"Within the metaphor, anarchists can disrupt local traffic with their critical masses, they can park their cars on the hard shoulder and go and find themselves in the adjacent field of sugarbeet, nobody notices the sparks that fly off into the dark periphery. They can drive their tractors slowly, they can hold parties on the tarmac, they can dig up chunks of what they hate, they can make other drivers feel very, very annoyed by their pranks and provocations. But all of this is second level voluntarism (I am determined by the road therefore I rebel against the road), it is not deep down structural, it’s at the level of ‘Starbucks bad, Fairtrade good’, it’s secondary and not right in there, touching the heart of it. The best second level structure for political reflection on economic forces is democracy, but at all times in its history democracy has shown itself to be controlled by and not in control of, the economy. Those ‘anarchists’ advocating municipalism and ‘real’ democracy should take note of this failure."
it’s supposed to be a “regime of power” coming into existence around 1800 (coincident, more or less, with modern capitalism), in which “power”, i.e. the state, but maybe in a most expansive sense, starts to become interested in the population, and in particular, in the health of the population, and enacts all these measures to keep the population healthy, educated, disciplined, docile, etc. So power sort of moves into and though society, and becomes part of its essential make up. But I guess its particularly that the state/power relates to people as a “population”, like an animal population, that can be measured, examined, poked, made to do things—to grow or shrink, to become more or less engaged with other populations, and so on.
Even as the extension of planning and infrastructure seemed to suggest that socialism was inherent in the direction of development of the mode of production, it also called into question the possibility of everything connected to local autonomy and self-management. On the one hand, infrastructure-dependent industries appear to be unavailable to the development and management of unskilled or semi-skilled workers. They require an increasingly sophisticated technocratic elite, to be operational. They need to benefit from economies of scale, to be worthwhile: railroad lines, electrical lines. The very fact that these technologies are about communication, travel, etc: they generate a world that is outward looking, that links up everyone in the world. For these reasons, it becomes harder and harder for any insurrectionist to actually imagine what it would look like to take power. Their plans, once clearly visible, begin to go out of focus and fade away, like someone trying to remember a dream after waking. Now, the bases of power are now ever more dispersed (as Foucault saw, probably most clearly): now, its not only that one needs to disperse the army and the police, to replace representatives with recallable delegates. There are still the power stations, the water supply, the gas stations, airports and airplanes, the ports and ships, etc. And then, moreover, how might we actually get rid of the state, in this more expansive sense, without a massive simplification of life, in ways that are themselves unimaginable?But even for those who can imagine it, there is this other problem, that the earth itself has been transformed; it now needs human action to keep it going, at least as a planet suitable for human and other life. The planet is full of toxic waste, which must be kept out of the groundwater. Nuclear power plants cannot easily be decommissioned, nor can they be left to decommission themselves.
"Bakunin has become a monster, a huge mass of flesh and fat, and is barely capable of walking any more. To crown it all, he is sexually perverse and jealous of the seventeen year-old Polish girl who married him in Siberia because of his martyrdom. He is presently in Sweden, where he is hatching ‘revolution’ with the Finns."
from total destruction #4, via letters journal blog:
Notes On Attacking the Cult of Personal Agency
Regardless of my political positions or activity, I cannot transform material conditions. Involvement in a political group or “movement” does not change this. I can, at best, make it onto the evening news.
The cult of personal agency pushes forward the ideology that individual choices and ideas can change the world. This cult pushes people in circles of useless political activity – in addition to the usual working, shopping, and so on – and leaves many burned out when all of their actions amount to nothing more than a strange social life.
The expectation of doing the right thing, dressing correctly for political activity, and articulating acceptable positions on everything makes for awful personal and romantic relationships within the pro-revolutionary milieu.
Specifics differ depending on ideology and subculture, of course, but the dedication to evangelism and party building (spreading consciousness) is constant.
Sectarianism and ‘infighting’ emerge when one believes that political militants change the world, but the world doesn’t change. The lack of change is attributed to bad organizing, lack of creativity, or faulty leadership. As with advertising firms, the wording and layout of leaflets, websites, and posters takes on monumental importance.
Political militants hold each other to a completely different set of standards than they do their coworkers and neighbors, who are not considered worthy of leadership or agency.
Pro-revolutionaries, in their self-importance, make decisions not based on self-interest but on political strategy and tactics. In this way, the cult of personal agency is a cult of sacrifice.
Do you think the possibility of revolution is related to what you happen to be doing?
“tis true that slacking is likely the closest we’ll ever get to heaven…”
A critique of optimism — the religious dogma that states there will be an ultimate triumph of good over evil — in the far left
This is the definition of class hatred
Death appears as the harsh victory of the law of our ancestors over the dimension of our becoming. It is a fact that, as productivity increases, each succeeding generation becomes smaller. The defeat of our fathers is revisited upon us as the limits of our world. Yes, structure is human, it is the monumentalisation of congealed sweat, sweat squeezed from old exploitation and represented as nature, the world we inhabit, the objective ground. We do not, in our busy insect-like comings and goings, make the immediate world in which we live, we do not make a contribution, on the contrary we are set in motion by it; a generation will pass before what we have done as an exploited class will seep through as an effect of objectivity. (Our wealth is laid down in heaven.) The structure of the world was built by the dead, they were paid in wages, and when the wages were spent and they were dead in the ground, what they had made continued to exist, these cities, roads and factories are their calcified bones.
They had nothing but their wages to show for what they had done and after their deaths what they did and who they were has been cancelled out. But what they made has continued into our present, their burial and decay is our present.
This is the definition of class hatred. We are no closer now to rest, to freedom, to communism than they were, their sacrifice has bought us nothing, what they did counted for nothing, we have inherited nothing, we work as they worked, we make as they made, we are paid as they were paid. We do not possess either our acts or the world that conditions us, just as they owned nothing of their lives.
Yes they produced value, they made the world in which we now live. The world that now weighs down upon us is constructed from the wealth they made, wealth that was taken from them as soon as they were paid their wage, taken and owned by someone else, owned and used to define the nature of ownership and the class domination that preserves it.
We too must work, and the value we produce leaks away from us, from each only a trickle but in all a sea of it and that, for the next generation, will thicken into wealth for others to own and as a congealed structure it will be used as a vantage point for the bourgeoisie to direct new enterprises in new and different directions but demanding always the same work.
The class war begins in the desecration of our ancestors: millions of people going to their graves as failures, forever denied the experience of a full human existence, their being was simply cancelled out. The violence of the bourgeoisie’s appropriation of the world of work becomes the structure that dominates our existence. As our parents die, we can say truly that their lives were for nothing, that the black earth that is thrown down onto them blacks out our sky.
"There’s no way toward a sustainable future without tackling environmentalism’s old stumbling blocks: consumption and jobs. And the way to do that is through a universal basic income." - Wacko Jaco mag
re normcore (already the most embarrassing word of 2k14, maybe more embarrassing than ‘selfie’), k-hole, youth mode, that nymag op-ed, and the proliferation of articles written in response (like this one by cat smith)
In December, we interviewed Silvia Federici, a Marxist-feminist thinker, author and activist. Federici was a member of the International Feminist Collective beginning in the 1970’s, which produced the Campaign for Wages for Housework along with Selma James and Maria Dalla Costa. She is the…
Calvino’s text is thus an accurate representation of the paradoxical status of women in Western discourse: while culture originates form woman and is founded on the dream of her captivity, women are all but absent form history and cultural process. …The following essay, then, is written on the wind, through the silence that discourse prescribes for me, woman writer, and across the chasm of its paradox that would have me at once captive and absent. Teresa de Lauretis
"Authenticity, publicly witnessed authenticity, drives activism, it senses falseness and aims its critique more at mass conformity than capitalist exploitation; there is little moral doubt in activist heads that social change is predicated only on more people becoming just like them. In its passion for cultural alternatives we see the desire of activism to be not just a negation of present conditions but an incarnation of the future, like Jesus turning up before John The Baptist."