by Hakim Bey
1. JIHADWhen two set out to dine or duel together a third appears -- tertium quid, parasite, witness, prophet, escapee. [see M.Serres, Hermes.]
Five years ago it still remained possible to occupy a third position in the world, a neither/nor of refusal or slyness, a realm outside the dialectic -- even a space of withdrawal; -- disappearance as will to power.
But now there is only one world -- triumphant "end of History", end of the unbearable pain of imagination -- actually an apotheosis of cybernetic Social Darwinism. Money decrees itself a law of Nature, and demands absolute liberty. Completely spiritualized, freed from its outworn body (mere production), circulating toward infinity & instantaneity in a gnostic numisphere far above Earth, money alone will define consciousness. The 20th century ended five years ago; this is the millenium. Where there is no second, no opposition, there can be no third, no neither/nor. So the choice remains: -- either we accept ourselves as the "last humans", or else we accept ourselves as the opposition. (Either automonotony -- or autonomy.) All positions of withdrawal must be re-considered from a point of view based on new strategic demands. In a sense, we're cornered. As the oldtime ideologues would have said, our situation is "objectively pre-revolutionary" again. Beyond the temporary autonomous zone, beyond the insurrection, there is the necessary revolution -- the "jihad."
2. SAMENESS21st century money is a chaos -- while 20th century ideology was merely an entropy. Both bourgeois & anti-bourgeois thought proposed a single world -- unified in consciousness by science -- but money alone will actually achieve that world.
Money is not migratory, for the nomad moves from place to place while money moves from time to time, obliterating space. Money is not a rhizome but a chaos, an interdimensionality, inorganic but reproductive [infinite regressive bifurcation] -- the sexuality of the dead.
"Capital," then, must be considered a "strange attractor." Perhaps the very mathematics of this money ("out of control") could already be traced in such esoteric webs as SWIFT, the private internet for banks and arbitrage houses, where a trillion dollars a day disports itself in cyberspace (and less than 5% of it refers even obliquely to actual production).
The one world can deal with "chaos," but it reduces all true complexity to sameness & separation. Consciousness itself "enters into representation"; lived experience which demands presence must be denied lest it threaten to constitute another world beyond enclosure. In a heaven of imagery there persists only the afterlife of the screen, the gnostic stargate, the glass of disembodiment. Infinitely the same within an infinity of enclosures; infinitely connected yet infinitely alone. Immeasurable identity of desire, immeasurable distance of realization.
3. MANAGEMENT OF DESIRESThe one world cannot package pleasure itself but only its image; malign hermeticism, a kind of baraka in reverse, the event horizon or terminal of desire. The "spirituality of pleasure" lies precisely in a presence that cannot be represented without disappearing; -- inexpressible, unimpeachable, possible only in that "economy of the gift" that always exists (or is always re-invented) beneath the orthodoxy and paralysis of exchange. Desire is defined here as movement along such a trajectory -- not as the itch that money can scratch.
Radical theory has recently developed a problematic of desire based on the perception that Capital is concerned with desire and able to satisfy it. Desire therefore is selfish and reactionary. But Benjamin has already shown that Capital's concern is precisely not to satisfy desire (i.e. to provide pleasure) but to exacerbate longing through the device of the "utopian trace" (the metaphysical shenanigans of the commodity, to paraphrase Marx). To say that capital liberates desire is a semantic absurdity based on a "mistranslation": -- Capital liberates itself by enslaving desire. Fourier claimed that the twelve Passions -- unrepressed -- constitute the only possible basis for social Harmony. We may not follow his numerology, but we catch his drift.
Against the negative hermetism of the one world and its sham carnality, opposition proposes a gnosis of its own, a dialogics of presence, the pleasure of overcoming the representation of pleasure -- a kind of touchstone. Not censorship, not management of the image, but the reverse -- the liberation of the imagination from the empire of the image, from its overbearing omnipresence and singularity. The image alone is tasteless, like a bioindustrial tomato or pear -- odorless as civilization itself, our "society of safety", our culture of mere survival. Ours is partly a struggle against colonial hearing & imperial gaze, and for smell, touch, taste -- and for the "third eye".
If desire has disappeared into its representations then it must be rescued. Silence & secrecy are demanded, even a veiling of the image -- ultimately a reenchantment of the forbidden. Only an eros that moves toward escape from enclosure within the banality of the image (and here, consciousness scarcely matters) can harmonize with the aesthetic of the jihad; whether it be expressed in conventional or unconventional roles or acts seems almost irrelevant.
Sexuality itself can be considered entheogenic -- like the "sacred plants", it can provide not only cognitive structure but also imaginal content. The festal for us is at least a "serious joke" [an old definition of alchemy] if not a ritual necessity. "Enlightenment" is also a material bodily principle -- and our secret is that our project need not be built exclusively on Nietzsche's nothing.
4. GREEN SHADEWild(er)ness stands for this very irreducibility of desire. The elimination of the non-human invokes the elimination of the human; culture can only be defined in relation to what it is not. Herein lies the profundity of paganism; in Islam, green is a heraldic color because "water, greenery & a beautiful face" (as the Prophet said) are ontologically privileged in experience -- and are in fact the basis of the esoteric rejection of sameness & separation -- the divine as difference, immanent & immediate -- not only in "Nature" but even in the garden or city as spontaneous organic crystallization of life's desire for itself. Perhaps all "real" wilderness has been disappeared into a cartomantic management of desires -- after all, the one world knows no other -- but if so, then its spectre haunts that world. It can be called back; it can be restored.
If Nature is de-natured in mediation's murderous museological gaze and if "everything" is mediated (even "direct sensory perception"), then how can we speak of restoration or of "immediacy"? First, because (in another manner of speaking) not everything has "entered into representation". The claim of the one world to its oneness is of course spurious -- there persists by definition an outside to every enclosure in representation; not to mention a liminality around every border, an area of ambiguity. Oneness represents itself as invulnerable -- but its weakness is revealed precisely in the moment of our perception that it is not reflected in lived experience; it shows itself in dislocation, hollowness, boredom, immiseration -- this moment might constitute the "rending of the veil" that would allow a glimpse of the future, or at least of our desire for the future.
Second: we can speak here of restoration because not even every representation subsumed or produced within the enclosure of oneness can be considered effective in the service of repression. Language itself is haunted by the (sometimes unintentional) poetics of its own self-overcoming, by the subversive, the "eruption of the marvellous". Life seems to conspire with this outsideness, such that even representation finally escapes representation.
5. CASHGreen is made to symbolize the damned fertility of money, its contranatural fecundity -- the alchemy of expropriation, the infinite weight of the privileged & Masonic gaze. In transcending its own textuality it becomes pure representation; from the very beginning however, from the first clay tokens or coins of electrum, money was already nothing but debt, nothing but absence.
Money "itself" retains a certain innocence as a simple medium of exchange -- "poor" money, so to speak, stripped of interest in sheer circulation. At this level money might play its role even in the temporary autonomous zone; in relation to the jihad however money remains and must be considered under the sign of Capital as the measure of expropriation and the basic mytheme of separation.
And as money transcends its textuality in virtuality, interest can be extracted from each transaction, each disturbance of the aether; -- "poor" money gives way to "pure" money. Who benefits?
The global machinery will never fall ripely into the hands of the insurgent masses, nor will its single Eye pass to the people (as if to one of three blind Fates); there will be no transition, smooth or bumpy, between Capitalism & some economic utopia, some miraculous salvation for the unified consciousness of post Enlightenment rationalism & universal culture (with cozy corners for eccentric survivals & touristic bliss) -- no Social Democracy taking over the controls in the name of the people. The "money-power" (as the old agrarians called it) is not in the power of an elite (whether conspiratorial or sociological) -- rather the elite is in the power of money, like the hired human lackeys of some sci-fi AI entity in cyberspace. Money-power is the global machinery -- it can only be dismantled, not inherited. Will some sort of theoretical limit appear in the numisphere, so that the bubble bursts "on its own" as it were? Is Capitalism headed for the last round-up & final crisis to end all crises, or will it find a way to deal with & even profit by any "limits to growth" or chaotic perturbations within its closed atmosphere of suffocation? [Stay Tuned.] In any case (to evoke Gustav Landauer) there is no "historical inevitability" about a revolution reborn in the very moment of Capital's triumphant closure of the dialectic.
[In one sense Capitalism seems to become "inevitable" in the invention of scarcity -- the first moment of expropriation. But where precisely is this moment to be located? Agriculture is a great long-drawn-out crisis -- but many horticultural-tribal societies remain as staunchly non-authoritarian & gift-oriented as the purest hunter/gatherers. Ancient hierarchic states (Sumer, Egypt, Shang China, etc.) and even feudalism still retain economies of reciprocity & redistribution; -- the Market, as "predicted" by Classical Economics, simply fails to appear (see Karl Polyani). Moreover, every threat of its emergence is met with prescient resistance (as Clastres might have predicted): -- separation & expropriation never go uncontested, and thus never appear in their absolute form. There exists in fact no natural law of circulation & exchange, no historical fatality, no destined atomicity of the social, and no unified world of representation. Capitalism exists -- but not alone; revolution is its other. And vice versa.]
There is never a correct moment for declaring oneself in a state of rebellion. Perennial heretics, we have already made our choices -- as if in some previous incarnation, or in some mythic time out of time, as if everything rethinks itself in us or without us, and refusal were a kind of tepid pre-death, a resignation in morbidity. There is for us no return to innocence in the ecstasy of 600 channels, some dating back to the so-called "Fall of the Roman Empire" or even the early Neolithic. The very first emergences of separation in the earliest forms of money & the State created for us a tradition now some 10,000 years old -- ultimately it doesn't matter whether "this is the crisis" or not. We would still choose.
6. ASSAULT ON THE SCREENThe media of sameness & separation represent the one world in its most religious form -- the structuring of the social in images. Mere consciousness of this process cannot overcome it -- opposition must also take a religious form in a reenchantment of counter-imagery; here one might speak of a rationalism of the marvellous. The only way to evade mere reaction (and thus subsumption into the image) would seem to lie in "sacralizing" our struggle against sameness & separation; -- but only failure could induce us to accept the term "Romanticism" as critique (or praise) of our proposal.
Five years ago the media of sameness & separation attained much the same freedom & autonomy as the medium of money itself. Thus they shifted their emphasis from mere suppression to realization and to the "interdisciplinary" boundary-breaking amalgamation of all modes of representation (from education to advertizing) into a single "polysemic" catastrophe of form: -- the body slumped before the screen, all corporeality reduced to a darkness given shape only by light from the gnostic pleroma, that realm of transcendence from which bodies are exiled: -- the heaven of glass.
The old Dualism has imploded into a totalized topology defined by the gnoseographic geosophy of money and its less-than-one dimensionality. The "mirror of production" has been superceded by a complete transparency, the vertigo of terror. Land, labor, nature, self itself, life itself, and even death can be re-invented as the basis of all exchange -- everything is money.
[Note: Needless to say, these generalizations do not concern the reality, but rather the ideology of global Capital (the ideology of the "post-ideological" con) -- the intoxicated pronouncements of an "information economy" -- the charade of "deregulation" (how can one speak of revolution when Capital has already broken all the rules?) Of course Capital has not really transcended production, but merely resituated it -- somewhere near the realm of cemetery management or waste disposal. Capital wants ecstasy, not Taylorism; it longs for purity, for disembodiment.]
Ecstatic mediation finally blocks expression at the root, as for example in the biotechnological prosthesis or indifferentiation of body & screen. Mock nuptials of Eros & Thanatos: -- terminal enclosure. The "greater jihad" of course is directed against the separated self -- against suffocation of the true self that must express "its lord", its deepest meaning. But the "lesser jihad" is no less vital or imbued with baraka: -- the assault on the screen.
7. THE MORALITY OF VIOLENCEAny paradoxical reappearance of morality here will naturally begin on the ruins of orthodoxy -- and pitch nothing more permanent there than the black tents of Ibn Khaldun's bedouin. And yet sooner or later jihad (struggle) leads back (via ta'wil or hermeneutic exegesis) to shariah or law. But shariah also means path, or way -- it is already the "open road" of the aimless wanderer. Values arise from imagination, i.e. from motion. "Where the gods have stopped" -- this is the real. But the gods move on; they move, like light on water in Pindar's Odes.
The attentat is not immoral but simply impossible. The message of "terrorism" is that there's no there there; only the cybergnostic history-dump of sheer emptiness and anguish -- limited liability as a cosmic principle. One might consider a morality (perhaps even an "imaginal morality") of violence against ideas & institutions -- but the language lacks terms for such a form and thus dooms militancy to an indistinction of focus, even a deficit of attention. In any case it's not merely a question of one's "spiritual state" but of an actual auto-restructuring of cognition -- not a state but a "station" in Sufi terms. To borrow a phrase from Ismailism, this is our version of the Da'wa al Qadimi or the Ancient Propaganda -- old because it is never quite fully born.
8. FIN DE SIECLEThere's nothing of futurity left to the concept of utopia. "Hope against hope"; no real choice is involved. Presence remains impure -- only absence assumes the crystalline skeletal form of perfect eternity. A moral judgement if you like: intolerance for what opposes the jihad -- but no more dandyism, no more brittle & elaborate constructions of the self.
Difference as identity constitutes a mode of expression as well as a mode of volition; there exists a tao of this process, a spontaneous ordering rather than an imperialist Cartesian gaze. This mode of expression as it pertains to culture (the "self-made" aspect of the social) either sets up an amplificatory resonance with "Nature" and is thus capable of changing the world-as-consensus or else it is mere criminal stupidity.
Here again "mere" consciousness scarcely matters; hence there emerges for us an emphasis on non-ordinary states that overcome the dichotomy of self-reflective auto-intellection in concentrated attentiveness and in "skill". The self-closure of aesthetic or mental isolation denies the fact that every pleasure is an expansion, that reciprocity is non-predatory expansiveness. If revolt as expression responds to sameness & separation simultaneously, it constitutes by definition a movement toward difference & presence -- and as the old phrenologists said, toward "communicativeness". That is neither mere "communication" -- subject to the drag of mediation & discorporealization -- nor ecstatic "communion" (a term which smacks of the exacerbated authoritarianism of an enforced presence) -- but rather a convivial connectivity -- an eros of the social.
9. THE REVOLT OF ISLAMProudhonian federalism based on non-hegemonic particularities in a "nomadological" or rhizomatic mutuality of synergistic solidarities -- this is our revolutionary structure. (The very dryness of the terms itself suggests the need for an infusion of life into the theoryscape!) Post-Enlightenment ideology will experience queasiness at the notion of the revolutionary implications of a religion or way of life always already opposed to the monoculture of sameness & separation. Contemporary reaction will blanch at the idea of interpermeability, the porosity of solidarity, conviviality & presence as the complementarity & harmonious resonance of "revolutionary difference".
To take Islam as an example -- the hyperorthodox & the ulemocracy cannot so easily reduce it to a hegemonistic/universalistic ideology as to rule out divergent forms of "sacred politics" informed by Sufism [e.g. the Naqsbandis], radical Shiism [e.g. Ali Shariati], Ismailism, Islamic Humanism, the "Green Path" of Col. Qadafi (part neo-Sufism, part anarcho-syndicalism), or even the cosmopolitan Islam of Bosnia. [Note: we mention these elements not to condone them necessarily, but to indicate that Islam is not a monolith of "fundamentalism".]
Traditions of tolerance, voluntaryism, egalitarianism, concern for social justice, critique of "usury", mystical utopianism -- etc. -- can form the constellations of a new propaganda within Islam, unshakably opposed to the cognitive colonialism of the numisphere, oriented to "empirical freedoms" rather than ideology, critical of repression within Islam, but committed to its creativity, reticence, interiority, militance, & style. Islam's concern with pollution of the imagination, which manifests in a literal veiling of the image, constitutes a powerful strategic realization for the jihad; -- that which is veiled is not absent or invisible, since the veil is a sign of its presence, its imaginal reality, its power. That which is veiled is unseen.
10. VOLKWAYSTribal societies, left to their own devices, wage war in a manner not so much hegemonistic as adventuristic -- and as P.Clastres pointed out, such horizontal warfare (like other "primitive" customs) actually militates against the emergence of "the State" and its verticality: -- violence as a form of resistance against separation, which is always felt by the tribe as a dangerous or "evil" possibility -- violence as a form of the perennial fissipation or break up & redistribution of power.
The jihad is not meant to be a return of this form of violence but a dialectical realization of its repressed content. This principle allows for a coalescence of variegated differences not just as a utopian construct but as a strategic bundling -- as a "war machine".
Gustav Landauer makes clear that such groupings can themselves be considered both horizontally (or "federally") and vertically -- not as categorical entifications, that is, but as volk, peoples, "nations" in the Native-american sense of the term. This concept was looted by base reaction and distorted into hegemonism of the worst sort, but it too can be rescued (an "adventure" in itself). [We need to re-read Proudon, Marx, Nietzsche, Landauer, Fourier, Benjamin, Bakhtin, the IWW, etc.-- the way the EZLN re-reads Zapata!]
Landauer also pointed out that the State is in part an inner relation, and not an absolute. Inasmuch as power shifts from the national map to "pure" Capital, the outer State becomes increasingly irrelevant as a focus of opposition. "Neutrality" is not an option: -- either a zone is part of the one world, or it enters opposition. If the opposition zone coincides with certain political entities, then the revolution may have to consider political alliances. The greater jihad -- against the inner relation of power -- remains always the same; but the lesser jihad, against the outer relation, constantly changes shape.
[Note: Everything hinges on the perception that two forces -- autonomy & federation -- are not opposed but complementary or even complicit; if this is paradox, then it is paradox that must be lived. Ethnic cleansing & violent chauvinism are to be opposed from the point of view of federalism & solidarity because the hegemonism of such reaction simply reproduces the hegemonism (the cruelty) of the one world & even augments it. And authentic (non-hegemonic) difference must be defended because (or inasmuch as) it cannot or "should not" be obliterated by the Moloch of capitalist consciousness. Autonomy without federalism is at best implausible, at worst reactionary -- but federalism without autonomy simply threatens the one value that unites the jihad -- self-determination or "empirical freedom".]
For the strategic coalescence, complexity is not just an aesthetic but a necessity, a cognitive maquis or zone of resistance, a realm of ambiguity where the uprising must find its economy, its heartlands. Every "nation" whether self-formed or traditional, and every group which moves horizontally within or across this milieu -- councils, committees, unions, festivals -- indeed, every "sovereign individual" -- may consider federation on the basis of an ad-hoc anti-hegemonic front against the self-proclaimed totality of sameness & separation, and for a world of difference and presence.
From a certain viewpoint the force of presence or solidarity arises from the reality of "class" -- although if we adopt that term we must consider the vast realignments and kaleidoscopic shifts of meaning that have unpacked & assembled it anew, stripped it of its 19th century accoutrements, its one-world telos & monocultural aesthetic -- its scientism, its disenchantments, & its fatality. It's not just a question of the "proletarianization of the zones", but of the seamless and "natural" suppression of autonomous consciousness (and here, consciousness does matter).
11. REVOLUTIONARY SOTERIOLOGYThus the "world to be saved" by the jihad consists not only of that Nature which cannot suffer final enclosure without the fatal estrangement of consciousness itself from all "original intimacy", but also the space of culture, of authentic becoming: --Tierra y Libertad. Agriculture may be considered as a tragic Fall from natural human economy -- (gathering, hunting, reciprocity) -- and even as a catastrophic shift in cognition itself. But to entertain the notion of its abolition involves a crypto-malthusian or even biophobic nihilism suspiciously akin to Gnostic suicide. The morality of substruction is already a morality of rescue (and vice-versa); the kernel of the new society is always already forming within the shell of the old. Whatever the one world seeks to destroy or denigrate takes on for us the unmistakable aura of organic life; -- this applies to the whole panoply of our present "late stone age", even its Fourierist refinements, even its surrealist urbanism (even "Civilization" might be considered a "good idea" if it could be released from its own predatory determinism), --this defines our conservatism. Thus despite everything, despite the titanic depredations of Capital's artificial intelligence, the "world to be saved" sometimes seems to differ from "this" world only by a hair's-breadth of satori. But it is entirely from this crack that our radical opposition emerges. The millennium is always the opening of a present moment -- but it is also always the ending of a world.
12. THE HIDDEN IMAMThe jist of the jihad: when oppression takes the simultaneous & even paradoxical form of sameness & separation, then resistance or opposition logically proposes difference & presence -- a revolutionary paradox. The rhizomatic segmentary society of identity that precipitates from this super-saturated logic of resistance can be contemplated from any angle, vertical or horizontal, diachronic or synchronic, ethnic or aesthetic -- within the one necessary revolutionary anti-hegemonic principle of presence.
Our present state of flattened and irritable inattentiveness can only be compared to some esoteric medieval sin like spiritual sloth or existential forgetfulness; our first pleasure will be to imagine for ourselves a propaganda potent as the gnostic "Call", an aesthetic of repentance-&-conversion or "self-overcoming", a Sorelian mythos -- a Millennium.
The blind panopticon of Capital remains, after all, most vulnerable in the realm of "magic" -- the manipulation of images to control events, hermetic "action at a distance". If the tong provides a possible form for the new propaganda of the deed, then it must be confessed that mere aesthetic withdrawal (disappearance as will to power) cannot provide sufficient heat to hatch the egg of its secrecy. All that was once tertium quid is now (or soon will be) engaged either in capitulation or in opposition, as conflagration, as uprising against the management of desire & imagination within the englobed enclosure of the one world.
But in a pre-revolutionary situation the tactical advantage of clandestinity, of the unseen (the language of the heart), already restores to aesthetics its revolutionary centrality. The art of the unseen escapes absorption into the image-based "discourse of the totality" -- and thus, alone of all possible forms, still holds out the millennial promise of art, the changing of the world.
[Note: the term "art" is being used here in two different senses: -- the first sense is perhaps Romantic in that it addresses the dilemma of the artist per se & the problem of the "avant garde". But the second sense aims to dissolve the whole question of art's separateness in a practicum that is "normal" & that intersects (indeed almost coincides) with the realm of lived experience. The ordinary & the extraordinary are no longer opposed here, & are perhaps even in collusion, or in a dance of fused delineations. A crude truism: -- the moment of the well-made is the very fabric of life itself, of life's saturation with itself; it is in the sense that traditional cultures could see no distinction between life & art. If we were to speak of "political art", it could only be in the sense of an investigation of the fact that for us Capital defines itself in the context of a split between these things that "cannot" be separated. But this is a problem for every "worker", & not just for the "cultural worker" -- & so in this sense, art begins to approach an area of identity with "revolutionary action".]
13. CALL & RESPONSELess than a decade ago it was still possible to think of the "enemy" as the Planetary Work Machine, or the Spectacle -- & therefore to think of resistance under the rubric of withdrawal or even escape. No great mysterious veil separated us from our will to imagine other forms of production, ludic & autonomous, or other form of representation, authentic & pleasurable. The obvious goal was to form (or sustain) alternative nuclei based on the implementation of such forms, deploying resistance as a tactic in defence of these zones (whether temporary or permanent). In aikido there's no such thing as offense -- one simply removes oneself from the force of an attack, whereupon the attacker's force turns against itself & defeats itself. Capitalism actually lost some ground to these tactics, in part because it was susceptible to "third force" strategies, and in part because as an ideology it remained unable to deal with its own inner contradictions ("democracy" for example).
Now the situation has changed. Capitalism is freed of its own ideological armoring & need no longer concede space to any "third force". Although the founder of aikido could dodge bullets, no one can stand aside from the onslaught of a power that occupies the whole extent of tactical space. Escapism is possible for the "third guest, the parasite", but not for the sole opponent. Capitalism is now at liberty to declare war & deal directly as enemies with all former "alternatives" (including "democracy"). In this sense we have not chosen ourselves as opposition -- we have been chosen.
In kendo it is said that there is no such thing as a defensive move, or rather that the only defense is a good offense. The attacker however has the disadvantage (imbalance) as in aikido: -- so what to do? A paradox: when attacked, strike first. Clearly our "alternatives" are no longer merely interesting options, but life-or-death strategic positions. However, revolution is not a kendo match -- nor a morality play. It would seem that our tactics will be defined not so much by history as by our determination to remain within history -- not by "survival" but by persistence.
The "What Is To Be Done?" question must now be begged for two reasons: -- first, there already exists thousands of organizations working above-ground for de facto revolutionary goals (or at least for good causes) -- but no organizing myth, no propaganda, no transformative "revolutionary consciousness" capable of transcending separation as reformist institutionalization & ideological sclerosis ["franchising the issues"]. Second, most "illegalism" is frustratingly doomed to counterproductivity & recuperation for precisely the same reason -- no consciousness, or rather, no metanoia, no unfragmented consciousness. In such a situation no coalescence seems feasible, and the jihad is faced first & foremost by the brutally theoretical need to comprehend & articulate its own historicity. To speak now of a "pre-revolutionary situation" smacks of the irony that such terms must inevitably invoke (history as "nightmare") -- What signs have arisen, & on what horizon?
Here it should be recalled that "propaganda of the deed" was originally intended to include "good works" as well as violent ones; the temporary autonomous zone thus retains its value not only for its own sake but as a historicization of lived experience, perhaps even a mode of propaganda-in-action. The uprising could then be seen as the proposal of a "permanent autonomous zone"; and the coalescence of many such groups would make up the form of the "millennium". Here even "withdrawal" could have value as a tactic -- provided it were coordinated & practised militantly on a mass scale -- "revolutionary peace".
The very expression of such a scheme reveals at once how distant we remain from any realization. While we would like to indulge a crude existentialist penchant for "action", or at least for some sort of "anti-pessimism", any discussion of real tactics at this point might well prove fatally (or ludicrously) premature. Besides, "What should I do?" is perhaps the most mediated of questions, the one guaranteed to make any answer impossible.
Such is our density that it's taken five years to figure this out. Everything that was once a "third path" must be re-thought in the light of one fact: -- one world faces us, not two. If resistance has collapsed into bickering nostalgism (1968 has become as "tragic" for us as every other failure) -- if leftist bitchiness & fascist particularism hold such an allure for exhausted radicals etc. -- then it is because we have failed to articulate this one fact even to ourselves: -- that by proclaiming itself absolute and by constructing a world on that proclamation, Capital has called back into being its old nemesis (so disgraced by the 20th century, so dead, so dull) called it back into a whole new incarnation -- as the last ditch defense of all that cannot be englobed -- called back the revolution, the jihad.
New York / Dublin
Sept 1, 1996
[Note: This version, not necessarily final, was arrived at with criticism & help from several groups: The Libertarian Book Club of New York, The Autonomedia editorial collective of Brooklyn, and the Garden of Delight in Dublin; the opinions however are my own, not theirs.]
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