Fragments from a Lost Critique (for Occupy Wall Street)
From New York Year Zero
1. A Temperature Check
The condition of experiencing warmth amongst an assemblage of people. Likewise, the feeling of coldness from a group of enemies.
In the absence of standards and values, a means of measurement—informal, spontaneous—for the participants.
In the absence of scale, in the absence of reference points, in the absence of history, an attempt at determining the degree in which the bodies present were able to push themselves.
To have even asked the question means expectations have been exceeded. When moderation has become impossible, all that’s left is a documentation of intensities. A document of the capacities with which some bodies were able to transmit energy to their surroundings; to the bodies surrounding them.
These investigations, fragments, drafts, come from a series of disappointments and frustrations; limits, which were refused, ignored; in favor, instead, of continuation. A document of some periodic arrivals-as-opportunities; to communicate, internally and externally, an evolution of some thoughts and desires. These words serve as both reminders and suggestions.
With the understanding that, for many, to take, to take the time, to think, to talk, to write, means to stop, to stop forcibly—and suddenly—movements; activity which aspired to be, to be direct, to be a direct challenge, a challenge against, against this state. We. get. it. These processes will not be a restraint and retreat from these activities, but rather a means to propel the comrades further.
In acknowledging mistakes, hesitations, confusions, the hope is to find inspirations for new and ongoing experimentation.
This project serves as a document that the desires have not diminished, nor have the commitments. Some of what was lacking was coherence, a coherent analysis. Not in the form of a master text, but a series, a series of texts, thoughts; from various sources, on various situations, events, actions, discussions and meetings. After running into wall after wall, eviction after eviction, unfortunately we have often been flung back into atomization, isolation, some lonely individual antagonists, alone with their righteousness.
The comfort found in the family and its structures, the cults, the found comfort… was a retreat; a retreat from the moment, the history, the demands, the contradictions.
Nothing said will be able to be verified, so none of it is correct. It is always already an offering to ourselves.
2. Becoming Splinter
Becoming again is a process during which one accepts that they are unattractive. But that to be disagreeable can be beautiful. What is pleasing, what becomes pleasing, is not the ordering, the ordering of appearances, but that the parts seem generally suitable, together, changing, together changing, again. This becomes just one, just one potential actuality, just one actuality, potential, just one potential actuality, of a potential, that might seem appropriate, for now, or inappropriate but proper, for now, for later. It might seem fitting, this growth, to come, a new being, together, for now, for later.
It becomes you to be here, to be, to be apart, for now, for later. The responsibilities and, the responsibilities of, these situations, coming again, coming, coming now, happens together, here. From high to low, this move, from major to minor, whole to part, moving, splintering, together, form the new dignities, processes, processes of arrival, of appearance, dignified, together.
No singularities, there is, there is no what we’d like, no to do. No particularities, there is no about who we are, we’re not. Just a generalized force, against everything, we hate. Just a generalized force, for everything, for everything we desired. Some points, there were some points in time and space, when decisions seemed impossible, impossible but inevitable. This thing, this thing like a crisis, like a natural disaster, mismanaged, mismanaged with all its mismanagement, but happening here, now happening here.
This is, this is less a title, less a container, than a place, a place from which to speak, giving voice, to many, or a few, or one, or none, as necessary. This is, this is less an identity than a suggestion, however modest, for that which will never be approved, and was therefore important.
How to take? Or first, how to want? Or, how to give substance, give substance to dissatisfactions, desperate, disparate dissatisfactions? Or, how to not limit, how not to limit, and how to challenge the experiences of effectiveness and time? These lives inside and outside, inside and outside a class against a class, as a collapse, a collapse of distribution, as a beginning of circulation.
To compare accounts, to signify nothing, to see how constructions correlate, or don’t. What specificities can be pointed towards, pointed towards outside of an assumed community, assumed culture, a society, an aesthetic? What can be done to qualify what is meant by the present, the present moment, to qualify the present moment?
The position, a position of an emphasis, a position of emphasis, that’s all, on certain thoughts and activities, on certain theories and practices, certain ideas, an initiation. A running documentation of an ongoing praxis, neither normative, nor authoritative.
This fragment will disintegrate, among its own collective shivers, during an unforgiving winter.
In the rejection of the body, of any main bodies, of any body ever actually existing, one is assumed to be another; small, weak, but dangerous in ways no one understood. There were never any splits, breaks, fractions, because it was assumed all along that such diversions meant that autonomy, independence, was not necessary. But the experience was one of denunciation, being discarded. While the pieces, now reduced, remained sharp, explosive.
As people congregate, this is an accumulation, an aggregation, of experiences, intelligences, energies. Their association does not mean organization, that they are organized, that they were organized, nor that they want, that they want to be, though the experiences of exclusion, of exclusion combined, often points this way. This cluster, instead, instead this cluster will be, simply, a collection, a collection of of those things, those things left, left along the way. This is their only relation, their only relation to be considered, in their most radical non-arrangement, together. Our languages will remain apart, opposed, but we’ll travel together, in formation, in more and more formations, flexible formations, administratively, tactically, flexible, more battalions than headquarters, operations subordinate to no other squadron, an orchestra mixed up, an orchestra whose instruments are all mixed up, associations open and closed, identities affirmed, affirmed by being hidden.
To associate, to arrange, to form, to be part of, nothing, nowhere, never, as a collective, without common standards, without interests, but some affinities, some aggravated aesthetics. No characteristics or habits, ownership or control, but traveling together, complementary, for an unknown purpose. Never bound together like some free radicals in a brigade without a hierarchy.
Reduced, as always, to something baroque, to some critique, some aesthetic – the great crisis. That which becomes separated from, which acts apart, in disagreement, but united all the same.
For dissension, the holy schism, the break of communion, facilitated heresy. A secession for the new councils.
3. Why We Wear Masks
Our planned assault will be experienced as inevitable. No one can plead, “we did not know.” The next targets have been announced. Now how to stop such a monster.
We wish not to be seen, for our actions not to be, for our signals to point toward some other legibility, something else, again, a new life; something that our old selves could never have conceived, could never have comprehended. Everything that we were now exists only as a carcass, a corpse hidden in our basements, attics, closets, under our beds, a zombie, chasing us around, all these terrible places we find ourselves in, trying to talk to us, to touch us, to find a common language, which brings us back only, always, to their fields of recognition, again.
We have been inspired to experiment, not reconcile. The disorganization, confusion, and chaos of the occupation and its assemblages are its greatest strength, the only reason we show up, the only thing keeping us around. It is no longer necessary to become understood by our oppressors, to satisfy their requirements of discourse, negotiation, compromise. Our demands are only of each other, to make each other come, to challenge ourselves, to keep pushing.
It was never our obligation or responsibility to explain, to relive, the details of our alienation, exploitation, oppression, only to have you reassure us that you didn’t really mean it; that it won’t happen again; that you’ll try to be better; that you think we can work it out. We are constantly surrounded by triggers, signposts of all the abuses we’ve suffered throughout our entire lives. Indeed, we’re surrounded by affirmations of abuses still to come. Every time we leave the house we’re reminded, corrected. Every time we stay home it’s even worse. We look at you and see all the times we’ve stayed silent, all the times we mustered up the courage and words to call you, to say something, all those attempts at accountability, justice, that were refused, abandoned, brutalized, ignored, manipulated, perverted, all those front groups and their twisted identities formed to pretend as if it was possible for you to ever change, or that you wanted to. You turned us all into apologists, but we have now given up on conciliation.
We preserve now only our mobility, our commitment to not stay in one place, but rather stay in all places, at all times, as we wish; as we give each other the courage to try and try and try. A wall is to be either torn down or scaled, not simply led to, looked at, pleaded to, understood, turned away from, and reported back on.
We were sick of being inside, inside our ugly homes, our stupid rooms, with our ugly furnishings, shitty design, all our fucking stuff, with all those people we’ve grown sick of, because you can only talk so much before you want to fight, or fuck, or leave. Now we are sick of being outside, looking at all these empty buildings while we stand in the rain, fight the wind, are constantly watched, surveilled by police, by journalists, who we can’t bear to make eye contact with any longer.
We’ve seen our hexes work, we’ve seen our enemies flee, their outposts abandoned without a trace. We remember the fear in their eyes, their horror in not knowing what it was we wanted, what we were trying to say, what we were about to do. The confusion is yours, you caused it, we will deal with it in the ways that we choose.
It is no longer possible to speak of how and who to accuse, to punish; or what to do with the institutions that administer our lives; or which representatives should figure out what to say and do with each other – with the borders of jurisdiction that existed before, before we found ourselves crossing them. The past will not exist. We will become the most ruthless revisionists ever conceived. This will be our only demand.
We affirm no misunderstood essences, but only a future of which nothing is known. This is our demand. We look around at each other, in these occupations, in the streets, and we hold hands, lock arms, we run.
Wandering limbs without venom can march and march, but if nothing is taken along the way, it’s all forgotten like a faint breeze. Our marches should become more than just walking tours for out of town activists, visiting artists, and other opportunists – they should be exercises towards a true insidiousness, preparations for the ultimate betrayal. It is from this dishonesty to everything we’ve previously committed ourselves to that we can build a new trust.
Teething is not a process of slow growth, but rather an eruption; the moment in which we realize we have new weapons of attack. A snake’s teeth curve inwards, towards its throat, preventing its prey from escape. The force of movement, the movement of force, making turning back, makes stopping, the most dangerous course. As our muscles swell up beyond what our bodies were ready for, we feel a violent, throbbing pain, and we rest. We rest not to make the swelling go down, but to prepare ourselves for this new stage.
A rupture is the moment of recognition, when we recognize that we have only ourselves to overcome. That all is now ours to take. We see those trying to maintain order, the police, trying to protect those who created this order. Who prevent the possible, of anyone thinking of what might be. All those attempts to make our ideas, our dreams, criminal, to make our desires punishable. To control the potentialities of where our affinities may lead us. We have been provoked so much throughout our lives, it is now impossible for us to be provocateurs. The shock will be not what it is to come, but that it took so long to happen.