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To Our Friends

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  521 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The Invisible Committee's The Coming Insurrection was a phenomenon, celebrated in some quarters and inveighed against in others, publicized in media that ranged from campus bulletin boards to Fox News. Seven years later, The Invisible Committee follows up their premonitory manifesto with a new book, To Our Friends.

From The Invisible Committee:

In 2007 we published The Comin
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 17th 2015 by Semiotext(e) (first published October 21st 2014)
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Jun 05, 2017 added it
Shelves: 2017
To Our Friends is an expansion of The Invisible Committee's earlier manifesto, The Coming Insurrection. Gone are the sweeping passages of metaphorical language that characterized the earlier work, and instead these pages are taken up with a mixed bag of political and social analysis. There are, regrettably, a number of forgettable throwaway chapters in this book. But there are also several that offer a perspective on our current political economy that is surpassingly brilliant.

"Merry Crisis and
What the book is saying isn't particularly new theoretically, though in ways it is practical use of many of the concepts from the Tiqqun journals, which many people often have much of a harder time engaging with. Tiqqun was a collective experiment in developing some theoretical tools and reframings. These tools are then used to discuss the last seven years since The Coming Insurrection came out, since Arab Spring insurrections, the movement of the squares, plaza occupations, various counter-revo ...more
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
To Our Friends is an interesting extension of The Coming Insurrectionand continues to parse the failures of revolutionary moments. At the same time, the effort seems to eat itself by the tail.

We have a class consciousness without a class, a population that is first the product of government before it is the object, repression that produces the political object before it can repress it, control is premised in individual freedom, Ordo ab chao, and so on.

I enjoyed the free-wheeling ideas and the pe
About a third of it is very fine stuff, interesting ideas that I still have to digest and think about, but that ultimately I think are good and useful ideas. The next third is very moving rhetoric, and the final third is the usual anarchist posturing.

(view spoiler)
Oct 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
Frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I wrote a review for this book a few years ago which was more than a little glowing. Sometime later, having participated in a few reading group discussions of this and other IC material and listened to more than a few pseudo-poststructuralists and communards (the kind who join the IWW for the card and like to cosplay as members of the Spartacus League) loudly affirm its praises, I began to feel there wasn’t much substance to their glib, oft-imperious ...more
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: theory
When the Invisible Committee have urged revolutionaries to secede from the revolutionary milieu and create points of secession from society (Call), I have read with greater interest than when they have urged society to be revolutionary (The Coming Insurrection, roughly speaking). In their third book, TIC again direct themselves inward--to the milieu was my initial thought, but now I think, in places, to those who have departed, are departing, intend to depart, the milieu: to their friends. Espec ...more
Oct 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
To start with, rethinking an idea of revolution capable of interrupting the disastrous course of things is to purge it of every apocalyptic element it has contained up to now. It is to see that Marxist eschatology differs only in that regard from the imperial founding aspiration of the United States—the one still printed on every dollar bill: “Annuit coeptis. Novus ordo seclorum.” Socialists, liberals, Saint-Simonians, and Cold War Russians and Americans have always expressed the same neurasthe ...more
Rui Coelho
Aug 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
There is a global insurrectionary wave, from Athens to Istanbul and Ferguson. In the first chapter the authors promisse to contribute to a shared syntax for this revolt. Unfortunately, like the Comming Insurrection, this book ends up being too fragmented, making it hard to see the main point.
Despite that, this is one of the main contributions to insurrectionary theory. With its poetic and iconoclastic tone it addresses the main questions of contemporary radical politics such as popular assemblie
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
French anarchists are mad and serious.

It's a mess, but there's a lot to agree with in here. The translation is not perfect and definitely overblown, but I am still glad that it exists and if you are interested in the slightest (and you probably are if you're reading this review), you should give it a read. They complain constantly, they make ridiculous claims about "hackers" (French anarchists love them), but there are still good ideas buried in here.

(note: if you can fluently read French, I am
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: revolution
I actually thought this was much more relevant and coherent than The Invisible Committee's first work, The Coming Insurrection. Some of it is rather too anarchist and communist, nihilist and dispossessed for most, but it compares favorably to The Year of Dreaming Dangerously (Zizek/Verso) and Democracy Disrupted (Krastev/Univ of Pennsylvania Press) in analyzing Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring. ...more
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great companion to The Coming Insurrection, that updates the material to include Tahrir Square and other uprisings that have occurred since the first treatise. This book is considerably longer and lays out the arguments from the former more clearly, though still with a poetic balance in the language.

The Coming Insurrection is a must-read. This is for people that were left wanting more.
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"A friend wrote: 'What is happiness? It's the feeling that our power is increasing - that an obstacle is being overcome.'

To become revolutionary is to assign oneself a difficult, but immediate, happiness."
Sarah Cavar
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zines, 2018
Insightful and worth a read/re-read.
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is going to be a relatively short critique to what may follow later.

I liked this book more than The Coming Insurrection. It's not just a manifesto-like call-out for insurrection like the previous one, it's very much a reflection of all the uprisings of the previous 7 years. From the Greek student riots to Tahrir Square to La ZAD to Occupy and back to Greece since Syriza's electoral victory. It's addressed to all the comrades who have been involved in the anti-capitalist struggle anywhere in
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
The ‘Invisible Committee’s’ ‘friends’ have become much more difficult to identify and a much more extensive group in the wake of what seems to be the collapse of the post-2008 insurrectionary movement, as the Arab Spring turned into a rearrangement of the deck chairs, as Syriza become the EU-shock-doctrine-light, Podemos-allies made impressive regional and city advances but have been kept out of national play by the ‘establishment’ and Occupy fizzled out. The key thing about this promiscuous fri ...more
Roger Green
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked it, but analysis, even if it's good, is not the same thing as actually offering something. If you're offering "consciousness" I'd say I was there already; but obviously it takes more than that. European intellectuals who assume they know what indigenous peoples face are as mistaken as Nicaraguan Sandinistas about indigenous support for their "revolutions." Others should read it for themselves. ...more
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
The obscure and totally 'now' 'Invisible Committee' are like a more realistic version of 'anonymous' who seems to do nothing and unfortunately enabled the shit that is Trump/BoJo/Murdoch and the whole 'neo-liberal Globalist Hipster chic' to win elections and thrive and make us all die. These are a series of manifestos based on observation of recent anti neo-Liberalist/neo-Fascist uprisings that ultimately failed - the Arab Spring, Greece, Tahrir square, Occupy whatever etc.. Whilst I *like* the ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s funny to me that I would read something like this, but I did and I surprisingly liked it. It’s less funny that I’m now proceeding to write about it on a platform run by the data-mining leviathan that is Amazon, especially with respect to a lot of what was written in this treatise, but I am, and Goodreads has basically become my blog now.

I discovered this book in a Facebook group full of Christian leftists, who are a lot more radical than I am, but I think leftist politics has a tradition of
Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A let down as a follow up to The Coming Insurrection which I view as essential 21st century reading. However To Our Friends is solid enough to stand on its own. It is less call to than statement of action; the authors aren't waiting around for us, but are on their way. The biting insight into society's terminal illness is there, but overall a bit nihilist for my taste, as the authors don't really have an alternative to today's state of being. At the core, the cyber-anarchist belief set gets a lo ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The anonymous collective behind 2008's The Coming Insurrection returns with more excellent commentary on the excesses of spectacular capitalism and those who struggle against it. The writing here is a bit less verbose than some of the earlier Tiqqun material, but it's analysis is the sharpest yet from the IC, trading the wide-eyed revolutionary urgings of TCI for more exacting analyses of the methods of cybernetic authoritarianism and the oppositional tactics these suggest. A timely critique of ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heath Nevergold
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I found myself, while reading, thinking about what has been and is going on here in the US, only to be reading what's happening in Europe or somewhere else. It also gives an interesting perspective on governments, economies and technology. It has definitely solidified my belief that we are all connected and should start to look at things this way. ...more
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The insights are excellent, and the central thesis rather original: infrastructure, rather than totalitarian or corrupt governments, is what governs modern societies. However, the language is unnecessarily cumbersome, making this read more painful than necessary at times
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
An invitation to joyful revolt and to creating and sustaining life in meaningful opposition to everything destructive to human happiness. The conjecture and speculation with which it is written only adds to the poetry (and rhetoric) of the narrative.
May 19, 2015 rated it liked it
To be fair, I only read Fuck Off Google and Let's Disappear. The former was ok, but the language was such that it felt like the translation was sloppy. The latter I enjoyed a bit more. ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: authors-i-follow
This is a very ambitious follow-up to 2007's The Coming Insurrection. There are so many important ideas here, not least of which is the emphasis on infrastructure being the primary source of power in the 21st-Century. Therefore, control and/or disruption of infrastructure is one of the few means remaining that could conceivably create meaningful opposition to the prevailing world order. Political capital as we know it is dead. The multiplicity of elements covered by this manifesto could certainl ...more
Keegan Hinsley
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
An extremely thoughtful and challenging historical theory of revolution and the future of anarchism in revolutionary practice. Establishes crisis as a crucial method of governance to point to a reciprocating relationship between people and the systems which govern them. Also touches on the destitution of economy, the foolish pacifist/radical dynamic, and cybernetics & professionalism in the future of capital obstruction.
Cameron Sadler
Oct 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Eh. Probably closer to 2.5 stars than 3 but rounding up generously. Not every essay in here is worth reading but there are a few nice one-liners. Valuable mostly as an examination of modern revolutionary movements and a condemnation of neoliberal policies that have worsened the climate recently.
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
To Our Friends was the perfect thing to read this week-- it captures so much about what the shape of revolution/insurrection is and can be. An essential read for anyone who wants to understand what being an active person in our 21st century moment.
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The Invisible Committee is the nom de plume of an anonymous author or authors who have written French works of literature based on far-left politics, and anarchism. The identity of the Invisible Committee has been associated with the Tarnac Nine, a group of people including Julien Coupat who were arrested "on the grounds that they were to have participated in the sabotage of overhead electrical li ...more

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