to the declared goal of an organization to want to participate in it. No one is imposing anything through externalized procedures. You vote on an issue because it interests you and affects your life.

What if I don't want to vote? What if I want to do whatever I want? Doesn't the negation of sovereign power imply the liberation of human agency? What if the vote doesn't have the affect it was supposed to? Do we just vote over and over again until our interests have been debased completely?

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No it doesn't. Individuals can freely express their disagreement with the issue at stake; that is the whole point.

What if I don't want to simply disagree with it? What if the issue has affected me in severe ways? What then? Can I violently conflict with the individuals responsible for the issue?

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Honestly, I have no idea what you're trying to say with this. Please rephrase.

Social war expands subversive struggle beyond just conflict between classes; it is the expression of all hierarchical relations - anywhere there is a recognizable source of sovereignty.

Sorry about all the questions; I'm just trying to understand you as you're trying to understand me.

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Jun 4 2009 03:40

To be totally honest with you, I don't care if you say "social war" or "class war"; I suppose they both express something in their own way. I'm not arguing that "social war" is superior to "class war" or any stupid shit like that.

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Jun 4 2009 03:48

Bisc. I don't think you're making an honest effort to understand what people are saying. There are real critiques to make of the various perspectives of the posters on this thread, but you can't just accuse everyone of wanting to crush the spirit of the individual into some kind of collectivist conformity. These people are not Fascists, and it just makes it sound like you're own ideas and jargon are preventing you from listening. If you want to argue with someone, you have to either show how someone's ideas are incoherent, or give practical, real world examples of how their ideas are wrong and cause problems for people involved in real social struggles.

Shit like this:

Bisc wrote:
What if I don't want to vote? What if I want to do whatever I want? Doesn't the negation of sovereign power imply the liberation of human agency?

... just makes you look ridiculous. That's like arguing for the police by saying "What if the police were on our side?" or arguing against going on strike for a raise by saying "What if I don't want a raise?"

These are not abstract philosophical issues to be debated. There is a real world out there. In the real world most of most people's lives gets eaten up by some shitty job. That's the reality we're trying to overthrow. The individual vs. the authorities means nothing outside of the context of the real world. Which individuals? Which authorities? If you only see the world in terms of the authorities vs. the individual, you have no basis to make a distinction between cops beating up workers on a picket line and workers beating up a snitch. They're both the authority of the collective imposing itself on some individual.

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Jun 4 2009 03:50
Bisc wrote:
So the worth of an individual's interests is determined by whether or not they desire an "organized effort" and a "democratic decision-making process"? There's no scale of 1 to 10 on the value of individuals desires/needs.

That's not what I meant. I'm not saying that your individual interests are objectively worthless, they obviously mean something to you, but if your interest is to live in a free society, you must acknowledge that you cannot achieve this on your own but through organized effort.

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Can that "class interest" only be expressed in a democratic and institutional manner?

That is one way it can be expressed. Obviously not everything can be solved through dialogue. Any wide-scale attempt to overthrow the forces capital will inevitably involve violence.
What is it that you are proposing instead of a democratic process? So far, all I got is "if people don't agree, fine, whatever" which to me seems like an entirely defeatist strategy.

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Shouldn't the actions of that self-negation and revolt be determined by the dispossessed themselves, on an individual level?

Yes they should.

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how does self-negation and anti-authoritarian revolt necessitate democratic and institutional/ "formal" organization?

what do you mean by anti-authoritarian revolt? An assault on capitalism means an assertion of authority by the revolutionary agent (whether you believe that's the proletariat or not).

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Is that the affirmation of the will, or is a collective group of people settling for basic terms of agreement?

only if the terms of agreement have been freely decided upon by everyone. What is your problem with agreement?

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Does it really matter if the consequences of that ballot are carried out by either a sovereign power or the same collective group that made the ballot? Perhaps the ballot attains sovereign power. . .

The ballot is a process, a tool; how can it attain sovereign power?

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So what happens when new people join? Do they get to author their own proposals that are in their self-interest or do they just accept the previously determined procedures?

Yes, they should be able to make their own proposals, which will then be voted on by everyone. How would an informal organization decide on whether a member's proposal is useful to the group as a whole?

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And if they do, what happens when the newly created proposals conflict with the old ones?

I think it would depend on the situation; technically if a majority found the new proposals to be an improvement over the old ones, they would be adopted.

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Really? So if a husband cheats on his wife, comes home and see's her crying at the kitchen table with his cell phone in her hand and realizes she's found out, no communication has occurred?

this is a very particular situation, and in any case what does it have to do with the level of communication required in a workers' council or a class struggle organization?
Would you expect people to communicate through dramatic glances and sobs?

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We have to agree on things in order to communicate with one another?

In an organization that purports to be engaged in class struggle, yes. We have to agree on things, and if we don't, we must understand why, not just walk away from the problem because hey, it's my way or the highway.

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What if I don't want to vote?

Then don't.

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What if I want to do whatever I want?

Go ahead.

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What if the vote doesn't have the affect it was supposed to?

Then we'd have to find out what went wrong, and try to rectify it, wouldn't we? Anyway, these hypothetical "what ifs" are not really relevant imo. It would all ultimately depend on the specific nature of the problem.

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Do we just vote over and over again until our interests have been debased completely?

No, we vote in order to act, so that our interests can be materialized.

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What if I don't want to simply disagree with it?

Then propose something better.

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Can I violently conflict with the individuals responsible for the issue?

Yes you could attempt to solve your grievances through anti-social behaviour, but I'm not sure that would get you very far.

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Social war expands subversive struggle beyond just conflict between classes; it is the expression of all hierarchical relations - anywhere there is a recognizable source of sovereignty.

the struggle against the social relations created by capital is class struggle. I don't see why you need to call it something else.

EDIT:

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To be totally honest with you, I don't care if you say "social war" or "class war"; I suppose they both express something in their own way. I'm not arguing that "social war" is superior to "class war" or any stupid shit like that.

ok then.

Bisc's picture
Bisc
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Jun 4 2009 04:55

I can already see this debate is going nowhere - at least for me it isn't. Although it's not like I'm expecting full agreement (if we just agreed on everything there wouldn't be a point to this discussion). And it doesn't have anything to do with The Coming Insurrection. But I'll answer/respond to some of the questions and statements you proposed:

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I don't think you're making an honest effort to understand what people are saying.

Don't make judgments. I'm being honest. I'm trying to understand Vlad's questions and statements as much as he is mine. We just come from very distinct tendencies of pro-revolutionary thought. Just because I'm not agreeing with every other word he says doesn't mean I'm not being honest.

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How would an informal organization decide on whether a member's proposal is useful to the group as a whole?

Again, whatever they saw as most appropriate. Maybe simple consensus, maybe a splitting of projects/resources, maybe blah blah blah....the point is that they are informal and can choose between any number of collective decision making processes; there's no predetermined procedure that becomes the groups formal system. My arguments against democratism are from my own subjectivity. I never argued that informal organizations are inherently anti-democratic (I did argue that any democratism, beyond just simple consensus, doesn't do so well in informal group settings).

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I think it would depend on the situation; technically if a majority found the new proposals to be an improvement over the old ones, they would be adopted.

And the minority? What about them? Again, people who enter into formal and/or institutional organizations have to subject themselves to predetermined systems. The decision making process can't change on the fly or even over time - that would require an entire shift in the organizations functions. Informality cures this, as I see it.

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this is a very particular situation, and in any case what does it have to do with the level of communication required in a workers' council or a class struggle organization? Would you expect people to communicate through dramatic glances and sobs?

What's wrong with physical expressions of sadness as a means to communicate? Why does everything have to be so....stale. "Yes comrade! No comrade! I do not believe so comrade!" Why not: "comrade, I cannot express to you the sadness that I feel at the decision made by the group; my heart aches with every vote they cast"? laugh out loud

In fact, an interesting proposal was made by someone on Anarchist News awhile ago; they proposed that anyone with a lover/lovers should spend a weekend with them communicating only through body language. Sounds fun, no?

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only if the terms of agreement have been freely decided upon by everyone. What is your problem with agreement?

I have no problem with agreement; I have a problem with democracy, procedures and institutions.

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what do you mean by anti-authoritarian revolt? An assault on capitalism means an assertion of authority by the revolutionary agent (whether you believe that's the proletariat or not).

Is coercion synonymous with authority? If I punch you in the face, am I being authoritarian? That's a weak argument. Anarchy is the negation of sovereign power and the subversion of hierarchy, not running away from conflict. Going by that statement, all anarchists should be pacifists.

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No, we vote in order to act, so that our interests can be materialized.

Then I'll disregard the ballot process and act in a direct way, materializing my interests in an unmediated manner. That's not so difficult to understand, is it?

Ok, off to bed.

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prec@riat
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Jun 5 2009 05:49

Did you know David Carradine hung himself recently?
Personally I think this is what went down...
He was bored and sitting around his Bangkok hotel, importantly to this story he was a closet fan of libcom, he was perusing the site and saw the link to the 'bash back' "orgy" and tried to auto-erotically asphyxiate- fap to it, realized what a bore it was and went back to other forum threads and came across this one... he had some groaner lulz and started humming paraphrased Cocksparrer lyrics to himself "tell me what's it like to be young..." then filled with a quasi-Buddhist word weary malaise reinforced by reading this thread he thought 'wtf' and picked up the limp cords placed round his neck originally for masturbatory pleasure and decided to shuffle off this mortal coil 4 reelz.

Boris Badenov
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Joined: 25-08-08
Jun 5 2009 13:50
prec@riat wrote:
Did you know David Carradine hung himself recently?
Personally I think this is what went down...
He was bored and sitting around his Bangkok hotel, importantly to this story he was a closet fan of libcom, he was perusing the site and saw the link to the 'bash back' "orgy" and tried to auto-erotically asphyxiate- fap to it, realized what a bore it was and went back to other forum threads and came across this one... he had some groaner lulz and started humming paraphrased Cocksparrer lyrics to himself "tell me what's it like to be young..." then filled with a quasi-Buddhist word weary malaise reinforced by reading this thread he thought 'wtf' and picked up the limp cords placed round his neck originally for masturbatory pleasure and decided to shuffle off this mortal coil 4 reelz.

Or maybe he just realized that he was a piece of shit for stealing Kung Fu from Bruce Lee and after years of remorse he finally offed himself. But I like your theory.

weeler wrote:
I have seen one insurrectionist pamphlet that advocated fist fights as a sound means to solve disputes. I swear

.

I'm sure that's just an extreme example of ridiculousness but it's emblematic of this whole anti-democratic ultra-individualist stance.

clootz
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Jun 6 2009 06:17

Tiqqun and the Invisible Committee are not the same thing. None of the Tarnac 9, with the exception of Julien Coupat, seem to have been involved in Tiqqun. Some of them were in their teens when Tiqqun was published.

clootz
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Jun 6 2009 06:20

Here's a translation of some sections from one of Tiqqun's texts.

http://www.softtargetsjournal.com/v21/tiqqun.php

Wellclose Square
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Jun 6 2009 10:21

Clootz wrote:

Quote:
Tiqqun and the Invisible Committee are not the same thing. None of the Tarnac 9, with the exception of Julien Coupat, seem to have been involved in Tiqqun. Some of them were in their teens when Tiqqun was published.

I totally accept that - my speculation as to the political-philosophical relationships between what may be completely disparate elements was based on the sketchy information that's been trickling out. By the same token, the Enrages of Nanterre would have been ten-year-olds, presumably, when the first SI journals came out, which didn't stop them being 'absorbed' into the SI in 1968. Would it be fair to say that the Invisible Committee fitted into the general 'climate of ideas' generated in [i]Tiqqun[i]'s short life?

clootz
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Jun 6 2009 16:11

There is some continuity, of course. For example, the final thesis of their text "Introduction to Civil War" (published in the second issue of the journal, 2001), we find these lines:

"Our hope is that these phrases will usher in a new
era that will be shadowed, in ever more tangible
ways, by the threat of a sudden unfurling of reality. At some
point, the “Invisible Committee” was the name given to the
ethos of civil war expressed in these pages. It refers to a specific
faction of the Imaginary Party, its revolutionary-experimental
wing."

Then, 6 years later, TCI appears on the shelves.

There's definitely a transition from the Tiqqun texts through Call and then the Coming Insurrection. On some level, as you suggest, the people involved is not an important question. In terms of the texts themselves, Tiqqun is much more demanding philosophically--there is an attempt to constitute something like a political ontology (the free play, the friendship and enmity, between forms-of-life as at once the fundamental ontological and political reality), while at the same offering a history of the State-form, with a totally fascinating account of contemporary imperial biopolitics. The texts from that period are full of very erudite references, philosophical, historical, cultural.

To give an example. There are references in both Call and CI to the notion of "attachments." You can find the philosophical "definition" of the notion of attachments in the first part of "Introduction to Civil War"--there referred to the inclinations, penchants, leanings of a body--that brings together a whole range of philosophical concepts, from Lucretius' theory of the clinamen, to Spinoza's theory of good and bad encounters, to Carl Schmitt's theory of the political, to Agamben's reference to "forms-of-life." None of that in the later texts.

C

Wellclose Square
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Jun 6 2009 17:08

Yes, it's funny, I've just cursorily scrolled through 'Theorie du Bloom'(http://www.bloom.0101.org/bloomfabrique.pdf ), from Tiqqun 1 (2000), which mentions Le Comite Invisible, defined not as 'une organisation revolutionnaire, mais un etage superieur de la realite'. From my very shaky grasp of French it appears to be related to 'notre desertion', which 'transfigures the totality of that which to us passes asw compromise, that which we have endured as "alienations"'.

Looking at this text and the downloadable issues of Tiqqun (eg http://www.bloom0101.org/tiqqun.html ), it answers a question posed earlier about the influence of Judaic mystical philosophy and Walter Benjamin on Tiqqun. The talk, in the Bloom text, of living in a 'messianic time' certainly fits in with this, and if one were to construct a 'genealogy of ideas' in this area, then Agamben's influence would presumably be crucial - he was keen on Benjamin's 'Theses on the Philosophy of History' and (am I right?) taught Coupat. Whatever, the ideas are interesting enough for me to want to practice my French.

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Shorty
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Jun 6 2009 18:04

On a more artistic cultural basis people could check out the Claire Fontaine collective from Paris.

http://www.clairefontaine.ws/

They would seem to have some past personal and theoretical links to Tiqqun.

http://www.clairefontaine.ws/text.html