Burnt Bookmobile

Introduction to Civil War (as a book)

According to a well established source, Introduction to Civil War which appeared in the journal Tiqqun is being translated as a whole and made into the fifth book of the Semiotext(e) intervention series, of which The Coming Insurrection was the first.

Here is a zine designed by the IEF of the translated fragments.

11. “War” because in each singular play between forms-of-life, the possibility of a fierce confrontation—the possibility of violence—can never be discounted.

“Civil,” because the confrontation between forms-of-life is not a confrontation between States—those coincidences between a population and a territory—but between parties, in the sense this word had before the advent of the modern State. Because we must be precise from now on, let us say that they confront one another as partisan war machines.

“Civil war” then, because forms-of-life are indifferent to the separations between men from women, political existence from bare life, civilians from military;

because to be neutral is to take sides in the free play of forms-of-life;

because this play between forms-of-life has no beginning or end that can be declared, its sole end being the physical end of the world that no one would be able to declare;

and above all because I know of no body that is not hopelessly carried off into the excessive, and perilous, course of the world.


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



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?

Invisible Politics – An Introduction to Contemporary Communisation

“In the wake of the organized left and the demise of working class self-identity, communization offers a paradoxical means of superseding capitalism in the here and now whilst abandoning orthodox theories of revolution. John Cunningham reports from the picket line of the ‘human strike’

As we apprehend it, the process of instituting communism can only take the form of a collection of acts of communization, of making common such-and-such space, such-and-such-machine, such-and-such-knowledge.
– The Invisible Committee, Call, 2004i

The critique of capital, and speculation around the form and content of communism, always seems to oscillate between a historical materialist science on the one hand and the elaboration of new forms of subjectivity and affectivity on the other. Even Marx, while infinitely more familiar as a close analyst of capital, had early moments of Fourier style abandon when he attempted to elaborate the more mutable subjective content of a communist society. The dissolution of wage labor would make

it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner…ii

This suggests a society wherein circuits of affectivity are established that are no longer based upon the exigencies of value production – even if I personally prefer communist utopia as idleness to Marx’s endless activity. Of course, this is one of the rare instances where Marx speaks in the future tense, leaving aside the messiness of the transition from capitalism. Recently, a series of texts from the milieu around the French journal Tiqqun – primarily Call, How is to be done?, The Coming Insurrection – have reintroduced this question of the subjective content of communism in a way that might restore a speculative aspect to the critique of capital.iii These are not theoretical texts per se, more inspirational ‘How To’ manuals for the elaboration of communization as subjective and conceptual secession from both capital and the Left. As Call states, ‘Nothing can happen that does not begin with a secession from everything that makes this desert grow.’iv This discursive distance from the more traditional ultra-left positions on communization is also reflected in dense, poetic prose that establishes an affinity with possible precursors in revolt such as Dada, Surrealism and Bataille. The development of the thesis of communization within the ultra-left was always part of an attempt to shift away from the traditional programmatic forms of the party and the union towards an engagement with forms of resistance rising immanently from the social relation of capital, such as wildcat strikes. What might be at stake in a restating of the question of communization as radical subjectivist secession against the often discredited ideological formulas of anti-capitalist milieus?

It’s best to consider this question alongside the series of texts presented by Endnotes that ably document the continued elaboration of communization within the French ultra-left by presenting a series of texts by Gilles Dauvé and Theorie Communiste.v Both are rooted in the diverse groupuscles of the French far left in the 1970’s that shared a fidelity to 1968 of whom Debord and the Situationists remain the most renowned.vi Dauvé and Theorie Communiste retain a commitment to communization but diverge sharply around questions of agency and history. What remains under-theorized in both Dauvé’s humanist Marxism and Theorie Communiste’s more recently formulated Marxist structuralism is any real problematization of the production of subjectivity within capital. An insertion of this question might illuminate the impasse faced by these more hermetic theoretical critiques of capital. In sketching out the contours of contemporary theories of communization, a constellation composed of questions around subjectivity, negation, history and utopia emerges. Does a reconsideration of communization open up new perspectives and different possibilities, given the gap between the cramped space revolutionary milieus find themselves in and any genuine expectations of radical change? Or is even discussing communization at this time akin to scraping a toothache with a fingernail, pointless utopianism in the face of the constantly mutating social relation of capital?

Before answering this question, though, what is communization? The term immediately evokes various social experiments and revolutionary endeavors from the Paris Commune and utopian socialist communities in the 19th century through to various counter-cultural attempts to reconstitute social relations on a more communitarian basis such as the squatting scene in the 1970s and ’80s. The Tiqqun strand – henceforth to be known as ‘The Invisible Committee’ after the eponymous signatories of The Coming Insurrection – draws upon this long history of secessionist antagonism. They posit communization as essentially being the production, through the formation of ‘communes’, of collective forms of radical subjectivity. This destabilizes the production of subjectivity and value within both capital and more traditional forms of political organisation, eventually leading to an insurrectionary break. ‘Commune’ in this instance is not necessarily a bunch of hippies aspiring to a carbon free life style. In The Coming Insurrection a commune is almost anything that ‘seeks to break all economic dependency and all political subjugation’, ranging from wildcat strikes to Radio Alice in Bologna in 1977, and innumerable other forms of collective experimentation.vii”

Read more here

(Mute now offers a free copy of the Coming Insurrection with each new subscription to their journal.)

Anti-anarchist pogrom launched by Socialists in Greece
10/09/2009, 4:16 PM
Filed under: war-machine

“One day after assuming power, the Socialists launched a massive invasion of Exarcheia, the Athens anarchist enclave, with mass detentions and brutal intimidation of locals.

On the early hours of Friday 9 of October, four days after the landslide victory of the Socialists in the greek national elections, and only a day after assuming power, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) proved its intentions towards the social antagonistic movement that has swept the country since the December Uprising: brutal repression.

Almost one thousand cops of all corpses, riot police, motorised police, secret police and usual uniformed officers swept Exarcheia, the anarchist enclave of the greek capital, at 01.30 am. The mass invasion of the police-free area was orchestrated by the new Minister of Public Order (or as the Socialist newspeak has it Minister of Citizens’ Protection) Mr Chrisohoidis, infamous for his unorthodox methods in capturing and interrogating members of the November 17 urban guerrilla group in the summer of 2002 – i.e. torture. On his side the genius of repression has as of yesterday Mr Vougias, a well-known ex extreme-leftist eager to share his knowledge of things revolutionary with the State.

During the invasion, which came only a day after the new PM, Mr Papandreou the 3rd, announced that his government is “antiauthoritarians in power”, hundreds of people were stopped and harassed by cops who broke into 26 bars, camped in the liberated park of Navarinou street and generally portrayed a most avenging and brutal attitude towards anyone who just happens to be within the invisible boundaries of the radical area.
Reports claim that several young people were seriously beaten during the operations.

According to the press more than 60 people were detained during the pogrom. Mr Vougias announced that “anomy will be abolished” and connected the invasion with an attack launched the previous morning by more than a dozen activists against banks and a fascist bookshop in the centre of the city as an act of solidarity to the 3 boys arrested under the anti-terrorist law.”


More information

Winter Anarchist Discussion Schedule (MKE)

A clandestine hoard of miscreants and nerds is excited to announce the return of an anarchist discussion group, just in time for winter. As the frigid specter approaches, we recommend keeping warm with cozy anarchist literature, heated discussions of theory and praxis and copious amounts of tea. Each month until spring corresponds to a particular topic for discussion. With each approaching month, a more specific weekly schedule will be announced and all relevant texts will be made available at the Cream City Collectives and through the Burnt Bookmobile. November will begin as an exploration of hell-on-earth and some potential ways out. Discussions will be informed by the specified readings – thus reading the texts is encouraged (and fun), but not necessary. Everyone is welcome!

November – some fundamentals

Nov 8 Work Community Politics War
A graphic guide to the banality of life in capitalist hell and constituting conflict willfully against it.

Nov 15 The Reproduction of Daily Life
If you don’t have time to read Marx’s Capital, read this in only half an hour.

Nov 22At Daggers Drawn
You may have been wondering about what all this insurrectionary magnetic poetry floating around is all about…

Nov 29Earth First! Means Social War
This zine has been clinically proven to dispel all myths regarding green capitalism (formerly known as ethical consumerism).

All zines will be available on this website to download and print out.

Freedom for Alfredo and Christos – Comrades arrested in Greece
10/05/2009, 8:54 PM
Filed under: war-machine

From Infoshop News:

“Well-known Italian anarchist Alfredo M. Bonanno and Greek anarchist Christos Stratigopoulos have been arrested in Trikala, central Greece, on suspicion of carrying out an armed robbery at a local bank. Police sources definitively named the men as Alfredo M. Bonanno, 72, and Christos Stratigopoulos, 46. Bonanno has served 18 months in jail for his essay called “Armed Joy” and was also given a six-year term in 2003 in the farce of the “Marini Trial”.

According to police, Stratigopoulos carried out the robbery at a branch of Piraeus bank on Thursday. He forced employees to hand over 46,900 euros, which he then apparently handed to Bonanno, who was waiting outside in a rented car. A witness noted the license plate of the vehicle and informed the police, who stopped the car on a road leading to Kalambaka. Officers found the stolen cash in the vehicle.

Solidarity action – Freedom to Alfredo & Christos!

On Friday October 2 at about 8.15pm, a low-intensity bomb went off only a few meters away from the podium where Prime Minister Karamanlis was delivering his last speech, signaling the end of the pre-election period (elections are on Sunday the 4th).

The “Conspiracy of Cells of Fire” claimed responsibility with a communiqué published on Athens IMC. The writers of the communiqué deny the previous police claims to have arrested 4 members of the organization, whilst another 6 remained on the run. The “Conspiracy of Cells of Fire” describe the placing of the bomb in detail and send their revolutionary greetings to Alfredo Bonnano and his 46-year old Greek comrade, Christos Stratigopoulos, both arrested and charged with a bank robbery in the northern city of Trikala on Thursday.”


Also an update on the ongoing anti-guerrilla case mentioned in the article.

Some information on Alfredo Bananno:

It should be noted as well that much of Bananno’s writing, especially on insurrectionary anarchist ideas were developed as critique and in light of the failures of an intense period of armed struggle (note the title “armed Joy”) in Italy during the 1970s.

“Bonanno was one of hundreds of Italian anarchists arrested on the night of June 19, 1997, when Italian security forces carried out raids on anarchist centres and private homes all over Italy. The raids followed the bombing of Palazzo Marino in Milan, Italy on April 25, 1997. On February 2, 2003 Bonanno was sentenced to 6 years in prison plus a €2000 fine (first degree 3 years, 6 months) for armed robbery and other crimes. These charges were related to the “Marini Trial“, in which Italian anarchists were convicted of belonging to an eversive armed group whose ideological leader was Bonanno.”

Some texts written by him:

Armed Joy

Palistine, mon amour

The Anarchist Tension

A Love Letter To An Anonymous Stone-Thrower
10/03/2009, 10:30 PM
Filed under: war-machine

Dear Anonymous Stone-Thrower,

A rock left from your beautiful hand into the Pittsburgh night searching for either a bank window, a storefront, or maybe even the visor of a riot cop’s helmet to embrace. In a strange turn of events, my face obstructed the stone from reaching its final destination and, instead of the intended glass being shattered, my teeth were cracked into pieces and blood sprayed from my mouth like a scene from a ’70s slasher-flick. I ask you not to worry about my teeth, they are of little worth to revolutionaries; let’s remember how Bakunin got along just fine with his scurvy-ridden chompers. In fact, I’d gladly loose all my teeth, have a few fingers severed, and even a leg amputated if it would ensure that stones would continue to fly at demonstrations. A simple revolutionary cost-benefit analysis like this must surely take into account the fact that teeth are just minuscule parts of the grand expression we call a smile and smiles can not blossom on our faces without riots consuming the metropolis. So, please keep hurling those bricks into the dark sky for the sake of the world’s happiness rests upon this.

My dear, I write you this love letter to also ask you, better yet, to implore you to never regret what happened this past Thursday in Pittsburgh. Despite what anyone might say, your aim -or your lack thereof- is not to blame and I insist that the fault belongs solely to my face, and to my face alone, for clumsily finding its way into the rock’s path. Place all the guilt on my head… Literally. And in my throbbing skull, hypotheticals squirt out of my jarred brain. What is the exact nature of friendly-fire but a combination of the two elements essential to the composition of any revolutionary: friends and fire? Yes! I can assure you that you will never hear liberal complaints about the irresponsibility of the black bloc or banal whining about the careless violence displayed in a riot come from my now disfigured lips. For I know all too well that gestures cannot be beautiful without victims.

And so, I gladly rejoice in my newfound victimhood. Because, clearly you don’t have to be Octave Mirbeau to locate the uncanny semblance between pain and pleasure. Your brick toss became for me an erotic spanking par excellence. It was nothing less than a treat for me to feel your subjective will, set on battering alienated capitalist objectivity, instead rupture my class-conditioned proletarianized existence. My love, you unknowingly set into motion my own personal de-subjectification: your wild pitch broke my identity and my gum-line. Gorgeous it was, how the hard stone, your soft hand, and your sleek body coupled into a machine with a flow that caressed my lips, leaving traces of your desire around my mouth, and, at the same time, produced the strangest of Craigslist Missed Connections. I long for you, Anonymous Stone-Thrower, and I so badly want to tell you that you are my hero and also say thank you. Thank you for finally letting me experience a riot from another angle. Thank you for fulfilling this pressing need, described best by Baudelaire when he scribbled:

I would be happy not only as a victim; it would not displease me to play the hangman as well-so as to feel the revolution from both sides!

If my burning wish to someday meet you is ever granted, please ignore my hideous, scab covered lips, pretend they are casualties of sensual but nonetheless overzealous nibbling, and let us kiss like lovers’ deprived from each other for too long. I anticipate this day like I yearn for the day we all storm the heavens.

Till we find each other on the barricades,

Undying affection,
-Bleeding Gums Murphy