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).

 

By way of discussion with a comrade: It could be that the next alternative to capitalism that is attempted will not be done under the banner of anarchism or communism.  That it could take up a completely different name. That neither A/C’s should stick on the sidelines because of this or pooh pooh it because it does not have the right banner.  The reality is that most A/C’s will do exactly one of those things if the history of class struggle is any indication. Look at OWS–while certainly not as radical as anyone of us would liked, that became the excuse for communist self-proclamations on everything OWS was not, only to reveal the estrangement of A/C from their beloved proletariat.

In preparation for this new label and form of struggle… At best I am just for a revolutionary assemblage at this point.  This can break the anarchist versus communist crap that exists today. It is outdated amongst certain layers of anarchists and communists. (No doubt maoists and leninists and trots are just fucked in this sense.) I only use either the A/C label to communicate a certain message with insiders in the left, but all extent and purposes I think those are outdated labels.

I have thought what if the Los Angeles rebellion of 1992 became a global rebellion. And to be a Los Angelite became the subjectivity of global rebellion against white supremacy, capital, the police, the state. At that moment anarchism/ communism would have been transcended as a revolutionary subjectivity/ imaginative.

Unfortunately, this has not happened and we are stuck using labels which most of the planet correctly associates with stalinism and maoism.

To the extent that the organizational question has been controversial between anarchist and communists, I argue that Delueze/ Guattari and Networks and Netwars by the Rand Corporation have largely solved it. Of course autonomous marxism-post operaismo have also bridged some of this gap…

This direction also reflects that the global struggles on a general level have not posed communism or anarchism as an alternative. Arguably because the social struggles do not believe them to be a viable option any longer. Perhaps the world struggles will return to posing those questions and that would be a new development. However, I feel that most of the time that anarchists and communists pose those alternatives, most activists see us as rather dogmatic and simplistic people. Sure we have read 100 books on the problems of transition, the nature of the Russian Rvolution etc, so we certainly have a level of knowledge that is greater than many young activists, but I am not sure if that is always the measure of who is right or more importantly who has the better strategy for the future. Think of the SNCC kids versus all the very well read commies, older activists, nationalists etc. The SNCC kids had a fraction of the knowledge and analysis of many older people, and yet they proved to be profoundly more important than 99% of the left.

Not only must each generation, find its missions, fulfill or betray it, but each generation sees the world differently then the previous one. And that is what is crucial. This is the most important political development for me…Young people, will see the world in a way, with different potentials and possibilities than older people. This is not hard and fixed. I do not want to fall into some sort of privilege theory of youngness. An excellent example is Paul Mason. Older guy, but with great insights into the current world, that actually has been very important for the youngster in me.

 

If machines were built this way, they might break the dichotomy of intermediate layers and revolutionary machines. Communists/ anarchists who argue precisely what those societies look like or what that transition are, are possibly trapped in ideology. Can an organization be built, which is committed to anti-capitalist and all the other antis, but not have a clear sense of what is the alternative. They can take from the communist and anarchist tradition, but claim no loyalty to either one.

If communism was the theory and more often the ideology of the peasantry, the intelligentsia, and the mass worker, are their new social agents on the planet who can articulate a different theory? They will certainly have affinities with communism and anarchism, but it will not be either of those politics. It will transcend those politics.

Can an organization be built on a series of negatives? If we do not need to have the divisions of Kronstadt divide us, can having unity against all states and ruling classes be enough of a principle which implicitly is against the suppression of the Kronstadt rebellion? So the principles stand the test of time, although everyone need not know the historical reasons for all the principles? But they are part of everyone’s common experiences of distrusting the state and seeing it’s ‘betrayals’ in our short activist lifetime.

One of the premises of the intermediate layer is that you should be open to anti-capitalism, but you do not have to be open to communism or anarchism. But if that postulate is broken, and those inside revolutionary machines accept that their own visions of communism/ anarchism are broken, what can be built?  It could potentially clear the way for more open organizations. It could place on the table a more refreshing conversation and method to analyzing the world as it exists today.

We should trust the global struggles on this level. They are onto something which is felt throughout the planet… Of course people can point to giant communist movements in India, Phillipines, and other places. I disagree with the directions those movements are going. Looking at the last century, I do not think they offer viable alternatives any longer.

In Two Regimes of Madness by Delueze he says, “the schizophrenic is a functional machine making use of left-over  elements that no longer function in any context…” 18. The assemblages of the wreckage of anarchism and communism will be the left-over elements that the schizo will have to use. Other traditions will also be used like feminism, the Black radical tradition, and more. But in a way to create a poem unheard before. This poem will be criminalized. It will be criminalized by the revolutionary left first. That will be the first sign of its greatness. The state and capital will be slow to act in this sense. In persecution the revolutionary left will be the first. The Poet of the future will be crucified like Jesus. The left will hunt the poet down. The poet will be assassinated like Malcolm.  The poet will be a mad person, whose words will only seem like gibberish… The poetry of the future. Who will hear it?

The poetry of the future will be closer to the Coming Insurrection. It will be closer to the likes of the Bible during the times of slavery. Only when the poetry is banished will the first sings of its futurity be given. Everything that is being said, has already been said until then… There is nothing fundamentally new to say until this poetry arrives… There is no history. Only the past repeating itself until the dawn of poetry from the future.

The dangers would be immense…

Towards a new theory of revolutionary assemblages…arrangement and agency…subjectivity oriented materialism…nomad thought, schizo-analysis, the gay science…

 

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