Letter to the anarchist galaxy
Uninvited, we are forcing ourselves into a debate which is not ours. And which will never be so, because it is put on a terrain remaining sterile for the development of insurrectional perspectives and the anarchist ideas and activities focussing on this development. You could wonder, so why writing a letter? Because nothing is closer to our hearts than the liberating and destructive revolt, than the struggle for the subversion of the existent, because we will never stop to recognize ourselves in all comrades who decide to attack the structures and people of domination out of a desire for freedom; because there are few things we cherish so strongly as the individual will, the striving for coherence and the courage of putting the fire to the fuse despite everything. Don’t think we are writing this premises in an attempt to please; they are sincere, as much as is our concern about the voluntary amputation of the anarchist struggle domain.
Let’s be clear: more than ever there is a need for the destructive intervention of anarchists, more than ever it is the moment to intensify, to search for possibilities and hypotheses enabling the expansion of revolt and insurrection and in this way fastening the turn-over of this world. But this need and urge don’t resign us from the obligation to think about what, where, how and why.
Let be straightforward: for what reasons do anarchists (we don’t have any difficulties to understand why authoritarians would do so) systematically claim their acts and sign them with acronyms that have become famous worldwide? What brings them to associate this road with an excessive form of coherence between thinking and acting, between ideas and practices, while in fact it is simply the illusory abolition of a permanent tension which should exist in between them and which is beyond doubt the moving strength behind the anarchist movement?
This extending mania is in risk of casting its shadow over all other acts of revolt. Not only those acts by anarchists that merrily let pass by the bitter and ever disappointing pill of the claim, but as well and maybe even especially the acting of the more general panorama of rebellion and social conflictuality. Maybe that is one of the ‘reasons’ which urged us to the writing of this text. Tired of experiencing and of finding the anarchist struggle field of attack, sabotage and expropriation more and more assimilated to an acronym and as such a political representation; tired of noticing the horizons falsely narrowing into two falsely opposed choices: or the ‘well-behaved’ anarchism, running behind the assemblies, social movements and base trade unions; or the ‘bad’ anarchism, being friendly asked to stamp your contributions to the social war with some acronym- and if you don’t, someone else will do it for you.
Because we as well choose to attack. We as well sabotage the machine of capital and authority. We as well choose to not accept a begging position and don’t postpone the necessary expropriation to tomorrow. But we do think that our activities simply make part of a bigger social conflictuality, a conflictuality which doesn’t need claims and acronyms. But we do think that only when acts are anonymous, they can truly be appropriated by everyone. But we do think that putting a stamp on an attack is bringing the attack from the social to the political field, to the field of representation, delegation, actors and spectators. And as already has often been said in this kind of debates, it’s not enough to proclaim the refusal of politics: its refusal implicates moreover the coherence between means and goals, and the claim is a political instrument, as are the membership cart, the program, the statement of principles.
On top of that, there is a confusion which we want to expose, because we can’t continue simply standing by and watching the content which is nowadays more and more given to concepts such as for example informality. The choice for an informal autonomous anarchist movement implicates the refusal of fixed structures, of membership organisations, of centralising and unifying federations; and thereby as well of fixed returning signatures, if not of all signatures. It is the refusal of the drawing up of programs, the banishment of all political means; and thereby as well of the programmatic claims which pretend to be in the position of outlining campaigns. It is the refusal of all centralisation; and so equally of all umbrella structures, no matter if they declare themselves digitally ‘informal’ or formal. In a positive way, to us informality signifies an unlimited and undefined archipelago of autonomous groups and individuals which are forging ties based on affinity and mutual knowledge, who decide upon that basis to realize common projects. It is the choice for small, affinitary circles which make outof their own autonomy, perspectives and action methods the basis for creating ties with others. Informal organization has nothing to do with neither federations nor acronyms. And what brought some comrades to speak not only about informality, but about ‘insurrectionalism’ as well? With the risk of devaluing the wide panorama of ideas, analyses, hypotheses and proposals, we could say that ‘insurrectionalism’ contains the methods and perspectives which, out of a non-compromising anarchism, want to contribute to ‘insurrectional situations’. The anarchist arsenal of methods for this contribution is enormous. Moreover, the use of methods (agitation, attack, organisational proposals etc.) on itself hardly means anything: only in a thought over and evolving ‘projectuality’ do they get meaning in the struggle. Putting fire to a state building is beyond doubt always a good thing, but it is therefore not necessarily inscribed in an insurrectional perspective ‘as such’. And this counts even less for the choice to for example aim the attacks especially against rather central, spectacular targets accompanied by confessions of faith. It is not a coincidence that during different moments of insurrectional projectualities, the emphasis was put especially on modest, reproducible, anonymous actions of attack against the more and more centralized structures and people of the domination, or on the necessity of well-aimed sabotage of infrastructures that don’t need echo’s in the media in order to reach their goals, for example the immobilization of the transport, data- and energy currents of the power.
It seems that there are not too many perspectives behind the current mania of claims, or at least, we have difficulties in discovering them. In fact, and this doesn’t imply we want to underestimate the sincere and courageous rebellion of those comrades, it seems as if there is especially a striving for recognition. A recognition by the enemy, who will hurry up to complete its list of terrorist organisations, often signifies the beginning of the end: the enemy starts working to isolate a part of the conflictuality from the larger conflictuality, isolation which is not only the forerunner of repression (and actually it doesn’t really matter, repression is always there- we’re not going to weep about the fact that anarchist activities are always being followed with Argus’ eyes, and so prosecuted), but especially, and that’s the most important, it is the best means to combat all possible infection. In the current situation of the social body, which is ill and deteriorating, the best for power is a clearly recognizable and definable knife which tries to cut a bit, while the worst for power is a virus which risks harming the whole body in an intangible and therefore uncontrollable way. Or are we mistaken, and is it all more about recognition by the exploited and excluded? But are we as anarchists not against all forms of delegation, of shining examples which often especially legitimize the proper resignation? Most certainly, our practices can be contagious, and our ideas even more, but only on the condition that they bring back the responsibility to act to each separate individual, when they are questioning the resignation as being an individual choice. To set alight the hearts, most certainly, but when lacking the oxygen of the proper conviction, the fire will extinguish fast and will in the best case be followed up by nothing more than some applauding for the upcoming martyrs. And even then, it would really be too ironic if the pre-eminently opponents of politics, the anarchists, would take over the torch of representation and, in the footsteps of the authoritarian predecessors separate the social conflictuality from the immediate subversion of all social roles, and do this in times when political mediation (political parties, unions, reformism) is slowly getting completely finished and outmoded in the facts. And it makes no difference if they want to do this by taking the head of social movements, speaking the big truth on popular assemblies or if they want to do it by means of a specific armed group.
Or is it all about striving for ‘coherence’? Unfortunately, those anarchists that exchange the quest for coherence for tactic agreements, nauseating alliances and strategic separations between the means and the goals have always existed. An anarchist coherence is beyond doubt as well to be found in the denial of all this. But this doesn’t mean that for example a certain condition of ‘clandestinity’ would be more coherent. When clandestinity is not regarded as a necessity (be it because repression is hunting or because it is necessary for certain action), but as some kind of top of revolutionary activity, there is not so much left over from the infamous a-legalism. In order to imagine this, it might suffice to compare it to the social situation in Europe: it is not because thousands of people are living a ‘clandestine’ situation by the fact (people without papers), that it makes them automatically and objectively into a threat to the legalism and crowns them as being ‘revolutionary subjects’. Why would it be different for anarchists living in clandestine conditions?
Or might it all be about frightening the enemy? A recurring element in claims is that apparently there are anarchists who believe they can frighten power by expressing threats, by publishing pictures of weapons or exploding little bombs (and let’s not talk about the despicable practice of sending letter bombs). In comparison to the daily slaughter organized by power it seems kind of naïve, especially to those who have no illusions left about more sensitive rulers, humanized capitalism, more honest relations inside of the system. If power would, despite her arrogance, already fear anything, then it would be the spreading of revolt, the sowing of disobedience, the uncontrolled igniting of the hearts. And off course, the lightning of repression will not spare those anarchists wanting to contribute to this, but it doesn’t prove in no way whatsoever how ‘dangerous’ we are, it maybe only speaks about how dangerous it would be when our ideas and practices would spread between excluded and exploited.
We are continuously surprised about how little the idea of some sort of shadow is able to please the contemporary anarchists that don’t want to resign, wait or build up mass organisations. We used to be proud about it: we would put all on all to make the swamp of social conflictuality extend and so making it impossible for the forces of repression and recuperation to penetrate. We didn’t go searching for the spotlights, neither for the glory of warriors: in the shadow, at the dark side of society we were contributing to the disturbance of normality, to the anonymous destruction of structures of control and repression, to the ‘liberation’ of time and space through sabotage, so that the social revolt could continue. And we used to diffuse our ideas proudly, in an autonomous way, without making use of the echo’s of the media, far away from the political spectacle, including the ‘oppositional’. An agitation which was not striving to be filmed, recognized, but which tried to fuel rebellion everywhere and forge ties with other rebels in the shared revolt.
It seems that today not just a few comrades have chosen for the easy solution of an identity over the circulation of ideas and revolt, and have in this way for example reduced affinity relations to a joining to something. Off course it is easier to pick up some ready made product out of the shelves of the militant market of opinions and consume it, rather than developing a proper struggle track which makes rupture with it. Off course it is easier to give oneself the illusion of strength by using a shared acronym, than to face the fact that the ‘strength’ of subversion is to be found in the degree and in the way it can attack the social body with liberating practices and ideas. Identity and ‘formation of a front’ might offer the sweet illusion to have meaning, especially in the spectacle of communication technology, but doesn’t clear off any obstacle from the road. Even more, it shows all of the symptoms of illness of a not so anarchist conception of struggle and revolution, which believes being able to pose in a symmetrical way an illusionary anarchist mastodon in front of the mastodon of power. The immediate consequence is the ever more narrowing of the horizon to a not so interesting introspection, some tapping on the back here and there and the construction of a framework of exclusive self-reference.
It wouldn’t surprise us if this mania would paralyse the anarchist movement again a bit more regarding our contribution to more and more frequent, spontaneous and destructive revolts. Being locked up in self-promotion and self-reference with a communication reduced to publishing claims on the internet, it doesn’t seem that anarchists will be able to do a lot (apart from the obligatory explosions and arsons, often against targets which the revolting people themselves are already very much destroying) when the situation is exploding in their neighbourhood. It seems that the closer we seem to get to the possibility of insurrections, the more tangible these possibilities are becoming, the less anarchists want to be busy with it. And this counts equally for those who are closing up themselves in some ideology of armed struggle. But what are we talking about when we speak about insurrectionary perspectives en insurrection? Definitely not only about a multiplication of attacks, and even less when those seem to tend towards the exclusive terrain of the anarchists with their fronts. Much more than a singular armed duel with the state, is insurrection the multiple rupture with the time, space and roles of domination, a necessary violent rupture which can signify the beginning of a subversion of the social relations. In that sense, insurrection is rather a social unchaining which goes further than a generalizing of revolt or riots, but which carries in her negation already the beginning of a new world, or in any case should. It is especially the presence of such a utopian tension which offers some grip against the return of normality and the recovery of the social roles after the big feast of destruction. So it may be clear that insurrection is not a purely anarchist matter, although our contribution to it, our preparation towards it, our insurrectional perspectives could in future times be beyond doubt important and maybe decisive for pushing the unchaining of the negation towards a liberating direction. A priory abandoning these difficult issues, which should gain importance in a world that is becoming more and more instable, by locking up ourselves in some identitarian ghetto and cherishing the illusion of developing ‘strength’ by common signatures and the ‘unification’ of anarchists that are prepared to attack, inevitably becomes the negation of all insurrectionary perspectives.
To get back to the world of fronts and acronyms, we could for example mention the obligatory references to imprisoned comrades as a clear sign of the restraining of ourselves in a frame of exclusive self-reference. It seems that once locked up by the state, these comrades are no longer comrades as we are, but especially ‘imprisoned’ comrades. In this way, the positions in their already difficult and painful debate are fixed in a way that can have only two exits: either the absolute glorification of our imprisoned comrades, either the absolute disgust which can very fast result into a renouncing of developing and embodying solidarity. Does it still make sense to continue repeating that our imprisoned comrades are neither positioned above nor under the other comrades, but simply in between them? Isn’t it remarkable that despite the many struggles against prisons, the current turn is again coming along with ‘political’ prisoners and abandoning a more general perspective of struggle against prison, justice,…? In this way we are in fact risking to complete what the state was already trying to concretize in the first place by locking up our comrades: by making them into abstract, idolized and central reference points, we are isolating them from the whole of the social war. Instead of looking for ways to maintain ties of solidarity, affinity and complicity across the walls, by placing everything in the middle of social war, the solidarity is shrinking into the quoting of names at the end of a claim. On top of that, this is generating a nasty circular motion without too much perspectives, a higher bid of attacks which are ‘dedicated’ to others rather than taking strength out of ourselves and out of the choice of when, how and why to intervene in given circumstances.
But the logic of armed struggle-ism is unstoppable. Once put into motion, it unfortunately becomes very difficult to counter. Everybody that doesn’t join and take up its defence is being compared to comrades that don’t want to act or attack, that submit revolt to calculations and masses, that only want to wait and are refusing the urge to put fire to the fuse here and now. In the deformed mirror, the refusal of the ideology of armed struggle equals the refusal of armed struggle itself. Off course this is not true, but who wants to hear that, there is no space for discussion left open for this. Everything is being reduced to a thinking into blocks, pro and against, and the path which we think is more interesting, the development of insurrectional projectualities is disappearing to the back. Under the applause of the formal libertarians and the pseudo-radicals as well as the repressive forces, who wouldn’t like anything more than the drying out of this swamp.
Because who still wants to discuss about projectuality today, when the only rhythm which seems to be given to the struggle is the sum of the attacks claimed on the internet? Who is still searching for a perspective that wants to do more than striking a bit? There is by the way no doubt about that: striking is necessary, here and now, and with all means which we think appropriate and opportune. But the challenge of the development of a projectuality, which aims at the attempt of unchaining, extending or deepening insurrectional situations, is demanding a bit more than the capacity to strike. It is demanding the development of proper ideas and not the repetition of other people’s words, the strength to develop a real autonomy in terms of struggle tracks and capacities; the slow and difficult search for affinities and the deepening of mutual knowledge; a certain analysis of the social circumstances in which we act; the courage for elaborating hypotheses for the social war in order to stop running behind the facts or ourselves. In short: it doesn’t only demand the capacity of using certain methods but especially the ideas of how, where, when and why to use them, and then especially in combination with a whole spectre of other methods. If not there will not be any anarchists left, but only a spectre of fixed roles: propagandists, squatters, armed strugglers, expropriators, writers, window breakers, rioters, etc. There wouldn’t be anything less painful than to be so much unarmed in front of the coming social storm that each one of us would have only one speciality left. There would be nothing worse than in explosive social situations having to determine that anarchists are too much occupied in their own garden to be able to really contribute to the explosion. It would give the most bitter taste of missed opportunities when we, by focussing exclusively on the identitarian ghetto, would abandon the discovery of our accomplices inside of the social storm, to forge ties of shared ideas and practices with other rebels, to break with all forms of mediated communication and representation and in this way opening up space for a true mutuality which is allergic to all power and domination.
But as always we refuse to despair. We are aware that many comrades are searching for possibilities to attack the enemy and to forge ties with other rebels throughout the spreading of anarchist ideas and struggle proposals, in a time and space which consequently abandons all political spectacle. It is probably the most difficult path, because it will never be rewarded. Not by the enemy, not by the masses and most probably neither by the other comrades and revolutionaries. But we are carrying a history inside of us, a history which is connecting us to all anarchists which will obstinately continue to refuse being locked up, be it inside of the ‘official’ anarchist movement, be it in the armed-struggle-ist reflection of it. Those that have always continued to refuse the spreading of ideas being separated from the ways in which we are spreading them, and in this way trying to exile all political mediation, including the claim. Those who don’t care much about who did this or that, but who connect it to their proper revolt, their proper projectuality which expands in the only conspiracy we are looking for: the one of the rebellious individualities for the subversion of the existent.
[November 20, 2011]