riots and/or poetics [7/2020]

This racism is scattered, diffused throughout the whole of America, grim, underhanded, hypocritical, arrogant. There is one place where we might hope it would cease, but on the contrary, it is in this place that it reaches its cruelest pitch, intensifying every second, preying on body and soul; it is in this place that racism becomes a kind of concentrate of racism: in the American prisons, in Soledad Prison, and in its center, the Soledad cells.  If, by some oversight, racism were to disappear from the surface of the United States, we could then seek it out, intact and more…

Sean Bonney | Anna Mendelssohn—”Minds do exist to agitate and provoke / this is the reason I do not conform”

  If you want to find good poetry written in Britain, you have to go looking for it: with very few exceptions, it is hidden away behind a poetry of more or less genteel self-expression, metrical sentimentalities and easily digested liberal homilies that are essentially reports on police reality. But there is a vast seem of artistically and politically complex poetry also being written here, and Anna Mendelssohn, who sometimes also published under the name Grace Lake, wrote some of the best. It is chaotic, at times manic and compulsive, by turns mocking and playful, hurt and exasperated, and always…

Jacques Rancière & Philippe Lafosse | Politics and Aesthetics in the Straubs’ Films

  Jacques Rancière, Philippe Lafosse and the public in conversation about Straub-Huillet after a screening of From the Clouds to the Resistance and Workers, Peasants Monday, February 16, 2004, Jean Vigo Cinema, Nice, France     PHILIPPE LAFOSSE: It seemed interesting to us, after having seen twelve films by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet and talked about them together, to ask another viewer, a philosopher and cinephile, to talk to us about these filmmakers. Jacques Rancière is with us this evening to tackle a subject that we’ve entitled “Politics and Aesthetics in the Straubs’ Films,” knowing that we could then look into other…

Mario Tronti | “In art as in politics there is nothing other than struggle”

    Can you really be outside? This is the question I asked Mario the last time we talked (Francesco Matarrese | Greenberg and Tronti: Being Really Outside?). Today, the eighth of January, his important, extraordinary answer arrived. Now it is here, naturally, in the written struggle, in this paper.   In art as in politics there is nothing other than struggle Can you really be outside? This is the question. I answer: yes. I am. I feel I am. For sensibility, even before for reason. This world, as it is, as it is historically organized and dominated, does not…

Mario Tronti | Struggle against Labour!

  To conclude, let us go back to the beginning: to nature that is double and divided as well as opposed to labor. No longer labor contained in commodities, but the working class contained in capital. The zwieschlächtige Natur of the working class consists in being this together with concrete and abstract labor, work and the workforce, the value in use and productive work, together with capital and non-capital—hence capital and working class together. It is here that the division is already a counterposition. And counterposition is always struggle. But struggle is still not organization. It is not sufficient that…

Georges Didi-Huberman | Light against Light

    The disappearance of the fireflies—when the blinding glare of spotlights crushes the weak glimmer of glowworms in the night—is an excellent poetic allegory, a lovely “speaking image” on which to build something like a general poetics of light. This allegory has become familiar to us through the intervention of a great poet, Pier Paolo Pasolini.1 So we cannot be surprised that artists and thinkers have elevated this allegory in the field of aesthetics, and that it may lend itself as the title of an art exhibit. And yet its sole purpose is to ask, stubbornly, over and over…

Julian Murphet | “Wide as Targes Let Them Be,” or, How a Poem Is a Barricade

  The commons are what capitalism has always been committed to enclosing within its apparatus of accumulation.1 On their violently vacated place arise the motley privacies of individual contracts, rents, factories, banks, police, and all the interrelated paraphernalia of capital’s machinery of valuation and surplus. The commons themselves cannot be valued—they are beyond, prior to, value. Common land, common air, common water; but also, horticulture, animal husbandry, grain storage. The collective practices developed over millennia to harness the resources of our planet, and maximize human potentiality, form a sometimes vicious, sometimes virtuous feedback loop with the commons and dynamize their…

Stuart Hall | Culture and Power

  Interviewed by Peter Osborne and Lynne Segal   RP: How would you describe the current state of cultural studies in Britain in relation to its past? Hall: Itʼs a question of how far back you want to go, because everybody has a narrative about this and everybodyʼs narrative is different. There was certainly something  distinctive about the founding moment in the 1960s, but even during that period, when it was mainly Birmingham, the field was transformed several times by some pretty major reconfigurations; and in any case, there was never simply one thing going on at any one time….

Mario Tronti | I am defeated

  Under the soles of his shoes, you can still recognise the dirt of history. “This is all that remains. A mix of straw and shit by which we delude ourselves into erecting cathedrals to the worker’s dream.“ Here’s a man, I say to myself, imbued with a consistency that bursts through in a total melancholy. It’s Mario Tronti, the most celebrated of the theorists of Operaismo. He has only recently finished writing a book on this subject: the origins of his thought, how it has changed and what it is today. I don’t know who will publish it (I…

Mario Tronti | Our Operaismo

  While most political forms and traditions of the European left cross-pollinated freely across national boundaries, the Italian operaismo of the 1960s was largely a sui generis experience in its time. Credited with a significant intellectual impact at home—transforming Italian sociology, through its project of worker inquiries, and yielding a heady if evanescent crop of theoretical journals: Quaderni rossi, Classe operaia, Angelus Novus, Contropiano—it had less immediate reverberation abroad than the larger current around Il Manifesto, whose cultural breadth and political consistency was of a different order. A condition for operaismo’s existence was the dramatic industrial expansion of the 1950s, within a culture already deeply coloured by two mass…

Amiri Baraka | STOP KILLER COPS

Amiri Baraka (Leroi Jones) During the Newark Riots, July 14-1967 [by Fred W. McDarrah]     Shortly after the 1965 publication of his novel The System of Dante’s Hell, Amiri Baraka – then still named LeRoi Jones – wondered in an interview whether the energies he had put into writing it might not have been better used to ‘devise a method for blowing up the White House’.  Sean Bonney     STOP KILLER COPS Gun flash beats the child’s head in, maniac teeth dance in a bloody grin blue lies, badge confessions, yng dude dead just beyond his mama’s arms, In…

GWENDOLYN BROOKS | RIOT

    RIOT A riot is the language of the unheard. —MARTIN LUTHER KING   John Cabot, out of Wilma, once a Wycliffe, all whitebluerose below his golden hair, wrapped richly in right linen and right wool, almost forgot his Jaguar and Lake Bluff; almost forgot Grandtully (which is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Scotch); almost forgot the sculpture at the Richard Gray and Distelheim; the kidney pie at Maxim’s, the Grenadine de Boeuf at Maison Henri. Because the Negroes were coming down the street. Because the Poor were sweaty and unpretty (not like Two Dainty Negroes in…

Nanni Balestrini | “I write to you opposite the balcony from whence I contemplate the eternal light whose radiant fire slowly fades on the distant horizon”

At one point in ‘Blackout’, Balestrini writes, “This poem should not be published because it is a political manifesto.” The historical events with which ‘Blackout’ is concerned and toward which it is critical began with the wave of conflicts in 1968 at the universities and factories and eventually spread throughout the West. The protests culminated in the “troubled autumn” of 1969, eventually involving the entire Italian working class in strikes, demonstrations, and acts of sabotage.

M. NourbeSe Philip | from ‘ZONG!’

  Zong! attempts to not-tell the story that must be told yet can’t be told – the story of the Zong massacre in 1781 in which the captain of the eponymous slave ship throws overboard some 150 enslaved Africans in order to collect payment of insurance monies. Through fragments of words and phrases a contrapuntal rhythm of word and silence is created as the story untells itself. Multilingual, multiethnic and multiracial, the globalised universe of the slave ship is a space of extreme contraction and restriction, it is rule-bound and closely girded and guarded by the law and religion. It…

riots and/or poetics [5/2020]

the high degree of social danger inherent in the choice of implements and the method of execution / expropriations and searches proletarian fires and corruption of the public good kidnappings and sequestering of persons beatings wounds / sufficient evidence of guilt can be inferred from the laws as formulated in the index books / carried out in houses and adjacent rooms in the middle of the night / 1) the copious documentation seized or acquired above all those parts that celebrate and program the violence and the armed struggle / the final goal being the general overthrow of the existing…

Tiqqun | The Cybernetic Hypothesis

    “We can imagine a time when the machine of governance would replace — for better or worse, who knows? — the insufficiency of the minds and devices of politics that are customary today.” — Father Dominique Dubarle, Le Monde, December 28th, 1948 “There is a striking contrast between the conceptual refinement and dedication characterizing scientific and technical reasoning and the summary and imprecise style that characterizes political reasoning… One even asks oneself whether this is a kind of unsurpassable situation marking the definitive limits of rationality, or if one may hope that this impotence might be overcome someday and…

Katerina Gougou | A new translation of her book “Three Clicks Left”

Three Clicks Left: first appeared as Τρία κλικ αριστερά (Kastaniotis Editions, 1978); translated from the Greek by ΔT and JC. Here: Free May Day Book #9: Cherish x Abolish     Wage-labor capital and imperialism as the ultimate stage of capitalism betrayed revolutions Hey, comrade, we miss you so much . . . Time is worm-ridden nuclear tests, popular fronts, brothels (the Portuguese regime has fallen too) hyperproductive Catholics and the mafia have become multinationals, they forbid love, comrade. Like dogs on soccer fields agents climb our stairs anytime they want they can yank down our pants and fuck us peace…

Carla Lonzi (Part One)

Karolin Meunier ON VAI PURE BY CARLA LONZI   READING SESSION 1 AND 2. EDIT 2 How to introduce a book that I hardly know, written in a language that I do not speak? The following text is the product of two translation sessions, one with Paolo Caffoni and one with Federica Bueti, as we started to read Vai Pure (Now You Can Go), a conversation between the Italian feminist, writer, and art historian Carla Lonzi and her partner Pietro Consagra, conducted in Lonzi’s apartment in Rome 1980 before they broke up their relationship. Lonzi had used this method—that is…

Carla Lonzi (Part Two)

FINDING RESONANCES WITH CARLA LONZI Giovanna Zapperi with Federica Bueti   I am not quite sure when or how I came across Carla Lonzi’s writing. It happened in the casual manner in which sometimes one’s life changes in unexpected ways. Lonzi’s writing did not change my life, but it offered me an opportunity to reflect upon it. Lonzi’s feminist practice is a work of unearthing, undoing, and undressing that shakes up the foundation of our culture and beings. What has society made of me? Who am I? Lonzi ceaselessly questions her sense of self, the place society had assigned to…

[ACTION #3] BRITISH SOUNDS | NACH ANNA MENDELSSOHN

indem man [nämlich] aufdeckte, dass die Geschichte der Menschen, wie sie in den BÜCHERN zu finden ist, eben doch kein Text ist, welcher auf den Seiten eines BUCHES geschrieben steht; indem man nämlich entdeckte, dass die Wahrheit der Geschichte sich nicht aus ihrem manifesten Diskurs herauslesen lässt, weil der Text der Geschichte eben kein Text ist, in dem eine Stimme [der LOGOS] sprechen würde, sondern die [als solche] gänzlich unhörbare und unlesbare Notation der Auswirkungen einer Struktur von Strukturen Louis Althusser | Das Kapital lesen     Diese Fähigkeit sich durch Literatur zu verwandeln Während du mitten im Gespräch den…

Pier Paolo Pasolini | From “Transhumanize and Organize”

    Job Request Poetry made to order is a device. The device maker can produce many (only tiring himself out from the manual labor). The subject can, at times, be ironic: the device always is. Gone are the days when I, a voracious economizer, would spend everything, investing my money (a lot of it, since semen was my currency, and I always had an erection) buying up greatly undervalued sectors that would turn a profit some two or three centuries hence. I was Ptolemaic (being just a kid) and counted eternity, you guessed it, in centuries. I considered the…

Félix Guattari | Militant Incidences

  1 On the Question of “Primordial Bureaucratic States”1 Since you have asked me to elaborate on my thoughts about stylites and other dendrites, I will take a stab at laying out some of the connections here. Mystics—Coptics, Syrians and other, express their desire to return to the roots, the roots of the primordial Empire: the Ur-State (there is a wordplay like this in the book by Lacarrière).2 In their own way, they’re championing the Asiatic State. The Egyptians and the sons of Trojan warriors never could take being fucked with and eliminated by barbarians and pirates like the Greeks,…

Tom Raworth | West Wind

  the moon is blacker than the sky memories move in abandoned armour corridors of such interest of mirrors and cut glass night a few lights outlining motion a city’s blue glow spikes from shadows fanned by airbrushed fingers restarting ink with a thumb ink dried on the pen distant as walking anywhere having your own body or the thought of imagination an unlimited closed system a flooded market only intellect between you and the image past dreams a different real with body an experience there a yellow building waits description fear’s tidy lines memory’s distance you know so you…

Keston Sutherland | Free Dissociation/Logic

    pladd. (you who say either) nothing can be clear when knowing the associations are read by unread people, exposées, exposures. new poems for old. groovy. associations and world societies of interactive growth. groan. a place full of untrained actors absorbing dimensions of cradling pain securing test periods of temperature change. sewing elbes to harare, scratch luck. nothing matches the theoretical tuck. nutmeg. primus stove. raised eyebrows. work sharing. retreat into the forest. the silver conifers. the crumbs. chums. biceps & musical hairs. plaesthetics. planna vanne. plin plor plon pladverbially plodding along with a net in sturdy boots, add…

[ACTION #2] PASOLINI L’ENRAGÉ

  Dieser Film ist auf brennendes Papier geschrieben, wird Pasolini über LA RABBIA sagen / die Verknüpfung politischer Vernunft mittels poetischen Gefühls [das ein entschieden marxistisches ist]. Während sein Zorn sich gegen die täglich gelebte Normalität des Notstands [stato d’emergenza] richtet, die vermessene Ausgestaltung & Verteilung des Mangels [eines dystopischen Beschleunigungsapparates], inmitten neu aufgeputzter Mumifizierungen [Details in rosa Schaumbildung], entdeckt er die Synthese von Politik & Dichtung, also Marx & Rimbaud in der Montage einiger Bilder aus dem Afrika des »Sehers« [zeitweise ein gedanklicher Rückzugsort], der politischen Kartographie Patrice Lumumbas. Die Aufteilung des Menschen in Herr und Knecht [in der…

Justin Clemens | Just Come Now

    What’s Communism Now now that the ‘revolutionary creed’ [‘croyance’: footnote this! — J.-C. Milner, Relire la Révolution (2016)] i.e. that there were at least three (or four) (how many?!) successful REVOLUTIONS in MODERNITY [all caps.], viz., AMERICAN, FRENCH, RUSSIAN, CHINESE (surely there were more? Cuba? Vietnam? are we taking the Communards seriously enuf (all that Communal Luxury à la Kristin Ross)? and what about ‘The English Revolution’ (1641-1660) as elaborated by Christopher Hill? or even ‘The Glorious Revolution of 1688-9’ which Steven Pincus calls The First Modern Revolution? has definitively ‘fallen into’ desuetude — do we — we…

[ACTION #1] HEINER MÜLLERS INSZENIERUNG DES ‘DER UNTERGANG DES EGOISTEN JOHANN FATZER’ VON BRECHT

  Ich mache keinen Krieg mehr, sondern ich gehe jetzt heim gradewegs, ich scheiße auf die Ordnung der Welt. Schwarmstrategien [Smart Mobs] unterhalb des Radars. Die Geschichte von vier Deserteuren im Jahr 1918 [der abgerissene Sehnerv der in seinem Versteck von Revolution träumt]. Etwas das sich innerhalb der Mauern ansammelt, sprechende Wände im »Toten Trakt« / ein diffuses Glühen. Projektion: Liebknecht Luxemburg Meinhof. Jetzt kehrt sich das Leben gegen die alten Gewohnheiten. Niemand sieht jetzt / niemand kehrt zurück / als wäre der Sinn nie entfernt worden / das Gefühl die Schädeldecke müßte eigentlich zerreissen. Die bösartige Leugnung eines Virus…

Félix Guattari | Genet Regained

    Perhaps the massacres at Chatila in September 1982 were not a turning point. They happened. I was affected by them. I talked about them. But while the act of writing came later, after a period of incubation, nevertheless in a moment like that or those when a single cell departs from its usual metabolism and the original link is created of a future, unsuspected cancer, or of a piece of lace, so I decided to write this book. The matter became more pressing when some political prisoners urged me not to travel to France. Anything not to do…

Ruth Jennison | “A Whole New Set of Stars”: Poetics and Revolutionary Consciousness

  Current political conditions and conjunctures are making possible a serious reconsideration of the histories, forms, and political urgencies of twentieth and twenty-first century, left anti-capitalist poetry. The end of the Cold War has been registered in transformations of poetry and the scholarly work that attends to it at what can only be described as a glacial pace. Part of this is generational—Marxists are only beginning to repopulate the universities from which they were expelled during the McCarthyism that has re-branded itself as liberal hegemony. Likewise, poetry, so long kept restricted to the hermeticism of New Criticism, and taught largely…

Dionne Brand | The Blue Clerk

    VERSO 7 Controversy, against the turn, against the furrow I finally joined the Communist Party of Canada when it was almost at the end of its existence. Party meetings were long bureaucratic procedures where many papers were read and intense eyes directed at the people who had encyclopedic brains full of Marx and history. I joined the artists. There were artists of all kinds in the club, we were writers and painters and actors, and there were even puppet makers and comics. These meetings were possibly the most boring meetings we ever attended. None of us ever had…

Bertolt Brecht | A lesson in sabotage

    A lesson in sabotage Modifying a machine After the machine so that it won’t work without you So far improve it that you alone are good enough for it Give it a secret fault that you alone can repair Yes, alter it so that any other man will destroy it If the works it without you That’s what we call: modifying a machine. Modify your machine, saboteur!       A lesson in sabotage Sabotage, mother of the factory Just as a mother knows what she has given birth to Wakes in the night at the baby’s slightest…

Jacques Rancière | The Fraternal Image; interviewed by Serge Daney & Serge Toubiana

Originally published as ‘L’Image Fraternelle‘, Cahiers du Cinéma, nos. 268-269, part of a special issue dedicated to “Images de Marque” (July-August 1976). Source: Diagonal Thoughts     Cahiers: If we consider two films, ‘Milestones’ (Robert Kramer & John Douglas) and ‘Numéro Deux’ (Jean-Luc Godard & Anne-Marie Miéville), it seems to us that the first has a genealogical dimension that is completely absent in the second. We could say that ‘Milestones’ has a place in a history of “genres” (American cinema) while ‘Numéro Deux’ has a place in a history of “forms” (European cinema). The result is that ‘Milestones’, but perhaps…

The Power of Political, Militant, ‘Leftist’ Cinema. Interview with Jacques Rancière

  By Javier Bassa Vila Jacques Rancière’s thought is undisciplined, at least in two different but interlinked senses. On the one hand, in the 1970s Rancière suggested a reading of Marxism that broke with the dominant interpretations of the time, specially with the scientifist Marxism imposed by Althusser (see La leçon d’Althusser, originally published in 1976 and re-published in 2012 by La Fabrique – and due to come out soon in Spanish). On the other hand, the broad interest that his thought has triggered at an international level seems to be also the consequence of another in-discipline: his reflections are…

Jacques Rancière | Circuit Rounds and Spirals [from ‘Proletarian Nights’]

  ANOTHER FEVER, ANOTHER EXILE. This printer has gone back out the door he just entered: “On the fifth day we got the sinister message—nothing more to do!”1 These mishaps are frequent in the typographer’s trade, one marked by the singular fact that a day at work is not necessarily a day of work: “It is pretty much only in the printshop that one is permitted the revolting and wicked abuse of hiring people and keeping them behind bars or under lock and key, without feeling obliged to give them any work or remuneration.”2 That is the lot of the…

riots and/or poetics [3/2020]

  Lisa Robertson | The Baudelaire Fractal I’d never had an idea for writing a novel before, though I’ve been curious about the form. I’m a poet who has always loved writing prose. Essay writing and the writing of verse have been overlapping and interchangeable activities, and the shape of the sentence has always been at the core of my writing practice. This Baudelaire idea was very funny to me, and it kept opening up more pathways of inquiry the more time I spent with it. It was a way to write a bildungsroman in the feminine; it opened questions of…

artaud-theatre-du-vieux-colombier*.com

  Die wahre Geschichte von Artaud-Mômo, tête-à-tête. Als würde man ein Bild unterhalb des Augenlids verschliessen. Gewisse Dispositionen zu entziffern, die ausschliesslich Teil eines poetischen Feldes sind [weil Poesie immer Opposition ist]. Abrechnung mit denen, die ihn 9 Jahre in einer geschlossenen Anstalt einsperren //3 Jahre davon in Einzelhaft// während der Zeit seiner Internierung in Sotteville-lès-Rouen [Oktober 1937 – März 1938] systematische Versuche der Intoxikation [vergessen die 40.000 Toten //ein Index verschämter Skelette// der psychiatrischen Anstalten Frankreichs während der deutschen Besatzung]. Sozialer Vampirismus, willkürlich konstruierte Diagnosen, Elektro- & Insulinschocks, weil er sich einer Logik entzieht, die von einzelnen Elementen auf…

Sean Bonney | Notes on Baudelaire

      “I will get a map of London to see where Hackney is” – Ed Dorn “. . . left the ruins, climbed out from under the white stones” – Amiri Baraka     (((1))) — think ghost shit as a set of rooftops imposed on other systems of twitching in public. our language is also that debased. think cancer as radical nostalgia for legitimate ruins like the letter I.     (((2))) — or put it this way – the coiled voice interferes, & by the fourth day colonies of brightly flourescent cells can be seen gathering…

Sean Bonney | Poems after Katerina Gogou

        Dear Katerina, Yes I know, things are bad for us all these days. I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve disappeared over the past few months. There’s an uneasy nausea settled into the basic awareness of, well, everything. Its not even the news or the weather. Even the raw evidence of our senses – sounds of machinery outside the window, smell of diesel and gas, the elevated railway, bird-song etc – has become sinister. The sunset is a warning. The ticking of the clock a threat. Everything has combined into a pitched malevolent force…

Cole Swensen | Ghost Stories

    Sometimes the Ghost   Sometimes the ghost arrives before the body is gone and the breath which will one day white, there will be walls, or illness may be the cause and cause the ghost to crawl up inside, a bright illness, when the eyes go, and the ghost walks around looking like you, and we talk quietly, and she says things I remember your saying, but at the time they were out of context and made no sense, and now I look around the room that fits. And I walk across the room with my eyes closed…

Tongo Eisen-Martin

    Faceless A tour guide through your robbery He also is Cigarette saying, “look what I did about your silence.” Ransom water and box spring gold –This decade is only for accent grooming, I guess Ransom water and box spring gold –The corner store must die War games, I guess All these tongues rummage junk The start of mass destruction Begins and ends In restaurant bathrooms That some people use And other people clean “you telling me there’s a rag in the sky?” -waiting for you. yes- we’ve written we’ve set a stage We should have fit in. warehouse…

Rob Halpern

      On the specter of higher wages Who can explain this sudden jubilation a swing Inside the moon’s dark mood a grave from which We return at dawn so lost inside extraction -’s deal with the dead to shed tender coins my Words attach to arcade nerve a pissed elation each Emotion an adjunct to trade whose algorithms Replace my too excitable body the way machines Once replaced my dad like quant strategies they pop The flesh of surplus hands as inventory annuls night -’s predations the darkness streaming bounty’s blight I barely note the latex fibers &…

Alberto Toscano | Mayakovsky at Mirafori: Operaismo and the Negation of Poetry

  Though many of the watchwords and guiding axioms of Italian operaismo and its successors have percolated into critical discourse on aesthetic production, and multiple analyses of its intersections with visual art and architecture in the 1960 and 1970s have been advanced, little has been made of its specific approach to the question of poetics. This chapter aims partially to correct this tendency by exploring the arguments about the unhappy marriage between avant-garde poetry and communist politics sketched out in some interventions by the key literary critic and historian in the collective of militant intellectuals that made up ‘classic’ operaismo,…

Kirill Medvedev | Brecht Is Not Your Aunt [Action]

    One-Man Picket Under the Slogan, “Mr. Kalyagin, Brecht Is Not Your Aunt!”   On January 24, a one-man picket from the socialist movement Vpered, in the person of myself, took place in front of the Et Cetera Theater in Moscow. The picket was staged in connection with the premiere of Bertolt Brecht’s play, “Drums in the Night.” Not long after the start of my picket, a security guard from the theater approached me and asked what I was doing there and by whose permission I was doing it. I explained that I had every right to hold a…

Lisa Robertson & Matthew Stadler | Revolution (The Coming Insurrection)

  Introduction   How will I recognize you? The revolution is happening now, everywhere, in the bodies and faces that pass by in a blur. Our revolutionary potential is considerable. It has not been erased, so much as we have forgotten how to recognize it. Much works against us. A grotesquely swelling neo-liberal political economy blocks our potential to originate or live bountiful and joyous collective change, at any scale. What does revolution look like? This book is an attempt to teach ourselves how to see and how to be seen. The book was conceived, written, and produced in a…

Fred Moten | resistances, impromptu

    resistances, impromptu with Tania Bruguera and Fernando Zalamea’n’em   When we reverse engineered the movement, we found the moment it became the movement was the moment we stopped moving. A body politic for newly born political bodies in the drawing of one last breath by one. Pear trees full of rivers all tied up in sugar ditch; pulpit gutbucket molasses still in still, strong and good, but gone. I was born in friction, alabama. I voted for drone chalkline. I died in fraction, california. I remain a posthumous citizen. So, resist the reduction of non-meaning. Resistance in poetry…

Bhanu Kapil

    What is Ban? Ban is a mixture of dog shit and bitumen (ash) scraped off the soles of running shoes: Puma, Reebok, Adidas. Looping the city, Ban is a warp of smoke. To summarize, she is the parts of something re-mixed as air: integral, rigid air, circa 1972-1979.  She’s a girl. A black girl in an era when, in solidarity, Caribbean and Asia Brits self-defined as black. A black (brown) girl encountered in the earliest hour of a race riot, or what will become one by nightfall. April 23rd, 1979: by morning, ant-Nazi campaigner, Black Peach, will be…

Arthur Rimbaud | Vowels

      ARTHUR RIMBAUD VOYELLES A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles, Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes: A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles, Golfes d’ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes, Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d’ombelles; I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes; U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides, Paix des pâtis semés d’animaux, paix des rides Que l’alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux; O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges, Silences traversés…

Lisa Robertson

  go Venus go vernal go turning go darling by folding sky by buoyant kiss by plenty (I lie in bed and read Marx) by secret breezes twisting, contriving by boulevards by cattle by springle a springald a springet rise agile from water, go down modern to the natal turn by rapacious meetings by luminous flowers – take with you the eagerness of my submission to the proliferate material discipline also called speech as the political feeling lusts for public light by engorged rivers by populated foliage by veering campus the cry of desire a morning blackbird in the city…

José Revueltas | So that Mayakovsky’s Suicide not be Repeated

  While in Havana for a period of six months in 1961, working at a worthy task at the Cinematography Institute alongside the best youth of Cuba’s film industry, I once suggested to a small group of young intellectuals that we form a club or literary circle to debate the problems a writer must face under socialism. The circle, club, or whatever would develop from that idea, would have the following theme – theme and program at the same time: “so that Mayakovsky’s suicide not be repeated.” The idea did not prosper, although not for any weighty reason. That is,…

Paolo Javier | Fel Santos: Violent Affection

    I. Perhaps one could speak of language experiences which are an embarrassment to literature. They embarrass literature because while they are not of it, they encroach upon it. Such experiences may be as embarrassing to the encroacher as they are to those who are encroached upon. Think of Antonin Artaud, who spent his life wondering how to escape personal and public hells, and yet writes in a letter, a form we may already think of as para-literary, too intimate to be conveyed directly, “Someone who does not know depression, who has never felt the soul encroached upon by the body,…

Interior Ministry | 5 Anti-Manifests

    1. The poem operates upon the secret logic of the world Forced back to drawing boards, the impoverishment complex of Dadaist disgust. Alienism “works” on the premise that complexity is isomorphic to the void. Down a one-way street, accelerated in reverse. Larval pornographies on LSD. Necro-optimization. Crypto-singularity. The polysemy of circulation isn’t merely a concept: Even if sense is indifferent to it, the phantom collective subject shouts Sieg Heil! They built this city with instrumental nihilism. But that’s not why the lights rage in their eyes. Like the flames of Police-state crematoria. Like collapse vectors haloed by rancid ejecta. Even…

Jacques Rancière | Identifications of the People

The people has always been a double figure. At the time of the French revolution, it emerged in the opposition between subject of sovereignty and actual population: miserable people or ignorant and fanatic populace. But this duality is still much older. Aforetime the demos in Athens referred to both the sovereign people of the Assembly and the clutter of common people. Democracy is first of all a sobriquet invented by the Athenian elites to designate this inconceivable government of common people. Each time the people is declared sovereign, the same fundamental paradox, under diverse forms, makes the scene. […]

Sergei Eisenstein | Notes for a Film of ‘Capital’

October 12, 1927. It’s settled: we’re going to film CAPITAL, on Marx’s scenario—the only logical solution. N.B. Additions . . . those are clips pasted to the wall of montage. October 13, 1927. . . . To extend the line (and to explicate it, step by step) of dialectical development in my work. Let us recall: 1. STRIKE. The order—educational and methodological film on the methods and processes of class and of underground work. Whence—serial film structure and detachment from a specific place (in the project there’s a whole series of escapes, prison life, rebellion, body-searchers, etc.). 2. POTEMKIN. I’m emphasizing,…

‘JEDE REVOLUTION IST EIN WÜRFELWURF’ / EVERY REVOLUTION IS A THROW OF DICE

  ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY DAVID VICHNAR ALIENIST 7   1   Die Geschichte eines Typen der Kassiber für Pierre Goldman, Ulrike Meinhof und Toni Negri schmuggelt 2   Kein Schibboleth, das ihm nicht über die Lippen käme, ein linguistisches Chamäleon, mal Jude, dann wieder Anarchist 3   Von den ersten Gesetzen der Könige und Propheten (sowie der Gefängnisinsassen) bis in die Gegenwart sind Mauern und Wände das Fundament politischer Botschaften 4   Er glaubt an die Dichtung, aber die Dichtung ist unzulässig Im übrigen gibt es sie nicht 5   Der Text ist ohne Geheimnis Chaotisch und delirant 6  Eine…

Velimir Khlebnikov | The Law of Generations

    Autobiographical Note   I was born on October 28, 1885, in the camp of Mongolian Buddhist nomads—Khanate Headquarters in the steppe—the dried bottom of a vanished part of the Caspian (the sea of 40 names). During Peter the Great’s travels on the Volga, an ancestor of mine presented him with a goblet of coins gotten by brigandage. I have Armenian blood i my veins (the Alabors), also Cossack blood (the Verbitskys), whose special nature is evident in the fact that Przhewalski, Mikluktha-Maklai and other explorers were descendants of the children of the Sech. I belong to the place…

Aimé Césaire | Resolutely Black | Conversations with Françoise Vergès

  Césaires Relevance Today Reading Césaire today encourages reexamination of the notion of race and the role it has played in French thought. In particular, it encourages a reexamination of the place of le nègre, to use Césaire’s term, in our conception of race. French universalism vehemently rejects any attempt to distinguish groups according to their ethnic and cultural origins. In its very refusal to recognize what makes people different, this universalist position sees itself as charitable. Stripped of distinctions, everyone is equal. But history is stubborn, serving as a constant reminder that ideals often fall short, and that more…

“Ardent Hope” – Interview with Jean-Luc Godard – Cahiers du cinéma

Source: KINO SLANG   JEAN-LUC GODARD:  …we’re not going to talk about the Théâtre des Amandiers. I’ve no idea what happened there. Nicole Brenez is taking care of it. I wanted to see you, actually. It’s a bit like seeing the great grandchildren of Cahiers du cinéma. I was curious to see what became of them. CAHIERS DU CINÉMA: We were very moved, stunned even, by the film at Cannes, especially the whole ending with “ardent hope” that gave a meaning to this journey through the ruins. The entire first section on the eternal remake of war, then Joseph de…

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Philippe Sollers | What is the Meaning of the Avant-garde’s Death?

FIRST PUBLISHED: DIAPHANES How could Dante be avant-garde? Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: Mr. Sollers, for 23 years you were the editor of Tel Quel, doubtless the very last important literary review that can be considered “avant-garde.” It published some of the biggest “avant-garde” writers of its time, like Pierre Guyotat, Maurice Roche, Jean-Jacques Schuhl and yourself, as well as still-unknown academics like Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes and Gérard Genette. You also published Pierre Boulez and Jean-Luc Godard, who, like the writers and thinkers I just mentioned, were the leading avant-garde figures in their respective fields. In 1983 you left Les Éditions du Seuil,…

Nanni Balestrini | Wer das hier liest, braucht sich vor nichts mehr zu fürchten (Interview)

  Der 1935 in Mailand geborene Schriftsteller Nanni Balestrini gehört zu den wenigen, die, obwohl sie im normalen Literaturbetrieb anerkannt sind, weiterhin über die revolutionäre Bewegung der 60er und 70er schreiben. Selbst Aktivist der sozialen und Klassenkämpfe der Jahre 1968-80 in Italien, hat Balestrini alle seine Romane über die Geschichte der radikalen Linken geschrieben. Seine Bücher handeln von den Arbeiterkämpfen bei FIAT, von den Ursprüngen des bewaffneten Kampfs oder von der Jugendbewegung (Autonomia) Ende der 70er. Sein Standpunkt bleibt dabei klar, an der subjektiven Sicht der Rebellierenden rüttelt Balestrini nicht. Ihm geht es, auch wenn er nach eigenem Bekunden, „keine…

D.S. Marriott | Response to Race and the Poetic Avant-Garde + Poems

  What is “avant-garde poetry”? is a question long on answers, if short on consensus. On the one hand, the notion of the avant-garde is invariably seen as a historical category. The history of modernism and the authority of certain authors converge here in a kind of hermeneutic presumption, as if the meanings and values of both constituted readymades. The avant-garde poet emerges as a figure (invariably male, invariably white) that history and culture no longer need to put in question. But on the other hand, those European and American avant-gardes posed a question about the relation between the reading…

Walter Benjamin | The Author as Producer

    II s’agit de gagner les intellectuels “la classe ouvriere, en leur faisant prendre conscience de l’identité de leurs de-marches spirituelles et de leurs conditions de producteur. – Ramon Fernandez   You recall how Plato treats the poets in his projected State. In the interest of the community, he does not allow them to live there. He had a high idea of the power of poetry. But he considered it destructive, superfluous – in a perfect community, needless to say. Since then, the question of the poet’s right to exist has not often been stated with the same insistence;…

Devin Fore | Soviet Factography: Production Art in an Information Age (Sergei Tret’iakov)

  If facts destroy theory, then all the better for theory. —Viktor Shklovsky, “In Defense of the Sociological Method,” 1927   Any discussion of factography first has to deal with the conspicuous strangeness of the word “factography” itself, an awkward and selfconsciously technicist term coined in Russia in the latter half of the 1920s to designate a certain aesthetic practice preoccupied with the inscription of facts. Those who are familiar with contemporaneous avant-garde movements in other countries and who may also be skeptical of the early Soviet zeal for linguistic invention will wonder if factography is not simply another word…

Best Books of 2019

    Miyó Vestrini | Grenade in Mouth Those who write are not even of a race. Nor a caste. Nor a class. Nor are they one. They ruin the point of living, like women in a world of science. Behind thick lenses, the court is never dull. They have all privileges: from philosophy up to anger, passing through conjugal relations, and the length of the paragraphs. Between the rights of man it is figured that the writer should write largely for himself first, then for the others, with a purpose well or poorly defined: to flood the window displays,…

PORNO-TEO-KOLOSSAL ((nach Pasolini))

  Die Verweigerung ist schon immer eine essenzielle Geste gewesen. Denk nur an die Heiligen, die Eremiten, aber auch an die Intellektuellen. Die Wenigen, die die Geschichte gemacht haben, das waren diejenigen, die Nein gesagt haben, nicht die Höflinge oder die Diener der Kardinäle. Pier Paolo Pasolini   I.     5:11 am Nachmittag: das Gefühl, dass der Geist, das Bewußtsein wie ein Sprengsatz explodieren / ich schwöre :: die einfachsten Bewegungen des Körpers nicht mehr zu kontrollieren sind und der Blick beginnt sich um sich selbst zu drehen — Einverständnis ist eine Falle.     Zeit und Raum ineinander…

Sean Bonney | Heroes

  Heroes 1. Mustapha Khayati, I got a question. When you were writing your dictionary, did you have any sense which words might be snitches and which might be scabs. While the Eiffel Tower continues to mean what it does, sending out signals no-one could ever translate, these questions continue to matter. Mustapha Khayati, say something. Fascism does what it does without a need for language. 2. Jean Genet, if alive today, would be somewhere at the bottom of the ocean, entwined with all the other human bones. No-one would say his name. His fingerprints would be stored in an…

Pasolini on de Sade: An Interview during the Filming of ‘Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom’

  by Gideon Bachmann It is reputed that Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade, spent only 37 days, writing from seven to ten every evening, in composing his masterpiece, the unsurpassed 120 Days of Sodom, the first psychopathia sexualis ever written, and preserved only in fragmentary form. More than half of what has been left are just lists of perversions, lacking that deep sociological and political insight which characterizes most of the Marquis’s other work, and which assured him his ranking place in prerevolutionary French literature. Nobody has ever used a de Sade book as material for a film. It is therefore all…

Roland Barthes | Sade – Pasolini

  SALÒ does not please fascists. On another side, since Sade has become for some of us a kind of precious patrimony, many cry out: Sade has nothing to do with fascism! Finally, the remainder, neither fascist nor Sadean, have an immutable and convenient doctrine that finds Sade boring. Pasolini’s film therefore can win no one’s adherence. However, quite obviously, it hits us somewhere. Where? In SALÒ, what touches is the letter. Pasolini has shot his scenes to the letter, the way that they had been described (I do not say “written”) by Sade; hence these scenes have the sad, frozen and rigorous beauty…

Harun Farocki | Peter Weiss On Display (The Aesthetics of Resistance)

  We were visiting Peter Weiss in Stockholm on 17th and 18th June 1979. We talked about his work on the book The Aesthetics of Resistance. Two volumes have already been published and P.W. is currently on the third. He has been working on it for over ten years and not one sentence is unfounded. Weiss has performed an unbelievable amount of research, studied the lives of people serving as models down to the tiniest detail, and attaches great importance to visiting the scenes of the action. The film gives an impression of his work. Harun Farocki, 1979     Harun Farocki:…

Pier Paolo Pasolini | A Desperate Vitality

  I (Draft, in a cursus in present-day jargon, of what has just transpired: Fiumicino, the old castle, and a first real idea of death.) As in a film by Godard: alone in a car speeding down the motorways of Latin neo-capitalism — returning from the airport — [where Moravia stayed behind, a pure soul with his bags] alone, “racing his Alfa Romeo“ in sunlight so heavenly it cannot be put into rhymes not elegiac — the finest sun we’ve had all year — as in a film by Godard: under a sun bleeding motionless unique, the canal of the…

Athena Farrokhzad | White Blight

    My family arrived here in a Marxist tradition   My mother immediately filled the house with Santa knick-knacks Weighed the pros and cons of the plastic Christmas tree as if the problem were hers   During the day she distinguished between long and short vowels as if the sounds that came out of her mouth could wash the olive oil from her skin   My mother let bleach run through her syntax On the other side of punctuation her syllables became whiter than a winter in Norrland   My mother built us a future consisting of quantity of…

Athena Farrokhzad | A Letter to Europe

    A Letter to Europe   Europe, I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing. Europe, 260 Euro and 76 cents January, 2018. I can’t stand my own mind. Europe, when will you end the human war? Go fuck yourself with your Christ complex. I don’t feel good, don’t bother me. I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind. Europe, when will you retire? When will you take off your clothes? When will you look at yourself through the grave? When will you be worthy of your millions of guest workers? Europe, why are your libraries…

Danielle Collobert | It Then

      I met Danielle Collobert in a cafe on the boulevard Saint-Germain in March or April 1958, at which time she was not yet eighteen. We immediately spoke of the essentials: writing, death. Theses two things—or is it one single thing—seemed to occupy her exclusively and with such rigor that one felt from the outset she would proceed in this single and unique direction, that no one could divert her or deceive her as to its end. At most, out of love for her, one could hope, idiotically of course, that sooner or later she would lose track, that her…

Jerome Rothenberg | Revolutionary Propositions & A Personal Manifesto

1) I will change your mind;
2) any means (=methods) to that end;
3) to oppose the “devourers” = bureaucrats, system-makers, priests, etc (W. Blake);
4) “& if thou wdst understand that wch is me, know this: all that I have sd I have uttered playfully—& I was by no means ashamed of it.” (J. C. to disciples, The Acts of St. John)

Notes on Events ((Lamentation))

  Published by: Burning House Press (Guest Editor: Johannes Göransson)   “The language of tragedy for the Greeks is lethally factive, because the body it seizes hold of does really kill” — Friedrich Hölderlin   Without a doubt this is the most repulsive of repulsive moments :: it’s no longer enough to say :: the goal is the abolition of capitalist realism or to hammer verses on the door of a cell the way you drive a nail into a wall / when disinhibition is rampant among the elite / they engineer new humiliations daily/ & the crumbs left over…