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Even feminism? Yes even feminism desires the text of power

(sorry two post two IEF pieces in a row, I have been and continue to be feeling pretty sick, and not a whole lot else seems to be happening or it’s not being shoved into my face while I lay in bed.)

from the IEF blog:

Theory is another word for nothing left to lose. The Institute for Experimental Freedom is beyond masochistic with its bodies, murmurs and texts. We publish, print and distribute works foolishly against their future renditions. The typo or technical error pale in comparison to the shame we experience the moment our desire codified in digital mappings of vectors and typography brushes against the docile or eager appetite of whoever reads PDFs, blogs or printed zines. This shame, a sort of abjection, reverses onto us as it returns ten-fold in so many little confusions: a misinterpretation of a key term, a refusal to love our refusal to be governed by value in its textual form, an anxiety regarding one’s own capacity to be acted on by the text, or feeling outside of the ironic horror we cannot help but know as a world we are attached to. Years ago, we might have simply turned deaf ears to these confusions which come in the way of half-critiques. We may have been mobilized as yet another faculty of the impoverished subversive text apparatus. We could—and have, in other incarnations—modify our words, and our practices of the text as a text of pleasure, in order to suffice as rational discourse. We could be resubjectivized by the grammar of ideology and its pathetic cry for attention; the “ideas matter” of the infant in an IWW shirt who just won’t shut up about Noam Chomsky, or that of the internet forum poster who believes that he might not be such a lonely loser if everyone would just read The Coming Insurrection and talk to him about it. But, we’d prefer not to.

The Institute for Experimental Freedom practices a text of pleasure and text of power, both on paper and on the body. The CrimethInc jabs in Rolling Thunder are no misnomer. We are experimental material, and we’re in it for us, our friends and the friends we have yet to meet. However, this is not to say we are not a part of a stupid milieu like everyone else, nor is it to say we are not trying to find the exit; we are, carefully.

We take the practice of thought, the practice or writing, the practice of power, the questions of “what is an artist?” “what is a writer?” “what is history?” “what are our conditions?” very seriously. And we think through a ruthless experimentation with our lives—by subjecting ourselves and our friends to high frequencies of cruelty, banality, joy, and sadness—we might stumble upon something which we would carefully put close to our hearts and share—with the milieu and with what survives it. Which is perhaps another way of saying, although ideas don’t matter, the practices of a discourse require critique and provocation with which we will lovingly shock the face of any of our comrades or opponents. We have been hoping this would be reciprocated. Alas, still we sit on our knees, while our “insurrectionist” and anti-state communist peers merely stumble on their dirty-talk in front of the mirror.

Nonetheless, The Institute is a warm calculating assemblage. The comments between stories on anarchist websites which have nothing to do with it, the subtle jokes of our friends and hostiles, and the horror of our lovers’ Fathers do a rudimentary violence to our corporeal topographies. From the tidy paper cuts, we excrete just a little red—enough to paint our lips or a small American flag. However, perhaps we underestimate the force of nagging slits on the skin—whether it be political or otherwise. Nothing itches more than a thousand paper cuts.

So we scratch; we’ll give in a little bit. But, rest assured we have no illusions that scratching will make the itch go away. On the contrary, we’re hoping to pull the wounds open just a bit more.

From these rips in our texture we’ll offer these humble gifts: a series of elaborated descriptions of the terms we hold close to our hearts, which demand to be shared.

Still very much wanting the text inscribed against our unsurprisingly thick skin,

-Liam Sionnach | IEF | ’10

A few clarifications on key concepts within many of the texts we publish and distribute in the way of a series of complex glosses to be irregularly posted online.

Without further adieu:

World Civil War | Gloss 1.

Civil war presupposes the modern state. In some ways, civil war can be read as both what was outside of history and then, with the development of the modern state, what became included in history. A comment like “The history of societies thus far is the history of class struggle” has a secret intelligence contained within it when we read it through our magic decoder matrix: civil war.

History and society were only really unified with the development of the modern state. The modern state in Hegel became the subject of history for his philosophy. Marx, among other Young Hegelians made this their object of critique. However, lurking bellow the surface of such idealism in Hegel was Hobbes and the concept of sovereignty. The state of nature in Hobbes was a sort of permanent potential of war of all against all. Law, enforced by the state, would create a clear divide between what was inside the law and what was outside of it; generating “civil society” (or “the civil state) on the inside, and civil war on the outside. This meant that living beings would only be included in human society (and thus, history) once they became subject to the rule of law; all manner of imperial practices come with ease. However, even in Hobbes’s hypothesis, there remained a permanent problem. Law, which gives human society its so-called order, can only be enforced through means which appear indistinguishable from civil war. What Marx discreetly references is not that class struggle is the history of living beings on the planet, but that class struggle is civil war inside the gates; and is the general conditions of capitalism.

The concept of a “world” may be important in some of the ways “world civil war” is used. “The evident is not merely a matter of logic or reasoning. It attaches itself to the sensible, to worlds” (p4, Call). A world is a zone of meaning, sense—“before time, absolutely, there is sense.”(Ok, War it is Tiqqun 1) History is the reification of time as Man’s time, and perhaps even the concealment of civil war. It locates a living being as subject to the sensuous praxis of generating and reproducing human society. Civil war is the free play of bios, of forms of life; life which acts in a world. “Civil,” because worlds are not limited by the boundaries or laws of nation-states and because conflict can take place in myriad of spheres, with a multiplying array of techniques. “War,” because the potential for doing violence to the most just must not be discounted, ever. On a terrain with a multiplicity of worlds, only forms of life who feel their power can act decisively.

Even in Hobbes, if there were not civil war, there would be no need for Leviathan. Leviathan wasn’t a god on earth, as much as the political equivalent of someone who’s afraid of the dark. The modern state therefor had as its object the warding off of an ever present civil war. It coded civil war as “evil”, and put religious apparatuses to work. We could say the modern state’s practices of government had the character of a war against civil war. The development of techniques of governing which corresponded (liberalism) excluded and disciplined dangerous elements. At certain times these elements were juridically coded as “the hostis” (hostile, unknown, outside), and came in the way of invading parties, but also in the way of crime, and later, sickness.

What we call “world civil war” develops out of the modern state’s failure, and each and every elaboration of civil war. Reading its history religiously, we learn that good does not triumph over evil; moreover we learn that coding the state as the hand of god reaches a threshold because its teqinches of power continuously collapse into the terrain of evil. Law cannot be enforced without the possibility of doing violence to the most just. Civil war is then the omnipresent aporia of the modern state. It cannot prevent transgression and revolt and yet it is logically demanded to develop itself to do just that.

On the other hand, we can read “world” synonymously with “global.” World civil war develops as the excess of liberal techniques of power. Capitalism generates a fracture in the being of Man’s time, elaborating the fracture caused by the state. Two representations develop. On the one hand, the bourgeoisie, who managed, tuned, and attempted to master capital, and on the other hand, the proletariat, who produced all value and whose subjugated existence pulls the two into an intense conflict. Because war between nation states is governed by international law, a war between non-state actors forces both parties to develop techniques of war which are out-side the law. From the moment the first partisan disrupted the separation between solider and civilian, the development of an exceptional and irregular technique of war was set into motion. Whereas capitalism created the conditions where the state was no longer the authorizer of the political, and in fact becomes another technology for the bourgeoisie to deploy in order to neutralize intense political relationships, class struggle within capitalism returns the question of the political to forefront and cuts across national boundaries by deploying the figure of an irregular fighter in the image of the proletariat across the earth. Class struggle was the prior most intense configuration of civil war, because of its international dimensions, its ethical character which transforms any conflict into absolute enmity, and because of the proletariat’s capacity to hold the threat of a self-negation: The proletariat is the class which abolish class society through its own self-abolition. However, if the proletariat who came in the way of the working class general strike, and later the diffuse irrationality of autonomous armed joy were defeated—as it was—then what would survive this condition was the representation of the bourgeoisie (at a planetary level) with a new paradigm of war without the limits of national boundaries and international law; who stood on a new terrain without a stable enemy but rather a globe of hostilities which could be intensified, if need be.

With the development of a War on Terror and permanent counter-insurgency, world civil war now returns to its initial terrifying presence. Capital, liberated from the tyranny and stupidity of bourgeois management acts as its own sovereign force and subsumes all hostile forms of life: The phase of real subsumption. The state as an appendage of capital is deployed to give meaning to the world of images by imposing the category of enemy on any one of its own excessive consequences. The ontological character of this gesture is completed once the enemy has been reintegrated into the symbolic-order, either through rehabilitation (democratization) or exclusion (a fair amount of killing).

However, perhaps the proletariat has not been defeated. Perhaps the proletariat is still the class, or vocation, which abolishes class society—and elaborates civil war. In the conditions of civil war against the bourgeoisie with the development of industrialism, the proletariat’s force of negation was contingent on a strategically positioned portion of workers: the industrial working class. However with the dissolution of the both the factory and its inhabitants, and with the integration of subculture and all manner of past “revolutionary subjectivities” into the rationality of commodity production; perhaps there are different conditions and different contingencies from which a more terrible proletariat is awaiting to be revealed. In these different conditions, civil war is elaborated by an equally diffuse, almost imperceptible irregular fighter. The pure negative potential of a planetary multi-cultural petite bourgeoisie. An impure hostis humani generis. An army of sleeper cells with allegiance to no identity; with no more statist fascinations or illusions of a just society; and with no use in the economy of superfluous labor, already begins to advance civil war to its logical and redemptive conclusion: the dissolution of society, social war.

http://www.politicsisnotabanana.com/2010/01/even-feminism-desires-text-of-power-few.html



Another Cold Year for the Warmth: Death and Redemption

From the IEF blog:

Theres a man goin’ round taking names and he decides who to free and who to blame. Everybody won’t be treated all the same.”

The fold of our history is either death or redemption. The history of the vanquished and the history of preemptive alienating and policing apparatuses yearn to conclude. We all have a door and a rotting carpet; a family and a dynasty of fuck ups; advanced social dissolution from worlds and senses to answer for. They say men make history, but not in conditions of their choosing. If it is our sensuous activity within a world, a praxis, which generates a world, then by what means do we confront the millions of potentialities which are taken from history? Those souls who are irrevocably lost, or worse yet, rendered bare life through processes of subjectivation, are prepared to be judged, not by history, but by the police. Each death is a tragedy because in “each” there is a shame of separation. The private life only becomes public in death. But this public death is itself a technique of exposure, which links the family and society to the church, to the school, to the prison. The tragedy which the living are constantly exposed to is not merely their own telos but capitalism’s continuous merciless holiday. In this society, no one dies. Everyone is murdered.

What is pathetic in death is not the loss of a container of memories and affects or the fleeting away of another productive member of the family, of society, but the loss of the capacity to speak. Death acts like a nightmare on the living. Conjuring images of “once upon a time,” the living attempt to answer for the horror of a brisk wind which extinguishes light in one subtle swoop. But the sad conclusive cough of a body judged guilty of living in capitalism is repeated and shared. Each voice is rendered mute. Each potentiality perfectly aware of what strangles it daily. The tears of the living for the dead, while representing a real sadness, never conjoin to form the flood which will redeem the past. Instead, the mouth opens, limbs shake with anxiety; our small, light-colored hairs stand up searching for a warmth which is not in this world. And in the end, what could be communicated—the single gesture of communicability itself—is once again lost, irretrievable, amidst blinking lights and the flow of commodities which live so much longer than any of us.

What is redemption in such circumstances? Is it forgiving our trespasses, and forgiving those who trespass against us? By what means do we admit a presence which annuls memories, scars, blood?

My family is connected through Facebook. The eulogy for my grandmother stumbled on her truth. She took on a predictable position of women married to husbands in the twentieth century. She mothered many children and formed the foundation to a family whose care was held by a second-generation Italian pater. She, and all the other shes of the family, suffered only the absence of en-courage-ment. It is not surprising: they all left. My grandmother quietly lived as if she had been redeemed, doing the books to my grandfathers photography business, never once elaborating her own passions for paint on canvas. The eulogy concluded, as my grandmother often would, that if anyone felt despondent, the eulogist would happily go shopping with them. The analogy to government orders following the events of September eleventh to go shopping is not lost on me. There were some really good sales at Macy’s

On the other side of the family, between drinks, and with far too many teenage mothers, I learned cousin Ian had been sentenced in ‘Oh-four. My absence from Facebook excluded me from hearing this bullshit earlier. Was it three-strikes you’re out? Did he have guns too? How long is a life-sentence? The silence of social death touches even the Midwestern Irish working class. My other cousin, who used hockey like how the black body uses football or basketball, or how southern whites use the military, received a terrible back injury and was sentenced to a fancy new oxycodone addiction. Again, if only I had Facebook… One of my sisters still clings to the myth that we’re different because we didn’t grow up in these fucked up conditions, but she conveniently forgot about all the suicides and boredom; the drive-by’s and the addictions, even the empty refrigerators, which painfully illustrate our miserable upbringing. We all ran too, and we ran for a reason.

The fold of this history is uncertain. On the one hand, everything about today, and even yesterday, just points toward the production of death. Enduring high school, when anarchy was merely a secret which Propagandhi attempted to whisper to me through power chords; or when struggle was just some band that that dude from the Locust was in, Columbine seemed perfectly reasonable. We sketched pictures of it all the time. We searched our history books, attempting to discover any time when the underdog wreaked its vengeance. We had no voice then, no words to call our own, and no world which affected us. We had only the conditions of all of that dissolving. In that time, many of us were quite literally unwanted children; and judging by the fields we set on fire, the plots to blow up schools, the churches we vandalized, and unfortunately, the animals which we tortured, we were capable of some fucked up shit. The youth of today are even worse.

On the other hand, maybe we can once more be affected by “Death to death!” Which is not to say, “peace.” But more specifically, our time, capitalist time, is a time of living-dead. Techniques of government expose life’s limits to itself and generate bare life. No one knows sovereignty better than the life which is judged not worth living by the police or the life which is let to live by its manager. And because of Biopower and the Spectacle, it’s increasingly difficult to separate any of these figures. Redemption in this world is not repaying a debt, atoning for guilt which we owe society. Capitalism is guilt. We owe them nothing. Redemption is giving them just that.

Walter Benjamin writes: “For we have been expected upon this earth. For it has been given us to know, just like every generation before us, a weak messianic power, on which the past has a claim. This claim is not to be settled lightly.” The day after my grandmother died, I set off for New York to do a panel about the messianic analogy within the proletariat. The day before my grandmother’s funeral, I spoke of becoming sensitive to the imperceptible civil war which has taken place as class struggle and now takes place as social war. In the conditions of social war, this civil war can be felt as a war between normality and its cracks. The proletariat within this civil war is a force who is contingent on history but whose possibility lies outside of it. The proletariat cancels and fulfills history through its own self-negation. At one time, in the conditions of industrialization, classical politics, and a strategically positioned portion of the oppressed, the proletariat took form in the messianic-gesture, what Benjamin called the “divine violence” of the general strike. The proletariat, who was contingent on “a class of civil society but not of civil society,” was expressed as the industrial working class using their own labor-power—what produced value—to negate value and class society itself: redemption.

Benjamin continues, “nothing that has ever happened should be regarded as lost for history. Only a redeemed humankind receives the fullness of its past. Which is to say, only for a redeemed humankind has its past become citable in all moments. Each moment it has lived becomes a citation a l’ordre du jour [order of the day]—and that day is Judgement Day.”

The hairs on your arm will stand up. At the terror in each sip and in each sup. For you partake of that last offered cup, Or disappear into the potter’s ground. When the man comes around.

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers. One hundred million angels singin’. Multitudes are marching to the big kettle drum. Voices callin’, voices cryin’. Some are born an’ some are dyin’. It’s Alpha’s and Omega’s Kingdom come…

Whoever is unjust, let him be unjust still. Whoever is righteous, let him be righteous still. Whoever is filthy, let him be filthy still.”

The horror of death in capitalism must be met with a greater horror. Hollywood produced this a representation of this horror some forty-two years ago. How appropriate that in a world, where all death is murder and all life is bare life, the dead would come to life to feed on the living. The death which the proletariat brings with it is the reversal of the operation which lets bare life live or die. The violence of redemption fulfills all past antagonisms. Its operation returns everything to use, especially our fragile bodes, especially the rot of the world. The proletariat—who perhaps takes us, affects bare life—strikes against being human when human progress is analogous to capitalist development. It turns all things which have been given value above life to toys to be ruined. It makes common everything, and like the Spanish militias who danced with the corpses of nuns, it brings our dead grandmothers to share in the collective arson of beauty salons.

The insurrection which comes is not generated from the desire for a better world: there is none. It is not even the accomplishment of democracy. It is the nightmare of the past holding the future hostage, and publicly killing and feasting on it on youtube, over and over again. In our conditions, that of an absolute social war, insurrection and its total extension is the rhythm we must collectively write and impose on capitalist society. Through these experiments and repeated gestures we develop a new sentimental intelligence and different sensuous praxis which no longer accepts our shameful conditions. We impose different collectivities beyond family, nation, and society exactly at the point of their negation. We find we are not alone, exactly at the point we lose our selves. We share exactly at the point when we begin to seize. When each funeral loses what was attempting to kept it a private affair—when newspapers are terrified to write a single obituary because the will of the dead keeps leaving ruin in its wake—then we will begin to know what redemption entail.

-Liam Sionnach | IEF | Jan ’10



Doing Being Totally Fly dance party at the CCC

dance

dance

dance



The Right to be Greedy (selections) – Morality

This text has been added to the recently created zine archive section of this site. This section mainly consists of either texts formatted, written by us and our friends or found to be significantly inspiring and influential for this project and the people who work together on it.

zine

Proposing a communism of greed, and lust for the pleasure of the common.  This interesting text is a mix of situationist and Stirner influenced ideas.

Here are the first few theses from this section:

“100

The old moral question of whether one “thinks first of oneself or of others” falls apart when we come to think only of ourselves and for this reason negate the otherness of others.

101

Intelligence ends where morality begins. Morality ends where intelligence begins. The theory of practice, the unitary critique of all ideology, must at the same time be the critique not only of any moralism, but of any possible moralism. Every moral is subjectivity disowned and subjectivity alienated. Every moral is a psychic totem, a mental fetishobject, before which the moral fetishist subordinates himself, bows down, and offers sacrifice — indeed offers himself in sacrifice. Every ideal is separated subjectivity; a part of the self separated off, ejected, frozen, and held over the rest of the self. It is a depletion of subjectivity, a loss of freedom, a choice made in advance. The formation of the moral ideal is at the same time a decline in subjective mobility and maneuverability; a ball-and-chain about the dancer’s ankle; a self-laming and self-maiming in the dance of life.

102

Morality and that which ties you to it, self-guilt, guilt for even being, is an enormous encumbrance. You can throw it off! You can drop all that weighty moral baggage, before it drags you down! You don’t need it! It is but a poor substitute for the fine tool of practical intelligence, expanded self-interest, self-consciousness itself.

When, if I should encounter a contradiction between a useful abstraction I had made about my practice, and my concrete self-interest in a given situation, if I abandon my concrete desire in favor of the practice of that abstraction, that mere generalization, out of abstract respect for superficial “consistency”, or, say, at the behest of another, who threatens me with the word “hypocrite”, then I am projecting that abstraction into a position above myself, freezing it into a “principle” n1, a moral, and I am reproducing as an ideologue the other person who has rebuked me in comparison to that moral, by being susceptible to him expropriating the representation of myself which I have erected or condoned, and using it against my real self. As a mere generalization, a practical abstraction — as theory — I have already refuted it for myself in practice, proven its invalidity for this instance. But as a moral reification, on the contrary, it is my duty to obey it. Not I but “it” is my master: “it” gives the orders, I alienate my will into it; “it” is the subject of my practice, I “its” object.

103

The projections of my subjectivity, nurtured by guilt, stick out of my head like so many handles offered to any manipulator, any ideologue, who wants to get a hold of me, and whose trade skill is the ability to perceive such handles.

Only when I dissolve my guilt, when I free myself to be shamelessly selfish, when I grasp selfishness as my only “duty” — taking care of myself as necessarily my first social responsibility — can I be free.

104

The critique of the totemic relationship, clarified by Feuerbach c49 in relation to religion, thence applied to political economy by Marx c50, and lately developed one-sidedly by the Gestalt therapists (especially Perls c51) locates the inversion that lies at the heart of all domination and self-enslavement. Totemic fetishism or projection lies also at the heart of every moral ideology, which is revealed also in the observation that every ideology is a moralism, and a social plan for the allocation of guilt. While usable precisely for the same ends, ideology in general, moralism in particular, are in essence the more sophisticated and subtle means of exploitation, as opposed to naked coercion.

105

It is my guilt about my desires which makes me susceptible to ideological exploitation by others, and which motivates me in producing excuses and justifications (rationalizations) in terms of the dominant ideology (the ideology which I let dominate me). The trick of ideology consists in this: to re-present desires in a pseudo-universal — i.e., unselfish, altruistic — and therefore unreproachable, form, always in terms of some abstract “general interest”. In order to reconcile myself with my ideology I must make myself a liar. But it is a losers’ game. The lawyers of the dominant class already have it set up in advance their way, and here I am on their terrain. The use-value of practical generalizations is that of theory — intelligence of human practice; knowledge of means, techniques, and consequences. The use-value of morality is that of ideology — to dominate others, to attempt to get what is wanted in a narrowly selfish way, by representing it as unselfish, universal, in a climate where transparent selfishness, and transparency about desires, is not tolerated, is chastised.”

http://theanarchistlibrary.org/right-be-greedy-theses-practical-necessity-demanding-everything#toc110




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