Radical media, politics and culture.


"Black Glove/White Glove: Revisiting Mexico's 1968"
Donald Nicholson-Smith

For all the inevitable talk of Olympiads past, we haven't heard much (in the U.S. media at any rate), about the 1968 Games in Mexico City, formally opened by President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz on 12 October of that seminal year in an atmosphere redolent, according to the New York Times, of "pageantry, brotherhood and peace." Just ten days earlier, Díaz Ordaz — for many reasons, but certainly out of determination that the Games should proceed unmolested by social protest — had unleashed the combined power of the Mexican military and police forces on a mass of unarmed student demonstrators and other civilians, shooting and bayoneting to death more than three hundred of them, then covering up the scale of the slaughter and attendant torture and disappearances. The International Olympic Committee, though one of its members had witnessed corpses being piled onto lorries for removal from the killing ground of the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, voted in an emergency meeting to carry on regardless. Politically speaking, the 1968 Games would be remembered in the world at large not for the myriad victims of Mexican state terror (as Octavio Paz called it), but for the black-gloved right fists, raised in a silent but eloquent call for black power, of the Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the two-hundred-meter gold- and bronze-medal winners. The two were promptly ejected from the proceedings by the tidy-minded Olympic Committee.

"The Pomo Marx & Engels"

Adam Kirsch, New York Sun

Like a dog to its vomit, Michael Hardt and Antonio
Negri return in "Multitude" to the vapid and deeply
irresponsible politics of their 2000 book, "Empire."

By fusing the favorite ideologies of the academic Left
— Marxism and postmodernism — into a new theory of
geopolitics, "Empire" won a surprising amount of
attention: here, the New York Times proclaimed, was
the "Next Big Idea" we had all been waiting for. The
New Statesman called it "perhaps the most successful
work to have come from the left for a generation."

Anonymous Comrade writes: Reviewed By: John McMahon | An Anti-Author Whose Identity is Known to the Department of Homeland Security

To celebrate the fact that John Ashcroft's Department of Justice still has access to every American citizen's bookstore and library records, we decided to go to our public library and check out the Critical Art Ensemble's revolutionary manifesto titled Electronic Civil Disobedience, and other unpopular ideas . . .

http://www.altpressonline.com/modules.php?name=New s&file=article&sid=227"

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"Multitude: An Antidote to Empire"

Francis Fukuyama, New York Times

Well before 9/11 and the Iraq war put the idea in everybody's mind,
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri had popularized the notion of a modern
empire. Four years ago, they argued in a widely discussed book —
titled, as it happens, Empire — that the globe was ruled by a new
imperial order, different from earlier ones, which were based on overt
military domination. This one had no center; it was managed by the
world's wealthy nation-states (particularly the United States), by
multinational corporations and by international institutions like the
World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. This
empire — a k a globalization — was exploitative, undemocratic and
repressive, not only for developing countries but also for the excluded
in the rich West.

Hardt and Negri's new book, Multitude, argues that the antidote to
empire is the realization of true democracy, ''the rule of everyone by
everyone, a democracy without qualifiers.'' They say that the left
needs to leave behind outdated concepts like the proletariat and the
working class, which vastly oversimplify the gender/racial/ethnic/
class diversities of today's world. In their place they propose the
term ''multitude,'' to capture the ''commonality and singularity'' of
those who stand in opposition to the wealthy and powerful.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

"‘Marxing Read Ontologically?’
Jason Read’s Autonomist Post-Structuralism"

[Reviewing Jason Read, The Micro-politics of Capital: Marx and the Prehistory of the Present (State University of New York Press, 2003), and retrospectively of Jean Baudrillard, Le Miroir de la Production: ou l’illusion critique du matérialisme historique (Editions Galilée 1975).]

A l’instar de la valeur d’échange et de la marchandise, selon Marx, les formes abstraites apparaissent à travers des choses, comme propriétés des choses, en un mot naturalité. La forme sociale et la forme mentale semblent données dans un « monde ». — Henri Lefebvre, La Vie Quotidienne Dans La Monde Moderne

Quite at the beginning of his writing life, Jean Baudrillard has observed that a certain type of Marxist can only see the world of capital as a multiplication of self-moving social forms. This type of Marxism (which used to be more widespread than it is today), by grace of its limitations, is caught in these forms, rather than hacking a theoretical path through the jungle, following the lead of actual struggles.

In order to grasp the ontology of capital’s forms, i.e. their social being, Marx himself argued we have to descend into what he called the ‘hidden abode’ of production, and into (as Italian feminists have added) the ‘arcane’ of reproduction of labour power. Descending willfully down all these rickety staircases and ladders, sweeping away the dust and cobwebs of years, we find ourselves knocking on a door strangely well-oiled, to encounter an old figure: the worker, left in a place that remains even after history has "ended" — the workplace.

"The Knee Jerk Review of Books"

Louis Proyect, Marxmail

In the winter of 1962-63, during a strike of the NY Times, Robert Silvers and a few close friends decided to launch the New York Review of Books, which is considered the premier intellectual print journal outside of academia.

When I first joined the SWP in 1967, I was a regular reader of the New York Review. Once when I was sitting at party headquarters thumbing through its pages, an old-timer named Harry Ring raised an eyebrow and said, "Oh, you're reading the social democratic press." Of course, I practically took the magazine out and burned it after hearing that. As I began shamefacedly apologizing for reading it, Harry reassured me that if he had the time, he'd read it too since it is important to keep track of the social democracy. These words were hardly reassuring. Did I have so much time on my hands because I was one of those half-digested petty-bourgeois elements that James P. Cannon railed against during the Shachtman-Burnham fight?

"Fascist Labyrinths"

Loren Goldner, Break Their Haughty Power

Reviewing Joao Bernardo, Labirintos do Fascismo:
Na Encruzilhada da Ordem e da Revolta
Porto, Ed. Afrontamento, 2003.

“The victory of the fascist parties cannot be understood without discussing and analyzing the ties, through shocks and convergences, of a considerable number of working-class milieus and sources,  with the radical right…Wiping out leftist leaders and leading masses was only possible because of leftist echoes in the slogans of the new leaders”.

The Portuguese Marxist  and prolific writer Joao Bernardo remains virtually unknown in the Anglophone world, a situation hopefully to be remedied soon by an English translation of his three-volume masterpiece on the Middle Ages, Poder e Dinheiro. Now, only a year after the appearance of the final volume of that book, he has published another sprawling 900-page work, Labyrinths of Fascism: At the Crossroads of Order and Revolt.

Anonymous Comrade writes:

Here is a quick translation of a three-book review from the Dutch newspaper NRC-Handelsblad of 7 May 2004. The author is Arnold Heumakers, a philosopher. It discusses three books that throw light on the ‘split within western culture.’ NRC-Handelsblad is the newspaper of the Dutch economic and cultural upper strata, with liberal-democratic, neoliberal and anti-populist inclinations (and a good book section). The review itself expresses a rather sophisticated notion of the west as a global entity, with all kinds of internal antagonisms and a ‘peculiar schizophrenia’.

“Our Intimate Enemies”

Arnold Heumakers

"A Black Book of Ultra-Communism"

Loren Goldner, Break Their Haughty Power

Reviewing Christophe Bourseiller, L’Histoire generale de “l’ultra-gauche” [Paris, Ed. Denoel, 2003].

One might be a bit suspicious of any author, such as Christophe Bourseiller, who publishes 25 books, some of 500 pages and more, in 15 years. But logorrhea by itself does not necessarily mean falsehood. Bourseiller’s 1999 biography of Guy Debord already showed that historical accuracy is not the author’s strong suit. People mentioned there, as in the book at hand, have said often enough that everything Bourseiller wrote specifically about them was false, casting serious doubt on the rest. Before turning his hand to writing books, Bourseiller tried a number of venues in the media, including a stint at the pulp weekly Paris-Match. He is neither of the far-left or ultra-left. (1)

“The New Imperialism” by David Harvey
reviewed by William bowles

“Military interventions are the tip of the imperialist iceberg”

“Almost certainly those European governments, such as Spain and Italy, that have supported the US against the clear wishes of their peoples will fall”
David Harvey, “The New Imperialism”

“It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup…We are to continue to generate maximum pressures toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that United States Government and American hand be well hidden.”
CIA cable to the US State Department cited in “Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire” by Chalmers Johnson

For most, mention the word economics and eyes glaze over and turn elsewhere, but without some basic understanding of economics, making sense of our world is all but impossible. The corporate media rarely, if ever, mentions economics as intrinsic to politics in its coverage of events unless it’s about interest rates, taxes or employment. Delving deeper into the mechanics of capitalism as relevant to events and most importantly, the reasons behind events is forbidden territory. The media’s role is to project the view that the capitalist system with all its faults is still the best solution available. And what better proof of this approach could we have than the common reaction in the corporate press to the suggestion that oil could have something to do with the invasion of Iraq. By dismissing the idea as a conspiracy, oil is relegated to the nether regions, along with flying saucers and telepathy.


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