A couple months ago I finally got a chance to see the latest Hollywood adaptation of Robin Hood (Ridley Scott, 2010). I’m not a big Russel Crowe fan, and Hollywood mega battles in the post-Braveheart era have gotten depressingly tiresome; rather, I consider it important to stay abreast of what the culture industry is doing …
I just finished dancing around my room listening to the 1995 album, Pieces of You, by Jewel, and I feel exhilirated. It was just a year ago that I was finally forced to admit my appreciation of pop music, and less than eleven months since I finally knowingly listened to a Lady Gaga song. Lately …
Hope the rising black smoke carries me far away and I never come back to this town again The gnostic priests of Capital, who wish to see in everything only their imperfect, evil God, can nail down the torrential force of romantic love within their flat cosmology by referring it to the nuclear family, which …
What could be more timeless than saying goodbye?
And what could be more proper to the present configuration of capitalism than the search for things timeless? Notions of love, family, gender, progress, and humanity are constantly presenting themselves as natural in the marketplace of ideas. Renegade intellectuals, dialecticians or postmodernists, make a game out of taking the eternal out of the timeless, such that everything is new.
Who knows what saying goodbye was like in the early days of capitalism, and earlier. What is certain now is that the very term “goodbye” conveys a sentimental finality that contradicts the lack of any finality in the physical movements built into the apparatuses of today.
A cartography of The Coming Insurrection, Tiqqun, and their Party
“I didn’t come to praise Caesar, but to bury him.”
The Emperor is missing some clothes
I want to critique The Coming Insurrection and some of the writings of Tiqqun not because I dislike these texts but on the contrary because I like them, because I find them interesting, and because they have become so popular. I focus on the weaknesses because I find their strengths to be self-evident and through this review I hope to encourage more people to read them, but in a critical way. The aura of fashion that has surrounded them encourages one to swallow these texts wholesale and uncritically, so that they become digested as a style rather than as an analysis.
We Want to Be Great Like Our Crime
The Criminal Ego and the Struggle in Society
On Isabelle Eberhardt’s “Criminal” and Renzo Novatore’s “Toward the Creative Nothing”
Quotes refer to the Eberhardt Press edition and the Venomous Butterfly Publications edition, respectively.
In “Criminal,” Isabelle Eberhardt’s memoir of land colonization in Algeria written around the turn of the last century, the farmer Mohammed Achouri cuts an interesting figure. A “tall thin old man with the face of an ascetic, his hard features set in an expression of constant preoccupation”, a quiet character who stands “a bit apart from the others”, he is not a likely hero. Though he stands out, and in fact his inability to fit in singles him out for downfall, his unheroic resistance fits well within the unheroic reality of the story; the French have colonized Algeria, and they force the people of Bou Achour to give their prime land to colonists, a double theft because the collective society of that region had never even had to buy and sell land among themselves or “resort to the system of inheritance.” They get mere pennies for their land, their complaints are rebuffed, and they have no choice but to work under the new landlords. At harvest time they watch the riches of their toil and their earth taken from them, but that night, the new barn burns down, and the harvest with it. Nonetheless, a suspect is arrested, nothing changes, and the power of colonialism continues its cruel exercises, unfazed.
What are you looking at?
A review of The Chicago Conspiracy
“We believe that the most honest position we can take is to reject any notion that a camera presents a detached and passive view of our world.”
Subversive Action Films
In Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland, one of the characters, an ex-hippy revolutionary who has dropped out of the struggle and into the Fed’s witness protection program, reminisces about her radical film collective in the ’60s, that naïvely presumed to use the camera as a weapon, turning it upon the ugly face of Authority, as though this ignition of consciousness would be enough to demobilize Power and encourage rebellion.
In their newly released documentary, The Chicago Conspiracy, the folks at Subversive Action Films have set themselves the project of surmounting the resident limitations and illusions of their medium. The Chicago Conspiracy tells of anticapitalist struggles in Chile in the years since the dictatorship, focusing on the students, battling neoliberal educational reforms; the residents of the poblaciones, struggling for the autonomy of their neighborhoods against the exclusions of capitalism and the incursions of police; and the Mapuche, fighting for their land and integrity against the continuing colonialism of the Chilean state and multinational timber corporations. The title of the film refers to the Chilean economists who studied under Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago and who utilized the brutal Pinochet dictatorship to implement their neoliberal theories on Chilean society.
Without a doubt, Anonymous has written more than any other anarchist over the last 150 years. Sometimes she uses a pseudonym and sometimes she simply leaves the byline blank; we know it’s her. But because of the perplexing diversity of pieces she has authored, it becomes impossible to offer a coherent critique of this important writer’s canon. Instead, perhaps a look at her canonality will be of use.
While I don’t wish to discount her significance, after all I share much in common with her, I feel compelled to publicize her stylistic dishonesties. What are her signature styles?
Security: Anonymous is said to be untraceable, a bit like JD Salinger.
Modesty: Anonymous rejects any personality cult and focuses all attention on the ideas and not the messenger.
Sameness: Anonymous is the Everyman, the black mask. She could be any one of us.
Theft: Anonymous opposes intellectual property. She plagiarizes and shares freely.
a review of Marianne Maeckelbergh’s The Will of the Many and Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies
Both Marianne Maeckelbergh and Linda Tuhiwai Smith are social scientists, but both identify first and foremost as members of communities in struggle: the alterglobalization movement, in the first case, and the Maori, in the second.
Maeckelbergh is an incisive thinker and concise writer, and in her debut book she handily tackles the premise that the prefigurative networks used for information-sharing and decision-making in the alterglobalisation movement constitute an effective challenge to the exclusion and authoritarianism of representative democracy. I approached her book with trepidation, wondering how an ethnography of our struggle could possibly help us more than it helps the state agencies tasked with dissecting and controlling us. Somehow, she pulls it off. The result is not a blueprint of “the movement of movements” but a theoretical deepening of our understanding of networks that can only deepen our appreciation for the ability of what we are doing right now to confront and replace the current regime.