In the age of post fordist societies and the new crisis of the occidental world a new popular demand for freedom is necessary. Apples from the Underground is a blog inspired by the underground subcultures of resistance , rave music creativity , temporary autonomous zones and radical theory. Therefore it remains open to everybody to send news , ideas and essential thoughts. Apples from the Underground is also a way to give inspiration to other initiatives , zines and underground iniatives to start function in this crazy society based on oppression and control. Feel free to contact and send us your news and opinions

greetings from the

this blog runs by underground ravers around Europe
but especially Fancypunk contributor of insti2te progressive party palaver

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 special edition ACID HOUSE

Following our ideas for a special edition of insti2te blog about “essential” blogzines , websites connected with one season , one generation , one subculture , one radical theory . Rave/Acid House is definitely one of the most remarkable subcultures of the contemporary days. Today we dedicate some lines for a really “super” website : the . A website who summarizes the anti-history of rave .. except nice photos , interesting articles and texts , we can also finds jungle mp3s for downloading for free. check it out .. We copy - paste some lines from the website concerning acid house anti history ??? and the UK


“Wayne Anthony took his first ecstasy tablet in Spain 1987. Then the Summer of Love hit Britain in ‘88 and, together with the rest of the youth of the UK, Wayne embraced the bright new Acid House lifestyle of dance music, MDMA and all-night celebrations as Britain partied like never before.

Yet when Wayne turned his natural East End entrepreneurial instincts to the rave world, and began organising the infamous Genesis dance parties for thousands of people, he quickly discovered the seamy downside of the Acid House dream. Beneath the shiny smiley surfaces lurked a vicious world of violence, police harassment, gangsters, protection rackets and organised crime.

In two years as an illegal dance party promoter, Wayne Anthony made-and lost – hundreds of thousands of pounds, took vast amounts of drugs, and jumped out of an airplane on LSD. He was also beaten up by psychotic ex-paratroopers, menaced by criminals and blackmailers, confronted with sawn-off shotguns, kidnapped and threatened with murder.

Wayne Anthony spent two years breaking and entering into warehouses and putting his life on the line in the vanguard of the dance party revolution which swept the UK in the late eighties. Class of 88 is his raw, idiosyncratic and fascinating account of how Acid House changed his life and Great Britain, and later the world, forever…”

Sunday, February 22, 2009 special edition underground labels presentation : JOP records


Joint operation records Independent Electronic Music & Art JopRec is an indipendent electronic music label and artists network. JopRec is based Berlin born with the idea to breaking down terrestrial boundaries speaking the international language of electronic music and be a gateway for new talent and international electronic artists. The internationality of the structure and its innovative artists gives an incredible multicultural richness to the label. Started in 2005 publishing experimental, breakbeat, electro and minimal techno, releasing music on vinyl and cd. In the begining of 2008 JopRec started to release music also in digital format providing high-quality variable bitrate MP3’s for digital distributors and resellers. Joprec is not only music but also visual arts video animations check the website for upcoming news and releases also on myspace Joprec is open to new Experiences and Co Operations. If you are interested in some Way to Collaborate with us write a Mail to: or send your Materials to Joint Operation Records Gaertnerstr.21 10245 Berlin Germany

datacide party last friday in berlin


the datacide fundraiser was incredible. i mean, what can i say, i liked the concept of having a continous speeding up, every dj played harder than the one before, at least it occured to me.

and then the last dj that i saw just took it all down again, with some very quiet and low in energy stuff. i don’t know what was going on in details, because i think there were also some technical difficulties, but i totally liked it to have this as a last come-down set before going over to the köpi for a short late morning party.

anyways, thanks for the nice night

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dancing Questionnaires (12): Abbey from Boston

taken by

The latest dancing questionnaire has been completed by Abbey who lives in the Boston, MA area. Her summer camp dancing adventures reminded me of going to youth club discos and dancing round in a high kicking circle to Hi Ho Silver Lining by Jeff Beck as well as the perennial awkwardness - for boys and girls - of that last slow dance. We also played the B-52s at that youth club, who would have thought they would end up in the pop canon, but I guess they have - in fact only last week I played Love Shack out withn my ukulele band.

1. Can you remember your first experience of dancing?
Dancing in my family room to a video of a Parachute Express concert as a very small child. Ever since I’ve know what music is, I’ve danced to it.

2. What’s the most interesting/significant thing that has happened to you while out dancing?
Probably when I was at the dances at my camp last year. A slow song came on, and instead of wandering around and feeling awkward about not wanting to dance with guys, all of my friends and I broke into faux-ballet moves and just…let go. It wasn’t embarrasing, it wasn’t awkward, it was…so much fun.

3. You. Dancing. The best of times…
It all happens at camp for me. We’re all dorks, on the fringe of society at home, but when we get together, we just go crazy. Not just at the dances, but one incredible moment when it started pouring rain, and instead of running for cover, we danced. And sang Bohemian Rhapsody, but that’s a longer story.

4. You. Dancing. The worst of times…
I was at a dance at home, at a private boy’s school that my friend goes to. He invited me and a few of my friends, and after slight worry over the sex-deprived boy schoolers, we decided to go. A guy asked me to dance, and I was weirded out, since that never happens to me, but I said yes. …Before I realized what was happening, he started grinding with me. I was freaked out, and had no idea what to do, just sort of stood there until he stopped, said it was nice to meet me, and walked away. Apparently I’m not a very good grinding partner, which is nice, because I find it disgusting.

5. Can you give a quick tour of the different dancing scenes/times/places you’ve frequented?
Not much. I’m pretty young, pretty sheltered, and live in the most boring place in the universe. So the craziest I get is school or camp dances, or randomly instigated dancing in random places with my friends. We’re awesome like that.

6. When and where did you last dance?
If you mean seriously danced, it was at the winter semi-formal at my school, and it was some crazy awesome fun (as long as we avoided the sea of grinding taking up most of the dance floor). But for any dancing, the last time would be in the car, with my brother and dad, dancing in my seat when Revolution by the Beatles came on the radio. I make it a point to dance pretty much every day.

7. You’re on your death bed. What piece of music would make your leap up for one final dance?
American Pie. It’s played last at every dance at my camp, we know all the words, it’s packed with traditional dance “moves” and called responses to the lyrics. It’s the one song I’ve danced to that really affects me emotionally. This could actually be said about a few canon songs from my camp, including Tunak Tunak Tun, Love Shack, and the Time Warp.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

activism and creativity the YOMANGO TANGO example

Yomango Tango

YOMANGO Tango did its Christmas dis-shopping. What better way to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Argentinean revolt, then taking advantage of the generous christmas deals at the supermarket - a supermarket, by the way, who’s greedy tentacles reach all the way to Latin america. The special offer on champaign, "take 14, pay none!" seemed particularly appealing.

The police line protecting the Champion/Carrefour supermarket at the Ramblas of Barcelona was broken by a multitude dressed for tango, anonymous clients suddenly shed their overcoats and started dancing among the shelves... With elegance and style, to a techno-tango beat, they took champaign bottles and danced across the cash registers, entering time and again until they filled the YOMANGO christmas basket.

On the next day, there were pot-bangings and gatherings in front of the main offices of banks in the center of town. Yomango Tango penetrated the main office of the Santander Bank to uncork the bottles and drink a toast to the Argentinean people, and bring to the heart of the city, under a rain of champaign, their call “que se vayan todos!” - calling for all of them to go away (them meaning, among others, multinational corporations and banks that suck Argentina dry, but usually refering also to all politicians).

download this video: Yomango (2003). Run Time 6'12''. Size: 97.63 Mb. Format: mime type quicktime mov (video/quicktime). Licence: copyleft

Thursday, February 12, 2009

some of the photos we used durring the presentation GREEK FIRE !!

Will anti-Semitism succeed where the repression didn’t? a trip into radical theory #3

Cafe Morgenland & Terminal 119
[January / 2009]

«For every known or unknown person whom we want or are forced to form an opinion of, we constantly and consistently make the same, stereotypical and set question: How would he or she react, how would this or the other collective or social group react if Auschwitz or something proportional would be repeated? The answer to this question is the dominant, the absolute and the decisive criterion by which we count and esteem the individuals and the groups, their actions and their behavior».

In 31.12.2008, a “revolutionary” attack took place against the Jewish synagogue in Volos (the older one was blown up by the Germans in 1943). The attack consisted of writing some threatening slogansi on the synagogue walls (elsewhere, they call it desecration or sacrilege). This act of disgraceful anti-Semitism, consists of another attempt at changing the direction in the radical scene (the first occurred at Athens Indymedia which, “for the Greek lords’ favour”, rapidly left behind the theme of the December riots in Greece so as to promote the Middle East issue with its all necessary reflexives and accesoires).

Because, of course, it is very convenient, after seeing in Greece an outburst, a rebellion, that at last, looking “inside,” found the enemy in the Greek state, and all the shit of Greek society, clearly attacked the local putrescence and conservatism… where even social de-alienation (“p l i a t s i k o” as it was called in a pejorative term) started to blossom in mid-Winter… now, to have those that that will start to burn American flags, those that will speak against the Jews about the international financial crisis and the war, those that will target synagogues, those that will care to “drake” the rebellion’s violence to targets (read here the embassies of Israel and USA) more compatible with local nationalism and the old, pure patriotic feelings that we have got used to blessing in every revolutionary-patriotic anniversary. Thus, it is very convenient when the structures that this rebellion left behind, go on to insinuate themselves using all possible connections among the immigrants and the workers that receive murder attacks with acid, like the immigrant syndicalist Konstantina Kouneva, and when, in solidarity to Kouneva, demonstrators attack and injure cops in response, in Piraeus and elsewhere. It is very convenient when someone wants to mislead us from the solidarity to the dozens of arrested immigrant rebels that this repression left behind, it is very convenient when over 50 Albanian and Arab immigrants have been put in jail for 18 months in Athens alone, and will be deported. It is very convenient when the Riot Police are tired to death by the thousands of rioters and when the para-militaries and indignant Greek citizens and fascists take their guns out and shoot people. It is precisely this moment, now, that it seems that anti-Semitism, always in the form of anti-Zionism, manages to repress whatever the cops “magic weapons”ii didn’t succeed in repressing…

At this definitive point, it is a fact that such actions can have only one goal and one result, namely to gather people once again around the Greek national pole, either for anti-imperialist or for humanist reasons, where, of course, one can make distinctions between these two. Thus, they try in this manner to bury one of the slogans shouted during the December riot: “Righteous are the rebels, national unity with blood is stained!”

Until now, the communist party of Greece was the “usual suspect” for such actions (desecration of the Holocaust memorial, mob gatherings by “communists” and other good citizens outside the offices of the Jewish community in Thessaloniki, screaming anti-Semitic chants against the Greek Jews in 2006, etc.), not to mention the neo-nazis of Golden Dawn and all the remaining democratic powers, each one of them, of course, for their very own political reasons. Now, another group took over, with the signature of “AK” (in Volos). What is strange about this last action is that there is no “AK Volos” group, as far as we knowiii, while it is definitive of this period that we live in, that we can’t distinguish which actions were carried out by neo-nazis and which ones by others. The only thing for certain is that not a few people from the “scene” cheered the action in Indymedia (and in “Stohos”, a greek nationalist newspaper). We say this without, of course, trying to lessen the value of many people’s opposition to the above “revolutionary” action.

The threat of their “intervention” yesterday is expressed with a rhetorical question in one of their slogans on a wall of the synagogue:
The state of Israel murders! Whose position do you support? (signature Α.Κ.).
Those who criticize Israel for corporate responsibility, without hesitation lash out with exactly the same accusation against the Greek Jews of Volos.
With their question, they don’t just express their curiosity, so as to learn their fellow citizens’ opinion, as they also never cared about their fellow citizens’ opinion about other issues, they have never cared about their blood-stained historyiv, the one that smells of Zyklon B and crematories, about their feelings, about their dreams and hopes. They demand that the Greek Jews of Volos take a position about the facts in Middle East and, thus, a position condemning Israel, as any other position will make them “guilty by definition”. Only so can they be certain that the stigmatised will not escape them.
Of course, they themselves give the answer that they ask of the OTHERS, those that are DIFFERENT, with their second slogan, as they already know, before they make their “visit” to the synagogue. Since the day they were born, they already knew everything about this chthonic race which is responsible and guilty for the politics of Israel (even in the greek “Antifa” magazine, the Jews are not even Greeks, but citizens, and thus agents, of a foreign country, Israel). So as not to leave any doubts, they respond to themselves with their second slogan:

In genocide there is no “neutrality” and “equal distance”! (signature Α.Κ.)

The threat to physical integrity, to property, synagogues, cemeteries, Holocaust memorials and, in general, everything that is or is supposed to be Jewish, manifest themselves as the tacit consequences of these slogans, consequences that the stigmatised will have caused the perpetrators to perpetrate, consequences that the stigmatised will have to bear.

Die Bedrohung der körperliche Unversehrtheit, des Eigentums, der Synagogen, der Friedhöfe, der Holocaust-Mahnmale, und generell allen was jüdisch ist oder als solcher definiert wird, sind die implizierten Konsequenzen solche Parolen, Konsequenzen, die die Stigmatisierte durch die „Angreifer“ zu tragen haben.

So, what will be the next step, their next “revolutionary” act, if (the Jews) do not abide and keep “a neutral position” or maintain an “equal distance”? What will their next dynamic action be, if they that survived Auschwitz, and their descendants, take a pro-Israeli stand? (Indeed, we don’t even want to imagine it). Others have already spread the rumor that they attacked the Larissa synagogue – a lie, as far as we know – and try, in this way, to create a wave of attacks against Jewish targets all over the country, by sweeping up more people from the mob, under the mask of their anti-Zionism and/ or opposition against… religions in general.

We will say it again here, without any hesitation. After Auschwitz, every anti-Semitic act and every anti-Semitic threat, is synonymous with annihilation. Don’t forget that, at the anteroom of the Holocaust, in parallel with the free smearing of the inferiority and noxiousness of the chthonic Jews (which a writer from Babylonia newspaper called “freedom of speech”), were also the attacks against Jewish synagogues (in “Kristallnacht”, for example), houses, shops etc. Back then, they were writing on the synagogue walls «Juda verrecke!» («death to the Jews») or «kauft nicht bei Juden!» («don’t buy from the Jews») etc. That, 70 years ago, they were not writing the same things on the walls as today, is simply because of the fact that there was no Middle East issue back then. Nothing else matters.

We condemn every action and expression of threat against the Greek Jews and we promise to do everything to stop these actions by any means, so as to allow every person and every Israelite community to freely decide, whether they want to be for or against Israel, whether they want to keep a neutral stand or no stand at all etc, without anyone daring to force them sign certificates of loyalty.

We demand from the anti-authoritarian scene, we demand from every person and group, that they themselves condemn and isolate such actions and groups as a phenomena of an anti-Semitic cesspit, of racist behavior and patriotic sublimity.

We demand from those intellectuals that write these abstract, spectacular articles against anti-Semitism and racism to condemn the particular.

Silence stands for Guilt by accessory!

Hands off the Greek Jews!

Café Morgenland – antifascist immigrant group from Germany

Terminal 119 – for social and individual autonomy


Monday, February 9, 2009

We call it Techno !

Surfing on the internet is always useful. Some nights ago , I was siting on my bed really lazy. I thought that it is not good idea to watch a documenatary. Well I decide to watch the WE CALL IT TECHNO , a documentary film describing the first steps of techno , acid house scene and definitely the Legendary Love Parade … Type we call it techno on google videos and watch this documentary. It is kind interesting..

MY HOUSE IS YOUR HOUSE AND MY HOUSE IS MINE - WE CALL IT TECHNO! tells the story of a tempestuous phase in music history, the first time that pop culture was created significantly in Germany. With exclusive interviews and comprehensive, mostly unreleased film and photo archive material from the years 1988-1993! - OST:

-3 Phase feat. Dr. Motte - Der Klang Der Familie Bam Bam - Give It To Me Cosmic Baby - Cosmic Trigger 4 Cosmic Baby - Galaxia Cosmic Baby - New Zone Cybersonik - Technarchy Dance 2 Trance - We Came In Peace D-Shake - Yaaaah! Eon - Spice F.U.S.E. - FU2 F.U.S.E. - Substance Abuse Frankie Bones - Call It Techno Kid Paul & The Weird Club - Acid In My House Komakino - Dynacore Mark N-R-G - Turn The Bass Microbots - Cosmic Evolution Microglobe - What Is Space Nitzer Ebb - Warsaw Ghetto Ongaku - Mihon 3 Resistance D. - Cosmic Love Sequential - Ambiant Block Sequential - Sonne Space Cube - Pure Tendency T-Bone Castro - Wize Guys Are Freakin’ Lower Teste - The Wipe Break Boys - My House Is Your House Overlords - Sundown Thomas P. Heckmann - Floatation Thomas P. Heckmann - The Sound Of Colour Umo Detic - Fahrenhei

Sunday, February 8, 2009

when the streets are burning videos#2 from the open meeting

when the streets are burning videos#1 from the open meeting

a trip into RadiCaL theoRy#2 give up activism

yes i posted this article for obvious reasons, unless otherwise specified

Pavlov is alive and well...

In 1999, in the aftermath of the June 18th global day of action, a pamphlet called Reflections on June 18th was produced by some people in London, as an open-access collection of "contributions on the politics behind the events that occurred in the City of London on June 18, 1999". Contained in this collection was an article called 'Give up Activism' which has generated quite a lot of discussion and debate both in the UK and internationally, being translated into several languages and reproduced in several different publications.[1] Here we republish the article together with a new postscript by the author addressing some comments and criticisms received since the original publication.

[See also the Postscript to this article]

One problem apparent in the June 18th day of action was the adoption of an activist mentality. This problem became particularly obvious with June 18th precisely because the people involved in organising it and the people involved on the day tried to push beyond these limitations. This piece is no criticism of anyone involved - rather an attempt to inspire some thought on the challenges that confront us if we are really serious in our intention of doing away with the capitalist mode of production.


By 'an activist mentality' what I mean is that people think of themselves primarily as activists and as belonging to some wider community of activists. The activist identifies with what they do and thinks of it as their role in life, like a job or career. In the same way some people will identify with their job as a doctor or a teacher, and instead of it being something they just happen to be doing, it becomes an essential part of their self-image.

The activist is a specialist or an expert in social change. To think of yourself as being an activist means to think of yourself as being somehow privileged or more advanced than others in your appreciation of the need for social change, in the knowledge of how to achieve it and as leading or being in the forefront of the practical struggle to create this change.

Activism, like all expert roles, has its basis in the division of labour - it is a specialised separate task. The division of labour is the foundation of class society, the fundamental division being that between mental and manual labour. The division of labour operates, for example, in medicine or education - instead of healing and bringing up kids being common knowledge and tasks that everyone has a hand in, this knowledge becomes the specialised property of doctors and teachers - experts that we must rely on to do these things for us. Experts jealously guard and mystify the skills they have. This keeps people separated and disempowered and reinforces hierarchical class society.

A division of labour implies that one person takes on a role on behalf of many others who relinquish this responsibility. A separation of tasks means that other people will grow your food and make your clothes and supply your electricity while you get on with achieving social change. The activist, being an expert in social change, assumes that other people aren't doing anything to change their lives and so feels a duty or a responsibility to do it on their behalf. Activists think they are compensating for the lack of activity by others. Defining ourselves as activists means defining our actions as the ones which will bring about social change, thus disregarding the activity of thousands upon thousands of other non-activists. Activism is based on this misconception that it is only activists who do social change - whereas of course class struggle is happening all the time.

Form and Content

The tension between the form of 'activism' in which our political activity appears and its increasingly radical content has only been growing over the last few years. The background of a lot of the people involved in June 18th is of being 'activists' who 'campaign' on an 'issue'. The political progress that has been made in the activist scene over the last few years has resulted in a situation where many people have moved beyond single issue campaigns against specific companies or developments to a rather ill-defined yet nonetheless promising anti-capitalist perspective. Yet although the content of the campaigning activity has altered, the form of activism has not. So instead of taking on Monsanto and going to their headquarters and occupying it, we have now seen beyond the single facet of capital represented by Monsanto and so develop a 'campaign' against capitalism. And where better to go and occupy than what is perceived as being the headquarters of capitalism - the City?

Our methods of operating are still the same as if we were taking on a specific corporation or development, despite the fact that capitalism is not at all the same sort of thing and the ways in which one might bring down a particular company are not at all the same as the ways in which you might bring down capitalism. For example, vigorous campaigning by animal rights activists has succeeded in wrecking both Consort dog breeders and Hillgrove Farm cat breeders. The businesses were ruined and went into receivership. Similarly the campaign waged against arch-vivisectionists Huntingdon Life Sciences succeeded in reducing their share price by 33%, but the company just about managed to survive by running a desperate PR campaign in the City to pick up prices.[2] Activism can very successfully accomplish bringing down a business, yet to bring down capitalism a lot more will be required than to simply extend this sort of activity to every business in every sector. Similarly with the targetting of butcher's shops by animal rights activists, the net result is probably only to aid the supermarkets in closing down all the small butcher's shops, thus assisting the process of competition and the 'natural selection' of the marketplace. Thus activists often succeed in destroying one small business while strengthening capital overall.

A similar thing applies with anti-roads activism. Wide-scale anti-roads protests have created opportunities for a whole new sector of capitalism - security, surveillance, tunnellers, climbers, experts and consultants. We are now one 'market risk' among others to be taken into account when bidding for a roads contract. We may have actually assisted the rule of market forces, by forcing out the companies that are weakest and least able to cope. Protest-bashing consultant Amanda Webster says: "The advent of the protest movement will actually provide market advantages to those contractors who can handle it effectively."[3] Again activism can bring down a business or stop a road but capitalism carries merrily on, if anything stronger than before.

These things are surely an indication, if one were needed, that tackling capitalism will require not only a quantitative change (more actions, more activists) but a qualitative one (we need to discover some more effective form of operating). It seems we have very little idea of what it might actually require to bring down capitalism. As if all it needed was some sort of critical mass of activists occupying offices to be reached and then we'd have a revolution...

The form of activism has been preserved even while the content of this activity has moved beyond the form that contains it. We still think in terms of being 'activists' doing a 'campaign' on an 'issue', and because we are 'direct action' activists we will go and 'do an action' against our target. The method of campaigning against specific developments or single companies has been carried over into this new thing of taking on capitalism. We're attempting to take on capitalism and conceptualising what we're doing in completely inappropriate terms, utilising a method of operating appropriate to liberal reformism. So we have the bizarre spectacle of 'doing an action' against capitalism - an utterly inadequate practice.


The role of the 'activist' is a role we adopt just like that of policeman, parent or priest - a strange psychological form we use to define ourselves and our relation to others. The 'activist' is a specialist or an expert in social change - yet the harder we cling to this role and notion of what we are, the more we actually impede the change we desire. A real revolution will involve the breaking out of all preconceived roles and the destruction of all specialism - the reclamation of our lives. The seizing control over our own destinies which is the act of revolution will involve the creation of new selves and new forms of interaction and community. 'Experts' in anything can only hinder this.

The Situationist International developed a stringent critique of roles and particularly the role of 'the militant'. Their criticism was mainly directed against leftist and social-democratic ideologies because that was mainly what they encountered. Although these forms of alienation still exist and are plain to be seen, in our particular milieu it is the liberal activist we encounter more often than the leftist militant. Nevertheless, they share many features in common (which of course is not surprising).

The Situationist Raoul Vaneigem defined roles like this: "Stereotypes are the dominant images of a period... The stereotype is the model of the role; the role is a model form of behaviour. The repetition of an attitude creates a role." To play a role is to cultivate an appearance to the neglect of everything authentic: "we succumb to the seduction of borrowed attitudes." As role-players we dwell in inauthenticity - reducing our lives to a string of clichés - "breaking [our] day down into a series of poses chosen more or less unconsciously from the range of dominant stereotypes."[4] This process has been at work since the early days of the anti-roads movement. At Twyford Down after Yellow Wednesday in December 92, press and media coverage focused on the Dongas Tribe and the dreadlocked countercultural aspect of the protests. Initially this was by no means the predominant element - there was a large group of ramblers at the eviction for example.[5] But people attracted to Twyford by the media coverage thought every single person there had dreadlocks. The media coverage had the effect of making 'ordinary' people stay away and more dreadlocked countercultural types turned up - decreasing the diversity of the protests. More recently, a similar thing has happened in the way in which people drawn to protest sites by the coverage of Swampy they had seen on TV began to replicate in their own lives the attitudes presented by the media as characteristic of the role of the 'eco-warrior'.[6]

"Just as the passivity of the consumer is an active passivity, so the passivity of the spectator lies in his ability to assimilate roles and play them according to official norms. The repetition of images and stereotypes offers a set of models from which everyone is supposed to choose a role."[7] The role of the militant or activist is just one of these roles, and therein, despite all the revolutionary rhetoric that goes with the role, lies its ultimate conservatism.

The supposedly revolutionary activity of the activist is a dull and sterile routine - a constant repetition of a few actions with no potential for change. Activists would probably resist change if it came because it would disrupt the easy certainties of their role and the nice little niche they've carved out for themselves. Like union bosses, activists are eternal representatives and mediators. In the same way as union leaders would be against their workers actually succeeding in their struggle because this would put them out of a job, the role of the activist is threatened by change. Indeed revolution, or even any real moves in that direction, would profoundly upset activists by depriving them of their role. If everyone is becoming revolutionary then you're not so special anymore, are you?

So why do we behave like activists? Simply because it's the easy cowards' option? It is easy to fall into playing the activist role because it fits into this society and doesn't challenge it - activism is an accepted form of dissent. Even if as activists we are doing things which are not accepted and are illegal, the form of activism itself - the way it is like a job - means that it fits in with our psychology and our upbringing. It has a certain attraction precisely because it is not revolutionary.

We Don't Need Any More Martyrs

The key to understanding both the role of the militant and the activist is self-sacrifice - the sacrifice of the self to 'the cause' which is seen as being separate from the self. This of course has nothing to do with real revolutionary activity which is the seizing of the self. Revolutionary martyrdom goes together with the identification of some cause separate from one's own life - an action against capitalism which identifies capitalism as 'out there' in the City is fundamentally mistaken - the real power of capital is right here in our everyday lives - we re-create its power every day because capital is not a thing but a social relation between people (and hence classes) mediated by things.

Of course I am not suggesting that everyone who was involved in June 18th shares in the adoption of this role and the self-sacrifice that goes with it to an equal extent. As I said above, the problem of activism was made particularly apparent by June 18th precisely because it was an attempt to break from these roles and our normal ways of operating. Much of what is outlined here is a 'worst case scenario' of what playing the role of an activist can lead to. The extent to which we can recognise this within our own movement will give us an indication of how much work there is still to be done.

The activist makes politics dull and sterile and drives people away from it, but playing the role also fucks up the activist herself. The role of the activist creates a separation between ends and means: self-sacrifice means creating a division between the revolution as love and joy in the future but duty and routine now. The worldview of activism is dominated by guilt and duty because the activist is not fighting for herself but for a separate cause: "All causes are equally inhuman."[8]

As an activist you have to deny your own desires because your political activity is defined such that these things do not count as 'politics'. You put 'politics' in a separate box to the rest of your life - it's like a job... you do 'politics' 9-5 and then go home and do something else. Because it is in this separate box, 'politics' exists unhampered by any real-world practical considerations of effectiveness. The activist feels obliged to keep plugging away at the same old routine unthinkingly, unable to stop or consider, the main thing being that the activist is kept busy and assuages her guilt by banging her head against a brick wall if necessary.

Part of being revolutionary might be knowing when to stop and wait. It might be important to know how and when to strike for maximum effectiveness and also how and when NOT to strike. Activists have this 'We must do something NOW!' attitude that seems fuelled by guilt. This is completely untactical.

The self-sacrifice of the militant or the activist is mirrored in their power over others as an expert - like a religion there is a kind of hierarchy of suffering and self-righteousness. The activist assumes power over others by virtue of her greater degree of suffering ('non-hierarchical' activist groups in fact form a 'dictatorship of the most committed'). The activist uses moral coercion and guilt to wield power over others less experienced in the theology of suffering. Their subordination of themselves goes hand in hand with their subordination of others - all enslaved to 'the cause'. Self-sacrificing politicos stunt their own lives and their own will to live - this generates a bitterness and an antipathy to life which is then turned outwards to wither everything else. They are "great despisers of life... the partisans of absolute self-sacrifice... their lives twisted by their monsterous asceticism."[9] We can see this in our own movement, for example on site, in the antagonism between the desire to sit around and have a good time versus the guilt-tripping build/fortify/barricade work ethic and in the sometimes excessive passion with which 'lunchouts' are denounced. The self-sacrificing martyr is offended and outraged when she sees others that are not sacrificing themselves. Like when the 'honest worker' attacks the scrounger or the layabout with such vitriol, we know it is actually because she hates her job and the martyrdom she has made of her life and therefore hates to see anyone escape this fate, hates to see anyone enjoying themselves while she is suffering - she must drag everyone down into the muck with her - an equality of self-sacrifice.

In the old religious cosmology, the successful martyr went to heaven. In the modern worldview, successful martyrs can look forward to going down in history. The greatest self-sacrifice, the greatest success in creating a role (or even better, in devising a whole new one for people to emulate - e.g. the eco-warrior) wins a reward in history - the bourgeois heaven.

The old left was quite open in its call for heroic sacrifice: "Sacrifice yourselves joyfully, brothers and sisters! For the Cause, for the Established Order, for the Party, for Unity, for Meat and Potatoes!"[10] But these days it is much more veiled: Vaneigem accuses "young leftist radicals" of "enter[ing] the service of a Cause - the 'best' of all Causes. The time they have for creative activity they squander on handing out leaflets, putting up posters, demonstrating or heckling local politicians. They become militants, fetishising action because others are doing their thinking for them."[11]

This resounds with us - particularly the thing about the fetishising of action - in left groups the militants are left free to engage in endless busywork because the group leader or guru has the 'theory' down pat, which is just accepted and lapped up - the 'party line'. With direct action activists it's slightly different - action is fetishised, but more out of an aversion to any theory whatsoever.

Although it is present, that element of the activist role which relies on self-sacrifice and duty was not so significant in June 18th. What is more of an issue for us is the feeling of separateness from 'ordinary people' that activism implies. People identify with some weird sub-culture or clique as being 'us' as opposed to the 'them' of everyone else in the world.


The activist role is a self-imposed isolation from all the people we should be connecting to. Taking on the role of an activist separates you from the rest of the human race as someone special and different. People tend to think of their own first person plural (who are you referring to when you say 'we'?) as referring to some community of activists, rather than a class. For example, for some time now in the activist milieu it has been popular to argue for 'no more single issues' and for the importance of 'making links'. However, many people's conception of what this involved was to 'make links' with other activists and other campaign groups. June 18th demonstrated this quite well, the whole idea being to get all the representatives of all the various different causes or issues in one place at one time, voluntarily relegating ourselves to the ghetto of good causes.

Similarly, the various networking forums that have recently sprung up around the country - the Rebel Alliance in Brighton, NASA in Nottingham, Riotous Assembly in Manchester, the London Underground etc. have a similar goal - to get all the activist groups in the area talking to each other. I'm not knocking this - it is an essential pre-requisite for any further action, but it should be recognised for the extremely limited form of 'making links' that it is. It is also interesting in that what the groups attending these meetings have in common is that they are activist groups - what they are actually concerned with seems to be a secondary consideration.

It is not enough merely to seek to link together all the activists in the world, neither is it enough to seek to transform more people into activists. Contrary to what some people may think, we will not be any closer to a revolution if lots and lots of people become activists. Some people seem to have the strange idea that what is needed is for everyone to be somehow persuaded into becoming activists like us and then we'll have a revolution. Vaneigem says: "Revolution is made everyday despite, and in opposition to, the specialists of revolution."[12]

The militant or activist is a specialist in social change or revolution. The specialist recruits others to her own tiny area of specialism in order to increase her own power and thus dispel the realisation of her own powerlessness. "The specialist... enrols himself in order to enrol others."[13] Like a pyramid selling scheme, the hierarchy is self-replicating - you are recruited and in order not to be at the bottom of the pyramid, you have to recruit more people to be under you, who then do exactly the same. The reproduction of the alienated society of roles is accomplished through specialists.

Jacques Camatte in his essay 'On Organization'[14] makes the astute point that political groupings often end up as "gangs" defining themselves by exclusion - the group member's first loyalty becomes to the group rather than to the struggle. His critique applies especially to the myriad of Left sects and groupuscules at which it was directed but it applies also to a lesser extent to the activist mentality.

The political group or party substitutes itself for the proletariat and its own survival and reproduction become paramount - revolutionary activity becomes synonymous with 'building the party' and recruiting members. The group takes itself to have a unique grasp on truth and everyone outside the group is treated like an idiot in need of education by this vanguard. Instead of an equal debate between comrades we get instead the separation of theory and propaganda, where the group has its own theory, which is almost kept secret in the belief that the inherently less mentally able punters must be lured in the organisation with some strategy of populism before the politics are sprung on them by surprise. This dishonest method of dealing with those outside of the group is similar to a religious cult - they will never tell you upfront what they are about.

We can see here some similarities with activism, in the way that the activist milieu acts like a leftist sect. Activism as a whole has some of the characteristics of a "gang". Activist gangs can often end up being cross-class alliances, including all sorts of liberal reformists because they too are 'activists'. People think of themselves primarily as activists and their primary loyalty becomes to the community of activists and not to the struggle as such. The "gang" is illusory community, distracting us from creating a wider community of resistance. The essence of Camatte's critique is an attack on the creation of an interior/exterior division between the group and the class. We come to think of ourselves as being activists and therefore as being separate from and having different interests from the mass of working class people.

Our activity should be the immediate expression of a real struggle, not the affirmation of the separateness and distinctness of a particular group. In Marxist groups the possession of 'theory' is the all-important thing determining power - it's different in the activist milieu, but not that different - the possession of the relevant 'social capital' - knowledge, experience, contacts, equipment etc. is the primary thing determining power.

Activism reproduces the structure of this society in its operations: "When the rebel begins to believe that he is fighting for a higher good, the authoritarian principle gets a fillip."[15] This is no trivial matter, but is at the basis of capitalist social relations. Capital is a social relation between people mediated by things - the basic principle of alienation is that we live our lives in the service of some thing that we ourselves have created. If we reproduce this structure in the name of politics that declares itself anti-capitalist, we have lost before we have begun. You cannot fight alienation by alienated means.

A Modest Proposal

This is a modest proposal that we should develop ways of operating that are adequate to our radical ideas. This task will not be easy and the writer of this short piece has no clearer insight into how we should go about this than anyone else. I am not arguing that June 18th should have been abandoned or attacked, indeed it was a valiant attempt to get beyond our limitations and to create something better than what we have at present. However, in its attempts to break with antique and formulaic ways of doing things it has made clear the ties that still bind us to the past. The criticisms of activism that I have expressed above do not all apply to June 18th. However there is a certain paradigm of activism which at its worst includes all that I have outlined above and June 18th shared in this paradigm to a certain extent. To exactly what extent is for you to decide.

Activism is a form partly forced upon us by weakness. Like the joint action taken by Reclaim the Streets and the Liverpool dockers - we find ourselves in times in which radical politics is often the product of mutual weakness and isolation. If this is the case, it may not even be within our power to break out of the role of activists. It may be that in times of a downturn in struggle, those who continue to work for social revolution become marginalised and come to be seen (and to see themselves) as a special separate group of people. It may be that this is only capable of being corrected by a general upsurge in struggle when we won't be weirdos and freaks any more but will seem simply to be stating what is on everybody's minds. However, to work to escalate the struggle it will be necessary to break with the role of activists to whatever extent is possible - to constantly try to push at the boundaries of our limitations and constraints.

Historically, those movements that have come the closest to de-stabilising or removing or going beyond capitalism have not at all taken the form of activism. Activism is essentially a political form and a method of operating suited to liberal reformism that is being pushed beyond its own limits and used for revolutionary purposes. The activist role in itself must be problematic for those who desire social revolution..

[See also the Postscript to this article]


1) To my knowledge the article has been translated into French and published in Je sais tout (Association des 26-Cantons, 8, rue Lissignol CH-1201 Genève, Suisse) and in Échanges No. 93 (BP 241, 75866 Paris Cedex 18, France). It has been translated into Spanish and published in Ekintza Zuzena (Ediciones E.Z., Apdo. 235, 48080 Bilbo (Bizkaia), Spanish State). It has been republished in America in Collective Action Notes No. 16-17 (CAN, POB 22962, Baltimore, MD 21203, USA) and in the UK in Organise! No. 54 (AF, c/o 84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX, UK). It is also available on-line at: and If anyone knows of any other places it has been reproduced or critiqued, I would be grateful to hear of them, via Do or Die.

2) Squaring up to the Square Mile: A Rough Guide to the City of London (J18 Publications (UK), 1999) p.8

3) 'Direct Action: Six Years Down the Road' in Do or Die No. 7, p.3

4) Raoul Vaneigem - The Revolution of Everyday Life, (Left Bank Books/Rebel Press, 1994) - first published 1967, pp.131-3

5) 'The Day they Drove Twyford Down' in Do or Die No. 1, p.11

6) 'Personality Politics: The Spectacularisation of Fairmile' in Do or Die No. 7, p.35

7) Op. Cit. 4, p.128

8) Op. Cit. 4, p.107

9) Op. Cit. 4, p.109

10) Op. Cit. 4, p.108

11) Op. Cit. 4, p.109

12) Op. Cit. 4, p.111

13) Op. Cit. 4, p.143

14) Jacques Camatte - 'On Organization' (1969) in This World We Must Leave and Other Essays (New York, Autonomedia, 1995)

15) Op. Cit. 4, p.110

Do or Die DTP/web team:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

when the streets are burning #photo report

Around 60 people followed the event about the Greek riots in Budapest. The event organized by FP from apples from the underground and the dynamics of the Morze Infoshop in Budapest .. We post some interesting photos bellow

Sunday, February 1, 2009

when the streets are burning , open discussion in Budapest with F.P apples from the underground

Info event at Morze Infoshop
Tűzraktér, Hegedű utca 3., 1. emelet, end of the corridor"
2009, February 4., 18:30

The murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos last December initiated one of the more massive uprisings in Greece, from the era of dictatorship until now. The murder of the 15-year-old boy by the agents of violence and oppression from the state ignited a general insurrection of the greek youth, as well as an international solidarity movement. The solidarity movement was directed not only towards the actual incident of the murder, but also caused a number of actions and criticism against the innumerable capitalistic barbarities, financial crisis and the right wing government.

We call for a public info night including discussion about the Greek insurrection and the upcoming revolts in Europe as well as presenting/discussing the history of the Greek radical movements. According also with the current situation into the Greek youth during the ''new capitalist fact'' of the financial crisis , violent precarization and other related issues to that popular uprising.

We would like also to initiate a discussion about some questions and problems that this movement tried to make visible!

* "What does it means in the age of post fordist capitalist western or western ''inspired'' metropolis to win?"

* "Which popular demands are again in the surface of the movement?"

* "How horisontality can function successfully in the anticapitalist movements of the modern world?"

* "How can practical autonomy and local alternatives to global capitalism and self organization remain relevant?"

* "Which new forms of organization and networking are necessary to coordinate successfully the international resistance against capitalism in our daily lives?"

* and YES! for establishing again "new Seattles", "new greek revolts", "new temporary autonomous zones", "new grassroot movements and victories?"

These are only some questions related to the Greek insurrection but we hope to discuss more. Our aim is to avoid the gap between presenters and consumers. You are definitely welcome to add your questions and statements to this debate...

Apples from the Underground A Trip into the Radical theory #1

Wrong direction: On Reclaiming a One-Way Street, by George Forrestier

[Thjs article was originally published in ‘reflections on june 18, contributions on the politics behind the events that occurred in the city of London on june 18, 1999’, London, October 1999, pages 16-21]

One has to repeat again and again that the critique of the capitalist mode of production is the critique of a mode of production, not a critique of a mode of exchange or distribution. If one wants to stage a political happening in the banking district, one has to take the greatest care to give precise reasons why and against what exactly the action is directed. A protest against the policies of the banks (for which there is certainly reason enough) must relate to what their actual part in the overall process of capitalist production is. In no way can we afford to be loose in our reasoning in this context. The difference in how to argue for such an action is the difference about the whole: This slippery slope is the borderline between progressive and reactionary critique of capitalism. I will try to go into some detail about this problem, after commenting on some ideological issues in the context of J18.

One of the groups involved in the J18 campaign has published a whole booklet with 32 pages of worthless and pointless knowledge collected from the garbage-bins of petit-bourgeois cleverness. In the whole booklet, the terms ‘capital’ and ‘capitalist’ appear only in the introduction and in the afterthoughts (one can not call these final paragraphs ‘conclusions’ because they don’t conclude anything from the body of the text - there is nothing to be concluded from there); actually, contrary to expectations, it is the leaflets that offer more political analysis and positioning than the booklet. I concentrate therefore on commenting on the leaflets, or rather those leaflets that I have been provided with (there are certainly some more).

The occasion of the event is the meeting of the G8 state leaders of whom the Golden Leaflet says, firstly that their agenda is the increase of the power of corporations (which implies that their own, i.e. state powers decrease), and secondly that the 'leaders' (put in inverted commas by the authors) are not in control. J18 adopt here the tabloid version of critique of globalization, regretting that the state leaders are not really leaders; our elected rulers are not allowed anymore to rule properly. It is suggested that 'our planet' is run by the financial market which is described as 'a giant video game' in which people use 'electronic screens'. Actually, however, it is not 'our' (‘our’? who is the ‘us’ behind the ‘our’? Humans? Mammals? Multicellular beings in general?) planet that is run, but it is society which is being run. However, society is not ‘run’ by the financial market, but by capital, in the form of the capitalist mode of production, and the fact that electronic screens are involved is irrelevant. The exclusive naming of financial capital instead of capital in its totality is a major theoretical flaw to which I will come back later on. It is completely unclear why the financial markets should resemble (or even be) a ‘video game’ - another naїve and populist, tabloid style notion (silently referring to the senile Baudrillard’s nonsense concept of post-modernity as an age of ‘simulation’).

If 'the choice is ours' as the flyer suggests, the question again is, who is the 'we' in this case (is it the same 'we' that owns the planet further up the page? Or is 'we' just an enlightened minority of street party followers?), and, if 'we' have the choice, why do we not choose to abolish capitalism? It seems that either we have the choice, but are too stupid or evil to choose the right thing, or perhaps we do not really have the choice. Actually, the specific difference of capitalist domination in contrast to for example pre-capitalist forms of domination is that in capitalism, being a form of abstract, objective domination, people do not have much choice at all, (which is one of the reasons not to like it). If somebody would take the rhetoric of 'the choice is ours' seriously, the limitations of our power would be inexplicable and quite frustrating. So part of a critique of capitalism has to be to explain why it is that we have very limited choices.

The definition of carnival is quite one-sided and romantic. Whoever has attended a carnival in Rio or Duesseldorf, must have noticed its affirmative catholic character: A carnival has a beginning and an end, and what looks to the naїve spectator like the 'subversion of authority' is designed to suppress the subversion of authority once the carnival is over - no carnival without Ash Wednesday. An unexpected carnival is not a carnival, and a carnival would be revolutionary only insofar it would not be a carnival.

The leaflet leaves it to the readers’ imagination to guess what 'authentic festivity' is, and why it is undistinguishable from preparing for a ‘general insurrection'. The jargon of 'authenticity' is reactionary; as far as I am concerned, I am perfectly happy with inauthentic festivities. However, I am indeed able to distinguish festivities, 'authentic' or not, from 'general insurrection'. At best, a festivity is not a general, but a very particular insurrection. The correct way of putting it would be: A general insurrection would include having the character of a festival, or else: an insurrection is a festival, but a festival is not an insurrection.

The definitions of capitalism given in the leaflets are very unspecific. To be 'a system by which the few profit from the exploitation of the many' is not characteristic of capitalism, but it is as well true of e.g. feudalism and most forms of society people have built so far. The point of defining capitalism would be to specify what particular form of exploitation it is. To lump it together with a general notion of exploitation as such is obscurantism. To describe capitalism as 'a mindset addicted to profit, work and debt' reduces capitalism to a psychological problem, an 'addicted mind'. If capitalism is a form of exploitation, it is not a 'mind-set' but a real, material form of social relations. Apart from that, how could a 'mindset' be 'addicted' to 'debt'? This is complete nonsense.

The same problem with the concept of 'ideology'. Capitalism produces ideologies (such as religions etc.) but it is not an ideology. Actually, capitalism produces an ideology of infinite growth, and this is indeed a characteristic of the capitalist mode of production; however, it would be necessary to qualify growth of what. Personally, I am quite obsessed with the idea of infinitely growing fun, wealth, and happiness, if possible beyond our homely little planet, and my mind is indeed quite addicted to these things.

Another naїve idea lies in the formulation 'around the world, the movement grows', followed by a list of actually very different movements. Another leaflet talks, more accurately, of 'a growing alliance of social and environmental movements' in the plural. The point is, that the quoted movements, most prominently the 'Zapatistas', make demands that are in themselves quite particular and specific, very often nationalistic, almost always regionalist, which belies the talk about 'the movement' in the singular. Based on the 'anti-Free-Trade' ideologies adopted by these movements, the most that can be achieved by such movements is indeed an 'alliance' of particular, different movements. The suggestion of the existence of one universal movement is wrong and patronizing. The interesting point will be, what sort of alliance can be reached, and what is the aim of the alliance.

To criticise Free Trade presupposes logically to embrace the nation-state as a ‘natural’, unquestioned social form: Who or what should limit or resist Free Trade if not a world system of nation-states, which protect their respective economic areas (plus backyards)?

While Marx clearly and repeatedly stated that the proletariat must not oppose or hinder Free Trade, the Marxist mainstream (including both Social Democracy and Bolshevism) did oppose Free Trade and surrendered to nationalism. Revolutionaries have no sides to take in the capitalist contradiction between Free Trade and nation state protectionism. To criticise Free Trade without criticising nation and state at the same time is a serious mistake because it fails to address the totality of the capital relation.

Free Trade creates the conditions for global class struggle to which revolutionaries have to contribute. Class as a global category, not a national one, is understood hereby as an abstract structuring principle basic to the capitalist mode of production, not as a concrete group of persons (sharing occupation, status, culture etc.) as the positivistic reductionist sociological concept of class wants to have it: For if class is taken seriously as a global category it goes without saying that class as a lived relation takes a different form of appearance in each and every concrete historical context all over the capitalist world. Global class is not the addition of many ‘national proletariats’ (a contradiction in terms) but a structuring category incompatible with the categories nation and state, therefore incompatible with a resistance to Free Trade.

J18, like Social Democracy and Bolshevism, takes sides against progressive liberalism (Free Trade: Adam Smith: Capital as the civilising process that dissolves traditional authority and narrow community), for reactionary liberalism (Protectionism: Friedrich List, Lasalle: capital’s immanent petit-bourgeois reaction to its own dynamism, creating new authorities and repressive narrow inhuman communities such as nation-states). Revolutionary politics are based on taking advantage of the progressive dynamism of capital against its reactionary side, in order to explode capital’s contradiction.

In the flyer, 'Day of Protest & party...', we read: 'The City of London produces nothing of real use to people’. This is followed by a correct formulation: 'It's financial transfers serve only to rob the poor to give to the rich. ... The City is a central part of the capitalist economic system which fails to provide for people's needs.' Yes: A central part. But nothing more.

The overall tone of the rhetoric of this J18 leaflet, however, comes down to: They don’t produce anything in the City, so let’s attack them. In a word, they are parasites.

As a devoted friend of unproductive activities, non-activities and parasites in general, I suggest that if it was true that they didn’t produce ‘anything’, this should be a reason not to ‘attack’ them, but to follow their good example.

(In reality, the do produce some things, namely services that seem to be useful for their customers, otherwise they would not be able to sell their services. A commodity that is not useful won’t be sold. The one thing, which they indeed don’t produce, is value: While they are useful within the framework of capitalist economy, they are unproductive only in the capitalist sense of the word, i.e. in the sense ‘political economy’ uses the term. In a non-capitalist & post-capitalist society a bank would be neither productive nor unproductive but simply impossible.) (The J18 ideologues will probably respond that they wanted to make the point that the usefulness of the commodity ‘banking service’ does not meet real human needs but only artificial, manipulated needs. However, needs are always the actually existing needs. There are no needs other than those that exist. Any other idea of virtual, sincere needs waiting somewhere for being kissed to life by some proletarian prince is metaphysical bollocks. True, banking services are the needs of capital - but insofar as we are capital, these are our needs, at the present time. These needs are false needs only insofar as we ourselves are false, i.e. we ourselves are constituted in alienated form: in the twin form of capital and labour. Did anybody say that we cannot say that we ourselves are false? – but we can, because we are not only what we are but we are what we could become, as well. From a future perspective, which we cannot really take in the present, i.e. from the perspective of what we are not yet, we can say, already in the present, that we are presently false. Nevertheless, we are what we are, and our needs, however false they might be, are our needs.)

'In the West any sense of community remaining is being steadily replaced by endless work and increasing consumerism both of which leave our lives feeling empty of any real meaning. The symptoms are easy to see, we must tackle the disease, a system based on money not need and on power not people.'

The inconspicuous word 'remaining' gives away the deeply conservative character of this pamphlet: The aim seems to be to defend a pre-existing form of 'community' - whatever that might be - as if life in a traditional 'community' has ever been a permanent vacation! Traditional community, we are told, is under attack from ‘work’ (indeed evil, but not as such a modern phenomenon: It is rather so that modern civilization creates for the first time in history the chance to reduce work to a minimum, while the subsumption of modern society to capitalist production with the specific form of work as abstract labour still prevents the actualization of that possibility) and from 'consumerism'. Unfortunately, I do not enjoy the privilege of suffering from 'consumerism' (probably I don’t work enough); I'd be glad if the authors of the pamphlet could tell me more about how it feels.

Another mystery is, why the replacement of 'sense of community' by work and 'consumerism' is restricted to 'the West'. Since the authors do probably not refer to 'the West' like in 'East and West' during the cold war, I have to assume that they mean 'the West' like in 'Occident and Orient'. It would be interesting to hear why the authors think that the oriental 'sense of community' is better suited to resist 'globalization' than the occidental 'sense of community', and, above all, what the reality of 'community' looks like, both East and West. Actually, while the metropolitan activists complain that their lives feel 'empty of any real meaning' (only loads of unreal meaning), comrades from overseas complain of a serious overkill of 'real meaning': From, amongst others, Christian fundamentalism to Jewish fundamentalism and Hindu fundamentalism to Muslim fundamentalism, there is no lack of 'sense of community' and 'real meaning'. However, for lack of consumerism, in particular lack of consumerism of food, sometimes this real meaning is not very full of life.

Although reality is, on second thoughts, usually quite complicated, the Doctors of Reclaiming find 'the symptoms are easy to see, we must tackle the disease'. The confused romanticism of the pamphlet switches now into higher gear with the invocation of the good old 'society is a body, and the wrong form of society is a disease' trick; for thousands of years, ‘the sick body of society’ has been the central organizing metaphor of reactionary ideologies; it is surprising that people who are unaware of such a basic thing get away with pretending to be radicals.

The disease, according to the Doctors of Reclaiming, is a system based on money and power, not on need and people. It has to be admitted that money is indeed a symptom, but not in the medical, but in the Marxist (or Hegelian) sense of the word: Which is to say, it is not the base. While capital is based on labour, money is just a form of representation (or of appearance, a ‘symptom’ in that sense) thereof, if obviously a central one.

It is unclear what the phrase a 'system based on needs' means. Capitalism is based on needs, anyway, because a commodity that does not meet any need at all, can not be sold. What we are fighting for, anyway, is not a 'system' but a society, and that would be one in which the fulfillment and the unrestricted development of needs would be the end of production, not simply ‘the base’.

Power in capitalist society is, however, indeed based on people: Capital is capital only as long as people go to work every day and play their parts in the script. People, in particular people doing productive labour (remember: the working class!), are the only base of the accumulation of capital, i.e. power in its specific capitalist form. To accuse 'the system' of being based on 'power not people' doesn’t therefore make any sense at all.

'Now's the time to change all that.' I'm glad somebody mentioned it, I nearly missed it. (I thought it was the week after.) 'June 18th is about Reclaiming Our World ... forever!' 'You've Reclaimed the Streets, now Reclaim the World!' Culminating in disgustingly Nazi-style enthusiasm, this phrasemongering contains a remarkable cocktail of nonsense. First of all, nothing is forever (hopefully). Remarkable is here the change between the first person ('our world') and the appellation in the second person ('You've reclaimed...'), leading up to the command: ‘Now Reclaim!’, a rhetorical trick more common amongst fascist dictators than amongst grassroots activists. The rhetoric suggests a continuity of successes from reclaiming streets to reclaiming 'the world'. However, although there is no doubt that a claim on rightful possession of the streets has been voiced from 'our' side, the streets have not been handed over, actually. The claim did not succeed any further than the act of claiming. It has to be expected that the claim on the whole world will not be more successful, but we will know more on June 19th. Perhaps we will have another chance later 'to change all that'.

Another problem is, again, what 'the world' is. Personally, I am not too keen on the whole world; I would be happy with claiming a little part of Haiti (access to the beach would be nice), whereas I would suggest not to claim the top of the Himalayas and the bottom of the sea because experience tells, they should rather be left alone. I don't think it's very nice there, anyway. The object of political struggle - to be precise: class struggle - is society, not ‘the world’.

Further, the syllable 're-' in ‘reclaiming’ seems problematic to me. I can reclaim an umbrella that I have lost or a book that has been stolen, and then I will hope that umbrella and book are still more or less in the same shape. What ‘reclaiming’ means is actually that I claim to have a legal title on a thing that I claim to possess, and if I can prove that claim, I will get it back from a legal authority that is entitled with settling legal claims. This is difficult to prove in the case of streets, and even more difficult in the case that the lost property is 'the world': First, the world changes every moment quite rapidly (remember: you never jump into the same river twice, the bottom line of dialectics, spelled out by Herakleitos 2500 years ago), so that it can not constitute a thing that could be re-claimed (in a philosophical term: the world, like Herakleitos' river, is ‘non-identical’). While the umbrella is very much the same today and in a week, this is not the case with 'the world' (as with every living or social object). For these reasons, it is utter nonsense to suggest that 'we' re-claim 'the world', because both 'we' and 'the world' are not distinct and stable entities. Legal concepts as developed by bourgeois society, however, are based on the existence of distinct and stable entities (such as ‘persons’): Bourgeois law assumes that both the umbrella and the owner remain the same. Therefore it is not a good idea to transfer bourgeois legal terms into communist political language. (The same problem affects, by the way, the concept of 'animal rights': Here, too, a legal concept - rights -, that makes (some) sense only in a very specific form of human society - bourgeois society - is transferred into the natural world. This won't help the little puppies very much, since not even human beings can eat, drink and sleep human 'rights'.)

This whole salsa is crowned by the statement: 'Our happiness depends on freedom and our freedom depends on courage'. That beats everything. This is so bare of any sense, it could be found in 'Mein Kampf' as well as in the welcome speech of a headmaster of a boarding school in the Midlands. Whoever wrote this, should seriously consider sending a CV to Downing Street ('Everybody is equally important. Everyone should be involved...' Actually I know one or two people I do not want to be involved too much. And sometimes I even have the feeling that some people are really more equally important than others). I hope I will catch the last flight to Haiti should people who produce such dangerous nonsense start building 'strong, diverse communities' one fine day. (For God’s sake, the risk is little.)

After these brief remarks on the kind of political understanding that seems to underlie the rhetoric of J18 publications, I’d like to go into more depth about what seems to me the major issue at stake, the fetishistic and reductionist attack on ‘financial capital’.

(It may seem strange, up to this point, why anybody should be bothered to analyze simple inconspicuous leaflets so pedantically and by reading between the lines, as it were; why split hairs, when leaflets go to the waste paper anyway, mostly unread? Must not the close reader of this ephemeral stuff rather be suspected of being the romantic searcher for The Perfect Leaflet, for the magic spell that single-handedly will make the movement good and powerful and that will make evil disappear? Not at all. However, the point is that leaflets do express something about their producers, just as political ‘praxis’ does. To be precise, thinking as well as expressing and communicating thoughts is essentially a part of the ensemble of social practices typical for human beings, and as such have to be neither privileged over other such practices nor can they be neglected as ‘mere’ transient shadows.)

The problem is, that even many experienced comrades and activists succumb to the easy appeal of the superficial success of this brand of populism, which makes it a frighteningly hegemonic movement, and this is for a reason far more important than the flawed character of this particular movement. The paradox that activities against a G8-meeting are led (in the UK) by environmentalists and ‘anti-road’ activists, is a telltale fact. It’s our declaration of bankruptcy: A most general issue, the fight against capital, is subsumed under the heading of a classical 70’s style one-point-movement (after all, and despite all disclaimers, it’s name is ‘reclaim the STREETS’, and don’t you tell me that this is just the particularly clever code name for a dangerous revolutionary organization). How is it possible that so many of the remaining radical militants subscribe to the bizarre ideological rubbish outlined above? Either they just don’t care about what gibberish is printed on the leaflets they hand out, i.e. they are degenerated cynical populists and insofar worthy descendants of Leninist demagoguery, or their own theoretical framework is eroded to near complete substancelessness.)

This substancelessness that makes them yield to elements of reactionary ideology can be illuminated with the help of a little detour on the concept of antisemitism.

(I refer hereby to an theoretical text written by Moishe Postone, “Anti-Semitism and National Socialism”, in: Rabinbach/Zipes (eds.): Germans and Jews since the Holocaust: The changing situation in West Germany, NY 1986).

(Just in case some people think they can’t be bothered with such ‘academic’ stuff: Moishe Postone, currently teaching history at Chicago University, wrote the essay as a result of discussions and experiences he had when he lived in Frankfurt, FRGermany, in the early eighties in the context of what was then the autonomous left. Efforts to understand antisemitism and, in this context, the failure of the working-class movement - after its overall defeat in 1923 - to prevent Nazism and Auschwitz, have been and are still - even more so today - central to the self-conception and praxis of the radical left in that country. These experiences and resulting discussions are of immediate relevance to an internationalist movement anywhere that subscribes to, amongst others, the Marxian category of class. It is often said - correctly - that theory results from praxis and experience; however, this refers to the totality of practices and experiences of emancipatory movements at many places at different times. It does not mean that any particular movement should develop ‘its own theory’ out of its own particular praxis and experience. This would be a disaster, because such a ‘theory’ would be not more than a conceptual duplication of the practical limitations of that particular movement. For this reason, the development of revolutionary theory has to be based on the widest knowledge and understanding of the history of such movements and their contexts as is possible. In some cases, people who can contribute to such knowledge and understanding are university professors, or they make their living with journalism (Karl Marx) or making films (Guy Debord), although all these are quite petit-bourgeois occupations. To avoid misunderstandings, the idea that one’s occupation directly determines one’s thinking (so called ‘sociology of knowledge’) has been formulated by naïve petit-bourgeois theorists and sociologists such as Karl Mannheim and is not a revolutionary, let alone a Marxian idea.

The language of theoretical contributions like the one adopted here is the language of Marx’s critique of political economy. This language is extremely difficult to understand because it refers to an object - modern bourgeois society - which is extremely difficult to understand. This is because its chief characteristic is that it replaced for good old forms of immediate, direct exploitation, mediated, abstract forms of exploitation. With the exception of social democratic, Stalinist and Trotskyist party demagogues, nobody has ever managed to boil this language down to an easy to read ‘Marx for beginners’ level. A radical - which means thorough - analysis of the capitalist mode of production is only possible for people who dedicate themselves to struggle with their whole social being for a long time (basically: a lifetime). However, just like everybody can learn Chinese or Sanskrit, everybody can learn the language of revolutionary theory (although, one’s particular conditions will make social knowledge more or less easy to appropriate). People who do dedicate themselves to the lifelong learning process which is revolution do in no way have to make excuses for this.

The concepts developed by Marx, which are a result of the experience of the failure of the revolutionary struggles of the mid 19th century in Europe and North America, mediated by subsequent years of hard and intense studies in the British Library (as hard and intense as no petit bourgeois student today would even dream about), differ from the babble we are taught at today’s universities because they are difficult to understand. While everybody - with a few years of thoughtless exercise - can understand and use the primitive, positivistic terminology of bourgeois social sciences and their popular derivatives that are content with describing a small aspect of the world, Marxian categories aim to comprehend and explain the dynamic of the totality of social relations, and for this purpose they have to be historically determinate, precise, dialectical, and therefore: difficult to understand. A language that is the immediate, one-dimensional result of everyday experience - ‘common sense’, ‘the man on the street’ talk - can never point beyond the everyday world. Actually, ‘common sense’ tends to level and make invisible the contradictions that can be found in everyday life by a critical sense, sensitive towards subtleties and fine nuances. But this is exactly what we need: To go beyond that which is, to transcend, to aufheben the order that is. One has to be highly suspicious about a thought that is immediately understandable: It is a trap. The language of the critique of political economy might be too demanding for the odd petit bourgeois and lumpen student; but it is exactly the right thing for the revolutionary, studying life.)

For the anti-Semite, ‘the Jews represent an immensely powerful, intangible, international conspiracy’. The power imputed to the Jews in modern anti-Semitism is ‘mysteriously intangible, abstract, and universal’. However, it must find a concrete carrier ‘through which it can work’ (Postone 1986: 305):

A graphic example of this vision is provided by a Nazi poster depicting Germany - represented as a strong, honest worker - threatened in the West by a fat, plutocratic John Bull and in the East by a brutal, barbaric Bolshevik Commissar. Yet, these two hostile forces are mere puppets. Peering over the edge of the globe, with the puppet strings firmly in his hands, is the Jew (ibid.).’

Since anti-Semitism, particularly in its Nazi-form, presents itself as opposed to both what it considers ‘Capitalism’ and ‘Communism’ it escapes being explained in terms of the political and social struggle between those two. Unless one wants to brush away this paradox as ‘mere propaganda’, Nazi-anti-Semitism cannot be understood only as ‘a weapon’ in capital’s struggle against the labour movement.

Another widely discussed interpretation of Anti-Semitism and National Socialism refers to the notion of ‘modernity’: Was National Socialism a ‘revolt against modernity’? On first glance, this seems convincing since both capitalism and communism can be seen as phenomena of ‘modernity’. (In such a perspective, Nazi-anti-Semitism would then just be something like today’s ‘primitivist’, Heideggerian, nationalist rebellion against modernisation and globalisation.) This cannot convince because ‘the attitude of National-Socialism to many other dimensions of modernity, especially toward modern technology, was affirmative rather than critical’.

With regard to capitalism, the Nazis’ ‘revolt’ was aimed exclusively against finance capital, not against industrial capital: against “raffendes” (greedy) not against “schaffendes” (creating) capital. Thus the ‘National Socialists’ - like other anti-Semites and some currents of socialism as well - related their notion of capitalism only to capitalism’s circulative sphere, not to its productive sphere. (Since this is particularly characteristic of those socialist traditions that were preferred objects of Marx’s critique as petit-bourgeois or ‘utopian’ (most favourite enemy: Proudhon), the term ‘Socialism’ in ‘National Socialism’ is not mere masquerade: Nazism does indeed epitomise some sorts of socialism, namely some ‘petit-bourgeois’, non-Marxian socialisms that did not intend to transcend commodity-production.) ‘The affirmation by modern anti-Semitism of industrial capital indicates that an approach is required that can distinguish between what modern capitalism is and the way it manifests itself, between its essence and its appearance.’

According to Marx’s critique of political economy, the double character of the commodity as value and use-value requires two separate appearances; because the value-side is ‘externalised’, fetishized, in the form of money, the reified commodity ‘appears only as its use-value dimension, as purely material and “thingly”.’ Thus, two dimensions of the same thing appear as two different and autonomous things.

One aspect of the fetish, then, is that capitalist social relations do not appear as such’ - as capitalist social relations - but each dimension ‘appears to be quasi-natural’: The abstract dimension appears in the form of abstract, universal, “objective” natural laws; the concrete dimension appears as pure “thingly” nature.

Fetishized consciousness can roughly be split up into two narratives: ‘Positive bourgeois thought’ hypostatizes the abstract as transhistorical; the romantic revolt, on the other hand, that understands itself as anti-bourgeois, hypostatizes the concrete. The romantic revolt tends to see only the abstract - e.g. money - as ‘the root of all evil’ and thus remains trapped within the antinomy of the commodity relation. The anti-Semite Proudhon e.g. understands concrete labor ‘as the non-capitalist moment opposed to the abstractness of money’. Therefore, he fails to challenge the concrete of capitalist production: capitalist labour. ‘Industrial capital then can appear as the linear descendent of “natural” artisanal labor, as “organically rooted” in opposition to “rootless”, “parasitic” finance capital. ... In this sense, the biological interpretation, which opposes the concrete dimension (of capitalism) as “natural” and “healthy” to the negativity of what is taken to be “capitalism”, does not stand in contradiction to a glorification of industrial capital and technology. Both are the “thingly” side of the antinomy. ... The point is that, in this form of fetishized “anticapitalism”, both blood and the machine are seen as concrete counterprinciples to the abstract.’

For the modern anti-Semite, nature, blood, soil, concrete labor, industrial machines, Gemeinschaft (community), Volk, race all stand on the same side of the binomial; the ‘artificial’; finance capital; liberalism; communism; class consciousness; ‘the Jew’: all appear on the other side.

Modern anti-Semitism is premised on a further reification: ‘The manifest abstract dimension was also biologized - as the Jews.’ The fetishized opposition of the concrete and the abstract became translated into the racial opposition between ‘Aryans’ and ‘Jews’. ‘International Jewry’ was the biologized form, the personification or reification of what was falsely understood as capitalism: Capitalism’s ‘abstract’ side, made material. This reification represents a second fetishization: Anti-Semitism not only separates the ensemble of (capitalist) social relations into two entities, but in a second step, as it were, reifies both sides into concrete matter.

I hope the little digression makes clear why the fuzzy logic of the J18 rhetoric is not just sloppy but actually dangerous. The reduction of capital to financial capital is what links vulgar, one-sided forms of Marxism with pre- and anti-Marxist forms of socialism, and, beyond that, have been instrumental for both Bolshevik/Stalinist and National-Socialist state-and capital-building projects. Even in details of the imagery the parallel is striking: The ‘inauthentic’ abstract power of financial capital, ruling ‘the world’ through inconspicuous computer screens, is the post-modern version of the Nazi’s notion of the Jew pulling the strings. Why, if not for a reactionary desire, should leaflet writers waste space in a small leaflet to mention computer screens? (In the event that the reactionary desire discovers that for each computer screen it decapitates there will grow five new ones, it might easily switch back to the Jew as the one who is supposed to pull the strings.)

The invocation of ‘utopian’, petit-bourgeois socialist ideologies is characteristic of many forms of populism. It might seem understandable when the activists of J18 try to get a few more people to attend their carnival, and choose the city as a location which works nicely as a representation of all that is evil in the world. Ironically, however, their populism makes them follow exactly in the footsteps of the most traditional parts of the British left, namely the Euro-communist mainstream with its characteristic invocations of ‘traditions of working-class radicalism’. (Eric Hobsbawm is a notorious example, who not only defends e.g. Chartist jingoism and sexism, but celebrates them as key elements to success.) In a similar way, J18 embrace the rotten mythology of ‘youth culture’, jazzed up with a bit of pseudo-situationist avantguardism, a post-modern combination of most unsavoury ideologies including Proudhonism, Bakuninism and Gramsciism, struggling for ‘hegemony’ over people’s hearts (and, secondarily, minds), re-staging the folkloristic song and dance project that was at the core of ‘Euro-communist’ populism to its deservedly bitter end: Juneeighteenism is the most post-modern stage of populism; those complaining about computer screens and the phantom-like government of finance capital are actually those who produce the simulation of an uprising which might even help obstructing a real one.

As for the actual event, it will have to be measured by what it will contribute to the development of revolutionary consciousness, and the defeat of reactionary ideologies; how it will handle the precarious relation of proletarian spontaneity and bureaucratic orchestration by a more or less secret society; and, how it will be able to avoid ending up as a bilateral military manoeuvre that effectively will improve on the one hand, policing, on the other hand, managing future uprisings.

June the 18th, the onehundredandeightyfourth anniversary of the victory of European aristocratic reaction at Waterloo, will find me sitting in the British Library, filling notebooks and raising my consciousness. Only at 5 o’clock, I might well take the chance and raise as well a 25 pence plastic cup of tea to Napoleon1.

1 On Napoleon cf.: Two Hundred Pharaohs Manifesto, London 1999, the chapter on Hegel ‘Contesting Uncle George’s Will’ (pages 28 – 33)