From Adorno to Mao, or: the Decomposition of the ’68 Protest Movement in Germany

Extended book review of:

Jens Benicke: Von Adorno zu Mao – über die schlechte
Aufhebung der antiautoritären Bewegung (ça ira, Freiburg im
Breisgau 2010)

Jens Benicke describes in his book the development of the German far left in the years around 1968 from positions strongly influenced and informed by the Critical Theory of Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse to the neo-leninist cadre organisations, which became in the 1970’s the strongest formation on the far left. In this article I’m using the book as a starting point to elaborate on some topics I touched upon in the text Hedonism and Revolution in datacide eleven.

The situation of the German Left after the War until 1967
The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School provided an intellectual pole of critical Marxism amidst the general post-war West German anti-communist consensus. After the war, the holocaust, the eventual defeat of fascism and the ensuing occupation which produced two German states, the Institute for Social Research, originally founded in 1923 and exiled in 1933, finally returned to Frankfurt at the beginning of the 50’s, and took a unique place in the development of the left.
In terms of left wing organisations and parties which had reformed/ returned from exile after 1945, there were two key dates eventually leading to the student movement of the 60’s. In 1956, the Communist Party (KPD) was made illegal in West Germany.
In 1959, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) declared its transition from a workers party to a “people’s party” in its Godesberg Program. The more radical student organisation associated with the SPD, the SDS, didn’t go along with this move towards the political center. The SPD banned dual membership with the SDS and thus effectively expelled its members.
Far from being delivered to political oblivion, the SDS became the driving organizational force for the “extra-parliamentary opposition” (APO) in the 60’s. [Read more →]

Most read Datacide articles in 2012

As we did a year ago we look at which articles were the most read ones of the past year (online):

2012 was the best year for datacide online so far with the most views/reads and November 2012 was the best month in the history of the site since it was launched at the beginning of 2009 (replacing the old archive site and the temporary blog). Considering that datacide 11 came out in February 2011 and the next issue only in October 2012 and, connected to that, the fact that only very little material was posted during 2012 (19 posts) this is a really good result. It shows that more people find out about the magazine and the rich archive of articles besides the new additions. It’s not surprising that most articles read online in 2012 were from issue 11 or earlier as the majority of texts from number 12 are not even online yet and the ones that are were posted in November or December.

1. Dance before the Police come by Neil Transpontine  (from Datacide 11). This one shot up in the statistics when a Guardian article by Dan Hancox from last July linked to it. But it was much read before then, having already been at number 6 of the most read articles of 2011, obviously touching on one of the key themes of datacide.

2. You’re too Young to Remember the Eighties – Dancing in a different time by DJ Controlled Weirdness (from Datacide 10) A slow burner that has attracted a lot of readers over the last year, becoming one of the most read articles on the site, despite – as far as we can tell – not being linked to from any “prominent” sites. Nice.

3. Dope smuggling, LSD manufacture, organised crime & the law in 1960s London by Stewart Home (from Datacide 11), up from number 9 of the previous year’s most read. This is also the article version of Stewart’s talk at the 2008 datacide conference in Berlin.

4. COIL – Interview from 1986 plus Introduction by Christoph Fringeli/John Balance. Being linked to from Wikipedia and the official Coil site this is the most read post on datacide attracting a steady readership. Somewhat ironic considering the interview was done over a decade before datacide started before it was  re-published in issue 9 (incidentally the issue with the lowest print run of datacide).

5. From Subculture to Hegemony: Transversal Strategies of the New Right in Neofolk and Martial Industrial by Christoph Fringeli, which was the most read piece in 2011 (from Datacide 11). Of course we are wondering who reads this and related articles – Anti-Fascists? Fans of industrial music? Fans of Evola or Jünger?

6. WE MEAN IT MAN: Punk Rock and Anti-Racism – or: Death In June not Mysterious. Stewart Home’s article on Death In June from Datacide 7.

7. What the Fuck? – Operation Spanner by Jo Burzynska from Datacide 2 – and thus the oldest article originally published in Datacide in this list. Was already number 7 in the 2011 chart. Many visitors seem to be coming from Clarisse Thorn’s blog.

8. The Brain of Ulrike Meinhof by Christoph Fringeli from Datacide 9, last year’s number 8 as well.

9. Shaking The Foundations: Reggae soundsystem meets ‘Big Ben British values’ downtown by John Eden from Datacide 11, the second most read article of 2011 still receiving a fair amount of hits.

10. “LONG LIVE DEATH” – on Pasolini’s Salo by Howard Slater from Datacide 6 and one of his brilliant film reviews which also include an article about John Carpenter, the Western and others.

11. Communisation theory and the question of fascism by Cherry Angioma, already a much discussed and re-blogged post from the latest issue, Datacide 12, addressing important issues of the current debates in the communist movement.

12. The Dog’s Bollocks – Vagina Dentata Organ and The Valls Brothers (Interview) by John Eden. Exclusive interview with Jordi Valls that comes second in the only recently posted articles from the latest paper issue, and will no doubt be a contender along with “Communisation Theory…” for the 2013 charts…

Of course we know that by posting this list there will be a tendency that those article will be read again while others that would also be worth a read might be overlooked. Hence here some more or less random links to other articles with the explicit invitation to investigate further by browsing the site:

E.g. the classic Post-Media Operators by Howard Slater/Eddie Miller/Flint Michigan from Datacide 2, or its follow-up text Post-Media Operators – Sovereign & Vague from Datacide 7. Or what about Matthew Hyland’s New Age Policing – Biology is Ideology from the same issue, or maybe The World Made Flesh by Matt Fuller from Datacide 8…?

There are now nearly 300 articles on this site, and the next print issue is being prepared. We have a lot of plans for the future. You can help us realising them sooner rather than later by making a donation or taking out a subscription for 3 issues for 10 euro. Write to (or paypal funds to) datacide(at)c8.com

 

Communisation theory and the question of fascism

It is now more than five years since the start of the financial crisis with no sign of respite from austerity and increasing insecurity.  Neither the old left of unions and parties or the newer social movements of protest and direct action seem to be up to the task of offering a way forward. In the search for new road maps to navigate crisis and the possibilities of life beyond capitalism, the concept of ‘communisation’ has become an increasing focus of discussion.

The word itself has been around since the early days of the communist movement. The English utopian Goodwyn Barmby, credited with the being the first person to use the term communist in the English language, wrote a text as early as 1841 entitled ‘The Outlines of Communism, Associality and Communisation’.  He conceived of the four ages of humanity as being ‘ ‘Paradisation, Barbarization, Civilization and Communisation’, while his wife and collaborator Catherine Barmby anticipated current debates about gender with early feminist interventions arguing for communisation as a solution to women’s subordination (Goodwyn Barmby is discussed in Peter Linebaugh, ‘Meandering on the semantical-historical paths of communism and commons’, The Commoner, December 2010).

The Barmbys’ use of the term to describe the process of the creation of a communist society is not a million miles away from its current usage, but it has acquired a more specific set of meanings since the early 1970s when elements of the French ‘ultra-left’ began deploying it as a way of critiquing traditional conceptions of revolution. Communism has often been conceived of by both Marxists and anarchists as a future state of society to be achieved in the distant future long after the messy business of revolution has been sorted out.  For advocates of communisation on the other hand, capitalism can only be abolished by the immediate creation of different relations between people, such as the free distribution of goods and the creation of ‘communal, moneyless, profitless, Stateless, forms of life. The process will take time to be completed, but it will start at the beginning of the revolution, which will not create the preconditions of communism: it will create communism’ (Gilles Dauvé & Karl Nesic, ‘Communisation’, 2011).

Today this broad notion of communisation is used in various different ways, but arguably there are two main poles in current debates – albeit with many shades in between. [Read more →]

Datacide Twelve – Introduction

 

 

The precursor to datacide is the magazine titled Alien Underground, which appeared with two issues in 1994/95. In the first issue of Alien Underground, there is a manifesto-like text signed “praxis nov. 1994” titled “Nothing Essential Happens in the Absence of Noise”. It describes “Techno” as a subversive agent that shook up cultural production, whether corporate or independent. “The industry then got the fear (…) because the principle of its organisation > the top to bottom one way transmission > got short circuited, & there was no transmitter or receiver, only a mixer & rooms full of people + noise. (…) a zone populated by savages seeking forbidden pleasures in a wasteland (…) uncontrollable and incomprehensible for teacher, cops, parents, the industry & media.” The backlash was not long to follow: “Formula were created & market research employed, documentaries were made, and laws drafted. It all needed to be brought back into the world of the spectacle, made safe for mass consumption; faces appeared, and like in a demonstration of power, talentless DJ’s were made superstars.” What we saw as raw and subversive was “streamlined for mass-brainwashing & pacification” in the form of “Nazi-Trance and Audio-Valium”. Still there was optimism: “But techno is always mutating, (…) always moving into different directions, & the time is now that transformations are under way that will lead to new places, eruptions, excess… In a situation where most of the supposedly underground parties are playing the same shit as everywhere else, where sponsorship deals + big money have moved in, a new resistance is emerging slowly>>>”.

This was also the moment when TechNET appeared. [Read more →]

Hedonism and Revolution: The Barricade and the Dancefloor

Will true pleasure only exist after the revolution, or will it be indispensable to lead to the revolution?

1.
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 →]

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