Die Menschenhauttrommel (The Human Skin Drum) was first published in Flash Team Report (Vision 18) and reprinted in the Almanac for Noise & Politics 2016 as a companion piece to the article about the Vision label and to show a connection to the present, namely the release of ‘Skin Craft’ – RIND & NOL, works by Alex Buess and Daniel Buess on Praxis in 2016.
It’s a tale from another century – when most people who situated themselves on the radical left also felt they were part of a world civil war. It was a war between good and evil, the oppressed vs. the oppressors, the proletariat vs. the capitalists, the countries of the periphery vs. the centre. Support for anti-colonial struggles and for the Vietcong as well as the various Latin American guerillas was based on a wide consensus, and was in many cases the starting point of individual and collective politicisations. This consensus seemed to override the knowledge and assessments of the crimes of Stalin and Mao, and many other ‘details’. Apparently the way towards socialism was not a straight road, it could be a zig-zag at times. The more the Western proletariat seemed uninterested in revolution, and the Eastern Bloc seemed a bureaucratic aberration, the more the national liberation movements in the ‘backwards’ countries became the global hope of Western middle class ‘revolutionaries’.
The root of this idea goes back to the Conference of Baku in 1920 and the second congress of the Communist International in the same year.
This is when Lenin revised the Marxist slogan ‘Workers of all countries unite!’ and changed it to: ‘Workers and oppressed peoples and nations of the world, unite!’
This slogan significantly changed the direction of the ‘official’ communist movement. Workers are members of a class and at the same time individual human beings. In oppressed peoples and nations the individuals are absent.
In point 11 of his Preliminary Draft of Theses on the National and Colonial Questions, Lenin proclaimed that Communist parties in ‘backward states and nations, in which feudal or patriarchal and patriarchal-peasant relations predominate (…) must assist the bourgeois-democratic liberation movement’. But at least he recognised some of the dangers, and stressed ‘the need for struggle against the clergy and other influential reactionary and medieval elements’ as well as the ‘need to combat the Pan-Islamic and similar trends which strive to combine the liberation movement against European and American imperialism with an attempt to strengthen the positions of the khans, landowners, mullahs, etc.’
This advice was heeded less and less as the Soviet Union degenerated – and in fact even less so by those who accused the SU of ‘social imperialism’ and supported a Maoist alternative to the Russian line, supporting shameless nationalist dictatorships with a ‘communist’ cloak in Albania, Kampuchea or North Korea. [Read more →]
“Boyd’s rather unimaginative sadism used to embarrass me, but then he explained it using words like ‘Weltanschauung'”
Lisa Crystal-Carver, Drugs are Nice [LC, p215]
I last saw Boyd Rice play (as ‘Non’) back in August 1981, alongside Throbbing Gristle (TG), Z’ev, Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA as part of the ‘Industrial Night Out’ at the Lyceum, London, which brought together the big cheeses of Industrial Music in what was to be something of a coming out party for the scene but turned out also to be its swansong (it was TG’s last UK concert; they broke up a few months later). At the time Rice presented himself as a Dadaist and prankster though his aesthetic was actually closer to the sub-Futurist ‘instant karma for kids’ noise-racket that Merzbow has since successfully appropriated and turned into a brand / ‘racket’ of his own. While TG boasted of making music from ugly noise, Rice tried to outflank them by serving up the ugliness directly, unfiltered by any obvious concern for form. In fairness Boyd Rice could be said to be among the key players of early Industrial Music, and as a result he perhaps has a shade more kudos than some of the complete musical non-entities we’re generally concerned with around here (Wakeford, Pearce, Moynihan, et al). Rice has declared his Fascism in a number of statements, in his art, and through public actions such as appearing in full Fascist regalia and holding a dagger in a photograph alongside Bob Heick, taken in 1989 to promote the latter’s organisation, the neo-Nazi skinhead party, American Front. He has also appeared on White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger’s cable TV show Race and Reason, where he declared that his friends in Current 93 and Death in June were promoting a ‘racialist’ agenda and emphasised the importance of Industrial and Neo-Folk music for building the ‘Aryan youth movement’.
[Read more →]
What strikes me when I look back at the first issue of datacide is that there is no editorial, no statement of intent — something remarkable for a new marginal publication launching itself.
Instead, the zine jumps right in with a reprinted update on the then proposed new police bill. This is followed by news items about a record company trying to copyright the term ‘Teknival’. We perceived these events as a two-pronged assault by the state and by commerce on what we saw as an emerging underground movement connected to hard electronic dance music. Indeed the following news about ‘new networks of distribution and communication’ were trying to counteract this with the optimistic proposal of a mode of autonomous organisation that would function in an ‘entirely decentralized manner that allows the specific identity of its “members” maximum freedom, a rhizome-like structure that is invisible and everywhere at the same time’. This is then illustrated with news about current activities of record labels and soundsystem crews, reviews of parties and interspersed with some experimental fiction pieces. The mixture of artist interviews, record reviews, technology critique, counter-cultural angles as well as programmatic texts set the tone for the following issues. In datacide one it was left to the London Psychogeographical Association to make an explicit call for communism, while it was Flint Michigan who provided a programmatic text titled BREAK/FLOW versus DATACIDE.
Due to the political climate at the time the first issue went to print, datacide didn’t need explanations or an explicit statement of intent to be understood by its audience. [Read more →]
The brand new Almanac for Noise & Politics 2016 (release date May 28, 2016) is made up of a total of five sections that go into depth on some topics previously examined in datacide. Some of the texts have been previously published, some are new and exclusive or translations.
The first section compiles material about and by Nomex, noise artist and film maker, including a discography of his label Adverse.
The second section consists of two critiques of the Left from a communist point of view, one targeting the knee-jerk anti-Imperialism still prevalent in many sections of the Left, the other is an excerpt from a critique of anarchism by Luther Blissett.
The third section is concerned with our ongoing investigations and denouncements of far Right infiltration in popular culture. We see this as an integral part of antifascist activity. Featured here is the article From Subculture to Hegemony – Transversal Strategies of the New Right in Neofolk and Martial Industrial by Christoph Fringeli from datacide eleven.
Part 4 consists of an appraisal of the Vision label which CF ran out of Basel, Switzerland in 1986-1992. The main text is an edited English translation of a contribution to the book Heute und danach by Lurker Grand and André P. Tschan, which appeared in 2012. As it is 30 years ago now that the first Vision appeared it makes sense to document this pre-history of Praxis, which was founded in 1992 after Vision was disbanded.
To illustrate this further and make a connection to the present we reprint Die Menschenhauttrommel (the human skin drum) by Alex Buess from the Vision zine Flash Team Report (Vision 18) from 1988.
The final part of this almanac is a catalogue of our exclusive titles, back issues of datacide and available books.