[written to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the LA riots, one of the most significant events in recent US history – r&d]
LOS ANGELES, March 3, 1991 – On the shoulder of the freeway, police are beating a man. Because we are in the US, and because the man is black, we will know that this is a routine event, an ordinary brutality, part of the very fabric of everyday life for non-whites. But something is exceptional this time. There is an observer, as there often is, but the observer holds in his hands an inhuman witness, a little device for producing images which are accepted as identical with the real. The images – grainy, shaking with the traces of the body behind them – enframe this event, defamiliarize it, make it appear in all its awfulness as both unimaginable singularity and example of a broader category of everyday violence. The recorded beating of Rodney King marks, as many have noted, the beginning of one of the most significant episodes of US history. But few have examined this event in terms of the transformative effects it exerted upon contemporary spectacle and its would-be enemies. By spectacle, we mean here those social relations and activities which are mediated directly by the representations, whether visual or verbal, which capital has subsumed (that is, remade according to its own imperatives).
For us, the advent of the Rodney King video marks the first major shift in the political economy of spectacle, which we choose to describe as a passage from passive to active spectacle, from spectacle as pacifying object of passive consumption to spectacle as the active product of the consumer (whose leisures or recreations have long since become forms of work). In its classical form, spectacle creates a situation in which “spectators are linked solely by their one-way relationship to the very center that keeps them isolated from each other” (Debord.) But at a certain point in its development, spectacle dispenses with the need for centralization, finding that passive consumers can quite easily be recruited to the production of spectacle. The shift from unilateral toward multilateral relations does not promise an end to isolation, but rather its perfection. We might think of the distinction here as the difference between the television screen and the computer screen, but since we are talking about a set of social relations as much as technological apparatuses, we should be careful to avoid identifying such relations with any particular technologies. The video camera is merely one of many devices which assist in the transformation of administered life into self-administered life.
February 5, 2012
On Saturday night a group apparently semi-related to Occupy Williamsburg threw a party in a vacant condo building. The party and its riotous aftermath have been covered by the New York Times, Village Voice, and the Daily News to name a few, but so far only one statement has been released from the occupationist side: a tract posted on anarchistnews.org titled “Enter the Vandalists” and signed by the “Geiseric Tendency,” possibly a reference to the historicVandal King.
Resorting to an automatism characteristic of their class, the gentry of Williamsburg summoned their militia to dissolve the siege being laid to a conspicuously empty palace of banality, newly erected in the heart of their spectacular playground. The vandalists had recognized the inhospitablility to life of this sarcophagus for the young professional class, and did not shy from the conclusion that it lent itself only to defilement. The object of their critique was not limited to the class for whose consumption the condominiums that cover Williamsburg are produced, but included the extreme boredom that the proliferation of these kinds of spaces induce. The prevalence of the condominium is a symptom of the spreading homotopia that is the Metropolis—the endless repetition of the same forever.
The vandalists will not reconcile themselves to merely appropriating these habitats—designed for gradual atrophy, optimized for the most comfortable postponement of death. Rather, they want to see them recycled in the urban biosphere; turned into manure from which unforeseen species might emerge.
It will not only be the police, the rich, and the reactionary press that will slam the vandalists—activists will likely join in as well, decrying the occupation as not being social enough, not populist enough. Why did it have to be a party, with booze, hip hop music, and NO RULES? Why not an attempted squat? Why was the media not called? Why was the action not ‘consensed’ upon in some public group? No one will understand the vandalists because they are not of either world; they seek neither professionalist capitalism nor professionalist activism. Perhaps if squatting a social center were still sometimes tolerated this desperate mayhem would not have occured, just as if there were anything to be gained from joining Organized Labor or Revolutionary Parties perhaps we would not see the global masses chaotically rising against singular abstractions of all authority (Wall Street, Mubarak, the IMF, Money, etc).
Activists call protests, the vandalists instead call potlucks. Potlucks of destruction.
We can expect more Occu-parties and general bad citizenry from these vandalists leading up to an ultimate act of descecration, an intelligibility strike, on May First.
January 20, 2012
The Great Recession and the Failure of Capitalism, Paul Mattick,Professor of Philosophy, Adelphi University, New York, Part of the 2011 Ethics Awareness Week from the Center For the Study of Ethics.
December 24, 2011
Towards a New Manifesto:
￼Conversations between Adorno & Horkheimer, 1956
A life-long intellectual partnership between two major thinkers, so close that their most celebrated single texts were co-authored and their names are difficult to dissociate, is rare enough to rank as virtually a sport of history. There seem to be only two cases: in the 19th century, Marx and Engels, and in the 20th Horkheimer and Adorno. Might they be regarded as prefigurations of what in a post-bourgeois world would become less uncommon? Their patterns differed. Marx and Engels, born two years apart, were contemporaries; once their friendship was formed, collaboration between them never ceased. Adorno was eight years Horkheimer’s junior, and a close working relationship came much later, with many more vicissitudes: initial meeting in 1921, intermittent friction and exchange up to the mid-1930s, concord only in American exile from 1938 onwards, more pointedly distinct identities throughout. The general trajectory of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research is well known, as over time ‘critical theory’— originally Horkheimer’s code-word for Marxism— confined it- self to the realms of philosophy, sociology and aesthetics; to all appearances completely detached from politics. Privately it was otherwise, as the exchange below makes clear.
This unique document is the record, taken down by Gre- tel Adorno, of discussions over three weeks in the spring of 1956, with a view to the production of—as Adorno puts it—a contemporary version of The Communist Manifesto. In form it might be described, were jazz not anathema to Adorno, as a philosophical jam-session, in which the two thinkers improvise freely, often wildly, on central themes of their work—theory and practice, labour and leisure, domination and freedom—in a political register found nowhere else in their writing. Amid a careening flux of arguments, aphorisms and asides, in which the trenchant alternates with the reck- less, the playful with the ingenuous, positions are swapped and contradictions unheeded, without any compulsion for consistency. In substance, each thinker reveals a different profile. Horkheimer, historically more politicized, was by now the more conservative, imbibing Time on China, if not yet to the point where he would commend the Kaiser for warning of the Yellow Peril. Though still blaming the West for what went wrong with the Russian Revolution, and rejecting any kind of reformism, his general outlook was now close to Kojève’s a decade later: ‘We can expect nothing more from mankind than a more or less worn-out version of the American system’. Adorno, more aesthetically minded, emerges paradoxically as the more radical: reminding Horkheimer of the need to oppose Adenauer, and envisaging their project as a ‘strictly Leninist manifesto’, even in a period when ‘the horror is that for the first time we live in a world in which we can no longer imagine a better one’.
December 18, 2011
[Sic 1.1] Further Remarks
Further remarks and discussion on The Present Moment from Sic 1
Table of Contents
1. Additional remarks on the end of activism
2. “The police is also, opposite to us, our own existence as a class as limit”
3. General remark by Blaumachen on the text
4. Formal subsumption; real subsumption
5. The conjuncture
6. Critique of the conception of theory in the text
December 7, 2011
29. Nov 2011 - Translation of the editorial of Kosmoprolet #3 by Friends of the Classless Society (Berlin)
All over the world, events are keeping up with the pace of a crisis, the end of which was just recently cheerfully proclaimed by people who thought ludicrous amounts of sovereign debt to be the recipe for an economic miracle. By racking up debt to their ears, governments worldwide were able to contain the so-called financial crisis; but then, the rating agencies presented them a bill that they promptly passed on to wage workers. The whole maneuver did not lead to recovery but to an even more menacing state budget crisis, the handling of which through uncompromising austerity measures has aroused anger. Resistance is mounting. We are at the threshold of a social crisis. Those who feel the effects of the governments’ austerity programs in their everyday life are starting to realize ever more clearly that these are not temporarily painful, yet necessary sacrifices. They are becoming aware of the fact that the drastic cuts will not only last for years or even decades, but that their own future is becoming ever bleaker. We are probably at the start of a new era: Ever since society was brought back down to the earth of cold hard economic facts, the culturalist carnival of differences has come to an end. Society’s colorful superstructure has scaled off to reveal, in Orthodox Marxist terms, the drab, universal base. And the crisis has achieved what activists striving to link struggles have been incapable of for decades: millions have taken to the streets simultaneously with the same purpose. All they’re left with is an ever more precarious survival under the reigning conditions. For them, it’s all or nothing.
December 4, 2011
The following text comprises a presentation and analysis of the Occupy movement in the United States, by the Lost Children’s School of Cartography. The text was used as a basis for an event on the Occupy movement, that took place at the Skaramanga occupation in Athens, on November 25th, 2011. The brochure published for the event, including this text in Greek, along with the video screened on the night are available here.
Lost in the Fog: Dead Ends and Potentials of the Occupy Movement
So what do you make of this Occupy movement in America? Of course it is the news that everyone wants to hear about. Al Jazeera claimed shortly after the encampment near Wall Street was founded that the Occupy movement in America was facing a mainstream “media blackout.” But in reality, it seemed that nearly every media source was dedicating coverage nationally and internationally. Despite all the press, if one added up the total number of participants in the fledgling occupations throughout America at that time, he would end up with far less than the total number of demonstrators at a general strike in Athens, or a single American anti-war demonstration from 2004.
This alone should serve as a cause for skepticism, although perhaps it is only predictable that in America, of all places, a social movement would arise firstly as the mere spectacle of revolt. After all, its initial coordinators intended from its inception that the Occupy movement of America be a copy of a copy. The genuine, spontaneous, and seemingly unstoppable surge of rage–the insurrection–in the Arab world had already been watered down into the pacifist indignados movement of Europe. Next the American radicals who called for an occupation of Wall Street would try to copy-and-paste the indignados movement to America by sprinkling a tactic–occupation–on what they hoped would prove grounds fertile enough to grow a movement.
That movement now seems to be swept up in its own momentum, and every day there are new developments in what seems to be a genuinely unpredictable and leaderless social reaction. While the occupations were perhaps first populated by the same cliques of activists who had championed the previous failed American social movements, the encampments and demonstrations have grown because they have attracted the self-identified American “middle class.” As American society comes under further blows of the so-called “crisis” of capitalism, the illusion of middle class comfort dissipates, revealing its previously hidden, but now more apparent, dispossession. The Occupy movement is an opportunity for the middle class to protest the “unfairness” of their proletarianization. In part thanks to widespread disillusionment with political representatives, previously non-activist citizens are suddenly eager to participate in an activist social movement. Paradoxically, the brightest hope we can find in this situation is also the grimmest fact: the increasingly dire economic situation is not turning around, and life will not go back to the way it once was. It is precisely because the movement for a preservation of the illusory American dream is doomed to fail that the Occupy movement has the potential to supersede itself.
Of course, regardless of its active decomposition, the middle class carries its values into the movement–the ideological values of the good citizen. One could characterize the Occupy movement as a citizens’ movement for the survival of capitalist democracy in a moment ripe with potentials for true rupture. Here, self-described radicals, anti-authoritarians and in some cases even anarchists may play the most critical but hidden roles in recuperation, if in their well-intentioned attempt to “build the new world in the shell of the old” they actually succeed at protecting the core of the old world in the shell of the new. (We will elaborate on this in a moment.)
But there is also a beautiful discord within the situation. The Occupy movement can hardly be summed up by any particular ideological stance, and its greatest potentials spring from its chaotic features and resistance to definition. Anarchists who have stubbornly refused any participation in what they have disregarded as merely a bourgeois movement have safeguarded their identities as the most radical of all at the cost of guaranteeing their own irrelevancy in the developing situation. In order to move the Occupy movement in the direction of genuine upheaval, anarchists must participate to cause sustained and intensifying disruption and destruction of the apparatuses of capital in order to make this movement a threat to capitalism, aiming to outflank the state by generalizing these tactics. We will also explore the developments in this direction so far as well as some future potentials.
November 25, 2011
808. However, the other aspect of spirit’s coming-to-be, history, is that mindful self- mediating coming-to-be – the spirit emptied into time. However, this emptying is likewise the self-emptying of itself; the negative is the negative of itself. This coming-to-be exhibits a languid movement and succession of spirits, a gallery of pictures, of which each, endowed with the entire wealth of spirit, moves itself so slowly because the self has to take hold of and assimilate the whole of this wealth of its substance.
November 23, 2011
by Jarrod Shanahan
Hi, my name is Jarrod, and I am the 99%! I am the meeting place of a breathtaking variety of dreams, desires, and impulses. Many have sought to form me in their image, to set me on an orthodox path, and to lay out my future in meticulous detail. But at present, my image merely reflects the unreconciled diversity of these bodies and aims, and is accordingly amorphous and inchoate and awesomely awkward. I am the premise for an unlikely roommate comedy that will never get past the censors intact. Some forces within me are willing to analyze every situation in its nuanced detail until the opportunity for action has passed and they can secretly breathe a sigh of relief. Some forces are bored with the repetitive review of every minor scruple and compel me toward unreflective action, possibly to my peril. Some offer an impossible yardstick against which I must measure my behavior, while others are satisfied to just get me all worked up and see what happens. Some want one specific thing and they want it eventually, others want everything and they want it now. Some desire a five year plan as a practical necessity, others scorn a five minute plan as the death of spontaneity. Some are really into repeating verbatim everything said by those around them, while others are more aristocratic in their tastes. Some see only the individual case, others only the totality, and both are thusly impaired. Some secretly aspire to seize power over all others, while others live for nothing more than the day when they will shut these megalomaniacal aspirations down. Still more yearn for quiet, the cessation of conflict, sleep, peace, man. Like it or not, I am a multitude, dissonance and dissimilarity pump through my veins, and sooner or later I’ll just have to learn to roll with it. Only a theologian or fascist or worse would consider the absolute resolution of all of this tension possible, let alone forthcoming, in anything besides my own organic death. But I must strive nonetheless for tenuous working resolution, and reap the hard-wrought fruit of compromise in a series of cautiously bumbling, self-aware steps and missteps across an unmapped terrain. My style is one impatient with itself. Without centralized rule I must constantly battle high pitched emotions and implacable libidinal urges, seeking to keep unified a body so dissonant, and so spontaneous, and so tenuously held together in its very tissue that its coherence for a mere second in time is a complete and utter fucking miracle. Yet, I believe this horizontal organization to be my chief strength, with which I arm myself against docility, complacency, and laziness masquerading as mature pragmatism, all of which menace my meandering path toward the unprecedented. For I embody the contradictions of the world which gave birth to me, I give them breath and a physical form, the aesthetic of which has been debated on the Internet. And I have therefore chosen to give voice to the insanity and schitzophrenia of our rational world, a voice I offer in a mad gesture of desperation to hypothetical ears and against all odds, and must strain myself to shout in the face of sirens and snark and deafness and drumming.
November 23, 2011
The planning for this “action”, for logistical and pragmatically necessary reasons was, in its initial stages, kept as quiet as possible. For this reason it was frequently referred to as “the action” in correspondence and conversation. Now we have acted and the abstract concept is apparently no less determined. What does it mean to have engaged in or accomplished this “action”? The “action”, of course, is not accomplished, not terminated with the taking of space, but not for that reason, any less an action. In taking the space, in acting, we have created the condition for further instantiations of “action.” In creating a space for the further development of the movement we create space and opportunity for “action” previously lacking. The “action” is, in this way, a continuous development out of and beyond itself. It does not bleed into something different, but is itself further determined by what it becomes. Only through the process of progressively unfolding in ever richer determinations can we come to understand the meaning of the action we have taken. The determination of all actions is future oriented, that is, they are essentially the possibilities they open by what becomes thinkable and doable as their result. In this radical break from normal relations, we advance in an as yet undetermined dialectic. In recognizing our constitutive role in the process of determination we simultaneously acknowledge our freedom, our freedom to create freely. To continue acting is to continue in the manifestation of free meaning by increasing the horizon of possibilities, and in this way we simultaneously challenge both reified consciousness and the persistent foreclosure of opportunities for a truly rational, socially integrated society.
“No chaos resulted from the actions of people without leadership and without previously formulated program…instead of mob rule there appeared immediately the same organization which for more than a hundred years now has emerged whenever the people have been permitted for a few days, or a few weeks or months, to follow their own political devices without a government (or a party program) imposed from above.” So said Arendt, over fifty years ago, about the Hungarian revolution. She went on, in that article, to point out tat “the councils were born exclusively out of the actions and spontaneous demands of the people, and they were not deduced from an ideology, nor foreseen, let alone preconceived, by any theory about the best form of government. Wherever they appeared they were met with utmost hostility from leaders from right to left ant with the unanimous neglect of political theorists and political scientists. The point is that these councils have always been undoubtedly democratic, but in a sense never seen before and never thought about.” Such is our General Assembly. It is the next form of politics and freedom – one coming blessedly, just in time.
November 22, 2011
Will the occupation last?
Should it last?
We suggest some pithy lines from the addendum to Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History:
Historicism contents itself with establishing a causal nexus of various moments of history. But no state of affairs is, as a cause, already a historical one. It becomes this, posthumously, through eventualities which may be separated from it by millennia. The historian who starts from this, ceases to permit the consequences of eventualities to run through the fingers like the beads of a rosary. He records [erfasst] the constellation in which his own epoch comes into contact with that of an earlier one. He thereby establishes a concept of the present as that of the here-and-now, in which splinters of messianic time are shot through.
Surely the time of the soothsayers, who divined what lay hidden in the lap of the future, was experienced neither as homogenous nor as empty. Whoever keeps this in mind will perhaps have an idea of how past time was experienced as remembrance: namely, just the same way. It is well-known that the Jews were forbidden to look into the future. The Torah and the prayers instructed them, by contrast, in remembrance. This disenchanted those who fell prey to the future, who sought advice from the soothsayers. For that reason the future did not, however, turn into a homogenous and empty time for the Jews. For in it every second was the narrow gate, through which the Messiah could enter.
November 21, 2011
A vampire chops garlic in a Creole kitchen. The masked Michael Myers checks his email: no new messages. Such are the subtle antagonisms of our daily dread.
Yet without this banality of conflict we lose the plot. Fancy-freedom is the life of a coward.
It has been nearly three years since the false dawn of the student occupations. Meantime we have kept abreast of political happenings. None has merited our input. Just before we insinuated ourselves into the affairs of the Middle East, their groundhog saw its own shadow, ushering in a longer Arab Winter than previously expected.
We were pleased to see that the first project of the Libyan Transitional Council, for example, was to set up a national bank, but, honestly, we prefer our revolutionaries with a little more stink. A respectable nose-bone ratio. Gamey taste.
Elsewhere, American politicians have been learning to play musical instruments at astronomical rates, Anarchists have insisted on debating whether a hermaphrodite who becomes intoxicated before an episode of self-intimacy is operating by consensus, and Jim Miller has continued to have more hang-ups than a mute telemarketer.
Like our mortal enemies of the vortex left, we disagree with Comrade Miller in his latest piece in the New York Times: “Will Extremists Hijack Occupy Wall Street?” Three years ago we defended the tract on which the New School in Exilers publically defecated. Democracy is not in the latrine.
The famous 99% that have been occupying Wall Street and other abstractions need to keep rule-by-consensus. It is the best way to ensure they are fettered by their own ideology. Fingers wiggling all the way to the cell block.
Rule-by-party or a herd of progressive non-profits would be equally desirable from our end, but that is not the beast we are encountering, by and large. The present creature has a billion heads and a black hole for an anus. We enjoy seeing all those heads up its ass, fingers wiggling.
In fact, we saw them coming a mile away. Allowed them a box to soap, a twitter to feed, a stream to live. It makes no difference to us. Every crisis at their doorstep only makes them weaker. Their self-appointed managers are as good as ours. Their police are better.
“Can we join a working group? Can we voice our frustration?” they ask themselves.
No need to infiltrate what is already ours.
“I’d like a tofu and arugula sandwich, please. Spread the democracy evenly. Hold the arugula. See you at the Assembly tonight? Nah, I have to do my econ homework. Don’t worry, the minutes will be online. Alright, tweet me later. Wait, what? Can you update the Facebook page? We got some wingnuts posting comments about you-know-who again. You got it. And make sure to record Tom Morello’s acoustic piece tonight. He’s so down.”
Our hopes are not high for a good old-fashioned melee, though for the record we would like to collaborate on some motherfuckers. Colder weather will soon hush the uproar, and our lives will return to the minute creativities of small business ideas, like hangOVER, an intravenous saline slurpee that heals even the most vulnerable morning after.
30 bucks a pop. Enya’s Greatest Hits on the speakers. Storefront in a hip neighborhood. Eggshell white interior. Enya. You want B Vitamins in that? 50 cents extra. Smoothies and shots of wheatgrass at the counter. Brochures for the new co-op that’s opening up around the corner. The Resident Nurse? She’s a person of color. Are “you” in?
November 20, 2011
“The coming occupations will have no end in sight, and no means to resolve them. When that happens, we will finally be ready to abandon them.”
When we wrote that in December 2008 in New York City, after occupying a university building by Union Square, we were treated as youthful idealists, nihilist anarchists, even fascist thugs. What are your demands? they asked. But what are you for? they wondered. Occupy everything? they shrieked.
Alas. Our premonitions have come to pass.
It was only a matter of time. When the crisis first hit in the fall of 2008, its effects were diffuse, with individuals all over the country feeling it simultaneously, yet not collectively. Students, who have both the time to act and think free from the imperative to work, naturally reacted first. With an insurrection in Greece brewing, and a legitimation crisis of the American economy at hand, occupations without demands spread from New York to California, with thousands involved. Demands are irrelevant when no one can hear you, and so the only real demand was to occupy itself. Immature maybe, but not stupid. With foreclosures growing exponentially, and unemployment skyrocketing as well, occupying one’s space and means of living is the most obvious of actions. In the most unpolitical of Western democracies, one must first create a space for politics to emerge.
But students on their own are nothing. Especially left radical ones.
Always half way in and half way out of work, the student can only express frustration of what is to come, not what has been. Hence, the theoretical advantage of the current wave of occupations, which takes it starting point not as the looted future, but rather the broken present. From here, one no longer needs to “convince” others what “may” happen; rather, the present itself is cracking underneath everyone’s feet. And only those living in skyscrapers can avoid the initial fractures.
Occupy Wall Street and its subsequent multiplications follow the trajectory of American social struggle which began in the labor riots after the civil war and continued with punctuated equilibrium up unto the most recent flare ups in the anti-globalization protests of the early second millennium. What is this trajectory? Simply put, at the beginning of the refounded republic of America, the working population demanded shorter hours and better pay, with independent representation and collective bargaining rights. These specific demands, which sometimes merged and sometimes conflicted with demands for women’s suffrage and civil rights, were backed up with massive waves of violence: strikes, sit-downs, street battles, riots, looting, arson. While demanding specific guarantees for life by words, they demanded nothing from the destroyed factories and trains by deeds. The normal American citizen, the 99%, from Reconstruction to the Second World War, was baptized in blood and blessed with material gains. Citizen engagement in politics receded to the background of enjoying fresh commodities. With a relative peace gained for white working men, the sphere of political engagement opened to the other 99%, the black population. The slowly building postwar struggle for civil rights exploded in the 60’s, with not only demands for equal treatment and respect, but also demands for inclusion in the material gains which the white working population temporarily secured. These political and social demands voiced in Washington and Selma were only the small foreground to the colossal mute rage in the background which, when heard, shattered the merchandise filled windows of Newark, Detroit, LA, Oakland, Chicago, and almost every other inner-city neighborhood in America. The self-destruction of their own neighborhoods was the sign of having “nothing left to lose,” a political position which can’t but win.
As the movement for equality and civil rights crested, the youth and anti-war movements of the mid 60’s and early 70’s gained in strength. Taking the physical message of the race riots to heart—that there is no victory without struggle—the young radicals mixed early labor tactics with civil rights strategies, which blended into an ideology that asserted its right to own the fruits of American society. Everything was up for grabs, and everything shall be ours. The specificity of political movements in this period was in the nature of its general demands: freedom, equality, peace, everything.
But the struggle for a total demand broke in the mid 1970s, when the crisis of the American economy led to a renewed class assault on those who make the country run. This assault is ongoing. No longer could anything be given to those who demanded, no longer must business and government be beholden to its employees and citizens. This new relation between governing and governed, between owners and laborers, was called austerity. From this point on, the gains of the last century slowly receded. Real wages stagnating while prices increasing, income inequality exploding while unemployment rising, unimaginable wealth produced while unbelievably few own it—the American dream bought on bad credit, paid with a high interest rate, only softened by a coupon to the movie theatre. What can one demand when there’s nothing left to give?
“Not” having a demand is not a lack of anything, but a contradictory assertion of one’s power and one’s weakness. Too weak to even try and get something from those who dominate working life, and simultaneously strong enough to try and accomplish the direct appropriation of one’s soul, time, and activity apart from representation. A demandless struggle reveals the totality of the enemy one fights and the unity of those who fight it. Such a struggle “lays claim to no particular right because the wrong it suffers is not a particular wrong but wrong in general.” This ‘general wrong’ is the impersonal structure of exploitation at the heart of our economic system—the forced selling of one’s time and life activity to someone else in return for a wage—which can never be overcome by any particular change, only by a total one.
Yet the demandless struggle is not ‘radical’ because it has no demands, just as the struggle for better wages is not ‘reformist’ because it does. More important than the demands waged against power are the demanding responsibilities that the situation itself calls forth. What is specific about the current moment is the explicit recognition by people themselves in public, together, out loud, indefinitely, of their own condition in the conditions of others. In other words, people are materially recognizing themselves while mutually recognizing each other. The forms of these encounters, while spectacular, are nothing compared to their contents. The questions of work, money, community, family, sex, color, time, class, education, health, media, representation, punishment, and faith are no longer individual questions. To think any is to think through all, and to really think through all requires an occupation without end. Occupations without end are infinite and free, not because they are everywhere and last forever, but because there is nothing outside determining them but themselves. The overcoming of the occupations is the practical realization of such freedom, a task that can only be accomplished historically.
Take heed: there is a rationality at work here, a reason of social inferences which is made even more clear by the current lack of adequate concepts to understand it. The major premise of the 99% perfectly synthesizes the universal emptiness of the modern American, expressing fully its entire being without reference to one determinate quality. The truth of the occupations is not only in their substance, but in the subjects as well. The minor premise of occupation locates the subjects of the syllogism in a particular place and a particular time. Tied together through material relations of interdependency, one is compelled by logic to conclude that not even revolution is impossible.
The new era is profoundly revolutionary, and knows it. On every level of modern society, nobody can and nobody wants to continue as before. Nobody can peacefully manage the course of things from the top any longer, because it has been discovered that the first fruits of the crisis of the economy are not only ripe, but they have, in fact, begun to rot. At base, nobody wants to submit to what is going on, and the demand for life has now become a revolutionary program. The secret of all the “wild” and “incomprehensible” negations that are mocking the old order is the determination to make one’s own history.
Occupy Wall Street is the first major American response to the economic crisis of 2008. But the economic crisis of 2008 is the first major result to the failed response to the crisis of the 1970’s. In effect, the delayed class war of the last three decades, in which Americans with good faith gave businesses and government a generation to fix the problem, has emerged with a vengeance. The time for waiting is over. The age of austerity has hit its limit. Occupying everything without demands is only the first baby step in the gigantic shoes of the new American proletariat.
PLEASE CIRCULATE WIDELY
English follows Arabic
بيان للشعب من معتصمين بالتحرير – الرجاء النشر والتوزيع
أول القصيد: وعود الرئيس وأحداث الأربعاء 2 فبراير
نحن محتجون منذ 25 يناير الماضي، ومعتصمون في ميدان التحرير، ندين بشدة الاعتداء الغاشم الذي نفذته مرتزقة الحزب الوطني علينا في مقر اعتصامنا يوم الأربعاء 2 فبراير تحت غطاء المظاهرة المؤيدة للرئيس لمبارك ويستمر العدوان يوم الخميس 3 فبراير. ونأسف لدخول البعض من شباب مصر مع البلطجية والمجرمين ممن اعتاد الوطني تأجيرهم في الانتخابات، وساقوهم علينا بعد أن أشاعوا اكاذيب عديدة يروجها النظام وإعلامه بخصوصنا وبخصوص اهدافنا المنادية بتغيير للنظام السياسي يكفل لنا ولجموع المواطنين الحرية وكرامة العيش والعدالة الاجتماعية، والتي هي ايضا من اهداف هذا الشباب، ولذلك نريد توضيح الاتي:
أولا، نحن مجموعة من شباب مصر مسلمين ومسيحيين، أغلبيتنا الكاسحة لا تنتمي لأحزاب سياسية ولا لها نشاط سياسي من قبل. حركتنا ضمت شيوخا وأطفالا، فلاحين وعمال ومهنيين، طلبة وموظفين على المعاش. حركتنا لا يمكن تصنيفها على أنها مدفوعة أو محركة من قلة بحكم الملايين الذين استجابوا لشعاراتها باسقاط النظام، وانضموا اليها يوم الثلاثاء الماضي في القاهرة والمحافظات، في حدث لم يشهد حالة عنف واحدة أو اعتداء على الممتلكات أو تحرش من أحد بأحد.
ثانيا، حركتنا متهمة بأنها ممولة من الخارج، وتمدها الولايات المتحدة، وأنها قامت بتحريض من حماس، وبأنها تحت قيادة وبتنظيم رئيس الجمعية الوطنية للتغيير محمد البرادعي، وأخيرا وليس آخرا، بأنها موجهة من قبل الاخوان المسلمين. وتعدد الاتهامات بهذا الشكل في حد ذاته يثبت زيفها. المحتجون كلهم مصريون أهدافهم أهدافا وطنية واضحة ومحددة. المحتجون ليس لديهم لا سلاح ولا معدات أجنبية كما يدعي المحرضين. واستجابة الناس الواسعة لها تكشف أنها هي ذاتها أهداف جموع المصريين عموما، وليس أي فصيل أو كيان داخلي وخارجي.
ثالثا، يلقي النظام وإعلامه المأجور زورا وبهتانا بالمسئولية عن التوتر وعدم الاستقرار الذي شهدته شوارع مصر في الأيام الماضية، وبالتالي عما يسببه ذلك من أضرار لمصالحنا ومصالح أمتنا ولأمننا جميعا، على الشباب المتظاهر. فليس المتظاهرون سلميا هم الذين أخرجوا المجرمين من السجون ليخلقوا حالة السلب والنهب في شوارع المحروسة. ليس المتظاهرون هم الذين فرضوا حظر تجول يبدأ من الثالثة وأوقفوا العمل في البنوك والمخابز ومحطات الوقود. وحين نظم المتظاهرون مظاهرتهم المليونية خرجت في أحلى حلة وأفضل تنظيم، وانتهت سلميا. المتظاهرون ليسوا هم من قتلوا 300 شخص بعضهم بالرصاص الحي، وجرحوا أكثر من ألفي شخص في الأيام الماضية.
رابعا، خرج الرئيس مبارك علينا مساء الثلاثاء ليعلن عدم ترشحه في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة وتعديله لمادتين في الدستور، وخوض حوار مع المعارضة. وقد هاجمنا الاعلام الرسمي عندما رفضنا “تنازلاته” وقررنا المضي في حركتنا. إن مطلب التنحي الفوري لمبارك ليس مسألة شخصية. لكننا نستند في ذلك على أسباب واضحة من بينها:
الوعد بعدم الترشح ليس جديدا. فقد وعد مبارك عندما جاء رئيسا في 1981 بعدم الترشح لأكثر من فترتين، ليستمر بعدها لأكثر من 30 عاما. كما أن الخطاب لم يضع أي ضمانات لعدم ترشح ابنه جمال، الذي يظل حتى هذه اللحظة عضوا في الحزب الحاكم، ويستطيع ترشيح نفسه في انتخابات لن تتم تحت اشراف قضائي، إذ تجاهل الخطاب الاشارة الى تعديل المادة 88 في الدستور. كما اعتبر الخطاب حركتنا مؤامرة من قوى تعمل ضد مصالح الوطن، وكأن الاستجابة لمطالب الجماهير عار وعيب. وأما فيما يتعلق بالحوار مع المعارضة فكم من حوارات ادعى النظام انه سيقوم بها خلال السنوات الماضية وانتهت بمضي دولة مبارك في طريق المصالح الضيقة لمن يسيطرون عليها.
وجاءت أحداث الأربعاء لتثبت صحة موقفنا. فبينما كان خطاب الرئيس يوعد، كانت قيادات نظامه ترتب مع البلطجية والمسجلين خطر من المأجورين مؤامرة الاعتداء الوحشي في التحرير بالسنج والمطاوي وقنابل المولوتوف، يصاحبهم أعضاء الحزب الوطني بإطلاق الأعيرة النارية بالبنادق الآلية على المتظاهرين العزل المحاصرين في الميدان، الذي أدى إلى مقتل سبعة على الأقل وإصابة المئات، منهم بإصابات بالغة، وذلك لإنهاء حركتنا الشعبية الوطنية والتمهيد لبقاء الحال على ماهو عليه.
حركتنا مصرية – حركتنا مشروعة – حركتنا مستمرة
شباب معتصم بالتحرير
A Statement from the protesters at Cairo’s Tahrir square
to the Egyptian people
The President’s promises and the bloody events of Wednesday February 2
We the protesters who are currently on sit-in at Tahrir (liberation) square in Cairo since January 25, 2011 strongly condemn the brutal attack carried out by the governing National Democratic Party’s (NDP) mercenaries at our location on Wednesday February 2, under the guise of “rally” in support of President Mubarak. This attack continues on Thursday February 3. We regret that some young people have joined these thugs and criminals, whom the NDP is accustomed to hire during elections, to march them off after spreading several falsehoods circulated by the regime media about us and our goals. These goals that aim at changing the political system to a one that guarantees freedom, dignity and social justice to all citizens are also the goals of the youth. Therefore we want to clarify the following.
Firstly, we are a group of Muslim and Christian Egyptians; the overwhelming majority of us does not belong to political parties and have no previous political activism. Our movement involves elderly and children, peasants, workers, professionals, students and pensioners. Our movement cannot be classified as “paid for” or “directed by” a limited few because it attracted millions who responded to its emblem of removing the regime. People joined us last Tuesday in Cairo and other governorates in a scene that witnessed no one case of violence, property assault or harassment to anyone.
Secondly, our movement is accused of being funded from abroad, supported by the United States, as being instigated by Hamas, as under the leadership of the president of the National Assembly for change (Mohamed El-Baradie) and last but not least, as directed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Many accusations like these prove to be false. Protesters are all Egyptians who have clear and specific national objectives. Protesters have no weapons or foreign equipment as claimed by instigators. The broad positive response by the people to our movement’s goals reveals that these are the goals of the Egyptian masses in general, not any internal or external faction or entity.
Thirdly, the regime and its paid media falsely blame us, demonstrators, for the tension and instability in the streets of Egypt in recent days and therefore for damaging our nation’s interests and security. Our answer to them is: It is not the peaceful protesters who released the criminal offenders from prison to the unguarded streets to practice looting and plundering. It is not the peaceful protesters who have imposed a curfew starting at 3 o’clock PM. It is not the peaceful protesters who have stopped the work in banks, bakeries and gas stations. When protesters organized its one-million demonstration it came up in the most magnificent and organized form and ended peacefully. It is not the protestors who killed 300 people some with live ammunition, and wounding more than 2,000 people in the last few days.
Fourthly, President Mubarak came out on Tuesday to announce that he will not be nominated in the upcoming presidential election and that he will modify two articles in the Constitution, and engage in dialogue with the opposition. However the State media has attacked us when we refused his “concession” and decided to go on with our movement. Our demand that Mubark steps down immediately is not a personal matter, but we have clear reasons for it which include:
* His promise of not to run again is not new. He has promised when he came to power in 1981 that he will not run for more than two periods but he continued for more than 30 years.
* His speech did not put any collateral for not nominating his son “Gamal”, who remains until the moment a member of the ruling party, and can stand for election that will not be under judicial supervision since he ignored any referring to the amendment of article 88 of the Constitution.
* He also considered our movement a “plot directed by a force” that works against the interests of the nation as if responding to the demands of the public is a “shame” or “humiliation”.
* As regards to his promise of conducting a dialogue with the opposition, we know how many times over the past years the regime claimed this and ended up with enforcing the narrow interests of the Mubarak State and the few people who control it.
And the events of Wednesday proved our stand is vindicated. While the President was giving his promises, the leaders of his regime were organizing (along with paid thugs and wanted criminals equipped with swords, knives and Molotov bombs) a brutal attack plot against us in Tahrir square. Those thugs and criminals were accompanied by the NDP members who fired machine guns on unarmed protesters who were trapped on the square ground, killing at least 7 and wounding hundreds of us critically. This was done in order to end our peaceful national popular movement and preserve the status quo.
Our movement is Egyptian – Our movement is legitimate- Our movement is continuing
The youth of Tahrir Square sit-in
February 3, 2011 at 11:30am
April 29, 2010
From Anarchist News:
By Marek A. Edelman
Let us not be melodramatic or ironic, SB1070 is some fascist shit. For years now ICE has been rounding up our fellow workers, stealing them from their families, children, and communities, often regardless of their immigration status. In 2009, 380,000 people were detained in 350 facilities, and the roundups continue. Detainees are held for months, even years, in conditions often worse than prisons built for “citizens” (although many who are “legally” in the US end up there anyway). Along the US-Mexico border, defense contractors have built massive walls at the safest crossing points, forcing migrant workers to make perilous desert crossings. Many [Editor's note: hundreds a year] will not make it alive.
This was all true before next week, and now matters are significantly worse. SB1070 will require this Gestapo-like behavior from all law enforcement in Arizona. It gives racist pigs the opportunity to round up whomever they please, for any reason, whenever they want, and turn them over to ICE where they will be, essentially, disappeared.
As anarchists we are aware of the extreme racism that exists in our culture, and that all legislation increases the power of the state, so we are not surprised at the extreme violence and hatred that SB1070 represents, but that does not mean we are not OUTRAGED. More than ever, it is time to attack* ICE, defense contractors, racist organizations who are pushing for this legislation nation-wide, and the politicians who support it all.
This is just the latest step in the expansion of the police state. Let us not forget the Anarchists currently in CMUs alongside unknown hundreds of Arab-Americans locked up without evidence since September 11th.
As one Anarchist News commenter said: “Arizona is now free game for ANY kind of resistance, this ‘Germany in ’36′ shit ain’t gonna fly here. And unlike most of the time when ‘anarchists attack’, I think there’ll be more support for us than usual. It. Is. On.” But we cannot limit our scope to Arizona. Those who support and profit from SB1070 are everywhere. It is time to research, conspire, and act.
The Importance of May Day
Since May 2006 Hispanic-Americans and their allies have marched by the millions across the country. Their solidarity inspires us, but marching is not enough. Demonstrations are not meant to show the dedicated size of an electorate contingency, but are meant to threaten or actualize physical resistance to capitalism, the state, and the police. Mass-movement organizations will pacify crowds at every turn, attempting to control our anger and suppress direct action. A full scale riot almost broke out at the Arizona Capitol Building after Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill into law, video shows police unable to control the crowd, but the peace police did their job for them.
We must make efforts to end the recuperation of May Day– an international day of struggle– by leftist organizations and political parties. Two ideas on how to do this:
1. Show up to your area’s main march in black, agitate, and break-off. Head towards a target. There are some listed below.
2. After/before/instead of the march create an affinity group and attack the target on your own.
Start talking to your friends and comrades today. Find a target near you. See you in the streets. Read the rest of this entry »
April 19, 2010
This short text was written by an occupier on the third day (Saturday 13 March 2010) of an 8-day occupation of Arts A2 building at Sussex University. It was borne out of frustration with the way a radical act – a mass contempt of court (an imprisonable offence) by hundreds of students and even some staff – so quickly returned to the safe leftist territory of listening to Party hacks (and at least one non-affiliated local militant) urging us to unite against the “fascist BNP”. But it was also urging against the safe anarchist territory of small group activism. The text is a call for both the popular frontism of the leftists and the substitutionist activism of many anarchists to be superseded by a process of ‘massification.’