What a Beautiful Image!

If the State changes (from liberal to welfare to neoliberal) how much does our condition change? If Capitalism homogenizes or promotes difference only in a commodifying manner, what does it change for our ability to accurately identify lines of flight or road blocks?

I listened to a podcast this morning about Whites being displaced in South Africa. It was really interesting because both the interviewer and interviewee (a White Afrikaner gun dealer) were essentially conservatives. The Afrikaner couldn’t articulate why the Whites don’t fight for themselves in South Africa, but intimated that it is because they still see the State as a kind of birthright, with a set of just laws that have merely been perverted: the classic bourgeois fantasy of the benign prince, whom we are all lucky to serve, being taken advantage of by his most humble servants. But what was really fascinating was a description of how the Black South Africans openly mocked the Whites for paying taxes, and then immediately used the tax money to enrich themselves and their tribes. It’s like the Whites were being kept alive by the State as tax slaves. What a beautiful image!

The Whites are so enslaved to the ideas of “nation” and “order” that even when both are absent they will continue to work to fund them.

I’m wondering if the opportunity this presents depends on an obvious outside. Rome wants to tell us that it controlled territory but how could that be possible? Rome controlled men. Civilization is an apparatus of policing and taxing.

A market, a barracks, and a courthouse.

So how much must one resist that apparatus in order to prepare for an open war against this form of civilization that might not happen for 100 years? The key for me is that the war is ongoing. Always. Even if seemingly dormant. For some, though, it is less dormant than others … the barracks does create opportunities of rapid and brutal deterritorialization that remain oblivious to the other sites of civilizational force. In the barracks, the body is suddenly freed from the signpost of bourgeois civilization: the prohibition against violence (unless committed by the State against its enemies).

There’s certainly a threshold that guys who have actually seen combat have crossed, but there are long stretches of time where the military isn’t actively engaging in combat but they are still able to be combatants. But the culture is shaped by the interaction of actual violence, and the further the military gets from that the less effective it is as a tool for releasing men from their slavish potentialities: it’s the contact with violence, not the context of violence, that imparts the value.

So, the enemy is not simply something that can be designated once we’ve detached ourselves from all our determinations, once we’ve transported ourselves to who knows what political or philosophical plane.

For anyone who starts from where they are, from the milieu they frequent, the territory they inhabit, the frontline defines itself based on the matter at hand, the contact.

Who is working for the State? Who is afraid of getting involved? Who will take risks for the group? What are we willing to attack? What will we back away from? Upon what do we, and it, rely?

The answers to these questions are not based on unilateral decisions but on experience itself, from situation to situation, from encounter to encounter. But the important point is that contact is always already happening, from first to last breath.

Hugh Maguire and Mark Dyal

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