The pamphlet, “The Coming Insurrection” has been attracting attention. A discussion of some of its key points is useful in considering the differences between “insurrectional anarchism” and “class-struggle anarchism.”
There has been a spurt of interest in a small radical book titled “The Coming Insurrection” (“TCI”), with authorship attributed to the “Invisible Committee” (IC). It was originally published in France in 2007. That country’s police cited it as evidence in a trial of “the Tarnaq 9,” radicals who were accused of planning sabotage. The French Interior Minister called it a “manual for terrorism” (quoted on p. 5). A U.S. edition got an unlikely boost by the far-right TV talk show clown Glen Beck. He has repeatedly identified it as a manual for a take-over of the U.S. by the left, by which he means everyone from the mildest liberal Democrats leftward. “This [is a] dangerous leftist book… You should read it to know what is coming and be ready when it does” (Beck, 2009). The interest of many on the left has been piqued; Michael Moore is reported to have read it.
From the perspective of revolutionary-libertarian socialism (class-struggle anarchism), I believe that many things are wrong with this pamphlet. But it is right on some very big things. That is a major part of its attraction, despite its opaque style (the authors have studied French radical philosophy and it shows). The IC members say that, on a world scale, our society is morally rotten and structurally in the deepest of crises. They denounce this society in every way and oppose all reformist programs for trying to improve it at the margins. They say that a total change is necessary and that this can only be achieved through some sort of revolution. Their goals are the right goals: a classless, stateless, ecologically-balanced, decentralized, and self-managed world. These views are well outside the usual range of acceptable political conversation. Unfortunately, I believe that the tactics and strategy which they propose are mistaken and unlikely to achieve their correct goals.
Organised Anarchism in the Anti-Capitalist Struggle: Why We Need Organisation and Principles to Follow (web)
This booklet is based on a presentation made by two members of Common Cause Ottawa at the “Capitalism and Confrontation: Grassroots Responses to Empire, Ecology and Political Economy” conference in March 2010 held at Carleton University. We thank the conference organisers, the Critical Social Research Collaborative (CSRC), for allowing us to participate.
Table of Contents
- Christianity is based on fear
- Christianity preys on the innocent
- Christianity is based on dishonesty
- Christianity is extremely egocentric
- Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen-people mentality
- Christianity breeds authoritarianism
- Christianity is cruel
- Christianity is anti-intellectual, anti-scientific
- Christianity has a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with sex
- Christianity produces sexual misery
- Christianity has an exceedingly narrow, legalistic view of morality
- Christianity encourages acceptance of real evils while focusing on imaginary evils
- Christianity depreciates the natural world
- Christianity models hierarchical, authoritarian organisation
- Christianity sanctions slavery
- Christianity is misogynistic
- Christianity is homophobic
- The Bible is not a reliable guide to Christ’s teachings
- The Bible is riddled with contradictions
- Christianity borrowed its central myths and ceremonies from other ancient religions
This reader is a collection of texts that we, the Zabalaza Books editors, recently came across. The reason they are published together here in this format is that we feel that they all contain valuable ideas for making our struggle more effective and that, because of this, they should be read by as many of our movement’s organisers as possible.
The one point of contention in these articles is the “We must stop trying to build a movement of anarchists and instead fight for an anarchistic movement” sentence in the first article Active Revolution by James Mumm. A response to this, and one with which we agree, is covered by the Editors note from the comrades from the North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists found after the article. Another idea that comes to mind in this regard is that it could be argued that we should shift our emphasis from building our anarchist organisations to building anarchistic movements, as building the organisation very often comes across as just another form of party building to those in the mass organisations of our class that we may be organising with. The alternative being that those in the mass organisations, coming across our ideas, will find them worthwhile and come to us; thereby making their commitment to our ideas and political organisations that much stronger. This however is not explicit in the sentence in James Mumm’s otherwise excellent article so is probably not what he had in mind.
August 6, 2010
This important pamphlet looks closely at the fundamental conflicts between anarchism and primitivism.
It traces primitivism’s basic precepts back to their authoritarian roots, reveals primitivist misconceptions about anarchism, capitalism and technology, shows how the corporate media have used primitivism to discredit anarchism, and also shows how ideology-driven primitivists, much like fundamentalist Christians opposed to evolution, have picked through anthropological evidence to support their predetermined conclusions, while ignoring data that contradict those conclusions.
“Making children is the most anti-revolutionary thing you can do. We should not subsidize other people’s lifestyles. If you breeders want childcare, then organise it amongst yourselves.”
– Anonymous comment on Infoshop.org
While many revolutionary and radical communities embrace families, intolerance of parents and children is a stance that still has a foothold in many circles. Scorn towards mothers, children and families is hardly a revolutionary mentality. In fact, this position is a direct holdover from capitalist, authoritarian ideology. Unfortunately, instead of challenging this rhetoric as reactionary, anarchists and other radicals often accept it in our midst.