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Alexandra Kollontai’s Many Lives | by Michele Masucci

  In Alexandra Kollontai’s own words, she lived many lives.1 Her life, brimming with events, relationships and disillusionment, is fascinating in itself. Reading Kollontai means tracing the life of a revolutionary through the numerous books, pamphlets, articles, speeches and actions that she took part in organising. We may differ with Kollontai on many of her choices, yet it is critical to contemplate the difficulties one always faces in being part of a movement with the passionate goal of forming a better world. Kollontai lived many lives surrounded by many loves, the greatest one perhaps being the 1917 October Revolution, which…

Heiner Müller | MOMMSEN’S BLOCK (for Félix Guattari)

      What authorities are there beyond Court tittle tattle (Mommsen to James Bryce, 1898)   The question why the great historian Did not write The fourth volume of his HISTORY OF ROME The long awaited one about the imperial era Has preoccupied the historians who followed Good reasons are in supply Preserved in letters hearsay speculation The dearth of epigraphs He who writes with a chisel Has no manuscript The stones do not lie No reliance on literature INTRIGUE AND COURT GOSSIP Even the silver fragments Of the laconic Tacitus merely perusals for poets For whom history is…

riots and/or poetics [6/2022]

  Nathalie Quintane | TOMATOES + Why doesn’t the far left read literature? (Kenning Editions) a poetic of montage + détournements. the piecing together of heterogeneous elements to arrive at new connections. to destabilise habits. to blur the boundaries of different genres. illuminating public discussions from remote, radical angles. the attention to new forms of coexistence. of social uprisings + a linguistic dissent. collective voices. the words + banners of political movements, the pamphlets. the minorities [who are constantly in the majority]. the restless revenants. an apparent continuity of uprisings. l’affair de tarnac, la ‘jungle’ de calais + notre-dame-des-landes. instead…

Vanessa Place | VENTOUSES

  A small iron chair on a small iron platform, the chair, and some surrounding air, encased in a cupping glass. This is the image of home. This is the image of summary justice. Note that there is no image. The theme of the 2007 Venice Biennale was “Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind.” Embroidering upon this oddly Cartesian notion, director Robert Storr explained that the year’s art was about the “immediacy of sensation in relation to questioning the nature and meaning of that sensation, intimate affect in relation to engagement in public life, belonging and dislocation, the…

die unsichtbaren verhältnisse

they say i was having a wank in the royal parks. gunfire is a streetplan, i say. so is marx. so the type of equations they call pistol-whips. sean bonney     im juni 1935 kurz nach mitternacht, als ein großteil der delegierten die riesige salle de la mutualité bereits verlassen hat, trägt paul eluard auf dem »internationalen schriftstellerkongress zur verteidigung der kultur« in paris, eine von andré breton verfaßte rede vor. es wird eine abrechnung mit einer zusehends degenerierten politik der kommunistischen partei frankreichs, die zu einem hilfstrupp der udssr und des stalinismus verkommen war und sich von dem…

Jack Spicer | After Lorca & A Fake Novel About The Life of Arthur Rimbaud

  AFTER LORCA   Dear Lorca, These letters are to be as temporary as our poetry is to be permanent. They will establish the bulk, the wastage that my sour-stomached contemporaries demand to help them swallow and digest the pure word. We will use up our rhetoric here so that it will not appear in our poems. Let it be consumed paragraph by paragraph, day by day, until nothing of it is left in our poetry and nothing of our poetry is left in it. It is precisely because these letters are unnecessary that they must be written. In my…

dreaming of one thing [subversive chronicle]

  i said endurance has its limits people are made of flesh and bone / i spoke about the stalinists and the method of executing the very best as traitors / who died screaming long live the party! / sifis said / the statement is only the beginning. then they will ask who are your friends. / then where do they live.    katerina gogou   i believe at heart that one must not be an accomplice to lies and compromise, the contemporary artist must scream out their revolt and make understood that we live in an unbearable, cruel, and…

ACTION #5 [THE POET AS PRODUCER] & ACTION #6 [THE BUSINESS OF MR JULIUS CAESAR AFTER BRECHT OR THE MIGRANTS OF REGGIO CALABRIA]

  “Poetry has to be made by everyone, not just one.” [Lautréamont]   The “interruption” is a process of shaping, i.e. the political function of separating causalities [certainties of everyday life / political life] from one another. Like Brecht’s theory of the alienation effect, which is used in epic theatre [non-Aristotelian, because empathy is a suggestion]. How assembly in the Arcades Project is not only used as a turning point, but also as a construction principle. In 1934 Benjamin wrote the essay “The Author as Producer” for the anti-fascist writers’ conference at the “Institut pour l’étude du fascisme” [the text…

Georges Didi-Huberman | Hells? (On Pier Paolo Pasolini)

  Well before he described the great light of Paradise shining out in all its eschatological glory, Dante decided to reserve a quiet but significant fate, in the twenty-sixth canto of the Inferno, for the “tiny light” of those glowing worms, the fireflies. The poet is observing the eighth bolgia of hell, a political bolgia if ever there was one, since we can recognize a few eminent citizens of Florence gathered there, among others, all under the same condemnation as evil counselors. The entire space is scattered—constellated, infested—with small flames that look like fireflies, just like those that people see…

Comte de Lautréamont | Poésies

  I replace melancholy with courage, doubt with certainty, despair with hope, evil with good, lamentations with duty, scepticism with faith, sophistry with the indifference of calm, and pride with modesty.     I THE POETIC whimperings of this century are nothing but sophistry. First principles should be beyond argument. I accept Euripides and Sophocles; but I do not accept Aeschylus. Do not manifest toward the Creator a lack of the most elementary conventions and good taste. Cast aside disbelief: you will make me happy. Only two kinds of poetry exist; there is only one. A far from tacit convention…

Michael Löwy | Incandescent Flame: Surrealism as a Romantic Revolutionary Movement

  What is romanticism? Often it is reduced to a nineteenth century literary school, or to a traditionalist reaction against the French Revolution—two propositions found in countless works by eminent specialists in literary history and the history of political thought. This is too simple a formulation. Rather, Romanticism is a form of sensibility nourishing all fields of culture, a worldview which extends from the second half of the eighteenth century to today, a comet whose flaming “core” is revolt directed against modern industrial civilization, in the name of some of the social and cultural values of the past. Nostalgic for…

Michel Leiris | Jean-Arthur Rimbaud’s Adventurous Life

  I cannot imagine what poetry might be, if not a manifestation of a person’s essential revolt against the absurd laws of this universe he finds himself thrust into despite himself. Some people will exhaust themselves in jeremiads over the sadness of life, but this is not true revolt: the melancholy that gnaws at them does not bring with it any desire for destruction. Others will make a systematic attempt to destroy every notion in their minds that might push them to act: since any action, they believe, presupposes a minimum of optimism, a certain pragmatism by which a thing…

Sergei Tret’iakov | Art in the Revolution and the Revolution in Art (Aesthetic Consumption and Production)

  Tret’iakov published the following essay in the Proletkul’t journal Gorn [The Forge] during a period of close collaboration with the mass organization’s Moscow group, where he held leading positions in both its theatrical and literary divisions. The text explores a variant of Lef production art that has been reconjugated using the theories of one of Proletkul’t’s founders, the scientist, author, and cultural theoretician Aleksandr Bogdanov. Even though Bogdanov had been forced from the political stage by the early 1920s and consequently could not be mentioned by name in Tret’iakov’s “Art in the Revolution,” the 1923 essay is nevertheless Bogdanovite…

Elsa Dorlin | To Be Beside of Oneself: Fanon and the Phenomenology of Our Own Violence

  O my body, make of me always a man who questions! —Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)1   Pathogenic Subjectivity Commentary on Frantz Fanon’s oeuvre tends to consider The Wretched of the Earth, published in 1961, as the work that breaks with the Martinican thinker’s post-slavery analysis, which was developed nine years earlier in his first book, Black Skin, White Masks. Some say that Fanon’s point of view radicalized during this period: with an imminently independent Algeria, Fanon abandoned the socio-psycho­analytic point of view which he had elaborated in order to theorize post-slavery French society. If The Wretched of the Earth privileges a political style,…

der traum von einer sache [subversive chronik]

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[ACTION #4] MASSLESS COUNTERPOETICS

“I’m in no hurry, I’m not choking, I’m not destroyed, I’m not buried, I’m not surrounded, I’m not destroyed, I’m breathing.” [Christophe Tarkos]   May-June 1886. La Vogue magazine publishes Rimbaud’s Les Illuminations. The poem “Démocratie” [written after the suppression of the Paris Commune] details the stifling colonialism, the unreasonable demands of capitalist conditions [the ice-cold laws of traders], & the slaughter of the revolts that logically follow. June 1872. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx & Engels report on how the Pope, the French right [including the neoliberals] & the German police are all busy hunting down the “spectre of…

Best Books of 2021

    Nanni Balestrini, Primo Moroni | The Golden Horde. Revolutionary Italy, 1960-1977 Translated by Richard Braude [Seagull Books] The Golden Horde is a definitive work on the Italian revolutionary movements of the 1960s and ’70s. An anthology of texts and fragments woven together with an original commentary, the volume widens our understanding of the full complexity and richness of this period of radical thought and practice. The book covers the generational turbulence of Italy’s postwar period, the transformations of Italian capitalism, the new analyses by worker-focused intellectuals, the student movement of 1968, the Hot Autumn of 1969, the extra-parliamentary groups…

Furio Jesi | The Suspension of Historical Time

  Andrea Cavalletti The text we are presenting here, “The Suspension of Historical Time,” is drawn from the book Spartakus: Simbologia della rivolta, which Furio Jesi wrote between 1968 and 1969. Jesi was born into a partly Jewish family in Turin in 1941 and died in Genoa in 1980; despite this early demise, he was one of twentieth-century Italy’s most important and original thinkers and essayists. A true enfant prodige, he got his start as an Egyptologist when he was barely fifteen. In the early 1960s, he turned to the study of mythology and the science of myth, or rather,…

“PORNO-THEO-COLOSSAL” [[AFTER PASOLINI]]

    Refusal has always been an essential gesture. Think only of the saints, the hermits, but also of the intellectuals. The few who have made history were the ones who said no, not the courtiers or the servants of the cardinals. [Pier Paolo Pasolini | “We are all in danger”]   I. 5:11 in the afternoon: the feeling that the mind, the consciousness, is to explode like an explosive device I swear :: the simplest movements of the body can no longer be controlled & the gaze begins to turn around itself – consent is a trap. Time &…

A SMALL POETICS OF INSURRECTION

My book “A SMALL POETICS OF INSURRECTION” is now available:  ALIENIST MANIFESTO ((PDF and/or paperback edition)). “A dialectical poetics of radical history that asks what kind of resistance & poetry are possible under conditions of capitalist repression, if we do not simply want to return to everyday life? Synthesizing documentary poetics (the lives of George Jackson, Rosa Luxemburg, Brecht, Benjamin, Pasolini, Anna Mendelssohn, Vallejo, & others) with the capitalist alchemy of surveillance & repression, [A SMALL POETICS OF INSURRECTION] tracks the processes with which those in power react to the social struggles of political movements & the works of revolutionary…

Juan Gelman | Poetry Forever

    THE POEMS OF JULIO GRECO POETRY FOREVER to juan carlos onetti poetry ought to be created by all and not just by one / he said such things can only be said by a frenchman / a cripple / who was implicated in the paris commune who knows how / and no one knows whether he died or couldn’t / everyone remembers when he would play the piano until the wee hours of the soul / bothering the neighbors who had to go to work the next day / who’d leave their homes badly rested / reflecting on…

AFTER THE DEATH OF NANNI BALESTRINI [by Raúl Sánchez Cedillo]

  Nanni Balestrini passed away on 20 May 2019, at the age of almost 84. Writer and poet, revolutionary activist, visual artist, publisher. Now the necessary task begins of collecting and publishing a vast and varied body of work, hardly known to the wide majority of people who follow literature, poetry, design and performance art. More than simply being Italian, Balestrini was a Milanese character. It will be difficult for us to understand his trajectory if we do not take into consideration the importance of Milan during the republican postwar period, the city we see in Antonioni’s The Night, industrial…

Georges Didi-Huberman | The Supposition of The Aura: The Now, The Then and Modernity (Walter Benjamin)

Walter Benjamin and History Edited by Andrew Benjamin Continuum 2005  

Lyn Hejinian | From ‘Positions of the Sun’

The book pivots around the disorientation of the “aesthetics of minutiae, with their promise of infinitude”; a pointed and inconclusive protest against an “awareness of orders of magnitude that include atrocity, war, capitalism , and perhaps—though it may be mortality’s saving grade—death.”

Interview with Pierre Guyotat [Pierre Testard / Gwénaël Pouliquen, April 2020]

    INTERVIEW WITH PIERRE GUYOTAT (The White Review / Contributor: Pierre Testard, Gwénaël Pouliquen / April 2020)   There seems to be a general consensus about Pierre Guyotat: barely anyone reads him. Those who do read him agree that his is an important body of work. His sensational 1967 novel, TOMBEAU POUR CINQ CENT MILLE SOLDATS (published as TOMB FOR 500,000 SOLDIERS in 2003 by Creation Books), his third book, came out when he was 27. Fashioned by his experiences in the Algerian War, where he was stationed with the French army from 1960-62, it presented the motifs that became recurrent in Guyotat’s…

Nanni Balestrini | No Tears for the Roses

  1. halfway in the dark i n the dense fores the tree pre fers the cal m but the wind doesn’t let up the struggle of the revolutionary is to eliminate the of the class system it’s an ob jective fact it’s in dependent of the will of mankin overthrown the ideo logical power of the bourgeoisie the situation is peace ful in Turin after the sixteen h ours of guerilla warfare yes terday today everything must be subordinate to the trees make a lot of noise at the definition o f a strateg fiat did not invent a…

Katerina Gogou | AND THAT’S HOW I’LL GO AWAY

  I walk. I walk. I walk. With the pockets on my wooden overcoat all stitched-up. I walk repeatedly. Repeatedly I walk. I carry nothing. I have nothing to hide I have nothing to stick my hands in I walk with my hands in the rain on a silken rope — an umbilical cord — that connects heaven and earth what’s above with what’s below. I go on with short-circuited searchlights with no safety net under me. I walk absurdly in inverted logic but righteous and decisive to put into practice all I have thought about to put into practice…

riots and/or poetics [5/2021]

Thus ’77 saw a flaring up, a quotidian generalization of a political and cultural conflict with ramifications for every part of society, exemplifying a conflict that had taken place throughout the 1970s, a fierce conflict both between classes and within the class, perhaps the fiercest seen since the Unification of Italy. Forty thousand criminal charges, 15,000 arrests, 4,000 people sentenced to a thousand years of prison—and then there were the deaths and the hundreds of wounded on both sides. There is no doubt that these figures cannot be considered merely the result of some risky, crazy plan dreamt up by…

Carla Lonzi’s Self-Portrait | A conversation with Allison Grimaldi Donahue & Teresa Kittler

  In 1969, the Italian art critic and feminist Carla Lonzi (1931-1982) authored Autoritratto (Self-Portrait) using the transcripts of interviews conducted with fourteen prominent artists living in Italy: Carla Accardi, Getulio Alviani, Enrico Castellani, Pietro Consagra, Luciano Fabro, Lucio Fontana, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Nigro, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Mimmo Rotella, Salvatore Scarpitta, Giulio Turcato and Cy Twombly. Overlooked for many years, Autoritratto’sexperimental unravelling of traditional art criticism has garnered increasing attention since its republication by Et al./Edizioni in 2010. It was, however, Lonzi’s final work as an art critic; after its publication she renounced the art world, co-founded the collective Rivolta femminileand wrote a…

Claire Fontaine | 1977:The Year That Is Never Commemorated

  “It’s not enough to denounce the lies of the power, we need to denounce and break also the truths of the power. When the power tells the truth and it pretends that it’s something natural, we must denounce what is inhuman and absurd in this order of reality, which is reproduced, reflected and consolidated by the order of speech. We must unveil the delirious aspect of the power.   Let’s pretend to be in the place of the power, let’s speak with its voice, let’s emit signals as if we were the power with its tone of voice. But…

Mark Nowak | Social Poetics (An Introduction)

    Langston Hughes, no doubt reflecting on his own wide-ranging political activities in and beyond Jim Crow America during the first half of the twentieth century, once described what he felt to be a central difference between the “social poet” and those poets who were more exclusively concerned with aesthetics and craft: “I have never known the police of any country to show an interest in lyric poetry as such. But when poems stop talking about the moon and begin to mention poverty, trade unions, color lines, and colonies, somebody tells the police.” Hughes’s crucial essay, published in W….

Joshua Clover and Chris Nealon | The Other Minimal Demand

    Chris Nealon I thought I’d begin with some thoughts about our original proposal for this volume. I was thinking about our overlapping but non- identical points of entry to the question of poetry and politics. I mean I’m basically a humanist, and you’re pretty committed to a version of anti- humanism. But when it comes to poetry, neither one of us really believes in an a priori politics of poetic form, where radical juxtaposition, or parataxis, or deliberately damaged fluency necessarily translates into solidarity or action. Neither one of us believes in a special leadership role for poets…

Anna Mendelssohn | the fourteenth flight

  two secs for vera tolstoya   if this holds & goes no further could belief be a fine sudden reading jam each other wasps and needing what in others proven letters, papers, microfiche, secretaries, maids, mansions and a bulldog mourning nureyev, and would not take his spirit for a scathing word or two on his not dancing for the colonels where culture leads us to can we care or is that too a dangerous interview i despair & in the world preferring to scribble pieces of sapphire utterly irresponsible to all political programmatists uncaring of who but a heap…

Alain Badiou | The Four Principles of Marxism

  […]   What do you retain as essential of the thought of Marx for thinking the present period politically? What has been and what is today your conception of communism? For me, communism resides in the final instance in four principles, established and legitimated by both the Marxist theoretical analysis of human societies and by the militant heritage of Marxism throughout the last two centuries. These principles are all concerned with the possibilities of transformation of what constitutes, for at least five thousand years (since the formation of the Neolithic Era), the principle of class in human society. First,…

riots and/or poetics [1/2021]

A Reading List Galina Rymbu | Life in Space (Ugly Duckling Presse). Can poetry be a revolutionary practice? Under what conditions can poetry trigger change? In All The King’s Men, Guy Debord states: “The point is not to put poetry at the service of revolution, but to put revolution at the service of poetry.” As a political activist, Rymbu participated in the 2011-12 protests for fair elections during her time at the Moscow Gorky Literature Institute. The street is still the place where the anti-capitalist fights, the struggles for a better life take place. The poems of the cycle White…

Keston Sutherland | The poetics of ‘Capital’

  A year before the first English edition of Capital was published under his supervision in 1886, Engels issued a brief polemic against the pretensions of anyone reckless enough to think that this great work could be translated into English by a mere amateur man of letters. The target of the polemic is Henry Mayers Hyndman, identified in the essay by his pseudonym John Broadhouse. After reading the French translation of Capital in 1880, Hyndman had published in 1881 a short book, England for All, two chapters of which were so thoroughly plagiarized from Marx’s work that they in effect…

Best Books of 2020

  Galina Rymbu | Life in Space (Translated by Joan Brooks) To be political, poetry does not have to turn into advertising, advocate for parties or platforms. Poetry becomes political when it represents the world as having a nature that is not “natural,” but rather negotiated, an Indra’s net that is political, social, and economic; made up of contingencies, and having to do with power—mainly of people over people—which is buttressed by ideology first and coercion second. A poetry that represents the world as political is political. It is also secular. A poetry that represents the world as immutable is…

Carla Lonzi | Let’s Spit on Hegel

  The feminine problem is the relationship of any woman – deprived as she is of power, of history, of culture, of a role of her own – to any man: his power, his history, his culture, his absolute role. This problem calls into question the whole of man’s work and thought; man who has had no awareness of woman as a human being on the same level as himself. In the eighteenth century we demanded equality, and Olympe de Gouges went to the scaffold for her Declaration of the Rights of Women. The demand for equality of women with…

ANNOUNCING TRIPWIRE PAMPHLET #8: PETER BOUSCHELJONG | THE PROCESSES, A FACTOGRAPHICAL PROEM

Announcing Tripwire Pamphlet #8: The Processes, a factographical proem, by Peter Bouscheljong, translated by David Vichnar, Louis Armand & Tim König. A dialectical poetics of radical history that asks what kind of resistance and poetry is possible under conditions of capitalist repression, if we do not simply want to return to everyday life? Synthesizing documentary poetics (the lives of George Jackson, Luxemburg, Verlaine, Pasolini, Anna Mendelssohn, Dalton, Vallejo, and others) with the capitalist alchemy of surveillance and repression, the long “proem” tracks the processes with which those in power react to the social struggles of political movements and the works of revolutionary poets, who strike back into a…

ARTAUD-THEATRE-DU-VIEUX-COLOMBIER*.COM

  The real story of Artaud-Mômo, tête-à-tête. It’s like closing a picture under the eyelid. Deciphering certain dispositions that are only part of a poetic field [since poetry is always opposition]. Settlement with those who imprison him for 9 years in a penitentiary // of which 3 years in solitary confinement // during his internment in Sotteville-lès-Rouen [October 1937 – March 1938] systematic attempts at intoxication [forget the 40,000 dead // an index of shy skeletons // of the French psychiatric institutions during the German occupation]. Social vampirism, arbitrarily constructed diagnoses, electro- & insulin-shocks for resisting any logic that allows…

Alain Badiou | ‘We Have to Break Bourgeois Right’

  In June 2017, Alain Badiou was invited by the ‘Conséquences’ seminar to give a lecture with the title ‘What does a politics outside the state involve?’ The written text was subsequently published by Fayard. Three comrades spoke with him in a preparatory discussion for this lecture; the following text is a partial transcription. Taking stock of the uprisings of recent years on a world scale (from Greece to Egypt, as well as France), Badiou observed that a stumbling block everywhere is the absence of a strategic hypothesis on the question of the state, capable of overcoming the impasse of…

Esther Leslie | Elective Affinities: The Hunched Man, the Old Man and B.B.

  Meshwork The relationship between Benjamin and Brecht has often been assessed, including, most notoriously, the charge from both Adorno and Scholem that Brecht’s »exotic« influence was »disastrous« or »catastrophic« for Benjamin’s theorizing. Somewhat more rarely have Trotsky and Benjamin been brought together. Victor Serge in ‘Memoirs of a Revolutionary’, written in Mexico in 1942-1943, brings the two names into a constellation, suggesting the connection between Trotsky and Benjamin to be something more than coincidence, and rather more epochal: »… the poets Walter Hasenclever and Walter Benjamin commit suicide. Rudolf Hilferding and Breitscheid are carried off out of our midst…

Nathalie Wourm | Poetic Sabotage and the Control Society: Christophe Hanna, Nathalie Quintane, Jean-Marie Gleize

Parallels can be drawn between Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s concept of “minor literature” and the artistic practice of a number of contemporary French writers, whose works do not only represent the voicing of their political contentions, but also act as verbal objects designed to undermine the mainstream idea of what literature is and should be. [..] Christophe Hanna, Nathalie Quintane, and Jean-Marie Gleize are three authors who share a number of theoretical ideas and political references and have been expressing their opposition to the system in this way.

Raoul Vaneigem | Isidore Ducasse and the Count of Lautréamont in the “Poésies”

  Lautréamont entered literary history by means of Maldoror, and, with the mastery of Isidore Ducasse, the author of the Poésies, he is almost indebted to it for not being excluded from that history.1 Of the judgments made by critics, how many manage to prove their innocence – through embarrassment or the casualness with which they open the “Préface à un livre futur” with a tacit disavowal – an unconfessed disapproval of the Poésies? None, no doubt, as it is true that their disaffection still appears in their will to subject the delicate processes by which multiple aspects of a…

Vladimir Mayakovsky | Revolution | A Poetichronicle

  Revolution A Poetichronicle   26 February. A drunken mix, police and soldiers, opened fire on the people. 27th. Spilled brilliance on barrel and blade – daybreak. Light crimson and prolonged. In a musty barracks sober severe the Volynsky Regiment prayed. Severely they swear to the soldiers’ god, kow-tow each hefty mono-brow. Blood kindled, surging through temple. With malice aforethought hands grip iron. And the first, he who ordered “Shoot the hungry!” – A bullet shut his mouth. Another’s ‘Ten–hut!” was cut short. Yet not at a loss the troops stormed into the city. 9 o’clock. In our usual spot…

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…

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 is…

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 | Poetry [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…

[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…