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This article was originally published as a web exclusive for the excellent Mute Magazine at the following url.


The Return of Proletarian Post-Modernism Part II

Luther Blissett's recent best-seller, 'Q'



by Stewart Home

Q is an intricate historical novel by four Bolognan authors deploying the name of the inglorious footballer Luther Blissett. Stewart Home, a champion of 'multiple identities' who has also published under this name, detects in Q's cultural bricolage an ascending dialectical movement between rebellious practice and theory.

More than any other art form, even painting at the height of its ‘realist’ phase, the novel is tied to the rise of the bourgeois subject. It is for this very reason that fiction writing has tended to lag behind the other arts, and novels are nearly always ascribed to single authors. Indeed, that past master of bourgeois reaction, George Orwell, made books no longer being written by individuals one of the great horrors of his risible dystopia, 1984. In many arts, and only most obviously music and film, openly acknowledged collaboration is the norm and the ongoing weakness of the novel as a mode of cultural expression can be ascribed at least in part to its one-sided and pseudo-individualistic development. Well established writers tend to find it difficult to collaborate because they insist the stamp of their own style should be left on everything they touch, leading to disagreements and a lack of cohesion when they attempt to work in concert. When one or more collaborating writers find it either difficult or impossible to accept the revision by others of their contributions to a group project, it is each author’s weaknesses rather than their strengths that are multiplied. Innovative writers happily lacking a ready-made cultural reputation are in the fortunate position of being able to take a dispassionate view of those moribund artistic conventions rooted in the notion of style. Thus it comes as no surprise that the most successful recent example of a jointly effected anti-novel should be the work of ‘young unknowns’. The book is called Q and although it is attributed to Luther Blissett, the vigour of its anti-narrative is rooted in the fact that it emerged from the combined imaginations of four young upstarts who just happen to live in Bologna and scribble in their native Italian. The gulf between Q and most of the books currently dominating the bestseller list is the difference between masturbation and sex.

jim submits:

"Lacanian Anarchism and the Left"

Todd May

A review of From Bakunin to Lacan:

Anti-Authoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power

Saul Newman, (Lexington Press)

1.

The overall goal of Saul Newman's new book, From
Bakunin to Lacan: Anti-Authoritarianism and the
Dislocation of Power,
is to offer a critique of the
way power, and specifically political power, is
commonly conceived. He avoids the standard approach to

such discussions that runs through an embrace or
modification of Marx, turning instead to the more
neglected arena of anarchism and articulating it with
current thinkers associated with the term
"post-structuralism." Newman argues that what he calls

the "place of power," the idea that treatments of
power seem often to constrain it conceptually to a
certain region or type -- in effect, essentializing
power into a natural kind -- misconceive the true
operation of power. Power is, as many recent thinkers
have argued, more diffuse and uncircumscribed than
traditional progressive treatments of it, especially
Marxism, have been able to recognize.

Anonymous Comrade submits:

Change the World Without Taking Power:

  The Meaning of Revolution Today


John Holloway (London, Pluto Press  2002)

Reviewed by Thomas Guthmann


"Political power grows from the barrel of a gun." (Mao Tse Tung)
As we know from history Mao gained power in China after a long civil war, including the Long March. At the beginning of 2001 the Mexican Zapatistas marched from Chiapas to the capital Mexico City. They did not come to power but spoke in the Mexican parliament and on the Zocalo, the main square of the Mexican capital.


John Holloway is one of the theoretical backers of the Zapatista insurgency. In his new book Change the World Without Taking Power -- The Meaning of Revolution Today, he draws a picture of a new form of revolution.

jim submits:

"Samuel R. Delany, Dangerous Visionary"

Anthony Miller, LA Weekly, May 9-15, 2003


Samuel R. Delany is an author so multifaceted in his identity that he navigates, with equal grace, the disparate worlds of academic conferences and comic-book conventions. As a black, gay science-fiction writer, Delany spans both highbrow literature and underground culture -- as comfortable discussing poststructuralism and semiotics as he is fetishism and S&M. On a quiet Sunday morning he meets me in an old taproom in midtown Manhattan. Carrying a cane and stroking his flowing white beard, Delany comments on the passersby who have likened him to Santa Claus; once, he laughs, he was instead compared to Karl Marx.

nolympics submits:

"Writers as Freedom Fighters"

hydrarchist submits:

"The Ballad of Buenos
Aires"

Toni Negri (trans. Nate Holdren*)

A critique of
the Italian edition of the book Notes for the New Social Protagonism
by Colectivo Situaciones


This book speaks of
the events of the 19th and 20th of December, 2001 in Argentina, when the inhabitants
of Buenos Aires took to the streets and aimed themselves at Congress, forcing
the flight of the President, and the successive resignation of the government.
But not only that: it also speaks of before and after the insurrection, speaks
of the new political and social situation that was aimed at dividing the miltary
dictatorship of 1976-83 and the neoliberal decade (1989-1999).

Chuck Morse submits "
Chasing the Tornado

Review by Uri Gordon

Review of: The Trajectory of Change by Michael Albert Cambridge, MA:
South End Press, May 2002

Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising by Starhawk Gabriola
Island, BC: New Society Publishers, August 2002

Change the World Without Taking Power by John Holloway London: Pluto
Press, March 2002



From the spring 2003 Issue of The
New Formulation: An Anti-Authoritarian Review of Books

In the ever-ticklish relationship between practice and theory, a significant
role has always existed for what we can call, for lack of a better name, “movement
literature.” Locke’s Two Treatises, Burke’s Reflections, Paine’s
response in Rights of Man, Marx and Engel’s Manifesto, Lenin’s What
Is To Be Done and Debray’s Critique of Arms—these are only the most
famous examples of works that were deeply rooted in their authors’ concrete
political activity and which reflected and influenced ongoing processes of social
transformation.(1) Not surprisingly, the current upsurge of anti-capitalist
struggle is also accompanied by a great bulk of such literature, with the three
books reviewed here being merely a selection from the most recent crop. Two
of the authors, Michael Albert and Starhawk, are veteran American activists
and the third, Holloway is an involved academic closely following the Zapatista
rebellion. These books all convey an ongoing process of self-assessment by today’s
emancipatory networks. However, each one also displays a completely different
variant of writing-as-activism. Michael Albert’s The Trajectory of Change
adopts a very didactic approach, attempting to identify “problems”
in an allegedly unitary “movement” and sort them out. Starhawk’s
Webs of Power, on the other hand, combines very personal writing with theoretical
reflections that are only gently presented as advice to activists. While Holloway’s
Change the World Without Taking Power could just as well be written without
a coexisting struggle to address—it is an entirely theoretical work in
critical Marxism—it nevertheless captures (and will inevitably impact)
the thinking of activists who read it. Each approach, as we shall shortly see,
has telling results.

salamander writes "

We could all have gone our whole lives without knowing about tactical shopping, good thing Walmart is spreading the word. They have issued an incredibly broad letter to the ISP hosting re-code.com, demanding that the ISP shut down the re-code site, reveal the name of the person behind the site and identify any other project maintained by that person/persons. Certainly worth reading (at Re-Code.com), and the site itself is very well done.


What is Re-Code.com?

Re-Code.com is designed to stimulate discussion about the prices of products and goods as they might relate to corporate and governmental agendas. Re-Code.com does not advocate relabeling items in stores. Re-Code.com servers do not store any barcode images only the data entered by our customers which is not verified by re-code.com to be accurate. Any image of a barcode you see on your screen is generated and visible only to you the user on your local machine. The video commercial on Re-Code.com's site is a dramatization and we have been assured by the anonymous videographers that no actual items were mislabeled or mispriced during the taping of the commercial. We have received several suggestions for conceptual options for tactical shopping and re-coding. The options are discussed below.

malatesta writes "Time for Revolution, by Antonio Negri has just been published by Continuum Books. It consists of two works 1) The Constitution of Time written in 1980-1981 and, 2) Kairos, Alma Venus, Multitudo written in 1999?
Slavoj Zizek's review says: "This book is a must: it provides the proper background for Negri's widely circulated analysis of the global capitalist Empire.""

Anonymous Comrade writes:

http://www.projectcensored.org/stories/2003/defaul t.htm



Censored 2003: Top 25 Censored Stories of 2001-2002



        #1: FCC Moves to Privatize Airwaves


       


        #2: New Trade Treaty Seeks to Privatize Global Social Services


       


        #3: United States' Policies in Colombia Support Mass Murder


       


        #4: Bush Administration Hampered FBI Investigation 46 into Bin Laden Family Before 9-11


       


        #5: U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water System