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The Coming Insurrection by Comité invisible
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's review
Jul 25, 2010

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Read in August, 2010

Considered a "manual for terrorism" in France, where its nine alleged authors are currently being held in prison awaiting trial for "criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity," this book is in fact an original attempt by Parisian banlieue youths to theorise, both to a global and local scale, the social discontent that led to the French riots of 2005 and other similar recent episodes in European cities. The result is interesting and refreshing, although it doesn't say anything new. It is a straightforward denunciation of global capitalism, rampant neoliberalism and the imminent collapse of democracy, which will happen (is happening) in the name of democracy. What's special about it is the way the authors are trying to think how these transformations of the world affect not only the social and political structures the West cherishes so much, but also our more private lives: theirs; their readers'; and remoter people's as well. The final part is more naive because it actually tries to set out a plan for "the coming insurrection" —an insurrection of communes (spontaneous communities of squatters), the only kind the authors believe could be possible in a world where the futility of revolutions has been proved time and again. Naive and idealistic as it is, the idea reflects their intelligence, because it only comes after they have seen through the generally deceitful typical venues: political parties, NGOs, non-profit and community-outreach organizations, unions, institutions and sub-institutions of all sorts, etc. This is where you find the authors to be more lucid than most well-meaning people, and thus, it is where I at least am tempted to take everything they say a little more seriously.

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