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The Insurrectional Takeoff

from Alma Apátrida 19 Jun 2021 translation by TheFreeOnline

Reflections on the potential and dangers of ideological inflation in the anarchist movement.

1) Getting started…

On June 18, 2021, a talk-debate about the insurrectional method in anarchism was held at the CSO l’Astilla (Vilafranca, 22,) (it is noteworthy that it was spoken in these terms and not insurrectionalism) through the experience of a comrade of the former Anarchist Youth who participated in that experience of struggle and was victimised as a result of it.

This writing does not pretend to be a chronicle of the debate but rather a reflection in relation to some potentialities and problems that I consider are present in this approach and that, at a more general level, are common to a good part of the libertarian movement in Barcelona and beyond.

Throughout your life, in every person or group, there can be an ascending, descending or oscillating process in terms of your level of involvement and commitment in the fight that can depend on multiple causes such as the life trajectory or the duration of the project .

On this occasion, I’m interested in the case of those comrades or projects that at some point have found themselves in the first (ascending) situation.

2) Ideological inflation

For the monetarist currents in economics, inflation is the result of an excess in the money supply. As a more critical stance I would say that the fact that a State decides to increase the issuance of paper money may respond to its desire to patch up the social consequences of a weak economy, or a high concentration of wealth, creating a false sense of abundance in society to compensate, for example, for the flight of money to tax havens.

Its excess decreases its exchange value for goods and services. For the somewhat orthodox anarchist and CNT economist, Abraham Guillén this was nothing more than a consequence of camouflaging an artificial process through which the State, as a parasitic entity, abstracted itself from the productive economy that the partner, ultimately, theoretically reduced to agriculture and industry.

He explained to us how the State, thus, could grant the liquidity to remunerate tertiary sectors (services) and quaternaries (knowledge) hypertrophied at the expense of the first two.

The different ideologies, some as more or less subaltern parts of the symbolic structure of society, respond to a similar logic.

The process, individual or collective, through which a radicalization of political praxis takes place is almost always accompanied, with a strong process of ideologization.

At the event the comrade talk-debate who presented his experience and the struggle of his journey confirmed this in a lively debate until the small hours, with the reading of everything that fell into our hands.

That is to say, the progressive swelling of the globe of ideology, which can compensate, for the frustration of living in a tedious political desert in which we languish daily in despair, is no more than a patch that progressively abstracts us from the ability to influence the deep social causes of this state.

That is, even if we want to fill our ideological fuel tank to take off from a suffocating reality, the place where we finally land will not offer many guarantees to change anything because we may have lost contact with the surface.

It’s true that we will have the exciting experience of getting out of all this shit, but, paradoxically, we will have lost a good part of our ability to change anything.

We must not forget that all ideology is false consciousness and that, therefore, it becomes toxic when abused, even if the right amount of it makes us freak out.

3) The system knows it and takes advantage of it

Perhaps we have not reflected enough on the fact that the revolutionary hyper-ideologization ofsome minorities within society is nothing more than a subaltern consequence of a hypertrophied capitalist symbolic structure. There is, in my opinion, a true saturation of systemic ideology through the cultural industry (media, cinema, literature, video clips, etc.).

In the classical stage of capitalism the bourgeoisie did not show so much interest in our minds but rather in exploiting our bodies (religious philanthropy was in charge of the former: a role that was successfully contested by the anarchist movement, hence the change in attitude, I think, of the bourgeoisie).

This does not mean, of course, that these revolutionary minorities assume the systemic ideology, but yes, I believe, we run the risk of assuming the centrality of the role of ideology in our praxis.

How do we explain, if not, the difference between the strong combativeness in the protest campaign over the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél and the disappointing showcase of acronyms (of political factions) that the first rally against the draconian rise in Electricity Charges turned into?

For me the answer is clear: it is not explicitly a protest with a strong ideological charge but rather because of the material conditions of existence.

As a consequence, the strongly ideologized endogroup (affinity group) acting at the forefront (of the struggle) is more easily grouped (by the state, media…) with other sectors that are less so, as well as some precarious sectors fed up with the police and willing to reappropriate some of the social wealth that has been taken from them by the violence of the economic system.

(translators notes (in brackets thus) attempt to clarify argument)

It is not that I criticize this, but honestly I think that its potential to change anything is directly proportional to the level of political inbreeding of its participants.

And those who are at the helm of society know this perfectly well because their repressive force is based precisely on the ability they have to create a social context in which our political praxis is kept separate from those who have the real potential to change things.

And the worst of all is that many of us have accepted this, not only in a visceral way, as everyone has done that one hot afternoon in the bar or wherever, but have built a whole edifice which to me seems more ideological than theoretical, and which is nothing more than a political justification for powerlessness and defeatism.

And that (my argument) is not just ”throwing stones while living in a greenhouse” since our survival logically depends on the constant expansion of our ideas and praxis.

4) Well then what?

I think that the dilemma has no easy solution. It is true that the eternal wait for the working masses to decide to do something is really tedious, but it is no less true that ending up losing contact with them due to the shock produced by the toxic ideology can go hand in hand with a certain danger of dehumanization in the face of the possibility of the progressive loss of the practice of empathy.

This is no joke, we cannot deliberately deny, in my opinion, our intrinsically social nature, although this means, in practice, that despite ourselves we are part of the shit we fight and that, surely, that is not bad at all because it allows us to keep one foot on the ground and not fall into an absolute abstraction with uncertain consequences.

If I had to use a metaphor, I like the one of the hot air balloon that, despite everything, is still tied with a rope on the ground: so us ordinary people can rise beyond the oppressive surface without the need for specialized knowledge that allows you to pilot that precarious means of air transport.

from a Stateless soul

See also:
https://alma-apatrida.blogspot.com/2021/06/sobre-el-despegueinsurrección.html
https://alma-apatrida.blogspot.com/

translators note: I’ve translated ‘libertaria’ as ‘anarchist’ to avoid confusion for US readers who understand ‘libertarian’ as ‘anarcho-capitalist’.