Introduction to the second edition
Behind every aspect of anarchist insurrectionalist theory there is a project. I do not mean a lifeless picture complete in every detail, but a sufficiently identifiable project far beyond these pages and the many others that I have written on this tormented subject in my lifetime. Without taking this into account no analytical explanation will do much, it would risk remaining what it is, a set of words claiming to contest reality, an incongruously idealist claim. The fat plants of classical German philosophy have done all possible damage with their enticing stings, I hope that these are now no more than mere decoys.
That does not mean that the problem of method can be approached out of the blue without... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Introduction
The old work ethic has disappeared along with the massive obsolete structures of capital which required a permanent army of producers, yet work still has far more implications than mere survival. Millions of people still compete for the privilege of turning up day after day, year after year, to surrender body and soul in exchange for a wage. The alternative: to encounter one’s real desires and create the means required to realize them, could present some surprises and lead to undreamed choices. A job, boring or arduous as it might be, is the easy way out. It gives structure to our day and puts order in our expectations, giving us just enough in our pockets to acquire instant sublimation and quell any sudden surge of ha... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) “The cleavage of men into actor and spectators is the central fact of our time. We are obsessed with heroes who live for us and whom we punish. If all the radios and televisions were deprived of their sources of power, all books and .... One is spectacle. Like the Phantasmagoria, its goal is the creation of a total ...” (Jim Morrison).
The most successful and involving spectacle that power of our time dishes up to us daily is the magic pyrotechnics of armed struggle. Few actors, many supporting actors, walk-ons and a huge audience, all with the knowingful direction amplifying structures of mass communication.
Who believed that movements such as that of ’68 got stuck in the quicksands of groupuscule reformism because... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) All religions have lists of words, often barely comprehensible, that are repeated ad nauseam by the faithful in order to beseech deliverance from their god. These lists are drawn up and perfected by professionals who study the best way to blunt the brains of their flock.
The aims of such repetitions vary and of course have nothing to do with the god to whom they are addressed, who, not existing in any known shape or form, doesn’t give a damn about so much wasted breath. The first aim is to let the devotees’ minds loosen their perception of their surroundings, giving them the benefit of a kind of cheap ecstasy that relaxes the nerves and helps them to endure oppression, in whatever form. The second is to stimulate a collective f... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Preface
Prison has come out of the shadows into the limelight as not a day passes without some allusion to ‘solving the problem’ of the State’s overflowing dungeons. Advances in surveillance technology are offering alternative models of isolation and control that could see a large number of the latters’ potentially explosive inmates defuzed and — opportunely tagged or microchipped — dispatched to the urban ghettos of capital from whence they came. The main obstacle, bolstered by some retrograde attempts to gain votes through a sworn intractibility concerning the ‘enemy within’, is power’s need for mass consensus from those it had led to believe that the State’s protection racket... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) When we hear the word insurrection we think of some precise moment of upheaval in the past, or imagine a similar clash in the future. Spontaneous insurrection occurs when people are pushed beyond their limits of endurance at their points of exploitation. Certain events take place: street clashes, attacks against the police, destruction of the symbols of capitalism (banks, jewelers, supermarkets, etc). Such moments of popular violence catch anarchists unprepared, amazed that yesterday’s apathy is transformed into today’s rage.
Look at Brixton a couple of years ago: anarchists were not, could not have been, protagonists in the riot. Events took them by surprise. People rose up for reasons apparently simple, but which were hatchin... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Capital extends over whole of the planet in its many expressions at both the socio-economic level and those of repression and control. No tiny geographical corner escapes it, no action anywhere in the world can avoid putting itself in relation with situations everywhere else.
It is not only projects of repression and control that are moving beyond State-capital borders. Specific acts of resistance and attack on the class enemy and insurrectional mass movements are also springing up all over the world.
At the same time demonstrations that put themselves in the optic of revolutionary internationalism, i.e. of struggling alongside oppressed peoples at moments when capital is celebrating its great international programs, are developing a poli... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) An anarchist who based her revolutionary intervention in social struggles precisely on her being a woman was Emma Goldman, and a clear testimony to this is to be found in her writings.
The obstacles encountered by Emma in her thirty years of anarchist propaganda as well as the polemics she maintained still exist in the revolutionary movement today, and concern no small part of the struggles for women’s liberation.
When Emma clashed with the quite evident male chauvinism of well-known anarchists who had often spent their whole lives in the struggle for the social revolution, and argued with men like Most or Kropotkin, she did so first of all as a woman, refusing the marginal role that these men were imposing on her, almost unconsciou... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Introduction
No one can understand what is happening in the land of Palestine, not even those who have followed the sanguinary vicissitudes of the peoples who have lived down there for so long. They face each other with hatred and suspicion, not just men and women, children and old people, but the very dust of the roads and the mud that covers them on rainy days, the asphyxiating heat and the stench of the sultriness.
The ‘official’ terms of the controversy are well known. The Israelis chased the Palestinians off their land, but this happened so long ago that some of the people born in huts in the camps are now fifty years old. Ridiculous arguments between States have resulted in pieces of land being returned to the people w... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Preface
This is not the first time we find ourselves faced with a similar dilemma: how transcend the limitation of the means? Reach out beyond the constriction of the roles? Encounter those who have begun their individual insurrection but find their path obstructed by a pile of blunt instruments? Those who have decided to venture into the abyss and have become exigent, want to invent their own methods, draw them forth from the conditions they are constrained to live in against their will, now, as the bosses’ calendar indicates the arrival of the third millennium. Those who want to dance with life in more than fleeting encounters, in the adventure of discovery’ that illuminates destruction in all its possibilities.
A contradi... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Contrary to what many believe, class is not a marxist concept. While we reject the marxist claims as to the historic role of the industrial working class above all the other exploited, it is obvious that society is still divided into opposing classes. The terms of this division are changing with the modification of capital. It is important to recognize this in order to address our attack towards the right objectives in the struggle.
Many anarchists believe that the idea of “class” is a marxist concept, therefore they have no interest in it and they try to work out other ways of accounting for social divisions.
These divisions clearly exist. Conflict and suffering dominate present day reality. The great masses who support the p... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) It is not easy to grasp the various aspects of revolutionary activity. It is even more difficult to grasp everything in terms of a complex project that has its own intrinsic logic and operative articulation. That is what I mean by revolutionary work.
We all, or nearly all, agree as to who the enemy is. In the vagueness of the definition we include elements from our personal experience (joy and suffering) as well as our social situation and our culture. We are convinced that we know everything that is required in order to draw up a map of enemy territory and identify objectives and responsibility. Times change of course, but we don’t take any notice. We make the necessary adjustments and carry on.
Obscure in our way of proceeding, ou... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Introduction
The concept of solidarity is not only used and abused by the various reformist syndicalist and humanitarian movements and even power itself, it is also sadly emptied of any content by many anarchists. The leveling is such as to reveal a symbolic attitude worthy of the Church but which allows us to put our conscience at rest.
Counter-information and propaganda in the lead, demonstrations (true processions), then nothing, provoke a feeling of powerlessness, a pernicious frustration that sees justification open the way to resignation.
We discover that everything crumbles there where the mentality of the group and quantity thought it was strong. Nothing changes as we enter a vicious circle with mournful calls to a miserable ba... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Why Insurrection
Our task as anarchists, our main preoccupation and greatest desire, is to see the social revolution come about: a terrible upheaval of men and institutions which finally succeeds in putting an end to exploitation and establishing the reign of justice.
For we anarchists the revolution is our guide, our constant point of reference, no matter what we are doing or what problem we are concerned with. The anarchy we want will not be possible without the painful revolutionary break. If we want to avoid turning this into no more than a dream we must struggle to destroy the State and the exploiters through revolution.
But the revolution is not a myth to be used simply as a point of reference. Precisely because it is a concrete ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Introduction
The rationalization of exploitation at global level and the illumination among all those with a glimmer of dignity and passion that reformism is not the way to fight it, is leading to explosions of rebellion in many parts of the world. Anarchists are close to these moments, at least in spirit, but do we have anything to give this reality beyond causing immediate damage or attacking police lines? Must we continue to leave everything to chance, believing that organizational clarity will spring forth out of the blue? If we do, the great potential for new qualitative relations risks becoming reabsorbed into extremely pragmatic and convincing reformist programs which apparently appear from nowhere. Some are not sleeping. The orga... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The exploitation of the working class comes about in two precise ways which link together through a complex system of complicity: the first is the direct one, carried outby the national bourgeoisie. The second the indirect one, exercised by the bourgeoisie of other nations.
Such a repartition however is not based on an ethnic concept of nation. Internal exploitation is not carried out by the national bourgeoisie in the role of ethnic representatives of power, but as the political representatives of the managerial centers of centralized power. In other words, all the States that exist today, in Europe for example, come from a primitive and preponderant nucleus which has gradually, throughout history, ended up including and dominating the po... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Stop the City was an informative action. Such actions are interesting and useful, though limited, and cannot just be written off as worthless because some comrades don't agree with the methods they use. The problem is deeper than that and is worth going into.
An informative demonstration can conceal itself under some pretty impressive slogans—often to mobilize more people, especially the young marginal fringes—but it remains a demonstration with the aim of making certain facts known. It might call itself Stop the City or Burn the City, but the aim is to draw people's attention to certain things, nothing else. As such it remains a useful but limited action.
To participate in this kind of demonstration in order to push it, from ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) INTRODUCTORY NOTE (Alfredo M. Bonanno)
Now that the tragic history of fascism has run the full course of its formal development, culminating in the modern democratic State, Rühle’s article becomes more readily comprehensible to us. It was written at the end of the thirties and dedicated to the contemporaneous struggle against both bolshevism and fascism.
The real dominion of present day capitalism shows the authoritarian designs that have provided the platform for contemporary fascism (camouflaged by democracy), and those of contemporary bolshevism (camouflaged by the dictatorship of the proletariat) to be quite similar.
To be more explicit we can say that by shedding formal authority (where it needed the fascism of the stag... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The function that space has had throughout the development of capitalism could be described as a real ‘history’.
From the first ‘enclosures’ of great masses of people into circumscribed spaces to the most advanced factories today, capitalism has tried to cut out portions of space to dedicate them to one specific use: the production of surplus value. Now, with the advent of the recent post-industrial development and advances in the technological process, the management of this space has changed profoundly. It has passed from partial management to a total one. In this capital has had the support of power and the State. We think that it is important to reflect on the conditions of the relationship that exists today bet... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) When reading the following pages it would be well to put everything that we already know about technology aside. Indeed, what knowledge or hypothesis passed off as certainty makes up the scientific aspect of technology? Not much.
If we take a look inside the drawer of established scientific research from which something concrete did emerge, we see a series of utilities. That is, things done for a purpose, even negative, as in the case of military techniques. This purpose is nearly always twofold: to replace something preexistent, thus achieving a surplus of use and returns, and to open up new horizons of usability. Specialized workers euphemistically referred to as scientists, usually nitwitted and in the payroll of various patrons, do not... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Introduction
My reading of Stirner as philosopher of the Unique and the direct itinerary of reconstructing a “theory of the individual”, in a manner that varies through the other writings of mine presented here, at least seems to me to demonstrate a coherence of purpose that legitimates giving them a new life together here.
In the current frozen panorama of anarchist readings, turning to the sources of The Ego and Its Own is always a radical shock. If nothing else, this explains the persistent fortune of a strange book that would not have obliged itself to relieve any worries in the watchful forecasts of power or taken any interest, or at least very little, in the few readers it was likely to have. No prediction was ever les... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The relation with the level of the clash
The known, from which we must move, has to be the unknown, the absolutely known.
We are not the only ones facing the level of the clash. As anarchists we can have all the illusions we like, illusions of purity and being a voice in the desert, but sooner or later we must concede that we are in company, bad company.
And it is the relations with this bad company that we need to ponder on. The more these seem obvious and well known, the more they turn out to be incomprehensible, and it is precisely here that we see the point to start off from.
We are not alone, whether it be concerning information, theory, intermediate struggles or armed struggle.
The authoritarian concept of rev... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The theme of war has been present in almost every kind of publication in recent months, including anarchist ones. War is approaching, it is about to break out, the two great international blocks are moving towards war: we must do everything we can to prevent the world from being completely annihilated through a mad impulse of those who govern us.
But as often happens when a problem sets off a complex reaction of sentiment and fear in our intimate beings, we have not been capable — or so it seems to me — of going into it deeply enough.
In fact, when we prepare to fight an enemy that is threatening us we must ask ourselves what that enemy intends to do so that a maximum amount of information allows us to retaliate, defend oursel... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Every time I start to talk I ask myself, ‘And if I didn’t want to say anything for example?’
The title of this debate is ‘Towards insurrection’. I said to myself, what does this ‘towards insurrection’ mean? That is, towards insurrection can mean writing, or talking anyway, or indicating a direction, something moving towards insurrection. I don’t know what it is that moves towards insurrection.
I know that’s what I’ve lived, and what I’ve seen, events that might seem like an insurrection in act. I later realized that it wasn’t an insurrection, it was a simple riot. Now we are talking about something that can push us towards a riot, something that happens just like that... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The level of conflict
This can be defined as the whole of the conditions that characterize the class conflict. It is very important to know these conditions, because one is often carried, for different reasons, to consider some more important than others, with the obvious conclusion that those who do not accept the same ones come to be defined counter-revolutionary.
It is not possible to fix a scale of merit concerning the conditions that determine the level of the struggle. It would in fact be out of place to overestimate economic conditions, underestimating, for example, ideological conditions which, precisely because they are breaking down, produce certain consequences and not others.
Heightening the level of conflict
Every histo... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The fox knows many things.
The porcupine only one, but it is great.
Fascism is a seven-letter word beginning with F. Human beings like playing with words which, by partly concealing reality, absolve them from personal reflection or having to make decisions. The symbol acts in our place, supplying us with a flag and an alibi.
And when we put ‘anti-’ in front of the symbol it is not simply a question of being against what absolutely disgusts us. We feel safe that we are on the other side and have done our duty. Having recourse to that ‘anti-’ gives us a clear conscience, enclosing us in a well-guarded and much frequented field.
Meanwhile things move on. The years go by and so do power relat... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The ideas that follow are aimed at going into the problem of the relations between the movement of the exploited and the revolutionary anarchist movement.
The conclusion is very simple and constitutes the starting point of a reflection that we are proposing to all comrades: it is not within the enclosure of the specific anarchist movement that one works for the revolution, but outside in the reality of struggles, which at this moment do not see us present. In this sense the anarchist movement still has a long way to go. In the face of the urgency of the situation it has become imperative for all sincere revolutionary anarchist comrades to reflect on the ways and conditions of organizing oneself to contribute to the widening, in the liberta... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Our task as anarchists, our main preoccupation and greatest desire, is that of seeing the social revolution realized: terrible upheaval of men and institutions which finally succeeds in putting an end to exploitation and establishing the reign of justice. For we anarchists the revolution is our guide, our constant point of reference, no matter what we are doing or what problem we are concerned with. The anarchy we want will not be possible without the painful revolutionary break. If we want to avoid turning this into simply a dream we must struggle to destroy the State and exploiters through revolution.
But the revolution is not a myth simply to be used as a point of reference. Precisely because it is a concrete event, it must be built dai... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Against the Logic of Submission: Neither Intellectualism Nor Stupidity
In the struggle against domination and exploitation, each individual needs to take up every tool that she can make her own, every weapon that he can use autonomously to attack this society and take back her life. Of course, which tools particular individuals can use in this way will vary depending on their circumstances, desires, capacities and aspirations, but considering the odds we face, it is ridiculous to refuse a weapon that can be used without compromising autonomy on the basis of ideological conceptions.
The rise of the civilization we live in with its institutions of domination is based on the division of labor, the process by which the activities necessary ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) A Few Words: Plundering the Arsenal
“The heritage of revolutionary movements
can no longer form a tradition to safeguard...
or a program to realize,
but must become an arsenal to plunder
for the ongoing use of new revolutionaries.”
The history of revolt is probably as long as the history of domination and exploitation. There have always been those who will not submit, who will defy god and master even against the greatest odds. And this history of revolt includes significant social struggles, uprisings of the multitudes of the exploited to throw off their chains in social revolution. Over the past few hundred years, these social upheaval have helped to create a revolutionary awareness that has manifested parti... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)