Sunday, 27 February 2000

From "Notes for a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"

By Karl Marx.

The Estates are the sanctioned, legal lie of constitutional states, the lie that the state is the people's interest or the people the interest of the state. This lie will betray itself in its content. The lie has established itself as the legislature precisely because the legislature has the universal as its content and, being more an affair of knowledge than of will, is the metaphysical power of the state; whereas had the same lie established itself as the executive etc., it would have had either immediately to dissolve itself or be transformed into a truth.

From "Notes for a Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"

In modern states, as in Hegel's Philosophy of Right, the conscious, true actuality of public affairs is merely formal, or only what is formal constitutes actual public affairs.

Hegel is not to be blamed for depicting the nature of the modern state as it is, but rather for presenting what is as the essence of the state. The claim that the rational is actual is contradicted precisely by an irrational actuality, which everywhere is the contrary of what it asserts and asserts the contrary of what it is.

Thursday, 24 February 2000

From "On Suicide"

By Emile Durkheim.

In the case of economic disasters, indeed, something like a declassification occurs which suddenly casts certain individuals into a lower state than their previous one. Then they must reduce their requirements, restrain their needs, learn greater self-control. All the advantages of social influence are lost so far as they are concerned; their moral education has to be recommenced. But society cannot adjust them instantaneously to this new life and teach them to practice the increased self-repression to which they are unaccustomed. So they are not adjusted to the condition forced on them, and its very prospect is intolerable; hence the suffering which detaches them from a reduced existence even before they have made trial of it.

It is the same if the source of the crisis is an abrupt growth of power and wealth. Then, truly, as the conditions of life are changed, the standard according to which needs were regulated can no longer remain the same; for it varies with social resources, since it largely [...] determines the share of each class of producers. The scale is upset; but a new scale cannot be immediately improvised. Time is required for the public conscience to reclassify men and things. So long as the social forces thus freed have not regained equilibrium, their respective values are unknown and so all regulation is lacking for a time. The limits are unknown between the possible and the impossible, what is just and what is unjust, legitimate claims and hopes and those which are immoderate. Consequently, there is no restraint upon aspirations.

From "Knowledge and Class"

By Stephen A. Resnick & Richard D. Wolff.

As we understand it, then, Marxian theory holds that all theories, including itself, are overdetermined discursive formations of concepts. Marxian theory holds further that all theories produce distinct knowledges of the social totality in which they exist and by which they are overdetermined. Some of these theories produce essentialist knowledges, assigning to some social aspect(s) the role of origin, cause, telos, or subject of the other aspects (or assigning such roles to extrasocial, extrahuman entities). Marxian theory is, by contrast, nonessentialist or antiessentialist; it recognizes no aspect as the essence of another -- no origin, no telos, and no subject. Finally, for Marxian theory, no theory is or expresses the essence of an external reality and no theory is the phenomenon of such a reality functioning as its essence. Society is an overdetermined totality of mutually effective, mutually constitutive social and natural processes that are so many aspects of the totality. Marxian theory allows no essentialism of theory (rationalist or empiricist epistemology) and no essentialism in theory (determinist social theory).

Wednesday, 23 February 2000

From "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte"

By Karl Marx.

Bourgeois revolutions, like those of the eighteenth century, storm more swiftly from success to success, their dramatic effects outdo each other, men and things seem set in sparkling diamonds, ecstasy is the order of the day – but they are short-lived, soon they have reached their zenith, and a long Katzenjammer [crapulence] takes hold of society before it learns to assimilate the results of its storm-and-stress period soberly. On the other hand, proletarian revolutions, like those of the nineteenth century, constantly criticize themselves, constantly interrupt themselves in their own course, return to the apparently accomplished, in order to begin anew; they deride with cruel thoroughness the half-measures, weaknesses, and paltriness of their first attempts, seem to throw down their opponents only so the latter may draw new strength from the earth and rise before them again more gigantic than ever, recoil constantly from the indefinite colossalness of their own goals – until a situation is created which makes all turning back impossible, and the conditions themselves call out: Hic Rhodus, hic salta!

From "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte"

By Karl Marx.

The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped away all superstition about the past. The former revolutions required recollections of past world history in order to smother their own content. The revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead in order to arrive at its own content. There the phrase went beyond the content – here the content goes beyond the phrase.

From "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte"

By Karl Marx.

In like manner, the beginner who has learned a new language always translates it back into his mother tongue, but he assimilates the spirit of the new language and expresses himself freely in it only when he moves in it without recalling the old and when he forgets his native tongue.

From "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte"

By Karl Marx.

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.

Sunday, 20 February 2000

So The King Sold The Farmer #39

By Amiri Baraka.


The Ghost


Ghost


Watch out


or the Ghost


Ghost get you


Ghost


Watch out
or the
Ghost


In bitter darkness screams sharpness as smells
& Seas black voice
Wails
in the death filled
darkness


Their bodies disease beneath intoxicated floors
A seas shudder afraid its turned
to Blood


The bodies
they will, in death's skull
to Lionel Hampton
Ghost Look out
for the Ghost


Ghost
is have us
chains
is be with
dying


is caught


Sea mad, maniac
drunken
Killing sea


Ghooooooooost


Ghooooooooost


The chains
& dark
dark &
dark, if there was "light"
it meant
Ghooost


Rotting family we
ghost ate
three

A people flattened chained
bathed & degraded
in their own hysterical waste


below
beneath
under neath
deep down
up under


grave cave pit
lower & deeper
weeping miles below
skyscraper gutters


Blue blood hole into which blueness
is the terror, massacre, torture
& original western
holocaust


Slavery


We were slaves


Slaves


Slaves


Slaves
-

Slaves
-

Slaves
-

We were


Slaves
-
Slaves
-


They threw
our lives
a way


Beneath the violent philosophy
of primitive
cannibals


Primitive
Violent
Steam driven
Cannibals

Saturday, 19 February 2000

(1) In case x, do y.
(2) The only case in which (1) does not hold is one in which, despite x, total material conditions are causally insufficient that you should do y.

From "The Second Treatise of Civil Government"

By John Locke.

Sect. 124. The great and chief end, therefore, of men's uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property. To which in the state of nature there are many things wanting.

First, There wants an established, settled, known law, received and allowed by common consent to be the standard of right and wrong, and the common measure to decide all controversies between them: for though the law of nature be plain and intelligible to all rational creatures; yet men being biassed by their interest, as well as ignorant for want of study of it, are not apt to allow of it as a law binding to them in the application of it to their particular cases.

Sect. 125. Secondly, In the state of nature there wants a known and indifferent judge, with authority to determine all differences according to the established law: for every one in that state being both judge and executioner of the law of nature, men being partial to themselves, passion and revenge is very apt to carry them too far, and with too much heat, in their own cases; as well as negligence, and unconcernedness, to make them too remiss in other men's.

Sect. 126. Thirdly, In the state of nature there often wants power to back and support the sentence when right, and to give it due execution. They who by any injustice offended, will seldom fail, where they are able, by force to make good their injustice; such resistance many times makes the punishment dangerous, and frequently destructive, to those who attempt it.

Thursday, 17 February 2000

From "The Crowd in History"

By Elias Canetti.

A parliamentary vote does nothing but ascertain the relative strength of two groups at a given time and place. Knowing them beforehand is not enough. One party may have 360 members and the other only 240, but the actual vote is decisive, as the moment in which the one is really measured against the other. It is all that is left of the original lethal clash and it is played out in many forms, with threats, abuse and physical provocation which may lead to blows or missiles. But the counting of the vote ends the battle.

[...] The solemnity of all those activities derives from the renunication of death as an instrument of decision. Every single vote puts death, as it were, on one side. But the effect that killing would have had on the strength of the enemy is scrupulously put down in figures; and any one who tampers with those figures, who destroys or falsifies them, lets death in again without knowing it.

Tuesday, 15 February 2000

From "Critique of the Gotha Programme"

By Marx.

The first and second parts of the paragraph have some intelligible connection only in the following wording:

"Labor becomes the source of wealth and culture only as social labor", or, what is the same thing, "in and through society".

This proposition is incontestably correct, for although isolated labor (its material conditions presupposed) can create use value, it can create neither wealth nor culture.

But equally incontestable is this other proposition:

"In proportion as labor develops socially, and becomes thereby a source of wealth and culture, poverty and destitution develop among the workers, and wealth and culture among the nonworkers."

This is the law of all history hitherto. What, therefore, had to be done here, instead of setting down general phrases about "labor" and "society", was to prove concretely how in present capitalist society the material, etc., conditions have at last been created which enable and compel the workers to lift this social curse.

Monday, 14 February 2000

From "Of Critical Theory and its Theorists"

By Stephen Eric Bronner.

Reification is based on rationalization. The two concepts, however, are different [...] Rationalization involves dealing with nature in an instrumental or mathematical fashion. Reification appears only insofar as purposive ends are denied and closed to critical scrutiny in the employment of such techniques. It is perhaps best illustrated by the "inverted" world of the commodity form wherein the subjects behind production are structurally turned into objects for the accumulation of profit hile capital, which is ostensibly the object of the undertaking, is turned into the subject supposedly generating the processs. Individuals are thus turned into "things;" their reflexive capacities are undermined along with their choices since concepts lose their historical character and assume a fixed and finished, or "natural," form.

From "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion"

By David Hume.

It is in vain, therefore, to insist upon the uses of the parts in animals or vegetables, and their curious adjustment to each other. I would fain know, how an animal could subsist, unless its parts were so adjusted? Do we not find, that it immediately perishes whenever this adjustment ceases, and that its matter corrupting tries some new form? It happens indeed, that the parts of the world are so well adjusted, that some regular form immediately lays claim to this corrupted matter: and if it were not so, could the world subsist? Must it not dissolve as well as the animal, and pass through new positions and situations, till in great, but finite succession, it falls at last into the present or some such order?

Saturday, 12 February 2000

From "Eichmann in Jerusalem"

By Hannah Arendt.

"[...] officialese became his [Eichmann's] language because he was genuinely incapable of uttering a single sentence that was not a cliche [...]"

Thursday, 10 February 2000

From "Homo Sacer"

By Giorgio Agamben.

It is not the exception that gets subtracted from the rule, but the rule that, suspending itself, gives raise to the exception and only in this way can constitute itself as rule, by constantly maintaining a relation to it. [...] The situation that is created by exception can neither be defined as a factual situation, nor as a situation of right, but institutes between the two a paradoxical threshold of indifference.

Tuesday, 8 February 2000

From Mallarmé

Trans. P. Manson.

[...] The biting mouth will not
be sure of tasting anything [...]

From "Filth Screed"

By Sean Bonney.

a king is a used rat
no, not even a rat, more a burnt finger
a scratch dog
a bone twitch
a skull in the supermarket
almost like in a bucket at the seaside

[...]

this is a shop spurt yellow gas
we drink it sliced
in a furnace

From "Filth Screed"

By Sean Bonney.

a lattice of swallow-screech, a
waiting room, some christians,
some lions, some
obvious points

From "Filth Screed"

By Sean Bonney.

stood --
once for 25 minutes watched an owl peel a mouse --
in london we have a street --
fleas have bitten it self like the time I went blind on Wardour St --
when the trees all flickered like men --
stood once for 25 minutes waiting for a chance to move in the nest --
as if biting --
a lamp & vice-versa --
as if biting --

From "Sin"

By Liz Ely.

Today we rated the 7 deadly sins in order of how fun they are.

This is the order

Lust
Pride
Gluttony
Sloth
Wrath
Greed
Envy

We then did the same with the cardinal virtues. This is the order.

Justice
Fortitude
Prudence
Temperence

In order of preference this is them both together

Justice
Lust
Pride
Gluttony
Sloth
Fortitude
Wrath
Prudence
Greed
Temperence
Envy