Autonomous Workers’ Nuclei: A New Vision for the Post-Industrial* Labour Movement
1. Beyond the Proletariat, but not without it
The proletariat is not the revolutionary subject. There can be no radical break with the past, no revolution, without the abandonment of this vulgar Marxist pretension. Revolutions are real changes in the material conditions and lived experience of life. A revolution cannot be abstracted into a linguistic formula with subjects, objects, predicates or whatever and still serve its purpose as a real, lived break with the previous mode of existence and previous historical paradigm. Instead of spending all of our energy trying to locate or develop the revolutionary subject we should be safe in the knowledge that those segments of humanity who partake in revolutions become the subject of the revolution as their desires are realized through the process of the revolution-making. Post-industrial societies have been so thoroughly proletarianized that it is becoming more and more absurd to distinguish between the revolutionary potential of the working class and the revolutionary potential of Humanity as a whole. We have all become slaves to our jobs. Most are wage slaves such as have existed since the birth of capitalism, but more are becoming slaves to workplace technology, slaves to that tiny sense of purpose that exists at work, but has been robbed from all of life’s other aspects, even slaves to the that petty sense of control that one gets from being a middle manager. The proles however remain highly important in that they are in the best position to capture the means of production and hopefully rapidly decommission them, thus draining the bourgeoisie of its productive capacity (which is really just the stolen creative forces of the proletariat.) The proletariat can also, very generally, be a point of union and comparing notes for the multifarious struggles against the oppressions of modernity such as racism, sexism, speciesism and homophobia, as the incredibly diverse proletariat contains within it males, females, transgendered folks, animal liberationists and people of every race and background. This is not to say that these struggles are secondary to the workers’ struggle. It is simply to say that no matter what other oppressions one may suffer under, everyone suffers from working. Work is the universal axis of oppression. We cannot turn the proletarian movement into a simplistic identity politics with the proles cast as the noble protagonist in the world-historical drama. We can not negate all classes while self-valorizing our own. The working-class cannot abolish itself so long as it is comfortable playing the role of the proletariat.
2. From without unions and within
Unions have become the great labour racket, union leadership a gang of squabbling politician wannabes. Like Big Business and Big Government, Big Labour shouldn’t be trusted to have the proletariat’s, or even more importantly, the human species’, best interests in mind. Unions have long given up the role of labour agitator for the role of labour mediator, the failsafe that keeps working class anger from getting out of control and spilling into a social insurgency. The union representative is the self-ruling class within the proletariat. The representative government within the working class is about as effective and liberatory as representative government in national politics, which is to say not effective or liberatory at all. How can it be that so many Anarchists scoff at the idea of voting in a political election, but gladly vote on union issues including union rep elections? That is not to say that one need leave a union that one may have previously joined especially considering that some workplaces force workers to join the union. This is only to say that unions are no longer the form of resistance best suited for creating a revolutionary situation. The Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus, further described below and previously discussed in the pamphlet Workers’ Autonomy, unlike a union, is not a formal organization. It has no founding statement, no constitution, no official meetings, no official membership. Therefore it can work within unions or without them, within the workplace or without. If a union shows itself to be reactionary, the AWN can work outside and against the union. One can remain within the union in order to fight for the relatively banal demands of higher wages and better benefits and also fight within the AWN for the abolition of work itself and a life not held subservient to the petty needs of mere survival. The only allegiance the AWN holds is to the specific workers that create it, in other words, only to itself.
3. Strikes and mediations
Strikes are a regular part of the management of Capital. They have been recuperated into the planetary work machine like the unions that organize them. Today, strikes can only be effective when they are unexpected and unplanned manifestations of the rage of the workers. In other words, strikes can only be effective today if they are Wildcats, if they lack corporate (union) sponsorship. Most strikes are used by unions to ensure that the unions maintain their privileged role as the mediators of working-class struggle, removing the direct, unabstracted human element from the conflict between employee and employer. We can no longer allow strikes to be used as a catharsis to alleviate tensions and get everyone back to work. The only goal of a strike should be this: more strikes.
4. The Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus
The form of the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus is a rhizomatic collectivity of unique individuals that are joined by a commonality of workplace. It is rhizomatic in the sense that the form can expand and contract, change shape, change goals, change tactics, gain or lose members and evolve without any internal weakening (see: Deleuze and Guattari.) The content of the Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus is the potentiality towards Gemeinwesen, Gemeinwesen being a truly human community which simultaneously affirms the freedom and unique agency of individuals and the benefits of strong communal bonds. Gemeinwesen is a community that immanently cultivates human agency such as is believed to have existed prior to the rise of civilization, particularly the foundation of city-states and the Greek Polis (see: Camatte.) The AWN agitates around the workplace, but can also agitate outside of it and is united through bonds of political(or more accurately, anti-political)friendship. Exactly what the AWN does is hard to determine. I could only speculate as to what each Nucleus may involve itself in. However, I would suggest that the “homework” assigned by Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club may be a relative approximation.
5. The Insurrectionary Workers’ Nucleus
The Insurrectionary Workers’ Nucleus is the form that the AWN ascends to during times of more or less open conflict against Capital. At these times stealth is not as necessary and it may even be advantageous for morale purposes to operate as publicly as possible. The IWN is an actor on the stage of Social War. Social War is the opening up of the class struggle to all hierarchical social relationships. Social War takes place both publicly and privately, in lived experience and in the semiotic world of popular culture. It is a war of arms and symbols driven by the sheer will to live without constraints. The IWN liberates spaces from the planetary work machine and maintains an armed presence within these free territories. However it is disadvantageous to make insurrection “serious business” and use these weapons against people. As Nietzsche said, “blood hallows any cause.” Given the number of Anarchist martyrs, we should know this quite well and it would be a shame to create martyrs for Capital. The IWN initiates the phase of active nihilism that is a precursor to any revolutionary change. It is the destructive element of radicalism par excellence.
6. The Revolutionary Workers’ Nucleus
The Revolutionary Workers’ Nucleus fulfills the process initiated by the Insurrectionary Worker’s Nucleus. It consolidates the radical break with history and jump towards Gemeinwesen begun earlier. Unlike the typical conception of what is “revolutionary,” the RWN is not primarily destructive. The revolution is not the destruction of the old way of being, but instead the creation of the new way of being. It was the IWN that cleared stage of the world-historical drama of the obstacles to Gemeinwesen. It is up to the RWN to build over the flaming rubble of the old stage. The RWN is the manifestation of the creative (Erotic) drive of the revolutionary movement. Thus it will freely build new areas in which new ways of living with a new kind of being can emerge. It shall plant and cultivate, educate and spiritualize and will also go about decommissioning potentially dangerous relics of the past such as nuclear reactors.
7. Party, Class and Revolution
a) History and Gemeinwesen
The Gemeinwesen is not the inevitable end of history that an inescapable dialectic has been leading towards. The thesis-antithesis-synthesis progression of ideals exists only within the realm of ideas and is not an intrinsic force in the natural universe. The realization that “progress” is a myth and victory is not the unchangeable end of change within the world historical forces is at once unfortunate and fortunate. Unfortunate because it means we can not rely on the development of the productive forces to lead us to the Gemeinwesen and creating a vanguard party to raise class consciousness wouldn’t be of much help. It is a fortunate realization because it means we do not need to wait for “the full development of the productive forces” or the creation of vanguard party to realize our desires. If we put all of our creative spirit towards it, we can spread anarchy, live communism and abandon this bankrupt civilization at any time. The Gemeinwesen is a viable goal at any time and has nearly been achieved, quite unconsciously, many times throughout recorded history.(see: Perlman)
b) The Imaginary Party
The Imaginary Party is a concept recently introduced to the radical circles of Turtle Island (North America.) It emerged from the so-called “Anarcho- Autonomous” “Ultra-left” French theorists associated with Tiqqun magazine and “The Invisible Committee.” The Imaginary Party is taken (in my interpretation)to refer to that segment of Humanity that is engaged in conscious resistance to the planetary work machine, that is informally, but strongly, bound by global bonds of affinity and local bonds of friendship. It is a “political” association of “brothers and sisters” that avoids every type of political representation and could perhaps be seen as a more consciously anti-hierarchical segment of the “Multitude” that has been discussed ad nauseam by radical reformists of the planetary work machine. The most interesting tactic spoken of in relation to the Imaginary Party is the “Human Strike,” discussed below.
c) The Meaning of Class in a Dying Humanity
As humanity dies class becomes all important. When one receives little satisfaction from one’s own creative human faculties, when one has lost the ability to please oneself, to please others or to receive pleasure from others as human beings, only then does class takes on a historical and social importance. The level of importance associated with class and class distinctions increases parallel to the level of social stratification and the level of the fragmentation of the ego. This is, of course viewing class as a definition of material wealth, not one’s connection to the means of production. As the importance (really,perceived importance)of humanity dwindles as it did and does throughout the modern and post-modern epochs, people are directed away from looking at how one’s relationship to the means of production affects social status and one’s sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment and are instead directed to look at how one’s level of material wealth affects one’s sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment. Thus we are told that all are equal under consumption to disguise the fact that the vast majority of humanity is not living to its full potential, that we are being held back. Of course humanity isn’t dying, it is being killed. The ideology of the consumer society attempts to disguise this unpleasant fact as well.
d) The Proletariat in a Non-Classist Revolution
As mentioned above, the proletariat cannot be seen as the singular or even predominant subject of revolution. It cannot be stressed strongly enough that the proletariat cannot free itself so long as it sees itself within a narrow proletarian ideology. The working class cannot free itself so long as it is working and even views work as “admirable.” Today the proletariat can be divided (somewhat vulgarly) into two categorizations: the “essential proletariat” who extract resources and produce commodities and the “peripheral proletariat” who facilitate consumption. The authors of Nihilist Communism, Monsieur Dupont, suggest that the “essential proletariat” is best disposed to overthrow the capitalist system. I find this hypothesis problematic on two points. First of all, in nations that have outsourced the majority of jobs related to the “essential proletariat” there may simply not be enough people to successfully overthrow capitalism. Secondly, members of the “essential proletariat” have long been under the sway of trade union and Marxist “repressive consciousness” and have been thoroughly inculcated with Workerist ideals. I would set my bets on the revolutionary momentum beginning with disenchanted “peripheral proles” quitting their jobs while some abjected (perhaps laid off or fired) “essential proles” simultaneously take to fighting their employers outside of union constraints. This will hopefully lead to increased cooperation and tactical coordination within the proletariat. Soon the totally abject “Fourth World” will enter the fray as many proles will have entered this globally neglected underclass stratum either by choice or force of circumstance.
Overall the proletariat will have to recognize that it exists as a broad categorization of particular roles played within capitalism and not as an absolute social (and particularly not ontological) condition. One can move within the proletariat and can even remove oneself from and reinsert oneself back into the proletariat. A prole should find strength in this realization of one’s agency for tactical exodus from and reintegration with the proletariat.
e) Ideology and Repressive Consciousness
Karl Marx characterized ideology as “false consciousness.” Likewise, Max Stirner and Friedrich Nietzsche criticized those who cling to “fixed ideas” and their “convictions” because they are incapable of creating values for themselves. Ideology was considered false consciousness by the Marxists because it allowed the working class to dedicate themselves to an ideal, to feel informed and empowered, without fully understanding their conditions, without having an analysis. The elevation of Marxist theory to the only acceptable form of proletarian consciousness within the workers’ movement lead to a narrowing of potential theoretical orientations and placed an internal constraint on the proletariat. This phenomenon has been termed “repressive consciousness” by Camatte. The proletariat takes on a messianic role in a new pseudo-theological consciousness. The proletariat is considered the only possible creator of a revolution and any struggle that does not raise class consciousness is considered illegitimate, or among liberal-progressives, a secondary concern to be obsessed over by the movement’s own internal proletariat. The most crippling affect of repressive consciousness is that a chasm is opened between a priestly intellectual class which refines Marxist theory, commodifies it through the “alternative” press and hawks it from above to the pious masses and the self-sacrificial activist devotees. This auto-mystification of proletarian conscious reifies potentially useful theory into potentially dangerous objects of contemplation and alienates many activists who aren’t interested in the celebrity cults built around certain theorists. The energy poured into “promoting causes,” “building the movement” and crass tactical and academic debates drains energy from actually overthrowing the planetary work machine and leads to the infamous “activist burnout” and often a loss of interest in revolution itself.
Instead of the Marxian model of “raising class consciousness” I suggest that an orientation against Leviathan and its tentacles should sprout out of lived experience and not abstract theory based on a purely conceptual understanding of the world. In other words, taking a stand against the system based on what you’ve lived, not (or at least not only) because of what you’ve read. Upon realizing you’ve lived in an invisible gulag your whole life, allow your animal instincts to dictate your response. Now, since humanity has been so thoroughly domesticated, this may not be so easy, but don’t be afraid, there are many brothers and sisters who have came upon the same realization and are waiting to help you in your fight. When theory needs to be disseminated it should be personal and friendly, not alienating and condescending like that of the theory-priests. When theory and tactics need to be developed, refined and debated, it should be through praxis, through experimentation, through conversation, through constantly pursuing ideals that conform to lived experience and not trying to make lived experience conform to an ideal regardless of how many people starve, as the Marxists have done. The opposition between thinking and life is lacking in my case. My “theory” grows from my “practice” — oh, from a practice that is not by any means harmless or unproblematic!
8. Tactical Explorations
a) A Vindication of Cynical Virtues
Shamelessness. The virtue of dogs. The admirable and courageous determination to never be afraid to do in public view what one would gladly do in private quarters. The freedom from the internal constraints of “respectable” modesty. What such shameless displays may be can only be imagined by the reader, but it should be a strike at the very roots of bourgeois morality.
Training or exercise. The potentially difficult putting in to practice of the other cynical virtues. Perhaps rewilding and “dropping-out” are suitable parallels to this ancient philosophical practice.
Rule of Self. A synthesis of Autonomy and Sovereignty, but more than just an abstract politico-philosophical concept, it also entails self-reliance and self-decision in all matters.
Frugality. Not cruel self-denial, but finding oneself as one truly is without the artificial identity we make up for ourselves through material goods and the empty symbols we create around them. The clearing of obstacles for a healing return to what is primal in us.
Paracharattein to nomisma
Defacing the currency. The essence of true cynicism. Effacing the popular customs to reveal what lay beneath the polish. Forcing old morals out of circulation. Perhaps as a tactic it should be taken more literally as well...
Free and honest speech. A sincere communication without sugar coating or restraint. Irony is used only to expose contradictions, never to create them. The best policy towards friend and foe alike.
Love of mankind. Not the pitying or condescending philanthropy of narcissistic millionaires, but the hardened exposure of decay and urging to self-actualization and ascension exemplified by Nietzsche’s Zarathustra.
Freedom from typhos, meaning in this instance the “smoke” of tradition, popular opinion and narcissism. In the post-modern era this would mean freedom from pop culture and the “hyperreal” video game world where playing The Sims feels more real than actually going to work, going shopping, spending time with friends and lovers, etc.
b) Romantic Nihilism
A term that was, as far as I know, coined by Casey Maddox as a description of Derrick Jensen as told in the chapter “Romantic Nihilism” in Jensen’s book Endgame. To me, Romantic Nihilism is an orientation-to-the-world-as-tactic, that is, a way of positioning oneself to one’s circumstances that brings a reversal of perspective to others. I believe that Romantic Nihilism has its precursors in ancient Cynicism, the philosopher Albert Camus and the Situationists. The Cynics and the Situationists expressed their orientation towards life in grand, lucid and unorthodox ways and this in turn inspired others to rethink all of their presuppositions. Albert Camus’ Absurdism, in its rejection of life being inherently meaningful, but retaining an almost dreamy-eyed belief in love, rebellion and the capacity for individuals to create themselves is akin to a romantic nihilism, but lacks the, shall we say, will to power of the Cynics or the Situationists. In my opinion Absurdism is too passive. This is not deny Camus’ brilliance or commitment to his philosophy, it is simply to say that the revolutionary syndicalism that Camus supported is not what I find to be a suitable political response to such a philosophy. So there lays a quest to reconcile the Russian Narodnik cells and Chivalric knights of Romance literature. My life is a quixotic attempt to distill a beautiful void, a creative nothingness from mixing Blake and Stirner, Byron and Cioran, Keats and Nietzsche, Goethe and de Sade, Shelley and Shestov and directing this graceful emptiness against the core of civilization itself. Such is how my will to life and will to nothingness are one and the same in the expression of my will to power against the domesticators, in the service of liberating the Primal, which is beyond dialectical classification.
c) The Human Strike
The human strike is the insurgent coup d’état of the Imaginary Party. Like the Imaginary Party itself the human strike pulls socio-political conflict into the personal sphere where it is direct, unavoidable and devastating. It is an uprising of human scale. The human strike can take on as many particular forms as the human imagination can conceive of. A few that I have meditated on are: the disowning of any friends or family members who are workplace managers, cops, politicians, etc; a sex strike to deprive potential lovers who support the planetary work machine of erotic satisfaction; physically confronting and then shunning domestic abusers. Even naked vegetable gardening and magick rituals can be human strikes if they affect all the right people. The only limit to the possibility of enacting a human strike is where one’s poetic sense of spontaneous creativity ends. Let’s tamper with the flow of abjection. Let’s be cruel! (see: The Invisible Committee, Tiqqun)
d) Sabotage and Related Matters
Now we’re getting heavy. Sabotage is perhaps the most effective means of crippling Leviathan. The successful sabotage of the Megamachine’s infrastructure can be seen as blocking the arteries of Leviathan. Block enough and Leviathan’s very heart stops beating. Sabotage can be used to liberate specific areas or beings such as when construction vehicles are torched to protect a forest or factory farm lines are dismantled to save enslaved animals, or sabotage can be used to dismember Leviathan itself and disrupt the functioning of the planetary work machine. Some potential targets for sabotage intended to have a more generally disruptive affect could include the roads, rail lines and ports that unite the planetary work machine, as well as the gas stations and vehicles that facilitate this union. The circuitry of the Megamachine should be taken out to disrupt communication between Leviathan’s reproduction cells. This would include power generating stations, cell phone towers, radio towers and internet hubs. Government and corporate offices should be immediately targeted for eviction and destruction (preferably in that order.) This includes police stations, military barracks, post offices, banks, malls, etc. Industrial targets are a priority. One of the tasks of the Insurrectional and Revolutionary Workers’ Nucleus is the sabotage, dismantling and reclamation of factories (i.e. by using them as housing, social centers, etc.) Other industrial targets include hydroelectric dams and infrastructure related to resource extraction. Schools, churches, prisons and other societies of control should be eliminated through subversive infiltration and external opposition. Many of the above territories to be liberated can be reclaimed and used in furtherance of liberating more territories (i.e. as meeting places, warehouses for supplies, autonomous zones, permacultural/re-wilded regions.)
Vandalism can also be used to create a reversal of perspective among the multitude (through détournement.) This could be through the hijacking of an established media or the clever destruction of some element of popular culture. Vandalism can also be used to disrupt the flow of commodities by targeting stores or the commodities themselves. Particular attention should be paid to high-tech commodities such as cell phones, computers, iPods, etc. It is most effective when a graffiti message is left to suggest the purpose behind the action, for example “Ned Ludd was right” or “Liberate the technoslaves.”
It is beyond the scope of this text to carefully detail how to commit acts of sabotage or vandalism but there are many guides available online and in print. Some well known ones include Ecodefense and Ozymandias Sabotage Handbook. Do not trust The Anarchist Cookbook! It is notoriously inaccurate and potentially dangerous to the user. If you want to consult an anarchist cookbook try CrimethInc’s Recipes for Disaster.
e) Neither Militarism nor Pacifism
The conflict against the planetary work machine cannot be allowed to fall victim to machoistic militarism, nor can it be asserted through dogmatically pacifistic means. Some level of violence will almost certainly be necessary, but we must always bear in mind that our rage is best levied against institutions and not the relatively unimportant individuals who believe, against all evidence, that they have control over the institutions and societies of control that seek to control us. The brutal violence and pathetic ressentiment and will to revenge of typical armed leftist movements should be avoided if we are to avoiding losing our humanity and our credibility. We should also avoid negating the humanity of our enemies. Above all we need a humane armed resistance movement that seeks more to maintain an armed presence, liberate territory through the threat of force and display an antagonistic posture than to actually bring people, even those we fight against, to harm. That said, pacifism is a form of violence itself, the refusal to defend oneself or others when one has the ability to do so is another sickening negation of life. Perhaps the Zapatistas and the armed indigenous resistants who have recently blockaded highways and sabotaged dams in South America light the path to an armed resistance movement that can overcome the false militaristic versus pacifistic dichotomy, a sensitive, compassionate armed movement that doesn’t seek violence, but is not afraid to use violent means if human dignity demands it.
Thus I would propose that Anarchists be as “Zen Warriors” who fight with for the needs of the present, warriors who are generally peaceful and contemplative and weigh the consequences of every possible outcome. They should strike decisively when necessary, but also master offensive retreat. The Tao Te Ching, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and the orations of Tecumseh, among other Native warrior tacticians, may be helpful in shaping the posture of our conflict.
Above all we cannot allow the catalyst of our libidinal exuberance to be drowned in blood or smothered in macho vanity as was the case in 1791, 1848, 1917, 1936, 1992, etc.
9. Revolution — Anarchy and/or Utopia
I can’t promise that a society without rulers will be a preferable society immediately. It will, for many years, be a confusing society, a difficult society where everyone will have to learn to thrive again, as none of the old social presuppositions will apply. What I can promise is that it will be an emerging Gemeinwesen of Total Potentiality, of Infinite Becoming. The Revolution is not a grandiose End of Times or the beginning of a static age devoid of social or personal changes. Without the constraints of civilized society our personal and communal destinies will be free to take which ever paths they may. Changes will be a common and welcome occurrence, but not fetishized as they are in the paradigm of historical thinking.
Some of our wildest dreams will begin to be realized during the revolution itself. We cannot wait for “after the Revolution” to begin actualizing our desires. We must allow our Utopian urges to begin manifesting themselves now.
I believe it would narrow our potential means if we were to draw out a step by step blueprint of what our “Utopian” goal may be, however, I personally imagine a rough four stage movement towards the realization of my personal Anti-Civilization World-View.
Stage 1- The creation of the Autonomous Workers’ Nuclei for periodic transmutation into Insurrectionary Workers’ Nuclei for strike, counter-summit and riot situation until a critical mass is reached, allowing transubstantiation into the endgame formation of Revolutionary Workers’ Nuclei. The RWN will take charge in the dismantling of the factory system and sabotage of the key infrastructure needed to operate the planetary work machine. This will be a “Great Punchout” precipitating the final end of Work. This is the great weak point of civilization: it is in a constant state of entropy and requires non-stop production and reproduction in order to maintain itself. Without producer and reproducer cells the civilized social body quickly dies.
Stage 2 — Pathfinder tribes who have re-learned the skills necessary to thrive in the wilderness will prepare the way for the rewilding of humanity returning to the communes sporadically to confer with the communards and educate more people about earth skills as part of “The Great Remembering.” I imagine the communes resembling a mixture of Bookchin’s Social Ecology, PM’s Bolo’bolo and William Morris’ society in News from Nowhere. Permaculture will be the primary mode of food procurement. Vasectomies may be prudent to mitigate potential population pressures upon the return to hunting and gathering. Knowledge pertaining to natural contraceptives that can be acquired in foraging societies would be propagated.
Stage 3 — A society perhaps resembling Iroquois village society. The dissolution of mass society. The end of animal domestication. A mixture of hunting and gathering and horticulture.
Stage 4 — Immediate return hunter-gatherer band society.
It must be stressed that this is my personal hope for the actualization of my own world-view, not a political programme that I wish to establish.
10. Final Thought
Imagine walking down an unpaved sidewalk, where the only differentiation between pathway and wilderness is an honor guard of wildflowers. You look up and all you see is clear blue sky. There are beautiful crumbling skyscrapers wrapped in vines on the horizon. You laugh...
Postscript: A Call to Arms for Young Workers
Come on young workers, let us leave this world that has left us with no future, no place or purpose, no hope for improvement. A world that has given us nothing of interest, but has the audacity to expect us to bare the burden of millions of our baby-boomer parents and grandparents as they go into retirement. I say, hell no! The only thing we owe to them is the knowledge that they were the architects of the bankrupt consumer society that will destroy them. We will not allow ourselves to be destroyed so easily. Will shall be an anti-capitalist shrugging Atlas and leave their society to stagnate and rot as we, we free spirits, we creators, go on to build the world of our dreams. Will shall undermine and invalidate the whole project of modernity as we emancipated young workers, from the waiter and barista to the writer and the artist, pull ourselves, the very column of capitalist continuity from mass society, to create our own nation of free spirits to encircle the society that made us its lost children and destroy it from all sides.
So to arms I call you young workers of the world! We have a world to set aflame and nothing to lose but our embarrassing uniforms.
Young workers of the World, enjoy!
Human strike after human strike,
I know you’re out there. I can feel you now. I know that you’re afraid... you’re afraid of us. You’re afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I’m going to hang up this phone, and then I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you. — The Matrix
*Note on the term “Post-Industrial” and the applicability of the forewritten
The forms of resistance and terrain of struggle described above were created under the presupposition that they would be applied in a region were the productive forces had reached the so-called “post-industrial” paradigm. The term post-industrial is used to describe an economy with a minimum of manufacturing jobs and a maximum of retail and service jobs. I feel, with certain cultural, historical and geographical differences taken under consideration the general Autonomous Workers’ Nucleus form of resistance can be modified and successfully implemented in regions still based in primarily agricultural or industrial based economies. However, it is apparent that particular tactics must be created on a case by case basis depending on the eccentricities of the region and the needs of region’s populace.
This World We Must Leave and Other Essays by Jacques Camatte
Workers’ Autonomy by Alfredo Bonanno
The Coming Insurrection by The Invisible Committee
Work, Community, Politics, War from Prole.info
The Abolition of Work by Bob Black
Against His-Story, Against Leviathan by Fredy Perlman
The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem
The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord
Elements of Refusal by John Zerzan
Feral Revolution by Feral Faun
Against the Logic of Submission by Wolfi Landstreicher
Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari
Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
Days of War, Nights of Love from CrimethInc
The Eclipse and Re-Emergence of the Communist Movement by Gilles Dauve
Bolo’bolo by PM
Towards an Ecological Society and The Ecology of Freedom by Murray Bookchin
News from Nowhere by William Morris
Appendix A. Definitions of Previously Unexplained Key Concepts
Planetary Work Machine:
From Bolo’bolo by PM — “[I]t eats in Africa, digests in Asia and shits in Europe. It is planned and regulated by international companies; the banking system; the circuit of fuels, raw materials and other goods. There are a lot of illusions about nations, states, blocs, First, Second, Third or Fourth World- these are only minor subdivisions, parts of the same machinery. Of course there are distinct wheels and transmissions that exert pressure, tensions and frictions on each other. The Machine is built on the basis of its inner contradictions: workers/capital, private capital/state capital (capitalism/socialism), development/underdevelopment, misery/waste, war/peace, women/men, etc. The machine is not a homogeneous structure, it uses its internal contradictions to expand its control and refine its instruments. Unlike fascist or theocratic systems or like Orwell’s 1984, the Work-Machine permits a “sane” level of resistance, unrest, provocation and rebellion. It digests unions, radical parties, protest movements, demonstrations and democratic changes of regimes. If democracy doesn’t function, it uses dictatorship. If its legitimation is in crisis, it has camps, prisons and torture in reserve. All these modalities are not essential for understanding the functioning of the machine. The principle that governs all activities of the Machine is economy. But what is economy? Impersonal, indirect exchange of crystallized life-time. We spend our time producing some part which is assembled with other parts by somebody we don’t know to make a device that, in turn, is bought by somebody else we don’t know for an unknown goal... We are all parts of the Planetary Work Machine — we are the Machine. We represent it against each other. Whether we are developed or not, waged or not, working alone or as employees- we serve its purpose. Where there is no industry, we “produce” workers to export to industrial zones. Africa has produced slaves for America, Turkey produces workers for Germany, Pakistan for Kuwait, Ghana for Nigeria, Morocco for France, Mexico for the U.S. Untouched areas can be used as scenery for the international tourist business: Indians on reservations, Polynesians, Balinese, Aborigines. Those who try to get out of the Machine fulfill the function of picturesque “outsiders” (bums, hippies, yogis). As long as there is the Machine, we’re all inside of it. It has destroyed or mutilated almost all traditional societies or driven them into a demoralizing defensive position...”
I would define revolution as a radical and direct overturning of all social structures and the abolition of all societies of control through human agency (i.e. not by unintentional decay), in other words, the destruction of the planetary work machine as defined above. The overthrow of a government is not a revolution unless the fundamental presuppositions that that government and its parallel economic system were founded on are also completely negated. The Revolution remains to be enacted. All previous “revolutions” have been abortions and often the very reverse of a revolution.
An uprising against the planetary work machine that sets the stage for the revolution. An insurrection allows the resistants refine tactics, prioritize targets and reposition themselves in relation to their goals. It is a war game in which the resistants and the domesticators take their positions in the conflict to destroy or protect Capital.
Human history as seen as a play, merely an article of contemplation, the Metaspectacle one may say. The stage was slowly set as symbolic conceptualization developed, as life became sedentary and agriculture spread. The precipitating event in the Drama may have been the first time a city-state took slaves to use in agricultural production, or perhaps it was the first time agriculturalists went to war with pastoralists to take their land, perhaps these events were one and the same, either way the great World-Historical Drama had begun. All the great warriors and politicians and merchants have been actors in the Drama, all the prophets and philosophers and mythologists have helped write the Drama and all the historians have helped re-write it. Grains, currency, iron, guns, gold, ships, airplanes, satellites and nuclear weapons have been props in the great Drama. Most of humanity has remained in the position of spectator. All the rebellions and “revolutions” throughout history have been spectators trying to rush the stage and direct the Drama in their own image. The climax of the World-Historical Drama is fast approaching. Soon we can go about dismantling the stage.
Appendix B. 21 Aphorisms on Radical Change and Reclaiming Primality
The Will to Community (Gemeinwesen) that is prerequisite to a radical break with the past comes not from abstract morals, but from the very concrete project of the Whole Man, the fight to become Ubermensch.
My support for the “causes” of Others (homosexuals, females, animals, people of colour, etc.) comes not from an urge to sacrifice myself or create an unrealistic Utopia, but from the knowledge that opposing the unique alienations that affect them as individuals will strengthen my own fight against alienation. When all alienation has been abolished and all social wealth is available freely to all I could care less about people I do not know personally. I fight with them because I recognize their alienation in myself. Thus I propose an empathetic solidarity without moralistic compassion or condescending pity.
If a world of moralism and fetishized ethics is responsible for profound unhappiness and boredom, are not all morals open to questioning?
The revolutionary project will require the transvaluation of all values, meaning that old morals will be replaced by new values and old values will be replaced by new morals. In this stage of pre-revolutionary active nihilism everything will be true and nothing will be permitted and nothing will be true and everything will be permitted, simultaneously.
Never be afraid to do in public what you would gladly do in private. This stands for ALL possible activities. The praxis of Anaideia or Shamelessness adopted by the ancient Cynics should return to popular use.
The realization of God and the corrupted liberatory projects of religion and metaphysics can only come from their internalization, transcendence and abandonment.
In a world where God has been dead for some time and humanity is on its death bed, it is necessary to become God simply in order to remain human.
I, in the most literal sense, am God. I challenge anyone to prove me wrong on this.
Love guided by True Will is never wrong. Sex guided by Love under Will is never unethical or immoral.
Love under Will, when brought from the personal to the social sphere is an act of revolt. When lovers find themselves in society, society finds itself in lovers.
Come out of the closet, it is FAR too safe in there.
Dreams and the absurdities of the unconscious mind are not only legitimate, but a social necessity when society itself is absurd and contradictory, when the entire culture is nothing but a bad dream collectively dreamt.
Drugs, while unlocking some of the unconscious, are half a revolution in consciousness and those who make revolutions in halves do but dig their own grave.
Indigenous peoples across the world have used hallucinogenic entheogens to unlock the unconscious in a spiritual context. Do not delude yourself that modern practitioners of drug use have anything spiritual in mind. Dreams created at a profit are devoid of spirituality and revolutionary consciousness. Most of today’s hallucinators are more interested in escaping reality than remaking it.
Dreams made in service to the revolutionary project of spontaneous creativity must be made from the Will alone. Only when the unconscious is unlocked without external influences (drugs, technological devices, therapy) can in be said to be an unconsciousness of the True Will.
A narcotic doesn’t cease to be so just because it is legal. Legal drugs, encouraged by (and creating profit for) the Power establishment can be the most debilitating.
Mary Douglas once said that dirt was “matter out of place.” Likewise violence is simply action out of place and insult speech out of place. Silence is so accurate, as Rothko stated. When there is no need to act, stay still. When there is no need to speak, stay silent. These maxims have been well understood by the great prophets of ancient (Diogenes, Lao Tse, Jesus, the Zen masters) and modern times (Emerson, Thoreau, Gandhi, Krishnamurti, Wittgenstein)
When one must act, act in haste. When one must speak, speak clearly and honestly. Act and speak so that even the smallest child may understand your intent. These maxims apply to the most banal and most revolutionary of acts and orations.
To rediscover the primal freedom that exists within each individual one must open oneself completely to the world. One must seek the language older than words. To understand what is meant by this rather ethereal statement try dedicating a weekend to Being with a lover using purely non-verbal communication. Try communicating solely through gesture, touch, facial expression, intuition and staring into each other’s soul through the gateway of the eyes.
In postmoderinity the language of mystification has given way to the mystification of language. The linguistic nihilism that exists in the post-Derrida world has given mythethnopoets an interesting opportunity to detourn the trappings of mythology for the forces of clarity and liberty. Any child can understand the meaning behind a fairy tale, but many intelligent adults struggle to find meaning in the work of the deconstructionists. This fact should not be easily dismissed. (On this point see the work of Daniel Quinn, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Gary Snyder, Aleister Crowley, Starhawk, Fredy Perlman and John Moore)
The Rise of Liberty entails the Fall of History. In order for the paradigm of historicity to be destroyed it must first be realized then internalized. The stolen biopower of every hitherto existing generation for 10, 000 horrific years must be emancipated and internalized as our generation’s own biopower. As the Narrator in ‘Fight Club’ (the novel) said “I wanted to burn the Louvre. I’d do the Elgin Marbles with a sledgehammer and wipe my ass with the Mona Lisa. This is my world, now. This is my world, my world, and those ancient people are dead.” Often it has been said that each generation must kill its predecessors to assert itself. Few have realized that before a generation can kill its predecessors it must first necromance the aborted or suppressed nuclei of liberation left unfulfilled by past generations, thus actualizing the dreams of past generations while simultaneously proving that our generation is superior in every way to past generations. Imagine people today abandoning city life and laying siege to their own Imperial megalopolis, shedding their clothes and writhing in religious ecstasy, smashing their office computers, planting gardens and creating communes on state lands, robbing banks to fund the revolution or federating workers into local self-managed factories and abolishing money and conservative morality in the process. In other words, imagine people acting as if the Barbarians, Adamites, Luddites, Diggers, Bonnot Gang and Spanish Revolutionaries were alive and well and their suppression or recuperation was anything but a historical inevitability. As if the rebels and revolutionaries of the past, present and future existed among us now and within ourselves. Imagine if the line of history was made the dot of an eternal present and then, upon the realization of our historical desires, all historical thinking was abandoned, obsolete. Imagine the world we would have!
Can you picture what will be. So limitless and free? — Jim Morrison
Many thanks to Fredy Perlman, Raoul Vaneigem, Daniel Quinn, John Zerzan, Derrick Jensen, John Moore, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Nietzsche, Renzo Novatore, Max Stirner, Emma Goldman, Aleister Crowley, Henry David Thoreau, Tecumseh, John Brown, Chuck Palahniuk, Antonin Artaud, Diogenes of Sinope, Valentinus, Gerrard Winstanley, Lao Tse, Albert Camus, Søren Kierkegaard, Jacques Camatte, Peter Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin, Lord Byron, William Blake and Wolfi Landstreicher/Feral Faun for their constant inspiration.
Love, Rage and Feral Solidarity,
All Power to the Barbarians’ Councils!