Friday, 26 June 2009

Holiday Reading

I am off tomorrow to Sardinia for a week's break (trusting in the taxi company to turn up at 4.30am...). I dislike the process of travelling, but enjoy being on holiday. Considering we are firmly on a 'sun lounger by pool' drive I am taking what I hope are enough books (I read quickly).

1. Francois Cussett's French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States
Recommended by the Institute this seems suitably gossipy and low-brow for my tastes, already the anecdotes about Lotringer have amused me. I have shown unusually iron will by not reading further.

2. Shirley Jackson, The Lottery and other stories
I actually wanted to get one of the novels, as I liked The Haunting of Hill House (1959) (great cover in this edition, which is the one I have), but will have to make do with the short stories.

3. Roberto Bolano, The Savage Detectives
I've been warned on this one, but it's long (good for holiday) and I've read most of the others translated into English. I particularly like the fake memoirs of right-wing / fascist / Nazi writers. It's interesting how reviewers also identify them as 'failed' or 'bad' writers, implying that fascists / Nazis by definition cannot be good writers; I don't get that from the stories by Bolano, but rather a more disturbing sense of how like other writers they are.

One history book is essential and as I did once write a book on death this seemed appropriate as I know little about the American Civil War but have also been interested in it as one of the first instances of 'total' technological war.

5. Elfride Jelinek, Greed
To my shame I've never read any Jelinek, but Austrian misery should be great in the sun (try Bernhard's Concrete, but not if you are writing a book / essay / thesis).

6. JG Ballard, Miracles of Life
In tribute

7. Eliza Haywood, Love and Excess
18thC furries fun (so I'm told)

Steve's reading sounds good as well.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Left Reading

A new online resource of left pamphlets etc.


Online Now: http://www.readingfromtheleft.comr/

READING FROM THE LEFT is a new website, created to promote and distribute contemporary socialist books and pamphlets.It will feature free PDF downloads of pamphlets, reviews and announcements of socialist books, free PDF downloads of book chapters, and in some cases entire books.This is a non-commercial project: the website links to places where titles can be purchased, but it does not sell pamphlets or books directly.The initial response from publishers has been excellent.

The site already includes free downloads from:
**Monthly Review Press
**Resistance Books (Australia)
**Resistance Books (UK)
**Socialist Voice
**Socialist Project

More titles are in preparation.Please take a look -- and suggestions are very welcome.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Mao's Miracles

Found here; I think they are 'Mao sceptics'

“At 15:40 Chou Te-ming was carried into the emergency room of the Hsin-hua Hospital. His heart had stopped beating 18 minutes before he got there. “The doctor on duty felt it his responsibility to save this worker, but he recalled that according to a foreign medical journal, it was impossible for a patient to revive after the heart had stopped beating for six minutes. Could he save this worker after a much longer time?
“Raising his head, he saw members of the workers and P.L.A. Mao Tse-tung’s thought propaganda teams at his side. Their advice when they came to the hospital rang in his ears: ‘You must follow Chairman Mao Tse-tung’s teaching, join the side of the workers, peasants and soldiers, and serve them whole-heartedly!’ He must try to save Chou Te ming!…
“At that critical moment, the propaganda team read out quotations from Chairman Mao, urging them to “Surmount every difficulty to win victory.”
“After a brief consultation, the medical workers decided to give the patient an injection of adrenalin, breaking with the foreign bourgeois conventions and old medical ‘text books’ which rule out adrenalin in cases of electric shock because it causes strong contractions of the heart which may go into uncontrollable fluttering and result in death….
During that time, members of the propaganda team followed Chairman Mao’s teaching: ‘The revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them.’ They asked other doctors and nurses to take part. With the joint efforts of the masses who were thus fully mobilized, Chou Te-ming began to take a turn for the better.
“Chou Te-ming finally regained consciousness after 63 hours. 75 hours after his accident, he opened his eyes and clearly saw the portrait of our great leader Chairman Mao in his ward. His first words were: ‘Long live Chairman Mao! A long, long life to him!’”

A Magical Injection of 'Practice'

However couched, the facility of generic allegations of theoreticism, academicism, substitutionism, and so on, against Marxist intellectuals is in inverse proportion to its utility. It substitutes moralistic deprecation for materialist explanation of an objective state of affairs, incorrigible by any amount of voluntarism (as if a magical injection of 'practice' could remedy a distemper of 'theory').
Gregory Elliott

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Cold Fanatics

A debility and dimness of the imaginative power, and a consequent necessity of reliance on the impressions of the senses, do, we well know, render the mind liable to superstition and fanaticism. Having a deficient portion of internal and proper warmth, minds of this class seek in the crowd circum fana for a warmth in common, which they do not possess singly. Cold and phlegmatic in their own nature, like damp hay, they heat and inflame by co-acervation; or like bees they become restless and irritable through the increased temperature of collected multitudes. Hence the German word for fanaticism (such at least was its original import) is derived from the swarming of bees, namely, Schwärmen, Schwärmerey.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

I have no idea what's going on (Tarnac 9 book launch)

An amusing report on the book launch for The Coming Insurrection, courtesy of the Institute. When I read these kind of things I always think if I was involved I'd be the one arrested / lose my job / have my life ruined, while everyone else headed off to a fantastic anarchist party. The irony of the invocation of courage in my forthcoming book does not escape me...

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Vehmgericht (by Marx, avant la lettre) on the nihilism of decay

On the one hand, there have started into life industrial and scientific forces, which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected. On the other hand, there exist symptoms of decay, far surpassing the horrors recorded of the latter times of the Roman Empire. In our days, everything seems pregnant with its contrary: Machinery, gifted with the wonderful power of shortening and fructifying human labour, we behold starving and overworking it; The newfangled sources of wealth, by some strange weird spell, are turned into sources of want; The victories of art seem bought by the loss of character.

At the same pace that mankind masters nature, man seems to become enslaved to other men or to his own infamy. Even the pure light of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance. All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force.

This antagonism between modern industry and science on the one hand, modern misery and dissolution on the other hand; this antagonism between the productive powers and the social relations of our epoch is a fact, palpable, overwhelming, and not to be controverted.


Available in time for my birthday

Infinite Conversation (with Badiou)

Infinite interview with Badiou (not literally): cut / uncut
Come to think of it the 'infinite interview' sounds like a Borges / David Foster Wallace text...


SEMIOTEXT(E) Book Launch: The Coming Insurrection by the Invisible Committee Sunday, June 14, 5 pm @ Barnes & Noble, Union Square, NY.

“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 with the same speed that it once became real. Children of the metropolis, we offer this wager: that it’s in the most profound deprivation of existence—perpetually stifled, perpetually conjured away—that the possibility of communism resides.”
The Coming Insurrection, Introduction to the English edition
THE COMING INSURRECTION has been labeled a “manual for terrorism” by the French government, who recently arrested its alleged authors. Philosopher Giorgio Agamben has called the book “one of the most intelligent works of our time” and numerous commentators have seen it as a heir to the legacy of situationist Guy Debord. Meanwhile, bootleg translations have circulated around the world and passages from the book appeared on the walls of Athens during last December’s uprising. Anonymously written in the wake of the riots that erupted throughout the Paris suburbs in the fall of 2005, THE COMING INSURRECTION articulates a rejection of the official Left and its reformist agenda, aligning itself instead with the growing number of those—in France, in the United States, and elsewhere—who refuse the idea that theory, politics, and life are separate realms.

Please join us for the official book launch, including discussion of the text as well as content-appropriate activities, on Sunday, June 14 at 5pm on the fourth floor of Union Square Barnes and Noble. SEMIOTEXT(E) BOOK LAUNCH: THE COMING INSURRECTION

Union Square Barnes and NobleFourth Floor 33 East 17th StreetNew York, NY 10003

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Brooklyn Black Metal (updated)

Apologies to Nicola; evental site to be finalised. I'm hoping to contribute a text as well for circulation, provisionally titled 'Remain true to the earth!' and considering the politics of BM.

Black and Red Conference

Is Black and Red Dead?
September 7th and 8th, 2009

An academic conference organised and supported by the PSA Anarchist Studies Network, the PSA Marxism Specialist Group, Anarchist Studies, Capital & Class, Historical Materialism, and Critique-Journal of Socialist Theory. Hosted by the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice, theUniversity of Nottingham.

We are limited to only 40 places for non-paper givers. If you would liketo come to this event, you are strongly recommended to book early toavoid disappointment. Registration closes on the 30th of June. Bursaries are available. Please indicate how much you require on your registration form. Full details on registration are available here:

Monday Sept 7th
Registration: 09:00-10:45 Staff Club, University of Nottingham
10:45-11:00 Opening remarks
Session 1: 11:00-12:30
Panel 1: Convergence Through Practice 1: The New Left
Chair: t.b.c
Mike Mowbray '(New) New Left?: radical considerations in Canada and Quebec from the post-1968 moment to today'
Toby Boraman 'Councilist anarchism and carnival anarchism during the 1970s: a case study'
Sara Motta 'Post-Left Anarchism, Open Marxism and 'New' Autonomist Social Movements in Latin America'

Panel 2: Politics, Ideology Revolution
Chair: t.b.c
Christian Garland 'The (Anti-) Politics of Autonomy: Between Marxism and Anarchism'
Christopher Wellbrook 'ABOLISH CAPITAL!: Beyond the Marxist/Anarchist divide'
Paul McLaughlin 'Theory, Ideology, and Tradition: Reconciling Anarchismand Marxism'

12:30-13:30: Lunch

Session 2: 13:30-15:00
Panel 3: Class Struggle
Chair: Lea Haro
David J. Bailey 'Comparing the relative efficacy of different types of class struggle'
Peter Kennedy 'Can Marxist and Anarchist explanations of the classstruggle between Capitalists and workers be reconciled?'
Paul B. Smith 'The origins of the collapse of the First International'

Panel 4: The Psychology, Political Economy and Theology of A Schism
Chair: Ruth Kinna
Dana Ward 'And never the twain shall meet: The psychological foundations of political ideology'
Benjamin Franks 'Moral Theory and Economics: The beginnings and ends ofthe schism….'
Alex Christoyannopoulos 'Red and Black Christians: Some Similarities and Differences between Liberation Theology and Christian Anarchism'

Session 3: 15:15-16:45
Panel 5: Ideology and Post-Ideology 1
Chair: t.b.c
Elena Loizidou 'Anarchy: ‘This is what Democracy looks like’'
George Sotiropoulos 'Ideology and Politics: Overcoming the divide between red and black'
Chiara Bottici 'Black and red: an historical-philosophical enquiry into their convergence'

Panel 6: Anarcho-Communism
Chair: Philip O’Sullivan
Jean-Cristophe Angaut 'Beyond black and red: Situationnists and the legacy of the workers movement'
Jérémy Tranmer 'Constructing an alternative to Marxism-Leninism: British Communists and prefigurative politics'
Mathieu Le Tallec 'Trotskysm and anarchism: possible coexistence in France?'

Session 4: 17:00-18:30
Panel 7: Black and Red - The Italian Experience
Chair: Alberto Toscano
Steve Wright and Saku Pinta 'Collegamenti Wobbly: Beyond the anarchist/Marxist dichotomy?'
Oisin Gilmore 'Fabbri and the Marxists: A comparative analysis of Fabbri, Gramsci and Bordiga on the question of revolutionary organisation'
Carl Levy 'Antonio Gramsci, Anarchism, Syndicalism and Sovversivismo'

Panel 8: The Philosophy of a Schism
Chair: Mark Cowling
Benoit Challand 'When Anarchism meets Critical Marxism: Paths and Paradoxes of “Socialisme ou Barbarie”'
Thomas Swann 'Anarchism, Marxism and “Humanism”'
Philip O'Sullivan 'Bakunin and Marx on the Paris Commune: Grounds for a synthesis between Anarchism and Marxism?'

Conference Dinner 19:30, Staff Club, University of Nottingham

Tuesday 8th September
Session 5: 9:00-10:30
Panel 9: Individual Reconciliations 1: The Anglo-Americans
Chair: t.b.c
Andrew Cornell 'C.L.R. James’ Black Bloc: The Anti-Racist Roots of Contemporary Anarchism'
David Goodway 'Chris Pallis (aka Maurice Brinton) and Solidarity'
Ruth Kinna 'Towards a synthesis of anarchism and Marxism'
Christian Høgsbjerg 'A ‘Bohemian freelancer’? C.L.R. James, his earlyrelationship to anarchism and the intellectual origins of autonomism'

Panel 10: Convergence Through Practice 2: The Traditional Left
Chair: Ben Franks
Lewis Mates The Syndicalist challenge in the Durham coalfield before 1914'
Saku Pinta 'Council Communist Perspectives on the Spanish Civil War'
Christos Memos 'Lessons Taken from the Greek Uprising: TheMarxist-Anarchist Controversy Reconsidered In and Through Radical Praxis'

Session 6: 10.45-12.15
Panel 11: Individual reconciliations 2: The French
Chair: Alex Prichard
Dave Berry 'The Search for a Libertarian Communism: Daniel Guérin, Marxism and Anarchism'
Renzo Llorente 'Georges Sorel’s Contribution to Anarcho-Marxism'
Suzi Weissman 'Victor Serge - A Man of Our Time'
Larry Portis 'Beyond the Rainbow: Overcoming Dogma and Confusion in the Articulation of Revolutionary Theory and Practice'

Panel 12: Cartographies of resistance
Chair: t.b.c
Alberto Toscano 'Geography Against Capitalism'
Benjamin Noys 'Zones'
Stevphen Shukaitis 'Autonomy, Self-Organization, and the Spatial Composition of the Social Imaginary'

Lunch 12:15-13:15

Session 7: 13.15-14.45
Panel 13: Marx and the Anarchists
Chair: Dave Berry
Matthijs Gardenier 'Autogestion et dictature du prolétariat'
Nicolas Bressy 'Un Marx libertaire? Dictature du Prolétariat chez Marx'

Panel 14: Convergence Through Practice 3: Publishing
Chair: tbc
Jean Michel Kay 'Beyond 'Red' and 'Black': Publishing in the pursuit oflibertarian socialism'
Trevor Bark 'Mayday magazine on Red and Black theoretical perspectives'

Session 8 15:00-16:30
Panel 15: Ideology and Post-Ideology 2
Chair: t.b.c
Andy Robinson 'Beyond the working-class: the politics of the excluded'
Simon Choat 'Post-Anarchism and Marxism'
David Bates 'Hardt and Negri: Anarchists or (Post)Marxists?'

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

New issue of S: Psychoanalysis and Islam

The new issue of S is out, which includes my review essay on Sam Gillespie's book on Badiou (pdf here).

Monday, 8 June 2009

Things get worse

The politics of the very worst...
We didn't even have a Labour candidate standing in our local election (Lib Dem as the lesser evil), and for some strange reason (perhaps triggered by the word 'socialist' or unconscious Deuteschrite proclivities), I voted SLP for the EU election. Left unity is looking more necessary than ever. Perhaps this, courtesy of Infinite, is something and join this (please).

A descending and self-diminishing spiral

This is a report (for some reason the direct link doesn't work so put in Wild Eye if you're interested) on the Wild Eye conference at which I was plenary speaker; I'm glad to hear about my 'impassioned' defence of the right to theorise and I like the characterisation of my paper as 'a descending and self-diminishing spiral' of negations - I'll take that as a compliment. I personally found the experience frustrating, but then I usually do.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Peasant Negativity

At the prompting of the Institute I've been reading Ranajit Guha's Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India (1983), founding book of the subaltern studies school, for its discussion of negation. Now Guha's project is explicitly to dispute Hobsbawn's contention in Primitive Rebels that such insurgencies are only 'pre-political', mere way-stations to true class consciousness and proletarian revolt. Rescuing peasant insurgency from such condescensions Guha reconstructs its essential thematics, but doesn't fully resolve the telelogical dilemma, tending to oscillate between valorising insurgencies on their own terms and forcing them back into a teleology.
In the case of negation this plays itself out around his adoption of Gramsci's idea that 'negative consciousness' is the first glimmering of class consciousness: ‘His identity amounted to the sum of his subalternity. In other words, he learnt to recognize himself not by the properties of his own social being but by a diminuition, if not negation, of those of his superiors.’ (18) Negation is an inversion of the social power of these superiors - the world turned upside down, but as the Gramscian formulation suggests still preliminary.

What is interesting is how Guha tries to develop and give the social phenomenology of this negation on its own terms. He identifies is as taking two forms:
1. Discrimination - violence directed at particular social targets (landlords, debt collectors, the British).

2. Appropriation - ‘The other modality of negation characteristic of insurgency consists of the peasants’ attempt to destroy or appropriate for themselves the signs of the authority of those who dominate them.’ (28)

Against rituals of inversion (i.e. carnival-type forms), which legitimate and reinforce a continuity of power, the peasant insurgency tries to achieve ‘a permanent subversion’ (36), the introduction of a discontinuity in power. It makes a ‘semiotic break’ (36) through the inversion of the signs of deference. Here then we see the positive reconstruction of this form of negation, but this invocation of permanent subversion is still constrained by negation: ‘the subaltern’s urge to assert his identity not in terms of his own culture but his enemy’s – a characteristic index of negative consciousness’ (71).

Instead of seeing this assertion of identity based on the enemy as a (reactive) sign of weakness and dependency, could we not see it as a transversal and appropriation of the signs of the masters (a kind of detournement)? In this way it would not be mere ‘self-alienation’ (Guha), but a mode of seizure.

Pseudo-couple II

‘revolution is for him the triumph of the irrational, for me of the rational; for him a catastrophe, for me a methodical action in which one should try to limit the damage; for him the liberation of instincts, in particular those considered pathological, for me a higher morality’
Simone Weil on Georges Bataille

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Great Refusal

[1] Philosophy is constituted by its refusal of sexual desire, from the moment when Socrates refused the advances of Alcibiades to the diagnosis of this “sickness” of philosophy by Nietzsche. Since this diagnosis a slow reversal has taken place – a refusal of this refusal of sexuality – and the embrace of new philosophies of desire. On the one hand, the asceticism of philosophy now leads a hidden existence, concealed within the fastidious technical research programmes of analytic philosophy. On the other hand, we have the embrace of desire, perversion, and jouissance by libidinal materialists, certain Lacanian liberationists, and all those “thinkers” of excess, transgression and subversion; slogans as perfectly at home in modern advertising as they are in “thought.” The great refusal is precisely a refusal of these two symmetrical and complementary orientations. In fact they must be regarded as two deviations from the correct line of theory: the right-wing deviation of an attenuated asceticism and the left-wing deviation of a triumphalist but hollow celebration of desire.
[2] At the limits of each of these deviations stands a figure: Origen, the church father, at the limit of asceticism, and Sade, the libertine without reserve, at the limit of desire. In the case of Origen his self-castration indicates the fantasy of an end to all desire gone to an extreme, but also an absolute refusal of desire, and of the world, a purity that resists all worldly corruption. Ambiguous and inaccessible his experience is the deviation of an ascetic attempt to embody the Angel and to singularise the Angel in a new figure of mastery (the Church Father, precisely) – although an ambiguous one. It will be the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution that will restore this figure of asceticism as the eternal Rebel: the people, that is to say, the proletariat. It therefore frees Origen’s self-castration into the new figure of rigorous self-criticism. Sade stands at the other pole as the “scandalous” philosopher of desire (Philosophy in the Bedroom); but so feted by his disciples that, as Bataille noted so long ago, he becomes a capitalised object of exchange. The writing which he cried tears over the loss of is now incarnated on the Internet, as long as you pay by credit card for 120 days. Does Sade have any use-value? Only perhaps in his apathy, composed of satiation, exhaustion and boredom, and giving birth to a new asceticism of jouissance.
[3] Sade was used by philosophy to give birth to the “porno-world.” We have been “liberated” into this world and the philosophers of desire are its ideologues. This is a world in which pornography loses its place at the limits of the writable and becomes the mode of writing, the mode of representation. The flesh blocks rebellion in the name of the rebellion of the flesh. All that world provides us with are the semblants of liberation: sexual freedom (that is the freedom to only ever be sexual); new sexualities (as miserable as the old); subversion (as long as it is within the limits of reacting against hegemonic heterosexuality), the celebration of the flesh (as long as it is the right flesh, young enough or malleable enough to the demands of the market). Its material base is “sexuality,” a material structured by philosophy even as philosophy recedes into sterility. Sex-positive, sex-negative: Tweedledum or Tweedledee, always circulating as the inscription within philosophical space and the porno-world as its correlative.

[4] Origen and Sade remain, despite their problematic status vis-à-vis philosophy, the reference points for the great refusal: a double refusal and a double transvaluation. The result will be a theory that sets itself to destroy the porno-world and its base in the material of sexuality. This detachment is not a new asceticism although it will resemble it, even less is it some sex-positive discourse that concedes to porno-chic. Pornography, in all its violence, disgust, misogyny and horror, is more accurate and truthful than the prophets of “sexual happiness,” fascinated by the surfaces of the porn-world. Instead to be without-philosophy is to be without-sexuality. Not neuter, castrated, or asexual, but with the theoretical knowledge that there is only jouis-sans. The porno-world is the production of a fantasy of complete jouissance, either to be refused (in the name of a reactionary religiosity) or to be embraced (as a world of machinic assemblages of desire, for example). To destroy this world involves the destruction of this support (of jouissance), this relation (to jouissance), which denies the lack of a sexual relation. Without this destruction or subtraction of the faith in the semblant of a fully present jouissance there is no possibility of not remaining in the porno-world.
[5] The great refusal is the stripping away of the all the semblants of (full) jouissance. For the neo-Platonists of the Italian Renaissance stripping away of the worldly involved two (linked) series of metaphors: those of ascent to the One (via ladder, etc.), and those of destruction of what exists (flaying, etc.). That is to say, in the language of Alain Badiou, the twin practices of subtraction and destruction are the twin practices of without-philosophy, contrary to the world and the sexed/sexualised body. What is essential here, although it can no longer be thought under the terms of a “practice,” is self-criticism (as criticism of the self). First this will involve the subtraction of the people from the porno-world (“ascent”), and then the destruction of that world (“flaying” the semblant). This will be an askesis (which is not, as Foucault pointed out, an asceticism) of the theorist as an askesis of a (lacking) jouissance. The paradox is of stripping ourselves of the semblant that we lack, without then conceding to another Master. This must be an eternal practice of rebellion against sexuality as the infernal blockage of all rebellion – a kind of chastity of theory and the theorist in the name of the great refusal of all that links us to the world and (its) (pro)creation.

Orginally published as Editorial 4, (2006)


[1] WE declare war on God and the State, the alpha and omega of philosophy and the world, in the name of anarchy-without-anarchism. We are radically antinomian – abandoning the law in all its forms, including that of its withdrawal – this is what makes us anarchist. To be anarchist is to reject anarchism as the miserable discourse of “radical opposition.” All that it offers is another wisdom, and we know that wisdom always conceals a master. The anti-politics of anarchy-without anarchism does not exist but insists in the recurrence of an absolute rupture with the world and its law – the anarchist invariant – at Alamut, at Münster, and all the other unknown and unnamed places of its emergence.

[2] We are the heretics, apostates, false messiahs, deserters, non-believers, and nihilists, who immediately realise life outside the law on the body of the earth. Everywhere today we see how the self-styled “left-wing” of philosophy has sutured itself to the religious under the sign of the theological. Our heresy is an attack on this suturing through the heretical use of religion as an inquiry into all that breaks with the law and the world. We are, in Bataille’s admirable term, atheological.

[3] The world is always disciplined and organized, minimally in its very regime of appearance, its imaginary configuration. This is then reproduced at every level by operations of power, and the monotony of power it always offers us the same world: hierarchical, ordered, segmented, regimented, and lawful (even if that law is only the law of value). We will not be disciplined or organized.

[4] This reproduction of organization and discipline becomes most ridiculous in the existence of “revolutionary organizations.” The comedy is even greater today when we see ex- or post- Marxists trying to live without the “Party-form,” as if the anarchists had not left it behind long ago. This farce is betrayed by the fact that these radical politicians cannot give up on the figure of the militant, the offspring of organization. Deprived of the Party the militant remains the vector of representation, the figure of alienated revolt, playing the allotted role of activist. In this way the militant provides the model imposing discipline, so that the people will conform to the fantasmatic constructions of “radical” politics. We refuse to conform to representation and we will not play our allotted role.

[5] Of course we know full well that the philosophers and politicians, if we can tell them apart, will judge anarchy-without-anarchism as spontaneist, voluntarist, ultra-leftist, infantile, or just merely gestural. Their judgements only serve to confirm that it cannot be recognized under the law of discourse, which is to say the law of the semblant. We do not fear the predictable diagnoses of the psychoanalysts either, who will find our rebellion to be paranoid, delusional, or Oedipal. They never understood Schreber’s rebellion: his choice to become a whore of God rather than a representative of the law.
For these police of the spirit the spectre of anarchy, in its truly antinomian form, evokes disaster: fundamentalism, terrorism, frenzied mysticism. But these are merely the ideological modes of antinomian anarchy, or the appearance imposed on it by power. We prefer to have faith in total revolt without fear of “totalitarianism.”
All that power can imagine is an apocalypse that purges the world of the people, but never of power itself. Our “apocalypse” is the invariant of subtraction from the world and from power. We are not asking to be authorized by philosophy or any other discourse, and if we take up the concepts of philosophy, politics, and psychoanalysis it is only to use as weapons against them. Our indifference to the world will not succumb to the temptation of discourse.

[6] This indifference forms itself as a proletarian asceticism. It would be a mistake to see this as having anything to do with the spirit of sacrifice as preached by the managers of Capital, or with the persistent sickness of philosophy. Rather it is an activity of detachment that seeks out and destroys all instances of mediation, particularly the primary mediation through money as the general equivalent. If the notion of spiritual poverty as a category makes any sense to us then it does so only as the destruction of money as mediation.

[7] We also mortify the mediations of power that are lodged within us: the fear of death, the compulsion to sexual and social reproduction, and all the incitements of desire. Such mortification is not a matter of the exercise of the will but a self-criticism that breaks all of these attachments to the flesh. We extinguish the will because it is merely another attachment that always destines us to the world as the place of its realisation.

[8] Ontology is the philosophical operator of power and the law – the last instance of attachment to the world. All that the ideologists of contemporary anti-capitalism and its movements can imagine is a revised Spinozism: a reactive counter-ontology. This counter-ontology opposes the constituent power (puissance) of the multitude to the constituted power (pouvoir) of the State and Capital, leaving us only with the grid of power itself and the actualisation of lines of flight. Is it really impossible to imagine the refusal of power as such? We refuse the blackmail of ontology through a freedom irreducible to being. This freedom is the freedom to attack power at every point, never in the name of another power or in its obverse, resistance. Why should we give a name to our attack? To foreclose nomination in the symbolic is what leads to the return in the real, not as psychosis but as real rebellion.

[9] This return in the real is not a matter of praxis, which is only ever worldly. As Rainer Werner Fassbinder economically expressed this: “I don’t throw bombs, I make films.” We don’t throw bombs, we theorise.

[10] Anarchy-without-anarchism is nothing – nothing but the recurrent detonation of this series of ruptures.

Originally published as Editorial 11, (2006)

Past texts

As Gilles has left what I guess is his final statement re sans-philosophie I'll post my two contributions that must now go down as 'historical documents', (the other text I posted previously). In auto-critique I must say my position on these texts has changed significantly, but I stand by all my errors (which is lucky really as i've only generated a whole series of new errors since...).