AN EDICIONES INÉDITOS
The real death of politics
Trump has been sworn in, the Left and Liberals have come out in droves to denounce a president whom Congressman & Civil Rights Leader , John Lewis, has declared illegitimate. Though the grounds for illegitimacy, as he states, are not necessarily based on Trump’s racist, sexist, isolationist, ultra-nationalist, anti-queer agenda but rather that he is the subject of a Russian conspiracy. (Though we have had presidents who have been slave-owners, rapists, leaders of genocide, fervently anti-queer and yet they were able to complete their terms.) Others more generally decry Trump as a Neo-Fascist set to bring 1939 onto American soil. The U.S. Radical Left clamors to revive itself and swell its numbers. Though this Radical Left has chosen, more and more so, to speak the language of politics rather than of revolt (or revolution). This Radical Left sometimes speaks of communism as a set of affairs to be installed, and to which proletarians must be won over to, rather than the means by which proletarians will free themselves.
In Mexico, there are already some who are finding a fruitful ground for a rupture away from capitalism and politics. Though even there it is commonplace to point to the more radical elements of the response to the #Gasolinazo (state mandated rise in fuel prices) as part of a deep-state conspiracy to discredit more populist responses: marches, protests, list of grievances.
Here in the U.S. we had massive marches across the country, under the umbrella name “Women’s March” (on January 21st). A variety of critiques have been directed at it: its centering of white womanhood & its feminism, the trans* exclusionary images & slogans, its championing of non-violence and a generally pro-police sentiment. On Trump’s inauguration day, January 20th, we saw the black bloc emerge, with an attempt at demonstrating both a show of force but also to disrupt as much as possible the pomp & circumstance of the day. Though we all delighted in the punch-out of Richard Spencer, self-proclaimed leader of the “alt-right” movement, by someone dressed in black bloc we could say that the same critique could be made of both the “Women’s March” and of the black bloc: they both were a but response to a political moment. A political moment which bears deep consequences for this country and for the world, but a political moment all the same.
Largely, most of the large-scale revolt we have seen in the United States, and around the world, the last few years have not been a reaction against a political moment, but ferocious responses to domination both economic and direct. See:
Labor Reform in France
Education Reform in Mexico
An attempt to create revolt has always been the modus operandi of the Left and even of Left-Anarchists in a vanguardist way. Rather, we contend the task at hand is to foster and help further along revolt, but the Left can only see the world politically even when it has its historical-materialist glasses on.
The Democratic Party is essentially dead in the water. Many on the Radical Left are not deriding party politics, or parliamentary politics but rather are calling for a working-class party. To push for a political party at that moment when voter turn-out has been at its lowest in decades is not only politically unsound, it is tone-deaf.
Granted, we don’t have a political party in the United States. We don’t have a labor party. And we’re a long way away from becoming a force that can enact policies to represent and empower the working class. But we’re building momentum and making demands.
– Jacobin Magazine, “The Party We Need”
The Radical Left offers more of the same because their strategy and tactics are precisely centered on a field where workers, whether racialized, gendered, employed or not, have not been able to win in decades: politics.
We are still speaking of a new cycle of struggle in the worn-out language of the old. We can refine that language as best we can, but we have to recognise that it is nearly, if not completely exhausted.
– Endnotes, “Spontaneity, Mediation, Rupture“
This language is largely the language of politics which boils down the capacity for any substantive change in our lives into polls, charts, numbers and voting turn-outs.
If not politics, then what?
One of the prevailing guiding principles for those of us of the insurrectionary kind is reproducibility:
Concretely, reproducibility means that acts of sabotage are realised with means…that can be easily made and used, and that can be easily acquired by anyone. […] Reproducibility also encourages the radicalisation of the individual or collective acts of attack, extending to the maximum the autonomy amongst individuals and collectives, generating, when one desires, an informal coordination in which, outside of the logic of dependency or acceptance, one could also come to share the knowledge of each comrade concerning sabotage.
– Revista Negación, “Reproducibility, propagation of attack against power and some related points“
Reproducibility means bringing extra masks to the looting street party, letting the people you trust know how easy it is to X or Y against the police, showing people how easy it is to be as-close-to-invisible online, disseminating simple ways to scam corporations to help you get-by. Reproducibility guides us in our attacks against the State & Capital, but attacks will not carry the day for the creation of communism. This is often the critique directed at insurrectionary anarchists: that we bear no image of what a future communal way of life may hold and how it would be formed. Though any substantive reading of intelligent insurrectionary anarchist literature would demonstrate otherwise, our fellow travelers in the communization current do bear the productive notion how we can act in the here and now by way of communist measures:
A communist measure is a collective measure, undertaken in a specific situation with the ways and means which the communist measure selects for itself. The forms of collective decision making which result in communist measures vary according to the measures: some imply a large number of people, others very many fewer; some suppose the existence of means of coordination, others do not; some are the result of long collective discussions, of whatever sort (general assemblies, various sorts of collective, discussions in more or less diffuse groups) while others might be more spontaneous… What guarantees that the communist measure is not an authoritarian or hierarchical one is its content, and not the formal character of the decision which gave rise to it.
– Léon de Mattis, “Communist Measures: thinking a Communist Horizon“
Here we have demonstrated the suspended step of communization which makes communism possible without the proletarian seizure of political power and which makes of communism not a state of affairs but rather a process which proletarians actively engage in from the very beginning of revolutionary activity. Though our comrades in the communization current claim that now is the historical moment when communization is possible, insurrectionary anarchists have contended that the time has always been right. A reading of the illuminating text, Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South, demonstrates that something akin to communization as the way towards a communal way of life is not hard-encoded into any particular historical moment, rather it is has long been the way that oppressed peoples have responded to the State actively trying to control them, their way of life and as the means to be able to flee slavery and colonization, while making communal and autonomous life possible. Ex-slaves and their comrades would routinely raid plantations so that they could live outside of slave society and would often not make any political demands of the State. Those involved in this raids (appropriation as a communist measure) would be as much interested in disrupting and destroying slave society as much as they wanted to be able to live outside of it.
What we need to be speaking of in this moment is not a zero-sum game of recruitment of the workers, or the surplus population, or whatever to our side. These days hardly anyone but Radical Left die-hards bask in proudly calling themselves workers. For most, work is a drudgery imposed which bears no possibility of bearing a positive program. We often see our work as that which is destroying our lives and the world we live in, rather than contributing to a positively-viewed development of the means of productions necessary to make communism possible (to hearken to old productivist notions of communism). We view our identities under capitalism as impositions which can prove to be sites of antagonism against this society. Though we reject identity-politics, we also understand that favoring a class-reductionist worker-identity to unite us is yet another form of identity-politics.
The anti-political turn
This leads us to a final point. Though we found the Arab Spring inspiring, we would roundly say that its failure to move beyond its initial success was that it relied heavily on populist rhetoric around democracy, (political) freedom, transparency and anti-cronyism (The same critique could broadly be said of most of the Occupy Mov’t). Its attacks against the State & its forces were awe-inspiring but falling short of a rejection of the State in toto and of capitalism allowed a return to normality that we see there today. This is why we describe our position towards politics as anti-political.
There will always be push back against us by Liberals and the Left when we act in a way that views them as unnecessary. We will be called upon to explain our position and how it could be constructive or productive. Such debate is ultimately meaningless. Some of us have already been attacked by Liberals and the Left for expressing this very position. We would contend that our actions may at times require some explanation but those who see us riot, loot, fuck-shit-up and are inspired are often those who have the most to gain from the fall of this society. Those who have the most to lose will use whatever means necessary to stop us and we can understand why. Those of us who struggle to get by will not flinch when the ultra-rich get theirs.
This anti-political wave may take on different names according to its context: proletarian insurgency, les casseurs, the invisible party, los desmadrosos, thugs, etc. but they all point away from relying on the state to recognize us as citizens to negotiate with. The point of course is not to merely be ungovernable but to be able to initiate, with our revolting actions, the means to live free of the State, Capital, Patriarchy, Colonization and Work. If we merely react to what Trump’s presidency may or may not do, we then foreclose the wide breadth of actions we may take. If we foreclose our actions around anti-fascism, we would end up with a return to a normality which was already genocidal and miserable but which would not be called fascism.
Lastly we end with Léon de Mattis further clarifying what the nature of what could be communist measures:
Likely to be communist, then, are measures taken, here or there, in order to seize means which can be used to satisfy the immediate needs of a struggle. Likely to be communist also are measures which participate in the insurrection without reproducing the forms, the schemas of the enemy. Likely to be communist are measures which aim to avoid the reproduction within the struggle of the divisions within the proletariat which result from its current atomisation. Likely to be communist are measures which try to eliminate the dominations of gender and of race. Likely to be communist are measures which aim to co-ordinate without hierarchy. Likely to be communist are measures which tend to strip from themselves, one way or another, all ideology which could lead to the re-establishment of classes. Likely to be communist are measures which eradicate all tendencies towards the recreation of communities which treat each other like strangers or enemies.
Daydreaming of the L.A. Riots of ’92.