Talks

Revolution and Counterrevolution in Germany 1919

Talk by Christoph Fringeli
held at Vétomat in Berlin, 14/01/2019

Tomorrow marks one hundred years since two important figures of the early German communist movement were murdered in Berlin: Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. This was in the middle of an attempt to turn the revolution that had forced the Kaiser to abdicate in November, 1918 into a fully socialist one. This attempt, often called the Spartacist Uprising1, was defeated, as were other attempts in other parts of Germany to set up council republics and workers’ democracy.

Liebknecht and Luxemburg were both born in 1871. From around the turn of the century, they were active in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) as well as the international socialist movement. The SPD was the biggest party in that movement and one of the main players in the Second International. The party originated in 1875 when two previously existing socialist organisations were united. It was heavily influenced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, even though Marx had formulated a scathing critique of their original program2 .

As the party developed, it became a major force in German politics. Its share of the vote multiplied until it reached 34,8% in 1912, the last election before the First World War. This development was accompanied by an increasing bureaucratisation of the party and a conflict between its revisionist right wing, the orthodox centre, and the revolutionary left wingKarl Liebknecht was the son of Wilhelm Liebknecht, one of the main figures of early social democracy in Germany. Liebknecht joined the SPD in 1900 and practised as a political lawyer. In 1907, he was accused of high treason on the basis of his anti-militaristic writings and spent time in prison.

In those years it was becoming clear that the competition between the imperialist powers of France, Britain, Germany and Russia was intensifying and that the outbreak of a war was looming. The Socialist International, however, still believed that the international solidarity of the workers could prevent it.When the war did break out in 1914, most socialist parties did a u-turn and sided with their national governments, including the SPD. In parliament, the party voted for the war credits needed to finance the military and Kaiser Wilhelm II noted that finally the red veneer had come off the social democrats and they proved to be good Germans after all.
At first, even the radical minority who rejected the war voted for the credits, bowing down to party discipline, but they experienced this as a massive humiliation and perversion of their political beliefs 3 . The day after the vote saw the formation of the Gruppe Internationale with Rosa Luxemburg and Franz Mehring who were joined by Liebknecht and other anti-war socialists. Liebknecht traveled to Belgium to make contact with socialists in other countries in the hope of forging international alliances against the imperialist war.

But the radical left was fairly isolated as the great slaughter began. The biggest socialist party in Europe had given in to nationalism and imperialism, a monstrous event for the left.

[Read more →]

next:now – Strategies to Resample the Future

„Once upon a time, pop‘s metabolism buzzed with dynamic energy, creating the surging-in-to-the-future feel of periods like the psychedelic sixties, the post-punk seventies, the hip-hop eighties and the rave nineties. The 2000s felt different. (…) Instead of being the threshold to the future, the first ten years of the twenty-first century turned out to be the ‚Re‘ Decade (…): revivals, reissues, remakes, re-enactments. Endless retrospection. (…)“

– Simon Reynolds – Retromania (2011)i

Atari emulators, electro-swing, Polaroid replicas, or Hieronimus Bosch’s triptychs in Virtual Reality: everything nostalgia related sells better than ever, and we’re not just talking about pop and mainstream. Every obscure fraction of a subculture had also its 15 minutes of …revival in the past 18 years.

An obsessive (therefore unhealthy) attention to the past is influencing all aspects of cultural production in these days. This is certainly a “Sign o’ the timesii.

Times of “Liquid fear””iii, that tangible feeling of anxiety that has only vague contours but is present everywhere. Dangers can strike anytime, everywhere: no matter what’s your job, tomorrow you can be fired, like those guys at Leeman Bros carrying their stuff out in cardboard boxes; you can be shot while you sip your cappuccino, in the name of god or the N.R.A.: or you can be killed by some multi resistant bacteria, and you have the same chance to get infected on a safari looking for the big 5 or in your local hospital having a proctology check up. To quote Bauman’s favorite metaphor:

We’re walking on a mine field, we are aware that all is full of explosives, but we don’t know where there will be an explosion and when. There are no solid structures to rely on, nothing in which we can invest our hope and expectations.iv

Or, using the words of Comité Invisible:

“From whatever angle you approach it, the present offers no way out. This is not the least of its virtues. From those who seek hope above all, it tears away every firm ground. Those who claim to have solutions are contradicted almost immediately. Everyone agrees that things can only get worse. “The future has no future” is the wisdom of an age that, for all its appearance of perfect normalcy, has reached the level of consciousness of the first punks.”v

In this context the past can be seen as a cozy and warm nest, a perfect world that we can control as it is shaped by our selective memory, a safe place. And so, as thinks are like that, instead of struggling to build up an uncertain future (to go for an Utopia), a very common choice is to aspire to return to a golden past, to go for a “Retrotopiavi. The spreading of this approach is another “Sign o’ the times”, but one with very scary implications. [Read more →]

Launch Events for datacide_books in London this Weekend!

We are doing a launch event for our two new books at Housmans Bookshop this Friday and will have a stall at the London Anarchist Bookfair this Saturday!

Hope to see you there!

Details:

Friday, 23-10-2015, from 7.30pm (until ca. 9pm) at Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, London N1 9DX
Entry is £ 3.00 Redeemable towards any purchase in the store.
With speakers Stewart Home, Neil Transpontine and Christoph Fringeli
Please spread the word and invite your friends!
FB event

Saturday 24-10-2015 from 10am-7pm Anarchist Bookfair
This year it’s at: Central Saint Martin’s, University of the Arts London, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA
closest tube/train station King’s Cross/St.Pancras.
http://anarchistbookfair.org.uk/
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DATACIDE BOOKS FOR 2015

We’re very happy to announce the release of two books this month:

 

datacide book cover

EVERYTHING ELSE IS EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS
a decade of noise & politics – datacide issues 1-10

A major project in the works for quite some time, this is a complete reprint of the issues 1-10 of datacide, which originally appeared from 1997-2008. Titled “EVERYTHING ELSE IS EVEN MORE RIDICULOUS”, the 364 page volume collects unique material, most of which has been out of print for many years, charting a one-of-a-kind history of the counter-cultures associated with electronic music and free festivals.
“The free space of the party met the free space of the page and then you got a dynamism that encouraged expression and perversions and tangents because the covers held it together as a nomadic movement and you were convinced that music had catalysed it all and that music was somehow inherently political as it sidestepped rhetoric and dogma, and absented us from control addicts and the free space of the page was a kind of historic party, a kind of invisible college, a launching pad for driftage.” Flint Michigan

Distribution price (10+ copies): EUR 12,00
Wholesale price: EUR 14,00
Subscribers: EUR 15,00
Retail price: EUR 20,00
Released October 23rd 2015. LIMITED SUPPLY!
First edition 100 numbered copies!

 

almanac 2015

Almanac for Noise & Politics 2015

If you’re already familiar with datacide magazine and our related record label for extreme electronic music – Praxis – then you’re familiar with the efforts we’ve made over the last two decades to continually explore the intersections of radical politics and underground rave culture, experimental and extreme electronic music, moments of free spaces and momentary freak-outs and how these can be represented on the page and through the speakers. If not, this may be a good place to start.  Either way, the Almanac for noise & politics 2015 contains a selection of articles and excerpts from various issues of datacide, as well as a peek into the activities of the Praxis label and its offshoots. This first edition is meant to be a brief introduction to the wide range of topics covered in datacide.
Articles include: Post-Media Operators by Howard Slater/Eddie Miller/Flint Michigan, No Stars here (track -1) by TechNET, A Loop Da Loop Era – Towards an (Anti-)history of Rave by Neil Transpontine, Radical Intersections by Christoph Fringeli, Vinyl Meltdown by Alexis Wolton, Plague in this Town by Matthew Hyland, Just Say Non – Nazism, Narcissism and Boyd Rice by whomakesthenazis.com, Interview with Christoph Fringeli/Praxis Records from Objection to Procedure, a new short story by Dan Hekate, as well as a commented catalogue. This is interspersed by new visual work by Matthieu Bourel, Lynx, Sansculotte, Tóng Zhi, and Zombieflesheater!
Full colour cover and 104 inside pages in A6 format!

Distribution price (10+ copies): EUR 3,00
Wholesale price: EUR 4,00
Retail price: Eur 5,00 (retail copies include a 5-Euro voucher for the praxis online shop)
FREE to subscribers and if you place an order for 20 euro or more at the Praxis Online shop (add as a premium at checkout!)
Released October 23rd. LIMITED SUPPLY!

Release events in London:
23-10-2015 – Housmans Bookshop. 5, Caledonian Road, London N1. Starts 7.30pm. Entry £3.00 redeemable towards any puchase in the store. With Stewart Home, Neil Transpontine, Christoph Fringeli
24-10-2015 – Anarchist Bookfair London. Datacide will be present with a stall. 10am-7pm
Central Saint Martin’s, University of the Arts London, Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA

We are looking for other events to present the books and new and recent issues of datacide.
If you are interested in organising an event in your city, please get in touch.

Datacide on Mixcloud!

Check out the new Datacide mixcloud, featuring complete audio of all three talks from the Berlin conference (12-10-2013). More will be added soon!
http://www.mixcloud.com/datacide/