The Counter-Revolutionary Politics of Autonomist Disengagement

When modern radical politics stops investing in the messianic/apocalyptic prospect of a total Revolution, it usually adopts one of two attitudes or “moods”: either melancholy over the lost hope for emancipation, or indignation over a hopeless regime of oppression. A list of notions reflecting the former mood, despair over defeat, was included in the previous post. This list, another list-in-progress from the same double project, includes notions of experiments in autonomous commune and/or conduct.

“Let a great Assembly be/of the fearless and the free” in The Mask of Anarchy (1819)                                                                                               Shelley

“civil disobedience” (1848)                                    Thoreau

“I would rather not.”        “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street (1853)                                                                                                 Melville

renunciation (1875)                                                Rimbaud

“nihilism” (1870s)                                                    Nietzsche

The Right to be Lazy (1880)                                  Paul Lafargue

“The Policy of Abstention”(1887)
                         William Morris

“mass strike” (1906)                                                Rosa Luxemburg

satyāgraha/”insistence on truth” (1906)            Gandhi

“spirit of insubordination” (1917)                         Veblen

“A Hunger Artist (1922)                                          Kafka

“war on work” (1925)                                             La Révolution surréaliste

In Praise of Idleness (1935)                                    Bertrand Russell

“The thinking man promises nothing, except to remain a thinking man.” Stories of Mr. Keuner (1930s)                                                       Brecht

“decreation” as undoing of self (1940s)              Simone Weil

The Thief’s Journal (1949)                                    Jean Genet

L’Homme révolté (1951)                                        Camus

activism as “an illness of the workers movement” in “Activism” (1952) Amadeo Bordiga

“never work” (1952)                                                Guy Debort

“refusal” (1958)                                                         Blanchot

“negative thinking” in One-Dimensional Man (1964)            Marcuse

impouvoir/unpower in “La Parole Soufflée” (1965) Derrida

“The Strategy of Refusal” (1965)                           Mario Tronti

“Resignation” (1969)                                                Adorno

“Militancy: Highest stage of alienation” (1972) by L’Organisation des jeunes travailleurs révolutionnaires [OJTR]

“failure” (1973)                                                       E.M. Cioran:  The Trouble with Being Born

Where there is power, there is resistance.The Will to Knowledge (1976)                                                                          Foucault

“communization” (1970s)                                      Théorie Communiste

“This World We Must Leave” (1976)                   Jacques Camatte

“The Tribe of Moles” (1977)                                    Sergio Bologna

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)

The Refusal of Work (1978)                                    Echanges et Mouvements

“the nomad” in Mille Plateaux (1980)                  Deleuze & Guattari

“the ‘retreat’ of the political” (1980)                 Lacoue-Labarthe & Nancy

Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (1981)

Irish hunger strike (1981)

“The Abolition of Work” (1985)                              Bob Black

The Inoperative Community (1986)                      Nancy

“the impolitical” (1988)                                             Esposito

The “whatever singularity” which has an “inessential commonality” in The Coming Community (1990)                                                   Agamben

“performative subversions” (1990)                        Judith Butler

“annihilation” (1992)                                               Nick Land

“mimicry” (1994)                                                       Bhabha

“desertion” (1999)                                                     Tiqqun

“subtraction”                                                              Badiou

“disentrenchment” (2001)                                       Unger

“anti-power” (2002)                                                  John Holloway

“exodus from sovereignty” in Multitude (2004) by Negri & Hardt

“apolitics” (2005)                                                      Laurent Dubreuil

“Afro-Pessimism” (2006)                                      Frank Wilderson III

“communism of withdrawal” (2007)                      Marcel

“secession” in The Coming Insurrection (2007) by The Invisible Committee

“Mystical anarchism is an annihilation of the self.” (2008) Simon Critchley

In Defense of Lost Causes (2008)                           Žižek

L’impouvoir”/unpower (2009)                           Jean-Luc Marion 

“We Demand Nothing: For Nothing against Everything” (2009) by Jonathan Kaspar

“oppositional clandestinity” in “Clandestinity and Appearance” (2010)   John Cunningham

“the end of activism” in “The Present Moment” (2011) by Roland Simon

“work refusal” (2011)                                                   Harry Cleaver

“praxis of destituent power” (2013)                        Agamben

“accelerationist politics” (2013)                               Nick Srnicek & Alex Williams

“The Politics of Cruelty” (2015)                                Hostis: A Journal of Incivility (“escaping from a universality that was never ours from the start”)

“desolated Left” (2016)                                                 Salvage

“constructive failure” in The End of Protest (2016)  Micah White

“de-person-ness” in “In Defense of De-Persons” (2016) Johanna Hedva

“renunciation” (2016)                                                    Ross Posnock

This list is a warm salute to a dear collaborator, Bonnie Honig, who has announced a superb research seminar at Brown University. It is also a warm salute to my other self-as-collaborator, pianist Pantelis Polychronidis, with whom I have been debating versions of the counter-revolutionary insubordination and activism since the 2010 “We Won’t Pay” Greek movement.

January 2016

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