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Ghosts & Handbags

January 10th, 2020

A Short Travel Report from the Japanese Underworld

Her toenails perfectly match the colour of her smartphone. She wears a handbag with a huge Gucci print on it. I look around, more office ladies with handbags, more handbags with prints on it. Secret codes? Secret messages?
Secret coincidences?

Chloé, Burberry, Armani, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Chanel, Fendi, McCartney, Yamamoto, Kenzo, Versace, Benetton, Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Dior, Gaultier, Bulgari, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada.

Perfectly styled, a touch of retro, Audrey Hepburn, motionless faces staring at small-sized screens. Anonymous army of business people, disciplined telephatic data warfare. Secret codes? Secret messages?
Secret coincidences?

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Marxism Contra Justice

January 1st, 2020

Bernardino Mei, Allegory of Justice (1656)

A critique of egalitarian ideology

 

Revolution is a job that must be done without weakness… We are but the instruments of a necessity that carries us along, drags us forward, lifts us up… which will doubtless pass over our dead bodies. For we are not chasing after some dream of justice [aucun rêve de justice] — as the young idiots who write in little magazines say — we are doing what must be done, what cannot be left undone. The old world dug its own grave, and is now falling in. Let’s give it a little shove.

Victor Serge, Conquered City (1930)1

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding Marxism today is that it constitutes a doctrine of “social justice.” So widespread is this belief that one often finds it held by Marxists and anti-Marxists alike. Alan Maass, editor of the American Trotskyist organ Socialist Worker, considers Marxian socialism “part of a rich history of opposition to inequality and injustice,”2 being at its heart a “struggle for justice and equality.”3 Likewise, coming from a quite different tradition, the French Maoist octogenarian Alain Badiou upholds “justice” as “the qualification of an egalitarian moment of politics in actu.”4 Even Richard Spencer’s right-wing Radix Journal affirms something similar: “Marxism is the [intellectual] source of the modern ‘social justice’ movement… prevalent among youths and in universities.” While the evaluation here is no doubt negative, especially when compared with the positive appraisals of Maass and Badiou, the reactionaries nevertheless come closer to understanding this ideology’s material root: “Communist ideas [about justice] are appealing on a superficial level, because ‘equality’ seems an obvious truth in a society that revolves around money.”5

In either case, whether positive or negative, these value judgments rest upon a faulty interpretation of Marxism’s theoretical and practical premises. Neither Karl Marx nor his immediate successors based their critique of capitalism on an ideal of justice. This stood in marked contrast to the strains of utopian socialism that came before, which couched their demands in terms of “righting wrongs” and redressing historical grievances.6 Despite explicit disavowals on the part of Marx, however, many readers believed there was at least an implicit sense in which he felt that capitalist society is unjust. Roughly three dozen articles were written on the theme between 1970 and 1990, by analytical Marxists like Norman Geras, G.A. Cohen, and Allen W. Wood. But this debate rehashed, without knowing it, an earlier debate that pitted Eduard Bernstein against Rosa Luxemburg on the one hand, and Ernest Belfort Bax against Paul Lafargue on the other. Grasping the true stakes of these debates requires a certain familiarity with the issue’s development over time, so a brief overview of the various historical conceptions of justice is in order. Once this has been achieved, Marx’s own views on the matter may be further elucidated, which will then shed light on what came later. [Read more →]

Three Poems by Howard Slater

December 30th, 2019

SPIKES IN TONGUES

Now we must pick over the pile of
shit and each seek a piece of tongue,
a piece of language –
Bernard Noël

I
Amman walks back with a stychk
Smoke curls aroun’t the social seervices awficers
Ash falls on Yi’all
Into a beard
Onto jeans
Into a squall of tea
The Borgiasousie
( decadent enough to encircle the young,
– but not the neardy –
and prey’pon the poor by rental proxy )
respond with feigned udderstanding’
to such stakemeats as
“I just got off a 14 hour”
“I’ve just climbed out of a lorry”
“I live in a likkkle box”

II
If’y’ave a nouvelle just watting’ a bee release
t‘nen y’atta goo collige
lern’a tah’ reed
lern a’bbe likspyttle
to beh groomer n’ gravid grammah intah
mekkin’it ‘nto nourishattive
Doun’doo’na’poerttery tang ‘a’caave ‘rt n’sktibble
cant mekkit muse’cal
U gatcha bee in a uni’clave-clique-camp
of no-Alls
Nah distorted clavichaad
Noo tauturgical-distoortian
They’um want ya’ fried oop and beggin’ ta BE writter-critter
den’em suck’ya driii wi’em privledge (non jump) hensights.

ON CLOZAPINE

[Read more →]

Political News Datacide 18

December 27th, 2019

Surveillance, Control, and Repression
In June 2018, Reality Winner, the female US Air Force intelligence officer who leaked to The Intercept a classified National Security Agency (NSA) report detailing Russian intelligence’s attempts to carry out cyber attacks on state level voting machine infrastructure before the presidential election, plead guilty to criminal charges in federal court. Winner will serve the longest sentence ever for one violation of section 793 of the espionage act – 63 months in prison and 3 years probation. She was arrested and charged with criminal offenses just hours after The Intercept published their story “Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election” on June 5, 2017. Winner was treated particularly harshly during trial with the judge denying her bail and rejecting almost every subpoena and motion by her lawyers to gather discovery information to use in her defense. The Intercept was criticized by various news organizations, writers, and press freedom groups for their failure to protect the whistleblower’s anonymous identity as the journalists attempted to verify the leaked document thereby inadvertently pointing to Winner as the source.

Workplace surveillance continues to increase with employers finding new ways to use technology to monitor employees while they are earning a wage or are at home. In one example, the employer can track 24/7 in real time an employee’s health including steps taken, amount of sedentary time, heart rate, location, sleep duration and quality through the use of a wrist-worn health monitor such as Fitbit. The data is used by companies to attempt to cut costs of provided healthcare by increasing employee efficiency. [Read more →]

Datacide 18 Record Reviews by Prole Sector

December 22nd, 2019

Rebekah:
My Heart Bleeds Black EP
[Mord]
Mord is one of those nosebleed techno labels I always keep tabs on but rarely end up buying (much like Perc Trax or Melbourne’s Green Fetish). They pump stuff out (too much really) at a prodigious rate, within a very bleak and blasted demarcated zone of production parameter but always leaving me with the suspicion that a lot of it, despite artist names, different artwork, titles etc, could easily be endlessly interchangeable without anyone noticing. Back in the day that used to be the very liberation of techno/rave/etc of course, so I’m not knocking them individually in any way, if that’s the gig they’ve chosen – they’ve certainly carved out a niche, but it just comes back to that perennial question, how much more of ‘this’ do I really need? I mean no one can really claim that this is ‘new’ in any way – “The Beat Just Goes Straight On & On”, and on and on etc. (If you remember that annoying big Perry & Rhodan trance techno tune on Rising High from 1993?). It’s just a palimpsest now.

I never imagined 25 years ago, when I was young and dancing to, and already buying, this kind of music (in its absolute infancy) that it would STILL be hammering away – or that the young people of today would still even be interested in pretty much EXACTLY the same thing, virtually unchanged. Frankly I would have been horrified at the thought. And if you’re feeling particularly sour (which I often am) you can be even more dismissive of this un-shifting canon. Most (if not all?) of this genre is imitative reproduction, already familiar and exhausted. You can theoretically (or physically if you must prove a point) check any release at random, in any format, and the first bar will bring the boredom of familiarity to your ear (spot the reference) and more depressingly still, only anticipate the boredom of the, albeit normally clinically well-produced, bar to follow! This is EXPLORED TERRITORY people! where the product matches expectation and desire; the place where all things turn out the way we want them to, where formalism has won the day.

Then if we’re whipping ourselves up into an imaginary frenzy, like the Central Scrutinizer (Zappa reference Compadres, heh), we can rant about this order being just another bullshit tyranny and STULTIFICATION, mere hierarchies of place, position and cultish authority. The producers are all seemingly “Berlin-based” now after all: retro-flash tattooed, ears tribal-stretched, modular set-up, vegan, straight-edge whatever, mastered at D+M, by Rashad “Bloody” Becker, 180g Ltd Edition pre-order vinyl, jetting to London next week to play at Corsica Studios, then on to Sonar or some such for the closing set blah blah blah. The Rant Just Goes Straight On & On…

Keepsakes: Perspectives From A Sterile Hellhole [Haven 001] & Ayarcana/Keepsakes: Music For The Vitriolic Age [Haven 002]
I thought I’d found a mildly interesting antipodean relative of Green Fetish in Haven earlier this year. Starting as an Auckland club night run by Keepsakes and Jaded Nineties Raver, ‘Haven’ was apparently something of a (self proclaimed) hub for New Zealand’s small underground technocentric dance music scene. Until they became yet another “Berlin-based” label that is…FFS! This is beyond a joke now people. The artwork looked promising (reminding me of PCP’s SS sub-label, all prowling masked gangs) and titles like ‘Mind Your Manners Munted Millennial’, ‘Face Struck With An Axe’ and ‘Populist Piss Pot’ suggested a Bloody Fistesque sardonicism. There’s not too much to dislike really (except the elephant in the room – the existential question mark hanging over this genre) or indeed to set it apart from the rest of the pack for that matter. What can you really say about industrial techno now anyway? You’ve heard every variable before; you’ve read every adjective to describe it. Industrial grit – check. Crunchy – check. Gnarled – check. Crushing – check. Driving – check. The tick box exercise is embedded in the tracks’ own riveted-in-place formalism. I could go on but you know the score. Do you need this in your record bag, or collection? Do you want to hear this out at parties? Should you support this brand from the already swollen ranks? Like saying no to a third beer down the pub when you only popped in for a cheeky pint on the way home from work, this is a question of DISCIPLINE now, not personal taste, that only you can be responsible for.

Mickey Nox / Ike Dusk
[Green Fetish]

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