The Coming Insurrection

140 posts / 0 new
Last post
clootz
Offline
Joined: 6-06-09
Jun 7 2009 17:17

I believe the original "source" reference for the notion of tiqqun (tikkun in the English transliteration--there is a horrible liberal zionist magazine of this name) is Gershom Scholem's studies of the Lurianic kabbalah. But of course the inspiration for this messianic vibe is Benjamin via Agamben.

It should be said that in the transition from the first to the second issue of Tiqqun these references to Judaic messianism largely disappear, for whatever reason.

clootz
Offline
Joined: 6-06-09
Jun 7 2009 17:19

One of the people in Claire Fontaine used to be in Tiqqun--Fulvia Carnevale. She is listed as part of the editorial committee for the first issue.

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jun 7 2009 20:32

Clootz wrote:

Quote:

I believe the original "source" reference for the notion of tiqqun (tikkun in the English transliteration--there is a horrible liberal zionist magazine of this name) is Gershom Scholem's studies of the Lurianic kabbalah. But of course the inspiration for this messianic vibe is Benjamin via Agamben.

It should be said that in the transition from the first to the second issue of Tiqqun these references to Judaic messianism largely disappear, for whatever reason.

The 'messianic vibe' is implicit in this 'Agambenian' blog http://notesforthecomingcommunity.blogspot.com/2008/04/tiqqun-de-la-noche.html
I think the word 'coming', present in both Agamben's book and The Coming Insurrection, is intended to convey a dimension of non-futurity found in Benjamin's notion of jetztzeit, or 'the time of the now', for 'every second of time was the strait gate through which the Messiah might enter' (Theses on the Philosophy of History. Of course, Scholem was a good friend of Benjamin's.

Another curious aspect to all this is revealed in the acknowledgement by Agamben of the 'courtesy' of Frances Yates in allowing him to research his book Stanzas at the Warburg and Courtauld Institute. A major theme of this book is that of medieval and Renaissance melancholia, a theme also explored in Yates' The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, one of many books in which she dealt with the role of hermeticism and Christian cabala in Europe. 'Inspired melancholy' was also a theme of Benjamin's The Origin of German Tragic Drama, cited by Agamben in Stanzas. Meanwhile, Yates relied on Scholem's Main Currents in Jewish Mysticism.

Boris Badenov
Offline
Joined: 25-08-08
Jun 7 2009 21:15

quick technical question: why should any theory that relies on half-baked "messianic mysticism" be considered revolutionary as opposed to a fucking joke?

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jun 7 2009 22:11

Vlad336 wrote

Quote:
quick technical question: why should any theory that relies on half-baked "messianic mysticism" be considered revolutionary as opposed to a fucking joke?

I think the possibility has to be considered that these 'messianic', 'redemptive' themes operate at a metaphorical rather than a literal level...

Boris Badenov
Offline
Joined: 25-08-08
Jun 7 2009 22:22
Wellclose Square wrote:
Vlad336 wrote
Quote:
quick technical question: why should any theory that relies on half-baked "messianic mysticism" be considered revolutionary as opposed to a fucking joke?

I think the possibility has to be considered that these 'messianic', 'redemptive' themes operate at a metaphorical rather than a literal level...

but what do these metaphors actually do for the acuity of the respective critique? Why talk of kabbalistic nonsense, when there is nothing "sacred" or "redemptive" about the material reality of class society? Or am I misreading the metaphor?

clootz
Offline
Joined: 6-06-09
Jun 8 2009 00:05

It's a good point, in a way. It should be recalled that Benjamin formulated a new theory of materialist historiography that "detourned" a certain way of thinking about historical time that was meant as a critique, if you want to use that word, of the social-democratic theories of progress that dominated the German left of the 1920s and 1930s. Its the urgency of the experience of time I think, that Benjamin is taking from messianic theory against the reformist socialist figure.

It's a complicated issue but the so-called materialism of the second international, Stalinism and the various socialisms that conspired to crush more deviant forms of communism after the WWI (think of the role of the social democrats in the murder of Luxemburg, for ex.) might have needed an injection of some other thought of time. Metaphorical or not....

[I should probably mention the relatively noble tradition in communist insurrection represented by Munzer, on the one hand, and the Diggers during the English Civil War--people who would not be considered secular socialists, I am afraid].

In any case, when you are in the midst of the first world war and you call yourselves the sparticists, you are not necessarily comparing the contemporary relations of force in Germany and Europe with the conditions of an ancient greek slave revolt. The name has a force of its own.

clootz
Offline
Joined: 6-06-09
Jun 8 2009 00:09

Hey, I just read this story about Agamben and Yates, though I did not know Yates relied on Scholem's work. It's interesting. Yates wrote a book on allegory, and Benjamin's book was on allegory and melancholia.

"Tiqqun de la noche" was published in the third edition of the COming Community, in 2001--in the midst of the Tiqqun episode. You can find a fairly extensive reference to Tiqqun in an interview with Agamben that was published in Rethinking Marxism in 2004, I think...it was called something like "I can assure you you are more pessimistic than I am..."

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jun 8 2009 17:06

Vlad336 wrote:

but what do these metaphors actually do for the acuity of the respective critique? Why talk of kabbalistic nonsense, when there is nothing "sacred" or "redemptive" about the material reality of class society? Or am I misreading the metaphor?

Clootz wrote:

Quote:
It's a good point, in a way. It should be recalled that Benjamin formulated a new theory of materialist historiography that "detourned" a certain way of thinking about historical time that was meant as a critique, if you want to use that word, of the social-democratic theories of progress that dominated the German left of the 1920s and 1930s. Its the urgency of the experience of time I think, that Benjamin is taking from messianic theory against the reformist socialist figure.

I knew my initial reply to Vlad336's initial question (why should any theory that relies on half-baked "messianic mysticism" be considered revolutionary as opposed to a fucking joke?) wasn't adequate - well it was way past my bedtime...but I've been mulling over the reply on the road during the day...and I couldn't put it any better than Clootz has.

Benjamin attacks in his Theses the appropriation of the ideology of progress by German Social Democracy, finding support for his position in Marx's Critique of the Gotha Programme. He also finds Hegel complicit in the construction of a linear temporal sequence which he characterises as 'a triumphal procession in which the present rulers step over those who are lying prostrate', a variation on the phrase, 'history is written by the victors'. As Clootz has pointed out, it's in the context of social democracy's participation in such a 'procession', that Benjamin draws on the messianic motif as a means of interrupting it. Social democracy promises brighter tomorrows at some in/determinate point in the future, Benjamin's messianic conception of 'the time of the now' was intended to short-circuit such a postponement, initiating in such a timeless moment 'a revolutionary chance in the fight for the oppressed past'.

Clootz wrote:

Quote:
I did not know Yates relied on Scholem's work.

I may have risked overstating the reliance upon Scholem, but he seems to be her primary source of information about Jewish mysticism.

I've often thought that the 'discourse' on alienation in Marxism is, in some ways, a continuation of the discourse on melancholy.

Boris Badenov
Offline
Joined: 25-08-08
Jun 8 2009 17:56

thanks Clootz and WS for your replies. I have read only bits and scraps by Benjamin, but I would definitely agree with the interpretation of his particular insistence on Jewish mysticism as a way to short-circuit the starry-eyed "progressivism" of bourgeois reformers. This sort of detournement of religious and mystical language may have had its advantages then (although it did not produce any amazing results), but what can it do today in a world dominated by post-modernist hacks, new age lifestylists and bourgeois "situationists"? This whole "invisible committee" carried away by "the truth" and "primordial unruliness" stuff sounds like an exercise in surrealist prose rather than a revolutionary program. Its mysticism seems more like a genuine "cloud of unknowing" than a clever subversive rewriting of messianic fervor to fit concrete revolutionary aims.

This passage for example:

Quote:
When leftists everywhere continually make their cause more “visible” – whether that of the homeless, of women, or of undocumented immigrants – in hopes that it will get dealt with, they’re doing exactly the contrary of what must be done. Not making ourselves visible, but instead turning the anonymity to which we’ve been relegated to our advantage, and through conspiracy, nocturnal or faceless actions, creating an invulnerable position of attack. The fires of November 2005 offer a model for this. No leader, no demands, no organization, but words, gestures, complicities

strikes me as so much hot air. No leaders and no hierarchies doesn't mean some sort of anonymous spiritual brotherhood of illegalists. When in 68 the mass of students and workers in Paris set out to occupy the state ministries and destroy the organs of class oppression, they did so as a visible force of popular will. A communist movement has nothing in common with a secret society or with a "a process of redemption achieved by 'good deeds'" that Wellclose mentioned earlier.

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jun 8 2009 18:27

I've certainly latched on to the kabbalistic/messianic undercurrent in the Tiqqun/Comite Invisible stuff I've looked at in the last few days, but that's as much to do with the fact that I happen to be interested in that sort of stuff anyway. I would balk at the conspiratorial/Bakuninist stuff that seems to be resurrected in certain texts (To a Friend, for example), and agree that the 'visible force' on the streets of Paris in '68 offers a better, albeit nostalgic, vision of mass action.
The 'process of redemption achieved by 'good deeds'" that Wellclose mentioned earlier' was meant more as a description of that aspect of Jewish theosophy and its seeming echo in some of the practice of the Tarnac people - veg co-ops, film clubs, etc. rather than my agreement with such a strategy.

Anyway, gotta go...more later.

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jun 8 2009 20:26

Rather than continually post scrambled extracts of Benjamin's writings, I've found an online version of his 'Theses on the Philosophy of History' here http://www.sfu.ca/~andrewf/CONCEPT2.html

As for Vlad's dichotomy between 'a genuine "cloud of unknowing"' and the subversive rewriting of messianic fervor to fit concrete revolutionary aims', I'm less pessimistic about the subversive possibilities of negative theology (Marx's dialectic was derived from Hegel's, which in turn was derived from Plotinus via Nicholas of Cusa, etc.) and wonder to what extent a concrete revolutionary programme could prove a Procrustean Bed in certain circumstances, especially if it is conceived and policed according to the precepts of Dawkinsian rationalism:

'Rationalisation kills awareness, which is the very method of reasoning. Rationalism, as a goal or quality, kills the rational method. Thus rationalism is set up as an ideal absolute, with the obligation to go through the concepts of scientific idealism, by eliminating the creation of ideas (artistic and fantastic action).' Asger Jorn.

clootz
Offline
Joined: 6-06-09
Jun 16 2009 03:00

The Invisible Committee's book signing in NYC:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/16/books/16situation.html?_r=1&ref=arts

http://www.arthurmag.com/2009/06/15/report-on-the-coming-insurrection-book-launch-at-nyc-barnes-and-nobles-sephora-starbucks/

jonnylocks
Offline
Joined: 13-07-07
Jul 2 2009 03:18

This is great! Glen Beck (Fox News) on TCI and the NYC book signing:
http://www.foxnews.com/video2/video08.html?maven_referralObject=6459186&maven_referralPlaylistId&sRevUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Fglennbeck%2Findex.html

Boris Badenov
Offline
Joined: 25-08-08
Jul 2 2009 04:24

Glen is always a goldmine of lolz but this particular video is likely to give an irony overdose to the faint of heart; viewer discretion is advised.

moneymaker
Offline
Joined: 2-07-09
Jul 2 2009 15:55

Who's making the money off of this book publication. Very mainstream, write a book, make money. incite the youth of the world. sounds like the writer is capitalistic!!!!!

Wellclose Square
Offline
Joined: 9-05-08
Jul 2 2009 22:18

Moneymaker wrote:

Quote:
Who's making the money off of this book publication. Very mainstream, write a book, make money. incite the youth of the world. sounds like the writer is capitalistic!!!!!

I think the publisher of the 'official' English language translation is Semiotexte. I don't know who the 'Mr. Big' of that operation is, 'Moneymaker'. I wonder if 'The Invisible Committee' have got copyright on what's a surefire moneyspinner...they must be kicking themselves if they haven't, like how capitalistic!!!!!!! Are you going to have a lot more to say on this, or on any other threads? Or will your account have magically disappeared? Do you want to ask how many people are expected to attend the insurrection, and where?

tout_niquer
Offline
Joined: 2-07-09
Jul 2 2009 22:28

It is currently #37 on Amazon's bestsellar list.

(please don't let this derail discussion)

Anyone have any more information on the theoretical link between Benjamin and Tiqqun?

tsi
Offline
Joined: 4-04-08
Jul 3 2009 00:17

a brief look at the Glenn Beck thing and the user comments on the amazon page gives me the feeling that all this book is going to achieve is more lolz from the reactions of conspiraloons on the right.

anyways, I've only given the text itself a cursory reading. Knowing only a very little bit about the history of the Tarnac 9 myself, this text is less crimethinky than I had imagined it would be, but I still can't really see anything terribly valuable in it from a Class Struggle Anarchist/Communist perspective.

Anyone else have any insight on it?

clootz
Offline
Joined: 6-06-09
Jul 3 2009 23:56

I don't know if there's any "immediate" link between Tiqqun and Benjamin, in the sense of specific reference to texts and so on. But there's a ton of stuff in the first issue of Tiqqun that makes reference to the Lurianic Kabbala (including the name and concept of tiqqun or tikkun itself), the source of whic is almost undoubtedly Gershom Scholem, whose book on trends in Jewish mysticism (and the book on Sabbatai Sevi) are all over that issue.

There is of course a mediated relation to Benjamin via Agamben.

The second issue is stripped entirely of the explicitly messianic references, if not the logic.

Of note, and as an aside: I just heard that semiotexte is coming out with a translation of the Tiqqun book just published in France by La Fabrique, which reprints three essays from the second issue of the journal. The French books title is, in English, Contributions to the War Underway. I know the book is coming out in Spring 2010, but hopefully pdfs will circulate before then?

-C

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jul 4 2009 00:04

This text is the subject of a seven minute rant on Fox News! Beck seems quite confused, but very worried.

Also, it's quite amusing how long he seems to think it's going to take him to read it, when it's such a tiny booklet:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W7mVipkwSE

klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
Offline
Joined: 5-07-09
Jul 5 2009 21:50

Contributions to the war underway

hmm looks pretty good. it is a full version of Introduction to Civil War

and it also has in french How Is It To Be Done

i do not recognize some of the other parts

i hope someone like bill not bored could do a translation

or anyone for that matter

clootz
Offline
Joined: 6-06-09
Jul 6 2009 17:00

The book already has two translators, and they've just finished all the revisions to "Introduction to Civil War." There are three texts in the La Fabrique book, all from the second issue of Tiqqun. The second text, on Foucault's concept of the "dispositif" (for some reason usually translated as "apparatus," though "device" is better in some ways, I think), is incorrectly listed in La Fabrique's table of contents as "Ceci N'est Pas Un Programme" (also from the second issue, but a completely different text).

Also, just read Agamben's short piece "What is an Apparatus?"--here again, the word is dispositif--and there is reference to Tiqqun in the text, interestingly, to their conceptual character Bloom.

My hope is these texts will become available in pdf form before spring 2010.
-C

Alaric Malgraith's picture
Alaric Malgraith
Offline
Joined: 7-07-09
Jul 7 2009 20:51

Hopefully some translations hit the web before Winter 2010. They might be of some interest to the anti-Olympics insurrectionists here in Canada.

Alaric Malgraith's picture
Alaric Malgraith
Offline
Joined: 7-07-09
Jul 8 2009 03:21

Glenn Beck's site awaits your trolling: Fox News - Glenn Beck

owlwhale
Offline
Joined: 12-07-09
Jul 12 2009 01:13

The comments that begin this forum neatly demonstrate - well, mainly things, but most importantly, the way that what The Coming Insurrection calls an "activist milieu" makes harmless any nascent political intensity. So here is an intense, passionate text, and somehow some of you seem to be untouched by it, unmoved; you see it as just another one of a multiplicity of texts, all of which you can discuss comfortably, none of which MOVE YOU TO ACT, TO LIVE IN A CONSISTENCY OF THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS.

If that sounds angry, it isn't - just tired of that, and still belling from the resonance of this text, and wanting you, whoever you are, to feel it ring inside of you too.

Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
Offline
Joined: 29-04-08
Jul 12 2009 03:09
owlwhale wrote:
The comments that begin this forum neatly demonstrate - well, mainly things, but most importantly, the way that what The Coming Insurrection calls an "activist milieu" makes harmless any nascent political intensity. So here is an intense, passionate text, and somehow some of you seem to be untouched by it, unmoved; you see it as just another one of a multiplicity of texts, all of which you can discuss comfortably, none of which MOVE YOU TO ACT, TO LIVE IN A CONSISTENCY OF THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS.

If that sounds angry, it isn't - just tired of that, and still belling from the resonance of this text, and wanting you, whoever you are, to feel it ring inside of you too.

Sorry, vague, wordy calls to insurrection do little for me, I'ma grown ass man now.

888's picture
888
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jul 12 2009 05:33
owlwhale wrote:
you see it as just another one of a multiplicity of texts

Er... well it is, isn't it? In your opinion, what's so special about it?

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Jul 12 2009 13:08
owlwhale wrote:
The comments that begin this forum neatly demonstrate - well, mainly things, but most importantly, the way that what The Coming Insurrection calls an "activist milieu" makes harmless any nascent political intensity. So here is an intense, passionate text, and somehow some of you seem to be untouched by it, unmoved; you see it as just another one of a multiplicity of texts, all of which you can discuss comfortably, none of which MOVE YOU TO ACT, TO LIVE IN A CONSISTENCY OF THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS.

If that sounds angry, it isn't - just tired of that, and still belling from the resonance of this text, and wanting you, whoever you are, to feel it ring inside of you too.

Well this relates exactly to the point I made on the posting of the actual text. Is it poetically written, is it compelling on a literary level to read - 'intense', 'passionate'? Yes. Does it help us to understand the world, and to change it? Definitely not.

terry-raggett
Offline
Joined: 14-11-08
Jul 12 2009 11:13

Hi,
Just thought that i would write a few notes on the above subject.
It seems to be about communes.
I found a commune in the strangest of places.
As an indentured Shipwright boat builder/Conceptual Artist, with a Surrealist slant, of a Symbolic nature, using Textiles, Graphic Illustration, and Fine Art, through the study of Karma, Jnana, and Bhakti Yoga, having Maat magick by Nema, The Wordsworth Dictionary of the Occult by Andre Nataf, The Perfection of Yoga by Swami Prabhupada, and Gerald Massey Lectures by Gerald Massey etc........... as the resource base, to re-create the Supreme Personality of the God Head, in the guise of an installation (a multi-dimensional form of Art) as was called for by the study of Ancient and forbidden knowledge, i came up with:- Oba Adefunmi 1 of Oyotunji Village, South Carolina. He is suppose to be an initiate of the Mysteries of Obatala.
Thats my Treasure Hunt and thats one of my Truths, as a member to the Trade Guilds and a student of the survivals and Development!!!!!