Monday, 9 March 2009

Brigade of Intervention

While I have a large amount of sympathy with the points made here concerning the communism 'event' at Birkbeck I'm not so sure about the call for 'active' intervention (ie physical disruption), sharing IT's and these doubts. Not very situ I know. In fact, I'm not going partly because I'd actually prefer to read the papers, so I do hope they go online (as well as for the general intellect).
I would say it may be unwise to storm the stage, if you're planning to, when Negri or Badiou is speaking, they both have some experience of these things...
"You're a big man, but you're in bad shape. With me, it's a full-time job. Now behave yourself"

7 comments:

Naadir Jeewa said...

Did you mean to link to infinite thought?

Benjamin said...

that has been corrected - incompetence today

owen hatherley said...

I wonder if Negri has kept the famous Ski-Mask.

Benjamin said...

Ah yes, perhaps the comment with the worst possible life-effects ever made - be careful of ultra-leftist rhetorical excesses (not, of course you Owen). The Institute informed me that Negri also has some experience fighting Trotskyites as well

roger said...

Interesting to contemplate the generational change, here. The 68ers were storming the platforms of people who had seen an unimaginable amount of violence in the 30s and 40s, and had been shaped by it in ways that European students couldn't imagine - which Pasolini liked to point out at the time. On the other hand, elsewhere, the U.S. was fighting its last WWII war in Vietnam, and the violence Latin America hadn't experienced in the 40s was coming home to roost in various venues - Argentina, Mexico (in fact, this December, I stayed at a country house in the town of M. that was partly paid for by the Mexican Communist party, in as much as they were paying an annuity to one of the 68 leaders who'd spent ten years in prison, who had been part of the family pool to buy the place.)

Finally, the generation that is confronting the old 68ers has neither that omnipresent sense of mass destruction posed by the missiles nor - except for Yugoslavia - any recent example of collective direct violence. An excellent, though fragile, state of innocence. Of course, there may be those who did participate in the colonialist occupation of Iraq. But on the whole, the system has medicalized, pauperized and in general reduced those unfortunate instruments to a state where they have battles of daily sanity and well being to fight, so they have no place, even a para/semi/micro mythic place, in the culture.

Solomon's Mindfield said...

Funnily enough benjamin it was trotsky-ist advice that prevented Negri-ist students storming the stage when Negri is due to be on.

As i have said in my previous posts, not only would this be unproductive i am so not in favour of pandering to the right.

The motion i submitted was a damage limitation exercise rushed through at the last mo.

As i have also said elsewhere, i truly believe that the fact that the rapidly snowballing conference was understaffed meant that the 'each according to their means' offer was not made obvious.

Oh well, all has worked out well and me and Costas have made friends :-)!

Benjamin said...

I think the question of the experience of violence is a fascinating one - after all the weathermen slogan was to bring the war home. What's quite interesting is the glacial effect of the threat of nuclear war in the 80s, I remember that as a time of ambient dread. Perhaps, better than Zizek, some thought needs to be given to the possibly politicising effects of violence.
Also, to SM, I certainly wasn't endorsing Negri's attitude, I'm with Owen on left unity and trying to get beyond sectarianism. Also I had a great deal of sympathy with the criticisms, and was shocked by the pricing of the event and the drift of formal cynicism, while not blaming the organisers for institutional constraints. I think the suggestions were excellent ways to bypass the 'neo-liberal' inflection.
I'm gla to hear the cooperation - what I/we want is maximum distribution and debate on these ideas - slogans to be speard by every means as the situs used to say.
I'm realising bloggin is an odd medium - like email - where intention/meaning is not always clear...