The Lessons of 2011: Three Theses on Organisation

  • Posted on: 9 June 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="">Mute Magazine</a> - By Rodrigo Nunes

<p><strong>Moving beyond the conceptual polarisation of tight-knit vanguardist parties and loose-tie virtual networks, Rodrigo Nunes sifts the residue of last year’s wave of revolts to produce a more nuanced picture of organisational dynamics in the age of Web 2.0</strong></p>
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<p>2011 was an exceptional year, one which could – hopefully – come to be remembered in the same breath as 1968 and 1848. That being so will depend on whether the coming years will fulfil its promise, making it appear retrospectively as the start of something. Understanding the nature of that promise, and the means by which it can be fulfilled, therefore, are part and parcel of making that happen. A key challenge in this regard is to strip what happened in 2011, as much as possible, from false representations, both negative and positive, created by media coverage and the sometimes misleading reflections of protesters. To try, in other words, to stay as close as possible to what people were and are doing, rather than what they say or are said to be doing.</p></td><td><img title="But in spectacular society isn't what is said also what is being done?" src=""></td></tr></ta...

<p>Negri’s dictum on Lenin – ‘organisation is spontaneity reflecting on itself’ – suggests spontaneity is never simply formless but always already belying <em>some kind</em> of organisation.<a href="#_edn1" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[i]</a> It is a long standing mistake of the ‘organisation’ debate that it takes place as if one should choose between absolute formlessness (‘spontaneous’ movement) or form (the Party). As much as a party, however tightly controlled, will always have some degree of porosity and anomalous deviation, what seems formless always contains its own form, even if mutable and open. The three theses that follow aim to both draw out some of the lessons already implicit in the last year and a half’s struggles and to get closer to what is characteristic of their underlying forms.</p>
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<p><strong>1. It is Possible to Have a Mass Movement Without Mass Organisations</strong></p>
<p>This lesson is not particularly new; it has been known since at least 1968, or since the late 1990s if we are to eschew the classical references. It is nonetheless both worth repeating and phrasing in this way, since attempting to translate the questions thrown up by the present into the language of older debates can offer more of a grip on them than merely insisting on their absolute novelty.</p>
<p>What matters here is not only the extent to which mass organisations (parties, unions – notable exceptions being the strikes in Egypt, and local support by unions in Tunisia) were seen as ‘part of the problem’, or simply not invited, but also the extent to which they were questioned <em>as mass organisations</em>. In the face of a large, heterogeneous, developing, living movement, their mobilising capacity seemed limited by comparison – and the <em>quality</em> of their representation too stale, too ossified, too much of a <em>representation</em> to matter. When masses of people rose up against the representative system and the dearth of real options it offered, unions and parties were widely regarded as representing that system itself, rather than those they notionally represent.</p>
<p>To say this, of course, does not tell us anything about the staying power of the movements that appeared in 2011; whether a choice not to form mass organisations will entail a progressive loss of momentum, or whether forming them will simply be divisive without bringing any gains; nor does it say anything about whether mass organisations <em>as such</em> are an outdated proposition.<a href="#_edn2" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[ii]</a> But it does say something about the state of <em>existing</em> mass organisations, and the potentials that reside in the encounter between widespread discontent and access to technological tools that allow for mass, multi-polar communication. It is, thus, evidently good news: mass organisations are in crisis everywhere (and this includes Latin America, from where I presently write); it is good to know that it is possible to bypass them in order to produce political effects.</p>
<p>It also says something about the crisis of representation, and how it will be a long time until it is solved. Some were quick to point out the ‘failure’ of movements in Tunisia, Egypt and Spain, in the sense that the forces that eventually came to power were not much better than those that were removed. There is a truly bizarre logic in this: if these movements started out by decrying how all essential decisions were outside the scope of representative democracy and all the available options were different shades of the same, to expect to prove them wrong by pointing out that what they got was ultimately a different shade of the same is essentially to corroborate their assertion. This argument can only make sense if one has already accepted the premise these movements reject – that there is no alternative to the ‘there is no alternative’ that they oppose. It fails to acknowledge how they have, from the start, set their sights on a much longer game than can be measured by electoral cycles (and which will demand a lot more from them to be achieved).<a href="#_edn3" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[iii]</a></p>
<p>In regard to the political system as a whole, these movements are exercising – and that is perhaps all they can do at present – what Colectivo Situaciones have called <em>poder destituyente</em>, de-instituent power.<a href="#_edn4" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[iv]</a> They undoubtedly also possess a constituent power whose future and direction is as yet impossible to predict. It may result in new political forms, new mechanisms of representation, new institutions or, at the very least, new organisations. It may result in all of those at once, as was the case in Bolivia in the aftermath of neoliberal crisis. But right now, their main achievable goal is probably that of flushing the system; and not only can this not be done overnight, the sharpening of contradictions in the short term – Spain now has a right wing government elected by 30 percent of the population, while polls indicate that around 70 percent agree with the <em>indignados</em>, who the new government are on a declared collision course with – may lead to just that in the longer run.</p>
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<p><strong>2. Organisation Has Not Disappeared, But Changed</strong></p>
<p>Many have observed how the obvious similarities between 2011 and the alterglobalisation moment went oddly unnoticed among the commentariat. <a href="#_edn5" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[v]</a> In what concerns organisation, there is a double irony in this invisibilisation. On the one hand, the alterglobalisation moment marked the first attempt to elaborate the transformations to organisational practice brought about by new communication technologies, the internet above all. On the other, it already manifested the same <em>tabula rasa</em>, new dawn attitude that some adopt today: new technological conditions have changed the way we organise forever, it is all about connected individuals now, the time of hierarchical organisational forms is over. Therein lies, of course, a third irony: that, as is often the case with the modern attitude of announcing the present as a total break with the past, it appears retrospectively as an anticipation of something then still to come. The ‘new technological conditions’ of ten years ago – mailing lists, camera-less phones and Indymedia! – pale in comparison to the access to the means of production of information that we see today; conversely, today’s ‘total break’ has already been around, in some form, for ten years.</p>
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<p><img alt="" src="/sites/" /></p>
<p>Image: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin</p>
<p>The problem is that different things tend to get mixed up in the discussion, and activist practices associated with older organisational forms – such as ‘factory floor’ or ‘door-to-door’ community organising – are lumped in with the organisational form itself. As a consequence, the argument flits from claiming that <em>some organisational forms are no longer necessary</em> to <em>some forms of activism have become superfluous</em>, and ends up producing a falsified picture of how social media have actually been put to political use.</p>
<p>In a well received article from late 2010 that went on to seem thoroughly debunked by ensuing events, Malcolm Gladwell drew on Mark Granovetter’s groundbreaking work in social network theory to suggest that social media are fabulous tools when it comes to spreading information and fostering low involvement forms of action (‘share’, ‘like’, ‘retweet’, ‘donate’), but are not as good when it comes to developing dependable relations, commitment and what it sometimes takes to really get an action or campaign off the ground. One of that text’s strongest conclusions was that ‘Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice, but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice’.<a href="#_edn6" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[vi]</a> In other words, social media are an excellent medium for weak tie activism, but the development of strong ties requires greater organisational consistency than ‘clicktivism’.<a href="#_edn7" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[vii]</a> As anyone who’s ever organised anything will know, it is sadly not as simple as ‘tweet it and they will come’.<a href="#_edn8" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[viii]</a></p>
<p>My hypothesis is that, rather than contradicting this conclusion, the political use of social media in 2011 highlights a possibility underestimated by Gladwell: that, under certain special conditions, the <em>quantity</em> of connections enabled by social media can indeed produce the <em>quality</em> of stronger ones – a marginal effect that weak ties always possess that is intensified by favourable circumstances, and which we could describe as a general <em>lowering of each individual’s participation threshold</em>.</p>
<p>If one pays attention to how events unfolded, the myth of isolated individuals coming together on the randomly picked date of a Facebook event becomes shaky. Even the instance seemingly closest to the ‘spontaneous uprising’ narrative, Tunisia, is arguably best described as starting with strong ties. Mohamed Bouazizi’s shocking act of self-immolation first galvanised a small circle of friends and family who tried to make sure the information about his death, and the protests that followed, got out of the town of Sidi Bouzid. From then on the story was picked up by Al Jazeera, there was support from the local trade union branch and student groups, and longer-term activists and media critics of the government began to speak (and act) out.<a href="#_edn9" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[ix]</a></p>
<p>The movement, in other words, was not simply from weak ties to strong ties, isolated individuals to strong commitments, the internet to the streets; but (small scale) strong ties to weak ties (more people hearing about what had happened) to strong ties (activist groups and individuals becoming involved on a larger scale) to a broader fringe of weak ties becoming strong ties as things gathered momentum. This is illustrated in the geographical spread; from the countryside to Al Jazeera, then from social media and YouTube to the capital and abroad, where each relay produced not only a greater number of informed people, but also people who became active; and it is not too much to imagine that communication among individuals was taking place not only through media, social or otherwise, but also through meetings and nascent or pre-existing organisations of different kinds.</p>
<p>It is well known that, for years, activist groups in Egypt had had their attempts to channel mass opposition to the Mubarak regime frustrated and repressed. Then the events in Tunisia and the viral spread of information and availability of online mobilising tools provided them with an opportunity that they seized. It is true, someone did create a Facebook event calling for the January 25 ‘Day of Anger’; this someone, however, was no random ‘concerned citizen’, but the admin of a Facebook page (‘We are all Khaled Said’) with over 400,000 followers that had existed for half a year. That admin, the now famous Wael Ghonim, attributes the idea to his collaborator AbdelRahman Mansour and the final decision to a brainstorming session over a month earlier with Ahmed Maher of the April 6 Youth Movement, in which they agreed that the Facebook page would spearhead the call, while the activist group would take care of logistics.<a href="#_edn10" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[x]</a> (April 6 had already mobilised for that date – Police Day – in the past.) And as the idea of a protest on that and subsequent dates caught on, it was worked out and made operational by several other already existing and then sprouting organisations and affinity groups.</p>
<p>The communication that enabled the Arab Spring (or 15M and Occupy) did not simply spread from one individual to the next via social media; in each case, what happened was always a much more complex relay between already established hubs – either ‘strong tie’ groups or communication nodes with a large following and credibility – and a long tail of ties with decreasing intensity, in a sort of ripple effect with many epicentres. If there can be mass movements without mass organisations, it is because social media amplify exponentially the effects of relatively isolated initiatives. But that they do so is not a miraculous phenomenon that can magically bypass quality by producing quantity out of nothing; it requires the relay through hubs and strong tie groups and clusters that can begin to operationally translate ‘chatter’ into action. As that happens, under propitious conditions, the spread of information also aids the development of strong ties down the long tail: once a friend or family member goes to a demo, or you see stirring images of one, you are more likely to go, and so on. So we can only speak of ‘spontaneity’ if we understand the new flows of information and decision making as also being necessarily routed by previously existing networks and organisations and more tightly knit affinities, and thus along the lines of previously given structures that no doubt were transformed in the process; certainly not in the sense of an ideal ‘association of individuals’ who previously existed as individuals only. This is even more explicit in those cases, such as 15M and Occupy, where there was an open, overground organising process prior to things ‘kicking off’.<a href="#_edn11" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xi]</a></p>
<p>Finally, it is interesting to speculate on how the beginnings of both the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions are tied to death and sacrifice, of Mohammed Bouzizi and Khaled Said above all. There is no greater test of commitment, or of the strength of ties, than being ready to die. The relation between years of police abuse and violence, and then the irrepressible resolve demonstrated by protesters in those countries – the way in which the risk of taking action being the highest was turned into the most fundamental ‘strengthener’ of ties: the disposition to die together if necessary, and the solidarity that it creates – seems clear.</p>
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<p><strong>3. The Primary Organisational Form of 2011 was <em>Not</em> the Assembly</strong></p>
<p>At the most evident level, the primary organisational form employed by movements in 2011 was the camp. From the extraordinary example set by Tahrir Square, the model spread to Wisconsin, Israel, Spain (where, however, it was an unplanned outcome of the 15 May demonstration); and then, after Occupy Wall Street (initially devised as a camp) and the 15 October day of global action, to the rest of the world. It was the most powerful meme, which is unsurprising seeing as it provided the most stirring images and, with Egypt, the most captivating victory.</p>
<p>Yet it is important to bear in mind the precise connection between form and goal that made Tahrir into a victorious symbol. For more than simply a meme, it was a tactic that consisted in concentrating the movement in one place with a very concrete, if negative, demand: that Mubarak step down. Even then, it is clear that it would not have managed to achieve its goal had the regime not realised they were losing control of several other parts of the country.</p>
<p>As the camp became a meme, this connection was lost. It is remarkable that the first tweet from @acampadasol – the first Twitter account of the first ‘spontaneous’ (i.e. moving from strong ties to developing strong ties along the weaker intensity long tail) camp in Spain, at Puerta del Sol, Madrid – stated that ‘we shall stay here until we reach an agreement’. Who ‘we’ was, and with whom agreement was to be reached, were things left unstated in the micro-blogging website’s peculiar syntax. By the time it got to the various worldwide ‘Occupy’ that sprung after October 15, this tie was lost. The same can be said about other related memes, such as the ‘human mic’, which started out as a practical solution to a ban on amplification at Zucotti Park in New York, and went on to become a marker of a certain ‘Occupy’ way of doing politics, even where the original impediment that had elicited it did not exist.</p>
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<p><img alt="" src="/sites/" /></p>
<p>Image: Occupy hand gestures</p>
<p>This is not to say that subsequent iterations of the camp meme were in no way tactical; they were, except the tactic was different. In the absence of the clear cut negative demands that existed in Egypt and Wisconsin, what they were doing was not trying to enforce a collectively shared will, but attempting to create the political space in which a collectively shared will <em>could</em> be constructed, so that a social force capable of effecting change through ‘contamination’ and/or enforcement of its will, could appear. In this sense, if their ‘diminishing tactical returns’ resembles what happened to the counter-summit cycle of the alterglobalisation movement, to criticise them without recognising the other, crucial function they exercise – like Badiou, for example, did back in 2003 in regard to counter-summits – amounts to missing what people <em>actually </em>do by virtue of focusing on what they (or the media) <em>say</em> they do.<a href="#_edn12" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xii]</a></p>
<p>The strength of camps such as the ones seen in Spain, Israel and several Occupy sites lay in their provision of a focal point for widespread dissent. They were moments when already existing virtual and non-virtual social networks collided with one another, were reshuffled and given greater consistency by direct contact and co-presence. More than that, they provided a space in principle accessible to all, regardless of any previous experience of activism or insertion into the social networks in which the process had initiated. Finally, they did so while also exposing people to the challenge of sharing a space and its running, which, if it can be rather testing, can lead to the development of stronger ties. In other words, what these later camps did was to act on the <em>conditions of possibility</em> of politics: in the context of profound disempowerment and a severe crisis impacting on highly atomised societies, they functioned as a space where the fabric of relations that one calls ‘the political’ could, at least for those who were there, be partially (re)constituted.</p>
<p>The whole difficulty was that, while they did this, both outsiders and insiders also expected from them concerted political action and clear position taking. They had to <em>grow up in public</em>. All this in a situation whose tactical coordinates were not time bound, with no obvious idea of what that holding on indefinitely entailed, and facing the Herculean (maybe Sisyphean) task of deciding it on the spot with very large numbers of very diverse people.</p>
<p>Much was made of the general assemblies, which is no surprise considering how at once impressive and quaint they looked (cue the <em>de rigueur</em> journalistic remark on hand gestures), but also how they seemed to address the widespread experience of a democratic deficit. One of the most typical comments made by participants speaks of everyone’s ostensible gladness to be given a voice in front of others. And if virtual networks were the original medium for affective spread and contagion, the ‘reshuffling’ enabled by open mic spaces where people could exchange points of view, begin new relationships and get into other networks – let alone the sheer power of discovering commonalities with people one would otherwise never meet – cannot be underestimated.</p>
<p>Yet the very difference in intensity in moving ‘from the internet to the streets’ can produce an overvaluation of the assembly in the face of everything else. During the Arab Spring, Christian Marazzi compared the logics of contagion proper to financial markets and to the events taking place in the Mahgreb.<a href="#_edn13" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xiii]</a> In the former, it is the deficit of information that leads to mimetic behaviour which, in the frantic heights of a speculative bubble, becomes entirely self-referential and incapable of observing any dynamics outside of itself; instead it assumes some (market Big) Other knows something ‘we do not know’. In the latter, an excess of information produces an ‘imitation of oneself’ whose material referent is the very social body. In these terms, the risk that assemblies carry with them could be described as a <em>fetish of presence</em> – of restricting the imitable ‘oneself’ to the assembly itself, losing sight of non-presential affects as well as the ‘others’ of that experience, which in turn is made into a less inclusive, less connected ‘you just had to be there’. This mistakes the immediate, <em>visible </em>body of the mo(ve)ment for the whole of its real one – which is mediate as well as immediate, virtual as well as actual, diffuse as well as concentrated, variable as well as given, and dependent at all times on a complex assemblage of bodies, technological interfaces, words, affects and ideas.</p>
<p>This dynamic can be intensified by the very tendency of the media to represent assemblies as the movement’s core. If, however, we take a step back from the most visible to apprehend the entire process that enabled it and kept it alive, what becomes apparent is that this movement’s key organisational form, while in its own way also open and horizontal, is <em>not</em> the assembly.</p>
<p>We could call it <em>distributed leadership</em>: the possibility, even for previously ‘uncharted’ individuals and groups, to temporarily take on the role of moving things forward by virtue of coming up with courses of action that provide provisional focal points for activity. (I have previously referred to this as ‘diffuse vanguardism’, defining it as the power ‘to ignite large scale effects without any sort of [previously existing or at a proportionally large scale] decision making procedure’.<a href="#_edn14" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xiv]</a>) It applies both to the first outliers, groups or individuals, who started networking towards the mass actions that then developed into camps and assemblies. But equally to all those whose initiatives, by example more than persuasion, by contagion more than argument, managed to cut through deadlocks in decision making processes progressively reduced to the assembly form.</p>
<p>What makes this form of leadership different is the fact that it does not require a previously established ‘leader’ or ‘vanguard’ status (membership numbers, political trajectory, reputation). In fact, one of the key things that, in the present environment, appears to work in favour of an initiative is <em>precisely</em> its being ‘anonymous’ or (to put it in sports language) ‘unseeded’. It is only natural that, the present crisis being to a great extent one of representation, there should be suspicion towards ‘representative’ names.</p>
<p>At the same time, producing an initiative that resonates and gains traction with others usually demands more than just ‘throwing an idea out there’. It implies setting an example to be followed, and thus depends on it being embodied in a group of people who ‘make it happen’. Such seems to be the case with arguably the most important development to take place after the camps – the focus on anti-eviction actions and occupations with a view to providing housing for foreclosure victims. Again, a mediation takes place between strong and weak ties, producing strong ties in the process. But, even at times when the participation threshold is lower, successful new initiatives are likely to be those that offer relatively low entry levels, perhaps increasing in commitment and militancy with time.<a href="#_edn15" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xv]</a></p>
<p>The logic of distributed leadership characteristic of 2011 struggles is that of the ‘leader of the pack’ as described by Deleuze and Guattari in <em>A Thousand Plateaus</em>; and yet, if we read Hegel minus the teleology (the only way to do it today), we will find it is not too distinct from those <em>Werkzeuge </em>of world history, ‘world-historical individuals’. In Catherine Malabou’s felicitous phrase, what we have here is the movement of a changing body/border precipitated by the occurrence of singular initiatives ‘as the cutting edge of excess/overrunning (<em>comme bord de débordement)</em>’.<a href="#_edn16" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xvi]</a> Interestingly, it could be noticed that more optimistic readings of today’s movements, while ostensibly predicated on something like ‘collective intelligence’ rather than history (or Spirit), appear to rely on a surreptitious teleology according to which this intelligence, rather than responding to conjunctural problems with the resources at its disposal at any given time, is in the long run ‘working out’ the solutions for all crises faced today.<a href="#_edn17" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xvii]</a> In a somewhat extreme case of presence fetishism, assemblies and working groups figure as stand-ins for humankind as a whole.</p>
<p>But it would be naïve to think that such leadership, while distributed, is done so evenly. What visualisations of the social media networks behind the likes of Occupy and 15M<a href="#_edn18" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xviii]</a> illustrate is that these networks, like the social ones behind them, possess what is called a <em>scale-free</em> structure.<a href="#_edn19" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xix]</a> That is, their characteristic distribution consists of a large number (or ‘long tail’) of less connected nodes and a small number of hubs with more, more connected and farther nodes. As such, any simplistic ‘levelling’ conceptualisation of horizontality as absolute equality is contradicted by all the available knowledge, mathematical and intuitive, on the structure of this kind of network. (Was this not a variation on the liberal theme of a naturally righteous, free association of individuals, at any rate?)</p>
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<p><img alt="" src="/sites/" /></p>
<p>Image: Mourners hold a picture of 'The martyr: Fadhel Salman al-Matrook' during his funeral procession in Manama, Bahrain, 16 February 2011</p>
<p>Yet this does not make these movements ‘undemocratic’ either. Firstly, it must be noted that the majority of the most important Twitter accounts in these visual representations did not exist just over a year ago. If they acquired their present relevance it was through their being relevant at the time when new connections and a particular kind of traffic among them boomed. This argument can no doubt be extended beyond social media. Secondly, while it is obvious that there is something self-confirming about being a hub – those who have more connections will automatically be heard more – this very self-confirming loop entails dependence on a process of constant legitimation. That is, while distributed leadership is not an ideal ‘free market’ of information, analysis and initiative, but subject to preferential attachment, a hub’s ‘stock’ also fluctuates according to the quality of traffic that it routes and initiatives that it proposes or backs.<a href="#_edn20" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xx]</a> Furthermore, that something is routed by a ‘strong’ source does not necessarily make it ‘catch on’; for every successful initiative there are hundreds that do not ‘take off’. At the same time, one of the things that makes a source strong is the fact that it can draw attention to smaller, less connected nodes, and thus contribute to increasing their visibility and connectivity. Finally, the more connected and excitable the ‘machine-body’of a networked movement – that is, at peak moments in the mobilisation of bodies, affects and virtual connections – the likelier it is for traffic from less connected nodes to be picked up, the quicker and easier the movement from weak to strong ties that an initiative requires to be made effective, and the faster can traffic be rerouted in general.<a href="#_edn21" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xxi]</a></p>
<p>Thus, however counter-intuitive, we could speak of a ‘vanguard’ of these movements, if we understand it as an <em>immanent vanguard</em>, endowed with a power of immanent command. Its capacity to ‘lead’ has to be proven each time, or rather, its status fluctuates much more rapidly. It is only a vanguard to the extent that it ‘works’ – and when it does not, it does not, maybe even in ways that will damage its power to ‘work’ in the future.<a href="#_edn22" name="_ednref" title="" id="_ednref">[xxii]</a> It is a cause that inheres in its effects. Now, it could be argued that this was the only sense in which vanguards ever actually existed historically. But to make this point is tantamount to suggesting that there is no <em>objective </em>ballast to vanguard status – the identification of one having long been the chimera of different strains of Marxism – beyond the effectiveness of its (temporary, localisable, though potentially much wider than its initial context) ‘leadership’.</p>
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<p><strong>Rodrigo Nunes &lt; rgnunes AT &gt; is a PNPD/CAPES post-doctoral researcher in philosophy at PUCRS, Brazil, where he leads the research group Materialismos (</strong><a href=""><...). Ontological day job notwithstanding, he remains involved in different political initiatives, and a member of the <em>Turbulence</em> collective (</strong><a href=""></a><strong>). He occasionally blogs at </strong><a href=""></a.... </strong></p>
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<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn1" title="" id="_edn1">[i]</a> Antonio Negri, <em>Trentratre lezioni su Lenin</em>. Roma: Manifestolibri, 2004, p.42. He continues: ‘Otherwise, it is impotence and defeat trying to justify themselves.’</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn2" title="" id="_edn2">[ii]</a> Just recently, in fact, a group founding members of Democracia Real Ya! decided to start a non-profit association of the same name, allegedly to bypass decision-making paralysis in order to exercise ‘ coordinated pressure’ on institutions. See, Democracia Real Ya se constituye como asociación. <em>El País</em>, 22 April 2012, <a href=" The move was denounced in an official statement that insisted on the original conception of a ‘leaderless coordinated network of individuals that neither can nor should conform to a legal framework’ . See, La ‘Asociación Democracia Real Ya’ no es Democracia Real Ya, <a href="
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn3" title="" id="_edn3">[iii]</a> The same argument can be made about the tiresome discussion on lack of demands: to make demands that can be met means, precisely, that one remains within the scope of the present system; so any ‘real’ demands, i.e., dealing with the real choices foreclosed by the system, will inevitably seem impossible or nonsensical. This does evidently not mean that there cannot be concrete local demands, defensive or offensive, which will be useful focal points, precipitating fights which work as stepping stones for movements – e.g., anti-foreclosure legislation. One should always be careful not to mistake the ‘subjective “rejection”’ of institutions for their ‘actual destruction’. See, V.I. Lenin, <em>‘Left wing’ Communism: An Infantile Disorder</em>, London: Bookmarks 1993, p.73. On demands, see J. Butler, ‘So, What Are the Demands?’, <em>Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy</em> 2, 2012, pp.8-11.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn4" title="" id="_edn4">[iv]</a> See Colectivo Situaciones ‘Disquiet In the Impasse’ <em>Turbulence</em> 5, 2009, <a href=";">http://... <em>19 &amp; 20</em>, <em>Notes for a New Social Protagonism</em>, N. Holdren and S. Touza (trans.), New York/Wivenhoe: Minor Compositions, 2011.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn5" title="" id="_edn5">[v]</a> On the choice of referring to it as ‘moment’ rather than ‘movement’, see my ‘The Global Moment: Seattle, Ten Years On’, in <em>Radical Philosophy </em>159, 2010, <a href="">http://...
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn6" title="" id="_edn6">[vi]</a> M. Gladwell, Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted, <em>New Yorker</em>, October 4, 2010, <a href="
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn7" title="" id="_edn7">[vii]</a> Granovetter defines the strength of a tie as ‘a (probably linear) combination of the amount of time, the emotional intensity, the intimacy (mutual confiding), and the reciprocal services which characterize the tie’. M. Granovetter, ‘The Strength of Weak Ties’, <em>American Journal of Sociology</em>, 78 (6), 1973, p.1361.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn8" title="" id="_edn8">[viii]</a> Not that such widely available intuitive knowledge prevented Kurt Andersen from claiming just that. See K. Andersen, ‘The Protester’, <em>Time</em>, 14 December, 2011 <a href=",29239,2101745_2102...
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn9" title="" id="_edn9">[ix]</a> See, for example, the narratives of how the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ unfolded in: Y. Ryan, ‘How Tunisia’s Revolution Began’, <em>Al Jazeera</em>, 2011 <a href=" P.N. Howard <em>et al,</em> <em>Opening closed regimes: what was the role of social media in the Arab Spring?</em> Working paper of the Project on Information Technology and Political Islam, 2011 <a href="
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn10" title="" id="_edn10">[x]</a> W. Ghonim, <em>Revolution 2.0. A Memoir</em>, London: Fourth Estate, 2012, p.225.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn11" title="" id="_edn11">[xi]</a> A step-by-step explanation of the 15M’s organising process between February and May 2011 was provided by P. Buentes, ‘Como se gestó el 15M?, 2011 <a href=" Good accounts of Occupy Wall Street’s lead-up to Zuccotti Park include: M. Sledge, ‘Reawakening the Radical Imagination: the Origins of Occupy Wall Street’, <em>Huffington Post</em>, 11 October 2011 <a href=" A. Kroll ‘How Occupy Wall Street Really Got Started’, <em>Mother Jones</em>, 17 October, 2011 <a href=" As the former summarises it, ‘[t]he movement didn't get that big simply because AdBusters […] sent out a flashy email promoting it, or because the hacker collective Anonymous flicked out a few tweets. Instead, it took a group of about 200 committed activists 47 days to outline the ground rules that have allowed the protest to flourish’.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn12" title="" id="_edn12">[xii]</a> A. Badiou, ‘Beyond Formalisation. An Interview’, B. Bosteels, and A. Toscano in <em>Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities</em>, 8 (2) 2003, p. 120.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn13" title="" id="_edn13">[xiii]</a> C. Marazzi, ‘Mahgreb e mercati finanziari: la logica del contagio’, in <em>UniNomade</em> 2011 <a href="
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn14" title="" id="_edn14">[xiv]</a> See my ‘Dictionary of Received Ideas (In the Interest of Passing Them On)’, <em>ZNet</em> <a href="
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn15" title="" id="_edn15">[xv]</a> In this regard, see The Free Association, ‘On Fairy Dust and Rupture’, <em>The Free Association</em> 2011, <a href="">http://freelyas...
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn16" title="" id="_edn16">[xvi]</a> C. Malabou, ‘Who’s Afraid of Deleuzian Wolves?’, in <em>Deleuze: A Critical Reader</em>, P. Patton, (ed.), London, Wiley-Blackwell, 1996, p. 221. As Malabou and Juliette Simont have argued, the distance between Deleuze (and Guattari) and Hegel can often be smaller than the former would like to see transpire. See J. Simont, <em>Essai sur la quantité, la qualité, la relation chez Kant, Hegel, Deleuze. </em>Paris: L’Harmattan.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn17" title="" id="_edn17">[xvii]</a> G. Pór, ‘How Revolution Carries Itself Forward By the Working Groups of Occupy’, <em>The Future of Occupy</em>, 2012 <a href="
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn18" title="" id="_edn18">[xviii]</a> M. Lucas, ‘A quién seguir esta primavera? Un estudio en Twitter sobre la Spanish Revolution’, 2012, <a href=";">;</a> O. Marin Miro <em>et al</em>., ‘15 Octubre 2011: mapas de la revolución global en Twitter’, <em>ParadigmaLabs</em> 2011, <a href="
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn19" title="" id="_edn19">[xix]</a> The scale-free model was introduced by physicist Lázlo-Albert Barabási, among others, to refer to the power-law distribution of nodes (and consequent hub/long tail structure) characteristic of most complex networks known to us. See A.L. Barabási; A. Réka, ‘Emergence of Scaling in Random Networks’, <em>Science</em> 286 1999, pp.509-12.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn20" title="" id="_edn20">[xx]</a> Growth (the addition of new nodes over time) and preferential attachment (the tendency of more connected nodes to attract more nodes) are the two basic laws governing the formation of scale-free networks in the model advanced by Barabási and his team.</p>
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn21" title="" id="_edn21">[xxi]</a> R. Sanchéz Cedillo, ‘El 15M como insurreción del cuerpo-máquina’, <em>Universidad Nómada</em>, 2012, <a href="">http://www.univers...
<p><a href="#_ednref" name="_edn22" title="" id="_edn22">[xxii]</a> G. Deleuze &amp; F. Guattari, <em>Mille plateaux</em>, Paris: Minuit 1980, p.46-7: ‘No doubt there is no more equality, no less hierarchy in packs than in masses, but they are not of the same kind. The leader of a pack or band plays move by move, must risk everything in each move, whereas the leader of a group or mass consolidates and capitalises on past gains.’</p>


For those that are not in the know, worker sets about to find the trolliest anarcho blarging and then posts it here to @news to torture us and to rile up the trolls. You can tell when she posts shit and it wasn't a submission from anon or a different namefag because it will say "worker" in the upper left hand corner below the headline.

NO MORE! Overthrow the tyranny of worker the workerist. When worker posts this shiite just ignore it. This means no trolling and no one better be fucking caught reading the articles.

Anarchist news dot org is either a very sophisticated or a very unsophisticated COINTELPRO operation designed to rub in our faces just how shitty US anarchism is. worker works tirelessly to make sure we don't miss any absurdity, academic posturing, or scene drama. Well played.

So you blame the mirror because you're ugly?

no, it's more than that, it's that the mirror is a state conspiracy constructed to make me feel bad about myself!

Yeah, cause they need to spend tax dollars to give anarchists low self esteem.

"either a very sophisticated or a very unsophisticated"



Whoa dude! my favorite sentence in this was: "So we can only speak of ‘spontaneity’ if we understand the new flows of information and decision making as also being necessarily routed by previously existing networks and organisations and more tightly knit affinities, and thus along the lines of previously given structures that no doubt were transformed in the process; certainly not in the sense of an ideal ‘association of individuals’ who previously existed as individuals only."


i thought this article was really interesting. especially this part:

We could call it distributed leadership: the possibility, even for previously ‘uncharted’ individuals and groups, to temporarily take on the role of moving things forward by virtue of coming up with courses of action that provide provisional focal points for activity. (I have previously referred to this as ‘diffuse vanguardism’, defining it as the power ‘to ignite large scale effects without any sort of [previously existing or at a proportionally large scale] decision making procedure’.[xiv]) It applies both to the first outliers, groups or individuals, who started networking towards the mass actions that then developed into camps and assemblies. But equally to all those whose initiatives, by example more than persuasion, by contagion more than argument, managed to cut through deadlocks in decision making processes progressively reduced to the assembly form.

What makes this form of leadership different is the fact that it does not require a previously established ‘leader’ or ‘vanguard’ status (membership numbers, political trajectory, reputation). In fact, one of the key things that, in the present environment, appears to work in favour of an initiative is precisely its being ‘anonymous’ or (to put it in sports language) ‘unseeded’. It is only natural that, the present crisis being to a great extent one of representation, there should be suspicion towards ‘representative’ names.




Yeah and if you need any proof of the significance of this, just look at how desperate all the critics were to define what occupy's demands were. Most of the criticism from the yuppie pundits and politicians (aside from the 60s-era ad hominem) was basically bitching about how we wouldn't define the goals or designate leaders.

The two key ingredients for co-optation, 2nd most important weapon after good ol' force

Exactly anon. look at the pots calling the kettle black ,desperate to discredit by TROLLING en mass for this post because the truth hurts.There were a few things in there that are not quite right but most looking from the outside in. I would point out that the plan was to combine organisations & their causes into one world. If you are a deep thinker you need your mind & a medium to carry ideas. Others pick it up without the sender dialing a number or the names of the organisers. Others pick up sensitive info to verify & evidence dug up from the investigation is shared to the open public & the theories are discussed & consensus or near consensus is reached. Every task undertaken out of personal interest & specialization. Yes the thing was put together by combining organisations, no most activists were independent & had weak connections without credentials. The system works by the validity of the evidence & ideas, not by someones reputation or wealth. We are fed up with the old school bag. We want a refund & we want a new bag. No amount of trolls can influence the final result because the final result will be brought about by the collective wisdom of the masses. 1 of many. Ruler of none. The word ruler will become extinct. Ideas are immortal,once imparted the origin does not matter ,only the result. Idea,discussion,defined theory, additional evidences,refined theory,isolated trial implementation too success & universal implementation after general consensus or if not ,majority vote of the multitudes. Direct democracy.Go have a cry Trolls out there you have already lost.

As anarchists, it only really serves us to take into account the last paragraph of this essay: what is paramount is not only the call for action, but the ability to lead without leading which has become the cornerstone of anarchist strategy (as opposed to tactics). While it was groups as politically benign as Adbusters and Anonymous (the latter of which, while slightly less benign, is nonetheless essentially apolitical in that it only deals in digital power) who called for action, it was the unemployed who made the camps work and the anarchists who worked to get occupiers out of jail, call for demos, and keep things more important than cheerleading or self-promotion.

While this was true in New York, it was even more true in the Bay Area, where anarchist 'leaders' exerted a force in the situation whose quality was more powerful than whatever reactive forces within the 'movement' would seek to contain its creativity, and led to the most provocative and utterly new political activity in the United States since 68, its only rival on the continent being the activity in Montreal surrounding CLASSE.

Anarchists are not what Nunes would call less connected hubs, unless you're on this site to fetishise something you've not yet connected with: we are the force that has been at the center of whatever is going on now much longer than any force - as if 'Occupy' was to begin with a force of its own and not created (at least in the current iteration) by anarchists in the student movement between 2007 and 2011 and later deployed by less radical elements who were studying the tide.

While the social-scientific article here surely indicates some definite tools for use, it focuses on the quantity of force as if it were the arbiter of the quality of force. The quality and quantity of a force do not follow each other as a reactive, causal chain but are the mutual condition of a force's becoming active or reactive (please excuse the jargon). Anarchism (or anarchy, whatever) is the embodiment of an active force not because it possesses greater quantity of numbers, but because it embodies a quality of force which by its very quality is of greater quantity than that force (the State) which it opposes. If the State is a negation of life (power) for the survival of the order of things (status quo), anarchism as the negation of the State is the becoming active of a reactive force. It seeks to complete modernist nihilism by turning negation on the very negative forces of which anarchism is the spawn - hence anarchism as a definitively modern phenomenon.

Anarchism is thus our motor of history, in that it is the crystalization of opposition to the State as the order of things, the space-time of here and now (and then, for that matter) which must be destroyed if we are not to survive, but live. It is not for us to produce a greater 'ripple effect' as if this were shaking the water and waiting for fish, but to continually create an affect whose quality is more powerful in its affirmation of life over survival, of power over subsistence. The very existence of anarchists implies their (our) superiority to the State - why would anarchists exist if the State was not always already a reactive force which sought to limit our power? That we seek to destroy that which seeks to destroy our power, which separates us from what we can do, establishes the dominant quality of our affect.

To promote this affect is in itself a mode of leadership, and it is necessary that it not only be communicated online. It is necessary to tactfully tease out how the dominant quality of opposition to the State embodies each of our relations, all of our relations, and to carefully kindle it until it catches fire. This does not mean presenting as anarchist, but acting as one who seeks in all relations to subvert, undermine, destabilize, and sabotage the existing order of things, the existent, species being, etc.

I honestly have no idea if this rant will be received well, or at all, on @news, but I hope maybe it isn't completely shrouded by philosophy jargon to the point of unintelligibility. If so, it is only a consequence of my inability to employ an everyday vocabulary to the problem at hand, and for that I apologize. Critiques? (I know you got 'em)

'Quality of force'? The 'dominant quality of our affect'? Really? Have you met most of the people who actually practice anarchy in the us? Not to be an asshole, but I don't know whatall this nonsense this.

Anarchy *is* a 'superior' system of ethics. One that is hard to put into practise, therefore it is not a 'popular movement' - trying to turn it into one by making it into a amoral free for all and veneer for right wing libertarianism or new age white power elitism is something I've seen far too often on this site.

And this from someone who really would *love* to see more people putting actual anarchist ethics into practise in this world.

Anarch[ist theory] *is* a "superior" system of ethics. Fixed

"[1]a amoral free for all and [2]veneer for right wing libertarianism or [3]new age white power elitism"

I'll assume you mean [1] OR [2] OR [3] although I'd agree there is nothing moral about right wing libertarianism (they are not mutually exclusive) but libertarianism is not a free for all (it typically dumps problem solving on to market mechanisms which have their own kind of orderliness).

If anarchy-ism is about rejecting the state then [1],[2] or [3] are all valid forms of state rejection (except [2]ists typically want a "minimal" government against foreign invasion and to protect property rights so I'm not sure if your saying they are oreo anarchists, black on the outside and pro-state on the inside or what).

Mass empowerment is not the forte of anarchism (which I'd posit against "elitism" - anarchism can tolerate and perhaps necessitates elitism).

Free for alls are a commonly predicted outcome of statelessness, and seem to happen even when we have states. So I'd say free-for-allers, right wing (anti-state) libertarians and elitist new agers are all valid members of the super-set of state-rejecters. Recently a member of a multi-billion dollar IPO rejected his American citizenship to avoid paying taxes. I'd say that's a kind of "state rejection" even though it was for crass reasons.

"Have you met most of the people who actually practice anarchy in the us?"

How exactly does one practice anarchy? Government, like petroleum and animal products, are suffused in modern life: it governs how to cross a street, income taxes, who can work, whether products can be sold as "organic", and delivers mail (even email, the internets are government sponsored and regulated and recentlyly heavily monitored).

If you mean "keep government out of your life" that is the vegan's dilemma with meat products: only the most obvious forms can be avoided at best.

If you mean, as I think you do, that anarchists tend to be assholes, then I think we'd all be hard put to find people of any stripe who weren't assholes - Mormon assholes, Democrat assholes, Communist assholes and Buddhist assholes all share the meta-category there.

I've met people who espoused anarchy, but the people who seemed to get the most government out of their lives seemed to do so for personal or religious reasons that had often no direct anti-government rationale (i.e. a philosophy or ethic of poverty or simplicity). Anarchists live complicated lives entertwined with government services like the post office, the internet, public libraries, public schools and universities, and the like. If they reject these their alternative is the small shop or (corporate!) non-profit: hardly state free either (I'd argue that they were essentially the white waitress who serves you food so you don't have to see the non-whites sweating in the kitchen who make the food and so force you to confront your racism).

Behind every infoshop and @NEWS there's an infrastructure of capitalism and government regulated and subsidized services. You can't walk down the street without stepping on government paved road. What do?

Just a couple things, I'm typing this on a tiny cell. I disagree with you that 1,2,3 are valid anarch(ism). Sure, they may claim they are anti-state, and can be ushered in among the fighting ranks. But just as the anti-marxist trolls around these parts do not trust the supposed anti-statism of many marxists (and we have much more reason to trust them than 1,2,3), I do not believe that these sorts of groups (right wing libertarians.libertines satanists new age white power hippies etc) are essentially anti-authoritarian. That's' what I mean by "anarchist ethics." Was Marquis de Sade an anarchist? You may disagree with me, fine.

I'm pretty sure I can be called a practicing anarchist. I am an antistate antiauthoritarian illegalist who does not use a bank, credit, nor pay taxes. That's all I'll say on a public site, and yes, of course I am still intertwined with the state in various ways. Nobody's perfect. Yes that's a kind of elitism.lifestylism as well, but not one which seeks to dominate others in the exact same manner the state does. In the near future, unfortunately, I will not be able to say I've taken such a hard line, but this experiment was a success in some ways, despite the attitudes of complete ignorance I've occasionally had to field. And that's what I meant about practi sing anarchism - not that the practicioners are assholes, no. That to do it makes you vulnerable in this world, not part of some race of Supermen. I think anarchists should continue to develop new ways of looking at what strength is, its too easy to accept the state's version (including the states everpresent army of dingleberry subculture footsoldiers). (And I do NOT mean nonviolence).

How exactly is an anti-authoritarian different from an anarchist?

Is this a pop quiz, or are you referring to something I said?

Lol, marxism requires a statist constitution to function in its socio/political paradigm. Where do you platformists define freedom from other than the dimension of individual sovereignty?
All this rhetoric! Strength...Anti-utility yet activistic ethics within a scientific empirical framework.

Someone need to update your hardware drivers Hal.

Not update! So you wnnt me to delete Plato? You must\ admit, he WAS about destroying the institutions?!

No, don't delete Plato just yet.

This the new thang. Why you got to harsh my mellow? I got my own shit, mink.

Listen troll dog I came out of the cave and am superior. Plato, Stirner, Nietzsche, Marx in small doses,,,go away.

This is what I meant; sadists are not anarchists.

No I am not going to "go away". I will comment at a public forum whenever I please.

Deleting my comment about being called a monkey and a dog?

We can look down a few comments and see emile talking about 'angry people in the ghetto'...

Ready for your cage in Pisa?

Sadism is ideological, I have no time for this inverted ethic. Organisation is pain to me. Now will you away from replying to me in a public forum?

You already lost, white power class defender troll. Nice try though.

Of course this sounds like "lunacy" to you - you're a closeminded suburban racist who writes textbooks about "subculture" and thinks juxtapz magazine is the height of art. You LITERALLY are blackmailing and bullying people to secure your fake "superior" credibility. Just like the other nauseating phony racist troll here. Blech, seriously - you are nothing.

Real talk.

*prancing anarchist

Bitter racist troll*

This is exactly the type of remark I expected to receive as criticism of this argument. You are correct that the logic I espoused here of anarchist ethics as an active force by it's negation of the negation that is the state might also be used to interpret the three (unappealing) political positions you attempt to pigeon-hole the argument into. The difference between these and anarchism taken in the most literal sense lies in the idea that anarchism does not attempt to reduce itself to any positive project as if there were in fact some utopian system in which we would all be equal, happy, and free, but continues to aim toward action out of the negative condition that we are not happy, equal, or free.

Concerning the charges of libertarianism and white supremacy, I won't waste keystrokes on these straw man arguments, but the amoral free-for-all situation does raise an important issue. It is clear that anarchism or anarchist ethics constitutes itself through it's opposition to the state as a force, but the essential (and existential) characteristic of this opposition is it's object: the State is not an active but the definitive reactive force. It is the existent law which prevents us from going to the limit of our power, which separates us from what we can do by it's reaction. Imagine, for example, an old Western. The good guy is the State who kills the bad guy who breaks the law. The anarchist would be a third in the duel who seeks not to duel but to subvert the terms of the duel itself and make it impossible. Thus, we can see that anarchism in the strict sense will primarily concern itself with the destruction of the existent law, however, in what way we translate this into action, by which means we seek to destroy the law and whether we create laws ourselves is where we move from the ethical to political questions.

The thrust here is that the superiority of the anarchist reaction to the reaction of the State (and especially it's constituent violence) is not a question of number or matching the violence of the state, but the negation of the law. This is because the state and it's law (not only written, of course) are necessarily symbolic and function as commands (thou shalt not...) which are then executed in (re)action. Thus the superiority of anarchism (the superior quality of its affect) refers to it's opening up of a space for new or potential power against the reactive/negative limits on power that are the State and it's law.

I appreciate that you further explicated your logic here. I am not allowed to talk here without getting called an animal and told to go away, so I'll leave it there for now.

Interesting thoughts. I do agree with the point on "acting as one who seeks in all relations to subvert, undermine, destabilize, and sabotage the existing order of things, the existent, species being, etc." but also that doing such in a way that also presents an anarchist ethic.

The comment immediately following yours brings up a point that there are other forces that could do much the same, but from an ethic that confuses such activity so that if/when the power of the existent is debstabilized, the various groups that benefit from the destabilization of the present order could also be empowered. Such confusing forces could aid in the establishment of a new social order without an ethical foundation from our actions.

Part of our ability to create destabilization is grounded with an inherent belief that another social order is not needed or wanted. There is the thought that with the breakdown of alienated power, people in general would embrace new ways of relating that would be at least somewhat agreeable to anarchists in general and thus not reconstitute old relations.

What is typical when weak states are destabilized and civil unrest spreads is decentralized forces vie for some level of control. This is true of the left as well as the right. In Greece, we see these forces in the current establishment of the Greek state with hardline Marxist-Leninists and fascists holding a level of power as people become polarized. The anarchist momentum here is thought to be most powerful, yet we see Greek society still attempting to rally support for a state that is more powerful than before. Both wings of left and right politics within the present regime represent a totalitarian agenda.

Anarchists would not necessarily represent a third pole in this battle for control. Instead, what can be seen is an anarchist support for the permanent destabilization of the Greek social order where spontaneous organs can present the third pole. One where the state is seen as completely illegitimate and the spontaneous organs perceive their ability to destroy the social order of not just Greek society but also realize that forces outside the Greek politic will continue to intervene should these organs not seek to undermine those forces as well.

For this to happen, the destabilization of the Greek social order must become the destabilization of the international social order and the spreading of the power of the spontaneous organs. These organs also must present the ability to destroy the international social order and thus the existent beyond the sphere of one nation-state. An end to all interventions of the present order, the establishment of the spontaneous organ as paramount and the destruction of all relations of power outside its influence.

The anarchist, during this process, remains firm and ethical rather than broad and vacant of substance. Left nation-states could very well be seen as switching sides. For example, if Europe becomes a force of spontaneous organs with an alliance of African nation-states to defeat the reconstituted powers of capitalism in North America and Asia, the rise of the left nation-state in Europe may very well become itself.

This is, of course, highly speculative. However, the anarchist is an ethical force of action that must remain a force of permanent conflict (i.e. must remain ethical) with the social order at large, thus paving the way for spontaneous organs to both grow beyond borders and destroy what the anarchist helps to destabilize.

Something like that.

Thanks for using my comment to frame yours while delegitimising it.

this article employs a half-assed view of ‘organization’ [‘rational’-only].

organization in nature comes in two complementary forms which have influenced the organization of communities since the beginning of recorded history and before; i.e. ‘one-to-many’ (reservoir-catchment) and ‘many-to-one’ (canal-distributary);

“These two adaptations (reservoir/catchment and canal/distributary) existed in each of the earliest states to varying degrees. It is presumed that the immediate economic organization within a community dependent on catchment runoff reservoirs demanded a community integration that was different and more focused than that defined by outfield canalized plots.”

geometrically, the one-to-many distributary organization associates with ‘runoff’ from convex surfaces [mountains] with the many-to-one catchment organization associates with collective flow on concave surfaces [oceans].

the organization that manifests in tent caterpillar dynamics is impressive in that fruit trees are selectively stripped by the caterpillars, making it appear as if ‘the caterpillars know what they are doing’. however, in the catchment mode of organization, the animating source is not inside the organism but in the landscape the organism is included in. that is, if you have a number of hungry organisms that are free to move about, they will follow the trail of crumbs and develop a swarm where they find the crumb-mother-lode. that is, their nomadic wanderings in search of crumbs will give way to stopping and munching for a long time at a crumb-mother-lode. this is a common form of organization but it is not ‘rationally-driven’ even if it looks like ‘those caterpillars know what they are or doing’, or ‘those ants that swarm around the honey spills know what they are doing’. the ‘swarm’ organization, whether that of caterpillars, ants or disgruntled people, is not driven by rational intention.

migrant workers follow the point at which their next paycheck is going to appear. they swarm onto the fruit plantations [nurturance reservoirs] and strip the trees bare [they only consume a portion of the crop and the plantation masters get the bulk of it].

neo-classical economics is only interested in the rational side of ‘organization’; i.e. the rational aspect of ‘organization’ seen from the point of view of the plantation masters whose focus is ‘production’. they take for granted that if you start a plantation, the workers will come and strip the trees because they are hungry and they follow crumb trails. the authors of this article, like the plantation masters and masters of neo-economics, have similarly reduced their view to the one-sided rational aspect of organization.

anarchist organization cannot be understood from this incomplete, one-sided view of organization, the ‘production side’ which is deliberate and intentional [rational, one-to-many, distributary/hierarchical].

the development of man-made or man-controlled ‘reservoirs’ re-shaped the organization of early communities by it’s inverting of the catchment/collective organization into a canalized distributary system.

“Early cities—especially Roman colonies—were ordered around abundant water supplies made available at a limited number of geographic nodes. To accomplish this focused availability, water was diverted and redirected from hinterland rivers, streams, and springs, forcing a densely concentrated population at the terminus of a masonry channel or large-scale aqueduct. From a bureaucratic state management perspective, many advantages accrued from concentrating people into controlled urban spaces—spaces permitted, in part, by abundant though focused access to water. Furthermore, cities define themselves by the presence of monuments, sometimes ostentatious, including waterworks. Elaborate consumptive water systems take on a prestige value that may overlook functional utility in attempting to elevate an urban elite’s political aspirations and their fascination with appearing central to the organization of a region or state.”

the catchment mode of organization drawing people to ‘the land of milk and honey’ had been a dominant pre-Roman mode of organization as recorded in Biblical accounts. but it was formerly the case that you could enter into a direct relationship with the land-based nurturing source of the milk and honey. that all got changed by those whose schemes succeeded in monopolizing control of the land, converting it to ‘reservoir’ and canalized ‘distribution’ mode, creating an ‘elite’ that milks labour for the honey their labours liberate.

the organization of anarchist actions around the globe is not rationally driven, as rodrigo nunes tries to force fit in this article. like tent caterpillars swarming on fruit trees, people can follow trails of freedom crumbs and these can self-organize into a crumb-mother-lode or ‘swarm’. in the self-organization of river deltas, the originating source of the delta is the catchment basin mode of organization, but in bringing ‘stuff’ together, a distributary mode of organization arises in conjugate relation with the catchment organization.

in nature’s organizational dynamic, one inevitably sees [if one does not restrict one’s view as nunes does] the inevitable-in-natural-organization conjugate relation between outside-inward many-to-one catchment organizing and inside-outward one-to-many distributary organizing. the invention of the ‘reservoir’ that led to ‘nucleation’ of community in Roman times and to the elitist hierarchy of those controlling ‘reservoirs’ and ‘distribution’, has been making socialized life in our culture feel very ‘unnatural’. in this non-rationality-driven spontaneous organizing which we commonly call ‘protest’ [‘protest’ implies a ‘rational’ drive], there is often in evidence [prior to the attack of riot police to break it up] a collective merriment more suggestive of the self-organizing delta, where people, simply by following nutritious crumbs of free association, co-generate a crumb-mother-lode or ‘swarm’ which may develop internal distributary modes of organization [e.g. the ‘occupy village’], this time in conjugate relation with the catchment, rather than being in the hands of a control centre sitting between ‘catchment’ and ‘distribution’ thanks to the ‘reservoir’ or ‘banking’ concept.

nunes tries to discuss ‘organization’ in a purely ‘rational’ sense. it doesn’t fly.

> nunes tries to discuss ‘organization’ in a purely ‘rational’ sense. it doesn’t fly.

i like how you started posting tl;drs to your own word-walls :)

to borrow from galileo, they only look like word-walls to mental pygmies.

OMG Emile! Did you just express yourself succinctly??? I -- didn't -- think -- it -- was -- possible.

it has happened before, but its a rare occurrence.

At times this article completely overlooks the human elements in mutualism.

Not the article, the abstract gibberish posted above. People do tend towards random movements, acts, but they also organize around ideopogical conceptepts, and depending on the emotional health for better or worse, would rather. Basic schemas...

you’re confused about what’s abstract and what’s physical reality when it comes to 'organization'. my discussion of organization is to do with physical reality. the author of the original article’s discussion is not about ‘real’ organization, it is about organization seen as deriving from rational human calculation and implied individual/collective intention, organization in someone’s head. if you want to confuse that for reality, that’s your choice. you can replicate the organization in the dance routines from west-side story on the deck of the titanic even as it sinks and call that 'organization', or, you can choose between the colonizer’s view of organization [the construction of a wonderful new world in america], the aboriginal’s view of organization [the view that what the colonizer calls organization is disorganization] and of course the view of organization of every politician in power in every sovereign state in the world who talks his followers into believing that his plans to ‘organize’ things are ‘realistic’. you know, like the clockworks organization orchestrated by the political leaders of the euro zone etc. etc.

if you want to call the patterns of organization that emerge in association with the attraction of ants or caterpillars or humans to sources of nurturance, including the swarming of homeless to dumpsters “random movements, acts” while what the politicians and academics describe as ‘organization’, like the lines of riot police kettling people in the streets; the incarcerating of those accused of perpetrating increasingly common 'random acts of violence', as ‘real organization’ because it is based on ‘ideological concepts’, ... that’s your choice. it will qualify you as ‘normal’, keep you out of the psyche ward, and let you continue to call crimes in the street, spontaneous mass protests and dumpster diving, even though they are globally emergent behaviours, as ‘random acts', 'DIS-organization that 'disturbs' the productive 'organization' of the social collective.

protecting the 'emotional health' of those that think like you is 'driving a lot of us nuts'.

Most of recorded history & statistics are lies.Manipulated & paid for by the elites directly & indirectly. Catapillars are very different to people. A hive of insects are driven by instinct & basic needs for life, in that respect,humans share that trait but they are more complex. Occupy has been uncovering all the political misnomas, tricks & manipulations.Also This argument that we are not equal is crap. This is an attempt to spread fallacy. We all have our faults but there is no nucleus of command. There is no nucleus. There are ground rules for protest & there are ground rules for a new society which is shared also by Occupy. It made sense that the system could prove itself & was demonstrated through the successes of the movement & people could see it in action because they have problems accepting things unless they see it in action. It is still developing. We are also driven by necessity & that nobody can overide. Since the status quo don`t have an acceptable plan for society because their interests are limited by close proximity to their own benefit &
keeping control. I don`t think culling 80% of planetary populations & destroying half of the world as acceptable.Since they don`t have the answers ,the truth,the science or the talent to achieve societies goals & needs they must step aside. END OF STORY !!!!!!!

i understand your overall drift, which is in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’ and ‘what they are doing wrong’ [the ‘doer-deed world view’ which is itself a problem], but at some point, our inquiry and our ‘way of thinking’ has to get beyond the superficiality of the doer-deed view. it is an expedient measure for those ‘in power’ [EXPEDIENT FOR THOSE IN POWER] to put first priority on eliminating the doer-deed crimes of pissed off ghetto-dwellers, and put second priority [i.e. ignore] the eliminating of ghetto-creating processes.

what’s basically wrong here?

you put your finger on it; there is no NATURAL ‘nucleus of command’. the notion of a ‘nucleus of command’ is a machine-defining abstraction that we invent, ‘we’ who participate in what is called ‘the Western culture’ or ‘authoritarian culture’ since it infects the globe. we invent it and impose it on ourselves and the full population. science even says that there is a nucleus of command inside of each organism, and sovereigntists say there is a nucleus of command inside of each state and economists say there is a nucleus of command inside of each corporate enterprise.

is this ‘true’? if you believe it, you act as if it were true, and that is what we call a ‘belief system’ based on ‘common will’. the notion of a ‘nucleus of command’ is a secularized theological concept. it is monotheism in [thinly veiled] disguise. these ‘common will’ based ‘command nuclei’ are all over the place in the science-worshipping authoritarian culture, but you don’t ‘follow the orders’ of all of them, only those you are a card-carrying member of such as the ones that are ‘in control of the space you are living in’.

authoritarians are proud of their absolutist ‘the buck stops here’ God-like ‘nucleus of command’ power-status’. they don’t want any part of ‘shared leadership’ and ‘learning circles’ [non-nuclear organizing] of anarchistic social organization.

here we are in an ‘anarchist’ forum where one would think that ‘organization’ AS A CONCEPT is something that would come under the greatest scrutiny since the essence of the difference between anarchism and authoritarianism is ORGANIZATION, ... but no, we have authors like nunes and other academics who perpetuate the defining of organization in terms of ‘order’ that derives from an ABSOLUTE NUCLEUS OF COMMAND. that’s what rational thought driven order IS. as rational concepts are hatched and push forth out of these arbitrarily invented command nuclei, whether it be out of the ‘presidency’, the supreme power ‘nucleus of command’ of the sovereign state [there are 190 of them around the globe] or out of the supreme power ‘nucleus of command’ of the corporate enterprise [how many of them are there?] or out of the supreme power ‘nucleus of command’ of the libertarian [authoritarian] individual, ... it is a fucking 'war of machines' wherein people are going to get crushed in the conflict; the passengers farthest from the nucleus, the amorphous mass of bumper car padding, not the drivers and their courtesans.

as emerson says, ‘rationality is a tool that has run away with the workman’.

how stupid is it to accept for our definition of ‘organization’, this ‘nucleus-of-command’ driven form of ‘organization’ that jumpstarts ‘order’ from a multiplicity of local command centres, that puts state in conflict with state, corporate enterprise in conflict with corporate enterprise and individual in conflict with individual? such acceptance leaves ‘natural organization’ in the lurch.

how stupid is it to accept that protests around the world, that are coming from the common need to live in balance and harmony with one another and the habitat, are ‘disturbances’ on the basis that they clash with what we have defined as ‘organization’, this mechanical form of order that issues forth from abstract rational concepts out of notional ‘belief-based’ command nuclei?

is it not stupidity-squared to try to characterize this collection of global protests as ‘organization’ in the same machine terms as are being used for a sovereign state or corporation as academics are doing?

nature is self-organizing, there are innumerable collisions but there is continuous movement towards balance and harmony on the part of the inhabitants between one another and the habitat they jointly, relationally, constitute. such order/organization is not ‘rational’. it does not kick off from a nucleus of command. it is an-archic, or in other words, ‘relational’. it comes from acknowledging that “the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants.” [Mach’s principle is a principle describing ‘organization’ in the ‘relational space’ of nature; i.e. in the physical reality where there are no ‘command nuclei’].

rational, ‘nucleus of command’ driven organization, when it is primary rather than a support tool for natural organization, is a recipe for chaos. we can see it syria [Assad is like Obama, Lincoln, and every other steward of an established ‘nucleus of command’, the only difference is in the relative ‘rigidity’ of his stewardship], we can see this ‘nucleus-of-command-driven chaos’ in the eurozone, we can see it in the lines of riot police. it permeates the globally dominant authoritarian culture whose ‘belief system’ would have us all accept the abstract creating and following of local command nuclei and the corollary of defining all forms of organization that clash with it, ‘disturbance’ that it makes sense to crush, as is the inbuilt ‘ethic’ of ‘the machine’ [aka ‘nucleus-of-command’ directed organization].

so long as we don’t question our definition of ‘organization’, we condemn ourselves to live in chaos.

And fuck you too. What are YOU doing wrong? You know all your "us es" against that one human being that is doing-deed EVERYTHING (conveniently) wrong, and must be punished on sight. Fuck you and your little jealous harpies this has bEen the most disgusting experience of my life "total fiktion"

if one compares the ‘institutionalized vengeance’ that the colonizer culture ‘calls justice’ with the restorative justice of the aboriginal tradition, one can see the clash of two different ways of understanding space and time, which are not ‘mutually exclusive. colonizer justice assumes that the present depends only on the immediate past, as in the differential calculus of mainstream science. thus, the individual who has been abused by the establishment for his lifetime, or perhaps longer if one considers the influence of prior generations of his family who have also been abused, ... if that man strikes back at the ‘colonizer establishment’, the ‘institutionalized vengeance system’ kicks in, which is based on the doer-deed model where one compares the state of the system in the present to the immediate past, and if the difference is that a window that was unbroken in the immediate past, or a police officer’s nose that was unbloodied in the immediate past, is now broken/bloodied, that this ‘time-derivative’ is considered a ‘thing-in-itself’ result that mainstream science, which is the colonizer ‘way of thinking’ , ‘deconstructs’ in terms of ‘local causal agency’.

deconstructing the continuously unfolding social dynamic [living space dynamic] in a local, time-slice based sense allows the investigator to home in on notional ‘causal agents’ that are conveniently deemed fully and solely responsible for a ‘result’. ‘institutionalized vengeance’, the colonizer scheme of justice, compares the causal action [doer-deed action] against a moral code, a list of good and bad deed-doings and punishes the doers of those deeds that violate moral code.

of course, this time-sliced doer-deed approach makes no sense at all to our intuition, because we know that our actions are influenced by what unfolds spatial-relationally, as captured in mach’s principle; i.e. a bully group can make life difficult for ‘others’ in one part of town, or even on a whole continent; e.g. colonizers have bullied aboriginals across the space of continents, if not globally, and the same for whites bullying blacks. this bullying is not necessarily in a doer-deed sense. it is in a ‘relational sense’ “the dynamics of the inhabitants [bullies] are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat at the same time as the dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants”. this ‘conditioning’ is through the webs of spatial-relations amongst things; i.e. one is ‘not welcome’ in certain regions of space that the bullies reserve for themselves; whether this be the plantation bosses dinner table not being welcome to blacks or aboriginals being driven from prime lands. as leonard cohen sings;

everybody knows the deal is rotten, old black joe’s still picking cotton, for your ribbons and bows, ... and everyone knows, .... that’s how it goes, ... and everyone knows

george washington’s budget was eighty percent committed to the ‘indian wars’ to push indians out of the land they had dwelt in for hundreds of generations. the aboriginal inhabitants protested and were simply killed. should washington be tried for crimes against humanity? for sure, but not just washington, the whole bully group, which has never ‘broken up’.

but if the present day icons of virtue in the colonizer culture, such as presidents and bishops are asked to testify in the halls of institutionalized vengeance, and are asked to place their hands on their hearts and to ‘swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’, ... from Barack Obama through the honoured pack to the Queen of England, their forked tongues will slither out from between their lying teeth, limiting the ‘truth’ to some restricted time-slice that fails to include any account of bullying that has been going on for centuries. the icons of virtue of the colonizer culture can hold their hands on their hearts all they want in their vengeance institutions and claim they are ‘telling the whole truth’ but, .... everybody knows the deal is rotten, .... that’s how it goes, ... and everyone knows


our sense of ‘justice’ can come from BOTH the simplistic doer-deed time-slicing reconciled with absolute moral code, AND from the continually unfolding web of spatial-relations in which we are all situationally included. in the latter case, it is mathematically impossible to solve for causal responsibility since this is laundered out via mach’s principle. you can be the victim of exclusion, disopportunization, disenfranchisement and de-voicing, all in a ‘spatial-relational sense’, without ever being able to establish causal offence. it’s like a crowd lining the streets for a parade; the crowd will ‘relationally’ open up for the ‘little ones’ to seep through to the front while excluding the ‘big ones’ from doing so. such selective exclusion can be used by one group to abuse another in a manner which is off the radar screen of the colonizer’s doer-deed based institutionalized vengeance system of justice.

one can respond to this physical reality with two alternative views;

(a) people who are contributing to the abuse of others [such as an entire ‘class’ or ‘race’ of bully-people] who should be prosecuted are not being prosecuted. in this case, if one wants to retain the ‘good’ or ‘evil’ doer-deed judgement, vengeance-oriented system, a revolution is required to purge the ‘abuser class/race’ from the seats of judgement and install the ‘victim class’ in its place, ... and/or,

(b) it is impossible to identify, in terms of causal agents, where the source of a grievance initiates, in a relational space. the entire community must therefore take responsibility for the eruption of the instability/conflict. in this case, a system of justice that orients to restoring balance and harmony in the community is all that ‘makes sense’.

the question has to be asked; ‘who is the administering of justice for?’ the administering of justice via institutionalized vengeance was used in The Treaty of Versailles to ‘punish the germans’ for WWI. many people at the time believed that this would lead to another war in 21 years when the innocents born in germany after being subject to this punishment on the way to their majority, would take their turn at ‘institutionalized vengeance’ [invasion of the european neighbours who had exacted vengeance on newborn innocents.

if the administering of justice is ‘for’ the health and welfare of future generations of innocent-born, then (b) makes more sense. if the administering of justice is ‘for’ the victims, to seek retribution from the abusers, then (a) might make more sense ['might' since it is impossible to identify individual causal responsibility], however, this is definitely going to condemn future generations to exposure to ongoing cycles of violence/conflict, and it is well known that abused children become abusive adults, as in the case of the treaty of versailles and WWII.

"To achieve societies goals"?? Yeah.

You're a fucking idiot.

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