By Ignacio (They/Them), April 5th, 2023
The point is that the contemporary form of power is not the institution: power no longer resides in institutions, governance is no longer in the government. The effective site of power, tendentially, resides in the organization of the world itself — an organization that is logistic, material, technological. It is very difficult to rebel against a power that does not give orders, but instead constitutes the very order of things. — The Invisible Committee
Given the presence of women in our ranks as anarchists, and our (Diadelics’) presence being concentrated in the so-called United States, major court cases (specifically, Roe v. Wade) are not something new for discussion. Many historical developments when it comes to activism reside in the constitution of court doctrine (we can immediately think of Plessy v. Ferguson and the ways in which overcoming this case led to an apparent — but only apparent — freedom for black Americans)
With this being stated, I find the case of Roe v. Wade to be particularly interesting because in the way that it proves something in which bases my anarchism and this essay in particular — justice, morality, ethics, etc. all exist, in essence, outside of the realm of laws. Further developing this point, not even the state upholds the opposite claim as truth because of the way that the legislative bodies don’t even function as mediators of power anymore.
When you seize a court, an institution of any kind, or any state apparatus, you aren’t actually seizing any power. The court is a building, the White House and the Pentagon are both still buildings, and what I find interesting in this fact is the idea that power in the United States is not only perceived as representative (we are represented by people within the state), but the institutions are also just hollow shells — representatives for power when in reality these things are wholly divorced from such.
Roe v. Wade (like all laws, in my opinion) is representative of this because it can only be effective and enforced cybernetically. In this, I mean that it works a lot like a computing machine or a nervous system but it’s quite “decentralized.” Perception, integration, action. The pregnant woman is analyzed, integrated into the judicsphere, and then acted against.
The power lies in the technology of power — the period trackers being spied on, the travel restrictions placed on women, and the planned parenthoods being shut down. It’s no longer represented by pure punishment but rather specific restriction and prohibition. I don’t really think that this is something particularly new, but I think that this is moreso becoming the logic of jurisdiction.
The roads, the cameras, the genetic trackers, the finger scanners and face ID features — these are just some of the things in which are consistently being appropriated by power and thus corrupted by it. I need to stress how this is just law and it’s relation to enforcement (this is a part 2 to my work on the Societies of Control).
Althusser was right to claim the non-existence of law in the communist movement — neither in our rhetoric or praxis. This is precisely because ethics is about happiness and creativity and isn’t represented by morals and prohibitions and thus our movement (anarchist or communist) needs to break away from restrictive apparatuses. In this the Invisible Committee says:
There are two aspects to these struggles: on the one hand, an aspect that consists of removing oneself from material dependency upon this technological order, a struggle to gain autonomy; and, on the other, a struggle to prevent the construction of these infrastructures themselves. The problem we face is that these struggles often have only a defensive orientation: in general, they do not succeed in destabilizing the enemy and, in fact, they generally leave its domination intact.
In this work of free writing, there lies room for full development and a fully formed articulation for a new guerilla warfare and anarchist ethics alike.
Praxis Makes Perfect.