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The Coming Insurrection: Anarchists’ Revolution

February 21, 2010

Glenn Beck has turned into a bit of an Oprah-styled book pusher.  While Oprah pushes books that are entertaining, Beck pushes books that tend to be more educational, biographies and books of a political nature.  While Beck is an unabashed Conservative, he has no problem recommending books with a liberal slant.  It may seem odd to many that a Conservative would recommend Robert Creamer’s “Stand Up Straight” or the “Invisible Committee’s” “The Coming Insurrection” but Beck seems to understand that we need to know as much about our opposition as possible.

In the case of “The Coming Insurrection” by the “Invisible Committee” and distributed in the US by The MIT Press, Beck misses by  large margin.  The problem Beck makes is that he is attempting to make an interpretation based on what the Invisible Committee said combined with his own understanding of the words they use.  While that works with books by American writers it doesn’t always translate so well from french to english or, as in this particular situation, from one ideology to another.

Beck has decided that the threat to Europe, and to the US soon after Europe’s collapse is Communism.  To be fair to Beck, the Invisible Committee wrote in The Coming Insurrection on page 16 that it was in fact communism. 

“Two centuries of capitalism and market nihilism have brought us to the most extreme alienations-from ourselves, from others, from worlds.  The fiction of the individual has decomposed at the same speed that it was becoming real.  Children of the metropolis, we offer you this wager: that it’s in the most profound deprivation of existence, perpetually stifled, perpetually conjured away that the possibility of communism resides.

When all is said and done, it’s with an entire anthropology that we are at war.  With the very idea of man.

Communism then, as presupposition and as experiment.  Sharing of sensibility and elaboration of sharing.  The uncovering of what is common and the building of a force.  Communism as the matrix of a meticulous, audacious assault on domination.  As a call and as a name for all worlds resisting imperial pacification, all solidarities irreducible to the reign of commodities, all friendships assuming the necessities of war: COMMUNISM.We know it’s a term to be used with caution.  Not because, in the great parade of words, it may no longer be very fashionable.  But because our worst enemies have used it, and continue to do so.  We insist.  Certain words are like battle-grounds: their meaning, revolutionary or reactionary, is a victory, to be torn from the jaws of struggle.”

The authors use the right words.  Communism.  Imperialism.  But also indicate a disdain for what modern American society generally refers to as communism.  But their disdain is neither limited solely to a political system nor to any particular economic system.  Their hatred is reserved for all of society, for civilization itself.  On pages 85 and 86 the authors declare their hatred of all of civilization.

“The first global slaughter, which from 1914 to 1918 did away with a large portion of the urban and rural proletariat, was waged in the name of freedom, democracy, and civilization.  For the past five years, the so-called “war on terror” with its special operations and targeted assassinations has been pursued in the name of these same values.  Yet the resemblance stops there: at the level of appearances.  The value of civilization is no longer so obvious that it can be brought to the natives as a package.  Freedom is no longer a name scrawled on walls, for today it is always followed, as if by its shadow, with the word “security.”  And it is well-known that democracy can be dissolved in pure and simple “emergency” edicts-for example, in the official reinstitution of torture in the US, or in France’s Perben II law.

In a single century, freedom, democracy and civilization have reverted to the state of hypotheses.  The leaders’ work from now on consists in shaping the material and moral as well as symbolic and social conditions in which these hypotheses can be more or less validated, in configuring spaces where they can seem to function.  All means to these ends are acceptable, even the least democratic, the least civilized, the most repressive.  It was a century in which democracy regularly presided over the birth of fascist regimes, civilization constantly rhymed-to the tune of Wagner or Iron Maiden-with extermination, and in which, one day in 1929, freedom showed its two faces: a banker throwing himself from a window and a family of workers dying of hunger.  Since then-let’s say, since 1945-it’s taken for granted that manipulating the masses, secret service operations, the restriction of public liberties, and the complete sovereignty of a wide array of police forces were appropriate ways to ensure democracy, freedom and civilization.  At the final stage of this evolution, we see the first socialist mayor of Paris putting the finishing touches on urban pacification with a new police protocol for a poor neighborhood, announced with the following carefully chosen words:”We’re building a civilized space here.”  There’s nothing more to say, everything has to be destroyed.

How does one destroy all of civilization?  How does one replace civilization after its destruction?

Pages 97 through 132 give the strategy these people intend to use. 

1. “Attach yourself to what you feel to be true.”

2. “Don’t back away from what is political in friendship.”

3. “Expect nothing from organizations.  Beware of all existing social milieus, and above all, don’t become one.”

4. “Form communes.”

5. “Get organized in order to no longer have to work.”

6. “Plunder, cultivate, fabricate.”

7. “Training and learning.”

8. “Create territories.  Multiply zones of opacity.”

9. “Travel.  Open our lines of communication.”

10. “Remove all obstacles, one by one.”

11. “Flee visibility.  Turn anonymity into an offensive position.”

12. “Organize self-defense.”

13. “Sabotage every representative authority.  Spread the talk.  Abolish general assemblies.”

14. “Block the economy, but measure our blocking power by our level of self-organization.”

15. “Liberate territory from police occupation.  Avoid direct confrontation if possible.”

16. “Take up arms.  Do everything possible to make their use unnecessary.  Against the army, the only victory is political.”

17. “Depose authorities at a local level.”

18. “All power to the communes.”

After they have succeeded in killing civilization as we know it how will they replace it?  What the authors have envisioned and written about indicates that they intend to bring about an anarcho-socialist, postapocalyptic, fantastical Mad Max styled society of loosely connected, sovereign communes.  Dog eat dog, the strong prey on the weak.  The only rule is survival.  A society where theft and violence is the name of the game, take what you want or need, if you can’t take it, trade for it. Fight for it, barter is plan B, no other options.

Right now, it is easy to say the threat is only in Europe.  No threat to the US.  In truth, the US has already had similar riots in Seattle and Washington DC in the name of protesting the IMF and the World Bank.  If the riots continue to spread in Europe, they will happen in the US again.  When protest leads to riots, riots feed on themsleves.  What happens in Europe will happen in the US.

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