15 April 2014

Sectarianism: the unbeatable high!

...I see vividly
that I depend on your being down for my being up. I would never be
able to know that I belong to the in-group of "nice" or "saved" people
without the assistance of an out-group of "nasty" or "damned" people.
How can any in-group maintain its collective ego without relishing dinnertable discussions about the ghastly conduct of outsiders? The very identity of racist Southerners depends upon contrasting themselves with those dirty black "nigras." But, conversely, the out-groups feel that they are really and truly "in," and nourish their collective ego with relishingly indignant conversation about squares, Ofays, Wasps, Philistines, and the blasted bourgeoisie. [...]
What, for example, is more quarrelsome—in practical politics—than the project for a truly classless and democratic society?

- Alan Watts, The Book on the Taboo against Knowing Who You Really Are

11 April 2014

The death of individuality, part 2: WE WERE RIGHT

[Giorgio] Agamben claims that, by disassociating themselves from all markers of identity, the occupiers of Tiananmen became “whatever singularities”. These whatever singularities remain precisely what they are, regardless of the qualities they happen to possess in any given moment. According to Agamben, in presenting themselves in this way, the occupiers necessarily ran aground on the representational logic of the state: the state sought to fix the occupiers into a specific identity, which could then be included or excluded as such. Thus, Agamben concludes: “wherever these singularities peacefully demonstrate their being-in-common, there will be a Tiananmen, and, sooner or later, the tanks will appear”.
 ...the unfolding of the general law of capital accumulation undermines stable identity formations in all segments of the labour market. More and more people are falling into the surplus population; anyone can, potentially. Increasingly, the stable-unstable distinction is the one that regulates all the other distinctions within the working class. That leads to a widespread sense that all identities are fundamentally inessential...

- quoted in "The Holding Pattern: The ongoing crisis and the class struggles of 2011-2013", Endnotes 3

Apart from the serious ground-level business of helping build workers' resistance to attacks on capital, for real radicals of the new millenium, our overriding strategy must be: DESTROY ALL IDENTITIES. Actually existing personal and social identities do nothing but ensure that you will stay in your box forever. And that includes the identity of "revolutionary" or "magus" or whatever.
- Chaos Marxism, 2009

By happily accepting a description of themselves as "THE HIVE" (or "hivemind"), the massed ranks of Anonymous show that capitalist normality's privileging of individuality as the highest good is a trap. ... I always wondered why my sympathies were always with the bad guys in those cartoons. They hate us because we don't need to be individuals.
- Chaos Marxism, 2011