BASTARD 2014 Workshops

The 2014 BASTARD Conference will be held at UC Berkeley Campus on March 23rd between 10am and 5pm.

Critical Self-Theory – Jason

Critical self-theory is intentionally presuppositionless, non-ideological theory. It is, most broadly, consciously or critically thinking for oneself. It includes the set of all non-ideological critiques of ideology. As such, it is the only consistently self-critical and non-self-alienating form of theory – including critical theory. By default it is a libertarian or anarchistic theory, if only because it begins not just from outside any and all ideological premises, but by definition from each of our own lived experiences in opposition to every form of dependency or enslavement – that is, in opposition to every self-alienating form of institutional or ideological submission.

The Difference between Class War and Social War – Ivan Linder

The Situationists understood that the power of language to deceive is an essential part of its arsenal, in part because it requires continuous complicity. Core words such as social are no exception. Social media has taken center stage in every project. (Is there any other kind of media than social?). The more we use the word social, the more we feel we understand its meaning and the less we actually do. This is a bone we are being thrown. In our world the only sociability is that of commodities, of objects, and of money. They talk, we listen and execute instructions. We are commodity mules. They are alive, growing, demanding, and are having a party, the party goes on without us at our expense. We suffer while they rejoice. The only way for us to regain our humanity, to talk to each directly without serving a master, is through war. Not to be flip, but our war is a war over redefining the meaning of social. It will require acts more than words in the end.

On the Concept of Social War: A Uniquely Ironic Concept – Tom Nomad

Often, in recent anarchist history, there is a tendency to push concepts to a point of intellectualization that the discussion of the concept itself becomes locked into a process of increasing idealization, removed from material dynamics. This is exactly what has occurred with the discussion of the concept of social war. Ironically, the concept itself refers to a material dynamic, warfare, that in itself cannot be contained within a conceptual description.

In this discussion we will be breaking the concept back down to its conceptual roots, the materiality of warfare, both etymologically, but also philosophically, in order to push past the qualitative impasses that have developed in reference to the concept of social war itself. The only way to do this is to refer to social war as something that cannot be spoken about conceptually, but is something merely engaged in, a form of conflict that escapes the limitations of the concept itself.

Outside of Social War – panel

Social War, or some sort of explicitly revolutionary conflict with the state, has been a central assumption in anarchism for at least a century. Our end-of-day panel discussion will involve anarchists who are outside of this point of view who will express their hostility towards the Social War premise from their different perspectives. They will probably also engage in dialog with each other.

Power: Foucault, Dugger, and Social Warfare – Xander

We’ll talk about a large and diverse set of literature that come into confluence around the concept of social warfare. Beginning with the Roman Social War and moving into Michel Foucault’s “insurrection of subjugated knowledges” that reawakened “the great theme and theory of social war” that provides us with a different way of understanding history and the present. This will move into briefly looking at Foucault’s theory of power and how William Dugger’s work with value manipulation.

The second half of the presentation examines development and counterinsurgency warfare. Both were important to fighting communist subversion and building and establishing modern states.

This presentation adds to a theory of social warfare and ends with a number of questions for discussion concerning social war, the foundation of social order, and how values can be defended.

Social War, Not Social – Chloe

Manners and etiquette for personal and non-personal conflict in times of conflict.

The Social War – Paul

As a writer for both publications, and the author of the first Social War flyer in 1990, I have no idea why we chose the concept of a Social War to illustrate how we had been interacting with the ideas of Jacques Camatte, Fredy Perlman, Jason McQuinn, Hakim Bey, and Zerzan whose ideas at the time were unavoidable. It just seemed to work is all.
We were all, to a greater or lesser degree, making some sense of the concepts of class war, class struggle, and even the continually diminished concept of class itself. We also conjectured that class had crawled into contestation as a result of Marxism, and its continuing appeal was merely a reflection of academics too stupid to find a workable methodology, or too indoctrinated to imagine an alternative—this still obtains today pace Badiou and Zizek. Note the difference here between say a Camatte or even Baudrillard (who in his 1973 book Mirror of Production had put Marxism into a draped capitalist coffin and buried it).

How then to conceptualize the contestation that clearly continues to occur globally—albeit in fits and starts? The Social War theoretical device has a number of different threads, some of which contradict each other, which provides for even greater clarity, or maybe just less glare.

Social War, Subjects, and Consciousness – Doug

Since 2008, insurrectionary anarchism has become one of the largest tendencies within the anarchist movement. As people moved away from various activist models, they experimented with the ideas of “social war” in their communities. But questions remain, what is “social war?” What is, and is there, a revolutionary subject in the current period? Also, what is the role, if any of promoting ideas and “raising counciousness?” With the passing of Occupy and the growth of the security state, the reality of the current situation grows more grave and allows us to take stock of these ideas and reflect upon them.

Walter Benjamin Declares Social War – Lew

This is a talk on the radical thinker with an emphasis on his theses on the philosophy of history.

From Theses VIII: The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the “state of emergency” in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a REAL state of emergency…

What Was the Insurrection? – CrimethInc and the Institute for Experimental Freedom

In this participatory discussion, presenters will revisit the debates about insurrectionary theory and practice that took place half a decade ago, reevaluating each other’s ideas and their own in light of subsequent events, and formulating new points of contention for today’s context.

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