The best of the Sunday papers

08Apr10

“Radical critique is not about exchanging compliments, but about looking at the limitations of movements which claim to be anti-capitalist and trying to contribute to their development. The task of over-emphasising the ’sexy and inspiring’ sides is better left to the various direct action conferences and gatherings, whose only purpose seems to be exactly that: big doses of self-reassurance and the absence of critical engagement…In the midst of enthusiasm and grandeur, the direct action movement sees a growing anti-capitalist movement everywhere. This illusion stops them from recognizing that, in its present form, the direct action movement is going nowhere.”Undercurrent #8: Practice and ideology in the Direct Action Movement

As valid as when it was written ten years ago. Has this movement truly matured as Naomi Klein would argue? or are we still dealing with many of the same debates and problems as we were then?

Here are some extracts from Resonance‘s Sunday Papers series, with added bolding and one or two extra hyperlinks.

#1:

* Principia have pointed out the existence of an excellent Facebook group dedicated to promoting a strand of Marxism related to value criticism. This is a current of thought associated with the German Krisis magazine and authors such as Moishe Postone and provides an interesting escape route from a Marxology obsessed with class struggle.

#2:

* This is a surprisingly interesting thread on UK indymedia. It starts with an (unfair in my opinion) criticism of Shift magazine, and a (fairer) criticism of Turbulence before moving onto an interesting discussion on intellectualism, the academy and its relationship with radical movements.

* The crisis deepens in Greece. Protests begin over the Greek states’ plans to impose austerity on its citizens for the security of its economy and that of the Euro-zone.

* A little more lighthearted is this insurrectionary random text generator. Very clever piece of programming with an important purpose. Not to criticise insurrectionism per se but to highlight the dangers of seductive rhetoric. Coming to a glued cash machine near you.

#4:

interesting interview with Wu Ming (formerly Luther Blisset) the collective writing project which has co-authored Q, 54 and Manituana. Interesting discussion on the creation of myths, the notion of authorship and American exceptionalism.

#5:

* Very short but critical piece discussing the *ahem* “legacy” of the Summer of Rage last year.

* CJA have released a position paper discussing the concept of climate justice and how it applies to the European context. Seems pretty progressive when compared to the nonsense being bandied about in the thread above and in large parts of the environmental sphere. Climate Justice looks like a useful discourse to unite autonomous movements around.

* And to continue the documentary vibe, here’s an interesting documentary on pirate radio. Autonomous cultural production!

Given the bank holiday weekend here are some links to a few more meaty articles coming from the value critique strand of Marxism. I think that this strand has a lot of potential to offer to autonomous anti-capitalist movements, as it provides a useful materialist understanding of capital without devolving into workerism, vanguardism or any other bits of marxist historical baggage.

* Transcript of a Moishe Postone article – a fairly clear explanation of the value critique position. The Q and A after is also quite revealing.

* Translation of an Anselm Jappe article distributed at last years Communism conference at Birkbeck. I think he is connected to the Krisis/Exit tendency. In this article he, correctly I think, argues that Neo-liberalism was one solution to the crisis of valorisation in the 1960’s. He makes the point that rather than being a deviation of the so called “real” economy, the financialisation of capitalism we have witnessed in the past twenty to thirty years was a response to a crisis in Fordist forms of production. This is quite a similar argument to that made by David Harvey.

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