A Historical Awakening: Gilets Jaunes mov’t dispatch from the island of La Réunion

The following is a translation of a text retrieved from Lundi Matin, published on Nov. 26th 2018. It is a dispatch from the French territory of La Réunion: an island east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It was translated by Otto Mattick and edited by Ediciones inéditos.

The Yellow Vests movement on Reunion Island

The trigger of an historic awakening

You have probably already read it somewhere: “Reunion Island is all fire and blood”, “riots”, “outbreaks of violence in Reunion Island”. Since the beginning of the movement, on 17 November 2018, and for nine days now, Reunion Island has experienced a social revolt on a scale never known before. A curfew was introduced on November 20, and lifted this Sunday, following a respite. A new week of blockades is expected both on the roads and at strategic points, such as the East Port, the prefecture or Gillot airport.

The confused media and politicians are trying to demonize the movement with provoking phrases, some rumors of anti-white racism follow by the usual discourse aimed at separating the “nice Yellow Vests” from the “bad young casseurs1. However, the reality is much more complex than the Reunionese and [French] metropolitan media suggest.

An experimental thread on the commune & communism

We originally posted this on twitter here. We learned that some of the text formatting on there made it difficult for people to read it. So we share it here de-twitter-ized.
We don’t deny the necessity of organization in toto but we reject the primacy of The Mass Organization™ as an a priori necessity for class struggle. The organizational forms necessary to class struggle (proletarian self-abolition) arise from the struggle itself. As we see it, the commune is not necessarily a thing to be built in the absence of a general struggle but rather it is a communist way of life that arises from the struggle itself. Its arrival is not merely due to an ‘organizational’ preference by proles. It simply is the beginning of a way to sustain the antagonism of the struggle, to help prolong a rupture in capitalist space/time logic so that the revolt can further generalize & de-specialize.

The commune is mobile because it’s not just a thing in space/time but how people relate to each other and to the land. A re-integration into the metabolism of the world, not a domination over it (as Marx once noted)
The commune is not the end goal, but it is a form (filled with communist content) likely to arise as part of the proletarian communist movement set to destroy the world we live in. Some attempts to build the commune now end up as enclaves or the work of self-selected specialists who have the capacity to independently suspend their condition as proles. Or perhaps they never were proles at all, or are intentionally déclasséd. Collective living is not itself revolutionary. The media has published instances of very wealthy white young professionals now seeking “collective housing” as a way to network or unload the burden of social reproduction: someone else washes their clothes, does the dishes or turns are taken in cooking meals. It seems even the bourgeois long for connection in our hyper-atomized society.

Now the commune is not meant to be a space for the self-selected or specialists. The commune is not intended to be the center of communal life nor is it really a place. Though it would be a recognizable node within a largely decentralized mesh network. It would be porous & allow movement in and out of it. It would not be a new Nation-state with borders.

Struggle specialists will have us think radical democracy would be a feature of the commune. We maintain democracy is what we do with those we don’t trust (or for life or death situations). Would we need to gather for a vote to decide who will be the DJ at the harvest party? Decisions would be made but no longer will decision-making be a specialized and alienated sphere from everyday life. It’s just what we do cuz life requires decisions. This immediacy means the commune is inherently anti-political.

The commune is mobile because it’s not just a thing in space/time but how people relate to each other and to the land. A re-integration into the metabolism of the world, not a domination over it (as Marx once noted). This is why communism must be anti-colonial. Those of us who have maintained a deep connection to an original human culture borne of a deep interaction with the land we are on have a knowledge more necessary to our lives than anything Western science has ascertained in the last 500 years.

The strength of the commune would not merely be its defensive measures but the the intensity of need that proles-in-abolition have for it. This is why it would have to abolish race & gender as a site of oppression, though this does not entail the abolition of difference. If anything social-communal life would deepen & enrichen because no longer would the basics of life be meted by the market based on who you are, how you choose to live and express yourself. Culture, now de-commodified, returns to its pre-capitalist richness & malleability.
Communists who view life only economically have historically created a social life that is flattened and impoverished. They confuse means with ends. They view meeting “needs” as the goal of social life; rather than social life as a way of meeting our primary need: each other. Further the division of human life between needs & not-needs is an economistic way of viewing things. We are more than machines requiring fuel. Communism would necessarily overcome this economistic way of viewing ourselves & our lives.


Here is our attempt to explain what anti-politics means to us and how we link it to communization and ultimately to communism.

Anti-politics: action and theory that posits itself against the sphere of politics (and therefore also political-economy). Politics being the sphere of power, alienation, mediation and domination. In this way anti-politics questions & attacks the mediation & coercion found in democracy; the centrality & domination of the economy (whether capitalist or not) in our lives, patriarchy & its deadly logic; settler-colonialism & its persistence; questions whether the breadth of human desires could ever constitute a unitary & enumerated positive program and opens itself up to the possibility of affinities of shared antagonism with those who do not explicitly express themselves politically but nonetheless attack that which anti-politics is set against (i.e. rioters).

But we have to so we do it real slow…

This is an essay first written in 2015 and published in 2016 for a now-defunct project. Here is an revised version by the original author who now works on this project (which we had shared previously in zine format).

In Los Angeles to be against Capital typically presents itself in a pro-work/worker position. The problem is never work itself, the nature of work or that work is waged but instead what is desired is extending a sphere of work that is unionized and bolstered with higher wages. Take for instance the CLEAN Carwash campaign[1], where carwash workers (whom are mostly immigrant men) have been unionized under the representation of United Steelworkers Local 675.[2] Though this move one is that brings much needed betterment of working conditions and wages for these workers, what is ultimately not brought up is that the work of a car wash workers can and has already been automated. But the fading labor movement seems to be no longer concerned with the overthrow of capitalism nor the abolition of work. That dream is a dream that has been lost along with the labor movement itself.