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Sub Urbis in Ignem, Outside the City In the Fire. The sky is grey and sullen, The glistening sun, history, Pale fumes are all that gleam now, Over concrete, dirt and apathy. II Here in the Banlieues we are nameless, Except for Mantes La Jolie where we riot, Its name belongs to us all now, Disgrace? Resistance, defiance, rebellion. III Several people died there, cops, Arabs, children, Victims of the Urban Wasteland, Forgotten tomorrow. The rioters wre young, angry at betrayal, For they betrayed their country, To the femme fatale France. IV Harkis they called themselves, Stressing seperation, Lost among two cultures, finding little in either, With the colonialists in the civil war, They fled the country after, Without Olive branch or Armalite, To three women of justice, And a new beginning. V No privelige they found, But displacement, disillusion, They began again to seethe. Algeria`s struggle rages now , The Harkis just beginning. VI I too am a Harki, Cocooned in discontent, Superfluos, redundant, talent dispelled, Cliched clerical tasks, menial mundanity Meaningless! I grip my hair and tear, And yearn for change. VII Creteil isn`t Mantes La Jolie, The excitement, variety would be misplaced, Just a commercial monolith Where the forgotten people work, I among them, dissatisfied, Different reason, same feeling, Hope for Banlieue hystericism To take us all with rage. -December 3 1991.
Behind the reduction of men to agents and bearers of exchange value lies the domination of men over men. - Theodor Adorno.
"Lets not give free rein to our jailers, strike the tiger's heart every day, in every way, according to our differences, against the sadness and solitude of cells of confinement."
Companions let's destroy the prisons, Those walls which lock away our desires, That money may burn in fire of passion, Let's change everything so as to exchange nothing.
Thus it can happen- and this is the scandal- that the death of a man results in freedom and life for others. This is a 'banal' piece of evidence, difficult to accept as fact; it determines the behaviour of all of us in the face of death as a daily event. In fact the inequality that gives hierarchy to the life of men obviously confers various weights to their deaths..... And since it is plain to see that the future will be inhuman, decency requires that everyone chooses his wounded and his dead, that he mourn the latter and cure - if he can - the former. Franco Piperno.
Oranges and Lemons Over the last 18 months (1987-1988), while more familiar protest has been gathering pace across Eastern Europe, in the industrial town of Wroclaw a new dissidence has emerged. Socialist Surrealism has arrived in Poland under the banner of Orange Alternative. Unlike those pursuing nationalistic or economic freedom, Orange Alternative make no explicit demands at all; rather, they have adopted an altogether more radical strategy - that of directly challenging on the streets the State appatatus' monopoly on Truth. During the last year and a half, the Orange Alternative (so called because orange is a non-political colour in Poland - there is a nascent White Alternative in Warsaw) have staged a series of "happenings" on the streets of Wroclaw that have succeeded in attracting mass participation as they expose to ridicule some of the most deep-seated aspects of the ideological rhetoric of the communist State. Many of these events have been truly inspired, combining playfulness with a ruthlessly tongue-in-cheek approach that has consistently wrong-footed the authorities. The prime mover and inspirational leader of Orange Alternative is the taciturn yet charismatic Waldemar Frydrych, known to all as "Major". Unshaven and dressed a little like a New Age Traveller, the 35 year old independent writer, former graduate in history and the history of art, generates a certain amount of reverance a more and more extraordinary tales grow up concerning his life. Major has been the main initiator of the "happenings", the most successful of which have, as time has pass ed, been honed down into succinct anecdotes that have received some airin gs in the western press. For those that might have missed them, the most reported of these starts with the "happening" on 1st June last year, International Childrens' Day, when dozens of participants dressed as gnomes or smurfs with red hats danced in the streets and distributed sweets. After an anti-war demonstration on 1st September, October 1st saw a "happening" known as "Who's Afraid of Toilet Paper?". Focussing on one of the primary espoused functions of the State as one of redistributing the social product, the decision was made to aid the authorities in their task - redistribution begins at home. At 4.00pm in Swidnicka Street - site of many Orange Alternative happenings - Major and others solemnly distributed single sheets of toilet paper to passers-by. "Let us share it justly. Let justice begin from toilet paper. Socialism, with its extravagant distribution of goods, as well as an eccentric social posture, has put toilet paper at the forefront of people's dreams. Are the queues for toilet paper an expression of (a) a call for culture? (b) the call of nature? (c) the leading role of the party in a society of developed socialism? Tick the right answer." This same theme was later echoed when Major was arrested on International Womens' Day for distributed sanitary towels in the streets. October 7th is the official Day of the Police and Security Service in Poland. This time, Wroclaw youth under the banner of Orange Alternative decided to assemble and march to demonstrate their appreciation of these public servants for "doing their duty with a smile", showering police officers and patrol cars with flowers. Attempts to embrace the police and thank them were met with reasonable force and Major was arrested once again. Operation "Melon in Mayonnaise" took place on 12th October, the anniversary of the Polish People's Army. Orange Alternative held "manoeuvres" in the streets of Wroclaw under the slogan "The Warsaw Pact - An Avant-Garde of Peace". On 6th November, the eve of the October Revolution, Orange Alternative held an elaborate celebration when about 150 people converged on a restaurant which had been designated the Winter Palace. Two groups had constructed large models of the battleships Potemkin and Aurora and the leaflets distributed beforehand to announce the event encouraged all to attend wearing something red to play the part of the Reds. Banners were carried bearing slogans such as "We support Boris Yeltsin" and "We demand the full rehabilitation of comrade Leon Trotsky" (leading to the misreporting in the western press, who missed the irony of the occasion, that the demonstration was by Trotskyist youth.) Another banner demanded an 8-hour working day for the security services. As crowds gathered and passers-by of all ages started to join in and shout "Revolution" and Bolshevik slogans, those who had not brought something red to wear queued to buy Zapiekanki (a type of Polish hot-dog that comes liberally dabbed with ketchup) in order to hold them aloft. The police, realising what was happening, moved in to close the hotdog stall down. The vendor argued that he had never done such good business, but the police were adamant; no more hot-dogs were to be sold. The next person in the queue, on being refused a hotdog, asked for just ketchup and was promptly arrested. During the referendum on social policy held on November 27th, Orange Alternative demonstrated and called for Wroclaw to be the city with 200% turnout: "Vote Yes Twice". 150 people were arrested and detained for a number of hours. Againon 7th December,the streets were flooded with Santa Claus's: "Bring Christmas decorations, fir branches to decorate the subway. Let's help the new administration in this noble task... Let the new existence shape the new consciousness!!! Only Santa Claus can save you from poverty." Confusion reigned as the police tried to round up the Santas, arresting many official Santas in the process. A crowd of more than 2,000 called for the release of Santa and pressed in on the police, later surrounding the district Police HQ before being dispersed. Such "happenings" continued throughout Poland, in Wroclaw, Poznan, Gdansk, Krakow and Warsaw during 1988; during the Nowa Huta strikes a letter was read out to the workers giving support to strikes in the most fulsome terms. The author of the letter was Lenin. Stalinist hymns were sung by a crowd which gathered round the chimpanzee cage in Wroclaw Zoo. On June 30th, following the release of activist and PPS members Pinior and Borowczyk, a demonstration took place featuring a mock trial at which the defendants were Pinior, Borowczyk,Marx and Engels. More recently, Orange Alternative have paraded the streets in groups as the People's Guard with toy guns and a pet dog, demanding identification papers from the police, who demanded theirs. This month, on the anniversary of the Russian Revolution, 4000 people marched through Warsaw chanting "We love Lenin". In all of these actions, Orange Alternative have enjoyed considerable success and popular support (on occasions attracting the participation of up to 13,000 people) by outwitting and embarrassing authorities who maintain a system which relies on a single version of the truth for its survival and who are used to a more direct form of protest. Whilst initially Orange Alternative attracted some criticism that the style of their actions brought the opposition into disrepute, their success in partially demystifying opposition by involving ordinary people in actions in such a way that they do not have to take on the lifestyle of a militant means that they now have the support of many members of WiP (Peace and Freedom) and the Polish Socialist Party. The two questions which occupy a central position in considering such a phenomenon, however, are firstly the long-term relationship between Orange Alternative and the more explicit aims of the rest of the Young Opposition in the Polish Socialist Party and WiP, and secondly the contrast between the current success on the style of Orange Alternative and the decline of such tactics in the West. On the first question, at present there are excellent relations and much crossover between Orange Alternative and other groups in the young opposition, even if Waldemar Frydrych eschews a definitively political interpretation of his motivation in organising the "happenings". When asked "Do you set up happenings in order to expose the totalitarianism of the system under which we live?" the reply was "I do them because I do them, but one does things because of or for something.. . Well yes, when I was preparing for the gnome happening, I assumed that we would have a good time with sweets and streamers..." Josef Pinior, former leading member of Solidarnosc and now an activist in the PPS described himself as a "great champion" of Orange Alternative, the content of whose actions "has been on the borderline between culture and politics and has a surrealist form". However, Orange Alternative, who are familiar with the ideas of Andre Breton and the Situationists, encourage self-expression and activity without a particular set of political demands - indeed the demands they make are often absurdist and obscure (e.g. "Freedom and Water" and "Let the world forces of peace flourish in the shade of the martial arts") in order to avoid the star system of the official (Solidarnosc) opposition. At the same time, the PPS, for instance, is poised to consolidate and elucidate just such a set of demands in the form of a programme at this year's First General Conference, due to take place this November (1988), shifting the PPS from a broad coalition of the young Left fighting for the rights of the oppressed to a more distinct opposition party. Whether this could, in time, bring them into any kind of conflict with the more anarchic antics of Orange Alternative, or even whether such a move towards a programme actually takes place, remains to be seen, but it is tempting to see Orange Alternative as having the kind of expression that will always find fertile ground no matter what administration is in power. Their irony and parody could theoretically be levelled at anyone who has a clear set of demands to put forward whilst they avoid criticism themselves through the advocacy of a perpetual "party atmosphere" in order to "scout out the reality in which we live". More immediately striking, however, is the fact that, whilst the style of such a Socialist Surrealism is familiar to use in the West, such an approach has little popularity here compared with the sixties and seventies. Indeed the only events which have taken place in Britain in recent years which have had even a tiny element of some of the characteristics of Orange Alternative are perhaps the impersonation of businessmen during the "Stop The City" demonstrations of the early eighties whose novelty quickly diminished as the police just as quickly learnt to deal with them. Part of this contrast can be explained by the extent to which the authorities have learnt to handle ironic criticism and at the same time some of the skills of the more celebrated practitioners of "political surrealism" have been enlisted by the free market. Witness Jerry Rubin's graduation from Yippie prankster to Yuppie party organiser and Jamie Reid's association with Malcolm McLaren to help "market" anarchy and the Sex Pistols. Similarly, in a recent Orange Alternative "happening" General Jaruzelski had fun poked at him as "The Dragon of Wawel", a mythical Polish figure. Jaruzelski replied on national television "I may not be the dragon of Wawel, but I am a dragon". Initially felt to be a victory in terms of recognition for Orange Alternative, it was quickly realised that the lack of such a sense of humour had been precisely what Orange Alternative had previously been exploiting so successfully. The cunning response was thought to be the work of government spokesman Jerzy Urban, long known to be something of a quick-witted and smooth-tongued operator. Again, a story has emerged that on one occasion when Orange Alternative joined an official Childrens' Day parade, instead of meeting the usual heavy-handed police resp onse they were merely officially announced over the tannoy "...and here comes Orange Alternative", thus efficiently defusing their potentially disruptive effect by simply incorporating them into the celebrations. Of course, Orange Alternative will still find plenty of mileage in an assured brutal and inflexible response from the authorities and this is their greatest weapon. But as a warning it should be noted, as the global market draws ever nearer, esewhere that the skills necessary to reveal them ultiple meanings within reality are in hot demand in the world of advertising and marketing. That is not to say we live in Poland's future, of course, but we do live in a system where there is less reliance on a single official version of Truth, where multiple truths mean multiple opportunities for selling and where stripping away layers of meaning, ridiculing outdated assumptions with a flourish of smug cynicism and packing your message with multifarious bizarre and apparently unconnected references is the hallmark of the very cutting edge of po-mo advertising techniques, now even being adopted by the government in the marketing of social policy. When we spoke to Major at a house in Wroclaw he waxed enthusiastic about the possibility of an Orange Alternative international event with thousands of people simultaneously across Europe dressing-up as police and patrolling the streets of major cities. Whilst such an idea has a certain breathtaking appeal, we in the UK already live in a society where the authorities themselves can organise, and with a straight face, a football match between striking miners and the officers policing them. George Branchflower, autumn 1988 from Here & Now no.7/8
In times of change there are moments where everything seems possible, but dawn recedes leaving us, who have taken the chance to form ourselves in the gaze of that potential, left in the thrall of a past which has given way to a haemorrhaging, a recession of our human community. A ritualised incantation of the past, preoccupied with distracting from the cruelty of our time; we convene like morticians over a stiff which cannot be resurrected. Of course there is value, and also collectivity, in these memories which have allowed us to forge our own identities. Likewise, the history of these years is important and how eventful they have been.... But the circularity of its invocation is bleeding me. Ideas which were fresh, exploratory, polemical four years ago have been realised. The morticians diagnosis has been demonstrated correct! Dublin dies, which is saying something when one considers what it was like prior to all this. Four years ago the outline of the emerging modernisation was cle èar: its urban architecture, gentrification, its infocalyptic dependency.The heart transplanted with a cash register ÔCapitalism is the celebration of a cult sans reve et sans merci [without dream or mercy].There are no ÔweekdaysÕ. There is no day that is not a feast day, in the terrible sense that all it sacred pomp is unfolded before us; each day commands the utter fealty of each worker.Õ Once theory, the the ramifications imposed themselves without subtlety, rents leaped and the city slumped into a collective paralysis of work, disrupted only by explosions of discipline-ridden frustration on weekend evenings outside the bars and chip shops. Retrospectively its easy to ascribe even those initial struggles which wrought many of our political natures as playing a preparatory role for the entry of Catholic Pig. In 1991/2 Catholicism appeared to be an important enemy, having held onto much of its most ostensible power. The vehemence and conflict of the fight over abortion, the close è shave even with divorce reinforced a sense of agency. We were undoing that power which had been dominant so long, maybe longer for us, fresh out of Catholic secondary schools and consequently more proximate to its repulsive character! Yet this anti-clericalism has become part of the catechism of the new bourgeois, the common currency of the chattering, who perceive it as a threat to their economic and commodity fetishes, an impediment to final total victory of the Chicago school, a threat to a pretentious cosmopolitanism. And thus, by a strange quirk of fate we begin to feel nostalgic. Sentimental for the time when the bastards we took on politically had their dominion intact. A grieving for a city which was in ruins, derelict, and even in the depths of misery, passive.. A longing for a recession which will only inflict further punishment on those who are fed to the tiger every day, on a long leash of credit ratings, mortgages and hire-purchase... The disorientation which has arisen è out of the peace process provides a useful parallel - some atavistic secret yearning for a time before the war was over. Despite the fact that the aspirations of SF are revealed in all their outstanding bankruptcy? All very well to talk about the concessions won for Ôworking-class catholic communitiesÕ of the six counties if it allows one to escape the implications for southern republicans. As a culture which we attached ourselves to, irrespective of the qualifications with regard to the ideologies of republicanism and particularly SF, there are some difficult questions to answer. As a conduit for a radical history which was ambiguous and thus seductive because nothing was clearly ruled out, there was reliance upon it for continuity. This continuum allowed the mapping out of a lineage of agency, literally right back to 1798, whilst imposing a balance of force on the current society. Diverse communities in the south drew sustenance for it, in the conviction of advancing an open-ended t èransformative program. Irrespective of any mitigation which can be prised from the real improvements within the six counties, we can hardly lean on this explanation seeing as there is no commonality of everyday conditions. How many times has republicanism run through this limited loop in a century:revolt, compromise, integrate, manage.... Impasse. Thus we attribute a sacredness to the antique and the anachronistic, rewriting utopia as eden, the grip toghtens on sentimentality. And we wrangle with divided feelings. The Dublin WorkingmenÕs Club is profoundly seductive in this way, and so we tread lightly, understanding a code of conduct and imputing a little extra. Our secret, to be savoured occasionally, but not to be shared too much as it would be overrun and dissolve into the swamp which surrounds it. Stoneybatter; a love story gone wrong as we participated powerlessly in its shift from a traditional working class culture to the become the new yuppie haven. Bye bye bookshop, hello Åproperty shop. So what: guilt, resignation, ammunition? ÔOpinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil all over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know.Õ Begin again at the beginning. Draw from our history only thosre elements which assist. Cruel exaction from memory; taxonomy; analysis; the full arsenal of our pataphysical science.... Hello Madamoiselle, Apologising is a ritual which legitimises bad habits. Nonetheless it is customary that I begin my endlessly postponed responses thus; the euphoria at my escape from luxhumbug penn., the drastic absence of computer terminals _on the iberian peninsula, and the stasis induced by the reclusive cave in the steppes of Sudurbia which I call home - have made me lazy. Donostia, San Sebastian, call it what you will, was my playgrpound for July in the company of Terry.... What a storm! Rampaging through the fiestas, way too far out of conmtrol, it is a credit to the Bsque people that nothing untoward took place to transform irresponsibility into tragedy. Donostia is a beautiful city on a perfectly crested bay as if from a children's book, with hills at either end, jutting out into the sea. The sand is golden and its no surprise that Franco used to holiday there, even though he despised the Basques and tried to crush their independence and culture. Prune came down as well, and Terry'sd summer job in the mountains gave us the motivation to roam. To the dry mesa of Espejor, Bilbao an ›d its Casca Viejo, Guggenheim museum, Lesaka for the fiesta di San Fermines.... Exhausted and sated I went on to Madrid alone to visit a comrade who helped me through those hard times in Lux. More marvels. The Garden of Delights in Madrid's Prado exposes Dali for the plagiarist he is; Picasso's Guernica and potrtaits of the suvivors in the Rheina Sofia; George Grosz's Metropolis in the Thyssman..... And that's only the art. Although I had wanted to visit Catrina Kelly in Barcelona, exhaustion overtook me -as it happened there was enough upheaval in her life without my interference anyhow. Back to Brussels, its jaded elegance, casual dereliction alongside the most modern architecture has to offer, harbouring innumerable eccentricities, many bureaucrats yes, but run-aways as well. For three months I lived with a Russian boy, at first in family home, then in workers hotel/brothel, after that a park and an a bondoned house. He was doing a stage as well. The Lux state refused him residence. He became a type of elevated clandestino who had to leave, and so he greased wheels in the Commission and fled to Brussels. Words cannot describe my anger at the treatment he met; and words cannot convey my affection for him. Fine Europeans with their culture, their human rights, their education their instinctive ability to shut the door in the faces of 'outsiders' and say fuck off like it was a varioety hall cabaret act. Back home. I'm now so uprooted that I don't even have the passion to hate Dublin anymore. I feel like a passenger in transit. Everything takes place before me as if the world was a big train station. Conversation isn't evn of jobs, its about money and property; who is making it? who isn't? why are they not? 'Millionaire parties' for twenty somethings, south dublin fancies itself as the new Rome, and Terry Keane the reincarnate Cleopatr ˆa. Have you seen 'the city of lost children'? Who has stolen the children's dreams? Columbia refused my application. No NY in September. I'm negotiating as to whether it will be possible to delay the award until next year, but I don't really give a fuck. Alessandra got hit by a drunk driver who was driving the wrong way up Via Fondazza. She has injured her back and the doctors say there may be some long term damage, although the prognosis has improved in the last week. So she's shipwrecked in Bologna when she was supposed to come to Ireland for a holiday and then leave for Berlin to learn German - it has not been her year. This is not the message I intended to write to you, I have become a nihilst strip[tease artist. Every sentence which begins with bonhommie finishes in bitterness. Leopardstown is a crystal palace of books. I stay here much of the time, reading, thinking, writing, slee œping late; my established and delinquent habits. Travelling has wearied me. Thoughts of future journeys nonetheless are my sustenance - pilgrimages without destination, the utopia of somewhere else. There is now no object, to this rambling but to nuture my own illusions. I am the conjurer of my own fascinations, and like a magician at a childrens party must repress the knowledge that what seems like magic, is but banal trickery. Extremism Disarmed And yet my mood is not so sullen, so embalmed in depression as it may appear from these words. The dissatisfaction derives from the unspeakable lack of commitiment that I feel to everything, including my own ideas, which I now think of, fondly, as a radicality without instruments, an enchanting cave of useless but fine trinkets. "These are the last things. A house is there one day, and the next day it is gone. A street you walked down yesterday is no longer there t oday. Even the weather is in constant flux..... When you live in the city, you learn to take nothing for granted. Close your eyes for a moment, turn around to look at something else, and the thing that was before you is suddenly gone. Nothing lasts, you see, not even the thoughts inside you. And you mustn't waste your time looking for them. Once a thing is gone, that is the end of it." Paul Auster In the country of Last Things. The cruel vivisectioniusts, that travel under the title 'architect' and 'urbanist' have done their work. Memory has been dismembered, the city now resembles a monster, the product of biotechnology laboratory, genetically modifed and unfit for human inhabitation. Ò... the movement lacks a project, a theory, as radical explanation of the world, born by the age It is this argumentation that we have tried to construct, it is a language, sense that we have proposed. This theory is not the cream on a chocalater mousse. It is a means of communication drawn from the movement that it suppor ts. It poses a goal. It proposes a debate to achieve this aim.Ó BdE 8 p.149. Òthe assurance that we have of things and of people no longer reposes on what has been said and done, bot on that which is going to be said and done, no longer on the past, but on the future.Ó BdE 8 p.93 The Cartography of the damned. Today those who are dissatisfied with this world dwell in an impoversihed individualism. Convinced of the repugnancy of any collective values, the futility of the abstract quality of militancy, dedicated to the pursuit of the pleasures remaining at the fringe of capiatlism, so a s to draw all towards the centre; an adventurous debauchery at once both leisurely and creative, without the moral and monetary constraints imposed by the hidden hand of austerity. Thid dedication is made blind to the impossibility of its own realisation in the circumstances we occupy. Individualist anarchism embraces the bourgeois individual always for the last time unless...... well, one more time. The warrior figure,. the genius, the prophet, the transgressor, the personification of the dialectic of theory and practice. Irrespective of narcissistic wishes, we are the products of the time which has formed us. This dissected bundle of tendencies we call personality manifests the social organisation of our time and in this reflects its economic deployment. What was called culture has become information, with all that implies. The idea of culture is premised on that which is shared, but opurs is not a time of sharing. The Mass media has not escaped this influence, as its audience cares less and less to consider what in antiquity was called politics. Their trun towards the sensational is not a manipulation in the classical sense, but rather a logical response to the apathy of their environment. Yet even of this degenerate role will they be divested. The entrenchment of that which we call rather unsatisfactorily, modernisation, in a so-called information econmy is a qualitative evolutionary leap in the process of atomisation. Each person will know have their own customised injection of news. Increasingly they renounce news altogether for entertainment. News thus becomes entertainment, but as mass media are by definition a response of the lowest common denominator, only the delay in the permeation of the necessary commodities postpones its demise. The public sphere has literally been cannibalised by an imperialist private sphere. Critical declarations of the collapse in the distinction between private and public are deceived by mistaking the content of such types for their goal . The private is resurgent, seeking to devour all the roles once played by the public. The private is monologue, whose refusal to share is at the same time a fear of otherness. Its logical aim is to inure existence to the influence of society altogether. The securocratic hysteria is a derivative of this berserker individualism. The taming of the outside world is necessary prior to its absolute subjugation. Ó thediscipline of the military camp substituted f or the oreder of the city, and a state oif siege substituted for the normal state of society.Ó Custine the futurew of copyright In televcision and radio, it is the broadcasting organisation which assumes the direct cost of copyright, negotiating with rightsholders or their intermediaries on the basis of audience size. The consumer conributes to the covergae of the cost by tolerating advertising time, which in this case as in others should be viewed as a cost. The parallel application f such a scheme to the internet should be obvious, although it requirers the dissolution of the traditional distinction between reproduction right and performance right. Advertising is a tax on the consumer. That tax is the proper kitty from which rightsholders should be compensated. The marketing strategies of ISPs, pornographers and news providers provide a resounding demonstration of this proposition. Cryptography is central to any contemporary discussion of intellectual property. Cryptography encompasses the ensemble of me thods which are used to restrict access to information, to secure stored information and guarantee the integrity and authenticity of information in transit. An important premise which informs the following analysis is that there is and should be a fundamental distinction between the commercial exploitation of a creative work (in the broadest sense) and the area of prtivate use. The latter can be principally distinguished by the absence of a revenue derived from that use. A conseqquence of this premise is that the costs of copyroght in a economy of infoprmation based services should not be carried by consumers. Consumers pay for the services built on top of informationbut not for the raw materials. Corporate entites shou;ld pick up the costs and still be able to operate profitable enterprises through valkue added services. Differential use patterns can be identified using simple technological means already within the scope of operators in the electronic environment. Hit counters which are primarily used to bo lster advertising incommes track levels of use. Business agencies exploiting provider content as a basis for further added opn serviuces (such as economic intelligence agencies) ought to pay a higher premium, related duirectly to their end-use. Such tracking could easily be carried out in a privacy protecting manner through the use of anonymising technologies and content rating labels such as those uysed on the PICTS scheme for restricting minor access to pornographic/violent content. The combination of these instruments and policies can result in appreciable increase in social welfare and profitmaximisation for content producers resultingh from the systematic employment of price discrimination. See Fisher 1999 Microchatges... Another cost factor to be tak en into account in any economic evaluation of the subject are the expenses linked to enforcement. Property rights holders seek to externalise enforcement costs onto state agencies, thus increasing the value of their assets. As they integrate technological fencing into their products so as to broaden the categories of exploitability, they incur costs which are offset by the jettisoning of previous fencing technologies and , if they can succeed tin installing criminal sanction for transgression of their fencing arrangements, a substantial outlay is avoided through transferral to the state. As consumers pay the larger share of revenues to foot the bill of puiblic expenditure, the costs of criminal law enforcement are a tax on the consumer for the benefit of corporate legal identities
There followed on the birth of mechanisation and modern industry... a violent encroachment like that of an avalanche in its intensity and its extent. All bounds of morals and nature, of age and sex, of day and night, were broken down. Capital celebrated its orgies. -Capital, Volume One. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social relations, everlasting uncertainty and agitation, distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier times. All fixed, fast-frozen relationships, with their train of venerable ideas and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become obsolete before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and men at last are forced to face with sober senses the real conditions of their lives and their relations with their fellow men. -Marx Engels Reader 475-476. So let them come, the gay indendiaries with charred fingers! Here they are! Here they are! -Manifesto of the Futurist Painters,1910 The advent of the mass pro duced book allowed scholars to assemble collections on an unprecedented scale. Students had previously been obliged to live nomadically, constantly travellibng to have access to particular texts. Now, they could gather collections in one place, and this implied the capacity also to perform more methodical cross examinations of the accumulated knowledge on any given subject. This exponential growth in scale imposed another task which had hitherto only been addressed in a piecemeal fashion:classification. Until after the time of the incabula, there remained in use innumerable idiosyncratic methods of organising book collections. Even the alphabetical system, which had been used so loong before in Alexandria, was neuther widely understoodf or utilised. The Swiss botanist and chronicler Gesner was the sixteenth centuryÕs grate pioneer in this regard, assembling great reference volumes whoich listed every book in print with cross references and ecyclop[edic references to th authors contained therien. Such devel ÿopments allowed writers and scholars to master their materials as never before. The possibility to compare rivalrous claimsl, vying descriptions and contentious opinionms, allowed for a period of synthesis to commence. This process has received its greatest boost in three hundred years with the transferral of wideseams of culture into digital format. Not only does this form allow the parallel and simultaneous disply of related texts, but perhaps more importanly for critical purposes, it allows the searching of the text body to identify the presence of particular tropes, mtaphors, similes on a stylistic level and claims relating to specific events. Ò.... an art without personal feelings or social relationships is bound to appear arid and lifeless after a little while.The freedom it confers is the freedom of a bautifully formed, perfectly sealed tomb.Ó Marshall Berman. ÒWhat makes FaustÕs triumphs feel like traps to him is that up to now they have all been triumphs of inwardness. For years, through both m âeditation and experimentation, through reading books and taking drugs - he is a humanist in the truest sense; nothing human is alien to him - he has done all he could to cultivate his capacity for thought and feeling and vision. And yet the further his mind has expanded, the deeper his sensitivity has grown, the more he has isolated himself, and the more impoverished have become his relationships to life outside - to other people, to nature, even to his own needs and active powers. His culture has developed by detaching itself frm the totality of life.Ó All that is solid.... p.42 ÒIn the city the tanks have been replaced by solitude, but with a similar effect.Ó Paco Taibo p.11 Calling All Heroes. New York is the balkans of everyday life. No rhythm can develop, only the frenetic rush from one place to the next. Each sphere of our humanity compartmentalised, we hurtle through the city, believing that be covering all bases, assembling all the necessary parts, we may become whole again. Some pleasures are lost forever. Where there was languor, they have placed labour. To be pedestrian is to trip upon a perjorative.Time is ruthlessly atomisd, and then stingily, economically respread. The population of the city pride thmselves on its excitement and decadence, but really they are Spartans, hardened. In speaking too much about so little, they are laconic. Laziness is uncommon, but anomie - a type of active laziness, since you know not why you do - is endemic. Temporality is lost, and time reveals iyts deep tyranny. Every promiscuos pause is born stillborn on the helter skelter highway to nowhere. The city is an endless horizon of stimulation. The mind races through cresents and troughs, inducing mania, the stable state of everyday life here. Life is endlessly privatised as we creep back into ourselves to take shelter from the incessant tempest. Friendships course only in gbars and restaurants, every social interchange has its total at the cashier, service and tips not included. The home àis forbidden territory: the crib a cradle, the big rock we climb back under. Paradoxically in this town, private space is public, because only there is the relentless pace of commodification stanched. Time is shattered into a thousand fragments, catalogued, logged, realised in statistical consumption, never allowed to wander, allows filed, counted for. Intimacies are small saplinmgs, buffeted in the gales of new york depressions, tied together with string like in my fatjerÕs garden, in a desperate attempt to nurture mutual support. But the branches rarely are protected long enough for them o gain strength, and the twine is weak and easily undone. This is the citadel of dark times past, and the omen of those to come. ÒAt last I can really the solitude I have been longing for, because nowhere can one be more alone than in a large crowd through which one pushes oneÕs way, a complete stranger.Ó Goethe p.58 Italian Journey 1786-1788 CÕest triste a dire, mais je ne pebse que lÕon p øuisse vaincresans les drapeaus rouges et noirs. Mais il faut detruire - apres. Unfortunately, I donÕt think we can win without the red abd black flags. But they must be detroyed - afterwards. Not a Republic as in the United States, where the power of the purse has established a new tyranny under the forms of freedom; where, one hundred years after the feet of the last British red-coat polluted the streets of Boston, British landlords and financiers impose upon American citizens a servitude compared with which the tax of pre-Revolution days was a mere trifle. No! the Republic I would wish our fellow-countrymen to set before them as their ideal should be of such a character that the mere mention of its name would at all times serve as a beacon-light to the oppressed of every land, at all times holding forth promise of freedom and plenteousness as the reward of their effort Ìs on its behalf. To the tenant farmer, ground between landlordism on the one hand and American competition on the other, as between the upper and the nether millstone; to the wage-workers in the towns, suffering from the exactions of the slave-driving capitalist to the agricultural labourer, toiling away his life for a wage barely sufficient to keep body and soul together; in fact to every one of the toiling millions upon whose misery the outwardly-splendid fabric of our modern civilisation is reared, the Irish Republic might be made a word to conjure with - a rallying point for the disaffected, a haven for the oppressed, a point of departure for the Socialist, enthusiastic in the cause of human freedom. Socialism and Nationalism Transcribed by The Workers' Web ASCII Pamphlet Project in 1997. From Shan Van Vocht, January
....I developed the habit of looking around me. observing those that I brushed shoulders with in the street, in the metro and at the small restaurant where I took my mid-day meal. What did I see? Sad faces, tired looks, individuals who were burnt out by badly-paid work, but obliges to do it in order to survive, only able to offer themselves the strict minimum. Beings condemned to perpetual mediocrity, similar to one another by their dress and their financial problems at the end of each month. Beings incapable of satisfying their least desires, condemned to the permanent dreamers in front of the windows of luxury shops and travel agaents. Stomachs attracted by the 'plate of the day' and a small glass of average red wine. Beings who knew their future since they didn't have one. Robots exploited and filed, respectful of the laws more out of fear than moral honesty. The suppressed, the beaten, the slaves of the alarm clock. I was obliged to be party to this but I felt myself a stranger to these people. I didn't accept it. I didn't want my life to be regulated in advance or decided by others. If at six o'clockin the morning I wanted to make love, then I wished to take the time to do it without looking at my watch. I wanted to live without time, believing that the first constraint on man appeared when he began to calculate the time. All of those common prases of the everyday reasonated in my head ....no time to... get there in time to...saving time....wasting time...! I wanted 'to have the time to live' and the only way to do it was not to be a slave. I knew the irrationality of my theory, which was unworkable to form a society. But what was it, this socity with its fine principles and laws? Jacques Mesrine, The Death Instinct (Champs Libre, Paris 1984). A thought has conquered the planet : economy. The economy is the massive lie which claims wealth and riches to be material and that it is necessary to organise the world consequently; what importance to be more but rather to have , always to have, more. The world of the commodity is however the daily demonstration of the emptiness of the economic ideology. It is in the scope of all to state that the accumulation of commodities, far from emancipating, is rather only a source of dissatisfaction. Magically, the commodity draws us incessantly to deceieve us equally. Moments occur, which become historical where the accumulated dissatisfaction no longer finds any resolution but revolt. -Hommage Aux Fanatiques.
lettera al manifesto del 13/09 di paolo persichetti Caro direttore, le chiedo cortesemente di pubblicare questo mio breve testo, scritto in risposta al bell'articolo che Erri De Luca (il manifesto del 5 settembre) mi ha indirizzato dalle pagine del suo (o piuttosto vostro) giornale. «Ciascuno vede ciò che tu gli sembri, pochi ascoltano quello che sei». Così Machiavelli nel Principe spiega, o meglio disvela, uno dei segreti della politica intesa come dominio. Ciò che conta è apparire, mostrare, far credere, molto meno essere autentici. Una verità tanto più forte in questa epoca, dove lo sviluppo delle tecniche della comunicazione ha reso il loro uso pervasivo e il loro controllo una posta in gioco per l'esercizio del potere. L'uso dei media è uno dei moderni strumenti di governo utile all'ammaestramento delle coscienze, alla fabbricazione del consenso. Cavalieri della tv e magnati della pubblicità da una parte, Nanni e ballerine dall'altra, esprimono attraverso il loro astioso conflitto una speculare concezione di questa nuova realtà. Berlusconi possiede, i girotondi bramano rancorosi l'anziano possesso della Rai lottizzata. Entrambi concepiscono la politica come «apparire». Il premier ultramiliardario si vuole «operaio», quel groviglio di sordi interessi legati alle professioni e alle carriere dell'emergenza, si sente espressione del luogo che da sempre l'antipolitica e il qualunquismo hanno eletto come autentico, la «società civile». Hai ragione Erri, hanno bisogno delle nostre apparenze. Hanno bisogno dei nostri corpi per calzarci addosso i panni dei responsabili di sostituzione che hanno ritagliato per noi. Siamo alle conseguenze concrete del dopo 11 settembre. Vittima di se stesso, dei suoi Frankestein stragisti clonati in laboratorio e sfuggiti al controllo, l'occidente cerca colpevoli ovunque. Si è aperta l'epoca dei conflitti senza frontiere. Il nuovo diritto serve solo ad abbattere barriere, controllare territori, azzerare tutele e garanzie. Conservare privilegi ai gendarmi mondiali. Il nemico si è fatto impalpabile, agita ombre, scuote paure, per questo il ricorso a capri espiatori può avere una funzione rassicurante. E poi, molto più in basso, ci sono poltrone e carriere da salvaguardare. Dopo Napoli e Genova, dopo Bolzaneto e la Diaz, i vertici della polizia sono stati travolti dal discredito. Le polemiche sulle scorte mancate hanno bruciato un ministro degli interni e trasformato questori e dirigenti dell'antiterrorismo da inquirenti in indagati. Sotto schiaffo, le professioni della specialità e le carriere dell'emergenza hanno dovuto reagire. Da questa bassa cucina è nata la mia estradizione. Caro Erri, non provo dolore ancora meno rancore. Osservo i loro gesti come guardassi dei minerali. In fondo, hanno bisogno di noi come il vampiro ha bisogno della sua vittima, come il drogato del buco. Ma dalla loro parte c'è solo la forza triste della dipendenza priva d'ogni autonomia e potenza. Senza il collo della sua vittima il vampiro muore. C'è uno scarto che ci rende superiori. Noi non abbiamo bisogno di loro, dobbiamo solo scrollarceli di dosso. Ho letto su un giornale che il capo delle guardie pretoriane avrebbe telefonato per annunciare la mia cattura addirittura nel pieno d'una festa. Pare che abbiano immediatamente brindato e cantato. Sembrava una scena da basso impero di quelle descritte nel Satyricon. Prima di congedarmi e tornare all'allegro brusio della mia cella affollata, vorrei dire ai potenti e potentati di turno: stiamo tornando uno ad uno ma non è il caso di rallegrarvene troppo. Non scenderemo muti nel gorgo, siatene inquieti. La storia sta di nuovo accelerando. Nel caso in cui i magistrati di Roma e Bologna vogliano interrogarmi in qualità di teste, dico pubblicamente che non ho alcuna intenzione di rispondere alle loro domande. Sono loro a dover spiegare perché il sottoscritto e i suoi compagni fuoriusciti dovrebbero essere dei testimoni interessanti. Non ci sono elementi per incriminarci e quindi si ricorre a sotterfugi. Che si misurino con l'onere della prova invece di distillare vigliaccamente il sospetto. Paolo Persichetti
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