This text was written in January after a first attack on this library. This – Paris – Imposing moral order with a sledgehammer: Communiqué from La Discordia – is a response to the third attack on 21st April on this anarchist library-cum-meeting place when all the windows were smashed by gang mentality “anarcho”-sickos who don’t like the critique of religion and the critique of the whole notion of race developed in meetings and texts at this library.
Slightly altered on 7/2/16 (mainly, an addition of a footnote at the bottom)
The following is a translation of a communique sent out from the anarchist bookshop “La Discordia” in Paris, which has been tagged and been the subject of calumnies calling them fascists because of their critique of Islam.
Various comments have been circulating the Parisian “anti-authoritarian” milieu describing both La Discordia and non-fides (which are not the same thing, despite some people being involved in both, some are involved in just the bookshop/library) as racists and – at least in the case of non-fides – as anarcho-nationalists. Anyone looking at either of them for longer than 2 seconds would realise that there’s not only not the slightest bit of truth in these slanders, but also that they have consistently maintained an internationalist position contrary to some of the implicitly nationalist stances of some of the “anti-authoritarians” (e.g. a failure to critique Palestinian or Kurdish nationalism). Whilst this graffiti might seem a fairly trivial incident, such things, unless vigorously contested, can have a miserable result far worse than a tag. A lie goes half way round the world before the truth has time to get its boots on. And in a world of lies, most people are ready to believe anything as long as it conforms to their prejudices – lies are taken on faith, and most avoid checking things out themselves (one only has to look at the history of Stalinism to understand how vicious calumnies and amalgam techniques can become). So, in the spirit of solidarity with these anarchists, I have translated this text, despite it being of interest to fairly few people.
Tags on the anarchist library “La Discordia”
As planned long before, on Tuesday, January 26th, a debate entitled “Islamophobia: the conceptual political extortion racket” was held in La Discordia. We wanted to confront ourselves and others with a topic that is at the crossroads of the current widespread confusion over the condemnation of racism and the defense of religion. The joint discussions were interesting, and the sixty or so comrades and companions who came (we promise, next time we will rent a larger place, and with more chairs!) demonstrated that a lot of people find the need for a revolutionary critique of religions, every religion, even Islam, which others would like to palm off as the “religion of the oppressed.”
However, on arriving on Tuesday afternoon, we saw that the front of Discordia had been tagged, probably during the night. Some circled A.s (thank you!) and particularly poorly written and thought-out invectives (“fascists” and “racists”) in black spray paint. All accompanied by a leaflet of “demands”, asserting that we were acting as a vehicle for “Islamophobic and racist theories” and that we were “the drive belt for ideologies of power”, etc. Anyway, we ‘re not going to copy all their nonsense for you, which has given everyone a good laugh. If you want to read this, have a laugh with us (or attack us ourselves rather than the walls) at the library during our opening hours and discussions.
The answer to these insults was the success of the discussion of Tuesday 26th but also all the others.
Long story short, the insulting (and difficult to read) tags were cleaned off in five minutes (in terms of practice, much has to be improved, kids !), the circled A.s will stay! Our neighbours also had a good laugh about your bullshit, since your exploits have absolutely no bearing on anything or anyone except yourselves and your smelly salesroom. Incidentally, one more small comment for the brave taggers/comedians: If you have not been filmed by the DGSI (General Directorate for Internal Security) it’s because we took and destroyed the camera that watched us (well before the promulgation of the state of emergency). Everyone will appreciate the difference between those who prey (pathetically) on an anarchist library already threatened by repression and those who are prey to more serious problems.
No other tag has been identified in the area, neither on banks, nor on the police station, nor on the schools working with DGSI, nor on churches, synagogues or mosques. What a great revolutionary attack then, and moreover against anarchists. If we expected “attention” of this type (we thought of something a little more “consequential”), this won’t restrain us from any attempt to develop, share and disseminate clear revolutionary forms of discourse, without compromising with any kind of power, including religion, and without remorse in our criticism of the compromises of politicos amongst some sections of the “milieu” – on the contrary!
A thought for the atheist “fascists”, the unbelievers, who, from Tehran to Saint-Denis, are now treated as “Islamophobic” as much by fearsome powers as by this arriviste of the French academic petit bourgeoisie who knows only the racism of his own class, and has shown that his only practise over 10 years is the ability to write an illegible tag on the front of an anarchist library and to organize…conferences with religious authorities. A practice on the same level as their discourse.
Obviously, if one coldly assesses the treatment that the State reserves for revolutionary atheists on the one hand, and the “racialist”*/ theological-compatible Left on the other, one quickly understands what can truly be described as a “drive belt for ideologies of power “: those it usually represses? Or rather those to whom it offers its chairs in universities and its management/cadre positions in its institutions (indeed, this galaxy is composed primarily of academics and executives from the middle and upper class, immigrant or not). No wonder then, that their political subject gives neither respect nor an ear to this post-modern brothel, as all recent uprisings have proven, which cared one iota about the convoluted reasoning of our pious academics, from Bahrain to Baltimore, via Durban.
Finally, thank you to all those who showed up and who will show up again. Also thank you to anyone with information about our committed artists who are somewhat cowardly because they are unable to express their ideas in the open.
We call those who have revolutionary ideas and practice, whether anarchist or not, to intensify the offensive against this new reaction, and express solidarity with those who find themselves in the viewfinder of these born-again reactionaries, taking up their share of criticism, which doesn’t require much courage. And cutting short the attempts to isolate anti-religion revolutionaries (so, is this no longer a tautology?).
Against all forms of power, against all religion and all racism, long live the revolution! Long live anarchy!
Some discordant librarians.
*”Racialist” does not mean the same as racist, though in the UK at least, they used to have the same meaning. But nowadays in France it refers to a new tendency among leftist/libertarian currents about people who talk about human races, which in French (as opposed to English) is seen for about 100 years as overtly racist. These currents see themselves as champions of anti-racism, and often accuse pretty much everyone of racism just for referring to “race”. Now, of course, race is historically specific and has obviously been used to divide proletarians and make a hierarchical difference between different societies, but the university-dominated critique of “racialism” is used in a pedantic politically correct manner not to judge individuals and societies historically but to put people down for the “wrong” use of words.
Added 27/2/16: A German translation of this text is now available here: http://magazinredaktion.tk/paris.php
The proletariat has no religion so why is it necessary to critique religion. My advice is to avoid the subject and save your criticism for the religious institutions that mediate our oppression.
Unfortunately many proletarians have religious beliefs. Besides, one might just as well say the proletariat own no banks so why is it necessary to critique money, or the proletariat are against political parties so why is it necessary to critique political parties, or the proletariat are not scientists so…etc. etc. etc. etc…. A bizarre illogical perspective.
A friend from London writes, via email:
….I hadn’t heard about the petty attack on La Discordia, I’m pleased to see they are politically arguing back. This seems to be an international problem; part of the left including the anarcho-left are allying themselves with far-right religious fundamentalism, and theocratic fascists/ racists, just because they happen to be anti America/west. I have been disturbed by this for some time, but I get the feeling more comrades are starting to wake up to it.
On 21st April 2016, all the windows of La Discordia were destroyed, the place tagged with the word “Racist”.
This is the 3rd attack on the library, which has consistently held discussions critiquing all forms of religion and also putting into question the whole notion of “race”. Leftism, with its hierarchy of victims and its victimology, now considers such a stance as racist. In the same way as Stalinists in the past considered Trots and anarchists who opposed their state capitalist ideologies as “fascist”. Different epoch – different forms of manipulation and submission to false choices.
The library published this communiqué in French, which is now on my site: http://dialectical-delinquents.com/solidarite-avec-la-discordia/
Here are some extracts from it:
“Why these attacks? Because La Discordia is one of the few public places of the milieu where openly anti-religious positions and therefore anti-racism (that is to say against any idea of ”race”, even coming from the left ) are expressed and debated, and uncompromising with those who are precisely totally complacent towards politics, towards the new demagogues. From the widespread participation in discussions dealing with these topics, as well as numerous discussions with more or less close comrades, we say there is a widespread perception that something pernicious is trying to find its place in the French “radical” scene. We come across defenses of religion and faith, we see forms of separations based on biological and genetic criteria that nobody has chosen … What dictionaries call, without pulling punches, segregation . But we also see that more and more comrades realize these dangers and take a position. Unfortunately, too few make public pronouncements. This allows a few visionaries of the last downpour, who believe they’re in the avant-garde of some pseudo-subversive current concerned with identity, to think that Discordia is the only one which criticizes the idea of ”race” and to affirm the rejection of religion – now what a funny idea! To put it bluntly: we are also attacked because of the silence of too many others on these topics.
Why is it happening now, while we’re all focused also on what is happening in the streets (and not only)? Because, obviously, for those who carry the ideas of race and love of religion, they are more important than the conflict against the State and Capital. Once again, no other signs of attack were identified in the area that night, neither of banks nor of churches nor of political offices – just an anarchist library.
…Using “asymmetrical” practices against an anarchist library operating autonomously is the most stupid and cowardly of practices. Remember also that revolutionaries, when they do not agree, or take different paths or they explain and / or criticize themselves , do not anonymously put shit in the letter box. But in the current breakdown of ‘radical’ movements nothing surprises us. The people who bring The Discordia to life are present in the social struggles, assemblies, collective moments and have never hidden their ideas – on the contrary. No opposition has been put forward. No text, no accusation, not even an insult with a face and a body to take responsibility for them. This serious accusation of racism that was expressed on the walls for the third time and for some time in anonymous comments in the virtual world has never been assumed by any individual, group or collective in real life, nor by word or by writing. The brutality against our premises is therefore just a blatant sign of weakness and cowardice, and a total lack of ability to argue.
Yet, honesty is the shortest distance between two individuals.
But how can one defend the idea of race or of God with anti-authoritarians, with autonomes, communists, anarchists who, for centuries, have been working to free themselves and the world from their yoke? Or to any other school of thought based on the criticism of god, of the state, and of imaginary identities. From Marx and Bakunin to Malatesta or Fanon….
We do not doubt the sincerity of these fanatics sailing under their “anti-racist” flag just as we do not doubt the sincerity of their false enemies, that with the same words, the same methods, the same concepts and the same aspirations seek to achieve the same goals: division, wrecking the solidarity between the exploited whom they are struggling to limit, demarcate, divide and compartmentalize into narrow borders, whether physical or mental, so that their revolts never meet, or where appropriate, so that they separate. As always, to the profit of power.
Changing some keywords easily reveals that the speeches and values of the extreme left of capital, which tries only to scrape together crumbs, are the same as those of the extreme right – they are shaped by the same absence of emancipatory imagination, they all aim, through particular religions, ethno-differentialism, homophobia or virilism, towards the normative and prescriptive encampment of identity and community. This is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, who advised: “Do you want to have an easy life? Stay always near the herd, and forget yourself in it. “…
As for us, we are not like those who surrender.
Neither God nor master, neither race nor prophet.
You don’t make the counter-revolution by breaking windows.
Would be interested to know your thoughts on this Freedom article, which I think touches on this incident, or at least a similar one: https://freedomnews.org.uk/to-plant-our-feet-firmly-identity-politics-and-the-secular-jew/ I don’t know anything about Houria Boutledja myself, but “sionistes aux gulag” is obviously a pretty idiotic and repellent bit of posturing.