Month: March 2014

Wildcat: Subjectivity


“The Search for the Subject

Revolutionary Marxism after WWII has attempted to answer three questions: the question of the subject, the question of the class (which is also the question of who can revolutionarily change the world, and where a collective subject constitutes itself that can set this process in motion), and the question of their own role in the revolutionary process. We find workerism’s answers most interesting, then and now.

On the question of the subject, there are essentially three answers: the apology for the nineteenth-century bourgeois subject of civil society (Frankfurt School), the denial of the subject (structuralism, mainstream modern Marxism), and the concept of class composition.

The concept of class composition criticizes false materialism, which derives class struggle from the existing equal economic position of workers in capitalism. Simultaneously it is a critique of a philosophical class concept, which presents the class as a pure antagonist, as a subject that rebels and takes sides for itself, regardless of existing conditions of production. Class composition builds a bridge between subjectivity and material conditions. Marx did the prep work in his “Theses on Feuerbach,” in which he recognized human activity as something material. Therefore, the subject cannot be sought one-sidedly in the material independent of humanity, nor in an ideal independent of the material, but rather only in the co-incidence of the changes in humanity itself, its activity and thinking, with the changes of circumstances (“immanence”!).

The answer of the workerists was more fruitful than the two others, because they were developed directly out of running struggles: the class struggle didn’t work from outside “on capital,” but it constituted the capital relation. The class struggle expressed itself not only in a historical chain of conflicts, struggles and uprisings, but also in the accumulation of capital, in its “organic composition,” as Marx called it.

To the question what role we can take in this process, Marxism-Leninism gave an explicit answer: the organization into cadre parties, apart from the working class, but with the claim to be bringing it the correct “class consciousness.” This basic idea survives to this day, always popping up.

Contrary to that stands the position of the council communists, who deny any thought of a “special role” for left activists in class struggles, any “intervention from outside.” They see their own role in merely putting information at the disposal of the workers (“mailmen”).

The class-composition critique of the bourgeois subject can be formulated like this: the only material foundation on which one can speak of a subject is class composition. That is, it has to do with a collective subject that constitutes itself under the conditions of a determinate mode of production in struggle against the capital relation. Any material analysis of the subject must therefore go through the analysis of class composition. Whoever wants to revolutionarily change society must put themselves in relation to class composition.”


Notes on Commonwealth by Negri/ Hardt

Notes on Commonwealth by Hardt and Negri

(Most important of political projects on one level the political thought of CLR James and Antonio Negri. Second would be Loren Goldner and Negri. What does arming the Multitude mean? What is the equivalent of What is to Be Done for the Multitude? )

H/N open Commonwealth with a brutal and concise description of the world under terror, fire, and misery.  How can we deny the world is anything other than that, with Syria, Detroit, and Ukraine in mind.

They hope to articulate an ethical project in CW.  But they will only discover an ethical project through the study of what the multitude have done in struggle. At the same time they have a sense of becoming, when they write ‘becoming-prince’  vii.  Much is yet to be accomplished, the full ethical project cannot be thrown down, until what is becoming, becomes clearer, and perhaps finally becomes. In this becoming, the multitude must learn the art of self-rule and forming lasting democratic organizations.  We see the importance of democracy…

The centrality of the commons is clear on viii.  It is ideology which masks the truth of the commons, which in actuality is everywhere around is.

Commons as the coordinator of the coordination problem.  It is the commons or the squares which not only creates the spatial dimensions, but also the subjectivities.  There is a relationship between spaces and subjectivities. The commons is the space of a certain kind of subject. The worker, as such, does not exist anymore in the commons.  Of course workers are in the commons, but under a new coordination, under a new constellation. This is the effect of de-industrialization right here.  The worker cannot coordinate much at the workplace, so new coordination must occur in struggle, in new spaces, with new subjectivities, radically creating a new subject in motion, in the process of struggle itself. This is in contrast to the Marxist-Jamesian concept of coordination and subjectivity.  At the same time this is still Marxist-Negri.


the schizo; the nomad; the cyborg; the wolf etc

We have been building agents of the past for the last decade. The militant, cadre, and professional revolutionary (call this the MCP) no longer matter. A new social type has been fighting to come into existence and the current forms of organization are antithetical to this new type. Keeping this in mind the singularity, the schizo, the nomad, the cyborg, and the wolf are just some new subjectivities which I am  messing with which perhaps can transcend the standard MCP. And instead of parties, groups, organizations, we should form collectives or packs (like wolf packs, thanks to Thousand Plateaus for the wolf pack).

In practice I have also seen the MCP subject become a fetish in organizations. What the MCP does becomes its own ideal, a mystical measuring stick… Some one asked me a while ago with it means to be a communist militant in this period. I have discussed this with people for so many years, but this time around, I was stunned at the question. And I had no honest response.  All I could say is that I do not know. That in this period, we are trying to figure that out. But the figuring out needs to begin from the concrete experiences of our time; not from some magical past.

Our reference point for what it means to be a communist militant is either from books or from talking to older 68ers…



anarchism and communism in the rear view mirror

Ultra-left communism, communization, autonomous marxism, communism, insurrectionary anarchism, anti-state communism etc. So many of the labels and self-identifications thrown around today remind me of Marx’s passage, “And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”

I am not sure whether journals like End Notes, Theorie Communiste etc can be called communist. Obviously not.  They see themselves as communization. Costumes are hard to change. Communism as the development agent of capitalism, is what communism will be known as in the 20th century. Hardly an enemy of capital.

Communism and anarchism as 19th and 20th century problematics might be more to the point. Where we go from here is much more difficult to see. What it will be called is only obscured by self labels like communism/ anarchism. All those people who refuse to be labeled might be correct. The C/A label only confuses things. Anytime someone says it, a litany of ‘ifs,’ ‘buts’ and further self clarifications follow. How appropriate considering the blood spilt in these traditions (especially the communist tradition).



Blanqui and communist/ anarchist art

1. Are we artists or scientists, or artistic scientists?

“Marxists are accused of Blanquism for treating insurrection as an art! Can there be a more flagrant perversion of the truth, when not a single Marxist will deny that it was Marx who expressed himself on this score in the most definite, precise and categorical manner, referring to insurrection specifically as an art, saying that it must be treated as an art, that you must win the first success and then proceed from success to success, never ceasing the offensive against the enemy, taking advantage of his confusion, etc., etc.? To be successful, insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party, but upon the advanced class. That is the first point. Insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people. That is the second point. Insurrection must rely upon that turning-point in the history of the growing revolution when the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height, and when the vacillations in the ranks of the enemy and in the ranks of the weak, half-hearted and irresolute friends of the revolution are strongest. That is the third point. And these three conditions for raising the question of insurrection distinguish Marxism from Blanquism. Once these conditions exist, however, to refuse to treat insurrection as an art is a betrayal of Marxism and a betrayal of the revolution.”

Poetry of the future: Native from Everywhere

A graduate without a future in one of my classes said the following when asked if they were a native New Yorker: “I am not a native New Yorker, I am a native from everywhere”.

This person is also an army child. Their parents were in the military and they traveled all over the world.

So much of NYC politics is based around the authenticity of location.  It is paradoxical. Capital of all sorts is highly fluid and yet so much of our understanding of identity is stuck in place and time. Capital bends time and space…

This quote certainly warrants the award of poetry of the future. When someone asks you if you are a native of city X, all our responses should be “I am a native from everywhere.”

Another critique of the militant form

Thanks to the comrade who recommended this… I do not agree with all of it, but…

Revolutionary Organizations and Individual Commitment

1. You don’t have to join anything – set your own terms of engagement with the milieu.

2. Only give that which you feel comfortable giving.

3. Never tolerate moral pressure to participate in ‘actions’. In response to activist holy-joes say, ‘we should do nothing’ to establish different grounds.

4. The revolution does not rest on your conforming to a set ‘consciousness’, so don’t feel bound by orthodoxies or demand it of others.

5. All groups only really survive on the work of one or two individuals, so if you do make any contribution at all you are doing more than most – and always speak as yourself and not as the group.


Networks and Netwars Notes V2

Perception Management: “Given the importance of knowledge and soft power to the conduct of netwar, it is not surprising that networked terrorists have already begun to leverage IT for perception management and propaganda to influence public opinion, recruit new members, and generate funding.” Rethink running around yelling we are for communism when most of the world thinks communists murder oppressed people. A comrade was telling me that what is important is to communicate the message we want as quickly and effectively as possible is key. If saying you are communist does not do that, why be stuck to it. Other people might think that is opportunistic… I am not sure.  I see the point about conveying the accuracy of the message.

How Plastic are the organizations we build: “These characteristics—their pervasiveness, their capacity to coexist both within and outside hierarchies, their ability to make markets more efficient by facilitating directed flows of information and commodities—give networks an elusive quality. In some respects, they appear little more than plastic organizations that can be molded in many different ways.”

How much Shock can organizations take? “Networks are highly resilient, partly because of what might be termed loose coupling. Charles Perrow distinguishes between tightly coupled and loosely coupled systems. He contends that tightly coupled systems are the least stable because disturbances involve a chain reaction or, at the very least, serious knock-on effects. In contrast, “loose coupling gives time, resources, and alternative paths to cope with the disturbance and limits its impact.”25 Criminal networks—apart from the core—are based largely on loose coupling. Even if some parts of the network are destroyed, the effects are limited since other parts are left intact. In a loosely coupled network, knock-on or cascading effects are limited and damage to one part of the network does not undermine the network as a whole. Loose coupling also preserves more diversity, in response offering considerable latitude in the decision of which parts of the network should respond, in what manner and in what location”


Machine Names

These are not just machine names, but subtly different strategies, conceptions, goals, subjectivities…If you think all these machines are the same, you have not lost your mind, and that is the first problem…

We must find each other…

The Anti Capitalist Tactical Machine
The Anti Police Strategy Machine
The Anti State Support Node
Anti Capitalist Rhizomes
Anti State Rhizomes

Counter Intelligence and Destruction Machine
Counter State and Attack Machine
Counter State and Fun Machine
Counter State and Musical Machine
Counter State and Go Association

The Advanced GO Association for Anti Capitalism Machine
GOing Against the State Machine
GOing Against Capital Rhizome


Networks and Netwars by the Rand Corporation–notes v1

You can download the book here:

Mastery of the Levels:

“There are five levels of theory and practice that matter: the technological, social, narrative, organizational, and doctrinal levels. A netwar actor must get all five right to be fully effective.”  and they go onto write, “When social ties are strong, building mutual trust and identity, a network’s effectiveness is greatly enhanced.”

What is swarming? Rand writes, “Swarming is the key doctrinal approach for which to prepare.” Here is a long def of Swarming:

“Swarming is a seemingly amorphous, but deliberately structured, coordinated, strategic way to strike from all directions at a particular point or points, by means of a sustainable pulsing of force and/or fire, close-in as well as from stand-off positions. This notion of “force and/ or fire” may be literal in the case of military or police operations, but metaphorical in the case of NGO activists, who may, for example, be blocking city intersections or emitting volleys of emails and faxes. Swarming will work best—perhaps it will only work—if it is designed mainly around the deployment of myriad, small, dispersed, networked maneuver units. Swarming occurs when the dispersed units of a network of small (and perhaps some large) forces converge on a target from multiple directions. The overall aim is sustainable pulsing—swarm networks must be able to coalesce rapidly and stealthily on a target, then dissever and redisperse, immediately ready to recombine for a new pulse. The capacity for a “stealthy approach” suggests that, in netwar, attacks are more likely to occur in “swarms” than in more traditional “waves.” The Chechen resistance to the Russian army and the Direct Action Network’s operations in the anti–World Trade Organization “Battle of Seattle” both provide excellent examples of swarming behavior.

Swarming may be most effective, and difficult to defend against, where a set of netwar actors do not “mass” their forces, but rather engage in dispersion and “packetization” (for want of a better term). This means, for example, that drug smugglers can break large loads into many small packets for simultaneous surreptitious transport across a border, or that NGO activists, as in the case of the Zapatista movement, have enough diversity in their ranks to respond to any discrete issue that arises—human rights, democracy, the environment, rural development, whatever.”

This blows What is to be Done out of the water. Capital is far head of Leninism and democratic centralism. “The most potent net warriors will not only be highly networked and have a capacity to swarm, they will also be held together by strong social ties, have secure communication technologies, and project a common “story” about why they are together and what they need to do.”  (more…)