culture

In the Social Factory?: Immaterial Labour, Precariousness and Cultural Work

This academic article is concerned with precariousness and cultural work. It aim is to bring into dialogue three bodies of ideas – the work of the autonomous Marxist ‘Italian laboratory’; activist writings about precariousness and precarity; and the emerging empirical scholarship concerned with the distinctive features of cultural work, at a moment when artists, designers and (new) media workers have taken centre stage as a supposed ‘creative class’ of model entrepreneurs

"God didn't die, he was transformed into money" - An interview with Giorgio Agamben - Peppe Savà

A 2012 interview with the Italian philosopher, who expresses his views on the economic crisis, capitalism as a religion (Benjamin), the role of history in European cultural identity, “bio-politics”, the “state of exception”, and the fate of contemporary art (“trapped between the Scylla of the museum and the Charybdis of commodification”).

“God didn’t die, he was transformed into money” - An Interview with Giorgio Agamben – Peppe Savà

Selections from Perspectivas Antidesarrollistas – Miguel Amorós

Six short texts from a book published in 2012 (Anti-developmentalist Perspectives) largely based on talks given in 2009-2010 on the topic of the need for a transition from the economically, environmentally and spiritually unviable city-centered system of globalized capitalism to a new territorial dispersal of human society and productive activities, attaining a higher synthesis of the restoration of the liberating aspects of the city (freedom, public space) and the traditional virtues of the “territory” (local production, self-sufficiency) that can only be brought about by an anti-capitalist revolution.

Translated in January 2014 from the Spanish original as published in: Miguel Amorós, Perspectivas Antidesarrollistas, Editorial Germinal, Valle Maipo Bioregion, Winter 2012.

The above book is available online (January 2014) at: http://editorialgerminal.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/amorc3b3s.pdf

Zines and underground comics of the 1980s and 1990s

A blogpost about various 'zines, underground comics and alternative publications I was exposed to during the late 1980s and 1990s.

If you've been on the radical left for any amount of time, you've probably heard of ‘zines’. A shortening of the word ‘magazine, zines are described by Wikipedia as “most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier”. Usually they are the size of what were once, and are now more frequently called, pamphlets.

Capitalism, therefore crisis - Miguel Amorós

Notes on the current crisis, considered in accordance with its ancient medical definition as “the culminating point of an illness” (Hippocrates) whose symptoms are “loss of memory, dissolution of classes, individualism, narcissism, degradation of language, functional illiteracy, fear [and] domestication”, along with ecological, urban and political crises on a planetary scale, which cannot be overcome by traditional political or trade union means but require the constitution of neighborhood communities resulting from “desertion or exclusion”, and a dual urban/rural focus, at first dominated by the urban struggle, that aims at “de-urbanization” and defense of “territory”.

Capitalism, Therefore Crisis - Miguel Amorós

“Life is short, and Art long; the crisis fleeting; experience perilous, and decision difficult.”
Hippocrates, Aphorisms

I

Midnight in the century: notes against progress - Miguel Amorós

An examination of the history and significance of the concept of “progress”, its origins as an expression of the Enlightenment’s battle against religious bigotry and ignorance, its transformation into a “new [scientific] superstition” characterized by indifference to nature and the worship of technological change, and its current status as “a threat to the survival of the human species”.

Midnight in the Century – Notes against Progress – Miguel Amorós

Rebellion and conservatism: the lessons of 1984 - Jean-Claude Michéa

A transcript of a 1995 talk in which Michéa discusses the continuing relevance of the ideas of the self-proclaimed “tory anarchist”, George Orwell, featuring: Orwell’s concepts of “generous anger” and “common decency”; the moral bankruptcy of the “totalitarian intellectuals” whose desire for power was rooted in resentment; the left’s disastrous “uncritical approval” of “the mechanization” and “unlimited modernization of the world”; and concludes the talk with a call for a “critical conservatism”, which Michéa characterizes as “one of the necessary pillars for any radical critique of supermodernity and the synthetic ways of life” it is imposing on us.

Rebellion and Conservatism: The Lessons of 1984 – Jean-Claude Michéa

The rage of the slums - Miguel Amorós

Miguel Amorós discusses the French riots of 2005, which he considers in the context of deindustrialization and the permanent exclusion of the underclass from the labor market, who were then stigmatized as a “public enemy” “in order to obtain the absolute submission” of the rest of the population, observing that the slums are “the laboratory for spectacular domination where the social management of the future was tested” and “political experiments were carried out in vivo that were later applied to all domains of society, when all of society had been transformed into a slum” and “the cities were being evacuated to provide accommodations only to tourists and elites”.

The Rage of the Slums – Miguel Amorós

"How long can this go on?
When are you going to blow it up?
You wanted the war of the worlds and here it is
What do you expect to achieve by setting fires?"

Lyrics of the hip hop group, Nique Ta Mère, from the 1995 album, "Paris sous les bombes"

Almost a testament: Encounters with Pasolini - Peter Dragazde

A collection of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s observations and aphorisms on religion, politics and culture, based on transcripts of unpublished interviews held over a six-year period and revised by the controversial Italian poet, novelist, filmmaker and all-around political-cultural celebrity, in which Pasolini, who once notoriously proclaimed his sympathy for the “working class” policemen in their clashes with spoiled “middle class” students, expresses his eccentric views on America, Third World nationalism, China, Russia, a pope or two, his favorite filmmakers and poets, hippies, NATO’s involvement in the attempted coup d’état in Italy in 1964, etc.

Almost a Testament: Encounters with Pasolini1 - Peter Dragazde

  • 1. Published in Gente, November 17, 1975.

The last twenty years of social liquidation - Miguel Amorós

In this 2006 lecture, Miguel Amorós depicts the previous twenty years as a period of radical changes for the emancipatory project, beginning with “the disappearance of the workers milieu” in the 1980s and the simultaneous rise of a new youth movement which, because it “started from zero” as a result of its lack of historical memory, was in part drawn to violence (“immediate confrontation”), and in part to the practice of “neo-contestatory”, “festive” forms of simulated struggle (“In the society of the spectacle protest is a form of leisure”), only to be “absorbed by the dynamic of survival in a hostile environment” as “the fifth wheel of the electoral bandwagon of social democracy”.

The Last Twenty Years of Social Liquidation – Miguel Amorós

Concerning the Degeneration of Revolutionary Ideals after the End of the Working Class in the West