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…

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…

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…

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…

[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…

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,…

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 | 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,…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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,…

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…

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.

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…