Text I. Foundational Statement Of The Anarchist International
Geist, noun: the spirit of an individual or group.
We are the Anarchist International. Our existence has been kept a secret from you for over a century, although it is almost certain that you have been able to discern our actions when they have taken place. Some would like to argue that the Anarchist International came into being in 1872 when the anarchists were expelled from the First International, but this is certainly incorrect. The Anarchist International came into being when the first wandering nomads from across the various kingdoms and empires met in smoke filled rooms or desert oases and began to conspire on how to live freely.
In the 1860′s, we attempted to give our shadowy network a visible, above-ground platform that has since come to be known as the First International. During this time period, we worked with communists, socialists, and people of various different political persuasions in an attempt to create an international organization that would coordinate the destruction of the capitalist world system. As is now well known, the First International fell apart due to a split between us and those who wanted to further enslave humanity. Unable to accept our former comrades’ insistence on centralization and hierarchical authority, we left the First International to continue our work.
From that point on, we have been fighting alone and have watched in horror as our former comrades effectively sapped and destroyed the world revolutionary Geist throughout the course of the 20th century. All of the potential contained in the struggles of Russia, Germany, China, the former Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Cuba, and Venezuela was taken by our former comrades and used to create systems that have continued to keep the people of those countries in bondage. Our former comrades realized the dream of the International and waged a global war against capitalism only to now end up just as miserable, tyrannical, and deformed as their former enemies. The crushed skulls, surveillance cameras, and ecological devastation of contemporary China serve as the perfect proof that our decision to leave the First International was not in error. After the passing of the USSR, the global blitzkrieg of neo-liberalism, and the complete destruction of the dreams of the First International, we found ourselves living in a time that had lost the world revolutionary Geist.
In response to this absence, we started our first offensive against the now triumphant world capitalist system. With this offensive we established the first networks of the new International and with these networks we met with moderate successes in our endeavors. The ground-to-air missile launchers guarding the G7 in Genoa from a terrorist attack, the ferocity of Carabinieri, and the paranoia of everyone involved were the first signs of what was to come in the fall of 2001. With the attack on Manhattan in September came the routing of our first offensive. Our enemy then quickly displayed to us its power, its capabilities, and its brazen brutality. It would not be until 2007 that our second offensive would begin. Now, after four years, we have experienced the initial breakdown of the world capitalist system and felt our own strength multiply in response to our weakened enemy. And so it is that, with the eyes of the world population facing our enemy, we announce the existence of the Anarchist International.
Remarks on Time and Geist
Waveform, noun: The mathematical representation of a wave, especially a graph obtained by plotting a characteristic of the wave against time.
A comrade described the Anarchist International as a re-occurring waveform pattern; that is, a pattern that re-occurs throughout time. This is because the entire membership of the Anarchist International is composed of what could be called reincarnated anarchists. But to use the term reincarnation is perhaps misleading due to its metaphysical and occult associations. However, reincarnation remains the word we chose to describe our state of flux throughout time.
To illustrate what we mean, we refer you to a small tavern on Friedrichstrasse in Berlin in the year 1841. Several young revolutionists are sitting inside, drinking wine or beer, talking amongst themselves, when suddenly one of their friends enters the bar. He is wearing glasses and a long dark coat. When he sits down they all proceed to argue and discuss. The young man in glasses is the only member of the Anarchist International present, and so the conversation quite naturally turns against him. The young man with glasses is named Max Stirner. Another young man in the tavern is Friedrich Engels, the man who would later help Karl Marx destroy the First International. These two, Stirner and Engels, have theoretical disagreements as the discussion and arguments progresses.
Three years later, in 1844, Stirner publishes The Ego And Its Own, a book that will come to influence anarchists across the world for the next 160 years. Four years later, in 1848, the first European-wide offensive begins, blossoms, and is crushed. Engels and Marx publish the Communist Manifesto the same year, paving the way for the horror of State Communism while, at the same time, Max Stirner is wandering penniless through the streets, trying to avoid the bankers to whom he owes money. Clearly, the 1840′s proved to be a crucial moment in time for Engels and Stirner, both of whom created texts and formulated ideas that were to persist long into the future.
But let us return to the tavern in Berlin in 1841. This is same tavern you were in last night, and the theoretical discussions you were having possess the same gravity, potential, and power as the discussions that took place in the 19th century. Each member of the Anarchist International has been in that same tavern and has been having those same discussions, forever. We are the reincarnations of every anarchist who has ever been, and we reappear endlessly throughout time. It is vital that this is understood without reservations or restraint. To understand this basic point is to become a member of the Anarchist International. This understanding will allow you to become aware of the importance of everything you say, everything you do, and every action you undertake.
So that the point is not lost, let us take another example. By 1868, the world revolutionary Geist had spread throughout Europe and into Russia. The First International had been built and different groups had sprung up in dozens of cities. In the time period, a young man named Sergey Nechayev began to organize with students at a university in St. Petersburg. Nechayev was soon exposed to the ideas of Bakunin and from this moment onwards became a member of the Anarchist International. He pushed the student group to become more militant, organized, and ruthless. When some students talked of reform, he talked of assassinating the Tzar. Nechayev would often find himself embroiled in arguments with his fellow students, and during these arguments, Nechayev succeeded, without realizing it, in puncturing through time. In 1868, Nechayev found himself in the Université de Sorbonne, Paris, in 1968, arguing with Stalinist students about the need to push the revolution further. This time travel did not leave an impression on young Nechayev. He continued to think that he had never left St. Petersburg or the year 1868. As happens to many new members of the Anarchist International, Nechayev thought he was the first to be put in this situation, pushing for revolution amongst those who are afraid to go further.
And so, unable to comprehend that there were many others who had come before him and many others who would soon follow, Nechayev decided to force his contemporaries into action. He had nearly 100 of his fellow students sign a petition for freedom of assembly and then quickly handed the list of names over to the police. Feeling alone, possessed by the world revolutionary Geist, and believing he was the only one who could force the revolution, Nechayev hoped that imprisonment and repression was the only way to push his contemporaries out of their middle-class comfort and into action. Soon after this betrayal of his comrades, Nechayev fled to Europe and made contact with members of the First International. He and Bakunin soon made plans to increase the level of agitation and propaganda in Russia. But Nechayev had still not let go of his belief that his contemporaries in Russia would never act unless they were pushed. And so, when packages of propaganda were sent to Russia, Nechayev insured that the recipients of these packages would be apprehended. And indeed some of them were, including a young woman named Vera Zasulich, who was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
While she sat in a prison cell, Nechayev wrote Catechism Of A Revolutionary, his manual on amoral agitation and attack. In this text, he stresses the need for pushing people to their breaking point so that they may revolt. He also advocated for manipulating and betraying ones comrades in pursuit of the ultimate goal of revolution. As he sat at his desk writing this, he once again slipped out of time, finding himself living underground, typing a communique explaining why the Red Brigades kidnapped Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. Once again, he did not notice this slipping out of time and continued to pen his text, never stopping to wonder how his words would reverberate through time, forever. With the completion of this text, Nechayev returned to Russia in order to set up more groups for the First International. But once one of his co-conspirators disagreed with one of his plans, Nechayev quickly killed him, threw his body into a lake, and then fled back to Europe. This murder also happened in Japan in the 1970′s, when the Japanese Red Army killed liquidated over a dozen of its members. This murder also happened in the Ukraine, when the Red Army began to hunt and destroy its former anarchist comrades.
Nechayev’s deed took place across time and did not stop. As an unconscious member of the Anarchist International, Nechayev mistook the world revolutionary Geist for something he was creating, something he was forcing onto the world. And in doing this, Nechayev unwittingly caused the collapse of the First International. Upon his return to Europe, he become increasingly volatile and erratic. Seeing in Nechayev the untamed Geist, Bakunin continued to defend his young comrade against the attacks of Marx and Engels. But it was all to no avail. The anarchists of the International were seen as irresponsible, dangerous elements that would destroy the organizations.
In 1871, the Geist exploded in Paris and took over the entire town. The work of the First International had produced a moment in time where it would have been possible to create a new world. This moment was lost, however, due in large part to the same divisions that existed within the First International. In 1872, the anarchists were expelled from the International and Nechayev was arrested. In 1873, Vera Zasulich, one of the people Nechayev had forced into prison, was finally released. She quickly formed a small cell of anarchists in Kiev and continued on with the work of the Anarchist International. Meanwhile, Nechayev was busy corresponding with clandestine nihilist groups. When they offered to break him out of prison, something completely possible, Nechayev refused, encouraging them to concentrate all of their energy on killing the Tsar.
In 1878, Vera Zasulich, still committed to her mission, killed the governor of St. Petersburg. Due to the political climate, she was found not guilty. In 1881, the nihilists succeeded in killing the Tsar and a heavy wave of repression descended on Russia. In 1882, Nechayev died in his prison cell. Vera Zasulich, his unwitting protege, traveled to Europe where she soon became a Marxist. Nechayev had taught her, just as he had taught thousands of young Russian revolutionaries, that everything is permitted in pursuit of the revolution and that if people cannot understand or accept the means, they must be forced to. Thus Nechayev, the renegade member of the Anarchist International, paved the way for the Bolsheviks to seize the world revolutionary Geist and leech off it for nearly a century. He was unaware of how long his imprint would linger.
If the Anarchist International is a waveform pattern, then so are Nechayev and Stirner. They both re-appear endlessly and their same problems always arise. Just like Stirner, we are fully aware of the importance of our own ideas and yet we do nothing to put an end to the ideas of all the Engles’ we meet at the bar or in our circles. Instead, we wander poor and broken through hostile streets. And like Nechayev, we are often are pushed to forsake all attachment, to crush everyone who doesn’t agree with us, and to manipulate those who do. Between these two polar opposites, egoist inaction and psychopathic fever, lies the domain of the Anarchist International. We have required countless generations in order to learn how to balance our conflicting proclivities. After each disaster, we have adjusted. With that adjustment, we have always grown stronger and more resilient. Although our enemy has adjusted along with us, every intrusion of our waveform pattern into time increases the chances of our dreams being realized.
Whenever a note is strummed on a guitar, the sound of that note can be visualized as a waveform oscillation, constantly moving up and down along a straight line. The straight line represents time. Whenever the top of the waveform collides the straight line, the Anarchist International intrudes upon reality and causes the Paris Commune, May 1968, and the December Insurrection. If more notes are strummed on this guitar increasingly faster, the visualization of the waveform pattern stops looking like a smooth oscillation and the frequency with which the waveform intrudes upon the straight line of time increases. Eventually, the hyperactive waveform blots out the straight line. The task of the Anarchist International is to intrude upon time more frequently than we ever have before, to the point where every single day is as full as the three months of the Paris Commune and linear time no longer exists.
When we appear in linear time, we are always drawn to and infected by the world revolutionary Geist. Unlike many others, we let the Geist articulate itself through us. Others have felt the Geist before, but they have given it names such as “the dictatorship of the proletariat,” the “worker’s state,” or the “sustainable community.” The Geist can only be felt, it cannot be given a concrete form that will last throughout the ages. If it is given a concrete form, it will degenerate, wither, and eventually die. Just as we travel through time in a waveform, so does the world revolutionary Geist. It appears whenever people desire to be free and those desires have a similarity that defies borders or geography. We are currently living in a period of time when the world revolutionary Geist has returned, and thus, so have we. It is time we remember Stirner, Nechayev, and every other who has come before so that we might recognize them when we meet tomorrow, on the street or in a bar.
Offensive, noun: An attitude or position of attack.
With these concluding remarks, we would like to make clear and announce a new offensive against the world capitalist system. The methods, means, and tools we wish to introduce shall be revealed slowly and at later dates. With this statement we make clear our history, provide glimpses of the scope of our project, and announce our intention.
The Anarchist International has always existed to intervene whenever the world revolutionary Geist manifests itself in reality. Occasionally, we have liberated isolated areas from the control of the world capitalist system. Most of the populated world has remained under control for centuries, but that time is now coming to an end. Our International will bring down the capitalist world system and allow the Geist to spread everywhere. As anarchists, we are committed to nothing more than total freedom, and this will not be achieved as long as anything remains of what enslaved us. All theory about the world to be built after this one is meaningless until we get there. Our task in these writings is not to provide any more straws to cling to for those still investing their time and energy in preserving pieces of this world system like industry, work, and obedience. Our task in these writings is to dynamite the imagination and allow new forms to blossom in silent minds.
Others have started the offensive of the Anarchist International. Their texts will speak for themselves. We recognize the need for practical information regarding attacks to spread internationally. In this recognition, we acknowledge the validity of the new internationalist anarchist offensive taking place in such diverse places as Peru, Indonesia, Russia, Greece, and the United Kingdom (to name only a few). But if there is to be an international of attack, there must also be an international of thought. This is the function we will serve in the world revolutionary struggle. We will be a reflecting pool that mirrors the sordid, violent, and joyous undertakings of the International.
The following communications, recommendations, and histories will come in no apparent order and will alter in style dramatically. We hope, amidst the multiplicity of ideas we intend to illuminate, that there will be something that can be utilized internationally in the new offensive.
Towards the end of linear time and the defeat of the enemy,
- Anarchist International