Jean-Marie Straub | My Key Dates

  I’m older than Baudelaire when he said he was a thousand years old, so: 1842. The German forest is forbidden to the poor (dead wood, mushrooms, chestnuts, etc.); it becomes a place for indus- trial exploitation. A young Karl Marx protests, costing him his position as a journalist at the Rheinische Zeitung. Winter 1942. I go ice-skating on the frozen Moselle. STALINGRAD! “Finally, the beginning of the end,” says my father. 1945. A few days before the end of the war, just to impress Stalin, American B17s bomb Dresden, one of the most beautiful German cities, twice, destroying it and…

Jean-Luc Godard’s “Militant Filmmaking”; by Irmgard Emmelhainz

Irmgard Emmelhainz | Between Objective Engagement and Engaged Cinema: Jean-Luc Godard’s “Militant Filmmaking” (1967–1974)   It is often argued that between 1967 and 1974 Godard operated under a misguided assessment of the effervescence of the social and political situation and produced the equivalent of “terrorism” in filmmaking. He did this, as the argument goes, by both subverting the formal operations of narrative film and by being biased toward an ideological political engagement.1 Here, I explore the idea that Godard’s films of this period are more than partisan political statements or anti-narrative formal experimentations. The filmmaker’s response to the intense political climate that…

Ten Lessons from the Yellow Vests

By Étienne Dolet As has happened so often in the history of social movements and revolutions, actually existing history has once again outstripped the ready-made concepts and theories that we have for understanding it. The “yellow vests movement,” which was sparked earlier this fall but clearly has much deeper roots, has left many bewildered by the lack of party or union alignments on the part of the participants, the combination of extreme left and extreme right elements, its remarkable resilience and growth since November, and its ongoing creativity and dynamism in the face of massive state repression. The anonymous collective…

The Gilets Jaunes: Understanding the resistance of an insurrection

A background analysis of the yellow vests movement, after five months of mobilisation. A return to the salient points of this long sequence of struggle: the articulation strike-blockage and economic struggle-political struggle; the centrality of democratic issues; and the prospects of Commercy/Saint-Nazaire. We propose here an abridged version of an article from the Plateforme d’enquêtes militantes (12/04/2019) that takes stock after five months of mobilisation. We have tried to highlight the elements which seem to us particularly important: the articulation between strike and blockage, as well as between economic struggle and political struggle; the centrality of the democratic stakes raised by the…

The Gilets Jaunes: Understanding the movement(s) beyond final defeat or victory

The political soothsayers and diviners will cynically proclaim the yellow vests’ movement dead: Act XXI brought less than 25,000 people into the streets this last Saturday. We however refuse to be political accountants. And rebellions and revolutions have never been about numbers, but about the intensity of the desires and creativity unleashed. And we will continue to share the movement(s)’ voices. Gilets Jaunes Victory Communique Nº 1 Victory: the anger that everyone thought was theirs to feel alone, was found to be felt by the greatest number! Victory: the yellow vests shattered in the population the feeling of despondency and…

The Gilets Jaunes: An ultimatum

In anticipation of Act XVIII (March 16) of the yellow vests in Paris. On the street, Algerian power responds with the same gas as French power, and the same gaseous speech. “It’s us or chaos” … “watch out, you’re infiltrated” … “how dare you speak on behalf of the people?”… there is a framework to express yourself: democratic elections!”, and without waiting it weaves intrigues. In Algeria too, there is talk of launching a “great national debate”. This is the basis of the counterinsurgency: to launch false debates on the one side, and a real repression on the other, and…

The Invisible Committee | Now

‘Now’ proposes a “destituent process” that charts out a different path to be taken, a path of outright refusal that simply ignores elections altogether. It is a path that calls for taking over the world and not taking power, for exploring new forms of life and not a new constitution, and for desertion and silence as alternatives to proclamations and crashes. It is also a call for an unprecedented communism—a communism stronger than nation and country.