Glenn Beck on The Coming Insurrection

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Glenn Beck is Fox News’ resident literary critic. Recently, he has reviewed a mysterious French publication called The Coming Insurrection by some mob calling itself the ‘Invisible Committee’. As Beck, a keen historian of radical politics, notes in his review, this term naturally brings to mind both Bakunin’s writings on “invisible dictatorship” and The Committee of Public Safety (Comité de salut public) of post-Revolutionary France. In the contemporary era, however, as Marxist philosophers Mick Armstrong and Slavoj Žižek document in another forthcoming title The Secret Masters: How 40 Kiwi Anarchists Are Plotting to Destroy Western Civilization (Verso, 2009), the so-called ‘Invisible Committee’ is not a small coterie of French Bakuninists but, rather, is composed of Swedish, German and English football hooligans under the command of New Zealand terrorists, who issue orders from their London bunker.


Fearful of a rash of deaths from spontaneous human combustion caused by falling profits and mass unemployment, Beck’s review is very timely. Wearing his very special detective hat, Beck has even been able to trace the uprisings in Greece and Iceland in late 2008 to the forthcoming publication in English of the dangerous tract in question.

A speculative fiction? Perhaps. But as Beck notes in his conclusion: “I am not calling to ban this book, but you should read it to know what is coming and be ready when it does.”

Extreme Left Calling People to Arms
Glenn Beck
July 1, 2009

While the government warns that right-wing extremists could be domestic terrorists, and The New York Times, says I could incite those crazy conservatives to violence, the extreme left is actively calling for violence!

As world economies go down the tank and unemployment continues to rise, disenfranchised people are set to explode.

The dangerous leftist book that could spark this is “The Coming Insurrection.” This is a call to arms for violent revolution, authored anonymously by a French group called the Invisible Committee who want to bring down capitalism.

This started in France and spread to countries like Greece and Iceland, where people are out of work, out of money and out of patience.

Now it’s coming here. The book comes out in English in the U.S. in August. I have one of the first English copies.

The book was written after riots in the Paris suburbs in 2005 tore the country apart, and that was before the economy really got bad. This is the anti-”Common Sense,” where I call for peaceful protest.

This is a book of revolution. Remember this is not from the right, you know the radicals that everyone is so worried about in government. This is from the far left. Let me share a bit:

“Take up arms. Do everything possible to make their use unnecessary. There is no such thing as a peaceful insurrection. Weapons are necessary.”

The French government was so freaked out they arrested nine people believed to have written “The Coming Insurrection” on charges of “criminal association for the purposes of terrorist activity” for allegedly sabotaging train lines in France.

When I first heard of this book it was in The New York Times book section. A group had organized an unauthorized reading of “The Coming Insurrection” at a New York City bookstore. When they were shooed out of the store they went to Starbucks and so on. Not exactly terrorist activity; more of a curiosity.

But it gets a little more creepy when you look at this: One of those leaders arrested in France Julien Coupat was held for six months and just released this May. According to a story in The Globe and Mail back in January of 2008 while visiting Canada, Coupat and his girlfriend sneaked over the border to visit New York City. According to relatives, they didn’t want their photos and fingerprints in the hands of U.S. authorities. Why is that? (By the way are our borders protected yet?)

Remember the media will tell you the right is the one to be feared. They do everything they can to tie any random nutjob shooting to conservatives. “The shooter was a fan of ‘24′ — ‘24′ starred Jon Voight — Jon Voight is a conservative!”

But this is a call for violence. Here is more:

“It’s a question of knowing how to fight, to pick locks, to set broken bones and treat sicknesses; how to build a pirate radio transmitter; how to set up street kitchens; how to aim straight.”

The synopsis of the book describes it as “an eloquent call to arms arising from the recent waves of social contestation in France and Europe… a strategic prescription for an emergent war-machine to spread anarchy and live communism.”

A few years ago I said that Europe is on the brink of destruction. This is yet another sign that it’s coming. Even in Japan where protests have been seen as taboo since the 1960s, young people angered over the economy and fear for their future — taking to the streets, beginning to unionize. The communist party of Japan says they are getting 1,000 new members a month.

This book has not even been released in this country yet. It has been passed hand to hand and via the Internet, much like the pamphleteers in pre-revolution America. Thomas Paine was one of them. He issued a call to arms. I am not doing that. You are an idiot if you start shooting people — all that does is delegitimize the cause. Be like Ghandi [sic], like Martin Luther King.

But people on the extreme left are calling people to arms. I am not calling to ban this book, but you should read it to know what is coming and be ready when it does.

See also : Cheese-eating surrender monkeys vs. very fast trains : Free the Tarnac Nine! (November 25, 2008) | Meanwhile, in Europe, ¡anarcholocos! (December 14, 2008) | “Your heads are full of rubbish because you have read too many books.” (December 19, 2008) | So Frenchy So Chic (January 5, 2009) | The War Against Preterrorism: The ‘Tarnac Nine’ and The Coming Insurrection (January 17, 2009) | Suspicious Minds & Barking Dogs: Canada, France, Russia (& Australia) (February 3, 2009) | Anarchism and Terrorism (In the Real World) (May 6, 2009) | More blah on European politics (June 11, 2009)…

Ukip, Lega Nord form hard-right bloc in EU Parliament, Leigh Phillips, EUobserver, June 30, 2009 | RISE OF THE CZECH FAR RIGHT: Neo-Nazis Exploit Growing Anti-Roma Racism, Gwendolyn Albert, World War 4 Report, July 1, 2009…

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About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2021 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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29 Responses to Glenn Beck on The Coming Insurrection

  1. Mantar says:

    Hmm. Reading this. So far it seems pretty well-written and interesting. I hope some small-government conservative types end up actually reading this. I find it ironic that Glenn is getting all excited over “Take up arms. Do everything possible to make their use unnecessary. There is no such thing as a peaceful insurrection. Weapons are necessary.” when so much conservative dogma revolves around this same basic idea – that you can’t guarantee you’ll be able fight back against oppression when you’re unarmed.

  2. dj says:

    He should especially watch out for Tottenham supporters – nothing worse than a Football Hooligan in league with ZOG fueled by the radical musical stylings of Chas and Dave!

    Nice one Cyril!

  3. DMX prime says:

    Colbert amuses the hell out of me sometimes.

  4. @ndy says:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

  5. Lumpen says:

    The Colbert clip was hilarious.

  6. @ndy says:

    As funny as Beck?

  7. newf says:

    I love the part where he admits he hasn’t read the book, but plans to do so on his vacation.

  8. @ndy says:

    I wanna know how much the seditionaries @ Semiotext(e) paid Mister Beck to perform.

  9. grumpy cat says:

    Hi All. What’s with the linking (for even comic reasons) of Armstrong and Zizek? I would think that Zizek’s book on Violence is pretty much directly opposite to the kind of bullshit Armstrong spewed post-g20? Or are you saying that Armstrong is some kind of Lacanian? What’s the deal?

    I know it is a long running (and increasingly tired, but hopefully soon to be retired) joke at Armstrong’s expense. And fuck, he deserves it, but I just don’t get why poor old Slavoj is in there too…

    rebel love

  10. @ndy says:

    heyo grumpy,

    But it works on so many levels!

    The Secret Masters: How 40 Kiwi Anarchists Are Plotting to Destroy Western Civilization (Verso, 2009).

    Zizek: “…I have contacts in England, France, Germany, and more — and all the time, beneath the mask of this consensus, there was one person accepted by some unwritten rules as the secret master.”

    Armstrong: “What gave them a certain critical mass at the G20 was the presence of considerable numbers of anarchists from overseas. One of our members from New Zealand said he recognised at least 40 NZ anarchists. He knew at least 20 of them by name. There were also a considerable number of black bloc anarchists from Europe. We know of people from Sweden, Germany and England. These people are like football hooligans who travel the world looking for violence.”

    In these and countless other examples, dating from the late 1800s, ‘anarchy’ is an international criminal conspiracy, frequently involving an indiscriminate mix of foreigners (of one sort or another; ethnic, national, philosophical, political, psychological) which proclaims liberty but for which such claims invariably function merely as a form of disguise; Z reckons this is a ‘strange dialectic’. Here’s another. Zizek on Iran (hat tip THR):

    “The green color adopted by the Mousavi supporters, the cries of “Allah akbar!” that resonate from the roofs of Tehran in the evening darkness, clearly indicate that they see their activity as the repetition of the 1979 Khomeini revolution, as the return to its roots, the undoing of the revolution’s later corruption. This return to the roots is not only programmatic; it concerns even more the mode of activity of the crowds: the emphatic unity of the people, their all-encompassing solidarity, creative self-organization, improvising of the ways to articulate protest, the unique mixture of spontaneity and discipline, like the ominous march of thousands in complete silence. We are dealing with a genuine popular uprising of the deceived partisans of the Khomeini revolution.”

    As for G20, Sina’s trial began June 30; two others commence soon.


    Rayna Fahey
    G20 Support Network
    61 0416 620 221

    Support for G20 Protester Facing Trial

    Maori activist and mother of three, Sina Brown-Davis, goes to trial before a jury in the Melbourne County Court today 2nd July 2009, on charges relating to protests against the G20 two and a half years ago in Melbourne.

    She was demonstrating against the neo-colonialism of free trade agreements imposed on the Pacific. The Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations or PACER, is a free-trade agreement currently being pushed by Australia and New Zealand which will give unprecedented rights to foreign corporations, undermine indigenous land rights, and raise the cost of living.

    Ms Brown-Davis plead not guilty on Tuesday to charges of riot and affray.

    “The charges against Sina are part of a wider attack on dissent”, said Rayna Fahey from the G20 Support Network. “These charges are politically motivated and the case against her is over the top.”

    Demonstrations in support of Ms Brown-Davis were held as she was being arraigned on Tuesday outside the Australian Consulate in Wellington NZ, and outside the Melbourne County Court.


  11. grumpy cat says:

    Where is that Zizek quote from? Because as a Lacanian he normally argues that the space of the ‘master’ is empty. Rather the big Other is the place that functions in the symbolic order because it is, in a very real way, empty, thus we constantly populate it…

    And I think the piece of Iran is great: the struggle can not be placed in easy boxes, and the anti-imperialist ‘credentials’ of the regime are bullshit. Of course we should go further: anti-imperialism is [in reality?] the defence of small capitalist states…

    rebel love

  12. @ndy says:

    ‘I am a Fighting Atheist: Interview with Slavoj Zizek’ by Doug Henwood with an Introduction by Charlie Bertsch, Bad Subjects, No.59, February 2002.

    Re Zizek on Iran: leaving aside the accuracy of his analysis, my point is that here the slovenly Slovenian is able to detect the radical implications of some forms of popular dissent (“the emphatic unity of the people, their all-encompassing solidarity, creative self-organization, improvising of the ways to articulate protest, the unique mixture of spontaneity and discipline”); in the interview, he denies that such forms are possible without Secret Masters & Jedi Mind Tricks.

  13. grumpy cat says:

    Hi @ndy, you are giving too much weight to a rather flippant, crappy, throw away comment – as if it reflects Zizek’s stance on what to do. And it is not like there isn’t some value to it, sure there is no puppet master but a) there is a history of conspiratorialism (sp?) in anarchism; and b) in many groups despite professed claims to egalitarianism there are often hierarchical practises. Pretty standard points…
    rebel love

  14. @ndy says:

    Oh yeah.

    To be Frank — and stop calling me Shirley — I dunno if it’s possible to really appreciate the import of Z’s comments w/o placing them in their context. That said:

    I think it reasonable to conclude that Z is: a) hostile to anarchism and; b) presents a rather poor critique of it in his i/view with DH. In other words, I’m not basing my opinion on a solitary comment, but rather what is, presumably, Z’s considered opinion, as expressed in this i/v, but also elsewhere. For example:

    In the i/v, Z claims to ‘understand’ the appeal of anarchism, but in identifying his anarchism problem, refers to the old canard about Unkle Mikhail’s passionate embrace of Top Secret Societies; laments “the tragedy of anarchism… that you end up having an authoritarian secret society trying to achieve anarchist goals”; and asserts that ‘anarchism’ is opposed to ‘global organization’! Whatever controversies surround Bakunin’s practical efforts, Z’s criticism of the anarchist aversion to internationalist struggle and global organsation is absolute nonsense, and easily disproven even, or perhaps especially, in reference to the events, projects and movements ostensibly under consideration (the history of which has been documented in umpteen sauces over the last decade or so).

    Secondly, Z also claims to speak from personal experience.

    Absolutely. And I’m not bluffing here; I’m talking from personal experience. Maybe my experience is too narrow, but it’s not limited to some mysterious Balkan region. I have contacts in England, France, Germany, and more — and all the time, beneath the mask of this consensus, there was one person accepted by some unwritten rules as the secret master. The totalitarianism was absolute in the sense that people pretended that they were equal, but they all obeyed him. The catch was that it was prohibited to state clearly that he was the boss. You had to fake some kind of equality. The real state of affairs couldn’t be articulated.

    It was this passage in particular, obviously, that brought to mind Mick Armstrong’s knee. Like the diatribe by Mick’s knee, it is, presumably, intended to be taken seriously. Certainly, the i/v is included in The Anti-Capitalism Reader: Imagining a Geography of Opposition (Edited by Joel Schalit, Akashic Books, 2002).

    In the wake of ‘Seattle’, a host of (other) overnight experts on anarchism appeared, and the Colombus-like discovery of networked forms of anti-capitalist resistance — and, moreover, their indebtedness to ‘anarchism’ — was the subject of extensive, and frequently comical, commentary.

    And I’m not bluffing here; I’m talking from personal experience.

    In early 2000, Guy Rundle informed the world that those, like myself, organising in opposition to the WEF’s Asia-Pacific Summit in Melbourne (S11) were as theoretically well-informed as headless chickens. (One especially memorable account in the pages of The Age — and in recognition of some kinda aversion on the part of ‘The Kids’ to ‘leadership’ — posited the existence of a superbly amorphous group of ‘Thought Leaders’.) On September 11, 2000, as I sat, with several hundred others, in the Council Chambers @ Trades Hall in order to watch Access News’ footage of that day’s events, I was treated to the spectacle of Mister Rundle mounting the stage to inform me of the meaning and the significance of the day’s events (which, unfortunately, was truncated for my own ratbag self as a result of the actions of an incredibly brave policeman punching my girlfriend in the face and fracturing her cheekbone; most of the following days were spent going to and from the fucking hospital).

    Same old fucking story.

    In summary, and in recognition of the fact that there is a great deal more I could add, the points which Z makes w regards the discrepancy b/w formal commitments to equality / non-hierarchical forms of organisation (and so on and so forth) and their embodiment in his/mine/your/our ‘political’ activities are simply banal; have been remarked upon extensively, not only by anarchists, but numerous other radicals; and, as such, are hardly novel. What is (literally) remarkable is that this phenomenon — sometimes summarised in the slogan ‘how we struggle is the struggle’ — is taken to be synonymous with ‘anarchism’. That is, Z proceeds — as do so many other, especially ‘Marxist’ scholars and intellectuals — on the basis of a deeply impoverished and under-theorised conception of anarchist theory, organisation, and history. In other words, this attitude is symptomatic of a broader problem; one which, perhaps, is being addressed by a newer generation of writers and thinkers who pay more than lip-service to ‘anarchist’ ideas, and which attempt to take them seriously.

    PS. “Secret liberal and socialist societies were a permanent and widespread phenomenon in Europe and had been since the end of the Napoleonic empire — often for good reason. Marx and Engels joined the secret German organisation The League of the Just in 1847 and changed its name to the Communist League. The Communist Manifesto was published by this secret organisation in 1848 using the German Workers’ Education Society as a sort of front. At the time of the major confrontation between Marx and Bakunin (1871) many sections of the international such as the Spanish one had again gone [underground] because of the persecution following the suppression of the Paris Commune.”

  15. dj says:

    It seems to me that some of these critics just can’t accept that some people do not want to be ‘in charge’ or that there are people who recognise that there is a need to create political institutions that recognise that a lot of people ‘do’ want to be in charge and actually take this seriously and try to limit the possibility of unaccountable power accruing to people.

    It’s not always projection but I think there is an element of that there.

    I find a lot of Rundle’s writing quite funny but he – like most commentators – has to preserve the facade of being the only really smart guy around, so there is a latent antagonism to libertarian socialism/anarchism/radical democracy.

  16. grumpy cat says:

    Hi @ndy, sure Zizek is crap on anarchism, but so what? His major works are on the nature of ideology, so a serious critique would start with that…Why is what he says about anarchism that important?
    rebel love

  17. @ndy says:

    So what?


    I’ll elaborate on that.

    In the meantime…

  18. @ndy says:

    On anarchist conspiratorialism, a manifesto from the ’60s:

  19. grumpy cat says:

    Because the point isn’t to become ‘Zizekian’ but rather to see what is useful in Zizek’s work that can aid the development of revolutionary thought, politics and movement (whatever label they go under), isn’t it? So yes crap on an understanding of anarchism but good on lots else, very bad in relation to an understanding of power and so on…

  20. @ndy says:

    Why the US Left is Weak – and What to Do About It
    Barbara Epstein
    July 14, 2009

    …Another reason not to make socialism our central issue is that there is a large sector of the left that rejects capitalism but is at least ambivalent about socialism. Anarchism is the dominant orientation among young radical activists, and while the vast majority is anti-capitalist, many look forward to a decentralized and stateless society that they would not describe as socialist. While I can’t see how a society can function without some governing structure, the question of what form that might take in a post-capitalist society seems to me a legitimate question. One legacy of the [left’s] past that I think we need to avoid is readiness to define those whom one disagrees with out of the left. I envision a left that includes anarchists, Marxists, and everyone in between, or perhaps approaching the left with a different vocabulary altogether. There remain ethical boundaries: Stalinism should have been rejected in the past, and support for repressive and authoritarian movements, or states, remains alien to a democratic left. But it seems to me that there should be room for debate about the relationship of the left to the state…

    “I would like to believe that people have an instinct for freedom, that they really want to control their own affairs. They don’t want to be pushed around, ordered, oppressed, etc., and they want a chance to do things that make sense, like constructive work in a way they control, or maybe control together with others. I don’t know any way to prove this. It’s really a hope about what human beings are like, a hope that if social structures change sufficiently, those aspects of human nature will be realized.” ~ Noam Chomsky

  21. grumpy cat says:

    Hmmm? It’s an either love or hate moment…not a ‘Hmmm”…

  22. @ndy says:

    It’s a Hmmm. That is, having watched the video, I’m not sure there’s anything much to add. His comments were fairly straightforward, and seemed mostly concerned with the r/ship b/w groups like the SWP and ‘liberals’; the continuing relevance of ‘communism’; the centrality of class / the emergence of a ‘new’, global proletariat, and so on.

    Oh. He has an endearing lisp.

  23. grumpy cat says:

    What do you think of the Invisible Committee’s use of ‘communism’ and their description of themselves as ‘communists’ (pages 16-17 in the Semiotext(e) edition)?

  24. @ndy says:

    Dunno. A quote would be nice…? The term ‘Communist’ appears in this passage:

    During the 1980s in Hamburg, a few inhabitants of a squatted house decided that from then on they would only be evicted over their dead bodies. A neighborhood was besieged by tanks and helicopters, with days of street battles, huge demonstrations – and a mayor who, finally, capitulated. In 1940, Georges Guingouin, the “first French resistance fighter,” started with nothing other than the certainty of his refusal of the Nazi occupation. At that time, to the Communist Party, he was nothing but a “madman living in the woods,” until there were 20,000 madmen living in the woods, and Limoges was liberated.

    The term is also used by Patrick Marcolini in ‘Situationist inheritors: Julien Coupat, Tiqqun and The Coming Insurrection (Marcolini [is] formerly a professor of philosophy at the University of Nice, and [dis article was] published in Le Tigre, volume 30, March/April 2009. Translated by the French by NOT BORED! 15 May 2009. Footnotes by the author, except where noted).

    …Indeed, although it remained attached to the communist project, the movements that one groups together under the name “ultra-left” are still distinguished from the extreme left by their opposition to Lenin, Trotsky and their inheritors. What also particularizes the ultra-left is the critique, even the pure and simple rejection, of the modes of action proper to the extreme left: organization into parties or unions; parliamentarianism; and the support of anti-fascist or national-liberation struggles. The ultra-left has always privileged anti-hierarchical forms of organization, based upon direct democracy and the concentration of all of its forces upon a single goal: revolution.[2]

    This is why it can be said, without exaggeration and perhaps even with praise, that Julien Coupat — as well as those who published in the journal Tiqqun or in the works with which this name is associated[3] — are parts of the ultra-left. Indeed, by consigning the traditional formulations of the extreme left to the Gemonies,[4] the movement inspired by Tiqqun and its successive avatars only recognized itself in an “imaginary party”: the party of those “who choose to live in the interstices of the market world and refuse to participate in whatever is connected to it.”[5] Which does not prevent this movement from once again taking up the question of communism in a new light, not as a political or economic system — “Communism can do very well without Marx. Communism doesn’t give a fuck about the USSR.” — but as the instauration of a form of authentic community: “A thing is mine to the extent that it enters into the domain of my usage, and not by virtue of some legal title. Legal property has no other reality, in the final analysis, than the forces that protect it. The question of communism is thus, on the one hand, the suppression of the police and, on the other, the elaboration of modes of sharing, of usage, among those who live together” (The Call).

    See also : Interview with Julien Coupat [“Here are the responses to the questions that we [Isabelle Mandraud and Caroline Monnot] posed in writing to Julien Coupat. Placed under investigation on 15 November 2008 for “terrorism,” along with eight other people interrogated in Tarnac (Correze) and Paris, he is suspected of having sabotaged the suspended electrical cables of the SNCF. He is the last one still incarcerated. (He has asked that certain words be in italics.)].

  25. grumpy cat says:

    “Communism then, as presupposition and as experiment. Sharing of a sensibility and elaboration of sharing. The uncovering of what is common and the building of a force. Communism as the matrix of a meticulous, audacious assault on domination. As a call and as a name for all worlds resisting imperial pacification, all solidarities irreducible to the reign of commodities, all friendships assuming the necessities of war. COMMUNISM. We know it’s a term to be used with caution. Not because, in the great parade of words, it may no longer be very fashionable. But because out worst enemies have used it, and continue to do so. We insist. Certain words are like battlegrounds: their meaning, revolutionary or reactionary, is a victory, to be torn from the jaws of struggle.” (p.16)

  26. @ndy says:

    Sounds yummy.

    I’ll have a family-size communist pizza, thanks.

    (But hold the bacon.)

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