Ego Te Provoco: December 11, 2008
If l do not burn
If you do not burn
If we do not burn
How will darkness come to light?
- Nazim Hikmet, "Like Kerem”
Clenching fear in their teeth the dogs howl: Return to normality - the fools’ feast is over. The philologists of assimilation have already started digging up their razor-sharp caresses: "We are ready to forget, to understand, to exchange the promiscuity of these few days,but now behave or we shall bring over our sociologists, our anthropologists, our psychiatrists! Like good fathers we have tolerated your emotional eruption with restraint - now look at how desks, offices and shop windows gape empty! The time has come for a return, and whoever refuses this holy duty shall be hit hard, shall be sociologised, shall be psychiatrised. An injunction hovers over the city: “Are you at your post?" Democracy social harmony national unity and all the other big hearths stinking of death have already stretched out their morbid arms.
Power (from the government to the family) aims not simply to repress the insurrection and its generalisation, but to produce a relation of subjectification. A relation that defines bios, that is political life, as a sphere of cooperation, compromise and consensus. “Politics is the politics of consensus; the rest is gang-war, riots, chaos." This is a true translation of what they are telling us, of their effort to deny the living core of every action, and to separate and isolate us from what we can do: not to unite the two into one, but to rupture again and again the one into two. The mandarins of harmony the barons of peace and quiet, law and order, call on us to become dialectic. But those tricks are desperately old, and their misery is transparent in the fat bellies of the trade union bosses, in the washed-out eyes of the intermediaries, who like vultures perch over every negation, over every passion for the real. We have seen them in May, we have seen them in LA and Brixton, and we have been watching them over decades licking the now long white bones of the 1973 Polytechnic. We saw them again yesterday when instead of calling for a permanent general strike, they bowed to legality and called off the strike protest march. Because they know all too well that the road to the generalisation of the insurrection is through the field of production-through the occupation of the means of production of this world that crushes us.
Tomorrow dawns a day when nothing is certain. And what could be more liberating than this after so many long years of certainty? A bullet was able to interrupt the brutal sequence of all those identical days. The assassination of a fifteen-year-old boy created a displacement strong enough to turn the world upside down.A displacement from the seeing through of yet another day to the point that so many think simultaneously: “That was it, not one step further, all must change and we will change it.” The revenge for the death of Alexis has become the revenge for every day that we are forced to wake up in this world. And what seemed so hard proved to be so simple.
This is what has happened, what we have. If something scares us it is the return to normality. For in the destroyed and pillaged streets of our cities of light we see not only the obvious results of our rage, but the possibility of starting to live. We no longer have anything to do than to install ourselves in this possibility transforming it into a living experience: by grounding on the field of everyday life, our creativity our power to materialise our desires, our power not to contemplate but to construct the real. This is our vital space. All the rest is death.
Those who want to understand will understand. Now is the time to break the invisible cells that chain each and everyone to his or her pathetic little life. And this does not require solely or necessarily one to attack police stations and torch malls and banks. The time that one deserts his or her couch and the passive contemplation of his or her own life and takes to the streets to talk and to listen, leaving behind anything private, introduces into the field of social relations the destabilising force of a nuclear bomb. And this is precisely because the (till now) fixation of everyone on his or her microcosm is tied to the traction forces of the atom. Those forces that make the (capitalist) world turn. This is the dilemma: with the insurgents or alone. And this is one of the really few times that a dilemma can be at the same time so absolute and real.
UP AGAINST THE WALL MOTHERFUCKERS!
WE’VE COME FOR WHAT'S OURS...
In these days of rage, spectacle as a power-relation, as a relation that imprints memory onto objects and bodies, is faced with a diffuse counter-power that deterritorialises impressions allowing them to wander away from the tyranny of the image and into the field of the senses. Senses are always felt antagonistically (they are always acting against something) - but under the current conditions they are driven toward an increasingly acute and radical polarisation.
Against the supposedly peaceful caricatures of bourgeois media (“violence is unacceptable always, everywhere"), we can only respond: their rule, the rule of gentle spirits and consent, of dialogue and harmony is nothing but a well calculated pleasure in beastliness: a promised carnage. The democratic regime in its peaceful façade doesn’t kill an Alexis every day precisely because it kills thousands of Ahmeds, Fatimas, Jorges, Jin Tiaos and Benajirs: because it assassinates systematically structurally and without remorse the entirety of the Third World, that is the global proletariat. It is in this way, through this calm everyday slaughter, that the idea of freedom is born: freedom not as a supposedly panhuman good, nor as a natural right for all, but as the war cry of the damned, as the premise of civil war.
The history of the legal order and the bourgeois class brainwashes us with an image of the gradual and stable progress of humanity within which violence stands as a sorry exception stemming from the economically; emotionally and culturally underdeveloped.Yet all of us who have been crushed between school desks, behind offices, in factories, know only too well that history is nothing but a succession of bestial acts installed upon a morbid system of rules. The cardinals of normality weep for the law that was violated by the bullet of the pig Korkoneas (the killer cop). But who doesn’t know that the force of the law is merely the force of the powerful? That law itself allows violence to be exercised on violence? The law is void from end to bitter end; it contains no meaning, no target other than the coded power of imposition.
At the same time, the dialectic of the Left tries to codify conflict, battle and war, with the logic of the synthesis of opposites. In this way it constructs an order; a pacified condition within which everything has its proper little place. Yet, the destiny of conflict is not synthesis - as the destiny of war is not peace. Social insurrection comprises the condensation and explosion of thousands of negations, yet it does not contain even in a single one of its atoms, nor in a single one of its moments its own negation, its own end. This always comes heavy and gloomy like a certainty from the institutions of mediation and normalisation, from the Left promising voting rights at sixteen, disarmament but preservation of the pigs, a welfare state, etc. Those, in other words, who wish to capitalise political gains upon the wounds of others. The sweetness of their compromise drips with blood.
Social counter-violence cannot be held accountable for what it does not assume: it is destructive from end to end. If the struggles of modernity have anything to teach us, it is not their sad adhesion to the subject (class, party group) but their systematic anti-dialectical process: the act of destruction does not necessarily need to carry a dimension of creation. In other words, the destruction of the old world and the creation of a new comprise two discrete but continuous processes. The issue then is what methods of destruction of the given can be developed in different points and moments of the insurrection. Which methods cannot only preserve the level and the extent of the insurrection, but contribute to its qualitative upgrading. The attacks on police stations, the clashes and roadblocks, the barricades and street battles now comprise an everyday and socialised phenomenon in the metropolis and beyond. And they have contributed to a partial deregulation of the circle of production and consumption. And yet, they still comprise a partial targeting of the enemy; direct and obvious to all, yet entrapped in one and only dimension of the attack against dominant social relations. However, the process of production and circulation of goods in itself, in other words, the capital-relation, is only indirectly hit by the mobilisations. A spectre hovers over the city torched: the indefinite, wild general strike.
The global capitalist crisis has denied the bosses their most dynamic, most extorting response to the insurrection: "We offer you everything,forever, while all they can offer is an uncertain present." With one firm collapsing after the other, capitalism and its state are no longer in a position to offer anything other than worse days to come, tightened financial conditions, sacks, suspension of pensions, welfare cuts, the crushing of free education. Contrarily, in just seven days, the insurgents have proved in practice what they can do: to turn the city into a battlefield, to create enclaves of communes across the urban fabric, to abandon individuality and their pathetic security, seeking the composition of their collective power and the total destruction of this murderous system.
At this historical conjuncture of crisis, rage, and the dismissal of institutions at which we finally stand, the only thing that can convert the systemic deregulation into a social revolution is the total rejection of work. When street fighting will be taking place in streets dark from the strike of the electricity company; when clashes will be taking place amidst tons of uncollected rubbish, when trolley-buses will be closing streets, blocking off the cops, when the striking teacher will be lighting up his revolted pupil’s molotov cocktail, then we will be finally able to say: “Ruffians, the days of your society are numbered; we weighed its joys and its justices and we found them all too short." This, today, is no longer a mere fantasy but a concrete ability in everyone’s hand: the ability to act concretely on the concrete. The ability to charge the skies.
If all of these, namely the extension of the conflict into the sphere of production-circulation - with sabotages and wild strikes seem premature - it might just be because we haven’t quite realised how fast power decomposes, how fast confrontational practices and counter-power forms of organising are socially diffused: from high school students pelting police stations with stones, to municipal employees and neighbours occupying town halls. The revolution does not take place with prayers toward, and piety for, historical conditions. It occurs by seizing whatever opportunity of insurrection in every aspect of the social; by transforming every reluctant gesture of condemnation of the cops into a definite strike at the foundations of this system.
Off the pigs!