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THE REVOLUTION OF EVERYDAY LIFE - VANEIGEM
Decompression and the Third Force - Page 29

In all conflicts between opposing sides, an irrepressible upsurge of individual desires takes place and often reaches a threatening intensity. To this extent we are justified in talking of a third force. From the individual's point of view, the third force is what the force of decompression is from the point of view of power. The small chance of every struggle, it radicalizes insurrections, denounces false problems, threatens power in its very structure. It is what Brecht was referring to in one of his Keuner stories: When a proletarian was brought to court and asked if he wished to take the oath in the ecclesiastical or the lay form, he replied 'I'm out of work.'" The third force does not hope for the withering away of constraints, but aims to supersede them. Prematurely crushed or incorporated, it becomes by inversion a force of decompression. Thus, the salvation of the soul is nothing but the will to live, incorporated through myth, mediated, emptied of its real content. On the other hand, their peremptory demand for a full life explains the hatred incurred by certain gnostic sects or by the Brethren of the Free Spirit. During the decline of Christianity, the struggle between Pascal and the Jesuits spotlighted the opposition between the reformist doctrine of individual salvation and compromise with heaven and the project of realizing God by the nihilist destruction of the world. And, once it had got rid of the dead wood of theology, the third force survived to inspire Babeuf's struggle against the million doré, the Marxist project of the complete man, the dreams of Fourier, the explosion of the Commune, and the violence of the anarchists.

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Individualism, alcoholism, collectivism, activism... the variety of ideologies shows that there are a hundred ways of being on the side of power. There is only one way to be radical. The wall that must be knocked down is immense, but it has been cracked so many times that soon a single cry will be enough to bring it crashing to the ground. Let the formidable reality of the third force emerge at last from the mists of history, with all the individual passions that have fuelled the insurrections of the past! Soon we shall find that an energy is locked up in everyday life which can move mountains and abolish distances. The long revolution is preparing to write works in the ink of action whose unknown or nameless authors will flock to join Sade, Fourier, Babeuf, Marx, Lacenaire, Stirner, Lautréamont, Léhautier, Vaillant, Henry, Villa, Zapata, Makhno, the Communards, the insurrectionaries of Hamburg, Kiel, Kronstadt, Asturias -- all those who have not yet played their last card in a game which we have only just joined: the great gamble whose stake is freedom.

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