Quentin Lewis has given us an interesting, painstakingly researched to the point of head-scratching impressively-obsessively detailed, study of Marx’s penchant for cigars. Full draft here. The text even berates him a little for supporting this vile capitalist habit. Ha, as if individual contradictions are not a part of all individual mechanisms for self-reproduction – next we’ll have to give up coffee, or cocaine, or mobile phones because they are produced in exploitative ways. Oh, wait, yeah, that IS necessary, but will it happen, or is it better to work on the overthrow of this vile capitalist system that sells rotten blood-stained things as necessities to us from cradle to grave, with many of them explicitly designed to put us there (the grave I mean, killing us all more or less swiftly for profit through alcohol, or overwork). Even the puritans will die of righteousness in this obscene system. But that’s not the point. Here I just wanted to note, and promote, the curiosity of this detailed text on Marx shopping.
you can track back through this blog to see I was keen on Russell Brand back in the days when he did his doco on the young BNPs. which was all fair and even handed, like. Ha. Then his Big Bro stuff was good – the movies were like some contagion had stolen (not even taken over) his brain, before the JemPaxman Damascus Highway conversion, and much good that has followed despite the millionaire ‘ordinary’ people conversation with Millicent/Malevolent. OK, NOW, I see its a trinkets thing, I am amused indeed. Since ‘all profit goes back into social enterprise’ can I nominate trinketization as such? Do we need to register as a collective agency (its always been a front). Russ, Russ? Ha ha – I propose CPI M-L TND group as worthy social enterprisers (address n applications). (CPI ML TND = towards new democracy section of Bengal MLs).
I expect the #commodity system people I was lecturing about today may have planned to leave this perfect trinketisation item in the supermarket I frequent these days – I’d not seen it before now, but for sure it’s the real thing, eh. Click on the pic for more.
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.
“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
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…]
Click here to order: http://www.zero-books.net/books/pantomime-terror