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I think this book has good things to say in the right direction, but is also bogged down by some unfortunate trappings.

The type of thing that will (somewhat rightfully) be fodder to fan the flames of the @no_tiqqun_no_communes type. I’m referring to the genuflection to the term “Empire” (Negri & Hardt) and concepts inherited from the Invisible Committe (which what i gather from the interview might be more of Nick’s fault, than Carla’s), the likes of which makes pro-appelistes like Sole salivate.

The authors openly recognize that it’s a tough problem to tackle or circumvert, and say the terms they use, like “joyful militancy” vs “rigid radicalism” and “sad militant”, are merely placeholders. In a way, they admit “joyful militancy” is not wholly appropriate since it retains the word “militancy” which carries much of what they’re trying to avoid or heal. Nothing is lost and much is gained by dropping this term altogether.

They correctly intuit that the way out the propensity for the toxicity within the milieus is to de-stagnate and de-stiffle by somehow curtailing the policing of affections, so to speak, and to encourage being less paranoid, more trusting, more forgiving, more grateful, more playful and more joyful overall. Easier said than done, of course.

They succinctly and politely express commonly circulated criticims of the activisty, lefty, radical and anarcho milieus. While they’re evidently trying hard not rub any particular group the wrong way, they seem to only pay lip-service to empathetic to “rowdier” crowds, so to speak, while unfortunately and unadmittingly, ultimately “throwing them under the bus”. Maybe not so harsh as throwing them under the bus, at least packing bags and leaving on the bus without them.

Their correct intuition has led them to make a critical mistake. In an effort to conciliate the different segregated sub-milieus specialized around rigid affections and morals, they leaned too much on the liberal and hippy feel-good side, understandably, as a reaction to the bitterness, toxicity from the more hardened, combative, hostile and aggressive camp.

By not successfully engaging this resented and resentful side, if left to fester by itself, even greater monsters will arise. The greatest challenge is to create loving spaces where people from this side feel invited and welcome, not judged or looked down upon or trying to be reformed, so that they can heal and share/find/create alongside the rest as well.

Obviously, we can’t “all get along”, and there will always be conflict, some for the better. This book carries sentiments in the right direction, but just because some liberals or communist personality cults have found ways to live and to be that are less toxic and that we can learn from, it does not mean we have to appease appeliste or democratic demands.