Revolutionary Organizations and Individual Commitment by Frere Dupont

This post is a reprint of a post written by Frere Dupont and originally posted on a particularly bad discussion forum.

1. You don’t have to join anything – set your own terms of engagement with the milieu.

2. Only give that which you feel comfortable giving.

3. Never tolerate moral pressure to participate in ‘actions’. In response to activist holy-joes say, ‘we should do nothing’ to establish different grounds.

4. The revolution does not rest on your conforming to a set ‘consciousness’, so don’t feel bound by orthodoxies or demand it of others.

5. All groups only really survive on the work of one or two individuals, so if you do make any contribution at all you are doing more than most – and always speak as yourself and not as the group.

6. It is possible to be pro-revolutionary and lead a normal life; don’t run away to Brighton; don’t adopt an extremist personality; don’t confuse pop/drug/drop-out culture with revolution.

7. If you try and ‘live’ your politics you will separate yourself further from other people, thereby limiting shared experiences and perspectives.

8. Try and commit yourself for the long term but at a low level intensity, understand that early enthusiasm will fade as everything you do falls on deaf ears and ends in failure.

9. Remember the role of the pro-revolutionary milieu is not to make revolution but to criticise those attempts that claim to be revolutionary – in other words: push those who are politicised towards a prorevolutionary consciousness.

10. Just because in the future you will become disillusioned and burnt out, and you will think prorevolutionaries are tossers, it doesn’t follow that revolution is hopeless.

11. Remember that revolution does away with revolutionaries, it does not canonise them.

12. Begin by criticising all cliques. If you are on a demonstration and you look around and everyone is dressed the same as you and they are all the same age then there is something wrong – expect there to be hidden agendas and personal fiefdoms.

13. Groups should only exist to achieve a stated short-term purpose. All groups that have existed for more than five years have outlived their usefulness.

14. Don’t get sucked into single issue campaigns unless you personally want a particular reform; revolution cannot be conjured from animal rights, legalisation of cannabis, peace, etc.

15. There is a cyclical tendency in groups to ‘build up’ to big anti-capitalist events – resist this, consider why groups are so keen on spectaculars, then think of the day after May Day.

16. When someone makes a statement, think to yourself: who is speaking, what do they really mean – what do they want from me?

17. Many pro-revolutionaries have decent jobs and come from comfortable backgrounds and then lie about it/adopt prole accents, etc. They’ve got a safety net, have you? Don’t give too much.

18. Don’t look for ideological purity, there is no such thing. If it suits you, if you have a reason, then participate all you want as an individual in any reformist political group or institution, so long as you do not attach to it a ‘revolutionary’ importance. Your pro-revolutionary consciousness must be kept separate from all personal and political activity.

19. There is no need to go looking for ‘events’ – they will find you. In this way your effectiveness will be magnified because you will be ready and you will act in a certain way which the people around you can learn from, eg, solidarity, ‘us and them’, and ‘all or nothing’ perspectives, etc.

20. If it helps, think of it this way: you are an agent from the future; you must live a normal life in the circumstances in which you find yourself. Maybe you never talk to anyone about all of what you think but that doesn’t matter because when the situation arises you will be in place to tell everything that is appropriate because that precisely is your (and nobody else’s) role. All the time you are getting ready to make your contribution, one day you will do something, and you have no idea what it is, but it will be important.

John Zerzan Seems to have No fucking Clue what Nihilism Means

We listeners hear Zerzan talk about nihilism all the time on his podcast.

I don’t have a phone – “Because I’m a real motherfuckin’ primmie, bitch!” – (actually I’m just really poor, like my ‘privacy’ [aka freedom], and spend my only money on food and weed) but if I did, I’d be of course so eager to call him up and have him interrupt, talk over, and hang up on me… Anarchy Radio is like a lukewarm SNL skit where someone gives Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus a public radio show, so that they can whine about shooting sprees, whose been naughty and nice, why Ted Kaczynski was awesome, etc. How’s that for analogy?

Anything that triggers him is instantly labeled ‘nihilist’. He goes on and on about ‘the nihilists’, but like that one line from Princess Bride, I don’t think the word means what he thinks it means…

When I pull up the Spotlight on my Mac OS – something which would without doubt surely be worthy of critique from Zerzan already (unfortunately I have no books or oil lamps available) – and type in “nihilism”,there are three definitions given:

– (historical) the doctrine of an extreme Russian revolutionary party c. 1900 which found nothing to approve of in the established social order.

That sounds pretty cool to me. Here is another definition:

– (Philosophy) the belief that nothing in the world has a real existence.

The definition picked up by Zerzan (and angsty teenagers/Spencer’s shoppers everywhere), that of ‘’moral nihilism’, is my least favorite:

– the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

Notice this definition has no listed frame of reference and was thusly probably just made up by some editor of the dictionary, due to popular ignorant knowledge over what nihilism is or was.

Another definition that’s worth mentioning is the English Wikipedia’s, which I’ll paraphrase:

Nihilism is a doctrine of philosophy which implies a lack of belief in any of the putatively meaningful parts of life and ‘reality’.

In a world where capitalism has enslaved everything on Earth, (when humans could have the power to move the very stars if they wanted) the idea that there’s ‘nothing to approve of in the established social order’ sounds pretty fucking good to me!

In fact, confusingly, it’s something Zerzan talks about often in an agreeable manner – that whole ‘being against the establish order’.

As the blog nihilist communism.two wrote in April of this year:

‘The modern American attribution of ‘nihilism’ has almost nothing to do with the Russian nihilist milieu of the 19th Century. American nihilism is a malaise diagnosed in others from symptoms identified as indicative of chronic habituation to environmental stimuli. Russian nihilism is a ‘conscious’ form of being characterised by its repudiation of all given forms of attachment. American nihilism isducible to the individual’s embrace of conditioned immediacy at the expense of all else, whilst Russian nihilism supposes the rejection of the very concept of conditioning.

This distinction takes us so far and no further. In practice, American nihilism is defined and interpreted by media commentators and does not exist on its own terms. And the Russian nihilists…in their attempts to effect a detachment from the bad objects of religion, family, state and class only succeeded in re-attaching themselves to the ideal object of ‘material forces’.’

The blog also mentions what’s often referred to as ‘metaphysical nihilism’. In their own words, they posit that ‘the world is a produced world’. There is also ‘epistemological nihilism’, closely related to ‘anti-‘, or ‘post-‘positivism — the idea that all knowledge and ‘truth’ itself cannot be confirmed as true. Then there is ‘compositional’ or ’mereological nihilism’; according to Wiki, this ‘is the position that objects with proper parts do not exist…only basic building blocks without parts exist, and thus the world we see and experience full of objects with parts is a product of human misperception’.

If you didn’t make it through all that, there is another part of the nihilist communism.two blog which might shine some light and add some context:

’In lurches and flashes I recognise both my disconnection from, and integration within, social production. I am in no position to contribute to, participate in, or take control over the processes that form me. I am in no position to prevent, slow down, or halt the environment that constrains and uses me. I am a character, not an actor. Sometimes, as in a dream, I become aware that my presence, my behaviour, my words are written and directed from elsewhere. Sometimes, I become sufficiently aware of the field of my determinations and I make inky scratches upon myself as a reminder of my vanities. The condition of my defeat, which is also a mode of minimal preservation, and which I permanently inhabit, appears as a frozen act of self-interruption, or a prolonged stay of execution. I am stopped here, at some border and I will not cross it. Nor will I turn back. I seem to have been waiting for a very long time for the world to close over me.’

TL;DR; Zerzan would be a lot more effective if he didn’t ignorantly abuse the word ’nihilism’, or if at the very least he was more genuine about his reasons for the abuse. In general, the show also tends to sound like a broken record, but that’s a whole ’nother ball game…

In the end I see him, Kathleen(sp?) and Anarchy Radio providing something very positive and critical. I would hope they accept this critique in good humor. All the best.

A Few Notes on the Alienation of Activism

“The Revolutionist is a doomed man. He has no private interests, no affairs, sentiments, ties, property nor even a name of his own. His entire being is devoured by one purpose, one thought, one passion – the revolution.”

– Sergey Nechayev

Seems smooth-tongued enough! But the value of these words lie in the irony (tragedy?) wholly absent from their original delivery and birth.

For whatever reason, pro-revolutionary circles attract certain particular individuals who tend to possess high tolerances to boredom, pain and abuse. Some relish in their own misery (and too often in that of their partners and comrades). In short, “masochists” of many kinds — although many are un-self-aware of their own propensities.

I myself was one of those and had surrounded myself with some; exploring this past further, I hope to continue remedying those mistakes. But as much as this is a singular matter of an abstracted, atomized individual (yes, me, but also others), what greater reproducer of activists exists aside from the ubiquitous revolutionary organization?

“Work, work, work, work, work”, like the Drake and Rihanna song. Forty hours and a boss apparently aren’t enough.

There’s no denying most who engage in activist “efforts” are doing so on some level because they enjoy it. The type who “like politics and history and shit”. When things in their specific social environment “trigger” the activist, when they blatantly swagger across their individually-defined boundaries, or when it becomes trendy again to demonstrate openly, the activist whines out in response. It’s cathartic. It’s rebellious.

The activist operates from the shadows; they maintain a proper level of paranoia; they keep private schemes and contrivances, hide agendas and ulterior motives. Any demonstrations of force mustered up by political gangs in response to whatever event(s) are only indirect reflexes, lifted from the playbooks of old-ass fuckin’ dogmatic-ass Victorian political formulas.

Like that scene from the (racist and historically revisionist shit pile) movie, The Sandlot, all it takes to provoke huge portions of the working class into pointless and costly skirmishes is for a member of the bourgeoisie to strut onto our turf in their shiny outfits and tell us that “We play ball like a girl!” (So what?)

Unlike the cat who bites when its tail’s been stomped, the activist telegraphs empty reactions; the activist opts for charades on the home field of the bourgeoisie; the activist competes against what are mere mirages, their meagre opponents are but trifling ghastly whisps of capital’s subsumption.

Yet in some ways, playing the role of activist serves as an anchor for those “in between”; the student, the teacher, the petty bourgeois, the unemployed; the guilt ridden, the addict, the creep, the abuser; the former worker who left two decades at the plant or company and started their own business. The number of anarchists and communists with full-time jobs in essential sectors of capitalism are the top-percentile.

The languish of “doing something”, “doing it” and that empty meme of an inquiry, exhaustively formulated over and again: “what should we do?”, these are symptoms of a behavior complex often associated with pointlessly hosting Skype calls whereby ancient men, sometimes of modern Gaul, lecture younger activists to no end with no room for interjection. They oversee the promulgation of papers which tend to be more useful as kleenex than for intellectual digestion – hoping for personal growth from this regressive feedback loop is a joke. And where revolutionary organizations aren’t busy proselytizing, “radical” and “extremist” individuals are out smashing windows, setting trashcans on fire and hurling harmless projectiles just like the doctor ordered.

The activist is a person without an organic community to use as a springboard, and most don’t attempt to foster and cultivate one. To escape and avoid the realities and stress of maintaining anarchist and communist positions in the fleeting moments of everyday life, they seek out leftist social clubs to scratch their itch for revolution.

They are unable to escape the deep isolation of “late” capitalism. (Like the peasants from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, you can hear capitalism croak: “I’m not dead, yet!”)

The activist is likely to ignore their own concrete problems as a basis for resistance to the status quo. From this inability to properly address questions of organization, eventual retreat into atomized circles of personal support (or lack thereof) is guaranteed when one’s “just had enough”.

Part of this originates atop the pedestal the activist proudly places themself upon. The fake credibility that comes with bolstering yourself as “conscious”, “enlightened”, and more recently “woke” – as “secretions” which allegedly constitute the crem of the working class – it’s all just an authoritarian personality pageant; a contentious search for the champion strongman. This is the primordial ooze from which leaders and hierarchies emerge.

There is a refusal to confess, or even acknowledge, the subjective life experiences of the activist. It’s like the marxist code of Bushido. “It’s perfect scientific socialism. How dare the one to question it? You must honor these holy traditions until a new world is won.” Activists portray themselves as a different species altogether from workers who don’t attend leftist protests regularly.

Yeah, well – fuck that jazz. I’m gonna play my trumpet how I wanna play it. Life is a painting and the life-world our canvas.

“The less you eat, drink and read PDFs; the less you go to the movies, the club, the bar; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, train MMA, etc., the more you save – the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour – your capital. The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life – the greater is the store of your estranged being.”

– Karl Marx

These thoughts were informed mostly by the following writings:

Le Militantisme Stade Supreme De L’alienation, published in France in 1972 by the Organisation des Jeunes Travailleurs Révolutionnaires (OJTR)

Why does nihilist communism object to activism?, published in April 2017 by the nihilist communism.two blog (https://nihcom.blogspot.com.au)