Indian Curry Powder – theory of translation

yep, just like it was ten years ago, its still easy to make a mistake. This is from Nov 2005 on this blog.

I am first of all against translation as it is mad, its impossible, it cannot ever be true to origins, its a kind of violence, it is always political, it transforms, it is creative, it is heroic to try, it is the essence of communicability, it is exchange, it disrupts parochialism, it is the foundation of internationalism, it is what we all should be trying to do, it is the most revolutionary activity, it is social, it is life itself, I am for it.

[Thanks Kaori for trinkets from Japan].

Mobs, Gangs, Rogues… & The Lumpen

This is a repost from this blog, ten years ago…

As we approach the 40th [now *50th] Anniversary of the founding of the BPP it may be worth remembering that music and politics produced some fine and dandy sounds: Here they are (click the link) The Lumpen – a Black Panther Party Revolutionary Singing group

The Lumpen were: “comrades who liked to harmonize while working Distribution night in San Francisco to “help the work go easier” (another tradition). We had all sung in groups in the past, Calhoun having performed professionally in Las Vegas, and it just came naturally. I don’t remember just how it came about, but Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture, suggested that this could be formed into a musical cadre. Elaine Brown had already recorded an album of revolutionary songs (Seize the Time) in a folk singing style, and this quartet singing in an R&B or “Soul” form could be a useful political tool. Some folks don’t read, but everybody listens to music”.

Solar Energy – Theory of Shit #2

Marx and Engels excrement archive. Here in 1882 Engels is talking calories, but the issue of waste matter comes up in the context of thinking food and sustenance and the reproduction of labour power. But what shines out most here is Engels anticipating Bataille’s thing about the sun and squandering of resources. Enviromentalistas take note.

Engels letter to Marx. 19 December 1882 411 (Collected Works Vol 46)

But this is by no means to imply that physical labour is economic  labour. The economic labour performed by 10,000 cal in no way consists in the reproduction,  complete or partial, of these same 10,000 cal in any form whatever. On the contrary, they are for the most part lost in the increased heat given off by the body, etc., and such useful residue as remains lies in the fertilising property of excretions. The economic labour performed by an individual through the expenditure of these 10,000 cal consists rather in the stabilisation over a longer or shorter period of the fresh  cal he absorbs from the radiation of the sun, and this is the only connection the latter have, so far as labour is concerned, with the first 10,000 cal.


the working individual IS not only a stabiliser of present but also, and to a far greater extent, a squanderer of past, solar heat. As to what we have done in the way of squandering our reserves of energy, our coal, ore, forests, etc., .you are better informed than I am. From this point of view, hunting and fishing may also be seen not as stabilisers of fresh solar heat but as exhausters and even incipient squanderers

My previous Theory of Shit post on the bit from Volume III of Capital where Marx has a little section discussing the utilisation of ‘waste’ (Abfällen) in the production process, was here.

Wheen’s Marx (this fairly info-taining interview is from 2000)

Mostly entertaining because of the C-spam interviewer, in this chat Francis Wheen gets quite a bit wrong, possibly just for effect, it is only TV after all. – But, for example, the original Marx grave was not in an obscure corner at the ‘other end of the cemetery’, but 100 metres or so away from the present monument, and the monument is not closer to the entrance, its a little further away as the crow flies. And then ‘its hard to say…’ what a Marxist is, who is a Marxist etc., gimme a break! Thanks C-span. And thanks Francis Wheen – best bit about the book was the literary licence that acts as condescending smirk about boils and carbuncles. And what is this about many not finest hours etc., smearing daughter Jenny as a sponger, who commits suicide because they were weary! (yet Lenin spoke at her funeral [‘I suppose’ the Russian revolution had something to do with Marx’]), a 10 day drinking binge with Engels [‘no detailed account’] and Engels joining the firm in Manchester, it cannot al be so simply glossed – recall, Engels wrote “The Condition of the Working Class in England” already in 1844, some 6 years before, in Wheen’s narration, Marx ‘called him to come to England’. It is too easy to play story time with bits of myth, but you should probably preface it with some scepticism about the oft-repeated tales.

Have got to agree with him about bourgeois monarchy in the UK.

Not so good on definition of the proletariat, well ok, but needed to also come up to date. As does everyone – what is the proletariat now, and who is digging capital’s grave (the mining industry? – 1% Riotinto, the rest toxic minerals for iphones?)

and why isn’t 500 pages on LTV sexy?

Back to the pub crawl. You should get on the Marx Trot Francis. Coming up in 2016.


Sad to hear that the Shopping Hour journal (ex zine) has ceased publication. Here’s my little piece on Freud’s cocaine murder guilt complex in the pic – click to enlarge. It also serves as hat-tip to Prof Dave Boothroyd’s excellent book on drugs, and is result of a reading group on Interpretation of Dreams 100th anniversary way back in 2001. All the SH issues are here.

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