A poem can act as a spell and vice versa—but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature—it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology and metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia and strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence.
Sorcery violates laws which seek to chain this flow-priests, kings, hierophants, mystics, scientists and shopkeepers all brand the sorcerer enemy for threatening the power of their charade.
Incense and crystal, dagger and sword, wand, robes, rum, cigars, candles, herbs like dried dreams—the virgin boy staring into a bowl of ink—wine and ganja, meat, yantras and gestures—rituals of pleasure, the garden of houris
and sakis—the sorcerer climbs these snakes and ladders to a moment which is fully saturated with its own color, where mountains are mountains and trees are trees, where the body becomes all time, the beloved all space.
The tactics of ontological anarchism are rooted in this secret Art—the goals of ontological anarchism appear in its flowering. Chaos hexes its enemies and rewards its devotees … this strange yellowing pamphlet, pseudonymous and dust-stained, reveals all … send away for one split second of eternity.
The levels of Immediatist organization:
- The gathering. Could be anything from a party to a riot. Can be planned or unplanned but depends on spontaneity to “really happen.” Examples: anarchist gathering, neopagan celebration, Rave, brief urban riot or spontaneous demo. Of course the best gatherings become TAZ’s such as some of the Be-Ins of the ’60s, the early Rainbow Tribe gatherings, or the Stonewall Riot.
- The horizontal potlach. A one-time meeting of a group of friends to exchange gifts. A planned orgy might fall into this category, the gift being sexual pleasure—or a banquet, the gift being food.
- The Bee. Like a quilting bee, the Immediatist Bee consists of a group of friends meeting regularly to collaborate on a specific project. The Bee might serve as an organizing committee for a gathering or potlach, or as a creative collaborative, an affinity group for direct action, etc. The Bee is like a Passional Series in Fourier’s system, a group united by a shared passion which can only be realized by a group.
- When the Bee acquires a more-or-less permanent membership and a purpose larger than just a single project—an on-going project, let’s say
—it can either become a “club” or Gesellschaft organized non- hierarchically for open activity, or else a “Tong” organized non- hierarchically but clandestinely for secret activity. The Tong is of more immediate interest to us now for tactical reasons, and also because the club operates in danger of “institutionalization” and hence (in Ivan Illich’s phrase), “paradoxical counter-productivity.” (That is, as the institution approaches rigidity and monopoly it begins to have the opposite effect from its original purpose. Societies founded for “freedom” become authoritarian, etc.) The traditional Tong is also subject to this trajectory, but the Immediatist Tong is built, so to speak, to auto-destruct when no longer capable of serving its purpose.
- The TAZ can arise out of any or all of the above forms singly, in
sequence, or in complex patterning. Although I’ve said the TAZ can last as briefly as one night or as long as a couple of years, this is only a rough rule, and probably most examples fall in between. A TAZ is more than any of the first four forms, however, in that while it lasts it fills the horizon of attention of all its participants, it becomes (however briefly) a whole society.
- Finally, in the uprising, the TAZ breaks its own borders and flows (or wants to flow) out into the “whole world,” the entire immediate time/space available. While the uprising lasts, and has not been terminated by defeat or by changing into “Revolution” (which aspires to permanence), the Insurrection keeps the consciousness of most of its adherents spontaneously tuned in to that elusive other mode of intensity, clarity, attention, individual and group realization, and (to be blunt) that happiness so characteristic of great social upheavals such as the Commune, or 1968. From the existential point of view (and here we invoke Stirner, Nietzsche, and Camus), this happiness is actually the purpose of the uprising.
We’ve long since grown weary of quibbling over terms, and if you don’t know what we mean by “necessary beauty” you may as well stop reading here.
The goals of the Immediatist organization are:
- Conviviality: the coming together in physical closeness of the group for the synergistic enhancement of its membership’s pleasures.
- Creation: the collaborative production, direct and unmediated, of necessary beauty, outside all structures of hypermediation, alienation, commodification.1 We’ve long since grown weary of quibbling over terms, and if you don’t know what we mean by “necessary beauty” you may as well stop reading here. “Art” is only a possible sub-category of this mystery and not necessarily the most vital.
- Destruction: We’d go farther than Bakunin, and say that there is no creation without destruction. The very notion of bringing some new beauty into being implies that an old ugliness has been swept away or blown up. Beauty defines itself in part (but precisely) by destroying the ugliness which is not itself. In our version of the Sorelian myth of social violence, we suggest that no Immediatist act is completely authentic and
effective without both creation and destruction: the whole Immediatist dialectic is implied in any Immediatist “direct action,” both the creation- in-destruction and the destruction-in-creation. Hence “poetic terrorism,” for example; and hence the real goal or telos of all our organizational forms is:
- The construction of values. The Maslovian “peak experience” is value- formative on the individual level; the existential factuality of the Bee, Tong, TAZ or uprising permits a “revaluation of values” to flow from its collective intensity. Another way of putting it: the transformation of everyday life.
The link between the organization and the goal is the tactic. In simple terms, what does the Immediatist organization do? Our “strategy” is to optimize conditions for the emergence of the TAZ (or even the insurrection)—but what specific actions might be carried out to construct this strategy? Without tactics, the Immediatist organization might as well disperse at once. “Direct action” should further the “cause” but also must itself hold all the potential for the flowering of the cause within itself. In fact, each act must be in potentia both aimed at the goal and identical with the goal. We cannot use tactics which are limited to mediation; each action must immediately realize the goal, at least in some respect, lest we find ourselves working for abstractions and even simulations of our purpose. And yet the many different tactics and actions should also add up to more than the sum of their parts, and should give birth to the TAZ or the Uprising. Just as ordinary organizations cannot provide the structures we need, so ordinary tactics cannot satisfy our demand for both immediate and insurrectionary “situations.”
Conviviality is both a tactic and a goal. Noble in itself, it may serve as both form and content for such organizational modes as the gathering, the potlach, the banquet. But conviviality by itself lacks the transformative energy that generally arises only out of a complex of actions which includes what we’ve called “destruction” as well as “creation.” The ideal Immediatist organization aims at this more complex goal, and gains conviviality as a necessary structure along with it. In other words, gathering together in a group to plan a potential TAZ for an even larger group is already an Immediatist act involving conviviality—like the kingdom of heaven, is “added unto” all sincere striving for more exalted break-throughs. It would seem that the quintessential Immediatist act or tactic however will involve simultaneous
creation and destruction rather than just conviviality—hence the Bee and Tong are “higher” organizational forms than the gathering and potlach.
The very notion of bringing some new beauty into being implies that an old ugliness has been swept away or blown up.
In the Bee the emphasis is on creation—the quilt, so to speak—the collaborative art project, the group’s act of generosity toward itself and toward reality rather than toward an “audience” of mediated consumers. Of course the Bee can also consider and undertake destructive or “criminal” actions. But when it does so it has perhaps already taken the first step toward becoming a secret society or Immediatist Tong. Hence I think that the Tong is the most complex (or “highest”) form of Immediatist organization which can be pre-determined to a significant degree. The TAZ and the uprising depend finally on many factors for the “organization” process to achieve without “luck.” As I’ve said, we can maximize possibilities for the TAZ or the insurrection but we cannot really “organize” them or make them happen. The Tong however can be clearly defined and organized and can carry out complex actions, both material and symbolic, both creative and destructive. The Tong cannot guarantee the TAZ, much less the insurrection, but it can surely gratify many or most immediate desires of lesser complexity—and after all it might succeed in precipitating the great event of the TAZ, the Commune, the “restoration of the Ming” as Great Festival of Consciousness, the objective correlative of all desire.
Keeping all this in mind let us try to imagine—and then criticize—possible tactics for the Immediatist group, and ideally for the well-organized semi- permanent Tong or virtually clandestine action group or affinity web, capable of attempting fully-evolved complex direct actions in an articulated strategy. Each such action must simultaneously damage or destroy some real and or imaginal time/space of “the enemy,” even as it simultaneously creates for its perpetrators the strong chance of peak experience or “adventure”: each tactic thus in a sense moves to appropriate and detourne the enemy’s space, and eventually to occupy and transform it. Each tactic or action is already potentially the whole “Path” of autonomy in itself, just as each invocation of the Real already contains the entirety of the spiritual path (according to the “gnosis” of Ismailism and heterodox Sufism).
We’re talking about real-time direct actions which must be
carried out “against” identifiable nodes of real-time power. Discussion of abstract enemies such as “the state” will get us nowhere.
But wait! First: who is “The Enemy”? It’s all very well to mutter about conspiracies of the Establishment or the networks of psychic control. We’re talking about real-time direct actions which must be carried out “against” identifiable nodes of real-time power. Discussion of abstract enemies such as “the state” will get us nowhere. I am not oppressed (or alienated) directly by any concrete entity called the state, but by specific groups such as teachers, police, bosses, etc. A “Revolution” may aim at overthrowing a “state.” But the Insurrection and all its Immediatist action-groups will have to discover some target which is not an idea, a piece of paper, a “spook” that enchains us with our own bad dreams about power and impotence. We’ll play at the war of images, yes. But images arise from or flow through specific nexuses. The spectacle has a structure, and the structure has joints, crossings, patterns, levels. The Spectacle even has an address—sometimes—maybe, It’s not real in the same way the TAZ is real. But it’s real enough for an assault.
Because the Immediatist texts have largely been addressed to “artists” as well as “non-authoritarians” and because Immediatism is not a political movement but a game, even an aesthetic game, it would seem inescapably obvious that we should look for the enemy in the media, especially in those media we find to be directly oppressive. For example for the student the oppressive and alienating medium is “education,” and the nexus (the pressure point) must therefore be the school. For the artist the direct source of alienation would seem to be the complex we usually call the Media, which has usurped the time and the space of art as we wish to practice it—which has redefined all creative communicativeness as an exchange of commodities or of alienating images—which has poisoned “discourse.” In the past the alienating medium was the church and the insurrection was expressed in the language of heretical spirituality vs. organized religion. Now the Media plays the role of the Church in the circulation of images. As the Church once concocted a false scarcity of sanctity or salvation, so the Media constructs a false scarcity of values, or “meaning.” As the Church once tried to impose its monopoly on the spirit, the Media wants to re-make language itself as pure mind, divorced from the body. The media denies meaning to corporeality, to everyday life, just as the Church once defined the body as evil and everyday life as sin. The
Media defines itself, or its discourse, as the real universe. We mere consumers live in a skull-world of illusion, with TVs as eye-sockets through which we peer at the world of the living, the “rich and famous,” the real. Just so did religion define the world as illusion and heaven only as real—real, but so far away. If insurrection once spoke to the Church as heresy, so it must speak now to the Media. Once, the revolting peasants burned churches. But what exactly are the churches of the Media?
It’s easy to feel nostalgia for such a once-magnificent enemy as the Roman Catholic Church. I’ve even tried to convince myself that today’s washed-out sex-hating charade is still worth conspiring against. Infiltrate the church; fill up the tractate shelf with beautiful porno flyers labeled “This is the Face of God”; hide dada/voodoo objects under the pews and behind the altar; send occult manifestos to the Bishop and clergy; leak satanic scares to the idiot press; leave evidence incriminating the Illuminati. An even more satisfying target might be the Mormons, who are completely enthralled by hypermediated CommTech and yet intensely sensitive to “black magic.”2 Televangelism offers an especially tempting mix of media and bad religion. But when it comes to real power, the churches feel quite empty. The god has abandoned them. The god has his own talk-show now, his own corporate sponsors, his own network. The real target is the Media.
As the Church once concocted a false scarcity of sanctity or salvation, so the Media constructs a false scarcity of values, or “meaning.”
The “magical assault” however still holds promise as a tactic against this new church and “new inquisition”—precisely because the Media, like the church, does its work through “magic,” the manipulation of images. In fact our biggest problem in assaulting the Media will be to invent a tactic which cannot be recuperated by Babylon and turned to its own power-advantage. A breathless “live-news” report that CBS had been attacked by radical sorcerers would simply become part of the “spectacle of dissidence,” the sub- Manichean drama of the discourse of simulation. The best tactical defense against this co-optation will be the subtle complexity and aesthetic depth of our symbolism, which must contain fractal dimensions untranslatable into the flat image-language of the tube. Even if “they” try to appropriate our imagery, in other words, it will carry an unexpected “viral” subtext which will infect all attempts at recuperation with a nauseating malaise of