" To launch a manifesto you have to want: A.B. & C.,
Why the hell would I write a manifesto?
We surely don't need any more rabid dogmas chasing hissing catechisms down the blind alley of some "ism".
So what could possibly move me to unleash this volley of words?
I want to be clear from the start. I am not speaking for any "ism", cause, party or movement.
I am an anarchist and would therefore never speak for anyone but myself;
If I saw any anarchist movement worth speaking for, I wouldn't waste my time talking, I'd join in the dance!
I am an outsider in this world and, therefore, also in an anarchist "movement" that seems to challenge this world less and less, and imitate it more and more.
I started dancing years ago and I'm still dancing. But unconstrained dancers are so few and far between that I often feel like I'm dancing with myself.
This manifesto is a dancer's hand reaching out to find more dancing partners.
"Their lives are like their knitting: introspective, yet mindless; fussy, exacting, repetitive and pale - tinted by the cheaper dye.”-Rikki Ducornet
Speaking of rabid dogmas and hissing catechisms, we can't ignore puritanism, which did so much to usher capitalist values onto this fine continent.
Puritanism: a search for purity based upon fear:
fear of passion,
fear of desire,
fear of dreams,
fear of excess,
fear of the other, and of the unknown;
In short, fear of all the portals that allow poetic wonder to break forth into the world.
It is petty bourgeois morality par excellence: defending property against theft, that is against all desire that recognizes no limits, no boundaries; defending the "soul", the abstract ghost of the individual, against the impulses of internal desire that might otherwise burst through armors and break down walls, endangering identity.
It is the ideal basis for the democratic state. By repressing passion, desire, dreams and excess, it suppresses all that is unique in each of us, transforming us into atomized ciphers to be categorized and granted the appropriate rights.
Thus, identity replaces singularity.
Productivity replaces creativity.
Commodity consumption replaces desire.
Measured property replaces boundless passion.
The other in this world is always a type - a race, a gender, an ethnicity - never a unique individual.
And the unknown is always an enemy to be feared, shunned and, if possible, destroyed.
"Excess, utopia, fantasy, rampage, exaggeration: These unveil a contagious image of a marvelous living present to be acted on, even if not yet fully.”-Philip Lamantia and Nancy Joyce Peters
Rebellion, then, is the challenging of all boundaries, the refusal of all constraints.
It pursues the excess of passions and desires, ideas and dreams that refuse to be caged.
It insists upon breaking through walls to unleash the howling wolves of poetic wonder against the rabid dogmas of modern puritanism.
Embracing the unknown as an ardent lover, it is never safe, never free from danger.
How could it be when its aim is precisely to carry us elsewhere?
When I first encountered godless anarchy in the late 1970s, this excess, this unconstrained exploration and experimentation with the furthest realms of passion and ideas, desire and dreams, was precisely what attracted me.
It was a magnificent feast.
Its wines and ales were strong, intoxicating and full of flavor,
hints of spices, herbs and fruits from undiscovered realms of poetic imagination.
Its music throbbed with crazy rhythms, laughing leaping melodies, harmonic cacophonies of joy and rage.
It evoked wild, unfettered dancing, and I threw myself into it with total abandon.
At the time, one could still imagine that a whole new world was breaking forth...
Of course, then, imagination was a lush erotic flower whose delectable nectar brought visions of its luscious utopian fruit...
Or so it seemed to me.
But puritanism - never truly defeated - has had a resurgence, building new walls and cages where old ones had broken down:
fear of crime,
fear of drugs,
fear of disease,
fear of terrorism,
fear of disaster,
fear of poverty.
An endless parade of real and imagined threats reinforces walls and armors.
But they're all just new names for the old puritan fears:
fear of desire and passion,
fear of dreams and excess,
fear of the other and of the unknown.
“Let the Priests of the Raven of dawn, no longer in deadly black, with hoarse note curse the sons of joy”-William Blake
And throughout this period, there were always plenty of pseudo-revolutionary sects with their priests barking out rabid dogmas, calls for new forms of renunciation, new boundaries, new limits, striving to channel the wild dance of rebellion into ritualized marches of militancy requiring character armor and fortresses of ideology.
For those without the will to face the unknown, these sects provided the illusion of rebellion within the prison of puritanical fear and suspicion...
“My dear revolutionaries, your ideas are just as limited as those of a petty bourgeois from Besançon.”-Francis Picabia
But what of the anarchists?
Aren't they rebels?
Aren't they outsiders?
When the world retreats in fear from the revolutionary leap into the unknown, closing back up into its shell and refusing to dance, surely anarchists would not follow.
But fear builds armors and cages, stifling all movement.
In such prisons, imagination withers like a dried up prune.
And in recent years, the anarchist “movement” has been replete with fear:
fear of repression,
fear of isolation,
fear of contamination,
fear of failure and defeat.
It's not so surprising, then, that in recent years a kind of anarcho-puritanism has raised its mangy head.
Where once the daring exploration of ideas expanded theoretical endeavors opening new territories to the poetry of revolt, now individuals and groups stake out their ideological territory, defending their rigid, entrenched positions from contamination while seeking faithful followers for their correct creed.
Where once individuals were encouraged to break through their armors and unleash their fettered desires, now identity politics requires them to submit to the “communities” that define their identity as oppressed victim or to own up to their group “privilege”.
Where once individuals took their freedom on their own terms wherever possible, now, even within the so-called anarchist “community” itself, they demand rights and impose obligations.
Where once poetic experimentation and humor expanded and enriched language, now political correctitude impoverishes it, stripping it of joy, beauty, intelligence and desire, leaving only the rigidity of judgment, guilt and sacrifice.
Even personal choices get transformed into moral identities (veganism, straight-edge), high grounds from which to look down on others.
Retreating like hermit crabs into rigid ideological shells, many anarchists have developed miserly and miserable ways of thinking, acting and interacting.
These anarcho-miserabilist tendencies have diluted the wine of rebellion until it's barely more than water.
They have reined in the music of poetic wonder until all that's left is a banal march, suitable only for rituals of militancy and hymns of self-renunciation.
It's no wonder then that so few anarchists still dance the sort of lively, vibrant dance that could bring down a social order and create a new free world.
It's awfully hard to dance in armor!
“Yet another effort...”-the Marquis de Sade
Gouvion Saint-Cyr tells us that “in order to be strong at the points of attack, it is almost indispensable to be weak on those you are defending”. Puritanism in all its forms is an ideology of defense. Therefore, anarcho-puritanism can only be the enemy of anarchist revolt, insurrection and revolution.
In the face of the current misery of this catastrophic civilization, those of us who desire a real transformation need to take up the dance of unfettered rebellion once again.
Now more than ever, we need to challenge all boundaries and refuse all constraints - first of all those that we have placed on ourselves.
Desire and passion, dreams and excess are the yeasts that ferment the strongest, most flavorful wines.
And if imagination has dried up, we need to saturate it in these wines, unleashing the poetic intoxication of the marvelous.
But let's be clear:
Real poetry never watches its language or holds its tongue.
It trounces on political correctitude along with every other kind of rectitude with libertine mockery and lusty sarcasm.
It mercilessly tears through the armor of identity to reveal the glittering jewel of the unique.
It is a thief, a lover, a dreamer...
Yes, in a world of misery and disaster, freedom and the joy of life require the strongest wines and ales and the maddest music.
The intoxication of poetic imagination and the soaring melodies and untamed rhythms of total revolt are the basis for the wild, unfettered dance of anarchic insurrection.
Let's take up this dance.
Let's leap, naked, toward the stars, our steps interweaving in lusty, erotic patterns.
At times, perhaps, we'll fall face first into the mud. But if we have no fear for our “purity”, we'll just leap back up to storm the heavens in our dance of wild abandon.
Let's leave the misery to the rulers of this world with their petty regulations and miserable moralities. Our aim is to destroy this sorry world and its rulers so that we can take back the joyful creation of our lives.
And if we fail? What does it matter? By grasping our lives here and now, and dancing, intoxicated with rebellious joy and poetic wonder to the music of untrammeled freedom and the excess of desire, we will be the happiest people of our time.
I'm reaching out my hand. Now, who will come and dance with me?