The State of Activism and (Re)Activity of the State
One characteristic that seems pervasive recently among many political actors (including anarchists) is a fixation with the State’s incessant “failures.” From the vulnerability that the State experienced on 9/11/01 to the breakdown of the State during Hurricane Katrina, there is a palpable sense that we are witnessing a “crisis” that is strategically exploitable. But who finds this account compelling? It is no revelation to say that State “failure” is often a way of developing a more powerful State. This narrative fuels Leninists and other shadow-dwellers waiting to seize opportunities for a revolutionary moment. Failure can happen within capitalist states (e.g. “failure of communication” among intelligence agencies leading to more integration via the Department of Homeland Security) or within a Marxist critique (“your State and its service-providing function has failed you, we will enter and fill the lack with our bigger State provider”).
Mar 1, 2015
Restoration Wars and Social Maneuvers: Is political and social chaos an opportunity for revolution or for further clampdown?
Daily life has a new rhythm: routine disruptions. DPacing an accelerated news cycle and affective bursts from smart phone notifications, our subjective autonomous systems are increasingly synced up with crisis-state and techno security tempos.
We don’t know what the next surprise is going to be, but we know it’s coming.
Jan 3, 2019
Fascism is not an Information problem
Gender and Microfascism
When U.S. President Joe Biden called MAGA Republicans “like semi-fascism” in late August, then gave a speech in Philadelphia a few days later on a set decked out in martial aesthetics (including actual Marines), he embodied a contemporary troubling paradox.
We are in a curious historical moment in which it is easy to name the enemy as fascist, even while enacting fascist tendencies. Associating Trump with fascism has been in play for years before Biden’s half-hearted accusation. Meanwhile, QAnon Christian white supremacists call Biden a Nazi. And all of them are troubled by antifa. Anarchist antifascists find ourselves caught in the cross-hairs of these other so-called antifascists.
Dec 15, 2022
Notes on the homicidal state
It is required now to bemoan the fact that the current US President is both a producer and product of Reality TV. Indeed, “reality,” “realty,” and “royalty” are all linked etymologically.
The real-estate tycoon, then, Reality TV boss, now completes the triumvirate by taking on a state executive role by treating it as his own monarchical sovereign seat. Instead of addressing this by seeking to reestablish correspondence-based truth via facts), we would be better off seeing reality as a terrain filled with metamorphosis machines, with subjectivities made and destroyed. We can begin an account of these reality wars by assessing the menagerie of alt-right and neo-fascist street actors emboldened by his victory.
Dec 26, 2017
Over the past two years, various actors have ruminated over the perceived loss of the “movement” (specifically referring to the counterglobalization movement, but also referring to a sense of momentum, coordinated actions, targeted purpose, and most importantly a sense of effectivity).
Like a drug, Seattle99 was a vehicle that became confused with its effects. The enthusiasm and infectious power of that moment became a lost object of desire, a model whose failure to reappear seemed to diminish possibilities (for more on this see my previous article “Becoming-Seattle” in Fifth Estate #374, Winter 2007).
May 11, 2014