The Coming Insurrection is a French radical leftist, anarchist tract written by The Invisible .. "The war against pre-terrorism: The Tarnac 9 and The Coming Insurrection" (PDF). Radical Philosophy, No. p. 4. ^ The Coming Insurrection , p. The Coming Insurrection is an eloquent call to arms arising from the recent waves of social The Coming Insurrection is a strategic prescription for an emergent. ALL POWER TO THE COMMUNES THE COMING INSURRECTION The Invisible Committee A point of clarification Everyone agrees. It's about to explode.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Arabic|
|ePub File Size:||21.36 MB|
|PDF File Size:||18.21 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
she's coming back from work, flying down the road in her Smart car. Will they on the side of insurrection, future Paris insurgents were advised to take over the. From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues. From those who seek hope above all, it tears away every. File:The Invisible Committee The Coming Insurrection pdf The_Invisible_Committee_The_Coming_Insurrection_pdf (file size.
It's above all a fiction that no longer knows how to carry on. What keeps all these karate fanatics, these DIY, fishing, or mycology freaks going? Search Advanced Search close Close. The disaster has already occurred: All territory is synthesized within the metropolis. To the point that any return to normal is no longer desirable or even imaginable. Clearly these are, in turn, opportunities for other forces to consolidate or strengthen one another as they take the other side.
There is a certain pleasure in calculating the risks. Already, we are presented with a detailed menu of preventive measures for securing the territory. The New Years festivities take a decisive turn — "next year there'll be no oysters, enjoy them while you can! We can discern more clearly every day, beneath the reassuring drone, the noise of preparations for open war. It's impossible to ignore its cold and pragmatic implementation, no longer even bothering to present itself as an operation of pacification.
The newspapers conscientiously draw up the list of causes for the sudden disquiet. There is the financial crisis, of course, with its booming unemployment, its share of hopelessness and of social plans, its Kerviel and Madoff scandals. There is the failure of the educational system, its dwindling production of workers and citizens, even with the children of the middle class as its raw material.
There is the existence of a youth to which no political representation corresponds, a youth good for nothing but destroying the free bicycles that society so conscientiously put at their disposal.
None of these worrisome subjects should appear insurmountable in an era whose predominant mode of government is precisely the management of crises. Unless we consider that what power is confronting is neither just another crisis, nor a series of more or less chronic problems, of more or less anticipated disturbances, but a singular peril: Those who everywhere make up this peril have to ask themselves more than the trifling questions about causes, or the probabilities of inevitable movements and confrontations.
They need to ask how, for instance, does the Greek chaos resonate in the French situation? An uprising here cannot be the simple transposition of what happened over there.
Global civil war still has its local specificities. In France a situation of generalized rioting would provoke an explosion of another tenor. The Greek rioters are faced with a weak state, whilst being able to take advantage of a strong popularity. One must not forget that it was against the Regime of the Colonels that, only thirty years ago, democracy reconstituted itself on the basis of a practice of political violence.
This violence, whose memory is not so distant, still seems intuitive to most Greeks. Even the leaders of the socialist party have thrown a molotov or two in their youth. Yet classical politics is equipped with variants that know very well how to accommodate these practices and to extend their ideological rubbish to the very heart of the riot.
If the Greek battle wasn't decided, and put down, in the streets — the police being visibly outflanked there — it's because its neutralization was played out elsewhere. There is nothing more draining, nothing more fatal, than this classical politics, with its dried up rituals, its thinking without thought, its little closed world.
In France, our most exalted socialist bureaucrats have never been anything other than shriveled husks filling up the halls of the Assembly. Here everything conspires to annihilate even the slightest form of political intensity. Which means that it is always possible to oppose the citizen to the delinquent in a quasi- linguistic operation that goes hand in hand with quasi-military operations.
The riots of November and, in a different context, the social movements in the autumn of , have already provided several precedents. The image of right wing students in Nanterre applauding as the police expelled their classmates offers a small glimpse of what the future holds in store. It goes without saying that the attachment of the French to the state — the guarantor of universal values, the last rampart against the disaster — is a pathology that is difficult to undo.
It's above all a fiction that no longer knows how to carry on. Our governors themselves increasingly consider it as a useless encumbrance because they, at least, take the conflict for what it is — militarily. They have no complex about sending in elite antiterrorist units to subdue riots, or to liberate a recycling center occupied by its workers. As the welfare state collapses, we see the emergence of a brute conflict between those who desire order and those who don't.
Everything that French politics has been able to deactivate is in the process of unleashing itself. It will never be able to process all that it has repressed. In the advanced degree of social decomposition, we can count on the coming movement to find the necessary breath of nihilism.
Which will not mean that it won't be exposed to other limits. Revolutionary movements do not spread by contamination but by resonance. Something that is constituted here resonates with the shock wave emitted by something constituted over there. A body that resonates does so according to its own mode. An insurrection is not like a plague or a forest fire — a linear process which spreads from place to place after an initial spark. It rather takes the shape of a music, whose focal points, though dispersed in time and space, succeed in imposing the rhythm of their own vibrations, always taking on more density.
To the point that any return to normal is no longer desirable or even imaginable. When we speak of Empire we name the mechanisms of power that preventively and surgically stifle any revolutionary becoming in a situation. In this sense, Empire is not an enemy that confronts us head-on. It is a rhythm that imposes itself, a way of dispensing and dispersing reality.
Less an order of the world than its sad, heavy and militaristic liquidation.
What we mean by the party of insurgents is the sketching out of a completely other composition, an other side of reality, which from Greece to the French banlieues 2 is seeking its consistency.
It is now publicly understood that crisis situations are so many opportunities for the restructuring of domination. This charade of an economic crisis is 2. But for our generation — which was born in the crisis and has known nothing but economic, financial, social and ecological crisis — this is rather difficult to accept. They won't fool us again, with another round "now we start all over again" and "it's just a question of tightening our belts for a little while. Crisis is a means of governing.
In a world that seems to hold together only through the infinite management of its own collapse. What this war is being fought over is not various ways of managing society, but irreducible and irreconcilable ideas of happiness and their worlds.
We know it, and so do the powers that be. The militant remnants that see us — always more numerous, always more identifiable — are tearing out their hair trying to fit us into little compartments in their little heads. They hold out their arms to us in order to better suffocate us, with their failures, their paralysis, their stupid problematics.
From elections to "transitions," militants will never be anything other than that which distances us, each time a little farther, from the possibility of communism. Luckily we will accommodate neither treason nor deception for much longer.
The past has given us much too many bad answers for us not to see that the mistakes were in the questions themselves. There is no need to choose between the fetishism of spontaneity and organizational control; between the "come one, come all" of activist networks and the discipline of hierarchy; between acting desperately now and waiting desperately for later; between bracketing that which is to be lived and experimented in the name of a paradise that seems more and more like a hell the longer it is put off and flogging the dead horse of how planting carrots is enough to leave this nightmare.
Organizations are obstacles to organizing ourselves. In truth, there is no gap between what we are, what we do, and what we are becoming. Organizations — political or labor, fascist or anarchist — always begin by separating, practically, these aspects of existence. It's then easy for them to present their idiotic formalism as the sole remedy to this separation. To organize is not to give a structure to weakness. It is above all to form bonds — bonds that are by no means neutral — terrible bonds.
The degree of organization is measured by the intensity of sharing — material and spiritual. From now on, to materially organize for survival is to materially organize for attack.
We hate bosses, but we want to be employed at any cost. To have a job is an honor, yet working is a sign of servility. In short: We love while hating, we hate while loving. And we all know the stupor and confusion that strike the hysteric when he loses his victim — his master. Most of the time he never recovers. While the Department of Labor was massively manipulating its statistics in order to bring unemployment numbers below two million.
While welfare checks and drug dealing were the only guarantees, as the French state has recognized, against the possibility of social unrest at each and every moment. We belong to a generation that lives very well in this fiction. That has never counted on either a pension or the right to work, let alone rights at work. We accept the necessity of finding money, by whatever means, because it is currently impossible to do without it, but we reject the necessity of working.
All these discourses on motivation, quality and personal investment pass us by, to the great dismay of human resources managers. They are lying. To be disappointed, one must have hoped for something. And we have never hoped for anything from business: On behalf of our parents, our only regret is that they fell into the trap, at least the ones who believed.
The sentimental confusion that surrounds the question of work can be explained thus: Exploitation of individual and collective labor power through the private or social appropriation of surplus value; participation in a common effort through the relations linking those who cooperate at the heart of the universe of production. Hence the ambivalence of the relation of work, which is shameful insofar as it makes us strangers to what we are doing, and — at the same time — adored, insofar as a part of ourselves is brought into play.
The disaster has already occurred: Here lies the present paradox: Gains in productivity, outsourcing, mechanization, automated and digital production have so progressed that they have almost reduced to zero the quantity of living labor necessary in the manufacture of any product.
We are living the paradox of a society of workers without work, where entertainment, consumption and leisure only underscore the lack from which they are supposed to distract us.
The mine in Carmaux, famous for a century of violent strikes, has now been reconverted into Cape Discovery. In corporations, work is divided in an increasingly visible way into highly skilled positions of research, conception, control, coordination and communication which deploy all the knowledge necessary for the new, cybernetic production process, and unskilled positions for the maintenance and surveillance of this process.
The first are few in number, very well paid and thus so coveted that the minority who occupy these positions will do anything to avoid losing them. They and their work are effectively bound in one anguished embrace.
Managers, scientists, lobbyists, researchers, programmers, developers, consultants and engineers, literally never stop working. Even their sex lives serve to augment productivity. They are entrepreneurs. This flexible, undifferentiated workforce that moves from one task to the next and never stays long in a business can no longer even consolidate itself as a force, being outside the center of the production process and employed to plug the holes of what has not yet been mechanized, as if pulverized in a multitude of interstices.
The temp is the figure of the worker who is no longer a worker, who no longer has a trade — but only abilities that he sells where he can — and whose very availability is also a kind of work. On the margins of this workforce that is effective and necessary for the functioning of the machine, is a growing majority that has become superfluous, that is certainly useful to the flow of production but not much else, which introduces the risk that, in its idleness, it will set about sabotaging the machine.
The menace of a general demobilization is the specter that haunts the present system of production. I have to keep myself busy. This floating population must somehow be kept occupied. But to this day they have not found a better disciplinary method than wages. This is accompanied by a continual raising of the standards of security, hygiene, control, and culture, and by an accelerated recycling of fashions, all of which establish the need for such services.
The order of work was the order of a world. The evidence of its ruin is paralyzing to those who dread what will come after. Today work is tied less to the economic necessity of producing goods than to the political necessity of producing producers and consumers, and of preserving by any means necessary the order of work.
Producing oneself is becoming the dominant occupation of a society where production no longer has an object: To be mobilized is to relate to work not as an activity but as a possibility. This is the new standard of socialization. Mobility brings about a fusion of the two contradictory poles of work: Ideally, you are yourself a little business, your own boss, your own product. On the one hand, ghosts are brought to life, and on the other, the living are left to die.
This is the properly political function of the contemporary production apparatus. To organize beyond and against work, to collectively desert the regime of mobility, to demonstrate the existence of a vitality and a discipline precisely in demobilization, is a crime for which a civilization on its knees is not about to forgive us. From up close or from afar, what surrounds us looks nothing like that: Certainly the ancient city existed, as did the cities of medieval and modern times.
But there is no such thing as a metropolitan city. All territory is synthesized within the metropolis. Everything occupies the same space, if not geographically then through the intermeshing of its networks.
The factory buildings of Lille become concert halls. In Beijing, the hutongs surrounding the Forbidden City were demolished, replaced by fake versions, placed a little farther out, on display for sightseers. In Troyes they paste half-timber facades onto cinderblock buildings, a type of pastiche that resembles the Victorian shops at Disneyland Paris more than anything else.
The old historic centers, once hotbeds of revolutionary sedition, are now wisely integrated into the organizational diagram of the metropolis. They are the fairy-tale commodity islands, propped up by their expos and decorations, and by force if necessary. Control has a wonderful way of integrating itself into the commodity landscape, showing its authoritarian face to anyone who wants to see it.
Equal parts police surveillance and enchantement! In chasing out the poor people, the cars, and the immigrants, in making it tidy , in getting rid of all the germs, the petty bourgeoisie pulverizes the very thing it came looking for. A police officer and a garbage man shake hands in a picture on a town billboard, and the slogan reads: The metropolis is this simultaneous death of city and country.
It is the crossroads where all the petty bourgeois come together, in the middle of this middle class that stretches out indefinitely, as much a result of rural flight as of urban sprawl. To cover the planet with glass would fit perfectly the cynicism of contemporary architecture. A school, a hospital, or a media center are all variations on the same theme: These massive, fluid buildings are conceived without any need to know what they will house.
They could be here as much as anywhere else. But what artists! And they were not even aware of their own masterpiece! But nothing can compare to what I have seen here tonight before my very eyes. There still remain some fragments of the city and some traces of the country caught up in the metropolitan mesh.
The dormitory towers in the suburbs north of Paris, abandoned by a petty bourgeoisie that went off hunting for swimming pools, have been brought back to life by mass unemployment and now radiate more energy than the Latin Quarter.
In words as much as fire. The conflagration of November was not a result of extreme dispossession, as it is often portrayed. It was, on the contrary, a complete possession of a territory. People can burn cars because they are pissed off, but to keep the riots going for a month, while keeping the police in check — to do that you have to know how to organize, you have to establish complicities, you have to know the terrain perfectly, and share a common language and a common enemy.
Mile after mile and week after week, the fire spread. New blazes responded to the original ones, appearing where they were least expected. The metropolis is a terrain of constant low-intensity conflict, in which the taking of Basra, Mogadishu, or Nablus mark points of culmination. For a long time, the city was a place for the military to avoid, or if anything, to besiege; but the metropolis is perfectly compatible with war.
Armed conflict is only a moment in its constant reconfiguration. War is no longer a distinct event in time, but instead diffracts into a series of micro-operations, by both military and police, to ensure security.
The police and the army are evolving in parallel and in lock-step. A criminologist requests that the national riot police reorganize itself into small, professionalized, mobile units. The military academy, cradle of disciplinary methods, is rethinking its own hierarchical organization.
The plan is considered and reconsidered for days, right through the training phase and according to the latest intelligence [ Thus, since the battle of Nablus, Israeli soldiers have become interior designers. Forced by Palestinian guerrillas to abandon the streets, which had become too dangerous, they learned to advance vertically and horizontally into the heart of the urban architecture, poking holes in walls and ceilings in order to move through them.
An officer in the Israel Defense Forces, and a graduate in philosophy, explains: This is the essence of war. I need to win [ This echoes the advice of Blanqui who recommended in this case for the party of insurrection that the future insurgents of Paris take over the houses on the barricaded streets to protect their positions, that they should bore holes in the walls to allow passage between houses, break down the ground floor stairwells and poke holes in the ceilings to defend themselves against potential attackers, rip out the doors and use them to barricade the windows, and turn each floor into a gun turret.
The metropolis is not just this urban pile-up, this final collision between city and country. It is also a flow of beings and things, a current that runs through fiber-optic networks, through high-speed train lines, satellites, and video surveillance cameras, making sure that this world never stops running straight to its ruin. It is a current that would like to drag everything along in its hopeless mobility, to mobilize each and every one of us.
Where information pummels us like some kind of hostile force. Where the only thing left to do is run. Where it becomes hard to wait, even for the umpteenth subway train. With the proliferation of means of movement and communication, and with the lure of always being elsewhere, we are continuously torn from the here and now. Hop on an intercity or commuter train, pick up a telephone — in order to be already gone. Such mobility only ever means uprootedness, isolation, exile.
The process of cocooning is not going away, it is merely being put into motion. From a train station, to an office park, to a commercial bank, from one hotel to another, there is everywhere a foreignness, a feeling so banal and so habitual it becomes the last form of familiarity.
Metropolitan excess is this capricious mixing of definite moods, indefinitely recombined. The city centers of the metropolis are not clones of themselves, but offer instead their own auras; we glide from one to the next, selecting this one and rejecting that one, to the tune of a kind of existential shopping trip among different styles of bars, people, designs, or playlists.
It is precisely due to this architecture of flows that the metropolis is one of the most vulnerable human arrangements that has ever existed.
Supple, subtle, but vulnerable. A brutal shutting down of borders to fend off a raging epidemic, a sudden interruption of supply lines, organized blockades of the axes of communication — and the whole facade crumbles, a facade that can no longer mask the scenes of carnage haunting it from morning to night. The metropolis aims to shelter itself from inevitable malfunction via its network structure, via its entire technological infrastructure of nodes and connections, its decentralized architecture.
The internet is supposed to survive a nuclear attack. But the metropolis also produces the means of its own destruction. They brought with them one of the weapons of their own defeat. The proliferation of mobile phones and internet access points gave the guerrillas newfound ways to self-organize, and allowed them to become such elusive targets.
Every network has its weak points, the nodes that must be undone in order to interrupt circulation, to unwind the web. The last great European electrical blackout proved it: In order for something to rise up in the midst of the metropolis and open up other possibilities, the first act must be to interrupt its perpetuum mobile.
That is what the Thai rebels understood when they knocked out electrical stations. That is what the French anti-CPE protestors understood in when they shut down the universities with a view toward shutting down the entire economy. That is what the American longshoremen understood when they struck in October, in support of three hundred jobs, blocking the main ports on the West Coast for ten days. The American economy is so dependent on goods coming from Asia that the cost of the blockade was over a billion dollars per day.
With ten thousand people, the largest economic power in the world can be brought to its knees. Thirty years punctuated, it is true, by delusionary interludes: We must admit that the litany of stock market prices moves us about as much as a Latin mass. Luckily for us, there are quite a few of us who have come to this conclusion. Or of all those who no longer find their identity in their jobs and live for their time off.
All those struck by this strange mass detachment , adding to the ranks of retirees and the cynically overexploited flexible labor force. The soft crisis of vocation that the West is now experiencing is completely absent in these places. What is happening in Guinea, Russia, Argentina and Bolivia is a violent and long-lasting debunking of this religion and its clergy. One asks the other: For total misery becomes intolerable the moment it is shown for what it is, without cause or reason.
The accounting departments of corporations confess that they have no idea where value comes from. It is common sense now to see progress as synonymous with disaster. The collapse of the socialist bloc was in no way victory of capitalism; it was merely the bankrupting of one of the forms capitalism takes.
Besides, the demise of the USSR did not come about because a people revolted, but because the nomenclature was undergoing a process of reconversion. When it proclaimed the end of socialism, a small fraction of the ruling class emancipated itself from the anachronistic duties that still bound it to the people.
Everyone else got poverty or emigration. They no longer hesitate to send in anti-terrorism units to shut down a strike, like with the ferries and the occupied recycling center in Rennes.
And yet there is no doubt that we are cut out for the economy. For generations we were disciplined, pacified and made into subjects , productive by nature and content to consume. And suddenly everything that we were compelled to forget is revealed: And that this politics is, today, a politics of discrimination within a humanity that has, as a whole, become superfluous.
From Colbert to de Gaulle, by way of Napoleon III, the state has always treated the economic as political, as have the bourgeoisie who profit from it and the proletariat who confront it.
They have always pretended to believe that the economy is a reality — because their neutrality is safe there. Small business owners, small bosses, minor bureaucrats, managers, professors, journalists, middlemen of every sort make up this non-class in France, this social gelatin composed of the mass of all those who just want to live their little private lives at a distance from history and its tumults.
This swamp is predisposed to be the champion of false consciousness, half-asleep and always ready to close its eyes on the war that rages all around it. Each clarification of a front in this war is thus accompanied in France by the invention of some new fad. The comedy lasts only so long before turning into a sham.
And then another fad replaces it. Whereas ATTAC tried to save economics as a science with its popular education courses, degrowth preserves the economic as a morality.
There is only one alternative to the coming apocalypse: Consume and produce less. Become joyously frugal. Eat organic, ride your bike, stop smoking, and pay close attention to the products you buy.
Afterwards, some of them will go work in the neighborhood community garden, while others will dabble in pottery, some Zen Buddhism, or in the making of an animated film. They find communion in the smug feeling that they constitute a new humanity, wiser and more refined than the previous one. And they are right. There is a curious agreement between Apple and the degrowth movement about the civilization of the future. For in history there is no going back.
Any exhortation to return to the past is only the expression of one form of consciousness of the present, and rarely the least modern. It is not by chance that degrowth is the banner of the dissident advertisers of the magazine Casseurs de Pub. The inventors of zero growth — the Club of Rome in — were themselves a group of industrialists and bureaucrats who relied on a research paper written by cyberneticians at MIT.
This convergence is hardly a coincidence. It is part of the forced march towards a modernized economy. Capitalism got as much as it could from undoing all the old social ties, and it is now in the process of remaking itself by rebuilding these same ties on its own terms. Contemporary metropolitan social life is its incubator. In the same way, it ravaged the natural world and is driven by the fantasy that it can now be reconstituted as so many controlled environments, furnished with all the necessary sensors.
This new humanity requires a new economy that would no longer be a separate sphere of existence but, on the contrary, its very tissue, the raw material of human relations; it requires a new definition of work as work on oneself, a new definition of capital as human capital, a new idea of production as the production of relations, and consumption as the consumption of situations; and above all a new idea of value that would encompass all of the qualities of beings.
Such a science threatens to make us miss the good old days when unreliable indices like GDP growth were supposed to measure the well-being of a people — for at least no one believed in them. Its intellectual matrix is none other than cybernetics, the science of systems — that is, the science of their control. In the 17 th century it was necessary, in order to completely impose the force of economy and its ethos of work and greed, to confine and eliminate the whole seamy mass of layabouts, liars, witches, madmen, scoundrels and all the other vagrant poor, a whole humanity whose very existence gave the lie to the order of interest and continence.
The new economy cannot be established without a similar screening of subjects and zones singled out for transformation. The chaos that we constantly hear about will either provide the opportunity for this screening, or for our victory over this odious project. Ecology is the discovery of the decade. One quarter of the fish species have disappeared from the ocean.
Bird flu alert: Mercury levels in human breast milk are ten times higher than the legal level for cows. The simplest gestures have become toxic. You have to admit: At least not until we are hit by one of its foreseeable consequences. And that is the real catastrophe. Such a world has its own consistency, which varies according to the intensity and quality of the ties attaching us to all of these beings, to all of these places. What has congealed as an environment is a relationship to the world based on management, which is to say, on estrangement.
A relationship to the world where there is me and then my environment, surrounding me but never really constituting me. Never has a setting been so able to do without the souls traversing it. Never has a surrounding been more automatic. Never has a context been so indifferent, and demanded in return — as the price of survival — such equal indifference from us.
Ultimately the environment is nothing more than the relationship to the world that is proper to the metropolis, and that projects itself onto everything that would escape it. It goes like this: The morbid excitement that animates journalists and advertisers these days as they report each new proof of global warming reveals the steely smile of the new green capitalism, in the making since the 70s, which we waited for at the turn of the century but which never came.
Well, here it is! The health of the planet demands it! The inventor of the H-bomb, Edward Teller, proposes shooting millions of tons of metallic dust into the stratosphere to stop global warming. Another vision of the future: Eco-friendly cars, clean energy, and environmental consulting coexist painlessly with the latest Chanel ad in the pages of glossy magazines.
We are told that the environment has the incomparable merit of being the first truly global problem presented to humanity. A global problem , which is to say a problem that only those who are organized on a global level will be able to solve.
And we know who they are. These are the very same groups that for close to a century have been the vanguard of disaster, and certainly intend to remain as such, for the small price of a change of logo. That EDF had the impudence to bring back its nuclear program as the new solution to the global energy crisis says plenty about how much the new solutions resemble the old problems.
We have to get mobilized. It will thank you for it. Al Gore and degrowth movement stand side by side with the eternal great souls of the Republic to do their part in resuscitating the little people of the Left and the well-known idealism of youth.
Managing the phasing out of nuclear power, excess CO2 in the atmosphere, melting glaciers, hurricanes, epidemics, global over-population, erosion of the soil, mass extinction of living species We have to consume a little less in order to be able to keep consuming. We have to produce organically in order to keep producing. We have to control ourselves in order to go on controlling. This is the logic of a world straining to maintain itself whilst giving itself an air of historical rupture.
This is how they would like to convince us to participate in the great industrial challenges of this century. From one era to the next, the idea of virtue has never been anything but an invention of vice. Tracking, transparency, certification, eco-taxes, environmental excellence, and the policing of water, all give us an idea of the coming state of ecological emergency.
Everything is permitted to a power structure that bases its authority in Nature, in health and in well-being. The new green-asceticism is precisely the self-control that is required of us all in order to negotiate a rescue operation where the system has taken itself hostage.
The roads could certainly be transformed into bicycle paths, we ourselves could perhaps, to a certain degree, be grateful one day for a guaranteed income, but only at the price of an entirely therapeutic existence. Those who claim that generalized self-control will spare us from an environmental dictatorship are lying: The greatest wave of famine ever known in the tropics — coincided with a global drought, but more significantly, it also coincided with the apogee of colonization.
More than the lack of water, it was the effect of the rapidly expanding colonial economy that littered the Tropics with millions of emaciated corpses. What presents itself everywhere as an ecological catastrophe has never stopped being, above all, the manifestation of a disastrous relationship to the world.
Inhabiting a nowhere makes us vulnerable to the slightest jolt in the system, to the slightest climactic risk. The normal functioning of the world usually serves to hide our state of truly catastrophic dispossession. Among the signatory nations to the Kyoto Protocol, the only countries that have fulfilled their commitments, in spite of themselves, are the Ukraine and Romania.
Guess why. Guess how. What makes the crisis desirable is that in the crisis the environment ceases to be the environment. What surrounds us is no longer a landscape, a panorama, a theater, but something to inhabit, something we need to come to terms with, something we can learn from. New Orleans, a few days after Hurricane Katrina.
In this apocalyptic atmosphere, here and there, life is reorganizing itself. In the face of the inaction of the public authorities, who were too busy cleaning up the tourist areas of the French Quarter and protecting shops to help the poorer city dwellers, forgotten forms are reborn. In spite of occasionally strong-armed attempts to evacuate the area, in spite of white supremacist lynch mobs, a lot of people refused to leave the terrain.
In a few weeks time, the Common Ground Clinic was set up. For more than a year now, the clinic is still the base of a daily resistance to the clean-sweep operation of government bulldozers, which are trying to turn that part of the city into a pasture for property developers.
Popular kitchens, supplies, street medicine, illegal takeovers, the construction of emergency housing, all this practical knowledge accumulated here and there in the course of a life, has now found a space where it can be deployed. Far from the uniforms and sirens. On the other hand, anyone trapped in the anemic and atomized everyday routine of our residential deserts might doubt that such determination could be found anywhere anymore.
Reconnecting with such gestures, buried under years of normalized life, is the only practicable means of not sinking down with the world. The time will come when we take these up once more. The first global slaughter, which from to did away with a large portion of the urban and rural proletariat, was waged in the name of freedom, democracy, and civilization. Yet the resemblance stops there: The value of civilization is no longer so obvious that it can brought to the natives without further ado.
In a single century, freedom, democracy and civilization have reverted to the state of hypotheses. All means to these ends are acceptable, even the least democratic, the least civilized, the most repressive.
This is a century in which democracy regularly presided over the birth of fascist regimes, civilization constantly rhymed — to the tune of Wagner or Iron Maiden — with extermination, and in which, one day in , freedom showed its two faces: At the final stage of this evolution, we see the first socialist mayor of Paris putting the finishing touches on urban pacification with a new police protocol for a poor neighborhood, announced with the following carefully chosen words: Though it seems general in nature, the question of civilization is not at all a philosophical one.
A civilization is not an abstraction hovering over life. It is what rules, takes possession of, colonizes the most banal, personal, daily existence. In France, civilization is inseparable from the state. The older and more powerful the state, the less it is a superstructure or exoskeleton of a society and the more it constitutes the subjectivities that people it.
The French state is the very texture of French subjectivities, the form assumed by the centuries-old castration of its subjects. Thus it should come as no surprise that in their deliriums psychiatric patients are always confusing themselves with political figures, that we agree that our leaders are the root of all our ills, that we like to grumble so much about them and that this grumbling is the consecration that crowns them as our masters.
Here, politics is not considered something outside of us but as part of ourselves. If there is a French exception, this is why. Everything, even the global influence of French literature, is a result of this amputation.
In France, literature is the prescribed space for the amusement of the castrated. It is the formal freedom conceded to those who cannot accommodate themselves to the nothingness of their real freedom.
There exists a credible thesis that modern literature was born with Baudelaire, Heine, and Flaubert as a repercussion of the state massacre of June The neurotic affection that the French pledge to their Republic — in the name of which every smudge of ink assumes an air of dignity, and any pathetic hack is honored — underwrites the perpetual repression of its originary sacrifices.
In , Kojeve wrote: This feeling has admittedly not yet reached the level of a clear and distinct idea: The country cannot, and still does not want to, express it openly. It is hard for a country which created, out of nothing, the ideological framework of nationalism and which exported it to the whole world to recognize that all that remains of it now is a document to be filed in the historical archives.
This question of the nation-state and its mourning is at the heart of what for the past half-century can only be called the French malaise. Since , this malaise, which seems to have dissipated only during the insurrectionary fervor of May 68, has continually worsened.
The era of states, nations and republics is coming to an end; this country that sacrificed all its life to these forms is still dumbfounded. The fact that in this country the obituary of the age of nations has yet to be written is the key to the French anachronism, and to the revolutionary possibilities France still has in store. Whatever their outcome may be, the role of the next presidential elections will be to signal the end of French illusions and the bursting of the historical bubble in which we are living — and which makes possible events like the anti-CPE movement, which was puzzled over by other countries as if it were some bad dream that escaped the s.
France is indeed the red lantern of the western zone. The West is a civilization that has survived all the prophecies of its collapse with a singular stratagem. Just as the bourgeoisie had to deny itself as a class in order to permit the bourgeoisification of society as a whole, from the worker to the baron; just as capital had to sacrifice itself as a wage relation in order to impose itself as a social relation — becoming cultural capital and health capital in addition to finance capital; just as Christianity had to sacrifice itself as a religion in order to survive as an affective structure — as a vague injunction to humility, compassion, and weakness; so the West has sacrificed itself as a particular civilization in order to impose itself as a universal culture.
The operation can be summarized like this: Patriarchy survives by attributing to women all the worst attributes of men: A disintegrated society survives by propagating an epidemic of sociability and entertainment.
So it goes with all the great, outmoded fictions of the West maintaining themselves through artifices that contradict these fictions point by point.
You can see the dogmatism of constant questioning give its complicit wink of the eye everywhere in the universities and among the literary intelligentsias. No critique is too radical among postmodernist thinkers, as long as it maintains this total absence of certitude.
No social order can securely found itself on the principle that nothing is true. Yet it must be made secure. For the West, truth is not an attribute of beings or things, but of their representation. A representation that conforms to experience is held to be true.
Science is, in the last analysis, this empire of universal verification. Since all human behavior, from the most ordinary to the most learned, is based on a foundation of unevenly formulated presuppositions, and since all practices start from a point where things and their representations can no longer be distinguished, a dose of truth that the Western concept knows nothing about enters into every life.
Containing all affirmations and deactivating all certainties as they irresistibly come to light — such is the long labor of the Western intellect. The police and philosophy are two convergent, if formally distinct, means to this end. Of course, this imperialism of the relative finds a suitable enemy in every empty dogmatism, in whatever form of Marxist-Leninism, Salifism, or Neo-Nazism: Nothing is to be expected from the end of civilization, from its clinical death.
In and of itself, it can only be of interest to historians. Facts can be conjured away, but decision is political. To decide on the death of civilization, then to work out how it will happen: We can no longer even see how an insurrection might begin. Sixty years of pacification and containment of historical upheavals, sixty years of democratic anesthesia and the management of events, have dulled our perception of the real, our sense of the war in progress.
We need to start by recovering this perception. We have to get organized. To go on waiting is madness. The catastrophe is not coming, it is here. We are already situated within the collapse of a civilization. It is within this reality that we must choose sides. To no longer wait is, in one way or another, to enter into the logic of insurrection.
It is to once again hear the slight but always present trembling of terror in the voices of our leaders. Because governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand subterfuges the moment when the crowd will string you up, and every act of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the population.
An insurrectional process must be built from the ground up. Nothing appears less likely than an insurrection, but nothing is more necessary. An encounter, a discovery, a vast wave of strikes, an earthquake: We usually just avoid it, manage it, which produces the madness of so many in our era.
In reality, everything involves everything else. The feeling that one is living a lie is still a truth. It is a matter of not letting it go, of starting from there. It makes and unmakes me, constitutes and undoes me as an individual; it distances me from many and brings me closer to those who also experience it. An isolated being who holds fast to a truth will inevitably meet others like her. In fact, every insurrectional process starts from a truth that we refuse to give up. During the s in Hamburg, a few inhabitants of a squatted house decided that from then on they would only be evicted over their dead bodies.
A neighborhood was besieged by tanks and helicopters, with days of street battles, huge demonstrations — and a mayor who, finally, capitulated. But all affinity is affinity within a common truth. Every encounter is an encounter within a common affirmation, even the affirmation of destruction.
No bonds are innocent in an age when holding onto something and refusing to let go usually leads to unemployment, where you have to lie to work, and you have to keep on working in order to continue lying.
People who swear by quantum physics and pursue its consequences in all domains are no less bound politically than comrades fighting against a multinational agribusiness. They will all be led, sooner or later , to defection and to combat. They had the strike to show their numbers and unmask the scabs. They had the wage relation, pitting the party of capital against the party of labor, on which they could draw the lines of solidarity and of battle on a global scale. We have the whole of social space in which to find each other.
We have everyday insubordination for showing our numbers and unmasking cowards. We have our hostility to this civilization for drawing lines of solidarity and of battle on a global scale. Among their members, one may even find individuals who are sincere — if a little desperate — who are enthusiastic — if a little conniving. Organizations are attractive due to their apparent consistency — they have a history, a head office, a name, resources, a leader, a strategy and a discourse.
They are nonetheless empty structures, which, in spite of their grand origins, can never be filled. In all their affairs, at every level, these organizations are concerned above all with their own survival as organizations, and little else. Their repeated betrayals have often alienated the commitment of their own rank and file. And this is why you can, on occasion, run into worthy beings within them.
But the promise of the encounter can only be realized outside the organization and, unavoidably, at odds with it. Far more dreadful are social milieus , with their supple texture, their gossip, and their informal hierarchies.
Flee all milieus. Each and every milieu is orientated towards the neutralization of some truth. Literary circles exist to smother the clarity of writing. Anarchist milieus to blunt the directness of direct action. Scientific milieus to withhold the implications of their research from the majority of people today.
Sport milieus to contain in their gyms the various forms of life they should create. Particularly to be avoided are the cultural and activist circles. Activist milieus spread their diffuse web throughout the French territory, and are encountered on the path of every revolutionary development. They offer nothing but the story of their many defeats and the bitterness these have produced.
Their exhaustion has made them incapable of seizing the possibilities of the present. Besides, to nurture their wretched passivity they talk far too much and this makes them unreliable when it comes to the police. All milieus are counter-revolutionary because they are only concerned with the preservation of their sad comfort. Communes come into being when people find each other, get on with each other, and decide on a common path.
The commune is perhaps what gets decided at the very moment when we would normally part ways. In every factory, every street, every village, every school. At long last, the reign of the base committees! Communes that accept being what they are, where they are. And if possible, a multiplicity of communes that will displace the institutions of society: Not by their membership, but by the spirit that animates them.
A commune forms every time a few people, freed of their individual straitjackets, decide to rely only on themselves and measure their strength against reality. Every wildcat strike is a commune; every building occupied collectively and on a clear basis is a commune, the action committees of were communes, as were the slave maroons in the United States, or Radio Alice in Bologna in Every commune seeks to be its own base. It seeks to dissolve the question of needs. It seeks to break all economic dependency and all political subjugation; it degenerates into a milieu the moment it loses contact with the truths on which it is founded.
We know that individuals are possessed of so little life that they have to earn a living, to sell their time in exchange for a modicum of social existence. Personal time for social existence: The commune needs money, but not because we need to earn a living. All communes have their black markets. There are plenty of hustles. Aside from welfare, there are various benefits, disability money, accumulated student aid, subsidies drawn off fictitious childbirths, all kinds of trafficking, and so many other means that arise with every mutation of control.
The important thing is to cultivate and spread this necessary disposition towards fraud, and to share its innovations. For communes, the question of work is only posed in relation to other already existing incomes. The exigency of the commune is to free up the most time for the most people. Vacant time, dead time, the time of emptiness and the fear of emptiness — this is the time of work.