To Our Friends (Semiotext(e) / Intervention Series)
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The Invisible Committee's The Coming Insurrection was a phenomenon, celebrated in some quarters and inveighed against in others, publicized in media that ranged from campus bulletin boards to Fox News. Seven years later, The Invisible Committee follows up their premonitory manifesto with a new book, To Our Friends.
From The Invisible Committee:
In 2007 we published The Coming Insurrection in France. It must be acknowledged that a number of assertions by the Invisible Committee have since been confirmed, starting with the first and most essential: the sensational return of the insurrectionary phenomenon. Who would have bet a kopeck, seven years ago, on the overthrow of Ben Ali or Mubarak through street action, on the revolt of young people in Quebec, on the political awakening of Brazil, on the fires set French-style in the English or Swedish banlieues , on the creation of an insurrectionary commune in the very heart of Istanbul, on a movement of plaza occupations in the United States, or on the rebellion that spread throughout Greece in December of 2008?
During the seven years that separate The Coming Insurrection from To Our Friends , the agents of the Invisible Committee have continued to fight, to organize, to transport themselves to the four corners of the world, to wherever the fires were lit, and to debate with comrades of every tendency and every country. Thus To Our Friends is written at the experiential level, in connection with that general movement. Its words issue from the turmoil and are addressed to those who still believe sufficiently in life to fight as a consequence.
To Our Friends is a report on the state of the world and of the movement, a piece of writing that's essentially strategic and openly partisan. Its political ambition is immodest: to produce a shared understanding of the epoch, in spite of the extreme confusion of the present.
is the trend now in most sectors of industry in the West. The classic worker could be gloriously imagined as the Producer; here the relationship between labour and production is simply inverted. There is work only when production stops, when a malfunction gets in the way. The Marxists can stick to their day jobs: the process of commodity valorization, from extraction to the pump, coincides with the process of circulation, which itself coincides with the process of production. It depends in real
perceiving a mass of tanks and of pinpointing potential targets, but of understanding social milieus, behaviors, psychologies. It’s a matter of influencing human intentions through a selective and appropriate application of force. […] Military actions are truly “a manner of speaking”: henceforth, every major operation is above all a communication operation whose every act, even a minor act, speaks louder than words. […] To wage war is first and foremost to manage perceptions, those of the set of
era can be reduced ultimately to this struggle, this race, between the possibility of insurrection and the partisans of counter-insurrection. Moreover, this is what the rare outburst of political chattering triggered in the West by the “Arab revolutions” served to mask. To mask, for example, the fact that cutting off all communication in the working-class areas, as Mubarak did at the start of the uprising, was not just the impulsive act of an addled dictator, but a strict application of the NATO
experience the wild and the unfamiliar.” The degree of likelihood of such scenarios matters little. What counts here is that those claiming to combine future-projection and an action strategy assume the demise of the former society from the outset. The overall dynamic of selection contrasts in every particular with the old dialectic of integration, of which social struggles were a moment. The partition between productive territories on one side and distressed territories on the other, between
struggle, the combat itself creates the consistency of the local, which prior to that was perfectly evanescent. “The movement was not satisfied with defending a ‘territory’ in the state it found itself in, but inhabited it with thoughts of what it could become […] It made it exist, constructed it, gave it a consistency,” note some opponents of the TAV. Furio Jesi observed that “one gets a better sense of the city during a time of open revolt, with its alternation of charges and counter-charges,