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Friday, March 19, 2010

the face of necessity: competition

“The true mystificator seeks not to appear to be one, but to be one. On the contrary, Mallarmé is paradoxically conscientious about appearing to be a mystificator in order not to be one. One has already seen this in relation to his obscurity. Imbued with that truth that the highest art is accessible only to the very few, he did as he wanted to by intentionally emphasizing the hermetic side of his genius, sparing the public the pretention to understand him, the error to suppose that they did understand him.” – Thibaudet on Mallerme

But the affair here has yet another background. With insight into the nexus collapes, long before the practical collective collapse, all theoretical belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions. Thus, it is in the absolute interest of the ruling classses to eternalize thoughtless confusion. And why otherwise would the sycophantic pundits (Schwätzer – enthusiasts) be paid, that are able to play no other scientific trumpcard, as that one ought not to think at all in political economics!

Yet satissu perque. In any case it is shown how very much these pastors of the bourgeoisie are mistaken, that workers and business people understand a book and you yourself have found your bearings in it, while these scribes (!) complain, that it is quite an indecent thing to put their understanding at a loss.“
- Marx, letter to Kugelmann over Capital, July 7th 1868.


Irony has many sins on its conscience, even if it is the most useful of all tropes – one of which is that, ironically, what is labeled as ironic is often simply unexpected or paradoxical. We live in the era in which the irony of the masters has become the irony of circumstances. Hardy’s phrase is correct.

And thus, the question of understanding. Mallarme wrote with the full expectation that he would be understood by the few; Marx wrote with the full expectation that he would be understood by the many. Yet, as he was fully aware (as expressed in the letter to Kugelmann), understanding so often depends on what you desire to understand. Malllarme, of course, treats the desire to understand as, primarily, a desire, which requires teasing, flights and returns, follies and almost unspeakable unions. Understanding presents itself as the lab coat and the icy fingers, but to the eye of the poet, these are mere emblems of play. To the eyes of Marx, on the other hand, there is also a strong desire not to understand. In fact, today, it is rather easy to see, looking at the productions of the economists, that the split Marx pointed to between the understanding of the scribes and of the lay people is broad enough that one could say, the economics of the economists are recognized as such only by students in economics classes, while the economics of everyday life are recognized as such by a mere handful of economists, all shunted to the sidelines. Marxism, put into broad outlines, has a history of lighting people’s minds on fire. It seems to align itself much better with the vernacular understanding of capitalism than any theory based on maximizing utility. Hence, the cordial hatred it has always received from the scribes.

And yet… as I pointed out in my last post, there is a tendency to chisel out of Marx’s work the Marx one wants to embrace. The Marx, for instance, who objected to the idea that the historical sketch he had worked out in Capital was a universal solvent was dismissed almost effortlessly by twentieth century Marxist who were sure that Marx had given them the key to all inevitable economic development. In the collapse of Communism, the wheel has turned – and one tends to underestimate the strong, strong tug of the universal history tradition in Marx. But the Marx who sang the World Market in the Communist Manifesto can’t simply be ignored as a babbler, some confidence man pose. He returns to his problems because they are the problems of everyday life in the modern era. He may well be the man of the document and blue book, but he is not weaving the system together in his head. What he is doing – his fundamental move, a move that brings us to the revolutionary core of Marx’s entire work after 1843 – is pointing to the historical conditions that brought about capitalism. It is a move that snaps the bond to ananke – necessity (which, etymologically, is rooted in the Greek term for yoke, fetters, bonds), but poses the problem of the ‘law”.

If Marx were tracing the rise of the ancient system of slavery, he would be dealing with a system that limits itself. Its self understanding is invested in the merging of conquest and growth – an empire grows, but the forces of production depend on purely predatory relations that are, at most, concerned with a systematic need to raid – not to market.

Marx, however, is dealing with a system that exists on a different basis altogether. If, from the revolutionary point of view, the capitalist system is not necessary, from within the system, secondary necessities are created. In the same way, unexpected social features are also created.

One of those features is the advent of a new social identification: the competitor.

Early in the Grundrisse, the idea of competition as a means of breaking free from the bonds of tradition makes an appearance:

“In this society of free competition the individual appears freed from the bonds of nature, etc., that made him in earlier historical epochs the factotum [Zubehör] of a specific, limited human conglomerate. In the prophets of the 18th century, upon whose shoulders Smith and Ricardo still entirely stand, this individual of the eighteenth century makes his transitory appearance – the product on the one side of the dissolution of feudal social forms, and on the other side, of the newly developed forces of production since the 16th century – as the ideal, whose existence is of the past.”

This passage is correlated with others in Marx’s work – he did like Newton’s phrase about standing on the shoulders of giants. When the bourgeois economists try to explain prices in the market, they often turn to the idea of competition (binding it with the idea of freedom) to explain the central nucleus of capitalism, that which makes it freeing and a creator of affluence for all.

Marx deals with the notion of competition as it appears and has effects on several levels in the capitalist system. In the Communist manifesto, of course, Marx is subsuming the whole system to its broadest outlines, with the consequence that competition – which frees the businessman to enter the market – produces a level of necessity – the need to realize the value of his commodities in the market – that creates the expansionistic tendency of the capitalist economy. Under the guise of imperialism, the state, responding to the needs of the bourgeoisie, captures markets and cheap labor – and in as much as imperialism is a state, rather than a private affair (which it evolved into in the 17th century), state economies compete in this way.

However, let’s bracket out this higher level of competition, and turn to something different: the identification of the worker with the competitor – his economic character mask in capitalism. It is at the level of creating the successful synthesis between the person and his or her character mask – on the level of identification - that ideology does its most important work. After all, the point is always to make a given population pliable to the domination of the dominant classes.

That identification is mediated by the fact that, as Marx recognized, ‘the mean of work changes from Land to Land; here it is greater, there it is smaller.” [Kapital, I, Chapter 20] These differences all relate to the world market, of course, which gives us a universal standard of measure. In the considerations on wage labor published in the sixties, Marx considers the ‘small wars” conducted by labor to keep Capital from forcing the wages down to the minimum level necessary to the reproduction of the labor’s life. Of course, this is just one of several strategies involving lengthening work time, or otherwise making more profitable use of the labor power the laborer has sold him. The essential thing here is that the labor power is commodified – and all commodities eventually are priced in the world market. Marx, of course, finds those small wars understandable, but they are still waged under the ‘conservative slogan: an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work.” Whereas Marx has his eye on the revolutionary slogan, abolish wage labor.

The history of the trivilization of the revolutionary impulse is the history of the domination of the conservative slogan over the revolutionary one. The necessary function of ideology in capitalist society is to intervene, in a sense, between those two slogans by making the worker adhere to – identify with – the logic of capitalism. One aspect of that is to make him embrace his true identity as a competitor in the labor marketplace. The whole social value put on competition refers, in one way, to a social reality – but its real effect is to leave that social reality protected from any serious questioning. The impress of necessity in capitalist society is expressed in the vocabulary of competition.

If there were such a thing as Marxist social psychology, this would be a good place for it to start. As Marx has pointed out, under capitalism, there exists a double process of de-skilling and specialization. The worker becomes ever more interchangeable as the ‘human capital’ he acquires is subject to processes that strip it of its skill aspect. This is easy to see in the history of many branches of labor. Secretary work is a well known example – partly because the de-skilling was accompanied by the feminization of the labor force, which all in all had the effect of driving down the cost of the secretary to the firm.

But the de-skilling is resisted both because it leads to lower wages, and because the very freedom from the bonds of natural relationships has relied on a virtue ethic that puts an equal value on every human being. To be valued as a unique human being is the equivalent of a lack of interchangeability – and that feeling penetrates all the way through the work life.

The compromise solution, on the social psychological level, is to embrace the idea of competition that preserves one’s uniqueness at the same time that it turns the interchangeability that the system requires into a personal fault.

Now, let me go up a level.

15 comments:

northanger said...

Mallarmé and the Language of Ideas

NHF 672 = THE IMPRESS OF NECESSITY IN CAPITALIST SOCIETY IS EXPRESSED IN THE VOCABULARY OF COMPETITION = HE HAS BEEN ATTRIBUTED WITH THE FAMOUS QUOTATION, "WE WILL EITHER FIND A WAY, OR MAKE ONE" (Hannibal) = IT IS ARGUABLY THE MOST FAMOUS ENDGAME STUDY AND IS COVERED IN MANY BOOKS ON THE ENDGAME (Réti endgame study; Richard Réti; {12} Book of Thoth) = OBJECT OF THE SAME GAZE AND JUDGMENTS - WHICH WERE, COLLECTIVELY, MARGINALIZING JUDGMENTS (What's Happening To Women's Happiness?) = THE FIRST LANDFALL OF THE SHADOW ACROSS THE WESTERN END OF CORNWALL (FROM ST IVES TO LIZARD) (Solar Eclipse of August 11, 1999) = THE NAGUAL TAUGHT ME THAT I SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE A TRUMP CARD, AN UNSUSPECTED TRICK (The Second Ring of Power, Carlos Castenada) = THESE ARE THE OLD-FASHIONED THINGS LIKE DRINKING AND DRIVING HARD AND THE PRIVATE PURSUIT OF MANLINESS (The Right Stuff; 03-Jul-2005) = WEAK NAVAMSA IS LIKE A WEAK SIGNAL, EVEN IF YOUR RADIO IS OF EXCELLENT MAKE, YOU CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING! (Navmansh) = YOU THEREFORE CAN'T SEGMENT AND SAY THERE IS ONLY ONE AREA OF STRUGGLE THAT IS IMPORTANT.

northanger said...

can we compare Marx's Revolution with John's Revelation? both seem to deal with the teleological (even though you resist this) & both express amazing subsets of massive interpretation.

correct me if i'm wrong, but i get the sense Marx was able, by turning things upside down & rightside up, to explain something paradoxical/contradictory (thoughtless confusion) about humans that defies the hard look.

is Marx's review of History similar to Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man?

this may seem obvious to you & a silly question by me: but why, out of all the things he could chisel out from History, did Marx choose Capital?

roger said...

Hold your horses, North. What is happening to women's happiness? I have my theory - but I would be all ears to hear yours.

Of course, it would have increased tremendously if Obama had paid attention to my suggestion of ten women who should have had the seat now occupied by Larry Summers.

northanger said...

one word: competition.

northanger said...

not in the classical sense, of course.

northanger said...

NHF 5453 = 8. IT WAS DESCRIBED AS: "LA QUINTESSENCE DE L'ININTELLIGIBLE" IN 1912 (THIBAUDET 403), AND AS: "LE MOMENT OÙ LA TECHNIQUE DÉBORDE L'ÉMOTION ET DEVIENT AGRESSIVE./ A PARTIR DE PROSE, MALLARMÉ MARCHE SUR LA CORDE RAIDE" (NOULET 255), AND: "LA BORNE EN DEÇA DE LAQUELLE LE SYSTÈME D'ÉCRITURE DE MALLARMÉ RESTE LISIBLE. APRÈS LUI, LES POÈMES TOURNENT AUX RÉBUS DANS LESQUELS N'APPARAÎT PLUS, AU DÉCHIFFRAGE, QUE LE MOTIF ACCIDENTEL DE LEUR ÉCLOSION" (NOULET 262). THE POEM IS ALSO SEEN AS A TURNING POINT IN MARSHALL OLDS'S STUDY DESIRE SEEKING EXPRESSION, "IN MY VIEW, THE POEM IS A WATERSHED" (74). OLDS ALSO ARGUES FOR THE PRIMACY OF POETIC LANGUAGE ITSELF, "THE FINAL REJECTION OF THE DISSERTATION PROJECT AND SIMILAR PROSE VENTURES, PLACED THE FULL BURDEN OF THIS TASK [THOUGHT FINDING ITS WAY TO THE ABSOLUTE] ON POETIC LANGUAGE" (75) = NOW I'VE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE / NO I NEVER FELT LIKE THIS BEFORE / YES I SWEAR, IT'S THE TRUTH / AND I OWE IT ALL TO YOU / 'CAUSE I'VE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE / AND I OWE IT ALL TO YOU / I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR SO LONG / NOW I'VE FINALLY FOUND SOMEONE TO STAND BY ME / WE SAW THE WRITING ON THE WALL AS WE FELT THIS MAGICAL FANTASY / NOW WITH PASSION IN OUR EYES / THERE'S NO WAY WE COULD DISGUISE IT SECRETLY / SO WE TAKE EACH OTHER'S HAND / 'CAUSE WE SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE URGENCY / JUST REMEMBER / YOU'RE THE ONE THING / I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF / SO I'LL TELL YOU SOMETHING / THIS COULD BE LOVE BECAUSE / I'VE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE / NO I NEVER FELT LIKE THIS BEFORE / YES I SWEAR, IT'S THE TRUTH / AND I OWE IT ALL TO YOU / 'CAUSE I'VE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE / AND I'VE SEARCHED THROUGH EVERY OPEN DOOR / 'TIL I FOUND, THE TRUTH / AND I OWE IT ALL TO YOU.

NHF 1260 = MCCULLOUGH DESCRIBED THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS AS "PURE DEMOCRACY," AND URGED HIS AUDIENCE TO REMEMBER THAT "THERE ARE MORE PUBLIC LIBRARIES THAN MCDONALDS" (03-Jul-2005) = THE 42-YEAR-OLD RHODES SCHOLAR IS ARMED WITH MISSIONARY ZEAL, AN ARSENAL OF QUOTATIONS ABOUT MILITARY STRATEGY, AND RED BULL-ISH ENERGY ON THE CONFERENCE CIRCUIT = THE FINAL REJECTION OF THE DISSERTATION PROJECT AND SIMILAR PROSE VENTURES, PLACED THE FULL BURDEN OF THIS TASK [THOUGHT FINDING ITS WAY TO THE ABSOLUTE] ON POETIC LANGUAGE.

NHF 805 = LE MOMENT OÙ LA TECHNIQUE DÉBORDE L'ÉMOTION ET DEVIENT AGRESSIVE./ A PARTIR DE PROSE, MALLARMÉ MARCHE SUR LA CORDE RAIDE = ARE NOT THE LABORING CLASSES DEPRIVED OF THEIR EARNINGS BY USURY IN ITS THREE FORMS — INTEREST, RENT, AND PROFIT? = IRREGULAR BOUNDARY WHICH ALMOST TRANSITS THE LIGHT OF THE BACKGROUND IN A TRANSPARENT MANNER (Photo Analysis Of An Aerial Disc Over Costa Rica) = MULTILATERAL MAN, WHO WANTS TO COOPERATE TO IMPROVE COORDINATION AND COORDINATE TO IMPROVE COOPERATION (The International Finance Multiplier) = PRAEFATIO LATINA IN ACTIONEM PRIMAM EX 7 (HABITAM, 10 DIE APRILIS, PRAGAE), ET IAM IN LATINUM CONVERSAM SERMONEM. ANNO 1586 (An Unknown Chapter in the Life of John Dee).

NHF 1405 = LA BORNE EN DEÇA DE LAQUELLE LE SYSTÈME D'ÉCRITURE DE MALLARMÉ RESTE LISIBLE. APRÈS LUI, LES POÈMES TOURNENT AUX RÉBUS DANS LESQUELS N'APPARAÎT PLUS, AU DÉCHIFFRAGE, QUE LE MOTIF ACCIDENTEL DE LEUR ÉCLOSION = THE HOROVITZEAN PHASES CONSTITUTE QABBALISTIC GROUPINGS OR CROSS-SECTIONS OF THE PANDEMONIUM POPULATION (SIMULTANEOUSLY NUMBERING THE IMPULSE-ENTITIES AND DEFINING THEIR COLLECTIVE 'TONE'.

northanger said...

NHF 817 = THE MOMENT WHEN THE TECHNIQUE OVERFLOWS EMOTION AND BECOMES AGGRESSIVE / FROM PROSE, MALLARMÉ GOES ON THE TIGHTROPE = ANY REVIVAL OF THE INTEREST IN MARX IS NOT A UNIFORM PHENOMENON. I THINK IT IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE REVIVAL OF STRUGGLES = CONCEALED FROM THE SPECTATOR THAT THIS IS PRECISELY THE POINT TO WHICH THE PLOT DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN DIRECTED (The Riddle of Hamlet) = DESTRUCTION OF THE WORLD… INITIATED BY HUMANITY ITSELF THROUGH THE INSTRUMENT OF THE FORTY-EIGHT KEYS = ECKENSTEIN USED TO SAY THAT HE WOULD TAKE A COW UP THE MATTERHORN PROVIDED THAT HE WERE ALLOWED TO TIE ITS LEGS = HIS FRONT RECALLS THE DEER, BUT HIS FEET THE ELEPHANT, HIS TAIL THE BOAR, HIS VOICE THE COW, AND HIS BODY REVEALS THE HORSE = NOT UNTO US, O LORD, NOT UNTO US, BUT UNTO THY NAME GIVE GLORY, FOR THY MERCY, AND FOR THY TRUTH'S SAKE = THE MORAL SERIOUSNESS OF ROMANCE AND ON THE EXTRAORDINARY INTEGRATION OF THEME AND METAPHOR IN NIZAMI'S POETRY = THE SECOND [CAVEAT] IS THAT THEY MUST BE SO IDENTIFIED FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE PERSON OR PERSONS WHO HAVE TO ACT = VIRTUALLY NO USEFUL SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE ON A TARGET THAT WAS ONE OF THE UNITED STATES' TOP INTELLIGENCE PRIORITIES.

NHF 124 = LA POÉSIE DE MALLARMÉ = STAR OF JACOB.

NHF 227 = ARGOELNIORATTAROEPINABNLH (10-Jan-2004 • Pentagram of Babalon) = IN MY VIEW, THE POEM IS A WATERSHED = NOT A WHIT, WE DEFY AUGURY.

NHF 218 = ARGO·EPIN·TARO·ORAP·ELNI·ABNLH = DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION SCHEME = GEORGE WASHINGTON'S GRISTMILL = GO DEEP OFFERS THE BEST CHANCE = LOOKING FOR GENUINE ALTERNATIVES = NASA'S MOST IMPORTANT ASSET = PERFECTION OF THE SYMBOLISM = PUT THE HYPOTHESES IN A MATRIX = SLAVERY BECAME THE ANSWER = THE ECONOMY OF THE FEDERATION = THE TREADMILL OF PRODUCTION = THE YEARS BETWEEN 1936 AND 1952 = THEORETICAL ASTROPHYSICS = VECTOR DIFFERENTIAL OPERATOR.

NHF 214 = MALLARMÉ GOES ON THE TIGHTROPE = AGREEMENT CREATES REALITY = DEMOCRACY AS PRACTICE = I.E., THE "PORTHOLES" ON THE POSITIVE IMAGE = IN-SITU RESOURCE UTILIZATION = LAW OF THE DANCING MASTERS = STRUGGLE FOR DEMOCRACY = STYLE WAITS FOR NO BITCH = THE LIMITS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE = WHAT REPLACES THE SHUTTLE?

NHF 1094 = TO GO OUTSIDE THE SOLAR SYSTEM THROUGH THE EARTH, ONE HAS ONLY BUT TO USE ONE'S HEAD. JUST SAY WHERE YOU WANT TO GO, AND STEP THROUGH A PENTAGRAM (Pentagram of Babalon) = …CAPTAINS OF THANG TIMES FOLLOWED CLOSELY THE COSMOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES EMBODIED IN THAT ANCESTOR OF THE MAGNETIC COMPASS, THE SHIH OR DIVINER'S BOARD = BUT IT IS THE GREAT POLITICS THAT IS THE MOVER. AND IT IS THE EFFECT - THE SIDE EFFECT - OF THE GREAT POLITICS THAT WILL SET THE AGENDA FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE (notes on Nietzsche's great politics) = 'OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND': THE STRUGGLE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS AGAINST THE INVISIBILITY OF THE SLAVE[RY] TRADE IN WORLD ECONOMIC HISTORY = THE OXFORD HISTORY OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE: THE NINETEENTH CENTURY ; EDITOR: ANDREW PORTER ; ASSOCIATE EDITOR : ALAINE LOW, VOLUME 3 ~ OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1999 = THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN: REPRESENT MANY THINGS IN THIS CONFLICT - AN AUDIENCE, AN ACTOR, AND A SOURCE OF LEVERAGE - BUT ABOVE ALL THEY ARE THE OBJECTIVE.

northanger said...

NHF 3836 = THE TRUE MYSTIFICATOR SEEKS NOT TO APPEAR TO BE ONE, BUT TO BE ONE. ON THE CONTRARY, MALLARMÉ IS PARADOXICALLY CONSCIENTIOUS ABOUT APPEARING TO BE A MYSTIFICATOR IN ORDER NOT TO BE ONE. ONE HAS ALREADY SEEN THIS IN RELATION TO HIS OBSCURITY. IMBUED WITH THAT TRUTH THAT THE HIGHEST ART IS ACCESSIBLE ONLY TO THE VERY FEW, HE DID AS HE WANTED TO BY INTENTIONALLY EMPHASIZING THE HERMETIC SIDE OF HIS GENIUS, SPARING THE PUBLIC THE PRETENTION TO UNDERSTAND HIM, THE ERROR TO SUPPOSE THAT THEY DID UNDERSTAND HIM = ON AUGUST 11, THE WORLD WILL WITNESS THIS MILLENNIUM'S LAST TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN. REMARKABLY, THE SUN'S SHADOW WILL PASS RIGHT THROUGH THE HEART OF FRANCE - WHICH WOULD MAKE IT AN ECLIPSE OF PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE TO NOSTRADAMUS. AUTHORS ALAN VAUGHAN AND STEFAN PAULUS HAVE POINTED TO CENTURY III, QUATRAIN 34, AS A CLUE TO UNDERSTANDING THE KING OF TERROR: WHEN THE ECLIPSE OF THE SUN WILL BE, / AT NOON DAY THE MONSTER WILL BE SEEN, / EVERYONE WILL DIFFER ON THE INTERPRETATION, / HIGH PRICE UNGUARDED: NONE WILL HAVE PREPARED.

roger said...

One of your lovelier sets, dear North!

And right in the middle is Eckstein:
ECKENSTEIN USED TO SAY THAT HE WOULD TAKE A COW UP THE MATTERHORN PROVIDED THAT HE WERE ALLOWED TO TIE ITS LEGS -

Whereas myself, I'd prefer that the cow walked behind me.

northanger said...

thank you! me, i'd tell the cow to go up by itself & send me a postcard :)

NHF 1122 = WHEN THE ECLIPSE OF THE SUN WILL BE, / AT NOON DAY THE MONSTER WILL BE SEEN, / EVERYONE WILL DIFFER ON THE INTERPRETATION, / HIGH PRICE UNGUARDED: NONE WILL HAVE PREPARED = DEFINE THE LONGITUDE AND THE LATITUDE OF THE PROJECTION SYSTEM, IN SUCH A WAY THAT EVERY SOCIO-TECHNICAL IMBROGLIO MAY BE DEFINED BY TWO DIMENSIONS (The Prince; Bruno Latour) = EXTENDS THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION AND ENHANCES ITS UTILIZATION, BRINGING NATIONS TOGETHER IN A COMMON PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXCELLENCE IN SPACE = FISTING THE BALLS MOST PAINFULLY, NEIL CAUSED HER HUMAN HOSE TO SPOUT LIKE A GEYSER, THROBBING UP ITS CLOTS OF SEMEN WHICH WENT FLYING THROUGH THE AIR (Disciplining Jane) = I AM THE GOLEM! THIS IS MY FIFTH DIMENSION! I WILL SEND YOU THE FIFTH DIMENSION CONSTITUTION. FROM THIS DAY ON, I WILL BE RIDING AND SURFING ON YOUR CYBERWIND.

Anonymous said...

"World history would indeed be very easy to make, if the struggle were taken up only on condition of infallibly favorable chances. It would, on the other hand, be a very mystical nature, if “accidents” played no part. These accidents themselves fall naturally into the general course of development and are compensated again by other accidents. But acceleration and delay are very dependent upon such “accidents,” which included the "accident" of the character of those who at first stand at the head of the movement."
(Marx to Kugelmann, April 17, 1871)

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2watp_toute-revolution-est-un-coup-de-dés_creation

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x42zft_ouvriers-paysans-premier-plan_creation

Amie

roger said...

in an interesting comment on capitalo-drollism, dailymotion played me the sponge advertisement without hesitation, and then kept pausing during the straub-huillet films!

One of them I think I've seen - probably through you, Amie. I'm assuming that the grounds are important in relation to the Commune - is that right? I checked out a huge picture book on the commune a couple of days ago. I needed pictures.

Anonymous said...

Strange, when i linked to the films the sponge ad didn't come up up but it sure did when I went back, and the ad is about a product producing clean hands!

And yes, the grounds are important in relation to the Commune. The film is shot in that part of Père Lachaise where the Communards made their last stand, the wall known as Le Mur des Fédérées where they were lined up and shot. The film shows the plaque on the wall commemorating the Commune dead but unfortunately in the dailymotion clip it is out of focus.

And grounds would also be important if one thinks of that Mallarmé text and also of Marx where the "base" is in motion.

Now that you remind me, I did link to the film before on LI a couple of years ago, right when I was returning to Paris. Returning and ground, so to speak.

"Say ground. No ground but say ground." (Beckett)

Amie

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGDbXcNtaRM

Amie

Anonymous said...

"If there were such a thing as Marxist social psychology" - therre is/was extensively in Soviet and fraternal country science.

Chuckie K