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leberwurst proletariat

Month: January, 2016

Your Job Is Pointless

Every Day The Same Dream 017

by Kit Caless

Like a lot of people, I’ve had a lot of jobs. I’ve been a deckhand on P&O Ferries, a dustman, a barman, an administration robot, a security guard, tea-boy at L’Oreal, a copywriter, an editor, a social media wonk. I’ve had zero hour contracts, I’ve been freelance, and I’ve had a salary. None of these things have satisfied me. In a country where the average worker spends 36 days a year writing emails (Londoners receive around 9,000 emails each year), you begin to wonder what the hell work really is.

And as we trudge back to work, it seems like a worthwhile time to ask: What is the point?

Peter Fleming, professor of Business and Society at City University, has tried to answer this question in his book The Mythology of Work. When I met him in an overpriced café in east London, he told me, “The refusal of work movement isn’t about laziness.” In fact, he said, “it’s nothing to do with doing nothing. In fact, if you want to see people doing nothing, go into a large corporation. Some of us are very lucky that our work really is a labor of love, but that’s not the case most of the time.”

General antipathy for work makes it all the more weird that, if you live in a metropolis like London, the one question everyone will ask when they meet you for the first time is, “What do you do?” Fleming says this is natural. “The ideology of work has demolished all of the other traditional status structures related to religion, artistic endeavor, raising family, and other status symbols within communities. After demolishing these structures we have been presented with a situation that tells us the only thing that matters is the work you do—and therefore you should revolve and center your whole life around that. It’s followed the increased individualization of society, which has broken traditional communities apart.”

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Winter has come

refugee demo for better living conditions

tempelhofer feld, berlin, 23.1.16

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After Capitalism

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HOW WILL IT END? For centuries even the most sanguine of capitalism’s theorists have thought it not long for this world. Smith, Ricardo, and Mill pointed to a “falling rate of profit” linked to inevitable declines in agricultural productivity. Marx applied the same concept to industrial production, suggesting that the tendency to replace workers with machines would lead to a chronic and insurmountable lack of demand. Sombart saw the restive adventurousness of capitalism as the key to its success—and, ultimately, its failure: though the appearance of new peripheries had long funneled profits back to the center, the days of “stout Cortez” had ended and there would one day be no empires or hinterlands to subdue.

Schumpeter was the gloomiest of all. He opened a chapter titled “Can Capitalism Survive?” (in his Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy) with the definitive answer, “No. I do not think it can.” Inspired by Marx, he imagined that the very success of capitalism—the creation of large enterprises through continuous innovation—would lead to profound fatigue as innovation came to be merely routine, and the bourgeoisie turned its attention toward the banalities of office life: “Success in industry and commerce requires a lot of stamina, yet industrial and commercial activity is essentially unheroic in the knight’s sense—no flourishing of swords about it, not much physical prowess, no chance to gallop the armored horse into the enemy, preferably a heretic or heathen — and the ideology that glorifies the idea of fighting for fighting’s sake and of victory for victory’s sake understandably withers in the office among all the columns of figures.” He foresaw a world in which intellectuals, a marginalized and unhappy lot, would turn their discontent into politics and lead the discontented castoffs of capitalism toward socialism.

These predictions, however, failed to describe what was actually happening with capitalism in the 20th century. By the 1980s people had turned toward a different proposition of Schumpeter’s: that competition “from the new commodity, the new technology, the new source of supply, the new type of organization” was the source of dynamism in a swiftly growing economy. For Schumpeter, the crises of capitalism were signs not of the system’s debility but of its secret health. Business cycles were zesty, violent guarantees of continued growth. Monopolies were only temporary and could be broken up by the “perennial gale of creative destruction.” When in the 1960s and ’70s the otherwise impregnable position of American industry was broken by competition from Germany and Japan, Schumpeter seemed prescient. The response of corporations in the 1980s—enormous mergers, leveraged buyouts, union busting, corporate raiding, mass layoffs, and upward redistribution of wealth—seemed almost to be taking his words as prescriptive.

But while the economy has been dynamic, it has not been healthy. Several crashes later, the gloom has returned, and the signs of autumn are once again most recognizable in the pronouncements of free-market capitalism’s erstwhile boosters. In the past year, many have taken up Larry Summers’s remark that we have entered a period of “secular stagnation,” marked by persistent and slow growth worldwide. Fiscal austerity is general, taxes remain low, and debt levels continue to rise—which means that Western countries, by selling treasury bonds to the rich through capital markets, are actually paying their elites in bond yields to avoid having to go through the politically impossible process of taxing them. Absent any political recourse to countercyclical fiscal policy, central banks in the US, the Eurozone, and Japan have kept interest rates low and pumped trillions of dollars of fiat money into the financial system, keeping banks and dot-com companies liquid and driving the rich to put their money into the condos now flooding Manhattan, all while leaving median wages pleasantly low. It’s kept things humming along, but not much more than that. Fear courses through the veins of the free-marketers, who recognize that all is not well with the system they love.

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Is This a Coup?

Yanis Varoufakis comments on Paul Mason’s documentary “#THIS IS A COUP” 

Paul Mason’s recently released four-part documentary #THIS IS A COUP, on the crushing of the Athens Spring, offers much food for thought. Paul and I have had many opportunities to discuss the issues it covers, including on stage in London in front of a magnificent audience. When the time comes, I shall publish my full account. But for now, here are some comments for each one of the four episodes, culminating to a general comment at the very end. 

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Ellen Meiksins Wood, Theorist of Capitalism and Class Struggle, R.I.P. 2016

“Class struggle is the nucleus of Marxism. This is so in two inseparable senses: it is class struggle that for Marxism explains the dynamic of history, and it is the abolition of classes, the obverse or end-product of class struggle, that is the ultimate objective of the revolutionary process. The particular importance for Marxism of the working class in capitalist society is that this is the only class whose own class interests require, and whose own conditions make possible, the abolition of class itself. The inseparable unity of this view of history and this revolutionary objective is what above all distinguishes Marxism from other conceptions of social transformation, and without it there is no Marxism. These propositions may seem so obvious as to be trivial; yet it can be argued that the history of Marxism in the twentieth century has been marked by a gradual shift away from these principles. The perspectives of Marxism have increasingly come to be dominated by the struggle for power. Where the achievement of political power was originally conceived by Marxism as an aspect or instrument of class struggle, whose object is its own abolition, class struggle has increasingly tended to appear as a means toward the achievement of political power-and sometimes not even as a primary or essential means.  – Marxism without Class Struggle, EMW

For millennia, human beings have provided for their material needs by working the land. And probably for nearly as long as they have engaged in agriculture they have been divided into classes, between those who worked the land and those who appropriated the labor of others. That division between appropriators and producers has taken many forms in different times and places, but one general characteristic they have had in common is that the direct producers have typically been peasants. These peasant producers have remained in possession of the means of production, specifically land. As in all pre-capitalist societies, these producers have had direct access to the means of their own reproduction. This has meant that when their surplus labor has been appropriated by exploiters, it has been done by what Marx called “extra-economic” means—that is, by means of direct coercion, exercised by landlords and/or states employing superior force, privileged access to military, judicial, and political power.

Here, then, is the most basic difference between all pre-capitalist societies and capitalism. It has nothing to do with whether production is urban or rural and everything to do with the particular property relations between producers and appropriators, whether in industry or agriculture. Only in capitalism is the dominant mode of surplus appropriation based on the dispossession of the direct producers whose surplus labor is appropriated by purely “economic” means. Because direct producers in a fully developed capitalism are propertyless, and because their only access to the means of production, to the requirements of their own reproduction, even to the means of their own labor, is the sale of their labor-power in exchange for a wage, capitalists can appropriate the workers’ surplus labor without direct coercion.

This unique relation between producers and appropriators is, of course, mediated by the “market.” Markets of various kinds have existed throughout recorded history and no doubt before, as people have exchanged and sold their surpluses in many different ways and for many different purposes. But the market in capitalism has a distinctive and unprecedented function. Virtually everything in capitalist society is a commodity produced for the market. And even more fundamentally, both capital and labor are utterly dependent on the market for the most basic conditions of their own reproduction. Just as workers depend on the market to sell their labor-power as a commodity, capitalists depend on it to buy labor-power, as well as the means of production, and to realize their profits by selling the goods or services produced by the workers. This market-dependence gives the market an unprecedented role in capitalist societies, as not only a simple mechanism of exchange or distribution but as the principal determinant and regulator of social reproduction. The emergence of the market as a determinant of social reproduction presupposed its penetration into the production of life’s most basic necessity, food.

This unique system of market-dependence entails some very distinctive “laws of motion,” specific systemic requirements and compulsions shared by no other mode of production: the imperatives of competition, accumulation, and profit-maximization. And these imperatives, in turn, mean that capitalism can, and must, constantly expand in ways and degrees unlike any other social form—constantly accumulating, constantly searching out new markets, constantly imposing its imperatives on new territories and new spheres of life, on human beings and the natural environment.

Once we recognize just how distinctive these social relations and processes are, how different they are from other social forms which have dominated most of human history, it becomes clear that more is required to explain the emergence of this distinctive social form than the question-begging assumption that it has always existed in embryo, just needing to be liberated from unnatural constraints. The question of its origins, then, can be formulated this way: given that producers were exploited by appropriators in noncapitalist ways for millennia before the advent of capitalism, and given that markets have also existed “time out of mind” and almost everywhere, how did it happen that producers and appropriators, and the relations between them, came to be so market dependent?  – The Agrarian Origins of Capitalism, EMW

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Endnotes 4, 3, 2, 1

ENDNOTES 4: UNITY IN SEPARATIONOCTOBER 2015

  1. A chronicle of #BlackLivesMatter, situating this movement in the history of race politics and struggles in the US. Traces the shifting meaning of black identity in a context of growing surplus populations managed by incarceration and police violence.

  2. A HISTORY OF SEPARATION

    The rise and fall of the workers’ movement, 1883-1982. European socialists and communists had expected the accumulation of capital both to expand the size of the industrial workforce and, at the same time, to unify the workers as a social subject: the collective worker, the class in-and-for itself. Instead capitalist accumulation gave birth to the separated society. The forces of atomisation overpowered those of collectivisation. Late capitalist civilisation is now destabilising, but without, as yet, calling forth the new social forces that might be able, finally, to dissolve it.

    1. PREFACE

    2. THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE WORKERS’ MOVEMENT

    3. THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE MODERN WORLD

    4. THE FRACTURING OF THE WORKERS’ MOVEMENT

    5. THE STRANGE VICTORY OF THE WORKERS’ MOVEMENT

    6. THE DEFEAT OF THE WORKERS’ MOVEMENT

    7. AFTERWORD

  3. GATHER US FROM AMONG THE NATIONS

    An analysis of the biggest protest wave taking place in Bosnia-Herzegovina since the 1992-95 war. When workers from privatised factories — whose demands had been ignored by authorities for years — were attacked by police in Tuzla in February 2014, thousands took to the streets, storming several Canton government buildings and setting them on fire. During the following months, citizens held large assemblies, where they rejected the ethnic divisions that had plagued the country for more than two decades. Analyzing the relation of the protesters to the state, as well as the specific role of nationalism in the region, we look at how this movement tried to answer the problem of composition.

  4. ITS OWN PECULIAR DECOR

    CHRIS WRIGHT

    The United States is anomalous among the most developed capitalist countries for its lack of social democratic structures and independent working class politics. This article argues that the peculiar spacial deployment of capital’s powers in the U.S. following the ‘sprawl’ model and the redistribution of wealth downwards through highly racialized and gendered private home ownership have played an important role in the rise of reactionary populism. In pointing out both the particular and the more general moments of this development, this piece also hopes to point out some of its limits and the potential for its subversion.

  5. AN IDENTICAL ABJECT-SUBJECT?

    A clarification of the concept of surplus population. Explores the problem of applying this category to a single, coherent social subject and of valorising the surplus as the new global revolutionary agent. Attempts to sketch a relation between surplus population and social stigmatisation or abjection.

ENDNOTES 3: GENDER, RACE, CLASS AND OTHER MISFORTUNESSEPTEMBER 2013

  1. EDITORIAL

    Past, present and future of the Endnotes project.

  2. THE HOLDING PATTERN

    Since 2007, states have been forced to undertake extraordinary actions. Bailouts have shifted private debts onto public balance sheets. And the world’s central banks are spending billions of dollars, every month, to convince capital to invest in a trickle. So far these state interventions have managed to stall the unfolding crisis. Yet its petrification has been the petrification of class struggle. Like the crisis itself, the struggles of 2011–2013 entered a holding pattern, unable to venture beyond the weak unity—defined by anti-austerity, anti-police, and anti-corruption sentiments—that was established in the movement of the squares.

  3. THE LOGIC OF GENDER

    Marxist-feminists have employed a number of binary oppositions: productive/reproductive, paid/unpaid and public/private. We interrogate these categories and propose new ones. Starting from the specificities of the production and reproduction of labour-power, we define gender as the anchoring of individuals into two separate spheres of social reproduction. We trace the development of these spheres through the history of the capitalist mode of production, and survey the dynamics of gender in the recent crisis, which we characterize as a rise of the abject.

  4. A RISING TIDE LIFTS ALL BOATS

    A reading of the 2011 England riots and British student movement against a backdrop of decades-long social processes of abjection, class decomposition and the tendential disintegration of the wage relation.

  5. LOGISTICS, COUNTERLOGISTICS AND THE COMMUNIST PROSPECT

    JASPER BERNES

    An inquiry into the consequences of “the logistics revolution” for contemporary struggles. In light of the disaggregation and diffusion of productive capacity across the globe, direct seizure of the means of production no longer describes an implementable project for the majority of proletarians. New horizons and prospects materialise.

  6. THE LIMIT POINT OF CAPITALIST EQUALITY

    CHRIS CHEN

    Without taking identity, cultural difference, or normative “privilege” as fundamental categories of anti-racist analysis, this article sketches a racial genealogy of superfluous populations as a constitutive feature of the emergence and spatial expansion of capitalism. The possibility of abolishing “race” as superfluity is therefore bound to contemporary anti-capitalist struggles, and vice-versa.

  7. SPONTANEITY, MEDIATION, RUPTURE

    How can we recover the key concepts of revolutionary theory today, that is, after the end of the workers’ movement? We offer the following reflections on three concepts — spontaneity, mediation, rupture — as an attempt to re-fashion the core of revolutionary theory, for our times. By taking cognisance of the gap that separates us from the past, we hope to extract from past theories something of use to us in the present.

ENDNOTES 2: MISERY AND THE VALUE FORMAPRIL 2010

  1. CRISIS IN THE CLASS RELATION

    Taking the capitalist class relation as a self-reproducing whole, the horizon of its overcoming appears as an invariant aspect of this whole, albeit one with a historically variant quality. Surplus population and capital’s basic problem of labour characterise core dynamics underlying the shift in this horizon beyond the old programme of workers’ power.

  2. MISERY AND DEBT

    A re-reading and historical interpretation of Marx’s “general law of accumulation”— the tendency for the expanded reproduction of capital to throw off more labour than it absorbs—in light of the growth of surplus populations and surplus capital in the world today.

  3. NOTES ON THE NEW HOUSING QUESTION

    Preliminary materials for a theory of home-ownership, credit, and housework in the post-war US economy. How is the fundamental separation between production and reproduction transformed when the home becomes the commodity through which all others are sold?

  4. COMMUNISATION AND VALUE-FORM THEORY

    The theory of communisation and Marxian value-form theory emerge from the same historical moment, mutually complement each other, and point towards the same radical conception of revolution as the immediate transformation of social relations, one in which we cease to constitute value and it ceases to constitute us.

  5. THE MOVING CONTRADICTION

    A reconstruction of the systematic dialectic of capital as a dialectic of class struggle. The forms of value which are constituted by and regulate social practice are totalising and self-reproducing through the subsumption of labour under capital. The totality so constituted is inwardly contradictory, and ultimately self-undermining: capitalist accumulation is a moving contradiction, i.e. a historical contradiction, between capital and proletariat.

  6. THE HISTORY OF SUBSUMPTION

    The philosophical/logical concept of subsumption is employed in various periodisations of capitalist society, such as those of Théorie Communiste, Jacques Camatte, and Antonio Negri. A critical examination of this concept and its historical uses.

  7. SLEEP-WORKER’S ENQUIRY

    Worker’s enquiry in the cynical mode: the unrevolutionary working life of the web developer.

ENDNOTES 1: PRELIMINARY MATERIALS FOR A BALANCE SHEET OF THE 20TH CENTURYOCTOBER 2008

  1. BRING OUT YOUR DEAD

    An Introduction to the debate between Théorie Communiste (TC) and Troploin (Dauvé & Nesic) concerning how to theorise the history and actuality of class struggle and revolution in the capitalist epoch.

  2. WHEN INSURRECTIONS DIE

    GILLES DAUVÉ

    Dauvé shows how the wave of proletarian revolts in the first half of the twentieth century failed: either because they were crushed by the vicissitudes of war and ideology, or because their “victories” took the form of counter-revolutions themselves, setting up social systems which, in their reliance on monetary exchange and wage-labour, failed to transcend capitalism.

  3. NORMATIVE HISTORY AND THE COMMUNIST ESSENCE OF THE PROLETARIAT

    THÉORIE COMMUNISTE

    In their critique of When Insurrections Die, TC attack Dauvé’s “normative” perspective, in which actual revolutions are counter-posed to what they could and should have been, that is, to a never-completely-spelled-out formula of a genuine communist revolution. In contrast, TC claim to give a robust account of the whole cycle of revolution, counter-revolution and restructuring, in which revolutions can be shown to have contained their own counter-revolutions as the intrinsic limit of the cycles they emerge from and bring to term.

  4. HUMAN, ALL TOO HUMAN?

    GILLES DAUVÉ

    Dauvé criticises TC for proposing a self-referential historical model that unjustifiably privileges the current cycle of struggles, while denying proletarian actors of the past all capacity for action not completely determined by the historically-prevailing relation between capital and wage-labour.

  5. LOVE OF LABOUR? LOVE OF LABOUR LOST…

    GILLES DAUVÉ & KARL NESIC

    Dauvé and Nesic’s historical account challenges the thesis that the self-identification of the proletarian as producer has been the decisive cause of its defeats. When, they ask, did the workers actually try to shoulder economic growth? When did they ever compete with bourgeois owners or modern directors for the management of the companies? Workers’ movements don’t boil down to an affirmation of labour. And if the “being” of the proletariat theorised by Marx is not just a metaphysics, its content is independent of the forms taken by capitalist domination.

  6. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

    THÉORIE COMMUNISTE

    TC undertake a painstaking, point-by-point refutation of “Love of Labor? Love of Labour Lost…”, first by developing in detail the concept of programmatism, which allows for an historicisation of the terms of class struggle, revolution and communism, then by delineating the originality of a new cycle of struggle, beyond programmatism.

  7. AFTERWORD

    On the difference between TC’s and Dauvé’s theory of communisation: ever-present and invariant possibility, or specific form which the communist revolution must take in the current cycle of struggle. Following TC’s account of the development of the class relation, without embracing their categories of formal and real subsumption, it is argued that the communist movement must be understood neither as a movement of communists nor of the class, but of the totality itself.

Silk Roads

Chronicpain

“I imagine that someday I may have a story written about my life and it would be good to have a detailed account of it.” —home/frosty/documents/journal/2012/q1/january/week1

THE POSTMAN ONLY rang once. Curtis Green was at home, greeting the morning with 64 ounces of Coca-Cola and powdered mini doughnuts. Fingers frosted synthetic white, he was startled to hear someone at the door. It was 11 am, and surprise visits were uncommon at his modest house in Spanish Fork, Utah, a high-desert hamlet in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. Green ambled over, adjusting his camouflage fanny pack. At 47 his body was already failing him: He was overweight, with four herniated discs, a bum knee, and gleaming white dental implants. To get around he sometimes borrowed his wife’s pink cane. Green waddled to the door, his two Chihuahuas, Max and Sammy, following attentively.

He peeked through the front window and caught a glimpse of the postman hurrying off. The guy was wearing a US Postal Service jacket, but with sneakers and jeans. Weird, Green thought. Also odd was a van Green noticed across the street, one he’d never seen before: white, with no logos or rear windows.

Green opened the door. It was winter, a day of high clouds and low sun. A pale haze washed out the white-tipped Spanish Fork Peak rising above the valley. Green looked down. On the porch sat a Priority box—about Bible-sized. His little dogs watched him pick up the mystery package. It was heavy, had no return address, and bore a postmark from Maryland.

Green considered the package and then took it into his kitchen, where he tore it open with scissors, sending up a plume of white powder that covered his face and numbed his tongue. Just then the front door burst open, knocked off its hinges by a SWAT team wielding a battering ram. Quickly the house was flooded by cops in riot gear and black masks, weapons at the ready. There was Green, covered in cocaine and flanked by two Chihuahuas. “On the floor!” someone yelled. Green dropped the package where he stood. When he tried to comfort his pups, a dozen guns took aim: “Keep your hands where we can see them!”

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Roar Magazine

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roarmag.org

All around us lie the ruins—remnants of an old left and a bygone era of revolutionary aspirations.

Some of the decaying structures remain, to be sure, but everywhere the wreckage of the labor movement is now apparent: its traditional organizations lie in shambles, the smoldering debris strewn across the depoliticized landscape of our “post-ideological” societies, while its emancipatory ideals have long since given way to capitalist monstrosities—totalitarian and technocratic alike—that make a mockery of the movement’s origins in the great workers’ struggles of the nineteenth century.

Seemingly devoid of people or power, the ruins have become a testament to a world-historic and largely self-inflicted defeat.

Capital now rules these lands, and, like it or not, it is the desolation and debris we have inherited as our own. Amidst this rubble we must now discover the building blocks for a new kind of left and a radically democratic anti-capitalist politics, both to counter the relentless assault on our common future and to construct other possible worlds in the process.

Thankfully, events of recent years appear to hail a reawakening of revolutionary aspirations across the globe, accompanied by the resurgence of specters old and new. Powerful forces are stirring below the surface, lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to strike and shake the world of capital to its very foundations. It is upon us to ensure that, by the time the next wave comes around, we are adequately prepared to rise to the challenge of our times.

ROAR was founded in 2010-‘11 with this sole purpose in mind: to reflect on the tide of popular revolt as it ebbed and flowed from Tahrir to Rojava and beyond. Now, as our movements mature and we look to new horizons, ROAR is about to embark on an exciting new adventure itself.

This free (digital-only) inaugural issue marks the launch of our new website and of ROAR’s transformation into a quarterly journal of the radical imagination. Packed with visionary perspectives from leading thinkers and influential activists alike, we believe the struggles and ideas discussed within these pages constitute some tentative theoretical and practical building blocks for the construction of a broad-based anti-capitalist movement for the twenty-first century.

In the winter, we will be releasing our first proper print issue—Revive la Commune!—to follow up on some of the themes discussed here. We warmly invite you to support this important activist publishing project by subscribing.

We are acutely aware that the construction of a new world is far more than an academic exercise. We do not harbor any illusions about the “Eternal Truths” of radical theory and we certainly do not aim to write any blueprints for a post-capitalist future.

We simply write to learn from each others’ struggles, to share our common dreams and aspirations, and to amplify our collective powers—so that one day we may be able to recount the story of our struggle to future generations:

Yes, we lived amidst the ruins.
Until we picked up the stones,
And we began to build.

Art and Value

Tate Modern Launch The Damien Hirst Retrospective

Review of Dave Beech, Art and Value: Art’s Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics

by Jasper Bernes and Daniel Spaulding, RP 195 (Jan/Feb 2016) 

Dave Beech’s fundamental claim is that art is not a standard commodity. Art is, rather, ‘exceptional’, in the sense that its production, circulation and consumption follow patterns that are aberrant from the perspective of capital accumulation. The authors of the present review are in complete agreement with this claim. Indeed, after reading the book, we find it hard to imagine how anyone could not be. It suffices to observe – as Beech does, at length – that works of art are not produced as a result of the outlay of capital, that artists are not wage-labourers, and that the market price of art commodities is not established through competition as it is with other commodities. The case for art’s exceptional status vis-à-vis typical commodity production therefore seems open and shut. Alas, the (art) world is not so simple. Confusion reigns on this point, even – or especially – among Marxists.

Beech’s accomplishment is to have irrefutably demonstrated artistic production’s difference from capitalist production, and to have done so in a text that is distinguished by a higher level of erudition than anything heretofore published on the topic. Art and Value is the definitive retort to congeries of speculation on the commodity character of art – a morass, to be sure, in which a basic handle on the critique of political economy goes a long way towards clearing the air. This is terrain where even specialists lose their way. Consider a 2012 article in the online journal nonsite.org by the literary scholar Nicholas Brown, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Its Real Subsumption under Capital’. The title gives the game away, of course. And the first sentence makes it explicit: ‘Whatever previous ages might have fancied, we are wise enough to know that the work of art is a commodity like any other.’

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Zwischen Rebellion und Affirmation, oder: Ultras sind politisch und auch wieder nicht

carsi12

Ein Gespräch mit Ralf Heck, dem Betreiber des Blogs „footballuprising

Seit knapp zwei Jahren gibt es den Blog „footballuprising“ – darin finden sich äußerst lesenswerte Analysen und Reflexionen vor allem zur politischen Wirkweise von Fußballfans, speziell von Ultra-Gruppierungen, die nicht nur in Europa, sondern auch darüber hinaus agieren.

Allerdings geht es nicht um Glorifizierung oder Rechtfertigung, sondern um differenzierte Meinungen und Berichte, etwas, das im Zusammenhang mit Ultras nicht immer zu finden ist, im Gegenteil: Allzu schnell hat sich in den Mainstream-Medien das Bild von den sich selbst feiernden, eine gewisse rebellische Attitüde zelebrierenden, vor allem aber auf Fun oder Krawall aus seienden Die-Hard-Fans geformt und verfestigt. Mit der entsprechenden Abneigung gegenüber dem Auftreten dieser Gruppen – das bisweilen durchaus eine gewisse Arroganz zu zeitigen scheint. Vielleicht aber nur der Versuch ist, eine bestimmte Sicht auf den Fußballsport zu befördern?

Ausgangspunkt für „footballuprising“: die Beteiligung von Fußballfans an den weltweit stattfindenden politischen Protesten und Aufständen. Bilder aus Istanbul oder Kairo sind politisch interessierten LeserInnen sicherlich noch vor Augen – Bilder von Fangruppen, die Proteste gegen Regierungen und Polizeigewalt unterstützten, die tatsächlich in solchen Momenten mehr einer Bürgerbewegung glichen denn einer Blase von Fußballfans.

Fanpolitik gleich Realpolitik? Über diesen Bezug gehen die Beiträge in „footballuprising“. So räsoniert etwa in einem der letzten Blog-Einträge James M. Dorsey unter der Überschrift „Soccer Is Politics” darüber, warum das repressive Regime Ägyptens Fußballfans als eine der größten Bedrohungen ansieht („Why Egypt’s repressive regime considers soccer fans one of its biggest threats“). Dorseys Beitrag ist gespiegelt, zuerst im unabhängigen US-amerikanischen Zweimonatsmagazin „The American Interest“ erschienen, über sein Betätigungsfeld heißt es „a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and author of the blog The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer and a forthcoming book with the same title.”

Das ist die Art von Texten, die das Interesse der PASS-Redaktion geweckt haben. Aus dem Grund hat sich Stefan Erhardt mit dem Blog-Initiator und -Betreiber Ralf Heck näher unterhalten.

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