The Coming Insurrection
by The Invisible Committee
While translations of various quality have been floating around for a while now, it's deeply satisfying to have a polished, real-life, honest-to-god book version of The Coming Insurrection available. Authored by the anonymous collective "The Invisible Committee," the book has gained notoriety for being introduced by the state as one of the primary pieces of evidence in the trial for “criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity” of the Tarnac 9 - think the French version of the Green Scare here and you've got the idea.
So at least one state of this world thinks this is a dangerous book, and they might be right. The Coming Insurrection reads like a Situationist manifesto, and borrows from some of the same sources as Guy Debord and co. did (Henri Lefebvre's urbanism, for instance), but these kids have had the luxury of a few more decades of radical thought to draw on, so motifs drawn from Deleuze and Guattari, Alain Badiou, Giorgio Agamben and others surface throughout the text, which also distills down some of the conceptual work done in the (largely still untranslated) two issues of the journal Tiqqun.
And above all, it takes this whole theoretical war machine and deploys it in the current context, with rigor and consistency, aimed at green capitalism, electronic isolation, state terror, and crisis, in a kind of Minima Moralia meets Crimethinc full-bore assault on miserabilism, exploitation, control and cooptation, along with some hints of the possibilities of an insurrectionary politics and a communism worthy of the name.
It's an easy, pocket size text, a quick read, but one I'd encourage be re-read - it's all too easy to come away from the text with a limited picture of what the idea of insurrection they're advancing demands, to slip into thinking insurrection as what they uncompromising distance themselves from (an activist mileu). It's for this reason, too, that I'd recommend this text to people who aren't sold on "insurrection" as it's currently being advanced, who are working at different time scales, and who (like the authors of The Coming Insurrection), aren't expecting a climactic street fight against the cops to end state and capitalism for good. In fact, I'd say the most productive reading - if not the easiest one - of this little text is to try and think through what the revolutionary consistency it demands means for other subjects of (anti-)politics, than, say, a New School student. It'd be a shame to read this book lightly, to dismiss it as posturing or adventurism - to do so would be to miss the seriousness of the ethical project it proposes, much of which remains to be elaborated, in theory and in practice.
And incidentally, thanks to Semiotext(e) for putting this out! Great to see them getting back to putting out exciting translations of stuff before most people realize it's relevant - not that we haven't been overjoyed by the flood of recent Guattari texts....