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I am preparing the edition of a small book entitled Texts and interviews on the insurrection of daily life, to be published by Grevis in April 2020. I have added to these interventions, which run from November 2018 to August 2019, remarks that may contribute to ongoing debates and struggles in France and around the world. The late date of publication of the book suggested me to spread now on the social networks these words on the rebirth of the human. Their reading can be useful before the state comedy of the French municipal elections, and because of the insurrectionary ebb and flow where the slightest initiative of individuals and communities, animated by the rediscovery of life and human meaning, takes on increasing importance. You are free to use it (or not) as you wish.

The blows that freedom brings to the capitalist hydra, which suffocates it, make the epicenter of the seismic disturbances fluctuate constantly. The territories that have been punctured worldwide by the profit system are subject to a surge of insurrectionary movements. The conscience is put in residence to run sus(1) to successive waves of events, to react to constant upheavals, paradoxically predictable and unexpected. Two realities are fighting and clashing violently. One is the reality of the lie. Taking advantage of the progress of technology, it works to manipulate public opinion in favor of the constituted powers. The other is the reality of what is experienced daily by the populations.

On the one hand, empty words work in the jargon of business, they demonstrate the importance of numbers, polls, statistics; they engineer false debates whose proliferation masks the real problems: existential and social demands.

Their media windows pour out every day the banality of shenanigans and conflicts of interest that affect us only by their negative fallout. Their wars of  » profitable devastation  » are not ours, they have no other purpose than to dissuade us from waging the only war that concerns us, the war against global inhumanity. On the one hand, according to the absurd truth of the rulers, things are clear: to claim human rights is anti-democratic violence. Democracy would thus consist in repressing the people, in launching against them a horde of police officers who are driven to fascist behavior by the impunity guaranteed by the government and by the opposition candidates, eager to succeed it. Imagine what the media zombies will do if the immolation by fire of a victim of pauperization leads to the burning of the system responsible!

On the other hand, the reality experienced by the people is equally clear. We will not be made to admit that the burden of poorly paid work, the bureaucratic pressure that increases taxes, reduces the amount of pensions and social benefits, the wage pressure that reduces life to a strict survival, can be reduced to an object of commercial transactions. The lived reality is not a number, it is a feeling of indignity, it is the feeling of being nothing in the clutches of the State, a monster that is shrinking to a shred under the drain of international financial malpractices.

Yes, it is in the clash of these two realities — one imposed by the fetishism of money, the other claiming to be living — that a spark, often tiny, has set the powder keg ablaze. There is no triviality which is not likely today to unleash the violence of the repressed life, of the life determined to break what threatens it of extinction.

The secular inertia, the lethargy so well reinforced by the old recipe  » bread and games « , found the formidable power of voluntary servitude. Already denounced in the 16th century by La Boétie, it remains our most implacable enemy. By attacking us from within, voluntary servitude encourages a propensity that acts like a drug for many: the desire to exercise power, to assume the role of guide. The authority of some has often infested libertarian circles with its morbidity. We must therefore be delighted by the determination of the Yellow Vests and the insurgents of daily life to recall without ceasing their refusal of leaders, self-appointed delegates, masters of thought, political and trade union frogs.

Those who wish to die in peace are free to wait for death in the joint comfort of the coffin and the television, but we will not let their spoiling infest our will to live. What we want is the sovereignty of the human being. Nothing more, nothing less!

Pauperization knocks on the door with increased violence, which will break it down. The hedonism of the last days is over, as hammered by the consumerist and governmental slogan:  » Enjoy today because tomorrow will be worse!  » The worst is now, if we continue to live with it. Let’s stop believing in the omnipotence of capitalism and the fetishism of money. We have learned that the great macabre farce that makes the world go round only obeys a small sordid spring, that of short-term profit, of the absurd rapacity of a bankrupt shopkeeper scraping the bottom of the drawers.

I’m not talking about hope. Hope is only the lure of despair. I am talking about the reality of all the regions of the earth where an insurrection of daily life — call it what you will — has undertaken to dismantle the dictatorship of profit and to throw down the States that impose it on the peoples, supposedly represented by them. What we want is not tomorrow, it is now, as expressed very well by the orderlies, nurses, emergency workers and doctors confronted with the economic management that dehumanizes the hospital sector.

The system of exploitation of the earth’s nature and of human nature has globally plummeted the horizon. The yoke of profitability at all costs leaves no way out for the generosity of life and the human sense that favors its practice.

Obviously, both exploiters and exploited are convinced that the pot will explode. Violence is inevitable. This is not the problem. The question to be resolved unambiguously is based on an alternative. Are we going to tolerate that the social explosion leads to a state of endemic civil war, to a chaos of vengeance and hatred that will ultimately benefit the multinational mafias, free to pursue with impunity, and to the point of self-destruction, their project of lucrative desertification? Or are we going to create micro-societies free of state and market tyranny, federated territories where the intelligence of individuals is freed from this herd individualism in search of a supreme guide that leads them to the slaughterhouse? Will we finally dare to take our own destiny into our own hands and level a social jungle where the beasts of burden have no other freedom than to elect the beasts of prey that devour them? In 1888, Octave Mirbeau wrote:  » Sheep go to the slaughterhouse. They say nothing and hope for nothing. But at least they don’t vote for the butcher who will kill them and for the bourgeois who will eat them. More stupid than the beasts, more sheepish than the sheep, the voter appoints his butcher and chooses his bourgeois. He made revolutions to conquer this right.  »

Aren’t you tired of having the same unchanging coin flipped from generation to generation: heads the baton of the Order, tails the humanitarian lie? There is no « vote of the lesser evil, » there is only a totalitarian democracy, which only direct democracy exercised by the people and for the people will revoke. I was amused by a slogan that, however brief, calls for further reflection:  » Macron, Le Pen, Mélenchon, same fight of assholes! « (I would have preferred  » same fight of capons, » but the rejection of any form of power and dialogue with the state is part of those small pleasures from which come the great waves of individual and collective enjoyment).


Those in power will not tolerate that the people free themselves from their tyranny. We must prepare for a long struggle. The one to be led against voluntary servitude will not be the least. The only basis for despotism is the security rage of the resigned, the suicidal resentment of a supposedly silent majority that screams its hatred of life.

The best defense is always the offense. To this principle, amply demonstrated by the military tradition, I would like to substitute that of openness, because, to the advantage of breaking the encirclement is added the pleasure of breaking the  » encasement « . We see this openness to life at work in the fierce determination of the current insurrections. Even if some of them fade away, they start up again. We feel it in the festive character of the demonstrations of protests that continue although they are confronted with the blindness, the deafness, the repressive rage of the governments. It is on the basis of this openness that I have spoken of insurrectionary pacifism. Insurrectionary pacifism is neither peaceful, in the bleating sense of the word, nor insurrectionary, if we mean the aberrations of urban guerrilla warfare and guevarism.

I have neither a warrior’s vocation, nor a martyr’s vocation. I leave it to life and its poetry to overcome the opposites so that they do not become opposites, so that they escape the Manichean duality of the pros and cons. I bet on the creativity of individuals to invent a revolution of which there is no example in the past. The disarray and uncertainties of a civilization that is being born have nothing in common with the disarray of a civilization that has only the certainty of dying.

Philosophers, sociologists, thought experts, spare us the endless discussions on the malignity of capitalism that makes its agony profitable. Everyone agrees on this point, even the capitalists. The real problems, however, were not addressed. They are those of the grassroots, those of the villages and urban neighborhoods, those of our own body, which is, after all, the real decision-maker of our destiny, don’t you think?

The more the struggles spread worldwide, the more their meaning gains in radicality, in depth, in lived experience, the more they do without militant commitment, the more they mock intellectuals, specialists in subversive or reactionary manipulation (because manipulation treats both like the obverse and reverse of a coin). It is both in their existential experience and in their social function that individuals discover themselves on the ground where their aspiration to live begins to undermine and clear away the wall that business figures put up against them, as if that is where their destiny ends.

No, we can no longer speak of the abstract man, the only one recognized by statistics, budgetary calculations, and the rhetoric of those who — secular or religious, humanist or racist, progressive or conservative — have people clubbed, bludgeoned, raped, imprisoned, and massacred, while, lurking in their cowardly ghettos, they rely on the arrogant cretinism of money to ensure their impunity and security. The dictatorship of profit is an aggression against the body. Entrusting life with the task of immunizing us against the financial canker that corrupts our flesh implies a poetic and united struggle. There is nothing like the fires of joie de vivre to reduce the morbidity of the world to ashes! The revolution has therapeutic virtues, unsuspected until now.

Ecologists, what are you going to shout about climate improvement to States that taunt you by polluting more and more, when it is urgent to act on a field where the issues have nothing to do with intellectual mundanities. Questions such as:

  • How can we move from land poisoned by agribusiness to its renaturation by permaculture?
  • How to ban pesticides without harming the farmer who, trapped by Monsanto, Total and others, destroys his health by destroying that of others?
  • How can we rebuild on new foundations these small village and neighborhood schools that the State has ruined and banned to promote a concentrationist education?
  • How can we boycott the harmful and useless products that advertising urges us to buy?
  • How can we create local investment banks where the exchange currency will opportunely compensate for the monetary collapse and the programmed financial crash?
  • How can we cut off the state’s tax levies for banking malpractice and start investing them in self-financing local and regional projects?
  • Above all, how can we propagate everywhere the principle of gratuity that life claims by nature and that the fetishism of money distorts? Free trains and public transport, free health care, free housing and self-construction, gradual free production of local crafts and food. Utopia? Is there a worse utopia than the jumble of absurd and deleterious projects that are unpacked, before the tired eyes of television viewers, by these talentless clowns who raise the spectre of their clerical wars, endlessly reiterate the clownishness of the battle of the chiefs, veil the real existential and social issues in false debates, and overshadow State terrorism with a terrorism of news stories where suicidal madness grows with pauperization and an ambient air that is increasingly unbreathable?

Are we sufficiently aware that, in their diversity, even in their divergences, the Yellow Vests and the protest movements form a formidable pressure group capable of boycotting, blocking, paralyzing, destroying everything that pollutes, poisons, impoverishes, threatens our life and our environment? To make us underestimate our power and our creativity is part of the democratic mechanisms of state and market tyranny. More than on its gendarmes, the illusory force of the State rests on an effect of propaganda which urges us at every moment to give up the poetic power which is in us, to this force of life of which no tyranny will come to end.


In Chile, the struggle against the vermin that proliferate on Pinochet’s corpse has rekindled the awareness that everything must start from the bottom, that the representatives of the people are not the people, that the individualist manipulated by the gregarious spirit is not the individual capable of thinking for himself and of taking the side of life against the side of the money that kills. It is necessary to leave to the people the conquest of an intelligence which belongs to them and which the various forms of power try to take away from them.

The same is true in Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon and Iraq. I trust Rojava to turn its momentary retreat into an offensive. The Zapatistas, for their part, have responded to the economic arguments of the socialist Lopès Obrador by increasing the number of their bases (caracoles) and their Councils of Good Government, where decisions are made by the people and for the people.

The stubborn demand for democracy in Hong Kong oscillates between, on the one hand, a blind anger, ready to be satisfied with a parliamentary system that is being called into question everywhere, and on the other hand, a lucid anger that shakes and shakes the gigantic pyramid of the Chinese totalitarian regime (which is worried by the threat of a financial crash) by its persistence. Who knows? Ivy is seeping in everywhere, and Shanghai’s insurgent past is not far away.

Sudan is shaking off the yoke of tyranny and military power, Iran is wavering. Lebanon is a warning shot for Hezbollah and for Islamism, whose religious garb no longer masks its political and oil objectives. Algeria does not want a governmental rip-off. Iraq is discovering that social reality outweighs the importance given to religious rivalries. That leaves the Catalans, the only ones who want a state while the « coldest of cold monsters » is riddled with arrows everywhere. But it is not impossible that the pro-independence movement, which has reached an impasse in the struggle between the Madrid State and the Generalitat, is suddenly breathing in the stench of the Francoist corpse that the nationalist spirit has brought out of its cemetery. Therefore, it is not impossible that the memory of the libertarian communities of the 1936 revolution comes back to them, where a real independence was forged, before the Communist Party and its ally, the Catalan State, crushed them.

It is only a dream but life is a dream and we have entered an era where poetry is the passage from dream to reality, a passage that marks the end of the nightmare and its valley of tears. To open a vital space to those that paralyze the disarray and the anguish of the future, isn’t it the poetic practice that makes the insolent novelty of the insurrection of the daily life? Don’t we see it in the loss of militancy, in the erosion of that old military reflex which multiplies the small leaders and their frightened flocks? Under the diversity of its pretexts, the only claim which is expressed today without reserve, it is the full and whole life.

Who could be mistaken? We are not in the tumult of predictable or unexpected revolts, we are in the midst of a revolutionary process. The world changes its basis, an old civilization collapses, a new civilization appears. Even if the compressed mentalities and archaic behaviors are perpetuated under an ersatz of modernity, a new Renaissance emerges within a history that its inhumanity puts in capillary under our eyes. And these eyes are gradually opening up. They discover in women, men and children a genius for innocently experimenting with unheard-of innovations, unusual energies, forms of resistance to death, and universes that no imagination had dared to set in motion in the past.

We are where it all begins.

Raoul Vaneigem

Notes et références
  1. NDLR Signifie «poursuivre».

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