That may sound like a dis to some people. I don’t mean it that way.

In a recent post I mentioned that a friend made me start thinking about how our orientation is primarily toward things that don’t fit into monetary equivalences. This same friend is the one who first pointed out to me and pushed me about the fact that our political perspective shares a lot with insurrectionary anarchism, as I tried to layout in this talk.

I was slow to come around, due in part to some disagreements but due at least as much for aesthetic reasons. I had a hunch that that milieu was in part an aesthetic milieu, though I initially thought of that as an objection. It’s not, or doesn’t have to be. More on this in a moment.

My friend mentioned as well that this quality of unease over equivalences, I mean particularly the equivalences bound up with commodificaiton, and an emphasis on experiences that don’t fit neatly into equivalences, these are things we share with insurrectionary anarchists.

Anyway, insurrectionary anarchism and aesthetics: it’s in part an aesthetic milieu. It shares sets of styles and vocabularies. It also orients toward sorts of experiences, as I mentioned, that my close comrades and I are also oriented toward, despite some differences. I have a hunch that there are two things about this that tie to aesthetics. One, I think that currently aesthetic representations of these experiences are better developed than theoretical treatment of these experiences. Furthermore, the theoretical work that deals with these tends to have more literary than analytic quality.
Two, I think there’s some measure of affinity here between these sorts of experiences and aesthetics. I want to think more about all of this.

Getting back to my titular opening question, the less interesting thing about insurrectionary anarchism and punk is that a lot of people have moved from one in to the other (I think mostly from the latter to the former). The more interesting thing, I think, is that both are milieus of intellectual and aesthetic production by people at least some of whom are not assigned the roles of people who make ideas and art. They are or include combative aesthetic cultures and practices, which include I think both a desire for something else and anger at the forces that limit people’s options.

(I will eventually get back to these notes as well, and I think I’m may be coming around just a little, after a very long time, to ideas of connections between aesthetics and politics. My notes on PNAB1 are related as well.)

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