Gyms and Capital

“The primary reason for this was that Nautilus equipment allowed the health club (at the time known as the “health spa”) industry to offer to the general public a thing which had been previously unavailable. Prior to the invention of Nautilus, if a member wanted to train hard, in a more elaborate way than Universal equipment permitted, he had to learn how to use barbells. Someone had to teach him this. Moreover, someone had to teach the health spa staff how to teach him this. Such professional education was, and still is, time-consuming and not widely available. But with Nautilus equipment, a minimum-wage employee could be taught very quickly how to use the whole circuit, ostensibly providing a total-body workout with little invested in employee education. Furthermore, the entire circuit could be performed in about 30 minutes, thus decreasing member time on the exercise floor, increasing traffic capacity in the club, and maximizing sales exposure to more traffic. Nautilus equipment quite literally made the existence of the modern health club possible.

The problem, of course, is that machine-based training did not work as it was advertised. It was almost

impossible to gain muscular bodyweight doing a circuit. People who were trying to do so would train faithfully for months without gaining any significant muscular weight at all. When they switched to barbell training, a miraculous thing would happen: they would immediately gain – within a week – more weight than they had gained in the entire time they had fought with the 12-station circuit.

The reason that isolated body part training on machines doesn’t work is the same reason that barbells work so well, better than any other tools we can use to gain strength. The human body functions as a complete system – it works that way, and it likes to be trained that way. It doesn’t like to be separated into its constituent components and then have those components exercised separately, since the strength obtained from training will not be utilized in this way. The general pattern of strength acquisition must be the same as that in which the strength will be used. The nervous system controls the muscles, and the relationship between them is referred to as “neuromuscular.” When strength is acquired in ways that do not correspond to the patterns in which it is intended to actually be used, the neuromuscular aspects of training have not been considered. Neuromuscular specificity is an unfortunate reality, and exercise programs must respect this principle the same way they respect the Law of Gravity.

Barbells, and the primary exercises we use them to do, are far superior to any other training tools that have ever been devised.Properly performed, full-range-of-motion barbell exercises are essentially the functional expression of human skeletal and muscular anatomy under a load.

From Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe

“what we now need is a machine for fighting anxiety “

Thanks to the comrade who put me on to this…

“If the first wave provided a machine for fighting misery, and the second wave a machine for fighting boredom, what we now need is a machine for fighting anxiety – and this is something we do not yet have. If we see from within anxiety, we haven’t yet performed the “reversal of perspective” as the Situationists called it – seeing from the standpoint of desire instead of power. Today’s main forms of resistance still arise from the struggle against boredom, and, since boredom’s replacement by anxiety, have ceased to be effective.

Current militant resistance does not and cannot combat anxiety. It often involves deliberate exposure to high-anxiety situations.”


Todd May on a new political ontology


” One way to approach Deleuze and Guattari’s politics is to see them as offering a new political ontology. Deleuze cannot accept the dogmatic ontology offered by traditional political theory. To begin our political thought with individual human beings, each of which comes with his or her own (chosen) interests, is already to give the game away. It is to concede the stability of the already given that is the foundation of the dogmatic image of thought.

The problem is not only that individuals’ interests are intimately bound up with the society in which they live. It is true, as the communitarians2 have pointed out, that liberal political theory’s isolation of individuals from their societies often paints a distorted view of people’s interests. Individuals are far more subject to their social surroundings than liberal theory would have us believe. But the problem Deleuze sees is deeper. It lies in the very concept of the individual.

Why should we assume that individual human beings are the proper ontological units for political theory? Is it possible to start with some other unit? Or better, is it possible to start with a concept that is not prejudiced toward any particular unit of political analysis, whether it be the individual, the society, the state, the ethnic group, or whatever? Is it possible to conceive politics on the basis of a more fluid ontology, one that would allow for political change and experimentation on a variety of levels, rather than privileging one level or another?


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.”

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…)

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.