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through europe
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Anna Galkina, Untitled, 2015. Collage courtesy of the artist

Tre Riflessioni Sull'Orlo Dell'Abisso

L’errore del 2005
 
Si avvicinano le elezioni dipartimentali in Francia, e i sondaggi dicono che il Front National sarà il grande vincitore. Il premier Manuel Valls ha rimproverato i cittadini francesi per la loro passività, e ha detto che gli intellettuali non fanno il loro dovere antifascista. Davvero Manuel Valls ha la faccia come il culo, che fuor di metafora vuol dire che proprio non tiene vergogna. I socialisti francesi come i democratici italiani hanno tradito le loro già pallide promesse di opporsi all’oltranzismo austeritario, hanno gestito in prima persona la mattanza sociale, e ora fanno le vittime, si lamentano perché il popolo non li segue e gli intellettuali non si impegnano.
Lasciamo perdere gli intellettuali francesi che non esistono più da almeno venti anni, a meno di considerare Bernard Henri Levy un intellettuale mentre a me pare che si tratti di un imbecille molto pericoloso, come dimostrano le sue campagne a favore dell’intervento in Siria e in Libia.
Non so come andranno a finire le elezioni francesi. Quel che so è che il Front National è la sola forza politica capace di interpretare i sentimenti prevalenti nel popolo francese: odio nazionalista riemergente contro l’arroganza tedesca, e ribellione sociale contro la violenza finanziaria. Un mix inquietante ma potente, che cancella la distinzione tra destra e sinistra.
Non so come andranno le elezioni. Le sorprese sono possibili perché il sentimento anti-razzista dei francesi potrebbe alla fine sottrarre al Front National la vittoria. Ma è improbabile. Solo il movimento sociale che discende dalla tradizione del ’68 avrebbe potuto rappresentare le ragioni di un europeismo progressista, libertario, egualitario, ma il movimento sociale che discende dalla tradizione del ’68 non ha più alcuna credibilità almeno a partire dal 2005. In quell’anno i francesi (e anche gli olandesi) furono chiamati a votare su un referendum a favore o contro la Costituzione europea che rappresentava la definitiva torsione in senso liberista del progetto europeo. L’attenzione si concentrò sulla questione del mercato del lavoro: per il ceto politico europeo l’obiettivo era soggiogare definitivamente il lavoro e ridurne il costo sfruttando il vantaggio della globalizzazione del mercato del lavoro.
Ma i lavoratori francesi (e olandesi) compresero che il sì a quel referendum avrebbe sancito definitivamente la sottomissione del loro salario alle regole ferree del neo-liberismo: competizione feroce tra i lavoratori, riduzione costante del salario, aumento costante del tempo di lavoro.
Dani Cohn Bendit e Toni Negri insieme si pronunciarono a favore del “sì” per il superamento dello Stato-nazione. Questa scelta sanciva l’irrilevanza della cultura di origine sessantottina (e della cultura in generale) rispetto ai destini dell’Unione, ma soprattutto dimostrava che non avevamo capito cosa fosse l’Unione europea. Il discorso anti-sovranista si riduceva a un’affermazione puramente formale: opporsi alla cessione di sovranità è regressivo.
E’ vero, ma a chi si stava cedendo sovranità? Non a una forma politica democratica post nazionale, bensì a un organismo intergovernativo che aveva e ha la sola funzione di imporre gli interessi dell’accumulazione di capitale finanziario, e di ridurre in completa soggezione il lavoro.  
Dopo il 2005 solo la destra ha finito per rappresentare la resistenza contro la violenza finanziaria.  A partire del 2005 è così iniziata l’ascesa del nazionalismo, che si presenta come difesa contro la dittatura finanziaria. I lavoratori francesi (e olandesi) sconfissero l’offensiva neoliberista con il sostegno delle forze nazionaliste e delle forze più retrograde del movimento operaio. Da quel momento in poi solo la destra è in grado di opporsi alla violenza finanziaria, al prezzo di un’altra violenza che rischia di inghiottire il continente.

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.
 
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