Datacide Sixteen Editorial

A short time after our last issue came out, the British population decided in a referendum to follow the lead of a section of ultra-reactionaries on the right wing of the Conservative Party and UKIP to leave the European Union. In prominent discourse, this development was attributed to some kind of working class revolt. Although there had been a call from sections of the left for a ‘Lexit’ (left exit), this wasn’t essentially an issue of the working class. Rather, it was undoubtedly put into motion by a conflict within the establishment, caused essentially by the fallout of the economic crisis and by their failing strategies to deal with it. Mainstream media – such as the Daily Mail and the Express (both famous for their relentless far right propaganda over the decades, which included support for Hitler in the 30s by the Mail) – managed to whip up xenophobia and managed to mobilise their constituency.

A similar mechanism seemed to be at work when Donald Trump was elected president in the United States. Much of the political class was gobsmacked, but the wanna-be stormtroopers on both sides of the atlantic felt empowered enough to let loose their pent up desire to commit hate crimes. Undoubtedly there is a rise of the far right, but in some ways it could be a golden opportunity for the left, if it is able to organise the resistance against it.

The leaders of the right – from Trump to Putin and Erdogan to Farage – all outwardly suffer extreme narcissistic personality defects and certainly lack any ability to solve even the most basic problems of the economic crisis, except when it comes to pushing aside opposition and profiting politically or even economically from the mess. What is happening isn’t fascism yet, but the tendency towards an authoritarian rule by decree. This is supported by those who used to be known as neo-Nazis, rebranded themselves as the ‘New Right’ in the late 60s, and more recently as the ‘Alt Right’. Many of these are people who hope to draw political capital from this climate. Since the 70s, the ‘New Right’ has been chiseling away at the gains the left had made in that period and has tried to create a discourse-hegemony promoting its racist ‘values’ and pseudo-science. Connected to this is the right’s ongoing fight to control women’s bodies, which makes these authoritarian movements comparable to Islamism, which, ironically, they claim to be fighting.

They are constantly decrying the supposed domination of the media by ‘liberals’, when a platform like Breitbart, which serves as a mouthpiece for the Alt Right, was living off mainstream advertising revenue. This included BMW, Lufthansa, T-Mobile, Visa, Zalando, and even Greenpeace and Oxfam – who all may or may not have known that their ads were featured via Google DoubleClick on the site. Whatever may be the case, the result was that the site appeared legit in a mainstream way.

Countering the apparent momentum of the right, there have been massive mobilisations and popular resistance. But it needs more for the left to come out of its crisis. Much of the traditional left is divided between bickering sects and outdated concepts, and even more so by the focus on identity politics, single issue campaigns, or, worse, the appeasement towards Islamism and other reactionary forces. There is also a widespread inability to see a perspective outside of the narrow perception of what the ‘left’ is. This manifests itself in the return of some left-Keynesian concepts, which are already seen as radical because they move away from the neo-liberal consensus, but they don’t abandon the terrain of capitalism, offering a different way of saving the system instead. A truly radical perspective would have to look beyond a world of commodity production, money and nation states.

One aspect that might well contribute to this weakness may be the fact that the precarisation that most of us are increasingly subjected to manifests itself not only in the conditions of labour, but also by the fact that millions voluntarily donate hours of unpaid work every day to companies like Facebook whose value depends on the participation of as many people as possible. If we add this un-activity to the work day, then little time and energy are left for actual organisation and struggles. We hope with our efforts with this magazine to contribute to meaningful discussions about how to counteract these developments.

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Datacide 15 Editorial

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‘Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.’
Article 14.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

It seems fair enough to deduce from this formulation that the denial of this right to freedom from persecution would constitute a human rights violation. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights formulates some essentials of Western democratic self-understanding. It is not surprising that a country like Saudi Arabia refused to sign it in 1948, stating that the Declaration contravenes Sharia Law. Certainly the right wing populist mass movements led by Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, HC Strache or Frauke Petry are not defenders of Sharia Law, but in many ways these movements are the other side of the same coin of the ultra-reactionary movements in the Middle East.

These movements in the West go beyond lobbying their own governments to suspend human rights to keep out those who are trying to flee the carnage caused, in many cases, by Islamic fundamentalists. In the US, Trump has been vocal in advocating even worse torture than is already being used by the current administration as well as the killing of whole families. In Germany, politicians from the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) have stated that ‘if necessary’ refugees, including children, should be prevented from entering the country with lethal force. Despite this, Trump is currently the frontrunner of the Republican candidates in the US presidential race, and the AfD enjoys ratings and election success in Germany outdoing any party to the right of the Christian Democrats since the beginning of the Federal Republic.
We’re witnessing a dramatic brutalisation – at least in the rhetoric – of Western politics. [Read more →]

Datacide 14 Editorial

Welcome to the latest issue of Datacide, again a bumper issue full of varied contributions spanning different aspects of counter-cultural intervention and analysis of the intersections of noise and politics, technology and subversion, music and literature. This is also the first issue with a colour cover and contains specially commissioned illustrations to a number of articles. The interaction of visual artists, writers, musicians and theoreticians in print (and e.g. on records), to us, offers unique possibilities. Therefore we do not intend to join those who in recent months and years have given up on the print aspect of their publications and have migrated to an online only presence.

This exposes them to the danger of disappearing into a rapidly changing internet where the previously assumed ‘flat’ hierarchies have given way to largely corporate controlled and government surveilled data exchanges that are increasingly organised around steep hierarchies. ‘Social media’ was seen (by some) as the ‘death of the underground’, where finally everybody was taking part in one big sharing community. In reality a vast user-generated spectacle was created.

This spectacle doesn’t demand passive acceptance anymore, on the contrary it demands constant participation and availability; nevertheless it marks the irresponsible sovereignty of the auto- cratic reign of the market economy. It feasts on the free time of its ‘participants’, collecting data in order to market itself, presenting itself as a vast ultra-accessible reality that cannot be questioned, only liked. It remains ideology materialised.

This confronts the critic with some problems. Not because s/he is not allowed to critique, but s/he is in danger of losing a meaningful context, an audience that is willing to engage in real discussion. Complex arguments are often seen as an impertinence, looking back at history as useless nostalgia. We cannot allow this to deter us and we insist on digging out moments of revolt, as we know past and future to be interlinked. Ideology critique has a revolutionary content. Music and writing is about making things happen.

Of course we use the available technologies as much as possible, but maintain that the hundreds of hours of work that is condensed in the issue that you hold in your hands creates something special and powerful.

One problem to maintain and expand these activities (for more see p.72) is of an economic nature. The reason we can print this issue is thanks to the fundraising parties and as such thanks to the many musicians and helpers who made these possible and successful; and not so much due to sales, let alone subscriptions. So if you want to support Datacide and radical independent publishing, please take out a subscription (see info on p.26), or if you are interested in selling copies, get in touch via datacide[at]c8.com. The same applies if you are interested in hosting a Datacide event in your area.

This issue is dedicated to the memory of two good friends and contributors to the magazine who died in the course of the last year. Boris Domalain, aka Saoulaterre, aka Gorki Plubakter, and Paul Kidd, aka Nomex.

Datacide 13 Introduction

Introduction to the new print edition of Datacide – now available for EUR 5.00 including postage to anywhere in the world. Please send via paypal to datacide (at) c8.com, or order via the Praxis online store. Subscriptions cost EUR 12.00 for 3 issues. Still available are issues 10-12. These can be included in a subscription. A re-print of issue 9 will be published in November, and other print projects are in the works (see more details below).

In the next week or so we will publish audio and video from the two Datacide 13 launch events in Berlin and London. After that we’ll gradually make the content of Datacide 13 available on this site.

This issue of Datacide is released on 12 October 2013, one year after the publication of Datacide 12. Our new strategy is to publish Datacide yearly. That gives the editors and writers time to focus on new publication projects directly connected to the critiques and interventionist counter-cultural strategies articulated in Datacide. [Read more →]

Datacide 12 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 →]