Hold on to what you feel to be true.
Start from there.
An encounter, a discovery, a huge strike movement, an earthquake: every event produces truth by changing our way of being in the world. Conversely, an official report that is indifferent to us, that leaves us unchanged, that engages nothing, doesn’t even deserve to be called a truth anymore. There’s a truth underlying every gesture, every practice, every relationship, and every situation. Our habit is to elude it, to manage it, which produces the characteristic distractedness of the majority of people these days. In fact, everything is linked. The feeling that you’re living in a great lie is also a truth. But you have to not let that go, and start from there, even. A truth isn’t a view on the world; a truth is something that keeps us tied to it in an irreducible way. A truth isn’t something you hold but something that holds you. It makes and unmakes me, it’s my constitution and destitution as an individual; it distances me from a lot, but brings me closer to those who feel it too. An isolated being attached to it will unavoidably meet a few fellow creatures. In fact, every insurrectional process starts from a truth that refuses to be given up. In Hamburg, in 1980, a handful of the occupants of a squatted house decided that they would only be expelled over their dead bodies. The whole neighborhood was besieged by tanks and helicopters; days were filled with street battles, monster demonstrations – and the mayor at last gave in. Georges Guingouin, the “first French resistance fighter” in 1940 had nothing but the certitude that he refused the Nazi occupation. At the time, the Communist Party called him “just some madman living in the woods”; and they kept on thinking that way until 20,000 of those madmen living in the woods liberated Limoges.
Don’t shrink from the political aspect involved in all friendships.
We have come up with a neutral idea of friendship, as pure affection without consequence. But all affinities are affinities within a common truth. All encounters are encounters within a common affirmation, even one of destruction. We don’t have innocent connections in an era where to hold on to something and not let go regularly puts people out of work, since you have to lie in order to work a job, and you have to work to maintain the means of lying. People who swear that they could apply quantum physics to everything and draw the appropriate conclusions from it are no less politically connected to each other than comrades fighting against an agri-business multinational are. They’ll all be sooner or later led to defection and combat.
The founders of the workers’ movement had the workshop and then the factory to find themselves in. They had strikes, where they could stand up and be counted, and unmask the cowards among themselves. They had the wage relationship, which pitted the party of Capital and the party of Labor against one another, to trace out solidarity and set up battle fronts on a global level. We have the whole of social space to find ourselves in. We have the everyday behaviors of non-submission to stand up and be counted, to unmask the cowards. We have hostility to civilization with which to trace out solidarity and set up battle fronts on a global level.
Expect nothing from organizations.
Defy all the existing milieus,
and above all, refuse to become one.
It’s not a rare event, in the course of a consequent disaffiliation, to cross paths with organizations – political, union, humanitarian, community organizations, etc. It even happens that one meets with sincere but desperate beings, or enthusiastic but cunning beings in them. The attraction of organizations is their apparent substance – they have a history, a head office, a name, resources, a leader, a strategy and a discourse. They are nonetheless empty architectures, taking pains to populate the respect they believe is due their heroic origins. In everything as in each of their levels, they are concerned only with their survival as an organization, and nothing else. Their repeated betrayals have thus more often than not alienated their rank-and-file membership’s attachment to them. And that’s why one can occasionally meet a few respectable beings among them. But the promise contained in such encounters will only ever be able to be realized outside of the organization, and, necessarily, against it.
Far more fearful are milieus, with their supple texture, their malicious gossip, and their informal hierarchies. Flee from all milieus. Every one of the people that make them up is like a truth-neutralization agent. Literary milieus are there to suppress the obviousness of writings. Anarchist milieus are there to suppress the obviousness of direct action. Scientific milieus to hold back what their research might imply starting today for the majority of people. Sport milieus to contain different ways of life among their members that might lead them to different kinds of sport. Particularly to be avoided are cultural and militant milieus. They are the classic old people’s home to where all revolutionary desires have traditionally gone off to die. The task of cultural milieus is to locate nascent intensities and subtract you from the meaning of whatever you’re doing by explaining it away – and the task of militant milieus is to take away your energy for doing it. Militant milieus spin their diffuse web all throughout the French territory, and everyone encounters them on the path of becoming a revolutionary. They are the bearers only of their defeats and the bitterness they get from them. Their usury and the excesses of their powerlessness have made them unsuited for grasping the possibilities of the present. They talk way too much, anyway, in all their attempts to decorate their unhappy passivity; that makes them unsafe to be around in terms of the police. Since it’s vain to expect anything from them, it’d be stupid to be disappointed by how fossilized they are. It’s enough to just leave them to die.
All milieus are counter-revolutionary, because their only business is the preservation of their own paltry comfort.
Organize into communes
Communes come into being when people find themselves, understand each other, and decide to go forth together. The commune itself makes the decision as to when it would perhaps be useful to break it up. It’s the joy of encounters, surviving its obligatory asphyxiation. It’s what makes us say “we,” and what makes that an event. What’s strange isn’t that people who agree with each other form communes, but that they remain separated. Why shouldn’t communes proliferate everywhere? In every factory, every street, every village, every school. At last the true reign of the committees of the base! We need communes that accept being what they are, where they are; a multitude of communes, replacing society’s institutions: family, school, union, sports club, etc. We need communes that, outside of their specifically political activity, aren’t afraid to organize themselves for the material and moral survival of all their members and all the lost ones that surround them. Communes that don’t define themselves – as collectives tend to do – by what’s within them and what’s outside of them, but by the density of the connections at their core. Communes not defined by the persons that make them up, but by the spirit that animates them.
A commune is formed every time a few people, freed of their individual straitjackets, decide to rely only on themselves and pit their strength against the reality. Every wildcat strike is a commune; every house occupied collectively on a clean-cut foundation is a commune; the action committees of 1968 were communes, as were the runaway slave villages in the United States, or even Radio Alice in Bologna in 1977. Every commune needs to be based on itself. It needs to bring the question of needs to an end. It needs to smash all political subjection and all economic dependency, and degenerates in milieus whenever it loses contact with the truths that founded it. There are all kinds of communes now that aren’t waiting to have the numbers, or the resources, or much less the “right moment” – which never comes – to get organized.