Anselm Jappe discusses the life and works of Celine and their relation to the populist politics of resentment, Nazi propaganda, and the mass culture of the postwar era, noting that Celine’s lauded style, in its consonance with his “ideological delusions”, meets Hitler’s definition of propaganda (“it is not about convincing, but about the power of suggestion” and emotions) and that, while Celine’s “… endless succession of fragments, almost devoid of meaning if one takes them in isolation, which are intended to stimulate immediate impulses, recall the techniques of Goebbels, they also prefigure a totalitarian technique that would only make its appearance a few decades later: the videoclip.”
Anselm Jappe reflects on the significance of the ongoing crisis of commodity production and the reactions of mainstream commentators, the representatives of the “anti-neoliberal” left, and ordinary people, the role of credit in prolonging the system’s death throes, and the pitfalls of blaming scapegoats for what is actually a systemic collapse, and the “fundamental crisis” of the “value-form”, caused by the immanent contradictions that lie at the heart of the system of commodity production, which we should not save but destroy as quickly as possible in order to make the “leap into the unknown” of “a more human society”, or else endure worse barbarism to come.
Anselm Jappe rejects the traditional concept of politics and proposes a post-political politics appropriate for the crisis conditions of our time, a politics whose task is to “at least preserve the possibility for future emancipation against the dehumanization imposed by the commodity” and is based on a combination of non-representational direct action, the rehabilitation of the idea of sabotage, and anti-capitalist theory that transcends the fixed boundary between praxis and theory, without succumbing to the temptation to seek immediate results by yielding to traditional political attitudes and methods.
A brief review of the history of the “value critique” current and its antecedents, with particular emphasis on its relation to the tradition of the critique of modernity, technology, and the ideology of progress, as well as a discussion of the capitalist recuperation of the “transgressive” cultural politics that emerged during the 1960s and 1970s partly in connection with the search for a replacement for the proletariat as “revolutionary subject”.
Anslem Jappe’s preface to his 2011 book, Credit unto Death: The Decomposition of Capitalism and its Critics, in which the author cautions his readers that “emancipation cannot be the simple result of capitalist development” but will instead “be a leap into the unknown, without a net”, and that the “the crisis is not … synonymous with emancipation”, a claim that “defines the theme of this book”.
Are free individuals the necessary prerequisites for a successful struggle for freedom? - Anselm Jappe
In this text written in late 2011, Anselm Jappe criticizes the popular slogan “We are the 99%” in the context of a discussion of the “anthropological regression” induced by capitalism that has attenuated humanity’s capacity and desire for freedom, emphasizes the continuing relevance of the core concepts of value analysis for the understanding of the current capitalist crisis, and maintains that the present task of revolutionaries “… confronted by the disasters caused by the permanent revolutions unleashed by capital … is to ‘preserve’ some of the essential acquisitions of humanity and to attempt to cultivate them so that they assume a higher form”.
A short essay contesting the notion that the current economic crisis is the result of "greed" or irresponsible speculation by evil bankers or investment firms, asserting instead that it is an effect of a generalized crisis of value production caused by the falling rate of profit--an immanent law of capitalist production--and further maintaining that, rather than precipitating the crisis, the massive expansion of fictitious capital over the last 30 years was the only way its onset could be delayed until now.
An interview with Anselm Jappe about "curtailing economic growth" ("decrecimiento" in Spanish), a tendency that is becoming increasingly popular in certain circles in Europe, which he characterizes as "a reformism that wants to be authentically radical" but which is doomed to failure unless it challenges the logic of commodity production.
Anselm Jappe turns the tables on the apologists for capitalism who denounce “utopia” as the seed of Stalinist terror and as contrary to “human nature”, by pointing out that the capitalist “utopia” of homo oeconomicus is the most important utopia in the history of the world and that, despite its ideological disguise as “natural” and “eternal”, it has almost always had to be imposed by force on reluctant populations who rejected its invasion and destruction of their traditional ways of life.