the death of the social

There will be no social solution to the present situation. First, because the vague aggregate of social milieus, institutions, and individualized bubbles that is called, with a touch of antiphrasis, “society,” has no consistency. Second, because there’s no longer any language for common experience. And we cannot share wealth if we do not share a language. It took half a century of struggle around the Enlightenment to make the French Revolution possible, and a century of struggle around work to give birth to the fearsome “welfare state.” Struggles create the language in which a new order expresses itself. But there is nothing like that today. Europe is now a continent gone broke that shops secretly at discount stores and has to fly budget airlines if it wants to travel at all. No “problems” framed in social terms admit of a solution. The questions of “pensions,” of “job security,” of “young people” and their “violence” can only be held in suspense while the situation these words serve to cover up is continually policed for signs of further unrest. Nothing can make it an attractive prospect to wipe the asses of pensioners for minimum wage. Those who have found less humiliation and more advantage in a life of crime than in sweeping floors will not turn in their weapons, and prison won’t teach them to love society. Cuts to their monthly pensions will undermine the desperate pleasure-seeking of hordes of retirees, making them stew and splutter about the refusal to work among an ever larger section of youth. And finally, no guaranteed income granted the day after a quasi-uprising will be able to lay the foundation of a new New Deal, a new pact, a new peace. The social feeling has already evaporated too much for that.

-The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection

For all you “activists” out there: they implicate “social activism” in the grand conspiracy, too.

11 thoughts on “the death of the social

  1. The term “grand conspiracy” would imply a purpose, or an intent to conspire. Social activism has been described in some quarters as the ‘necessary steam valve’ to the pace of Capitalism, which is not to say that a conspiracy exists between activism and those who are in a position to grant activism the requisite permits. Wouldn’t the relationship between activism and power be better described as an undeclared and mutually beneficial arrangement, at least for the respective leadership?

  2. I find within the text from the IC a seemingly vicarious appropriation of daily struggles which are immediately encountered at some distance from their own experience. It is as if for the purpose of research into suspected conditions, they placed themselves into particular experimental settings, or even worse, supposed of an intimacy to certain situations without bothering to engage in the formality of courtship. We can look to places where pensions and job security for instance, consists in the wishful fantasies of the majority populations, if they indeed still entertain hope toward such notions at all, and witness the power structures intact along with the everyday unchecked brutality of the state. Even in places where young people occupy squares, the worse case scenario for the existing power involves the transfer of responsibility beneath a shell to another masquerade. I wonder if the IC failed to recognize the depths to which humanity in the Western context has to descend before people are no longer concerned with tasers, batons and pepper spray, being shot at, or even forming their own conspiracies of escape as suggested by the IC, when compared against the distant conditions that await. I also wonder, beyond the real urgencies which exist, about this desperate search for martyrs which seems to be produced from the urgency of their narrative.

  3. I’m sure you’re aware of this, but I think it’s important to repeat: The Coming Insurrection is a critique of social activism.

    They do not presume that appeals to pensions or youth occupying squares will be successful, or even that they will cease when they are mostly ineffectual. They have nothing but vicious things to say about ATTAC and other activist groups.

    TCI was written after the banlieue riots of 2005. Their model for a future is: “shit will hit the fan, quit your desperate attempts to save it, and get out while you can.”

    Their companion text ‘call’ outlines some of this a little more clearly.

  4. I understand and find little if anything to refute in their critique of social activism. The works also include a sprinkling of suggestions here and there however. When they mention the possibility of another exercised and advanced paradigm or model arriving from someplace else, due to the condition in which leftist activism finds itself within the industrialized nations where nothing occurs any longer, and that somehow this will energize within these societies certain instances of collective ‘ditching’ out, with pockets of ‘opacity’ forming which are capable of surrounding and superimposing over the existing state of affairs, I believe one has to more closely examine the anticipated timeline involved with the overall project, if indeed one exists. It seems to me at least that the denizens of the West are nowhere near primed enough through deprivation to begin ditching out of anything in sufficient numbers.

  5. Have you heard or read of anything regarding Tiqqun III? It’s not that anything further needs describing, but it would be interesting to know their situation in 2011 after all the troubles.

    1. The writers who made up Tiqqun split in 2001. Everything that’s been released since then by La Fabrique is just recycling all the old material, from what I can tell.

      I was told that there was some talk about Tiqqun 3 being non-written, probably a movie, in order to appeal to a wider audience. Due to the split, however, nothing was ever produced.

      Two movies were produced by post-Tiqqun groups. Bernadette Corporation made “Get Rid of Yourself” [ ], and the Invisible Committee made “And The War Has Just Begun…”

  6. “Power, then, is everywhere. Resistance to power takes place from within power; it is part of the total relations of power, “part of the strategic relationship of which power consists.” What escapes from relations of power-and something always does escape, according to Foucault–does not escape from the reach of power to a place outside power, but represents the limit of power, its reversal or rebound. The aim, of an oppositional politics is therefore not liberation but resistance.”

    A liberal power that requires us to be free – can it be said that a Foucauldian politics of resistance can too easily find itself in a secret solidarity?

  7. Today’s advanced reality show has its built in fear factor and a points based reward system. A secret solidarity must live with the perpetual knowledge that some people will be enticed by a subject with varying results. As well, it is from the limit where the results of many experiments have already circulated. A subject always forms to re-introduce itself. What Foucault made clear and what preceeded him has been magnified ever since. The ‘how to’ necessarily remains unresolved and in motion; an improvisational art containing elements from the terrible, from walking out the front door in the morning with a briefcase, from the everyday miseries that are distinguished mainly by registers governing their intensity. From vague acquaitenances resisting oppositional politics with it’s membership lists and conventions.

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