Concerning a farce

  • Posted on: 30 August 2018
  • By: thecollective

No, the current times are certainly not favourable towards ideas. Flattened by technological prostheses, hollowed by the lack of a horizon totally other and emaciated by the devastation of interior worlds and of sensibility, our contemporaries are not very keen on ideas. They prefer chatter, they repeat what is told to them, they display their opinions... all very different from ideas, those “armed thoughts”. Our times are seeing a project of almost unbelievable proportions which is being continually developed, refined and readjusted in the laboratories of power: non only does dominion is extending relentlessly its network of control and repression, which – and this notwithstanding the constant propaganda pounding that the eyes of the master are everywhere - can always be overcome and destroyed by rebels fitted with courage and imagination, but it is also attacking, in a determined way and equipped with powerful tools which weren’t at its disposal before, the critical capacity, the ethical sensibility, the imaginaries which take us beyond this daily hell. Such a project should arouse nothing but a ferocious rage amongst
those who want to bring down dominion.

But also amongst anarchists, these irreducible enemies of authority, this project of dominion is being averted more and more. It is not difficult to realise that our ideas are loosing breath, how critical capacities are eroding, how easily authoritarian ideas are getting channelled in the anarchist universe. The image comes to replace the idea, pose replaces acting, the packaging supersedes content. There are those who are conscious of this ongoing process and, going upstream, do not renounce, do not adapt to the new imperatives of confusion, disgusting alliances and imaginary or less imaginary parties, do not assist passively to how the words of anarchists are being emptied from a tension that has always characterised them: thought and dynamite. Others, far more modern and synchronised with this new world dominion is building, go with the flow and enthusiastically jump this train driving to the ovens where dominion is burning all ideas, all critique, all ethics, all desires. Between the first ones and the last ones, we dig a yawning chasm. The ideas we love... we will defend them tooth and nail, until our last breath, against the State, against the authoritarian vermin that believe they can disguise themselves as “anti-authoritarian” revolutionaries, and also against those anarchists who strive for denaturing them by turning them into a pastiche, a pose, an image, a video.

Some anarchists recently provided such a sad fate for a text which was published a few years ago under the title “Archipelago. Affinity, informal organisation and insurrectionary projects”, which aspired to be a contribution to thoughts on affinity, on how it is possibly to organise the anarchist struggle, on the importance of developing a projectuality. Under the title “Affinity. Beyond Friendship”, a “video-collaboration” between and Resonance Audio Distro, a video has been published on a counter-information website and then – unfortunately this does not surprise us anymore – republished on several anarchist websites. In all our optimism that our ideas are irrecoverable, we would never have believed that such a disgusting horror was possible. We were mistaken. It is possible. Nowadays everything goes and all can be turned into publicity, even subversive texts. Cut up into pieces, recited in a frankly exhausting way, adorned with a title which doesn’t mean anything, put some slightly tragical musical tones which are supposed to move the hearts of the poor in spirit as any epic film produced by the engineers of the soul working in the laboratories of mindlessness, supported by a succession of “evocative” images et finally duly certified by the stamp of the producers, this “video” is nothing but yet another production of the gravediggers of subversion.

The fact that all potentially subversive content gets lost with such a “advertisement spot” and corresponds perfectly to the new criteria of “modern communication” is so evident that it seem us superfluous to argument it any further. This video is pestilent and should never have existed. Its only contribution is having exposed the idiocy present amongst anarchists. So, stay far away from our ideas, stay far away of us, do not defile what we love and for which we fight with your rotten paws and putrefied breath: our roads are radically different. If we believed that subversive ideas are irrecoverable because of what they are, we have been mistaken. They will only be such when they are embodied, furiously defended, passionately loved by those to whom they give the strength to continue to storm this dreaded world. Trying to cross this yawning chasm which separates subversive rebels from the producers of advertisement spots and their cohorts of confusion sowers is not only useless, it is also dangerous: you will find us on our side with our daggers drawn.

Some ferocious iconoclasts




So anews is publishing youtube comments now?

Only the most ferocious and iconoclastic YouTube comments displaying comical levels of rage at “posers” and “biters”


Did you ever even draw a dagger at all? A kitchen knife for cooking, perhaps. But a dagger is a solid knife with a long blade, designed for assassination. Speaking of which... have you ever killed someone? What? Not even badly injured some dude!?

I'm not clear on what the criticism of the video is, rather than an objection to its aesthetics, which fair enough, it's a little silly. But other than that the video jibes with my understanding of how anarchists have always talked about affinity.

The text is consistent with that. But the text already existed and was circulating. This critique takes issue with repackaging the text in a shiny package.

Oh I get it. I should probably go back and bone up on my insurrectionism. I'll slip into some SI language and read that the text has been recuperated into a spectacular commodity. That's fair, I can definitely see some merit there, especially since the submedia folks have taken up a lot of insurrectionist language but none of the critique.

I don't know why anarchy world has so much trouble translating fluently. This text was probably initially written in French? Whoever did this probably speaks English and knows that "irrecoverable" is not a word anyone has ever used. The French (or Spanish) word "irrécupérable" could be translated as "unrecuperable" or "that cannot be recuperated".

Or the Ill Will Editions translation of Being in the Zone that I read earlier today, translated the French word "composer" as "compose", which was meaningless in the context, as surely the translator would have known. Why not translate it with a word that means something at all like the meaning in French, like "collaborate" or "work in coalition with"?

In both the cases, having those words actually make sense is key to actually understanding the critiques being put forward. Without it, the content becomes much less clear and the act of translating and publishing them becomes more a sectarian act than a contribution to an international (anarchist) conversation.

Agreed. Not every orthographically near-identical word in French means the same thing as the English. There’s been a couple hundred years of independent linguistic evolution. Google translate blows

The first half of this resonated with me quite a bit. I think you're on to something, but then your text quickly gets confusing. The second half doesn't explain why you are so disgusted with the video. Rather, you just describe your reaction to it, and how disappointed you are.

Some suggestions for writing. I'm giving these because I think you're on to something, and I want to help you elaborate these ideas:

1. Use shorter sentences. Long sentences with many contours and turns can sabotage your ability to make a point. The reader forgets the subject of the sentence. This is especially a concern for internet writing. The reader is especially taunted online by the ever-present ability to click away and look at something else. Try to write in a way that will keep their attention. Don't confuse them

2. Elaborate your critiques. You mention that there is no depth to ideas, and then list anecdotes. All this does is set up a dichotymy between your ideas and the idea-less others. They are likely going to be upset by reading this. That's fine. But unless you explain why their practices are harmful, all you're doing is creating the binary, you v them. I know that I'm usually unhappy when my practices are criticized. But, if there's a compelling idea behind the critique, it'll stick in my mind for a while. Sometimes I'll abandon my old practices because of this.

a tremendous response to the commodification and misinterpretation of insurrectionary anarchist ideas into digestible bites of slick marketing propaganda intended to do the very thing the original text was explicitly not interested in doing and very likely for a very different flavor of anarchy.

with arms and heart, word and pen, dagger and gun, irony and curse…

Heeey rfa, we already bickered about this but I still think this critique and your elaboration are just grumpy old grump noises.

"Damn KIDS with your accessible, contemporary media that takes ANY form other than obscure texts written by grumps for grumps!"

I say, whichever charmer wrote this crap obviously deserves to have the kids steal all their shit, make it in to shitty youtube videos and laugh about it. For their own damn good.

Also, that's a pretty damned loose definition of commodification. Anyway, kisses! Xxx

hey zombie!

i am disappointed at the lack of fart bongs and masturbation in your reply but am flattered the quick response and use of a non-anon handle! #blessed

firstly, there is nothing very "accessible" about the tools/tech required to produce high quality, professional media. we both know this because we both have done it. secondly, you are still misunderstanding my points made in IRC and bringing the butthurt here to ???.… the IRC convo was not regarding this text/response, it was an aside sprung from this response having to do with the idea that anarchist counter-info needed to be as slick and professional as mainsteam media which i objected to and you, oddly, did not. that's all. it was late. perhaps you had low blood sugar?

anyway, let's just hold hands and talk about how we can appeal to the kids and the mass and winning.


So it's "odd" to disagree with you, which constitutes "butthurt"? Sassy old grump!

I just see a clear connection between the reticence to use newer media formats, dismissing it with more-rad-than-thou type rhetoric and the longstanding arguments about the "anarchist ghetto" and/or echo chamber.

Don't think this is confusion, just an actual, relatively respectful, disagree ;)

I've just met waaay too many kids who were influenced by the "slick anarchist media" that you insist we don't need.

the "oddly" was in reference to disagreeing with the topic, not to me. understand?

it also wasn't an objection to using newer media formats nor a contest of "rad-ness." it was a critique against the idea that to dismantle a thing we despise (i assume we both want to do that), "we" have to basically emulate the thing we despise and play by its rules. it's nonsense thinking like this that leads to anarchists voting, running for political office, forming corporations, etc.

and the idea of "influence" here is (perhaps) precisely also what i am saying is being rejected by the original authors especially in the style it's being done in (an emulation of the way the mainstream media does it). also, i would bet that those "kids" were influenced by the actions and less so the way they are being marketed to them by folks (perhaps) with agendas to "influence" the "kids" into ways "we" think they should be.

the media is part of the power structure just like the state, capital, religion, law... and there's no reason to think that "our" counter-info projects need to replicate it to be successful (whatever that means). the media is our enemy and we should treat it as such.

Holy shit, it sounds like you give people a lot more credit than I do! Definitely not about confusion. Let's agree that I'm disagreeing ;)

Voting or becoming a corporation has no chance of doing anything interesting, obviously.

There's quite a bit of circumstantial evidence that broad-appeal anarchist media projects aren't quite as limited as your analogy suggests. The state certainly views it my way, legitimate threat once it reaches a certain size. Look at the fallout from Hamburg as just one recent example.

Hopefully there's no confusion here about me saying there's anything wrong with niche media projects, definitely not saying that.

i think we might still be having different conversations or speaking different languages entirely, especially if your measure of how successful your projects are is based on what the state thinks or the size of it. is the "fallout" of what went down in hamburg an example of great, anarchist success? if so, is it due to the professional production quality of anarchist media surrounding it?

You two crack me up.

There's plenty to be said about media, both private and in the hands of anarchists. It must be handled responsibly for certain, and often it isn't, regardless of its production value.

My first vlog series was shot using a cell phone and no editing. There's great value in low-tech production, and it lowers the barrier to entry. Practice is greater than perfection, and the more we can show quality of content is not the same as the so-called "quality of technology" the better.

As for pulling a comment from YouTube in as News... perhaps I missed the day in class where the manual for news sources was passed around. Last time I attended my take-away was sources could come from a fairly diverse set. I'm probably flunking anyway.

I used to be all about that shoe-string budget @propaganda. Then I decided it was too frustrating which is why I'm even more grateful to those patient souls, rolling that rock up that hill!

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