Blackspot

Insurrection Debated

Insurrection or revolution?

A debate whose outcome may have profound significance for activism is simmering at the edges of the Left. What makes this a squabble worth attending to is that both sides seem equally matched: their theorists are brilliant, their proponents are passionate and their networks are distributed. And at the center of the debate is a question of vital importance: insurrection or revolution.

Insurrectionary anarchism is rarely talked about because it pushes the boundaries of political good taste. The few authors who do openly promote the movement are often jailed. In 1977, for example, Alfredo M. Bonanno was imprisoned for 18 months in Italy for writing Armed Joy. Thus insurrectionary anarchism has traditionally been pushed to the margins of political debate and ignored … until now.

Most of us are aware of the revolutionary model that relies on a mass movement of disaffected people storming the gates of power and seizing control in an organized manner. This revolutionary model exists in opposition to the chaotic, spontaneous and violent impulse underlying insurrectionary anarchism. And usually, the debate is over before it begins and revolutionary praxis wins by default.

But with the publication of The Coming Insurrection and the arrest of the alleged author of the text insurrectionary anarchism is picking up a readership. Some 27,000 copies have been sold in France and more are being purchased every day through Amazon in the States. It has even inspired additional tracts such as Preoccupied: The Logic of Occupation. With insurrectionary anarchism finally reaching a wide audience, a debate among radical political theorists was inevitable.

The first signs of this discussion can be found on Znet in a blog entitled, “The Coming Insurrection or the Arrival of Suicidal Nonsense?” by Chris Spannos. Although Spannos disagrees with the authors of the text, his post is commendable for being one of the first to take it seriously enough to argue with on a philosophical basis. I expect that we will see a growing number of thinkers weigh in on the question of how to carry out the overthrow.

I believe the debate over the merits of The Coming Insurrection can only lead us in the right direction because the question it raises – how to bring about vast, systemic change – is the single most important question we ought to be considering. So, download a copy of The Coming Insurrection, read Spannos' critique and weigh in below with your thoughts.

Micah White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters and an independent activist. He is writing a book on the future of activism. www.micahmwhite.com or micah (at) adbusters.org

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52 comments on the article “Insurrection Debated”

Displaying 41 - 50 of 52

Page 5 of 6

Son of Gehenus

My whole response is: Karl Popper. Idealism is a modified Solipsism. One cannot wipe the old system away and start with a new system as the 'system' is a whole and you are part of it both economically and culturally. To wipe away the old is wipe yourself away. The revolutionary spirit inherent in radicalism (something I appreciate and admire) cannot come to fruition in any ultimate sense. Two counter-examples I offer my flamers before they begin: Cambodia and Khmer Rouge and China and the Cultural Revolution. See also South American history from the conquistadors until the present.

Son of Gehenus

My whole response is: Karl Popper. Idealism is a modified Solipsism. One cannot wipe the old system away and start with a new system as the 'system' is a whole and you are part of it both economically and culturally. To wipe away the old is wipe yourself away. The revolutionary spirit inherent in radicalism (something I appreciate and admire) cannot come to fruition in any ultimate sense. Two counter-examples I offer my flamers before they begin: Cambodia and Khmer Rouge and China and the Cultural Revolution. See also South American history from the conquistadors until the present.

Anonymous

Revolutions aren’t about wiping the slate clean or completely obliterating a socio-economic system any more than beating cancer is about killing the patient. A revolution that did that wouldn't be a revolution it would be genocide. “Ideally” revolution should be a curative or cleansing process; to bring health back to the body cultural by killing the disease that's crippling it.

Anonymous

Revolutions aren’t about wiping the slate clean or completely obliterating a socio-economic system any more than beating cancer is about killing the patient. A revolution that did that wouldn't be a revolution it would be genocide. “Ideally” revolution should be a curative or cleansing process; to bring health back to the body cultural by killing the disease that's crippling it.

Alaric

"To wipe away the old is wipe yourself away."

That's not something I have a problem with. Nihilism is quite therapeutic. You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world. It's not until you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.

Alaric

"To wipe away the old is wipe yourself away."

That's not something I have a problem with. Nihilism is quite therapeutic. You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world. It's not until you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.

Anonymous

hear people from the "south", insurrection preceeds revolution
Why we are Insurrectionary Anarchists...

* Because we consider it possible to contribute to the development of struggles that are appearing spontaneously everywhere, turning them into mass insurrections - that is to say actual revolutions.
* Because we want to destroy the capitalist order of the world which is useful to nobody but the managers of class domination.
* Because we are for the immediate, destructive attack against the structures, individuals and organisations of capital, state and all forms of oppression.
* Because we constructively criticise all those who are in situations of compromise with power in their belief that the revolutionary struggle is impossible at the present time.
* Because rather than wait, we have decided to proceed to action, even if the time is not ripe.
* Because we want to put an end to this state of affairs right away, rather than wait until conditions make its transformation possible.
* These are some of the reasons why we are anarchists, revolutionaries and insurrectionists.

by Alfredo Bonanno.

Anonymous

hear people from the "south", insurrection preceeds revolution
Why we are Insurrectionary Anarchists...

* Because we consider it possible to contribute to the development of struggles that are appearing spontaneously everywhere, turning them into mass insurrections - that is to say actual revolutions.
* Because we want to destroy the capitalist order of the world which is useful to nobody but the managers of class domination.
* Because we are for the immediate, destructive attack against the structures, individuals and organisations of capital, state and all forms of oppression.
* Because we constructively criticise all those who are in situations of compromise with power in their belief that the revolutionary struggle is impossible at the present time.
* Because rather than wait, we have decided to proceed to action, even if the time is not ripe.
* Because we want to put an end to this state of affairs right away, rather than wait until conditions make its transformation possible.
* These are some of the reasons why we are anarchists, revolutionaries and insurrectionists.

by Alfredo Bonanno.

Koolvedge

The Revolution means to "revolve" around. I's sat that an "evolution" movement is needed. The Boycott - the most powerful non-violent tool that the conscious have. Words have power, yes, something that western so called civilization still may deny. Be mindful with the terms we use, they mean a lot.

Koolvedge

The Revolution means to "revolve" around. I's sat that an "evolution" movement is needed. The Boycott - the most powerful non-violent tool that the conscious have. Words have power, yes, something that western so called civilization still may deny. Be mindful with the terms we use, they mean a lot.

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