communists in situ

leberwurst proletariat

Month: August, 2014

Büro für mentale Randale

Axt

The  Büro für mentale Randale (Public Relations der 666. Internationale) is a friend of the C.I.S. (leberwurst proletariat). We highly recommend their rag, Die Axt: Download Issues 1, 2, 3. We gladly republish their Minimalprogram below:

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Minimalprogramm der Axt

love us or hate us!

»wo die feuer der klassenwidersprüche auflodern, bringen wir benzin.«

1.

Wir wissen, dass diese Einrichtung der Welt nichts verdient als ihre Abschaffung; die Wahrheit über diese Gesellschaft ist nichts anderes als die Negation dieser Gesellschaft.

2.

Abzuschaffen sind alle Beziehungen des gegenwärtigen gesellschaftlichen Lebens, ohne ihr Ende ist nichts zu haben, ganz einfach aus dem Grund, daß der Kapitalismus eine Totalität ist, also Herrschaft & Ausbeutung die Gesamtheit der sozialen Beziehungen umfaßt: Klassen und Staaten, Arbeit und Freizeit, Ware und Städtebau, Ideologien und Nationen, Familie und Geschlechterverhältnis – alles taugt nur zum wegwerfen.

3.

Wir haben daher kein positives Programm, denn unser Programm ist vernünftig: es ist das Programm der Abschaffungen.

4.

Erfreut stellen wir fest, daß einige unserer Programmpunkte bereits in der Praxis der global verstreuten Revolten der letzten Jahre zum Vorschein kamen. Von London bis Argentinien wurden Güter aus den Warenhäusern und Supermärkten gegen die Logik der Ware massenhaft ohne Einsatz von Geld entwendet; von Spanien bis Polen wird Bezahlung für den Wohnraum verweigert; Teile der Jugend kämpfen von Tunesien bis Ägypten gegen die Religion und ihren Tugendterror; Bullenwachen brennen von Athen bis Kairo. – Im Angriff auf die Polizei kulminiert bekanntlich das Bedürfnis nach Befreiung.

5.

Die Einwände gegen dieses Programm sind so unzählig wie sie albern sind; sie laufen alle darauf hinaus, wir wollten viel zu viel, daß es ganz und gar nicht konstruktiv, ja: unrealistisch sei.
Was aber ist unrealistisch? Unrealistisch ist doch, daß die Menschheit noch 50 Jahre Kapitalismus überlebt ohne sich und ihren Planeten unwiderruflich zugrundegerichtet zu haben; unrealistisch ist in Zeiten der Krise aller reformistischer Bullshit; vor allem aber ist es unrealisitsch, daß selbst wenn aller Reformismus wahr würde, er aus diesem Planeten einen Ort machen würde, an dem sich das Leben genießen ließe. Gäbe es denn nicht auch mit Großbild-Plasma-Fernseher, Zweitwagen und Urlaub mit Vollpension für alle immer noch Gründe genug zu revoltieren? Ist nicht selbst bei flexibelster Gleitzeit die Diktatur der Wecker zu stürzen?

6.

Habt ihr keine Waffen, so habt ihr doch Streichhölzer – jagt die Zwingburgen der Kapitalisten in die Luft, kauft euch Streichhölzer und steckt die Maschinerie des Staates in Brand, holt auch Dynamit und laßt keinen Stein auf dem anderen, denn diese Welt ist nicht mehr zu retten.

Nieder mit der Diktatur der erlaubten Genüsse!
Die deutsche Langeweile ist zum kotzen!

Schmiedet Eure ÄXTE!

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New Ghettos Burning

ferguson5

ultra.com

Where?

Ferguson, Missouri. Most of us never would have heard of it, but many have now had the conversation: Where the hell is Ferguson? St. Louis, sort of?

But not simply St. Louis. Ferguson is not just a neighborhood in a sprawling city, as Watts is to Los Angeles or Flatbush to New York. This is attested to by the involvement of the Ferguson Police Department and County police forces in suppressing the recent riots, rather than the St. Louis PD, at least prior to being taken over by state on August 14th. The militarized police on the streets of the small city have not been drawn from the familiar standing armies, such as the NYPD or LAPD, but are instead a conglomeration of armed groups organized at the county level to manage those zones that lie beyond the reach of the traditional urban police departments. Aside from its own police, Ferguson has its own fire departments and its own school district. This is because it is not an urban neighborhood, but instead a fairly traditional post-war American suburb, independently incorporated as its own city.

This might seem to be a mundane fact, but it actually hints at much more significant shifts in the economic and racial geography of US metropolitan zones over the past twenty years. Without understanding these shifts, we cannot hope to understand the riots themselves, much less how they might overcome their limits in order to become a more sustained and disciplined assault on the present order.

Probably the most widely repeated thing in the mainstream accounts of Ferguson is that it has only become a conventionally poor, majority black neighborhood in the last decade. Like many postwar suburbs, the city’s heyday was in the 1950s and 1960s, which saw successive doubling of the population until it reached a peak of nearly 30,000 in 1970. Deindustrialization beginning in the ‘70s was then matched with a continual drop in population, to about 21,000 today, in line with St. Louis’ historic population loss.[i] But this was not so much a simple decline in total residents as it was a process of white flight, in which many wealthier people left the region as the economy was restructured, their aging houses taken over by poorer people seeking better schools and housing, neither of which existed in the deindustrialized and then mildly gentrifying core of urban St. Louis.

In some cities, this restructuring left hyper-diverse poor neighborhoods and suburban immigrant enclaves in the place of formerly white suburbia. Seattle’s southern suburbs, to take one example, are now as much as 30% foreign-born, with school districts stressed under the pressure of student bodies with upwards of thirty different native languages, from Amharic to Mixtec to Cambodian. Meanwhile, a number of suburbs in the US South and Southwest now have more residents speaking Spanish as a primary language than English.

But in many cities within the older rust belt, the process was less one of new migration and more a restructuring of existing patterns of segregation. This often saw the hollowing of the old city, the solidifying of some traditional inner-city ghettoes in Detroit-style environments of urban decay, and, in a few cities, the expansion of new zones of poverty outward into the suburbs. In these cities, the new segregation did not take the form of light diversity / high diversity, as in West Coast cities such as Seattle, Sacramento, and San Francisco, but instead retained its character as a white / black divide. St. Louis was one of these cities, but whereas others like Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore simply saw the consolidation of the traditional inner-city ghetto in the past twenty years, St. Louis saw both a condensing of its urban poverty and a suburbanization of this poverty.

Much of this demographic change has come in the last twenty years. As late as the 1990 census, the city was still 73.8% white and 25.1% black, but by 2010 this situation had entirely reversed, with 29.3% white and 67.4% black. Poverty had grown more severe and median income had either stagnated or dropped in the region, when adjusted for inflation. In Ferguson, unemployment doubled from around 5% in 2000 to an average of 13% between 2010 and 2012.

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The Difficult Theory of a Mad World

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From its central question, what does critical theory have to do with the critique of political economy?, Werner Bonefeld’s new book, reviewed here by Chris Wright, develops a deep engagement with the Frankfurt School, Marx and a constellation of less translated critics of the value-form.

By Chris Wright, Mute Magazine

I find it hard to tell you

’Cause I find it hard to take

When people run in circles it’s a very, very
Mad world

– Tears for Fears, ‘Mad World’

Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy is a difficult book to approach. Despite its small size, it is a theoretically dense and systematically developed work in which each chapter is premised on grasping the one preceding it. Each of its moments are an intertwining of precisely aimed critiques and novel critical expositions that challenge not just traditional Marxism, but much of the heterodox work alleging to renew Marxian thought in a post-Soviet, neoliberal world.1

The book opens with two questions that will be asked and answered repeatedly from different angles throughout: ‘What does Critical Theory have to do with the critique of political economy?’ and ‘What exactly do we mean by a “critique of political economy” that is different from a radical (“Marxist” or “Critical”) political economy?’

The students of Frankfurt School critical theory transformed the understanding of Capital against traditional Marxism with its technological determinism, historical teleology, and crude matterism that missed the centrality of the critique of social forms in Marx’s oeuvre. Social forms like value or abstract labour do not refer to objects, but the objectification of human relations in which essence and appearance do not coincide. Bonefeld analyses and criticises the main trends of that post-68 critical theory, especially the debates over the first few chapters of Capital. Not only does he revisit his earlier critiques of structuralist Marxism, but he comments critically on Hans-Georg Backhaus and Helmut Reichelt, who, among other key contemporaries, played a pivotal role in the turn towards the critique of the value-form.

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Berlin’s Surplus Crisis

In late June, Berlin’s central Kreuzberg district became the scene of a tense standoff between a group of refugees squatting in an abandoned school and the district authorities. The refugees had moved into the school after authorities destroyed refugee camps just a few months earlier. As more and more squatters moved in, the governing Green party faced pressure to resolve a situation where hygiene was deteriorating and crime was becoming an issue.

On June 24, authorities attempted to evict refugees from the school. With the refugees refusing to leave, the school and surrounding neighborhood block was besieged for eight days by riot police, protesters and press.

CIS/Berlin-SurplusProle division

Remarks on Activism

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Activism is the permanent “What is to be done?” of the epoch in which everything that constituted a worker identity has disappeared. A permanent “What is to be done?” which no longer disposes of that mediation towards generality which was represented by the worker identity and/ or the Party (existing or to be built), by the empowerment of the class, or more generally, by a proletarian being to be revealed, no matter if it was explicit in its mediations (political, trade-unionist, institutional) or thwarted by them. If activism is an autonomisation of the dynamics of the current cycle of struggles, this autonomisation becomes for activism, in its working modalities, the generality of the proletariat in which every particularity is just a contingency, an accidental occurrence.

This is why activism can also be defined on the basis of a constitutive contradiction: Practice is necessary to it, whereas it sustains a random relationship to its object. This contradiction could equally be formulated in the following terms: activism falls within the province of a general class belonging; its application is, in fact, always particular. Hardly pressed, without any mediation, between the general and the particular, activism is tactics, and always dissatisfied with itself and with others (until the next action). The next action is the rationale of the current action. Being fundamentally tactical, activism works like a toolbox: generalisation of the action, overcoming of sectional demands, self-organisation of the struggle, rejection of mediations, autonomy, etc. As a consequence, activism is normative. And while such a feature might not enter into its definition, it is nonetheless a preponderant trend.

For activism, any specific activity might have, in every case, been different. This appears to be self-evident as a critique of a tailor-made “enemy”: “determinism”. But the separation between an activity and the circumstances on which it is exerted constitutes a retrospective illusion which, constantly repeated, imposes itself a priori as a general comprehension of “practice”. “Practice” then becomes the question of practice, i.e. the question of intervention. The retrospective trap of the analysis of specific activities within a movement is defined by a separation, appearing a posteriori as self-evident (since it pertains to a cyclical movement) between the conditions of a movement and the activities or decisions of its actors (which are being retrospectively apprehended as particular objects). The starting point is the analysis of the limits of particular actions in relation with the movement, not of the limits of the movement of which these actions are constitutive elements, and which would admittedly have been different without them. One has separated what, in the best case, was in unison: conditions and activities, terms which not only were in unison, but rather absolutely identical – so much so, that no reality presents itself as the relation of these two terms. Their separation is the reconstruction of the world through the question of practice: an objective world faced by activity.

The error resides not only in the separation of the terms, but also in the comprehension of reality in these terms. Militants, always considering retrospectively their current action, have principles to apply, and dispose of a well-furnished toolbox; whereas the on-the-spot actors are content with the possibilities (which are actions themselves), the thoughts produced, and the initiatives taken at the moment of the action. This is because they are defined by those actions while, like everybody else, they do not identify themselves with them. The retrospective trap transforms a movement of struggles, which is the sum or, even better, a constantly changing interaction between actions and decisions taken, into a scene that becomes the object of action, that is, one to which the action is applied. In this way, activism constructs and confirms the abstract generality of its class practice. This is then a militant reconstruction of reality in which action is “pure action” and its preexisting subject is a “pure subject that constitutes reality”. Neither the activity nor its subject are being produced themselves; they just face the world as “pure object”. The relationship to the world becomes that of success or failure. Needless to say, “failure” is always being interpreted as conjunctural and/or circumstantial.

However, the dialectics of the particular and the general does not spare activism. Nourishing the pretension to always be general, activism is directed towards an attack on the general conditions of capitalist reproduction as its particular and preferred field of action: commodity, exchange, State violence, ideological constraints, the educational system, gender roles, etc. Activism finds there a generality adapted to its own abstraction. But what makes it fail in its attack on the general conditions of reproduction is that the practices deployed in this attack render these conditions as abstract as activism itself. By its very nature, activism stops before the point of articulation between the general and the particular: being defined by a general and abstract construction of class belonging, activist practice jumps over the reality of the particularities inherent in the capitalist relation of exploitation. For activism, the generality of the proletariat is simply given, or at least an internal truth to be revealed, a generality mirrored so as to justify the generality of activism itself. To further the analysis, the definition of the proletariat here appears as self-sufficient, independently of the relation between proletariat and capital, and thus of the specific, subsuming role of capital in this relation, and of its defining presence in the other pole of the relation.

It is in this sense that alternativism represents the natural inclination of activism, and the friction between “proletarian activism” and “alternativist activism” is a family affair (with its fair share of dirty linen to wash and the occasional murder between friends).

Sic 1.1 – Further Remarks on Activism

Istanbul’s Gentrification Wars

The mass protests surrounding Gezi Park, the corruption scandals, the Soma mining accident—none of these incidents will stop the majority of Turkish citizens from electing Recep Tayyip Erdogan as president. Among other things, this means that ambitious development projects and the AKP party’s controversial policies will likely multiply.

Last year’s Gezi uprising was sparked by a government project to transform the park in central Istanbul into a gigantic mall. While a relentless police crackdown has led many of last year’s protesters to abandon hope, the problems at the heart of Erdogan’s vision for Turkey’s urban development have not gone away. People directly affected by the development of certain neighborhoods are often left with only two options: to abandon hope or to fight.

One group that has decided to take the fight to the government is the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front, or DHKP/C. This extreme-left party—which is labeled a terrorist organization by the EU—is entrenched in many of the disenfranchised neighborhoods that have become targets for ruthless urban development. To stave off the forced relocation of inhabitants, the DKHP/C militants are prepared to combat not only the police, but also violent drug gangs that terrorize their neighborhoods, which they believe are collaborating with the state.

 

Karl Marxio Bros.