The passions of revolution

Society is always pushing you to turn into something other than what you want to be. Society attempts to make you someone else, a copy, a simulacrum. It is necessary to realize that we are not here to fulfill the expectations of anyone else. It is safer to follow society, the priests, the politicians, the teachers because society does not create problems for you when you ‘re with it. But it is dangerous to follow yourself because society will not be there to support you.We need to search, to understand, to analyze the social conditions in order to offer the benefit of Anarchy to humanity. The imposed obligations constitute a strategy of priests, teachers, politicians, economists, bankers, businessmen and policemen in order to control your desires, in order to keep humanity enslaved forever. They destroy your capacity to live, to love, to delight. There is a secret. If you can make humanity feel guilty, you remain strong. The culprit is always ready to serve the strong . The culprit does not have enough courage and passion to be a rebel, that’s the secret. Only a passionate human being can be revolutionary. As member of Void Network I can say that we want to create spaces of emancipation, situations of revolt, events of personal and collective enthusiasm so that the people feel empowered to collectively question their personal lives and fight to change the social relationships. We want to share the amazing passionate moments where the common people become revolutionary beings.  Our uprisings need to find a ground that can be a way against and beyond Western thinking, its anxieties and its comforts. We fight for radical social change, transformation of everyday life and the liberation of the existential experience of human being.

Sissy Doutsiou, Destroy Established Reality

From the Void Network collective, an essay by Sissy Doutsiou, on spectacular capitalism and revolution, our horror and the passions of rebellion …

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The russian revolution of 1917: Alexander Berkman

It has been asserted by some writers that Bolshevik accession to power in Russia was due to a coup de main, and doubt has been expressed regarding the social nature of the October change.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As a matter of historic fact, the great event known as the October Revolution was in the profoundest sense a social revolution. It was characterised by all the essentials of such a fundamental change. It was accomplished, not by any political party, but by the people themselves, in a manner that radically transformed all the heretofore existing economic, political and social relations. But it did not take place in October. That month witnessed only the formal “legal sanction” of the revolutionary events that had preceded it. For weeks and months prior to it, the actual Revolution had been going on all over Russia: the city proletariat was taking possession of the shops and factories, while the peasants expropriated the big estates and turned the land to their own use. At the same time workers’ commitees, peasant committes and Soviets sprang up all over the country, and there began the gradual transfer of power from the provisional government to the Soviets. That took place, first in Petrograd, then in Moscow, and quickly spread to the Volga region, the Ural district, and to Siberia. The popular will found expression in the slogan, “All power to the Soviets”, and it went sweeping through the length and breadth of the land. The people had risen, the actual Revolution was on. The keynote of the situation was struck by the Congress of the Soviets of the North, proclaiming: “The provisional government of Kerensky must go; the Soviets are the sole power!”

Alexander Berkman

As with Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman was among the earliest anarchist critics of the Bolshevik destruction of the russian revolution.  Witness and participant in the events of the revolution, he would also see its death in the creation of a new “communist” State. 

To our series on the russian revolution of 1917, on this the occasion of its centenary, we add his voice to the testimonial literature, to remember a past and to keep alive a present …

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The russian revolution of 1917: Emma Goldman

The argument that destruction and terror are part of revolution I do not dispute. I know that in the past every great political and social change necessitated violence. America might still be under the British yoke but for the heroic colonists who dared to oppose British tyranny by force of arms. Black slavery might still be a legalized institution in the United States but for the militant spirit of the John Browns. I have never denied that violence is inevitable, nor do I gainsay it now. Yet it is one thing to employ violence in combat, as a means of defence. It is quite another thing to make a principle of terrorism, to institutionalize it, to assign it the most vital place in the social struggle. Such terrorism begets counter-revolution and in turn itself becomes counter-revolutionary.

Emma Goldman

Among the earliest critiques of the Bolshevik destruction of the russian revolution were anarchists.  There was the tragic experience of having initially witnessed and fully embraced a radical social revolution, only then to see it usurped by the creation of a new “communist” State.

To our series on the russian revolution of 1917, on this the occasion of its centenary, we add the voice of Emma Goldman …

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The russian revolution of 1917: The Dada counterpoint

Dada remains within the framework of European weaknesses; its still shit, but from now on we want to shit in different colours to adorn the zoo of art with the flags of every consulate.

Tristan Tzara, Manifesto of Monsieur Antipyrine

Thought is made in the mouth.

Tristan Tzara, Dada Manifesto On Feeble Love and Bitter Love 

A further contribution to our series on the russian revolutions of 1917 …

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Another day under democracy: Hamburg, June 6 – Protesting the G20

The Crimethinc collective is posting continuous live updates of the “Welcome to Hell” protests in Hamburg against the G20 gathering. We share below two such posts, in solidarity we all of those resisting in the city …

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Notes on “the immigrant question”: Guy Debord

Among the functions of borders, political and others, is to stabilise and make possible the exploitation of human populations, against the free flows of capital commodities and commodity spectacles.  If populations were allowed complete freedom of movement, equal to that of capital, then capitalism would collapse.

Borders are also however points of passage, for the control of population movements.  They function as instruments of surveillance, registration and control.  Populations must be allowed to move as well, for the permanent acceleration of the fluxes of capital can not find points of labour extraction and intensified consumption without movement (e.g. land dispossession, peasant migrations to centres of industrial and/or service production, etc.) and thus without the relative control of movements of people.

The “immigrant question”, as it is then typically posed and addressed in official “political debate” is farcical, when not openly deceitful.  Questions of how many immigrants should be allowed into a country, which kinds of immigrants, under what conditions and under what modes of “integration”, and the like (and this against the background of millions dislocated by the violence of capitalism), only serve to mask the truly political nature of the issue.  That is, who is considered an immigrant or who is not depends on who is necessary, and in what way, for the re-production of the social relations of capitalist domination.

Guy Debord’s short essay, “Notes on ‘the immigrant question'” (chicago.indymedia.org) remains telling …

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A world without police: Peter Gelderloos

“Violence” is something new in history. We decadents are the first to know this curious thing: violence. Traditional societies knew of theft, blasphemy, parricide, abduction, sacrifice, insults and revenge. Modern States, beyond the dilemma of adjudicating facts, recognized only infractions of the Law and the penalties administered to rectify them. But they certainly knew plenty about foreign wars and, within their borders, the authoritarian disciplining of bodies. In fact, only the timid atom of imperial society … thinks of “violence” as a radical and unique evil lurking behind countless masks, an evil which it is so vitally important to identify, in order to eradicate it all the more thoroughly. For us, ultimately, violence is what has been taken from us, and today we need to take it back.

Tiqqun, Introduction to civil war

As a continuation of the collection of accounts of police violence-intervention from our last post, we share an essay by Peter Gelderloos on the function of the police within modern, capitalist society.  

No radical politics is possible except against the police, for they are an integral and fundamental instrument in the reproduction of capitalist social relations.  This does not mean however they they should become the object of any open and exclusive counter-violence; but rather, that all should be done to create conditions in which the violence of the police is rendered pointless and they themselves cease to be necessary.

In the mass protests-occupations of spain’s cities in 2011, for example, the police were often simply marginalised by the sheer scale of the mobilisations, or pushed back in many smaller, but determined, protests.  The creation and defense of spaces of autonomy is only viable not against the police, but against the society as whole to which they belong.  In other words, autonomy lies beyond policed societies.

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The reign of the police

This so perfect democracy itself constructs its inconceivable enemy, terrorism.  It wants, in effect, to be judged by its enemies rather then by its results.  The history of terrorism is written by the State: it is therefore enlightening.  The spectator populations cannot obviously know everything about terrorism, but they can always know enough to be persuaded that, in relation to terrorism, everything else will appear quite acceptable, in any case more rational and more democratic.

Guy Debord, Commentaires sur la société du spectacle

In the permanent state of exception that reigns in our times, all fictions of a state of law wane, or are simply set aside.  And behind the farce of the law is revealed the violent authority of the police, exemplified increasingly in the heavily armed, helmeted riot cop whose only function seems to be to clear the streets of any conduct that would stem or interrupt capitalist “normality”.  What is however more fundamental, and which is often ignored, is that the police are not only the final executors of the law; they also define it in the field.  That is, as they “apply” the law, they interpret it, write it, in ways that double back on the legislator, such that it is the police who in effect come to legislate.

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An apology for communism: The invisible committee’s Now

I am large, I contain multitudes. 

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

The real problem is not that of restoring a Marxist or Leninist or Maoist truth, nor that of remaking an organisation with the same methods and therefore the same errors as the one that failed in too many parts of the world. The half century that has passed since the death of Lenin obliges us, on pain of death, to rethink reality, not texts; society, not formulae; to produce truth, not to contend over hereditary protocols. It is a difficult task that for a number of years has demanded fierce study and pitiless rigour. Nor is it just a task of consciousness. It is a vital task, in which to invent a different relationship between our present, the site of our pain and our joy, and the exalted or terrifying images of the future and the past.

Franco Fortini

What follows is a fourth and final exercise in the sharing of ideas, of visions (for the first, click here, the second, here, and the third, here).  The most recent essay by the invisible committee, Now, continues a reflection-intervention that began with The Coming Insurrection and To Our Friends, and offers a powerful critique of contemporary politics, along with a defense of “autonomy”.  What is proposed here then is again a partial translation, summary and critical commentary on their reading of communism.

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Welcome to Hell: Resistance against the G20 summit, Hamburg

In solidarity with all who resist against the upcoming G20 summit in Hamburg …  Continue reading

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