ruptures vs interstices

from kevin carson‘s state: theory and praxis []

ch 13: Chapter Thirteen — The Rupturalist Error vs. Interstitialism (26 pg pdf)


But the implausibility of any ruptural scenario of post-capitalist transition instead left, as the only alternative, what Wright called “metamorphic” transition scenarios (“a trajectory of sustained metamorphosis without any system-wide moment of discontinuity”). Metamorphic strategies include both the “interstitial” (strategies which “seek to build new forms of social empowerment in the niches and margins of capitalist society often where they do not seem to pose any threat to dominant classes and elites”) and the “symbiotic” (where “extending and deepening the institutional forms of popular social empowerment simultaneously helps solve certain practical problems faced by dominant classes and elites”). Wright saw the two strategies as complementary; my focus in this book will be on interstitial strategy, although I do not rule out ad hoc incorporation of symbiotic strategy as well.

erik olin wright

David Graeber suggested that even if a ruptural event occurred, it would not be a clean break between two forms of society; it would just be one episode in a rather muddled process. He called into question what “victory” in a “revolution” would even look like, under contemporary conditions. Rather than unambiguous capture of the state apparatus, it would mean weakening of the state to the point where libertarian enclaves could exist unmolested, with a relatively favorable and non-threatening background environment in which to grow.
What would it mean to win, not just our medium-term goals, but our long term ones? At the moment no one is even clear how that would come about, for the very reason none of us have much faith remaining in “the” revolution in the old 19th or 20th century sense of the term. After all, the total view of revolution, that there will be a single mass insurrection or general strike and then all walls will come tumbling down, is entirely premised on the old fantasy of capturing the state. That’s the only way victory could possibly be that absolute and complete – at least, if we are speaking of a whole country or meaningful territory.. The real point of this imaginative exercise is just to point out that there are no clean breaks in history.

david graeber


The Interstitial Approach. In Wright’s schema, interstitial strategies “operate outside the state and try as much as possible to avoid confrontations with state power.”
..the core of the strategy is to work outside the state..interstitial transition is “more like a complex
ecological system in which one kind of organism initially gains a foothold in a niche but eventually out-competes rivals for food sources and so comes to dominate the wider environment.” ..The ultimate hope is that eventually these alien species can spill out of their narrow niches and transform the
character of the ecosystem as a whole

yeah.. that.. but have to be deeper/aliener (actually more natural) than that.. ie: beyond any form of democratic admin

Like many other theorists, as we saw in the previous quote, Wright cites the transition from feudalism to capitalism as an example of interstitial transformation. He also mentions the reference to “forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old” in the I.W.W. Preamble and Colin Ward’s statement that “the parts are already at hand” in Anarchy in Action as examples of interstitialism as a conscious strategy. He also cites the WSF slogan “another world is possible”:

yes.. a nother world is possible.. but not a legit other world.. if we keep bringing in the same song

colin ward.. anarch\ism et al


For revolutionary anarchists, on the other hand, significant progress in such reconstruction is not only possible within capitalism, but is a necessary condition for a sustainable emancipatory rupture with capitalism….
A rupture with capitalism is thus necessary in this strategic vision, but it requires a *
deep process of interstitial transformation beforehand if it is to succeed

*ie: we need to org around legit needs.. only way to both cut thru in a sustaining way..

Interstitial transition, centered on the creation of counter-institutions to enable withdrawal of labor and resources from the existing society and provide a base for resistance, figures prominently in one strain of autonomist Marxism. This autonomist subgroup includes Harry Cleaver, Silvia Federici, John Holloway, and Massimo De Angelis, among others.

silvia federici, massimo de angelis, john holloway,

(cleaver ie’s of rupture – i see them as part\ial ness)


She (federici) sees commoning of the reproduction of everyday life as a form of “the cooperation we develop among ourselves,” and “the seeds of the new world.” “These *efforts need to be expanded. They are essential to a reorganization of our everyday life and the creation of nonexploitative social relations.”. t

key.. is 8 b people grokking enoughness (graeber stop at enough law et al)

*need: means to undo our hierarchical listening so we can org around legit needs.. otherwise spinning our wheels in tragedy of the non common

need legit commoning for the dance to dance


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b legit free people

silvia federici

The reclamation of the agricultural commons and food security/sovereignty, in her view, is especially vital in creating a commons- based sphere of social reproduction outside the sphere of capital.

Against this background, I look at the struggles that women are making worldwide not only to reappropriate land, but to boost subsistence farming and a noncommercial use of natural resources.
…[S]ubsistence agriculture has been an important means of support for billions of workers, giving wage laborers the possibility to contract better conditions of work and survive labor strikes and political protests….
As we have seen, in cities across the world, at least a quarter of the inhabitants depend on food produced by women’s subsistence labor. In Africa, for example, a quarter of the people living in towns say they could not survive without subsistence food production….
We can also see that subsistence production is contributing to a noncompetitive, solidarity-centered mode of life that is crucial for the building of a new society

but again.. not deep/diff enough if not org-ing around legit needs

nika & silvia on divorce et al

In another essay, Federici discusses the potential of commons as “the foundation of a noncapitalist economy,” stressing in particular the importance of urban gardens and the food commons as engaging in direct production for use, thereby presenting a way of restoring people’s control over part of the reproduction process outside the control of the state or the market economy.

only way to legit do that.. is if we go deeper than food & shelter et al..


Taken all together, then, shifting all the prerequisites for reproduction of human life from the cash nexus to commons-based institutions in the social economy gives us the basis for immediate resistance against the exploitative power of capital, and a foundation for the further construction of post-capitalist society. It’s also a way for people in the Global North to combat imperialist wealth extraction.
As the capitalist crisis is destroying the basic element of reproduction for millions of people across the world, including the United States, the reconstruction of our everyday life is a possibility and a necessity. Like strikes, social/economic crises break the discipline of the wage-work, forcing upon us new forms of sociality…. Today, as millions of Americans’ houses and cars have been repossessed, as foreclosures, evictions, the massive loss of employment are again breaking down the pillars of the capitalist discipline of work, new common grounds are again taking shape, like the tent cities that are sprawling from coast to coast. This time, however, it is women who must build the new commons, so that they do not remain *transient spaces or temporary autonomous zones, but become the foundation of new forms of social reproduction.’

may be better if women are doing it.. but still not deep enough to be lasting/sustaining..

revolution of everyday life et al

John Holloway, another thinker in this interstitial autonomist tradition, argues for treating capitalism, not as a completed totality, but as a system that is recreated every day using our own labor.


‘…The problem is not to destroy that society but to stop creating it. Capitalism exists today not because we created two hundred years ago or a hundred years ago, but because we create it today. If we do not create it tomorrow, it will not exist.. we must stop making it…
For Holloway the way to stop re-creating capitalism is to progressively shift more and more of our doing into activities that create a different way of doing things.

ie: imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch-in-8b-souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to augment our interconnectedness.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

A sustained global mass strike would destroy capital completely, but the conditions for that do not exist at the moment. It is hard to see how everybody in the world could be persuaded to refuse to work for capital at the same time.

it does have to be everyone in sync.. so we need to org around something 8b souls already crave.. no persuasion necessary

john holloway


But refusals aren’t enough by themselves because refusal, by itself — refusing to sell our labor power — leaves us facing the threat of starvation. “Refusal to work under capitalist command is difficult to maintain unless it is *accompanied by the development of some sort of alternative doing.”

*need to let go of accompanying cancer.. ie: even if refusal didn’t perpetuate cancer.. it spends our energies so that we remain stuck in sea world

Such alternative doings include: occupying factories or schools or clinics and trying to org them on a *different basis, creating community bakeries or workshops or gardens, establishing radio stations of *resistance, and so on. All these projects and revolts are limited, inadequate and contradictory
(as they must be in a capitalist context), but it is **difficult to see how we can create an emancipated doing other than in this interstitial form, through a process of interweaving the different struggles

*still refusal.. energy suck.. if doing it w/in parameters of sea world

**yeah.. can’t be legit free unless we let go of any form of m\a\p

Stop making capitalism: refuse. But this involves a second moment: do something else instead. This something else is a prefiguration, the embryo of a society yet to be born. To what extent
can this embryo grow in the womb of existing society?…

need means to get out of sea world .. first

Rupture does not mean that capitalism vanishes. The fissures do not mean that capitalism disappears.

then neither deep enough.. need something we all crave.. needs to be a leap.. a legit global reset.. otherwise.. same song

But rather than think of revolution as an event that will happen in the future (who knows when) and be relatively quick, it seems better to think of it as a process that is already under way and may take some time, precisely because revolution cannot be separated from the creation of an alt world – jh

yes.. but again.. part\ial ness is killing us.. for (blank)’s sake


The commons and capital circuits have coexisted since the beginning of capitalism,

i’m thinking.. legit common\ing has not yet existed


De Angelis’s picture of the growing commons circuit, as the foundation for post-capitalist society, is a reversal of the process by which the capitalist wage system came into being.

nika & silvia on divorce et al

massimo de angelis

De Angelis argues that the most critical area of expansion of the commons is “all those activities that serve the immediate purpose of reproducing life….” like “accessing healthy food, housing, water, social care and education

yeah.. but those aren’t the deeper/legit needs we need to org around

To have access to these resources would allow people and communities not only to grow more resilient, to share conviviality and enjoy life, but to build a common social force to expand their power vis-a-vis capita…corresponds to the development of a sphere of autonomy from capital – de angelis

matters little if have access to resources.. if we don’t all grok what we legit need/want.. need to do that first.. otherwise .. again.. same song


Transition, rather, is the outgrowth of millions of local actions.

but they have to be outside of sea world.. otherwise still myth of tragedy and lord and just perpetuating (million by million) cancer cells.. rather than legit free people

Instead they (holloway, graham) propose a “weak theory” that ‘couldn’t know that social experiments are *already coopted and thus doomed to fail or to reinforce dominance; it couldn’t tell us that the world economy will be transformed by an international revolutionary movement rather than through the disorganized proliferation of local projects.

yeah.. *that’s what we keep doing.. as long as we hold onto any form of m\a\p

The authors of a book on dual power from the Next System Project, citing Hannah Arendt’s argument that all political systems depend on popular cooperation for their survival and are overthrown by the withdrawal of public support, point out that counter-institutions are needed to *empower such withdrawal.

*that comes from a legit alt.. that 8b souls already crave..

…[M]ost people will never even consider retracting support for governing institutions if they don’t see viable alternatives…. The organization of *unions, worker-owned firms, and housing cooperatives is what makes socialism a real, lived possibility around which greater movement-building can occur.

*not deep/legit enough to org around


Such alternatives also make us *less dependent “on capitalist and state institutions for access to **basic survival needs and avenues for collective action. Transcending capitalism and the state thus requires having alternative institutions in place to meet **those needs and organize people to act powerfully in concert with one another.”

*less dependent on sea world is same song

**those needs are not legit/essential needs.. org-ing around them (rather than legit ones) .. will only perpetuate tragedy of the non common (because non legit needs are insatiable)

Particular institutional arrangements will likely depend on *local needs and conditions, but possibilities include worker-owned cooperatives, neighborhood councils, community land trusts, local food distribution systems, mutual aid networks, community-owned energy, popular education models, time banks, childcare centers, community health clinics, and more.’

rather *sea world assumed/intoxicated needs


Or as John Robb, a specialist on networked resistance and open-source insurgencies, argues:
In most cases, the work being done to build decentralized systems, will be opaque to the people running the existing system. It won’t look like a threat until they have already won

if we org around legit needs.. that everyone (including inspectors of inspectors et al) already crave.. 1\ it won’t be a threat to anyone 2\ there will be no winning/losing ness