Logistics and Opposition | Alberto Toscano

Isabelle Grosse Container 5 2008

Logistics and Opposition

by Alberto Toscano

Alberto Toscano examines the anti-urbanist presuppositions of insurrectionary anarchism. Instead of breaking the lines of circulation, he writes, shouldn’t radicals imagine repurposing them to entirely new ends?
“The ambivalence of logistics, and particularly of the environmental consequences of the unprecedented logistical and energetic complexes that make contemporary megalopolises both the drivers and the possible sites for a response to catastrophic climate change (among other processes) have led Mike Davis, in his appropriately titled ‘Who Will Build the Ark?’, to demand that, recalling the great experiments in urbanism of the USSR in the 1920s, we begin to look for the potentialities for a non-capitalist and non-catastrophic future in cities themselves. In particular, Davis has advanced, to borrow from Mitchell, some of the parameters of a low-carbon democratic socialism. Arguing, contrary to the Malthusianism of much of the green movement that it is ‘the priority given to public affluence over private wealth’ that can set the standard for a conversion of engines of doom into resources of hope.”

11 responses to “Logistics and Opposition | Alberto Toscano

    • What about the argument by E.Berger and many others that “politics” is dead? The only form of resistance now is infrastructural sabotage and/or re purposing. Pretending there is a political solution might just be complicity with the status quo.

      • well politics is dead for the vast majority of us with little to no resources, alive and well for those with more monopoly-style powers who buy and sell governments, sabotage is one way to annoy but not stop the powers that be as is hacking but isn’t that what this article rejects?

        • That politics is dead for the vast majority has to be demonstrated not just asserted. If voters informed themselves better and encouraged radically progressive candidates locally and regionally there might be potential for a democratically driven shift of policy approaches and ideology and governing focus that would open up so many possibilities for non-political social action. Apathy and ignorance is on us not the admittedly limited mechanisms that we have at our disposal. It’s far too easy for some of us to outsource or explain away our responsibility to force demands and issues, and speak little-t truth to power than it is organize and put forth maximum effort to enact new modes.

          To say that nothing short of a “viable political plan” in required then turn around and argue that politics is dead seems to me to commit yourself to a circular logic defeatism where passivity and apathy become default dispositions in exactly the way the powerful controllers seek.

          A post-nihilist approach would be to wield the weapons at hand (political mechanisms, as well as the stuff James Scott argues for) while ALSO forging new weapons and lines of flight – minus entanglement by dominating semantics and discursive habits that detract from the more urgent practical concerns.

  1. Alberta ( a few million people no?) and Iceland (what a few hundred thousand maybe) are flashes in the pan with no means of self-sufficiency and no powers to disrupt the powers that be (still capitalist, still tied into traditional economics and energy) that are crushing our ecosystem and displacing and killing people at ever greater rates, how’s The Leap Manifesto doing up there with yer PM in bed with Big Oil (hello Kinder Morgan) ? c’mon MIchael if your going to call for real changes in the trends of the anthropocene you have to have means for organizing counter-forces that can actually counter, xenogoth has some lovely ideas/intentions but no plan of action and no resources, Yanis at least grasps the scale of things with his pipedream of https://diem25.org
    I’m all for doing what we can to soften the blows but to pretend that we are really in the fight is to deny the news of the day and everyday, where’s the systems thinking? no man an island…

    • I don’t see how “no man is an island” is relevant here?? The mesh of processes, compositions and flows has layers and nodes – with no thing being completely autonomous. So I never said an individual can change the larger scale systems. Human agency is limited; this, by now, is an utterly banal pronouncement. This isn’t about some shitty vestige of humanism, but about hominids becoming different via coupled engagements with the institutional ecology. I’m talking about systems and networks and cross-sectional alliances between humans and nonhumans (forces, tools, ecologies, etc). Systems thinking does NOT entail a view of total subsumption of all components that constitute these systems. A lack of sociological imagination simply doesn’t convince.

      What I’m talking about is organizing and creating networks and swarms that work at different scales, and on various parts of the assemblages. These open cracks and spaces that can be worked on and within to evolve new modes and practices – with altered subjectivities and political dispositions. You seem to judge resistance and change in terms of anthrocentric intensities and timelines. But shifting the culture (as materiality and cognitive operation) takes time and can be almost imperceptible to the human – which can never understand the complexity of the processes and trajectories involved.

      The news? You mean corporate controlled media DESIGNED to produce the exact affective-cognitive complex you display here? You are swallowing the poison and calling it medicine.

      If you are looking for an instant solution then you will never be satisfied with the changes that are actually happening. And if they don’t satisfy your criteria for “real change” then are you content to remain apathetic and defeated?

      Dirk I’m not calling for “real changes” in the trends of the anthropocene, I’m pursuing them and helping organize them. Calls are mere signals of intent and desire at this point. I don’t need to philosophize all this.

      We ARE in the fight. We’re actually impacting lives and systems here on the ground in Alberta. Is it enough to stop all capitalists and their systems from destroying shit? Not on its own. But trends have to start somewhere. We’re holding space here. We’re doing things differently than has ever been done in this province and regardless of anyone’s evaluations of the scale of impact shit is changed – and real people, practices and processes are being effected in powerful ways.

      Are other regions going follow our lead? That’s not up to me. All we can do is hold space and keep innovating. My home city is another example. Probably one of the most progressive municipalities in N.A. But I hope what we are starting to do here sets an example of what happens when a population shifts its political orientations and allows a whole new generation of policy-makers to try something different. From “flashes in the pan” to ‘viral’ expansion and tipping points, 12th monkey, etc, etc.?? Care to join in that fight/push?

      But people certainly won”t get on the progressive politics train if they are constantly being told that change is impossible, and , even worse, that their desire to be involved in the only means of engagement available are counter productive. It’s like a whole generation of politically exhausted and privileged Gen-Xers have loss their social courage. What ever happened to “rage, rage against the dying of the light”? We don’t need to be our own disablers…

      This world is in RUINS, and this civilization has run its course, but there are so many opportunities to build a new world if we have the willingness and courage to BOTH engage and transform the context in which massive decisions are being made. Don’t mistake this as trying to prop up dying systems and practices but as concerted efforts to salvage and mutate and create crucible spaces/regions/cities where something new emerges in swarms and networks.

      Our PM being in bed with Big Oil is disgusting, I totally agree. But resistance to this way of doing business is rising everywhere, and many of us still in the fight are going to put our lives on the line to stop that pipeline. I’ll be there. SO we’ll see how that plays out. Our PM’s betrayal to future generations is driving Canadians to become more and more lefty. A left-wing NDP federal government is maybe only a decade away.

      Apathy, withdrawal from politics, unconscious complicity, and such gave y’all TRUMP (when you could of had Bernie Sanders!!!), whereas engagement, intensive community building, and organization gave Alberta its first socialist government, after 40+ years of right-wing politics. So you tell me which strategy has more credibility?

      • I’m not calling for apathy or a withdrawal from politics (I worked on the Bernie campaign and that went as expected, ran a PTSD support group for Standing Rock, and so on, better to go down fighting but we are still going down) just noting the lack of reach/impact and making plans accordingly yer the one posting links about how to take over global supply chains and turn them over to the people, or how to create patchwork micronations as if we were playing some e-worldmaking-game. The point of no man an island is just to point out if the money, energy, supply-chains, etc are in the hands of yer enemies (and they are), and the means of pollution and extraction don’t respect borders than local politicians who play in the capitalist arena are hamstrung at every turn (see the valiant struggles of the govt in Barcelona, one of my heros these days is @francesca_bria, who like Yanis are forced by their relative weakness/vulnerability to try and seek a new more democratic EU at a time when the EU is ever more fractured), that’s why I pointed to Yanis and co. they were at the head of a state and got crushed by their bankers (for a plan even the IMF found reasonable) and Yanis realized that only a lefty EU would be able to stand up to such forces as no single state could.
        I’m well tied in (for decades now) to various people and news sources from around the globe that have nothing to do with corporate media and if anything the news from them is more dire not less. The people are rallying to yer PM as Trump does what he does and so it goes, as for this “What I’m talking about is organizing and creating networks and swarms that work at different scales, and on various parts of the assemblages. These open cracks and spaces that can be worked on and within to evolve new modes and practices – with altered subjectivities and political dispositions” that doesn’t point to anything particular/concrete so I don’t know what to do with it, what’s new that hasn’t already been tried in what yer doing, any examples would be welcome as we need all the tools we can muster.
        meanwhile these folks could use a hand “@NaomiAKleinJun 14
        Former governor of the Bank of Canada says people “are doing to die” defending their land against the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion but Trudeau needs to be strong and build it anyway. If the worst happens, we now know they went into this with their eyes wide open. A disgrace.”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s