Everything Is Just Dandy!

The Institute for Experimental Freedom – Between Predicates, War

The Anarchist Library

2022 04 15
https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/the-institute-for-experimental-freedom-between-predicates-war?v=1650039935

Author: The Institute for Experimental Freedom
Title: Between Predicates, War
Subtitle: Theses on Contemporary Struggle
Date: 2013
Notes: In collaboration with Little Black Cart. You can find the text in book form from Little Black Cart here.
Source: Retrieved on February 25, 2022 from archive.org

WHAT WE ARE BEARING WITNESS TO IS NOT A SEQUENCE OF DIFFERENTIATED MOMENTS OF REVOLT, BUT A SINGULAR SITUATION IN WHICH EVENTS CONSTANTLY IRRUPT AGAINST GOVERNMENT

This text is dedicated to my friends—without which none of this is possible. More than muses in these last treacherous years, Bijou, maximillion, and the third day after god, your critiques and discussions have formed the real content and substance of these theses. Your care and love is stronger than any force of displacement or anxiety. those who’ve donned the mask—who’ve helped it mutate—when possible you have given your feedback, and when the events have called, you have been inspiring. the lovers of sandy, partisans of living as such, this text owes as much to your hammer as I to your support and friendship. biofilo, your insight and nagging questions continue to challenge and strengthen our taste for strategic thought. Even critically, you’ve helped to construct this assemblage. it’s charming enough to speak from the position of i, but we all know I did not write this text.

Introduction

The following text came to life in late spring, 2011. Inspired by the upheavals in Greece, Egypt, London, and Wisconsin, it originated as a collectively compiled set of analyses intended for discussion. Its current manifestation grew from this dialogue, and prior to the first week of Occupy Wall Street, “Theses on Contemporary Struggle” was born: a fragmented collection describing the conditions and characteristics of revolt in our time. After Zuccotti seized hold of our era’s pulse, Occupy spread across the US and confirmed some of our initial hypotheses: something genuinely different was taking place— something with a fucking hashtag.

The theses became a larger analysis of our tumultuous times, and continued into the early months of 2013.

“Contemporary struggle” is our way to conceptualize what links the events of our epoch—events that cannot be defined as social movements or categorized within leftist conceptions of reform and revolution. Events are the common form that struggles take after the collapse of the historical subject and the zone of the social. We define contemporary struggle as a vast set of heterogeneous practices of revolt that appear to have everything as their object; that is to say, events whose antagonisms are not directed against the state or capitalism per se but against techniques of government, against the productive power of government. Perhaps we will be reproached for reducing the specificity of all the movements of the past decade. However, the velocity with which struggles since the Greek uprising of ’08 have moved from intelligible anger over a collectively perceived injustice to celebratory or revolutionary situations, reveals that they are irreducibly revolts against the paradigm of government.

Government no longer sits in a closed chamber of educated men; it acts through each of us and through every apparatus that orients us and amplifies our senses in a particular direction. Government doesn’t just repress, it produces a distributed multiplication of governable subjectivities. Contemporary struggle resists, flees, and attacks being produced as a subject, appearing in the space between one coherent subjectivity and another.

Because it appears in the space between subjectivities, contemporary struggle—consciously or not—contests the meaning of autonomy. Capitalism has done away with the social as a foundation to human life, leaving the individual as self-entrepreneur to develop solutions to the crises of baseless existence. If social media appears on the theater of culture and politics, this is because economic life demands that individuals collaborate on problem-solving. In order to develop itself in harmony with the economy, the individual is allocated the self, as the vehicle and instrument of freedom. It is given the space to think freely, go against the rules, and open doors of creativity—if only to eliminate flaws in the flows of the economy. Government needs subjects to self-govern because principles no longer reign with any authority; the economy needs subjects to self-manage because technology and ecology present fatal limits to its rhythm of expansion. However, when struggles originate in an open field devoid of authoritative principles, the desired affects of self-management sometimes fail to materialize, and in turn the space between coherency, contingency, and predicates can appear more hospitable than the generalized hostilities of economic life. Contemporary struggle locates the space of autonomy as a potential for a different way of living, and holds on for as long as it can.

Contemporary struggle reveals the limits of language. The grammar of justice, democracy, and equality could limit past movements because these terms were situated in a meaningful discourse—that of the enemy. Today, these words and their institutions are empty. What is perceived as logical in consistency by political pundits is precisely the plane of consistency where a new language is being constructed. The parodic, ironic, and absurd character of today’s movements’ discursive promiscuity, irrational application of language, and use of memes reveal a new language coming into being.