Anna Galkina, Untitled, 2014. Collage courtesy of the artist

THE EUROPEAN UNION IS DEAD: How can we get rid of the corpse? How can we restart the process of creation of the union?

 
“While our colleagues, friends and comrades in Southern Europe continue to rebel against the depletion and impoverishment policies of the Troika, the ECB moves into its new palace,” the FF Blockupy website says. “Blockupy moves on to the road. We will make our own move to the new building and give back to the ECB the garbage – in and with many moving boxes – that should have been thrown into the dustbin of history: racist and sexist division, impoverishment, privatization of public funds and goods and wars to secure resources.”
 
During the last month, after the victory of Syriza we have been finally obliged to understand the meaning, the nature and the destiny of the European Union.
 
Aggression against society, predation of social resources, this is the meaning of the Union. Obliteration of democracy is the nature, systemic collapse and civil war the destiny. On March 18th in Frankfurt a demonstration will take place to celebrate the inauguration of the new building of the European Central Bank whose cost is 1.3 billion Euros.
 
Until one month ago my opinion was based on a principle: reclaiming national sovereignty is a reactionary act that opens the way to nationalism. The interesting mission is the transformation of the Union. 

Fragments for a radically negative anthropology

 

What follows are various fragments that emerged from the efforts to explore what a radically negative anthropology might be.  They were written a number of years ago now and are revived to assist in a rethinking of what the project of a radically negative anthropology might entail, that is if it is not to be abandoned. Pride and egoism had kept them from previously being made public as they are written with the naivety and arrogance that I’m sure I will always find in the writings of my younger selves. Further, I had previously sought a level of coherence that was unrealistic, and in fact undesirable. I have now made additions, corrections and further considerations in the footnotes rather than updating the original text as I considered it useful to be able to identify what has changed since they were written and what has not. A very few have been removed entirely as they did little to assist rethinking the project or simply regurgitated tired old motifs. As such there are times when the roman numerals for each section skip forward in the series. I have left the original numbers in order that the removals and absences remain identifiable and are not effaced. Finally, I would ask the reader to approach them with a critical compassion in as much as we may seek out what is useful within these pages, rather than focusing upon their obvious insufficiency and incoherence. To use Deleuze’s words, “Every time someone puts an objection to me, I want to say: 'OK, OK, let's go on to something else.' Objections have never contributed anything.”(1) Let us try and locate points of departure for creative lines of flight rather than obstructive blockages.  Let us enter the spaces of and… and… and…, whilst overcoming the not… not… not… Let us not succumb to the pits of nihilistic despair, but read these fragments as active and affirmative free spirits.

A Donor Presented by A Saint

 
Here is A Donor Presented by A Saint, attributed to the Flemish painter Dieric Bouts, a painting I have been using as a focal point to play with different material relationships between artworks and texts, to see what this can and cannot tell us about the people who produce them. As an artist and performer my primary interest is in people, and this puts me at the exact point of tension where it is unclear where a person begins and an object ends.
 
I first noticed the painting because of the hovering hand.  Why is it there? Who does it belong to?  I read the painting’s information card and learned that it was cropped from a larger alter-piece, dismantled during the Calvinist Reformation in Belgium.  Typical of church paintings at the time the tableau would have been an allegorical lesson from the Bible.  The faces of the characters would have been painted by monks in the church’s employ, using faces from members of the community for reference - it was not uncommon to see, for example, the face of the local baker masquerading as one of the three wise-men visiting the baby Jesus.  The more money a patron donated to the church, the more likely their face would be used to depict a more desirable character, like St. Peter guarding the gates to heaven.
 
How does it feel to have someone’s hand resting on your shoulder in that way? How would it feel to see your face painted on the church wall in such intimate proximity to your landlord? Before I read to you I want to try an experiment.  Please form a pair with the person sitting in front or behind you.  The person in the back should put their hand on the shoulder of the person sitting in front.  Please rest your hand on their shoulder and leave it there while I play you a song.
 

The New Black Jacobins: On the Rejection of the Clergy in the Ferguson Revolt

 

The cruelties of property and privilege are always more ferocious than the revenges of poverty and oppression. For the one aims at perpetuating resented injustice, the other is merely a momentary passion soon appeased.

C. L. R. James

 

Something new and important happened during the “weekend of resistance” in St. Louis, Missouri. The event, organized by the campaign group Hands Up United plus a myriad groups from across the US, was billed as four days of civil disobedience, mass protest and debates to respond to the killing of an unarmed 18 year-old by a white police officer on August 9 in Ferguson.

What happened there went beyond the routinely protest against police violence and grotesque militarization of urban space. It entered a deeper confrontation: that taking place between the younger and the older generation of black activists. A generational divide that may probably mark and set the tone for the future fights to come.

On October 12, I was one of the 2,000 people who attended an interfaith rally at St. Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena. The event featured noted author Cornel West as keynote speaker, in front of an audience composed by a majority of black people and a numerous contingent of “white allies” (as they are dubbed in activist circles) cheering at every intervention. It was the “American tradition” of civil rights movements ready for the usual show-off.

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