Conflict is abuse, harm is heteroglossic, and other phantasmagoria from an Oakland Sunday…
Do you remember when we used to go and dance at those punk rock shows/it feels so…long ago/do you remember that night when that skinhead threatened me with my life/ you should have realized right then…that something…something went quite right/we were just teenagers, looking for a scene/based upon simplistic notions of equality/oh ain’t it a fucker when you discover fuck when you discover that it’s all based upon slightly altered versions of the same old crap. —The Casual Terrorist
Nine Theses/Nine Lives
1. When did the Enlightenment die? 2. What I really mean is, When did the Enlightenment die for the left? 3. (And I don’t mean the so-called “White Jacobin” left, the left of white terror, which takes as a pseudo-Leninist occasion the alt-right mainstreaming of Foucault and the Thule Society to declare themselves the sole bearers of the torch of the Sokal Affair: though naturally there’s always a bridge, a hallucinogenic path, between fascism and the Enlightenment, and that bridge could be called John Locke or Jorge Luis Borges, Vilfredo Pareto or Peter Thiel’s hemophilia).
We are on the side of the species’ eternal Life, our enemies are on the side of eternal Death. And Life will swallow them up, by synthesizing the two terms of the antithesis within the reality of communism.–Amadeo Bordiga
The night Trump was elected, there were celebrations on the streets of Juba, South Sudan.
Orson, a thirty year-old State Department employee, groped for a word from the nauseous pit of his groin–a groin inhabited by a succubus of pure fear–and found (implausibly, for an unconscious child of the Sokal Affair) “lumpen.”
Lumpen: a Marxist word, more or less.
The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, and this will improve our position in the struggle against Fascism. One reason why Fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm. The current amazement that the things we are experiencing are ‘still’ possible in the twentieth century is not philosophical. This amazement is not the beginning of knowledge–unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable. –Walter Benjamin
Paul Feyerabend—a half-forgotten Calibanal apostle straddling the right-wing Vienna side of European modernism and California anti/pseudo-science counterculture—was shot three times by the Red Army while retreating from the Eastern Front. His injuries left him neuralgic, prone to a particularly (in/post-)fertile depression, and impotent.
There are times when life converts us into the instrument of someone else’s disgrace. –a Diego Rivera doppelgänger in the 1943 film María Candelaria (Xochimilco)
I was out walking, sweaty and with hair plastered/to my face/when I saw Ernesto Cardenal approaching/from the opposite direction/and by way of greeting I said:/Father, in the Kingdom of Heaven/that is communism,/is there a place for homosexuals?/Yes, he said./And for impenitent masturbators?/For sex slaves?/For sex fools?/For sadomasochists, for whores, for those obsessed/with enemas,/for those who can’t take it anymore, those who really truly/can’t take it anymore?/And Cardenal said yes. –Bolaño
Just remember this. All agents defect, and all resisters sell out. That’s the sad truth, Bill. And a writer? A writer lives the sad truth like anyone else. The only difference is, he files a report on it. – William Burroughs
Part 2 of an essay that begins here.
5.1. Health and Its Discontents
Some of my best friends, and I’m talking about people in their twenties or early thirties, the ones with truly radical and self-sacrificing souls, have been so terminally unhealthy and non-athletic, or anti-athletic, that in the rare moments that we end up playing a sport, they invariably fall ill, they turn red or purple, they vomit and they take to bed for days.
On September 11th, every year, it became a habit for certain melancholic leftists who consider themselves heretical thinkers to reflect, not on the Ouroboros of McEmpire and McJihad, or whatever, but on Allende shooting it out with fascist generals with Castro’s sub-machine gun.
Communism is free time and nothing else, he thought when he woke up in the morning. And when he went to sleep: predicting what life will be like under communism would be like packing for a dream.
In memory of the failed Cuban Revolution, 1956-2014
It’s not enough for a writer to have no owner and no conscience, but it’s a good start. It’s not enough because when he or she emerges from his or her isolation and melancholia, from the pure futility of the inland empire of liberty, there’s still the literary market to worry about and family dinners with collaborationist in-laws.
I’m going to begin with an olive branch: not all of Sunday’s “Unity March” in Paris was a proto-fascist omen (Marine Le Pen and her National Front goons were, after all, cheerleading and hurling scatological slogans from the sidelines, which is a lot like when coaches of certain national soccer teams keep their divas or sexual predators off the field in spite of their universally acknowledged talent).
When I listen to critics of Hamas (and in the largest sense, Hamas needs not only to be criticized but defeated) (I’m not talking about Netanyahu but the so-called moderates who take time out of their presumably busy days to worry about Hamas’ strategy or its charter, which is to say its thoughts on the Zionist project), I wonder what these people were saying in the seventies and eighties…
In a qualifying match against Brazil for the 1990 World Cup, Chile was on the verge of elimination when the goalkeeper Roberto Rojas cut himself with a razor and writhed on the ground next to a firework that had been thrown from the stands. What happened after that resembled a Zionist or neocon dreamscape: angry protestations, a bloodied body ceremoniously hauled away in a mock martyr’s cortege, and a subsequent humiliation of the supposed victim.
Perhaps then it would be easier to go, to leave behind a small puddle of tears, a tiny well of watery sadness that no secret police agent would ever be able to identify. Because a fairy’s tears have no color, no identification, no taste; they have never watered any garden of illusion. The tears of a poor, abandoned fairy like her would never see the light of day, would never be the humid worlds that absorbent handkerchiefs would blot off the pages of literature. The tears of a faggot always seem fake: utilitarian tears, clown tears, kinky tears, a cosmetic enhancement to eccentric emotions. –Pedro Lemebel (“cross-dresser, militant, third-world champion, anarchist, Mapuche indian by adoption…possessor of a painfully long memory…the best poet of my generation, though he doesn’t write poetry” –Roberto Bolaño)
I recently read two memoirs: Luis Buñuel’s Mi último suspiro and Reinaldo Arenas’ Antes que anochezca. Buñuel’s memoir ends with the word tumba and Arenas’ ends with the word noche: words that are like broken talismans or coins that have lost their value with the vertiginous inflation of illness and the regime change that is death.
It is reliably said that during Isaiah Berlin’s youth his pampering mother used to rouse him from sleep with the question, “What are we going to do today?” To which the answer was: “Nothing.” Perhaps Marie Berlin became the nicest kind of Stalin in his subconscious.
We are entering a time when words must be backed up by actions.
In May of 2013, Dominique Venner, the former OAS terrorist turned semi-respectable historian and paladin of the French New Right (although there’s nothing new about it, really, it’s the same old Action française Catholic-monarchist bullshit, the same pompous argot of bourgeois murderers, the same hybrid of decadent rationalism and plagiarized German Romanticism, a style some say was inaugurated by Charles Maurras but may actually extend back to Ernest Renan or even Descartes), walked up to the altar of the Notre-Dame Cathedral and shot himself. He left a suicide note, and, in case the note was lost to the depredations of chance or the iconoclasms of the police, he left a blog post.