On friendship and happiness: Reflections on joyful militancy

Yue Minjun

But in much of Ionia and elsewhere in the Persian Empire the rule is that love-affairs are wrong.  In Persia, it is because of their tyrannical government that they condemn them, as well as intellectual and athletic activities.  No doubt, it doesn’t suit their government that their subjects should have big ideas or develop strong friendships and personal bonds, which are promoted by all of the these activities, especially by love.

Plato, The Symposium

We share two essays based on excerpts from the recently published Joyful Militancy: Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times, co-authored by Montgomery and bergman and published by AK Press.

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Self-Destruction as Insurrection: An essay by Irmgard Emmelhainz

… from Devil’s Freedom by Everardo González 

What remains of “revolution” when an absolute capitalism generates profits from the death of superfluous populations?  What “liberal subject” bearer of rights, not to speak of  “revolutionary subject”, persists when the redundant have already been erased from any body politic, or when insurrection appears as self-destruction?  If we already live in the time after the apocalypse, then a radical politics of autonomy must be rethought from the erasure of the increasingly many.

The essay shared below (originally published in the journal e-flux) is a contribution to such a rethinking.

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In Notre-Dame-des-Landes: The ZAD defeats an airport

A battle is won; the war continues …

In solidarity with the many groups and individuals who have fought for and created the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, we share a common communique issued by the organisations involved:

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With and beyond anti-fascism (3): Georges Bataille

Fascism is not to be debated. It is to be smashed…

Buenaventura Durruti

It was one of the greatest errors in evaluating dictatorship to say that the dictator forces himself on society against its own will. In reality, every dictator in history was nothing but the accentuation of already existing state ideas which he had only to exaggerate in order to gain power.

Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism

Not only are the psychological situations of the democratic collectivities, like any human situation, transitory, but it remains possible to envision, at least as a yet imprecise representation, forms of attraction that differ from those already in existence, as different from present or even past communism as fascism is from dynastic claims. A system of knowledge that permits the anticipation of the affective social reactions that traverse the superstructure and perhaps even, to a certain extent, do away with it, must be developed from one of these possibilities. The fact of fascism, which has thrown the very existence of a workers’ movement into question, clearly demonstrates what can be expected from a timely recourse to reawakened affective forces. Unlike the situation during the period of utopian socialism, morality and idealism are no more the questions today than they are in fascist forms. Rather, an organized understanding of the movements in society, of attraction and repulsion, starkly presents itself as a weapon – at this moment when a vast convulsion opposes, not so much fascism to communism, but radical imperative forms to the deep subversion which continues to pursue the emancipation of human lives.

Georges Bataille, The Psychological Structure of Fascism

Nothing is more necessary and nothing is stronger in us than revolt.  We can no longer love anything, esteem anything, that has been marked by submission.

Georges Bataille, The Sovereign

 

Reflections on fascism, inspired by the work of Georges Bataille …

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Revolution in the end time (2): A reflection

Our response to the climate crisis has been to rearrange deckchairs on the Titanic — but whatever we do, it isn’t working. It’s time to try something new.

 

From roarmag, an essay by Kevin Buckland; a further reflection on politics in time of our crises.

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Revolution in the end time: A reflection

We are writing to answer the question we ask and are asked daily: “But really, what should we be doing?”

Posted on the anarchist library, and anonymous reflection on radical anti-capitalist politics in our time of permanent crisis.

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With and beyond anti-fascism (2): “The Antifascists”, a documentary film

A second part on our series on anti-fascism, this time, a reflection through film …

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With and beyond anti-fascism (1)

… to make use of the weapons created by fascism, which has been
allowed to use the fundamental aspirations of people for affective exultation
and fanaticism. But we affirm that the exaltation… must be
placed in the service… of a grandeur quite different from that of the
nationalists.

Georges Bataille, Counter-Attack: Union of the Struggle of Revolutionary Intellectuals

The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “emergency situation” in which we live is the rule. We must arrive at a concept of history which corresponds to this. Then it will become clear that the task before us is the introduction of a real state of emergency; and our position in the struggle against Fascism will thereby improve. Not the least reason that the latter has a chance is that its opponents, in the name of progress, greet it as a historical norm. – The astonishment that the things we are experiencing in the 20th century are “still” possible is by no means philosophical. It is not the beginning of knowledge, unless it would be the knowledge that the conception of history on which it rests is untenable.

Walter Benjamin, On the concept of history

Fascism was a desperate attempt to defend the bourgeois economy from the dual threat
of crisis and proletarian subversion, a state of siege in which capitalist society saved itself by giving itself an emergency dose of rationalization in the form of massive state intervention. But this rationalization is hampered by the extreme irrationality of its methods. Although fascism rallies to the defense of the main icons of a bourgeois ideology that has become conservative (family, private property, moral order, patriotism), while mobilizing the petty bourgeoisie and the unemployed workers who are panic-stricken by economic crisis or disillusioned by the socialist movement’s failure to bring about a revolution, it is not itself fundamentally ideological. It presents itself as what it is — a violent resurrection of myth calling for participation in a community defined by archaic pseudovalues: race, blood, leader. Fascism is a technologically equipped primitivism. Its factitious mythological rehashes are presented in the spectacular context of the most modern means of conditioning and illusion. It is thus a significant factor in the formation
of the modern spectacle, and its role in the destruction of the old working-class movement also makes it one of the founding forces of present-day society. But since it is also the most costly method of preserving the capitalist order, it has generally ended up being replaced by the major capitalist states, which represent stronger and more rational forms of that order.

Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle

When I see that young people are in the process of losing their old common values and absorbing the new models imposed by capitalism, running the risk of dehumanising themselves and being prey to an abominable aphasia, to a brutal absence of critical capacity, to a factious passivity, I remember that they were the characteristics of the S.S. – and I see spread over our cities the horrible shadow of the swastika.

Pier-Paolo Pasolini, Scritti corsari

How do we rid our speech and our acts, our hearts and our pleasures, of
fascism? How do we ferret out the fascism that is ingrained in our
behavior?

Michel Foucault, “Preface” to Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

 

The first of a series of reflections on fascism and anti-fascism, for our somber times …

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Like a thief: Slavoj Žižek and the illusions of hope

Alex Colville, Horse and Train

To be contemporary is to respond to the appeal that the darkness of the epoch makes to us. In the expanding Universe, the space that separates us from the furthest galaxies is growing at such speed that the light of their stars could never reach us. To perceive, amidst the darkness, this light that tries to reach us but cannot – that is what it is to be contemporary. The present is the most difficult thing for us to live. Because an origin, I repeat, is not confined to the past: it is a whirlwind, in Benjamin’s very fine image, a chasm in the present. And we are drawn into this abyss. That is why the present is, par excellence, the thing that is left unlived. 

Giorgio Agamben (Verso Interview)

With political and theoretical differences aside (Leninism, reifications of History, etc.) we share, in translation, a short essay by Slavoj Žižek, originally published in Le nouveau magazine littéraire (Nº 1, January 2018).

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For Katarina Gogou

… we convalescents still need art, it is another kind of art – a mocking, light, fleeting, divinely untroubled, divinely artificial art that, like a bright flame, blazes
into an unclouded sky! Above all: an art for artists, only for artists!

Friedrich Nietzsche

I would like to spin a eulogy / of filth, of poverty, of drugs and suicide . . . drugs, disgust, rage

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Banks give birth to ‘robbers’.
Prisons to ‘terrorists’.
[…]
Products to the ‘need’.
Borders to armies.
All because of private property.
Violence is engendered by Violence.
[…]
Don’t ask. Don’t stop me.
It’s time to restore
the supreme act of moral justice.
Poeticize life and act on it.
[…]
For as long as it takes, from the beginning
I defend ANARCHISM

Katarina Gogou

Poetry is the gesture of language expressing itself as language, a medium which refuses itself as an end in itself (the aesthetic attitude), or as a means to a further end (the instrumentalisation of language) …  Mallarmé’s milieu pur.

Anarchism is politics as the gesture/exposure of the being-in-community of human beings, politics as a “showing”, a “revealing”, which cannot speak itself without becoming an end in-itself (fetishised insitutionalisation) or an end to a further (transcendental, non-political) end.  Anarchy refuses self-justification in constitutional forms (e.g., capitalist parliamentarianism) or in the making of a priori communitarian identities.  It is as gesture, as a permanent bringing forth and support of itself, an ethics.

Anarchism is politics as poetry, as pure gesture; an autonomous community’s way of life.

If Plato expelled the poets from the Republic, it was because poetry’s way of being defied all order.  The prohibition of poetry was the suppression of art’s an-arche, its refusal of any foundation or ground for the showing/coming into being of expression.

O clear intelligence, force beyond all measure! 295
O fate of man, working both good and evil!
When the laws are kept, how proudly his city stands!
When the laws are broken, what of his city then?
Never may the anarchic man find rest at my hearth,
Never be it said that my thoughts are his thoughts.

(Sophocles, Antigone, 295-330) 

The anarchist is poet, as the poet is anarchist, in their desire to live beyond Law.  

The poetry of Katarina Gogou gives a voice to this way of life …

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