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Notes Concerning Recent Actions against the Police

From Indybay:

On Tuesday July 19th, hundreds of people took to the streets of San Francisco in order to demonstrate their rage against the recent murders of Charles Hill and Kenneth Harding in the city by BART police and SFPD respectively. We marched behind a banner reading “they can’t shoot us all; fuck the police” as an expression of our intention that police murder will be met with resistance and retaliation every time they rear their ugly heads in our city.

IT DEFINITELY WENT DOWN

The march began at Dolores Park where nearly 200 of us departed and began moving towards the Castro. The route followed MUNI rail lines, obstructing the functioning of the rail system as it proceeded. Upon reaching the Castro MUNI station, all hell broke loose. While approaching the intersection (home to the underground MUNI station as well as the crossing of several MUNI rail lines) a significant portion of the march had donned masks and hoods.

What had now become a mob moved effortlessly past the bewildered cops and descended into the station. Down below on the mezzanine level, trash was set alight and thrown down onto the tracks below, followed by advertisements and signs. The ticket machines, the fare checkpoints and the agent booth were all smashed with hammers and flags – totally ruined. Smokebombs and fireworks were thrown throughout the station, adding to the chaos as the group resurfaced. The march then moved back through the Castro, hurling bricks over the heads of riot police and through the windows of Bank of America before heading into the Mission.

Those at the front of the march, made the spontaneous decision to continue onwards to the Mission police station on Valencia street. As the march approached, the pigs moved into formation to protect their sty. This didn’t stop us from throwing flares, a paint bomb, and a hammer at the façade of the building and at its defenders. The crowd, now swelled to almost 300, stayed in front of the police station for a while, screaming in the faces of the scum that patrols our streets and kills and imprisons the people we love. After making it abundantly clear that we wanted them the fuck out of our neighborhood, we continued through the Mission . At this point, the march dwindled slightly but continued down Mission St. Things escalated again when CBS news began harassing the crowd. People grabbed the big ass camera and smashed it on the ground. Police moved to make an arrest, but were repelled by the stick-wielding crowd.

After leaving the Mission, the crowd took Market St. and began moving through downtown toward Civic Center Station (the site of Charles Hill’s murder) and then onto Powell Station. At this point the number swelled again to more than they had been at any point, as countless onlookers joined the anti-cop demonstration. The crowd was big enough to block both sides of Market (a rare occurrence). The police began issuing dispersal orders from their sound truck tailing the march. Not giving a fuck, however, hundreds of us drowned out their orders screaming “SHUT THE FUCK UP” over and over. As the march turned up Powell (where we had intended to disperse) riot cops were able to surround and kettle about 30 people. As they filled in to enforce their kettle, hundreds of people pushed against them, hurling projectiles and screaming at them to let them go (and die). Skirmishes broke out as a handful of friends were unarrested and several more attempts were made to free those trapped inside police lines.

When it became clear that it would be impossible to free the 30 or so friends caught by the police, the strategy shifted to outright fighting. As the police began moving the vans containing the arrested, our crews and others did everything we could to stop them. The vans were chased and blockades attempted. The police and their vehicles were pelted with rocks, bottles, D-batteries and whatever else could be thrown against them. All-out brawls broke out leading to police injuries and a handful of arrests. Several police motorcycles were knocked over and stomped on. The night ended with a tense standoff against police. At this point, hundreds of people from the surrounding area had flooded the scene, screaming at the police or just looking on in awe. More shit got thrown at them and eventually people left, as we had word that several of the arrested were already being released.

It is the humble opinion of these participants that this last round of events was marked by some of the most wild physical fights with police at a demo in a long time. By the end of the night, all but one of the arrested had been released with misdemeanors (for disobeying orders and/or battery). One person remains in jail, being charged with Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Felony Vandalism. (Updates soon)

RESISTANCE IS SPREADING:

Yesterday’s attacks come in the context of a growing campaign of diffuse attacks against the MUNI system in retaliation for the murder of Kenneth Harding. On Saturday, within moments of his murder, people on scene began attacking the police with bottles and trying to disrupt the T-train. In the subsequent days various crews of people in and around Bayview have spontaneously and diffusely taken up a campaign against the MUNI system: blocking tracks, breaking the windows on trains and busses, attacking agents, fighting with the police. Most of this resistance, of course, has gone unreported by the scum media. At a press-conference held in Bayview on Monday, many family-members of police victims and other angry people gathered to denounce the most recent murders, share stories about how much they fucking hate the pigs, and articulate a strategy of resistance.

The message at the conference and in people’s actions is clear: “We want pigs off the MUNI system and we want the system to be free, or there will not be a system at all.” People vowed to continue their attacks and blockades against the trains and buses operated by MUNI until they are fare-free and cop-free. As austerity takes its toll on poor people in the Bay Area, it is becoming increasingly clear that the only solution is attack, and that these attacks are the clearest way to demonstrate our solidarity.

It is in following the lead of those struggling for freedom in Bayview that we decided to trash the MUNI station in the Castro. This is only one contribution in what is mounting up to be a wave of chaos against a system that values a 2$ fare over our lives.

SYSTEMIC DISRUPTION AND SABOTAGE:

Last week, over 100 of us disrupted the BART system by blockading trains and vandalizing stations. This activity resulted in 3 hours of solid obstruction and delays through the BART system caused by several station closures. This was called for in response to the killing of Charles Hill on the Civic Center platform by BART police. Once again, we disrupted the transit system in an act of vengeance against the slaughter at the hands of the armed enforcers of fares. Last night, in addition to putting the Castro MUNI station out of commission, we blocked tracks, buses, and trains. Police went on to close at least three BART stations for fear of the destruction at the Castro station being brought on other stations throughout the system. Through our actions and the response of the police, we brought the transit system in the heart of the financial capitol of the West Coast to a grinding halt for the second time in as many weeks.

It should be noted that obstructing these systems and destroying their apparatuses takes very little effort. System disruption is a valuable tool, and should be considered for use as a response every time the pigs murder someone in our towns. The economic damage and the disruption to networks of control caused by these actions is deeper and wider than a brick through a window (however lovely the act may be).

WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE PIG LIES:

Fearing full on rebellion, SFPD and their servants in the media have gone into full spin mode. Each day they make new justifications for their killings. They say Charles Hill had a knife. They say Kenneth Harding shot at them. They talk about Harding’s previous convictions and allude to his connection to the murder of a pregnant woman in Washington State. In each of these cases, it is important for the enemies of the police to not be tricked by these diversions.

The issue has never been the character of Kenneth Harding or what type of weapons the victims of police violence may or may not have been carrying. The issue is that the armed enforcers of Capital and the State have enforced a death sentence on the poor in this city; made themselves the judge, jury and executioner of anyone who cannot afford a fare, is homeless, or breaks their meaningless laws in order to survive. We don’t care if Kenneth Harding had a gun. In fact, we wish he had shot the men who went on to shoot him ten times in the back and throat. Any justification for his murder misses the point that the situation should never have happened in the first place. We shouldn’t have to pay for their trains and the cops shouldn’t exist to enforce fares (or anything at all). To blame Kenneth Harding or Charles Hill or any victim of police violence for the atrocities enacted upon them by the police is to side with the State, always. Kenneth Harding is dead for one reason: because officers shot him ten times in the back and throat and watched as he bled to death on the street.

It is also worth noting that the mythology of black male violence against women is consistently used by the police and other armed white people as a pretense for racist murder, whether at the hands of a lynch mob or by the bullets of a cop’s gun. To counter this narrative, and the entirely false idea that police exist to protect women, a feminist contingent within the march prepared a statement and distributed it, denouncing the police.

IN CONCLUSION:

When the police kill in our cities, we need to respond immediately and to continue and escalate that resistance. This has been the case so far in the response to the recent murders in San Francisco. People throughout the city – victims, family members, angry kids, anarchists, communists, hooligans – didn’t wait for the Left or any Non-Profit groups to begin. We acted without hesitation and constraint, in doing so setting the narrative of the struggle against the police. It is important that we not fall into the traps set out by the State. The struggle cannot be limited to one neighborhood or one “Legitimate” series of concerns or any one part of the population. We need to fight against SFPD throughout the city, against BART Police throughout the Bay, and against policing on a global scale. This weeks events have already demonstrated that angry people are willing to act against the police and the system they enforce in their neighborhoods, and to join the struggles of others and act in solidarity through attack. The struggle that began with the Oscar Grant rebellion is just beginning to emerge from hibernation. People here are just beginning – collectively and diffusely – to resist police terror in our streets. This is just a taste.

In sadness and in rage.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA
JULY 20, 2011

video



San Francisco: War on the Police
07/17/2011, 11:49 PM
Filed under: war-machine | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

From IndyBay:

Yesterday, hundreds of enraged people took to the streets of San Francisco in response to the murder of a 19 year old by SFPD in the Bayview neighborhood. He was killed for running from the police after not paying his MUNI fare. Immediately people in Bayview responded – confronting the police, screaming at the murderers and throwing bottles. At Midnight, another group called for a last minute march against the police. About 100 marchers took the street and attacked ATMs, banks and a cop car.

Whether we like it or not, this city is a fucking war-zone. For the second time in as many weeks, police officers have murdered someone in cold blood. Yesterday, they murdered a 19 year old in the Bayview district. For the crime of not paying his $2 bus fare, he was executed by SFPD; shot ten times in front of a crowd. On July 3rd, BART police responding to a report of a man too drunk to stand, arrived at Civic Center Station and shot Charles Hill within a minute of their arrival, killing him as well. His crime: being broke and homeless in a city that fucking despises us.

And so, within a few hours of hearing word of SFPD’s latest atrocity, we called for a march against the police in the Mission District. About 100 of us gathered, donned masks, and marched down Valencia St. toward the Mission Police Station. We attacked the first pig car that approached. We attacked ATMs and a Wells Fargo as well. We upturned newspaper boxes and trash bins, throwing them into the streets at the encroaching riot cops. We screamed in the pigs faces and confronted them at their front door. By 1AM we had dispersed without arrest.

This march comes on the heels of Monday’s attack on the BART system in response to the murder of Charles Hill. Again, over 100 of us clogged the BART system, blocking trains, vandalizing machines and bringing the rail system to a grinding halt. For over three hours BART suffered system-wide delays and the BART police were forced to close several stations throughout the city. After being forced out of the system, we took the streets in an impromptu march. Causing havoc and avoiding two attempts by the police to kettle us. The march ended in a heated stand-off with SFPD in front of hundreds of tourists at the Powell St. plaza.

In reporting this we hope to make it obvious: we will no longer allow the police (regardless of what badge they wear) to murder us in the streets. When they kill, we will respond with force. These two marches along with the burgeoning revolt in Bayview are only a beginning. We do not care about their attempts at justifying themselves. In each of these killings they claim that their lives were in danger. We say they lie, but honestly don’t care either way. As the State has removed any illusion that it exists to serve or protect people, we can see clearly that it exists only to push us into prisons and to shoot us in cold blood. Two single dollars are worth more to them than our lives. The very existence of the police clearly endangers all of us, and we won’t be safe until they are destroyed.

WAR ON THE POLICE
WAR ON THE BART SYSTEM
WAR ON THE MUNI SYSTEM

Stay tuned,

some anarchists in the Bay Area



July 3rd and Civil War in Milwaukee

From the Ignorant Research Institute (MKE):

We enter into a war that we were already a part of.

The problem is not whether or not the taking, sharing, and thereby profaning property or the attack on the physical bodies of white people (in fact corresponding closely with value of the commodity of whiteness) is a poor revolutionary strategy. The problem is how to align ourselves with attacks on the social order while making our allegiances explicit enough to not be confused with being on the side of whiteness – that is, being on the side of domination. We do not claim to patronize the position of those who acted by claiming to understand them, but it would not be hard to understand the desperate nihilism of such risk and the seeming anti-social nature of the attack. It is difficult not to see how the experience of the other (the one outside of whiteness) responds to the white mass that erases their existence with a healthy share of hostility. Hence the need to differentiate oneself from the “good, well behaved, and civilized” black citizens, from white people (which needs little explanation), from any includable and pacified category within society.

We now understand the disaffection, desertion, and destruction of whiteness to be of the utmost strategic necessity. But this situation is and isn’t about race, like all questions of identity. Our power, against the power of the social order which imposes identity upon us, is a power of identity’s overflowing, of its self-abolition. It is a betrayal of what we are, of white people no longer doing only what white people do, of women no longer doing only what women do, of even humans no longer doing only what humans do, as we constitute ourselves against every mode and apparatus of containment. It becomes an issue of opening up space for an exodus, for others to join the already excluded and deepen the rifts which already permeate the social terrain of the city.

Among the many things made clear by the events of July 3rd, we have before us an example illuminated: civil war in Milwaukee already exists.

And if civil war exists, then the question is how to take part. We ask you to take very seriously this task. We ourselves are just barely starting.



UWM Theatre Building Occupation



Civil War: The Continuation of Communism by Other Means (Review of Introduction to Civil War)

From the IEF blog:

“Introduction to Civil War is an alternative origin myth. Introduction to Civil War is the vademecum when you show up to fight club, or any strange twelve-stepesque community of friends. Introduction to Civil War is the book to keep out of the hands of children who are ready to subtract themselves and all of their classmates and teachers from production. Introduction to Civil War is a molecule of a war machine.

The text was originally published in Tiqqun 2, a short-lived French journal of radical thought. Emerging out of the fervent struggles of the European anti-capitalist movement, Tiqqun located itself within a nexus of radical feminist thought, Foucault’s studies on biopolitics, Italian Autonomia, situationist-inspired theory, and Benjaminian approaches to history. The editors intentionally practiced a desubectivizing operation of anonymity, and the texts themselves, a feminist/Deleuzian operation of multiplicity. Where there are many links between the journal’s thought and the editors’ participation in the struggles of the late ’90s and early ’00s, it would be difficult to claim Tiqqun as specifically “anarcho-autonomous,” “ultra-left,” or whatever else Sarkozy and Glenn Beck claim to be the ideological bogeyman behind the French editors, who are now being accused of this or that terrorist enterprise (see: Nov. 9 ‘09 Tarnac Arrests). Tiqqun was a journal that examined the exceptional situation of everyday concentration camps, and theorized from that point, highly influenced by Giorgio Agamben. Today, Tiqqun’s contributions are becoming available to English speaking worlds, and their final concept “civil war” emerges as visible and viable.

Civil war: the continuation of communism by other means. History will decide whether or not civil war replaces Foucault’s concept of contesting the meaning of the social (social war), but one thing is clear from Tiqqun’s contributions: if the social has dissolved, and governance is now only techniques of managing its collapse, then civil war becomes the necessary condition of this existence. And if this is the case, then the last bit of poetry found at the end of Introduction to Civil War, “How is it to be Done?,” may be accurate in exclaiming the only way for us, within this condition of global civil war, to touch on our humanity again will be in a collective negation, namely, an unlimited human strike.

Civil war presupposes the state. Even by advocates of the state’s own admission, the state serves as a preventative measure. Tiqqun locates the elementary human unity not in the body, which quickly becomes subject, but in form-of-life (16). Since all thought is strategic (20) they begin here because the state is the consequence of a certain metaphysics that governs each form-of-life at play in the self—an attenuation of difference through subjectivity. Tiqqun proposes that another metaphysics, a negative one, can be made present, within which forms-of-life might be left to play. This free play of forms-of-life, this “principle of their coexistence” (32), is nothing other than the condition of civil war that the modern state was developed in order to suppress.

This logic reveals a hidden fact regarding the formation of the modern state. If forms-of-life take place through bodies, animating bodies with taste and inclinations to lose themselves and to pass into another’s spheres, then the development of the state, the borders and executions it visited upon worlds, were also visited upon selves. When the state is the suppression of the self, civil war is not only inevitable but already omnipresent. From the absolutist state to the welfare state to the liberal state, the state serves as merely a parenthesis in civil war, first as an attempt to exclude bare life from a territory, then from a population, then from the singular body. From classical politics to biopolitics, the state sets out on a steady course of encountering its own impossibility. This steady course is civil war.

With and against Marx’s dictum that the history of human societies is a history of class struggle; Tiqqun reads the history of forms-of-life as the history of civil war. The story of the state, namely “status,” is the story of an attempt made to freeze this free play of forms-of-life. Again and again, it fails, and out of each successive failure develops a new form of governance and new techniques to suppress civil war. The present conditions of “Empire” are nothing more than an outgrowth of these failures. The modern state is nothing more than a complex set of governing and neutralizing apparatuses that continue the political suppression of civil war by other Clausewitzian means.

But what does sovereign power do that classical politics doesn’t? Drawing on Hobbes and Schmitt, Tiqqun argues that the modern state is a theater of operations in which the intensity of ethical difference is neutralized and every image of difference is pulled to the center for a endless photo-op. Classical politics, through a holistic and despotic state, arranged an order of moral codes via absolute force in order to come to some higher meaning. Classical politics put religion and the sphere of ethics into the theater of the political by including kings as the living heirs to God and individuals as the loyal disciples of God’s moral order. In contrast to the rituals of redemption offered through the bloody play of forces contesting territory under the reign of classical politics, sovereign power can point its population to nothing. The modern state is quite literally the management of life, devoid of transcendental authority. The modern state governs, but learns not to govern too much. Moreover, the modern state applies the classical maxim cuius regio, eius religio, and contends and defeats all opposing religions in order to continue as the hand of god on an earth without God.

The paradox of law, which is the founding thesis of the norm, is as follows: law is in force only in its imposition; law appears only in the act of law. If law is fungible or malleable, this is because it has no justification other than its logic. “It is my pleasure” says the modern sovereign. The norm develops from this essential lacuna of law, but things are as they are not simply because they are, but because of material practices, because of how they are. Norm as nomos emerges from specific means deployed through apparatuses of control.

Enter the reign of the economy. There could never be an economic subject without a political subject. Tiqqun reads Foucault’s study of biopolitics not as a story of power outmaneuvered by the deployment counter-subjectivities, but instead as processes of subjectivization by a vast number of apparatuses. Such massive, overdetermined subjectivization mitigates vital and substantive opposition. Capitalism could not have spread across the globe without first the physical neutralization of hostile populations and practices—which is to say, the condition of war had to be neutralized, in order for “peace” to become the normal condition.

Through Tiqqun’s matrix of civil war, we learn that the development of capitalism, primitive accumulation, and war are not mere periods of tragedy that human society had to endure as the necessary, teleological process of the modern state. Instead, they are the originary operations, the operations that are repeated in order to maintain the status of the so-called peace of citizen-subjects. The Hobbesian operation of exclusion/inclusion is looped on an endless repeat. With the advancements of liberal techniques of government, the operations no longer take the form of a visible exposition of disciplinary force aimed at beating a hostis out of a population, (viz., an external military affair). Rather, these neutralizing operations take form in self-managed policing (viz., an internal police). Foucault explains the process of how the “delinquent” was made into an enemy of society; Tiqqun clarifies that the criminal practices had to be excluded and named “anti-social” in order for there to ever be a formal workers’ movement that could be associated with a public social (albeit, illegal) justice.

Introduction to Civil War exposes the modern uneasiness with “violence.” Violence must be excluded not because it threatens to turn the earth into a pit of corpses (capital has no qualms with such a process), but because it threatens to break the imaginary boundaries of subjects, and release forms-of-life to their free play. Hobbes remains the originary political theorist, in that we can already see the beginnings of self-managed subjects through the threat of exclusion. What must be excluded from a living being in order to include it in the caring arms of the state (and thus give it political-subjectivity) is precisely what attaches it to worlds and what gives it the capacity to encounter others. The exclusion of bare life produces docile bodies. The forced retreat into the self typifying the modern subject must be understood not merely as the process which the western individual was founded, but specifically as the process that generated economic “man” whose stupid (literally: stupefied) concept of freedom ends where all else begins.

Thus, what Tiqqun calls “the black magic of the economy” is deployed at all levels to integrate all human life into “society” first as living beings (zoe) then to continue functioning as legal subjects (bios). But this process can never generate today’s citizen-subject as a perfect artifice of legal behavior. On the contrary, by forcing the political-economy, the process makes society—the massive circulation of legal practices of freedom—indistinguishable from the state. Through the proliferation of the police, the dark memory of the state’s violent origin exposes each terrified citizen to the paradox of its existence.

The liberal state and the welfare state, or liberal democratic and social democratic institutions, are not distinct modes of government but rather two poles of the modern state. Tiqqun argues that the management of a certain social definition of happiness was all it took for the liberal state to control its population (118). With police and with publicity, the liberal state could cynically keep order, but the police and publicity developed in a way that served and exceeded the institution of the nation-state. With the collapse of liberal and social hypothesis, the police and publicity were able to shed their institutional justification and become exposed as mere apparatuses of sovereign power. Through this collapse, this folding up of the liberal state, police and publicity gain a new important role; they are exalted as the super-institutional poles of Empire. Techniques of policing transform into Biopower and techniques of publicity transform into Spectacle. The state itself does not disappear just yet, but it is demoted, and Spectacle and Biopower begin the reign of Empire (118).

It is in the planned-environment of Empire that Tiqqun calls on us to take a partisan position: to intensify the play of forms-of-life beyond their attenuation; to loosen the nooses of subjectivity that Empire places around our necks (176). Civil war is where forms-of-life can freely play. An armed joy of bank expropriations, strikes, bombings, occupations, pirate radio stations, riots, and experimental forms-of-life (such as those in 1977 Italy) rises to a new metaphysical plane in the history of the citizen-subject. Civil war can never be routed. Each hyphen between a citizen-subject contains an intense flow of inclinations. What Tiqqun makes abundantly clear is that these intense inclinations are themselves the many protagonists of history. Civil war, not the state; the form-of-life not the subject, takes us, gives us meaning, and exposes us to a new plane of experience. The Imaginary Party—Tiqqun says “we,” (174)—can be understood as the party for civil war. It is a fragmented plane of consistency where each practice that prefers not to conjure away forms-of-life calls home. Unlike other discourses that rely on a single revolutionary-subjectivity, Tiqqun’s Imaginary Party is nothing but a multiplicity, but unlike Negriist dreams of global civil society, the Imaginary Party does not shy away from the global civil war.

Tiqqun’s concept of communism by other means performs of a particularly interesting operation from this point. Moving beyond the false consciousness of the Left, Tiqqun concludes “There is no visible outside anymore […] Madness, crime or the hungry proletariat no longer inhabit a defined or recognized space, they no longer form a world unto themselves, their own ghetto with or without walls” (131). If there is no longer any pure outside but rather exteriority present at every inch of the biopolitical tissue, then the Imaginary Party is not a political party that contends for power, nor a class that wishes to overthrow another class, nor a multitude that sees its desire reflected back at it through its representations of power. The Imaginary Party is the party of the political only insofar that through its presence it exposes each citizen-subject to the intensity of what it means to act politically.

Despite Tiqqun’s insistence on the need to reclaim violence (34), we learn this need is not in order to simply pose a greater technology of violence against their state’s violence, but rather for each body to become at home with its capacity for force. So-called “terrorism” today exposes citizens of Empire to the conditions they have placed on forms-of-life. What Tiqqun advances in terms of civil war, is in actuality a perverse war-machine. The Imaginary Party is full of precisely the content you might imagine. In a queer gesture, Tiqqun explains that “Empire is not the enemy with which we have to contend, and other tendencies within the Imaginary Party are not, for us, so many hostis to be eliminated, the opposite is, in fact, the case” (182). This means that the capacity for force, that inaugurates an element of the Imaginary Party, is specifically a force directed inward. Through the release of forms-of-life to their free play, Empire’s meaninglessness and its lack of substance are totally revealed. The warlike penchants of forms-of-life form a war-machine only insofar that these penchants conjugate “friends” and “enemies” whose ethical distinctions are far more intense then any banal promise of security that Empire can articulate.

Introduction to Civil War ends exactly where you might expect: at the question of “how?” Like Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, Introduction to Civil War, is not (despite the Library of Congress) an essay of critical theory, but rather a text at home with Clausewitz and Blanqui. Although their insistence on Heidegger’s “the they” and all this Schmittian talk of “friends and enemies” situates Tiqqun in a framework of armed struggle, the anonymous editors break free in their concluding piece. What Tiqqun theorizes and what Tiqqun strategizes operations within are two different disciplines. Perhaps this is one of the most difficult positions for Tiqqun to articulate: What it might mean to live communism, and what it might mean to spread anarchy? History (or perhaps the messiah if we go by Benjamin), will have the final say, but what is irreducible in Introduction to Civil War is the feeling of meaninglessness that is the alibi of daily reproduction and the fact that whatever new struggles are emerging do not fit into the normative nor formal leftist conception of revolution or revolutionary subjectivity. Perhaps forms-of-life will animate bodies and advance what the religious wars in Europe only dreamed of. Perhaps everything will be in common, especially our fragile bodies. Or perhaps Tiqqun has misread something of our times and the coming community will have no allegiance to flesh and sinew, nor even thought. Either way, whether it is through the phantom of terror itself gaining substance (Baudrillard) or the inauguration and multiplication of collectivities whose ethical tissue is robust and whose thought is strategic, Tiqqun concludes that the time of the now is decisive. Empire or civil war?”

http://www.politicsisnotabanana.com/2011/01/oh-yeah-that-review-of-introduction-to.html



Critical Negativity Discussion Series

Weaving two seemingly divergent themes together through various conceptions of sovereignty, October will focus on the relationship and subsequent separation between humans and animals through the lens of domestication and civilization, while November will focus on questions of conflict – both as the fabric that maintains the present and the force that may tear it asunder.

1pm on Saturdays at the CCC (732 E Clarke St.)

October: Critical Animal Studies

2nd
‘The Snake’ by D.H. Lawrence (plain text)
9th ‘The Animal That Therefore I Am’ by Jacques Derrida (book)
16th ‘The Open’ by Giorgio Agamben (book)
23rd ‘On Behalf of the Barbarians’ by Bleu Marin (zine)

November: War, Violence and Enmity

6th ‘Theory of the Partisan’ by Carl Schmitt (zine)
13th ‘Introduction to Civil War’ by Tiqqun (book) zine version
20th ‘Nomadology: The War-Machine’ By D & G (zine)
27th ‘Archeology of Violence’ by Pierre Clastres (book)

This series is perhaps considerably less introductory than previous anarchist oriented and theory discussion series that we’ve attempted, though anyone who is interested is certainly welcome to participate. Most of the texts will be available for free to pick up beforehand from the CCC or can be found online to download (and linked to from this post and if made into zines will be added to the zine archive).

Many of the texts can be found here



What ‘if…’?

FREE SCREENING

7pm September 18th at the CCC

…we didn’t have to become our parents and in fact we realized we were at war with the world which makes up become them.

From the synopsis on Wikipedia:

If…. is a 1968 British feature film by director Lindsay Anderson satirising English public school life. Famous for its depiction of a savage insurrection at a public school, the film is associated with the 1960s counterculture movement because it was filmed by a long-standing counter-culture director at the time of the student uprisings in Paris in May 1968. It includes controversial statements, such as: “There’s no such thing as a wrong war. Violence and revolution are the only pure acts”. It features surrealist sequences throughout the film. Upon release in the UK, it received an X certificate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If….



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



What if They Threw a Black Bloc and the Police Arrested Everyone?

From Anarchist News:

“Around 1000 arrests in Copenhagen
Police said they rounded up 968 in a preventive action against a group of youth activists at the tail end of the demonstration.
“We saved the demonstration from being disturbed totally,” Per Larsen, chief coordinator for the Danish police, told the New York Times. “There were some hard-core protesters that we have neutralized.”

I.
 The political: war. Two Parties: that of Order and that of Insurrection.

II.
 The prophets say we will soon be fighting for clean water. There are already food riots. What better way to set this stage of history than to paint the picture of 1000 potential rioters, neutralized?
Anti-globalization activists are not the only ones to fully comprehend the symbolic value of global trade summits. At the first global summit to deal specifically with responses to climate change, the Party of Order demonstrated exactly what the epoch of uncertainty and crisis will mean: counter-insurgency to a T. The police openly stated their objective: “the biggest security operation since World War II,” and accomplished it—militarily—with speed, efficiency, and finesse.

III.
 Order, securitization, and immunization. From the position of the Party of Order, the crises we currently inhabit are always the results of unknown variables. If these variables were mapped, understood and rationalized, they could be controlled and neutralized. This occurs either by means of inclusion into democratic order or by means of discipline and force. For example, the unconscious self-abolition of honey bees, because of their productive capacity in agribusiness as forced immigrant labor, must be viewed from the position of the Party of Order as a possible threat to the production of food. Even a hurricane must be calculated in terms of its destabilizing effect—as if it were an act of terrorism. At the human level, all labor which has become superfluous must be viewed in its capacity to produce and perform subjectivities. When human beings fail to perform their subjectivities, they are often decomposed or made an example of. This happens through the violence of job-removal, moral-sanctions and murder, but also at the level of biological disciplining of bodies—the deployment of beauty standards, gendering and racial coding—and at the level of preemptive biotechnological assaults through global social networks mapping, biometrics, and proliferation of surveillance. From the position of the Party of Order this is the only course possible because today in the general conditions of absolute social war, there is no way of distinguishing between a docile, hard-working citizen-subject and a potential terrorist.

IV.
 Between a docile, hard-working citizen-subject and a potential terrorist, there is life; between life and a potential terrorist, there is the police. The Party of Order’s spectacular goal: generate beautiful works of art in which the police are our glorious protagonists—ensuring order, rescuing kittens, and embodying the exceptional desire of civil society to brutalize its excesses every so often. The party of insurrection must make it its objective not only to reverse this, but to generate different, disturbing and self-alienating works of art. The image of static, noise—the pornographic image which deletes its author and model—must be generated in order to inflict a profound violence to the system of meaning which the Party of Order enforces.

V.
 Even occupation can be rationalized. No tactic should fit in a tool box. The Party of Order is eager to bring an unruly situation to its logical conclusion (see: the second occupation of the New School). The party of insurrection’s appearances must mutate. Either from the application of collective intelligence or by means of simulacrum, each slight alteration in tactical continuity disrupts the predictions of the Party of Order. For example, a shift from all-black everything to black tops, denim bottoms provides slightly easier and hastier withdraw. Attacking where the enemy’s forces are not does not only mean diffused nocturnal sabotage or individuated strikes.

VI.
 The party of insurrection, if it will refine “the convergence” past its declared expiration date, must develop the intelligence, resources and material solidarities to appear as multiplied, yet vast. It is necessary to be numerous and cruel when engaging in terrain with police. In a city, a few ruined avenues occupied by life is enough to cause a crisis. If by means of destruction, mobility and appropriate technology is nice; if by means of territorialization, then what we must learn is what devices stick, hold on, and endure. The capacity to self-organize and deploy forces—300 rioters here, 300 rioters there and 300 rioters there—which are always reinforcing each other, must be developed. The intelligence which transforms any commodity we may come in contact with into a device of insurrection must be learned. Moreover, the capacity to inflict psychological or emotional harm to an enemy force must be experimented with beyond the practices of passive shaming. This can be advanced either by the development of our own “less than lethal” weapons which counteract the police’s rubber bullets, pepper spray and bean bags, and which perhaps make the molotov obsolete, and/or by means of a different strategy to combat, in which the heart is both the weapon and target.

VII. 
The next convergence points: unstable cultural events, vulnerable gatherings of the rich, holiday events, reality TV show filmings, the next disaster, celebrity marriages, the deployment of our own doomsday gangs which collectively attack functional subjectivities, our own or otherwise.”

http://anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10273



Footnotes on the State of Exception

First three Theses (out of 10):

“1.War happens. We know nothing of war, as they constantly remind us. War – always one and multiple – has been on our plates, since childhood, in what mustn’t go to waste. They resented us for our presumed ignorance of war, as if we were ignoring pain or an illness, or simply as if this forever absent war was now over for good, and it had to be remembered as one remembers a dead family member. Through grief.

2.Well-being. All those born far from war, or after it, know quite well that it isn’t over. They know it as possibility, as a nightmare that might come true. And this knowledge turns disquieting when war explodes in the distance, laying the childhoods, the kitchen smells, the bed sheets of others to waste. The past has dug a grave in the present and is again burying the living there – so they say — but it’s a lie. Because war is really one of the names for our present, and not a tale of days-gone-by. It lives in bodies; it flows through institutions, traverses relationships between strangers and acquaintances, even here, in this moment, for a long while now. And the more we pretend to be innocent and alien to events, the guiltier we know we are. Guilty of not being present where blood is shed, and yet somehow we are there…They used to tell us, “you kids have it all” as if to say “you sons of bitches,” yet who has raised and built this affluence, this inexhaustible source of war? Sometimes we have even suspected that if war is elsewhere, then life must be too.

3.Rest in peace… We know everything about war just like we know everything about prison, without having been there, since they are at the heart of “peace” and “free life,” already implied in them. Just as we know that nobody in our system is innocent, that only power relations exist, and that the losers and not the guilty are the ones being punished.  That is why war has become someone else’s dirty job, which we are obliged to ignore. On every street corner they ask us to forget its possibility and its reality, to be surprised by it though never complicit in it. We are thanked in advance for our vigilance. Our choice is between collaborating in the social peace or with the partisans of terror.  War is no longer concerned with us, we look at it and it doesn’t look back, it is too close. Its distance from us is not the same as that between a spectator and a football match, where we can still desire victory for one team and defeat for another. It resides in the limbo of things we would like to abolish. So we never have to take sides or believe that words have a weight that can be felt in the body, or that life has a meaning and that this meaning can also lead to its sudden end.”

-Claire Fontaine

http://www.clairefontaine.ws/pdf/footnotes.pdf

zine

After recently reading Homo Sacer by Giogio Agamben, the state of exception has been floating around my mind. It seems to be floating around others’ as well. This is my main justification for posting it, since it has been circulating for a bit already (in the new Politics is Not a Banana and as a zine before that).  Claire Fountaine, used to have some sort of relationship with the Tiqqun journal, and used to have some interesting things to say.  Now they’re an artist collective who seemingly makes money putting alienation in the form of witty light up signs on gallery walls.  Wasn’t there already alienation on the gallery wall?




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