April 2008

Here’s a lengthy interview with Robert Fisk. He’s worth at least one million Friedman’s.


Not the full extent of what this vulgar, jejune, bloated, racist, warmongering, fuck, deserves, but amusing none the less.

I just wish the pie had been made of shit. Although since he thrives on injecting the moral and mental equivalent of it into the public discourse, a shit pie may just have inspired his newest form of insipid, hackneyed, neoliberal horse shit.

The 1966 Stax/Volt European Tour.

I’ve seen these clips on many memorable occasions. Now their brilliance blends with my wonderful nostalgic memories to form a synthesis of sentimentality beholding genius;

A giant has fallen
he had class until the end:

In 2006, he refused to meet the leader of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), Nicolas Sarkozy, then a probable contender for the 2007 presidential election, because the UMP had voted for the February 23, 2005 law asking teachers and textbooks to “acknowledge and recognize in particular the positive role of the French presence abroad, especially in North Africa”, a law considered by many as a eulogy to colonialism and French actions during the Algerian War. President Jacques Chirac finally had the controversial law repealed[1].

and the vision of visions;
“the work of man is only just beginning and it remains to conquer all the violence entrenched in the recess of our passion and no race possesses the monopoly of beauty, of intelligence, of force, and there’s a place for all at the rendezvous of victory.”

Here is all i could find in English on the internet;

   At the end of daybreak. . .

   Beat it, I said to him, you cop, you lousy pig, beat it, 

I detest the flunkies of order and the cockchafers of hope. 

Beat it, evil grigri, you bedbug of a petty monk. Then I turned 

toward paradises lost for him and his kin, calmer than the face 

of a woman telling lies, and there, rocked by the flux of a 

never exhausted thought I nourished the wind, I unlaced the 

monsters and heard rise, from the other side of disaster, a 

river of turtledoves and savanna clover which I carry forever 

in my depths height-deep as the twentieth floor of the most 

arrogant houses and as a guard against the putrefying force 

of crepuscular surroundings, surveyed night and day by a cursed 

venereal sun.

   At the end of daybreak burgeoning with frail coves, the hungry 

Antilles, the Antilles pitted with smallpox, the Antilles dyn-

amited by alcohol, stranded in the mud of this bay, in the dust 

of this town sinisterly stranded.

   At the end of daybreak, the extreme, deceptive desolate eschar 

on the wound of the waters; the martyrs who do not bear witness; 

the flowers of blood that fade and scatter in the empty wind 

like the screeches of babbling parrots; an aged life mendacious-

ly smiling, its lips opened by vacated agonies; an aged poverty 

rotting under the sun, silently; an aged silence bursting with 

tepid pustules,

   the awful futility of our raison d'être.

   At the end of daybreak, on this very fragile earth thickness 

exceeded in a humiliating way by its grandiose future--the vol-

canoes will explode, the naked water will bear away the ripe 

sun stains and nothing will be left but a tepid bubbling pecked 

at by sea birds--the beach of dreams and the insane awakening.

   At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat, toppled from 

its common sense, inert, winded under its geometric weight of 

an eternally renewed cross, indocile to its fate, mute, vexed 

no matter what, incapable of growing with the juice of this 

earth, self-conscious, clipped, reduced, in breach of fauna 

and flora. 
Excerpted from “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land” by Aime Césaire, translated by Clayton Eshleman and Annette Smith, forthcoming from Wes

looks promising;

Fred, my grandad, was another pragmatist. He had a big plumbing shop in Salford near Strangeways prison on this green hillock. Eighteen apprentices. His idea of a good time was reading a book on plumbing, on how to dispose of shit.

He’d stand outside Strangeways and recruit ex-prisoners, get them making lathes and pipes. At the time they were recruiting for the army and he’d say, “You’ve got a choice – you either go to Ireland or you come with me.”

I bump into them when I’m in Manchester sometimes – fellows who are about 55. They just come up and say, “You’re Fred’s grandson, aren’t you?” and I’ll be thinking, “Oh fucking hell. What are they going to say now?” But they’re really complimentary – they say things like, “Your grandad met me outside Strangeways one Wednesday afternoon, and he turned my life around.” Different times then, different people, unlike the ungrateful musicians I employ.

They say that there’s a generation gap: you’re not actually like your mam and dad, you’re more like your grandfather or grandmother. In this respect I had more in common with my grandad than I did with my dad – just hiring people off the street. If they go, they go, if they don’t, they don’t. I’m not really bothered where people come from. Mind you, I don’t understand why everyone makes such a big deal about where they go, either. The other members of the Fall came, they saw, they fucked off, and now I no longer see them. I find it all very boring, to be honest.

read the rest

Here is the paper I have mentioned in previous posts that uses Marx and Adorno to critique pluralist democratic theory. Have a gander and leave helpful comments if you fancy:

Problematizing Pluralism
Chris O’Kane
Paper prepared for NYSPSA


The importance of Karl Marx’s On the Jewish Question has re-emerged in light of the myriad of recent scholarship on what is variously termed pluralism or the politics of difference. Marx’s early polemic against Bruno Bauer addresses the question of how to integrate the Jews into German society. In marked contrast to Bauer’s argument that political incorporation and the renunciation of religion will solve the matter, Marx draws a distinction between political and human emancipation and argues that political emancipation does not fully resolve the oppression of Jewish identity. Marx argues this is because political emancipation does not account for the mediating influence of the historic conditions of civil society, which creates the antagonistic identities of the German and the Jew. For Marx, it is only human emancipation that will do away with this antagonism;

All emancipation is a reduction of the human world and relationships to man himself.

Political emancipation is the reduction of man, on the one hand, to a member of civil society, to an egoistic, independent individual, and, on the other hand, to a citizen, a juridical person.

Only when the real, individual man re-absorbs in himself the abstract citizen, and as an individual human being has become a species-being in his everyday life, in his particular work, and in his particular situation, only when man has recognized and organized his “own powers” as social powers, and, consequently, no longer separates social power from himself in the shape of political power, only then will human emancipation have been accomplished.

In his lecture on “Negative Universal History,” Theodor W Adorno makes a parenthetical critique of pluralism that I will try to show has a devastating impact on pluralist democratic theory. This is because despite the fact that many pluralists utilize Adorno’s notion of the particular to advocate their politics of difference, Adorno critiques pluralism as ideological.
Following Marx, Adorno asserts that instead of addressing the conditions in civil society that oppress these divergent and antagonistic identities, pluralism operates ideologically because it taking these conditions as a given and falsely reconciles them with the very conditions that oppress them. Here Marx’s notion of the inadequacy of political emancipation absorbs pluralism;

“The term ‘pluralism’ is acquiring increasing currency in our own time. It is presumably the ideology describing the centrifugal tendencies of a society that threatens to disintegrate into unreconciled groups under the pressure of its own principles… As a minor by-product of these lectures I would like to recommend that you adopt an extremely wary attitude towards the concept of pluralism, which like the similar concept of ’social partners,’ is preached at us on every street corner. To transfigure and ideologize the elements of discontinuity or of social antagonisms in this way is a part of the general ideological trend. In the same way, it is very characteristic of our age that the very factors that threaten to blow up the entire world are represented as the peaceful coexistence of human beings who have become reconciled and have outgrown their conflicts. This is a tendency which barely conceals the fact that mankind is beginning to despair of finding a solution to its disagreements.” (93)

This paper examines how Adorno’s critique problematizes the new pluralist democratic theory. It will utilize the distinguished work of Iris Marion Young and Will Kymlicka as examples of this scholarship. By updating Adorno’s critique to address the new pluralist democratic theory, I will argue that Young and Kymlicka reify the repression of pluralist identities created by the historical conditions in civil society by treating them as a given and incorporating them into the democratic political sphere. But, this political emancipation is not human emancipation. For under Young and Kymlikca’s democratic model, oppressed groups are still subject to the historical, social and economic conditions that created the antagonisms that led to their oppression. In other words, a political pluralism that allows for the heterogeneity that diverse groups demand is inadequate because by arguing for a democratic solution in the political sphere, it masks the root cause of oppression, forcing the oppressed groups to be reconciled with the historical social and economic conditions that oppress them.
Following Adorno’s use of Marx’s concepts of use-value and exchange-value as normative concepts, I will argue that these democratic models meets Adorno’s definition of ideology because Young and Kymlicka’s reified arguments for incorporation conflate use-value with exchange-value, ultimately perpetuating the problem they are trying to solve.
This is because Kymlicka and Young’s models modify the liberal democratic sphere to include oppressed group identities. In doing so they assume that participation in a modified liberal democratic model has an inherent use-value for these groups. (democracy will meet the needs of the oppressed groups because it is democracy.) But, on the basis of my prior distinctions between political and human emancipation and the political and civil sphere, I contend that this is actually exchange-value. This is because instead of identity functioning qualitatively as a use-value to meet the needs of the individuals identity, it is absorbed into the political realm where it functions as a quantity; it becomes one vote. But, for reasons already explained this vote does nothing to satisfy the needs of oppressed people with these identities. Therefore, following Adorno and in contrast to Young and Kymlicka, these oppressed groups should actually demonstrate the false reconciliation of the capitalist totality and the impossibility of the argument for a political solution. They should serve as the basis for an argument for human emancipation. But, due to the ideological nature of the new pluralism, they are bartered for a stake in pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions that do not entail the creation of a society that instead of oppressing these groups (in the civil sphere) and treating them as any other (in the political sphere) will provide for them and treat them as they desire.
But, this critique is not meant to dismiss the problem of heterogeneity. It is obviously an important contemporary issue that must be adequately addressed by including a critique of civil society in arguments for human not political emancipation. In briefly turning to the works of Zizek, Angela Davis and Said I hope to demonstrate that this is possible.


Freedom as they know it- People have so manipulated the concept of freedom that it finally boils down to the right of the stronger and the richer to take from the weaker and the poorer whatever they still have. Attempts to change this are seen as shameful intrusions into the realm of the very individuality that by the logic of that freedom has dissolved into an administered void. But the objective spirit of language knows better. German and English reserve the word ‘free’ for things and services which cost nothing. Aside from a critique of political economy, this bears witness to the unfreedom posited in the exchange relationship itself; there is no freedom as long as everything has its price, and in reified society things exempted from the price mechanism exist only as pitiful rudiments. On closer inspection they too are usually found to have their price, and to be handouts with commodities or at least with domination; parks make prisons more endurable to those not in them. For people with a free, spontaneous, serene and nonchalant temper, however, for those who derive freedom as a privilege from unfreedom, language holds ready an apposite name; that of impudence. TWA Messages in a Bottle

Next Page »