If It’s Breaking You, Don’t Fix It!
Streifzüge Editorial Team (translated by Joe Keady)
Politics cannot create alternatives. It does not exist to expand our potential or our abilities. Rather, in politics we only pursue the interests of the roles that we play in the existing order. Politics is an attitude and an act that always relates to the state and the market. It moderates society and its medium is money. The rules it obeys are similar to the rules of the market. Both are centered on advertising and the valorization of value and its conditions.
Modern politics has fully absorbed the compulsions of value and money; it is not even conceivable without them. It has truly conquered itself as master and servant inhabit the same body. Democracy means nothing more than the self-restraint of social actors.
Support for democracy – that is the totalitarian consensus, the collective creed of our time. Democracy is a commitment and a tool all at once. It is regarded as the ultimate outcome of history: It can only be improved upon and nothing will come after it. Democracy is part of the regime of money and value, state and nation, capital and labor. The word itself is empty. Anything can be projected onto it.
The political system itself is increasingly coming apart at the seams. This is not merely a crisis of parties and politicians but an erosion of every aspect of the political. Must there be politics? For what reason? And, more importantly, to what end? No politics is possible! Antipolitics means people acting against their obligatory social roles.
Capital and labor are not antagonistic opposites but the engine driving the valorization and accumulation of capital. Anyone who opposes capital also has to oppose labor.
The religion of labor is a self-aggressive and self-destructive scenario in which we are imprisoned and inhibited. Drilling people for work was and is one of the declared goals of Western modernization.
As the prison of labor collapses, bias is growing into fanaticism. Labor makes us stupid, not to mention sick. Factories, offices, showrooms, construction sites, schools: these are state-sanctioned institutions of destruction. We see the imprint of labor on people’s faces and bodies every day.
Labor is the buzz at the heart of convention. It is regarded as a natural necessity, yet it is nothing more than a capitalist adjustment of human activity. Work means something different when it is not done for money or the market but as a gift, offering, contribution, or creation for us, for the individual and collective life of freely associated people.
Most products and services exclusively serve the purpose of turning money into more money, compel us to endure unnecessary hardship, squander our time, and endanger the natural essentials of life. Some technologies cannot be regarded as anything short of apocalyptic.
Money is a fetish that we all share. Nobody doesn’t want to have it. We never decided on it, but it is true nonetheless. Money is a social imperative, not a malleable tool. As a power that continually forces us to charge, spend, collect, save, borrow, and lend, it humiliates and dominates us by the hour. Money is an unparalleled pollutant. The compulsion to buy and sell is an obstacle to all liberation and self-determination. Money turns us into competitors, even enemies. Money devours life. Exchange is a barbaric form of sharing.
What is absurd about this scenario is not only the fact that a host of professions are devoted exclusively to it, but also that every other intellectual and manual worker has to constantly calculate and speculate. We are trained number-crunching machines. Money cuts us off from our potential; it permits only what pays off in the market economy. We don’t want to repair the monetary system – we want to get rid of it.
The commodity and money are not for expropriating but for abolishing. Neither people nor homes, the means of production, nature nor the environment – in short, nothing should be a commodity! We have to stop reproducing conditions that make us unhappy.
Liberation means people sharing their products and services with one another. It means that they directly correlate with rather than confront one another in their social roles (as capitalists, workers, shoppers, citizens, legal entities, tenants, owners, etc.), as happens now. We already have non-monetized encounters in love, friendship, sympathy, aid, etc. In doing so, we give each other something, mutually creating through our existential and cultural energy without calculating anything. In that way, at certain moments, we feel that there is no Matrix.
Criticism is more than a radical analysis: It demands that conditions be overturned. Perspective attempts to identify how to form human relationships that no longer require this criticism; to conceive of a society in which individual and collective life can and must be reinvented. Perspective without criticism is visionless; criticism without perspective is useless. Transformation is an experiment on the basis of criticism with the horizon of perspective. „If it’s breaking you, fix it!“ is not our formula.
The issue at hand is no less than the abolition of domination regardless of whether it is expressed through personal dependency or circumstantial constraints. It is not acceptable for people to be subjected to others or to be at the mercy of social relations and structures. We are no more interested in autocracy than in self-restraint. Domination is more than capitalism, but capitalism is the most highly developed, complex, and destructive system of domination to date. Our everyday lives are so conditioned that we reproduce capitalism daily and behave as though there were no alternative.
We are frozen. Money and value gum up our brains and clog our emotions. The market economy functions like a large matrix. Our goal is to negate and overcome it. A good and fulfilling life requires a break with capital and domination. There is no transformation of social structures without changing our mental basis and no change of our mental basis without overcoming the structures.
We are not protesting. We are beyond that. We do not want to reinvent democracy and politics. We are not fighting for equality and justice and we are not advocating for free will. We do not want to rely on the welfare state or the constitutional state. And we certainly do not want to hawk any values. The question of which values are needed is easy to answer: none!
We are for the complete invalidation of values and a break with the repertoire of serfs, commonly called citizens. That status must be rejected. Mentally we have already terminated the conditions of domination. The insurgence that we have in mind amounts to a paradigmatic leap.
We have to get out of the cage of the political and economic forms. Politics and state, democracy, law and nation are immanent forms of dominance. There is no party, no class, no subject, and no movement on hand for transformation.
At issue is the liberation of our lives. That alone will enable more leisure, more passion, more satisfaction. Living well means having time. What we need is more time for love and friendships, for children, for moments of reflection or laziness, but also for more intensive and excessive devotion to what we like. We are for universal expansion of enjoyment.
A liberated life means sleeping longer and better and above all sleeping with one another more often and more intensively. Life and pleasure should no longer be a contradiction, necessities must be pushed back and comforts expanded. Play, in all of its variations, requires space and time. Life must cease to be the great shortfall.
We don’t want to be who we are forced to be.
(25. Juni 2014)