Sunday, 15 July 2012

You. Love. Us. Yet further fruitless back and forthing.

We see ideas as a process and make no claims for the status of our writing other than it being a 'work in progress'.
Nihilist Communism
It has recently been alleged that nihilist communists exteriorise their critique but do not apply it equally to either themselves or the milieu to which they allegedly belong. Firstly, it should be noted that there is no such thing as self-identifying nihilist communists

A. Even so, if there were such creatures, how would they go about their self-critique? 

Q. That is an easy one: first they would advise that if anybody should find a copy of Nihilist Communism, and feel so inclined, they should go ahead and burn it!

If there were such a thing as a nihilist communist, I would guess that he would cease to call himself a nihilist communist immediately. In the process of his becoming non-existent: i. he would take the relatedness of his being to his essential texts down with him to oblivion; ii. he would rake over his faux-profound footprints in the pretentious sand of his passive aggressive Zen garden; iii he would, in place of his presence , leave a pebble meaninglessly, as reference to his pro-revolutionary wabi-sabi. 

Nihilist Communism was a work in progress. Certain different engagements with that text have developed since its publication; it is implicit in such engagements that in order to gauge their own worth, the resultant projects must ritually cut themselves off from all their inherited traditions, including the text Nihilist Communism. They would have imbibed with their mother’s formula feed the necessity of lived relations which must constantly be reinserted into the place of inherited structures. Nobody wishes to abolish the alleged nihilist communist more than the alleged nihilist communist wants to abolish himself.

As for the milieu within which nihilist communism is allegedly popular.  What would be the nihilist communist's critique of that? We are now attempting to imagine an imaginary being criticising its imaginary environment – but first we must imagine what that environment consists of. I would imagine this might refer to what is self-identified as insurrectionism and what is alleged to manifest as anti-organisationalism

On the former: for those who say they have not noticed nihilist communists criticising insurrectionism may I may direct them to a  text where a character in a looking glass world, who is hostile to nihilist communists, comments on 'monsieur dupont' criticising Tiqqun, and then becomes mysteriously incapable of noticing this criticism.

Perhaps these accusers are unaware that Nihilist Communism was written specifically against the fashionable activism and militant informal substitutionalism of the black blocs, peoples assemblies and world forums, adopted by anti-capitalism in the early years of this century. Perhaps they are unaware. Or perhaps not. 

On the question of ‘anti-organisation’. It has been stressed many times under the ‘dupontist’ rubric that there is no such thing as not being organised; the only option in life is organisation. There is nothing but organisation. The real question though concerns what else is included when an idea, a group, a practice, an institution, a tradition closes the circle of itself. The text, For Earthen Cup asserts that although organisation remains necessary even after the critique of it has been implemented, the core of all organised undertakings remains mysterious and unknowable. Mysterious, except that is to the membership of the organisation. 

Without lapsing into jargon and with reference to cited authors, the argument put forward by the duponts is that the critique of organisation advanced within Nihilist Communism remains irreducibly in relation to actual organisations. It does not overcome them. Certainly, it invites them to dissolve themselves but no more than that. It knows that other equally, or perhaps slightly less, imperfect organisations will naturally replace them. 

Self-organising is a natural trait in all life, so the real questions are always: what is being organised and who is this self? The external tension introduced in that moment in which Nihilist Communism also appeared (whilst ‘anti-politics’ appeared simultaneously in other places) has subsequently become a necessary element within critical thought and communist consciousness. The tension introduced by, and in the form of, Nihilist Communism is irreducible, it names a problem that cannot be resolved but must be acknowledged, lived and engaged. The book Nihilist communism is just a book and is therefore unimportant, the problem it identifies is not. 

Furthermore, the critique of organisation was not ‘invented’ at this moment but was reenergised and brought closer to the centre of communist ideas. The history is long and we have traced it specifically to the literature of Platonov and Grossman in the USSR; to Camatte in 1968; to Sam Moss amongst the post-Bolshevik groupscules. It also appears in the avant garde absurdist literature of the 1960’s among those who refused the positivity of the surrealists. 

It is the same critique of all those who legitimately despair of radical politics. Those who have been through the mill of it, the racket of it, and have hated the experience. But for the first time the critique of those who have got out has been retained and articulated within the milieu. 

As to the controversy of commodified objects; that Nihilist Communism is a capitalist object cannot be doubted. The text itself asserts this. There are no ideas within capitalism that are not capitalist ideas. Why don’t nihilist communists condemn those who republish the text in the manner the situationists condemned pro-situs? I think because the duponts did not put such people at the centre of the production of the world. There is no desire to ensure a 'dupontist' legacy. All critique must be lived and articulated directly – there is no rhyme or reason for the critique of readers or sympathisers. Nihilist Communism never asserted a normative model for activity. On the contrary, it opened the door for those who wishedo be true to themselves and to give it all up as a bad job. 

The asymmetry or unevenness of the critique undertaken by Nihilist Communism is the result of it assigning a different status to different forms of pro-revolutionary consciousness. Those who publish books or pamphlets will never be in a position to seize hold of the production of society. Their petit-bourgeois autonomy is both essential and irrelevant to the circulation of ideas but entirely inessential and irrelevant to the proletarian seizure of production. The duponts always said, ideas are just ideas, let them be; they reflect, they express but they are objectively a secondary phenomenon. 

Nihilist Communism went out of its way to stress the categorical distinction between individuals and organisations. Therefore, the duponts argued, the real concerns should be directed towards already existing organisations because it seemed feasible that under critical conditions these could play a decisive role, and if the core of such organisations were to turn out to be unconsciously malignant then this will have significant impact in such moments. In other words, critique is reserved for those objects which are relatively important. Critique is the means of testing for pathological traits in organisations which already hold certain powers over individuals and might gain more.  

Finally, it is alleged that nihilist communists have hurt and upset people. An absurd allegation which merely reverses the accusations I have made here about the production of apparatchiks, henchmen and bullies within anarchist and communist organisations. And yet, not so fast, it is also possible to find and analyse the truth in such accusations. It is possible to use the energy of condemnation as a way into the knowledge of my self. 

There is in the achievement of a project both a healthy sense of release and a pathological triggering of some atavistic sense of victory, or of being in the right. I feel this. I am not much of an air puncher. I do not play computer games, I am not habituated to virtual effectiveness, number of kills and point accumulation but I think it is fair for both friends and detractors alike to imagine me as sometimes being pleased with myself in a not entirely healthy way. There is something else going on here than the critique of some rancid organisation. In fact the proportion of writing for its own sake and actual engagement with the ostensible object of that writing is probably 80% of the former to less than 20% of the latter. Imagine how I will, at the conclusion of this piece, conduct a gleeful little Rumplestiltskin dance. It is also worthwhile to observe that such celebration is, as are all affects, the stuff of a damaged life. Be assured, I am a wounded animal biting at its wounds. And you are the same as me. Our triumphs are our defeats. 
Even so, if my damaged and unrestrained glee is what offends the feelings of others, I can understand that. I can only advise them and all other readers that I personally should not be taken at all seriously. I am not a good person. I am neither a source of truth nor of meaning. I am not a point on the compass of morality. And objectively, I am not (or we are not, if I may presume to speak for nihilist communists) advancing a programme or group or party or institution that under any conditions whatsoever is seeking to realise itself in the real world, or seize power or organise the masses. I have no intention of impelling anyone to do anything to realise my vision of what a better world would be. My ideas are all capitalised ideas.

Those who rend their raiment and gnash their teeth at the mere mention of Nihilist Communism may care to hold off rolling their eyes  for just a moment whilst I state categorically that the imaginary beings called nihilist communists have no interest whatsoever in posing as an alternative to anarchist and communist recruiting structures. For this reason a ‘critique’ of Nihilist Communism is superfluous; all that is required is the practical realisation of healthy structures that are capable of the easy metabolisation of communist pathogens such as  insipidities and Letters Journal. The health of your projects would suffice to obscure us from the world. We are your crisis. Or rather, we are our crisis. 

I do not in any way propose a possibilist, or pragmatic solution to capitalism. I am a wholly capitalised being inhabiting the capitalised periphery. There is no outside. I am a mere and peculiar extremophile. And I will be publishing my analysis of avant garde extremophile type phenomena on the horns blog in the next few days – critics and accusers of nihilist communists may wish to read it. No, thought not. 

And we hope that you will love we too

I am Plume 
(and also Pon)

P.S. Chocolates for Engels is the title of the Imaginary Journal

P.P.S. to the S. Americans, I am afraid the duponts can no longer be contacted at that post box.