A long time ago, on a vast plateau in central France, I was helping some friends build a wooden house. The spring of 2013 had just arrived, the air was getting warm, and the snow from a few weeks earlier had been replaced by rain. We were in the middle of digging holes for the foundation but thwarted by large chunks of pure granite. In between sessions with the jack-hammer, we’d swing our picks and chip away at the crumbling boulders buried beneath the wet earth. We talked about many things while we worked and eventually reached the subject of contemporary nihilism. All of us had been critiqued by nihilists for a variety of reasons with our efforts labeled as social, liberal, positivist, or reformist. In particular, my French friends had been accused of “entering retirement” with their cabins on the plateau. Just as this fact was relayed to me, the clouds broke open and allowed the sunlight to hit our faces. Before anyone could speak, two rainbows appeared no more than twenty feet away, towering over our holes in the ground. All we could do was laugh in joy, because these things don’t just happen. Shortly after this, we began to discuss the Imaginary Party and its implications for the future of struggle.
Last Tuesday morning, March 20th, 5 people with ski masks, armed with baseball bats and pepper spray entered a squat on the ZAD. They beat the people present, and took one of them, hogtied, with duct tape over his eyes and mouth. They put him in the trunk of a car and left. Further on, they beat him again, breaking an arm and a leg, before abandoning him on the sidewalk in front of the psychiatric hospital.
French judges have acquitted eight people accused of being part of an anarchist group that attempted to sabotage part of France’s high-speed rail network a decade ago, ruling that the group itself had been a “fiction”.
With this post, we begin the translation into english of the Invisible Committee’s most recent essay, Maintenant/Now (following on The Coming Insurrection and To Our Friends) . And we do so because of the importance that we attribute, and have attributed, to their ongoing reflections on/interventions in our world.
From Little Black Cart
A lot has changed in the past quarter. The heat of summer finally abated and the El Nino rains have begun! There has been a noticeable downtick in drama around these parts and the fourth annual East Bay Book & Conversation Event went swimmingly. We are very proud of the titles we have to offer you this quarter and look forward to your feedback.
Much ado was made, a decade or so ago, about a book that criticized “the milieu” as being a place where a “civil war” was going on, with no useful outcome possible. It proposed abandoning the milieu, and returning to friendship itself as the place to do political work. Clearly this is a framing exercise since most people we know do the bulk of their “political work” in exactly the same social circles they inhabited before and after the so-called milieu became indicted for their lack of success.