Critique of Militant-Pro



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Go–Revolutionary political activity, thinking, way of life, spatial and temporal frameworks needed to overthrow capitalism.




Revolutionary Lives and Friendship Part 1

Some questions:

What is friendship?
From the vantage point of a revolutionary what is friendship?
What are the qualities of a friend?
What does friendship say about people?
What can a friend take and give?
Why do we make friends?
What are the limits of friendship?
How do you know when someone is a friend?
What is the relationship of friendship to politics? Organization? Comrade?
How does one know they have been a good friend to their friends?
Why is friendship important?
Are there different kinds of friendships? What are they? Why are they different?

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…



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.


Wisdom from a Strange Corner: Stuart Hall’s Policing the Crisis

Probably a bad sign that I am thinking about communism and organization through a book about policing!

1. In Policing the Crisis, Stuart Hall writes “traditionalism sanctions the present by deriving it from the past, empiricism shackles the future by riveting it to the present” 151.

Replace traditionalism and empiricism with communism and it explains 99% of the entire communist currents on the planet.

2. In Policing the Crisis, Stuart Hall writes, “People often maintain unrecognized contradictions in their viewpoint, contradictions expressed in different contexts…” for example, “for parents to demand that children should be better disciplined, but complain when their own children are beaten” 155.

Most communists I know always talk about how everyday people have contradictory thoughts. The implication of that statement is that communists perhaps do not. This is a powerful slippage and theoretical move.  This line of thought also implies that communists through some magical method have resolved their own contradictions between thought and action in their everyday life and their own organizations.

Once the forbidden apple of communism is biten, there is the world that is communist (read the small church) and the rest of the multitude which has yet to achieve communist consciousness. Once this happens, self-reflection and critical analysis upon oneself is finished . The realm of ideology is what we enter. This is the period we are still in.

Arguably the clearest senses of consciousness is amongst the multitude. They look at communists and see Dungeon and Dragons or LARPING….


Scene II: The Song of Decomposition

So the choir sings

“Form content
Content Form
Multiplied by Dialectics
Divided by Contradictions
Subtracted by Content
Added by Form
Squared by Alienation
Understood by scientific socialism

Who can sing this song may stay in the Holy Church
Sing louder so no one will doubt your heart’s desires.
Demonstrate your loyalty to marxism!
Demonstrate your  belief, lest someone is peering into your soul.
Sing before the judgement of dialectics discovers the truth.
Be damned if your voice falters.
Be damned if your faith falters.
The cross of dialectics you will be buried in.

Sing through the stages of history
Sing through the stages of your life
Sing higher and higher
Sing and you will see the marxist categories
The holy categories
They are so holy

Till you must pee

The Small Church Mentality

This is a problem of all small groups.  All small groups which have members who have dedicated large parts of their lives to a cause which has not panned out, develop the small church mentality, or the psychology of small groups. They develop a rigid and dogmatic belief in whatever biblical texts they adhere to. No doubt in the early days this can be, and sometimes is a strength, but over time, as the people in the group change, and just as importantly the world changes, this becomes a nightmarish burden for those who are heretical enough to take notice.  Challenge that and all hell breaks loose. Sociologically this makes sense. What else holds together small groups with no success other then biblical/ ideological methodology? It makes sense that many who decide to think on their own leave such small formations. Independent thinking has no place in the small church…

This biblical methodology closes off any different readings of the sacred texts, let alone bringing in new texts into the holy church of the small group. This is another reasons small groups should not stay together for too long. The tendency to fall into the small church mentality is immense.


Scene III: Decomposition’s Final Act

“You are either intentionally or unintentionally destroying this group. Your method involved creating Recomposition/ GFNY precisely so you can operate in a manner where you can gather people around you to…. Your method is destructive.”  These were the words expressed to me by a member of Unity and Struggle, with the implicit agreement of the rest of US, in the middle of a meeting. No one in US disagreed with this particular member of US.


Scene I: Beginning the Decomposition

So last year, Ba Jin and myself wrote this document, Recomposing the Ultra-Left in NYC. It was one of the documents which helped jumpstart what would eventually become Gathering Forces New York. I left GFNY today. There are a lot of places I can begin this… how I feel? my thoughts about myself? my own resolve and determination? solace and terror in loneliness? fire and determination? sadness and grit? Those are all the emotions and thoughts flowing through me right now, but I must keep moving..

Surplus Flux is the most positive way I can understand this.

But my own frailty also sees that comrades are fleeting.  They are not forever.  Friendships come and go. Principles waver and break. Political calculus is a sucker punch. To die with one good friend is pretty amazing. I realize that all the time. To have worked with a few solid comrades is good enough. Is this the reality of singularities and the multitude as well? Are these the experiences of the old way of life, politics, and organizing? It is not clear? It is arguably too romantic, naive, and simplistic to think that…

Considering the role I played in Recomposition, it makes sense that I try to understand what has occurred. Whatever I write below are my own perspectives and NOT Ba Jin’s.

First some broad points:

I am a very different person politically today then when I co-wrote Recomposition. My encounter with Unity and Struggle helped accelerate that immensely. I found in U&S a rigidity and dogmatism of Marxism which stunned me. I found a museum like attitude towards theory–I just call it Museum Marxism. In Museum Marxism, the preservation of what is convenient and easy to grasp is the key methodology of theory and not the actual investigation of the world and figuring out new categories if need be. Or maybe to be more precise, it is not understanding how the world changes, how categories change… In U&S, I ran into a conception of professionalism and militant, which has forever turned me hostile to those subjectivities. It is was stifling.  Their method could not grapple with the concrete sensuous singularity’s dimensions of what it meant to be a living singularity. In the end I believed that we were building the United States Post Office or the DMV and not a healthy, fighting, revolutionary organization.


Breaking the Leninist-Form

For years I have been involved in revolutionary formations which placed a premium on professionalism, the militant, and cadre.  All subject-forms which I reject today.  Perhaps, a long time ago they were poets of the future. Today those subject-forms are poets who destroy desire, repress desire, and repress new subjectivities.

No subjectivity machine which can not  sing the song of the future will bring together artists, dancers, and poets of the future which places a premium on such subject-forms. The standard place to being such critique is of course the debates between Lenin on Luxemburg.  Trotsky’s Our Tasks has some serious critiques too. But this is all poetry for an age that is forgotten!

Lenin’s What is to Be Done is  the most dangerous text for creating anti-subjectivity machines.  It is an Oedipalization machine, it is a paranoic machine, it is one of the codes for the body without organs. More simply, it is an instruction manual for those who no longer have the will to dream.  It is a manual for those who want to re-create the family.

The father is the secretary or chairman. The central committee is the mother. The cadre are the children. Kill the chairman and take over the central committee is the game that must be played…. How this is done? Well there is a long history of this of ruined lives for anyone who wants a more detailed account…  A good place to being are the works of G.P. Maximoff. And yet this family-form is constantly re-created. Why?