People that live like sleepwalkers.

Broken hearts and heartbreakers.

Another few notes on the bad use of good intentions.

(Like how strategy alone is not enough, and human relations are not a “matter of psychoanalysis”)

“Aber Freunde! Wir kommen zu spat!”

(My friends, we’ve come too late!)

- Hölderlin


One enters the terrible community because anyone who goes looking in the desert finds nothing else. One traverses the rickety and provisional human architecture. At first one falls in love. And upon first entering it one feels that it was built with tears and suffering, and that it needs still more in order to go on existing, but that doesn’t matter much. The terrible community is above all a space of self-sacrifice, and that’s disturbing; it awakens the “reflex of concern.”


But relationships within the terrible community are all worn out; they’re not so young anymore (alas!) when we arrive. Like the pebbles in the bed of a fast-flowing creek, the gazes, gestures, and attention have already been eroded, consumed. Something’s tragically amiss in life within the terrible community, since indulgence doesn’t have any place in it anymore, and friendship, so often betrayed, is only granted with an oppressive stinginess.

Whether we like it or not, those who pass through, those who enter in, pay for the misdeeds of others. And those they’d like to love are already quite visibly too damaged to give an ear to their good intentions.

It will pass in time…” And so the mistrust of others has to be defeated, and more precisely, one must learn to be mistrustful like the others in order that the terrible community might yet open up its emaciated arms. And it is by one’s capacity to be hard on the new initiates that one demonstrates one’s solidarity with the terrible community.

2 bis

“This cruelty could be found in their laughter, in what made them happy, in the way they communicated with one another, in the way they lived and died. The misfortune of others was their greatest source of joy, and I asked myself whether in their minds that reduced or increased the probability that they might see that misfortune strike they themselves. But personal misfortune was in fact not so much a probability but a certainty. Cruelty was thus inherently part of them, of their humor, their relationships, their thoughts. And yet, so great was their isolation as individuals, that I don’t think they could ever have imagined that their cruelty had any effect on others.”

Colin Turnbull, The Iks

2 ter.

In the terrible community one always arrives too late.


The terrible community draws its strength from its violence. Its violence is its true logic and its true challenge. But it does not arrive at an understanding of the consequences, since instead of making use of it to charm people, it makes a use of it to drive away everything that is outside of it, and to rip apart that which is inside of it. The extreme justice of its violence is undermined by its refusal to examine the origins of that violence, because though PEOPLE say that it does, it doesn’t come from a hatred of the enemy.


The terrible community is a hemorrhagic community. Its temporality is hemorrhagic, because the time of heroes is a time lived out as if it were a lapse, a degradation, a missed chance, a deja-vu. Beings do not make events take place therein, but wait for them as spectators. And in this waiting their life bleeds out in an activism that’s supposed to occupy and prove the existence of the present until it’s totally exhausted.

Rather than talking about passivity here, we should talk about a kind of agitated inertia. Because no position presents itself as definitively acquired in the decomposition of the social body for which biopolitical democracy is a synonym, a maximum inertia and a maximum mobility are also possible in it. But in order to permit mobility, a “structure of movement” has to be put in place to constitute an architecture that people can traverse. In the terrible community, this is done with the use of singularities that accept inertia even if in so doing they make the community possible and radically impossible at the same time. The Leader alone has the thankless task of managing and regulating the unobtainable balance between the inert and the agitated.

4 bis

To the precise extent that the terrible community is based on the division between its static and mobile members, it has already lost its bet; it has failed as a community.


The faces of the inert ones bring up the most painful memories for those who have passed through the terrible community. Fated to teach something that they themselves have not managed to take on, the inert ones often watch over others like melancholic policemen stationed on the edges of desert territories.

They live in a space that certainly does belong to them, but since it is structurally public, they are just there, at each moment, just like anyone else is. They cannot demand the right to a place in that space, because the prior renunciation of such a right was what allowed them to get there in the first place. The inert ones live in the community like homeless people living in the train station, but every step treads upon them, because they themselves are the train station, and its construction is congruent with the construction of their lives.

The inert ones are hopeless, absent-minded angels, who having found no life in any recess of the world, have taken up residence in a place of passage. They may immerse themselves in the community for a certain indeterminate period of time, but their solitude is infinitely impervious.


Everybody knows those who still remain there. They are appreciated and detestable, like anyone who takes care of and remains in places where others live and pass through (the nurse, the mother, the old folks, the public park watchmen). They are the false mirror of freedom, they, the regulars, the slaves of an abnormal servitude that fills them with a resplendent light: the fighters, the diehards, those with no private life, no peace. They end up seeking the rage they need for the fight in their mutilated lives; they attribute their wounds to noble and imaginary battles, when they’ve really just hurt themselves by preparing themselves for them to the point of exhaustion. Truth be told, they’ve never had the chance to go down into the field of battle: the enemy does not acknowledge them, and takes them for simply some kind of interference, and with its indifference to them pushes them to madness, to ordinary insignificance, to suicidal offensives. The alphabet of biopower lacks the letters to spell their names; for it, they have already disappeared, but remain like restless phantoms. They are dead, and survive only in the transit of the faces that traverse them, upon which they get more or less of a grip, with whom they share their table, their bed, their struggle, until the passers-by leave, or until they themselves begin to fade and remain there, becoming the inert ones of tomorrow.

6 bis

“Many of the women in the groups had had experience as employees or secretaries. They brought all the efficiency of professionalism with them to the groups when they left work. Nothing had changed for them from that perspective, aside from the fact that they were now undertaking armed struggle. …The meetings were the houses’ vital and center, their center of “meaning.” For the rest, since the material conditions of everyday life focused entirely on the external struggle, there were no problems. We make enormous shopping runs to the supermarket, and when we’d ensured that we’d have food and somewhere to sleep, there weren’t any internal issues.”

I. Faré, F. Spirito, Mara And The Others


The most dead and the most implacable of the inert ones are those who have been abandoned. Those whose friend or lover had left them stay behind, because all that’s left of the person that had disappeared remained in the terrible community, and in the eyes of those who had seen him or her there. Someone who’s lost the person he or she loves has nothing left to lose, and often they give that nothing to the terrible community.

7 bis

“…the war against an external enemy pacifies those who are engaged in the same struggle, more or less by a forced necessity; belonging to a group unified by absolute revolt does not leave any room for differences or internal struggles; fraternity becomes indispensable daily bread in those moments when the deepest contradictions are not exploding. Internal pacification is a moment of asepsis projected on the gigantic screen of the struggle ‘against.’”

I. Faré, F. Spirito, Mara And The Others


The horizon, for militants, is the line towards which they must always march. Because all the ones they’ve lost are over there somewhere, far away.

changed May 23, 2010