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[please do not circulate, it would be embarassing!] Immaterial value, communications strateg and the search for complicity. The last six months have been a time of intense discussion regarding the relationship between communication and struggle, furnishing some concrete examples fleshing out their different consequences. What follows is a synopsis that covers the period from Incontrotempo, the 'festival of the urban precariat' held in Rome, to the media-hoax Serpica Naro recently conducted during "Fashion Week" in Milan. The diversity of local contexts makes treating Italy as single frame of reference a risky business. Rome and Milan, site of the actions herein recounted, display radically different characteristics which help explain the different emphases, resources and modus operandi. Milan's style and entertainment industries stand at the core of the cities wealth, and as a corollary are a key site of both casualization and the transformation of the city according to the needs of these industries. The city is ruled by a despotic rightist, Albertini, who enforces a zero-tolerance policy towards social opposition, especially evident in the difficulties encountered by the housing occupation movement who are ritually evicted in short order. In Rome on the other hand the flashpoints are largely clustered around services, care and social workers, largely employed by private companies or co-operatives which bid on tenders administered by the city council, although there have also been conflicts within the television sector and call-centers. At least 39,000 people are employed in this indirect fashion by the city council through contracting. The competition between tender-bidders drives the squeezing of labour (the major factor in the cost estimate) and the renewal of such deals every three years makes sustainable organizing difficult. This occurs in a city which otherwise likes to market itself as a torchbearer for global poverty alleviation, a hub for solidarity with children and above all center of world peace of every stripe. As befitting the laboratory for centre-leftist management in governance and the home of the Vatican! Rome in Autumn: Incontrotempo At the beginning of october several hundred people from collectives all over the country came to an occupied greyhound track (Acrobax) for the Festival of the Urban Precariat. In addition to sessions devoted to housing struggles and the network of advice centres (sportelli) there was also a lengthy discussion around the relationship between communications and struggle. It was also the first moment of organization in a process that would conclude dramatically on November 6th with actions and a demonstration for the right to an income uncoupled from the obligation to work. The discussion involved people in specific struggles (such as ISTAT, the city kennels, the cooperatives) together with collectives formed around communications production. Essentially the discussions teased out the the theme around four elements relating to the immediate needs of those in conflict and then broader strategic considerations related to an analysis of the changing social situation: 1) The most urgent need is to create materials capable generating consensus around the agitation at the site of the conflict. Here the focus is on communication as an instrument for internal organization. 2) Broadcasting to the city - productions for radio, video, reworking of informational materials so as to be accessible for the wider public, and to explain who should respond to the demands, placing them under pressure. In addition to these specific challenges during a mobilization, two other points were emphasised regarding the integration of communications processes in both the objective of the action and the way in which it should be executed. Chainworkers underlined the importance of acting at the level of production of immaterial value, and thus the need to damage the image of the company concerned, but also of privileging communication and informal relations with the employees at the selected site. P2P fightsharing proposed a rereading of action-design, where the means of action themselves generate spaces of complicity between those in struggle and a wider public who must be mobilized, or at least persuaded, so as to construct a favorable balance of power with 'the opponent'. Unconditional Income This concept is often misunderstood in Northern European countries as being a demand for social welfare, the dole. In fact the energy behind it emanates from the refusal of work elaborated during the 1970s, the fight for the liberation of time from activity coercively mobilized for the production of profit. It exceeds the moralistic demand for redistribution (although its vision is premised observation of the abundant productive capacity of the system) and insists that we are productive in an economic sense even when not officially "at work". When we are exposed to advertising; when we consume leisure; when we discuss the films, books or music that interests us, wearing branded clothes that turn us into walking billboards, when we raise children and clean the home, when we follow the basic protocols of everyday social cooperation that facilitate the "normal" functioning of society as usual. Within this demand contend two divergent visions articulating the objective and the underlying rationale. The first postulates unconditional income as a remuneration of invisible labour, but by premising its claim on unaccounted productivity risks legitimating the hegemony of profit-producing social organization as a whole. The second critiques this implicit acceptance of productivism and argus for a subordination of economics to the full development of the individual, a view well expressed by Andre Gorz: "The existence-income only has sense as an attack against labour value if it neither requires nor remunerates anything at all: on the contrary its function is to restrict the the sphere of value creation, in the economic sense, by making possible the expansion of activities that create nothing that can be bought, sold, or exchanged with anything else, nothing thus which has a value (in the economic sense) - but only non-monetizable wealth having its own intrinsic value. By liberating the production of self from the constraints of economic valorization, the existence income should facilitate the full unconditional development of people beyond that which is functionally useful to production." (L'immateriel, p.31, my translation) All Saints v All Shits - S. Precario at Esselunga October 30th had been agreed by those involeved in the Mayday process as a date for actions around centres for advice and conspiracy - the "San Precario Points". In Milan this took the form of a ludic invasion of the Esselunga Supermarket in an action dubbed All Saints versus All Shits, it being halloween. 80 adepts of the cult entered and installed themselves nearby the check-out with effigy and standards, erected a sound system, and initiated discussion with shoppers and workers about their labour conditions and ability to make ends meet. Shopping trollies were taped together infuriating some rather short-tempered shoppers, but otherwise the actual operation of business was not physically impeded. Interviews were videotaped and questionnaires distributed, together with prayer cards for San Precario naturally. Champagne was taken from the shelves, opened and distributed to all, although some workers declined stating that they couldn't drink on the job! Otherwise the merchandise on the shelves was left unmolested. Notwithstanding the peaceful nature of the action 21 people now face quite serious charges. November 6 Demonstration for Income Italy has only a very limited social welfare apparatus, payments are available only on the basis of work related contributions. For those who have nothing, it's a case of tough shit, and difficulties making ends meet are widespread, aggravated by recent increases in the cost of living. As elsewhere, the introduction of the euro was used to mask an increase in prices at a retail level. In addition apartment rental costs have increased due to speculation and privatization. In Rome today it is difficult to find a room for less than 450 euro in a situation where wages are pathetic. Working conditions have been in rapid descent for years as the casualization multiplies; there are now an estimated 7 million (27% of the workforce) as well as an additional 2-3 million working under the counter, often legal or illegal migrants. The second annual demonstration for income - intended in a broader sense than the unconditional form described above - took place at the beginning of last november. An action based on the theme of reappropriation was called for the morning, and the operational details were decided by a coordination of Roman groups. The morning began with what was intended as a collective negotiation of a reduction in grocery prices at a supermarket (owned by berlusconi) in Pietralata, a suburb where Pasolini shot his films about the Roman slums. The cash registers were blocked and negotiations began to demand a 70% reduction in prices for everyone in the supermarket. Whilst the management hummed and hawed, more proletarian methods were brought to bear and the commodities began to walk. Huge hams, booze, chocalates, food of every type. Meanwhile, upstairs in the clothing and electrical goods departments things really escalated: computers, flat screen monitors, dvd-players, cd-burners and anything else that wasn't nailed down. was liberated. Outside booty was distributed to the "public" and bottles opened. The cops realized the situation was ungovernable and left. The whole thing lasted about an hour after which we hopped on the train and went back to the centre of the city. The afternoons demonstration had a much more diverse composition and included many delegations from labour flashpoints including Alitalia, ISTAT, the organised unemployed from Naples, as well as innumerable smaller and less publicized situations. In addition there was mass participation by housing occupants from Rome organized by the cities three housing coordinations and predominantly involving migrants. Many unions and social centres also brought sound systems on trucks as the day is conceived as a street parade. In the preceding week there had been various proposals for actions at the Feltrinelli bookstore, en route, but none of them had been formalized nor socialized. Originally these speculative actions were going to focus on copyright or the libraries, but the morning's events had let the genie out of the bottle: 200 people entered and staggered out with as many books as they could carry (between 1500 and 2000 according to the proprietors). Hysteria immediately broke out in the press which outdid itself in proposing absurd historical parallels, proclaiming the return of the 1970s and referring to the participants as autonomi and disobbedients (a structure which had just officially dissolved itself amidst considerable rancour!) Amidst all this spectacularization, predictably, the urgent needs of a that vast swathe of society broadly represented in the street. Besides lurid resurrections of proletarian expropriations that occurred before most of the participants were born, the press rounded up the usual suspects, movement talking-heads who had developed a national profile due to the counterproductive use of spokespeople. These figures were treated as being leaders around whom a caricature of the social categories at play could be manufactured, insulating the broader society from the suggestion that there is a widely-felt social problem, and presenting them as political specialists akin to party leaders. Unsurprisingly this functions so as to impede wider public identification and subsequent aggregation. This problem had been anticipated and it had been agreed during planning meetings that no group should present itself as representative or spokesperson for the demonstration, a promise which unfortunately was not fulfilled amidst the spectacular feeding-frenzy. In fact it became clear that the movement was entirely lacking in the methods and instruments of self-representation capable of reflecting its irreducible diversity, its commitment to processes of self-organization and rejection of the cults of personality, and the basic rules of the Political game, etc. This initial failing, provoked by standard media mechanisms, was compounded by the related lack of agreed protocols as to how communication should be handled afterwards. Meanwhile recriminations abounded as to whether the events of the morning had in fact been spontaneous or architected by elements who wanted to hijack the occasion for the purpose of raising their own visibility. The ultimate outcome was utter defenselessness before a media barrage which fictionalised and falsified the purpose of the day, and in terms of communications strategy was a miserable failure. Thye silencing of movement personalities and tardy depersonalized interviews with San precarion on television and in print were too little too late. Professional Notoriety: http://espropriproletari.com One intervention did try to use the experience to reveal the operation of immaterial value and media processes. Guerilla Marketing opened a website playing on the medias nostalgic readings and offering a unique new service to retail outlets: Espropriproletari.com They underlined the tremendous amount of publicity accruing to a firm "victim" of a "proletarian expropriation", and proposed an ascending scale of packages available for purchase by proprietors to have one organized at their store. According to the clients taste they could have from 70 to 500 participants congregate to remove specified quantities of goods from the shelves. For an additional payment the presence of a "nationally recognizable movement figure" could be guaranteed. They underlined that they already had a large number of precari enlisted and willing to undertake the job if fairly remunerated for producing the type of publicity which, after all, money cannot buy. Subsequently they held presentations soliciting CVs from would be precarious collaborators. It must be said that in some parts of the movement the sophistical of this proposal was unappreciated, and treated as an attempt to capitalize on the movements stigmatization. If nothing else however it served to focus people's minds more critically on their unwitting complicity in media paradigms and to illustrate the mechanisms of brand construction. Coming Soon - the thrilling story of Serpica Naro and the mysterious "Chainworkers"!
[please do not circulate] Introducing Mayday The Milanese Mayday was launched for the first time in 2000 by a collection of groups coming from grassroots trade-unions, social centres, workplaces. Much of the original impetus emanated from a small (but perfectly formed!) collective named Chainworkers, established for the purposes of agitating at the sites of labour in the consumerist metropolis such as shopping centres, fast food restaurants, franchises. From the beginning emphasis was placed on establishing direct contact with those working there and the use of communications techniques borrowed from the world of subvertising and the creation of a carnevalesque atmosphere inspired by Reclaim the Streets. Whilst grassroots trade unions such as the CUB and COBAS have been vital to its construction, this should not lead us to believe that Mayday is a simply a rerun of the the rituals of the workers movement as historically understood. Focusing on the concept of the 'precarity' of life under contemporary state capitalism contains an implicit rejection of the proposition that the workplace is the unique or privileged site for the development of personal subjectivity, identity or tension with the current social order. The mobilization was an immediate success, attracting the participation of 5000 people. Process/Europeanization Participation in the Milan event has grown massively each year and in 2004 for the first time it was complemented by a kindred mobilization in Barcelona that attracted up to 10,000 precarious revelers. This success, combined with both the failing energy behind summit protests and the proliferation of fights in the new work-places, prepared the ground for further multiplication on a european level. Apart from such contingent elements, there was also a recognition that the imposition of new rights from below necessitated coordination and action at the same political level as the emerging European super state, otherwise national struggles would be left to perish in their singularity or in the best of cases be undermined through the race to the bottom between the individual social states (known elsewhere as the theory of comparative advantage). Solid contacts already existed between movements in Italy and Spain and these were soon complemented by the working relationship developed with the French Intermittents (creative workers and technicians in the entertainment sector) who began a struggle against the disassembly of their social guarantees in the summer of 2003. They took their actions outside of french territory with an occupation of a french cultural institution in Rome around New year 2004 and had their own contingent and float on the 2004 Mayday four months later. London was the location for the third European Social Forum last october and the parallel autonomous space "Beyond the ESF" served as host for the first europe-wide assembly for the construction of Mayday 2005, attended by individuals or representatives from 20 countries as well as people involved in migrant-work/no border campaigns (notably the Frassanito group). Subsequent meetings took place in Berlin (January 2005) and Paris (March) and it was decided to call for a day of action around freedom of movement on April 2nd. Through these meetings the skeletal form for a european network has been assembled, but it remains in embryonic form. Work-related legislation, social welfare systems and individual entitlements -- just for starters -- vary wildly from country to country and complicate the process of agreeing to common demands. Predictably some of the stiffest disagreements unfold between groups from the same national territory. Emblematic in this respect is Italy, torn between the demand for the unconditional income uncoupled from the obligation to work (reddito incondizionato) -- a vision inspired by a refusal of work -- and the call for the creation of a welfare system, flexicurity, capable of providing continuity of income whether one is employed or not. Italy has no basic system of social welfare akin to that in Ireland, UK and many north european states, where such entitlements are under a massive assault by the state (Germany being the most dramatic example). Precisely for this reason it is difficult to enthuse people in the north around an idea of flexicurity, which seems like a cosmetically enhanced version of what we already have. On the other hand, the demand for unconditional income implicitly requires absolute rupture with the existing social organization, which pragmatically seems unlikely in the immediate term. On the ground such theoretical oppositions matter little in the fights actually occurring, where the important thing is to win concrete gains thus constructing momentum and vindicating the need for collective organization. Such divergences at the level of ideas are further complicated by differences in political culture and the social location of critical cultures within their own societies. In the mediterranean a history of mass mobilization coexists with a youth counter-culture, in some parts of central and northern europe 'alternative' movements have distanced themselves from the everyday social conditions experienced by most people, and in still others there is little counter-cultural influence and orientation towards popular organizing. Milan 2005 The sun blazed on the square as we arrived near Porta Ticinese early on sunday afternoon, and even though the official departure time was still an hour away there were already thousands of people milling about. Milan's Mayday is a parade that this comprised more than forty trucks, some of them up to fifteen metres long, bedecked in banners, graphics and especially sound systems. Indeed if the carneval didn't attract so many participants the audioscape would quickly descend into an unbearable cacophony, but fortunately this isn't the case. Conceived as an event organized by the precarious for the precarious, as opposed to a mobilization of strictly ideological character In the order of the trucks priority is given to those representing workplaces or organizing around other sites of social life, for example several floats were themed around the socialization of the city, the politics of food, sexuality.... The result is an extraordinary and beautiful mozaic that reflects the enormous concentration of creativity, and makes the whole thing refreshingly attractive and ludic for both participants and onlookers, many of whom are enchanted into following this collective pied piper of Hamlyn... People cluster through affinity, occupation, musical preference and social sensibility, and most of the floats are also mobile bars, which is pretty handy (and economically advantageous for both organizers and revelers), such that a distance of twenty metres or so is established between each truck. This opening block is followed by the floats from the grassroots unions, then come the other 'national' structures and finally those belonging to parties (Greens, Commnunist Refoundation) and unannounced arrivals. This order was decided prior to the parade specifically so as to preempt jostling for position motivated by perceptions that the order reflects a symbolic order based on political weight/importance, and lay at the root of ugly scenes that nonetheless irrupted later on. The Unbeatables Several groups in Milan have excelled in the implementation of ingenious communicative innovations which have given the process a unique character, many of them clustered around Chainworkers and Reload, both of which are based in the social space Pergola. The particular magic of their approach lies in the conception of icons and self-representative forms which leave space to reinterpretation such that they have been enthusiastically embraced by other singularities. Last year was the moment for the unveiling of San Precario (Saint Precarious) which hitched a lift on the back of Italian pop catholicism so as to create a totem that could be used diffusely to give visibility to the precarious state, and generated innumerable processions, cerimonies and acts of reappropriation. A second stage was the development of a series of advice centres and spaces for complicity and conspiracy in diverse social environments -- San Precario Points -- united by a common branding campaign such that each could benefit from the national profile while retaining their specificities. This year the focus moved to the enhancement of social proatgonism on a mythopoetic level: bring on the Unbeatables..... Each of the twenty two Imbattibili were conceived by the groups in the opening block of the carnival. They represent different characteristics of 'superheroism' rather than superheroes. Whilst the creation of a superhero -- along the lines of Superbarrio in Mexico? -- maintains the myth of the individual who can rescue you from adversity, the Unbeatables are about bring out the extraordinary powers each of us contain when we assume control over our own destines and decide to fight for our rights: don't delegate, act for yourself. Every character has a sticker, and a small book was distributed to collect them in. Underneath each sticker is both a description of the field of activity in which our everyday heroes exert themselves, and rating of their levels of (a) precarity (b) combattivity (c) flexibility and (d) imagination. Wonder Bra, for example is a: "Switchboard operator during the day, sex worker by night, housewife in what's left of her time. The technologies of wash and dry, smooth and admire, orgasm and thanks are not enough to liberate her time. The goddess of fireflies gives her succour, giving her the power to whip out two arms at the same time. With some colleagues she opens a hardcore telephone sex line (more fun and better paid). Thanks to the ability to rework time and skills she is given another super power: 4 bracelets shoot lasers that turn bad luck into virtue." Super Flex on the other hand: "Has experimented with every type of contract, co.co.co., co.co.pro, part time, fulltime, vertical part time, horizontal, transversal and oblique, intern, apprentice, in work training, The stress provokes a pleasurable mutation of their very molecules, developing the innermost ability of their minds: they actually manage to communicate mentally with all the other Superflex, giving life to the universal precarious conspiracy" Quit is the revolutionary inside the nerd: "A programmer and system operator who works on project-based contract who is putting together a revolutionary man-machine data-communications system. During testing a blackout wipes out their minds with a rush of Mb creating the prototype for artificial intelligence: Quit is born. From that day onwards he alters the contracts in the databases of temporary employment agencies. He invades corporate networks revealing shared knowledge and free software to the young precarious computer programmers. The Unbearables functioned on many levels within Mayday. Firstly it provided a comfortable space to develop informal cooperation with groups of workers in different sectors in a playful way which left the power of representation in the hands of those directly involved. Even very recent contacts such as those in the Feltrinelli chain of bookstores (Robin Book!) were thus able to make a direct contribution. Secondly the book itself works as a very effective form of polyphonic representation, where the specificities of different groups are kept intact whilst at the same time they have an amplified power for being beside one another. Each float had thousands of stickers to distribute, obliging collectors to move throughout the parade and come in contact with the different realities so as to assemble a full set. And perhaps most importantly, people loved it. Children were enthralled, their parents seduced, the fetichist in everyone was drawn out: people wandered around asking one another if they had extra stickers, or to swap doubles. movement and communication was generated within the parade and drew onlookers into active participation. I smile now thinking of the little girl at home reading about Wonder Bra..... The complexity that permeates today's world suggests to me that it will be impossible to find a single characterization into which all tendencies towards social insubordination can fit. Many leftists squander incredible amounts of time gazing into a crystal ball seeking a simple formula which they can use to propose a new unified social subject, a colossus capable of being built into a single uniform social body capable of fighting 'capital'; amidst all this abstraction the richness of a million micro-rebellions, always subjective, often partial, are marginalized. The sticker album allowed one to visualize the network from which it emanated, and didn't have to mention network once. Composition A notable virtue of the Milan parade was its diversity. There were droves of women where normally they compose a clear minority (a survey on social centres performed during the 90s in Milan put the figure at just over 30%). This gender division could still be seen as one moved back through the trucks into the more traditionally political blocks. Needless to say there was an exceptional concentration of femininity around Serpica Naro (the fashion stylist created as a media hoax to detourn Milan's fashion week) but also near the floats focused on social work, hardly surprising considering the continuing gendered division of labour. Secondly there were big contingents of migrant workers who are at the cutting edge of exploitation, often in the lowest waged sectors and more often than not employed under the counter. In recent years it has been they who have been protagonists of huge struggles particularly in the north where labour demand means they can work but continue to be treated as untouchables. That a process of convergence has at least begun can be attributed both to work done by some of the unions and the recognition of their specific difficulties deriving from the constant gauntlet of being illegal, or dangled on the thread of temporary work permits etc. Whilst predominantly young, including a huge number of teenagers, there were also a lot of families and a fair number of middle-aged people, something likely to grow given the ongoing erosion of labour guarantees and the further permeation of casualization into age groups once believed to be spared this destiny due tot he strength of the Unions etc. Interesting in this regard was presence -- in uniform -- of a large group of firefighters and unionized workers from the combattive/syndicalist unions that reject partnership models (CUB/RdB, COBAS, USI) Final estimations of the number present hover around 120,000, but it's difficult to say with any accuracy and of course there is an inevitable tendency to inflate the figures so as to provide the sense of a gathering dynamic. Last year they said there was 100,000 so this year there had to be more! In any case, it was massive, the streets were packed and as river of bodies snaked its way through the streets it was impossible to see the full crow until it flowed into Piazza Cadorna at the end, filling the square. Past nightmares weighing on the living Whilst the day was incredibly inspiring and joyful it was also marred by a violence that seemed tom emerge from a history book. Until the early 1990s it was common for different groups on the Italy extra-parliamentary left to attack one another on demonstrations. Violence with the police was a commonplace and this led to the development of what were know as "servizio d'ordine" which are something like stewards groups. Originally conceived to protect demos from the police/fascists, they soon took on a life of their own and became instruments also for the "sorting out" of political problems between different factions. This subsided during the 1990s without ever entirely disappearing. At the beginning of the parade those managing the truck belonging to Global Project, from their Milan section centred around a social space called Le Cantiere, decided that they had been unjustly placed too far back and that they were going to 'jump the queue'. Seeing as the order is determined in advance to avoid such tensions the outcome was predictable. At a certain point they began to row with the Unionists from the Cobas and the Romans from social spaces Acrobax and Vittorio. A fight ensued during which people from Le Cantiere produced pieces of wood and batoned people. Three romans were hospitalised and several others injured. This incident inflamed existing tensions within the Milanese movement and for many of those involved the parade became coloured by bitterness and paranoia. Later several more people were beaten by the same faction after one of them had thrown an empty can at their truck in anger at what had happened earlier. The two incidents combined to detonate rage against the Global truck which was damaged whilst people from le Cantiere were literally chased away from the square. On tuesday night all the other milanese groups involved in the Mayday issued a collective communique effectively isolating the Cantiere, stating that there would be no more collaboration with them, and offering solidarity to those attacked. This ugly footnote i have deliberately left till last because frankly it appeared so surreal. 95% of those present had no idea that this was unfolding and would have been bamboozled to hear about it. What type of thought process can drive a group to baton another over whether they come 25th or 30th in the order of the procession? This squaddism seemed like a strange visitation by a spectre alien to the present. Whereas elsewhere in the parade we remarked on the extraordinary fact that Mayday had such a pulsating and joyful an atmosphere, that it has succeeded so hugely in tapping the subjectivity of a generation which has rejected traditional models of political organization, that it is of its time rather than a mere rehashing of the past, here we saw also the worst of politics, a zombie culture emerging from grave, whose grip we must slip.
[please don't circulate] Vindictive Memories by Giorgio Agamben The Italian political class, by rejecting any possibility of an amnesty for offenses committed during the "years of lead", sentences itself to ill-feeling: what should be object of historical investigation is treated as a current political problem. Like many categories and institutions of modern democracy, amnesty can also be traced back to athenian democracy. In 403 AD, in fact, after having overthrown the bloody oligarchy of the Thirty Tyrants, the victorious democratic party gave a sworn guarantee in which they committed themselves to "set aside ill-feeling" (me mnesikakei, meaning literally "to not remember wrongs, to not have bad memories" "not to remember past evils") towards one's opponents. By doing this the democrats recognized that there had been a stasis, a civil war and that a moment not-remembering, of "amnesty", was now needed so as to reconcile the city. In spite of the opposition of the more fractious, whom, such as Lisa, demanded punishment for the Thirty, the oath was effective and the athenians would not forget what had happened but suspended their "bad memories" and let ill-feeling go. It wasn't so much a matter, if we look closely, of memory and forgetfulness as much as knowing how to select the moments of their exercise. Removals/Clsore Why is it so difficult to talk of amnesty in Italy today? Why does the italian political class, so many years after the years of lead, continue to live in a state of ill-feeling, mnesikakein? What prevents the country from freeing itself of its "bad memories"? The reasons for this uneasiness are complex, but I believe one can risk an answer. The italian political class, with just a couple of exceptions, has never admitted that in Italy there was something akin to a civil war, nor conceded that the conflict of the years of lead had a genuinely political character. Thus the crimes committed during those years were, and remain, common law crimes. This thesis, clearly arguable on a historical level, would nevertheless be legitimate if it wasn't refuted by an obvious contradiction. Because in order to clamp down on these common criminal offenses, this same political class took recourse to a series of of exceptional laws which severely limited constitutional freedoms and introduced principles into the legal order which had always been considered extraneous to it. Almost all those convicted were investigated and tried on the basis of these special laws. But the most incredible thing is that these laws are still in application and throw a sinister cloud over the life of our democratic institutions. We live in a country which claims to be "normal", yet in which anyone who has a friend stay in their own home without declaring their presence to the police risks serious criminal punishment. The veiled state of exception in which this country has been living for nearly twenty years has so deeply corrupted the civil consciousness of the italian people, that, instead of protesting and resisting, they would rather depend upon the police's inertia and their neighbors pact of silence. It seems fair to recall - without claiming anything other than a formal analogy - that the Verordnung zum Schutz von Volk und Staat, issued by the german government on the 28 february 1933, which suspended those articles of the german constitution concerning personal freedom, freedom of assembly, inviolability of the home, and the privacy of postal correspondence and telephone conversations, it remained in application until the end of the Third Reich, that is thirteen years; our emergency laws and related police powers have far surpassed this duration. Ill-feeling No surprise then that our political class cannot think of amnesty, cannot set aside its own "bad memories". It is condemned to ill-feeling, because in Italy the exception has truly become the rule, normal country and exceptional country, past history and current reality have become indistinguishable. As a consequence, that which ought to be the subject of memory and historical investigation, are treated as a current political problem (authorizing the maintenance of special legislation and the emergency culture) and that which ought to be object of a political decision (amnesty) is instead treated like a problem of historical memory. The incapacity to think that seems to afflict the italian political class and, with it, the whole country, also depends on this malign conjunction of wicked forgetfulness and wicked memory, such that they seek to forget when they should remember and are forced to remember when they should know how to forget. In any case, amnesty and the repeal of special legislation are two sides of a single reality and can only be considered together. But in order to do this it will be necessary for Italians learn once again how to use memory and forgetting well.
Bobby Sands died 24 years ago today, just after 1.00 in the morning. His death sparked riots in numerous cities, not only in ireland where it was literally a matter of minutes after the announcement of his death that the seats were in flames. Whilst the trade unions did nothing, a call was made for a strike which turned into an armed strike in some areas. In Bray, young people visited shopping centres and ordered them to close or they would be burnt. In my school, a bastion of the dublin middle class, there was fighting between students, divided over the hunger strikes, many wearing black armbands. 100,000 people attended the funeral in belfast. In the next months another 9 hunger strikers went to their deaths, fighting the policy of criminalization introduced on March 1st 1976. It is difficult now to convey the power of these events at the time. The irish republic has officially been in state of emergency since the 1970s (remaining so today notwithstanding the ceasefire, pacification process etc). Today scepticism has the upper hand in my relationship with this unique culture and ideology which nonetheless defined radical secular politcs, a social republican vision and a popular working class base. But there are places where the heart remains after the mind moves on. And the hate for thatcher, whom will cheat millions of people should she die of natural causes, is kept sharp ;-) The following is a report from the republican weekly AP/RN published the week after the funeral. The Funeral of Bobby Sands AP/RN 9th May 1981 The body of IRA Volunteer Bobby Sands was bought to his Twinbrook home in Belfast on Tuesday evening when a steady stream of thousands of mourners filed past his open coffin which was alternatively flanked by guards of honour from Oglaigh na hEireann, Na Fianna Eireann and Cumman na mBan. Bobby’s seven-year-old son, Gerald, was brought to the Sands family for a sad reunion with his grandparents. It had been over two years since they or Bobby had last seen him. On Wednesday night, Bobby’s remains were flanked by six uniformed IRA Volunteers and an officer who marched alongside the coffin on the short journey to St Luke’s chapel. On Thursday, the day of the funeral, over fifty thousands people marched in pouring rain from St Luke’s chapel, after requiem mass, to the republican plot in Milltown cemetery. St Luke’s was thronged and the congregation were uneasy when the parish priest, Fr Mullan, delivered a sermon on violence despite a consensus that the politic of the Ira had stopped at the church door with the removal of the tricolour from the coffin and the dismissing of the guard of honour, so the politics of the church could, for the sake of harmony, have been foregone. But not so. Every time Fr Mullan spoke about peace an old man in a front pew echoed emphasis on a “just peace.” Funeral Around two o’clock the funeral set out for the four mile journey to the cemetery and most of the time the sea of people resembled Tehran scenes from the Iranian revolution. The Iranian charge d’affaires in London, Abdolrahim Gavhahi, had been assigned by his government to attend the funeral but because of flight difficulties he arrived in Belfast two hours late. A telegram to the Republican press centre from Tehran’s municipality announced that “a street on the western side of the British Embassy building in Tehran was renamed after Bobby Sands” to “honour the heroic death of the IRA freedom fighter.” Men, women and youths wept as the funeral went by. People blessed themselves with the sign of the cross and some old men gave a military salute to the republican martyr. At Suffolk the procession turned up and round into Lenadoon to avoid the small Protestant enclave opposite Woodburn barracks. A piper played one of the H-Block songs, the words of which are: “But I’ll wear no convict’s uniform, Nor meekly serve my time, That Britain might call Ireland’s fight Eight hundred years of crime” The funeral stopped close to the Busy Bee shopping centre and Bobby’s coffin was removed from the hearse and placed on tressles. Then, from among the people emerged three IRA Volunteers armed with rifles who were called to attention in Gaelic by a fourth uniformed man. They delivered three sharp vollies over the coffin, removed their berets and bowed their heads in silence for a full minute. The impressive trbute captured the hearts of the huge numbers of people on the road and was eagerly filmed by the world media. Cemetery At the gates of Milltown cemetery those assembled on the pavement spontaneously burst out into a recitation of the rosary as the hearse, the guard of honour and the funeral cars carrying Mr and Mrs Sands, their daughter Marcella and son John and others of the family, slowly passed through. Gerry Adams officiated at the graveside ceremony which began with the playing of the Last Post. The tricolour was then removed from the coffin and along with beret and gloves presented to Mrs Sands. The coffin was finally carried to the grave by the uniformed Volunteers who had been the guard of honour. It was lowered into the grave and a number of priests athen led the prayers. Mr Sands and Bobby’s younger brother John spaded some soil on to the coffin and then little Gerald was brought forward and given a hand with the heavy spade so that he too could help bury his murdered father. Among the hundreds of wreaths were one from the GHQ Staff IRA, Belfast Brigade IRA, Cumman na mBan, Na Fianna Eireann, Sinn Fein, the Republican POWs in the H-Blocks and Armagh, and the families of the remaining three hunger strikers. Oration The oration was given by Fermanagh republican, Owen Carron, who was Bobby Sands’ election agent. He was given roaring applause when he said that armed struggle was the only way forward. A chairde, a muintir na hEireann, is mor an bhron ata orainn go lear an la inniu is muid inor seasamh ag an uaigh seo. Maraiodh Bobby sands ag na Sasanagh. Irishmen and women, it is hard to describe the sadness and sorrow in our hearts today as we stand at the grave of Volunteer Bobby Sands, cruelly murdered by the British government in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh. Four weeks ago to this very day, the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone, on behalf of the whole Irish nation, elected Bobby Sands as their MP, and I was very happy to accept victory on his behalf. Many people had high hops of saving Bobby's life and little did I think that in one short month we would all be standing at his graveside. Bobby has gone to join the ranks of Ireland's patriotic dead. I have no doubt that the name of Bobby sands will mark a watershed in Irish history and will be a turning point in the struggle for Irish freedom. Bobby Sands as the bravest man I ever met. He faced death calmly and with confidence. Indeed, Bobby Sands is a hero and I would like first of all to express on behalf of the Republican Movement our sincere sympathy to his family and to pay tribute to them for standing by him courageously to the end. Someone once said it is hard to be a hero's mother and nobody knows that better than Mrs. Sands who watched her son being daily crucified and tortured for sixty-six long days and eventually killed. Mrs. Sands epitomises the Irish mothers who in every generation watched their children go out to fight and die for freedom. Despite the vilifications and slanders of some guttersniper media and despite the hypocrisy of scribes and pharisees of high churchmen and establishment politicians who condemned him, Bobby Sands will be remembered by freedom loving people throughout the world as freedom fighter out the world as a freedom fighter and a political prisoner hungering for justice. As he wrote himself: "Of course I can be murdered, but I remain what I am, a political POW and no-one (not even the British) can change that." Visits I never knew Bobby Sands until March 31st, 1981, which was also the thirty first day of his hunger strike. Added together all my visits were but a few short hours, but still I believe that I got to know his heart and mind. Bobby was just my own age with many hopes and ambitions to fulfill. Although he left school and an early age, it was obvious that he was an intelligent person, who through a process of self-education had advanced his learning. He became fluent in the Gaelic language and was enthusiastic about his native culture. His determination and resolve were remarkable and his commitment and dedication total and without compromise. Always evident was his sincerity and compassion despite his own situation. Even his enemies would agree there was no hatred in him. Bobby Sands was a very ordinary young man from this city, who through a process of events, became politically educated and at eighteen decided he no longer would accept the injustice of a partitioned Ireland with all its inherent evils. No longer could he accept second class citizenship in his own country. So he joined the IRA and embarked on a life of hardship and suffering and in the end made the supreme sacrifice of his life for the cause he believed in. Died Bobby Sands, as representative of the blanket men and women in Armagh, died rather than be branded a criminal. The hungerstrike was embarked on for five just and reasonable demands, (to give testimony to the world that Irish republican prisoners will never wear British prison uniforms or do prison work and must have right to associate with each other and communicate with their families and have remission restored). The callous intransigence of the British government has made the hungerstrike a symbol of the struggle for freedom and Bobby Sands and his comrades are symbols of Irish resistance to British rule in Ireland. Bobby Sands is a symbol of hope for the unemployed, for the poor and oppressed, for the homeless, for those divided by partition, for those trying to unite our people. He symbolises a new beginning and I recall the words of his manifesto to the Protestant people: "The Protestant people have nothing to fear from me." They too have their part to play in building a new future, a new Ireland. We have the moral right to struggle for freedom and self-determination. Britain has no right in our country and has no faith in her pretence because the moral right she pretends to have has to be backed up by a monstrous war machine of guns and tanks and the torture chambers of Castlereagh and the H-Blocks and by creation of division within the Irish people. Symbolises Bobby Sands has not died in vain. his hungerstrike and the sacrifice of his life is a cameo of the entire resistance movement. He symbolises the true Irish nation which never has surrendered and never will. Let us picture him lying all alone in his cell, hisbody tortured and twisted in pain, surrounded by his enemies and isolated from his comrades and nothing to fight with but his will and determination. The big British murder machine assisted by those in high places in church and state tried to break his spirit. There was those in power in Dublin who could have saved him but as Liam Mellows said in 1922: "Men will get into positions and hold power and will desire to remain undisturbed." "They tried to compromised Bobby Sands, they tried to compromise his supporters, but they failed. Around the world Bobby Sands has humiliated the British government. In Bobby Sands' death they have sown the seeds of their of destruction. Bobby once wrote about Britain that "her actions will eventually seal the fate of her rule in Ireland for they may hold our bodies, but while our minds are free victory is assured." They people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone stood by the prisoners and gave them a mandate for political status. This has been rejected by the arrogant British government. We, the people who supported Bobby Sands and the blanket men and women of Armagh and who have tried everything to get the British to give the five demands, that though we have not got the tanks and guns (and please God this will no always be so) we can only conclude, along with PH Pearse that we must take what they will not give and that there is no way in which freedom can be obtained, and when obtained, maintained, except by armed men. Inspiration Finally, I salute you, Bobby Sands. Yours has been a tough and lonely battle but you have been victorious. Your courage and bravery has been an inspiration to us all and today we take strength from your example. The courage of your family has been an inspiration to us. You have the consolation of knowing that your son died, with all of you assembled at his death bed, free in conscience and now free from the hardships of the H-Blocks. Bobby Sands, your sacrifice will not be in vain. We re-dedicate ourselves and our struggle and pledge ourselves not only to win the five demands but to drive England out of our country once and for all Bua do Shaighduiri Arm Phoblacht na hEireann!_________________A revolutionist who surrenders the initiative to the enemy is already defeated before a blow is struck. -James Connolly, Workers Republic, 4 Dec 1914
I have not posted for some time. Partly because i am generally lazy, but i also created a new blog elsewhere and have been posting stuff there. However, since i made some friends on info exchange i thought i could republish my last two blog postings. The first is a conversation, or rather a lecture, on wage discipline in South Africa. The second is a few ideas i am testing in preparation for writing something for publication about the introduction of prepaid technology in the delivery of municipal services. as usual comments are not only welcome, but desired Wage Disciple: A few months back, spurred by a friends challenge, I bowed at the feet of one of my many masters (this particular master also enjoys the title of ‘our leader’) and asked a question. What follows is a snippet from our discussion (or rather his lecture) on yahoo messenger. Its point of reference is mainly South Africa and I have left it virtually untouched except for the deleting of my distracting nods and exclamations of agreement. I also took out anything that would betray my lack of imagination, wit and intelligence ...that is, i took out everything i said. hi F, i need your help with a small matter. or rather i need u to explain this notion of the 'extension of the wage discipline'. It came up in a friendly polemic. this is, perhaps a problem only because of my poor formulation, but i am moving from the view that a feature of this period (our time) is the extension of forms of disciplining of the class so that it extends beyond the factory. However I was backed into a corner for my historically inaccurate deployment of the notion. F : no, not at all. It's a very important issue. F : What I mean by extension of wage discipline is precisely what you write, that wage labour is being exploded beyond the factory walls to become an all-encompassing metaphor, a master narrative of social inclusion whose propping up at the level of everyday discourse is specifically aimed at disabling an imagery based on radical decommodification F : anyway, the reason I am writing this has not only got to do with the disappearance of wage labour as a conduit of social citizenship and as a meaningful/dignified social reality for the poor... F : ... in fact the rise of wage labour as master narrative, disembodied from its more conventional meanings, has for me to do, quite simply with the fact that no matter how wage labour has become insignificant as a social reality or force, it is increasingly placed at the centre of the policy discourse... F : ...and it is put at the centre of policy discourse not as something that can be realistically attained or generalised (not even in the form of public works job creation, let alone full employment policy) but because it is a myth that has to engender in the poor representations geared to the individual's entrepreneurial self-activation (hence the disciplinary function of wage labour) F : from this point of view, what i am finding in my PhD is chilling. I mean, this use of wage labour as a metaphorical and disciplinary device is theorised openly by govt and its rising intelligentsia in ways that are clearly aimed at forestalling and preventing the spread of radical decommodification themes across the social body. This is just blatant. F : exactly. I mean, the broader implication of all this is that political work on representations, and genealogies and counter-genealogies of discourse is crucial, and all projects of liberation based on some historical mission of waged employment will just disable ourselves and play in the enemy's hands. For this reason I think that the whole discourse of the "right to work" has to be unpacked, no matter how useful it is for tactical advances F : and at the same time the issue is not limited to South Africa. Wage labour is crucial to the whole project of postcolonial modernity, not so much in terms of social policy or collective bargaining, but as the attempt by the state to harness social subjectivity through myths that fondle its radicalism while disabling the far-reaching implications of its demands F : Anyway, I think this whole issue is crucial because it is here that you can crack the ANC's libidinal-political economy and its appeal, so we should debate this whole wage labour issue more thoroughly instead of wasting time with things like organisation vs spontaneity (just to mention the latest Durbanite contributions... dionysusstoned: i agree...an that’s not just the effect of the my fetish of spontaneity I decided to put this on my blog after resuming the debate with another very smart friend of mine. She however remains unconvinced. Although I am wholly unqualified to offer anything like an account of her position, I will venture a summary of her main argument. For A the wage, and by implication wage discipline, refers more specifically to arrangements implying disciplinary technologies of societies in which the mass worker is the hegemonic figure of the class. Therefore, to invoke the concept of the wage discipline, in the context of the decline of wage labour, tends to obscure matters and undermine our ability to understand precisely ‘the hows and whats’ of those strategies of control which characterise neoliberal governmentality, while taking into account their continuities with the older disciplinary strategies. She said a lot more and perhaps I will return to this later and write more. (dionysusstoned is a name i sometimes write under) Prepaid and Primitive Accumulation: The text that follows is an outline of an argument that I would like to test. It follows from my political interest in municipal services restructuring in post apartheid South Africa and its significance in relation to the transformation of the state and capitalism. The argument is in two parts. This is the first: Proposition One: In so far as prepaid meters (electricity and water) involve the forced separation of people from their social means of production/reproduction they may be characterised as an aspect the ongoing process of primitive accumulation. 1) Non-payment for basic services (water; electricity; housing) invests the “life strategies” of township communities. 2) These life strategies are the product of the of various process within these communities, centrally the payment boycotts of the 1980s 3) In spite of this characterisation (2) they are however not wholly circumscribed within the ideological formations. They ar, in contrast, a practical responses to the challenges of bare life 4) Their defence/attack, however, has historically invested various ideological co-ordinates. (These investments animate the conflict between the alliance left and NSM over the historical position given to the payment boycotts and the appropriate tactical models for a post apartheid South Africa. For the former they were no more then tactic meant to obtain political leverage against the apartheid state and cannot structure post apartheid responses to the crises in the delivery of basic services. For the latter the tactics of 1980s are valorised in the current context by the persistence of the socio-economic conditions that ‘gave rise’ to them). 5) The process of commodification of water and electricity is reflected in the movements of strategies for its collection and distribution 6) Non-payment presents the limit of the ongoing process of commodification of water in South Africa 7) As such (6) the investment of non-payment in the life strategies of township communities presents the state with a subject standing partially external to the forces of the market and frustrates the restructuring of municipal services (and the South African state and economy). 8) The commodity form of water and electricity is disorganised in confronting these life strategies 9) Therefore, overcoming the limits to commodification presented by investments in non-payment is dependent on the transformation of these life strategies. 10) Non payment secured for township communities a form of social income reproduced in struggle 11) Such transformations are therefore aimed at the separation of people from this income 12) Attempts to transform these life strategies through the explicit functions of ideology as well cohesive and punitive measures to police these life strategies have simply failed or met with fierce resistance. Notably the illegal reconnection of services has made such interventions meaningless 13) Prepaid meters as a response to the failures of these strategies attempts to bring together the ideological and cohesive aspects of previous strategies while reducing the cost of intervention 14) Their precise function however may be described as pedagogical in the sense that it attempts induct communities in alternative life strategies (with functions beyond the specific relationships between household and the delivery of basic services) 15) It is in this sense that we draw a link between the ongoing process of primitive accumulation and the restructuring of the delivery of water and electricity. This might seem a little cryptic without a context. maybe that will come as well.
Class liberation is the liberation of the people from their oppressors – liberation from their laws and values, from their modern slavery system. People are at the centre of the universe, there are no others yet – they/we the people must be at the center of any and all considerations, theoretico-practical and aesthetic. Economy is designed to destroy the people and turn them into a generation of replaceable salves, for production, peons for war and for serving at order – the techno-servant. People are reproduced for serving the state and the party, generations are created to serve the organization headed by the richest and most viscous people on earth – you can tell by the living conditions of their employees. Profit means a broad daylight labor robbery, the higher the profit the more miserable people become, the more prosperous the ruling class, more people join the ranks of the unemployed and have a long brutish life and utter poverty. Authority should be eliminated and hierarchy broken up for ever and this means the end of stupid competition, the heart and soul of degenerative capitalism. We are celebrating Anarcho-liberation – personal, social and eventually material liberation – The transformation of national struggle into a class struggle and into a social movement of liberation. Crush local and foreign occupation by revolutionary activity of direct and subversive action + the manipulation of reaction for the intensification of the state-nation and capital total crises. The end of capitalism is near – the end of the empire is almost now and here. The transformation of class struggle and liberation into a full blown Anarcho-social revolution for we don’t want to slave under capitalism anymore. Anarchy is the only guarantee for our total and lasting equity and freedom. Religion is an old form of capitalism and democracy is the new form of capitalism – both are exactly same – religion like capitalism is all about greed and lust for the erotically unsatisfied public. Money is their ultimate god and the root of all crime and violence – desperation within the spectacle. If a revolution could be made peacefully a revolution would be unnecessary – Intervention from another place – an attitude from another magnitude and dimension Post internet multi-action – the new psycho-emotional mental/intellectual rebel person. A crisis caused by the collapse of the psycho-emotional "state of affair" – a transformation to a new level of development or an inter-personal implosion into the abyss. The creation of a new Anarcho-revolutionary self-determination and self-creation, equipped with an extreme form of a radicalized insurrect intellect. The advancement of feelings and thoughts and knowledge to a higher matrix of comprehension and pragmatic meta-synthesis. We have no self-pity but the courage to fight for what is right and just and humane, that is why we are revolutionaries fighting for our freedom and others. A radical shift of the attitude towards the people of the globe, through the acquirement of an alternative consciousness of revolt and emancipation. The tragic effect of contemporary capitalism on the self and on society – A conscious selection of the instructive + constructive elements in modern slavery, accompanied by a total systematic rejection and repulsion of the negative = state-capitalism. A compassion and tolerance towards the poor and the downtrodden – solidarity on an Anarcho-revolutionary level and cooperation. All parliaments will be shut down and governments dissolved and sent home – the army and police dismantled and the banks distributed equally. The individual effect on the magnitude and on the objective condition (his-story) and the universal application of this personal crisis – The End of Alienation and Ramification. The termination of mythology, religion and politics which are the sciences of lies and deceit – delimitation of the ontologico-epistimological self. 1) Anti-capitalism means anti-religion, anti-philosophy, anti-science, anti-ethics. 2) Anti-capitalism means anti-ideology, anti-nationalism, anti-state, anti-power. 3) The maintenance of capitalism is the maintenance of mass poverty, organized violence and brute barbaric institutional force. 4) The people of the globe will rise in their might very soon – when consciousness rises people learn and revolt. 5) When the mind begins to feel freedom the person rebels. 6) The rich must be equalized with poor – all of humanity rich in matter and culture. 7) No one should suffer again because of someone else – anyone who advocates for capitalism is advocating for more violence and crimes against humanity – the advocacy for capitalism is an advocacy for a permanent class war until the revolution of course. Capitalism is always against the majority of the impoverished people – capitalism is local and foreign terrorism in disguise, counter-terrorism is exactly the same. A system that enslaves the majority of the people is doomed to a complete destruction unless it resorts to an organized terrorism and violence (war) or nuclear holocaust (military science). Anarcho-Theoretical Practice + the wo/man that killed nostalgia and meta-physics. Beyond fear, superstition and tradition – does humility results from humiliation and exploitation? Do all the values and morality arise out of despair, class division, ignorance and extreme discrimination? To the majority of computer users of the world unite, the role of the Anarcho-revolutionary surfer on the net/web – that's what I have to say – the way things are – the way they ought to be. Let me put it this way – do we always have to start from scratch – it seems so – because all you people everywhere, on the net and otherwise – beside the few – you are all variably similar, as indicated by your synonymous anonymity. Most of you require urgently the theoretico-practical knowledge, a universal Anarcho-navigation, a post-historical anti-consumerism – the annihilation of the spectacle. Existence within an established illusion and corporate hallucination – How do socialized pigeons behave, birds fly we walk tall. A very unfortunate human condition/situation > Anarcho-optimism > Activism toward the construction and the rebuilding of the future = Meta-his-story. The socio-anarchic social revolution has started, it time now for you to join and take part in designing your sovereign future. From a revolution to an Anarcho-communist individualist society that is based on total equality and total freedom. The people who changed the world – a revolution in the making.
This capitalist system of misery has to be destroyed and finished with very soon. The capitalist system causes lots of pain and an unnecessary suffering for billions of people all over the globe. Why suffer because of a very small minority who are really the sole beneficiaries of this mass misery. The declarations of the anarcho-cyber revolution – The oppressed people of the world unite and fight the Empire, the state, the capitalist system and religion. 1) The Real > Exter-Net = Social Revolution. 2) The Virtual > Enter-Net = Cyber Revolution. 3) The Future > Meta-Net = Anarchic Revolution. One Anarchy – One world – One People - One Humanity – One Equality - One Freedom. Non-State – Non-Capital – Non-God – Non-Hierarchy – Non-Law – Non-Morals. An Ultra Anarcho-Cyber quantum leap from cybernetics & simulation to actuality and reality, then from Capitalist Reality to an Anarchic Reality. Post-Capital Internet – Anarcho-revolutionary boards and forums and anti-authoritarian encyclopedic and info-distribution cyber-centers. Without reform or compromise – It is either a Global Anarchy or Global Capitalism. People everywhere are realizing that and now is the time to start changing everything. The resistance and the revolt has started and is rapidly expanding, we are radically changing the here and now. Turning the class struggle into a full blown socio-anarchic revolution encompassing the whole world - billions of oppressed individuals barely surviving are roaming this polluted earth looking for an immediate relief. It is time of revolt and rebellion so we can each design his/her destiny and use the internet for the creation of a concrete social revolution. Welcome to the Cyber Anarcho-Communist Individualist Revolution. A World Anarchic revolution - Not a Therapy for the Masses. Unhappy Civilization and the new Anti-Capitalist Post-Economy. The start of a new Post-Civilization with an Anarcho-Communist Individualist Meta-Economy – Where the rich remain rich and the poor become rich. The solution to the nation-state-class religious problem is the theory of Anarcho-Communist Revolutionary Intervention. The revolution will start mainly in Asia and Africa and then it well spell/spread to the rest of the world. Anti-Capitalist distribution of wealth and commodity to the whole world. Revolution ends capitalist economy whilst anarchy will replace the old society – The transformation of capitalism into anarchic post-economic social-relation. Anarcho-Revolutionary transformation of capitalist political economy into an Anarcho-Communist-Individualist anti-political anti-economy. Anti-Economy = Post-Economy = Meta-Economy The left is in demonstrations and many anarchists are marching as well – another street-police coordination and public control. The conquest of Capital and the limitation of God - From the virtual to the real – From in front of computers out to the streets and from the streets to the computers, a two way revolution. The capitalist economy is collapsing everywhere - the means of production will be owned by all of us without a state or law. Anarcho-Revolutionary friendly advice – Stimulate the people and introduce them to anarchism To help and assist the weak, the exploited and the oppressed and support the poor and the downtrodden – their recovery depends on joining the Anarcho-Social Revolutionary Transformation of Capitalism into Anarchism. Two Anarcho-universal categories, one for the present and another for the future – The state and politics will disappear. Democracy will become material equality – Work will be something of the past and everything will be divided equally amongst all - The perfect Meta-Economy. At last all of humanity will be rich and without self-destruction and destroying the planet – matter will distributed between the people, the producers of everything. Universal solution to a particular problem and a particular solution to a universal problem – America as the final stage of capitalism and the last empire – The fall of Anarcho-Capitalism. Seven billion rich owners of the means of production and its commodities in an anti-politico-anti-economical social relation. Each will get what s/he wants and will give what s/he wants – End Of Capitalism. Pan-Capitalism = the richest and most techno-industrialized country has the most regressive nation/society. Christians, Muslims and Jews are very disturbed individuals, more than half of them suffer mental deviations, all on the verge of –Theo-psychopathic epidemics. National liberation is the liberation of the local bourgeoisie from foreign bourgeoisie, the people remain poor and oppressed – South Africa is a good example. It is the structure of capitalism that is rotten and needs to be replaced quickly. Capitalism is a cruel system for the torturing and enslaving humanity in the most brutal and exploitative methods imagined. The system kills – kill the system.
This w/end, A and I reflected a little on Virno's thesis of postfordism as "the communism of capital." In other words, while it seems that many have a perfectly good critique of the fordist regularity, there's not a lot of consideration given to 'postfordist enjoyment': the injunction to consume, circulate, be a subject that Lazzarato talks about, but also Virno, where he talks about the cynicism of the multitude. The blind indifference to content that commodification gives rise to, the domination of a particular form of sociality, communication, etc as exchange and so on. This reminded me of a wierd moment during my time at Uni, where people calling themselves 'Foucauldians' -- as if Foucault himself would have felt comfortable with such a systematisation -- engaged in what can only be described as the injunction to speak about sex, all the time. What was peculiar about this, of course, is that this injunction to speak, confess, this exhibitionism of the body and 'the soul' is precisely what Foucault argued was the new form of control, subjectivation. So, these self-declared 'Foucauldians' were not so much readers of Foucault but instances of what he set out to analyse the emergence of. And it's not like reading Foucault -- assuming they did read rather than carry it around under their arms as a badge of belonging -- actually managed to interrupt that gleeful membership of the society of control. The only way I can explain this is that the dull compulsion of 'economic' relations -- which are clearly not confined to a space called 'the economy' -- are so great. Nothing new there, I guess. But I still find myself amazed at the inversion of politics that this is capable of producing. Like the small bunch of people who recently called an event 'Precari-Us?'. Unlike the article I wrote of the same name before this, the answer they give is a fairly clear 'yes', given the speakers, for one. In other words, an instance of those processes which I set out to analyse the emergence of, not give licence to. So, I guess I feel inclined to disassociate myself from that particular 'activist' niche market, whose indifference to content (to politics) has become so predictable I shouldn't be surprised.
Just read Werner Hamacher's essay "Working Through Working", on National Socialism and Work. Some of it covers Hitler's MayDay speeches, most of it is about how National Socialism pivots around the veneration of work -- specifically, work as "the being and life of our people". Creepy biopolitics at its finest. Here's part of it: "In his address of 1 May 1933, he [Hitler] celebrates Labor Day in a natural-mystical sense as the 'day of life's becoming' and 'awakening nature,' and thereby at the same time, as the 'day of winning back our proper force and strength.' As the day of return, of coming back, of recovery, repetition, and winning back, as the day of restitution and reinstitution of this 'natural' and 'proper' 'force,' May Day is for Hitler 'thereby also and at the same time,' the day of 'that productive work that knows no narrow limits, that is not bound to the trade union, to the factory and the office--the day of a work that we want to recognize and advance wherever it is executed in the good sense for the being and life of our people'." I forgot to add, but will now: at the last official/TU MayDay rally I went to, the TU slogan of the day was "No return to the 1930s, Full Employment Now". The troubling irony being that the 'solution' to the unemployment of the 1930s was forced labour, slaughter, destruction. There were some minor responses at the time, including a small bunch of black-clad kids who held a huge banner over the City Squ which read: 'Work Until You Die.' And a troupe which wove its way around chanting 'No Return to the 1930s, Colorise Films Now.'
So, from that collection of quotes Nate, do you think N&H want to have it both ways, to frame the changing relationship between production and reproduction as an epochal shift as well as note that it has always been dodgy to distinguish (as in make a hierarchy in ostensibly oppositional politics) between them? I pulled out a book from my shelf the other day by Katrina Alford, Production or Reproduction? An Economic History of Women in Australia, 1788-1850. It's actually quite good, lots of historical detail. But thumbing through it again, I was left wondering what the interval between the work done by feminist labour historians (such as Alford and many others) in the 1970s, and the reiteration by N&H more recently means. Is it because these themes of reproduction were waylaid in the meantime, and if so, by whom? To put it another way: does it have more to do with the specific politics of Potere Operaio and Autonomia? Functioning, therefore, as a kind of self-criticism of their own perspectives? Because, sometimes, it feels a bit johnny-come-lately to me. Or does its recapitulation have more to do with the specific arguments by N&H about immaterial labour? If the latter, it's interesting that accounts of such often tend to use male-dominated occupations as the exemplar of immaterial labour (even if the specific quotes from Hardt here suggest otherwise). Anyway, I think Hardt is wrong about this: "Force is secondary in the establishment and maintenance of capitalist relations of property; the logic of legitimation is its primary support." What a sheltered existence he must lead. Force is originary and ever-present, historically and logically. (I think this is some of what marks the differences between N&H and, say, Caffentzis. Moreover, here is where I think Hardt's US-Eurocentrism reasserts itself. No analysis of the prison regime, detention, the rise of forced labour (including in the US and EU), war, the turmoil of most of the world. The blood and shit of money just disappears. (Maybe, if we wait another decade, they'll catch up with post-colonial analyses too.) As for "legitimation" being the primary support of capitalist relations - Haven't we been down this road before, with Habermas to some extent? Habermas's argument went something like this: because of the shift to real subsumption, communication (and 'the public sphere') become the principal sites of legitimation. Sound familiar? Habermas, however, was making these arguments from the late 1960s. I thought I'd append this, post the first 'save', because it kind of informs part of the above. I've been pondering 'public sphere' stuff a bit lately, along with Brett -- we extended the short 'Physiognomy of Origin' piece into a longer article, just finished and sent off yesterday, or was it the day before ... Part of the reason for this, of course, is that the events there discussed raise a whole lot of questions about people's relationship + approach to 'the public sphere', whether conceived as a kind of ephereal but nevertheless singular space in which all public communication happens and against which it's possible to define politics and their effectivity, virtue, etc -- or whether more concretely as a question of whether to send letters to the newspaper, etc. Of course, the first has a definite relation to the latter; but the latter doesn't have to be driven by the former. Anyway, Geoff Elay argues that the notion of 'the public sphere' is 'useful for activating a sense of ordinary and efficacious citizenship today.' ['Politics, Culture, and the Public Sphere' Positions: 10.1 (2002)] A fairly standard, dull commonplace of liberal rhetoricity, which is to say: a convenient, metaphysical distancing of the 'efficacious citizen' from its nationalist (not to mention 'hard working') registers. Elsewhere, Jodi Dean -- "Cybersalons and Civil Society: Rethinking the Public Sphere in Transnational Technoculture" [Public Culture 13.2 (2001)] -- argues for replacing the concept of 'public sphere' with that of 'civil society', because 'Unlike a view of the public sphere that limits the political to rational conversation among people who respect each other as equals, the concept of civil society is part of a political theory that acknowledges that politics is about unequal exchanges among people who have fundamentally different ways of reasoning, who have differing conceptions of what is normal and what is appropriate. Unlike theories based on the public sphere, those employing a concept of civil society can interrogate processes of normalization and fundamentalization that seek to bound and limit what can be understood as politics. Such theories may even be able to conceive of everyday actions and interactions as contributions to a vital democracy.' And while I think Dean's effort to shift from the Habermasian fantasy of 'the public sphere' is a good one, I'm not sure it's possible to insist on quite such a distance between 'democracy', 'civil society' and, well, the Habermasian fantasy. Which, in any case, is founded on the workings of abstract labour, equivalence, etc, even if it assumes their hierarchical, segmented aspects more clearly. Dean noted that there are problems with the 'civil society' thing: 'if civil society as mediatized cyberia is implicated in the spread of transnational corporate technoculture, it may seem as if opportunities for critique of the market as well as of new forms of colonial expansion are lost.' Indeed, but that gets put aside, ultimately in favour of upholding 'critical democratic theory' -- 'it may seem as if democracy itself is compromised as an ideal.' And what would be the danger, exactly, of setting aside this ideal once and for all? No doubt the implict, unexplored answer here is 'tyranny', but to the extent that it remains unexplored, the question of the complicity of 'critical democratic theory' with the tyranny of the market, the spread of transnational corporate technoculture and colonial expansion is well and truly set aside. One question lurking on the edge of this is the extent to which the injunction to participate in 'the public sphere' -- or even more directly, 'civil society' -- is actually the demand on cognitive labour to send itself to market. In other words: a real confusion between the pursuit of freedom and the freedoms of the market. A much better account of the rhetorics of citizenship is here. In this case, an argument by the often-excellent Werner Bonefeld about the 'repubic of debt', linking the rise of precarious work with the rise of citizenship talk. Not to mention an refreshingly good argument for why talking about cognitive labour as the exemplar of precarious labour is politically, historically dodgy. Dean does have a nice pic on her site.
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