Tag Archives: revolution

Everyone Needs To Think, So Why Snip Off

Body of Workers

On 27 May 2010, at 09:33, Billy Asperger wrote:

I follow you regarding the craps hinted in the previous message. It's true that "you can lead todays lefties around by their dreadlock hair-extensions with the smallest tug". But at the same time we easily can admit that most of the people (doesn't matter whether they are lefties or whatever) really don't give a damn about the revolution a bunch of US had been theorizing (here or there).

I think what disconcerts me about the statement above is that it seems to take for granted a division between those who can "theorize" and the working class. If you are feeling a gap it isn't an intelligence gap it's a class gap; it's not about support for radical change it's over trust and sincerity in those who claim to know better what is good and bad and their good intentions to realize it. It's not because ordinary people do not or can not understand the workings and evils of the system it's because they know them much better: "intellectuals" more than often lack real knowledge of just what it is like to be born into trapped, exploited, cheated and abused neighbourhoods.

I'm working class and all the people I work with are working class (in fact at the moment every last one of them is black working class) and I can tell you a clear and certain fact—that I have heard more genuine insight, shrewdness and sincerity from the mouths of common people than from the pens of middle class and academic "vanguards of the working class", or from the white-people-with-dreadlocks brigade who are rooted nowhere and ultimately committed to nothing as a result.

But there is nothing wrong or pointless about "theorizing", though it's a word I do not find helpful. Discussion ought to take place to try and deepen understanding of how everything works. Those who can do it should do it—and take a clearer perception of conditions back to the communities in which they live and work. Everyone needs to think, so why snip off the activity of thinking, call it theorizing and divorce it ideologically and socially from its application in daily life?

I need to add though that not a lot of what takes place on lists like this, or seminars in colleges or in all the other supposedly intellectual theatres where this "theorization" is supposedly taking place...is anything of the kind. On the contrary it seems to be a battleground where people hone and refine the very things they claim to be against; find new excuses to obscure the truth and divert others from coalescing around it. It is class war over the spectacle. It would be nice to have genuine discussion once in a while but in the absence of true common roots or listserv mediation it isn't very common.

Asperger: "People are enchanted and mesmerized by "the apparent" of the spectacle and that fucking pseudo(?) "objectivity" is good and is enough from their point of view. They feel comfortable being trapped inside the great show of appealing-consuming-producing-exploiting and so on. The spectacular society is reassuring for their simple and mechanical minds."

I can't begin to tell you just how condescending and spectacular a cliché that is. Instead I'll say something potentially more interesting. Human existence is existential: there must be something to fill the void and to structure everyday life, and there must be an ideological framework, a worldview, only within which all words, phenomena, values and beliefs acquire a place and a meaning and a value. Worldview, and all the habits that stream forth from it, is as fundamental and material a necessity as food water and air. It's the way we are made.
Therefore ultimately there is no complete distinction possible between what is spectacle and what is situation; or what is recuperation and what is detournement and so on. There are only inherited models from which to construct models. Very little truth, if any, is ahistorical; all ideas, appearances, meanings and values must exist in a perpetual war over ideas, appearances, meanings and values.

What is eternal is the wisdom of good conduct—of seeing and revealing the truth in all its partiality, of understanding the common interest of fairness and distributing needs and opportunities with equity. What is eternal also seems to be that which I call "original sin" -- the tendency to imitate and repeat evils and errors, to reiterate imperfect worlds from imperfect worlds; bad habits of mind and behaviour that not having been perceived for what they are cannot be rooted out: "karma". Thus life is not really composed of true and false images nor even right and wrong values so much as right and wrong choices. From the existential point of view, to be free means to be condemned to choose between the good and the evil within alternative possible actions—endlessly. No wonder they fall back into the provided routines, spectacles and social clichés: it is so much easier to have something that tells you what to do than to have to face each and every moment in a cosmic abyss of uncertainty.

And these "theorizations" you're referring to are simultaneously an attempt to defend an Ideology of distorted self-serving de/perceptions at war with the attempt to add and revise it with new understandings of the truth. The fact is, the "Left" (whose name itself is as spectacular a piece of nonsense as you could ever hope for) has been struggling with the contradiction between its moral outrage for the world's underdogs and the fact that the underdogs will not meekly back them up in return ever since it robbed the working class of its politics, at about the same time it started robbing rastafarians of their hair-dos, the genuinely homeless of their squatters movements and so on. All the class rhetoric and fashionware and shrunken heads by which today's radicals identify themselves have been stolen from somebody else—as if by possessing their tattoos and music, hairstyles and footwear you could somehow take power over their souls and legitimize yourselves.

But white men can't sing the blues.


SWILL: Forging Ahead, The Manus Attempt To Develop Siftology

A Rational Departure

To: sworg-talk@scenewash.org
Date: 23 Feb 2001 03:07:35 +0000


Article 8: By concentrating upon a specific technology of social control, the SI neglected to offer the People something they wanted (material incentive). All sticks need their carrots and the human race votes with its hooves. Taking some inspiration from the AAA in this matter, it is vital to provide a philosophy which strives to provide OPEN SPACES and an expanding horizon for people to live IN, (Lefebvre's contributions are important here). A PRO-TECHNOLOGICAL stance is essential, but in contrast to this necessity so-called situationists and their lackeys are more often detractors from such material innovations.

Rebunk: The use of technology must be founded on two related considerations. First of all, technology should neither be fetishized as the solution to all problems (as in the example of cyberpunk) nor demonized as the root of all problems (as in the example of primitivism). Rather it should be seen in the sense of tekhne, as prosthesis, as a tool used by humans and thus a tool whose use will always be at the mercy of human desires.

I like the way you express this and I'll try to find some way to make a use of it even though I think it skids from my intention.

There are two senses in which I am PRO technologics. First (and most important since primary) that criticism and praxis must itself become technological and scientific, NOT ideological and moralistic. This is really about a method for changing the way one thinks—for eliminating historical detritus from one's pre-existing habits of thought and categories of judgement. Other post or neo situationistic currents—such as Baudrillard—are NOT scientific, they are instead literary and moralizing. This is fine, but it is not enough not only from the point of view of praxis, but from the point of view of CORRECT THINKING and especially for correcting the thinking of others. Deconstruction is much closer to what we have in mind, but the attempt to remove the thinker from the thought (or was it the other way round?) was a misconception tending to abstraction. Matthew Manus' attempt to develop siftology is, I would say, the exact converse of abstractive deconstruction—being instead an attempt to LOCATE things with precision or to locate precisely THINGS. (perhaps I haven't phrased that well, but the definition is poignant nonetheless). My point here is not merely that we ought to think rationally, but that rational thought is all but impossible in this world and yet to promote it is in fact THE REVOLUTION ITSELF (because to be able to think rationally is itself to be in a liberated local situation and to the extent that others are capable of attaining rational thought—to be in a free world.). THis is NOT to confuse rational thought with the object of revolution, that is of ultimate human desire—it is merely to note the fact that they are inextricably woven together.

Post-situationism can neither be condemnation nor apotheosis, but continuation: not perpetuation, but a critique that understands that the interpretation and transformation of the world can only be accomplished in the same movement.
The second sense in which I am pro-technic is far more simple. Technology may realize desire. Technology is needed in order to create the SPACE (in whatever dimension one can conceive it) which is in fact intrinsic in the human instinct—the essence of our desires themselves. This contrasts neatly with part A because I am talking here about something quite irrational—something which always needs to go beyond the known and inevitable. Without this aspiration, this PROMISE, then wherever the shorter term complexities of human volition may briefly point, there can ultimately be no human enthusiasm for real change, no endurance in a cause which does not offer "Ultimate" LIBERATION—a promised land for the future race to live in. We need these carrots alright—it is the need for carrots which allows the commodity phase of capitalism to come into existence in the first place. By failing to understand the human desire for the fruits of commodity production we fail to take the initiative away from capitalism.

Reeb dit: Secondly, science and technology tend toward such a level of specialization that their practitioners often have very little knowledge of real human motivations, and their products and even the very development of these products is placed under the direction of their academic, commercial or bureaucratic masters. Technology cannot be considered separately from the transformation in human behavior that we seek.

Absolutely. A very important point which the article needs to express more clearly. Of course this is exactly what is so good about the AAA.

Article 9: Prior to dissolution, the SI specifically pointed out the necessity for its own transcendence and further development. The mumbo jumbo that the
word "situationism" is impossible was instigated by this directive. Nevertheless, what passes to day as situationist is precisely this gallerified exhibit of a dead past. The only authentic situationism is POST situationism—this fact is implicit from the very beginning, in the directive to adapt dynamically and perpetually to circumstances, ideas and opportunities.

Reeb dit: Situationism can only refer to the IDEOLOGY that arose in the wake of the SI's dissolution. It is that ideology which clings to outdated practices and assumptions rather than to a specific theoretical methodology, that is to say that it prefers endless degraded repetitions of a once radical critique to the practice of the development of that critique. Post-situationism can neither be condemnation nor apotheosis, but continuation: not perpetuation, but a critique that understands that the interpretation and transformation of the world can only be accomplished in the same movement.

Bloody great matey. We'll stick that bit in fer sure. Okay any more? any more?

PS. Me rash has subsided somewhat but I honestly dont think my poor old john is ever going to be quite the same again. No erectile disfunction you understand—which just adds insult to injury : A sex-change looks like the only real way-out. I expected better things from all that emu oil—maybe them was Texas emus and not real ozzy emus.




The Ypsilanti Rag

Bob Black

The sad fact that nearly everyone in this pool of bottom-feeding sharks is out to make a mark of somebody else, a trophy guaranteed to grab him some still bleeding slice of what we now derisively call blood fame continues to baffle us all who are in the business of pulling back the curtain to not only see what is real, but to name the enemy among us, so as to bring him safely ashore, not to erect our own personal monument to bitterness, acrimony and vile passions. Money and prestige seem to diminish next to this new sport where the very act of attacking others is much more satisfying that any money or prestige that comes of such an attack. I realize that among these types "artistic description" and "ad hominem attack" will be confused and the entire topic ridiculed by the same sharks who indulge in the latter as if earning himself another blaze of bars to flag his identity crisis. Incapable of any artistry, this sort of writer does what he does best, criticizes or ridicules others without resort to facts or context—merely to boost his own distorted sense of honor, humor, and hubris. This is not Oedipus. There is no killing the father here, no whispering about the emperor's nakedness, just self-deluding vulgarity delivered cold.

...curiouser and curiouser. Stewart Home and Bob Black have, if I recall correctly, a big fight going over some comments of Home's to the effect that Debord's intro. to a Polish (?) edn. of SoS smacked of fascism, backed up (rather dubiously) by the 'fact' that Debord was cited as a hero by a Russian right-winger... All this was reported a year or so ago on the Jefferson Village avant-garde list.

That's Bill Brown (NOT BORED!), not Bob Black. And here's the text of Stewart Home's "Open Letter" reply...which will soon be posted at the SI Archives. —Spud

Thanks Spud for the Bill Brown clarification. But there is indeed a Bob Black, who's most recent claim to infamy was ratting out Jim Hogshire after the latter alledgedly pulled a shotgun on Black after a heated argument in Hogshire's Seattle apartment. Hogshire had outstanding drug-manufacturing warrants on him, so he landed in jail, if only temporarily, while he did lose his relationship with his publisher in the deal. Of course the events have been rabidly discussed on the radical gossip circuit for months, all with the typical frolic through clarification and reclarification of facts, rebuttals and retractions, monkeyshines and namecalling. My source was again Bracken via a copy of an ugly little newsprint rag out of Ypsilanti called POPULAR REALITY. True to the cliquish nature of hero worship and friends on the give and take, and despite a line in one of Bracken's situ novels which reads, "We hear of poets snitching to the cops and calling themselves prophets..." Len still talks in high admiration of this Black fellow, whom I have never met, while Hogshire is aired with relative indifference, whom I also have never met, and is only a name in a story I once read in an ugly rag.

>>what have we learned these past few days? me, i have basically decided that
>>situationism can not be revived.

Well, Tim, I learned a few details about certains books that may interest me simply because I am a bleeding bibliophiliac with a penchant for useless and pointless knowledge. I too have had confirmed what I've known all along and that is "revolution, who needs it?" is about as close to a cult slogan as I would ever want to shout in a crowded street, or out a moving vehicle (another Bracken antic) and because of all the spare change I can pocket on the issue of revolution for its own sake I still agree with Sam's signature quote. To paraphrase: a good mind is a terrible thing to waste in a crowd, and I might add, especially a crowd of hardliners who betray the very peace, love, and understanding they would rant at strangers and loved ones alike, by their actions. I'm living proof of that. Despite my best intentions I become a complete asshole in a crowd...

Look at it this way: revolution is not a plan, it's a spontaneous combustion.


Nostalgia In A Bag

Nostalgia In A Bag

Originally published on September 30, 1996

Friday's notes were written under the influence. Starting drinking about one thirty or so in the sunny after effects of too much joy, always a reel for me—forgive the stilted demagoguery, the whining, and the bitch.

Yesterday the Dollhouse gang was spent in a Australian/punk rock retro-feast. First Perry Farrell's GIFT (a crippling celebration of drug mania and rock music), then two Australian flicks. Blumstein joined Tim, Libra and I for these last two flicks: the "skinhead is stupid" (no arguments here) film called ROMPER STOMPERS where this racist gang of onionheads pretty much self-destructs after picking on some innocent Vietnamese and carry forthy until they run the gamut of such a tiny war against nothing. And from the Dollhouse vault, DOGS IN SPACE, another look at the uselessness of it all, not that ANY lifestyles, alternative, square, patriotic, fetishistic, traditional, mail order, fuddy duddy or mistletoed guarantee anything less humiliating than the chaos and oppression of fighting the nature this planet reflects. But all this energy that goes into rebellion...

You'd think by now somebody would have figured out that revolutions of the masses is a stroll in the park in peace, not some flaming pipebomb in one's own pocket. Every backyard connects to somebody else's. Youth rebellion as fashion statement. Radical man, burning man...

Mimicking medieval fashion, mimicking God. Nothing seems to change the way arrogance, greed. stupidity, and pain work their generational black magic across every demographic slice ever evolved, calculated, or found in chains on their way up, or on their way down. The rich just USUALLY have a better back-up plan. The hope of billions is a hope based on a madness only the mirror on the wall seems to hide as each of us stare into it murmuring for old time's sake, "Who is the fairest of all?"

We ordered Chinese last night from the old reliable Sechezuan House on Eighth. Been ordering from there I reckon near monthly over a satisfying 12 years of whimsy and fortune cookie analysis. There were no surprises, just good dependable eats. Managed to track into Rio Grande's on Wilson Blvd. Saturday afternoon on our way to Microcenter to play the Macintosh fiddle plus return a German translation program I bought the week before but later thought better of the expense. This is no exaggeration. Rio Grande's is the absolute finest Mex American diner I've ever experienced. A jazzy colorful place with a killer ambiance meshing art and leisure, a winning combo which lobbies the nostrils and flotillas the eyeball for days! Most excellent service staff, handpicked smiles polite to the teeth. A wolf's rack of marinated ribs, fajitas, salsa, nachos...the whole enchilada.

The funniest part was we barely touched our entrees on site, stuffed to the gills on the nacho platter, but the pedigree of the establishment is no longer a well-kept secret. I loved it!

The Pennsylvanian YAST is on the wane around these parts. Both literarily and personally. Nothing I can do about that. The speculative prowl. The beckoning howl. Strong incentives to blow off the streets and into the wind of better things I figger he is thinking. Girls in pearls beat guys on sighs as any decade can prove. Friends are like coffee for two, or nostalgia in a bag. Cost more than you'd expect, and somebody's bound to be disappointed with the flavor of the month. Meanwhile, the aphrodesiac of appearances is a one-way street no prejudice can navigate without some measure of success.

After a week on the back burner avoiding a few web problems I'm back to the grind today.

Libra's grandmother was rushed to the hospital with internal bleeding this weekend, postponing her son Richard Waller's visit to the Dollhouse planned since spring for the upcoming weekend, indefinitely. She's 90 plus, 95% blind, and won't see her regular physician until today. Get well soon, Mommy Ethel!