Communization & decolonization

Recently we were asked about our thoughts on communization & decolonization and this essay is our response.

It should first be noted that the communization milieu is indeed European in origin and largely does not address our settler-colonialist reality in the so-called Americas. Its largely European writers are conceptualizing from a different context than we live under in the so-called Americas (& other colonized lands).

Then why do we still talk about communization?

Those of us that work on this project still find value in communization theory because it demonstrates a clear way to bring about the conditions for communism immediately.

But what is communism:? For us, and fellow travelers, communism is not a mode of production. It is not just a economic system of ‘fairer’ wealth distribution. It’s a broad spectrum of lifeways that are based on communal social relations, including (but not exclusive to) mutual aid, solidarity, the collapse of the production / consumption binary (thus, the abolition of work), the abolition of the State, abolition of money, the abolition of value, the abolition of race & gender as a site of oppression, the abolition of cis-hetero-patriarchy (and all that entails, like compulsory heterosexuality). Some also call this anarchy. A negation of what props up Western capitalist civilization.

We are not interested in a transitional stage, as ‘revolutionary socialists’ call for, or in an incremental way, as those calling for ‘dual-power’ or ‘building the commune.’ Those of us that work on this project are not indigenous, but we do have indigenous ancestry. As we have had our ties cut off to our much-more communal lifeways of our respective indigenous ancestors, we are left to find other possible roads towards a free & communal life without misappropriating contemporary or ancient indigenous lifeways (though understanding these lifeways will be paramount to the successful project of assuring a free, communal way of life that does not doom us all). We do not claim that communization would replace indigenous resistance & revolt against the settler-colonial capitalist world, rather we maintain that we understand that without this resistance & revolt the settler-colonial capitalist world will remain.

It should also be noted that although communization theorists employ Marxian 1 We make a distinction between Marxist & Marxian, as other pro-communization theorists do. This is because we view most Marxist variants as distortions of Marx’s critique of capitalist political economy. So by Marxian we note that Marx developed these categories & concepts. categories & concepts, they do not see these categories & concepts as eternal. We recognize them as tools which Marx developed to understand & critique capitalism (of his time) and not necessarily eternal categories & concepts that will / would / should always exist. We will not carry these concepts into a post-capitalist, de-colonized world. If anything, the communism which we write about would be a clear rupture from not only capitalism, the State, patriarchy, white supremacy but from Western civilization itself. This is why communization theorists often call themselves communists and not Marxists.

What communization theory largely offers is not a rigid program, but an understanding of how capitalism functions (with its embedded contours of race & gender) and what it would mean to abolish it. It allows for space for improvisation & flexibility when it comes to the actual process of what communism (or anarchy) could look like. There is no rigid party line.

Communism is not a state of affairs to establish (or impose) but rather it is the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. And if the communism Marxists, and some anarchists, are attempting to establish retains the same settler-colonial relationship to the land then it’s not communism at all. Settlers building a commune on occupied land still maintains a class society. A class society where settlers are indeed still preventing indigenous people from reproducing their lifeways, as they see fit.

Now decolonization, like communism, is a vast topic. And like full communism, decolonization (or anti-colonialism) will vary from place to place, bio-region to bio-region, etc. A one-size fits all plan does not exist (and should not exist) and the creation of such a plan would grind against our strong anarchist inclinations.

We can think about communization and decolonization as two aspects of the same weather system. Communization would attack the capitalist social relations which exist on occupied land, but clearly it would not go far enough. We’re writing from occupied Tongva territory, known by its original name Tovaangar, and to merely create communism (anarchy) and make no attempt to restore native lands to their original inhabitants would (once again) not be communism at all. Decolonization (anti-colonialism) reminds us that there is to be done.

The coupling of communization & decolonization recognizes, especially with ever-intensifying climate change, that settlers do not deeply, or even superficially, understand the deep natural history of the land they are on. Here in so-called Los Angeles we are constantly facing the increasing danger of massive wild fires. But wild fires are an ancient part of this landscape. The ecology of the landscape made famous, via its mass particularization, around the world depends on fire for its rejuvenation. What has caused an increase of danger for humans is not just climate change bringing less rain and hotter weather, but also the fact that unmitigated capitalist development has made it profitable to build in places which would previously burn with little effect on human life: hilltops, in mountain forests, etc.

Communization works as a corrective on Marxism and Left-Anarchism which merely call for a different kind of management of production (worker self-management, state-run management) instead of a fundamentally different set of social relations. Even Marx noted that communism is part of the human community’s return to a re-connection with the land, instead of capitalism’s attempt to control & extract as much value from it (though we are also critical of humanism as well). Since the beginning of colonization, Indigenous people across the world have repeated that the settler-colonial-capitalist way of life has not only been genocidal but has also been an unmitigated act of ecocide.

This is our understanding. A work in progress, but our understanding. There can be no ‘decolonized socialist state,’ just as there is no such thing as ‘scientific socialism.’ A way of life cannot be a science. What we desire is to see the words communism, and even anarchy, to eventually be forgotten and instead live in a world where we can be intimately connected to the land and to each other, and understand that this disconnection is an alienation much more ancient than the alienation we have from our labor under capitalism.

𝔢𝔡𝔦𝔠𝔦𝔬𝔫𝔢𝔰 𝔦𝔫𝔢𝔡𝔦𝔱𝔞𝔰
𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢-𝐩𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭
𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐲 & 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐦

Some Pissed Off Los Angeles Anti-Authoritarians

The following is a collectively-written, anonymous statement on the fiasco with the Maoist-turn within Defend Boyle Heights and their antagonism towards las O.V.A.S.2Overthrowing Vendidos, Authority & the State, the Psyco Brigrade & the radical space La Conxa in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.

First published here: Here we re-publish it in solidarity with these projects. Please feel free to re-share & re-publish this statement.

As pro-revolutionists committed to cultivating revolution, many often look to coalitions to do the work of collaboration and moving with the the oppressed towards revolutionary practice. In actuality, when we work together it’s important to not only iron where we agree and have affinity, but where we disagree and where our affinity diverges, where our strategies might actually be counter to one another: i.e. antagonisms. So that we are not surprised in the future, and we don’t flatten struggles for the sake of false unity.

The Rasquache Way

By Noche

Ni de aquí, ni de allá. Neither from here, nor there. An old Chicanx saying that still rings true but tired, with a Chicano-Studies dullness…like Gloria Anzaldúa speaking to us from the other side telling us that the border is a wound, but paraphrasing Cesar Miguel we rather maintain that instead the border is the knife. We also have Corky Gonzales telling us of the great hope of José Vasconcelo‘s raza cósmica for Chicanxs: a hope that is but an inversion of Social Darwinism, infused with anti-blackness & anti-Native erasure and sold as a sort of metaphysical eugenics. It seems we’re in need of some rhetorical updating.

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.

For anarchy, not anarchism

Why for anarchy and not for anarchism? This may seem like a small point to split hairs over but it is a point which is important to us. It is important because we are interested in a vital anarchist (anti-state communist) milieu. For us anarchism points to the notion that there could be a special set of practices (forms) which can be found out to be complentary for a free life for all. We feel this is foolish and assumes human life could ever take on a singular form. Life should take on the form necessary for its free reproduction, unlike its current state which only serves those who rule/control us.

Fortress L.A. in the 21st Century

This essay was first published almost two years ago in August of 2016 by a friend of the project. We re-publish it here as we feel it is more timely than ever as the struggle grows against ICE, borders and, more generally, against this whole carceral society.

“Positioned increasingly as a ‘capital of capital’ in the Pacific Basin, Los Angeles has been surging toward the ranks of the three other capitals of global capital, New York, London, and Tokyo (its Pacific Rim cohort). […] Los Angeles broadcasts its self-imagery so widely that probably more people have seen this place – or at least fragments of it – than any other on the planet. As a result, the seers of Los Angeles have become countless, even more so as the progressive globalization of its urban political economy flows along similar channels, making Los Angeles perhaps the epitomizing world-city, une ville de venue monde.

Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory1

Our Present Material Conditions in Los Angeles

“Los Angeles is barely treading water while the rest of the world is moving forward. We risk falling further behind in adapting to the realities of the 21st century and becoming a City in decline. […] Los Angeles is sinking into a future in which it no longer can provide the public services to which our people’s taxes entitle them and where the promises made to public employees about a decent and secure retirement simply cannot be kept. City revenues are in long-term stagnation and expenses are climbing. Year by year, our City – which once was a beacon of innovation and opportunity to the world – is becoming less livable”

The Los Angeles 2020 Commission (Dec. 2013)2

This House Is A Fence

The wood-slate fence has jumped from being a simple signifier of “this house has been flipped” to becoming a part of the construction of the house itself. The above is a photo of an actual house in Boyle Heights being offered for rent at $2995 for 3 bedrooms.

Whereas previously the function of this fence was to shield its new, well-heeled owners from the insufficiently gentrified neighborhood, these wood-slates now are free to signify “flipped” no matter where they are placed on the home.

About Hating Art

by Asmodeus

Basically the art world exists to make money for a small number of people and to make a larger number of people feel like they’re cool. The first purpose is just capitalism. The second is an effect of capitalism, because only in a world as ridiculous as ours would standing around in mostly empty white rooms be considered a valid form of community. This probably sounds cynical, and in a way it is. But if you think about it, the fact that lots of people have nothing better to do with their “free” time than to stand around in mostly empty white rooms, rooms that make a huge amount of money for other people, is a good reason to destroy pretty much everything.