Life is so boring there is nothing to do except spend all our wages on the latest skirt or shirt. Brothers and Sisters, what are your real desires? Sit in the drugstore, look distant,empty, bored, drinking some tasteless coffee? Or perhaps BLOW IT UP OR BURN IT DOWN.
The Angry Brigade
The great spectacle of capital has swallowed us all up to our necks. Actors and spectators in turn. We alternate the roles, either staring openmouthed at others or making others stare at us. We have alighted the glass coach, even though we know it is only a pumpkin. The fairy godmother’s spell has beguiled our critical awareness. Now we must play the game. Until midnight, at least.
Poverty and hunger are still the driving forces of the revolution. But capital is widening the spectacle. It wants new actors on stage. The greatest spectacle in the world will continue to surprise us. Always more complicated, better and better organised. New clowns are getting ready to mount the rostrum. New species of wild beasts will be tamed.
The supporters of quantity, lovers of arithmetic, will be first on and will be blinded by the limelight, dragging the masses of necessity and the ideologies of redemption along behind them.
But one thing they will not be able to get rid of is their seriousness. The greatest danger they face will be a laugh. In the spectacle of capital, joy is deadly. Everything is gloomy and funereal, everything is serious and orderly, everything is rational and programmed, precisely because it is all false and illusory.
Beyond the crises, beyond other problems of underdevelopment, beyond poverty and hunger, the last fight that capital will have to put up, the decisive one, is the fight against boredom.
The revolutionary movement will also have to fight its battles. Not just the traditional ones against capital but new ones, against itself. Boredom is attacking it from within, is causing it to deteriorate, making it asphyxiating, uninhabitable.
Let us leave those who like the spectacle of capitalism alone. Those who are quite happy to play their parts to the end. These people think that reforms really can change things. But this is more an ideological cover than anything else. They know only too well that changing bits is one of the rules of the system. It is useful to capital to have things fixed a little at a time.
Then there is the revolutionary movement where there is no lack of those who attack the power of capital verbally. These people cause a great deal of confusion. They come out with grand statements but no longer impress anyone, least of all capital which cunningly uses them for the most delicate part of its spectacle. When it needs a soloist it puts one of these performers on stage. The result is pitiful.
The truth is that the spectacular mechanism of commodities must be broken by entering the domain of capital, its coordinating centres, right to the very nucleus of production. Think what a marvellous explosion of joy, what a great creative leap forward, what an extraordinarily aimless aim.
Only it is difficult to enter the mechanisms of capital joyfully, with the symbols of life. Armed struggle is often a symbol of death. Not because it gives death to the bosses and their servants, but because it wants to impose the structures of the dominion of death itself. Conceived differently it really would be joy in action, capable of breaking the structural conditions imposed by the commodity spectacle such as the military party, the conquest of power; the vanguard.
This is the other enemy of the revolutionary movement. Incomprehension. Refusal to see the new conditions of the conflict. The insistence on imposing models of the past that have now become part of the commodity spectacle.
Ignorance of the new revolutionary reality is leading to a lack of theoretical and strategic awareness of the revolutionary capacity of the movement itself. And it is not enough to say that there are enemies so close at hand as to make it indispensable to intervene right away without looking at questions of a theoretical nature. All this hides the incapacity to face the new reality of the movement and avoid the mistakes of the past that have serious consequences in the present. And this refusal nourishes all kinds of rationalist political illusions.
Categories such as revenge, leaders, parties, the vanguard, quantitative growth, only mean something in the dimension of this society, and such a meaning favours the perpetuation of power. When you look at things from a revolutionary point of view, i.e. the complete definitive elimination of all power; these categories become meaningless.
By moving into the nowhere of utopia, upsetting the work ethic, turning it into the here and now of joy in realisation, we find ourselves within a structure that is far from the historical forms of organisation.
This structure changes continually, so escapes crystallisation. It is characterised by the self-organisation of producers at the workplace, and the self-organisation of the struggle against work. Not the taking over of the means of production, but the refusal of production through organisational forms that are constantly changing.
The same is happening with the unemployed and the casual labourers. Stimulated by boredom and alienation, structures are emerging on the basis of self-organisation. The introduction of aims programmed and imposed by an outside organisation would kill the movement and consign it to the commodity spectacle.
Most of us are tied to this idea of revolutionary organisation. Even anarchists, who refuse authoritarian organisation, do not disdain it. On this basis we all accept the idea that the contradictory reality of capital can be attacked with similar means. We do so because we are convinced that these means are legitimate, emerging as they do from the same field of struggle as capital. We refuse to admit that not everyone might see things the way we do. Our theory is identical to the practice and strategy of our organisations.
The differences between the authoritarians and ourselves are many, but they all collapse before a common faith in the historical organisation. Anarchy will be reached through the work of these organisations (substantial differences only appear in methods of approach). But this faith indicates something very important: the claim of our whole rationalist culture to explain reality in progressive terms. This culture bases itself on the idea that history is irreversible, along with that of the analytical capacity of science. All this makes us see the present as the point where all the efforts of the past meet the culminating point of the struggle against the powers of darkness (capitalist exploitation). Consequently, we are convinced that we are more advanced than our predecessors, capable of elaborating and putting into practice theories and organisational strategies that are the sum of all the experiences of the past.
All those who reject this interpretation automatically find themselves beyond reality, which is by definition history, progress and science. Whoever refuses such a reality is anti-historical anti-progressive and antiscientific. Sentenced without appeal.
Strengthened by this ideological armour we go out into the streets. Here we run into the reality of a struggle that is structured quite differently, from stimuli that do not enter the framework of our analyses. One fine morning during a peaceful demonstration the police start shooting. The structure reacts, comrades shoot too, policemen fall. Anathema! It was a peaceful demonstration. For it to have degenerated into individual guerrilla actions there must have been a provocation. Nothing can go beyond the perfect framework of our ideological organisation as it is not just a ‘part’ of reality, but is ‘all’ reality. Anything beyond it is madness and provocation.
Supermarkets are destroyed, shops and food and arms depots are looted, luxury cars are burned. It is an attack on the commodity spectacle in its most conspicuous forms. The new structures are moving in that direction. They take form suddenly, with only the minimum strategic orientation necessary. No frills, no long analytical premises, no complex supporting theories. They attack. Comrades identify with these structures. They reject the organisations that give power, equilibrium, waiting, death. Their action is a critique of the wait-and-see suicidal positions of these organisations. Anathema! There must have been a provocation.
There is a break away from traditional political models which is becoming a critique of the movement itself. Irony becomes a weapon. Not closed within a writer’s study, but en masse, in the streets. Not only the bosses’ servants but also revolutionary leaders from a far off and recent past are finding themselves in difficulty as a result. The mentality of the small-time boss and leading group is also put in crisis. Anathema! The only legitimate critique is that against the bosses, and it must comply with the rules laid down by the historical tradition of the class struggle. Anyone who strays from the seminary is a provocateur.
People are tired of meetings, the classics, pointless marches, theoretical discussions that split hairs in four; endless distinctions, the monotony and poverty of certain political analyses. They prefer to make love, smoke, listen to music, go for walks, sleep, laugh, play, kill policemen, lame journalists, kill judges, blow up barracks. Anathema! The struggle is only legitimate when it is comprehensible to the leaders of the revolution. Otherwise, there being a risk that the situation might get beyond their control, there must have been a provocation.
Hurry comrade, shoot the policeman, the judge, the boss. Now, before a new police prevent you.
Hurry to say No, before the new repression convinces you that saying no is pointless, mad, and that you should accept the hospitality of the mental asylum.
Hurry to attack capital before a new ideology makes it sacred to you. Hurry to refuse work before some new sophist tells you yet again that “work makes you free”.
Hurry to play. Hurry to arm yourself.