Lost Blue Books of India

NINTH ALL-INDIA
ORIENTAL CONFERENCE

TRIVANDRUM

DECEMBER 20th to 22nd 1937
Observations taken more than a
century ago, these* papers describe many things which are
no longer actual, and they are become records. Records
not tha​​ word recall long series of volumes edited for
the India Office and arrays of thick folios printed and issued
by several of the provincial Governments of India V Invalu-
able, however, as these are in regard to administration and
politics and economics and biography and the lives of British
and other European communities, they do not, except in casual
gleams, fill the void which is at the heart of Indian history,
uaiuily, our failure to conceive with what mind the peoples of
India lived through that history. For the Hindu period, though
at one epoch each district had its chronicle, its nila-pata of
‘blue-book’, as it was called
,
we have indeed no records, except
one or two formal histones and biographies and a number
of genealogies, rdjdvalis or va^dvalis, wh.ch are anything
but reliable. But at any rate we have enough of literature
through which transpires the genera] mentality ; and from
the epigraphical ‘records’ it has been found possible, as we
all know, to elicit much information concerning social and  
economic conditions.

my italics/bold.

Further fun with Blue Books


It seems in Sri Lanka a holy text was burnt… a ‘heretical’ text brought from Benares, but not burnt before it inspired the king (Kumaradasa) and some devoted souls…


From: https://atelim.com/input-by-the-sri-lanka-tripitaka-project-released-by-dhammavas.html?part=38

Dipavamso

Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa.

circa 500 AD.

“In the days of Kumaradasa, King of Ceylon, there lived in the city of Southern Madura a
ruler Sri Harsha by name. At this time a clever but depraved monk visited the house of a
prostitute during the night, clad himself in a blue garb and returned to the Vihara after
day-break. His pupils observing this peculiar robe inquired of him whether his attire was
not improper. As numerous people had observed his extraordinary dress he stoutly
defended it and spoke highly in Its praise. His faithful subordinates who followed his
theory discarded the yellow robe and adopted the blue-coloured garb. This heretical leader
composed a philosopical work known as Nila-pata Darsaiia praising prostitutes, intoxicants
and the God of Love as the’ only three precious gems in the triple world while despising all
other “gems” as nothing but mere clay.”

“This great heresy began to spread with much rapidity and the new philosophical treatise
reached the bands of the King Sri Harsha who went through it critically. Pretending an
approbation of the new doctrine he assembled the followers of the novel philosophy
together with their whole literature into a special hall built for the purpose and set them all
on fire. The lingering vestiges of this false doctrine had a recrudescence in Ceylon during
the, reign of Sena II. In recent times, since the advent of the Portuguese, various kinds of
religious teachings began to appear in this land, At the present day the island of​ ​ceylon is
indelibly contaminated with the poisonous stains of those bygone times”

​I am now declared a devotee of the Blue Books of Sri Harsha, and as such I will reconstruct the text forensically from the ash and the blue smouldering smoke of imagination.​


​John, the bemused.

Colonial Hyperbole, with gaps

There are some crimes that are longer-term than others… As I am finding from spending part of the morning exploring archival images, such as this one. A ‘British propaganda poster from the Second World War, printed in England by A.C. Ltd, listing Britain’s 49 colonies. A soldier from the Ceylon Garrison Artillery takes pride of place in the centre, and the regimental badge of the force is displayed at the foot of the poster’. I am taken by surprise that neither India nor Australia could as a colony in this list, but nevertheless, I think the list is a start for reparation payments. How these can be implemented now that Boris has shifted all the assets to offshore accounts is obviously an administrative issue (armed force to descend upon Bermuda banks and the like with the queen’s bank account number to start).

Physical Location: Cambridge University Library: Royal Commonwealth Society Library
Classmark: RCMS 22/57/1

Class – and critique – in Bad Marxism, poking fun.

I was looking something up and stumbled upon a quote of me that I did not recognise – that class ‘does not make much sense’. I am pretty appalled to be called left libertarian and neo-Weberian from a Northern think-tank (!!) – and completely misquoted – in this way by Ebert and Zavarzadeb in an otherwise marvellous chapter called ‘Hypohumanities’ from the 2010 book Class in Education: Knowledge, Pedagogy, Subjectivity, edited by Deborah Kelsh, Dave Hill & Sheila Macrine. I reproduce page 44 from that chapter, as follows:

Ha! – Do our authors think Marx and Engels really do have a bipolar view of class as ‘ossified and simplistic, if not simple’ – rather than this being a caricature that I expose. But no, I am associated somehow with Laclau and Hardt and Negri too – the very people I was critiquing in the book from which these misquotes are taken out of context. Yes, I said something almost like those they attribute, but there are important differences if you read with care. I’m afraid my point is missed and they attribute associations that do not stand up if attention is paid to the actual words, which are relational: ‘as much sense’ and makes ‘less sense’. They might also attend to the context in which these sense are deployed as there is no way that I am erasing production – on the contrary, I am making that same accusation of those who do not see class in the context on international production, outsourced imperialist capital and a brutal immiseration of a more diverse (non cloth cap wearing) global proletariat.

What I actually wrote in a book that spends a lot of time talking about Marx’s analysis of multiple class conflict in the Eighteenth Brumaire is that a notion of class from 1847 used today:

“does not make as much sense if rigidly restricted to a bipolar opposition of the kind necessarily sketched in the polemical opening of the Manifesto nor within rigidly maintained notions of nation. The working-class hero is best thought of as a far more diverse identity than that of the cloth-capped union man. For sure, the idea of class struggle makes less sense today in a national context but retains all its urgency and coherence if the international division of labour is, rather than ignored, taken as a key part of the calculus.”

I then do quote, on that same page, Gibson-Graham, and I see my interpreters do also, but it is a funny inverted honour to associate me with those I was saying were unable to even approximate Marx’s developed analysis (and recognise the Manifesto of Marx and Engels as a polemical text, about which their view moves). Marxism and class struggle are to be understood in a materialist international framework where ‘the immiseration of a global proletariat proceeds apace’ where the ‘division of labour prevails’ and ‘not to say the nation has no power, nor military might with heavy weaponry’ (p191)

Which leaves me a big surprised and amused that no matter how much one takes care to ask for at least some attention to the ways Marx’s text is framed and develops over his writing and rewriting and the contexts of that writing and the audiences, and which all the while should not be taken to be as ‘bad’ as so many commentators make out. Bad Marxism was the name of the book after-all, as if that had one single and only referent.

Of course in the end, its all welcome I guess – as I also pointed out on that very same page they quote, where I objected that:

“accusations of ‘bad’ Marxism as a way of silencing debate is an old routine. Divinations of correct line
Marxism act as a form of censure and as assertions of correct behaviour or discipline. The use of citation and counter-citation in hegemonic maintenance is not something ever completely avoided, the mystification of authority and pedagogic demonologies are also symptoms – there are so many contests and contexts. Given all this,
I am inclined to see debate over the line as evidence of vitality and leave it to the secret tribunal of the central committee to decide in the very last instance where we ‘really’ went wrong, so long as that grim finale never actually comes” (p 192)

The Rumour of Calcutta: Tourism, Charity and the Poverty of Representation

Reposted from three years ago because – the stats tell me – at least one copy has been downloaded every day this month. Either its a dedicated bot that won’t give up, or someone put it on a reading list again. I never get royalties for this these days as the addresses had not been updated, and anyway Zed was soled to Bloomsbury who are my current publisher, so I assume it will sort out (and I hope it won’t be a debt :) meanwhile, good to see the digital version, which is a huge file of middling quality for reasons explained below, is getting seen. More power to you. Thanks.

rumour-cover125 years ago my first book was typeset and laid out in the days before electronics – well, an electric typesetting machine was plugged into a wall, but no digital file was produced. Nevertheless, I had crossed out the digital rights clause in my contract with Zed so I own this. At last some kind anonymous soul has bootlegged it and set digital copy free on the nets, though its a large scanned file and the bibliography was left off (I’ve made a rough scan of the biblio but that too is a large file). Nevertheless, notwithstanding, and such like phrasings, the book is still one of which I am proud, if nothing else for trialling a way of citing tourist backpacker-informants, for its stuff on photography and maps and for the reviews it got (and indeed keeps getting discussed, for example on films – see diekmann2012) and especially for its critique of charity and what charity is for. In the context of do-gooder well-meaning hypocrisy, the effort of charity workers serves wider interests as well as their own, and only marginally any individuals they help – who would be better helped in better funded state-run facilities if the funds extracted through business-as-usual colonialism were, you know, made as reparations for the several hundred years of colonial plunder. Ah well, the critique stands up, the charity industry sadly thrives, second only perhaps to weapons in terms of so-called development, writing books does not yet always change the world as much as you’d like (and no, I did not ever think a book would single-handedly stop Mother Theresa, but…).

I would welcome new readers.

Download The Rumour of Calcutta here:  [John_Hutnyk]_The_rumour_of_Calcutta__tourism,_ch

Biblio here. Rumour biblio

And this retrieved by Toby:

Kill your Darlings again: Spike Lee’s faulty reparations

Another paragraph on the cutting floor:

The idea of reparations going from Vietnam to the US seems obscene unless we really think international solidarity.

Compared to prison memoirs, accessibility to the American reconstruction of the war is abundantly available in a series of blockbuster films (besides Rambo, Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket (1987), there are too many to list, but we consider the Deer Hunter and Good Morning Vietnam (get refs) as indicative. As mentioned in the case of documentary films such as the 2017 Burns and Novick series The Vietnam War which played to large audiences in the US, but was not popular in Vietnam (as mentioned again in our text below). There is a Vietnamese television series on the war that runs for some 50 plus episodes, so far to our knowledge not taken up by the US networks. We also see a continuity here with Spike Lee’s 2020 cinema effort, Da 5 Bloods, where still-anonymous Vietnamese are subject to another fictional defeat and we see a ‘self-reparation’ pay-out of Black US servicemen via a recovered CIA covert ops treasure – the irony of reparations going to US Black Americans, while perhaps admirable within the US racial narrative, is an abomination given the US administration’s refusal to pay the Paris Accords’ sanctioned reparations to Vietnam for the war. And in any case, a box of gold bars buried in an area of the Mekong Delta, subject to flooding rains and movement of land through shifting sedimentation and silt, could hardly be so easily ‘found’ 40 years later, using metal detectors that are themselves obscene in the context of land mines. It may be that this Spike Lee aside should only be a footnote, but the point is that the penalscape (Fuggle 2019: 31) is bound up with the image of the war and how it is renewed along the same demarcation lines even in 2020.

Spivak – citizen as agent

If you joined the Handbrick of Marxism book-launch with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak last evening you will have seen her talk on citizens as agents, global Marx, supplementing vanguardism and other themes – tagging Ambedkar, Du Bois and Disha Ravi… incalculability, poetry of the future, redistribution, much more. A tour de force – though you need to be on FB to see the replay – Gayatri speaks from 16.35 to 42 50 and then from 1.42 responding mostly to citizen as agent questions: See  https://www.facebook.com/Sputnyk/posts/10158743776800211

Book Launch: Routledge Handbook of Marxism and Post-Marxism
Prof Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Columbia) and Dr Trevor Ngwane (Johnannesburg) in conversation with the Editors and Contributors

Huge props to Lucia Pradella for organising and Feyzi Ismail for smooth-as chairing.

Weekend cruise to Serampore, Chandernagore

I really want to go on this today

: << this is an article from The Telegraph newspaper in Kolkata>> :

The 11-hour ride, which will have its inaugural run on February 14, will cost Rs 350 and will have one-and-a-half hour stops

The “European Settlement Boat Ride” cruise vessel

The “European Settlement Boat Ride” cruise vesselTelegraph picture


Kinsuk Basu   |   Calcutta   |   Published 13.02.21, 01:32 AM


A cruise on the Hooghly will take visitors to Serampore and Chandernagore every Saturday and Sunday.

The 11-hour ride, which will have its inaugural run on February 14, will cost Rs 350 and will have one-and-a-half hour stops at the former Danish (Serampore) and French (Chandernagore) settlements.

The vessel will leave Millennium Park jetty at 10am and return at 9pm. It has a well-stocked library, an open deck and an on-board tuck-shop for quick bites. Tickets can be bought from the Millennium Park jetty.

The “European Settlement Boat Ride”, as the cruise has been named, will halt at Serampore around 1pm after nearly an hour’s journey from Calcutta and offer visitors an opportunity to lunch at The Denmark Tavern. 

Located on the riverfront, the tavern was opened in 1786. It provided lodging and meals for “gentlemen passing up and down the river”, as mentioned in an advertisement in the Calcutta Gazette.

One can see Serampore College, established in 1818 by English Baptist missionaries, and visit Serampore Johnnagar Baptist Church, founded in the early 19th century. The other sites to visit are St Olav’s Church, Baptist Mission Cemetery and the Danish Cemetery.

The cruise will leave Serampore around 2.30 pm and reach Chandernagore after an hour. During the hour-and-a-half halt at this erstwhile French colony, tourists will get to see the Strand.

The Strand is a 700-metre-long tree-shaded promenade along the Hooghly with old French mansions and other colonial buildings along the way. One can also visit the Dupleix Palace, which houses the Chandernagore Museum and Institute.

The cruise is being organised by the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC), in collaboration with the Danish Cultural Institute and the Oxford Bookstores.

“The Europeans first came on a ferry. So this cruise will be an ideal way of seeing the European settlement in Bengal,” said Thomas Sehested, the director of the Danish Cultural Institute India.

“The cruise will give people a glimpse into the European history in India which is often undermined,” said Rajanvir Singh Kapur, the managing director of WBTC.

“It’s good to have such initiatives that make people understand history and appreciate global cultures,” said Priti Paul of the Oxford Bookstores.

Ryazanov

Writing to a friend I fell down the Stalin rabbit-hole. It started off reasonably for a sunday evening, thinking, because of some translation work I am doing, that we have a lot to learn from the ways Progress Press and the Foreign Languages Publishing House and David Ryazanov in the Marx-Engels Institute set the tone.

Soon after that though I was reading some scuttlebutt (?) about Isaak Illich Rubin and his execution as a Trotskyist – the key source of the Value Form theorists – Backhaus et al. He is accused of implicating Ryazanov in a faked Menshevik conspiracy, which got Riazanov removed from the Directorship of the institute (he had founded in 1921) and also eventually shot. Years of reading the Neue Marxlektüre and I’d forgotten this history, even though Rubin’s book was long before the arrests and show trials, it adds some sort of unresolved sour feeling. What to make of these stories that smell so much of red-baiting as well? I don’t even know if the opening of the archives on these archivists has produced any ‘better’ studies than that of Medvedev – Let History Judge – translated by George Shriver who also translated the volume of Rosa Luxemburg’s letters that is pretty great and edited Bukharin, who I am reading because Rosa’s anthropology volume (lecture course in the Complete works) and Bukharin’s Economics are a sort of dialogue. Of course I cannot do this in Russian, for which I blame my father for assimilationism in Australia – though at least he had me keep the German which he was more comfortable in anyway, even if not his first language it became his main one.

Ackk. I should not be reading about Medvedev, but I wonder about this sort of thing – Medvedev claims Stalin called Ryazanov a clown way back in 1921 (for supporting trade unionism, counter to the central committee). The source for all this is the testimony or memoir of Rubin’s sister… for [everyone’s] entertainment, four relevant paragraphs of the sister’s memoir as glossed by Medvedev. I cannot see if there is any corroboration of this memoir that ‘came into my hands’ (as Medvedev says) but what is tells of Rubin is classic grim reading in the disappeared mode and, well, who to trust? There must be something more from the recent archivists but I can’t find it.

Then, if you like this sort of sordid stuff, the page where Medvedev gives his penultimate assessment of Ryazanov, and it reads as the denouement of the conflict with Stalin already set up way back on page 70 in 1921. Stalin held grudges, but the leap from detail to general Trotsky line is suspect I think. I’ve no candle for Trotsky, but I also don’t trust the narrative here either. Especially as the final mention of Ryazanov says that though he respected Lenin, Lenin also mocked his points – Lenin treated everyone he disagreed with like this, its not unbelievable… what is unbelievable is the implied ‘long memory’ and score-settling that removes Ryazanov, by Stalin and by implication for Lenin. When I think it was more likely some much less calculated but more brutal bureaucratic cleansing… or.. Rubin did also have cancer we are told, and there is no direct evidence he was shot, just disappeared according to his sister.

I am well down the rabbit hole now. Does this backstory to the Marx archive matter. Ryazanov had done so much to bring out the german Ideology, the Paris Manuscripts and the various collected works, in Russian and in German.

I am wondering who I ask among the post-Soviet archivists for a view on all this.

Edit: Subsequently, the next hour was lost to reading a text that sort of regurgitates Medvedev’s account from Rubin’s sister, with the occasional not exactly corroborating reference to archival sources. Nevertheless, it is worth a look at: Ivan Boldyrev and Martin Kragh (2015). ISAAK RUBIN: HISTORIAN OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT DURING THE STALINIZATION OF SOCIAL SCIENCES IN SOVIET RUSSIA. Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 37, pp 363-386 doi:10.1017/S1053837215000413

I picked out the best bits, so to speak. None the wiser really.

Comparativism

In an essay last term, students Làu Cẩm Tú and Hồ Phạm Ngọc Trân brought out the problems and possibilities inherent in Ruth Benedicts work style – though there is still a very strong prejudice in anthropology that you must go to a place to see for yourself. The argument against this is an elaboration of Benedict just as they have done in their essays – but there is some magic still to consider, or necromancy – if anyone is to do comparative work, it cannot really always entail that go for a look yourself prime directive style of fieldwork since how can someone spend a year in so many different places? Even if it were just to look at several places on a theme, these days maybe, most likely, you can’t travel to each and every one (I’ve tried), you need to trust the anthropologists from that place to tell you something. And then, the idea that only a western anthropologist can do comparative work seems to pop up unexamined, all anthropology is comparative, still, but the Western anthropologist usually does not have to say more than let’s go and they can still claim their have-a-look credentials, whereas someone from ‘elsewhere’ cannot so easily, say, write on some place in the West without someone saying they need to see their perspective is…, their interpretations is…, and why don’t they write about home and so on… A Western anthropologist goes to one or two places, then becomes a comparativist! Ka-pow! A miracle.

FLP: Announcing the upcoming release of the Selected Works of Mao Zedong Vol. IX – Redspark

https://www.redspark.nu/en/theory/flp-announcing-the-upcoming-release-of-the-selected-works-of-mao-zedong-vol-ix/

This is how to do an announcement!. It is well worth reading for both what it says about translation work (as I work on the difficult texts of Bác Hồ) and for its deeply cautious and researched engagement with the GPCR

“It does not serve the interests of the bourgeoisie to train younger generations outside of their class to think independently and to ask critical questions—complicated questions that require investigation, study, and ongoing reflection to answer in an appropriately nuanced or dialectical way. This can be true of sincere, committed comrades as well. For instance, it’s simpler to read Mao, or quotations of Mao, or Marx, Engels, Lenin, etc. in order to find the evidence we need to “prove” that what we believe is correct, rather than do more in-depth reading and analysis. But the fact is, unless we tear away the lenses that obscure our understanding of the GPCR, ones that condemn it as a violent, chaotic expression of excess, as well as ones that take Mao’s word as gospel, we will fall into the same traps as the red guards of Beijing and Qinghua University, the very traps that Mao pointed out and roundly criticized in many of the articles in this volume.”

“The fact that the factionalism and dogmatism that eventually plagued the Red Guards (and caused Mao to disband them) plays out in Maoist circles today is an indication that we who call ourselves Maoist, have yet to understand and put into practice many important lessons of the GPCR. Some today continue to hold up Mao and what he said as proof of the righteousness of their own actions and the wrongheadedness of others—without real study and research into what he really thought and why. It’s the very practice of which Mao criticized Lin Biao and the Red Guard leaders: shouting that every word was absolutely true, but then disregarding what he actually said, much less trying to understand why”

Theres much more that’s interesting… Read the whole thing (about 10 mins) : https://www.redspark.nu/en/theory/flp-announcing-the-upcoming-release-of-the-selected-works-of-mao-zedong-vol-ix/

Blue Plaque for Ho Chi Minh

The blue plaque for Ho Chi Minh on the site of the former Carlton Hotel, where he worked as Van Ba. It is on New Zealand House in Haymarket. Google maps seems to indicate its on the east side.

Fairly obviously there should also be a plaque on the Drayton Hotel in Ealing where Bac Ho worked in the Kitchen in 1914: https://web.archive.org/web/20101213050535/http://www.ealing.gov.uk/services/leisure/local_history/historic_buildings/drayton_court_hotel.html

Zines

From the very first Tecoma Youth CYSS(tem) one to a few neat things already linked here – The Paper, Invisible Finger – I’ve always enjoyed the Zine scene (not too seriously): Monoscop has a pretty handy, somewhat US-ocentric, list of links:

https://monoskop.org/Zine_culture

Contents

Events

Collections, Resources

Anthologies

  • Chip Rowe (ed.), The Book of Zines: Readings From the Fringe!, 1997. Anthology of pop culture writings from about 80 zines.
  • R. Seth Friedman, The Factsheet Five Zine Reader: The Best Writing from the Underground World of Zines, New York: Three Rivers Press, 1997, 192 pp.
  • Tristan Taormino, Karen Green (eds.), The Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World: Writings from the Girl Zine Revolution, New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1997. An anthology from zines created by women.
  • Jen Angel (ed.), Zine Yearbook, since 1997. Annual anthology of zine writing.
  • Ethan Clark (ed.), Stories Care Forgot: An Anthology of New Orleans Zines, Last Gasp of San Francisco, 2006, 149 pp. Reproductions of a dozen punk zines. Also includes author memoirs of their experiences during and after Hurricane Katrina.

Documentary films

  • Fanzini Sa, dir. Siniša Dugonjić, 2011, 41 min. A documentary on the underground and DIY fanzine culture in Serbia during the 1980s and 1990s. EN subs.

Literature

  • Nigel Fountin, Underground: The London Alternative Press 1966-74, New York: Routledge/Chapman & Hall, 1988. History of the underground press in the UK.
  • Mike Gunderloy, How to Publish a Fanzine, Port Townsend, WA: Loompanics, 1988, 91 pp.
  • Mike Gunderloy (ed.), Why Publish?, intro. Jacob Rabinowitz, Pretzel Press, 1989, 54 pp.
  • Mike Gunderloy, Cari Goldberg Janice, The World of Zines: A Guide to the Independent Magazine Revolution, Penguin, 1992, 224 pp.
  • Bob Black, Beneath the Underground, Portland, OR: Feral House, 1994, x+190 pp, IA.
  • Counter Intelligence: Zines, Comics, Pamphlets, Flyers: Catalogue of Self-Published and Autonomous Print-Creations: Articles! Reviews! Contacts!, eds. Jason Skeet and Mark Pawson, London: 121 Centre, 1995, 24 pp. Catalogue of an exhibition held throughout Oct 1994 at 121 Centre, Brixton, South London.
  • Pagan Kennedy, Zine: How I Spent Six Years of My Life in the Underground and Finally Found Myself–I Think, New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1995, 184 pp. Review: PW.
  • V. Vale (ed.), Zines! Vol.1, San Francisco: RE/Search Publications, 1996, 169 pp. [2] [3]
  • V. Vale (ed.), Zines! Vol.2, San Francisco: RE/Search Publications, 1997, 137 pp. [4]
  • Francesca Lia Block, Hillary Carlip, Zine Scene: The Do It Yourself Guide to Zines, Los Angeles: Girl Press, 1998.
  • Alex Wrekk, Stolen Sharpie Revolution: a DIY Resource For Zines and Zine Culture, 2002, 96 pp; 2nd ed., 2003; 3rd ed., 2005. [5]
  • Elke Zobl, “Persephone is Pissed!: Grrl Zine Reading, Making and Distributing Across the Globe”, Hecate 30:2, 2004, pp 156-175. [6]
  • Stephen Duncombe, Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture, London: Verso, 1997; repr., Bloomington, IN: Microcosm Publishing, 2008, 256 pp.
  • Elke Zobl, Do-It-Yourself. Feministische künstlerische Praxis am Beispiel von Zines und Magazinen, Vienna: Akademie der Bildenden Künste, 1999, 126 pp. [7] (German)
  • Liz Farrelly, Zines, London: Booth-Clibborn, 2001.
  • Chris Atton, Alternative Media, London: Sage, 2002, 172 pp.
  • Elke Zobl, The Global Grrrl Zine Network: A DIY Feminist Revolution for Social Change, Vienna: Akademie der Bildenden Künste, 2004. PhD dissertation.
  • Julie Bartel, From A to Zine: Building a Winning Zine Collection in Your Library, Chicago: American Library Association, 2004.
  • Alison Piepmeier, Girl Zines: Making Media, Doing Feminism, forew. Andi Zeisler, NYU Press, 2009, 264 pp. [8]
  • Janice Radway, “Zines Then and Now: What Are They? What Do You Do with Them? How Do They Work?”, 2009.
  • Signs 35(1): “Comparative Perspectives Symposium: Feminist Zines”, ed. Agatha Beins, Autumn 2009. Texts by Elke Zobl, Feminist MAF(I)A, Val Rauzier, Red Chidgey, Noya Kohavi, Jenna Freedman, Claire Villacorta, and lolagouine (aka Riot Coco). [9]
  • Teal Triggs, Fanzines: The DIY Revolution, Chronicle Books, 2010, 256 pp. Features hundreds of reproductions of zine covers plus a history of fanzines and examination of various genres.
  • Janice Radway, “Zines, Half-Lives, and Afterlives: On the Temporalities of Social and Political Change”PMLA 126:1, Jan 2011, pp 140-150.
  • Elke Zobl, Ricarda Drüeke (eds.), Feminist Media: Participatory Spaces, Networks and Cultural Citizenship, Bielefeld: transcript, 2012, 292 pp. [10]
  • Kate Eichhorn, The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2013, xii+188 pp.
  • Kate Eichhorn, Adjusted Margin: Xerography, Art, and Activism in the Late Twentieth Century, MIT Press, 2016, 216 pp. [11]. Reviews: Mosher (Leonardo), Horne (Radical Phil).
  • “Zinedepo Manifesto of Radical Zineculture”, Arnhem, n.d.
  • Jan-Frederik Bandel, Annette Gilbert, Tania Prill (eds.), Under the Radar: Underground Zines and Self-Publications, 1965-1975, Spector Books, 2017, 368 pp. [12]
  • Miloš Hroch (ed.), Křičím: „To jsem já.“, Prague: PageFive, 2017. On Czech fanzines from the 1980s until today. English extract[13] (Czech)/(English)
  • Momo Nonaka (野中 モモ), Barubora (ばるぼら), 日本のZINEについて知ってることすべて 同人誌、ミニコミ、リトルプレス―自主制作出版史1960~2010年代, Tokyo: Seibundo Shinkosha, 2017, 319 pp. (Japanese)
  • Art Libraries Journal 43(2): “Zines and Libraries in the UK”, ed. Gustavo Grandal Montero, Apr 2018, pp 71-112. [14]
  • Florian Cramer, “#Synchronicityofparasites @Zinedepo/Motel Spatie, 17-5-2019”Making Public blog, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 7 Jun 2019.
  • Paula Guerra, Pedro Quintela (eds.), Punk, Fanzines and DIY Cultures in a Global World: Fast, Furious and Xerox, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.
  • more

Links

All great things – check out the original post for more: https://monoskop.org/Zine_culture

First Sentence yet again, this time with a French accent

“La richesse des sociétés dans lesquelles règne le mode de production capitaliste
s’annonce comme une «immense accumulation de marchandises1».
L’analyse de la marchandise, forme élémentaire de cette richesse, sera par
conséquent le point de départ de nos recherches.’

Marx Le Capital 1872

The first sentence of Marx’s Das Kapital rendered in French (by Marx) has the riches of the societies in which capitalist production reigns announce itself (s’annonce comme) as an accumulation of goods. Given that later Marx will ponder what would happen if commodities could speak, this announcing is perhaps better than the spirited multi-referent German ‘erscheint als‘ (alternatingly ‘presents itself’ or ‘appears’ in the competing english translations by Penguin or Progress//Fowkes or Aveling). The attached article discusses the latter, but I wanted to add this French tone as I prepare to discuss another translation problem (in the Working Day chapter) in my anthropology course lectures tomorrow (they are collected here – the next one – tomorrow’s – will appear in a subsequent post on that site).

Suffice to say, I will resist a bit at least spending too many hours on the wrinkle this French accent gives to the much discussed First Sentence. To announce itself – which both moneybags and capital in general too often and too portentously does all the time – is a ventriloquist’s trick of course. Tomorrow, the Working Day lecture, is about the voices in that most ethnographic of chapters, and indeed the first appearance of the worker’s voice, individually and then in a group. Let’s see how it goes on the day.

But for a long time I kept coming back to tinker with the article below on the first sentence, since it was originally published in Tom Bunyard’s 2008 book The Devil’s Party. In the meantime, it has been a while. So just now, for as I went to download the 1867 edition of Das Kapital to check the first version of the Working Day, I decided to grab the French version too. This is the one serialised and approved by Marx from 1872-1875.

This came up again last week, where in another discussion there was cause to recall that the French edition was the last edition published under Marx’s hand. He rewrote it extensively in French as it was serialised across 1872-1875. Rewritten in order to speak more clearly to the French workers who had recently risen up as the Commune (1871). Some say it is the most authentic version, and some 60 pages did not make it into the subsequent German editions (though some of it did) edited by Engels. Nor did it all make it into the English translation by various friends of Engels, a group which included Eleanor’s dubious husband Edward Aveling (fake double suicide ploy while he was married to another, apparently) . Of course this does not mean you should read the French, which was subsequently published in 2 volumes (so would not make an ideal pillow for Bac Ho [who allegedly slept with a copy under the sheets]). There are otehr versions too – when Marx died Engels or perhaps Eleanor also found that in his library there was a copy of volume 1 with annotations in his own hand which I show here: https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/…/marxs-own-copy-of-kapital/

Anyway, got to prepare. Here is the older earlier (2008, 2011, 2015) article brought forward again and again, from here. But for fun also see the 2006 hijinks here –

First Sentence

 ~ JOHN HUTNYK ~ “FIRST SENTENCE”

John Holloway has a thing in the latest HM Journal on the first sentence, but I had not seen it before writing these notes. See a link to his – or at least another verion of it, I dunno if exactly the same – via here. Meanwhile, these notes are the 2011 update of a text published in 2008 in Tom Bunyard’s “Devil’s Party“:

The first sentence

Starting with the difficult scene of commodity exchange, this is nonetheless a very clear and accessible read. Marx’s presentation differs from the mode of inquiry. The commentary on commodities was not his first object of analysis, it is an abstracted presentation, a writerly, rewritten, text.

Marx’s introduction anticipates a great many themes that will recur over and over in the text. Readers are forewarned, the wealth of nations is at stake, there be monsters, in this drama, where production rules, and its very elements, and their abstract form, will be examined.

Look at the first sentence of the text (in English, Penguin translation):

‘The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails appears as an “immense collection of commodities”, the individual commodity appears as its elementary form’ (Marx 1867/1976)

I think it is crucial that the commodity is the opening scene of a drama that has a wider purpose for demystifying. It is the opening to a work that will provide the ‘implied reader’ of Capital (I follow Gayatri Spivak’s ‘Scattered Speculations’ essay of 1985 in seeing this reader as first of all a member of the German socialist workers party here, and by extension today, you and I) with the x-ray vision to see through the trick of market exchange, control of production, distribution, valourisation, credit, the varieties of subsumption and the crises of capital, so as to sublate the productive power of capital away from the exploitative production for profit of commodity wealth into a more plentiful abundance of life and creativity for all…

Marx wrote his analysis of capital not only because he wanted to set down the answers, but so that the working class would have the wherewithal to make their own analyses, to read the world. We can have issues with this metaphor, which privileges text as unproblematic transcription, but Marx himself would not have difficulty here.

Who to write for as important as what to say.

So what to say? I would argue that the first sentence is of utmost important because the whole of Capital, in its presentation, is a staged drama. Throughout the literary theatrical code is prominent. Characters when they appear (as personifications, as ‘Moneybags’) perform in Marx’s theatre, even at the very beginning – the ‘immense collection of commodities’ is characterised as something like the World Fair, those mad exhibitions of the produce of the world, before which – in 1851 for example – Marx had marvelled as a visitor at the plunder of the world. The society to be examined is one where the capitalist mode of production prevails – prevails as a kind of monstrous law or power over all (prevails is translated as herrscht , which might be better rendered as rule, govern or controls). And though we are starting with the commodity, the analysis will look to the provenance of all these things, and how production determines exchange, and what follows (see my dispute with Clifford in Hutnyk 2004 chapter 1)

The very first four words of Marx’s Capital are ‘The Wealth of Societies’, surely echoing, as Spivak notes, Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. ‘In the rational plan for socialism’, however, ‘there is no room for nationalism’ (Spivak 2008:100). Against Smith, Marx writes a book that is aimed at overcoming the exploitation and appropriation of wealth that prevails in the capitalist mode of production as a social (class) formation. He writes in order to expose the trick of capital, its deceit and deception.

The wealth of societies is a phrase that should be the first to stop us. Recall that society is not community, think of Tonnies, soon to be writing on this distinction, recall Thatcher, recall Cameron’s big one – the proposal that the support work of social reproduction be further socialized, via all manner of voluntarism, non-remunerated labour, free for all disregard of the hard won concessions that a strong labour movement had wrested fro capital – we will spend considerable time on struggles over the length of the working say, but this is relevant also for family, ethnicity, self-education and a range of other modalities of reproduction, including affective labour in sexual service, family reproduction, marriage and – lets call it compensation dating.

Now, I am not saying we should address each word of Capital with a view to thinking how it is relevant to our circumstances today, to the current conjuncture, etc., though that is pretty much the essay question, but i do think its worth keeping in mind that we read with a contexted eye. This year, of all years, threatens to be interesting and I would like to think reading capital again can help us think differently than we presently do – the only reason to go on thinking at all.

What clinches this argument? The very wording of the opening sentence includes two visual references. In the Penguin edition the German word erscheint is translated as ‘appearance’. The German reads:

Der Reichtum der Gesellschaften, in welchen kapitalistische Produktionsweise herrscht, erscheint als eine “ungeheure Warensammlung”, die einzelne Ware als seine Elementarform.’

The term erscheint occurs just the once here, rendered as two instances of the word ‘appears’ in the English (as cited earlier). This is grammatically acceptable; translation is no pure calculus, but I think there is an important significance that is lost. In the Lawrence and Wishart edition the translation is better: ‘The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities”; its unit being a single commodity’ (Marx 1867/1967:35 my italic). Both editions then go on to say that our investigation therefore begins with the analysis of the commodity. Noting that accumulation is perhaps a better translation that collection, my point is that revealed in the gap between the two English translations of erscheint is the entire burden of Marx’s project – to expose the trick of the commodity as social form so as to teach the working class to see into the mechanics of industrial capital. Erscheinung, in German usage, has a double, or even triple sense. It connotes ‘appearance’ both in terms of how something looks, and in the theatrical sense of putting in an appearance, of staging something; in addition, it also has the sense of an apparition (which is what Derrida makes so much of in Spectres of Marx, although not actually from this sentence; it seems he prefers the Manifesto perhaps because it’s a shorter read [‘A spectre is haunting Europe’]). The ‘presents itself’ of the International edition gets closer to the theatrical sense, but does not capture the doubling nor the monstrous spectre, the trick that is perpetrated by the animated commodity – animated by the masses themselves, though they do not see it as such, yet.

Another point to be made here is that Marx, in that first sentence, quotes himself. Others have pointed to this curiosity (see Pepperell 2009), but Marx had already quipped in a preface that he was ‘coquetting’ with the presentation style of Hegel in setting out his rendering of Capital. This flirtation, that we do not need to take at its somewhat flippant word, is itself a machine for seduction, for storytelling, repetition, and a gamble that starts with a kind of doubled disguise (self quotation from the start) as a tactic. The wealth of societies is Smith, but not Smith, ‘ersheint’ is Hegel, but not Hegel, the commodity is the elementary form, but social, the monster accumulates.

I will also take up, in this first sentence that has detained us already for a long time, and further holds the rest of the text in abeyance, another translation slippage that I think is significant. Within the self quoted quote, the English renders the accumulation of commodities as ‘immense’. Ungeheure can certainly mean immense, or enourmous, but it also evokes a more Gothic meaning, that certainly fits the context – ungeheuerlich is ‘monstrous’, Ungeheuerlichkeit is ‘atrocity’. Perhaps it would be good, even in this first sentence, not to write out the evocations of Marx’s language – the theatrical and the gothic – a book populated by monsters is not merely comic, it is deadly serious, engaged in combat against demons and death.

Ungeheuer is immense but also monstrous. The demonic inflection is intended in Marx’s language. What today is the most monstrous appearance of capital? No longer a commodity economy but an economy economy, an immense collection of abstract shares, interest margins, affective attachement to interest rates and other markers of well-being, all of course based upon property and privilege still, but somewhat more clearly only the appearance of wealth is mediated through salary and bonus and all that can afford. Good schools, white entitlement, supremacy and privilege have never been less obvious as the marks of accumulated wealth of society types.

Appearance is theatrical, yet also a machine of domination. The point is to see though this trick, to see through the plastic appearances. We are not only talking of how things are, but also of how they are made to seem, and how we put up with them, even smiling as we do so. This needs a storyteller’s skill; so that rhetoric, metaphor, trope, coquetting; nothing escapes its role in the system. It might not even be impossible to imagine Marx as the system thinking itself in some contradictory, reflexive and critical manner (self quotation, doubling, haunting itself), but this is of course a fantastical deceit. Marx delivered a book that was itself a machine for narrative action (and still is, it gets inside your head and rewires thought, the tables dance). Now, the book could be read every time and for everyone as a potentially endlessly reorganized and renewed epic (it is hoped), still true to the project of teaching the implied reader to conjure with theory so as to unpack the real – to unpack the wealth of societies in which the capitalism mode of production prevails. Sure, it is a gamble to set out the analysis in a rhetorical style – inevitably part of the culture industry, the book itself still today engages with this gamble: Capital as a radical text sells more in times of crisis than not, and is sold as a commodity in bookshops for gain. It has its own commodity fetish format, precariously inserted into the DNA of the system of co-option and recuperation, even in the radical must-needs product. But the plastic will not remain forever – the reading of Capital is not merely system noise. We want people to read more than the first sentence, but also we want to read with care – and with a view to changing everything because, well – this is too quick, but we know the co-constitution of industry and exploitation cannot be merely described. The point is to change it. Books are also tools, plastic wealth is a trick, the screams of pain are real.

Note: Hans Ehrbar has prepared a resource that presents large sections of the English (Penguin, but often amended) and German (4th Edition) text of Capital in parallel, with significant explication. (Ehrbar 2009 http://www.econ.utah.edu/~ehrbar/akmc.pdf).

Ehrbar notes that this ‘new’ translation and interpretation of Marx ‘is deeply indebted to Critical Realism, a philosophical current founded by Roy Bhaskar’. He also says, unfortunately, that ‘I did not try to reproduce all ambiguities of the German text. If the German can be understood in two different ways, and interpretation a is, in my view, clearly right while interpretation b is wrong, then my translation will only try to bring out interpretation a’ (Ehrbar 2009 http://www.econ.utah.edu/~ehrbar/akmc.pdf)

My reading of the first sentence, prepared before I found Ehrbar, follows Spivak and attends to what might be called ambiguities, but which I think may be better rendered as dialectical style. The reading of the rest of the book will confirm or deny this assertion.

Marx himself rewriting the first sentence is here (which in turn links to this post, so a circuit metaphor is lurking there somehow… mis-en-about…)

Recent stuffs:

The Corporate Imaginary, In Thesis Eleven August 13, 2020

Co research in Vietnam for the anthropology classroom  with Do Thi Xuan Huong, in Education Philosophy and Theory, 2020, with supplement rept_a_1752187_sm3452

The Pecuniary Animus of the University in Education, Philosophy and Theory, 2020

If the Tigers and Cyclones Don’t Get You, the Law Will, South Asia 2019

Global South Asia on Screen. Book, India only edition 2019

What did you do in the war? History and Anthropology 2019

Marx in Calcutta, CITY 2018

Global South Asia on Screen, Book, World Edition, 2018

Journal of Asian and African Studies – vol 55 no 6 2020

jasa_55_6.tocjasa_55_6.tocScreen Shot 2020-08-23 at 17.45.05

Table of Contents

Special Issue: Sociology in Vietnam Today

 

Volume 55 Issue 6, September 2020
Guest Editor: John Hutnyk
Introduction
 
 
 

Sociology in Vietnam

Nguyen Minh HuanJohn Hutnyk
 
Original Articles
 
 
 

The Model of Population Transition in Vietnam in Relation to Europe and Asia: A Quantitative Approach

Ha Trong Nghia
 
 
 
 

Tube Housing as Dominant System and Everyday Urban Culture of Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City

Huyen Truong-YoungTrevor Hogan
 
 
 
 

Social Structure of Changing Labour Relations in Vietnam

Le Thi Mai
 
 
 
 

Camaraderie and Conflict: Intercultural Communication and Workplace Interactions in South Korean Companies in Bình Dương Province, Vietnam

Nguyen Thi Hong-XoanCatherine Earl
 
 
 
 

Forestry Policy and Legitimacy: The Case of Forest Devolution in Vietnam

Thi Kim Phung Dang
 
No Access
 
 

Promoting Participation in Local Natural Resource Management through Ecological Cultural Tourism: Case Study in Vam Nao Reservoir Area, An Giang Province, Vietnam

Le Hue HuongBui Loan ThuyNguyen Thi Phuong Linh
 
No Access
 
 

Community Initiatives and Local Networks among K’ho Cil Smallholder Coffee Farmers in the Central Highlands of Vietnam: A Case Study

Hang Thi Thu Truong
 
 
 
 

Travel Branding in Tourism 4.0: Case Study Vietnam Travel

 
 
 
 

LGBTQIA+ at the Blue Sky Club in Ho Chi Minh City

Do Xuan HaNguyen Phi HienBui Mai SinhNguyen Thi Phuong Linh
 

The Corporate Menagerie – Thesis Eleven

An article on the malaise that afflicts the UK university system, applicable to the US and Australia too possibly, not wholly tongue-in-cheek and riffing on true stories. Everyone will have their own versions of these tales, no doubt. Links below the screenshot.

Screen Shot 2020-08-12 at 20.29.23

 

Note: I am permitted to link here [The corporate menagerie] to the accepted version, but changes made during the editing process are not included so for those, and for citation, you should download the article from the journal using the doi identifier: https://doi.org/10.1177/0725513620949009. Cheers.

 

Education Philosophy and Theory Vol 52, Issue 11

Volume 52, 2020 Screen Shot 2020-08-05 at 12.25.05

Innovating Institutions: Instituting Innovation

– section editor John Hutnyk

Introduction

An intuition of innovative new institutions

Le Thi Mai & John Hutnyk

Pages: 1120-1125

Published online: 20 Jul 2020

First Page Preview|Full Text|References|

PDF (721 KB)

|

Articles

The university in the global age: reconceptualising the humanities and social sciences for the twenty-first century.

Scott DoidgeJohn Doyle & Trevor Hogan

Pages: 1126-1138

Published online: 25 May 2020

Abstract|Full Text|References|

PDF (1353 KB)

 

 

Meritocracy in Singapore

Stefano Harney

Pages: 1139-1148

Published online: 28 May 2020

Abstract|Full Text|References|

PDF (726 KB)

 

 

Innovations in creative education for tertiary sector in Australia: present and future challenges

Hiep Duc NguyenLe Thi Mai & Duc Anh Do

Pages: 1149-1161

Published online: 10 Apr 2020

Abstract|Full Text|References|

PDF (916 KB)

 

 

Beyond borders: trans-local critical pedagogy for inter-Asian cultural studies

Joyce C. H Liu

Pages: 1162-1172

Published online: 15 Apr 2020

Abstract|Full Text|References|

PDF (899 KB)

 

 

Innovations of education socialisation in Vietnam: from participation towards privatisation

Thi Kim Phung Dang

Pages: 1173-1184

Published online: 26 May 2020

Abstract|Full Text|References|

PDF (897 KB)

 

Co-research in Vietnam for the anthropology classroom

Do Thi Xuan Huong & John Hutnyk

Pages: 1185-1200

Published online: 28 Apr 2020

Abstract|Full Text|References|

PDF (1377 KB)

|Supplemental

 

 

Ways of life: Knowledge transfer and Aboriginal heritage trails

Stephen Muecke & Jennifer Eadie

Pages: 1201-1213

Published online: 25 May 2020

Abstract|Full Text|References|

PDF (944 KB)

 

Regional aspirations with a global perspective: developments in East Asian labour studies

Kim Scipes

Pages: 1214-1224

Published online: 28 May 2020

Abstract|Full Text|References|

PDF (929 KB)

 

 

Some recent texts on academia.edu

PAPERS
Education Philosophy and Theory, 2020
Introduction to the special issue Education Philosophy and Theory. Innovating Institutions: Insti… more 
by John Hutnyk and Hương Đỗ thị xuân
Education, Philosophy and Theory, 2020
In the university system today, co-research may be a decolonising strategy. We evaluate teaching … more 
Education, Philosophy and Theory, 2020
This essay suggests an alternative accountability process on the basis of critiques of current ev… more 
History and Anthropology, 2019
‘To write history and to live history are two very different things’, said Marc Bloch in 1943. In… more 
South Asia, 2019
An outpouring of books on the Sundarbans delta and other Bengal waterways immerses us in a new ec… more 
City, 2018
This paper considers the importance of examples from India in the text of Marx’s Capital. In trac… more 
Inter Asia Cultural Studies, 2018
Recent film and television treatment of South Asia from UK producers have introduced new angles o… more 

Trinkets in Defoe

Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 13.20.12Reading Eugenia Zuroski Jenkins’ 2013 book A Taste for China: English Subjectivity and the Prehistory of Orientalism (Global Asias), Oxford: Oxford University Press, and seeing after Robinson, Defoe gets all a trinketty according to Jenkins:.

‘In fact, “trinket” was commonly used in this period as a verb: “to trinket” was to “have clandestine communications or underhand dealings with; to intrigue with; to act in an underhand way.” 33 The resulting inflation—or “trinketing”—of the coins’ value resembles the “monstrous generation” of capital identified by Ann Louise Kibbie in Moll Flanders (1722) and Roxana (1724). In those novels, Kibbie argues, traditional anti-usury arguments are channeled into narratives about female embodiments of capital that reproduce value in economically unsanctioned ways’ (p114)

and

‘“trinketing” of chinoiserie reverberates throughout writing of the eighteenth century, particularly in poems such as John Gay’s The Fan (1713) and Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock (1714) that parody women’s taste for toys and trifl es. 40 This strain of cultural thought, which relegates foreign ornamental goods to “toys,” and the English taste for them to fancy and folly, gains momentum throughout the eighteenth century.’ (p116)

Then, great to see, Adam Smith uses the term:.

‘In A Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), Adam Smith perceived that the English, still “lovers of toys,” continued to cut just such ridiculous figures:
“How many people ruin themselves by laying out money on trinkets of frivolous utility? … All their pockets are stuffed with little conveniencies. Th ey contrive new pockets, unknown in the clothes of other people, in order to carry a greater number. They walk about loaded with a multitude of baubles, in weight and sometimes in value not inferior to an ordinary Jew’s-box, some of which may sometimes be of some little use, but all of which might at all times be very well spared, and of which the whole utility is certainly not worth the fatigue of bearing the burden”‘ (p116-117)

And while I think this is far too general an assertion, why not:

‘Defoe’s novels behave, in this sense, like the trinket itself, generating and circulating meaning and value by disavowing the material world in favor of an imaginary, figurative one’ (p120)

finally, in a footnote to Langford’s A Polite and Commercial People:

‘What I am calling chinoiserie Langford describes as “a wealth of trinkets, novelties, and knick-knacks in the French, Chinese, or Indian ‘manner,’ which invaded many homes”’ (Langford 68).

 

Seventeenth-Century Trincketts

Early coinage – for numismatists: I am reading about Dampier and Jeoly (possible model for the fiction of Friday in Defoe’s Robbo book) and digging into texts about collections of curiosities and the like, and found this curio in the work of Barnes 2006, who refers to:

the Oxford Vice-Chancellor who looked, said the antiquarian Thomas Hearne, upon the Bodleian’s coin and medal collection “only as Trincketts . . . by which may be clearly seen that he has no relish of true Learning, & knows nothing of it” (Doble 2: 382).

Its not exactly clear when this was, though Hearn lived at that time (1678–1735) so I am guessing it was still currency… that is, about that time when Jeoly got to the UK – he travelled with William Dampier, who got back to London with just his manuscript and jeoly in tow, in 1691, havng met jeoly in India a year before and travelled with him to Bencoolen on Sumatra, then to England via the Cape and St Helena. I mean, I don’t know when the esteemed Oxfod VC disparaged the truth of coinage as but mere trincketts,  but its great to see a reference so early as the 17th century. Ah, and Jeoly – exhibited by Dampier to raise some funds, which is as grotesque as it sounds, though quite the sensation then. In a pub. As the painted prince because he was royalty back home. He was, it seems, also introduced to Mary and William, then head parasites of those Isle.

And did someone mention tattoos?

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 20.53.47

Playbill advertising ‘Prince Giolo’ in London, 1692.
Etching by John Savage.
Image is marked, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Australia.

 

I can’t say I agree with evey aspect in the interpretation of Dampier’s ‘opportunism’ in Geraldine Barnes’s article, but its full of great detail: including an apocryphal autobiography – all the rage then I am sure. See ee Barnes, G. (2006) ‘Curiosity, Wonder, and William Dampier’s Painted Prince’. Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 6(1), 31–50.

Barnes transcription of the fine print from the flyer above is not complete, but:

‘Prince Giolo, Son to the King of Moangis or Gilolo: lying under the Equator in the Long. of 152 Deg. 30 Min. a fruitful Island abounding with rich Spices and other valuable Commodities. This famous Painted Prince is the just Wonder of the Age, his whole Body, except Face Hands and Feet, is curiously and most exquisitely Painted or Stained, full of Variety and Invention with prodigious Art and Skill perform’d . .

The engraving is widely known, though some texts quite mistakenly muddle the story. Dampier picks up Jeoly in Madras not Mindanao, though yes, he is from Miangas’:
“A similar fate befell the Miangas islander named Jeoly, who became popularly known as ‘Prince Giolo’ when he arrived in England in 1691. Perhaps the most famous of all the tattooed ‘curiosities’ exhibited in Britain, Jeoly was purchased as a slave by the buccaneer-adventurer William Dampier in Mindanao, the Philippines, in 1690. … Jeoly was put on display ‘as a sight’ at the Blue Boar’s Head Inn in Fleet Street in June 1692. A number of copies of the playbill advertising his public appearances survive (pictured above). The original advertisement includes a detailed etching of Jeoly by John Savage,
More to come of course… have to talk again with my friend Makiko Kuwahara on tattoos.

Double Injustice: Media Racism

Back in 2003 Imogen Bunting, whose birthday it would have been today, wrote this on the film INJUSTICE by Tariq and Ken. To date the film still has not been shown on UK television, despite all the awards and media acclaim and THE RELEVANCE OF IT STILL TODAY.

Originally posted 2006

MEDIA RACISM

This piece was written by Imogen for a possible book on the film Injustice. We approached 19 publishers for the book, but while screenings do occur now, because the film was banned/threatened for so long by the court injunctions of the Police Federation, no publisher seemed able to risk a publication. As you can see from below, the failure of the publishers (some respected left wing houses) was not because of the quality of the writing – here as ever Imogen was on the case.

Media Racism:
Reporting black deaths in the British press: Injustice and the right to reply.

‘Black deaths do not have a good press, especially when they occur in the custody of our custodians…the media leads the public to believe that our guardians can do no wrong. Racism leads them to believe that blacks can do no right. The silence of the custodial system is compounded by the silences of racism’ (Sivanandan).

It is from within these silences that Injustice speaks. As Sivanadan’s resolute remark suggests, the film was, in part, a necessary response to the media’s selective and often dubiously scarce reportage. Why is it that the one thousand deaths in custody that have occurred since 1969 can largely have slipped through the pages of our national press whilst at the same time the deaths of Stephen Lawrence, Victoria Climbe and Damilola Taylor have, for instance, frequently made the front covers of both broadsheets and tabloids? When the key suspects in the murder of Stephen Lawrence were charged with committing a racist attack on an off duty black police officer the Daily Mirror’s front page announced ‘GOTCHA! Two down, three to go, as justice finally catches up with racist Lawrence thugs’. And yet, in the post-Macpherson world it is all too easy perhaps to be seduced by such jubilance. After all, justice for the death of Stephen Lawrence never did catch up with his killers. The justice just delivered was for a racial attack on a police officer. And, if we are to be cynical, it mostly provided a perfect space for the press to celebrate an apparently reformed Metropolitan police.

The same week however, on page eight of the Guardian we are told that when Christopher Alder died face down in a police station in Hull in 1998, he was surrounded by police making monkey noises. In a letter to his sister, the CPS reported that ‘it is not possible to infer that there was a racist motivation here’. This, less impressive judicial decision is far from the front page – ‘black deaths do not have a good press’. Injustice was a way of exposing the long and continuing history of (black) deaths in custody where a politically correct rather than a politically [engaged?] press had not been adequate. Exploring the press’ handling of the cases featured in the Injustice provides a way of understanding the sticky politics of reporting deaths in custody and may open up a space in which to re-view the cases.

Whilst it is probably a truism for those involved in the campaigns for justice of people who have died in police custody, it is worth noting at the outset a point all too often forgotten when Britain celebrates the freedom of its press and the quality of its news, that is:

‘The media do not simply and transparently report events which are ‘naturally’ newsworthy in themselves. ‘News’ is the end product of a complex process which begins with a systematic sorting of events and topics according to a socially constructed set of categories’ (Hall et al 1978:53).

Deaths in custody are reported within a wider media context of black deaths, which more often than not, are associated with crime, gangs and drugs. The furore over guns from the ghettos at the concerts of the So Solid Crew was synchronous with the trial of the killers of schoolboy Damilola Taylor. And, whilst providing stark contrast to one another, together portrayed a kind of black underworld where, as the Guardian noted, ‘Gun crime in London is at an all-time high, and black violence against black people of particular concern, with 21 deaths last year’. A few months later, rising crime rates were the front cover of all the national press, and the shadow home secretary announced that ‘everyone on the estates in our inner cities knows…it is gangs and drug dealers rather than the forces of law and order that are in charge’ (Guardian 12/7/2002).

When gangs and drug dealers have been repeatedly inferred as being black, the violence of the police force towards to black people, or the disproportionate figures of black deaths in custody can be seen not as racism but rather as the inevitable result of black criminality. This might be one of the ‘socially constructed set of categories’ within which black deaths in police custody are reported, or not. And what it effectively creates is the idea that the force of the police is ‘reasonable’. However, when the controversial stop and search laws make it five times more likely to be stopped if you are black, then already there is a disproportionate chance that in being stopped, the police feel that a certain degree of force is reasonable. Indeed race and crime are so closely associated by the media that the Guardian chose to quote the Voice editor calling for more stop and search in the face of rising street crime and gun related offences,

‘Most people would prefer not to be stopped and searched, but increasing crime is warranting that and the majority of people who have nothing to hide won’t mind very much’ (Guardian 5/3/2002).
So, Mike Best, portrayed as a spokesperson for black people, has reiterated the most cunning of media tricks, creating the functional equivalent of the deserving and undeserving poor. The emphasis is shifted from the fact that stop and search, undertaken by a self confessed ‘institutionally racist’ police force is a dubious and dangerous tactic. And again, it obfuscates the fact that people stopped and searched, such as Brian Douglas, or arrested on suspicion of robbery such as Wayne Douglas, are dead. It is not even that the people who ‘have nothing to hide’ always get off lightly. Moreover, following the theme of the deserving and undeserving, a great deal of post-Macpherson media spin has played on the idea that the police are now too afraid of being accused of being racist that they won’t stop black people. The delight with which the nation mimicked Ali G’s ‘Is it cos I is black?’ was a serious indicator of how little the term ‘institutionally racist’ had been taken seriously and, like Mike Best, black M.P Paul Boateng was showcased demanding that:
‘The power [of stop and search] cannot be removed – it is a vital tool in the armoury of the police. We must never lose sight in our response to the Lawrence report what brought it about – a gang of thugs on the street obsessed by knives. The police must have the power to stop and search for knives’ (Observer 28/2/1999).

In fact this ‘gang of thugs’ were a white racist fraternity and yet stop and search renders black people five times more likely to be stopped. Indeed this kind of neutralisation of the police in the press is common. A crucial aspect of deaths in custody is that, by their very nature they might provoke terror and anger in the public eye as we are forced to ask who can protect us from those who are there to protect us? And yet, deaths in custody have repeatedly been portrayed as almost an inevitability, or the just deserves of a minority of people on the wrong side of the law. An example might be a report of the death of Shiji Lapite that appeared in the Sunday Telegraph which ran:

‘Mr Lapite was arrested outside a nightclub in Stoke Newington, north-east London. During a struggle he was pinned down and his larynx partially crushed. He died of asphyxia and cocaine intoxication.’

In the same way, the Times made sure to note that Brian Douglas was, at the time of his arrest, thought to be ‘under the influence of either drugs or drink’. Whilst the Sunday Telegraph described how, when Joy Gardner’s mouth was gagged with 13 feet of surgical tape, the police had arrived at her home,

‘with an arrest warrant, restraining equipment…and the information that she tried to evade deportation before and had a record of violence’.

This is perhaps the most telling account in that it shows how a criminalised history or an inference of involvement with drugs is a resource that can be used by the police in the same way as an arrest warrant might be. Similarly, both Joy Gardner and Shiji Lapite were described first and foremost as asylum seekers. Read within the context of a media who infamously echoed Enoch Powell’s speech of Britain being ‘flooded’ by immigrants, it is easy to see how these deaths might have been construed.

A demand for information, accountability, and justice that might arise through reporting a death in custody is augmented by an inference of criminality. In these instances, police action no longer, it seems, is under such scrutiny. Middle England, reading the paper over their breakfast can rest assured that it won’t be them on the floor of Stoke Newington police station. Whilst, bombarded with spectacular reports of rising crime, drugs and guns, the police must be justified in their actions.

Looking at the press reports of all of the cases featured in the film exposes a pattern in the press’ handling of both deaths in police custody, and the relationship between black people and (usually violent) crime. When these issues converge, deaths in custody, rather than being an outrageous – and in this sense – morbidly newsworthy issue, become part of publicising the police in favour of ‘mentally unstable’ (Press release from Stoke Newington police the night of Colin Roach’s death in the foyer of the police station) ‘immensely strong’ (Daily Telegraph quoting P.C Wright’s description of Ibrahim Sey 26/1/1996) ‘violent’ (Sunday Telegraph quoting P.C Brian Adam’s description of Joy Gardner 30/11/1997) victims. Such dramatic adjectives are an example of how

‘media forms produce the urban (ghetto) as lawless, anarchic and violent…[and] from pop videos, Hollywood cinema, American police series and surveillance videos, the black male body has been an object of scrutiny’(Sharma and Sharma 2000:109).

Victims who have died in custody are somehow posed as Goliaths to the Metropolitan’s Davids whose political and technological strength is creatively overlooked. The figure of the big, black dangerous criminal becomes mythical and the police can be posed as heroes, risking their own safety to keep the streets safe.

An example of this use, by the police, of the media might be found in a report such as that in the Daily Telgraph whose headline was ‘Met officers to be given body armour and C.S gas’. Here, the death of Brian Douglas, following his arrest is noted within the context of police deaths. The article reads:

‘all members of the metropolitan police are to be issued with body armour in the wake of gun attacks that have left seven officers dead in the past five years’.

The implosion of Brian’s death with the death of police officers seems to suggest three key themes. Firstly that death is inevitable within police work. Secondly, that the death of a police officer on duty might be equivalent to the death of a citizen who is, for any reason, stopped by the police. And, thirdly, that the death of an officer is enough to warrant the introduction of more repressive measures [technologies?]. It is the press who have juxtaposed the stories of Brian Douglas death and the police death and, in doing so, have occluded the seriousness of both the frequency and similarity in the death in custody cases. The 1000 deaths since 1969 are not of course, juxtaposed with the 7 police deaths in 5 years, a statistic that might put the police death rate into some kind of perspective.

Breaking up the continuity of black deaths in police custody through intermittent reporting distracts the public from the chilling similarities in the cases. Beyond that however, for those families, friends and allies involved in campaigning for justice, the press’ spectacularisation of particular cases is extremely damaging. It sets up a dis-jointed politics where alliance must be traded for sympathy. Whilst the Guardian headline of a report into the death of Roger Sylvester was ‘Another death in custody, another family mourns’ (24/1/1999), what the article actually stressed was to not see the death as another of the same. Yet again, another family mourns, and yet ‘they are wary…of Roger Sylvester’s death becoming another Stephen Lawrence or Michael Menson case’. The fact is that in many respects, the death is already another Stephen Lawrence or Michael Menson case. The depoliticising of yet ‘another death in custody’ happens through the emotiveness of a family, in obvious disbelief, who, it was reported, in response to questions over a demonstration held outside the High Court said, ‘it had nothing to do with us’.

Along similar divisive lines, a large part of a BBC Newsnight report after the death of Michael Menson in Stoke Newington police station in 1983 was given over to P.C Paul Pacey, who demanded that:

‘you go out and talk to those people on the streets, just in the normal course of your duty and they’ll…talk to you about the police and about what happens to you back at Stoke Newington station…and they’ll say, “things happen to you back there” and you’ll say “well what?”, “well, I’ve heard stories…”, “Well, who off?”, “Well, people”, “ Has it happened to you?” “Well, no…” And its very hard to find. In fact I can’t find these people its happening to’.

Death in custody becomes the urban myth of a paranoid black community rather than a serious and discrediting narrative in the history of Stoke Newington police station. Injustice found the families and friends of ‘these people its happening to’ and in calibrating the deaths that have occurred over the last thirty years fill in the gaps left by the media.

These gaps are, it seems, so easily maintained because the usual model of reporting is impossible. When death occurs in the ‘custody of our custodians’ what ‘actually happened’ is only known by the police involved. The ‘news’ of a death in custody is framed by information given by a whole brigade of officials from the police, to the police coroners, to the Crown Prosecution Service, to the Police Complaints Authority into the nature of the death. Stuart Hall (et al) has noted that,

‘what is most striking about crime news is that it very rarely involves a first-hand account of the crime itself…Crime stories are almost wholly produced from the definitions and perspectives of the institutional primary definers’ (1978:68).

Within this are assumptions about the relationship between race and crime, crime and violence and violence and state-protection. So, from a pre-established context, it is really only the police who have a voice on a particular case. This process may be highlighted by the extent to which the press uses direct quotes from the police officers involved in the deaths. Cloaked in the officialdom of their speaking position, deeply subjective descriptions are used:

‘P.C Wright : “He [Shiji Lapite] was immensely strong. I was in fear for my life and P.C Macullum’s life”…P.C Wright believed the suspect’s “tremendous strength” might have been the effect of crack cocaine’ (Daily Telegraph 26/1/1996).

‘“She [Joy Gardner] was the most violent woman I have ever encountered”, said P.C Brian Adam’ (Sunday Telegraph 30/11/1997).

There is no space for counter comment – for an opposing claim. Both the ‘facts’ of the death and opinion or comment are given by the state. Disentangling this tightly woven knot of (mis) information becomes the private struggle of each family rather than a public and publicised campaign. The silencing of Injustice is another thread in this cloth, where each time a screening was due to take place, the cinema was threatened by the Metropolitan police lawyers. In privileging the voice of the state over and above the voice of those harmed by the state, the media reaffirms the position of an institutionally racist police.

‘we are now at the very heart of the inter-relationships between the control culture and the ‘signification culture’…In this moment, the media – albeit unwittingly, and through their own ‘autonomous’ routes – have become effectively an apparatus of the control process itself – an ‘ideological state apparatus’(Hall et al 1978:76).

Indeed there is a curious levelling mechanism that needs to go on with cases of death in custody. The Metropolitan police, especially after the Stephen Lawrence case, has worked incredibly hard on its image. It is almost as if the sympathy of the press is needed in direct proportion with the violence of the police. As Cohen has noted,

‘The more resources allocated to increasing the efficiency of repressive policing, the more manpower has to be poured [in]…to restabilize the public image of the force’ (quoted in Jefferson 1991:171).

A thousand deaths in police custody since 1969 is not a statistic that might enhance the image of the police. The double movement of repression and promotion is mediated by the press who, for example, in reporting the death of Joy Gardner at the hands of police and immigration officers explain how ‘sticky tape was wrapped around her head to stop her biting more officers’ (Sunday Telegraph 30/11/1997). The police restraining technologies are laconically justified despite the fact that they were fatal for Joy Gardner. The press have maintained the police framing of the event to such an extent that the possibility of alternative opinions, transgressive questions and redressive actions are edited out. ‘In this lost world of politics without conflict, division or debate, the spin doctors are always right’ (Gilroy 1999:12) and the only sniff of disagreement reported surrounds the suitability of particular technologies in particular cases. The fundamental questions of race, class and institutionalised violence are obscured by the histrionics of endless police reviews.

Relying on a benevolent media however, also has its dangers and limitations, precluding the politics and economics of why there are deaths in custody and of why black people are five times more likely to die in custody. A sympathetic press may have its own agenda within the status quo. In a global and historical level, the story of Stephen Biko, the anti-apartheid activist killed in police custody in South Africa in 1977 is best known perhaps by the film Cry Freedom, which, instead of telling the story of Biko, actually tells the story of Donald Woods, a sympathetic white journalist who tried to expose the killing of Biko in police custody. We can see that the story becomes one of a sympathetic white media rather than of the political economy of black death within the apartheid regime. The connections between the media as an apparatus of the state are eroded in portraying a laudable exception to the rule. Similarly, the problem of the media’s treatment of death in custody can not possibly be solved by having more black journalists, just as the police won’t stop being racist if there are more black officers. As Hall has pointed out,

‘The media do not only possess a near monopoly over ‘social knowledge’, as the primary source of information about what is happening; they also command the passage between those who are ‘in the know’ and the structured ignorance of the general public’ (1978:64).

Alternative media such as Injustice, made in collaboration with the families of those killed and screened in cinemas, social centres, political meetings and festivals reconstitute the desiccated narratives of deaths in custody. Marxists are not imagining things when they note that the ideological state apparatus of the mainstream media will always voice the opinions of the ruling classes. Hoping for a sympathetic report is, it seems, both naïve and insubstantial. However, it is crucial that the press are interrogated, challenged and disturbed by other voices, voices normally excluded from the debates. For deaths in police custody, the problem will always be that the victim is criminalized, and, ‘the criminal by his actions, is assumed to have forfeited, along with other citizenship rights, his ‘right of reply’ (Hall 1978:69). Restoring this right of reply has been, in a sense the project of Injustice. As it traces the struggles of the families of those who died, it recreates the space of comment – it re-collects the testimonies, it redefines the parameters of the debate.

Imogen Bunting

Rhino

Love these two:

Screen Shot 2020-07-25 at 12.44.26

Jan Griffier after Francis Barlow, ‘A true representation of the Rhinocerus and Elephant lately brought from the East-Indies to London, drawn after the life, and curiously engraven in Mezzo Tinto, printed upon a large sheet of paper. Sold by Pierce Tempest at the Eagle & Child in the Strand over against Somerset House, 1685’. © 2019, the Trustees of the British Museum

 

This is not the rhinoceros discussed in Marx in Calcutta, but some 60 years later, though clearly the drawing is influenced by Durer’s etching of that same reported beastie.