The insurrection is coming! The insurrection is coming! The insurrection is…probably not actually coming.
In spite of the bitch fit thrown by conservative pundit Glenn Beck in July of 2009, The Coming Insurrection (pdf) is little more than an intellectual exercise that’s a fun read and offers an idealism as obvious as Beck’s own conservative utopia.
Does The Coming Insurrection include, as Beck has been informed (watch the video above, please. It shows Beck at his opportunistic best.) a call to arms. Technically, yes. But it also offers the advice that arms should be borne so as to assure they aren’t used. And though Beck again is technically correct when he spits out with bigotry “France of all places” the French who wrote this book are not the intellectual powerhouses the right loves to hate.
The truest piece of writing in The Coming Insurrection, comes in the book’s first paragraph, which states:
From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues. From those who seek hope above all, it tears away every firm ground. Those who claim to have solutions are contradicted almost immediately. Everyone agrees that things can only get worse.
It is this claim that begins what then becomes something of an offered solution. But what would truly terrify Beck, if he were to take the time to actually read the book (I assume he hasn’t because, despite his promise to do so and follow-up, he used his audience’s lack of attention or care to leave the book further undiscussed) is not the call to arms but the attempt to get people thinking about the world that surrounds them and to act.
By delving into marketing, entertainment, family and the environment, the Invisible Committee hopes to prove to its readers that we are in a dire state. Rather than fix what exists — government, corporate culture, etc. — it instead tells people to mobilize.
But this mobilization is where the argument falls apart — though it must be said that two of the four points listed above, marketing and entertainment, found themselves more coherently and thoroughly demonized in Naomi Klein’s No Logo. The Committee acknowledges that these communes must rely on money to survive. The Committee does not offer a solution outside of the paradigm in order to tear the paradigm down, but rather a fringe group that is dependent on said paradigm for its very survival.
While The Coming Insurrection is an enjoyable theoretical puzzle it is simply that. Theoretical. The ideas put forth by the Invisible Committee are unrealistic and, frankly, the kind of idealism that comes from the bored, educated, politically left, upper class. A group so self-unaware that it spends its time calling for revolution while it travels the globe sipping wine and eating cheese that would cost a typical American worker half a day of pay.