Quid pro Quo – Subversive Festival, Zagreb (2nd vid)

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My third talk in a series of three on capital was at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb. The second talk is here (Translating Capital in Context) and it makes sense to see the second talk first [the first one in Rijeka was not recorded, but was based on my text on Citizen Kane], not least because it will help explain why the conceit in this third talk has Marx relocated to India, which of course he was always deeply interested in, but he never went, only picking up bits of info, and some myths – eg the horror stories of Jagannath etc – from his wide-ranging and varied reading. I think it is justified to deploy Marx to Calcutta, at least in fantasy, though its true not even Engels took his father’s advice to go to Calcutta to start in business. The old boys were European bound, but this did not mean they did not seek out the revolution elsewhere.

What also should be mentioned (the parts here are – great job – edited and slightly reordered, and the opening by Bernard missed) is that in this talk I set out to look at three different moments. 1) the arrival of Clive in Calcutta after the ‘sham scandal’ of the Black Hole in 1756; 2) the first all-India war of Independence, the so-called ‘mutiny’ 100 years later and; 3) the quid pro quo return of originary capital to the site of the East India Company shipyard in London in present times, under the aegis of the Farrell’s development of Convoys’ Wharf, Deptford, for Hutchinson Whampoa.

I am slowly writing this out as a long, too long, chapter, so this version is pretty schematic, but you will get the drift of new work. Thanks for stopping by. Thanks also to the crew at Subversive, especially Karolina Hrga, and Bernard Koludrović who was chair.

Abstract:

“Marx writing on India is key to understanding Capital. My argument is that we can make sense of Marx today by examining his theoretical and journalistic work together, each informed by an emergent anthropology, by historical hermeneutics, by a critique of political economy and by attention to a global political contest that mattered more than philosophy. Marx reading history, already against the grain and without being able to make actual alliances, is nevertheless seeking allies in a revolutionary cause. Is it possible to observe Marx coming round to realise, after the shaping experience of the 1848-1852 European uprisings, the possibilities for the many different workers of the world to unite? I consider the sources Marx finds available, what he reads, and how his writing practice parses critical support as habitual politics, and how far subcontinental events, themes and allegories are a presence in the key moves of his masterwork Capital almost as if India were a refocused bromide for Europe, just as slavery is for wages. I will take up four cases – the ‘founding’ of Calcutta by Job Charnock (disputed); the story of Clive sacking Chandernagore and going on to defeat Suraj-ud-duala at Palashi/Plassey in 1757 in retaliation for the ‘Black Hole’ (did it exist?); Disraeli verbosely saying nothing about the so-called Indian ‘mutiny’ 1857 (‘the East as a career’); and the question of legalizing Opium in China and the advent of Matheson-Jardine Company after the East India Company comes to an end (‘quid pro quo’). All of this brings us back to the realities of global investment and regeneration in Europe today, as international capital returns to the port of London to redevelop the old East India Company shipyards in Deptford.”

15/5/2014, 21h, Cinema Europa, Zagreb, Croatia
John Hutnyk: Quid pro quo: the East as a career
7th Subversive festival: “Power and Freedom in the Time of Control”
Moderator: Bernard Koludrović

Translating Capital in context, politics, struggles

trinketization

From Subversive Festival Zagreb, May 2014. 

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

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

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

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GLOBAL RESISTANCE, FROM FERGUSON TO PEOPLE’S KOREA

23 October 2014 Hausman’s Bookshop Kings Cross London:

tricon

 

The people of Ferguson have heroically stood up in the face of brutal repression, resisting the police in the streets in the aftermath of yet another young black man having been gunned down by law enforcement. Amongst many other Global South governments, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (‘North Korea’) took a definite stand with the protesters, condemning the human rights situation of the U.S. and the racism of its system. The ties between North Korea and the Black Power movement in the US are nothing new, and go back to a powerful relationship that was built with the Black Panther Party in the 1960s. Join us to explore the internationalist ties between the DPRK, the liberation struggles in Africa andthe Black liberation movement in the US, and how these connect to the wider global struggle against colonialism and imperialism.

The event will be held at London’s best-known radical bookshop, Housmans (http://www.housmans.com/) on Caledonian Road.

Confirmed speakers so far (more to be announced):

YONGHO THAE (Q&A)
First secretary of the DPRK embassy in London, talking about North Korea’s history of resistance to foreign domination, and answering your questions about the DPRK.

ZAKI BARUTI
President/General of the Universal African Peoples Organization, and grassroots organiser in St Louis, talking about the situation on the ground in Ferguson

ASARI SOBUKWE
Representative of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP), talking about the history of North Korean solidarity with the African liberation movements and with the Black Power movement in the US.

MARCEL CARTIER
Rapper and activist, talking about his recent trip to DPRK and joining the dots between Pyongyang, Ferguson, Donetsk, Palestine, Syria, Cuba and elsewhere.

The event will be chaired by writer and music producer Carlos Martinez (Agent of Change).

The event is organised by the Tricontinental Anti-imperialist Platform, a recently-formed organisation that seeks to promoted maximum unity in the global struggle against imperialism.

‘The Killing of Blair Peach, Anti-Racist Protest and Police Brutality’

Defend the Right to Protest present

‘The Killing of Blair Peach, Anti-Racist Protest and Police Brutality’
with David Renton and Tony Warner
Wednesday 15th October, 7pm

Hausmans Bookshop Kings Cross London.
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

Blair Peach was a 33 year old teacher killed on a demonstration on 23 April 1979 at Southall against the National Front. He is one of just three protesters to have been killed by the police in Britain since 1945. He died from a single blow to his head by a police officer, as Peach was retreating from a protest which had finished.

In 2010, following Ian Tomlinson’s death, the government published the Cass report into Peach’s killing. Cass identified the six police officers who were present when the fatal blow was struck, and recommended that three of them should be prosecuted for obstructing his enquiry. The Cass report was never disclosed to the Inquest into Peach’s death, and its central reports were kept hidden for 30 years from the jury, from the press, and from Blair Peach’s family.

David Renton will be discussing his new pamphlet ‘Who Killed Blair Peach’ (published by Defend the Right to Protest, 2014) which sets out why exactly Cass reached his conclusions, how his reasoning casts a light on the identity of Peach’s killer, and calls for a fresh inquest into Blair Peach’s killing.

David will be joined by founder of ‘Black History Walks’ Tony Warner who will consider contemporary cases of police racism and brutality. Using archive footage, newspaper reports and personal testimony Tony will cover cases of black deaths in custody from 1960s to the present day, with relation to geography, community resistance, international history and white media representation of the ‘black body’.

About the speakers
David Renton a barrister and a member of the committees of Defend the Right to Protest and the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers.
Tony Warner is a historian and founder of ‘Black History Walks’.

PART OF ISLINGTON BLACK HISTORY MONTH

A Pay Rise is Not Enough – We Need a Plan C

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Provoked by Parliament’s steadfast commitment to a Plan A of Austerity, the rusty machinery of the Trades Union Congress has provided the customary opposition in the form of its Plan B: marching for the alternative, marching for jobs, growth and justice, and now marching for a pay rise. We think it’s important that we join our fellow workers on 18 October, but we do so critical of the TUC, its politics and its innocuous demand. In short, we need a Plan C.
The march on 18 October will be the biggest national mobilisation of the working class in two years. This is something the TUC is relatively good at – which is reasonable to expect given its immense budget. However, this is also an organisation which has joined forces with the Confederation of Business and Industry (CBI) in backing workfare programmes, and which increasingly appears interested in only engaging with – let alone fighting for – only a narrow subset of workers. Within the formal work economy, employment is increasingly casualised, while ‘informal’ work such as care – which is equally crucial to the generation of profit – remains as marginalised as ever within the TUC’s chauvinistic and rigid workerism.

The demand for a pay rise seems to be more closely tied to legitimising Labour’s new policy for an £8 minimum wage than creating a movement to challenge and transform the present reality of working class existence in Britain. Labour’s plan for a pay rise – 26p per hour on top of the existing minimum wage by 2020 – is an insult. It’s a grand plan to remunerate the increasingly impoverished and growing working poor with less than the price of a bag of crisps. The TUC’s support for such a policy is an embarrassment.

Throughout the week of the 13 October, we will be joining the national strikes and picket lines in the run up to the demonstration. One-day stop work actions obviously have their limitations, but any hope we have of strike action becoming more general and widespread means we must engage, participate and make connections. We have launched #strikeup to collect reflections, dreams and counter-narratives of what work and striking could look like in the future, and we encourage others to strike up similar conversations on their local picket lines. We will then join the march on 18 October, standing with our fellow workers while strongly critical of the TUC’s complicity.

A pay rise is not enough. We demand the ability to live without overwhelming insecurity. We demand to work with flexibility and on our own terms. We demand an end to the double burden of unremunerated care work. We demand an end to sexism and racism in the workplace. We demand a movement that does not limit itself to pay rises but one which dreams of a world beyond work. We demand a Plan C.