Category Archives: marxism

Translating Capital in context, politics, struggles

From Subversive Festival Zagreb, May 2014. 

John Hutnyk: Translating Capital in context, politics, struggles
The School of Contemporary Humanities
moderator: Dunja Matić

 

the dedication, the prefaces, the first sentence, the tenth/eight chapter, the teaching factory, malignant and parasitic, etc…

[errata: New York Daily Tribune, not herald. Fudged Horace and Dante quote, not rude enough about Zombie's... but otherwise...]

Songs for the Marx Trot 13 July 2014

As Theo would say: “tune”

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Marx Trot 2014

john hutnyk:

5 days to go…

Originally posted on trinketization:

Marx Trot on sunday 13 July, starts at 2.30 archway tube…

Mshelfie

A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on Sunday 13 July. All welcome. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace House BYO libations for the first part).

[word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag -…

View original 169 more words

Fast Forward 2014: Demanding the Future? Sept. 12th-14th

FF14-landscape_01 (1)

FFW2014 is a weekend of discussions, plenaries, workshops, walking, climbing and socialising. We hope FFW2014 will contribute to building new relationships, new ideas, new energies and new strategies that help equip us to enact the future.

The central theme of the event is “Demanding the Future?”: We’ll be inquiring into what it means, and what it could mean, to make demands. Who makes them, and who are they aimed at? Can demands help us build our counter-power? What do they achieve? Can demands – possible and impossible – move us beyond a simplistic revolution/reform debate? The format for these discussions will be small group based facilitated discussions which will allow for lots of participation and engagement.

Alongside these core discussions on demands there will be focus sessions on particular topics and issues. There will be space alongside these focus group sessions to organise your own workshops, relax with friends new and old or simply to enjoy the brilliant location on our walking or climbing trips. In the evenings we are planning larger plenary events. We will be running a bar at the hostel and are hoping to arrange evening entertainment.

The full event programme will be released later in the Summer.

When?  FFW2014 will take place between 12 pm (noon) on Friday 12th until 5pm on Sunday 14th September.

Where FFW2014 will be taking over the whole of the YHA Edale in the heart of the Peak District:http://www.yha.org.uk/hostel/edale

Subversive Text – in Croatian

Screen shot 2014-07-03 at 10.16.07Revolucionarni projekt nam je imanentan.

Mi, profesori ljevičari, tužna skupina, volimo se diviti Kapitalu. Poneseni obrtanjem uloga (Derridaova seansa), s grešnim zadovoljstvom uzimamo predmete kao fetiše (ne pomišljamo na Marxa), u razornoj fusnoti suptilno ismijavamo sektaše i drugove neistomišljenike. Očigledan je bar entuzijazam za čitanje, premda u tim tekstovima ono očito nije najvažnije i bitno. Na završnim stranicama analizirat ću gore napisanu kritiku i, kao što sam obećao u uvodu, opisati loš marksizam koji se poziva na drugačijeg Marxa. U zaključku se može dati samo eklektičan sažetak u kojem je nemoguće detaljno opisati što je ranije bilo, ali inzistirat ću na dvostrukom obilježju lošega marksizma. S jedne strane pronašao sam (a) kvijetističko suučesništvo navodno lijevih teoretičara i aktivista ljevice premda se oba “tabora” čine aktivnija i posvećenija nego prije te (b) trivijalizaciju koja hara u teorijama kulturalnih studija, a marksizam ograničava na ošamućenu kontemplaciju. A s druge strane (c) važnost otvorenoga “lošeg” marksizma koji je od tih ošamućenih kritika napravio nešto angažirano i otvoreno. Dakle imamo (d) rekapitulaciju nekih bitnih teza koje su se pojavile u tekstu ove knjige, zaključke i kako se sve to međusobno uklapa, a kako bismo (e) skicirali analizu gdje smo danas glede kapitala i antikapitalizma kao projekta. I neka zapažanja o (f) pitanju partije kojim je uloga teorije u kulturalnim studijima i antropologiji iznova testirana u kontekstu (g) naše potrebe da izučavamo (strukturu klase, imperijalizam itd.), podučavamo i (h) (ajme meni) promijenimo svijet.

Suučesništvo

Objavljivanje knjiga i ocjena istraživanja– [Research Assessment Exercise] na britanskim su sveučilištima zamijenili istraživanje i politiku; ugledni diletanti sada zastupaju – i zbog toga ih se osuđuje – opća stajališta; na zatvorenim konferencijama s izgrađenim sustavom zvijezda lešinari kulture neprestano trabunjaju, pa ih se mora optužiti da nisu u stanju biti prava desničarska reakcija; kooptiranje i suučesništvo – pametna i isprazna erudicija. Kod post-, neo- i eksmarksista: abdikacija feminizma; komercijalizacija životnih stilova seksualne politike; izdvojena manjina “iznimki” od pravila, bez baze u masi – gdje je napor institucije za ohrabrivanjem širokih slojeva stanovništva odanih i aktivno uključenih u teoriju i praksu libertanske borbe?

Konformistički prostori

Dakle ima mjesta za oštru kritiku akademskoga načina života teorijskih glava kulturalnih studija. Luksuzne konferencije i restorani čak i skromnih profesora moraju se opisati kao jet-set. Naravno, nema puno kavijara i Moeta, nema koktela i sunčanja uz bazen, ali to je sigurno razina udobnosti koju sebi ne mogu priuštiti robovi koji rade za plaću u uredima i tvornicama. Koja je svrha teoretiziranja radi bodova za popust na avionske karte? Reći ću otvoreno. Mora postojati još nešto osim podučavanja ili nekakva prakticiranja režima za štimanje umova – ako je to sve, onda je svrha negdje drugdje. Ne možemo isključiti egoistični interes – želju da se bude poznat zbog svoga mišljenja, pisanja, podučavanja; prestiž i slava (premda je to danas ograničeno). Zbog odanosti instituciji i njezinoj korporacijskoj politici – plitka, ali, moramo reći, realna privrženost – profesori neće u bližoj budućnosti shvatiti da je revolucionarni projekt imanentan.

Ljevica kao odgovor?

Zbog toga je ona verzija Marxa koja je najpopularnija u sveučilišnoj areni vrlo pročišćena. Kontekstualno stanje nedvojbeno čine mnogo veći faktori, naprimjer suučesništvo u moći i politici koje se širi izvan maloga svijeta kulturalnih studija. Je li organizirana stranačka ljevica bolja? U ovoj knjizi nema izravne analize partijskih škola, ali je zapažena vrlo poznata produktivna napetost kad pravovjerni čuvari tradicije posežu za udžbenicima i brzim analizama jer ne vole teoriju i raspravu. Kritika svega postojećega zahtijevala bi novu vrstu partije i Marxa koji nije puki prorok. Mogućnosti postoje u neobuzdanoj inteligenciji koja se protiv globalnoga poretka bori alatkama starog bradonje – “u školu, drugovi” – ali ljevičarske sekte danas ne zanima istraživački i angažirani projekt. U svom aktivizmu oni su najčešće zainteresirani nominalno unovačiti horde ljudi i ispuniti pristupnice na zadnjoj ljetnoj radionici. Zbog sumnjivih promjena u savezima i nepredvidljivih varijacija u fokusima svi napeto iščekuju, ali samo pozorni čitatelji aktivističkih glasila imaju kakvu-takvu ideju o čemu se raspravlja. A ništa od toga, na sreću ili nesreću, nije prodrlo na akademsku scenu. Rekao bih da organizirana ljevičarska misao nije bila uspješnija od liberalnoga akademskog tumačenja Marxa o kojem sam pisao u ovoj knjizi. Ukratko, ako razmotrimo implikacije posljednje velike nade “kulturne politike” i analiziramo njezine avanture u biračkome tijelu stranačke političke ljevice i institucionaliziranoj akademskoj “ljevici”, uočit ćemo nekoliko oblika suučesništva.

Sve po starom

Oportunizam sigurno nije nov, ali tu se s jedne strane uspjeh u instituciji, objavljivanju i karijeri navodno ljevičarskih profesora besramno prilagodio znanosti i strogoći – što nije samo po sebi loše – pa se onda antirasizam pretopio u zagovor etniciteta i hibridnosti, aktivizam u poziranje i stručno mišljenje, a spori politički rad u gestikulaciju i konferencije za tisak. A s druge se strane mrvljenje ljevice u organizacijskoj politici može opisati kao paradiranje pravedničkih i samoproglašenih, umišljenih mikrosekti koje crtaju zamršene arabeske oko obožavane ispravne linije i/ili kao ukopavanje identiteta i kulturalne pozicije s ciljem izbjegavanja nužnog novog ocjenjivanja.

- See more at: http://www.subversivefestival.com/newsitem/3/367/john-hutnyk-kultiviranje-studija-kapitala#sthash.FUHqM4CN.dpuf

- For Bad Marxism see the link on the left column that leads you to books by JH.

Lincoln Emery Alpern – says come to the 2014 Marx Trot (in this teaser from last year) #marx #london

Marx Trot 2014

Marx Trot IS on sunday 13 July, starts at 2.30 archway tube…

A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on Sunday 13 July. All welcome. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace House BYO libations for the first part).

Marx Trot 2014

Marx Trot on sunday 13 July, starts at 2.30 archway tube…

Mshelfie

A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on Sunday 13 July. All welcome. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace House BYO libations for the first part).

[word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag - and sunscreen, umbrella as weather dictates and dosh for dinner (possibly in a footba-oriented venue). The early part of our route involves considerable walking - on the heath - kids are very welcome for the first few hours but after 7.00 it possibly gets a bit adult oriented - well, I mean we visit pubs Marx used to haunt - gespenst-like - in Soho. Mostly harmless, but its cup final night]

Previous trots = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/marx-trot-this-sunday-2-30-archway-tube-2/ and http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/and here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Luxembourg: The Accumulation of Capital

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Panto Terror reviewed (sandwich)

Screen shot 2013-11-25 at 16.10.41A brief review from Mark Perryman (Philosophy Football) on Socialist Unity where I am sandwiched between words on Arun Kundnani’s book (which I read and think is really good) and Andrew Hussey’s book (which I’ve not yet read):

“Arun Kundnani’s ‘The Muslims are Coming!’ links together the experience of Islamophobia, the framing of extremism/fundamentalism and the ongoing global impact of the west’s so-called ‘War on Terror’. Here the left is grappling with subjects it is more at ease with understanding, though the depth to which it is transformed via that process remains in question. An insight into what that transformation might look like is provided by John Hutnyk’s ‘Pantomime Terror‘ which imaginatively records how popular culture has been affected by a post 9/11 world and on occasion has offered signs of resisting the reactionary, racist, consequences of that process. The urgent necessity for this kind of engagement is established brilliantly by Andrew Hussey’s new book ‘The French Intifada’.”

I regret the reviewers have not noted the critiques of Zizek, Badiou and Buck-Morss in mine, or the importance of Spivak and Adorno to my argument, or the coda on Wagner, but still very good to have. See here. Thanks Mark.

Bad Marxism mini review on goodreads – thanks Malcolm

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 17.13.37https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/188047667?book_show_action=true&page=1

Capital lectures in Spring term at Goldsmiths starting January 14

Marx Capital lecture course at Goldsmiths ✪

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Lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” at Goldsmiths: everybody is welcome

Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk:

tuesday evenings from january 14, 2014 – 5pm-8pm Goldsmiths Room RHB 309. Free – all welcome.

No fee (unless, sorry, you are doing this for award) – and that, friends, is Willetts’ fault – though the Labour Party have a share of the blame too).

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One).
90 minute lectures, 60 minutes discussion
The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.
********** The weekly course reading guide is here: Cap and cult studs outline013 *************

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 14th January 2014 between 5 and 8pm and will run for 11 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Richard Hoggart Building (Room 309), Goldsmiths College. You are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers/Progress Press of German editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. We are reading about 100 pages a week. (Please don’t get tricked into buying the abridged English edition/nonsense!)

Note: The Centre for Cultual Studies at Goldsmiths took a decision to make as many as possible of its lecture series open to the public without fee. Seminars, essays, library access etc remain for sale. Still, here is a chance to explore cultural studies without getting into debt. The classes are MA level, mostly in the day – though in spring the Capital course is early tuesday evening. We usually run 10 week courses. Reading required will be announced in class, but preliminary reading suggestions can also be found by following the links. RHB means main building of Goldsmiths – Richard Hoggart Building. More info on other free events from CCS here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/what-is-to-be-done/

Letters of Blood and Fire – Caffentzis in the UK

From PM Press

In Letters of Blood and Fire: Book Launch with George Caffentzis
Tuesday 19 November
7pm
Hydra Books – 34 Old Market
Bristol BS2 0EZ
Organised in collaboration with PM Press and Bristol Radical History Group

Debt | Crisis | Capitalism: a public Lecture
A public lecture on debt, crisis and capitalism with George Caffentzis, David Graeber and Nick Dearden.

Thursday 21 November
6.30pm
ULU – Malet St
London WC1E 7HY
Organised in collaboration with: PM Press and Jubilee Debt Campaign

—-

In Conversation: George Caffentzis and John Barker
To celebrate the recent release of In Letters of Blood and Fire, George Caffentzis and John Barker will be in conversation to discuss work, machines and crisis.

Friday 22 November
doors open 6.30pm for 7pm start
Common House
Unit 5E Pundersons Gardens E2 9QG
Organised in collaboration with: PM Press, Mute Magazine and The Common House
All events are free, however seats are limited so we suggest you arrive early to guarantee entry. Full event details can be found on the PM Press website www.pmpress.org

Marx Capital lecture course at Goldsmiths ✪

#Marx #Capital #lecture #course at #Goldsmiths #GoldsmithsUni ✪

✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪✪
Public Lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” at Goldsmiths: everybody is welcome

20130918-063732.jpg

Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk:

tuesday evenings from january 14, 2014 – 5pm-8pm Goldsmiths Room RHB 309. Free – all welcome.

No fee (unless, sorry, you are doing this for award) – and that, friends, is Willetts’ fault – though the Labour Party have a share of the blame too.

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One).
90 minute lectures, 60 minutes discussion.

The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 14th January 2014 between 5 and 8pm and will run for 11 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Richard Hoggart Building (Room 309), Goldsmiths College. You are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers/Progress Press or German editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. We are reading about 100 pages a week. (Please don’t get tricked into buying the abridged English edition/nonsense!)

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Marx Trot sunday, 2.30 archway tube…

Note 2014. Next Marx Trot is July 13 2014 Archway 2:30 all welcome

People saying wear something red for this – and as its gonna be sunny, wear sunscreen or be redder than red. lal salaam.

Marx Trot sunday, 2.30 archway tube…

Marx Trot 2013 [word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag - and some dosh for dinner in China town, and more beer of course - afraid we don't have an Engels to subsidise us this year.]

karl-marx-grave-highgate

All welcome. A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on Sunday. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southhampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace HouseBYO libations for the first part.

.

Last year’s trot = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/

(and links to previous) here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Marx Trot, Sunday 2.30 archway tube…

Marx Trot 2013  [word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag - and some dosh for dinner in China town, and more beer of course - afraid we don't have an Engels to subsidise us this year.]

karl-marx-grave-highgate

All welcome. A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southhampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace HouseBYO libations for the first part.

.

Last year’s trot = https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/

(and links to previous) here: https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Marx Trot 2013 – July 7

karl-marx-grave-highgate

All welcome. A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on July 7. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southhampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace HouseBYO libations for the first part.

.

Last year’s trot = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/

(and links to previous) here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Capital in Manga

Image

May Day London 2013

  • Screen Shot 2013-04-29 at 09.32.23

    May Day March & Rally

    Date: 1 May 2013

    Venue: Form up at Clerkenwell Green at 12 noon.

    Join the 2013 May Day march and rally in London. The march will form up at Clerkenwell Green at 12 noon moving off at 1.00 pm. It  will end in a rally at Trafalgar Square.

    Further details are here http://www.londonmayday.org/

     

Communist Horizon – book talk 7pm today (19.3.13)

A book talk by Jodi Dean, author.

image

The Communist Horizon charts the re-emergence of communism as a magnet for political energy following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the stalling of the Occupy movement.

Jodi Dean will introduce the book – 45 minutes approx – then answer questions from the audience, followed by wine reception and book signing. Lal salaam.


Event Information

Location: rm309, 3rd floor, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths
Cost: free
Department: Centre For Cultural Studies
Time: 19 March 2013, 19:00 – 21:00


For Further Details

E-mail: john.hutnyk

- See more at: http://www.gold.ac.uk/calendar/?id=6283#sthash.ly0s3RBo.dpuf

THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING CLASS: 8 May 2013

Film A5 (Goldsmiths) flyerTHE CONDITION OF THE WORKING CLASS (82 mins)
A new documentary feature film by Michael Wayne & Deirdre O’Neill
 .
SCREENING FOLLOWED BY Q&A WITH DIRECTORS
Goldsmiths RHB Room 144, 6.30pm. Weds 8 May 2013.

Synopsis

Everything changes and yet everything stays the same. 1844: Friedrich Engels writes his book ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England’, a classic denunciation of the appalling living conditions for working people living at the heart of the industrial revolution in Manchester, England.  In 2012: a group of working class people from Manchester and Salford have the job of devising a theatrical show from scratch based on their own experiences and Engels’ book. They have 8 weeks before their first performance. The Condition of the Working Class follows the process from the first rehearsal to first night and situates their struggle to get the show on stage in the context of the daily struggles of working people facing economic crisis and austerity politics.

‘This is not a film, it’s a rehearsal for revolution’ – Film International.

“If you want to see how, fundamentally, the way people see and treat each other in Britain has not changed in over 160 years watch this film. Some things have changed. People have sewers now, £9 JSA a day, are taught to read, but not really to write or speak. We still look up and down at each other in ways we did then, betray ourselves through our accents, our dress  our work – if we can get a job. It might be theatre but it’s not acting. It’s a blow against the mean low money grabbers.”   –   Danny Dorling

See The Trailer for The Condition of the Working Class, a new documentary film directed by Mike Wayne and Deirdre O’Neill
at: http://www.conditionoftheworkingclass.info/about-2

Stiegler special issue out now

Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 14.19.10

Harry Harootunian 13.2.13

To celebrate the launch of two new Asian-centric programmes in Goldsmiths —the MA Critical Asian Studies and the Bachelor of Arts, International Studies and Chinese—the Goldsmiths Politics Department and the Centre for Cultural Studies present:

Harry Harootunian

“Provincializing Marxism”

13 Feb 2013 4.30 RHB Cinema Goldsmiths

 Harry Harootunian’s trenchant critique of area studies helped established him long ago as the doyen of new Critical Asian Studies approach. This new approach offered a more theoretically informed and reflexive conceptualization  of questions relating to non-Western social and knowledge formations. Critical Asian Studies has, in crucial respects, changed the face of American area studies and through his detailed and erudite studies of Japanese history and probing theoretical analysis, Harootunian has set new standards for scholarship, not just in Japanese studies, but for Asian Studies more generally.

Course Guide for lectures on Marx’s Capital 2013

Lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” at Goldsmiths: everybody is welcome

Capitalism and Cultural Studies – Prof John Hutnyk:

tuesday evenings from january 8, 2013 – 5pm-8pm Goldsmiths Room RHB 309. Free – all welcome.

No fee (unless, sorry, you are doing this for award – and that, friends, is Willetts’ fault – though the Labour Party have a share of the blame too).

****** weekly course reading guide is here: Cap and cult studs outline013********

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One).
90 minute lectures, 60 minutes discussion
The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.
****** weekly course reading guide is here: Cap and cult studs outline013********

The lectures/seminars begin on Tuesday 8th January 2011 between 5 and 8pm and will run for 11 weeks (with a week off in the middle) in the Richard Hoggart Building (Room 309), Goldsmiths College. You are required to bring their own copy of the Penguin, International Publishers/Progress Press or German editions of Karl Marx Capital Vol I. We are reading about 100 pages a week. (Please don’t get tricked into buying the abridged English edition/nonsense!)

Rosa Translate Funds…

A project to translate the collected works of Rosa Luxemburg into English. The editorial board is currently fundraising for the translations: http://toledotranslationfund.org/project/the-complete-works-of-rosa-luxemburg/

Marx Reloaded Film, with the director 20.11.12

Co-sponsored by the Centre for Cultural Studies:

Inline images 1

///Film Screening: Tuesday 20th November, 7pm 
MARX RELOADED.
Director Jason Barker will be present for the discussion.
Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre
Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London Borough of Lewisham, London SE14, UK
Entrance is Free

Marx Reloaded is a 2011 German documentary film written and directed by the British writer and theorist Jason Barker. Featuring interviews with several well-known philosophers, the film aims to examine the relevance of Karl Marx’s ideas in relation to the global economic and financial crisis of 2008–09. A Q&A with the director will follow.

Heartfield

One hundred and fifty years ago, on 1 December 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation that Emancipated America’s slaves, in the middle of the war between the Union and the slaveholding Confederacy.

Inline images 2

 

One hundred and fifty years ago the British government made plans to wage war against Lincoln and support Jefferson’s Davis’ Slaveholders’ rebellion.

The British workers stopped Prime Minister Palmerston in his tracks.


Though their employers rallied to the cause of the slaveholders, and tried to win the weavers over too, Lancashire opposed secession.Though the weavers of Lancashire were suffering from the war, they rallied to support Lincoln and the Union.

British socialists launched the Union Emancipation Society that led the opposition to the war, rallying monster meetings across the county and the country to support Lincoln and emancipation. Karl Marx, John Bright and Manchester’s trade unionists joined in a struggle for freedom in America.

Back then, everyone knew that it was the working class that had stopped the British plutocracy from joining the confederate cause.

President Lincoln thanked the Lancashire workers for their great sacrifice. Gladstone owned up to having been taught a lesson by the labouring class that had earned its right to speak. Karl Marx credited the workers with changing the course of history.

Since then, scholars have baulked at the terrible truth that freedom in America had been helped by Karl Marx and the British working class. Revisionist historians worked hard to cover up the real record. Instead, we were told, the Lancashire weavers were supporters of secession!

But new research shows that the Lancashire workers were indeed overwhelmingly opposed to secession, and rallied in support of the Union. Drawn from the archives of the Union Emancipation Society and contemporary reports British Workers & the US Civil War explains how Karl Marx and the Lancashire weavers joined Abraham Lincoln’s fight against slavery, 150 years ago.

You can buy British Workers & the US Civil War direct, for just £4, post free in the UK (outside, add £2).

Send your name, address, and a cheque payable to James Heartfield, at 17 Giesbach Road, London, N19 3DA, or pay by paypal at www.heartfield.org

 

Workers Inquiry refs and what not.

Talk for Future Tense: I want to focus primarily on the development of workplace or workers inquiry. First of all reference is to Engels The Condition of the Working Class in Manchester, then the huge chapter ‘The Working Day’ in Marx’s Capital, volume one, right through to very late in Marx’s life when he penned 100 questions for a ‘Workers Inquiry’ wanting to generalize the Factory Inspections of England to France, and beyond? Then trace this perhaps to  the Bolsheviks, and Lenin of 1902, the so-called Factory Exposures, to Mao in Hunan, and many other examples. Even that called a parallel sociology, owing debts to Adorno as well as Kracauer’s 1920s work on the Salaried Masses, through to the Italian post-war Marxist Operaist tradition starting with Panzieri in the journal Quaderni Rossi (Wright 2002:21) and the Workerism of Italian autonomia, on up to Negri and Hardt (though of course with reservations (Hutnyk 2004)). I am also tempted to explore, alongside this, from outside the labour movement, how the collection of oral histories and questionnaires of the ‘poverty-stricken’ came to be known as co-research, and how the term Inquiry has much wider appeal among contemporary activists. Journals like Ephemera, The Commune, Common Sense, Capital and Class, Aufheben, Riff Raff, all have interesting things to say about Workers Inquiries. There is a ton of stuff to read.

It is of course standard to say, as I think we must, that everyone can trace this work back to the figure of the Factory Inspector Leonard Horner as described by Marx in his chapter on ‘The Working Day’ in Capital.

Towards the very end of his life, Marx declared as much in a short notice in La Revue Socialiste April, 20, 1980, that called for a official Inquiry:

The blackguardly features of capitalist exploitation which were exposed by the official investigation organized by the English government and the legislation which was necessitated there as a result of these revelations (legal limitation of the working day to 10 hours, the law concerning female and child labor, etc.), have forced the French bourgeoisie to tremble even more before the dangers which an impartial and systematic investigation might represent. In the hope that maybe we shall induce a republican government to follow the example of the monarchical government of England by likewise organizing a far reaching investigation into facts and crimes of capitalist exploitation, we shall attempt to initiate an inquiry of this kind with those poor resources which are at our disposal. We hope to meet in this work with the support of all workers in town and country who understand that they alone can describe with full knowledge the misfortunes form which they suffer and that only they, and not saviors sent by providence, can energetically apply the healing remedies for the social ills which they are prey. We also rely upon socialists of all schools who, being wishful for social reform, must wish for an exact and positive knowledge of the conditions in which the working class — the class to whom the future belongs -works and moves.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/04/20.htm

.

Recommend reading:

Wright, 2000 Storming Heaven, London: Pluto.

Kolinko 1999 Hotlines: Call Centre Communismhttp://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/kolinko/lebuk/e_lebuk.htm

Dowling, Emma, R. Nunes & B. Trott (eds) special issue on Affective Labour in Ephemera http://www.ephemeraweb.org/journal/7-1/7-1index.htm

Shukaitus, Stevphen and David Graeber 2007 Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations, Collective Theorization AK Press.

Palgin, Trevor and Thompson, A.C 2006 Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights, Hoboken: Melville House Publishing.

Otterman, Michael 2007 American Torture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and Beyond, London: Pluto Press.

Kracauer, Siegfried 1930 The Salaried Masses London: Verso 1998

Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio 1994 The Labour of Dionysius University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Negri, Antonio 1991 Marx Beyond Marx: Lessons in the Grundrisse Autonomedia, New York

Negri, Antonio 1999 Insurgencies: Constituent Power and the Modern State Massechusetts: University of Minnesota Press

Negri, Antonio 1988 Revolution Retrieved London: Red Notes

Negri, Antonio 2005 Books for Burning: Between Civil War and Democracy in 1970s Italy London: Verso


.
Additional stuff

http://libcom.org/library/2-quaderni-rossi-workers-enquiry

http://thecommune.co.uk/2011/05/16/the-workers%E2%80%99-inquiry-what%E2%80%99s-the-point/

.

Some crucial things from the Aut-op-sy list, which I was on for the first few years, but could not keep up:

Aufheben A range of articles from the British journal

http://lists.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/aut_html/auf1edit.htm

Franco Barchiesi, Flexibility in Manufacturing — Organization and Subjectivity

http://lists.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/aut_html/flex.html

George Caffentzis, A Reply to Aufheben magazine’s review of Midnight Oil

gopher://lists.village.virginia.edu/00/pubs/listservs/spoons/aut-op-sy.archive/papers/caff.aufheben

Massimo De Angelis, The Autonomy of the Economy and Globalization

http://lists.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/aut_html/glob.html

Echanges et Mouvement, Presentation Pamphlet

http://lists.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/aut_html/echanges.html

Dan Krasivyj, For the Recomposition of Social Labour

http://lists.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/aut_html/kras.recomp.html

Steve Wright, The Limits of Negri’s Class Analysis

http://lists.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/aut_html/opsoc.html

.

A bunch of stuff from Generation Online – which again I was on from (near) the start but simply could not cope with the avalanch os stuff. Very huge, adn somewhat unweildy, site – but lots of good things: http://www.generation-online.org/index.htm

.

and from Nate: (links not live – cut and paste into your browser)

Basic list of primary materialsRed Notes, Brief Chronology and Glossary (Working Class Autonomy and the Crisis, iii-x)

http://groups.google.com/group/operaismo/files

François Matheron, “Operaismo”

http://www.generation-online.org/t/toperaismo.htm

Zerowork, definition of Class Composition

http://users.resist.ca/~jon.beasley-murray/aut_01.html

Panzieri
The Capitalist Use of Machinery: Marx Versus the Objectivists. 1961 (http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/panzieri.html)

Surplus value and planning’; The Labour Process & Class Strategies. 1964. (http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/surplus_value.html)

Tronti, material republished in Workers and Capital [starting page in brackets]
Social Capital. 1963.
(http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/tronti_social_capital.html)
[p64 Spanish / p60 Italian]

Lenin In England. 1964.
(http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/tronti_england.html)
[p93 Spanish / p89 Italian]

Class and Party. 1964.
(http://leggiamotronti.blogsome.com/2006/03/03/class-and-party-3/)
[p93 Spanish / ???? Italian]

The Strategy of the Refusal. 1966?
(http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/tronti_refusal.html)
[p244 Spanish / p234 Italian]

Struggle Against Labor. 1966?
(http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/tronti_struggle.html)
[p262 Spanish / p259 Italian]

Workers and Captial. 1966?
(http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/tronti_workers_capital.html)
[p275 Spanish / p267 Italian]

Romano Alquati. The Network of Struggles in Italy.

http://libcom.org/library/network-of-struggles-italy-romano-alquati

Guido Baldi. Theses on the Mass Workers and Social Capital. 1972.

http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/baldi.html

Sergio Bologna. Money and Crisis: Marx as Correspondent of the New York Daily Tribune, 1856-57.

http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/material/cs13bolo.htm

Optional additional primary materials

Panzieri, Socialist uses of workers’ inquiry

http://www.generation-online.org/t/tpanzieri.htm

Negri;

Labor in the Constitution. 1964 (Labor of Dionysus 53-136)

Keynes and the Capitalist Theory of the State. 1967 (Labor of Dionysus 23-50)

Marx on Cycle and Crisis. 1968 (Revolution Retrieved 43-90)

Crisis of the Planner State: Communism and Revolutionary Organization. 1971 (Revolution Retrieved 91-148, Books for Burning 1-50)

Workers Party Against Work. 1973 (Books for Burning 51-117)

Communist State Theory. 1974 (Labor of Dionysus 138-176)

Proletarians and the State. 1975 (Books for Burning 118-179)

The State and Public Spending. 1975 (Labor of Dionysus 179-213)

Towards a Critique of the Material Constitution. 1977. (Books for Burning, 180-230.)

Domination and Sabotage. 1977. (Books for Burning 231-290. The first half, pages 231-258, are online at http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/negri_sabotage.html)

Crisis of the Crisis State. 1980 (http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/crisisa.html)

Archaeology and Project: The Mass Worker and the Social Worker. 1982 (http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/massworker.html)

*
Files uploaded to the google group

http://groups.google.com/group/operaismo/files

- Brief Chronology and Glossary (iii-x)
– Potere Operaio, Italy 1973: Workers Struggles and the Capitalist Crisis and Red Notes, A Note on Potere Operaio (23-32)
– Negri, One Step Forward Two Steps Back (55-59)
– Negri, The Workers’ Party of Mirafiori (61-65)

From Red Notes, Working Class Autonomy and the Crisis, paper copy only:
Interview with Tronti (21-22)
– Negri, Reformism and Restructuration (33-37)
– A Note on the “Social” Worker (37-38)
– Negri, Theses on the Crisis (39-54)

Secondary Sources:

Steve Wright, Storming Heaven: Class Composition and Struggle in Italian Autonomist Marxism
Excerpts online here:

http://libcom.org/library/the-workerists-and-the-unions-in-italys-hot-autumn

http://libcom.org/library/classe-operaia-the-birth-of-italian-workerism

http://libcom.org/library/historiography-mass-worker-steve-wright

Interview with Steve Wright

http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/70/w70_steve_en.htm

Sergio Bologna’s review of Storming Heaven

http://www.generation-online.org/t/stormingheaven.htm

Cleaver, Reading Capital Politically

http://www.eco.utexas.edu/~hmcleave/357krcp.html

(Especially the introduction, the section titled The Italian New Left – http://www.eco.utexas.edu/~hmcleave/rcp1.html)

Harry Cleaver’s reading guide to autonomist marxism, section Four: The Theory of the Mass Worker and the Social Factory

Steve Wright, “The Limits of Negri’s Class Analysis: Italian Autonomist Theory in the Seventies”

http://libcom.org/library/limits-negri-class-analysis-steve-wright

Steve Wright, “A Party of Autonomy?”

http://libcom.org/library/party-autonomy-steve-wright

Steve Wright, Operaismo, Autonomia, Settantasette in Translation: Then, Now, the Future.

http://info.interactivist.net/node/3781

*

Historical context

Red Notes, “Italy 1977-8 – ‘Living with an Earthquake’”

http://libcom.org/library/italy-1977-8-living-earthquake-red-notes

Robert Lumley, States of Emergency: Cultures of Revolt in Italy from 1968 to 1978

Nanni Balestini, The Unseen

Review of Red Notes, Working Class Autonomy and the Crisis

http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj92/fuller.htm

Lotta Continua: Take Over the City. 1973.

http://reocities.com/cordobakaf/lotta.html

Wicked Messengers: Politics in the First Person: the autonomous workers movement in Italy. 1974,

http://reocities.com/cordobakaf/rising_free.html

Bruno Ramirez: Self-Reduction of Prices. 1975.

http://reocities.com/cordobakaf/self_reduction.html

Sergio Bologna. The Tribe of Moles. 1977.

http://www.elkilombo.org/documents/tribeofmoles.html

Patrick Cuninghame. For an Analysis of Autonomia -An Interview with Sergio Bologna

http://www.elkilombo.org/documents/analysisautonomia.html

No Past? No! – Interview with Sergio Bologna

http://www.16beavergroup.org/mtarchive/archives/000944.php

Marco Revelli: Defeat at Fiat. 1980.

http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/revelli.html

*

Analysis outside of Italy

Kolinko, Class Composition

http://nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/kolinko/engl/e_klazu.htm

Paolo Carpignano: U.S. Class Composition in the Sixties

http://www.eco.utexas.edu/~hmcleave/357Lcarpignano.html

Christian Marazzi: Money in the World Crisis

http://libcom.org/library/money-world-crisis-christian-marazzi-zerowork

Mario Montano: Notes On The International Crisis

http://libcom.org/library/notes-international-crisis-mario-montano-zerowork

Class Composition and Developing a New Working Class Strategy.

http://www.reocities.com/CapitolHill/3843/monty5.html

Excerpt from Toward the New Commons: Working Class Strategies and the Zapatistas by Monty Neill, with George Caffentzis and Johnny Machete

http://www.reocities.com/CapitolHill/3843/mngcjm.html

Sergio Bologna: CLASS COMPOSITION AND THE THEORY OF THE PARTY AT THE ORIGINS OF THE WORKERS’ COUNCIL MOVEMENT

http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/bologna.html

Sergio Bologna. NAZISM AND THE WORKING CLASS – 1933-93

http://libcom.org/library/nazism-and-working-class-sergio-bologna

Guido De Masi and Giacomo Marramao : COUNCILS AND STATE IN WEIMAR GERMANY

http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/councils.html

Gabriella M. Bonacchi: THE COUNCIL ‘COMMUNISTS BETWEEN THE NEW DEAL AND FASCISM

http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/bonacchi.html

Ed Emery. No Politics Without Inquiry!

http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/material/cs18inqu.htm

*

More recent

Steve Wright, Confronting the crisis of ‘fordism’: Italian debates around social transition

http://libcom.org/library/confronting-crisis-fordism-steve-wright

Steve Wright, “There and back again: mapping the pathways within autonomist Marxism”

http://libcom.org/library/there-and-back-again-mapping-the-pathways-within-autonomist-marxism-steve-wright

Steve Wright, “Cattivi Maestri: Some Reflections on the Legacy of Guido Bianchini, Luciano Ferrari Bravo and Primo Moroni”

http://libcom.org/history/cattivi-maestri-some-reflections-legacy-guido-bianchini-luciano-ferrari-bravo-primo-moro

Wildcat, The Renascence of Operaismo

http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/64_65/w64opera_en.htm

Dan Krasivyj. For the Recomposition of Social Labour

Feruccio Gambino: A Critique of the Fordism of the Regulation School

http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/zirkular/28/z28e_gam.htm

Riccardo Bellofiore: Lavori in corso

http://www.reocities.com/cordobakaf/bello.html

Nick Dyer-Witheford
Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High Technology Capitalism (1999)

http://www.fims.uwo.ca/people/faculty/dyerwitheford/

George Caffentzis: Immeasurable Value?: An Essay on Marx’s Legacy
http://www.commoner.org.uk/10caffentzis.pdf

 

Also here, here and here

May Day London 2012

MAYDAY-FLYER-A5-2012

May Day has been celebrated in London since the 1880s. The Committee has ensured this key day of international solidarity is marked every May 1st. Despite often being ignored by the mass media, the celebrations have maintained the traditions of unity and solidarity in London.

The London May Day has been a unique bringing together of trade unionists, workers from the many international communities in London, pensioners, anti-globalisation organisations, students, political bodies and many others in a show of working class unity (see our supporters list). The whole theme of May Day is unity and solidarity – across the city, across the country, across the world. Three constant calls have been made – trade union rights, human rights, international solidarity. We have been proud that a vital and major part of the March are workers from the different international communities in London – a practical expression of working class solidarity. Along with the solid support of trade union organisations, these have been the bed rocks of LMDOC

We continue the demand, adopted by the whole trade union movement in the 1970s, for May 1st to be a public holiday. The Labour Government of the time imposed the divisive decision to make the nearest Monday a Bank Holiday. This created many difficulties and separated Britain from virtually every other European country that celebrates May Day on 1st May. The anti-union laws of the Tories further pressured the movement and made participation in May Day difficult. But in the last 5 years May Day has been growing.

We have held a major march each year, whether going to Wapping in the mid-80s, supporting Sky Chef workers or Rover & Ford workers in 2001 and 2002. LMDOC also responded quickly to the fascist bombings in Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho in 1999 by involving those communities in the March, showing in a clear practical way the solidarity of the organised trade union movement, an important message to the right.

In 2001 we tied up with key sections of the anti-capitalist globalisation movement who had been campaigning on May Day. The common concerns about exploitation around the world, the role of multinationals and the advocates of aggressive free trade agendas meant there was the basis for unity – the basis of May Day. In 2001 and 2002 this swelled the ranks of the demonstration and introduced new aspects of May Day. Each year May Day in London has sought to unite with different campaigns and activities to keep the action very relevant to current challenges and expand those getting involved in May Day. A key victory of 2002 was getting use of Trafalgar Square on working days and the encouragement of the Mayor to make the Square a focus of activity for Londoners, as it has been since it was created.

2004 saw the Rally followed by an anti-racist festival with ARA; a joint May Day with the TUC in 2008 against the antiunion laws; each year focussing on key issues for workers – in London and across the world.

Anderston talk 14.3.2012 (north of the river I’m afraid)

The Raya-esque IMHO are putting on this event:

Karl Marx and the Present Moment: Beyond “Resistance” and Toward Human Emancipation

A talk and discussion: with Kevin B Anderson, author of Marx at the Margins

2 p.m. Saturday 14 April 2012 at The Lucas Arms, 245a Grays Inn Road, King’s Cross, London, WC1 (5 minutes from Kings Cross Tube)

MEETING SPONSORED BY THE HOBGOBLIN ONLINE
The Arab revolutions and the Occupy movement have placed both revolution and anti-capitalism at the forefront of global social consciousness. While many are again evoking Marx, the legacy of decades of postmodernism and postmodernized postcolonial thought has left us, at best, with a politics of resistance rather than one of full human emancipation. This talk will explore Marx’s thought in light of this legacy. It will be argued that his multidimensional dialectical vision encompassed both “totalities” like capitalism and the specificities of nation, ethnicity, gender, and anti-colonial resistance. Moreover, his philosophical dialectic, rooted in Hegel, theorized precisely this type of “concrete totality.” And finally, his critique of capital was accompanied by an always implicit — and sometimes explicit — vision of a radically humanist future beyond the exploitative, alienating, and reified world of the capital relation.

Kevin Anderson’s most recent books are Foucault and the Iranian Revolution; Gender and the Seductions of Islamism(with Janet Afary, 2005), Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Non-Western Societies(2010), and The Dunayevskaya-Marcuse-Fromm Correspondence, 1954-1978: Dialogues on Hegel, Marx, and Critical Theory(coedited with Russell Rockwell, 2012). He is also the author of Lenin, Hegel, and Western Marxism: A Critical Study(1995) and the coeditor (with Peter Hudis) of The Rosa Luxemburg Reader(2004)

http://www.thehobgoblin.co.uk/

CPI(M): “Condemn the arrests and torture of Maoist activists in Kolkata and Mumbai!”

From Communist Party of India (Maoist) via A World to Win:

 

12 March 2012. A World to Win News Service. India has been on a fast track to playing a more major role in the global economy. Indian and international corporations are itching to tear up the land inhabited by tribal peoples to get their hands on the riches that lie under them, minerals like bauxite, coal and iron ore.  The Indian government cannot tolerate the fact that large swaths of the country are not under their control, and are determined to crush any resistance that stands in their way, especially the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the masses hungry for radical change who make up the army they lead. In late 2009, with an array of military forces and the utmost cruelty, the Indian government unleashed a war on the people called Operation Green Hunt. Following is a press release dated 2 March, 2012 from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), signed by its spokesman, Abhay.

 In the last week of February 2012, the police have arrested activists of our Party, including some senior cadres from Kolkata and Mumbai. On the specific intelligence inputs provided by the murderous Andra Pradesh Special Intelligence Bureau (APSIB), joint forces of police and Special Task Force (STF) of Andra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal have raided the shelters of our comrades in Kolkata and Mumbai suburbs and arrested at least nine comrades, including two women comrades. Comrades Sadanala Ramakrishna, Deepak Kumar Pargania, Sukumar Mandal, Bapi Mudi and Sambhu Charan were arrested from Kolkata, while Comrades Dinesh Wankhede, Aasimkumar Bhattacharya, Suman Gawde and Paru Patel were picked up from Thane in Maharashtra.

 Comrades Sadanala Ramakrishna alias Santosh (62) and Aasimkumar Bhattacharya (65) were the seniors among the arrested. Senior comrade Sadanala Ramakrishna has been working for the revolution for at least four decades. He has been ailing with serious health problems for so many years. A mechanical engineer graduated from the prestigious Regional Engineering College (REC) of Warangal where other martyred leaders like Surapaneni Janardhan and Azad emerged as great revolutionaries of their times, Comrade Ramakrishna sacrificed his bright life for the cause of the liberation of the downtrodden.

 Both the two women comrades arrested – Vijaya and Suman – have been undergoing medical treatment for some time, staying in the shelters outside the struggle zones. Particularly, comrade Vijaya has been suffering from serious heart problems.

 The police forces, known for worst kind of cruelty, have been torturing these comrades mentally and physically while in custody. They have foisted several false cases against these comrades so that they could be languished behind bars forever.

 On one hand the ruling classes are asserting that these arrests are a big success for them, and on the other hand, they are trying to portray our comrades as dangerous criminals, claiming that they have recovered huge amounts of cash and other material that is used for making arms.

 These arrests are nothing but a part of Operation Green Hunt (OGH), i.e. the “War on People” which has been underway since 2009. The comprador ruling classes, in connivance with their imperialist masters, particularly with the US imperialists, have unleashed this brutal war of suppression in the poorest parts of India so that their neo-liberal policies of plunder of resources could go unhindered. They are particularly targeting the revolutionary leadership and eliminating them. As the Pentagon itself claimed recently, the US Special Forces are not only actively involved, but also assisting their Indian counterparts on the ground in the counter-insurgency operations aimed at eliminating the revolutionary leadership. This fact also shows us that the US has been patronizing in the ongoing Operation Green Hunt, making the values such as the freedom, independence, and sovereignty of our country a joke. The exploiting rulers of our country are daydreaming that this movement can be suppressed if its leadership is wiped out.

 The revolutionary movement cannot be crushed with arrests and murders. The bars of the dungeons cannot restrict the revolutionary ideas from spreading among the vast masses.

 The CC of CPI (Maoist) strongly condemns these arrests and the inhuman torture being inflicted on them. We demand immediate and unconditional release of these comrades, as well as all of the political prisoners languishing in various jails in all corners of our land. We also demand the lifting of all the false cases foisted against these comrades.

            -end item-

Marxism 7.0

A quick response to a question (asked for a radio item):  ‘Does the Internet open up new ways of introducing Marxist ideas and concepts in the real world? – Marxism 2.0′
I have not seen anything great on this theme (meme). I am not convinced by Negri and Hardt and the hype about 2.0. But there was the book ‘CyberMarxism’ by Dyer-Witherford a few years back – largely autonomia influenced. And for sure the Marx-Engels Internet Archive has been phenomenally influential, but not all the MEGA is online yet.
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I’m not convinced reading online opens up new ways of reading Marx as such. Well, several new ways of reading anything of course are there – as its on screen not a book, and searchable. But Marxism isn’t something that is just reading. And Marxism 2.0 sounds dangerously like an excuse for a simplifying article (which I am sure you will not do – a critique is needed).
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Anyway, wasn’t Engels Marxism 2.0. Then Lenin, then Mao, then… We are surely up to 7.0 at least!
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You must already know this would be my response – since in my lectures on Capital volume 1 at Goldsmiths, they are open to the public precisely because I am keen not to be too fast and loose with scholarship as to reduce the world of Marxism, or the politics of fighting for revolutionary change, to David Harvey’s online lectures, or some other version of googleMarx™. I feel that we need time to read, Marx and others – including Harvey, but also Marx’s sources, Hegel, Smith, Ricardo, Shakespeare, Leonard Horner – and not to do so would be to ignore the convoluted processes of learning to read Marx and the world in dialectical terms, necessary for making sense and making change – the point, etc…

The Commoner #15

Care work, domestic labour and social reproduction
The Commoner Edition 15 – on-line now


Massimo De Angelis — Preface: Care Work and the Commons
Camille Barbagallo and Silvia Federici — Introduction

I. ARCHIVE
Mariarosa Dalla Costa (1972) –Women and the Subversion of the Community
Mariarosa Dalla Costa (1974) –On The General Strike
Silvia Federici (1974) — Wages Against Housework
Silvia Federici (1975) — On Sexuality as Work
Mariarosa Dalla Costa (1977) — Reproduction and Emigration

II. ARTICLES
Camille Barbagallo and Nicholas Beuret — Starting From the Social Wage
Silvia Federici — The Unfinished Feminist Revolution
Mariarosa Dalla Costa — Women’s Autonomy & Renumeration of Care Work
Silvia Federici — On Elder Care
Laura Agustín — Sex as Work & Sex Work
Viviane Gonik — Is Housework Soluble in Love?
Pascale Molinier — Of Feminists and Their Cleaning Ladies
Todos Somos Japon — Nuclear Housework
Ariel Salleh — Fukushima: A Call for Female Leadership
Kolya Abramsky — Energy and Social Reproduction

III. DOCUMENTS/INTERVIEWS
– Domestic Workers United
– Interview with Priscilla Gonzalez
– A Male Domestic Worker
– The Regeneration Manifesto
– The Triumph of the Domestic Workers
– Servicio Domestíco Activo
– Interview with Liliana Caballero Velasquez
– Interview with Victoria Mamani
– Socialist Feminist Collective
– Interview with Ana Rosario Adrián Vargas
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Leonard Horner Hall

Since one of the first (positive) mentions of a really existing individual in Marx’s Capital is Leonard Horner, we should find out a little about this fellow who will not be forgotten…: ‘Leonard Horner was one of the Factory Inquiry Commissioners in 1833, and Inspector, or rather Censor of Factories till 1859. He rendered undying service to the English working class. He carried on a life-long contest, not only with the embittered manufacturers, but also with the Cabinet’ (Marx)

Patrick Corbett (Heriot-Watt University) recently took part in the Society’s Chartership programme as a scrutineer. Interestingly, the Society had chosen to host the meeting in the Leonard Horner Hall at Heriot-Watt University ….

Geoscientist 20.4 April 2010

Leonard Horner entered Edinburgh in 1799 at the age of 14 and learned, among other subjects, mineralogy – which stimulated a lifetime interest in geology. After leaving university he spent a quarter of a century as a linen merchant, travelling extensively and keeping up his intellectual interests. During this time became a fellow of the Geological Society (in the second year of its existence, 1808), was Secretary (1810-14) and twice President (1845-46, 1860-61). His first paper to the society was “On the mineralogy of the Malvern Hills”. In 1835 he helped initiate the Geological Survey of Great Britain. In his obituary W.J Hamilton, then President, recorded that Horner possessed a “cautious manner in which he avoids a too hasty generalisation” and concluded that he had laid the foundation of the principles that Murchison and Sedgwick subsequently applied to understanding the Palaeozoic rocks. Charles Lyell was obviously influenced by Horner, as the former married the latter’s daughter, Mary. He did much to promote a wider public interest in geology. After he retired as “the Inspector General of Factories” at age 74 in 1859, in the five years before his death, he spent time rearranging and cataloguing the Society’s museum collection.

In 1821, Horner founded the Edinburgh School of Arts (the first ever Mechanics’ Institute – for training skilled artisans) to promote high academic standards for the élite while extending useful knowledge to the labouring classes. Its prospectus stated the objectives “for the purpose of enabling industrious Tradesman to become acquainted with such principles of mechanics, chemistry and other branches of science as are of practical application in several trades”. Classes were held in the evening and included mineralogy for tradesmen working in the textiles industry for use in dye-making.

Karl Marx admired the work of Horner as a reforming factory inspector and eulogised that “his services to the English working classes will never be forgotten. He carried on a life-long contest, not only with the embittered manufacturers, but also with the cabinet”. In 1827, Horner was also invited to be the warden of the new University of London. He was effectively both Vice-chancellor (Principal) and Secretary of the new University. From this position of patronage, he was able to invite Charles Lyell to the chair of mineralogy at King’s College London in 1828.

The Edinburgh College of Arts was the progenitor institution from which Heriot-Watt University was created in 1966. Today the University retains the ethos of teaching practical subjects in a way that people in industry can participate, through international distance learning programmes – very much in the style of Leonard Horner – one of the founding fathers. I suspect Leonard Horner would have approved of the idea of professionalism (which is now embedded in Chartership and rather more evidence-based than in his day!) and the need for Continuing Professional Development .

Further reading

O’Farrell, P.N., 2004 Heriot-Watt University, An Illustrated History, Pearson Education, 511pp. Watch out for Patrick’s next book, a biography of Leonard Horner, the research for which has involved him in many happy hours in the Burlington House Library.

http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/gsl/pid/7349;jsessionid=3990B0009259ABF0F9F646D2EB19AC74
If the past is the key to your present interests, why not join the History of Geology Group (HOGG)? For more information and to read the latest HOGG newsletter, visit the HOGG website at: www.geolsoc.org.uk/hogg.]

Horeners letters – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Memoir-Leonard-Horner-F-R-S-Paperback/dp/1108072844/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327674881&sr=8-2

WorkersControl.net

http://www.workerscontrol.net/our-mission-statement

 

Fragrancy

 Wanna eat at this restaurant tonight!

To the Zoo with Philosophy – Stiegler, Bears, Marx and Monkeys

Sadly, but perhaps sensibly, my section on Animals in Bernard Stiegler’s work had to be ruthlessly cut back for lack of space in the journal it was destined for (New Formations). The rest of the article will be available in the new year (its on Marx and Steigler, a critique of Stiegler’s use of ‘proletarianization’) but you can write me to get a draft. Here is the bit that was just cut out, with a new – perhaps too frivolous – first line… even if the rest is a bit frivvy too…

Animals Graze (a family drama) with Bernard Stiegler.

Let us go to the zoo with philosophy – favourite places for family outings – and look at the animals. There are a huge number of creatures to see – owls, eagles, lions, even a mole in Marx (well grubbed). The animal of choice, for Stiegler, is the stag that, both vigilant and grazing, can protect its young as it nibbles away at the undergrowth.

‘A grazing animal, for example, a stag (a forest herbivore …) is vigilant at the same time that it grazes, first with regard to the possible proximity of predators; it can, moreover, even while grazing and protecting itself, also protect its young, as well as its grazing mate, who is herself protecting her young.[i]

This is Bambi in the bourgeois family but not the only animal example Stiegler offers (not surprising given Derrida’s fascination with beasts[ii]). In his autobiographical-theoretical book Acting Out, Stiegler refers to a flying fish to describe his experience of incarceration in prison. This entailed a separation from the world that allowed him to contemplate his milieu ‘as does a flying fish, above his element’.[iii] Certainly not your average jail-bird, Stiegler then plunged into philosophy. The animal metaphors are further consolidated when he writes of the radio, television, internet and audiovisual electronic technologies that engender repetitive behaviour like that of a ‘herd’ in Nietzsche’s sense.[iv] And of course the privileged animal in Stiegler’s work is the eagle picking away at Prometheus’ liver, the poor old partisan of recurrent time and order barely thanked.[v]

These animals become interesting when Stiegler calls for a new political economy and reviews several ways of overcoming tendential decline of profit rate, leading to a discussion of bears: In the nineteenth century the rate of profit was maintained by secularisation of belief via calculable science and technique, the new social projects of schooling, nationalism, health etc., progressively exported globally (on the back of astonishing violence); then in the twentieth century, by means of consumerism and capture of protentions through channelling of attention by way of new media, ‘psychotechnologies’ and service industry-entertainment industry expansion. To this would need to be added colonial markets, imperialism, war and the mining, metals, industrial agriculture, war and the arms trade, plus financial services.

Indeed, it is with reference to the last of these that Stiegler suggests the recent crisis is a collapse of the older moves to avoid the rate of profit’s decline, a collapse that occurs through short termism, time of knowledge and of investment erased, proletarianization of retention as loss of knowledge extensive. There is a contradiction that cannot be bridged – the rate of profit falls again. But the question to ask here might be if this is still to have understood, in Marxist terms, the tendency for the rate of profit to fall as a crisis of credit and an exhaustion of the fundamental expansion which had previously been the bulwark against credit problems? Looking to Stiegler’s characterisation of capitalism as system of protentions, should this not rather be understood in a larger geo-political continuum? For the nineteenth century the key strategy is colonial expansion and its economic plunder, for the twentieth century war and global militarism, for the emergent twenty-first century terror and control?

The tendential fall in the rate of profit is described curiously by Stiegler as something Marx posits in a particular way, but that Marxists, and ‘probably Marx’ did not understand it this way; that is: capitalism as ‘a dynamic system threatened by a limit that would be reached if the bearish tendency to which the very functioning of the profit rate gives rise were to achieve completion’.[vi] I am particularly interested in this bear. An animal that Marx does not reason with, according to Stiegler, even if this strange beast does not invalidate Marx’s identification of the tendency.

First of all, is it a bear? Does Stiegler get what Marx has in mind here? Capitals are competing with each other in a circumstance where expansion is necessary to maintain rollover of production at a rate that maintains profits and this cannot be sustained indefinitely without intervention of countervailing tendencies. Political expansion as well as credit. The discussion of speculative finance capital and time is of course relevant, but Marx on credit is, usually, not an unfamiliar topic, and it is just here that the focus on finance possibly misses something crucial both to the character of industrial capitalism, and to the argument about proletarianization. The usurers that Marx lambasts in the early chapters of Capital were not nice guys, and there should be no reason to applaud the activities of the creditors of big capital. These are not bears asleep in caves, but rather rogue traders – metaphorically beastly animals roaming the (financial) woods. But crucially, the analysis here is of mercantile and credit capital, not industry.

For sure, these bears also fight each other and create mayhem. Stiegler’s concern with the self-preservation of capital is not a concern of any individual bear. Capitalists eat each other. Greed is good, Gecko said (another animal). There are of course many rogue bears, even in Stiegler’s commentary, and Bernard Madoff is his prime example. Gecko too comes to a sticky end, and not in a jar of honey. But every time the bear appears Stiegler also tends to tell us about something of which Marx was ‘unaware’[vii] – in this case marketing, but in others it is always a new and unforeseen response of capital in America and so forth. For Stiegler, the proletarianized consumer’s libidinal energy is a new energy that Marx could not anticipate, even where Marx discusses consumption as productive. The bear in the woods however, is that Marx was working on his ‘economic shit’ and although his comments on circulation of commodities are possibly underdeveloped in comparison to his comments on factory production proper, this does not at all mean he ignored the sphere of consumption.

For Stiegler the capitalist system is bearish or fictitiously speculative, and we are told Marx failed to take this ‘fully into account’.[viii] I want to suggest, with respect, that the bear here is too easy to trap. Marx is not talking in the way that Weber of Schumpeter might talk of cultural determinants, or in a way that rests at the level of consumption peculiarly uninterested in what goes on in foreign woods where Goldilocks will not venture. Even at six volumes, the project of the book Capital is an unfolding analysis and incomplete, but there are sufficient hints and suggestions to assure us that credit is not the core of the analysis of industrial capital, but a supplementary tendency to be analyzed in turn.[ix] That this has been obscured is then compounded when we turn to the cultural.

The key to Stiegler’s thinking here is that the rate of profit no longer has to do with a credit crisis, but is rather the consequence of a culture of corruption, where capital becomes ‘Mafia-esque’ and a dominant, and Freud-esque, ‘consumption-drive’ is no longer to be understood in relation to the equation P equals surplus over constant and variable cost of production, that is ‘a profit that no longer bears any relation to the profit rate calculated by…’ Marx.[x] This form of capitalism ‘cannot be thought with Marxist concepts alone’.[xi]

The new economy associates the ‘bearish consequences’ of the present milieu of capitalism and ‘the tendential fall of the rate of profit and it’s consumerist counter tendency’[xii] with a stupidity that is the proletarianization of the nervous system. Though he does not move past the bear enclosure to other pens, this is the mentalist version of the trained gorilla captured in the evocative internet-generation phrase, that I owe to Matt Fuller, of ‘web monkeys’. These web monkeys are best imagined as the hapless operatives of a call centre keying in basic purchase information for a home delivery service, or better, the poor ciders condemned to work at ever more efficient algorithms for estimating consumer preferences from past browser clicks and purchases.

Web monkeys however are not to be thought of as new media start-ups (with funny haircuts and junk food addictions pace Douglas Coupland novels, they are rather the shock troops of short-term industrial and institutional transformation. In my own sector, we employ an ever greater number of these terminal-bound Promethean types, and of course every Professor is turned more and more into a data entry flunky by the administrative imperative. This is global and has happened in a fit of absence of mind (to which of course professors are also very much suspect). It is to his credit that  Stiegler notes the institution of new global universities as an alternative, in the battle for intelligence, to the onset of attention deficit disorder in the United States, but we might also consider that these Global Universities also have an imperious cast, and cautiously and not without concern for the pharmaceutical interests that profit from ADD and its key product Ritilin™, that the escalation and multiplication of attention deficit – ignoring protocols of media attentiveness – is globalism on the march. Though, in the face of this, and again with Coupland’s novels in mind, a willful refusal to attend might also be a basis for resistance and struggle. Another kind of university, learning to live despite mediatisation and real subsumption.

Missing in Steigler’s narrative here is the great critique of industrial capital in these forms – this has also been said of Derrida by Spivak.[xiii] An adequate grasp of industrial processing and specifically, in relation to proletarianization, the way industrial transformations drive deskilling and cooperation, is necessary to understand the present composition of capital. Stiegler’s analysis is often good for mercantile or credit capital – vicious and unacceptable – but it is not yet an analysis of what is at stake in industrial capitalism. This is compounded by a versioning of the tendential decline of the rate of profit that transmuted this ‘law’ into culture and corruption rather than credit as a culture of financial sector corruption-opportunism. We need more than fear of bears here. We need bears in the woods, shitting…


[i] Bernard Stiegler, Taking Care of Youth and the Generations Stanford, Stanford University Press, (2008) 2010, p78.

[ii] See the work of Richard Iveson on animals and Derrida’s Bestiary – PhD dissertation to be submitted to the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths in 2011. This is also an opportunity to note that the disturbing picture in The Guardian (29.10.2010) of the baby elephant in a struggle with a crocodile (see pic) had a moral narrative – the herd of elephants together made sufficient noise to fend off the croc. For once, perhaps despite itself, The Guardian offers up something noteworthy. But this is a dog eat dog world, and the animal kingdom is horrific rather than stupid, unlike the human terrain.

[iii] Bernard Stiegler, Acting Out, Stanford, Stanford University Press, (2003) 2009, p15.

[iv] Ibid., p48., my italics.

[v] Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time 1: The Fault of Epimetheus, Stanford:, Stanford University Press, (1994) 1998, p202.

[vi] Bernard Stiegler, For a New Critique of Political Economy, Cambridge, Polity (2009) 2010, p75, my italic.

[vii] Ibid., p88.

[viii] Ibid., p89.

[ix] See the work of Felton C, Shorthall, The Incomplete Marx, Aldershot, Avebury, 1994.

[x] Stiegler, For a New Critique, p92.

[xi] Ibid., p87.

[xii] Ibid., p126.

[xiii] Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, ‘Ghostwriting’, Diacritics 25, 2. (1995), pp65-84.

✪ 11 more notes on ‘the disturbances™ in London’

The first 11 notes were here.

12. It is too easy to complain that the ‘rioting’ youth are merely obsessed with trainers and plasma TV. To say this misses the point, but it is more difficult for journalists to parse the process by which circulation, valorization, exchange, value extraction, surplus labour, alienation, and the fetishism that disguises social relations as relations between things operates. The ‘reporter-campaigner’ press is no longer on the job.

13. The insurrectionary youth seem to understand better than most what these goods are – theirs. They grasp the fetish character of commodities and the theft of property as time. In a radical way, the youth grasp, and break, the distinction between use value and exchange value. Fat cat neoliberals have thrived off expropriation, but now as the roosting pigeon heads homeward, with them having mortgaged the future to short-term gain, they seem perversely ignorant of causes. The sorry spectacle has them flapping about trying to fix the leaks where they see their interests and profits must be defended, as ever with a bolstered repressive apparatus, and having ransomed everyone else for their sorry survival.

14. In this context, jokes about ‘aggressive forms of late night shopping’ (ex cop on TV) are hypocritical ventriloquy of ruling class ideas, in that nearly every ‘older’ person I’ve heard talking about this first wishes the youth had a ‘cause’ (like they do!) but then wants to know where to buy one of these cheap hot plasmas, though without having to go to Tottenham for the pick up. Distorted and alienated interests are interests nonetheless – they are not the interests of Capital. Cut through this phantasmal comedy and it’s illusions of civic responsibility, morality and myths of political representation – contemporary Capital is nothing less than theft and plunder and should be hounded into the annals of history.

15. Lack of role models! The role models aren’t Kate Middleton and knowing what she wore, nor Beckham and his grooming products – the parade of privilege and property has them only as a window-dressing facade. The weapons trade, the mining industry, the micro-processing and conductor sweatshops, the off-shore processing zones, the anti-union, tax-free, labour intensive low-wage hell camps… These are the role models, also critiqued by the broken windows – the targets are tangential, but the sentiment is shared. Some are making the connections, and they are not just crusty old Marxists.

16. The youth hate the cops with good cause. Deaths in custody is a trigger, but stop and search, surly attitudes, bus dragnets, corruption, payola and more are not endearing plod to anyone. Defending prime property while letting lesser capital burn is an outrage, but expected given where we are just now in the volatile process of cyclical accumulation. The valorisation/conversion of expropriated surplus value through circulation within a stag-flationary recession that favours write-offs and fire-sales (primark, tkmaxx, budget airlines, and now many so-called ma-and-pa shops) means petit bourgeois traders suffer while big capital strives to recoup what minimal profit can be scarpered away before the fire sale season ends. The super rich survive, only slightly singed by scandals (dear Rupert), to then pounce to buy up the scorched earth as a bloody trophy upon which a new phase of accumulation is inaugurated. Class and location maps onto race and privilege to differentiate the cartography of valorised capital under this restructuring, so-called ‘crisis’ we are all in together. Some zones of manufacture and circulation entail very small margins with very large numbers – ahh, plastic goods – and if this mode of production, and a sharp end understanding of it, isn’t political, then what is?

17. The technique is refined in war. Invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan and gleeful opportunism after the Arab spring (Cameron visits an arms fair) follows the model of army and camp followers. The cowboy corporations rush to provide security services, building contracts, democracy-capacity-building workshops…

18. We do not necessarily need commodity chain analysis or a critique of colonial history to understand that here and there, local and global are co-constituted in an embrace of death. Seems like only the politicians have a vested interest in saying this is not political – and they criminalise all youth, and all revolutionary zeal, with the same golden Bullingdon toilet brush (I am still reeling at Boris Johnson’s image of Britain as ‘a broken washing machine with black fluid leaking out the back’ – even disavowing this version he reveals his gutter mind).

19. The looting is not political because the youth pick up on a general discontent, it is not political because police tactics are repressive and biased and will be extended on the back of this, it is not political because parenting and family values have been lost back in some nostalgic fantasy of the good war, it is not political because the cuts to services mean there’s nothing else for the youth to do. It is political because all of the above make it an insurrection. Our very own intefada part one.

20. It is not a blind passages a l’acte, comrade Žižek. In his book on violence, Žižek says (after the deaths of Bouna Toure and Zyed Benna on October 27, 2005 and the thousands of cars set alight): ‘the fact that there was no programme behind the burning Paris suburbs is thus itself a fact to be interpreted’ (Žižek 2008:64). That this might be described as a ‘blind acting out’ seems itself ironic and myopic, even when SZ is correct to mock the sociological ‘search for deeper meaning or messages hidden in these outbursts’ (Žižek 2008:65), especially if these searches are undertaken from the comfort of the television viewing room. Žižek himself spends two further pages explaining that the youth wanted to be recognized as French, and yet locates this events in a particular and peculiar way. I expand the parameters of the quotation already used earlier:

“The Paris riots need to be situated in a series they form with another type of violence that the liberal majority perceives as a threat to our way of life: direct terrorist attacks and suicide bombings. In both instances, violence and counter-violence are caught up in a deadly vicious cycle, each generating the very forces it tries to combat. In both cases we are dealing with blind passages a l’acte, where violence is an implicit admission of impotence. The difference is that, in contrast to the Paris outbursts which were a zero-level protest, a violent outburst which wanted nothing, terrorist attacks are carried out on behalf of that absolute meaning provided by religion” (Žižek 2008:69).

We cannot be sure Žižek has understood Paris here, nor should we be detained by his assertion that religion is the absolute designation of terrorism, but the ascription of ‘nothing’ as the meaning of the Paris riots certainly suggests some problems with commentary.

21 Media reportage as the official line, paving the way for more cops, more repression, less commentary, less critique – we have long known the idea of the independent campaigning journalist reporter has been swallowed up by embedded, churnalistic, press release and sub-tabloid eaves-dropper automatons. Recycled heavy rotation police reports and edits (let me see more of Mayor Johnson being hounded out of Clapham by rightly angry shopkeepers). That this 24 hr news cycle stresses recycle of items is just yet another cut in the stagflationary moment.

22. The ‘Lumpen R Us’. Well, not quite, but it does not hurt to have an aspiration. In his early text ‘A Report from Hunan’ Mao praises the ‘Movement of the Riff Raff’ (Mao Selected Works Vol 1 p29). The ‘riff raff’ are the ‘utterly destitute’ lumpen peasantry who we find in China as:

“completely dispossessed … People who have neither land nor money, are without any means of livelihood, and are forced to leave home and become mercenaries or hired labourers or wandering beggars” (Mao Vol. I P 32)

Mao then provides a detailed report on the achievements of these peasants as revolutionaries able to transform an uprising into Red self governance. Mao’s ‘Report from Hunan’ is a great example of engaged reportage and it provides a more balanced evaluation of lumpen elements. His amusingly titled section ‘“Its Terrible” or “Its Fine”’ is equally judicious. Mao is praising the ways the peasants had banded together to dominate the landed gentry in Hunan, how their organisation established the basic conditions for a defence of the gains, and the template for the pattern of protracted guerrilla war. His unconditional approval for the ‘Movement of the Riff Raff’ is unstinting in its praise for the violent suppression of counter-revolutionaries. He does not ever want to say they ‘go too far’ when they defend the revolution (Selected Works Vol. I).

Thus – build the revolution…

11 more points soon

The first 11 notes were here.

The best 11 you should know by heart – the point is to change it.

Raya Dunayevskaya

More than one hundred writings of the Marxist-Humanist philosopher
Raya Dunayevskaya (1910-1987) that were printed in the paper she
founded in 1955, News & Letters, are now available from News and
Letters Committees at:

http://newsandletters.org/WritingsofRD.asp

Dunayevskaya was one of Trotsky’s secretaries when he was in exile in
Mexico. She broke with him over the Hitler/Stalin pact, and later
founded News and Letters Committees, developing the philosophy she
called Marxist-Humanism. Her books include Marxism and Freedom: from
1776 until today; Philosophy and Revolution: from Hegel to Sartre and
from Marx to Mao; and Rosa Luxemburg,Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s
Philosophy of Revolution.

A wide-ranging collection of documents from the Raya Dunayevskaya
Collection that have appeared in the pages of News & Letters newspaper
are available online. The writings, from the 1940s to the 1980s,
include work on Marxian economics, Hegelian philosophy, women’s
liberation, correspondence with Herbert Marcuse, Eric Fromm, and
Adrienne Rich. Only a few of the subjects taken up include the Black
liberation struggle in the United States, Che Guevara, the Cuban
Revolution, France ’68, and Marxism as a philosophy of “Revolution in
Permanence.”

Among the titles: “The Dialectic of Marx’s Grundrisse,” “The Black
Dimension in Women’s Liberation,” The Philosophic Legacy of Karel
Kosik,” Historic Roots of Israel-Palestine Conflict,” “Levi-Strauss
and the Battle of Ideas,” “Rough Notes on Hegel’s Science of Logic,”
“Recollections of Leon Trotsky,” “Tragedy of China’s Cultural
Revolution,” “On C.L.R. James’ Notes on Dialectics,” “Remembering
Allende, 1973”.

The writings are listed in an index with direct links to the documents
and can also be found in back issues of News & Letters to see them in
the context in which they were printed.

 

The Middle East, North Africa: The prospects for Revolution. 30.5.2011

The Middle East, North Africa

The Prospects for Revolution!

The recent uprisings that have rocked regimes in the Middle East and North Africa showed how quickly people can shatter what Marx called the “belief in the permanence of existing conditions”. Yet the local and international centers of power are even now trying to tame and turn back these movements. The women gathered on March 8th Women’s Day in Cairo’s Tahrir Square were told, “Back to your kitchens – the revolution’s over!” And we have seen how over and over again powerful mass uprisings that topple tyrants are absorbed back into the system – in the Philippines, Indonesia, Nicaragua, or think of Iran, where the overthrow of the Shah was followed by the Islamic Republic… – and for the great majority the wheels of oppression grind on … How can this be avoided? What kind of society is needed by the peoples of this region and people all over the world? This conference analyses the prospects for a thorough-going revolution that breaks free from the grip of imperialist domination. Join in a day of serious discussion and warm-hearted solidarity!

                                Speakers:

Nawal el-Saadawi, author of The Hidden Face of Eve, Daughter of Isis, Memoirs from the Women’s Prison, from Egypt

Amir Hassanpour, University of Toronto, Canada, from Iran

Raymond Lotta, revolutionary political economist, writer for Revolution newspaper, from the US

Shahrzad Mojab, academic-activist, Professor University of Toronto in gender studies, education & women and revolution, from Iran

Sami Ramadani, senior lecturer, London Metropolitan Uni, from Iraq

Aitemad Muhanna, researcher in gender issues in Gaza, Palestine

Panel Chair: John Hutnyk, Bad Marxism, Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmith’s

Location: Conway Hall (Red Lion Square, Holborn tube)

Date: 30 May – Bank Holiday Monday

Time: 9:30 am to 5 pm (£9 – £7 concessions)

For more info, contact the Committee for a Revolutionary Alternative on facebook or email: lonconf2011[at]gmail.com or call 07904 550 033

Alexandra Kollontai re: Vladimir Lenin

An aggregator (lycos retriever) offers the following links:

In 1898 Kollontai abandoned her conventional marriage to study political economy in Zurich. She had already read Marx and Lenin, but in Zurich she familiarized herself with the views of Karl Kautsky and Rosa Luxemburg. Before returning to St. Petersburg in 1899, she met in London Sidney and Beatrice Webb, whose reformist thoughts she rejected. Kollontai’s first article, dealing with the relationship between the development of children and their surroundings, was published in the Marxist journal Obrazovaniie in 1898. In her article dealing with Finland, published in Novoye vremia, she used the pseyudonym Elin Molin. Kollontai contributed … to the German journal Sociale Praxis.
Source:
kirjasto.sci.fi

Kollontai ardently believed in the natural and sacred function of motherhood and said so many times. Her largest book and much of her political effort after October was devoted to ensuring adequate medical care for working mothers. She … believed that society had an obligation to assist mothers by helping to raise their children. But her belief bore a qualification rarely mentioned in comments about it or about her: The state would not take children away from their parents, and all public child-rearing arrangements would be voluntary on the part of the parents. Her primary concern was that every woman would have the right and the genuine opportunity to have children and to be sure that they would be cared for. “Every mother must be convinced that once she fulfills her natural function and gives a new member to communist society, i.e. a new worker, the collective will love and attend to her and her child.” Marriage and sex were personal affairs; but motherhood, she said in words almost identical to Lenin’s, was a social concern.
Source:
leedstrinity.ac.uk

Kollontai became the first woman elected to the Party Central Committee. After the October Revolution, when Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power, she was appointed People’s Commissar for Public Welfare. In the Ministry she was welcomed with a strike, as the other Commissars. “Immediately the poor of the great cities, the inmates of institutions, were plunged in miserable want: delegations of starving cripples, of orphans with blue, pinched faces, besieged the building. With tears streaming down her face, Kollontai arrested the strikers until they should deliver the keys of the office and the safe; when she got the keys… it was discovered that the former Minister, Countess Panina, had gone off with all the funds, which she refused to surrender except on the order of the Constituent Assembly.” (John Reed in Ten Days that Shook the World, 1919)
Source:
kirjasto.sci.fi

Kollontai was a member of the Social Democratic Labour Party. At its Second Congress in London in 1903, there was a dispute between two of its leaders, Vladimir Lenin and Julius Martov. Lenin argued for a small party of professional revolutionaries with a large fringe of non-party sympathizers and supporters. Martov disagreed believing it was better to have a large party of activists. Martov won the vote 28-23 but Lenin was unwilling to accept the result and formed a faction known as the Bolsheviks. Those who remained loyal to Martov became known as Mensheviks.
Source:
spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk

When the February revolution of 1917 broke out, Kollontai was in Norway. She delayed her return to Russia only long enough to receive Lenin’s “Letters from Afar” so she could carry them to the Russian organization. From the moment of her arrival, she joined Alexander Shlyapnikov and V. M. Molotov in the fight for a clear policy of no support to the provisional government, against the opposition of Kamenev and Stalin. She was elected a member of the executive committee of the Petrograd Soviet (to which she had been elected as a delegate from an army unit). At a tumultuous meeting of social democrats on April 4, she was the only speaker other than Lenin to support the demand for “All Power to the Soviets.”
Source:
cddc.vt.edu

Throughout this period Kollontai had consistently stressed the need for working class women to organise independently from the bourgeois feminists. In this she was at odds with the majority of the Menshevik faction which consistently adapted to and compromised with the forces of bourgeois feminism. Her hostility to feminism placed her closer to the Bolsheviks who similarly waged a war against feminism. But at this stage she had not yet developed a coherent communist position on the organisation of working women which she was to develop alongside the Bolsheviks on the eve of the 1917 Revolution. Most importantly Kollontai, unlike Zetkin, failed to grasp the importance of ensuring Party leadership of the working class women’s movement. In this sense she remained closer to the positions of the Menshevik faction than to those of Lenin and the Bolsheviks.

http://uninomade.org/

How is it possible to create a laboratory where the separation of theory and political practice is continually put into discussion? A space where research becomes the elaboration of programmatic points,
that is to say, co-research?

This is the question that gave life to Uninomade, a network of researchers and social movement activists who have developed this organization as a tool of self-education and collective reflection for new political categories able to interpret and transform the present. From here, from this common patrimony and the urgency of this question, a group of comrades has decided to start anew.
This is a political phase characterized by continuity and discontinuity. The worsening crisis is assuming the profile of a permanent condition of contemporary capitalism, one that we had hypothesized, even if the “recomposition” of antagonistic processes doesn’t mechanically and synchronically correspond to this condition. Nevertheless, we are witnessing the multiplication of small and large social movements and strikes – from the factory to the metropolis, in Italy and around the world – on a daily basis. These new struggles evoke the concrete turning the crisis into a space of new possibility. Investigating the production of subjectivity and power inside the new composition of living labor, new forms of struggle and differential temporalities, finding innovative places and dynamics of connection: these are the challenges that, even if in different forms, we are collectively facing.

This is the direction that the Uninomade 2.0 site would like to go, proposing a place where this common research can take form. It is a site that functions both as an archive and as a collection point for the materials for our coming seminars – on Europe and the crisis, on the common from a juridical viewpoint and on welfare and its transformations, to name a few. It is a site that looks to constitute a tool for reflection and theoretical and political debate as well as for the collection and circulation of analysis and elaboration. In the end, it is a site that attempts to intervene in the struggles and the questions raised along this path of research, continually open to relationships with social movements and forms of conflict. To be at the height of this challenge, we think that the national limits of the discussion should be immediately put into question: even though we keep a constant eye on what happens in what was once called the “Italian laboratory”, the objective of Uninomade 2.0 is the assumption of European and transnational dimension as a space of analysis, reflection and political action.

http://uninomade.org/

The actuality of Lenin and a Primer on the Leninist Party

Two recent posts by Jodi on Lukacs and Lenin:

October 11, 2010

The actuality of revolution

A central idea in Lukacs’s Lenin is that the leninist party presupposes the actuality of revolution. In this and upcoming posts, I hope to think more about this idea, both in terms of Lukacs’s account of Lenin and with respect to organizing now.

My initial impulse is to think about the actuality of revolution in connection with democracy to come.

Some on the post-structuralist left embrace the Derridean idea of a democracy that has and cannot arrive, that most be forever postponed, to come. This is an ostensible strength of democracy, that it cannot be realized. Although I don’t know Derrida well, I associate this idea with the possibility of deconstruction, with thinking, with some kind of openness or potential. It seems, then, a sort of gap that holds open a promise not to totalize, not to terrorize, a promise or commitment to futurity and the unknown. Any given decision or act will necessarily be lacking, but this very lack is the opening democracy demands.

In contrast with such an openness, the Leninist party appears as a specter of horror, as the remnant or trace of the failed revolution the terrors of which must be avoided at all costs. In such a vision (which may not be concretely held by anyone but seems vaguely intuited by most), communism is reduced not simply to the actual (which is always necessarily ruptured, incomplete, irreducible to itself, and pregnant with the unrealized potentials of the past) but to the parody of one actuality, an actuality that itself as changed over time and from different perspectives (for example, the difference between US presentations of the USSR during WWII and US presentations of communism in 2010). In such a reduction (which is an ongoing process), actuality is displaced by an impossible figure, a figure so resolute as to be incapable of revolutionary change.

What is the actuality of revolution? I’ll look at more of the details from Lukacs in subsequent posts, but at the minimum we can say that it involves change, confusion, disturbance, chaos, and the possibility wherein tendencies in one direction can suddenly move in a completely opposite direction. For the Leninist party, the actuality of revolution requires discipline and preparation, not because it can accurately predict everything that will occur, because it cannot, and not because it has an infallible theory, which it does not. Discipline and preparation are necessary in order to adapt to the circumstances. The party has to be consistent and flexible because of revolution is chaotic.

The actuality of revolution, then, is kind of enabling impediment. It is a condition of constitutive non-knowledge for which the party can prepare (and help prepare the proletariat). It’s a condition that demands response, if the party is to be accountable to the people, if it is to function as a communist party (it is the difference that communist makes).

The difference between actuality and futurity (or the perpetual displacement of democracy into an impossible future), then, is a difference in preparation, discipline, responsiveness, planning. The former requires it, the latter seems to eschew it or postpone it. For the Leninst party, to postpone is to fail now.

The actuality of revolution means that one cannot perpetually defer a decision, action, or judgment; it means that one undertakes it, fully exposed to one’s lack of coverage in history or even in the revolutionary moment. It means that one has to trust that the revolutionary process will bring about new constellations, arrangements, skills, convictions, that through it we will make something else, something we aren’t imagining now.

Perhaps this seems less surprising, less far-fetched, now that, for a decade, many of us have been making something else together. We’ve been linking and connecting, doing more than forwarding kitten photos. We’ve been building alliances and awareness, sharing knowledge of crimes, inequalities, violence, exploitation. We’ve been hearing the right claiming their revolution and we’ve been swept up in the reality of their counter-revolution. We’ve heard the neoliberals and financial despots claim that they are entitled to 90 percent of the wealth and we know, and now because we are connected know that we know, that they are wrong.

It could be that now is when ideas that have become abstract and hard to comprehend, ideas like the proletariart as the subject-object of history, may start to make more sense. To me, now, the idea of the subject-object of history indexes feedback loops, self-organized networks, emergent formations where we are bringing ourselves into being as something new; we are the objects of ourselves. We are already making our setting. The point is to make it differently and to take back what is being taken away–products of our work, opportunities to share, spaces to live, healthy food and environments.

The actuality of revolution is the press/pressure that we feel, that we can’t put off but must redirect.

Post 2:

October 11, 2010

Primer on the Leninist party

To think about the attributes of the Leninist party, one needs to understand its setting. The structure of the party is completely imbricated in its setting in the sense that it is a response to it, produced through its interaction with it, an interaction that is inseparable from the revolutionary situation. The party ‘is not but is becoming.’

1.    Class struggle: the party is necessary because class consciousness isn’t automatic. Folks don’t automatically understand their conditions in terms of exploitation or, if they do, dominant ideologies provide interpretations of this exploitation that displace possibilities of resistance. Another way to put them, the people or the proletariat doesn’t know itself and what it wants.

2.    The actuality of revolution: the party doesn’t make the revolution. Rather, the party is an instrument of class struggle in a revolutionary period. In such a period, there is turmoil among multiple social forces, multiple factions and factors within society as well as within the proletariat itself (recall, the proletariat is not one or unified). The party, then, is a discipline organization of the ‘fully conscious’  elements of the proletariat within this setting.

As I mentioned in the preceding post [above], the actuality of revolution is confused and changeable. Lukacs’ description of the Leninst party, then, cannot be separated from this actuality. Lukacs writes:

the Leninst form of organization is inseparably connected with the ability to foresee the approaching revolution. For only in this context is every deviation from the right path fateful and disastrous for the proletariat; only in this context can a decision on an apparently trivial everyday issue be of profound significance to it . . .

It would be easy to read this passage as implying a claim to be able to foresee the revolution, to know the right path. But what about an alternative, one that emphasizes not a knowledge that Lukacs explicitly acknowledges is impossible in a revolutionary situation but an organizational form that recognizes and responds to the seriousness of the setting in which it finds itself? So the Leninist party is connected to the precarity of the revolutionary setting. It is an organizational form that doesn’t take the normal for granted (the normal or everyday is precisely what a revolution disrupts) but instead proceeds with an appreciation for the fact that everything is up for grabs. As Lukacs says later in the text, ‘the actual time and circumstances are hardly ever exactly determinable.’

3.  In a revolutionary setting, allies from different classes join the proletariat–and this brings confusion; these other elements can ‘deflect it from its path.’ Lukacs writes:

The working class, provided it knows what it wants and what its class interests dictate, can free both itself and these other groups from social bondage.

We already know, though, that the working class doesn’t know what it wants and what its interests dictate. We already know that this sort of class consciousness is not spontaneous but has to be produced. And, it’s not that the party will know certainly what the working class wants. But it will know that the lack of such knowledge should not impede action because it cannot forestall the actuality of revolution. In a way, the party is the strict organization of a limit or lack, a response to the newness or openness of history. Lukacs writes:

If events had to be delayed until the proletariat entered the decisive struggle united and clear in its aims, there would never be a revolutionary situation.

4.    The Leninst party combines strict selection of party members with total solidarity with and support for all the oppressed and exploited within capitalist society.

5.     The party must prepare the revolution. Here the party is producer and product (feedback, networks, self-organization, emergence). It is an exclusive organization that interacts with, and learns from, the struggles and suffering of the people. Sometimes the party will exacerbate tendencies; sometimes it will have to change course. So it has to try to foresee and forecast and prepare the people in light of these forecasts, but these are in no way guarantees. They are not the mechanistic outcomes of deterministic laws. Rather, there are moments of chance, contingency, indeterminacy. The party has to be able immediately adjust to an ever-changing situation.

6.    The reading I’m giving of Lukacs’s account of the Leninist party might seem to founder on the following:

Because the party, on the basis of its knowledge of society in its totality, represents the interests of the whole proletariat (and in doing so mediates the intersts of all the oppressed-the future of mankind), it must unite within it all the contradictions in which the tasks that arise from the very heart of this social totality are expressed [...strict selection of party members, unconditional devotion to revolution, ability to merge themselves in lives of stuggling and suffering masses]…

I don’t think my reading has to founder, though (and, honestly, I am less interested in fidelity to Lukacs than I am in finding an organizational form that could work for us today). To unite contradictions within itself is not to resolve them: rather, it is to express them as contradictions. The Lenininst revolutionaries take on themselves the demands and conflicts of the revolution. They perform the revolutionary situation, in all its chaos and uncertainty. So the Leninist party cannot be a party that makes demands on the people; it has to be a party that makes present to the people the demands they are already making on themselves. Lukacs:

For the stringency of the demands made on party members si only a way of making clear to the whole proletariat (and all strata exploited by capitalism) where their true interests lie, and of making them conscious of the true basis of their hiterhto unconscious actions, vague ideology and confused feelings.

7.      Learning depends on action and struggle and hence on discipline and flexibility.

From http://jdeanicite.typepad.com/i_cite/

Note for the preservation workshop NYC

Globalization and preservation: two abstract and abstracting processes that oftentimes are critiqued as a perspective that leaves out people, lived experience, specificity, the street, the intangible and heterotopic flux. A google earth view of the world chimes well with an alienated populace passing each other anonymously in the crowded streamlined furrows of the contemporary metropolis, with heritage and city planners seemingly more concerned with museumification and/or a sleek shining renewal that foregrounds commercial interests and markets (national cultural heritage at best, new privatised shopping malls at the other end). Being in the city that a famous Italian neo-realist film-maker once said he would not film until cinemas screens were 70 mm vertical rather than horizontal, can I be forgiven for noting that although the New York moment of September 11th 2001 was striking for many reasons, the one that struck me was the way people unusually stopped in the street to look up together as if at a screen event (just as we did worldwide, by a kind of proxy experience – which is not at all yet globalization from below). Far be it for me to celebrate some transitory globalisation of Gotham spirit or to somehow favourably–perversely applaud the brutal crisis that brought a population together in myriad forms of protest (in New York itself, across the US, and worldwide) and which has been so viciously abused in various ways by homeland and patriot action since then. What it does say to me is that there are more detailed perspectives on Global events that should be the preserve of those that work this terrain.

So I ask, naively, what of those people on the street, the entire corpus of urban studies that starts with street life – two examples, in NYC, Dunier’s book Sidewalk; in Kolkata, Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay’s work on street food.

Who are the people here? That question drives my interest in a more overtly political project inspired by a certain reading of Marx. Gayatri Spivak points out that Marx’s project in Kapital is to teach his implied reader to see through the trick of commodity fetishism. The members of the German social democratic workers party were to see through the facade of capital and grasp its inner workings, exploitation and expropriation of their own creative energies, in a way that would lead from critique to transformation – and then interregnums would burst asunder, chains be cast aside, a new continent of thought and new possibilities of life engaged. Communist new dawn.

Before then, Marx must write and explain. In the Working Day chapter – the longest in Kapital, the hinge of the book, in my mind the equivalent moment of ethnographic work that a street-life study might engage, an exhaustive and emotive survey – Marx, drawing from Leonard Horner and the Factory Inspector reports, tells the story of the scandalous conditions of workers in circumstances barely distinguished from the worst examples of wage slavery ever seen. Leonard Horner of course was caught in a policy cleft between the parliamentary negotiations of reformers and resistance to reform. The entire struggle of the Working Day, and the ‘modest Magna Carta’ of the 8 hour agreement that cuts through this negotiation, is a foundation for the second half of the book (and the subsequent volumes) which show different ways in which Capital responds to worker’s struggles, using technology, organisation, geographic dispersal and more, to maintain its advantage. Marx’s message here is that the workers must go further than negotiations about hours of wages… Of course based on detail, but ambitious too. Engels already had made the first moves in examining the Condition of the Working Class in Manchester, in 1844, what Marx adds is a theorised agenda for further researched and engaged action around these conditions. The book is not a description of what is that should remain fixed, but a call to action, an elaborated manifesto, and agenda for a future that would preserve life, through struggle.

Rush forward to Lenin’s Bolshevik party and the factory exposures, to Mao reporting on the peasantry from Hunan, to Adorno’s talk of Parallel Sociology, to the Italian workerist tradition examining class composition, through to contemporary explorations by groups like Kolinko: call centre inquiry and ‘mapping’ exercises by activist groups in sectors as diverse as higher education, banking, sex work and service sector precarity like waitressing and similar. All research projects with a program.

Can the engagement with people in these last studies – that try to report, as did Marx and Engels, on the imbrications of lived experience with the great machinations of globalization – be offered as an example for our work? To work in the way that only occasionally and under extreme circumstances falls to us today when we are shocked into standing, stop and stare, looking closely and wondering at the spectacular facade upon which global processes are screened? In the oft-replayed destruction of some buildings, a globally overwritten image, there is perhaps something potent still that leads us to a philosophy that is not just contemplation, to a sociology that is not just interpretation, to a policy engagement that is not just negotiation. A project and a campaign may be? Is that still possible? Is that what might be done, as a way to think about our work, and to work, on work – hi ho, hi ho?

Transpontine

This lovely sepia toned arch-ive pic-ture is from the very fine, super reg-ular, eleg-ant and who-lly inimitable Transpontine blog. If you do not read it you should, and be impressed by the stamina for posting that is sadly lacking from this humble servant of verbage. And a very fine resource it is, for pictures, trinkets, fun and music history of South East London.

CU71012A “Cultural Studies and Capitalism”

Hi – If you are coming to my course on Marx’s Capital in 2010 (starts Jan 14th), for the first lecture it would be helpful if you have seen, or again seen, Orson Welles’ film ‘Citizen Kane’. And if you know someone who is going to do this course and wanted to do some Xmas period (or Mao’s birthday – 26 Dec) shopping and get them a present, it would not hurt to get them a box set of “Battlestar Galactica”. – J

Lecture course Spring 2010 – Centre for Cultural Studies.

CU71012A “Cultural Studies and Capitalism”

Lecturer: Professor John Hutnyk (thursdays 11am-1pm [Tom's seminars 3-5]).

This course involves a close reading of Karl Marx’s Capital (Volume One). The connections between cultural studies and critiques of capitalism are considered in an interdisciplinary context (cinema studies, anthropology, musicology, international relations, and philosophy) which reaches from Marx through to Film Studies, from ethnographic approaches to Heidegger, from anarchism and surrealism to German critical theory and poststructuralism/post-colonialism/post-early-for-christmas. Topics covered include: alienation, commodification, production, technology, education, subsumption, anti-imperialism, anti-war movement and complicity. Using a series of illustrative films (documentary and fiction) and key theoretical texts (read alongside the text of Capital), we examine contemporary capitalism as it shifts, changes, lurches through its very late 20th and early 21st century manifestations – we will look at how cultural studies copes with (or does not cope with) class struggle, anti-colonialism, new subjectivities, cultural politics, media, virtual and corporate worlds.

Indicative reading:

T Adorno, The Culture Industry

A Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures

M. Taussig My Cocaine Museum

G Bataille, The Accursed Share

K Marx, Capital: Volume One

Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto

G Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason

S Zizek, Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin from 1917

S Lotringer (ed), Hatred of Capitalism: A Reader

Many of the lectures will include visual material. Very occasionally this may be part of a feature film or a longer documentary and on such occasion the rest of the film should be viewed in the Library. Usually a short screening will occur in the second hour of the scheduled lecture.

The main reading will be the relevant chapter or chapters of Capital each week. Do also read the footnotes, they are sometimes quite entertaining (attacks on ‘moneybags’, comments on Shakespeare, notes on bamboo ‘thrashings’, and celebrations of the work of Leonard Horner, factory inspector). The key secondary text will be in a reader pack available from the CCS office

Mode of Assessment: This course is assessed by a 5,000 word essay to be submitted to the Centre for Cultural Studies office early in April 2010.

The Internationale in its many varied forms. Many Languages, One Struggle – Workers of the World Unite. Nothing to lose but chains.

The Very Idea of Communism.

draftprog-2tI am posting here this Open Letter from Raymond Lotta of the Revolutionary Communist Party USA to the attendees of the upcoming Birkbeck ‘On the Idea of Communism’ conference (see here) because I really like the critique implied in the phrase ‘back to the 18th century’ thinking. I can of course understand why the comm-fest programme could not be changed late in the day to accommodate BoB-thought. I mean, even Jean Luc Nancy seems to not have a formal place: in the program he just seems to be ‘in attendance’ – I hope he gets a chair to sit on, or maybe he has his own TV show and will do a roving reporter thing?? People have complained that its too expensive – 100 quid for a spot in a 900 seat hall, you do the math – but I think its a bargain just to be able to hear all these pundits, and to see letters like this appear as well. If we could just knock over a few of the big banks… [oops, the boards of directors of the banks already did that for themselves - 1.5 million a year ain't a bad salary - gnnng]

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SPEAKERS OF THE “IDEA OF COMMUNISM” CONFERENCE AT BIRKBECK COLLEGE, MARCH

13-15 Dear Colleagues, The convocation of an international conference on the Idea of Communism is certainly salutary.

The world cries out for revolution. It would only make sense that Bob Avakian’s new synthesis be part of a major discussion of the idea of communism. But thus far, a presentation about this new synthesis has been unacceptably excluded from the program of the conference.

Communism is at a crossroads.

In the face of the reversals of the revolutions in the Soviet Union and China, we have seen a range of political-ideological responses that tend to fall into three broad currents:

First, there are those who religiously cling to the experience and theory of the first wave of socialist revolution of the 20th century—not summing up problems and shortcomings, not moving forward, but circling the wagons.

Second, there are those who ignore or dismiss real scientific analysis of the contradictions of the socialist transition. They look for inspiration and orientation even further back into the past–to the 18th century and the proclaimed democratic and egalitarian ideals and social models of the bourgeois epoch. One has to ask what it signifies that at a conference ostensibly addressing the “idea of communism,” Rousseau, Kant, and Jefferson are defining reference points. Where does that take you in the world, and didn’t Marx (and Marxism) effect a rupture with all that already? The only difference is that now this is being labeled communism.

Third, there is what Bob Avakian has been doing. He is not only the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, which has its sights set on the revolutionary seizure of power and the radical transformation of society, but also a visionary theorist. He has been acting on the understanding that communist revolution is the only way out of this madness and horror, and taking up the challenge of forging the path forward and further developing Marxism as a living and critical revolutionary science–so that communists are indeed a vanguard of the future, not a residue of the past. This involves a more scientific and visionary sense of communism, a reenvisioned model of socialist society and exercise of leadership, and related issues of epistemology and ethics.

For Avakian, there is both continuity with the first wave of socialist revolution in the 20th century, whose high water mark was the Cultural Revolution, and rupture with wrong conceptions and methodology. This includes continuation of Mao’s ruptures with Stalin but also, in some respects, rupture beyond the ways that Mao himself was influenced, though secondarily, by the dominant mode of thinking within the communist movement under the leadership of Stalin. Avakian’s writings and talks can be accessed at BobAvakian.net.

Given that the Idea of Communism conference is very much within this “back to the 18th century” framework, it would be highly important that a presentation representing Bob Avakian’s new synthesis be heard at this conference. It would also be highly important that other theorizations be interrogated and contested from this standpoint.

Again, the world cries out for revolution and the emancipation of humanity. What is the actual content of communism? What is the necessary theoretical framework for going forward? It is in this spirit of gaining clarity that I call on the conference organizers to include a talk on Bob Avakian’s new synthesis as part the formal program. I would be quite willing to give such a presentation. I also call on speakers and participants to bring their influence to bear.

For a new world,

Raymond Lotta

Vote Vote Vote

dogcd1sIts a long time since I looked at the blog stats for Trinketization, but I was provoked to do so by wordpress booster ad page’s calculated posting of words like ‘vote’ yesterday, no doubt catching plenty of traffic not looking for any other material than the obvious. Anyway, the stats page is probably interesting only to me (and not very) – but some of the top posts, with 500 plus visitors, are the newer ones – ie the Sonic Borders post, the Attack the Headquarters ones, and so on. But in terms of voting, I guess its the ones that came in with the lowest number of hits that strike me as in need of attention. There are of course some near empty posts that deserve neglect, but others… I had not thought, for example, that this post on Asian Communists in the UK: ‘Dialectic of here and there‘, would be at the bottom of the list. As a gesture of support for a lonely post I link to it here.

Oh, and this one too – often read on my old site, but neglected by wordpress. Coffee! Yes we can.

Budapest Keynote 13 June 2008

If you just happen to be in Budapest next week…

John Hutnyk – Keynote for the Conference “Framing Struggles”

“Framing Struggles or Containing Fears?

- Performative Paranoia and the Manufacture of Demons”.

Theatricality can sometimes out-perform theory. This presentation considers how insights from performance studies might provide a critical line on the range of theory-driven post-September 11 commentary that seeks to deal with the meaning of the war of terror and issues of public security. In particular the writings of Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou and Susan Buck-Morss will be examined, alongside the critical positions from media commentators and cultural artists. It seems that from the world of performance arts there might be a more nuanced understanding of the way the stories unfold, with implications for how we imagine scholarship and explanatory frameworks. The culture of fear creates demons, but a culture of struggle perhaps questions such framings.

Friday 13 June 17.30 PM (followed by a reception).

FRAMING STRUGGLES: CRITICAL APPROACHES TO ANTHROPOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY.

2ND CEU Sociology & Social Anthropology Graduate Conference

Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology

Central European University

Nador utca 9.

Budapest H-1051, Hungary

Marx and Philosophy – Mon 2 June, 2008

Marx and Philosophy
June 2nd 2008

A one day workshop reflecting on issues relating to globalisation, resistance, value and the Interpretation of Capital.


The day will be geared towards discussion, and is organised around presentations dealing with the following topics: global community; civil disobedience and its tactical evaluation; recent appropriation of Marx’s concepts; the content and implications of Marx’s work, and his relation to philosophy.

Speakers and timetable

2.00 – 3.15
Jonathan Brookes: “Marx and Global Community”
Sam Meaden: “A Critical Appraisal of the ‘Reclaim the Streets’ Movement”

(3.15 – 3.30 – break)

3.30 – 4.30
Ben Polhill: “Antonio Negri’s Social Ontology of Real Subsumption”
Nick Gray and Rob Lucas: “Formal and Real Subsumption – Logical or Historical Categories?”

(4.30 – 5.00 – break)

5.00 – 6.30
Nicole Pepperell: “When is it Safe to Read Capital?”
Alberto Toscano: response

Venue: Room 137, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths College, New Cross, London SE14 6NW

The event is hosted by the Centre for Cultural Studies and the Graduate School of Goldsmiths College, University of London.

For any enquiries please contact Tom Bunyard at: cup01tb@gold.ac.uk

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