Anarchist propositions

171 posts / 0 new
Last post
Slumberjack
Anarchist propositions

For those who describe themselves as anarchists, I thought a discussion might be of interest surrounding belief systems, variations of Anarchist sentiments, and the apparent divergence when it comes to aims and tactics, the 101s as it were, according to the respective adherents.

Issues Pages: 
No Yards No Yards's picture

As a study guide, I'll post this link that I posted in another, now closed, thead.

http://crimethinc.com/texts/recentfeatures/toronto2.php

It is a supposed anarchist site with some possible details on how anarchists organized (is that an oxymoron?) themselves for the Toronto G20 summit.

There are also links there to what are suppose to be other anarchist (and regular activists) web sites ... this could just be a front for cops trying to justify their handy work, but either way it is an interesting read, and maybe something that other activists needs to investigate to determine if these are legitimate groups, and figure out ways to use their own organization methods to keep out of their way.

Slumberjack

This thread might have the hallmark of an oxymoron, were it not for the apparent denunciations of late from self described anarchists regarding activist tactics re: the G20 and RBC.  Apparently there's a little ambiguity that might be worth exploring.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I keep this link in my profile so people can read the words of one of my favourite political writers.

http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/kropotkin/index.html

As I pointed out in another thread the newest book on Emma goldman has a great historical anaylsis of the varying strains of anarchy in the early twentieth centurty.  

http://blackrosebooks.com/products/view/EMMA+GOLDMAN,+Still+Dangerous/32437

Quote:

ANARCHISM (from the Gr. an and archos, contrary to authority), the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government - harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international temporary or more or less permanent - for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defence of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary - as is seen in organic life at large - harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state.

If, it is contended, society were organized on these principles, man would not be limited in the free exercise of his powers in productive work by a capitalist monopoly, maintained by the state; nor would he be limited in the exercise of his will by a fear of punishment, or by obedience towards individuals or metaphysical entities, which both lead to depression of initiative and servility of mind. He would be guided in his actions by his own understanding, which necessarily would bear the impression of a free action and reaction between his own self and the ethical conceptions of his surroundings. Man would thus be enabled to obtain the full development of all his faculties, intellectual, artistic and moral, without being hampered by overwork for the monopolists, or by the servility and inertia of mind of the great number. He would thus be able to reach full individualization, which is not possible either under the present system of individualism, or under any system of state socialism in the so-called Volkstaat (popular state).

The anarchist writers consider, moreover, that their conception is not a utopia, constructed on the a priori method, after a few desiderata have been taken as postulates. It is derived, they maintain, from an analysis of tendenciesthat are at work already, even though state socialism may find a temporary favour with the reformers. The progress of modern technics, which wonderfully simplifies the production of all the necessaries of life; the growing spirit of independence, and the rapid spread of free initiative and free understanding in all branches of activity - including those which formerly were considered as the proper attribution of church and state - are steadily reinforcing the no-government tendency.

As to their economical conceptions, the anarchists, in common with all socialists, of whom they constitute the left wing, maintain that the now prevailing system of private ownership in land, and our capitalist production for the sake of profits, represent a monopoly which runs against both the principles of justice and the dictates of utility. They are the main obstacle which prevents the successes of modern technics from being brought into the service of all, so as to produce general well-being. The anarchists consider the wage-system and capitalist production altogether as an obstacle to progress. But they point out also that the state was, and continues to be, the chief instrument for permitting the few to monopolize the land, and the capitalists to appropriate for themselves a quite disproportionate share of the yearly accumulated surplus of production. Consequently, while combating the present monopolization of land, and capitalism altogether, the anarchists combat with the same energy the state, as the main support of that system. Not this or that special form, but the state altogether, whether it be a monarchy or even a republic governed by means of the referendum.

Quote:

It is to the young that I wish to address myself today. Let the old - I mean of course the old in heart and mind - lay the pamphlet down therefore without tiring their eyes in reading what will tell them nothing.

I assume that you are about eighteen or twenty years of age; that you have finished your apprenticeship or your studies; that you are just entering into life. I take it for granted that you have a mind free from the superstition which your teachers have sought to force upon you; that you don't fear the devil, and that you do not go to hear parsons and ministers rant. More, that you are not one of the fops, sad products of a society in decay, who display their well-cut trousers and their monkey faces in the park, and who even at their early age have only an insatiable longing for pleasure at any price...I assume on the contrary that you have a warm heart, and for this reason I talk to you.

A first question, I know, occurs to you - you have often asked yourself: "What am I going to be?" In fact when a man is young he understands that after having studied a trade or a science for several years - at the cost of society, mark - he has not done this in order that he should make use of his acquirements as instruments of plunder for his own gain, and he must be depraved indeed and utterly cankered by vice who has not dreamed that one day he would apply his intelligence, his abilities, his knowledge to help on the enfranchisement of those who today grovel in misery and in ignorance.

You are one of those who has had such a vision, are you not? Very well, let us see what you must do to make your dream a reality.

I do not know in what rank you were born. Perhaps, favored by fortune, you have turned your attention to the study of science; you are to be a doctor, a barrister, a man of letters, or a scientific man; a wide field opens up before you; you enter upon life with extensive knowledge, with a trained intelligence. Or, on the other hand, you are perhaps only an honest artisan whose knowledge of science is limited by the little that you have learnt at school; but you have had the advantage of learning at first hand what a life of exhausting toil is the lot of the worker of our time.

I stop at the first supposition, to return afterward to the second; I assume then that you have received a scientific education. Let us suppose you intend to be - a doctor. Tomorrow a man in corduroys will come to fetch you to see a sick woman. He will lead you into one of those alleys where the opposite neighbors can almost shake hands over the heads of the passersby; you ascend into a foul atmosphere by the flickering light of a little illtrimmed lamp; you climb two, three, four, five flights of filthy stairs, and in a dark, cold room you find the sick woman, lying on a pallet covered with dirty rags. Pale, livid children, shivering under their scanty garments, gaze at you with their big eyes wide open. The husband has worked all this life twelve or thirteen hours a day at, no matter what; now he has been out of work for three months. To be out of employ is not rare in his trade; it happens every year, periodically. But, formerly, when he was out of work his wife went out a charwoman - perhaps to wash your shirts - at the rate of fifteen pence a day; now she has been bedridden for two months, and misery glares upon the family in all its squalid hideousness.

What will you prescribe for the sick woman, doctor - you who have seen at a glance that the cause of her illness is general anemia, want of good food, lack of fresh air? Say, a good beefsteak every day? a little exercise in the country? a dry and well-ventilated bedroom? What irony! If she could have afforded it this would have been done long since without waiting for your advice.

If you have a good heart, a frank address, an honest face, the family will tell you many things. They will tell you that the woman on the other side of the partition, who coughs a cough which tears your heart, is a poor ironer; that a flight of stairs lower down all the children have the fever; that the washerwoman who occupies the ground floor will not live to see the spring; and that in the house next door things are still worse.

What will you say to all these sick people? Recommend them generous diet, change of air, less exhausting toil...You only wish you could but you daren't and you go out heartbroken, with a curse upon your lips.

The next day, as you still brood over the fate of the dwellers in this dog-hutch, your partner tells you that yesterday a footman came to fetch him, this time in a carriage. It was for the owner of a fine house, for a lady worn out with sleepless nights, who devotes all her life to dressing, visits, balls, and squabbles with a stupid husband. Your friend has prescribed for her a less preposterous habit of life, a less heating diet, walks in the fresh air, an even temperament, and, in order to make up in some measure for the want of useful work, a little gymnastic exercise in her bedroom.

The one is dying because she has never had enough food nor enough rest in her whole life; the other pines because she has never known what work is since she was born.

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

A history of anarchists - and their enemies

Quote:

From cries of “Long live dynamite!” to arguments for vegetarianism, the anarchist cause has been a very broad church. Often naive and under-theorized – although it has always had highly intelligent proponents and sympathizers, a current example being Noam Chomsky – anarchism has also been dogged by a reputation for ill-directed violence, leading to what Alex Butterworth describes as “the movement’s pariah status in perpetuity”. Although The World That Never Was is an unashamedly popular book and concentrates on the more lurid end of the anarchist tendency, Butterworth at least tries to treat his pariah subjects with a counterbalancing sympathy.

United – if at all – by a resistance to imposed authority, the characters here range from the almost Tolstoyan figure of Peter Kropotkin to the far wilder François Koenigstein, better known as Ravachol. Disgusted by Thomas Huxley’s 1888 Darwinian essay “The Struggle for Existence”, Kropotkin was the great theorist of Mutual Aid who had a soft spot for the rabbit as a species, admiring it as “the symbol of perdurability [that] stood out against selection”. Ravachol, on the other hand, began his career by disinterring an old woman’s corpse, murdered a ninety-five-year-old man, and then embarked on a terror bombing campaign which some commentators romanticized for the perpetrator’s “courage, his goodness, his greatness of soul”.

via rabble.ca editor Cathryn Atkinson

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Mutual aid and social justice are the twin towers of anarchy in my opinion. I found this an interesting article on his theory of mutual aid.

Quote:

 

In 1976, Richard Dawkins published his revolutionary book, The Selfish GeneThe Selfish Gene takes the view that the only unit of selection that matters is the gene (thought the term gene is loosely defined) and as a direct all that matters is the survival of the gene. Strictly speaking, there was nothing new about this claim, but Dawkins took it to a new level. By arguing from the perspective of a gene rather then an individual, Dawkins was able to utterly reject group selection and still account for behaviors that are ultimately detrimental to the individual. The basic premise is that organisms which tend to live in groups that are closely related (and thus are likely to have the same genes) will tend to evolve traits that are beneficial to the group as a whole. The reason for this is not that the group benefits, but that any particular gene is likely to be present in many individuals in the group. Thus a gene that leads to an increase in the group's fitness at the detriment of the individual will still tend to increase in the population as long as the statistical detriment to the individual is less then the statistical gain to the group. This theory is generally misunderstood because people assume that a conscious count of relatives who might be saved is made each time a potentially detrimental action is considered. All that matters to this theory is the statistical likelihood that those in the area are carrying the gene that is causing the action. This theory, in addition to a number of social psychological theories, makes the claim that every action is inherently selfish. This certainly casts some doubt on the concept of mutual aid.

Fortunately, more recent research in the area of game theory indicates that Kropotkin may be right after all. This research investigates a problem called the iterated prisoners' dilemma. The prisoners' dilemma is commonly stated as follows. Two people are arrested for a crime that they did commit but for which there is only enough evidence to convict them of a lesser crime. They are separated and then asked to tell on the other person in exchange for no sentence and are given no chance to communicate. The following payoff matrix shows the results of each combination of actions.

 

[unfortunately I cannot get the matrix chart to post properly so you will have to click on the link]

If you consider the standard prisoner's dilemma, the only possible choice (from a purely selfish, outcomes point of view) is to defect because that will insure that you will never get the worst possible value, the "sucker's payoff." Thus, this isn't a very interesting problem. However, if you assume each prisoner will be given each choice repeatedly and will know what the other person did last time, then some communication is allowed. As a result it is possible to develop strategies which will produce outcomes better then the outcome from each person defecting every time. A political scientist named Robert Axelrod conducted a investigation into which strategies where best for the iterated prisoner's dilemma. Dawkins describes Axelrod's work in detail in a chapter entitled "nice guys finish first" in the second edition of The Selfish Gene. The details are well beyond the scope of this paper, but the results are quite interesting. The winning strategy was technically nice which means that is will cooperate by default. The strategy was named Tit for Tat and it works on a very simple principle. The first round it cooperates with the other. If the other side defects then it defects the next round and if the other side if cooperative then it cooperates then next round. This simple and elegant strategy will beat out any other strategy under the conditions of the standard iterated prisoner's dilemma. Under a slightly more complicated system where "populations" of strategies "breed" with one another, Tit for Tat won five out of six trials although a number of other strategies which were also "nice but provocable strategies" were still around at the end as they were all playing "cooperate" and thus could not tell each other apart. In the case were Tit for Tat didn't win out, one of the other nice strategies won.

This strategy sounds very similar to the very strategy which Kropotkin proposed in The Conquest of Bread for dealing with those few people who will not work for the communal good:

Let us take a group of volunteers, combining for some particular enterprise. Having its success at heart, they all work with a will, save one of the associates, who is frequently absent from his post. Must they on his account dissolve the group, elect a president to impose fines, or maybe distribute markers for work done, as is customary in the Academy? It is evident that neither the one nor the other will be done, but that some day the comrade who imperils their enterprise will be told: "Friend, we should like to work with you; but as you are often absent from your post, and you do your work negligently, we must part. Go and find other comrades who will put up with your indifference!" (190)

This gives some hope that Kropotkin's theory of mutual aid holds true under certain circumstances. Better yet, these circumstances do not appear to be to idealistic to ever actually hold true.

http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/dward/classes/Anarchy/finalprojects/brooksfin...

 

MontyCantsin

im the type of anarchist who thinks the surest way to contradict your principles and ideals is to make the mistake of having them in the first place...

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_Without_Principle

Cueball Cueball's picture

Ok, that sounds like fun. Lets continue this discussion on the basis of the principle of not referring to principles. You start...

MontyCantsin

-_-

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Sadly, Monty is no longer with us.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Meh. Why you do that? I thought he was going to challenge some comfort zones, or is he a repeat offender or something? I was personally interested in where he was going with all this.

al-Qa'bong

Yeah, the principle of having no principles.  How do you do that?

Quote:
It is a supposed anarchist site with some possible details on how anarchists organized (is that an oxymoron?)...

 

Nope. Anarchy is order.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yeah, Cueball, it had nothing to do with this thread--I only let you know here because I know you hoped for a response. Check out some of (i.e. any) of the other threads he particpated in for the reasons why.

Suffice it to say you would have been disappointed in any event.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I did read the other threads, which is what left me confused as to where he was going with all this. I thought it would be cool to see where it all ended up, after he had had some time to express more of his core thesis.

Oh well.... what's done is done...

al-Qa'bong

I clicked on his profile and was denied access.

writer writer's picture

Yup. Cool to come to the feminism forum, go to a thread about rape that has been specifically framed requesting comment from feminist women, and post that, as a male, you are a pussy. Cool. Interesting. Really challenging those comfort zones.

writer writer's picture

Because, you know, we're hearing way too much from women on this board. It's time for guys to speak up!

al-Qa'bong

I dig Emma Goldman?

writer writer's picture

Sorry, al-Qa'bong, that was in response to Cueball. I hope you dig Emma Goldman.

Cueball Cueball's picture

writer wrote:

Yup. Cool to come to the feminism forum, go to a thread about rape that has been specifically framed requesting comment from feminist women, and post that, as a male, you are a pussy. Cool. Interesting. Really challenging those comfort zones.

Ahh well, I was asked not to post in the F forum by a couple of established Babblers some time back, so I don't visit there either, really. So, perhaps he should have been banned apropos to those comments, as opposed to these.

writer writer's picture

Catchfire wrote:

Yeah, Cueball, it had nothing to do with this thread--I only let you know here because I know you hoped for a response. Check out some of (i.e. any) of the other threads he particpated in for the reasons why.

Suffice it to say you would have been disappointed in any event.

Cueball wrote:

I did read the other threads, which is what left me confused as to where he was going with all this. I thought it would be cool to see where it all ended up, after he had had some time to express more of his core thesis.

Oh well.... what's done is done...

Cueball Cueball's picture

Right. But I read everything he wrote other than what appeared in the FF, so you can understand why I didn't understand what was going on. CF's reference to other statements was vague and didn't indicate the FF. I didn't even know that he had posted in that forum because it did not appear in the TAT, since others posted after he did, so you can understand why I could not find the offending comments.

Are we having an argument for the sake of it?

al-Qa'bong

At this point a good anarchist would encourage some mutual aid. 

Uh, to that end, howzabout we walk away from this, since nobody here encourages or supports what writer pointed out in the FF, and get back to discussing what we think about anarchism?

writer writer's picture

Agreed!

jrootham

How big a tent is Anarchism?  Does being in the tent mean you must believe in the removal of the state?

Does the Mondragon movement fit?

Do co-ops and credit unions fit?

If those things don't fit what do we call the philosophies underlying them?

 

Noah_Scape

Anarchism is right up my alley, in terms of ending the corporate-capitalist rule we are presently trapped in.

One solution to the corporate-capitalist power grab is community power, which anarchists appreciate. Within a community, anyone who aquires too much wealth or material goods should be ostrasized. Embarrass your piggy neighbor into giving up their ill-gotten gains.

Community energy production, Community produced food, Community funding of schools and hospitals and social safety nets...

The power structure is upside down, as it exists today. Communities should have the most power, then the Provinces, and finally the Federal government [should not be able to dictate to communities].

I might become an anarchist yet, as my understanding of it increases. Thanks for starting this thread [I was just thinking about anarchy today, that they cant possibly believe that "no government" is a good idea... but perhaps I am wrong].

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

No government does not mean no governance.  Anarchy as a theory and philosophy is all about freedom of association and democracy, unlike our FPTP system that was specifically designed to allow the "Lords" to continue to rule behind a democratic facade.  When a worker has no democratic control over their livelihood any pseudo democratic rights granted by the ruling elite are mere illusion, just smoke and mirrors with greedy little men behind the curtain.

milo204

i agree, to me Anarchism is just the extension of democracy to all forms of control be it public or private.  It's not even really "no government", which every one thinks means simply no organization in society.  It's just that instead of a "government" like the one we have now, it would be a system of policies and rules that we are free and more importantly ABLE to change according to the needs at the time, and free to participate in regardless of social position or wealth.

 

i.e The top 100 CEO's would have no more sway over economic decisions than their employees, as it is now their employees have virtually no input and the leaders get private off the record meetings with finance ministers who then sign investors rights agreements like NAFTA and CETA with no public input. 

 

plus no private domination of media would mean actual information not propaganda, rational discussion, and freer debate which would result in a public that actually is informed and can make better decisions and actually be involved.

Cueball Cueball's picture

I don't believe any kind of anarchist society is achievable. In fact, I believe any such conception is of anarchism; particularly modern anarchism is antithetical to the creed. Fundamentally, it is a theoretical analysis used for critiquing the function of governance and the state. Erecting of any kind government (or even a concrete social order) in its name is contrary to its mandate.

However, it does provide a way of looking at the world that provides a litmus test for looking at how things are ordered, and making improvements thereof. Anarchism is fundamentally dynamic and immediate and allows persons and collectives a way of understanding power, and overcoming power as it manifests itself against them.

It is about process. Most ideologies pose themselves as constructing a future order of social relations as an ultimate end goal, however, the achievement of those goals usually entails acquiring the power that is the source of the repression the revolutionists reject, whereas anarchism seeks to disassemble power, itself, theirs and ours.

On a personal level it is about how one positions oneself in resistance to power in society, even when one accepts the manifestation of that power, things like government, social mores, social organization, oppressive forces, such as the police, or annoying neighbors.

Traditional ideologies generally end up in the same cul de sac, because at some point they will assert the justification of any action under the terms of the "ends justifying the means". However, in an anarchist critique, one sees that the means themselves, the process, is the end object: "the end is the means".

At the end of the day, I would probably have to say that I am politically akin to a socialist who makes his analysis of socialism through the lens of an anarchist critique of power.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Excellent post Cue.

I think that workers can join together into syndicates and if nurtured could provide at least a bit of an off setting balance to international capital at the local level. I would love to see a dedicated capital pool for small worker owned businesses.  It is all about access to capital in the final analysis.  If our social democratic allies would promote a green fund based on those kinds of principles, similar to the BC NDP's proposed fund but more dedicated, it could provide the seed money to grow a new economy from within.  This fund of course would be available to all family businesses that met whatever democratic worker control criteria that was in place for the fund.  

Cueball Cueball's picture

One of the best writers of the Anarchist tradion, often forgotten about in traditional left wing circles, because his writing benefits none of the mainstream tendencies of left or right wing ideologies: Memoirs of A Revolutionary -- Victor Serge. If one wants to get a birds eye view of an anarchist critique of socialist authoritarianism, from inside the state structure of the emerging Soviet Union, right through the purges, this is it.

He wrote a number of great novels as well.

 

Cueball Cueball's picture

I wouldn't worry too much about that.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Darryl Rankin, Manitoba CP leader, makes reference to "anarcho-nihilism" as the dominant anarchist trend in Canada today. There is also some history that may be of interest to those reading this thread.

Rankin of the CP: Marxism and Anarchism in Canada Today

ebodyknows ebodyknows's picture

Cueball wrote:

I don't believe any kind of anarchist society is achievable.

I wouldn't worry about missing out on monties chance to take you out of your comfort zone. Monty is a prolific writer who's work can be found in various places online.  Don't expect anarchist ideas though, monty cantsin is not an anarchist but rather a well known neoist.

If neoism did anything right it was trying to root itself outside of the intellectual.

"Neoism is very frequently described as a conspiracy of the New for the purpose of replacing old ideas or opinions, with new and better ideas and opinions. Neoism is based on an intuitive response to the ever arising New rather than a reasoned building up of traditional beliefs into an edifice of logical stupidity.

Once awakened the Neoist’s first response to this miss shapened body of incongruities is to make fun of it, though parody and mocking: to then abandon its false  order and raise up nonsense in its place but this is only to add braces and prosthetic devices to a disfigured tragedy that is the result of accidental conditions.

This is much of what we have seen in Neoism till now. This line of reasoning is completely wrong. To view Neoism as still being what it was in 1960 is to cling to an obsolete concept; it is to condemn oneself to understand nothing about Neoism.

To cleave to the ever arising New is to create a firm adherence to truth and to negate everything else. If one’s sincerity is sufficiently strong; one´s intuitions sufficiently clear and after some soul searching, the individual is ready for the destruction of the edifice of belief he has falsely groomed to as his self leading to the possibility of being an awakened Neoist -  the most dangerous creature alive.

The aim of Neoism is to open the door, leave the cage and learn to fly."

Our particular monty seems to have been trying to e-body the tenants of neoism even if it might not have quite had its intuition totally aligned to the new(like that time i brought my dad to see 010100: The Great Robotic Machinery Rebellion at buddies in bad times theater). While I don't know if I totally agree with its speedy removal I do think their is something worthwhile that has been said about the benefits of emotional solidarity over intellectual soliderity.

"When I looked at that abandoned file cabinet at the freight elevator I became almost ecstatic."

NDPP
kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

The Crisis as Pacification

http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=2010072515&msg=27

 

Thx for the link it was a great read with some clear insight.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

I found it useful as well, for completely different reasons.

Slumberjack

How is it to be done?

Excerpts from Tiqqun:  How is it to be done?

A revival of the critique is pretending to challenge Empire with the slogans and tricks of the sixties.  Except that this time it is faked.  The whole range of old social-democratic affects are put back into circulation.

And again, here come the demonstrations.  The desire-killing demonstrations where nothing happens and which no longer demonstrate anything but a collective absence. 

For those who feel the nostalgic about Woodstock, pot, 68 and militancy, there are the counter-summits.  The setting has been set again, minus the possible.

Here is today's command of the 'what to do.?  To travel to the other side of the world in order to contest the global commodity, and then come back after a big bath of unanimity and mediatised seperation to submit yourself to the local commodity.  From counter-summit to counter-summit, they will eventually understand.  Or not.

One doesn't contest Empire over its management.  One doesn't critique Empire.  You oppose its forces from where you are.  There is no global alternative project to the global project of Empire, because there is no global project of Empire.  There is an imperial management.  Those who demand another society should better start to realize that there is none left.  And maybe they would then stop being wannabe-managers.

The global order cannot be taken as an enemy directly.  Its perfection is not to be global, but to be global locally.  The global order can only be opposed locally through the extension of opaque zones over the Empire's maps.  Through their growing contiguity.  Underground.  Whoever regards Empire as an opponent to confront will meet preventative annihilation.  To be perceived means to be defeated.

Critique has become vain because it amounts to an absence.  Everyone knows where the ruling order stands.  We no longer need critical theory, we no longer need teachers.  Critique is allied to domination.  It propels us elsewhere, it consumes us, and stays cautiously sheltered when it sends us to the slaughter.  Hence the brief romances between proletarians and 'engaged' intellectuals.  Those rational marriages in which neither has the same idea of pleasure or freedom.  Rather than new critiques, it is new cartographics that we need.  Not cartographics of Empire, but of the lines that flee out of it.

In the present war, where the emergency reformism of Capital has to dress up as a revolutionary to be heard, a role is prepared for us.  The role of the martyrs of the demokratic order.  I should start singing the victim's rhetoric.  As is well known, everyone is a victim, even the oppressors.  I should savour the discreet circulation of masochism which re-enchants the situation.

Today human strike means refusing to play the role of the victim.  Making the paralyzed citizens understand the war that they refuse to join, but are part of anyway.  That when we are told it is either this or dying, it is always in reality this and dying.

NDPP

On Gandhi, Pacifism and Black Bloc Recruitment Poster, by Jaggi Singh

http://mostlywater.org/gandhi_pacifism_and_black_bloc_recruitment_poster

"When I talk about 'De-mystifying Gandhi,' I mean taking apart the way his myth is used by middle-class pacifist liberals in the west.."

Slumberjack

Call

The Left is periodically routed. This amuses us but it is not enough. We want its rout to be final. With no remedy. May the spectre of a reconcilable opposition never again come to haunt the minds of those who know they won't fit into the capitalist process.

The Left - everybody admits this today, but will we still remember the day after tomorrow? - is an integral part of the neutralisation mechanisms peculiar to liberal society. The more the social implosion proves real, the more the Left invokes "civil society." The more the police exercises its arbitrary will with impunity, the more they claim to be pacifist. The more the state throws off the last judicial formalities, the more they become "citizens". The greater the urgency to appropriate the means of our existence, the more the Left exhorts us to appropriate the conditions of our submission, to wait and demand the mediation, if not the protection, of our masters.

It is the Left which enjoins us today, faced with governments which stand openly on the terrain of social war, to make ourselves heard by them, to write up our grievances, to form demands, to study economics. From Léon Blum to Lula, the Left has been nothing but that: the party of the man, the citizen and civilisation. Today this program coincides with the complete counter-revolutionary program which consists in maintaining all the illusions that paralyse us. The calling of the Left is therefore to expound the dream of what only empire can afford. It represents the idealistic side of imperial modernisation, the necessary steam-valve to the unbearable pace of capitalism.

Slumberjack

Notes on the State of Exception - Claire Fontaine

Quote:
The game of war. Historical avant-gardes and war: a love story and not even a tormented one, an almost smooth-sailing romance, apart from a few expatriations. One could still - before the state of exception - play the exceptional singularity, play the game of war with one's friends and rivals. But this is no longer the case for us. The war paradigm of rivalries between small groups, the war-matrix of the guerrilla's imaginative, paramilitary strategies, the surrealists, the situationists, the Mao-dadaists (and the list goes on) lived in a world where words and experience carried on a passionate conversation that could be turned to the extreme, erupt into a scandal or even be interrupted for good. These were toy-wars, wars for snobs. Nowadays we can frame and exhibit these lovely gesticulations and return to the curfew of our already-filmed everyday lives, to surfaces saturated with advertising images, to our socio-economically integrated solitudes. And understand for once and for all that the battleground has changed, that we need to invent much more ambitious derives if only in order to escape the amplified normalcy of our perceptions.

Slumberjack

Interview with Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill

Quote:
AH Speaking of being two things at once, I wanted to bring up the question of anarchist politics and art's relationship to the market. You work inside the market: you show in galleries, you sell art, you are inside the system... How do you respond to those who make the easy accusation that you're complicit with capitalism? Is any artist not complicit with capitalism? What does "complicity" even mean, in art, today? Is art somehow a model for contemporary management?

CF Inside, outside...these are things we don't understand. Who says that? There is no such thing as a defined outside of capitalism anymore, and the inside is so full of holes that billions leak out of banks just because of some unauthorized trading by an anonymous broker. Maybe in our latitudes the idea of the outside was a childish illusion to begin with, fed by the two blocs that used to face each other during the Cold War. But there is a real impossibility of working outside a capitalist system. The idea of working against capitalism was born from the utopia that a different type of economy could exist, run by different laws, where the power wouldn't produce oppression and repression. History has shown that socialist countries cannot make it without a world revolution. However, when those countries are convinced of this, they have already become dictatorships and/or ultracapitalistic countries. Our present situation is highly complex; many pockets of the third world exist inside "rich" countries, and these same rich countries happily practice the new form of colonialism that some people like to call globalization. Social classes have multiplied but everyone inside them is a lot more isolated and structurally competitive. Artists are a good example of this situation: they are self-employed because they are worker and boss in one body (as Godard always says). It is impossible for them to federate in a union or a cooperative, or if they do, it becomes immediately pathetic. For people who can't identify with their own job or who identify with it too much (as an ideal), democratic forms of struggle are a very bad fit. Many artists we know have two or three jobs because they can't or don't want to make money through their art. So, saying, "I am an artist" means many different things. This dysfunction in professional identification is more and more common; that's why it will probably be a desertion from within that will destroy capitalism. But we are not prophets. And by the way, we don't know what "complicity" means in art today. We don't even know what "art" is. It is many different worlds, many different people....

AH Godard, in fact, famously withdrew from making movies in 1967, paralyzed by his uncertainty about how to proceed in light of the political state of affairs in France. He then stormed the Cannes Festival in 1968, forcibly preventing the curtains from opening, causing the cancellation of the event. He eventually got back to making (excellent) movies. Is Godard's hesitation one you feel you're faced with-to stop making art in order to engage more actively with politics?

CF No, never, because nothing is happening right now. Nothing like Godard's gesture is possible anymore. The idea that we can or should plan every single possibility of our lives in advance is a very contemporary but perhaps also reactionary idea. It's just impossible. No one can know how one would react to the next insurrection, whether one will be the protagonist or the enemy of those who are rebelling. Those who pretend to be able to do so are prisoners of an ideology. We have no regrets right now, but of course the situation can and should be transformed. In fact, revolutionary moments are times when priorities automatically change. Then you never have to ask yourself, Do I go there or not? What will happen to me if I do this? You just can't help being where you have to be; nothing can stop people from taking the side that has to be theirs. There is no hesitation in decisive moments, and if there is, this is already a political position.

Slumberjack

The Cybernetic Hypothesis

Quote:
"They believed resolutely that the future would be modern: different, impassioning, and definitely difficult. Peopled by cyborgs and bare handed entrepreneurs, frenzied stock-marketeers and turbine-men. And for those that are willing to see it, the present is already like that. They think the future will be human, feminine even -- and plural; so that everyone can really live it, so that everyone participates in it. They are the Enlightenment men we've lost, infantrymen of progress, the inhabitants of the 21st century. They fight against ignorance, injustice, poverty, and suffering of all kinds. They go where it's happening, where things are going on. They don't want to miss out on a thing. They're humble and courageous, at the service of interests that are far beyond them, guided by a higher principle. They can pose problems, and they can find solutions. They'll have us traversing the most perilous of frontiers, they'll reach out a hand to pull us up onto the shore of the future. They're History marching forth, at least what's left of it, because the hardest part is over. They're the saints and the prophets, true socialists. They've known for a long while that May 1968 wasn't a revolution. The true revolution is the one they're making. Now it's just a matter of organization and transparency, intelligence and cooperation. A vast program! Then..."

Excuse me? What? What'd you say? What program? The worst nightmares, you know, are often the metamorphoses of a fable, fables PEOPLE tell their kids to put them to sleep and perfect their moral education. The new conquerors, who we'll call the cyberneticians, do not comprise an organized party -- which would have made our work here a lot easier -- but rather a diffuse constellation of agents, all driven, possessed, and blinded by the same fable. These are the murderers of Time, the crusaders of Sameness, the lovers of fatality. These are the sectarians of order, the reason-addicts, the go-between people. The Great Legends may indeed be dead, as the post-modern vulgate often claims, but domination is still comprised of master-fictions. Such was the case of the Fable of the Bees published by Bernard de Mandeville in the first years of the 18th century, which contributed so much to the founding of political economy and to justifying the advances made by capitalism. Prosperity, the social order, and politics no longer depended on the catholic virtues of sacrifice but on the pursuit by each individual of his own interests: it declared the "private vices" to be guarantees of the "common good." Mandeville, the "Devil-Man" as PEOPLE called him at the time, thus founded the liberal hypothesis, as opposed to the religious spirit of his times, a hypothesis which would later have a great influence on Adam Smith. Though it is regularly re-invoked, in a renovated form given it by liberalism, this fable is obsolete today. For critical minds, it follows that it's not worth it anymore to critique liberalism. A new model has taken its place, the very one that hides behind the names "internet," "new information and communications technology," the "new economy," or genetic engineering. Liberalism is now no longer anything but a residual justification, an alibi for the everyday crimes committed by cybernetics.

Fidel

Wow, that one reminded me of Ted Kaczynski's manifesto.  What about the wicked technological advancement known as fire? Just observing how many people have died by fire and its effects since the stone age, I'm not sure fire was a good idea, either. We'd surely have been better off freezing in the dark and being carried off in the night in the mouths of saber tooth cats the size of large cows. And eating from the tree of life? OMG! Don't get us started on that one. Apples and fruit in general have had a bad rap ever since. It's no wonder anarchists are cranky.

Slumberjack

Well, I thought it made for some good holiday reading.  Kaczynski was a murderer and a reactionary, whose personal vendettas betrayed a complete disregard for human life.  On the other hand, these particular authors include throughout their writings such caveats as:

"Those who would respond to the urgency of the situation with the urgency of their reaction only add to the general asphyxiation. Their manner of intervention implies the rest of their politics, of their agitation."

From what I've gathered, it seems they lump black block groups, lone vigilantes, peaceful protestors, and leftist parliamentarians into similarly 'misguided' categories...which is to say that none of these things work anymore if it ever did, whether acting in isolation or coordinated together, despite the fact that people remain foolishly enthralled by the various forms of expression we've seen displayed all too often.  The outcomes to which technology had historically been and remains dedicated toward is certainly a theme, but it would be a stretch of the imagination to say that Luddism is being advanced as an alternative.  It suggests you either haven't understood or haven't read the material, or worse again and by the sound of it, perhaps you've managed both?

Fidel

Well okay, I apologize for the Kaczynski reference. Looking back, it was uncalled for. I admit that technology in the wrong hands would be a dangerous thing indeed. And I think there will be new and genuine dangers with advances in nanotech, genetics and robotics in general. We will have new and efficient ways to destroy ourselves. The risks are real for sure. But with great risks come great rewards at the same time. The next 100 years of tech advancement will be the most crucial period in human history according to some scientists. It will either make or break us as a species. As Izzy Mandelbaum once said in a Seinfeld episode, though, it's go time!

I've always admired Ray Kurzweil's optimism for the future of tech. Kurzweil thinks we are evolving towards becoming 'spritial machines' and the like, and that we should embrace technology. Very clever person is Kurzweil. But at the same time I tend to shy away from Kurzweil's belief that human intelligence can be reproduced in silicon. I think it may require quantum computing power sometime in the future if it's even possible. I don't know, but I think materialist scientists like Kurzweil assume perhaps too much about human spirituality and consciousness. I think we are more than the sum total of our physical parts, and I am in good company with my skepticism apparently.

Bill Joy, co-founder of the former Sun Micro shares the anarchist view of technology. 

Why the future doesn't need us.  Bill Joy

Joy takes a left turn apparently. There is an interesting reference to the unabomber's manifesto, which Joy thinks can not be dismissed as easily as his actions. Again, no offense intended.

 

Slumberjack

Fidel wrote:
I think we are more than the sum total of our physical parts, and I am in good company with my skepticism apparently.

Collectively we can be more, but the problem individually and thus collectively is that our capacity for reason, or more accurately the place where our capacity resides to absorb the various forms of reasoning, just happens to be part and parcel of the physical whole.  And it is in this place specifically where it is possible for programming to occur, and alternately de-programming to the point of partially writing over at least the existing information.  From the beginning of individual awareness and throughout, these 'applications' arrive at our processing center through largely external influences after all.  Sometimes we are able to come up with new opinions on our own, which are mostly elaborations of previously imbedded knowledge, but which are not always very helpful on their own either.

Right now though, the technology is not intended to assist us with any clarifications.  We have to 'take from it what we can, for our own purposes,' seems to be a common proposition running througout  the material posted above; which I suppose were it applied to another conversation could otherwise be repeated as a point favouring your brand of politics.  Give that a try why not?  I have a response. :)

Fidel

Slumberjack wrote:

Fidel wrote:
I think we are more than the sum total of our physical parts, and I am in good company with my skepticism apparently.

Collectively we can be more, but the problem individually and thus collectively is that our capacity for reason, or more accurately the place where our capacity resides to absorb the various forms of reasoning, just happens to be part and parcel of the physical whole.  And it is in this place specifically where it is possible for programming to occur, and alternately de-programming to the point of partially writing over at least the existing information.

I think you are either absolutely right or absolutely wrong about this, one or the other. We have no proof either way. I think it will be possible to mimick and even surpass human physical brain capabilities in certain ways. But the exact location of consciousness in the brain is still a mystery today. They've seen glimpses of shadows of it in brain imaging, but it's as if they've discovered traces of a thief by feeling their way in a darkened room. The thief is a master of evasion apparently. 

Slumberjack wrote:
From the beginning of individual awareness and throughout, these 'applications' arrive at our processing center through largely external influences after all.  Sometimes we are able to come up with new opinions on our own, which are mostly elaborations of previously imbedded knowledge, but which are not always very helpful on their own either.

I think the first AI's to approach human intelligence will be infantile, and then child-like followed by adolescent stage machines. And the problem with teenagers, they say, is that many of them are borderline sociopaths. I think the danger of AI machines will be real, and the teenagers will have to be contained much like robots are mostly enclosed behind steel cages and locked clean rooms in automated factories today. It will have to be a good day when people and machines can interact safely. There will have to be safety "kill switches" for some time until machines pass the test. Who will create the test, and what will the protocol look like? Good question if I do say so.

Slumberjack wrote:
Right now though, the technology is not intended to assist us with any clarifications.  We have to 'take from it what we can, for our own purposes,' seems to be a common proposition running througout  the material posted above; which I suppose were it applied to another conversation could otherwise be repeated as a point favouring your brand of politics.  Give that a try why not?  I have a response. :)
 

I haven't made any radical conclusions thus far. I have no idea what the actual future holds only guesstimates. I am, afterall, only human. But I think that in the future we will have ways of telling one another apart from the most intelligent and even the most spiritual of machines. 

Bladerunner wrote:
All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... Time to die. - Roy the replicant

Corny sci-fi flick adapted from a book entitled: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, but it made me wonder even way back then. Life is more precious than we admit throughout most of our lives. It's typically near the end that we take notice. Sad.

Slumberjack

This Is Not A Program

Quote:
Historical conflict no longer opposes two massive molar heaps, two classes - the exploited and the exploiters, the dominant and dominated, managers and workers among which, in each individual case, one could differentiate. The front line no longer cuts through the middle of society; it now runs through the middle of each of us, between what makes us a citizen, our predicates, and all the rest.

Quote:
Dressing up what is hostile to the system of representation in the guise of the "negative," "protest," the "rebel," is simply a tactic that the system uses to bring within its plane of inconsistency the positivity it lacks - even at the risk of confrontation. The cardinal error of all subversion therefore lies in the obsession with negativity, in an attachment to the power of negation as if that were its most characteristic feature, whereas it is precisely in the power of negation that subversion is the most dependent on Empire, and on Empire's recognition of it.

Quote:
Foucault, too, made a decisive contribution to the theory of the Imaginary Party: his interviews dealing with the plebs. Foucault evokes the theme for the first time in a "Discussion with Maoists" on "popular justice" in 1972. Criticizing the Maoist practice of popular courts, he reminds us that all popular revolts since the Middles Ages have been anti-judicial, that the constitution of people's courts during the French Revolution occurred at precisely the moment when the bourgeoisie regained control, and, finally, that the tribunal form, by reintroducing a neutral authority between the people and its enemies, reincorporated the principle of the state in the struggle against the state.

Slumberjack

This is Not the Black Bloc

Quote:
No speech comes "from inside" the black bloc, because there is no inside or outside. The black bloc, which we name as such with these two impoverished words, is not constituted like groups, corps, institutions.  It is a temporary agglomeration without truth or watchwords. 

It is also what is left in the hands of our discontent, at the stage of society we have reached, despite ourselves: the impossibility of marching together while shouting out phrases so that they can be heard, the incapacity to engage in indirect and representative actions, the urgent need to unload one-thousandth of the cruelty the State, money, and advertisements inject in all our veins every day.

The category black bloc doesn't designate anything or anyone, or more precisely, maybe it designates anyone as such. A distinctive feature of one who finds themselves in what we call a black bloc is to demand nothing for themselves or for others, to cut across public space without being subjected to it for once, to disappear in a mass that has at last come together in places that are not office or factory exits and public transportation at rush hour. Rampant hypocrisy makes us associate the black bloc with a specific and organized entity-like Sony, Vivendi, or Total Fina - and this same hypocrisy considers as "crimes" the minor damage that the desire for willful indistinctness leaves behind when it takes the form of a spontaneous demonstration.

Slumberjack

In 1993 Giorgio Agamben wrote:
What could be the politics of whatever singularity, that is, of a being whose community is mediated not by any condition of belonging (being red, being Italian, being Communist) nor by the simple absence of conditions (a negative community, such as that recently proposed in France by Maurice Blanchot), but by belonging itself? ... The novelty of the coming politics is that it will no longer be a struggle for the conquest or control of the State, but a struggle between the State and the non-State (humanity), an insurmountable disjunction between whatever singularity and the State organization.

Pages