An impressive fat volume from the Centre for Research Architecture. Available here
John Hutnyk, London: “The East as a career: Marx Writing Capital and the Value of Bengal.”
Um 18.15 Uhr in Raum 220
An impressive fat volume from the Centre for Research Architecture. Available here
Good to see Ex-Zeppelin and new Hamburg students take up the QM Counter Map:
From the QM collective interview:
What has been the reception to this project, as best you can tell. Have there been unexpected or unintended responses? Has it inspired kindred projects/mobilizations?
The reception has been good, and quite diverse. Some people like the map, some the game, and people stress different aspects of both. In general people really appreciate the fact that it looks very different from most activist and political material. A staff member at Queen Mary in the International Student Admissions Office asked for copies to help her explain to her British colleagues the issues faced by many international students. A presentation to a group of professors highlighted how little our own lecturers knew about the difficulties faced by their own international students.
The game has worked very well as a tool that forces people to discuss their own and others’ experiences of education and border crossings. We specifically designed it as a relational device to get the players to share their experiences and frustrations, and to imagine alternatives. The colourfulness and playfulness of the map has brightened up many a grey bureaucratic political meeting, and inspired others to invent similar tools of mapping, acting and organising in relation to other institutions. We’ve had requests for people to use our InDesign files for making their own maps (the ‘code’ of the map is open and free), and given workshops to other groups making their own maps of the university.
Meeting tomorrow morning (22nd) near Hamburg hafen:
During this meeting we will be focusing on counter mapping using a map project that John Hutnyk presented to us developed by Queen Mary University PhD students a couple of years ago. He has recommended us the following ‘literature’, which we would kindly ask you to prepare for Sunday in case you are interested in taking part.
Afterwards we are planning a small walk through the Hamburg Hafen with the focus on ‘contested spaces’ in order to link the breakfast session with Hamburg.
And crib notes for the class:
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
How do I get there? The YHA is a beautiful 30min walk from Edale Station, which is on the Sheffield-Manchester line (http://tinyurl.com/ksc79nv). There will also be a shuttle bus running from the station. There is some, but limited, car parking available at the venue.
Accommodation? All will have beds! Accommodation is in bunk rooms. There will be family rooms for those with children. We are also committed to providing women-only
accommodation. Some accommodation is step-free. You can tell us your needs on the ticket form.
Food? Drink? The event is fully catered with very nice food, and the cost is included in your ticket price. There will be a (cheap) bar.
Childcare? We are committed to providing appropriate and safe childcare which suits participants. We are also planning/asking for suggestions for activities in the day which all the children and young people who attend. There is space on the ticket application form to tell us what you need.
Cost? Tickets (all-in) are either (subsidised) £25, (cost) £50, or (solidarity) £75. We have adopted a three -tier ticketing system so that we won’t exclude anyone from participating for financial reasons.Please get in contact with us if you have other requirements.
What do I do now? – Click the image to go to Plan C and book.
If you have any other questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you there!
It seems very wrong to classify this ‘jobs.ac.uk’ post under ‘social care':
Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) – Behavioural and Cultural Systems Team
Location: Fareham, Portsmouth
Salary: £23,500 to £33,500
Hours: Full Time
Placed on: 13th June 2014
Closes: 18th July 2014
Job Ref: 1415972
Dstl is responsible for designing, developing and applying the very latest in science and technology for the benefit of UK defence and security, across government. We work with the best people with the best ideas around the world – from very small companies to world-class universities, huge defence companies and sometimes other nations. Together we develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, to support UK military operations, now and in the future.
This is a genuinely involving, unusual and rewarding anthropology role – it’s an opportunity to apply your expertise to inform the way the UK responds to security and defence threats.
You will be joining the Behavioural and Cultural Systems team within Dstl’s Strategic Analysis Group, a 50 strong group of specialists drawn from diverse backgrounds such as psychology, theology, war studies and law. Anthropology is an important element in the mix, as the UK’s ability to tackle future challenges depends on in-depth, accurate insight into populations and societies.
You will be supporting analysis at strategic and operational level, by drawing on a wide range of established and emergent human and social science theories. Your analysis, assessment and advice will be crucial to aiding our understanding of individuals, groups and organisational systems – relating to a wide range of social and cultural issues confronting Her Majesty’s Government. Ultimately, your contribution can help shape and influence government policy and UK Armed Forces operations.
It’s essential that you have an Honours degree in Anthropology or a related subject, and membership of a relevant professional body.
You need a proven record of using a variety of structured social science analysis / research methods to support decision making, together with practical experience of applying Anthropological principles in problem-sets.
You will be a customer-focused researcher who works well both independently and collaboratively.
An understanding of UK defence and security environments or experience of analysis on counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism is an advantage.
Dstl is responsible for designing, developing and applying the very latest in science and technology for the benefit of UK defence and security, across the government. We work with the best people with the best ideas around the world – from very small companies to world-class universities, huge defence companies … even other nations. Together we develop battle-winning technologies, based on deep and widespread research, to support UK military operations, now and in the future.
In return for playing your part in the UK’s defence and security, we offer extensive benefits that include everything from a pension and generous leave, to excellent learning and development opportunities – all in addition to a competitive salary. Our sites are equipped with gyms and restaurants. But it’s not just your working environment that we’ve thought about. Your home life is important too, which is why we offer childcare vouchers, a flexible work-life balance and even discounts on everything from bus tickets to the cost of a new bicycle. In short, we’ve done our best to ensure that our rewards reflect your talents.
To find out more about this role and the work of Dstl, please go to Civil Service Jobs https://jobsstatic.civilservice.gov.uk/csjobs.html/ and search for the vacancy reference 1415972. Follow the instructions to apply.
Due to the reserved nature of this role, it is only open to UK Nationals who have lived in this country for more than five years. All posts require standard Security Clearance (SC).
Closing date: 18 July 2014.
Really pleased that The Rumour of Calcutta is available again, and now with those soft buttery covers that I’d wanted when it was first published way back in 1996.
Tucked in a side street in London Bridge today, a police stand handing out devices which I suspect.
I suspect an effort to distract from this evening’s BBCLondon report that Scotland Yard’s heavily redacted Operation Tiberius investigation covers up the exposure of 42 senior cops (and 19 former cops) for close links with drug crime and contract killings.
It is our duty, we are told: if you suspect it, report it.
On offer: this little show-bag of stuff from the dodgy non-uniform suits who refused to be photographed. I guess the key ring for terror is handy because I so want to be carrying that number around with me as a permanent anxiety reminder. That it came in what seems to be a used gram bag may only be coincidentally linked with the – let me repeat – exposure today that 42 members of the senior police were well paid crime syndicate stooges – as revealed in documents from Operation Tiberius previously heavily redacted by Scotland Yard but exposed tonight by BBCLondon.
The pen speaks for itself, was it previously used to sign payola cheques perhaps? I suspect it, so I report it.
And this one just really is the perfect Fathers Day Trinket, no?
FFS, I say, for fucks sake. Get these people a water cannon as soon as possible. Anyone need a news item to distract from the – did I mention – massive exposure of senior cops linked to crime syndicates?
Trinketization as damage control.
The AMM has been tagged as ‘anti-academic’, a stigma we wear with pride. However, that doesn’t mean we ignore how academic fads and fashions influence the world. So we applaud the advent of the Manchester Left Writers who – in their first ‘broadside’ – attack “symptoms of bad writing operating across contemporary ‘left’ academic discourse … because we feel that it needs to be rescued from itself”. This is an entirely necessary project. What we like about the MLW is that, though they are concerned with the degeneration of language and concepts in the postmodern humanities, their world is not defined by striking poses within that milieu. They are not aspirant alt.superstars vying for attention in the vile metropolitan limelight, but conscientious “autodidacts, libertarians and nonconformists“ as Liverpool AMMer Luke Staunton put it in a recent post (Derek Bailey: “free improvisation is better in the provinces”) . One of the MLW’s number, Robert Galeta, is actually from Bradford, but bothers to cross the Pennines to attend MLW meetings (metropolitan internationalism is a cinch; for a Yorkshireman to penetrate Lancashire takes REAL GUTS). Galeta is sufficiently unfazed by postmodern crapola to notice that Esther Leslie’s Derelicts “generously brings the Academy out through its doors” (New Cross Review of Books). That’s exactly why we published it: great reading material for precisely anyone. All hail MLW! May you flourish and prosper. THIS is how to rebuild the Left.
Manchester Left Writers on the State of Scripts
We want to provide a picture of what is wrong with ‘radical’ or ‘left wing’ academic writing, because we feel that it needs to be rescued from itself. What we have identified collectively are elements of ‘scripts’ that we fall back on when we are not utilising the full potential of our resources in the here and now. Scripts are all resources from the past. Scripts are always half bad style and bad meaning, ruts of lazy thinking which have congealed into dead literary-academic modes.
‘The left’ needs to reoccupy the present and future, actually, physically, and politically, but to do this we need to recalibrate writing so that it is symbolically fit for the scale of the task. This is the first utopian step. ‘Utopia’ is the unwritten no-place we have to move towards, but to do that we have to identify as many of the elements of the bad scripts as possible, the lazy, default modes of writing.
Otherwise, how can we write this no-place, how will we inscribe it with all the changes we desperately need? Scripts only allow us to produce something because the ego needs gratification. Scripts are not about exploring the representation and politics of life in 2014, in a new, risky or tentative way, because what is being produced has not yet been tried, and so is a little frightening. Scripts are about making ego-capital.
We wondered if we might get these reflections on scripts published in a ‘radical’ journal or philosophy magazine, but decided that most of them are probably far too enslaved by the lazy mental habits being described below. We are cynical about work being produced by a washed-up, London-centric, mediocre middle-class ‘autonomist’ scene. To get us started, here are some elements of bad academic scripts that we have identified, strung together as a loose narrative:
1. The Sanctimonious Style: a classic discourse of ‘traditional intellectuals’. An academic star system breeds noblesse oblige: ‘Here I am, fulfilling my “progressive” duties’, but in a self-indulgent windbag fashion, bound up with position and status. In fact, the tone of this script is produced by status, and a life essentially spent on a reservation. Ironically, this script is often replicated by admirers without that power. We can perhaps add to this the ‘Left Worthy’, where writers start to designate ‘the good socialist’. When this happens, be sure that all thinking has stopped. Some elements of this script reveal its emptiness, including…
2. The Tenuous Theoretical Inversion: ‘Aha! But is that the case? If we turn Habermas’s notion inside-out we get…’ not very much, usually. Inverting the ‘notions’ of others usually means that you have few of your own left.
3. The Abstract Expression: This has a long pre-history in leaden macro-Marxism, where everything is covered in ash, as thick curtains of theoretical fog obscure everything. We can include in this the excesses of Frankfurt School ‘totalizing’, and macro ‘up in the clouds’ views of vast swathes of countries and cultures. This leaves us with…
4. Opacity: The residual afterglow of texts that are meant to be complex, compressed, portentous, poetic or ‘deep’, but are actually just opaque. Some of us think that Calvino’s Invisible Cities falls into this category for much of the time, and is so celebrated that people shy away from describing it as such. We will add to this…
5. The Spurious Psychogeography: Accounts of vague wandering, accompanied by photographs of fetishised, aesthetic urban ruins, pierced by striking solipsistic outbursts, emptied of all politics.
6. The Foucauldian Cauldron and Deleuzian Eel Barrel: Power is everywhere and therefore nowhere, it is ‘between’. Everyone is oppressor and oppressed at the same time. This is correct in many ways, but nobody in this murky soup is ever prepared to identify ‘the enemy’, because nobody in it can actually see one. There is a related, but opposite risk here, in writing which posits all identities as ‘spectral’ on ‘our side’, yet ‘over there’ is a big slab of oppression called Capitalism, The Patriarchy, et cetera. These ‘slabs’ of oppression derive in part from Foucauldian and Althusserian anti-humanism. It was once said that Foucauldian theory is a giant ‘spider web without a spider’. If we’re just bearers of the structure, points of intersection, then the spectral spider becomes an abstract oppression, rather than something human beings do to each other (and some more than others). We need to identify the spider and pull its legs off. Then Deleuze arrived, and everything is unstitched, in a state of permanent exodus or ‘becoming’, nothing is one thing, everything is between states, or ‘problematic’ if it isn’t.
7. Kine-spew: Swallow a mix of pulped texts by Lacan and Deleuze. Find a film, cut it open, vomit in it. Type up the results and then publish it in a citation index journal. We can add to this…
8. The Pop Confection: Apply a random mix of theorists to an obscure corner of popular culture to simply describe it through the theory, in order to then have something to submit to a journal. I like this band or film or novel, and I like this theory, so even though there is no direct historical link between them, I’m going to mash them together and say that the cultural text conveniently reflects the ‘radical’ features of the theory. This is fandom writing itself into ‘academia’, the creation of product by re-describing other products. It is postmodern pick ‘n’ mix, which could only happen in better times. The recession claimed Woolworths.
9. Binaries, 010101: This is especially prevalent in subcultural circles of ‘third wave’ feminist and queer theory. The lived realities of oppression are seen through an abstraction that has taken binaries for reality. It would be bad enough if philosophical idealism was the only problem here: but it is not, the theory itself is also faulty. Distinctions are not necessarily ‘binary’. The dominant works in different, often contradictory ways. There are endless ‘radical’ propositions that exclaim ‘A-ha! this bit of the world undermines the binaries, which I’m assuming structure everything, so it must be radical!’ Suddenly, the world as described becomes a seething hotbed of queerness, and we can all relax and pat ourselves on the back. This goes some way to explaining the inane cultural populist radicalism of claiming that Lady Gaga is going to bring down Capitalism and The Patriarchy, or more to the point that she represents it apparently falling apart of its own accord.
10. The Trouble With Normal: The helpless confusion between a liberating left politics, which needs to posit desirable norms different to those we have, and countercultural transgression, which sees all norms as oppressive. ‘Radical’, ‘progressive’, ‘queer’, et cetera: there’s a total and convenient lack of specificity as to the political co-ordinates of the positions signified by the above countercultural confetti. Norm-bending becomes ‘radical’, and not just in what gets analysed by ‘left’ academics, but in their own writing. Every new book is about ‘radical’, shaken-up ways of doing theory. This starts to look a lot like the search for novelty in the capitalist marketplace.
11. The Affect Alibi: A trendy and vague contemporary script, which is yet another mirror of the personalisation of everything, and therefore the Americanisation of everything. It has become acceptable to form a worldview based only on your own immediate experience under the alibi of ‘affect’. This is a reactionary rebound from the theoretical weakness of ashen anti-humanism, heading straight back into romanticism, with its ‘immediacy’. We must add solipsistic forms of ‘experimental’ auto-ethnography to this. The deepest problem here is the utter confusion of ‘standpoint epistemology’, or so-called ‘strong objectivity’.
12. Undiplomatic Immunity: Smearing someone as transphobic, misogynist, or racist because their intellectual framework isn’t the same as yours doesn’t mean that you don’t have to engage with them, yet it’s a convenient way to shut down debate. David Harvey is often the victim of this kind of thing in the written ‘scripts’ we discuss, but it goes on at an everyday level too. It is the lurking, residual blunt instrument of 1980s identity politics, something supposedly abandoned in these more theoretically supple times. It is nevertheless a handy auxiliary club to beat people up with when they disagree with your work. If writers place themselves outside criticism nobody wins, but the writer is probably the worst loser of all, drifting off, unchecked. With well-known writers, this process is facilitated as much by their fans as the writers themselves. And they are ‘fans’. As you can see, the creation of ‘scripts’ involves both the consumers and producers of texts.
13. Don’t talk to us about Post-: Postmodernity and Poststructuralism were blind alleys. Poststructuralism has been extremely successful at becoming an authoritative discourse, rendering all other discourses relative and shaky, simply by saying that all other discourses are relative and shaky. Why? Because no-one explicitly talks about it as ‘current’ anymore. Its assumptions are now hegemonic, naturalised, taken for granted.
These are just a few examples of the scripts we have been discussing, at meetings and across them. Scripts are partly dead styles, and partly what some anthropologists have called ‘epistemological hypochondria’, sick philosophies. We are not saying that we can escape the historical repertoires of left discourses completely, nor should we try to. But we need to very carefully select resources from the past. Particularly script styles, because they frame so much, so subtly. All scripts need to strongly justify their direct relevance to the present as a resource now. If this is unclear, we should probably try to create differently.
We felt ourselves being pulled into a script when we caught ourselves thinking, out of nowhere, that we needed a ten-point manifesto, we do not. However, we also admit that this piece was written in a ‘mode’, a kind of script, because of course it is a satire, and therefore it reduces and ridicules in order to make its points. The broadside pamphlet also has a long history. But we think that these scripts have been carefully selected, because the one thing ‘the left’ and ‘radical’ academic writing is clearly in need of right now is sending-up. It also uses a cartoon version of the aphoristic style in its epistemological rubbishing, a little like Adorno in Minima Moralia, a wonderful work that is also opaque in places.
So you see, script problems aren’t always total. We admit that we are playing devil’s advocate in order to diagnose. We all seemed to be in agreement that Zizek’s book on film and Lacan, Looking Awry, was good, but it’s often what happens to these resources when they become lazy paths to nowhere that concerns us, and it concerns us as a group of writers. These are representational questions. It isn’t always the fault of Marx, Foucault and Deleuze, it’s what does or doesn’t get done in their names, although sometimes, the theory is simply faulty.
There’s an urgent, current need to start creating a new kind of attack in political writing. These bad scripts function, like any cliché, to block new associations and thoughts. ‘Critical theory’ which uses Marxist or other premises without any sincere interest or belief in social change, has become orthodoxy in many universities. What use is the obscurantist prose, the demand to go back and read some dead 19th century saint, or do closer research, or ‘problematise’ some incoherent juxtaposition of popular culture and some mishandled linguistic or juridical concept? It all actually seems to prevent people from engaging in politics. It polices knowledge, the right and wrong way to think, it doesn’t necessarily produce knowledge, particularly when its peddlers are professors or senior lecturers.
We need to make completely explicit the fact that these scripts are hegemonic within ‘left’ academia. Unquestioned. They are doxa. Meaning is so much assumed that thought stops, despite the constant claims that everything is being ‘re-thought’, a claim that has also become hegemonic. These terms are being used with only a vague, general sense of what they might mean. Writers simply cast the same scripted spells on everything they encounter, producing the same results every time, yet expecting something different to happen.
There is much more work to do here, and the biggest script myth of all is perhaps that of the ‘left’ and ‘right’ itself. This co-ordinate version of politics is often so much fairy dust, the geographical-spatial metaphor designating the places where the people wear white and black hats, and it is created and maintained by language. At the same time, this does not mean that we are ‘post-Marxists’, what we need to do is redefine the use of our terms to better fit where we are historically, and always be specific.
These scripts are magical acts, and the field we are critiquing is occult: In the 17th century, as alchemy became chemistry, much time and energy was spent in the blind alley of trying to isolate ‘phlogiston’, a supposedly elemental substance that causes things to burn. That’s what we’re stuck in, a massive waste of energy, analysis hamstrung by bad theory, a search for something that might ignite, but never will. Often, bad scripts simply chop up existing knowledge into even thinner slices and then re-circulate it. Their failure is confirmed by their inability to imagine or suggest any political alternatives. Even revolution in its most vague outline has been largely dropped. Instead, wherever one turns, careers are made and incomes sustained by an infinite pursuit of criticising the existing state of things. The urgent desire for change is there, but much of its energy is pulled into this collapsing star. In this universe, any real fruits we bear will rot on the vine.
There’s another way for left thinkers, we are sure of it. Left or radical academic writing needs to be saved from itself and the institutions and measuring systems which frame it and will continue to transform it in a bad order. Crucially then, we must scrutinise not only bad scripts, but also the institutional systems that frame them, not to mention their geo-political and economic surrounds. If we do not start working out how to transform these conditions in tandem with transforming left scripts, our intervention is just more bad writing.
We are not suggesting that these are new observations. Everybody involved that we speak to affirm it as a commonplace assumption, if not in an official capacity. This diagnosis could be depressing. But that we all seem to roughly agree on this is extremely exciting, because that means something is happening. The new crisis of the academy may actually be productive, although that also means we’re going to be poor. But being ‘outside’, even though that also means working for them, for many of us, at least at the moment, is going to produce new critical positions. We may actually be lucky not to have access to a stylish lift into a dead ivory tower.
There’s a broader and deeper dissatisfaction brewing against institutions of politics, education, policing, et cetera. The university is going through a major transformation, towards an even more marketised, profit-driven system. Outside, the rest of the First World resembles this in mirror image, with even more precarious and divided peoples. All of this is obvious, and has a much longer history, which pre-dates the 2008 crash. E.P. Thompson on Warwick and Althusser may be a useful service station back down that road
The changes made to the academy, and the ways in which knowledge is now weighed and judged, were in so many ways completely unnecessary, but they have all been underwritten by the post-Lehman Brothers crash world. As a group we need to concentrate on the question of institutions next. But these shifts in the fabric of the university mean fundamental changes to the calibration of academic writing. We need to take this moment as an opportunity to clean the epistemological stables.
Original post here
DIY Anti War Drones and more:
6 June 2014. Nottingham Trent University
In Desert Screen, Paul Virilio suggests the notion of a ‘squared horizon’ as a way of envisioning the interposition of the screen, multiple screens, in matters of war, conflict and international relations. Yet, the ‘squared horizon’ might also function as a starting point for bringing together the various frames and trajectories which make up Virilio’s oeuvre. The ‘squared horizon’ evokes the fragmented, pixelated existence of late capitalism, the perpetual dividing up of time into ever smaller units, the deferred, bracketed out future, put aside in favour of the instantaneous and immediate, the impact of urbanization with its grid systems and blocks on our experience of space, time and identity.
We are pleased to present a one-day conference focusing on the work of Paul Virilio organized around theme of the squared horizon.
Attendance to the conference is free but please reserve your place here so we have an idea of numbers.
Conference Schedule (room tbc)
9.30 Registration and Coffee
The Big Night: Into the Ultracity – John Armitage, University of Southampton
11.30 SQUARING OFF – VIRILIO AND SPACE
The secret underground bunkers do exist!!! – Michael Mulvihill, Artist.
The Negative Abyss – Mark Featherstone, Keele University
Topological Variations in Virilio’s Le Futurisme de l’instant – Enda Mccaffrey, Nottingham Trent University
14.00 SQUARING CIRCLES – VIRILIO AND TIME
War and Post-War: Memory and European Identity in Paul Virilio’s Phenomenology of Modern Technology – Neil Turnbull, Nottingham Trent University
Concepts and Catrastophes: Jean Baudrillard and Paul Virilio – Gerry Coulter, Bishop’s University, Canada
15.30 SQUARE HEADS – VIRILIO AND THE DIGITAL IMAGINATION
Framing the Criminal – Sophie Fuggle, Nottingham Trent University
The digi-child and dromospheric sensibility – Felicity Coleman, Manchester Metropolitan University
Inner screens and cybernetic battlefields: Paul Virilio and Robocop – Brian Sudlow, Aston University
5pm Close of Conference followed by Conference dinner in Nottingham (details tbc)
ATTENDANCE IS FREE. BOOK YOUR PLACE HERE
For further information about the event please contact: email@example.com
The play Enig-Mas asks: What is woman? What is man? Where does love lie when you’re on a political quest? What does it take to be a revolutionary? Set in 1930s India and Bengal and modern Britain in 2000s, Professor Raminder Kaur of University of Sussex, has written a new play inspired partly by the 1931 novel, Kuhelika (Enigma) by the renowned Indian writer and poet/ national poet of Bangladesh Kazi Nazrul Islam. This play puts a searing lens on relations between men and women in times of political turbulence. It is one of the plays in the new season from Mukul and Ghetto Tigers directed by Mukul Ahmed.
The story covers a period of 7 decades through generational and geographical connections, characters that are vastly separated by time and space, but intimately connected through blood and passion. It is partly set in 1930s pre-independent India and Bengal, and 2000s Britain. Jahangeer, an impressionable young man, is gradually turned into a protagonist of revolution against British colonial rule. His high-class Muslim background proves to be an asset in circumventing British surveillance when the main ‘trouble-makers’ are identified as Hindus, making a marked contrast to the present era. Through the play we witness with the characters, the joy and horrors of revolutionary struggle, the sacrifices and dangers as well games and dilemma of loyalties and personal pain and loss.
The play relates a series of incidents inextricably interlinked through sorrow, grief, humour and happiness. Love, hatred and extreme emotions are laid out in multiple scenarios and deeply moving music and dramatic style. It makes for a memorable theatre experience through a story that reaches out from the past and embraces the present with echoes and meaningful questions that probe who we were, what we have become and suggest possibilities for all our futures.
One night two summers ago, I was in a car speeding across the border into the eastern Indian state of Bihar. The unlit, pitch-black freeway didn’t deter traffic from barreling forward at breakneck speeds. In the inevitable accident, a young man was shredded by a truck. A politician showed up, but instead of taking charge, he distracted the police with laughter and gossip.
Preventable death or official callousness is not unique to Bihar, but this particular incident seemed, to me, typical. Bihar is a state that until recently took the troubles that bedevil all of India and amplified them to levels that were unbearable even by Indian standards. In Bihar, an accident was carnage and apathy was criminal neglect. Although matters have since improved, to survive, the poor still traffick their children and the rich still get out.
Few writers are better placed to examine this near-dystopian state of affairs than the novelist Amitava Kumar, a native son, although now a professor of English at Vassar College.
“A Matter of Rats” calls itself “a short biography of Patna,” the capital city of Bihar, but like Kumar’s other books, it is many (perhaps too many) things at once. A memoiristic essay that strives to reconcile his feelings for his hometown — despair on the one hand and concern on the other, for it is where his elderly parents still live. “There is no way to avoid it,” he admits. “When I step on Patna’s soil, I only want to see how much older my parents look.” It is an insider’s alternative to the scornful narratives of Patna made popular by Western writers, and which the author, with even greater scorn, calls “hysteria as travel writing.” It is also an adventure in pursuit of witnesses to stories both real and apocryphal — a 1967 visit by Marlon Brando, the rumor that Napoleon’s bed lies in a decrepit old Patna mansion. (There is a bed in Patna that belonged to a Napoleon, just not that Napoleon.)
It is, in all, an intimate and whimsical book, but one that truly shines when the author turns his gaze to the ordinary people who still live in Patna — the rat catchers of the lowly Musahar caste, the tutor who helps poor children crack the entrance tests to India’s exalted institutes of technology.
The chapter on the rat catchers is the book’s finest, skillfully evoking the circumstances of chaos, filth and absurdity in which even the city’s middle-class professionals are forced to live.
Patna’s vast number of rats, the author tells us in a marvelous bit of anthropomorphizing, appear like “stout ladies on tiny heels, on their way to the market.” Nurses at a city hospital play the radio at night in the hope of keeping the rats from nibbling their toes. The rats haven’t escaped the attention of a local bureaucrat. But instead of trying to get rid of them, he sets himself the loftier ambition of ending anti-rat prejudice. If middle-class people would only appreciate rats, he rationalizes, they would also appreciate the Musahars, who are condemned to catch the rats. A Musahar whom the author accompanies on a rat-catching expedition isn’t holding his breath for change. “High-minded abstractions weren’t among his pressing concerns,” Kumar tells us. “His worry was finding food for that day and the next.”
That food was rats.
A MATTER OF RATS
A Short Biography of Patna
By Amitava Kumar
116 pp. Duke University Press. $19.95.
VisionMix international artists’ and filmmakers’ network presents a screening of
“VisionMix Short Cuts” film, followed by a Roundtable.
When: 19.00 to 21.00, Tuesday 13th May 2014
Where: SOAS, University of London, Old Building Khalili Lecture Theatre
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square London, WC1H 0XGhttp://www.soas.ac.uk/visitors/location/maps/
VisionMix is an international network of video and sound installation artists and documentary filmmakers whose members are based in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and London. Launched in October 2013, VisionMix’s aim is to explore the agency of the artist in lens-based media projects that are acts of resistance, investigating the relationship between the social responsiveness of ‘documentary’ practices, video installation art and other audio/visual art forms. Whether dealing with issues of gender, environmental challenges, migration or issues around ‘marginality’, the ways in which these works mobilize audiences invites questions about the methods used in their production. VisionMix is also planning exhibition-screenings and symposia in the UK and in India in 2015-17.
The film, “VisionMix Short Cuts” (55 minutes) showcases 12 artists and filmmakers from the India-based members of VisionMix, whose directors have contributed samples of their work, and are interviewed about their practise. These are: Atul Bhalla, Sheba Chhachhi, Ranbir Kaleka, Priyanka Chhabra, Anupama Srinivasan, Sameera Jain, Gigi Scaria, Asim Waqif, Paramita Das, Moutushi, Avijit Mukul Kishore and Kavita Joshi. VisionMix’s curator (and director of this anthology) Lucia King, is an artist-filmmaker and researcher of South Asian artists’ non-fiction film practices, and will contextualize the film after the screening.
The post-screening roundtable invites the UK-based VisionMix associates to explore how local predicaments and today’s art (and non-fiction film) industries are contributing to the artists assumed forms of public intervention, the themes and tactics used in these projects. VisionMix welcomes students, curators, art historians, industry professionals, researchers, filmmakers, artists and those interested in new media developments on an international stage, to join this discussion.
For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Radio Australia, 8 May 2014
Bougainville Shareholders support corporate review
Updated 8 May 2014, 9:30 AEST
The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility says it is encouraged that most Bougainville Copper shareholders are in favour of appointing an independent jurist to investigate the company’s involvement in counter-insurgency activities during the Bougainville civil war.
The Centre’s resolution, put to the Bougainville Copper annual meeting in Port Moresby was overwhelmingly defeated.
Presenter: Jemima Garrett
Caroline le Couteur, Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility
Communicating India’s Soft Power: Buddha to Bollywood
Professor Daya Thussu
Date: Thursday 8 May 2014, 6:30 pm
Venue: Nehru Centre, 8 South Audley Street, London W1K 1HF
As the world’s largest democracy with a vibrant and pluralist media system, India offers an excellent case study of the power of culture and communication in the age of mediated international relations. This pioneering attempt – the first book-length study of India’s Soft Power – from an international communication/media perspective, fills the existing gap in scholarship as well as policy literature in this area. The book, published by Palgrave/Macmillan in New York in their prestigious Global Public Diplomacy series, has been described by Professor Ashis Nandy as an ‘excellent, comprehensive yet brief survey of the scope and limits of India’s Soft Power and the country’s changing status in global public culture and media’.
Daya Thussu is Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of the India Media Centre at the University of Westminster in London. Professor Thussu has a PhD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and he is the author or editor of 16 books and the founder and Managing Editor of the Sage journal Global Media and Communication.
The event will mark the formal launch of the book by Dr Virander Paul, Deputy High Commissioner of India in the UK, to be followed by a brief presentation about the book by the author and a discussion with Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh about the issues raised in the book.
Television plays a very important role in constructing and presenting images of Indian modernity. Channeling Cultures brings together scholars from various disciplines to locate television within multiple histories of the nation as well as current trajectories in global culture and politics. Building on analytical frameworks of postcoloniality, citizenship, democracy, development, globalization and consumerism, this volume addresses questions in televisual form, genre, identity, politics, affect, gender, body and sexuality, and explores regional, national, and global itineraries of Indian television.
Focusing on the genres of news, reality show, and soap opera, the book interrogates some of the standard assumptions of television studies and more broadly global media studies. It provides fresh perspectives on the transition of Indian television from a state monopoly to a market-driven system and liberalization’s nuanced relationships with Indian media in general. The arguments invite the reader to critically engage with many theoretical perspectives ranging from political economy to cultural studies that energize the field of research on Indian television. The book will interest all those looking to critically engage with television, media theory, and popular culture.
Buy it here OUP India
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“A writer is a productive labourer not in so far as he produces ideas, but in so far as he enriches the publisher who publishes his works, or if he is a wage-labourer for a capitalist.”
Well, I had to post something on this because the debate on the accessibility of the texts is important and interesting, and the various statements in the links below are worth reading for what they say about publishing and history, both from the Lawrence and Wishart and from MIA sides.
[I'm amused that so far I've not seen anyone quote the obvious bit of Marx that applies, and which I've used above as banner quote - reader, please insert your own gender correction to the ancient pronouns (if we must get all scriptural about it - the quote is from Theories of Surplus Value - manuscripts of 1863-64, chapter 4, p303 in the Progress Press version)].
The possibility of actually turning a profit on any book nowadays, is of course also up for consideration.
Here from Hist Mat list:
As a consequence of Lawrence and Wishart’s decision to withdraw the Marx-Engels Collected Works (MECW) material under L&W copyright from the Marxist Internet Archive (MIA) website, Marxist scholars and activists all over the world have
Following a first petition and Lawrence and Wishart’s response, in 24 hours 700 people signed the following petition, including many leading scholars.
They have asked Lawrence and Wishart to allow Marx’s and Engels’s writings to remain on the MIA website and in the public domain.
“We are very grateful for the work you have done, along with International Publishers and Progress Publishers, translating into English and publishing the MECW. This is an extremely valuable contribution to the workers movement and Marxist scholarship not only in the English-speaking world, but internationally.
MIA has made these works available for free on the web to an even wider public, and they have now become an essential tool for thousands of Marxist scholars and activists around the world.
We fully appreciate the efforts and difficulties that running a small independent publishing house entails. But allowing free access to the MECW on the MIA website does not hinder sales. On the contrary, the publicity it provides increases them, and we would support any attempt to further improve this aspect.
But over and above any commercial considerations, there is a crucial matter of principle at play here. Having been available freely online for ten years, the MECW have become an essential part of the shared knowledge and resources of the international workers movement. We cannot take a step backward.
There is also the real danger that the laudable contribution that Lawrence & Wishart has made in the past would be tarnished. This decision would only damage its reputation without bringing any significant economic advantage.
That’s why we call upon you to reconsider this decision and reach an accommodation which keeps these essential resources in the public domain, where they belong.”
To support this petition, link: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/lawrence-and-wishart-allow-marx-s-and-engels-s-writings-to-remain-in-the-public-domain?utm_medium=email&utm_source=notification&utm_campaign=new_petition_recruit#share
To read Lawrence and Wishart’s response to the first petition, see: http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/collected_works_statement.html
To read the statement of the Marxist Internet Archive collective, see: http://marxists.org/admin/legal/lw-response.html
Check this detailed report out:
A bit of pointless commentary that would have had more impact had it come out at the time:
What would you take from your desk?
Leaving with just a box
By Denise Winterman
BBC News Magazine
If you were told to clear your desk of personal belongings and leave the building, like staff at the UK headquarters of Lehman Brothers, what would you take?
Photos of the kids, spare ties, trainers, mugs – a cuddly toy? What was in the cardboard boxes being clutched by stunned staff as they left the London offices of the bankrupt US investment bank Lehman Brothers?.
SEND PICS OF YOUR DESK
Email: email@example.com, subject DESK
MMS from UK: 61124
Int MMS: +44 7725 100100
Terms and conditions
The bank’s 5,000-strong workforce turned up on Monday only to be told they were to clear their desks of personal items and go home. Images of the newly out-of-work carrying their possessions were beamed around the world
But if you got the same instructions from an employer, what would go into your box?
“I’d take a piece of card with my name written in Arabic on it, a 30-year-old photo of my school football team, a Barcelona football club mug, a copy of my friend’s novel, a two-year-old thank you card from a student, some spare contact lenses, an iPod charger and two pairs of shoes,” says teacher Chris Baxter.
“Mainly they’re little things, but most of them are very personal. A lot of the time I don’t really focus on them, but other times they trigger good memories. I wouldn’t want to leave them behind.”
For some it’s a case of accumulation by stealth, rather than a conscious decision to personalise a drab little corner of corporate space.
Cats pics go in Mag reader Siria’s box
“Generally, I have a problem with what I call the ‘trinketisation’ of one’s workstation, so I don’t have things like pictures or figurines to take away with me,” says fellow teacher Sian Allen.
“But I would take my draw full of shoes for various social occasions after work, including one pair of Manolos.
“Also a broken iPod, six Tupperware pots in various sizes, a M&S bra with broken under wiring, a selection of unread classics, half-used packets of Ibuprofen and a small selection of thank you cards with obsequious messages from students, to remind me that I am loved and appreciated.”
When people personalise their desk they are marking their territory, says workplace behavioural expert Judi James.
“It’s something humans are hardwired to do. We’re basically animals and need to mark out what is our space. We’re also nesting and making ourselves comfortable.”
But it’s also about opening ourselves up to others and that can be very good for business.
“Personalising your work space is also about giving other people the opportunity to ask questions, it’s about socialising,” says workplace psychologist Gary Fitzgibbon.
A few little friend would go with reader Thomas Cogley
“If someone sees a photo on your desk, or picture, it is easier for them to strike up a conversation and for communication to flow. Generally, if someone shows an interest in you, then you are more likely to help them when they ask.”
But the evolution of the modern office environment, with its hot desking, can make stamping some personality on your workspace a bit harder. Modern technology has also had an impact.
“There probably wasn’t many family pictures in those boxes being carried out from Lehman Brothers because the screensaver has replaced them,” says Ms James.
“Nowadays, personal possessions at work quite often come down to a pair of trainers and tracksuit for the gym.”
Here is a selection of items that you would take from your desks.
I think I’d be content with my Alfa Romeo mouse mat and the rather dog-eared pictures of Joyce Grenfell and Margaret Rutherford that are currently adorning the casing of my monitor.
If only Faust had heard of hot desking.
John, Tower Hamlets, London, England
In front of me I have a model house, a toy TARDIS, two sea shells, a model of a 17th Century English pikeman and a picture of Kate Blanchett. Me, a geek? How very dare you sir …
Mike Molcher, Leeds
On my desk I have: A jar of honey (for my morning porridge); the Statue of Liberty (obviously a copy – a souvenir of a trip to NY); hand cream; tea bags; a stapler (a battery-operated one I brought with me); my mug, bowl, plate, spoon, knife and fork; a container full of porridge oats; a packet of dried apricots; a packet of chopped nuts; several notebooks full of information; vitamin C tablets; and a packet of instant pasta – red wine and mushroom flavour! Also a few other bits and pieces scattered on the shelved behind me, including a coat, pair of shoes, items to do with my motorcycle club (newsletters etc.) and my hole punch.
Anne Boyce, Halifax, England
I have a longboard, rock from mountain, pic of my two-year-old old daughter, pic of Johnny Cash, rear view glasses.
Ste Mc, Leeds, UK
I have a picture of my dog to remind me of her, pencil with funny tops on them from places I’ve been around the world, a little cartoon character figurine (Chucky from The Rugrats) a stone that’s supposed to be good luck.. bright coloured tabs on each side of my monitor with phone extensions just to brighten my desk area up. My drawers are filled with food for breakfast and lunch!
Emma Hamilton, Lisburn, NI
What would I take? Everything that wasn’t nailed down!
Paul, Stoke, UK
10 weeks ago on my redundancy I took: 1. All my personal bits & pieces. 2. As much of the stationary cupboard as I could pour into my large cardboard box. 3. Several DVD’s of data & client info. 4. As many of the data wall-charts (£1200 each) as I could fold up and put in my cardboard box. 5. My company laptop that I just happened to have left at home the previous week. 5. Anything else that wasn’t bolted down in my office. 6. Oh, and a smug smile on my face.
More notes on Capital:
Marx’s word is ‘prekärer’ Capital Vol 1 LW640, also LW707– and when the trades unionist and the precarious are not on good terms, precarity throws, for example, Irish families from the gaity of hearth into ‘hotbeds of vice’ (LW707). He mentions those ruined Ludford women again. Sickness and death among the ‘troglodytes working on the Lewisham to Sevenoaks railway line’ (LW664-5) while Millwall, Greenwich and Deptford are in utter distress and destitution (LW668), there are more kids on opium – the godfrey’s cordial stocks running low (LW695). The parson and gentlefolk seem ‘frit to death’ (LW691) at this scene. All labour is of course precarious, depending upon how ‘frit’ the labourers can make the bosses.
At this point that Marx describes how worker recognition that precarity is a condition determined by their predicament in capitalism is key (D669. P793) Precarity is the condition of having been ‘set free’ of old ties to community and possession. So that Marx writes, with more than a hint of grim optimism:
‘as soon as the workers learn the secret of why it happens that the more they work, the more alien wealth they produce, and that the more the productivity of their labour increases, the more does their very function as a means for the valourization of capital become precarious: as soon as they discover that the degree of intensity of the competition amongst themselves depends wholly upon the pressure of the relative surplus population; as soon as by setting up trade unions etc., they try and organize planned cooperation between the employed and unemployed in order to obviate or to weaken the ruinous effects of this natural law of capitalist production on their class, so soon does capital and its sycophant, political economy, cry out at the infringement of the ‘eternal’ and so to speak ‘sacred’ law of supply and demand. Every combination between employed and unemployed disturbs the ‘pure’ action of this law’ (P793-4 D669)
The next move is to the colonies. Where violence is used instead of a reserve army. (Reference also to Sancho).
Note for paper on co-constitution of colony and capital.
Federici describes witch hunting as a
Reminded twice in the last days that my father worked at Stanley in Nunawading (the suburb now more famous for hosting Ramsay St, Neighbours TV show). I remember Xmas parties there and him bringing home bits and bobs of lathe-worked metal sometimes tools, but usually bolts or covers or other up identifiable shapes probably designs that came out wrong or excess. We had these as toys more than Lego. I was moved to look on the Stanley Co website, and see their colour scheme mains unchanged, but their sloganeering perhaps improved from the 1960s. Get the message.
Read it here
A 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.
(some cheaper, some mad costly – dm me for deals)
My text on reading Capital in the cinema- with Orson Welles (forthcoming in ‘Marx at the Movies’ – edited collection [email me for details if needed]).
The cinema hall as a place to sell Eskimo Pie.
‘No matter how many customers there are, it’s still an empty building’ (Orson Welles in Welles and Bogdanovich 1998: 8)
This chapter addresses the question of how, today, to start reading that rich book that is Marx’s Capital:– of which an immense, even monstrous, accumulation of commentary on the Marxist mode of literary production appears to have already shaped its elementary forms. In reading Capital, if anything about beginnings should be considered necessary, it is usual to say it is good to start at the beginning – not always of course, but usually to start with what is immediately at hand. Commentaries, primers, prefaces, intros, first sentences, first chapters: start at the beginning and continue on from there. This is itself debated, but my argument is that we can only approach Capital through the already existing commentary, even as we would like to start as if the book were new. And the commentary that exists is not only that which is explicitly marked as such, but also includes all the ideas we have already received about so many things – about Marx, capitalism, communism, exchange, commodities, and so much more. A vast accumulation of things that filter reading, so that it would be naïve to simply say that materialism might start with things themselves, even if it makes sense to start with commodities, the objects that are the souvenirs or detritus of our lives.
The key to the beginning of volume one is where Marx starts with ‘a monstrous accumulation of commodities’ [‘ungeheure Waarensammlung’ - translation modified by author], but there are many possible starts and many people don’t get much further than chapter one, or they take chapter one as the ‘proper’ beginning. I want to suggest that there is something more here and so want to begin with something else, or even someone else, who might seem the total antithesis of the celebrated critic of the commodity system. A monstrous figure to expose the workings of monstrosity all the more (the monstrous will be explained). My reading is angular, so I choose a character from a parallel history of commerce, although glossed through a film. I have in mind William Randolph Hearst – moneybags – portrayed by Orson Welles in the classic film Citizen Kane. In this chapter, I want to develop this as an introduction to Capital, through its incarnation in the figure of moneybags Kane, and to begin to get at commodities through a focus on the kind of obscure, miniature, almost irrelevant and insignificant of objects to hand – those baubles and trinkets that mesmerise Kane, and us all.
Read the whole thing here: Citizen Marx-kane.
From Nat Winn at Kasama Project:
I wrote this essay around the time when the Iraq war was in full gear. I post it hear as part of the dialogue that we have had recently on Kasama about revolutionary strategy and communist orientation, particularly the recent pieces by Enaa on Blanqui and his Rock beats scissors piece.
Here I look at the German political philosopher and jurist Carl Schmitt and his ideas about the distinction between friend and enemy and contrast them to Mao’s understanding of friends and enemies and the actual experience of the Chinese revolution. Carl Schmitt had a strong influence on the Nazis and at one point joined them as they rose to power. Some leftists have argued that there are things we can incorporate from his prolific body of work but this has been contested by others like Zizek. Some of that is touched on here.
The paper was an academic paper, though I was never too good at sticking to academic concerns. At the time I wrote it part of my goal was to persuade academics to look more at Mao tse-tung’s political theory (something still needed) and that comes out a bit at the end of the piece. I was also just coming into familiarity with thinkers like Zizek and Badiou. Believing the piece still has some theoretical value, I’m posting the pieces here slightly edited from its original edition, warts and all. I think the points made about the period of the Iraq War regarding how we can conceive of friend and enemy still hold up in today’s international situation.
by Nat Winn
This essay is a response to a challenge posed by the Marxist cultural studies scholar John Hutnyk to Jacques Derrida in his book Bad Marxism – Capitalism and Cultural Studies.(1) My understanding of Hutnyk’s book is that it is a challenge to left scholars to develop theory that can be used in practical struggles against capitalism. Particularly he calls for a new Marxism, a Marxism that “declares itself open to critique.”(2)
In a book, then, that challenges many of the theoretical currents on the academic left; Hutnyk explores Derrida’s engagement with Carl Schmitt and Mao Tse-tung in Derrida’s book The Politics of Friendship.(3) In looking at the evolution in Schmitt’s conception of the friend and enemy distinction as the essence of the political from The Concept of the Political to Theory of the Partisan, Derrida makes the assertion that “With Mao Tse-tung it (the myth of the national and autochtonomous partisan) represents a new stage in the history of the partisan, and therefore in the process of rupture with the classical criteriology of the political and that of the friend/enemy grouping.”(4) Hutnyk’s problem with Derrida around this engagement is Derrida’s reluctance to dig deeper into this “rupture” and engage with its theoretical consequences and usefulness. Instead Derrida focuses on the role of technologies in conceptualizing the political and Hutnyk argues that this leads to a determinism centered on speed. Hutnyk poses the challenge to Derrida:
Why speak so much of Marx and so much less of Mao if Mao’s ‘partisan rupture’ is so important even as a critique of Schmitt? In the Politics of Friendship, where Derrida talks of the technological speed break of the new partisan, instead of knowing who the enemy is, and other certainties, he seems to accept that ‘today’ cannot be understood. He is content to make an aside about being ‘ready to listen to this screaming chaos of the “voiceless”’ Voiceless because of an uncertainty, chaos because to ‘talk politics’ one must swallow ‘all the assurances of clear cut distinctions”’ and so, I guess like Mao, know who is ‘the enemy’ at any given time. Derrida is reluctant to do this, and instead of – as might have been expected – making some comment on Mao’s essay ‘On Contradiction’, which at the very least applies some dialectical sophistication to the ‘assurances’, offers rather a further extended aside devoted to computer espionage bugs, spy networks, cryptography, cybercrime and the ‘hopeless debate’ in the US about communications technology and privacy.(5)
My essay seeks to go where Hutnyk feels Derrida did not. It will examine the evolution in Schmitt’s conception of the friend/enemy distinction and the partisan in relation to this evolution. It will then look at Mao’s understanding of the friend/enemy distinction and how this differed from Schmitt’s understanding. In comparing these conceptions it will also compare the metaphysical existentialist methodology of Schmitt and the dialectical materialist methodology of Mao.
Carl Schmitt’s concept of the political
The specific political distinction to which political actions and motives can be reduced is that between friend and enemy.(6)
This sentence sets the framework for Schmitt’s concept of the political in his classic work The Concept of the Political. For Schmitt this was a criterion and not a substantial definition or one with content. The friend/enemy distinction corresponded to the antithesis of other “relatively independent criteria” such as good and evil in the moral sphere or beautiful and ugly in the sphere of aesthetics.(7) Furthermore, any antithesis, be it religious, moral, economic, or ethical that is strong enough to group human beings effectively according to friend and enemy transforms the antithesis into a political one.(8) Schmitt points to the example of Marxists who take the class struggle seriously and are able to win people to consider the capitalist as an enemy. When this happens the antithesis between classes ceases to be economic and becomes political. Also if a religious group begins to wage wars against other religious communities it thus becomes a political entity.(9)
For to the enemy concept belongs the ever present possibility of combat…The friend, enemy, and combat concepts receive their real meaning precisely because they refer to the real possibility of physical killing…War is the existential negation of the enemy.(10)
The Concept of the Political was written when Schmitt still held to the concept of decisionism. Whoever was able to control the ability to conduct or stop a war constituted….
- See more at: Kasama project
Quite a start for this book, keen to know more (but need to find a copy I can afford):
> Citation: Sumit Guha. Review of Sunderland, David, _Financing the
> Raj: the City of London and Colonial India, 1858-1940_. H-Empire,
> H-Net Reviews. April, 2014.
> URL: https://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=41407
I’ve two short bits of writing in this elegant little book from Jack Boulton, Stimulus Respond and Pavement Books. ‘The Politics of Cats’ and the bus part of the intro to ‘Pantomime Terror‘
From page 413 of McLellan, David 1973/2006 Karl Marx: A Biography, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan
I don’t think the state of things is readily reducible to bite-sized explanation-metaphors, nor that whole eras of the capitalist mode of production (this is of course not just a metaphor) should be understood under sweepingly simple code-words, but, unfolding better explanations by deploying such code-words as efforts to get us to think differently and in detail is of great use. And the corresponding tactical 1,2,3-step is also helpful, even if ’tis not the whole struggle – so having Plan C post this is very welcome, even for those times when I am neither miserable, bored, nor anxious (‘he’s behind you’ – the pantomime reflex).
Not anxious, but I am amazed, often variously amazed – even at the idea of posting this:
“Today’s public secret is that everyone is anxious. Anxiety has spread from its previous localised locations (such as sexuality) to the whole of the social field. All forms of intensity, self-expression, emotional connection, immediacy, and enjoyment are now laced with anxiety. It has become the linchpin of subordination.”
This public secret scales up into another Pantomime Terror. It starts with the kids, subjected to such performances, relentlessly – ‘it will be fun, you’ll see’. Then school, and eventually you get asked to love your work. Meanwhile:
‘public space is bureaucratised and privatised, and a widening range of human activity is criminalised on the grounds of risk, security, nuisance, quality of life, or anti-social behaviour’.
As they say on FB: read this, you’ll be amazed what happens next:
Previously on Plan C: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/category/plan-c/
Possibly the shabbiest thing I have heard since yesterday:
5 hours agoDetails
PNG Exposed, 4 April 2014
Australian academics paid $500,000 over two years for mining work on Bougainville
April 3, 2014
Two Australian academics have been paid almost $500,000 by the Australian government for two years work towards reopening the Panguna mine in Bougainville.
The figures have been revealed by the Australian Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee.
Bougainville has twice rejected Regan’s controversial new Mining Law paid for by Australia
Controversial ABG advisor Anthony Regan has been paid over $270,000 – K680,000 – for his work drafting a controversial new Mining Law and other legislation.
Regan’s draft law has twice been rejected by the people pf Bougainville as being too biased in favor of foreign mining companies including Rio Tinto.
The figure revealed by the Committee as paid to Regan includes reimbursable travel costs and covers the period from June 2011 to November 2013.
A second Australian academic Ciaron O’Faircheallaigh has been paid $215,000 over two years for his work on negotiation “of a mining agreement to govern the Panguna mine”.
In total Australia is funding 22 ‘advisor’ positions in Bougainville – at an annual cost of $2.9 million in 2012/13. Some of the positions are full-time, some part-time and some are currently vacant according to the Committee.
A crater on the moon named after him. Soup maker to the poor. And had a hand in formulating the second law of thermodynamics.
Mentioned by Marx in Capital, here is the entry from wikisoup:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Region or state Bavaria
Creator(s) Benjamin Thompson
Main ingredient(s) Pearl barley, dried yellow peas, potatoes, beer
Cookbook:Rumford’s Soup Rumford’s Soup
Rumford’s Soup was an early effort in scientific nutrition. It was invented by Count Rumford around 1800 as a ration for the prisoners and the poor of Bavaria, where he was employed as an advisor to the Duke.
As a reformatory measure, the Bavarian government intended to institute workhouses for those on welfare. Rumford’s charge was to provide the cheapest possible ration that was still a high-calorie, nutritious food.
1 part pearl barley
1 part dried (yellow) peas
4 parts potato
salt according to need
Old, sour beer
Slowly boil until thick. Eat with bread.
Rumford’s soup is not noted as particularly tasty, but is palatable with long, slow cooking.
Nutrition and modification
Rumford’s soup is low-fat, with high protein and carbohydrate content — protein from the dried peas, complex carbohydrates from the potato and barley, and simple carbohydrates from the beer. Thus, Rumford’s soup was close to the optimum solution to the problem of cheap, nutritious food according to the knowledge of the day. Unfortunately, such knowledge did not extend to vitamins or trace elements. As a result, Rumford’s soup was often supplemented by corn or herring to supply Vitamin C and Vitamin D.
Rumford’s soup was a common base for inexpensive military rations in Central Europe for much of the nineteenth and twentieth century.
Molnár T. B. & Bittera Dóra: A gróf sparheltja (The count’s cooking range). Magyar Nemzet, 23 April, 2005.
“On the benefits of thermodynamics”, 
Categories: Copy to WikibooksSoups
On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Bougainville Freedom Movement wrote:
PNG Minewatch, 31 March 2014
Panguna Mothers Reject BCL and Mine
Clive Porabou via Facebook
The Meekamui Women of Panguna find it ridiculous to hear that the Bougainville Women in Mining are supporting the reopening of Panguna Mine when they themselves are ignorant of the facts why the mine was closed.
Stella Placid one of the principal female landowner in the mine pit said that BCL [Rio Tinto] is not welcome in Panguna.
“They are responsible for the 20,000 lives who perished during the uprising.
They also used dangerous chemicals to destroy the eco-system on the land and we cannot grow taro or do any fishing in the rivers.
As you can see today; the Jaba river is polluted, our people relocated with a complete disregard for their needs and the needs of future generations and we lost our land”, said Stella Placid.
“Therefore, our concern not to open the mine must be respected by ABG and stop their political rehetorics and develop the agriculture and fishing sector.
The truth is that we the landowners in the mine pit areas are united in our opposition to the reopening of the mine”; said Stella Placid.
In the Name of the People
Remembering Angola’s Forgotten Massacre: 27 May 1977 |Tuesday 20 May 2014, 7-8PM
Speakers: Lara Pawson, author; Ngola Nvunji, UK-based Angolan journalist and community activist; Keith Sommerville, lecturer, University of Kent. Chair: Mary Harper, Africa Editor, BBC.
On 27th May 1977, a small demonstration against the MPLA, the ruling party of Angola, led to the slaughter of thousands of people. These dreadful reprisals are little talked of in Angola today – and virtually unknown outside the country. In The Name of The People, journalist Lara Pawson’s new book, tracks down the story of what really happened in the aftermath of that fateful day. In a series of vivid encounters, she talks to eyewitnesses, victims and even perpetrators of the violent and confusing events of the 27th May and the following weeks and months. From London to Lisbon to Luanda, she meets those who continue to live in the shadow of the appalling events of 40 years ago and who – in most cases – have been too afraid to speak about them before. As well as shedding light on the events of 1977, the book contributes to a deeper understanding of modern Angola – its people and its politics. Join author Lara Pawson and a panel of experts to discuss the book and Angola’s past, present and future.
Date & Time: Tuesday 20 May 2014, 7-8PM
Venue: Brunei Suite, SOAS, WC1H 0XG
Register by clicking HERE
from 7pm Friday 25th April
entry by donation, free popcorn and cheap drinks
hosted by Plan C London – all welcome
followed by a bar night and tunes
Finally Got the News (1970)
Produced in Association with the League of Revolutionary Black Workers
dir. Stewart Bird, Rene Lichtman, Peter Gessner, US, video, 55 min.
Finally Got the News is a forceful documentary that reveals the activities of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers inside and outside the auto factories of Detroit. Through interviews with the members of the movement, footage shot in the auto plants, and footage of leafleting and picketing actions, the film documents their efforts to build an independent black labor organisation that, unlike the UAW, will respond to worker’s problems, such as the assembly line speed-up and inadequate wages faced by both black and white workers in the industry.