‘I think he had depression or something.’

U.S. man planning Twilight theatre attack arrested 

Police said Lammers bought one firearm Monday and another Tuesday. He then went to the Missouri town of Aldrich to practice shooting because he “had never shot a gun before and wanted to make sure he knew how they shot and how they functioned,” the probable cause statement said.

Here the Self sees its certainty of itself as such become the thing most emptied of essence; it sees its pure personality become absolute impersonality.  The spirit of its gratitude is thus just as much the sentiment of this profound abjection as it is that of the most profound revolt.  Since the pure I sees itself outside itself, and all torn to shreds in this shredding of everything that has any continuity and universality to it, what we call Law, Good, and Rights is disintegrated in one fell swoop and falls into the abyss.” (Hegel, Phenomenology of Mind)

Alienation also means being alienated from alienation.” (Hegel)


What if the black bloc have the right idea?

What if the black bloc have the right idea?.

The building of mass movements, and the laying down of parameters by which they’re permitted to function; at bottom, toward the acquisition of status and official recognition by the system being objected to. Anything else is equally condemned by unanimous consensus of the extreme right, social democracy, the police and the media. The black bloc is hardly detrimental to any of these symbiotic power arrangements. After all, it helps in establishing one’s legitimacy by pointing out the illegitimate. In many countries power has only bestowed favours when it felt threatened by diverse examples of social contestation, or when the social agitation managed to wrest control entirely away from an existing power structure, only to replicate what was driven away. In any case, the credit for change is often given over to the organization of masses of people applying their moral persuasion upon the immoral. It is only when the feting of martyrs is considered useful in maintaining present circumstances, where the social has acquired a measure of status and power in its own right, would they deign to imply a relationship with the more direct examples of sacrifice and struggle.

I find it curious that many social liberation movements around the world, even where violence is present, are recognized by the North American and European versions of social agitation as the legitimate result of trampled upon aspirations, dependent of course on the nature of the conditions they’re confronted with, how many people are being represented by the agitation, parameters laid down from afar in other words. One can almost detect a vicariousness to it. In North America of course, such things would only bring ruin upon ‘everything,’ and so finding solidarity here would be as rare as finding hen’s teeth.

In Claire Fontaine’s essay “This is Not the Black Bloc,” she writes:

No speech comes “from inside” the black bloc, because there is no inside or outside. The black bloc, which we name as such with these two impoverished words, is not constituted like groups, corps, institutions. It is a temporary agglomeration without truth or watchwords. It is also what is left in the hands of our discontent, at the stage of society we have reached, despite ourselves: the impossibility of marching together while shouting out phrases so that they can be heard, the incapacity to engage in indirect and representative actions, the urgent need to unload one-thousandth of the cruelty the State, money, and advertisements inject in all our veins every day.

On the other hand as I was saying, it seems clear that the activities of the black bloc and other similar minded persuasions serve as little more than useful adjuncts to power and negation politics, to the extent that where power is concerned, if none of these groups were to ever convene in the streets again, the security services would see a need and simply invent them as they do in fact, judging by the elaborate lengths they go to in cultivating terrorists for the benefit of the public lie.

Comrade Foucault?

Insurrectionary Foucault – Andrew Culp

This is a convincing, well sourced analysis.  An overall pleasure to read, notwithstanding a demonstrably confused sub-commentariat.  For me it hardly seemed that Foucault was being specific in terms of the ‘what is to be done,’ let alone specifics as supporting references to the follow-on question of ‘how is it to be done;’ irrespective of suggestions that something indeed should be done which was inherent in his work, statements and acts.  An apparent theoretical confusion between Claire Fontaine’s logical response to the questions of ‘how’ and ‘what’ with ‘presently we don’t know how or what,’ and the IC who held forth in TCI on the power of communes superimposed as a autonomous network over the existing landscape; metropolis and barnyard alike presumably; may have found a bridge in Giorgio Agamben’s essay “Metropolis,” where he stated:

“I think that a confrontation with metropolitan dispositifs will only be possible when we penetrate the processes of subjectivation that the metropolis entails in a more articulated way, deeper. Because I think that the outcome of conflicts depends on this: on the power to act and intervene on processes of subjectivation, in order to reach that stage that I would call a point of ungovernability. The ungovernable where power can shipwreck in its figure of government, the ungovernable that I think is always the beginning and the line of flight of all politics.”

The superimposition of un-governability; de-subjectivizing from programmed violence which only manages to produce governability; a relentless and resonating drain of biopower from mechanisms and nodes.  The spread of re-appropriated ‘human strike’ forms of communism bereft of management centers.  Information highways and highway robbery.  An end to state violence – here the daily propaganda that convinces citizens to perform violence on one another.  New purposes found in a general resonance where the questions of ‘what’ and ‘how’ are left open ended – a precise Foucauldian maxim by way of omission concerning example or subject – where more and more blooms awaken in typical confused fashion, but where it seems pointless to complain too much about it anymore.

When a spade is truly a spade: The PQ’s xenophobia in a throwaway election for progressive federalists

When a spade is truly a spade: The PQ’s xenophobia in a throwaway election for progressive federalists.

We are proverbial political orphans in the midst of great turmoil.

Jacques Ranciere – Art of the possible: Fulvia Carnevale and John Kelsey in conversation with Jacques Ranciere

CARNEVALE: In any case, it’s not a question of extracting oneself from market circulation. Does anyone still believe in the search for exteriority in relation to the commodity today? Antonio Negri, for example, argues precisely that there is no possibility of standing outside the market, and through this Marxist reading he concludes that transformation therefore must arise from within capitalism itself. But in any case, there is no true outside. Do you believe that an aesthetic practice that critiques and subverts the becoming-merchandise of art is still possible?

RANCIERE: To ask, How can one escape the market? is one of those questions whose principal virtue is one’s pleasure in declaring it insoluble. Money is necessary to make art; to make a living you have to sell the fruits of your labor. So art is a market, and there’s no getting around it. For artists as for everyone else, there’s the problem of knowing where to plant one’s feet, of knowing what one is doing in a particular place, in a particular system of exchange. One must find ways to create other places, or other uses for places. But one must extricate this project from the dramatic alternatives expressed in questions like, How do we escape the market, subvert it, etc.? If anyone knows how to overthrow capitalism, why don’t they just start doing it? But critics of the market are content to rest their own authority on the endless demonstration that everyone else is naive or a profiteer; in short, they capitalize on the declaration of our powerlessness. The critique of the market today has become a morose reassessment that, contrary to its stated aims, serves to forestall the emancipation of minds and practices. And it ends up sounding not dissimilar to reactionary discourse. These critics of the market call for subversion only to declare it impossible and to abandon all hope for emancipation. For me, the fundamental question is to explore the possibility of maintaining spaces of play. To discover how to produce forms for the presentation of objects, forms for the organization of spaces, that thwart expectations. The main enemy of artistic creativity as well as of political creativity is consensus–that is, inscription within given roles, possibilities, and competences. Godard said ironically that the epic was for Israelis and the documentary for Palestinians. Which is to say that the distribution of genres–for example, the division between the freedom of fiction and the reality of the news–is always already a distribution of possibilities and capacities: To say that, in the dominant regime of representation, documentary is for the Palestinians is to say that they can only offer the bodies of their victims to the gaze of news cameras or to the compassionate gaze at their suffering. That is, the world is divided between those who can and those who cannot afford the luxury of playing with words and images. Subversion begins when this division is contested, as when a Palestinian filmmaker like Elia Suleiman makes a comedy about the daily repression and humiliation that Israeli checkpoints represent and transforms a young Palestinian resistance fighter into a manga character. Think also of the work of Lebanese artists like Walid Raad, Khalil Joreige, Joana Hadjithomas, Tony Chakar, Lamia Joreige, and Jalal Toufic, who, through their films, installations, and performances, blur the interplay between fact and fiction to establish a new relationship to the civil war and to the occupation, by way of the subjective gaze or the fictive inquiry, making “fictional archives” of the war, fictionalizing the detournement of a surveillance camera to film a sunset, or playing with the sounds of mortar shells and fireworks, and so on. This very constructed, at times playful, relationship to their history addresses a spectator whose interpretive and emotional capacity is not only acknowledged but called upon. In other words, the work is constructed in such a way that it is up to the spectator to interpret it and to react to it affectively.

Rancière, for Dummies – Artnet Magazine

Rancière, for Dummies – artnet Magazine.

A review which in every sense remains steadfastly loyal to its own title, one that somehow manages to challenge Ranciere’s contention that coherence can originate from anywhere.

Politically, Rancière favors the concept of equality. “Politics exists when the figure of a specific subject is constituted, a supernumerary subject in relation to the calculated number of groups, places, and functions in a society” (p. 51). Translated into layman’s English, Rancière is saying that politics is the struggle of an unrecognized party for equal recognition in the established order. Esthetics is bound up in this battle, Rancière argues, because the battle takes place over the image of society — what it is permissible to say or to show.

News of the Day

US man crushes cop cars with tractor.  ‘We had nothing to pursue him with,’ deputy chief says.

The destroyed vehicles constituted more than half the fleet of sheriff’s cruisers in the rural county.

Happy Bastille Day, Everyone

Happy Bastille Day, Everyone. | rabble.ca.

If you have one reign of terror – that of privilege and hereditary rule for example, being suppressed by the rise of another form of terror, this is ultimately what people say ‘long live’ to. Hegel once said there were plebs in all classes, taken to mean that in all layers of a society, one might find people of conscience that would, under certain circumstances, conspire together to orchestrate and to bring about another political context from that which presently exists. But when we look at the historical record to examine what certain plebeians of certain classes were able to accomplish on behalf of everyone when they attained power, having the requisite knowledge, skill, and awareness of the inner workings of a given state to assume control over its basic functions, then we would have in front of us a plethora of suspect evidence where it concerns the effectiveness of revolution to bring about meaningful systemic change, with subject material spanning several continents available for examination. Which isn’t to say that nothing should be attempted, but that the question of ‘what’ should be posed and resolved beforehand.

Mandy Hiscocks’ Statement to the Court

Mandy Hiscocks’ Statement to the Court.

The crown wants this sentence to be a deterrent. It won’t be. Please take a second to have a good look around the room. When i get taken out of here do you think you’ll have increased anyone’s faith in the system?  I am certainly not deterred, I’m just angry.

No matter what my sentence is today, it won’t be about justice. Your system is not about justice. If it was, don’t you think we would have come to you when the G20 decided to set foot here to pursue their obviously unjust austerity agenda? Don’t you think we would have asked for your help when the police started to put up their fences and cages, and randomly arrest whoever they felt like so they could systematically abuse them in the detention centre?

If this system was about righting wrongs, don’t you think we would come to you to hold the rich to account for their abuses against the poor, immigration officials to account for their abuses against people without status, and settlers to account for our abuses against Indigenous people?

We didn’t and don’t come to you. We won’t ever come to you.

Against Negation, or Positively Revolting – Patrick Dunn

Has anarchy trapped itself in a vortex of negativity, or can a call for love rescue it from itself?

Anarchism attempts to politicize this abstract negativity through a radical assault on social institutions, but the total negation of established reality is not a course of action that can be rationally undertaken.  The members of society cannot gather together and decide to do away with the totality, no matter how anarchist their ideology.  Such a decision simply is not available within the order of conscious agency, let alone the order of existing democracy.
What this condition reveals is the true nature of the modern, revolutionary subject – its true desire and raison d’etre.  This subjectivity, incessantly repeating its empty gesture of total negation, is not moved by an instinct for freedom, or a will to transform relations of power.  Rather, its nauseating logic of self-negation satisfies only the modern impulse towards death and destruction – the impulse of final surrender that underlies the entire Death-Machine that is modern civilization.

Then again, what other options do we have left?  Those who have been following the latest stages of the human death-march will undoubtedly want an answer to this question.  Near as we are to the apocalyptic endgame of mass society, what choice is there but to confront the global order on its own turf?  This would mean conjuring a voice as universal, as anonymous, as devoid of substance as the voice of the global spectacle itself.
But it is my key contention that this voice, which we identify as the voice of an oppressive totality, is already our own creation.  We hear this voice only because we are constantly listening for it, constantly tuned in for its latest News Reports, fixed in rapt attention to receive the “present order’s uninterrupted discourse about itself.”

But this discourse is a lie, and so is the myth of its total negation – a lie that makes the true believers among us accomplices in our own imprisonment.  Perhaps it is time that we unplug from this thought-vacuum and scatter our attentions and curiosities elsewhere. We are free to do so – perhaps even, as we may find, once we have learned to transmit new voices, and communicate through new channels of energy, freer than we think.

To put the point in slightly more metaphysical terms, the totality exists only as the abstract object of the thought that wishes for its negation.  By adopting this standpoint of abstraction, anarchism confines itself to the level of ideology.

Ideology, by its very nature, is rooted in hatred.  It binds itself to an abstract other, enslaves itself to its own self-constitution, simply in order to have something to be against.  Love, by contrast, is an attractive force; it opens up new fields of rebirth where once there was only barren desert.  If ever there was a time when we needed to find our way out of the desert, my friends, we have reached that crossroads.