communists in situ

leberwurst proletariat

Category: Shnorrer

How ‘South Park’ Perfectly Captures Our Era of Outrage

check-your-privilege

by James Poniewozik

If “South Park” were a person, it would be old enough to vote, though it probably wouldn’t. That scabrous cartoon has been a one-stop shop for anti-partisan satire and blasphemy on Comedy Central since 1997.

Few comedies can stay first-rate for that long. (Sorry, Homer.) Early in the current season, the show’s 19th, the creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone seem to wonder how well the show’s offend-at-all-costs ethos has aged. “It’s like I’m a relic,” a recurring character says. “Sometimes I feel like I’ve outstayed my welcome.”

The character in question is a white restaurant owner who believes he is Chinese and speaks in a grossly stereotyped Asian accent. Maybe, that meta-lament seemed to suggest, the show had started punching down in its later years.Yet this fall “South Park” has gone and revitalized itself, by telling a more ambitious, serialized story and by asserting that it takes an outrageous comedy to capture an era of outrage.

This season, which airs its finale on Wednesday, is built around an extended satire of political correctness. South Park, Colo., is taken over by a new school principal — named, aptly, P. C. Principal — and his crew of like-minded, jacked-up frat bros, who believe that being p.c. “means you love nothing more than beer, working out and the feeling that you get when you rhetorically defend a marginalized community from systems of oppression!” They meet microaggression with macroaggression, bullying kids and adults who, say, refer to the transgender reality star Caitlyn Jenner as anything less than “stunning and brave.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Trigger Warning

Group of corporate business people networking on a white background

 Micro-aggressions, Privilege Theory, Safe Spaces deemed acceptable by Capitalism

Dolphinocene

dolphinocene

we’re coming for you.

Murray Hates Bernie

bookchin-en-1984

Murray Bookchin, “The Bernie Sanders Paradox: When Socialism Grows Old” (1986)

The posters that appeared all over Burlington — Vermont’s largest city (pop: 37,000) in the winter of 1980-81 were arresting and provocative. They showed an old map of the city with a label slapped across it that read: “For Sale.” A bold slogan across the top, in turn, proclaimed that “Burlington Is Not for Sale,” and smiling amiably in the right-hand corner was the youngish, fairly well-known face of Bernard Sanders, sans tie, open-collared, almost endearingly shy and unpretentious. The onlooker was enjoined to rescue Burlington by voting for “Bernie” Sanders for mayor. Sanders, the long-time gubernatorial candidate of Vermont’s maverick Liberty Union, was now challenging “Gordie” Paquette, an inert Democratic fixture in City Hall, who had successfully fended off equally inert Republican opponents for nearly a decade.

Bernie-Sanders-Bennington-Banner-9-10-1974-v2-1600x2158

That Sanders won this election on March 3, 1981, by only ten votes is now a Vermont legend that has percolated throughout the country over the past five years. What gives Sanders almost legendary qualities as a mayor and politician is that he proclaims himself to be a socialist — to many admiring acolytes, a Marxist — who is now in the midpoint of a third term after rolling up huge margins in two previous elections. From a ten-vote lead to some fifty-two percent of the electorate, Sanders has ballooned out of Burlington in a flurry of civic tournaments that variously cast him as a working-class hero or a demonic “Bolshevik.” His victories now make the New York Times and his trips outside of Burlington take him to places as far as Managua, where he has visited with Daniel Ortega, and to Monthly Review fundraising banquets, where he rubs shoulders with New York’s radical elite. Sanders has even been invited to the Socialist Scholar’s Conference, an offer he wisely declined. Neither scholarship nor theory is a Sanders forte. If socialist he be, he is of the “bread-and-butter” kind whose preference for “realism” over ideals has earned him notoriety even within his closest co-workers in City Hall.

Read the rest of this entry »

Embrace Communism

Captain America couverture 001

The entire nation has come to idolize professional athlete and scholar Chuck Blayne. Watching a televised program of Blayne are Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. Bucky points out that Blayne has become a real role model to teenagers and wonders if the media star will eventually eclipse even Captain America in popularity. Listening to Blayne’s speech over the television Bucky finds himself motivated, however the words remind Steve of somebody but he can’t quite place it.

Unknown to the two heroes Blayne is really a communist spy who meets with his superiors. Impressed by how Blayne has easily won the respect of the American public they decide to step up to the next phase of their plan, planting a bomb in the United Nations and having Blayne denounce the organization and urging the public to side with him in order to prevent the bomb from going off and destroying half of New York City.

Blayne follows everything according to plan and during the next meeting with the United Nations, Blayne interrupts the proceedings with his bomb threat, telling the people of America over television cameras to abolish the United Nations and embrace communism or risk having half of New York blown up. The United Nations building is evacuated and Blayne taken into police custody, but he refuses to reveal the location of the bomb. Hearing the news, Captain America and Bucky arrive on the scene to help search for the bomb. Cap suggests cutting the power to the entire building and they begin searching for the bomb. Without the hum of other electronics, Captain America easily finds what he believes to be the only bomb and disarms it.

However, he wants a full confession out of Blayne and has him brought into the UN building to confess, not making him aware that the bomb has already been removed. With the clock ticking Blayne suddenly cracks and reveals that there is not one bomb, but two, and the second more powerful explosive is hidden in the clock in the UN assembly forum. Captain America holds back the clocks hands while the authorities disarm the bomb. With the crisis averted and Blayne exposed as a communist on live television Captain America suddenly remembers where he has heard Blayne’s speech before, as it is the same one that Adolf Hitler made during World War II.

Bring Out Your Fantasy

19CROSSCUTS2-articleLarge

In other eras and societies — the Great Depression, the Soviet Union — long lines signify scarcity or oppression. In the Bizarro World that is 21st-century America, it’s the opposite: Long lines are signs of abundance and hedonism. Much can be learned about a civilization from studying its queuing habits, and Comic-Con surpasses even the Disney theme parks in the sophistication of its crowd management and the variety of its arrangements.

– Bring Out Your Fantasy and Fuel the Culture

Kung Fury

[definitely a C.I.S. production]

Rusticating Marx

karl-marx-as-a-glacier

No more Marxism on the Cambridge syllabus

Simon Hewitt, RP 191 (May/Jun 2015)

In March the Philosophy Faculty at Cambridge removed a course on Marxism from its syllabus. This was in spite of significant opposition, including two student-led petitions. Along with another course on Power this constituted the entire coverage of non-liberal political philosophy, leaving coverage of questions about human society dominated by the liberal tradition. [1] At Cambridge, as elsewhere, political philosophy as a sub-discipline looks set to become the enterprise of writing footnotes to Rawls. [2]

In earlier decades courses on Marxism were not unusual, and research in the field considered credibly part of the philosophical enterprise. Neither is the case now; the seemingly inexorable decline has been marked by prominent departmental milestones, of which the loss of the Cambridge course is one, the ending of the federal University of London BA another. [3] It may be that the situation is better in departments with a continental orientation, where if nothing else Marx can always be smuggled in under the catholic auspices of ‘critical theory’, but these are in a minority in the UK system.

It was not always thus. It is a curious feature of the history of English language philosophy since Russell and Moore, generally not considered a radical affair, that Marx always found favour in some quarters. As partisan a positivist as A.J. Ayer was prepared to give Highgate Cemetery’s best-known resident a hearing, on the basis that Marxism entailed historical predictions, which were subject to the test of empirical verification. [4] The ethos of postwar British philosophy was receptive to a certain understanding of Marx, namely a scientistic and historically determinist one, even if such a ‘Marx’ was a caricature. Marx’s writings have always been dubiously situated with respect to the analytic–continental division in Western philosophy, a division whose clarity is in no way as great as the earnestness with which its boundaries are policed, and whose own material basis in the academy is long overdue critical investigation. The standard narrative about this division identifies Kant as the last shared ancestor of analytic and continental philosophy. Marx, like Hegel, postdates Kant, but pre-dates the cementing of the rival traditions, often reckoned to have taken place in the persons of Frege and Husserl. He awkwardly escapes the discipline’s own self-narrative, and ever threatens to shatter the all too cosy symbolic order of the philosophical academy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Berlin lizards impede Lenin’s resurrection

The head of Berlin’s largest statue of Lenin is about to be dug up after almost a quarter of a century – if a local colony of lizards cooperates. David Crossland reports from Berlin.

image

Lenin has lain in a sandpit at the southeastern edge of Berlin since 1991 when the city, desperate to rid itself of the painful reminders of its division, cut the 19-meter (62-foot) statue into more than a hundred pieces and buried them.

Now, after administrative battles with reluctant authorities and grumbling from Berliners who thought they had got rid of the old communist forever, a museum plans to resurrect the 3.5-ton, 1.70-meter head this summer for a planned museum of disgraced monuments from the city’s tumultuous history.

There’s just one little problem left to solve before it can finally glimpse the light of day: lizards. Sand lizards, to be precise, strictly protected by European wildlife conservation rules.

Read the rest of this entry »

For Passover

image

Vegetarian Matzo Ball Soup

serves 6
For the matzo balls:
2 cups matzo meal (I prefer to buy unsalted crackers and pulse in the food processor)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon truffle salt (if you don’t have truffle salt, it’s okay, just use regular)
4 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter (you could use shmaltz, if you are not vegetarian)
1/4 cup seltzer water

For the soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, roughly diced
4 small carrots or 2 large, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sherry or white wine
2 quarts Imagine “No Chicken” broth or homemade vegetable stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried dill
Fresh dill for garnish

Matzo balls:
Pulse the matzo crackers in a food processor until an imperfect powder is formed. A few bigger pieces are fine. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the matzo meal, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, butter and seltzer water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until evenly incorporated. Refrigerate mixture for about an hour (or up to 6 hours).

Heat a large stockpot of water and bring to a boil. Wet your hands a little and round matzo mixture the size of golf balls. Handle the mixture as little as possible. The lighter the touch, the lighter the matzo ball! The matzo balls will expand as you cook them.

When all matzo balls are formed and water is boiling, carefully drop each one into the boiling water. Cover and do not lift the lid for 25 minutes. (Another matzo tradition is to never check on the dumplings while they’re cooking or that will cause them to be tough and heavy.) After 25 minutes, cut one ball in half and make sure it is cooked. I cooked mine for about 5 minutes more, in total 30 minutes with one lifting of the lid.

Soup:
In another soup pot, get your stock going. Heat the olive oil on medium and saute the onions, carrot and celery for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are beginning to soften. Add sherry (or white wine) and cook for another 2 minutes. Add vegetable stock, garlic, bay leaves, dill and simmer for about 30 minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.

Add matzo balls to the stock about 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, gently warming the soup (the matzo balls will absorb some of the great stock flavor, so don’t skimp on this step). Garnish with fresh dill sprigs.

Varoufake

(definitely a c.i.s. action)

#varoufake

Negation of the Diaspora

image

Brooklyn Rail, Mar 5th, 2015

Clowders of cats wander the streets of Tel Aviv like stranger kings to whom all must pay their respect. Lying under chairs, sitting on top of cars, relaxing in cafes, they settle on other people’s property without regard for anyone or anything. A friend tells me a story: When the British ruled over Palestine, there was a massive rat infestation. To solve the problem, they introduced cats all over the country. One population was displaced, and another took its place. This story, like most narratives that circulate about Israel, is false. There were always cats here, and they come not from some mistaken British policy, but from the ecology of the region itself. Yet its falseness contains a moment of truth: no origins are given here, nothing is taken for granted as a fact of history—everything is contested terrain.

Here’s another example. Sitting in a café in the hip Florentin district of Tel Aviv, I ask a few leftist friends about the war in Gaza last summer. “Horrible, unnecessary,” they say. “Some people just cannot believe that not every war is absolutely essential for the survival of the country, that some are rather functional to maintain the occupation.” Tell me about the anti-war protests. “We were attacked, called traitors, no one from the left parties would officially endorse the protests either.” None except the Jewish-Arab Marxist party, Hadash, which has only a few seats in the Knesset. Not even Meretz would support the protestors.

On a different night in a different bar with different Israelis, I ask the same questions about the summer war. “Horrible, unnecessary,” one woman answers. “Some people just cannot believe that we are constantly under attack, that these wars are necessary for our survival.” She tells me about the tunnels that Hamas built, the rockets, the sirens, the bomb shelters. The “hippies” who protested at Rabin Square enraged her. “Fools” she says, “but they have the right to be stupid.”

Read the rest of this entry »

We are the Germans

The Zombie Syndrome

So, you go to college. Or send your kid to college. You get married and pledge to support each other in sickness and in health. You have a baby. You buy a house by the shore with a thirty year mortgage. You plan for retirement, sacrificing a portion of current income to do so. You invest in a well-rounded portfolio. You take a job, to climb the career ladder it makes available. You replace the roof on your house. You play basketball in college, hoping to become an NBA player or a coach. You write a new book with an eye-catching cover.

As you proceed lobbyists pursue legislation to make inattentive taxpayers support and subsidize financial speculation. A new consulting firm is launched. A neighborhood association allows only roof replacements designed to last a hundred years or more. A church or temple is built out of marble by parishioners. A military base is established in a foreign country. A highway system is upgraded. Fracking becomes widespread to increase the world’s oil supply. A pipeline is built to carry shale oil across a continent over an aquifer that provides water for a dry expanse of territory.

These intertwined decisions, activities and projects are future oriented. Some are oriented to a future twenty years away; others are set on longer time lines. Planning for a future taken to be similar in structure to today. The dilemma of today, however, is that we build for a future widely sensed to be a chimera. How does such a dilemma hold? Oil and coal companies, the right edge of evangelicalism, high end investors, and Fox News help to secure it, all pushing projects that many know are unsustainable. Those are powerful sources. But the dilemma runs deeper.

In the contemporary condition things combine to make many people into zombies taking revenge on a future they can neither avoid nor accept. Yes, zombies. The zombie, originating as a phenomenon during the horrors of Haitian slavery, is a dead being revived sufficiently to be relentless but not enough to be alive. Today, in popular guise, it is a being who was oppressed, who died and is now partially revived, who adheres to a single course of revenge, who acts as if it is drugged, and who can easily infect others with its malaise. Zombies move relentlessly in a haze.

The zombies of today sense that we must change the pivots of a massive civilization of productivity but cannot find modes of action to do so. Sure, many geologists, climatologists, oceanographers and a few politicians issue warnings. A growing number of academics, churchgoers and everyday citizens also sound alarms and call for radical change, as demonstrated by the recent, huge climate marches in several cities around the world. But these voices are beaten down. Too many workers, parents, entrepreneurs, university presidents, churchgoers, voters, and economists stay on the same course. They are drugged, though not with the neurotoxin from pufferfish rumored to have been the drug distributed to Haitian zombies.

The neurotoxin of today is a double bind. To step away from the crowd to act resolutely on several fronts about climate change is to risk careers, reputations and friendships; to refuse to do so is to make things worse for those who follow. That is the first bind. But we speak here of a Double Bind. The second bind is tough too: if you talk about the first bind much, or act to break it, you risk friendships, reputation, an upsurging career and comfort in the world. You become troublesome. This, then, is the Double Bind that forges a zombie syndrome during the age of the Anthropocene.

At an adult dinner out a week ago, we talked briefly about the Obama agreement with China on climate change. I then dared to ask the relatives assembled whether the idea of the Anthropocene made sense to them. “Did you say Anthropussy”?, a husband and father of two school children asked. He elicited laughter. The conversation moved on. To have entertained the question would have been to receive a call to act resolutely as a parent entangled with the future of his children. Caught in a double bind the pressure is on to brush away the issue.

Zombies of today are oppressed by the future they are constrained to build.

The zombie syndrome renders it difficult to pursue a new course, to say the least. It is simultaneously a serious syndrome, one that must be grasped sympathetically, and one we must struggle to break. To be sympathetic to it is to acknowledge how difficult and paradoxical it is to both push for a massive change of course and to participate in manifold aspects of daily life that advance the old course. To break the hypnosis of the zombie you must, for instance, face the charge of hypocrisy. So enervation and deferral set in. The old ideals of capitalism and communism–those contending promises for a future of abundance and mastery designed to secure the loyalties of stratified populations–have lost their credibility. But there is little else on the horizon to move, inspire, or inform us.

We know, if we allow ourselves to think about it, that many low-lying areas will be flooded within a couple of decades and that the interior of most continents will become unbearably hot during the summer. We sense–if we can force ourselves to think–that these cataclysmic changes are apt to be accompanied by massive attempts at population migration trumped by the virulent drives of highly militarized states to secure their borders by any means possible. We imagine–if we extrapolate one step further–that the combination of rapid climate change, forced population migrations, and widely distributed nuclear arsenals could issue in a cataclysm.

But the double bind squeezes such proto-thoughts as they struggle to gain a foothold. How could you pursue the future course we are on if you entertain such thoughts? So we plod along. Zombies walk into wildfires, driven by a trajectory in which they cannot invest. But is the very fact that many have become zombies also, perhaps, a sign of hope? It at least signifies a lived precarity now attached to old images of the future. Indeed, Pascal’s wager over whether God exists has now morphed into one over how long humanity will survive. So precarity and possibility jostle around together.

Sure, there are also vampires, those among the corporate and financial aristocrats who suck blood from others while there is still time to do so. Vampires arise from dying aristocracies; zombies from those oppressed by the future the vampires help to promote. Zombies struggle so hard to make ends meet in the current regime that they lack the energy to interrogate its priorities, even if they have lost faith in them. An inertia of thought joined to a meltdown of action. It is never that timely to challenge a twisted imaginary of the future if you are caught in a double bind. Indeed, while Anthropocenic activists grow by the day, many of us also detect a zombie strain in ourselves. It is infectious.

How do you cure a civilizational double bind? I have not encountered anything in my brief review of zombie literature to answer that question. I continue to think that perhaps the key is to search for residual sources of liveliness and earthly attachments circulating below the threshold of zombiness. Since the double bind is replete with fissures and obscure openings, perhaps a series of electric shocks will bring zombies to life.

If a revival occurs, another task will arise: to maintain the swarming strategies that both make a difference in themselves and insulate us from lapsing into the default state of the zombie. To fend off zombiness it is necessary to take a few hesitant steps at first, to adjust a few role practices, to make some pronouncements in public, to take a stand here and there. Pushing upon fissures and cracks in the double bind that manufactures the syndrome. Once a new liveliness is fomented, we can think what to do from there.

by William E. Connolly 

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

hanukkah-wallpaper

On the True Myth of Hanukkah:

What is a myth? A myth binds a “people” together, giving significance to an indifferent world in the present, serving as the motivation to act in order to keep this world and this people together, whole. Hanukkah was born a myth, and its continual reworking is its very truth. Even as it happened, there were stories of heroes and legends circulating about it. The holy days we celebrate were not given by God, but by a public assembly after the events. The Jewish people gave themselves the power to authorize a week as holy, a power that is seemly divine. But as we will see, Hanukkah is the true myth of a people acting as if they were divine.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Ideology of Revolution in Bioshock Infinite and Hunger Games

hunger-games-catching-sign

via leftcom.org (spoiler alert!)

The effects of the absence of revolutionary projects on the cultural consumption of youth

A well known effect of the current crisis of the mode of production is that it involves a loss of legitimacy resulting in it being challenged by a fringe element of the exploited. Faced with this revolt, Capital has many defences. Capitalist domination has an incredible arsenal, from trade unions to its armed forces, from the ballot to tear gas, from racist divisions to nuclear weapons, over which the proletariat has never permanently triumphed. Whenever the proletariat has been defeated but has managed to deliver a severe blow to the bourgeoisie, its successes are soon transmuted and added to the arsenal of bourgeois rule. The Paris Commune gave way to the voting booths, the October Revolution produced Stalinism, anarchism has become democratic anti-fascism.

The proletarian struggle often has a cultural side. This is a movement against the insignificance of bourgeois existence and of culture, the counter-culture. It is doomed to failure if it is not based on a class movement, if it does not find the material basis to flourish. It has, until now, always been recuperated and relegated to the status of a commodity. Its subversive substance is transformed into capital, the revolt into a commodity. The absorbed counter-cultures are as much a device for conservation and control as the social democratic organisations. Revolt is profitable, especially in times of crisis, because it calls on a group of proletarians, often young, to consume. Anti-fascist skinheads and the teamsters are as much alike as Burningman and Montdragon. They channel the revolt of the exploited, reducing it to a mere cog in the capitalist machine, and creating a new outlet for the revalorisation of Capital.

For two or three years, it is not only the revolt that is exploited, but the very idea of revolution. Since the uprisings in the Arab world, the cultural representations of insurrections have multiplied on the market. From the latest Batman villains who inexplicably launched an anti-capitalist insurrection to put into operation a plan to destroy a city with home-made nuclear weapons to the gang of revolutionary youth of the horrific book Divergence. Overturning the established order seems fashionable. The success of these productions is rooted in the fact that they cater for a young generation of proletarians in the countries at the centre of capitalism. More educated than previously, as precarious workers, they will inherit a planet devastated by overproduction and very likely an imperialist world war more total and devastating than the previous two. This generation will have no choice but to get rid of capitalism, of blasting its voice towards the future, if it does not want to end up envying the fate of those shredded at Verdun or incinerated in the Nazi camps.

One thing is striking about these new revolts in almost every case. The revolutionary project has no name. Sometimes it does not even exist. The revolution is purely negative in its essence. Although having stated that

“Communism is for us not a state to be created, nor an ideal to which reality will have to adjust. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.” (The German ideology)

Marx Engel took care to define a little what a classless and stateless society would be like. ”From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs” or “a free association of producers” remain clear benchmarks for the future. The spectre haunting Europe had a name and a substance, now it is anonymous and empty. We will analyse two works to see how this phenomenon occurs. First the video game “BioShock Infinite” and then the series of books adapted for the film “The Hunger Games”.

Official_cover_art_for_Bioshock_Infinite

The Inexplicably Bloodthirsty BioShock Infinite

In BioShock Infinite, released in March 2013, the player is Booker DeWitt, detective, former member of the US Cavalry who participated in the massacre of Wounded Knee and is a former Pinkerton agent. You are sent in 1912 to a floating city called ”Columbia” to find a woman in exchange for the redemption of these debts. The city was to be an ideal representation of American society at the beginning of the century; it is a caricature. Racial segregation, abject exploitation of the workers, hypocritical puritanism and religious bigotry stretch out before your eyes. This is America described by Vladimir Pozner and Howard Zinn, where class war rages.

The proletarians are organised by a group called ‘Vox Populi’, led by a brilliant black woman, Daizy Fitzroy. Rebel workers, dressed in red, with an aesthetic between that of the IWW and the beginning of the Russian Revolution, the association with the socialist movement is easy to make. But no ideology seems to animate the Vox. Apart from a vague populism, no political project, except for a hatred of the ‘founders’ (the name given to the big bourgeois of Columbus) and a form of jealousy motivates them. At the beginning of the game, ”Vox” are rational, their intentions are noble and their methods are quite justifiable faced with the repression of the regime. But when the revolution triumphs, the masses become brutal and bloodthirsty. Although similar events may appear, the turnaround is pretty brutal. The most extreme case is that of Fitzroy, who tries to kill a bourgeois child, to ‘destroy evil at its root’ but who, as although a determined revolutionary leader, had never done anything so bloodthirsty before.

The explanation for this sudden revolutionary thirst for blood is the same one that sheds light on their lack of political project. The revolution in essence is considered a violent and negative act, despite its noble intentions. The bloodshed is considered normally associated with any attempt to change the world outside the bourgeois framework. Any qualitative change in society is associated with the liberal fear of the “tyranny of the mob”, so dangerous for minorities (especially the exploiting minorities). The revolution itself is seen as something that can only degenerate into an act of bloody dictatorship. It is a well known process, whether in the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution. Bourgeois historiography is only capable of considering it a succession of the most horrific bloodbaths, each worse than the last.

Another analytical angle may be that this is the current vision of many white liberals to the racially rooted proletarian uprisings in countries at the centre of capitalism. Liberals will often reduce acts of rebellious rioters to simple moments of revenge by looting. We can see this vision when, having won, a member of Vox writes ”your lives are ours, your houses are, your wives are ours. ” Although this view is true in part, the rioters often engage in acts of vandalism counter-productive to their own interests, the movements often dying out after their phases of riot through lack of political substance. The fact remains that social conflict is reduced to bestial acts of revenge by a part of the population which is just what bourgeois social organisation thinks.

The Hunger Games: Something Altogether Different

The Hunger Games is a series of youth adventure books following the most classical genre since the early 2000s: that of a child, teenager or young adult who saves the world. The success of Harry Potter is emblematic of this narrative model. Born of the broken promise of Francis Fukuyama of the ‘end of history’ this narrative model is simply that of the generation born after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The promise of free market capitalism was not achieved, “evil” persists though it is unclear how, and young people are forced to encounter it like their parents. The threat is rarely new: it’s usually an ancient evil, defeated by previous generation, who returns to the present. It is easy to understand that this is the spectre of ‘totalitarianism’. It is the USSR standing among the ashes of the Third Reich, it is Saddam Hussein rising from the ruins of the Berlin Wall.

A feature of The Hunger Games is the imposition of a certain gender gap. Indeed, in this series, evil has overwhelmed the previous generations. Evil is the Capitol, a physical place and a structure of government that governs the country of Panem. In a post-apocalyptic North America, the Capitol has established its dominance over 13 districts. Districts are areas of North America, each of which produces a type of goods for the Capitol. For example, District Twelve where Katniss comes from, is known for its coal mines. The economic domination of the Capitol was challenged by a rebellion that was crushed 74 years before the series starts. Since the rebellion, the Capitol has organised a series of fights to the death between young people of the 12 districts in order to reinforce the Capitol’s supremacy over the districts. The fighting takes place in huge high-tech coliseums recreating hostile areas. The games are broadcast throughout Panem. Katniss, challenging the judges over her own participation in the games, triggers a successful revolution to overthrow the Capitol. However, when the revolution triumphs, the leaders of the revolution propose maintaining the games, but this time with the children of the Capitol. Opposing the replacement games, Katniss kills the leader of the rebellion just as she had President Snow, deposed dictator of the Capitol.

This work is interesting on several points. First of all it offers powerful criticism of a spectacle pushed to the most extreme barbarism. Then there is the international division of labour, which is admittedly simplified, but we are talking about a book for young adults. Even more impressive is the description of the independent district, District 13, which, because of its isolation and its lack of resources, has degenerated into a harsh dictatorship. It seems almost like a criticism of socialism in one country. Also, the designation of the enemy as Capitol, with an O replacing an A is clearly anti-capitalist.

But once again, the absence of a revolutionary project is striking. Apart from two vague lines towards the end of the third book about a republic, the question of what will replace the Capitol is barely touched. Theory is non-existent, and the debates that should animate the revolutionary ranks are non-existent. The rebels have no name other than that of rebels or insurgents. The conclusion is thus predictable. The needs of revolution having corrupted the rebel leaders, the fight should now be against them.

From the Poverty of Literature to the Poverty of the Movement

The failings of these revolutionary movements accurately represent the shortcomings of the current movement of the proletariat. Blind violence of the proletarians of a racially dominated Vox Populi echoes those of immigrant proletarian youth, stuck on the periphery of the capitalist metropoles with their devastating eruptions of rebellion. The anti-Capitolisme Panem Rebel echoes the informed anti-capitalism of Occupy and the Indignados. This is the ideological depression of a generation of proletarians, where the enemy is only vaguely known. Capitol and the Founders are echos of the 1% and Babylon, or the revolutionary project is vague, undefined. This is a proletariat smitten by its experience and its past. The culprit is not hard to find. The carrion of Stalinism still stinks strong enough to undermine the revolutionary movement. The defeat of the Russian Revolution opened a wound in the revolutionary movement, a wound that is slow to heal. Stalinism dealt a severe blow not only to the political project of the proletariat, communism, associating it with gulags and famine, but also the material force that carried the experience of the proletariat, its Revolutionary Party, into association with the authoritarian state. If the current material conditions push all thinking beings to severely undermine capitalism, the lack of a material force that could link the working class to its revolutionary past, to the experience upon which it can draw, will lead us straight to barbarism.

Maximilien

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Saudi A, Saudi Arabi Money, Money Rich

german zaza-kurdish rapper Haftbefehl killin it

A Small Guide To The System of the Left in Germany

SektologieDerLinkenlyzis2011
(communists in situ – berlin faction hereby presents a translation of “System der Linke: Kleine Einführung” from Die Axt #4, Organ of Social Decomposition , by the Office of Mental Rampage)

 

I.

Leninists: see Stalinists

Stalinists: Authoritarian scumbags; by socialism, they understand the police state; claim to introduce freedom by means of the whip; weak philosophers, bad aesthetes, big tendency for sectarianism.

Trotskyists: Stalinists who lost the power struggle for the Kremlin after Lenin’s death. Even bigger tendency for sectarianism.

Maoists: Stalinists who took over the Chinese imperial throne.

Anarchists: 1) Petty-bourgeois nonsense from Proudhon to the Ego and its Own. 2) Current of anti-authoritarian socialism; provided some of the best class-strugglers of their time. Representatives: Bakunin, Kropotkin, Goldman, Durruti. Parties: Jura section, FAI.

II.

 

68ers: The so-called 68ers are not at all what’s interesting about what happened around 1968. Although at that time they weren’t identical with what became of them, others were still smarter and more interesting than they, including Subversive Action, French workers, Yippies, Zengakuren, et al. German Parties: University, Student Councils, SDS, then KPD-XY, later the Greens and the Federal Army.

Situationists: Screw together Dutch-German council communism with Lettrism (a kind of French Dada) and Hegelian-Marxism and go beyond all, i.e., to outline a critique of the totality of the commodity-economy and late-capitalist daily life, and explore some ways to dissolve it. Overestimated their times, but made a fucking big party in May 68 in Paris, then drank a nightcap in Italy and Spain. Party: Guy Debord.

Terrorists: Nechayevistic comrades who cause and suffer indescribable, but quite unnecessary aggravation. Parties: RAF, June 2nd Movement, Conspiracy Cells of Fire

 

 III.

 

Undogmatic Left: Doesn’t exist in Germany; here each leftist and each sect has at least one dogma; after a short discussion, it’s clear that this is their identity, criticism of which is hence undesirable.

Antifa: Clubs of mostly young people who reject society but are still a bit unclear about why; that’s why they try to hoist their social criticism onto the nastiness of neo-Nazis. Leading the young comrades are at least two or three older people who refuse to grow up because they are too stupid to read intelligent books.

Ums-Ganze: Opportunistic bunch of older anti-fascists who, despite recognizing that anti-fascism is not enough for the “categorical critique of the capitalist socialization of value,” nonetheless still shy away from filling in the content of such phrases, i.e. to work towards a consistent critique of capitalist totality. “Theory” in general stands fairly indifferent as to its unification, since it’s not about knowledge for them, but rather about keywords for their “praxis.” They don’t want to let go of the occupational therapy learned in antifa (demos, campaigns, left coalitions, podium discussions), but of course in private they know it’s pointless, that’s why they don’t perceive theses things politically, but rather as “social events.”

Anti-imps: Leftists who’d rather talk about peoples and cultures than classes. Obsessively passionate about reproaching the Jewish state for its crimes (of which it certainly often exaggerates); no inclination for a materialist critique of the state. Have sympathies for even the most heinous dictatorships, as long as they are against “foreign domination.” Parties: RAF from 1972, Baath, Hezbollah.

Anti-Germans: Mostly responsible for making some leftists read Adorno again. For about ten years now though they’re not so different from their main enemies, the Anti-imps, even if they just adore the states that the Anti-imps most abhor. They don’t behave as social critics, but rather government advisors; geostrategy instead of social criticism. Only the early texts up to 2003 are of interest. Parties: Bahamas, DIG

Anti-German Communists: Anti-German comrades that remain communists. Try to move the reflection on Auschwitz into the center of Marxism. Party: ISF

Pomos / Poststructuralists: Want to abolish truth and objectivity; these poor devils cannot understand that truth is objective and not merely plausible. For them, society is based on all-powerful “discourses,” not relations of production and (material) violence. Bad metaphysicians who deny the body. With their irrationalism, they prepare the way for the authoritarian state. Successors: FLT and CW.

Women, Lesbian, Trans*-Activists (FLT*): Substitute the main contradiction between capital and labor for the one between sexes. Love to invent new words, abbreviations and offenses. Looks at the world through a microscope. Staunchly anti-materialist; don’t get to the bottom of sexism. Respond often to real filth and problems by proposing solutions that are mostly worse than the problems themselves. Cementing victim roles, instead of revolutionizing individuals. Party: Definitionsmacht

Critical Whiteness: Something like the FLT*-activists in the realm of antiracism. Making jokes irritates them even more. Think that reality would be different if all the bad words were censored. Pronounced paranoia. Quite often further the racialization of individuals themselves.

Autonomen: Are there any left?

Marxologists: Former philosophy students, thus foolish schmucks that waste too much brain power on dividing up Marx & Engels according to the motto: propositions that we agree with come from Marx, and whatever we dislike is Engel’s fault. After a while, the knowledge margin for others is quite small. Disarm and humiliate revolutionary criticism as an academic discipline. Don’t understand that the truth of society is not a reconstruction of Marx, but its negation. Some philological diligence. Parties: New Marx Reading, MEGA.

(Anarcho)-Syndicalists: Left-radical trade unionists who see the liberation of workers in their self-exploitation. Still mentally stuck in the Spanish Civil War, but on the side of the CNT and not the FAI. Party: FAU

Cultural Left: Students who read subversive potential into culture industry products that meet their personal taste. At best, you can drink a nice beer with them.

Left-communist-Bordigists: Don’t understand the difference between the first and second world war. What does it matter whether the CDU or the NSDAP governs since it’s all merely the rule of capital and a few million dead Jews are not as important as five oppositional workers.

Anti-speciesists: Vegans who can’t see the difference between dogs and humans. Enjoy living in construction trailers under conditions that no one would wish upon dogs. No smoking or drinking, true to their motto: „Whoever insults life is dumb or bad.“

Environmentalists: Petty-bourgeois opportunists who get very upset about global warming or whaling, but don’t see that the destruction of the planet can’t be stopped by some engagement in civil society, rather only by proletarian world revolution.

Contradiction

communism dolphins

Sometimes people ask us, when will the communists in situ do something political? When will they finish the film on Brazil? When will they bless us with their final analysis on the leberwurst mode of production? When will they unify the fragments of the proletariat into a new technoparty that can actually overthrow boredom? We can only answer with the following story:

A man in Chelm once thought up a riddle that nobody could answer: “What’s purple, hangs on the wall, and whistles?”
When everybody gave up, he announced the answer: a white fish.
“A white fish?” people said. “A white fish isn’t purple.”
“Nu,” replied the jokester, “this white fish was painted purple.”
“But hanging on a wall? Who ever heard of a white fish that hung on a wall?”
“Aha! But this white fish was hung on the wall.”
“But a white fish doesn’t whistle,” somebody shouted.
“Nu, so it doesn’t whistle.”