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AGAINST BIFO, SCEPSI AND FURTHER EUROCENTRISM [DISCUSSION] Print
Written by DAMTP   

0[Redas]

Your new statement [KAFCA:Knowledge Against Financial Capitalism under the umbrella of SCEPSI (European School for Social Imagination)] coincided with our next issue of Art Strike Biennial and the meeting of DAta Miners  & Travailleurs Psychique – shortly DAMTP’s [or people in close with agreement to DAMTPs]. As I always had a bunch of disagreements to your statements – this time I must notice it comes even worse. The all older our disagreements on europeancentrist (at some point racist) positions, and also due to prescription of “leading” role to “white” pro-western mode of knowledge and it’s propagators – bourgeois artists, theoreticians etc. – that never were followed by further discussions or even placed as a counter-positions in your well edited and selected “insurrectionist” thought… even your coming couple years ago to Alytus was based not on doing something together, but rather on positioning to be listen… But it was very good we had some discussions – otherwise we would do not bother each other afterwards…

 

I disagree that common sense of sensual-erotic social body could be restored by the specialized theorists, artists, teachers, students and whomsoever – and that is not truth that it was lost because of the “process of virtualization and precarization” prevailing in neoliberal mechanisms – it was lost much earlier and because of the same “the heirs of five centuries of humanist civilization and of scientific revolution”. And they are not “the promise of a future of progress, and freedom” – that’s an opposite. Actually that is the cause of the institutionalized obstacle to prevent the society from real social imagination and to turn it on fetishisation. It is what the bourgeosification is about.

 

What is we (DAMTP’s) are calling for – that is reproletrianization of the social intelligence – the freedom for creation of the meaning without limitation in time and space and without capitalist specializations. You as an academician, or whomever else (in the same order as some queen of England as well) – you[we] all can resign from your/our duties and join together for the striking the system prevailing – nobody knows better the system as people who are involved into it. But instead I see just a call to restore privilegies for European worshipers of the SUN.

What also makes distrust to your positions about “defending the social civilization, the legacy of humanistic values, and the pleasure of life” – is that usually your (and that of other SCEPSIs) activities are based on what we call “cultural white supremacist europeancentrist format” – what’s about including the positions of the refugees from Nothern Africa, slavery of Eastern Europeans in the West etc. I am sure you’re accepting only those who meet “the level of civilization” or in a best way what in neoliberalist ideology is called multi-culti – i.e. “civilized savages” [they are usually are much more capitalists then capitalists themselves].

Might be it’s not a best thing to happen that intellectuals and lumpen intermingle for to go looting together, but intermingling of intellectuals with “white“ bourgeoisie in defending of “high values” – that’s much worse….

I think we at DAMTP would arrange a collective resolution addressed towards your upcoming event – not sure how critical it will be, but definitely it will be very skeptic towards your SCEPSI…

 

1[Dovilė]

Sad to read the misinterpretation by DAMPTs on SCEPSI’s statement.  If recuperation of “students, researchers, artists, engineers, therapists, teachers“ is already not „reproletrianization of the social intelligence“, then who and how? Is it necessary to write „algerian researcher“ and „street artist“ to be literally correct and not mixed with „white supremacist“ something „borgeous“? It is something very much mixed in here.

 

Franco Berardi has not only intelligence and subtle thinking, but charisma of expression, so naturally he didn‘t need specially to ask the audience to listen. Just hard to believe that DAMPT‘s are so much into Mao ideals of doing everything together, like reading one book or listening one song, that even individual speach meets intolerance.

 

 

Now I understand why we were shooting each other with black color in Alytus – to be more tolerated in conference as guests from North Africa were.

 

0[Fabian]

(http://scepsi.eu/en/connective-sensibility/)

1[Kasparas]

I also distance myself from what Redas said and I don't want to be mingled among those criticizing what Bifo does. I think what autonomists do trying to think over the artists situation is not less useful than Art strikes. Moreover, Art strikes despite their magnetism also have their own problems. For example, it is always fun to make demonstrations or to play in concert which is conducted according to a principle "Everyone is an artist". On the other hand, there is always a comic moment of Hegelian representation which makes these demonstrations and concerts kind of artificial.


I think in our discussion we must not only search for non-alienation but also emphasize the material potentiality of a creative person and to regain our lost possibilities which were recuperated by creative industries, financial capital, interface etc. Instead of the artist alienation I would better focus on material exploitation of artist workforce by using the techniques of creative commons and creative industries. These questions remain largely not discussed during the art strikes, but namely these questions, the questions of artists as living labor are most urgent nowadays. Dialectic critique and refusal to create art is not an answer, the problem is in the need to search for subversive acts that undermine capitalist domination. We must search for autonomy inside Empire, to create our free zones not by changing our own consciousness (by singing Art strike anthems instead of Lithuanian or any other imperialist anthem) but by constant insubordination to any subjugation technologies. And of course we cannot forget that the times they are a-changin' and we cannot always define our reality by Maoist or old orthodox Marxist terms. It is not enough to create "proletarian negative" instead of "capitalist positive", it would be more useful to celebrate the dionysian and uncontrollable alternative without any representation.

I completely disagree here with you because you only search for things that compromise the attitude of Bifo. I think he is completely right when thinking and speaking about the conditions of contemporary artist or intellectual, because he is speaking about himself. Should he do better if he spoke about hungry children of Africa? Wouldn't it remind the tactics of Bono or other noble artists involved in liberating all the world... instead of ourselves? Or all those trotskyite revolutionaries who forget themselves after turning on the BBC News. I think we must begin with ourselves as collective force trying to move out of social factory of late capitalism. The art sabotage is not about constant reunion with working class who doesn't even know anymore that it is working class, The art sabotage is about destroying the identity of an artist and putting up with the identity itself, especially negative identity, it's about creative autonomy outside of the realm of capital. not for a week, but for life, it's about constant redefinition of value-making process and destruction of the law of value itself. I think General Intellect is about ourselves, about our place simultaneously in and out of the system, and it has a potentiality which yet has to be discussed.

 

0[Fabian]

It is a very weak argument to suggest that anyone is demanding that Bifo speak about hungry children in Africa. The problem is that he is repeating the fictions of the bourgeois revolution. He is defing as a class the 'Cognitarians as "heirs of five centuries of humanist civilization and of scientific revolution" - i.e. the renaissance rediscovery of Cicero and Greek thought, followed by the rise of folk like Galileo and Francis Bacon. So the suggestion that this about "creative autonomy outside of the realm of capital" is a simple fiction. It is not, not even for a second. Perhaps it is woth reading Bacon's "On Plantations" to see how much this father of science is proposing the development of colonies funded by ecological destruction as forests are used to provide timber as commodity. True Bacon calls for these colonies to be run by noblemen and gentlemen rather than merchants - who he sees as simply wanting to make a quick buck. And here Bifo echos Bacon's concern, criticising the greedy merchant bankers (finance capital) in a similar way, with his cognitarians replacing Bacon's noblemen and gentlemen.

 

Art precisely emerges with the renaissance, with the rise of the bourgeoisie and the identification of the artist as the goriginator of the work of art, whether they call themselves Bellini or Raphael. The renaissance humanism of which Bifo is so proud comes from these gentleman, all time served artisans. So there is here a contradiction.

 

Likewise, it is worth understanding Marx's passage in The Fragment on Machines in the Grundrisse:

 

Nature builds no machines, no locomotives, railways, electric telegraphs, self-acting mules etc. These

are products of human industry; natural material transformed into organs of the human will over nature,

or of human participation in nature. They are organs of the human brain, created by the human hand;

the power of knowledge, objectified. The development of fixed capital indicates to what degree general

social knowledge has become a

direct force of production, and to what degree, hence, the conditions of

the process of social life itself have come under the control of the general intellect and been

transformed in accordance with it. To what degree the powers of social production have been produced,

not only in the form of knowledge, but also as immediate organs of social practice, of the real life

process.

 

(http://thenewobjectivity.com/pdf/marx.pdf)

 

Certainly Paul Virno poses an interesting problem at the end of his text General Intellect in Lessico Postfordista:

 

Finally, our question is whether the peculiar public character of the intellect, which is today the technical requirement of the production process, can be the actual basis for a radically new form of democracy and public sphere that is the antithesis of the one pivoting on the state and on its ‘monopoly on political decision’. There are two distinct but interdependent sides to this question: on the one hand, the general intellect can affirm itself as an autonomous public sphere only if its bond to the production of commodities and wage labour is dissolved. On the other hand, the subversion of capitalist relations of production can only manifest itself through the institution of a public sphere outside the state and of a political community that hinges on the general intellect.

 

(http://www.generation-online.org/p/fpvirno10.htm)

 

Perhaps it would be more useful to develop a discussion from these points rather than SCEPSI statement.

 

And it would also be useful if people understand that it is not a matter of looking for things with which to compromise Bifo: the problem is that the shortcomings of his political viewpoint are so blatant that they cannot be ignoerd.

 

0[Andrius]

I also see Dovile's and Kasparas' responses simplistic. 'The uncontrollable alternative', if you put it together with claims for preserving European gems from so-named financial class, sounds rather strange... I would recommend watching Pier Paolo Pasolini's 'Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom', 1975 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073650/) - at this point I realize it would have been a good inspiration for a discussion in Alytus.