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|Friday, June 15th, 2007|
|Internet Only Release!!!!
We here at Frick and Co. are proud to announce the internet-only release of two excellent mash ups.
The first is from the Ean Frick Sampler and is a little preview of what the EFK crew would churn out if we were those assholes who are obsessed with sound production. You know those guys, always hanging outside clubs handing out their demo CD. Usually some bad hip hop poop they made on their computer. Instead of embracing the lo fi esthetic they try to make it sound all professional and shit. But the programs they use aren't up to snuff and the synth cracks and the bass is distorted. We love that by the way but don't act like you're Phil Spector or Russell Simmons. If the Samplah was a record label this is the type of shit we would make.http://www.archive.org/details/EanFrickSampler
The second is by the creme de la creme Casio Action Front. I saw Cameron Jaime's current show at the List Center over at MIT recently and was highly impressed. Part of it was about haunted houses (like the ones you set up yourself, not the ones with actual ghosts in them), which he termed spook houses. I fell in love with that term. It sounded like something someone from the South would say and that made me think of those Betty Boop cartoons with Cab Calloway songs. Those were the best as they were really surreal and always involved cartoon representations of ghosts, ghouls, flying skulls, dancing skeletons and other Halloween related apparitions. I love that stuff. This is my cut up rendition of all the subjective sensations I get from the above mentioned things. Enjoy!!http://www.archive.org/details/SpookHausBeansnmash
|Friday, February 2nd, 2007|
|This is Who We Are
"Labelled with phrases such as ‘Difference and Repetition – The Dialectics of Structuring and Structure’, ‘Formless Rival Entities’, ‘Fractal Manoeuvre’, ‘Velocity vs. Rhythms’, ‘The Wahabi War Machine’, ‘Postmodern Anarchists’ and ‘Nomadic Terrorists’, they often reference the work of Deleuze and Guattari."
"...as far as the military is concerned, urban warfare is the ultimate Postmodern form of conflict."
*The Art of War*http://www.frieze.com/feature_single.asp?f=1165
The Israeli Defence Forces have been heavily influenced by contemporary philosophy, highlighting the fact that there is considerable overlap among theoretical texts deemed essential by military academies and architectural schools by Eyal Weizman
The attack conducted by units of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) on the city of Nablus in April 2002 was described by its commander, Brigadier-General Aviv Kokhavi, as ‘inverse geometry’, which he explained as ‘the reorganization of the urban syntax by means of a series of micro-tactical actions’.1 During the battle soldiers moved within the city across hundreds of metres of ‘overground tunnels’ carved out through a dense and contiguous urban structure. Although several thousand soldiers and Palestinian guerrillas were manoeuvring simultaneously in the city, they were so ‘saturated’ into the urban fabric that very few would have been visible from the air. Furthermore, they used none of the city’s streets, roads, alleys or courtyards, or any of the external doors, internal stairwells and windows, but moved horizontally through walls and vertically through holes blasted in ceilings and floors. This form of movement, described by the military as ‘infestation’, seeks to redefine inside as outside, and domestic interiors as thoroughfares. The IDF’s strategy of ‘walking through walls’ involves a conception of the city as not just the site but also the very medium of warfare – a flexible, almost liquid medium that is forever contingent and in flux.
Contemporary military theorists are now busy re-conceptualizing the urban domain. At stake are the underlying concepts, assumptions and principles that determine military strategies and tactics. The vast intellectual field that geographer Stephen Graham has called an international ‘shadow world’ of military urban research institutes and training centres that have been established to rethink military operations in cities could be understood as somewhat similar to the international matrix of élite architectural academies. However, according to urban theorist Simon Marvin, the military-architectural ‘shadow world’ is currently generating more intense and well-funded urban research programmes than all these university programmes put together, and is certainly aware of the avant-garde urban research conducted in architectural institutions, especially as regards Third World and African cities. There is a considerable overlap among the theoretical texts considered essential by military academies and architectural schools. Indeed, the reading lists of contemporary military institutions include works from around 1968 (with a special emphasis on the writings of Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari and Guy Debord), as well as more contemporary writings on urbanism, psychology, cybernetics, post-colonial and post-Structuralist theory. If, as some writers claim, the space for criticality has withered away in late 20th-century capitalist culture, it seems now to have found a place to flourish in the military.
I conducted an interview with Kokhavi, commander of the Paratrooper Brigade, who at 42 is considered one of the most promising young officers of the IDF (and was the commander of the operation for the evacuation of settlements in the Gaza Strip).2 Like many career officers, he had taken time out from the military to earn a university degree; although he originally intended to study architecture, he ended up with a degree in philosophy from the Hebrew University. When he explained to me the principle that guided the battle in Nablus, what was interesting for me was not so much the description of the action itself as the way he conceived its articulation. He said: ‘this space that you look at, this room that you look at, is nothing but your interpretation of it. […] The question is how do you interpret the alley? […] We interpreted the alley as a place forbidden to walk through and the door as a place forbidden to pass through, and the window as a place forbidden to look through, because a weapon awaits us in the alley, and a booby trap awaits us behind the doors. This is because the enemy interprets space in a traditional, classical manner, and I do not want to obey this interpretation and fall into his traps. […] I want to surprise him! This is the essence of war. I need to win […] This is why that we opted for the methodology of moving through walls. . . . Like a worm that eats its way forward, emerging at points and then disappearing. […] I said to my troops, “Friends! […] If until now you were used to move along roads and sidewalks, forget it! From now on we all walk through walls!”’2 Kokhavi’s intention in the battle was to enter the city in order to kill members of the Palestinian resistance and then get out. The horrific frankness of these objectives, as recounted to me by Shimon Naveh, Kokhavi’s instructor, is part of a general Israeli policy that seeks to disrupt Palestinian resistance on political as well as military levels through targeted assassinations from both air and ground.
If you still believe, as the IDF would like you to, that moving through walls is a relatively gentle form of warfare, the following description of the sequence of events might change your mind. To begin with, soldiers assemble behind the wall and then, using explosives, drills or hammers, they break a hole large enough to pass through. Stun grenades are then sometimes thrown, or a few random shots fired into what is usually a private living-room occupied by unsuspecting civilians. When the soldiers have passed through the wall, the occupants are locked inside one of the rooms, where they are made to remain – sometimes for several days – until the operation is concluded, often without water, toilet, food or medicine. Civilians in Palestine, as in Iraq, have experienced the unexpected penetration of war into the private domain of the home as the most profound form of trauma and humiliation. A Palestinian woman identified only as Aisha, interviewed by a journalist for the Palestine Monitor, described the experience: ‘Imagine it – you’re sitting in your living-room, which you know so well; this is the room where the family watches television together after the evening meal, and suddenly that wall disappears with a deafening roar, the room fills with dust and debris, and through the wall pours one soldier after the other, screaming orders. You have no idea if they’re after you, if they’ve come to take over your home, or if your house just lies on their route to somewhere else. The children are screaming, panicking. Is it possible to even begin to imagine the horror experienced by a five-year-old child as four, six, eight, 12 soldiers, their faces painted black, sub-machine-guns pointed everywhere, antennas protruding from their backpacks, making them look like giant alien bugs, blast their way through that wall?’3
Naveh, a retired Brigadier-General, directs the Operational Theory Research Institute, which trains staff officers from the IDF and other militaries in ‘operational theory’ – defined in military jargon as somewhere between strategy and tactics. He summed up the mission of his institute, which was founded in 1996: ‘We are like the Jesuit Order. We attempt to teach and train soldiers to think. […] We read Christopher Alexander, can you imagine?; we read John Forester, and other architects. We are reading Gregory Bateson; we are reading Clifford Geertz. Not myself, but our soldiers, our generals are reflecting on these kinds of materials. We have established a school and developed a curriculum that trains “operational architects”.’4 In a lecture Naveh showed a diagram resembling a ‘square of opposition’ that plots a set of logical relationships between certain propositions referring to military and guerrilla operations. Labelled with phrases such as ‘Difference and Repetition – The Dialectics of Structuring and Structure’, ‘Formless Rival Entities’, ‘Fractal Manoeuvre’, ‘Velocity vs. Rhythms’, ‘The Wahabi War Machine’, ‘Postmodern Anarchists’ and ‘Nomadic Terrorists’, they often reference the work of Deleuze and Guattari. War machines, according to the philosophers, are polymorphous; diffuse organizations characterized by their capacity for metamorphosis, made up of small groups that split up or merge with one another, depending on contingency and circumstances. (Deleuze and Guattari were aware that the state can willingly transform itself into a war machine. Similarly, in their discussion of ‘smooth space’ it is implied that this conception may lead to domination.)
I asked Naveh why Deleuze and Guattari were so popular with the Israeli military. He replied that ‘several of the concepts in A Thousand Plateaux became instrumental for us […] allowing us to explain contemporary situations in a way that we could not have otherwise. It problematized our own paradigms. Most important was the distinction they have pointed out between the concepts of “smooth” and “striated” space [which accordingly reflect] the organizational concepts of the “war machine” and the “state apparatus”. In the IDF we now often use the term “to smooth out space” when we want to refer to operation in a space as if it had no borders. […] Palestinian areas could indeed be thought of as “striated” in the sense that they are enclosed by fences, walls, ditches, roads blocks and so on.’5 When I asked him if moving through walls was part of it, he explained that, ‘In Nablus the IDF understood urban fighting as a spatial problem. [...] Travelling through walls is a simple mechanical solution that connects theory and practice.’6
To understand the IDF’s tactics for moving through Palestinian urban spaces, it is necessary to understand how they interpret the by now familiar principle of ‘swarming’ – a term that has been a buzzword in military theory since the start of the US post cold War doctrine known as the Revolution in Military Affairs. The swarm manoeuvre was in fact adapted, from the Artificial Intelligence principle of swarm intelligence, which assumes that problem-solving capacities are found in the interaction and communication of relatively unsophisticated agents (ants, birds, bees, soldiers) with little or no centralized control. The swarm exemplifies the principle of non-linearity apparent in spatial, organizational and temporal terms. The traditional manoeuvre paradigm, characterized by the simplified geometry of Euclidean order, is transformed, according to the military, into a complex fractal-like geometry. The narrative of the battle plan is replaced by what the military, using a Foucaultian term, calls the ‘toolbox approach’, according to which units receive the tools they need to deal with several given situations and scenarios but cannot predict the order in which these events would actually occur.7 Naveh: ‘Operative and tactical commanders depend on one another and learn the problems through constructing the battle narrative; […] action becomes knowledge, and knowledge becomes action. […] Without a decisive result possible, the main benefit of operation is the very improvement of the system as a system.’8
This may explain the fascination of the military with the spatial and organizational models and modes of operation advanced by theorists such as Deleuze and Guattari. Indeed, as far as the military is concerned, urban warfare is the ultimate Postmodern form of conflict. Belief in a logically structured and single-track battle-plan is lost in the face of the complexity and ambiguity of the urban reality. Civilians become combatants, and combatants become civilians. Identity can be changed as quickly as gender can be feigned: the transformation of women into fighting men can occur at the speed that it takes an undercover ‘Arabized’ Israeli soldier or a camouflaged Palestinian fighter to pull a machine-gun out from under a dress. For a Palestinian fighter caught up in this battle, Israelis seem ‘to be everywhere: behind, on the sides, on the right and on the left. How can you fight that way?’9
Critical theory has become crucial for Nave’s teaching and training. He explained: ‘we employ critical theory primarily in order to critique the military institution itself – its fixed and heavy conceptual foundations. Theory is important for us in order to articulate the gap between the existing paradigm and where we want to go. Without theory we could not make sense of the different events that happen around us and that would otherwise seem disconnected. […] At present the Institute has a tremendous impact on the military; [it has] become a subversive node within it. By training several high-ranking officers we filled the system [IDF] with subversive agents […] who ask questions; […] some of the top brass are not embarrassed to talk about Deleuze or [Bernard] Tschumi.’10 I asked him, ‘Why Tschumi?’ He replied: ‘The idea of disjunction embodied in Tschumi’s book Architecture and Disjunction (1994) became relevant for us […] Tschumi had another approach to epistemology; he wanted to break with single-perspective knowledge and centralized thinking. He saw the world through a variety of different social practices, from a constantly shifting point of view. [Tschumi] created a new grammar; he formed the ideas that compose our thinking.11 I then asked him, why not Derrida and Deconstruction? He answered, ‘Derrida may be a little too opaque for our crowd. We share more with architects; we combine theory and practice. We can read, but we know as well how to build and destroy, and sometimes kill.’12
In addition to these theoretical positions, Naveh references such canonical elements of urban theory as the Situationist practices of dérive (a method of drifting through a city based on what the Situationists referred to as ‘psycho-geography’) and détournement (the adaptation of abandoned buildings for purposes other than those they were designed to perform). These ideas were, of course, conceived by Guy Debord and other members of the Situationist International to challenge the built hierarchy of the capitalist city and break down distinctions between private and public, inside and outside, use and function, replacing private space with a ‘borderless’ public surface. References to the work of Georges Bataille, either directly or as cited in the writings of Tschumi, also speak of a desire to attack architecture and to dismantle the rigid rationalism of a postwar order, to escape ‘the architectural strait-jacket’ and to liberate repressed human desires.
In no uncertain terms, education in the humanities – often believed to be the most powerful weapon against imperialism – is being appropriated as a powerful vehicle for imperialism. The military’s use of theory is, of course, nothing new – a long line extends all the way from Marcus Aurelius to General Patton.
Future military attacks on urban terrain will increasingly be dedicated to the use of technologies developed for the purpose of ‘un-walling the wall’, to borrow a term from Gordon Matta-Clark. This is the new soldier/architect’s response to the logic of ‘smart bombs’. The latter have paradoxically resulted in higher numbers of civilian casualties simply because the illusion of precision gives the military-political complex the necessary justification to use explosives in civilian environments.
Here another use of theory as the ultimate ‘smart weapon’ becomes apparent. The military’s seductive use of theoretical and technological discourse seeks to portray war as remote, quick and intellectual, exciting – and even economically viable. Violence can thus be projected as tolerable and the public encouraged to support it. As such, the development and dissemination of new military technologies promote the fiction being projected into the public domain that a military solution is possible – in situations where it is at best very doubtful.
Although you do not need Deleuze to attack Nablus, theory helped the military reorganize by providing a new language in which to speak to itself and others. A ‘smart weapon’ theory has both a practical and a discursive function in redefining urban warfare. The practical or tactical function, the extent to which Deleuzian theory influences military tactics and manoeuvres, raises questions about the relation between theory and practice. Theory obviously has the power to stimulate new sensibilities, but it may also help to explain, develop or even justify ideas that emerged independently within disparate fields of knowledge and with quite different ethical bases. In discursive terms, war – if it is not a total war of annihilation – constitutes a form of discourse between enemies. Every military action is meant to communicate something to the enemy. Talk of ‘swarming’, ‘targeted killings’ and ‘smart destruction’ help the military communicate to its enemies that it has the capacity to effect far greater destruction. Raids can thus be projected as the more moderate alternative to the devastating capacity that the military actually possesses and will unleash if the enemy exceeds the ‘acceptable’ level of violence or breaches some unspoken agreement. In terms of military operational theory it is essential never to use one’s full destructive capacity but rather to maintain the potential to escalate the level of atrocity. Otherwise threats become meaningless.
When the military talks theory to itself, it seems to be about changing its organizational structure and hierarchies. When it invokes theory in communications with the public – in lectures, broadcasts and publications – it seems to be about projecting an image of a civilized and sophisticated military. And when the military ‘talks’ (as every military does) to the enemy, theory could be understood as a particularly intimidating weapon of ‘shock and awe’, the message being: ‘You will never even understand that which kills you.’
Eyal Weizman is an architect, writer and Director of Goldsmith’s College Centre for Research Architecture. His work deals with issues of conflict territories and human rights.
A full version of this article was recently delivered at the conference ‘Beyond Bio-politics’ at City University, New York, and in the architecture program of the Sao Paulo Biennial. A transcript can be read in the March/April, 2006 issue of Radical Philosophy.
1 Quoted in Hannan Greenberg, ‘The Limited Conflict: This Is How You Trick Terrorists’, in Yediot Aharonot; www.ynet.co.il (23 March 2004)
2 Eyal Weizman interviewed Aviv Kokhavi on 24 September at an Israeli military base near Tel Aviv. Translation from Hebrew by the author; video documentation by Nadav Harel and Zohar Kaniel
3 Sune Segal, ‘What Lies Beneath: Excerpts from an Invasion’, Palestine Monitor, November, 2002;
www.palestinemonitor.org/eyewitness/Westbank/what_lies_beneath_by_sune_segal.html 9 June, 2005
4 Shimon Naveh, discussion following the talk ‘Dicta Clausewitz: Fractal Manoeuvre: A Brief History of Future Warfare in Urban Environments’, delivered in conjunction with ‘States of Emergency: The Geography of Human Rights’, a debate organized by Eyal Weizman and Anselm Franke as part of ‘Territories Live’, B’tzalel Gallery, Tel Aviv,
5 November 2004
5 Eyal Weizman, telephone interview with Shimon Naveh, 14 October 2005
7 Michel Foucault’s description of theory as a ‘toolbox’ was originally developed in conjunction with Deleuze in a 1972 discussion; see Gilles Deleuze and Michel Foucault, ‘Intellectuals and Power’, in Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, ed. and intro. Donald F. Bouchard, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1980, p. 206
8 Weizman, interview with Naveh
9 Quoted in Yagil Henkin, ‘The Best Way into Baghdad’, The New York Times, 3 April 2003
10 Weizman, interview with Naveh
11 Naveh is currently working on a Hebrew translation of Bernard Tschumi’s Architecture and Disjunction, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1997.
12 Weizman, interview with Naveh
|Tuesday, May 30th, 2006|
|GLITCH ART SERIES
|Saturday, May 20th, 2006|
|Sunday, May 7th, 2006|
|Monday, May 1st, 2006|
|Thursday, April 13th, 2006|
|Sunday, March 26th, 2006|
|While in the neighborhood of Red/Black crossover.....
During the Years of Lead in Italy, the fringes of communism and fascism battled each other and the state in what was truly one of first terror wars. The level of espionage, disinformation and media abuse designate it a secret war, waged on an esoteric plane above the the level of most people. To this day, much information on it regarding who is actually responsible for bombings and assassinations is unknown and subject to dispute. One of the groups most shrouded in mystery is that of Terza Posizione, or Third Position, which is often regarded as the beginning of what or may not be a post-spectrum revolutionary tendency. Terza Posizione was highly influenced by Traditionalist Julius Evola and Nietschze. They viewed themselves not only above the confines of the political spectrum but also the morality of the state. Despite originating from right of the spectrum(and thus retaining some rather crude anticommmunism), some may argue they transcend the spectrum at this point. While it is not in my interest to debate transcendence or immanence, I feel it should be pointed that there is a strinking simmilarity between this tendency and a tendency of the communist left, the Third Camp, if only to show where the 'extremes' of the spectrum converge. Thus implying the political spectrum is cyclical rather than linear. One very obvious point is that the slogan of the Terza Posizione was "neither red front nor reaction." Their propaganda also bore a slogan very similar to that used by those on the communst left who marched under the banner of being against both Washington and Moscow. Terza Posizione also identified itself with antiimperialist revolutionaries such as the Sandinistas, Quadaffi's Libya, Irish republicans, Afghani mujihideen, and Basque separatists.
The left communist tendency boasts many obscure ideologies, one such is Ordinovism, which stems from the Turin factory occupations by workers in 1920. The term refers to the ideology of a small group of intellectuals part of the Turin happening around the publication Ordine Nuovo. I think I should add that is the same name of Italian urban guerrilla outfit that bore the offshoot Armed Revolutionary Nuclei, who acted as praxis to Terza Posizione's ideology. Returning to the Ordinovist tradition of the communist left, Bordiga notes in 'Draft theses for the 3rd Congress of the
Communist Party of Italy presented by the Left':
"The volatile ideology of this group is mainly derived from philosophical conceptions of a bourgeois and idealist nature partly inherited from Benedetto Croce. This group aligned itself with communist directives very late in the day, and would always display residual errors linked to its origins. It understood the significance of the Russian revolution too late to be able to apply it usefully to the proletarian struggle in Italy. In November 1917, comrade Gramsci published an article in Avanti! asserting that the Russian revolution had given the lie to Marx’s historical materialism and the theories in 'Capital', and gave an essentially idealist explanation. The extreme left current that the youth federation belonged to responded immediately to this article."
The intellectual current the Nouvelle Droite is heavily influenced by both Gramsci and Evola and also claims to be beyond the terminology of political spectrum(despite its name). The Italian International Communist Party, one of the few Bordigist parties today, classify Ordinovism as part of the voluntarist-immediatist schema who(along with proudhonians, councilists and syndicalists) view the individual as a primary source of importance to the class struggle(before the party and the class) and whom prioritize will and consciousness above economic concerns. These idealist concerns clearly have parallels with Nietschze, Stirner, Sorel and Evola. These thinkers have been associated with both the far left and far right.
It is in the opinion of the author that for a a truly post-spectrum revolutionary tendency to occur it would have to combine the sovereign individualism of Stirner and Evola with the proletarian structural autonomy of the councilists and others involved in the factory occupations of the 1920s.
|Wednesday, March 8th, 2006|
|Feuds, Cops and Comments
As anybody close to me knows, I am a big fan of the writer/prankster S.H. H. has been noted for bringing the feud to the status of an artform. At the very least it is a place for dueling metaphysics. Obscurantism may become exposed, dogmas butt heads, logic can be used to navigate the course or thrown out entirely. It is where all philosophies come to an even playing field and duke it out over legitimacy, or to question its very notion. As it appears we may have such a feud on our hands here, I would first like to go over the rules and see if this actually qualifies as such.
For one, there need to be declared opponents or rather sides. This is polemics afterall. This does not have to be a dualism, but it can often be the case. In this percieved duel we have the (presumed) antifascist against the (accused) fascist. This accused fascist being me. Now, I am not nor have I ever been a fascist, corporatist, Nazi, witchdoctor, Dr. Who, Jean DuBuffet or Francis Dec, Esquire. If we must get into the business of names, labels, ect. Which is where this game is a going, the game to label, to get a definition. This game being started by (presumed) antifascist, by the way. Well then I guess I'll go with anarcho-monarchist(Groucho Marxist Autonomist division) from the 44th infantry of the Synarchist League Black International. Sorry this has to get so pretentious, but a fued has been started. And if we want to get in to the ethics of the playground, I might add, I didn't start it.
The origin of said fued maybe the object of desire for curious readers(crickets crickets). And so it is produced below:
Ean Frick...ex-commie, a refuge of 'modernity', ART school hiptser-slinks further and further towards dreary and predictable repackaged fascism (de facto). A cock-licker of mediocre eco-fascists, himself but a product of the shitstorm internet and its self-replicating subcultures from which he derives affectatious, 'taboo-breaking' politics. Is mother pround of her son?
"have helped matters in the crisis anyway from negroes..."
"need for cultural
whiteness, revive Indo-European tradition"
Given its childish preoccupation with fascism(a routine hobby for alienated white suburban anarkids) and the fact that it clearly references works related to the national anarchist/beyond left&right project and produces quotes out of context from a private forum, I'll asume this is what it is concerning. The reason they are produced here must be so we can all bask in the fascist horror of them, the piles of rotting bodies, the ash bearing clouds, the statist absolutism that resonates from produced quotes.
The first quote was in relation to a thread about whites protecting the mall(insert joke here) from 'looting blacks' during the Katrina crisis(insert better joke here, oh wait this is just pathetic). I was arguing that this is typical of white people who, because they have no ethnic culture, identify with the nation state. This was the cause of the other produced quote where I slandered whiteness and supported the revival of Indo-European tradition. Now I don't see how this is fascist in anyway. I oppose the nation state, whiteness and support the revival of a pre-modern culture and somehow this means I want to see a fully authoritarian modern nation state led by one party and under which the corporations(that would exist in otherwise 'freemarket' capitalism) are linked with the state. Yes that was a run on sentence for all you grammer people, but they asked for defintions. Maybe its my use of the word 'negro.' Now I do not know the race of my detractor here but I can recall seeing many a young man at the Million Man March in '95 with shirts that said "Nigger/Negro/African American What's Next?" So maybe the whole silliness of politically correct labeling is really the white man's game. In the second quote, as anyone can plainly see, my beliefs on whiteness and the ridiculousness of identifying with that label are left exposed. I guess I must be a card carrying American Nazi Party ponce with that type of talk! Those fascists always trying to get rid of whiteness.... As I've said before, and apparently have to again, whiteness is not an ethnic label it is a class label. White people are those of European decent within a modern bourgeois society that have power and privilege over non-whites, who historically have been everyone from Africans, American Indians, Chinese, Mexicans, Irish, and Italians. Ethnicity and class of often intertwined and the whole business of white culture stems from this. The pre-modern Indo-Europeans didn't identify with whiteness but only with the ethnic tribes they belonged to. They did not live off the labor of others, nor did they enslave other ethnic groups as whites have and they functioned in self-sufficient village communities instead of the modern nation-state. Now it goes without saying that whiteness and fascism go hand in hand. Without an ethnic tradition as say people who identify with being Gaelic or Slavic instead of white would have, white people identify with the nation-state, the upper echelons of capitalist society and the need for its protection. This is why bumpkins in Bible Belt who are just as oppressed as many non-whites in America vote for people like Bush. Now if they did not identify with the shallowness of this class label and instead with a ethnic culture that isn't based on economic privilege they probably wouldn't be screwing themselves(and others) when it comes to modern politics. Now Indo-European heritage is only one option for what kind of culture could be used to replace the wretchedness of white culture who's cultural products range from Jim Crow to Lisa Frank. As we learn from Lawrence Cahoone, culture is really just the shared lens through which people view reality. In this case anything would ostensibly be better than white culture and would probably help destroy the idiotic animosity many whites feel towards nonwhites.
Now, that I've explained myself and defended myself against the accusations laid against me, I think its high time I turn my attention to the intentions of my detractor. As I've already noted, it appears that fascism is a fetish for this person and they feel a need to project this label onto others, maybe to make up for the fact that it is indeed authoritarian to label someone something and then expect them to justify it. While we're getting into the field of language here and less about actual politics or philosophies, it should still be noted that my detractor here could very easily be called a practitioner of fascist linguistics with their desire for objective definition. In other words, legitimacy may be a bigger preoccupation for her/him than fascism. Since it now seems unavoidable that the act of labeling will get brought up, I'm left with no choice but to speculate that my detractor is an Anti-Fascist investigator. In other words an anti-fascist cop. Hm.... Yeah okay, just so the irony is not lost. I suspect they are from the anarchist milieu given the fact that many anti-fascists are kids who think all anarchy means is having a familiarity with the works of Bakunin and need a thoroughly obvious enemy like fascism to get worked up about because they are too dim to understand the subtle complexities of the tyranny of freemarket capitalism. Their use of the word 'eco-fascist' has its origins in 'Eco-Fascism: Lessons from the German Experience' by Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier, which was published by the excellent libertarian publishers AK Press. Keeping others in ideological line, which is what this sort of thing boils down to, is really Marxist-Leninist in origin and anarchists shouldn't waste their time with such petty authoritarian antics. Honest debate and intellectual discourse is always welcome, but I feel this is little more than scare mongering by my detractors. I am also curious why I was called on being a fascist for using the term 'negro' while AntiFa PI gets to call me a cock-licker, a term with obvious homophobic origins, and is seemingly still kosher in the eyes of PC legitimacy. Maybe they just find all fellatio oppressive and are channelling those authoritarians of anti-pornography feminism. Or maybe, in lieu of other Marxist-Leninist tendencies, they are in with Mao on homosexuality being a bourgeois deviation. Either way, I'd say the charge of hypocrisy has been uttered.
In their conclusion they claim that myself and my 'fascism' are all products of the internet, the best tool of the postmodern era for information dissemination. So in light of this it seems that I am either being attacked for my lack of mark making on the social scene as a whole or am being sanctified by my very illegitimacy in light of the uselessness of information when it is presented on such a mass scale as it is on the internet. The fact that they took the time to write anything concerning the Ean Frick experiment and showed a familiarity with the short history that this experiment has already produced goes to show, along with their previously mentioned preoccupation with legitimacy, it looks unfortunately like the former. In this case, I'm left to believe that AntiFa PI is forcing a ghettoization on me in an attempt to refute whatever it is about my writings that offends them. I also suspect that this is more projecting on their part given the ghettoization the business of anti-fascism produces. Anarchists and the liberal state working hand in hand to squash the already marginalized Other of whatever is termed 'fascist' or 'neoNazi' which ranges from antiZionists, antigovernment militias, regional separatists and actual Nutzi boneheads. The French Bordigist, Jean Barrot, has noted how anti-fascism has been used time and time again throughout history by the liberal state to destroy/recuperate the workers movement, from the Spanish Civil War to Germany in 1918. Though I suspect Barrot's Fascism/Antifascism is not required reading for you and yours, Antifa PI. The question that naturally arises now is what kind of anarchism or more generally radicalism do you claim to be representing with such attacks? Those with a desire to see the system of capital and all its accompanying trolls destroyed by whatever means neccessary so autonomy for all can be achieved and honest modes of human social ineraction can be resumed? Or some state-sanctioned acceptably middle class rebellion that is more concerned with liberal notions of legitimacy than anything else.
|Tuesday, January 24th, 2006|
|Wednesday, January 11th, 2006|
|The Avant Garde & The Contemporary
(Editors: A short piece explaining the avant garde in terms of arts and differentiating it from the contemporary. Good summary analysis and little bit of Situ input is always welcome.)
The avant-garde is a term often used in the discourse
of art, mostly to describe certain movements. But
what is the meaning behind this ubiquitous phrase? To
be literal it means anything involved in the advanced
techniques of a certain field. But this is just the
dictionary definition, to understand the avant-garde
one must go beyond mere reference definition. The key
word here is avant, French for advanced, which is the
key to understanding the avant-garde. For the
avant-garde is not what is just new, the latest thing,
if we meant this we could have easily used another
French phrase: le dernier cri. The essence of the
avant-garde, and what makes it such, is that it is
ahead of its time. Avant-garde movements are rarely
labeled as such during their existing time frame.
Rather, they are called all of sorts of things, few of
them flattering and hardly every in relation to their
advanced characteristics. This is because the
avant-garde is revolutionary. It attacks the existing
ideas, institutions, morals and visual language of its
time. To do so certainly means it will come up
against much opposition. When the first Impressionist
paintings were shown, critics speculated whether the
painters were nearsighted. During a performance by
the Dadaist poet, Tristan Tzara, who proposed to
assemble a poem by taking words out of a hat, a riot
ensued which caused serious damage to the theatre
where the performance was being held. When paintings
of the New York school were first shown, people
honestly questioned whether what they were looking at
was art or just paint thrown at a canvas. Warhol’s
Brillo Boxes forced people to question the concept of
originality in art as well as the notions of high and
The contradiction about the
avant-garde is that at its inception it will be
derided but will be lauded as advanced upon its
historification, where it is finally seen as
legitimate by the prevailing cultural ideology. This
is where the avant-garde has essentially proved
itself. Its ideas that were ahead of its time later
have an effect on the future and it is here that the
avant-garde is defined. The antithesis of the
avant-garde is pure reaction. One can attack the
existing institutions and ideas of a culture with a
litany of ideas at anytime, but if these ideas have
been heard before, used before and, most likely,
disproved before, than they are mere reaction, or
counter-revolution. The avant-garde is the
revolution. The very act of upsetting a culture’s
values and then being accepted by the culture once its
ideas have proved worthwhile.
As mentioned before, people often confuse what is
contemporary and what is avant-garde. This is because
the avant-garde is very much wrapped up in the
Modernist project, though it has existed far before
this time in history. The confusion lies in the fact
that modernist culture is readily concerned with the
new, and anything new is pushed to forefront of the
culture. But being contemporary doesn’t necessarily
mean being avant-garde. For anything new isn’t
necessarily questioning of the prevailing cultural
ideology. Rather, this obsession with the
contemporary has become the prevailing ideology. Here
the spirit of the avant-garde has been hijacked by
legitimate culture since the new, the most advanced
sector of any field, has become what is promoted by
the culture. In this sense, the avant-garde is in a
way dead. Its notion of being the most advanced no
longer holds up as a revolutionary idea, so we’re
seemingly left alone with its mirror opposite,
reaction. Contemporary art can no longer cling to the
notion of upsetting a culture’s morals because they
will be accepted by the galleries as the latest thing.
Wiping one’s ass with stuffed animals, or making an
installation of a man humping a tree, as Paul McCarthy
did, was not greeted with the revulsion by the art
world that Dada performances received, but rather with
acceptance since it had not been done before. This
work is certainly contemporary in that it was new, but
it was by no means avant-garde because it did not
actually upset prevailing institutions or ideas. If
there is going to be an avant-garde again, it will
have to throw out the notion of the sanctity of the
new, as that has proved to be just another method of
recuperation by the Spectacle, if we use Situationist
vocabulary. In other words, it has been accepted by
the system. So is contemporary art avant-garde? No,
but this doesn’t mean that the avant-garde is
necessarily dead, rather it just hasn’t found the
method in which to counter the prevailing cultural
ideology, which is one of mass acceptance to anything
branded as advanced.
|Thursday, November 3rd, 2005|
|Yet Another Essay
(Editors: Frick examines the roots of democracy in the context of the American project.)
The Farce of Democracy
by Ean Frick
The ideology of the current State/system is one that defines itself as a democracy. While there are many different perspectives on what 'true' democracy is, with many anarchists claiming that liberal democracy is false because it isn't 'real' democracy, for the sake of this argument I am taking liberal democracy at face value and going on the assumption that it is what it says it is.
The Rule of the Majority
Democracy is defined as the rule of the majority. This idea is rooted in the thought of the Utilitarian philosophers like Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. The creed of the Utilitarians was the greatest good for the greatest number of people. While this pseudo-socialist feel goodism may sound good on paper or to the naive, it is full of holes. For instance, there could be a society supported by a minority of slaves for the benefit of a majority. This society could have 49% of its population the slaves and 51% the free citizens who live of their labor, for under democracy the majority is defined simply by the abstractness of a mathematical equation. So despite the humanism of the Utilitarian philosophers, they are responsible for regulating human social interaction to the cold rationalism of mathematics. The idea that the will of the largest sector is always right is also a pretty major simplification of the complexities of human subjectivities, and by regulating the minority to the realm of illegitimate, this either/or dichotomy is sure to cause future problems in a society when the majority rather than the whole is the only consideration. For when the majority is called upon to decide the future for a minority, the outcome is rarely good. The humanism of the Utilitarians also presupposes that what may be good for the human majority is good for all. This rather anthropocentric viewpoint denies the possibility that what may be beneficial to humans is not necessarily beneficial for the biosphere in the long run and therefore not good for humans in the long run either.
While the West defines itself generally as just a democracy, it is specifically a representative democracy, which differentiates it from direct democracy and democratic centralism, which was the system of rule in China, Cuba and the old Soviet bloc countries. Representative democracy is in theory that an elected official carries out the will of the people. This denies a fact that even proponents of capitalism admit, that humans act in their own interests. One can’t act out the interests of another fully, only one can do that themselves. In most places where representative democracy exists, the elected officials are rarely of the same class or cultural background of their constituents. Also electoral campaigns are paid for by wealthy benefactors who expect something in return if their politician gets elected. This leaves very little room for the wishes of the people, which are often a diverse collection of desires, most of which are not even mentioned by the politician in question in their list of what they stand to do if elected. Even on the level of state(i.e. regional) representatives, one person is hardly capable of carrying out the wishes of their constituents in an efficient manner, even if they wanted to. Also, the people are usually only given a sad dualism for choices of representatives, of which there is usually only a shred of difference between the two. In Europe, voters are given more choices for representatives, but what they may gain in numbers they lack in worthwhile platforms that resonate with constituents.
Even if we go on the assumption that under representative democracy the will of the people is carried out accordingly, the very nature of it breeds indolence in its citizenry, a factor which is never beneficial for a healthy, working society. Representative or parliamentary democracy, by its definition conditions individuals to expect that their wishes as to how their society is run will be carried out by others. The only way a society can fully function is if its citizens are directly involved in the decision making process that determined its future. This leads me to my next point.
The idea of a society’s members managing it by the most direct methods available can be found all over the political spectrum, from anarchism to left communism to true conservatism(i.e agrarian, populist, federalist). Under direct democracy, the citizenry is involved in the tasks of maintaining the society and deciding its future by a loose association of guilds, councils, and federations. People would be elected to be representing members in these councils and could be instantly recalled if the constituency felt they weren't carrying on appropriately. This method would allow for compromises and would eliminate the conflict that occurs when a politician causes change in a community that he or she doesn’t even live in since those who make the decisions in a community would directly feel its consequences. This also eliminates any bureaucracy and any stagnation of growth that it causes.
The Right Not to Participate
Throughout history there have always been certain individuals who, by the cruel fate of existence, have felt that the society they were born into is reprehensible beyond repair. While others may feel that this warrants a massive uprooting of its institutions and values so as to create a new society, these individuals have opted for a negation of it by dropping out and living a solitary and self-sufficient life. A few examples of these individuals in history are Henry David Thoreau and Theodore Kaczynski. They travel outside not only society, but civilization itself, and return to the state of nature. Here they are unencumbered by any laws or other silly abstractions that seek to limit the inherent freedom that we exert as humans. The only thing that would inhibit their survival would be the very forces of nature they have returned to, of which they are of a consequence beyond notions of right and wrong, and as such they must be taken in the Buddhist sense of pure being. These individuals become fully self-sufficient when they opt out of society, they learn to truly live off the land as they hunt and gather for food as well as utilize the raw materials around them for shelter. They must be versed in self-defense to deal with the dangers any wild animals or wayward humans may provide. Lastly, they must also have a strong psyche as the loneliness the state of nature often causes can bring about the existence of many demons and other spirits that only seek to torment.
These individuals represent the archetypes described by Ernst Junger as the Anarch and the Worker. Primarily they are above all social and moral constructs that would inhibit their will to power by declining from participation in a society and returning to nature. They are also representative of the Worker, as described by Junger, in that they are both warriors as well as workers, they fully live off the land, and so the labor they put in pays off proportionally, but they are also warriors who must defend themselves against whatever odds they come up against.
These individuals have solved the contradictions of democracy by transcending it. They need not worry about the other, or any concepts such as majority and minority, since there is only the individual. The representative, the medium through which will is supposed to be carried in a democratic society is made obsolete. This fully autonomous individual becomes the true practitioner of will. It also solves the problem of coercion, a rather undemocratic notion that would exist even in a directly democratic society, to participate in the maintaining of a community.
(Editors: Frick traces the history of self-management in 'ultraright' ideas.)
Workers Power and the Ultraright
by Ean Frick
When Marx talked about the working class attaining socialism he used the phrase “the self-emancipation of the proletariat.” This can mean many things but most obviously it means that workers would seize control of the means of production and run them according to the the needs of their class or community. This phrase also defines what is not socialism. This proletarian self-emancipation is not by way of a vanguard of middle-class professionals who are essentially acting on behalf of the workers(i.e. representative democracy) despite that they are not from that class, nor is socialism the mere nationalization(here referring to nation-statism), which just puts the power of production in the hands of state and thus keeps the manager-worker relation in tact. What can be found to be most faithful to Marx’s phrase in radial theory is the socialism of the guild socialists, councilists and syndicalists, who described a system workers councils linked by federations of other councils. This is very much the economic structure envisioned by the French libertarian socialist and nationalist, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. This idea of direct workers control was named by the French anti-authoritarians of May ‘68 as autogestion, for the trend of thought clearly has some origins in France as early as Blanqui and the Communards. While the slogan and theory of workers power is mostly associated with the Left, it is only found on the far fringes(i.e. ultraleft, utopian, and libertarian) of which these currents faithful to it have very little to do with what is generally considered the Left politically.
But this isn’t the only place on the political spectrum that these ideas are found. These currents can be best described as the ultraright(the mirror image of its compliment the ultraleft), though they are often labeled incorrectly as ‘far-right’ and ‘fascist’ by liberal mainstream opinion. The first group is the Distributists, focused around the philosophy of G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, who preached an economic philosophy where ownership of the means of production would be spread out among the community as much as possible. They also wished to see a return to the guild system and sought the elimination of banks and usury. This is clearly much more in the spirit of socialism than a system where managerial duties are in the hands of a few state bureaucrats as was in place in Russia from 1922-1991. But Chesterton, Belloc and other Distributists didn’t derive their ideas from Marx or any other thinkers normally associated with the Left, but rather from the teachings of Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum, where the Pope addressed the issue of the condition of the working classes and supported their right to form unions.
The following group was actually considered fascist both in contemporary discourse as well as upon its inception, however, it’s ideology had much more in common with syndicalism than what is generally defined as fascism. The Faiscieau was formed in 1925 by George Valois, a onetime anarcho-syndicalist who had met with the brilliant radical thinker Georges Sorel as well as Charles Maurras, he was also the founder of the Cercle Proudhon, a group of intellectuals committed to a national syndicalist France. Though the Faiscieau certainly had some fascist dressing, mostly in the aesthetic sense(marches, uniforms, ect.) but also claiming an admiration for Mussolini, from the start they were not your typical fascist party. While authentic fascist Benito Mussolini is quoted as saying: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power”, Valois wished to see the economy run by those actually involved in manufacturing goods. This would clearly mean that workers would have control over the means of production as they are most involved in the manufacturing process. Valois also saw his fascism as a revolt against bourgeois rule, which differs from authentic fascism which was committed to protecting the interests of the ruling class against the tide of Marxism. Valois was also committed to an absolutely free trade unionism. In Aphorisms , written by Jón Ögmundarson, Valois is attacked for “Abandoning the transcendence of democracy, capitalism and Bolshevism in favour of a class free despotism opposed to materialism but offering nothing in it's place.” Ögymndarson also attacks futurism as “Nothing more then an adolescent rejection of what one is by birth and the obligations entailed as a result in favour of a directionless and violent vitality imbued stylish inconsequentials" This is worth noting given an interesting similarity between futurism and the politics of the Faiscieau. Since Valois’ main target was the bourgeoisie, not socialism, he saw Marxists as “brother enemies.” His criticism of Marxism lay in the fact that he thought it encouraged workers to be lazy but also because the insistence on demands for higher wages was irrespective of productivity. While this is ostensibly a reactionary, anti-worker position, when considered with the fact that Valois envisioned the workers taking control of means of production it appears as a proto-futurist position where the worker and machine are one and the worker gets as much out of his labor as he puts in. Here the being who controls the means of production in the new society would also be constantly indebted to the technology of the means of production, but since this society would also be holarchic, there would be no worry about excess products or rampant economic-technological growth that would seek to conquer and subjugate the natural environment.
Another place where the idea of workers autonomy is found on the far fringes of the Right is in integral nationalism. One of the central ideas of integral nationalism is the theory of blood and soil. This is simply the idea that any racial, ethnic or regional group of people deserve the right to live off the land they descended from. This idea clearly goes against modern capitalism where people are expected to move from place to place for the sake of jobs, which are becoming all the more transient, and ethnic, racial or regional heritage have little meaning in a world where commodities are the primary factor in human interaction. What is also implied by blood and soil is that the group of people in question would live off the land organically and self-sufficiently. In the setting of a small, village community this would clearly constitute as agrarian ‘workers power’ so to speak. Here the Law of Least Effort could easily be applied. Since every member of the society would be involved in its sustainment, there wouldn’t be any citizens mooching of the labor of others. This would be the truest form of a self-determining society, which each citizen being collectively autonomous.
The most recent example of the ultraright supporting workers power comes from the intellectual mind behind the Nouvelle Droite, Alain de Benoist. In The French New Right in the Year 2000, de Benoist and Champetier call for the regroupment of individuals in a society along the lines of spontaneous community: “Communities are constituted and maintain themselves on the basis of who belongs to them. Membership is all that is required. There is the vertical reciprocity of rights and duties, contributions and distributions, obedience and assistance, and a horizontal reciprocity of gifts, fraternity, friendship, and love. The richness of social life is proportional to the diversity of the members: this diversity is constantly threatened either by shortcomings (conformity, lack of differentiation) or excesses (secession, atomization).” They also call for the political power to be in the hands of local communities: “Local communities would have to make decisions by and for themselves in all those matters which concern them directly, and all members would have to participate at every stage of the deliberations and of the democratic decision-making.” Direct democracy, rather than the current bureaucratic farce of democracy, would also be a logical conclusion for an autonomous society: “Renewing the democratic spirit implies not settling for mere representative democracy, but seeking to also put into effect, at every level, a true participatory democracy (‘that which affects all the people should be the business of all the people’).” The fact that the ideals of workers power, the theory of direct control of the means of production, have survived the death of modernism, where many outdated philosophical myths were finally done away with(i.e the idea of Hegelian linear progress, the abstract man, universalism, emphasis on reason) despite the fact that were are still dealing with their excesses, is worth noting. It is also interesting that the current voice for autonomous community control comes from a philosopher who claims to be beyond the dualism of Left/Right as well as is one of the main voices behind the European New Right. While there are still those elements on the farthest fringes of the Left, known collectively as left communists or ultralefts, espousing historical workers autonomy theory, if one reads their writings they will soon see that they are highly critical of what is normally considered the Left and really deserve to be classed as true radicals, committed more to libertarian methodology than any flimsy abstraction of ‘left-wing’ thought. It is essential to put forth the ideas of direct control over the means of production since they represent a viable economic solution for a society in which the archetype of the Anarch is to survive.
|Even More Essays
(Editors: Frick gets into simulation and the Fantomas-like behavior of the new Terror in the One Nation Under God.)
The Terror Norm
by Ean Frick
In this era of late capitalism, we are bombarded with the constant threat, the perpetual fear, itself just a part of the whole, of terror or rather its theorized form: terrorism. The degree to which this terror(i.e. the fear of terrorism) has saturated the daily lives of Americans and to a lesser degree the rest of the world requires that the phenomenon of terrorism, the terrorist act, and perpetual terror are examined in a manner different from the traditional, misleading, and often hypocritical discourse from which it is normally found. When dissecting this phenomenon it must be broken down into three parts to fully distinguish the independence with which each part acts which make up the whole of the experience of terrorism.
The Greater Terror
First it must be said that the real terror of any terrorist attack lies not in the act itself but the way in which the act is disseminated through culture behind the mask of “informing the public” of the incident. The amount of people actually terrorized by the act itself is always invariably smaller than those terrorized by the coverage of the act. For a contemporary example one need look no further than the originator act of the current terror to see this. While 9.11 the act terrorized more people than is normally associated with the terrorist act given previous examples, it comes to the equational conclusion when considering the global terror perpetuated by the dissemination of the act. The people terrorized by the act were New Yorkers who witnessed the act plus those onboard the three planes, this number is somewhere in the thousands. For most people who recall the event, their terror came from the way they received the information of the act. Orwellian voice overs breaking the monotony of daily radio programming as well as in schools and workplaces across the country(breaking the monotony of everyday work as well), the closing of many workplaces which is seen as synonymous with something outside the normal and thus a panic or disaster of some sort, the onslaught of images of the act in a style simulating information overload to stress the seriousness of the act(and even more so its implications). The number of people subjected to the terror of dissemination is somewhere in the millions if not billions when considering global implications of information dissemination. Those who were terrorized by the act note how it resembled something like a big budget Jerry Bruckheimer film(the Onion properly satirized this). In other words, the act of terror, the supposed real, resembled a simulation of a terror act, just as those witness to the terror of dissemination were subjected to simulation of the act ad nausea. So if the greater terror comes from dissemination of the terror act, what then of the act itself?
The Terrorist Act
While many terrorist groups justify themselves by respective ideologies, be it nationalist, religious, or revolutionary, the actual act always accomplishes the same thing: cause an X degree of terror and upset the daily monotony of late capitalism. The terrorists know that they will be judged by their actions by not only those who witnessed the act but also the dissemination. Those who view their act are their audience. The terrorists also know that a certain degree of their audience will strongly disagree with their act. But it would not be an act of terrorism if it did not upset and therefore challenge something. The very act of terror thus demands a reaction, a criticism. For otherwise it would been seen as acceptable by whatever system it is trying to attack. The terrorists have defined themselves against their critics. When examined this way, the role of the terrorist in society is synonymous with that of the artist. While clearly part of society, they distinguish themselves against it or part of it by a performance in which a daily monotony is momentarily disrupted so they can push their own ideology against a prevailing one. So underneath every passamontagna is a performance artist. Each act is rehearsed and then performed. Symbolism is often utilized, as with the case of 9.11 where the WTC towers were targeted not so much for their actual importance to Western capital but their symbolic purpose. The IRA made a habit of blowing up statues of monarchs and other members of the British ruling class who symbolized the colonial rule of Ireland.
Some people argue that something changed on Sept.11, that there was at least one fundamental change in the everyday life of America, something which transcended subjective realities. It is in the opinion of the author that the 9.11 attacks represent the first time America was hit on her soil in the postmodern age, meaning the attack had been ‘predicted’ in the images of pop culture reality years before the actual attack took place. In the age of Pearl Harbor this certainly wasn’t the case. Also when the Pearl Harbor attack occurred Americans as a whole were not subjected to an onslaught of imagery of the attack which soon replaced the real event with hollow spectacle. However I think this ‘culturally defining’ moment was signaled earlier by Baudrillard in his writings on the first Gulf war where he put forth the idea that, at least for Westerners, the war didn’t occur except on TV. The most significant change that the attacks have had on the American masses is the Spectacle’s attitude change from America: the Invincible to America: Potential Target. Granted the American public was under constant terror attack from the media with its hype of school shootings, child molesters, the crimes of poor black people, and AIDS patients/drug fiends, but by general consensus America was a safe place to live when compared with the non-Western world. Post-9.11 the terror officially became the norm. All of a sudden America went from being the invincible to a nation where we could be attacked anywhere, at any time, by anyone. Soon afterwards the massive regrouping of the government bureaucracy known as Homeland Security established the color codes so as citizens we now know to what degree the terror norm is. Now to turn on the news and hear about terror attacks is to be expected, to not hear about terror would be strange. But this indoctrination of American citizens to the terror norm goes much further than just the news. The day of the attacks on the London tube, I was going to work on the Boston subway system and before I was even in the station I could hear the recorded message that they began playing in the T since 9.11 which goes a little something like this: "Now more than ever, its important be aware” it then continues to encourage T riders to basically spy on fellow passengers and report anything “suspicious”, as if terrorists just sit on the T with a stick of dynamite all shifty eyed. I remember thinking that I felt like Winton Smith. It wasn’t until I actually got to my job when I learned about the London attacks. But the terror precautions, the relentless terror awareness, which in a Marxist sense constitutes a kind of terror consciousness indicative of the Trotskyite roots of many Neocons, were already in affect. There didn’t need to be an attack on the London tube to justify the measures being taken on American subway systems, the terror norm was already in effect. By now the actual, the terrorist act has become merely secondary to the stripping away of the “rights” granted us by the liberal state. As for the “War on Terror”, even more fantasy, the grand epic to justify the new monotony of the terror age, the forces of good, Umerica, Bush/Blair, the West, liberal capitalism, Freedom, ect. battle the Fantomas-like figures of terror, unfreedom(if they hate us for our supposed freedom what are they for?), the Other, ect. But all this is just an update from the monotony of everyday life under America the invincible to the monotony of a state of perpetual terror, but it is a monotony none the less. As human beings we are inherently free and don’t need the granting of rights by any governmental body to ensure this, we are also mobile beings who by nature are not entrapped by any schedule other than biological cycles, if the ruling elite's want to maintain their control they will have to come up with a new plan once the fear instilled by the terror monotony wears thin.
(Editors: More essays from the Frick Who Was Beyond Left and Right!)
Why the Left Blows
by Ean Frick
Capitalism sucks, most people know that whether they say so or not. The vast majority of the problems that people suffer from are somehow attributed to the system we live under. Who has a crappy job? Who finds daily life boring? Who doesn't have enough 'free time'(that very phrase says it all)? Who wants more out of life than pointless commodities? People who become anti-capitalist usually do so by having some sort of association with the monolith that is the Left. But they'll tell you that they came to the persuasion of anti-capitalist because of the way capitalism exploits the farmer in Colombia or the peasants in Chiapas and most people in the "privileged" West find it hard to relate to the abuses of that system. While I certainly agree that capitalism is a horribly malicious system that is based off the exploitation, by any means necessary, of workers(especially those in the Third World) to create profit, why do we think only to use those reasons to explain our disgust? Isn't it as equally valid to say I hate capitalism because I can't go to Larz Anderson park at night without some cop coming and telling me to leave because the park is closed(as if Nature has visiting hours). Obviously the oppression of the Iraqis or Palestinians or Colombians at the hands of empire and capital is far greater than my conflict with the uniformed defenders of private property over my right to happiness but why prioritize to the point that my claim would seem petty or illegitimate in the eyes of most card carrying leftists. The game of objective importance is forced upon us everyday. Work is important, play isn't. What is reported on the news is what's officially important but what we personally find interesting isn't. Securing for the future, becoming morally responsible, Doing well at school to get a good job, "growing up", blah blah blah blah blah. No one wants to hear that. People could figure out what they wanted and what makes them happy if they actually had time to think and weren't constantly being told what to like and what to want from politicians and the mass media. Do that many people really want a SUV, a McMansion in the suburbs and an eternity trapped in the hell of wage labor and the constraints of the nuclear family? I don't. How boring. I don't know what I'll be doing in 20 years and I like that. Spontaneity and the unknown is what makes things fun. Why can't I just read or make collages and paintings all day, or go to the beach or sit on a hill and just enjoy the natural environment that surrounds me? Why should I be doing something 'important'? Why can't I just be? Contemporary civilization is based on the idea that being productive is essential to living, but what is exactly meant by ‘being productive’ is where the problems come in. If I waste my day on menial labor that won't even be attributed to me when I'm finished but instead to some business for some measly pay I'm being productive. But if I sit in bed all day because I want to, I've committed some sin or crime against what I supposedly should be doing. However the truth remains the only Grand Plan that exists is the one we create ourselves.
Now that that rant is out the reader may be asking her or his self what does this have to do with the Left per say? Well, my point is that the idea of objective importance is a tool used by the agents of Capital but also by the Left as well. When one becomes involved in the ranks of the Left they soon see this. Leftists will say they became activists because they felt some sense of duty, that they should be doing something with their free time. So they fill up all the time they have when they aren't cogs in the machine(as that is what free time is) running around making fliers, setting up meetings and espousing some dogma. Ideas are constantly in a state of flux and can come from anywhere, but when they are ordered, rationalized and placed in a nice little package and labeled for consumption they become dogma. Unbreakable rules pop up that exist in the metaphysical realm but whom the dogmatists will tell you will cause serious consequences if broken. Of course there are all sorts of dogmas on the Left, from pacifism to liberalism to Marxism-Leninism, all pushing for hegemony, for a totality, a fixed state where ideas can no longer move freely. Only recently have some on the Left recognized a need for organizations based around ideological pluralism, but whether this has produced new ideas out of the synthesis of others or just old dogmas bumping into each other like a tennis ball with a brick wall is yet to be seen. All dogma is is a police officer in your head. Blow his brains out. The productivity of the Left is the same as the productivity of wage labor. After all those fliers that have been put up and all those meetings scheduled and all that literature sold what do you have to show for it? All that time and effort for what? Sure some minds were radicalized and exposed to new ideas, that is an achievement, but how much of it was discarded to end up in the rubble of information that fills the cracks of the streets in every city. More people went to antiwar demonstrations against the Iraq war than Vietnam by far, but was the war stopped? In fact the people who are doing the most to the end that war are the citizens of Iraq who are picking up guns and rocks and whatever else they can get their hands on to get the occupying forces out of their country and preserve what's left of their culture and dignity. While the white liberals of the American Left chastise the Iraqis for their violence and try to get 100 people to show up somewhere with signs with hackneyed slogans on them and hope the media notices their poor excuse for a spectacle. Then after they will analyze the (non)importance of their actions in some coffee shop and go back to their lives, separating the personal from the political and succumbing to the bourgeois trap of specialization. The Left forgets that people act in their own interests. They think people will want to sign on to some cause if only it’s sold properly. So ending war, saving nature, fighting bigotry, and even smashing capitalism just becomes treated like some other commodity. So when people refuse to join it because digesting it would take a lot longer than some crap from WalMart, the Left either works harder to sell it or they lapse into saying that everyday Westerners are just ‘bought off’ by the decadence of the system. But people aren’t bought off so much as they are conditioned. The Left has to face the fact that the Spectacle is better at misappropriating people’s desires than they are. And as for the ‘privileged’ West, this attitude is completely uncritical of the utter shit that is Western consumer civilization. Granted it’s no paradise to live in a Third World country with the immense poverty, the terror of the state, and the sweatshops; but many Third World nations still have a strong indigenous culture though that is also being destroyed by globalization and neoliberalism(imports from the West, no doubt). But the culture of the West is one of McDonalds, Thomas Kinkade and Coca Cola. While the regions that make up the monster known as Amerika have their own traditional cultures based on the ethnic groups that live there, that is well on its way out in favor of the cultural hegemony of a Kmart Nation. Also the natural environment of Amerika is being completely paved in favor urban sprawl, a nation of strip malls. Many Third World communities also still have a sense of exactly that, community, but life in the West is alienating. Where is the local community to be found? The mall, of course. Any leftist who thinks life in the West is more pleasurable to live in hasn’t yet begun to scratch the surface of any serious criticism of capitalism. The point is nothing is absolute, the West is no better off than the Third World, and the Third World is no better off either. Life is these places are grim for different reasons, but the reasons for this can all be attributed to capitalism. This brings me to my next point: the enemy is capitalism, not the Bush agenda or even the right wing, for capitalism works under dialectics as does everything else and it needs a left wing to keep it going. The political spectrum is a product of capitalism, the left and right wings of the system. Also the idea of a spectrum presupposes an absolute, to moderates a leftist is a liberal Democrat, and to right wingers Hilary Clinton is a communist, to the League for a Revolutionary Party Nader is a nativist and a Dems sympathizer, and to the International Socialist Organization Nader was the only leftist choice in the ‘05 election. But who has the audacity to say that their view of what is truly Left and Right is correct? The truth is that there is a system and those support it and those who oppose it. That is the only dichotomy that should be allowed.
As long as the Left is bent on ‘realism’ it will fail to pose any serious threat to the global order of capital or recruit any new young people who could possibly help turn it around from the sorry state it’s in now. Despite the fact that the words ‘progressive’ and ‘leftist’ are commonly held to be synonyms, most leftists I’ve encountered are extremely suspicious of new radical intellectual trends. Philosophers like Jean Baudrillard, Henri Lefebvre, Guy Debord, Deleuze & Guatarri and even Sartre(who is far from a new philosopher) have all made excellent contributions to an intellectual critique of the damaging effects of capitalism on individuals in everyday life. Also Theodor Adorno and other members of the Frankfurt School brought anti-capitalism to the realm of culture, another topic the Left is, for the most part, ignorant of. In all their tirades against colonialism, there is a shocking lack of any serious attack on cultural imperialism. To have a nation impose its culture by force upon another its always a reactionary thing, but its even worse when the aggressor nation is obviously culturally inferior. One need look no further than the current occupation of Iraq where you have Uncle Sam prying open the hungry mouths of the Iraqi populace and force feeding them Friends, Gap clothes and American Idol which they are promptly throwing up in the form of day to day attacks on the new “democracy.” I recently heard on NPR a new story about the contractors in Iraq(i.e. mercenaries) where one merc admitted to Terry Gross that he had to educate the Iraqi men he dealt with not to hold hands, which is a sign of fraternity in Arab countries. In the West, specifically America, this lack of an organic national culture outside of consumerism is a problem that resonates with many disaffected people, especially the youth. If we have another world to win, we’re going to have to build a new culture in place of the garbage that masquerades as one now, and no socialist realism or cult of the proletariat is going to help either.
Toni Negri and Felix Guattari wrote an excellent book titled Communists Like Us, which noted how the realm of production in a late capitalist society has moved outside the old factories and is now operated in a much more social realm. The line between worker and consumer is being constantly blurred, and the average proletarian is stuck in the position of perpetually creating and buying commodities. This means that the realm of labor has moved into the social realm so you have a whole society of worker/consumers who have no break from the means of production. This leaves us all very tired at the end of the day and with little patience for the wage labor-like productivity of the Left.
If the Left wants to seriously change things for the better its going to have to make some major changes, like a serious break with the dogmatists and reformist-grounded liberals who have no tolerance for extraparilmentary or direct action politics, an admission that we live in a new era of capitalism that requires new strategies and criticisms, an opening of a cultural front that would work with youth and avant garde countercultural currents where grass roots, organic, and DIY ethics are practiced, and an abandoning of spectrum politics, which reduces every issue to left or right instead of capitalist and anti-capitalist, authoritarian and autonomous. Unless the Left starts to make these or similar changes, its going to continue to be part of the problem instead of the solution.
Ean Frick, 7/11/05
|Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005|
|Recent Essays from a Frick
(Editors: Recently we recieved some essays from a certain Ean Frick of the New England region. He seems to be of the persuasion of post-left anarchist, except he's taken it a whole new level. It appears he is involved in certain currents originating in the "extreme" right that have shed the reactionary skin of their cohorts(i.e. fascism, Hitlerism, white supremacy) and been influenced by non-Marxian socialism, Traditionalism, deep ecology, classical anarchism, folkish nationalism, pagan revivalism, ethnofederalism and radical pluralism. These diverse currents are often descibed as Third Position, Post-Left/Right, National Bolshevik, National Anarchist, National Revolution, Green nationalist, and European New Right. What this Frick has contributed to these new political avant gardes is a type libertarian criticism, an anarchist reading of the far Right that brings a new interpretaion outside of the superficial, condemnatory analysis of the liberal mainstream. He also seems to be influenced by recent postmodern ideas, which would explain his interest in going beyond grand narratives like the left/right system of thought as well as his interest in otherness of the "extreme" right. Enjoi!)
Charles Maurras and National Anarchy
by Ean Frick
Charles Maurras, French poet, critic of liberal democracy and founder of Action Française, was a staunch nationalist and monarchist. Despite the fact that much his philosophy was authoritarian, there is also much that can be learned from and attributed to the ideas of National Anarchy.
Being alive during the fin de siecle, he saw the encroaching tide of modernity and wished to return to a France prior to the Revolution, when the spirit of the nation was represented by a sovereign individual instead of a constitutional assembly. But his monarchism wasn’t based on any silly notions of sentimentality, but rather on reason, seeing that the liberal state wasn’t adequate at maintaining its citizens liberties. In ‘Dictator and King’ Maurras writes: “There is no interference, legal or illegal, which the French administration does not consider itself entitled to inflict upon the taxpayer and those whom it administers. There is no limit to the insolence that officials dare to use in their dealings with the citizen. An anonymous and impersonal Caesar, all-powerful, but irresponsible and unaware of the effect of his actions, applies himself diligently to the task of molesting the Frenchman from the cradle to the grave. Whether he wishes to live alone or to associate, the French citizen is certain to encounter at every step the Caesar-state, the Caesar-office ready to impose its directives (with prohibitions) or its wares (with subsidies).” He continues by calling for the autonomy of the citizen: “Those aspects of public affairs that the citizen knows are under the supervision of, or at the convenience of, the state. Without the state, a parent, town council, a board of directors, or even a simple village fete committee can decide practically nothing in matters that are of the closest and most direct concern to themselves. Voluntary associations, like political or intellectual societies, or natural associations like the family, town, or province- all gatherings of citizens are either overcome with inertia thanks to the laws of the state or else banned at the whim of those who happen at that moment to be masters of the state. Thus, thanks to the state, the civic function of the citizen falls into disuse and atrophies. The citizen becomes ignorant, lazy and cowardly. He loses civic sense and civic spirit.
Treated as a minor, he becomes fit only to follow docilely his guardians. He neither responds to nor cares about the basic interests of his community.”
Along with being a harsh critic of the state, Maurras was also a decentralist. Action Française favored a federal monarchy and wished to restore autonomy to the
various provinces of France, in contrast with the departmental system imposed after the
The excerpts from ‘Dictator and King’ came from The French Right: From de Maistre to Maurras by J. S. McClelland(editor) which is an excellent book on French
anti-liberal and anti-democratic thought from the end of the Revolution to the 20th century and
also features work from revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel and Maurice Barres.