This site contains English translations of articles from the Italian anarchist weekly Canenero, which was publisned from late 1994 until 1997. It is all anti-copyright so please make use of anything you like.

Friday, February 5, 2010


by Massimo Passamani

Yes, I know, we are all against axioms, guarantees, certainties.

But can we really live without sharing our being against—without depending upon this sharing?

The search for identity is not always oriented toward the mass, toward the great crowds of followers. Even the small group can become our safe space. What’s more, the very refusal of every group and of any form of membership can construct its own arrogant, solitary radicality through the play of recognition.

My stubborn solitude is fed by what it opposes; it even—or maybe, above all—feeds on criticisms.

To appear to be against someone or something that seems to assume the features of authority—a charismatic person, a common truth—is not always an act of revolt. Its origins could be, for example, the desire to receive part of the light of that which one challenges by taking the role of challenger. As if saying: I beg you to notice that I have no leaders.

I believe that the reality of not being esteemed (which is to say valued and measured)—even in the form of a certain hostility—by a group has greater significance in the renunciation of revolt than repression. And there is no resigned desistence that does not degenerate into resentment, quick to assemble in new, spiteful herds.

Two or three words, the same ones, repeated in some meeting, and there they are joining the discussion that unfailingly ensues, in hope that other words—two or three—will replace them.

All right, it is as you say, I am going too far. But doesn’t seem to you that this all consolidates the group and calcifies thought?

Starting from myself, what is said to me always seems so imprecise and reassuring, that hearing it continually repeated is frankly too much.

Deepening relations of affinity would have to mean making difference emerge (otherwise, on what do we base affinity?). And yet one doesn’t escape homogeneity (the fact that some anarchist use this word in a positive sense makes my head spin) by refusing conferences, membership cards and other blatantly formal fixations.

The mechanisms—I hesitate to say rhythms, but perhaps they really are rhythms—, the rhythms, then, of participation and compromise stress our lives well beyond measure. Thinking for ourselves, as Lessing expressed it, is never the outcome.

What would the desire to rebuild be if it never leads us to destruction? What would it be if it anchored us to the role of destroyer?

Gottfried Benn said that the one who loves ruins also loves statues. And with regard to statues, Benn, it was understood.

Perhaps it is anxiety about the future that transforms individuals into puppets of a group. A life considering needs a solid basis. Obedience and calculation live under the sign of an eternal tomorrow.

But aren’t ideas—coagulants of language—giving us the awareness of time?

Thought is born only when desire grows pale. Living the moment, the immediacy of existence, completely, does one have no future, does one have no time—does one have no ideas?

If all values collapse (is it possible?), only “because it pleases me, that’s why” remains.

So many acrobatics to discover what children have always known.

The relation of mutuality—in no way a moral good, in no way a duty—is maybe really a relationship between children.


by Alfredo M. Bonanno

Among the various characteristics of the last several years, the failure of global automation in the factories (understood in strict sense) must be pointed out, a failure caused by the failure of the prospects and, if you will, the dreams of mass production.

The meeting between the telematic and traditional fixed production (harsh assembly lines later automated up to a certain point with the introduction of robots) has not developed toward a perfecting of the lines of automation. This is not due to problems of a technical nature, but due to problems of an economic nature and of the market. The threshold of saturation for technologies that can replace manual labor has not been exceeded; on the contrary there are always new possibilities opening in this direction. Rather, the strategies of mass production have been surpassed, and have thus come to have little importance for the economic model of maximum profit.

The flexibility that the telematic guaranteed and has steadily made possible in the phase of the rise of post-industrial transformation at a certain point caused such profound changes in the order of the market, and thus of the demand, as to render the opening that the telematic itself had made possible or rather put within reach useless. Thus, the flexibility and ease of production is moved from the sphere of the factory into the sphere of the market, causing a standstill in the telematic development of automation, and a reflourishing of new prospects for an extremely diversified demand that was unthinkable until a few years ago.

If one reads the shareholders’ reports of some of the great industries, it becomes clear that automation is only sustainable at increasing costs that quickly be come anti-economical. Only the prospect of social disorder of a great intensity could still drive the financially burdensome path of global automation.

For this reason, the reduction of the costs of production is now entrusted not only to the cost of labor, as has occurred in the past several years as a consequence of massive telematic replacement, but also to a rational management of so-called productive redundancy. In short, a ruthless analysis of waste, from whatever point of view, and, first of all, from the perspective of production times. In this way, by a variety of means, productive pressure is exercised once again on the producer in flesh and blood, dismantling the ideology of containment on the basis of which an easing of the conditions of suffering and exploitation that have always been characteristic of wage labor was credited to telematic technology.

The reduction of waste thus becomes the new aim of streamlined production, in its time based on the flexibility of labor already consolidated and the productive potentiality guaranteed by the telematic coupling as its starting point. And this reduction of waste falls entirely on the back of the producer. In fact, the mathematical analysis realized through complex systems already in widespread use in the major industries can easily solve the technical problems of contractors, which is to say, those relative to the combination of raw materials and machinery, in view of maintenance. But the solution to these problems would remain a marginal matter to production as a whole if the use of production time were not also placed under a regime of control.

Thus, the old taylorism comes back into fashion, though now it is filtered through the new psychological and computing technologies. The comprehensive flexibility of large industry is based on a sectoral flexibility of various components, as well as on the flexibility of the small manufacturers that peripherally support the productive unity of command. Work time is thus the basic unity for the new production; its control, without waste but also without stupidly repressive irritations, remains the indispensable connection between the old and new productive models.

These new forms of control have a pervasive nature. In other words, they tend to penetrate into the mentality of the individual producer, to create general psychological conditions so that little by little external control through a timetable of production is replaced by self-control and self-regulation of productive times and rhythms as a function of the choice of objectives, which is still determined by the bodies that manage productive unity. But these decisions might later be submitted to a democratic decision from below, asking the opinion of individuals employed in the various production units with the aim of implanting the process of self-management.

We are speaking of “suitable synchronism”, not realized once and for all, but dealt with time and again, for single productive periods or specific production campaigns and programs, with the aim of creating a convergence of interest of interests between workers and employers, a convergence to be realized not only on the technical terrain of production, but also on the indirect plane of solicitation of some claim to the demand, which is to say, on the plane of the market.

In fact, it is really in the market that two movements within the new productive flexibility are joined together. The old factory looked to itself as the center of the productive world and its structures as the stable element from which to start in order to conquer ever-expanding sections of consumption to satisfy. This would indirectly have to produce a worker-centered ideology, managed through guidance by a party of the sort called proletarian. The decline of this ideological-practical perspective could not be more evident today, not so much because of the collapse of real socialism, and all the direct and indirect consequences that followed from this and continue to grow out of it, but in reality, due to the productive changes which we are discussing. There is thus no longer a distinction between the rigidity of production and the chaotic and unpredictable flexibility of the market. Both these aspects are now brought back under the common denominator of variability and streamlining. The greater ability to penetrate into consumption, whether foreseeing and soliciting it or restraining it, allows the old chaos of the market to be transformed into an acceptable, if not entirely predictable, flexibility. At the same time, the old rigidity of the world of production has change into the new productive speed. These two movements are coming together in a new unifying dimension on which the economic and social domination of tomorrow will be built.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


by Massimo Passamani

Many are the things that cannot be measured but nothing is more immeasurable than man.Sophocles

The meaning of measure. It is an enclosure that is simultaneously a dispute with and management of life, a prison that poses the existence of people equal to zero.

And yet, as Protagoras said, the human being is the measure of all things. His intelligence is the place in which they are linked together. If the human being herself is this measure, this threshold, it means that he has no place and that her home is atopia.

A measure to impose, and the punishment for those who arrogantly go beyond it, only has meaning if it provides a boundary, a homeland, to human life. And this homeland is nothing more than the designation of a space built around the limits in which one tries to constrain that which is particularly unlimited, singularity.

But it is really the place of the limit to create trans-gression, and to justify itself as limit through punishment.

Errare divinum est (To err is divine), said Savinio. Only when we pose the measure of individuals as something that transcends them do crime and punishment have a foundation. “To err” pertains to the gods. If their empire, their measure, falls, the limits created in their image and likeness fall as well. The human being cannot help but go beyond the limits, since he himself is the limit, the boundless threshold. Furthermore, only in this hubris, in this arrogance, is her possibility for affirming herself as individual to be found.

As Holderlin understood with regards to Sophocles’ Oedipus, the human being questions and lives “immeasurably”. Relegating his individuality to the place of law, aberrations will always occur, because ab-errare [“in wandering” as well as “in error” – translator] is where one’s individuality has its place. To the extent that the individual is her own measure, she succeeds in not sacrificing her atopia, in being rooted in the absence of place.

This absence of place is an utter absurdity for philosophy. And this is why its words have always advised moderation, the truth that stands in the middle. But that middle makes the human being into a puppet of god (and of every authority), a result of hubris and power, a mistake that poses a remedy.

The measure is god’s, the state’s, society’s. All attempts to harmonize, to tolerate difference refer to a limit that is always collective. Whether this boundary is the one and indisputable truth or the multiplicity of truths is of little importance. If the truths are constrained to compose a social ensemble of which they end up being a part, there is no space for singularity, but only for different appraisals with respect to the techniques with which to preserve these walls which one could not want to destroy. Each in her own way can only be a slave. The ensemble of society—the meaning of measure—is that which one need not take into account, “except as the object of destruction.”

The uniqueness of each of us cannot be an element of something else because difference is itself the common space. The only place for difference is the absence of place. Individuality must defend its difference and want the difference of others to exist as well. My difference is revealed because that of others exists.

Power, on the contrary, is the foundation of a territory of identity and measurement, a territory from which it is impossible to escape without destroying the community of those who have been made equal to zero (that Michelstaedter called the “wicked clique”) and building the common difference.

I think that affirming one’s singularity is the exact opposite of the defensive armoring of oneself, that prison-like enclosure from which (as the skeptical “reaction” to the religion of the common good and sacrifice would have it) to control the world with the disenchantment of doubt. Difference is not a slit through which to spy on the movements of the other, afraid that she might go too far in making his way and thus could disturb our tranquility. There isn’t any kitchen garden to cultivate as Voltaire believed. Distrust, the fear of the other that makes us move away suddenly when we touch a strange body, is an ivory tower under siege. The immeasurable dimension in which it is possible to live together without domination and abuse, and so also without their double, Harmony, can “settle” in no one place.

Singularity has no homeland because the homeland is power.

The individual in revolt is a “restless place between the night and the light”, between destruction and creation. And more. The light itself is darkness, since Phanes “sits inside, in the sanctuary of the night.” But not even the liquidation of the dialectic that always transforms the negative into the positive, annihilating it, is capable of becoming a certainty. If we were to look for the measure, the one of being against or outside, in the sanctuary of the night, we would end up becoming evangelists of demolition, pensioners of revolt.

In its endless skirmishes, the Logic seems unshakable. And yet its rigid form cannot resist anyone who wants to live without measure.

Once again, more than a project, it is a question of knowing how to live.