After seven and a half years of pre-trial hearings and thousands of pages of disclosure, after fifteen people had their homes searched, were arrested, followed, eavesdropped on, filmed, interrogated, incarcerated, placed on house arrest, and kept under various bail conditions for seven years, the state and the justice system will finally take only four people to trial on June 23 2017 in Paris.
What follows is an exercise in the sharing of ideas, of visions. The most recent essay by the invisible committee, Now, continues a reflection-intervention that began with The Coming Insurrection and To Our Friends, and offers a powerful critique of contemporary politics, along with a defense of “autonomy”. What is proposed here then is a partial summary, and occasionally a commentary and exemplification, or simply a montage, of some of the ideas that animate their vision of our times.
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.
On May Day 2017, massive demonstrations against capitalism and state violence took place in Paris, France. Afterwards, sensationalistic footage circulated around the world of police being attacked with Molotov cocktails. Yet these video clips do not show the larger context. They do not show the intensifying police repression of French society as a whole, nor the police attacks that provoked such desperate acts of self-defense. In this report from France, our Parisian correspondents describe the events of the day and offer more background on the clashes.
I don't vote. Because I don't want to choose a master, to choose who will decide in my place what's right for me, who will force me to respect their choices, who will present those choices as my own. I don't want the majority to determine the conditions of my servitude, I don't want to the cattle to build the fences that enclose them and select those who will rule over me as well, regardless of what I think.
I don't vote because I don't want the world they force on us. I don't recognize the idea of the nation, of peoples, or of citizenship, because states always manage to construct identities that give the illusion of a unified population. My nationality, the language I speak, and the colour of my skin in no way determine who I am, and I don't recognize the borders of the state in which chance saw me born. In the same way, I don't want to hear about any “common good”, because I don't want to be part of any community – I don't want to be bound to anyone and I want to choose those with whom I build my life.
Two texts from issue 9 of the anarchist broadsheet Paris Sous Tension, published this week, responding to the ongoing French electoral circus.
Everyone knows the results of the first round of the presidential elections. For us, this isn't what matters. That millions of people still bother to go vote shows that we are still living in a society largely made up of obedient citizens and not, alas, of free individuals. But how could this surprise us when we know of the whole range of institutions – starting with school – that continue, year after year, to reproduce such creatures. That a majority of them gave their support to an ex-banker (a veritable messiah of the coming capitalism) and to a disgrace (a populist demagogue who plays on the hatred and resentment that drives so many of our contemporaries) reminds us that we truly have no hope of sharing anything with such people. And sadly, it shows where resignation, everyone-for-themselves, identification with the national community, the abandonment of all hope of revolution, and the erasure of historical memory can lead. Nothing surprising. But let's leave the pessimism for later.
From Ill Will editions
A quick and dirty English translation of a review of The Invisible Committee’s Now from yesterday’s Le Monde. Along with an interview with Julien Coupat and Mathieu Burnel with Le Monde.
A report from France
It appears that the French Republic is reaching a tipping point, a fundamental break with the way that rule has functioned here for three decades. Everything indicates that the political legitimization of racism and violent policing must either lead to tyranny or provoke an uprising. These two forces—tyranny and revolt—define the moment we are experiencing in France today. The confrontation is now permanent. In the following report, the second installment in our series leading up to the French elections, we explore these developments and the prospects for revolutionary movements in France.