Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ultime Hyper Totale Gauche

A little ditty inspired by the recent arrests of a commune of youths, among whom young anarcho-situ friends of Agamben, for the terrorist conspiracy to... delay the TGV. The dossier for the prosecution mainly consists in the following tome, allegedly written by one of the conspirators: The Coming Insurrection, by the Invisible Committee (pdf, in French). A review of sorts will follow. It is worth noting that these activists, who among other things ran a grocery store and a bookshop in the small rural village of Tarnac (hence the moniker Tarnac 9), have managed to get the unanimous solidarity of the local farmers and town-dwellers. Though not too enamoured of revolutionary anti-urbanism or agro-anarchism myself (the response by the Nouveau Parti Anti-Capitaliste's O. Besancenot, according to whom 'we need more trains, not less' does tug at some Bolshevik strings, though his 'condemnation' rang very hollow) there's certainly something to be learned in such strategies. For information and a petition (which somehow strikes me as being at odds with their own modus operandi of uncompromising negation of the endemic spread of "collaborators" and the "total mobilisation" of contemporary managerialised and spectacular democracies), see here.

Down with the nu-bureaucrats!

Thanks to Ben for bringing me the glad tidings that my alma mater is now being occupied, in the wake of staff revolt. When I was there a dozen years ago, a rather less coherent Mobilization got mired in identity politics (though I still have fond memories of the Habermasians at the Graduate Faculty putting up dazibaos calling for "ideal communicative situations" as their undergraduate students publically denounced them for sexism and called for a mandatory Queer Studies course. Oh postmodernism, how quaint you seem today...). I suppose "the Crisis" has a way of focussing the political imagination.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Religion of Capital

In his splendid 1882 satirical critique of political economy, The Religion of Capital, Paul Lafargue put the following words in the mouth of a fictional English statistician:

Now, then, the only religion that answers the needs of the moment is the religion of Capital. … Capital is the true, only and omnipotent God. He manifests Himself in all forms and guises. He is found in glittering gold and in stinking guano; in a herd of cattle and in a cargo of coffee; in brilliant stores that offer sacred literature for sale and bundles of pornographic etchings; in gigantic machines, made of hardest steel, and in elegant rubber goods. Capital is the God whom the whole world knows, sees, smells, tastes. He exists for all our senses. He is the only God that has yet to run into an atheist.

As political-economic atheism becomes ever more attractive, and our senses more skeptical, it seems that in Detroit, elaborate liturgies have been aimed at trying to resurrect Fordism.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Readers of the World, Unite!