murray on spontaneity
On Spontaneity and Organisation Murray Bookchin (1975)
notes/quotes (mostly copied from toward an eco society 137-150):
there can be few words more misused in politics than the word ‘spontaneity’.. often used to denote something which seems to happen w/o obvious cause, w/o apparently being the result of previous perp.. in this sense of ‘an effect w/o a cause’ there is probably no such thing as ‘spontaneity’ either in politics or life.. human behavior is always influenced by previous experience.. if person is not consciously aware of why he is acting in a particular way.. this does not at all mean there are no causes for what he is doing.. only means the causes elude him
murray does not use the word ‘spontaneity’ in this crude and unreflecting way.. it is important to stress this semantic point in this short intro to his essay.. in bookchin’s own words ‘spontaneity is not mere impulse’.. it does not imply ‘unde-liberated behaviour and feeling’.. ‘spontaneity is behaviour, feeling and thought that is free of external constraint.. of imposed restriction‘.. it is ‘not an uncontrolled effluvium of passion and action’..’insofar as the individual removes the fetters of domination that have stifled her/his self activity.. she/he is acting.. feeling and thinking spontaneously..
not spontaneous enough to be legit spontaneous..
bookchin here uses the word ‘spontaneity’ as we would use the word ‘autonomy’.. literally speaking autonomous means ‘which makes its own laws’ and therefore by implication ‘which acts in own interests’.. he points out that ‘spontaneity does not preclude org and structure’.. there by nailing a very widespread leninist distortion of the libertarian case.. bookchin stresses that spontaneity, in the sense in which he uses the term’ ordinarily yields *non hierarchical forms of org.. his greatest insight is his statement of the need to eliminate domination in all its forms.. not merely material exploitation..
*but not legit spont so no non hierarch to date.. need: means to undo our hierarchical listening
on spontaneity and organisation
the enormous advance scored by the counter cultural movement over the socialist movement is attested precisely by a personalism that sees in impersonal goals.. even in the proprieties of language, gesture, behavior and dress, the perpetuation of domination in its most insidious unconscious s forms..
we come here to one of the most vexing problems in the revolutionary process.. a problem that has never been adequately understood by the socialist movements.. where advanced.. essentially premature revolutions failed.. this was primarily because the revolutions had no *material basis for consolidating the general interest of society.. the tech premises did not exist for the consolidation of this general interest in the form of a harmonized society..
all ‘proletarian revolutions’ have failed because the technological premises were inadequate for the *material consolidation of a ‘general will‘.. the only basis on which the dominated can finally eliminate domination.. t
org not around *material ness.. rather around grokking enough ness.. otherwise same song
it is not for want of org that the past revolutions of radical elements ultimately failed but rather because all prior societies were org’d systems of want.. in our own time.. the general interest of society can be tangibly and immediately consolidated by a post scarcity tech to material abundance for all..t.. even by the disappearance of toil as an underlying feature of human condition.. w the lever of an unprecedented material abundance the revolution can remove the most fundamental premises of counterrevolution.. the scarcity that nourishes privilege and the rational for domination..
not abundance as in a lot .. like we’re imagining.. rather.. enough ness.. like graeber stop at enough law et al..
[quote tweeted this tweet to @debbiebookchin: to revolution murray was about.. just needed diff tech..
not about tech for garnering enough material ness.. but tech for grokking enough ness first]
endnote: the word (people) will reflect the general interest of a truly human movement, a general interest that expresses the *material possibilities for achieving a classless society.. t
the most universal and totalistic to occur.. slowly challenging.. percolating downward.. to all strata of society
not universal/totalistic/all-strata.. hence myth.. hence fear.. hence compromise.. hence slowly ness
still endnote: the utter stupidity of the american ‘left’ during the late 60s.. in projected a mindless ‘politics of polarization‘.. and thereby wantonly humiliating so many middle class.. and bourgeois.. elements who were prepared to listen and to learn, can hardly be criticized too strongly.. insensible to the unique constellation of possibilities that stared it in the face, the ‘left’ simply fed its guilt and insecurities about itself and followed a politics of systematic alienation .. dehumanizing verbiage (police as pigs opponents as fascists).. the student strike that followed the kent murders revealed to the ‘left’ and the students alike that they had succeeded only too well in polarizing american society..
these profound changes tend to occur almost unknowingly.. ie: workers engage in sabotage.. practice almost systematic absenteeism.. resist authority in almost every form, use drugs, acquire various freak traits..
spontaneity is not mere impulse, certainly not in its *most advanced and truly human form.. and this is the only form that is **worth discussing..
spontaneity is behaviour, feeling and thought that is free of external constraint.. of imposed restriction.. t
it is self controlled, internally controlled, behaviour, feeling and thought.. not an uncontrolled effluvium of passion and action.. from the libertarian communist viewpoint, spontaneity implies a capacity in the individual to *impose self discipline and to formulate sound guidelines for social action..
oi.. not spont
insofar as the individual removes the *fetters of domination that have stifled her/his self activity.. she/he is acting, feeling and thinking spontaneously.. if there is an imperative need for a communist consciousness in the revolutionary movement today.. we can never hope to attain it w/o spontaneity
but has to be legit spontaneity.. sans *any form of m\a\p
spontaneity does not preclude (prevent) org and structure.. to the contrary.. spontaneity ordinarily yields non hierarchical forms of org.. forms that are truly organic.. self created and based on *voluntarism.. the only serious question that is raised in connection w spontaneity is whether it is informed or not.. the spontaneity of a child in a liberatory society will not be same order as spont of a youth, or youth same order as that of an adult; each will be more informed/knowledgeable /experience that its junior.. revolutionaries may seek today to promote this informative process.. but if they try to contain or destroy it by forming **hierarchical movements they will vitiate the very process of self realization that will yield self activity and society based on self management..
freeman structure law (?) et al..
endnotes: obviously i do not believe that adults today are ‘more informed/knowledgeable/experience’ than young people in any sense that imparts to the greater experience any revolutionary significance.. to the contrary.. *most adults in the existing society are mentally cluttered w preposterous falsehoods..t and if they are to achieve any real learning they will have to undergo a **considerable unlearning process
revolutionaries have the responsibility of helping others become revolutionaries.. not of ‘making’ revolutions.. presupposes existential relations w others of a like kind who are loving and mutually supportive..
this conception of revolutionary org forms the basis of the anarchist affinity group.. members conceive of selves as brothers and sisters whose activities and structures are *’transparent to all‘.. such groups function as catalysts in social situations, not as elites.. they seek to advance the consciousness and struggles of the large communities in which they function.. not assume positions of command..
endnotes: it (revolution) will emerge only when it is left to do so on its own..t
huge to ue ness..
truth today can exist only as art and art only as truth..
rev is a magic moment not only because it is unpredictable; it is a magic moment because it can also precipitate into consciousness w/in weeks, even days, a disloyalty that lies deeply hidden in the unconscious.. a majoritarian revolution does not mean that the great majority of the pop must necessarily go into revolutionary motion all at the same time..initially the people in motion may be a minority .. a substantial popular spontaneous minority to be sure.. not a small ‘well discipline’ centralized and mobilized elite.. the consent of the majority may reveal itself simply in the fact that it will no longer defend the established order.. a ‘wait and see’ attitude to determine if, by denying the ruling class its loyalty, the ruling class is rendered powerless.. only after testing the situation by its passivity may it pass into over activity.. and then w a rapidity and on a scale that removes in an incredibly brief period institutions, relations, attitudes, and values that have been centuries in the making..t
this complementary relationship reaches is most harmonized form in true art just as will reaches its most harmonized form in authentic play.. endnote: music is the most striking ie where are can exist for itself and even combine w play for itself.. the competitive sports on the other hand are forms of play that are virtually degraded to marketplace relations notably in the frenzy for scoring over rivals and the egocentric antagonisms that the games so often engender..
the self in hierarchical society not only lives, acts, and communicates hierarchically; it thinks/feels hierarchically by organizing the vast diversity of sense data, memory, values, passions and thoughts along hierarchical lines.. differences between things, people and relations s do not exist as ends in themselves; they are org’d hierarchically in the mind itself and pitted against each other antagonistically in varying degrees of dominance and obedience even when they could be complementary to each other in the prevailing reality
both are separated by the enormous development of technology, a development that opens the possibility of a transcendence of the domain of necessity.. t
ecology denies that nature can be interpreted from a hierarchical viewpoint.. moreover it affirms that diversity and spontaneous development are ends in themselves.. to be respected in their own right.. this means that each form of life has a unique place in the balance of nature and its removal from the ecosystem could imperil the *stability of the whole.. the natural world.. left largely to itself evolves ..**each ecosystem must be seen as a unique totality of the whole
endnote: art in the sense that ecology demands continual improvisation.. t
let’s org for that
more than ever, we now know a fact from lived experience that no theoretical tomes could establish: consciousness can change rapidly indeed w a rapidity that is dazzling to the beholder.. in a revolutionary epoch, a year or even a few months can yield changes in popular consciousness and mood that would normally take decades to achieve
nor is it the happiness and pacification of an eternal status quo
random notes on spontaneity from other parts of toward an eco society:
spontaneity of intercourse had been replaced by a prudent courtesy.. individual ceases to be gay.. but fearful.. the egoistic, calculating mentality.. verges on mutual terror.. t
futurism has abolished the future.. it has done so by assimilating the future to a present that thereby acquires a stagnant externality by virtue of the extent to which it permeates the eras that lie ahead..
utopia redeems the future.. we seek a new unity w nature, the abolition of hierarchy and domination.. the fullness of spontaneity and the wealth fo diversity
the word planning merely compounds this grotesque act of violation.. to the modern mind planning implies rationality .. a conceptual purposiveness that brings order to disorder.. that reorganizes chance and contingency into humanly meaningful design.. under capitalism.. planning is basically the conscious org of scarcity amidst abundance.. the attempt to impose a social nexus of want, denial and toil on a tech system that.. could remove all of these dehumanizing conditions from social life.. thus planning emerges not only as the validation of the give.. as opposed to revolution.. but as the rationalization of the irrational.. city planning in effect.. tries to solve problems not remove them.. it thereby retains the status quo in its solutions..t even when it seems most occupied in altering the urban structure..
finally (on ecology).. ecology recognizes no hierarchy on the level of the ecosystem.. all plays equal role in maintain in the balance and integrity of the whole.. these concepts (on eco).. in totality (summary) could be expressed as unity in diversity, spontaneity and complementarity (ue ness) .