The necessity of camouflage. The guerrilla demonstrates the importance of selective engagement, which affirms the strategic importance of visibility. In contrast to its enemy, who strains to defend occupied territory, the guerrilla is born in the shadows and grows under the cover of secrecy (Revolution in the Revolution?, 41). And while the guerrilla in part relies on its enemy for arms and ammunition, it does not draw its political force from the same coherent identity but instead produces a temporary consistency: the flash an image that swiftly appears with an explosive force only to immediately recede. The guerrilla thus substantiates the potential of difference, whose singular acts must only be produced once, in contrast to authoritarian power, which expands by means of a coherent identity that is reproduced over and again. This difference was amplified during Italy’s Years of Lead, whereby numerous armed guerrillas simply imitated the state while others disseminated “in a multiplicity of foci, like so many rifts in the capitalist whole” (This Is Not A Program, 84). These rifts opened up “radio stations, bands, celebration, riots, and squats” that did not exist as occupations but as an empty architecture of indistinction, informality, and semi-secrecy that became anonymous, that is “signed with fake names, a different one each time,” and thus “unattributable, soluble in the sea of Autonomia” (84-85). [Note: Tiqqun suggests that such spaces worked best when they were abandoned when they either stopped emitting lines of becoming or became too costly to maintain.] These operations did not speak with the coherence of a subject, but rather, they formed their own consistency through frequency and intensity, “like so many marks etched in the half-light” that leave only traces of authorship or militancy, to constitute an offensive “more formidable” than their hardened counterparts in the Brigate Rosse or Prima Linea (85). The non-coherence of the autonomous elements thus outlined the struggle, which was not simply between revolutionary and conservative forces, but a way of politics. On one side was the coherence of Italian state “derived from popular Italian perceptions that the authority of the state was genuine and effective and that it used morally correct means for reasonable and fair purposes,” and on the other was a diffusion of fragmented appearances that formed “a certain intensity in the circulation of bodies between all of [its] points” (Shadows of Things Past, 7; This is Not a Program, 85).
Controlling terrain in the city is difficult for the guerrilla. (more…)