communists in situ

leberwurst proletariat

Tag: communists in situ

How sickly seem all growing things

writings of chris wright

Capital Cycle_01

The Total Capital-Consumption Cycle

This is kind of my take on the total capital-consumption cycle as I see it relating to race, class and gender. I’m not enamored of images and picture thinking in general, but sometimes they are productive.  This was inspired by reading Roswitha Scholz on value-dissociation.


The Abolition of Labor

Communism is nothing if it is not the entering of all of humanity into the realm of freedom, of freely disposed time to do or not do as one pleases.  This does not eliminate the realm of necessity, but reduces it to a subordinate, non-determinate position in the relation of between it and freedom.  This is impossible if the majority of time of a human life are spent doing work for an alien power, as a slave, a serf, a worker, a taxed peasant, regardless of whether that alien power is a lord or a master or the abstraction of capital.  Only when necessary labor by human beings is reduced to a minimum of human time and the work freely chosen engages the mental, physical, and emotional faculties of a person can we reasonably imagine actual freedom for all of humanity, as opposed to the abstract freedom of exchange and democracy.  It is also the unity in difference of the realm of necessity and the realm of freedom, rather than merely the victory of one aspect over the other (the fantasy of Utopian Socialism) or the enforced domination of one over the other (society of direct domination) or the collapsing of one into the other (capitalism) . . .[continue]


“Use-Value” and “Useful” in Capital

What kind of labor contributes to valorization? Is it the kind of labor that produces a commodity as a material thing, as is seemingly implied in the first chapters of Capital? This is, after all, what many critics of Marx argue, that he has a self-contradictory notion of value and labor in this section. However, before Marx completed Volume 1, we know that in his notebooks published as Theories of Surplus-Value, Marx has a famous and under-appreciated discussion of what makes labor valorizing in his discussion of the labor of a clown. Marx’s humor and fine sense of irony, much like Hegel’s, is rarely appreciated, so the joke is generally missed (as are all the jokes in Capital, especially in footnotes, as Nichole Pepperell has brilliantly written on in her dissertation and her excellent Uncomfortable Science blog.) Marx distinguishes between two ways in which the clown might labor. In the first, the clown sells his labor to a family and then goes about his clowning for them. This is explicitly not capitalist labor or value-producing, this is just a service. However, if the clown is employed by a capital(ist), is payed a wage because he/she sells his/her labor as a commodity, and has his/her clown services (the product of his/her labor) sold as a commodity to customers, we have entered the realm of the value-form, of value-producing labor, The product of labor need not be a material thing, but can be a service, a material relation if you will, because what determines the validity of the labor is its usefulness for the capital as a commodity it can sell and its usefulness for the consumer, in this case, enjoyment or entertainment…[continue]


What’s the deal with Marx’s Capital?

Capital is, as its subtitle says, a critique of political economy and this has several implications.  Firstly, Marx is not trying to explain capital or capitalist society as a rational, coherent, consistent system.  Secondly, he is not abstracting from capital’s actual functioning in order to produce a model.  Finally, he is not trying to provide a more accurate theory that fixes the limitations of classical political economy associated with Smith, Ricardo, Petty, Quesnay, etc.  As a critique of political economy, Marx produced a book that treats even classical political economy as a necessarily failed attempt to provide a rational, consistent, coherent account of a system and a society that in his view is fundamentally irrational, inconsistent and incoherent.  Marxists, generally a confused lot more interested in the workers’ movement than in the critique of political economy, take Marx’s work to be a proof of the necessary collapse of capital and a critique of capital by labor.  In that story, capital and the capitalist class are evil and labor and the working class are good.  Capital ends up being a book about the good guys and the bad guys in the class struggle.  However, this point of view has a lot of problems, not the least of which is that Marx’s own notion of life beyond capital, beyond class society, is a life not determined by labor, but determined by freely disposable time.  Marx’s critique of political economy is therefore a critique of all of its elements, of capital and labor, of money and the means of production… [continue]

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House of Capital

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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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Against the Nation

Against-The-Nation-anti-national-politics-in-germany

Something better than the nation?

by Blair Taylor

Book Review: Rob Ogman, Against the Nation: Anti-National Politics in Germany. Porsgrunn, Norway: New Compass Press, 2013.

In the wake of the fall of the Wall and reunification the German left confronted a resurgent nationalism. One section of the Left’s response was an “anti-national” tendency whose answer to questions posed by historical developments challenged received political categories by rejecting not only nationalism but, ultimately, traditional left attitudes towards both the nation-state and “the people.” In Against the Nation, Rob Ogman charts the emergence of this “anti-national” tendency by examining two activist campaigns of the 1990s, “Never Again Germany” and “Something Better than the Nation,” to show how “the encounter with nationalism resulted in a fundamental reorientation of a broad set of political assumptions, and produced a deep restructuring in the content and contours of left politics and practice” (11). However, more than an interesting window into radical movements in Germany, the book’s real strength is that it uses these cases to reflect upon left discourse on nationalism and nation-states everywhere, but with particular emphasis on the post-9/11 United States.

The book’s opening chapter, “The Left and the Nation,” begins by tracing the evolution of left positions on nation-states and nationalism in the U.S. since the 1990s, examining discursive continuities and breaks between the alter-globalization movement, the anti-war and anti-imperialist movements of the Bush years, up to Occupy Wall Street in the recent past. This overview describes how a “binary worldview” in the alter-globalization movement often pitted presumably benign nation-states and cultures against the ravages of global capital, which later during the War on Terror morphed easily into a similarly uncritical understanding of “oppressed nations” dominated by imperialist states, the latter primarily represented by the United States and Israel. The result was a simplistic and flawed conceptualization of both global capitalism and state power which demonized foreign capital and imperialist states while ignoring or downplaying domestic forms of exploitation and oppression. Valorizing the people, nation, or “culture” as sources of resistance, the discourse of anti-imperialism turned a blind eye to local state and capitalist elites, as well as popular forms of domination in traditional societies. It also made for strange political bedfellows, translating into tolerance and support for reactionary movements and parties, especially Islamist ones like Hamas and Hezbollah, in some cases even defending oppressive theocratic regimes like Iran. Ogman describes how this political frame obscured a more complicated political reality shaped by the deeper structural logic of state and capitalist power relations, one that undermines simple inside/outside distinctions. It also reinforced the nation-state and “the people” as the logical alternatives and unproblematic bases of resistance to the ills of capitalism and empire. By tracing “the failure of the Left to develop an emancipatory perspective opposed to nationalism, the nation, and the nation-state” (33) within the U.S. Left, Ogman provides a political context for understanding the German case that follows.

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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.”

Revolutionary Leberwurst song

kommunistischtennisspiel

Berlin, Volkspark Friedrichshain, Tischtennis

 

original german communism

Dialectics

vishniac_warsaw
Two schlemiels from Chelm went for a walk.
The first one said, “Look! Bear tracks!”
The second one disagreed, “No, those are deer tracks!”
They were still arguing about it when they were hit by a train.

Fragments of Europe

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by Jacob Blumenfeld,  May 6th, 2014, Brooklyn Rail

Strolling down the promenade in central Madrid on a Thursday afternoon, I glance left and see a Museo del Jamón (Museum of Ham), I look right and find a shop full of Catholic kitsch, left again and it’s a bar selling overpriced tapas, right again and there are two glass doors brimming with hundreds of shielded riot cops about to explode onto the Puerta del Sol. They are waiting for the 20,000 high school students marching against austerity and cuts to education. If anything goes wrong, they are ready. Too bad though. The first windows are broken elsewhere.

With around 25 percent unemployment, and 50 percent youth unemployment, the prospects for a good life in Spain are not high. The economic crisis has crushed many dreams and evicted many locals, but the royal palaces and grand museums are still polished clean and packed with tourists. The squares are no longer centers of political discussion; that was already exhausted in 2011. Discussing ¡Democracia real YA! in public is a fine step, but it’s no substitute for the overthrow of economic domination. A social strike on the scale of March 29th, 2012, which shut down the economy in Barcelona and most of Spain, has not occurred since. People protest, barricades are built, bank windows are broken, buildings are claimed, squats named, centers socialized, pamphlets spread, and the museums are still full.

If Lisbon is the most beautiful city in Europe, it is also the most abandoned—decrepit, for sale, slowly decaying like Detroit. But this is not due to deindustrialization, urban politics, or endemic poverty. It’s a story of debt and crisis, capital flight and real estate bubbles, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. Every once in a while, a protest or a strike will pass by your street or through a gorgeous square demanding this or trying to stop that. But to whom are they speaking when they chant? Is it Merkel, “Brussels,” the Portuguese, the rest of Europe? Who hears their provincial wails?

It’s Saturday in Berlin, the sky is half blue and half black, and right as I’m about to begin working my shift at the bar, lines of riot cops march down the street, van after van after van full, followed closely by a small demo, 200 maybe, mostly autonomists, antifascists, communists, housing activists and some locals holding signs about rising rent, gentrification, capitalism. Behind them, another few thousand riot police. Nothing happens, as usual.

A few days earlier, a nearby square occupied by refugees, mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, was cleared. For almost two years, refugees lived in this Platz with makeshift tents, food donations, and some support from leftists. Politicians and policemen have been trying to evict them for a while, claiming health and safety reasons, but they were blocked thanks to the strong solidarity from anti-racist groups. But on this one foggy morning, the strategy was found: choose some leaders from the camp, make a deal with them, and then let them dismantle the camp themselves. And so it was done. When the activists arrived, the chaos was too far-gone. The police intervened later, after the fights within the camp had already broken up any hope of unity. The square is now a permanent police-zone.

Berlin has become a mecca for crisis refugees from southern Europe, with Spaniards, Greeks, and Portuguese competing for jobs with Polish and Russian immigrants from the former Soviet states, as well as the long-term Turkish community and, of course, the decadent Germans themselves. Along with floods of British partygoers, American tourists, Israeli exiles, and French Erasmus students, migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, Iran, and Syria are making a presence in this formerly homogenous place. Vietnamese and Korean zones exist on the outskirts, with the center of the city still negatively shaped by the history of the wall. With its low unemployment, cheap cost of living, and reasonable welfare provisions, Berlin is an ideal city for global surplus populations evading the terrors of economic and political catastrophe in their own lands. Germany itself has a negative birthrate, and so immigration has been encouraged by the government to make up for the gap in job-seekers. This process has reshaped Berlin from an Eastern outpost of the Cold War into a cosmopolitan hipster millennial party-town. The new class composition that undergirds this development has yet to express itself in struggle. For now, everyone is a member of the partying proletariat, no one a member of the party.

In a former nuclear silo an hour north of Berlin, 60,000 people dance non-stop for four days every summer to electronic music of every sort on 20 stages with no cops in sight, all self-organized by a bunch of older and younger antifascists, punks, and technofreaks. It’s a self-proclaimed communist holiday in which music, theater, cabaret, film, art, sculpture, workshops, dance, food, drinks, and fire are produced by each according to their ability and distributed to each according to their need. This communism lasts four days long. Then it’s back to work.

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Why not?

WhyRiot6

Why Riot?  by Phil A. Neel

Two years ago in Seattle, on May 1st, 2012, roughly four to five hundred people engaged in the largest riot the city had seen in more than a decade. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of property were destroyed[i], a minor state of emergency was declared, and the next day’s headlines were filled with horror stories of crazy, “out-of-town” anarchists run amok.

This event, occurring on the tail end of the Occupy movement, also quickly became the post-facto excuse for extensive federal, state and municipal investigation, surveillance and ongoing repression of political dissent. Several anarchists in the Pacific Northwest wereput in prison without charge in the fall of that year, only to be released months later, still with no charges filed. Houses were raided in search of anarchist literature and black hoodies. Up to a year later, people were still being followed.

I was one of the five people originally charged for crimes on May Day 2012[ii]. I’ve since pled guilty to slightly lesser charges, in order to avoid going to trial on two felonies[iii]. I pled in the fall of 2013 and completed the bulk of the sentence in the winter, spending three months in King County’s Work-Education Release (WER) Unit. Technically an “alternative to confinement,” living in WER effectively means that you are imprisoned at all times that you are not allowed out for work, school or treatment (for mental health or drug offenses).

This puts me in a unique position. Since I am one of the few people who has pled guilty to certain crimes from May 1st, 2012, including Riot, I do not necessarily face the same risks in talking about—and defending—the riot as a tactic or the impulses behind it. This by no means makes what I say below an exhaustive or fully representative account of why others may have engaged in that same riot. They mostly got away—a good thing in and of itself, though federal charges may still be pending for one window that was smashed in an empty courthouse. But this also means that they cannot speak of or defend their participation without risking repression.

To be clear: I’m not speaking on behalf of any groups who wound up engaged in the riot that occurred on May Day 2012. To my knowledge, the riot was by no means planned ahead of time, and the anti-capitalist march that the riot grew out of, technically an Occupy Seattle event, was itself planned in public meetings. I’m not even speaking on behalf of this specific riot, but instead on behalf of rioting as such, in the abstract. The question “Why Riot” is not simply: why did you engage in this riot, but, instead, why riot at all? And the perspective given here is that of a rioter.

So I’m writing here for simple reasons: to defend the riot as a general tactic and to explain why one might engage in a riot. By this I mean to defend and explain not just the window breaking, not just “non-injurious violence,” and certainly not just the media spectacle it generates, but the riot itself—that dangerous, ugly word that sounds so basically criminal and which often takes (as in London in 2011) a form so fundamentally unpalatable for civil society that it can only be understood as purely irrational, without any logic, and without possible defense.

I aim, nonetheless, to defend and explain the riot, because we live in a new era of riots. Riots have been increasing in absolute number globally for the past thirty years. They are our immediate future, and this future will spare Seattle no less than Athens or London, Guangzhou or Cairo. . . [continue]

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Loot Back: From Whom? A Response to “Why Riot?” by JF

Phil Neel’s bold and exciting piece of agitational material “Why Riot?” raises too many points to engage with one response. It’s raw honesty, sophistication, and visceral appeal speak for themselves.  As an initial response I will focus only on its conception of “generations,” an error of the piece which unfortunately seems potentially central to Ultra, and the rectification of which will determine the project’s direction. Admittedly this is not the central focus of Neel’s piece, and while it may seem tangential, I plan to return to Neel’s more central theses once familiarizing myself with his source material, and thereby connect the dots. I will also attempt in the near future to concretize some of the recent history presented below, which is admittedly schematic.

Neel echoes Ultra’s appeal to so-called millennials, or “Generation Zero”: “Our future has been looted. Loot back.” Ultra aims to appeal to this particular “generation” of proletarians, and Neel’s “Why Riot?” is thus far Ultra’s most explicit statement to this effect. Citing Blaumachen’s “age of riots” thesis, the piece is geared those who are not finding political expression through rallying behind demands, or joining/building political groups, but through mass actions of refusal of discipline, illegality, and attack against the forms of appearance of capital, or sites of proletarian social reproduction (smashing windows, short-lived blockages of the points of capital circulation, etc.).

Ultra seeks to be a voice for a new generation, defined as emerging from the 2011 cycle of struggles, and this is a very important and necessary project. However, Neel’s emphasis in “Why Riot?” on a particular generation of proletarian againstanother is a  mistake. It is wrong not from not only a simple class unity perspective (which is itself a valid objection), but more importantly, given how the class is stratified along lines of race, sex, ethnicity, language spoke, gender presentation, and so forth. Further, it is not an accurate history of how the past forty years of economic crisis have impacted the proletariat, nor is it a factual depiction of the present debt crises, both national and consumer. In Neel’s emphatic and effective appeal to the new generation, the “generation” becomes an abstraction from the reality of class society, its causes, its mechanisms, and its history, relying instead on tropes partially borrowed from the US right, which blame the debt and joblessness of this “generation” on the previous one, instead of on capital… [continue]

Schlemiel

Larry+David+and+the+Hipsters+larrydavid

This schlemiel from Chełm gets to work and he’s almost half an hour late. “You should of been here at 8:30,” growls the foreman. “Why?” says the schlemiel. “What happened at 8:30?”

Vandals! Vandals! Vandals!

Brazil is coming.

Scenes from the class struggle in portugal

Recently, members of CiSSi (Communists in Situ-Section Internationale) went to Portugal, Brazil, and Spain to document the class struggle there. Here is the first of our results.

Scenes from the class struggle in portugal 1/2

Scenes from the class struggle in portugal 2/2

Michael Heinrich Understands Marx

Michael Heinrich: Value, fetishism and impersonal domination

Public Discussion With Michael Heinrich

 

Michael Heinrich: The bourgeois state: class domination on the basis of freedom and equality

Traditional Marxism, the New Reading of Marx and the Critique of Capitalism

 

Wir sind Jugendterror und Gemüsehändler

Massimo-Rodari-12- copy

Demonstranten verhindern Sarrazin-Veranstaltung

TUMULT IM BERLINER ENSEMBLE – 02.03.2014

(berliner-zeitung)

Eigentlich sollte Thilo Sarrazin am Sonntagvormittag im Berliner Ensemble auftreten. Doch daraus wurde nichts, weil Demonstranten den Saal besetzten und Sprüche wie “Sarrazin raus, das ist unser Haus” skandierten. Sarrazin wirft der Theaterleitung Versagen vor.

Demonstranten haben eine Lesung des umstrittenen Autors Thilo Sarrazin im Berliner Ensemble verhindert. Schon als Sarrazin den Veranstaltungssaal betrat, stand eine Gruppe von zumeist migrantischen Demonstranten auf und hielt Plakate in die Höhe: „Wir sind Kopftuchmädchen“ oder „Wir schaffen Deutschland ab“, stand darauf, eine Anspielung auf Sarrazins früheres Buch „Deutschland schafft sich ab“, das nicht nur unter Migranten viel Unmut erzeugt hat.

Massimo-Rodari-11-

Sarrazin, der nun sein neues Buch „Der neue Tugendterror“ vorstellen wollte, wurde lautstark als „Rassist“ beschimpft und mit Buhrufen bedacht. Es kam zu Handgreiflichkeiten und Wortduellen mit meist schon älteren Zuhörern, die gekommen waren, um Sarrazin zu hören. Vereinzelt wurden den Protestierern die Plakate zerrissen, man schrie sich an unter Kronleuchtern.

Jutta Ferbers, Mitglied der Leitung des Berliner Ensembles, mahnte zur Ruhe. Schließlich gewährte sie einer Demonstrantin Rederecht, abgesprochen sei, dass alle Protestierer dann gehen, sagte sie. Die junge Demonstrantin trug ein T-Shirt mit der Aufschrift „Wir sind Jugendterror und Gemüsehändler“ stand. Sie bezichtigte Sarrazin einer rassistischen Ideologie.

Als sie abtrat, stellte sich heraus, dass die Demonstranten, die meist dem Migrantenverein „Allmende“ angehörten, keineswegs den Saal verlassen wollten. Daraufhin drohte Jutta Ferbers als Hausherrin damit, „die starken Männer“ zu holen, also die Polizei. Die Situation eskalierte erneut. Mehrere Gäste und Demonstranten schrien sich an, es gab weitere Rangeleien, Papierkügelchen flogen.

Gegenseitig warf man sich „Faschismus“ oder „Linksfaschismus“ vor. Nach einer langen Phase des Wartens erklärte Ferbers schließlich, dass das Berliner Ensemble einen Polizeieinsatz nun doch nicht zulassen werde. „Gewalt dulden wir in unserem Hause nicht“, erklärte Ferbers. „Wir beugen uns also dem Meinungsterror.“

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Offenbar hatte sie das mit BE-Intendant Claus Peymann abgesprochen. Sarrazin und die anwesenden Cicero-Journalisten, die das Podium darstellten, reagierten verärgert. Schließlich war das ihre Veranstaltung. Ferbers forderte daraufhin sogar Sarrazin mehrfach auf, das Podium zu verlassen. Dieser wollte das zunächst nicht tun. „Das Berliner Ensemble weigert sich, das Hausrecht gegenüber Linksfaschisten auszuüben“, sagte Sarrazin. Das sei ein umfassendes Versagen der Leitung des Hauses und bedürfe keines weiteren Kommentars.

Schließlich verließ er doch den Saal, woraufhin Mitglieder der Antifa das Podium erstürmten. Draußen posierte später die Migrantengruppe Allmende mit Victory-Zeichen. Vor dem Haus hatten zudem gut 100 Demonstranten hinter einer Polizeiabsperrung demonstriert. Die Besucher der Veranstaltung sollen nun ihr Geld zurückerhalten, womöglich wird es aber eine Veranstaltung an einem anderen Ort geben.

Massimo-Rodari-13-

Separation

dolphins class struggle

In the cauldron of the negative – Jean-Marc Mandosio 

The fear of seeing the situationist theses degraded into an ideology (as had taken place with Marxism, for example, or with surrealism) is the origin of this mistrust towards the very idea that there could be a situationist “doctrine”. However, to the extent that the situationists attempted to formulate a coherent and “unitary” critique of society, it is not illegitimate to try to isolate this coherence and this unity. Moreover, everyone knows that even a hallucination has a logical structure; so there might not be a “situationism” but there is of course a situationist system of thought, which was enriched and became more precise with the passage of time. In order to demonstrate the coherence (or the incoherence) of a system of thought, the best and indeed the only way to do so is to address it more geometrico, according to the “method of geometry”, as exemplified by Euclid, Descartes or Spinoza. . . This treatment will be applied here to a particular question, but one that bears a decisive importance according to the situationists themselves: the theory of revolution. Such an examination might seem “anti-situationist”, insofar as it reveals what we could call a logic of the impossible. 

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Human history is not a very cheerful affair

Paul Mattick Jr dropping science

Brandon Jourdan: I can’t really remember—oh, so there was, really, one kind of fun moment for me at the conference  in the Q&A, when you were asked: “What do we have to do?”—and so I’m just going to ask you that again.

Paul Mattick: The question was what would I like to see happen—and my answer was the abolition of wage-labor and the destruction of the state, which is of course a kind of a flippant answer.  But what I mean to say is that I really think there is no solution to these problems, but one which is as fundamental as that.  Now it seems like a weirdly old-fashioned thing to say, but that might just be because of my age, maybe now for many younger people it isn’t old-fashioned anymore: to say, “You really have to get rid of capitalism.  Capitalism cannot deal with these problems.”  Even if capitalism manages to grow again, I do not think that the economy will be able to grow at a rate which will make possible high enough employment levels to sort of afford lives to people that workers got used to in the developed countries in the 1950s and 60s and even 70s.  So I think from the economic point of view, the medium- and long-term perspectives are very bleak, and I think from the ecological point of view, the medium- and long-term perspectives are catastrophic, and there simply is no possibility to get out of this without actually changing the social system.

And that means that you must end the ownership and control of the productive system on which human life depends by that minority of humans who control it, and for whom everybody else has to work if they are lucky enough to be able to do so.  There is no way out of it.  So that’s why, when somebody said at the conference “But what, short of that, could you do?”, the only thing that I could think of to say was: then you have to try to get a job, because other than that you have to survive as well as you can.  Those are the choices: either on an individual basis or on a national basis or a group basis, you know, if you are white people, or men, or Europeans, or Northern Europeans, you can try—maybe you can do better than some other group.  Or as a particular individual, you might be able to live better than another individual.  So you can try to do as best as you can for yourself as an individual, or you have to somehow, together with other people, fundamentally alter the existing social system.  And by alter, I mean really destroy it and create a new system: a system of a radically different type, which would be based on the collective democratic control of the interaction of human beings with nature—that the economists call “production”, but which you could also call the “daily life.”

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Future Suspended

Future Suspended (english) from Ross Domoney on Vimeo.

How does a global financial crisis permeate the spaces of the everyday in a city? Our final 35′ documentary film traces the multiple transformations of crisis-ridden Athenian public space and those who traverse it.

Future Suspended is divided in three sections. “Privatised” explores the legacy of mass privatisation projects that preceded the 2004 Olympics, placing them in the context of present day privatisation schemes. “Devalued” gazes at the ever-shrinking spaces of migrants in the city and the devaluation of their lives that comes as a result. “Militarised” shows how, in face of the crisis, this devaluation turns into a generalised condition.

Through its cinematic traversal of today’s Athens, “Future Suspended” traces the rise of the authoritarian-financial complex and how this shrinks public space in the city, fuelling social despair and anger in return.

Future Suspended is part of the research project at crisis-scape.net. The research team consists of Christos Filippidis, Antonis Vradis, Dimitris Dalakoglou, Ross Domoney and Jaya Klara Brekke. All music for Future Suspended was composed by Giorgos Triantafyllou.

Endspiel

 

ENDGAME

CLOV:

There are so many terrible things.

HAMM:

No, no, there are not so many now.

(Pause.)

Clov!

CLOV:

Yes.

HAMM:

Do you not think this has gone on long enough?

CLOV:

Yes!

(Pause.)

What?

HAMM:

This… this… thing.

CLOV:

I’ve always thought so.

(Pause.)

You not?

HAMM (gloomily):

Then it’s a day like any other day.

CLOV:

As long as it lasts.

(Pause.)

All life long the same inanities.

HAMM:

I can’t leave you.

CLOV:

I know. And you can’t follow me.

(Pause.)

Personality

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1.

Advertising doesn’t impose false desires. So when I tell you that I prefer to gaze upon the florid arabesque pattern on the yellow wallpaper you must understand — I don’t feel good — don’t bother me.

Stop and consider for a moment the Darstellungsform of commodity society — that is, the appearances of value that can only be expressed through the phenomenal identity of the exchange relation. Bring to attention here the ontological status of appearances. As Hegel was well aware, reality does not exist independently from its appearance, but is rather constitutive of social existence. “The essence of the world coincides with the statistical law by which its surface is classified.” This appearance of reality as reality does not take place in isolation, but contains its own negativity. An appearance is not something that appears, but rather an appearance for-another, an appearance that is other than. Activity, in its appearance, therefore must calculate how it can distinguish itself among others, while retaining an independence less precise than termination.

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