IntroductionFrom July 19 to 23, 2023, the International Anti-Authoritarian Gathering (shortened in what follows as RIA from the French: Rencontres Internationales Anti-autoritaires) will be held in St-Imier, Switzerland. Since the announcement of this "anarchist" gathering, we find it problematic how on the currently accessible program, one that notably can be modified by anyone, there is little to no comment or statement on some of the libertarian, esoteric, citizenist, technophile and further topics that have been suggested, nor any details on a general framework for this gathering in terms of accessibility.
Why publish this text before the RIA? Well, you could say that we don't give a damn about big symbolic events, that what counts for us is opposition in action to a reality under domination. But we'd like to believe that this event could be a place where people can meet, create affinities, raise awareness, organise, and thus it could have concrete effects on the reality of the world. But what affinity, what "awareness", and above all, what concrete effect on the reality of the world can an event have that leaves plenty of room for individuals and ideas that are opposed to an emancipatory stance?
We wrote this text in a hurry. It's quite long, we're not professional writers nor communicators, and we don't presume to fully analyse the current state of affairs. We sense that something is going on, and what we're trying to do here is to name the problems. And we wish to propose a few avenues for analysis, which we hope will be discussed, deepened and criticised as much as possible, so that an anarchist refusal of all forms of authority continues to live on, so that we help each other to further sharpen our tools, to further enable us to name and destroy all forms of domination. And let us make it clear from the outset, this text is not a call to boycott the RIA, but a desire to carry an anarchistic pressure everywhere, and at all the times. Criticisable trends in the RIA 2023 program
Some of these trends are not new, such as citizenism (remember, for instance, Xavier Renou's pathetic workshop at the 2012 RIA and his non-violent civil disobedience). Others come to the fore more cyclically, like conspiracy theory, which returns during each "crisis" to explain the world. Some are so unquestionable that we don't even dare to call them "trends", like ableism.
And these trends are obviously not specific to "anti-authoritarian" circles. On the other hand, their justification sometimes takes different paths than mainstream thinking. For example, when it comes to conspiracy theories or their defence, some "left-wing" circles use miserabilist and (therefore) paternalistic arguments that see conspiracy as a case of raised awareness of "the people", and an accusation of conspiracy as classist contempt - what irony! As such they enable giving free rein to theories that can have very real effects. Or such reactionary ideas are justified by traditionalist anarchists who subordinate (or outright deny) all emancipatory struggles other than the class struggle. Or the ecologist-reactionary-essentialists who claim to be saving the planet by reaffirming the Natural Order of things. We could also talk about liberal ideology, currently the theoretical foundation of capitalism (we won't repeat its critique here). A liberal ideology which, in its "anarchist" version, will refer to an abstract "universalism" (detached from the material realities of oppressive relationships, and therefore in line with reactionary tendencies, like for instance secularist positions against the wearing of the veil, which take no account of the concrete effects of Islamophobia in our societies) or to "freedom of expression" (as if everyone had materially the same possibilities of expressing themselves and making themselves heard, and as if freedom could be separated into small pieces).
A brief side noteWe believe that some of the responsibility for certain forms of authority that they do not recognise lies with reactionary/traditional  "anarchists" (privileged, straight, white, etc.). As if politicising the multiple power relations that continue to structure society were a detour from THE one and only social question: the critique of the state and capitalism. They either ignore these issues, or go on for pages and pages moving deeper into a reactionary reflex ("reaction" was defined during the Paris Commune as "the refusal to abolish privileges"), which leads them to see "identitarianism" or "communitarianism" whenever people talk about a reality that isn't like their own, or experience forms of oppression that they do not experience. Minority/oppressed groups need to recognise themselves, to meet in non-mixed groups, in order to develop emancipatory discourses and tools. This necessarily involves reappropriating the categories constructed by the dominant forces. Not to normalise them and turn them into positive categories (as some self-proclaimed spokespersons for this or that identity do), but to destroy them, and with them the whole oppressive system that enabled their construction in the first place. Not talking about issues, or denying their existence, won't make them disappear. As a result, a whole liberal or even libertarian counterpart will have taken hold of these problems, making us believe that they are solvable within capitalism (in perpetual recuperation of things that can be recuperated...).
Unfortunately, there's nothing very new here (apart from the revival of conspiracy theories, that were given a tremendous boost by the covid-19 pandemic, and the popularity of "collapsology" accounts of the collapse). On the other hand, what was new to us, and what frankly surprised us, was the presence of libertarian individuals and positions within the organisation and programming of these "Rencontres Internationales Anti-autoritaires". What also surprised us (although a little less so, because we are a bit lucid!) was the presence of themes, terms, practices and worldviews stemming from New Age thinking, which can be understood as an avatar for liberalism and therefore is standing perfectly in line with capitalist ideology.
Now, we use the word "trends", but we could have used a different one - you get the idea! Of course, these trends are not mutually exclusive, and may very well merge in the same discourse.
Libertarians at the heart of the gatheringBefore criticising certain workshops in particular, putting them into context and situating the people who organise them (we'll explain a little more below what libertarianism is all about), we thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at two figures who play an important role in the organisation of this gathering: Gian Piero de Bellis and Chris Zumbrunn. The former is responsible for inviting a number of libertarians, and his personal library (World Wide Wisdom) is one of the "official" venues for the RIA discussions. The second has an important organisational role, notably in the administration of the online RIA calendar, since it's only from the "zumbrunn" account (who's behind it?) that workshop locations and times are scheduled and updated. It's also worth noting that these two people, who are also very active on the telegram chat, mention each other on their respective personal websites.
About Gian Piero de BellisGian Piero de Bellis is a libertarian living in St-Imier, Switzerland. He is extremely active on the internet, apparently he is writing and translating a lot . He is a proponent of "panarchy", a libertarian concept/proposal: "[...] the Panarchist proposal, that is, the establishment of non-territorial governments, in competition with each other, to provide services to consumers who freely choose them. And like any contract with a company, the social contract signed with a particular government "is neither hypothetical nor illusory, but on the contrary explicit, actual, voluntary and reversible."" . The notion of competition and the free market are central to his thinking. Indeed, it is a matter of "transposing into the political sphere the laissez-faire employed in the economic sphere" . The main obstacle to this free market is therefore the state, or "statism", as we can read in the great quotation on the cover of his book "Polyarchie / Panarchie: un manifeste", (translated into several languages and available on amazon!): "A plague broke out and spread throughout the world during the twentieth century. The name of this plague is statism."
The focus on the authority of the state (only), and in particular the criticism of its monetary monopoly, is typical of a libertarian position, which is not as interested in authority or power as a social relationship. As if the state was the only obstacle to emancipation. Here are the concluding words of his "Considerations on Anarchie2022" (the international meetings having been postponed to this year 2023 due to the pandemic, a more local event was organised instead in 2022, yet with the same logistics), which he translated into Italian and English: "One question in particular on which an anarchist project would have a disruptive effect is that of money. If anarchists were to take up the question of the means of exchange, in line with the thinking of Proudhon and Greene, they would deal a fatal blow to the state and its monetary monopoly. Unfortunately, the state of mind of traditionalist anarchists doesn't even allow the possibility of launching such projects to be explored. If some did, such projects would immediately be branded capitalistic, and if they succeeded and freed up resources to finance other projects, their promoters would be branded as capitalists and hobbled by hard-line anarchists for whom persecution, defeat and misery are indisputable signs that one is, like a true masochist, on the right track." 
But then who are his role models of anarchists who aren't "masochists", not into "persecution, defeat and misery"? Perhaps some answers can be found on his twitter account, where he is very, very active.  His re-tweets include the likes of Tucker Carlson, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, Collin Rugg, Max Borders, Julian Assange, Ross Ulbricht, Kim Dotcom, Mark Curtis... and the list goes on! A mix of alt-right political figures, businessmen, conspiracists, libertarians, lgbtqia+phobic reactionaries – or all of the above. Otherwise, a lot of his (re)tweets are about the situation in Palestine/Israel, including photo montages comparing the Israeli army to the Nazis, with comments like "the new SS" or "the new nazis", with a few tweets with conspiracy-anti-Semitic overtones of "Israel rules USA", lots of Neturei Karta videos, and so on. But you don't have to look very far to realise that his supposed defence of the oppressed ultimately has little to do with the oppressed themselves, and only seems to serve his highly dubious political agenda. Indeed, he doesn't hesitate to repost tweets from people openly celebrating Putin (and the invasion of Ukraine), Gaddafi, or the North Korean regime. Anything that opposes U.S. policy and NATO is fair game, even if it means celebrating torturers (see the twitter accounts of Towhee, @amborin or Rev Laskaris, @REVMAXXING). In this compost of libertarian, conspiracy and confusionist ideas and positions, we sometimes find recompositions that may seem surprising, such as the link between NATO's military policy and the "lgbt lobby" (Gian Pierro de Bellis posits the image of the NATO symbol against a rainbow flag and comments "NATO = North Atlantic Terrorist Organization"). But make no mistake: it's not (just) a big mishmash of libertarianism, cryptocurrency promotion, lgbtqia+phobia, conspiracism (notably linked to the covid-19 pandemic). (In line with the rhetoric of the Kremlin–but in other circles too–the Nazis are to be understood as symbols of the "decadence of the West", of which queer people would be one of its incarnations, hence associations that proliferate all over the Internet, with photo montages of rainbow-coloured bombers, etc.).
In short, his preoccupations seem to be CIA conspiracies, "Nazi Ukraine", "Nazi Zionism", "Nazi NATO", the liberation of Julian Assange, and above all, a currency freed from state control, where crypto-currencies could be the new weapon that would deal "a fatal blow to the state". (All sprinkled with a little conspiracist and lgbtqia+phobia.) [translators note: Plus a shocking heap of anti-semitic tropes]
About Chris ZumbrunnChris Zumbrunn is a libertarian living in Mont-Soleil, Switzerland. He works in the field of IT and communications, and is the founder of the "Décentrale Synergiehub", a coworking and living space in which he lives and which is described as "an epicentre for self-empowered culture". 
He will be presenting the "Natural Law" workshop, which he already presented last year at RIA 2022. Here's his own definition (from his twitter account) of Natural Law: "[...] their is an objective morality implying that it is wrong to take the freedom of others as long as they don't take the freedom of others". Basically, a reformulated version of the liberal credo "my freedom ends where the other person's begins". Freedom appears here as a commodity that we possess a priori, and which we may or may not "take" from others. In total opposition, then, to an anarchist position where "my freedom begins with that of others". As Law, Nature and Morality are concepts at the opposite end of the spectrum from anarchist thought and practice, it seemed at first glance rather incongruous to see a workshop on Natural Law at an event that claims to be anarchist. But a glance at the "libertarianism" page on Wikipedia gives us a clue. It reads: "Liberty is conceived by libertarianism as a fundamental value of social relationships, economic exchanges and the political system. Stemming from liberalism, it advocates, within a universal property and market system, individual freedom as a natural right."
We didn't have the courage to read in full his proposal for a "glocal governance model", which he backs up on his website with diagrams, and which promotes "[...] the transformation of the old order by a progressive and dynamic method that increases and improves our democracies in a global way. It's a metamorphosis without overturning the existing order, but a pragmatic, consensus-building approach involving all parties concerned. Once collective awareness has been reached, there should be no further need to make "decisions", because everyone will know what needs to be done when the time comes.". What the fuck ?!
Chris Zumbrunn is also very active in the promotion of cryptocurrencies, and in particular in the development of "FairCoin". On his github account (a site where developers can deposit and exchange open-source programs), the majority of his deposits concern the development of these electronic currencies.
A visit to his twitter account gives us a little more info on Chris Zumbrunn. In an article published on https://pieceoplastic.com criticising the lack of consideration given to covid-19 in these meetings, someone we don't know did the work of pulling up his twitter feed. In his text, Chris Zumbrunn is anonymized by the initials "A.S." - his telegram chat handle. Here's an excerpt from the text translated from German/English:
"In this timeline one finds not only approving retweets of right-wing libertarians like Elon Musk, Kim Dotcom and Glenn Greenwald, or of the conspiracy theorist and anti-abortionist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., he even praises James O'Keefe of Project Veritas (how?). Most revealing, the timeline shows that A.S. was involved in at least one anti-mask, COVID denier demonstration opposing protective measures. On 20.10.2021 from his twitter-account he mobilized for a demonstration called “Nein zu den COVID-19 Verschärfung” (No to the intensification of COVID-19 protective measures) to be held on October 23. in Bern. According to the wording of his tweet he even helped to organize this demonstration (“We have the permit!”)? A demonstration, by the way, where several conspiracy theory and/or anti-Semitic banners as well as participants from the hipster neo-nazi group “Junge Tat” to the “Freiheitstrychlern” (an ultraconservative folklore group) were spotted. Meanwhile near the autonomous cultural center Reitschule, there were skirmishes between the police and an anarchist counter-demonstration with the title: “Solidarität mit den Corona-Betroffenen” (Solidarity with those affected by Corona)." 
We might also add that he is an active promoter of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and internet-based technologies (e.g. the presearch.com search engine, which implements artificial intelligence, the LBRY network and its video platform "odysee.com" founded by libertarian Jeremy Kauffman in reaction to youtube and in particular its "overly restrictive" moderation, which would become a vector for conspiracist, pro-Trump, white supremacist propaganda, etc.), or more anecdotally but rather creepily, BitPeople, a "population registry for a new internet-based global society." 
But how does this promoter of "self-empowered culture" earn his living? On his website, which he describes as his "personal think tank", his business page speaks for itself. It reads, "Chris Zumbrunn Ventures has developed hundreds of projects and served hundreds of consulting and technology clients over the past several years."  There's an impressive list of all his clients, including some of the most rotten in the world:
• swiss army
• US Army,
• Apple Computer,
• British Aerospace,
• U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service,
About tendencies in workshops deserving to get critiqued
Are anti-authoritarian meetings accessible only to healthy, able-bodied etc. anti-authoritarians?Although in global thinking and the official position of states is that we're done with the covid pandemic. Yet plenty of people are still dying from it, plenty of people still need to protect themselves from it, and the issue remains still largely politicised in many anarchist, feminist and other anti-authoritarian scenes.
And yet, as far as this summer's gathering is concerned, neither the FAQ on the anarchy2023.org website nor anywhere else assumes or clarifies the position of the organisational team(s) in regards to covid and its issues. We're talking about a "politicised" and international event, where the question should obviously be asked, given the fluctuation and the number of people who will attend...
In the site's FAQ, then, we can read between the lines how the "covid-question" is circumvented: it is present in hushed tones only, but neither explored, nor named, nor situated, nor thematised. It's a bit "surprising", especially when you see that there's a covido-sceptical and outright ableist presence in the organisational team and in the position given to certain workshops. Among other things, at the "small" RIA 2022 a well-thought-out, pacifying, simplifying, binary and rather confusing workshop on "future epidemics, cross-reflections"  was presented alongside another conspiracy workshop with the scandalously anti-semitic title on "covid and the globalist takeover" . This summer, we will also be treated to the workshop entitled "What to do about the instrumentalization of the WHO?" .
A brief side note on these last two workshops and the individual who proposed them, Ivar PettersonIn the comments to another RIA 2023 workshop entitled "Covid-19 Vaccination pressure" , Ivar Petterson writes on behalf of his little union, which is "the only union in Switzerland to have taken a stand against the covid Doxa (= ideology, dogma, set of opinions) and experimental mRNA vaccinations" and which disseminates "the positions taken by whistle-blowers, such as Christian Perronne, Laurent Muchielli, Louis Fouché and other courageous medical experts and doctors.". As it happens, these "courageous experts" are best known for disseminating false information and conspiracy theories, and are sometimes in close proximity to extreme right-wing circles. In 2023, Ivar Petterson will be offering a workshop entitled "What to do about the instrumentalization of the WHO", its description reads as follows: "Whistle-blowers, including Robert Kennedy Jr. [U.S. presidential candidate and conspiracy theorist, extensively quoted by Gian Piero de Bellis and Chris Zumbrunn as seen above] and legal scholar Francis Boyle, are warning us that biological warfare laboratories (nt. those decentralised by the U.S. in several countries (including Wuhan) have the capacity to unleash a new epidemic on command."
And as for his workshop held in 2022, "covid and the globalist takeover", we weren't there, but we were told that several alarming conspiracy statements were discussed. To avoid the risk of distorting the actual words that were said at the time, we'll only mention (in addition to the title, which should already speak for itself) the defence, by several people present at this workshop, of the reinfocovid.fr website founded by far-right conspiracist Louis Fouché (we're not willing to argue here about reinfocovid.fr and Louis Fouché, come on, seriously. This has already been done by many others. We just want to emphasise here that all this is happening quietly at RIA).
It's all there: anti-Semitic language, "globalist takeover", "globalised capitalist power", "globalised financial power", the celebration of far-right personalities, right down to the thinly veiled assertion that this pandemic was triggered "on orders" by "biological warfare laboratories" decentralised to Wuhan by the USA.
But as these curious comments seem to testify, Ivar Petterson still seems to care about the "far right", and perhaps even fancies himself an anarchist. Commenting on an article criticising the presence of far-right personalities at a demonstration against "sanitary dictatorship" in Annecy, Ivar Petterson denounces the conspiracy activist, propagator of Qanon's theses, who is close to far-right circles Chloé Frammery , only to change his mind in a second comment, and once again defend the reinfocovid.fr website: "Following a clarification with Chloé, it seems that despite her contacts with Dieudonné, she has not switched to the extreme right (or red-brown) and still positions herself as a militant of the fighting left. I therefore withdraw the exaggerated remarks I made above. I note a serious misunderstanding on the covid question. The sites listed by Librinfo74, such as reinfocovid.fr, are not far-right, but critical of Big Pharma. The left and far-left have not done enough research on this subject and on the risks of vaccine side-effects, leaving the door open for the far-right to take advantage. Whose fault is that?" 
One might think that, unlike other anti "health dictatorship" activists who cleverly sow confusion in order to get their reactionary ideas across, Ivar Petterson sincerely believes himself to be in an anarchist position. But his proposal to invite the group Pièces et Main d'Oeuvre (PMO), despite the tsunami raised by their reactionary positions and masculinist coming-out among French anti-capitalist and anti-tech circles over the last 10 years, makes it clear that he's part of the new eco-reactionary trend, not necessarily far-right per se, but for whom a certain "natural order" should be preserved. The workshop was fortunately cancelled, but Ivar Petterson returned to the fray, mentioning that PMO's appearance had been appreciated at a meeting in June 2022 in Sainte-Croix. This meeting was attended by, among others, Les Amis de la Décroissance, a newspaper that no longer conceals its reactionary (racist, homophobic, transphobic and authoritarian) positions. See the related article on renverse.co: "Rencontres décroissantes à Sainte-Croix, rejetons une écologie réactionnaire" .
Anyway, in the FAQ, the first question reads "are there any conditions and restrictions [for coming]?". They don't specify precisely what the meaning of this is here, but given the greater context everyone understands what they're talking about, otherwise such a question wouldn't really make sense. Their answer: "No, there are no special conditions for you to participate. Our only requirement is that you be respectful of others and pacific." Well... We don't have the courage to go into the absurdity of this and the fabulousness of being peaceful at an anti-authoritarian meetings... On the other hand, it seems of capital importance, even vital for some to talk about the issue of covid and accessibility, be they fragile, handicapped, elderly and/or immunocompromised people and/or their loved ones.
Yes, vital: some of our comrades still die (even in 2023). Others see their lives impacted in the long term for a host of reasons we won't list here in detail, but at the end of this text we have compiled some wonderful resources on the question of ableism, racism and classism in relation to the covid issue and the appalling lack of solidarity in so-called anti-authoritarian circles around all these questions. We'll let you dig in.
Let us remember that it is quite possible to be anti-certificate and anti-state control measures without being ableists, and that means wearing masks and accepting other sanitary auto-defence precautions in our anti-authoritarian spaces.
In the RIA telegram chats, we have read, among other things, that masks were "diapers worn on faces", an expression taken up by Derrick Broze of Freedom Cells, to which he added "it's a shame to see anarchists fall into the trap...", a response again quoted by Chris Zumbrunn, who added "yes, it was disappointing to see how many groups ended up divided over this, with only a fraction of us seeing through the covid1984 drama". (To clarify, this is an excerpt from a public exchange. The "Anarchy2023" orga telegram chat and the "BeyondAnarchy2023" RIA "off topic" chat are accessible to anyone with a telegram account. Links for them are directly shared by various RIA social network accounts).
In this atmosphere, it's no longer surprising that a disabled/chronically ill person asking if he/she can take part in the RIA orga gets turned away...
Here are some extracts from an article by pieceoplastic , already mentioned above, in which a person recounts his experience of trying to take part in the RIA orga and the reunions. In it, he recounts exchanges over several months with at least one of the main organizers of the RIA (it would seem, at least given the position he occupies), namely Chris Zumbrunn, who seems to speak on behalf of the orga team.
Quoted e-mails show that he was sidelined for several months and refused to listen to his need for clarification regarding anti-transmission measures for covid, such as wearing masks, ventilation, etc. His needs, but those of so many others as well... brushed aside, ignored, then deliberately not taken into account, as he recounts:
"...from my very first email, I tried to propose that orga meetings and the RIA themselves should be made accessible to everyone. Accessible to everyone: that is, even to people like me, who continue to be forced into extreme caution and social isolation due to illness or disability,... ...It seems clear that this consensus to ignore COVID-related safety measures at RIA could have solely been achieved by exclusion (of myself and other critical voices with a different point of view).
Consensus by excluding critical voices, it's the laziest trick in the books.
In another e-mail, I voiced my objections and almost begged to have the general meeting in early March held in COVID safety (see attachment 2). Again, no response." pieceoplastic - translated extract
His entire testimony (in English and German, for the moment) is distressing. The thread on the Mastodon social network linked at the beginning of his article is also worth having a look.
How many other disabled or chronically ill people have had to give up participating in the organisational team, proposing a workshop or discussion, or even had to give up on their plans to attend the RIA because of this unabashed ableism?
As if we have to say it again: Ableism isolates, ableism kills.
So what could have been done?Making an event accessible is a political issue. When it comes to covid, as with all sorts of other things: Sorry, not sorry, listing wheelchair-accessible and non-wheelchair-accessible venues on the site (without making them accessible or changing the venue, lol, and even then, only talking about a certain type of token accessibility: that which concerns the spatial movement of wheelchairs) ... that is not inclusive thinking. It's taking the piss out of a lot of people, and it actively conveys that no thought has been spared to solidarity and inclusion in advance.
So it's still up to people with disabilities and/or neurodivergent persons to "ask" for access, and all too often they risk getting turned down be it for lack of time or logistics, or getting forced to give it up by themselves because it's too complicated. Of course, if nothing is planned in advance, writing an e-mail to the care team (for those who dare to do so) won't change a thing. In some cases, yes, but most of the time, not. To be an ableist also gets revealed by saying to yourself that this isn't really a big deal.
You've had more than two years to think about this, requests have been made, concerns have been expressed plus by people who are directly concerned.
At this stage, it's a matter of voluntary exclusion, or nearly.
To the question of "putting rules into an anarchist, anti-authoritarian event" (in this case, the idea of including covid safety measures)
One of the answers the person who wrote on pieceoplastic.com received from the RIA organisation (which incidentally is one of the things we hear all too often) is that they do not "desire to assume the role of the police".
It is precisely the practice of taking consensual positions in the interests of the most oppressed people, followed by an active practice of collective anti-dominant positions (including our own), that can enable us to abolish the police, or, at the very least, of the maintenance of order through coercion. Rebuking ostracising or dominant behaviours is not the role of the police. One of the roles of the police is precisely to maintain and perpetuate such exclusionary behaviours, and as such to ratify the monopoly of power held by privileged groups over others.
Do we ask ourselves such questions on "having to play the role of the police" when it comes to combating and rejecting racist, sexist or anti-lgbt behavior or theory? No. Not only do we fight and reject such behaviors, we even anticipate them and affirm to oppose them. Doesn't it sound like a familiar stance to be defending the oppressed and the exploited?... So why does the question of "having to play the role of the police" arise in the case of anti-ableism, when defending the sick or the disabled, in regards to showing or denying them our solidarity? Because we continue to reduce the question of ableism to a simple, highly personal and individualized situation, without taking into account the societal issues at play as well as the power relations they are interconnected with (accessibility, precariousness, racism, sexism, etc.).
And as for remotely accessible events and reunionsPlease do not claim that this is a security issue (as the person who wrote on pieceoplastic.com was told, see her article) or that handicapped people are too technophile and technodependent. (Consensual) sound recordings and anonymized note-taking do exist, as do encrypted transcripts or streams (Chris Zumbrunn even offers these for two of his workshops – try to find the logic there), and they would allow disabled people to take part in the organisational team as well. Other solutions can conceivably be created and imagined. Let's be technocritical AND anti-ableist!
Settings that take place exclusively "face-to-face" without measures against transmission are ableist by definition. Basically this would be like saying, this could be dangerous for you? Well, not for us, so why don't you just come along anyway, but wait, we're not going to make it possible for you to come along by reducing the danger for you.
Total access, organized in advance, by able-bodied allies and concerned people who can offer this – that's inclusive. A clear, unambiguous and uncompromising anti-discriminatory stance - that's inclusive. Not on a case-by-case basis, according to the whims of individuals, deciding whether or not content should be made accessible.
And then, with the telegram chat, the various RIA social networks and the apology of cryptocurrencies in its program, let us have a good laugh here as well. In terms of security and technological criticism, we have seen better. Libertarian trends
As a short preamble: the name of this political current, which sees itself as standing outside of he left-right spectrum, can be a little confusing... It needs to be understood in the context in which it was created, and a small linguistic side note may help to make things a little bit clearer. Sorry, this is a bit of a pain. The name of this political current is an Anglicisation of the French word "libertaire", itself derived from the French anarchist scene. In French, however, it designates a political current in its own right and is not translated libertaire but libertarien, relating therefore to the libertarisme (or libertarianism) movement.
The English word libertarian was therefore co-opted by a more or less anti-state right-wing movement to differentiate itself from liberals: in English and in the context of the US bi-partisan political system, the word liberal designates the Democratic Party, as opposed to the Republican Party.
Libertarian can also be used, but more rarely, as libertaire, to which we would add left-wing or right-wing to clarify, in other words, left-libertaire or right-libertaire! A kind of right-wing anarchism (yes-yes), but one that retains from anarchist ideas only its opposition to the state, yet not to authority in general. And again, the reason for opposition to the state is not because of its authoritarian character, but rather because of its monopoly over authority. As with "panarchy", which advocates a system in which "non-state" governments compete freely against each other. By that same logic, libertarians don't oppose money in general but only the state monopoly over currencies, hence their newfound love for non-state cryptocurrencies derived from blockchain technologies.
Anarcho-capitalism, and one of its sub-branches agorism (carried notably by Derrick Broze who is active on the RIA 2023 telegram chat where he announced that he may come to talk about it in person) are at the heart of the famous "Anarchapulco" festival in Mexico. It's a summit reserved to the super-privileged, attracting almost exclusively white neo-colonials from the USA, who equate taxation with "slavery". There's a lot going on with the Freedom Cells (a network of survivalists who mix supremacist, masculinist, new-age, conspiracy theories, etc., and act as inspiration for the Solaris network in Switzerland) and with the Underground Railroad or their "operation counter-economy"  (basically, rich people who "escape" state tax "tyranny" through running their own networks... an atrocious repetition of history).
Anarchapulco speakers include Cynthia McKinney. There's every reason to believe that she'll be coming to RIA 2023 with her workshop "Countering the anarchy of US foreign policy"  (since it's organized by one "hq2600", which happens to be McKinney's personal e-mail address listed on her CV, and since US foreign policy is one of her favorite topics).
A graduate and professor of international relations, McKinney is a former U.S. politician who served at the federal level (Democratic Party) for six years, after which she greatly influenced the Green Party. She is known for violently anti-Semitic positions, as well as for far-right conspiracy theories about 9/11 ("Dancing Israelis"), in which she inscribes "anti-war" battles (Syria, Iraq, Palestine, etc.). She continuously propagates anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories in regards to George Soros, the Rothschild family, the "New World Order" ("anti-globalists"), and the covid-19 pandemic. She regularly appears with Holocaust deniers, including David Pidcock, Michele Renouf, and Dieudonné, as well as with white supremacists.
Online she posts her fascination with ultra-authoritarian regimes. Her campaign has been sponsored by and she has worked with the Stalinist Workers World Party, which holds dogmatic "anti-imperialist" positions against US policy, leading them to historical revisionism and negationism (defence of Slobodan Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic, denial of the Bosnian genocide, support for Serbian nationalists, glorification of Saddam Hussein and denial of the Kurdish genocide, etc.). The WWP, which advertises itself as an "anti-imperialist" communist party, joins forces with nationalist far-right groups in a red-brown alliance . Within such ideological alliances, opportunist "anti-fascist" rhetoric is often put to the service of a fascist agenda.
Since 2005, McKinney has been close to the vice-president of the Schiller Institute of Lyndon LaRouche's movement (an ultra-violent, neo-fascist movement with sectarian tendencies, and an important relay for anti-Semitic tropes through numerous publications). In 2011, McKinney led a delegation to Libya in support of the regime, along with Ramsey Clark (former Attorney General at the time of the creation of COINTELPRO, an advisor and defender of far-right war criminals) and conspiracy theorist Wayne Madsen. Also present in Libya at the same time were neo-fascists Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya and Thierry Meyssan (head of Réseau Voltaire and contributor to the magazine Eurasia, whose editor-in-chief is neo-fascist Claudio Mutti, a close associate of Aleksandr Dugin and founder of the pro-Gaddafi Italian-Libyan Friendship Society). McKinney's pro-Gaddafi positions have been broadcast on Michel Chossudovsky's conspiracy channel 'Global Research TV', which is notably involved in disseminating pro-Russian propaganda. In 2014, McKinney signed an open letter issued by the WWP and addressed to the authorities of Novorossiyan (a territory claimed as ''New Russia'') in support of members of Borotba (a Stalinist organization spun off from several Ukrainian groups, who are extremely racist and homophobic and notorious for attacking left-wing activists). McKinney fights against the "Deep State", which she believes consists of the "pro-Israel lobby" and the "ZioCons" (a favorite expression of David Duke, neo-Nazi former leader of the Ku Klux Klan). She has formed a red-brown alliance called "#Unrig" with Robert David Steele (a former CIA official, openly a member of a far-right neo-fascist movement), in support of Donald Trump .
The very same Cynthia McKinney apparently plans to come to RIA 2023 with the project of "countering the anarchy of US foreign policy". At an anarchist event, you'd expect that "anarchy" wouldn't be something to "counter" (actually not even used as a word for qualifying a state policy!), but given her profile, you'd expect anything. Above all, let's not allow this person's arrival to be the tree that hides the forest! As we shall see, many other, more "respectable" workshops and people are part of the libertarian movement.
Libertarians and "governance"Resurrected through neoliberal vocabulary, the concept of governance seems to reduce the social question to a question of management. Adding the terms "resilience", "democratic", "participatory", "alternative", etc. does little to change such a technocratic vision of society or its "good management". Today, we hear the word "governance" used in all sorts of ways (from sovereigntists of all stripes to promoters of neoliberal globalization, from libertarians to "militant collectives", etc.). As if this wasn't just another word for organization by domination, and as if such a thing as non-authoritarian, emancipatory "systems of governance" existed. Management will never be "horizontal" or "decentralized". So it's only logical that this catch-all term also became popular with libertarians.
There are several workshops at the RIA on the subject, for example, the most identifiable one seems to be "Dual Power - building a resilient anarchist society"  The description (in English) describes its desire to "create alternative models of governance", for "informed and engaged citizens"... "...This could involve contingency planning, decentralized governance and a strong emphasis on societal resilience." etc.
In the same vein, we might also mention the workshop "Aviezer Tucker: Anarchy & Panarchy: a presentation + discussion (in English)"  The workshop appears to offer a presentation by or with Aviezer Tucker, an academic who has notably co-authored a book with Gian Piero de Bellis: "Panarchy: Political Theories of Non-Territorial States". So they will probably serve to introduce the concept of Panarchy, which, according to the abstract of their co-authored book reads:
"Panarchy is a normative political meta-theory that advocates non-territorial states based on actual social contracts that are explicitly negotiated and signed between states and their potential citizens. The explicit social contract, or constitution, sets the conditions under which a state can use coercion against its citizens and the conditions under which said contract can be annulled, revised or otherwise abolished."
The word panarchy alone should raise some questions. It's made up of the Greek words "pan", meaning "all", and "arkhê", meaning "command", "power", "authority". Etymologically, therefore, it's the exact opposite of anarchy, composed of the negating meaning "absence of" and "arkhê".
Libertarians and their political prisonersAbout the workshop "Presentation by the Italian Committee Free Assange + discussion. (+ Free Ross Ulbricht and all the political prisoners)" 
Julian Assange has been accused of many things (rape, sexism, racism, anti-Semitism). He defines himself as a libertarian, as he had himself said in an interview "It's not right to put me in one specific philosophical or economic camp, because I have learned from many of them. But one of them is American libertarianism, market libertarianism. So, when it comes to markets, I'm a libertarian, but I have enough expertise in politics and history to understand that a free market eventually becomes a monopoly unless you force it to be free. WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical." 
As for Ross Ulbricht (the second political prisoner defended by the workshop), he is a businessman inspired by libertarian ideas. He is currently imprisoned for creating the Silkroad anonymous shopping site on the darkweb, where you could buy anything (weapons, drugs, false papers, services, etc.) by paying for it in cryptocurrency. The site allowed him to make a ton of money and become a multimillionaire.
We're not sure what all this has to do with RIA.
Libertarians and moneyLibertarianism actively promotes the creation of alternative currencies and decentralized monetary systems. At RIA 2022 and 2023, we have seen a multitude of workshop proposals on this topic...
Here's a list of workshops that have been proposed, scheduled, if sometimes renamed or cancelled. All are on the subject of crypto-money, alternative monetary systems and alternative currencies:
Presentation and discussion on Thomas Greco with the subtitle that reads "alternative means of exchange", later modified to "The tyranny of the global money system and how we can free ourselves from it" .
Anarchist Bank 
BYOB - Be Your Own Bank 
Mutual Credit Systems 
Fair EcoSystem 
Economy and Anarchy 
Anti-Autoritaran Money 
Solid'Ark (a Bulle-based company whose slogan is BANKS AND LOCAL CRYPTOCURRENCIES AT THE SERVICE OF CITIZENS AND THE REAL ECONOMY!) 
Dual Power - building a resilient anarchist society. With two themes in the description: "Develop alternative financial systems" and "Alternative economic models" 
Kong, a monkey's currency, SEL and BUI 
The money game 
New Economy 
Game Play as Extinction Solution, a workshop by a guy who proposes, among other ideas, his "caring currency" or "money of the heart" (= "monnaie du cœur" in French), a cryptocurrency to reward on merit citizens who are acting for the good of the planet. 
To better understand why we wonder what all this has to do with RIA:
Libertarianism holds that free markets and unfettered competition promote an emancipated and therefore emancipating currency. So at the onset it postulates..., that such a currency could exist. It would be market-based, meaning that its creation and value should not be determined by any state powers, but rather by the forces of supply and demand.
An alternative currency is still a currency. Alternative money, "natural" money (gold, silver, precious metals), centralized or decentralized "real" or virtual money, it's all still money: it's all still an abstract means of exchange. This enables us to create and define the notions of value, property and wealth within capitalism, which, even if conceived to be an alternative, always remains capitalism. The exploitation necessary to such (a) system(s) and the oppression(s) that stem(s) from it remain very real. There's no such thing as a currency without exploitation. It's a bourgeois fantasy lacking any sort of class consciousness and awareness of the privileges on which it is all based or those it will soon create.
How is this anti-authoritarian?The idea is that a non-state monetary system (as conceived by anarcho-capitalism in particular) or a "governance" system with minimal state intervention (and based on individual freedom and private property) would be the ideal context for a "free" currency. Symmetrically, a "free" currency would enable the emergence of "less" authoritarian, even liberating, systems of governance.
We however believe that money is what generates power and enables systems and structures of domination to exist, whether in the form of property, liquidity, bank deposits, whether regulated and created at state level, or in the form of decentralized cryptocurrencies. Decentralized, but nonetheless dependent on a multitude of human and non-human resources, and thereby generating a dominating and oppressive system. Among other things, you need tons of very real raw materials to make your cryptocurrency wallet blink: you're not going to go and extract them yourself before clicking on "buy", all this safely from behind your screen, built by who knows what human being, who was exploited who knows where, but who would receive his salary in cryptocurrency unregulated by the state, so therefore anything goes.
We disagree, because to claim that a currency can be beneficial, or even emancipatory, is to refuse to criticize the foundations of capitalism and its underlying social relations, including private property, labor and commodity. Workshops extolling anti-authoritarian possibilities of a monetary system to a RIA with Blockchain and ultra techno-dependent crypto-currencies – here too, all is well...?
Looking at the proposals for certain workshops, and the strong presence of people known and recognized for their libertarian positions and activities, one gets the impression that there is some kind of an attempt to inscribe the various libertarian currents (anarcho-capitalism, agorism, panarchy, etc.) in the present and future history of anarchist thought and practice. Passing off libertarian thinking as libertaire thinking is scary! For example, the idea behind the "Beyond Anarchy 2023" platforms  created by Gian Piero de Bellis, is to "relaunch anti-authoritarian action in a coordinated way, along the lines advocated by participants in the 1872 Anti-Authoritarian Congress".
Technophile trendsWe won't repeat here why social problems can never be solved with technological solutions. Nor will we repeat the assertions of those "experts" who claim to know better than we do what our problems are and how to solve them. Nor will we criticize the progressive myth stating that we're always heading for the better. How long have GMO promoters been promising to eradicate world hunger? The promoters of nuclear power been talking of a clean, safe technology? The internet been described as a formidable tool for democratization? No, technology is never neutral; it remains in the hands of those who have the power to create it, and of those who benefit the most from it. Do we need to repeat the obvious that internet technologies do not work without a material basis? That they require a network of cables, fibre optics, relay antennas and transformers that all need to be built, maintained and secured? That energy is needed to create electricity, to transport it, that mines have to be dug up and metals extracted? And that in these processes, people are getting exploited, territories devastated? That populations have to be displaced and wars waged? This supposed dematerialization is in fact very material. The people affected by coltan extraction, a conflict ravaging the Kivu region of the Congo for years, or those affected by the conflicts surrounding the lithium mines in Chile, know everything about this.
And as technologies get ever more complex and move beyond the reach of individuals (beginning in their manufacture), experts of all stripes have come to explain to us how all this is for our own good, or could be, if we just listen to them. As we've seen, in the program of the RIA several such experts (recognized or self-proclaimed ones) are included, who detail via schemes and lab theories their plans for a new and more social organization (democratic, citizen, "anti-authoritarian", "anarchist" or other) of these technologies.
The "Living cities and civics" workshop  presents itself as a rather enlightening caricature of this genre. Matthew Skjonsberg is associate director of the Future Cities Laboratory Global (FCLG-ETHZ), coordinator of the doctoral program "Research Methods in Landscape and Civic Design" at the Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS-ETHZ) and lecturer in civic design and public health (MscLA-ETHZ). The discussion following his presentation will focus on the concept of civic responsability and alternative lifestyles in living environments (in several languages)."
A further example is the "Systemic playing towards anarchy" workshop , which may look nice at first glance, but still raises a few doubts. Evo Busseniers is affiliated with the Global Brain Institute, where Evo completed his doctoral thesis. The "Global Brain" represents a neuroscience-inspired conception of the world, in which the interconnection between humans and machines (resulting from information via internet and other communication technologies) constitutes itself as a form of "global brain", with its nervous system, neuronal connections and so forth. This organic, totalizing vision of human relations is, in and of itself, pretty scary. The Global Brain Institute, which proposes to develop this "global intelligence" further, has as its mission to "[...] move us effectively towards a collective intelligence that will enable us to tackle global problems too complex for traditional methods."  It's pretty clear what this implies: "global problems" are too complex for human brains (hence we can only passively wait for the day when this global brain decides to put an end to oppression!). If we agree that the "world's problems" are misery and exploitation, while at the same time information and communication technologies are one of the current engines of capitalist growth, what can be expected from these technologies? Only if the world's problems are summed up as "how to continue devastating the planet and revive the myth of progress in order to make sure nothing changes", then yes, the "global brain" may well be the solution. And do we need to remind you that not everyone on this planet has access to the same resources, such as a smartphone or an internet connection?
We could also mention the "agro-labs" workshop  offered by citrusgenetics.org, a company founded by molecular biology researcher Christos K. Kotakis, who is working on the "bioenergetics of RNA" and "its application in bio-electricity for the construction of a new generation of photovoltaic cells" . Citrusgenetics owns 15 hectares of farmland, a large agro-industrial park with 900 m2 of buildings, greenhouses and a laboratory for biotechnological research . We confess we don't really understand what this is, nor how this company finances itself. In any case, farmers, anarchists and radical environmentalists have long been fighting against biotechnologies and in particular GMOs, incidentally most often financed by agrochemical giants. The fact that "independent" researchers are carrying out this research does not alter the basic fact that agricultural knowledge and plant improvements are based on millennia-old knowledge, which must remain in the hands of farmers, and not of laboratory experts. As far as agriculture is concerned, biotechnologies only serve to further dispossess the very people who feed the planet.
And one last example, just for a laugh: the "Game Play as Extinction Solution" workshop  by Philip McMaster, a former business school teacher with many, many nicknames: SustainaClaus (a pun on "Santa Claus" and "sustain"), Santa of Sustainability, Professor P, Professor Planet, DaLong... He introduces himself as "co-founder" (but it actually looks as if it's just him) of ConscienceLand, "Republic of Conscience", the "mcMaster Institute" and lots of other constructs with similar names.
He presents himself as a "Change ambassador for benevolent A.I" and seems to be all about technology as a tool to save the world and also for "sustainability". He wants to use artificial intelligence to help "fight climate change" and the "end of the world" (sic), and use cryptocurrencies to fund said fight. He proposes a kind of concept or movement, the Three Fingers principle (symbolised by making a sign with three fingers raised) which would stand for the three concepts: SDG + SRI + CSR:
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals (= the 17 objectives defined by the UN to save the world by 2030) SRI: Socially Responsible Investment (= sustainable development in financial investments) CSR: Corporate Social Responsibility (= voluntary stance taken by companies wishing to take care of their social and ecological image).
To all this, allow us to add a dose of punchlines and concepts like Freedom-is-my-nationality, spirit at full speed, love, meritocracy, and other gizmos. For example, his idea of a "caring currency" («monnaie du cœur» when he says in french = money of the heart), a crypto-currency that you would receive as a reward for every "good deed performed for the climate". He calls this "universal social credit". According to his idea, this is meant for consumers but also for companies that make "sustainable" choices but also for "sustainable technologies". In short, he's a person who believes in the UN's ecological principles, but isn't happy that they're not respected, which is why he campaigns by going to different forums and summits to take photos with everyone doing his three-finger salute, and believes that certain technologies can become "benevolent" and help in the fight to save the world.
As far as the RIA workshop "Game Play" is concerned, if we've understood it correctly, it seems to be a GN (Grandeur Nature role-playing game, in English LARP) that should serve to understand how to achieve the 17 goals defined by the UN for 2030, through the application of the so-called "extinction solution", which basically is his concept of putting it all into practice to get there! In short... it's a good example of how well the different flavors of liberalism can cohabit in a capitalist world: techno-progressism, new age spirituality, citizenism, etc. New age trends
This summer, you may well be able to pay for your drink using FairCoin (an "ecological and resilient" cryptocurrency, championed by Chris Zumbrunn) at Espace Noir (a "libertarian" space in the center of St-Imier) , and certainly elsewhere for "free and conscious prices", or you can prepare an energy-balanced menu for yourself at the "conscious eating" workshop . Then proceed to exchange sweet words among giraffes at the "non-violent communication" workshop , or fight for peace at the "PlayFight" workshop , which invites you to "a deep connection" with your "primitive self" or "untouched nature", to "a personal journey and tribal experience", with the aim to train for combat "with full awareness", "like warriors of the heart to put an end to violence and develop inner peace".
Seriously, what the fuck?
A "conscious" diet... of deforestation, desertification and agro-industrial exploitation? No, in the New Age spirit, this means to be "aware of oneself and one's own body", but this in turn rules out awareness and criticism of systemic violence.
New Age, a contemporary spiritualityThe words "energy", "positive thinking", "mindfulness", "karma", "intuition", "resilience", "benevolence", "vibratory rates", "human potential",... are all concepts that are linked to the New Age philosophy, a set of beliefs born in the Western context of secularization and industrialization. It is a neo-spirituality that, paradoxically, relies on pseudo-scientific justifications, this despite having been built in reaction to the materialism and the principle of reason which accompanied industrial development. A direct descendant of spiritualism, it came out of occultist thought, which seeks to make humans god on earth, using modern science while re-injecting it with other meanings in an attempt to prove its relevance. Occultism stems from a desire to reconcile the discoveries of modern science with a worldview that is religious, while free of ancient spiritual traditions. In its most conservative tendencies, linking territory to identity, it has nourished the Lebensreform and völkisch movements, which continue to exist to the present day. New Age ideology is profoundly Euro-centric, with racist and orientalist elements. It's a syncretism that borrows and mixes from often times invented or reinterpreted Buddhist and Hindu origins, while reappropriating systems of divination (such as astrology, magnetism, etc.) with the aim to access higher realities. Today, through various currents, this form of magical thinking permeates many areas and sectors of activity (for example, through one of its strongest reactionary currents at the moment: anthroposophy, its medicine and weleda range, its biodynamic agriculture and demeter products). As an individualistic, [neo]liberal ideology, it provides fertile ground for a reform of capitalism that is perfectly suited for current attempts at greenwashing: by shifting the responsiblility for changing themselves onto the individual in order to transform the world, it supports the conception of the human as a "consum'actor", and it does so by reducing the horizon of self-determination to individual commercial "choices" among a few eco-citizen gestures.
The New Age, in addition to being an ideological conditioning system compatible with and necessary for the survival of globalized capitalism, is also huge business. An infinite number of new markets are opened up thanks to the spread and worsening of social disenchantment, psychological distress, anxiety, physical exhaustion, intoxication and chronic illness, dependence on technology, etc. On a parched planet, we see the emergence of paid courses and teachings (in person or on the internet) (side note. Non Violent Communication is a registered trademark); life coaching (in private or imposed on employees by their employers); natural "alternative" therapies (homeopathy, naturopathy, etc.); consumer products (anti-electromagnetic wave devices, "karma" food, Weleda-stamped garden sage tea, etc.); clairvoyance and mediums as a service; etc.
If we observe this further, we can even notice how this mode of thinking, which tends to provide an explanation for cause and effect (a type of reasoning where every sign can be interpreted as confirmation for what one already thinks), opens the door for conspiratorial worldviews.
Western thinking and cultural appropriationNew Age spirituality is impregnated with orientalism (references to "Hindu" or "Chinese" tradition, "ayurveda", "oriental wisdom", "yin/yang", "Master Krishnamurti", etc.). It is built on various forms of cultural appropriation where, given the asymmetrical situation in terms of power (colonial history and structural domination), elements of indigenous cultures or other traditions are extracted from their cultural and social context and selectively pumped out by groups who structurally dominate them. They then use them in inauthentic ways to construct their spirituality, and often - but not necessarily - to commodify them. Under a pretext of "opening up to the world", cultural appropriation thus enables, almost systematically, the perpetuation of colonial domination, if not outright colonialism (in the form of therapeutic tourism or other courses organized in "centres" on hills bought by white people in India, for instance).
Typically, the notions of "primitivism" and "tribality", used in Playfight workshops, are fantasized projections by white people in search of meaning, but are neither historicized nor problematized. Yet they are a part of a long history of "civilizing", colonial expansion, annihilating in its path everything that the colonial West has exoticized and constructed as "primitive" in relation to itself.
Personal development vs. anarchyNew Age thinking tends to reduce complex problems to simplified explanations, to make it possible to get a grip on difficult situations, to make sense of them, or to at least detach oneself from them (as just one example, the difficulty of getting hired, would be blamed on a "bad astral influence", or "negative thoughts", rather than linking it to a whole host of interconnected reasons, be they social and political, racist, sexist, lgbtq-phobic, classist, [ableist], etc.). When problems are experienced as uniquely personal and not inscribed in political, structural and material reality, this can weaken the ability to formulate political solutions for them. Which then leads to alienation and to the misappropriation of struggles, all the while conveying an impression of being in a political struggle for survival. This opens the way to an individualization of lived situations: a feeling that they are deserved when they benefit us (devoid of any notion of privilege), or a feeling of guilt when things are difficult, negative or violent (devoid of any notion of oppression).
What we observe around us is, that these beliefs transform the anti-authoritarian pressure (the anarchist approach of wanting to destroy all forms of authority, including one's own) into an inoffensive form of resignation that can easily be recuperated by the state. This gets summed up in the famous expression "be the change you want to see in this world", an (infantilizing) summons to surpass oneself in order to upgrade "towards a better version of oneself". This leads to right-wing politicization, in the sense that it tends towards a negation or symmetrization of the underlying systemic relations of domination. For example, rather than politicizing class relations ("fuck your boss who sucks your labor power"), these managerial techniques of "personal development" tend to make people feel guilty just as they encourage resignation: "relax with a bit of yoga and show up tomorrow morning with a smile on your face, and the cosmos will give you a radiant future". Basically, it's the same summons to "awaken your intelligence" and become "more authentic"... to feel better. An impregnation with new age philosophy even manages to spiritualize the political need for care, and eventually will lead to a monetizidation of basic solidarity. We've got nothing against taking care of ourselves - on the contrary, it's even politically necessary. But personal development has nothing to do with anti-authoritarian pressure.
Authoritarian riskThere also exists a risk that New Age practices may encourage forms of authoritarianism, a risk that arises as soon as a belief enters a system that prescribes and explains itself through one or more people (close or distant). To believe is to delegate the power-of-knowing-better-than-oneself to a system of thought, and to give power in such a way is to voluntarily go into submission and to give trust to beliefs instead. From that point on, we run the risk of seeing a number of opportunists or misery merchants make their appearance to theorize this power, to sell it, and to fill it with substance by personifying it.
Non-violent communication and ideologyVarious currents of "non-violent communication" (NVC) are certainly full of interesting tools that can be appropriated on an anti-authoritarian basis. But this is not just a "method", and we'd like to remind you of some of the ideological presuppositions of this "art of living". It is New Age-inspired, as can be seen in one of its founders Marshall Rosenberg (who is also a guru and a misogynist), for whom the NVC process is about reconnecting with a "beloved divine energy". "Human needs" (theorized by a capitalist economist and member of the Club of Rome) are considered universal and "context-independent" according to Rosenberg's theory. This is part of an essentialist reading of the world, which draws on numerous myths relating to a supposed "state of Nature" that extracts the individual from his or her social, cultural, historical and political context. It does not stand for nothing that masculinists are deeply committed to NVC, and practice it within their talking circles, where the constructed nature of their masculinity is no longer called into question, and in their (violent) interactions with people socialized as women*, who get addressed independently of the social relationships that bind them. On the contrary, we consider it necessary to politicize our individual realities, i.e. to situate them within overall power relations that structure the social world.
The counter-revolutionary ideology of "non-violence" reduces its discussion to the abstract and decontextualized opposition binary "violence/non-violence", which masks the power relations between the dominant and the dominated. This is based on a history written by the powerful, and also represents a disgusting falsification of the history of struggles. The "non-violent" stance is reserved for people who occupy a privileged social position, and who have the power to define what is or isn't considered to be "non-violent/violent". It builds on the exoticization of anger and struggle, as seen from a paternalistic and racist vision that posits Western white democratic culture as a point of reference and condemns "violence" around it, while at the same time raving about certain types of struggle, if and when they are sufficiently remote. To say that non-violence is an ideology of the dominant is not to say that we fetishize "violence". Violence is already there, and everyday, it's within the social hierarchies, it's within the mechanisms of state control and its maintenance. We need to read Angela Davis and Assata Shakur from prison, Audre Lorde on the anger of black women*, we need to remember Mike, Hervé, Nzoy. Who can afford to dialogue gently like a giraffe with their oppressor and when has has this ever overturned anything? My boyfriend is a rapist, but he too has needs. In Switzerland, the ultra-repressive and Islamophobic PMCT law (a law on preventive measures against terrorism) was passed, while anti-authoritarians meet to train their non-violent communication.
NVC focuses on form at the detriment of content. It stigmatizes conflict as the expression of something negative, of something we should get rid of. From our point of view, we don't want to dismiss anger, we think it's necessary to bring political disagreement into life. Politically speaking, conflict can be conceived as the expression of a confrontation between experiences that are not on the same level, in terms of power. Conflict is fertile ground, and should not be dismissed but instead politicized. Collapsologist trends
(This chapter was largely inspired by the text and references proposed by Ruth Paluku Atoka and Jérémie Cravatte)
As if it wasn't already bad enough that libertarian capitalists are banging their drum, the collapsologists as well have to bring their "science" to the RIA (presentation of the book "How everything can fall apart: hand book of collapsology" ). Among the various examples of accounts on the collapse, to choose the one by Pablo Servigne (an agricultural engineer) and Raphaël Stevens (an eco-counsellor with a business school diploma) triggers us our reaction. These two self-proclaimed "experts" are worried about the future of the middle classes in industrialized countries and about the impossibility of continuing their way of life. These collapsologists call it the end of "our" civilization (industrial, based on fossil fuels), in other words, the end of the world, and from now on we must learn to "mourn" it. Relying on the prevailing scientism, these collapsologists claim to have invented a "scientific discipline" (one of its pillars being, incidentally, "intuition"...), but it is not a science, it is a situated and politically oriented narrative. It's an apocalyptic, scientistic, navel-gazing vision, from a white, Western, able-bodied, urban, male, heterosexual and skilled/educated point of view, where once again in history, a privileged Western class proclaims itself to be the (climate) vigilantes who bear the burden of having to save the world. Are we supposed to care that they're worried about the end of their world?
Meanwhile for "other" humans, who don't exist in this Western-centric system of thought, except for utilitarian purposes (with a few exceptions, depending on the authors), the catastrophe has been with us for a long time, and survival is a real struggle. The extermination of native populations during colonization, their enslavement, the destruction of their vital spaces for export goods to Europe, the pollution and poisoning of the air and soil in colonized countries or in poor, non-white neighborhoods - all of this has been going on for a long time. Not everyone is affected in the same way by pollution and climate disruption, depending on material resources, social connections, state of health, access to healthcare, housing and so on. A segregation keeps happening that allows the most privileged social classes to keep their corner of the planet for a while longer, allowing them to "prepare" themselves, while plundering the rest of life that persists around them. It's the ecology of the rich that erases the colonial rupture, and meanwhile, for all the others, who are sinking, they don't give a damn.
Under a pretext of scientific objectivity, collapse discourses naturalize the capitalist social order by amalgamating irreversible ecological or climatic change through socio-political mechanisms that are by definition changeable, while they are presented as inescapable. They also create confusion with their use of catch-all notions (the "everything" in everything can collapse is not well defined) - while biodiversity is indeed disappearing and we are witnessing an irreversible mass extinction, fossil capitalism still has a bright future ahead of it. They participate in a hegemonic rewriting of history, in which the examples they mobilize are not actually societies that have "collapsed", but populations that have been attacked, extorted or destroyed (slave raids, destruction of cultivable and habitable areas, destruction of the peasantry, etc.). And this is what continues to happen as resources get increasingly scarce. As Jérémie Cravatte puts it, "today's societies are defined not only by this thermo-industrial characteristic, but also, or actually above all, by the accumulation of capital through dispossession. (...) To perpetuate itself, capitalism needs colonialism, patriarchy and productivism. Together, they form the pillars of "our civilization", pillars that are not in the process of "collapsing" (nor will they collapse on their own), but rather are strengthening." The state, its police, its justice, it's all the same. Now, as never before, repression is intensifying against environmentalist and anti-colonialist movements, all who are defending territories, against extractivism, deforestation and so on. Collapsology presents itself as an imaginary of rupture, but one that erases history and invisibilizes past and present forms of resistance to domination.
It's no coincidence that most collapsologist rhetoric can be recuperated in reactionary proposals, some of which are sometimes even inspired by them without naming them. The (alleged) end of Western civilization echoes the racist myth of the "Great Replacement", where the response becomes a retreat into identitarianism. In their books, Stevens and Servigne invite us to "re-ensauvage" [to turn things savage again] (note the unquestioned figure of the "savage") and to "reconnect with our deep roots", drawing inspiration from the racist archetypes of the anti-Semitic psychiatrist Carl Jung, who was steeped in Norse mythology and close to Nazism. They celebrate the "sacred masculine" and advocate masculinist initiation rituals, which they themselves practice with other "new warriors" at weekends organized by the ManKind Project. They pay homage to Joanna Macy, who inspired eco-psychology and is the founder of the Findhorn Foundation, an esoteric new age "ecovillage". They call for blind alliances, notably with far-right survivalists, and propagate the theses of Dmitry Orlov, a conspiracy engineer, homophobe and xenophobe. They also sincerely envisage the "unleashing of a real war effort", celebrating militaristic "grand narratives": "all this stirs up the sense of sacrifice, heroism, the defence of sacred values, of an identity, of a territory". While waiting for the war, as good advisors for the Prince, they collaborate with the authorities and sell their advice in regards to technocratic governance (to the Ministry of the Economy at Bercy; to employer federations in Switzerland and Belgium; to institutions in charge of nuclear power; etc.).
For all these reasons, and despite the fact, that they may even help to spread certain dramatic facts about the ecological situation, their speeches are disarming. In their words, it's "an inextricable situation that will never be resolved, like death or an incurable disease". No solution is suggested, so the propposed perspective is to "survive" and "adapt" (resilience), while waiting for the purifying event and "rebirth", instead of attacking here and now those responsible for this disaster, who maintain and profit from this capitalist, racist, sexist, ableist system.
... The acceptable amount of violence to advocate for a "happy collapse". But not to finish there...
Apart from this mishmash of conspiracy, ableist, libertarian, capitalist, collapsologist, esoteric and technophile tendencies, there will undoubtedly be plenty of great workshops. We want to be reminded of what anti-authoritarian, anarchist and self-managed meetings could really be without the presence of a few libertarian landlords, who are taking up far too much space with super-creepy workshops: a place to strengthen ourselves, show solidarity, courage and rage in our struggles.
We want to finish reading this text by saying to ourselves that, well, we'll just go to the cool workshops and laugh/vomit about the others, but there is something super-scary about the very idea that all of this will end up cohabiting with our struggles and our survival. We don't want to give them the space, an audience, or the opportunity to grow stronger, forge links that pollute our own.
As we've already said, this isn't a call not to go to the gathering. We just wanted to ask the question, who will actually meet there.