April 2009

Marx in the 1844 Manuscripts:

Aleination shows itself not only in the result, but also in the act of production, inside production itself…For the product is merely a summary of the activity of production. So if the product of labour is externalization, production itself must be active externalization, the externalization of activity, the activity of externalization. The alienation of the object of labour is only the resume of alienation, the externalization in the activity of labour itself. (Mclellan trans. 88)

Marx in Capital

The general value form, which represents all products of labour as mere congelations of undifferentiated human labour, shows by its very structure that it is the social resumé of the world of commodities. That form consequently makes it indisputably evident that in the world of commodities the character possessed by all labour of being human labour constitutes its specific social character.

Pukekos has plenty of amazing records on mp3 including Huggy Bear tapes, Yummy Fur, Shop Assistants, Swell Maps and The Whip. It even has tapes by good bands I forgot about that i didnt even know had tapes, like LLP. It made my day in a piratey way.

The Whip were a great band cut short by tragedy. Their members were also in Thrones, Karp and The Melvins etc. I just found this footage Macdawg shot in the Lucky Seven house. I was there. Watching it with a teary mixture of joy and sadness. Maniac you are a fucking genius! You are missed!

(my review from The Bumpidee Reader)

I’ve heard several interviews with the late radio host, commentator and oral historian Studs Terkel. I’ve also read several articles about him. So I knew he was a good egg. (Admitedly, I would think that from the name alone- which sounds like a character from the Preston Sturges film- and from his friendly mug)

But, despite having his autobiography in storage, I had never read anything by him until last week when I read Hope Dies Last.

Hope Dies Last is an oral history of the idea of hope. It was published during some of the darkest days of the Bush administration. When Bush was at the height of his popularity. The USA was just about to invade Iraq, the Senate was rubber stamping Bush’s legistlation etc. It was a time of little hope for anyone on the Left. Studs book was an attempt at intervened to dispell this hopelessness. This is why its subtitled Making a Difference in an Indifferent World.

It would be impossible to summarize Studs oral history. Impossible to summarize how all the remarkable people he interviews perserve to make a difference in an indifferent world. He interviews so many remarakble people who have done remarkable things in an indifferent world from many organizer’s, to Pete Seeger, to teachers to citizens of Japanese origin internee in US concentration camps during world war II etc. etc. He also interviews a truly repellant human being– the man who dropped the atomic bombs on Japan and shows a twisted sort of pride at the murder of tens of thousands.

Now there is a different president in Washington. One that is better then the Bush administration in many important ways. But his administration is still fucking up the world with its horrendous economic policy. An economic policy that as David Harvey points out is strengthening the capitalist class instead of bailing out the people who are loosing their homes. This president speaks of the audacity of hope. And I can’t help but think that when Obama was an organizer in Chicago he was influenced by the discourse of hope of Studs and his interviewees. But the big difference is that Obama speaks hope as audacious in-itself. Studs and the remarkable people he interviews, see it as a necessary means, a source of inspiration for making the world a better place.

Read this book. Don’t just take it from me. Take it from Studs.

SUCH a perfect democracy constructs its own inconceivable foe, terrorism. Its wish is to TO BE JUDGED BY ITS ENEMIES RATHER THAN BY ITS RESULTS. The story of terrorism is written by the state and it is therefore highly instructive. The spectators must certainly never know everything about terrorism, but they must always know enough to convince them that, compared with terrorism, everything else must be acceptable, or in any case more rational and democratic. (Debord Comments on Society of the Spectacle 24)