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 →]
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.
As an erstwhile PERTBUM (Privately Educated Riot Thug Backing Underground Movements), I had, in my youth, occasionally enjoyed the company of real activists. My preferred Underground Movement, Hekate sound system, was only collaterally activist, and the politics were correspondingly sloppy and oblique – we were only ever loosely (some would say ‘louchely’) involved with politics, and that is the way I liked it. Imagine my horror, then, when last year I found myself the subject of an international media shitstorm, and my innocent name tarnished with the label: “gay activist”. This would have caused no little derision in the dormitories of Westminster School, had the unfortunate incident occurred 20 years earlier.
2007 found me at a loose end in Uganda. The London underground had lost its lustre and my life had degenerated into meaningless anaesthetic abuse (to be distinguished from progressive psychonautical exploration). Africa held promise, particularly Uganda, with its absence of haughty white settlers, seemingly anarchic society and pulsating night-life. For a PERTBUM who simply wanted to open a Bohemian cultural centre in the tropics, the soil there looked exceedingly fertile and uncomplicated.
However, when I set forth from England with this missionary intent, Uganda, unlike some other parts of East Africa, had no historic tradition of western-style ‘arts’, except in music and dance. Painting, sculpture, cinema, literature and stage theatre were all barely nascent in the 1970s when Idi Amin came to power. Despite his nasty reputation, Amin was the last Ugandan leader to pump serious money into the artistic crucible of Makerere University. However, this patronage was curtailed by the slow eruption of a vicious civil war, which effectively continued from the mid-70s to the early-90s. This was accompanied by the epidemic of AIDS, of which Uganda was one of the worst cases in the entire world. “In such condition”, as Hobbes noted, “there is no place for… arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death.” However, such condition was perfect for a Leviathan-type state, externally-imposed economic structural adjustment, a recourse to fundamentalist religion, and the invasion of an army of NGOs. In this daunting, post-conflict condition, where were ‘the arts’? [Read more →]
“West of Eden:
Communes and Utopia in Northern California”
(PM Press, 2012):
A book review by Nemeton
PM Press was founded in 2007 by Ramsey Kannan, who also founded AK Press in 1987 in Stirling, UK, along with several other members from AK including Craig O’Hara. PM Press is located in Oakland, CA and AK Press now is also primarily operating out of a large warehouse in Oakland, as well as maintaining a continued presence in the UK. Both publishers print numerous books on the same topics including anarchism, globalization, direct action, class struggle, the environment, subculture, and many more. In 2012, PM Press has already published over 100 titles in various formats (books, pamphlets, tshirts, dvds, cds, etc). PM Press has published some books in English translation that were not available before such as “Fire and Flames” by Geronimo about the history of autonomist movement in West Germany in the 1970s to 1990. [Read more →]
Will true pleasure only exist after the revolution, or will it be indispensable to lead to the revolution?
Ever since the project of universal emancipation through communist revolution existed there has been a tension between two approaches – a dichotomy of views of people who ostensibly want to reach the same goal. On the one hand we find a view that could be summarized as: Only the revolution will bring about real pleasure and fulfillment, and we have to be ascetic cadres to reach it. The other side seems to declare that: Only by developing pleasures and following our desires will the revolution even become a possibility. If we look back at the two main phases of revolutionary struggles in the last century (ca. 1917-1923 and ca. 1967-77, depending in which country), we can easily see that for many revolutionaries the idea that hedonism and revolution should go together was present and central to the whole project. [Read more →]