March 5th, 2014
As an erstwhile PERTBUM (Privately Educated Riot Thug Backing Underground Movements), I had, in my youth, occasionally enjoyed the company of real activists. My preferred Underground Movement, Hekate sound system, was only collaterally activist, and the politics were correspondingly sloppy and oblique – we were only ever loosely (some would say ‘louchely’) involved with politics, and that is the way I liked it. Imagine my horror, then, when last year I found myself the subject of an international media shitstorm, and my innocent name tarnished with the label: “gay activist”. This would have caused no little derision in the dormitories of Westminster School, had the unfortunate incident occurred 20 years earlier.
2007 found me at a loose end in Uganda. The London underground had lost its lustre and my life had degenerated into meaningless anaesthetic abuse (to be distinguished from progressive psychonautical exploration). Africa held promise, particularly Uganda, with its absence of haughty white settlers, seemingly anarchic society and pulsating night-life. For a PERTBUM who simply wanted to open a Bohemian cultural centre in the tropics, the soil there looked exceedingly fertile and uncomplicated.
However, when I set forth from England with this missionary intent, Uganda, unlike some other parts of East Africa, had no historic tradition of western-style ‘arts’, except in music and dance. Painting, sculpture, cinema, literature and stage theatre were all barely nascent in the 1970s when Idi Amin came to power. Despite his nasty reputation, Amin was the last Ugandan leader to pump serious money into the artistic crucible of Makerere University. However, this patronage was curtailed by the slow eruption of a vicious civil war, which effectively continued from the mid-70s to the early-90s. This was accompanied by the epidemic of AIDS, of which Uganda was one of the worst cases in the entire world. “In such condition”, as Hobbes noted, “there is no place for… arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death.” However, such condition was perfect for a Leviathan-type state, externally-imposed economic structural adjustment, a recourse to fundamentalist religion, and the invasion of an army of NGOs. In this daunting, post-conflict condition, where were ‘the arts’? [Read more →]
March 4th, 2014
January 26th, 2014
Datacide will be tabling at the LA Art Book Fair 2014.
We will be joined by The Public School Los Angeles, Colectivo Acratas, Corazon Normal, and Errant Bodies.
Our displays will be located in the “Friendly Fire” zine section at map location W10 under the name Insane Dialectical Posse.
Datacide will be selling issues #11-13, as well as various records.
LA Art Book Fair 2014
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
T: (213) 626-6222
Thursday, January 30, 6–9 pm
Friday, January 31, 11 am-5 pm
Saturday, February 1, 11 am–6 pm
Sunday, February 2, 12 pm–6 pm
For this event Sansculotte has designed new Datacide business cards!
January 17th, 2014
Book review by Marcel Stoetzler
Abromeit, John, 2011, Max Horkheimer and the Foundations of the Frankfurt School, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press
Benzer, Matthias, 2011, The Sociology of Theodor Adorno, New York etc: Cambridge University Press
John Abromeit and Matthias Benzer have published two detailed and highly informative monographs, one on Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), the other on Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969). The two books are written in styles that could hardly differ more: Abromeit’s is a primarily historical presentation that engages in exegesis of key texts mostly in chronological order, covering the period from Horkheimer’s birth in 1895 to 1941, whereas Benzer’s presentation rarely references historical context and draws in each of its chapters on the entire range of Adorno’s writings insofar as they make explicit or implicit statements about society. Adorno’s position is shown not in its gradual emergence but from the perspective of its most developed stage, Negative Dialectic being one of the most often quoted works. Furthermore, while Benzer almost completely disappears behind his subject matter, which he presents in a detached but faithful manner, Abromeit frames his argument within an evaluative, historical narrative that presents the Horkheimer of the 1930s as the most genuine representative of Critical Theory, whereas the Horkheimer of 1941ff is suggested to represent a lesser version. Abromeit chose the year 1941 as the cut-off point because in that year Horkheimer reduced to a minimum the activities of the Institute for Social Research in New York, ended the publication of the Institute’s journal Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, and moved to Los Angeles to concentrate on theoretical work with Adorno. Abromeit also emphasises that Erich Fromm had departed from the Institute in 1939, which is around the time Adorno became a member.
Key to Abromeit’s narrative is his view that Horkheimer’s and Adorno’s co-authored Dialectic of Enlightenment (first published in 1944) ‘fits seamlessly into the larger trajectory of Adorno’s work, but represents a break with Horkheimer’s early Critical Theory’ (Abromeit 2011:4).1 The decisive point here is the interpretation of the Enlightenment: [Read more →]
January 13th, 2014
Book review by Nemeton
Kristian Williams, Will Munger and Lara Messersmith-Glaving, eds. Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency. Oakland: AK Press, 2013.
The 439-page book Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency is a collection of articles organized thematically that elucidate the central argument that the doctrine of counterinsurgency (COIN) deployed by the US government and military in international arenas such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has been concurrently executed in the US mainland by a myriad of local, state and federal policing organizations and security apparatuses against political dissidents and activists. Various articles focus on the theories and deployment of COIN strategies, as well as methods of resistance, from diverse perspectives of individuals, groups and networks in Occupy, ecological, anarchist and anti-globalization struggles, as well as activists against border control, gang injunctions and the prison industrial complex. This book is an important contribution to the wider discourses about the domestic security state and political organizing, and has clear, continuing relevance given the ongoing deployment of COIN, current and pending trials, and ongoing diverse political actions. The book was published prior to the exposure by Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and others, based on leaked documents provided by Edward Snowden, of the NSA’s international and domestic spying regime on all electronic, internet and phone communications, as well as a plethora of other personal information. It would be very useful to have updates by the authors of these articles and activists about how they view COIN in relation to those revelations. There appears to be no mechanism, as of yet, for how activists or targets of COIN could discover if they were subject to NSA spying, and learn how that information could have been used against them, but certain articles in this book elucidate methods of FBI, police and COIN methods in spying, surveillance and infiltration. This book is the culmination of work started at the “Counter Counter-Insurgency Convergence” at Reed College in Portland, Oregon during 2011. The book articles are reworks of the conference presentations given by activists, researchers, academics, organizers and others. Two of the editors have gone on a networked book publicity tour around the US, including in Los Angeles, where I saw them give talks based on their articles. [Read more →]