Regenerating Rebellion – A Gathering of Opposition October 4th

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With Sober Senses
Joined: 14-07-08
Oct 1 2008 14:36
Regenerating Rebellion – A Gathering of Opposition October 4th

Regenerating Rebellion – A Gathering of Opposition October 4th. University of Wollongong. 10 am Building 19 Room 1030

Capitalism is clearly a catastrophe. Across the globe our lives are immiserated in countless ways and the ecological damage that has already been wrought is both incalculable and terrifying. Perhaps in the past we could have taken some kind of hope from capitalism’s tragedies as signs of a deep crisis that might open the door to emancipation. We can’t do that anymore. We have seen, to our sadness, how the apparently terminal crises in capitalism often only (when the smoke has cleared) lead to a restrengthening of capitalism, often at a great cost to life and the planet. The only ‘crisis’ that can threaten capitalism, is the crisis we create, through our rebellion against, and our exit from, capitalism. Crisis is not the opportunity for us to seize our freedom, but rather our freedom is the crisis of capitalism itself. It is the hope and joy in and of our freedom, as a present living potential that can end this horrible nightmare of capitalism and generate a different kind of society ( which we do, though you might not, call communism) that is the reason for this gathering. We would like to invite you to this, and offer the opportunity for the creation of dialogue and debate, and thus, in a small way start build pathways to different kinds of life. We hope that by gathering together we can collectively reflect on the world we live in, the struggles that happen across it and perhaps develop ways of working together that increase our chances of creating dignity and freedom

One of the immense challenges that confront us is the attempt to make sense of the world we live in. A task that is always difficult due to the insane nature of capitalism. But more specifically we need to grapple with the way that capitalism has profoundly transformed life across the globe in the last 40 years (often called ‘neoliberalism’, ‘globalisation’, ‘empire’ etc). Often this means the very substance of our lives – how we work, socialise, consume – has profoundly changed: it’s still capitalism but not as we once knew it. Thus the old methods, ideologies and organisations of struggling, which were already often broken or breaking, cannot effectively grapple with the present conditions.
Across the globe countless comrades are attempting to reinvent new and relevant ways of struggling: and there is a vast diversity of thinkings and methodologies. But in Australia we seem stuck. The enthusiasm of the alterglobalisation struggles broke on the reef of the War on Terror and has not been able to reconstitute itself since. This does not mean that people do not struggle – in fact the reverse is true. But rather as of yet these struggles, overt and covert, political and apolitical remain fractured and isolated, unable to reach a critical mass where a substantial challenge to capital is created.
The absence of mass and overt rebellion does not mean that capital has successfully bought off or pacified the multitude within the borders of Australia. True, a complex network of control and recuperation is deployed to keep people in the matrix of work and consumption but this doesn’t mean that antagonism is not there. Indeed it is our belief that our society has a volcanic nature: under the appearance of social peace, under the simulated reality presented by cultural and ideological apparatuses exists mass of dissatisfaction, antagonism, despair and defiance. Many of us, rebel in our own ways as much as we can. It is here, in the marrow of daily life, where we find the hope of communism. But to see it we need a certain way of looking, what the Zapatistas call an “inverted periscope.”
It also seems reasonably clear that what we can call the ‘Left’ – especially that organised into formal groups either revolutionary or reformist – has not grasped the massive changes that have swept across capitalism. This is because they are often welded to outdate ideologies, to an understanding of struggle that has passed. To admit that things have changed seems to be admitting that change is impossible. We think the reverse. Neo-liberalism was primarily a counter-revolution, that is a reaction to the great struggles of the masses of the globe. There is no point romanticising the past because that is what countless millions struggled against. Rather we need the courage to inherit the legacy of rebellion and take it up, remould it and live it for new strange times.
We are then in a strange place. On one hand we need to clear away the debris of the past; on the other we need a keen and attentive understanding of history. If we want to rebel, and we believe we and countless others do, if we want a different kind of society, lives with dignity, a world of free association then we need to come together to encounter each other, to assemble together, to create in solidarity and to rebel.
To help this, over the weekend we will be discussing three questions: Where are we? What have we done? What can we do?
Where are we? What is the nature of capitalism today? What are the crisis and conflicts? What are our experiences of work, study, family etc? How do race, gender and sexuality function in contemporary society? In other words what is the broad context of struggle?
What have we done? A chance to reflect on our experiences of struggle, the different tactics and strategies used, what worked what failed, what were the debates, splits, etc?
What can we do?.... Perhaps the most important, and hardest, question.
We hope all the discussion will be wide ranging and all are welcome. Perhaps this could be just one point in a longer journey. Contributions can be deeply personal, abstractly theoretical, said with big words, expressed by poetry or dance, whatever, the point is that we will actively try to communicate and understand each other. Rebellion is about love after all.....