It sometimes seems as if revolutionaries are compelled to constitute themselves on the same model as what they’re fighting. Thus, as a member of the International Workingmen's Association summarised in 1871, the bosses being organised worldwide around their interests as a class, the proletariat must likewise organise itself worldwide, as a working class and around its interests. As a member of the young Bolshevik Party explained it, the tsarist regime was organised into a disciplined and hierarchical politico-military machine, so the Party must also organise itself into a disciplined and hierarchical politico-military machine. One can multiply the historical cases, all equally tragic, of this curse of symmetry. Take the Algerian FLN, which in its methods came to closely resemble the colonial occupiers well before its victory. Or the Red Brigades, who imagined that by taking out the fifty men who were thought to constitute the “core of the State” they would be able to appropriate the whole machine. Today, the most wrongheaded expression of this tragedy of symmetry comes out of the doddering mouths of the new left. What they say is that set against the diffuse Empire, which is structured into a network, but endowed with command centres all the same, there are the multitudes, just as diffuse, structured into a network, but endowed nonetheless with a bureaucracy capable of occupying the command centres when the day comes.
Marked by this kind of symmetry, revolt is bound to fail - not only because it presents an easy target, a recognisable face, but above all because it eventually takes on the features of its adversary.
— To Our Friends - The Invisible Committee