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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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,…

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…

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,…

Martin Bakero | Militancy of Poets

  The first revolutionary action that people from the Commune of Paris did in 1871, was to break all the clocks of the city. That action engaged the possibility to revolutionaries to go beyond all the limits that reality imposes upon us. Centuries before, the troubadour poets, the “Knights of Joyful Knowledge”, met together once a year to find a new word or neologism in the manner of an antidote for words that limited the freedom of people. One of them was the word “mors” (dead), the poet who were chose for that task, Truc Malec, returns the next year…

Disruptions — An interview with Jacques Rancière

  Dwaipayan Chowdhury with Jacques Rancière (Spring 2019) LATERAL | JOURNAL OF THE CULTURAL STUDIES ASSOCIATION   I Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnificence W. B. Yeats With this reference from Sailing to Byzantium the art historian Clement Greenberg takes us to a quandary.1 This quandary pertains to the efficacy of (western) art in general with regard to the operations of artistic systems. With “of its own” Yeats takes us to the magnificence of the monuments. For Greenberg, what is at stake in this journey to magnificence is the establishment of the cleavage, within the integrity of…

Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin

Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin  ⇒   PDF (Full book)       For a Marxist Poetics of Science: An Interview with Esther Leslie First published in Historical Materialism Can you tell us a bit about your intellectual and political formation? I come from a political family — my parents were Trotskyists, my grandparents on one side were anarchists and, on the other, one grandfather had been involved in unemployment marches. There was a strong sense of class consciousness and political engagement at home. My anarchist grandfather, who was German, was a book publisher and bookseller in London and so we were…

César Vallejo | From ‘Art and Revolution’

    THE REVOLUTIONARY FUNCTION OF THOUGHT Confusion is a phenomenon with a permanent, organic character in bourgeois society. Confusion grows ever thicker when it is addressed as already confusing problems by the very historical terms of its utterance. The latter occurs with the brand new and, at once, very old problem of the intellectual’s obligations with regard to revolution. As posed by historical materialists, this problem is already a tangle. When formulated or simply outlined by bourgeois intellectuals, it acquires the aspect of insoluble chaos. *** “The philosophers,” Marx says, “have only interpreted the world in various ways. The…

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  

Alain Badiou | Philosophy for Militants

Philosophy for Militants: PDF   An urgent and provocative account of the modern ‘militant’, a transformative figure at the front line of emancipatory politics. Around the world, recent events have seen the creation of a radical phalanx comprising students, the young, workers and immigrants. It is Badiou’s contention that the politics of such militants should condition the tasks of philosophy, even as philosophy clarifies the truth of our political condition. To resolve the conflicts between politics, philosophy and democracy, Badiou argues for a resurgent communism – returning to the original call for universal emancipation and organizing for militant struggle.    …

Fernand Deligny | The Arachnean and Other Texts

The originality of Deligny’s theoretical and practical position consists precisely in what can be called a “suspension of interpellation,” in which one can also see a fundamental point of intersection with the inaugural gesture of psychoanalysis, over and beyond the explicit oppositions, as will become clear. One might say that to “the theoretical anti-humanism” professed by Althusser, Deligny opposed an authentic “practical anti-humanism” that dismissed “men,” the humans-that-we-are, shored up by what Deleuze called a “thought image” of themselves, a flattering, ready-made image, dominating and exclusive, in favor of a narcissistically and socially less satisfying “human,” possibly mute and idle, but in reality more richly endowed with practical recompositions.

Marcel van der Linden | Socialisme ou Barbarie: A French Revolutionary Group (1949-65)

An essay about French libertarian socialist group ‘Socialisme ou Barbarie’. ‘Socialisme ou Barbarie’ had a theoretical influence on the Situationist International and others of their time. [In memory of Cornelius Castoriadis, 11 March 1922 – 26 December 1997).

Alain Badiou | Metapolitics

Metapolitics argues that one of the main tasks of contemporary thought is to abolish the idea that politics is merely an object for philosophical reflection. Badiou critically examines the thought of anthropologist and political theorist Sylvain Lazarus, Jacques Rancière’s writings on workers’ history and democratic dissensus, the role of the subject in Althusser, as well as the concept of democracy and the link between truth and justice.

Deleuze, Marx and Politics ((The Grandeur of Marx)) | by Nicholas Thoburn

→ Full book: PDF NICHOLAS THOBURN DELEUZE, MARX AND POLITICS FIRST PUBLISHED 2003 BY ROUTLEDGE     Introduction: The grandeur of Marx   For the race summoned forth by art or philosophy is not the one that claims to be pure but rather an oppressed, bastard, lower, anarchical, nomadic, and irremediably minor race. Deleuze/Guattari; What is Philosophy? one does not belong to communism, and communism does not let itself be designated by what it names. Maurice Blanchot; Friendship Gilles Deleuze’s comment that his last book, uncompleted before his death, was to be called The Grandeur of Marx leaves a fitting…

Jacques Rancière | Staging the People

Jacques Rancière | Staging the People The Proletarian and His Double  PDF   These essays from the 1970s mark the inception of the distinctive project that Jacques Rancière has pursued across forty years, with four interwoven themes: the study of working-class identity, of its philosophical interpretation, of “heretical” knowledge and of the relationship between work and leisure. For the short-lived journal Les Révoltes Logiques, Rancière wrote on subjects ranging across a hundred years, from the California Gold Rush to trade-union collaboration with fascism, from early feminism to the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” from the respectability of the Paris Exposition to…

A. Badiou, P. Bourdieu, J. Butler, G. Didi-Huberman, S. Khiari, J. Rancière | WHAT IS A PEOPLE?

ALAIN BADIOU, PIERRE BOURDIEU, JUDITH BUTLER, GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAN, SADRI KHIARI, AND JACQUES RANCIÈRE WHAT IS A PEOPLE? PDF     What Is a People? seeks to reclaim “people” as an effective political concept by revisiting its uses and abuses over time. Alain Badiou surveys the idea of a people as a productive force of solidarity and emancipation and as a negative tool of categorization and suppression. Pierre Bourdieu follows with a sociolinguistic analysis of “popular” and its transformation of democracy, beliefs, songs, and even soups into phenomena with outsized importance. Judith Butler calls out those who use freedom of assembly…

Louis Althusser | For Marx

LOUIS ALTHUSSER | FOR MARX  PDF   A New Practice of Politics: Althusser and Marxist Philosophy by Asad Haider Since the conjuncture that marked the reception of Althusser’s works, it has become clearer that the the initial Anglophone interpretation of Althusser involved considerable conceptual mistranslation, and his texts have since then been cursed by a reputation which powerfully precedes the reading. In the spring of 1966, the Central Committee of the French Communist Party (PCF) met in the Parisian suburb of Argenteuil, ostensibly for a discussion of the “problem of ideology and culture.” In fact, they had convened for a…