Monday, July 31, 2006

"The gloves are off"

The War on Terror is a war on humanity (by capital).

Imperialists can't defeat Hezbollah, or "terrorists", which are created in response and resistance to imperialist aggression, by further imperialist aggression (any more than you can still the surface of a pond by striking it; any more than a bomb can give birth by piercing a mother with shrapnel).

Wherever the unilinear logic of imperialism, undergirded by capital, with the need to preserve its material sources of continuation and expansion, intersects with humanity, there will be bloodshed, and there will be accordingly be resistance (which will provoke or justify further violence and territorial/resource gains by the imperial powers).

The only question is the rate of metabolism of this dynamic. And it's clear that this has recently accelerated.

The "danger" for the imperialists is that, by the nakedness of their violence, their utter disregard for human life and international law (Gaza, Qana, the UN station etc), and therefore the starkness with which the ever-present dynamic outlined in the previous paragraph is revealed, they might lose domestic support; but this is actually a danger, not for the imperialists, but for those of us who are citizens of imperial countries; because the imperialists will respond by progressively threatening or constraining out of existence any domestic resistance, by ratcheting up repression.

It's therefore unmistakeably in the interests of all humanity (we need only interpolate that existentially/psychologically the ostensible capitalist leaders/owners/beneficiaries are themselves prisoners of capital's logic, to understand that all parties are adversely affected, breaching the material elite/rest-of-humanity divide) for imperialism to be dismantled, by a movement of human/social resistance in solidarity across all countries, imperial and oppressed; otherwise all we can do is to hope/pray/campaign/use legal means in order to restrain the rate of metabolism as far as possible - the rate of chaos, crisis and violent aggression; but nobody is really in control (as a result particularly most recently of the abdication of control over policy by national governments to the requirements of markets, in neoliberalism). Capital/the Megamachine (pace Rudolf Bahro) is in control; its unhumanly perennial logic informing all the actions of the various "leaders" ostensibly making decisions.

Lebanon has the power to constitute a powerful symbol of this balance of forces - the immutable dynamic of imperialism; its disregard for human life; the bloodshed which occurs at the intersection of the two logics; the human necessity of dismantling imperialism. Let's hold this image in mind, build our movement and move at the right time. The fate of the innocent civilians in Lebanon is our fate; it's already happened to us; and will happen to us again.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

RIP, ameen

That boy will remember that hand on his chin forever, his mother dying, going, lost to him, losing his sun, his earth. His mother looking at him with such concern, worried about him, she's dying and she knows this will deprive her son of a mother, and she is concerned only for him, and trying to give him everything she can in the little time she has left. A lifetime's motherly care ended. She won't see him grow up. The ramifications are total and unending. Wearing a smart scarf for a shopping trip perhaps, she suddenly lies stricken on the ground, her body, lifegiving and sustaining, pierced by shrapnel, by a fragment of destruction, already becoming a corpse, still with the dignity of motherhood, of being alive, and that dignity, that life ended by something, by a logic, a decision, far beneath her in value and dignity, yet raised to a position of power over her life and death by, by what, by the iniquities we know about.

The child covered in the blood of his mother.

This is what the war means, that our children can have Playstations and new clothes all the time ("our way of life is non-negotiable"); that our leaders can entertain their acquisitive, aggressive wargaming fantasies, and enrich themselves; other people's children die and become orphans.

Our death drive takes people who have nothing to do with it victims, and we watch them as part of the spectacle.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The elite is hunkering down for a chaotic future

The behaviour of the elite bears out the theory that they know what's up re climate change and peak oil, and have decided that the best policy is to cement their control both domestically (via "terror" legislation etc), and globally in terms of resource control, in the expectation that when military and climactic chaos is raging around the planet, they will be able to retreat behind defense walls and banks of missiles, at high altitudes and in temperate lands. And that Iraq and Lebanon in particular are the first manifestations of this particular policy, and evince its characteristics of utter brutality and contempt for human life, particularly of the brown "Other".
This fits because in all sorts of ways the fact of climate change represents(/ed) an unprecedented opportunity for mankind to become unavoidably aware of the unsustainability of capitalism (as well as its tendency to produce deepening immiseration of the majority, periodic crises and imperatives to subjugation of nature and man, and extreme mortality), and to surpass it and take up forms of society and production based on community, cooperation and equality - which of course meaning the ending of the elite, the sharing of wealth and power, are of course anathema to it.
At every stage in human history, there is enough for everyone - enough food, enough water, enough climactic security, enough peace; but the elite's power and the need to sustain its power constitute a structural shape which forestalls the prospect of this sharing. The planet has never been threatened on this scale before, so the imperative of doing away with this structure is more acute than ever; it's a condition for our survival.
Apparently, the Amazon rainforest is going to start dying out next year if it continues to experience drought. (from Qlipoth)
Of the two possible directions our future could go: one is a rational and humane draw-down, based on cooperation and sharing; on conscientiousness and humanity; I have this image of people singing in the fields as they work. The rich giving up their abstract and unnecessary consumption for the sake of the fate of people in the developing world; countries opening borders to climate refugees, and sharing valuable land and water resources; people living and working in community, reusing and repairing instead of replacing their goods; the whole characterised by a commitment to life which is the product of human society when not constrained by hierarchy and especially by capitalist social relations.
The other scenario is Blade Runner - isolated enclaves of security and prosperity, and a gulag elsewhere, third world homo sacer providing resources and primary products under the rule of the whip. The elite have chosen this one.
I'm not clear what role the possibility of global economic collapse has in this situation, given that the elite seems to be doing nothing to prevent it and yet we can't assign incompetence to them anymore - is it something which plays into their hands, as economic desperation in poor countries might give them numerous excuses to reinforce their rule through military projection? Or does it constitute a weak point through which the push for revolution can occur?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bravery; humanity; integrity; brotherhood; peace; love; wallpaper

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Clip of speech at Stop the War protest

Photos from the Stop The War march, 22 July 2006

Friday, July 21, 2006

Big Brother - fascist TV

(NB some of these points have been made beautifully before, I now recall!)

When historians of the future are describing the inexorable deterioration towards fascism occurring in the first half of the 21st century in the Anglo-Saxon imperial countries, Big Brother will be sure to claim pages of reflection as an important early signpost.

The fascist connotations of Big Brother's control over its inmates, its ability to see everything and to impose arbitrary or reasonable (in practise it's a deliberately disorientating mixture of both) rules on them is obvious, and knowingly checked of course in the name; and played with by the programme producers. First objection: this knowingness doesn't make it any better. Indeed it smacks of insouciance about the openness with which the tropes and modes associated with fascism can be deployed and got away with - which will precisely be the quality of the coming fascism (i.e. it's in your face and there's nothing you can do about it; furthermore it's not really fascism; and most people don't mind and it's fun).

In this context everything seemingly sinister about the show must be seen as sinister; it can't be laughed off with the "knowing" gesture that the producers want us to make. Impressionistically - the huge outer walls of the house, from the outside, are reminiscent of nothing so much as the Israeli 'defense' wall (at the same time reminding one of military and industrial and commercial formations - which become familiarised, glamourised and normalised by association); with rolls of barbed wire above them; CCTV cameras are the very medium by which our viewing of the 'inmates' is presented ("we" are Big Brother in this fantasy, this inversion of the reality in a country in which every citizen is caught on CCTV on average 300 times a day; while we're glued to our TV sets as the advertisers know we are, in what is, for the programme makers and C4, a highly profitable transaction, renting out our eyeballs); the way we're encouraged to revel in, to anticipate and clamour for and enjoy the prospect and the act of eviction. This is the site of the event in Big Brother - no matter how intrinsically interesting watching people interact in a social environment may be, it is made very clear by the producers that this is not the main focus - Davina on Friday nights whips up the crowds by mentioning the eviction over and over again ("after the next break but one, it'll be time for the eeeviction") and fully plays up the sadistic aspect and the unfortunate nature of it for the pitilessly-treated evicted.

Of course this has the real-life referent of evictions in the outer world; those of the enclosures; of people who can't make the mortgage payments on their homes; of squatters; of displacements of people such as occur and have occurred in countless conflicts and crimes. It doesn't just mimic evictions however; as the evicted comprehensively disappears from view; this is more like offing; ethnic cleansing by murder not by displacement. Solve the problem by getting rid of the person. We don't have to live together and get along. Those who don't make the grade can be made gone in a single satisfying shot. No pity. No questioning. Just watch it as a crowd. Just do what Davina says. Anyone familiar with twentieth century history knows that in a context before or after or outside late capitalism in the imperium centre, where our chains are dressed in glitz and glamour, Davina would not be an attractive, if (or is it just me?) increasingly dead-eyed young woman, but would revert to a more familiar type, with a gun and no smile; and anyone who doesn't believe in neocon dreams knows that history is not over but is looking all too prone to repeating itself.

We, the viewers, always remain in our privileged position; not participating in the eviction; somehow always surviving; identifying with the stayers and not with the departed. This is a position not held in the real world by any to any degree except the elite (everyone else is at some kind of risk of bankruptcy and dispossession or depradation by capital; especially if they consume as avidly as we have been trained to), but even the elite don't have this completely - no human being does; the only existing body which does is capital; which is continually renewing itself, continually new and strong and shiny while the human bodies it associates with as consumers or workers may age and weaken or be imperfect and be discarded. The trick in Big Brother is that we have the position of this timeless and eternally living force, and are encouraged to feel we identify with it and want it (then go and buy that shiny car from the advert). The reality is that this is very far from being the case, and of course we should celebrate and reclaim the human social reality of mortality and organic, fleshy, imperfect existence, not wish to be abstracted into pure observing phantasms in the spectacle.

There are other ways in which the programme reinforces the imperatives not, here, of fascism, but of its parent, capitalism. Putting the housemates in the context of the world situation for a second - here they are, they have willingly chosen to come to a place where they can do nothing and know nothing about the world, where they cannot work on anything or be aware of anything that's going on around them. Instead they are presented with banal and ridiculous tasks and are required to be excited about being given shiny objects or alcohol or cheesy music, all of which absorb their attention entirely. All this is celebrated. Isn't this the world of the modern consumer? We're continually distracted with shiny baubles, imprisoned in offices or shops or factories for most of the day and then required to shop or spend money on entertainment in the time remaining to us; not to think or do anything about reality; not to pierce the spectacle and discover the truth about the world.

Of course it almost goes without saying that Big Brother is the most vivid and uncompromising enactment of the spectacle going; the inmates are imprisoned in the spectacle, just as we are when we watch it, and when we follow exactly the same modes and consciousness in our everyday lives; reaching an apex when we spend our time discussing Big Brother.

The inmates are nearly all working class, and this is the point, these are normal people; this is normal modern British reality; from Davina's estuaryishness to the horrific flat dulled impassive tones of the Geordie voiceover presenter. The participants are given nearly unlimited leisure, to express their individuality in any way going. But they are as constricted and as exploited, and by the same logic, as our class ancestors who worked in the earliest capitalist factories, when among the UK population 39% died by age 17. All outward empowerment and freedom and right to expression and to leisure time is a sham and becomes horrifically inverted when subject to the workings and logic of capitalism, and are removed and replaced with chains of the mind and of the soul for people who are imprisoned in the spectacle, whether they are the working class participants or the (almost uniformly as far as one can gather) middle class production staff, or we the viewers, who feel empowered, while our worst potentialities are encouraged and abetted, allowing the enrichment of the elite to continue, in an ahistorical dream.