Internet Revolutionary

by stephen hastings-king

Internet Revolutionary suspects something


You say government exists but when I go to a government building, I see logos on signs and glass, metal detectors and security, doors and empty offices and hallways where people wander around the smell of disintegrating paper.  Where is this thing “government”?  I don't think it's happening.  Did it ever?  Did it happen for a while then stop?  When?  2017, maybe before?  The 80s?  I don't know.  

I long thought that post-1945 society USA had become so intertwined with the government that if the state stopped functioning everything would fall apart.  I wasn't alone.  We all thought that. And we were right.  It stopped functioning.  Everything fell apart. But it was a falling apart that happened to everyone simultaneously. No-one anticipated or was looking for it.  It must have happened silently or slowly.  Our frames of reference moved with it.  Everything fell apart but we never experienced it.  Just, you know, some indicators.



There's a pandemic…

I know.  I'm sorry. It's just a sense I have.


Internet Revolutionary talks about the past


I used to wait for the Proletariat-ex-Machina.  When they came, they were supposed to reverse The Fragmentation. The Books said they were coming any day.

Any day now. 

Any day Objective Forces were going to do whatever it is that objective forces do and there they'd be.

Like everyone, I dreamed about the moment of contact. Sometimes I would see them marching by me in columns as I stood on a sidewalk, thinking “Finally they're here.  Everything will make sense soon.”  Other times I found myself being transported to some Where in order fight in a revolution for which I was in no way actually prepared.

Our future dreamtime was exciting and open-ended. 

But, awake in the present fragmentation, there didn't seem much we could do to speed the workers along.  The play of Objective Forces would bring them in its time.

So, we waited. 

We sat in chairs or didn't, smoked cigarettes or didn't, drank this or that.  We watched TV or didn't, walked around or didn't, looked at things or didn't. We wrote the scathing denunciation sometimes of each other, other times of The Fragmentation.  We were angry because we wanted to be elsewhere. But mostly we were angry because we were trapped where we were.

The Fragmentation…it was hard to know what to make of it, really.

The Gospel of Lukacs said that history had been a single system.  The Fragmentation came with an invasion of specialists who broke it into little clusters of people who only talked to and about each other and that there was nothing to be done about it until the Proletariat came.  

Fragmentation makes it hard to fashion a view of the whole. I fixated on trying. When I was locked into writing a good denunciation, I sometimes felt like I was looking down from a great height on a mosaic of tiny colonies of ant-people. Their praxis and patterns spread out before me like a picture.  I would describe what they did and why they did those things and how those things embodied a larger system of exploitation into the image of which I would also fit them.  I circulated what I wrote through little cluster of people who only talked to and about each other in which I lived. There were only such ways of performing The Fragmentation.

That is probably what I was doing the moment I realized the Workers weren't coming. I didn't know what to do with the realization.  So, I didn't do anything with it. I went on living as before, sitting or not, smoking or not, denouncing my friends for their fragmentation. 

It didn't matter.

By the time I sensed something had happened it had already happened and whatever had happened to the Workers had happened even before that.  It was all far out of my hands. Objective Forces had gone haywire.  The future disappeared. 




Internet Revolutionary talks about his books


I still have them somewhere.  In a box in an attic somewhere.  Complete sets of everyone.  Everything ever written by all of them.  All the sentence structures in one language filled in with the words from another.  The sentences imposed a distance from bourgeois common sense and the simple sentences on which its purveyors insisted. The sentences didn't tell accessible yarns, they imparted secret knowledge.  They were restless on the surface of things, drawn to  inner workings and systems and the inner workings of systems and they insisted “This is where reality is” in all its claustrophobia monotony and exploitation, here it is in all its bounded rationality, here it is in all its self-serving extraction, in its devaluation of human beings, of their abilities and creativity, here is the violence that keeps the whole arrangement from imploding and here it is in the systems of social reproduction that helped all the cogs in all the machines to see where they are as necessary and inevitable through a violence of its own.  The sentences were cool, dispassionate in communicating an outrage that was primarily ethical that animated calls to organize that were primarily political.  The sentences caught you up in something beyond yourself: they projected a history that was energy from everywhere finally turning in a single direction, be ready, because when that happened, the existing epoch will give way to the next one and nothing will stand in its way, be ready.  I still have them somewhere.  In a box in an attic somewhere.




Internet Revolutionary


Where does all this leave you, Internet Revolutionary?

Marooned in a place where I only sort of speak the language. I see what's going on but not seeing is part of the language.  You understand the problem.

What will you do now, Internet Revolutionary?

I have no idea.