Friday, June 19, 2009

Anarchy? Communes? Communism? Wha?

posted by The Vidiot @ 2:10 PM Permalink

So, my mom sent me an article from the New York Times about some book written by some people in France that seemed to have anarchy and radicalism written all over it. I read the article which described a book called "The Coming Insurrection" written by the Invisible Committee.
The book, which predicts the imminent collapse of capitalist culture, was inspired by disruptive demonstrations that took place over the last few years in France and Greece. It was influenced stylistically by Guy Debord, a French writer and filmmaker who was a leader of the Situationist International, a group of intellectuals and artists who encouraged the Paris protests of 1968.
So you can see why she might think I like it. Though the fact that the New York Times was covering it immediately made it suspect.

I found the book/pamphlet online and I read it and printed it out so Mr. Vidiot could read it. Was it remarkable? No. It had its moments, some of it was interesting, but for the most part, it seemed like a bunch of mildly educated kids regurgitating some thoughts. I knew it wasn't great, but I didn't know why. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew my instincts were right. Mr. Vidiot, however, found it a bit laughable and could express the reasons easily.

For instance, he explained that this is impossible because it reifies money:
A commune tends by its nature towards self-sufficiency and considers money, internally, as something foolish and ultimately out of place. The power of money is to connect those who are unconnected, to link strangers as strangers and thus, by making everything equivalent, to put everything into circulation.
The reification of money continues into the next paragraph:
The reign of money is, therefore, always the reign of control. The practical abolition of money will happen only with the extension of communes. Communes must be extended while making sure they do not exceed a certain size, beyond which they lose touch with themselves and give rise, almost without fail, to a dominant caste. It would be preferable for the commune to split up and to spread in that way, avoiding such an unfortunate outcome.
See, money cannot, in itself, connect anything. Money is powerless in and of itself. Money does not and can not reign all on its own. Additionally, the abolition of money doesn't equal the abolition of power. Power relations existed before money, indeed before institutions, before capitalism.

Mr. Vidiot can pretty much go through the entire book like that. It's annoying, but he's good at it. Too bad he's writing his dissertation. He would've torn apart the whole thing.

His bottom line thought on it was that they were arguing for utopia and utopia is unrealistic, unattainable and, quite frankly, boring. I also think he was offended by their use of NOLA and Katrina as examples of effective communes. There was NOTHING effective about post-Katrina NOLA, except in the minds of maybe a few idealistic and doe-eyed, well-educated kids.

Read it at your peril.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home