Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Greeks vs. The Germans

Thanks to Neville for sending this round...

Surely Marx wouldn't have been so contemplative?

Immaterial Labour and Empire

Two great texts on immaterial labour and Empire respectively. The first is by Steve Wright that wrote Storming Heaven and the second is by Brian Holmes, who has recently done some interesting stuff on the clash between the weapon-petro dollars alliance and the techno-merger dollars alliance in contemporary capitalism.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Just in case anyone is still reading this and that this anyone is interested in the concept of the multitude...

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Occasionally I update on Bougainville stuff (here and here and here) but the latest I have is this (and someone certainly should dissertate on the topic...):

This interview first ran around 0549 GMT

By James Attwood


SYDNEY (Dow Jones)--Papua New Guinea's government expects to agree terms with Bougainville authorities next year to lift a moratorium on mining in the battle-scarred island and resume operations the following year.

Give us two years and mining will restart in the Panguna mine," PNG mining minister Sam Akoitai told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

Anglo Australian miner Rio Tinto Plc. (RTP) shut the massive Panguna copper and gold mine in May 1989 after repeated attacks on infrastructure and workers by secessionist rebels.

Speaking on the sidelines of a PNG mining conference in Sydney, Akoitai said both the Bougainville autonomous government and foreign investors are keen to resume activities in the minerals-rich South Pacific island once fiscal arrangements are agreed.

"Bougainville is a place where every man and woman will swim across to," he said, when asked about the current level of investor interest.

"I've been approached by many many companies who are interested in doing exploration in Bougainville and also companies interested in talking about Panguna," he said.

"But my approach would be I'd rather work with the devil I know than getting somebody new to come in and start again," he said, referring to Rio Tinto subsidiary Bougainville Copper Ltd. (BOC.AU)

"I've had the opportunity to work with Bougainville Copper for nine years and think they're doing a very good job."

Besides holding the position of PNG national mining minister, Akoitai is also the parliamentary member for Central Bougainville.

Panguna produced about 180,000 tons of copper a year to rank as the world's third-largest copper mine. It remains closed despite a 1998 cease-fire and the formation of an autonomous island government.

Any decision on resuming mining at the dismantled operation is estimated to cost around US$1 billion.

Before any decision can be taken, however, stakeholders must complete a review of new fiscal and operating terms for exploration and mining on the island, Akoitai said.

The long-delayed review process is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year and take "months" to complete, he said, adding the benefits for Bougainville would have to be significantly better than current terms.

"It's an issue close to me. I'm from Bougainville and I also represent the electorate where the mine is. I would want the review process to be concluded quickly so we can decide the future of mining in Bougainville."

"The whole reason the government in Bougainville asked for this review process to began is so we can sort out the outstanding issues and then perhaps start mining from a clean sheet."

Benefits for the local community would have to be in line with new benchmarks of modern mines, he said, without elaborating.

Akoitai said Australia's Ord River Resources Ltd. (ORD.AU) and Gallipoli Mining Pty Ltd are among companies to make recent approaches to authorities on the possibility of exploring in Bougainville.

-By James Attwood, Dow Jones Newswires; 612-8235-2957;

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Spotnicks

Hardt on Iraq

Many argued that the US unabashed unilateralism post-9.11 refuted many of Hardt and Negri's claims in Empire. Here's an editoral Hardt wrote in the Guardian in the build up to the war...,,861942,00.html

All of Empire Online

Militant Esthetix

Lots of stuff on Benjamin, Adorno, and Frank Zappa among others...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Marx's bottom

If you're not already thinking of Marx as an eccentric and lovable uncle I hope this will do the trick...

Taken from Francis Wheen's Marx's Dad Kapital: A Biography

'By the end of 1865 Das Kapital was a manuscript of 1,200 pages, a blotted mess of crossings-out and indecipherable squiggles. On New Year's Day 1866 he sat down to make a fair copy, "licking the infant clean after long birth pangs". It took just over a year. Even liver trouble and carbuncles couldn't thwart him: he wrote the last few pages standing at his desk when an eruption of boils on the bottom made sitting too painful. Engel's experienced eye immediately spotted certain passages in the text where the carbuncles had left their mark, and Marx agreed that they might have given the prose a rather livid hue. "At all events, I hope the bourgeoisie will remember my carbuncles until their dying day," he cursed. "What swine they are!" The boils disappeared as soon as he complted the last page. "I always had the feeling," Engels told him, "that that damn book, which you have been carrying for so long, was at the bottom of your misfortune, and you would and could never extricate yourself until you had got it off your back." Feeling as voraciously fit as 500 hogs", Marx set off for Hamburg in April 1867 to deliver the manuscript and oversee its printing...'

Friday, November 24, 2006

Caliban and the Witch

Here's an audio interview with Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation

Societies of Control

With all the talk of discipline and control recently I've been thinking a lot about Deleuze's short text 'Postscript on the Societies of Control'. Definitely worth looking at and thinking about in terms of the shift between 19th century and 21st century London, work houses and MAs, industrial capitalism and digital capitalism.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Can Dialectics Break Bricks?

Worth watching if you can get it to work!

Burroughs films is great!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Scary books

The ten most harmful books of the 19th and 20th Centuries...

(The photo is from a Harry Potter book burning in New Mexico.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Heidegger and Technology

More links to essays on Heidegger and Technology than you can shake a stick at...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Young Marx in fine form

I thought this short text from 1844 was interesting in relation to the Heidegger bit and some of the stuff that's come up in class with Feuerbach and The Essence of Christianity. (There's italics all over the original text so it may be use following the link and the bottom to read it.)

The profane existence of error is discredited after its heavenly oratio pro aris et focis has been disproved. Man, who looked for a superhuman being in the fantastic reality of heaven and found nothing there but the reflection of himself, will no longer be disposed to find but the semblance of himself, only an inhuman being, where he seeks and must seek his true reality.

The basis of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet found himself or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being encamped outside the world. Man is the world of man, the state, society. This state, this society, produce religion, an inverted world-consciousness, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of that world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in a popular form, its spiritualistic point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, its universal source of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realisation of the human essence because the human essence has no true reality. The struggle against religion is therefore indirectly a fight against the world of which religion is the spiritual aroma.

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and also the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

To abolish religion as the illusory happiness of the people is to demand their real happiness. The demand to give up illusions about the existing state of affairs is the demand to give up a state of affairs which needs illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of the vale of tears, the halo of which is religion.

Criticism has torn up the imaginary flowers from the chain not so that man shall wear the unadorned, bleak chain but so that he will shake off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man to make him think and act and shape his reality like a man who has been disillusioned and has come to reason, so that he will revolve round himself and therefore round his true sun. Religion is only the illusory sun which revolves round man as long as he does not revolve round himself.

The task of history, therefore, once the world beyond the truth has disappeared, is to establish the truth of this world. The immediate task of philosophy, which is at the service of history, once the holy form of human self-estrangement has been unmasked, is to unmask self-estrangement in its unholy forms. Thus the criticism of heaven turns into the criticism of the earth, the criticism of religion into the criticism of law and the criticism of theology into the criticism of politics.....

The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism by weapons, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But for man the root is man himself. The evident proof of the radicalism of German theory, and hence of its practical energy, is that it proceeds from a resolute positive abolition of religion. The criticism of religion ends with the teaching that man is the highest being for man, hence with the categorical imperative to overthrow all relations in which man is a debased, enslaved forsaken, despicable being.....

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Heidegger on Marx on TV!

This seems to be the transcript (taken from the youtube site)...

Richard Wisser: ... Do you think philosophy has a social mission?

Heidegger: No! One can't speak of a social mission in that sense! To answer that question, we must first ask: "What is society?" We have to consider that today's society is only modern subjectivity made absolute. A philosophy that has overcome a position of subjectivity therefore has to say no in the matter.

Another question is to what extent we can speak of a change of society at all. The question of the demand for world change leads us back to Karl Marx's frequently quoted statement from his Theses on Feuerbach. I would like to quote it exactly and read out loud: "Philosophers have only interpreted the world differently; what matters is to change it." When this statement is cited and when it is followed, it is overlooked that changing the world presupposes a change in the conception of the world. A conception of the world can only be won by adequately interpreting the world.

That means: Marx's demand for a "change" is based upon on a very definite interpretation of the world, and therefore this statement is proved to be without foundation. It gives the impression that it speaks decisively against philosophy, whereas the second half of the statement presupposes, unspoken, a demand for philosophy.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Marx and Porn

Sorry for the sensationalist headline but Steven Shaviro (Of The Cinematic Body fame) has written about porn, Marx, and commodity fetishism on his blog The Pinocchio Theory.

'Porn today isn’t the least bit different from cars, or mobile phones, or running shoes. It embodies a logic of indifferent equivalence, even as it holds out the thrilling promise of transgression and transcendence — a promise that, of course, it never actually fulfills.'

This is possibly true on the level of consumption but is the production of pornography perhaps more vicious and exploitive than the production of cars, mobile phones, or running shoes, or is that based on a sanctified conception of the sex act? It makes me think about debates surrounding the legalization of prostitution as well.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Class Trip?,,1943016,00.html

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Century of the Self

Here's part one of four of a great documentary by Adam Curtis called Century of the Self:

Here's the rest of them...

City as machine for the extraction of surplus-value

Here's a link to a pdf version of the Scott McQuire text 'From Glass Architecture to Big Brother.'

I don't think it's mentioned in any of the essay questions but thinking about architecture and the city in terms of Capital might be a possibility for some of you. The Italian architectural theorist, in terms similar to those of Panzieri, has talked about the bourgeois city that emerged in Paris in the second half of the 1800s as being ‘objectively structured like a machine for the extraction of surplus value, in its own conditioning mechanisms the city reproduces the reality of the ways of industrial production’ (Architecture and Utopia, MIT Press, p. 83). Just a thought.

Friday, November 03, 2006

From Taylorism to Fordism

The book I mentioned in class yesterday on the development of Taylorism in France is From Taylorism to Fordism: A Rational Madness by Bernard Doray. They've got it in the library. Gramsci has a key essay called 'Americanism and Fordism' in his Prison Notebooks. Anyone looking for a fictional representation should look at Jeffrey Eugenides' novel of incest and hermaphroditity (and Fordism) Middlesex.

Sorry for the torrent of references. I know everyone has tons to read anyway but I figure they might help if people are going to be writing about some of these themes.

Here's the quote from The German Ideology mentioned yesterday...

'For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic. This fixation of social activity, this consolidation of what we ourselves produce into an objective power above us, growing out of our control, thwarting our expectations, bringing to naught our calculations, is one of the chief factors in historical development up till now.'

And here's another little bit on alienation from 'The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844'...

'What constitutes the alienation of labour?

Firstly, the fact that labour is external to the worker – i.e., does not belong to his essential being; that he, therefore, does not confirm himself in his work, but denies himself, feels miserable and not happy, does not develop free mental and physical energy, but mortifies his flesh and ruins his mind. Hence, the worker feels himself only when he is not working; when he is working, he does not feel himself. He is at home when he is not working, and not at home when he is working. His labour is, therefore, not voluntary but forced, it is forced labour. It is, therefore, not the satisfaction of a need but a mere means to satisfy needs outside itself. Its alien character is clearly demonstrated by the fact that as soon as no physical or other compulsion exists, it is shunned like the plague. External labour, labour in which man alienates himself, is a labour of self-sacrifice, of mortification. Finally, the external character of labour for the worker is demonstrated by the fact that it belongs not to him but to another, and that in it he belongs not to himself but to another. Just as in religion the spontaneous activity of the human imagination, the human brain, and the human heart, detaches itself from the individual and reappears as the alien activity of a god or of a devil, so the activity of the worker is not his own spontaneous activity. It belongs to another, it is a loss of his self.'

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Class against Class

Texts by a few of the authors mentioned in Storming Heaven, Negri, Tronti, and Panzieri can be found at Class against Class.

Call Centre Communism is available for download here...

Monday, October 30, 2006

BSG circles...

You'll find lots of interesting stuff on Ange's blog 'Sometimes', but I must confess I was surprised to find she's a BSG fan - her compendium/aggregation of BSG posts from elsewhere is the best I've seen. Check:

But these sorts of interests can cause havoc in the US - here my good friend Ted gets grief from the Right in Arkansas. Ted is a prospective BSG fan, a 'post-terrorist' (!!!) apparently, and he posts as frequently as I do about FDM. Point your RSS reader at:


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sci-Fi Allegory

Right on the heels of John's lecture, here is a very interesting analysis of Battlestar Galactica from the perspective of current political/military events in America, and the American right wing's love/hate affair with the show.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Politics of Utopia, Master-Slave

Here's a link to the Jameson essay, 'The Politics of Utopia', which I mentioned yesterday.

The passage from Hegel's Phenomenology of the Spirit on the master-slave dialectic is here...

It's probably worth giving a shot just because of the frequency it's referenced. Anyone feeling ambitious should also look at Kojeve's book of lectures on Hegel, which deal heavily with the master-slave dialectic, that influenced a whole generation of French theorists (Bataille, Lacan, Foucault, etc.).

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Discrimination against UK's Jedi Population

I thought of this story from a few years back when reading the NASA/TREK text. It seems as though there are more practicing Jedi in England than Sikhs, Jews, and Buddhists.,,895333,00.html

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Floating Currency, Network Capitalism

For those interested in the question of the relevance of the Money sections of Capital in an age of floating currency and digital capitalism I can recommend Mark C. Taylor's Confidence Games: Money and Markets in a World Without Redemption. There is even a chapter called 'Spectres of Capital' where he discusses the above with explicit reference to Derrida. It doesn't seem to be in the library but I can make photocopies. Email me if you're interested.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Klossowski and Tears of Eros

There's an exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery at the moment with Pierre Klossowski and Hans Bellmer, both featured in Bataille's Tears of Eros, that's definitely worth seeing. Tears of Eros is basically Bataille's history of art and one could probably read it on the way to the exhibition it's so short.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More Hauntology from K-Punk

It's worth checking out K-Punks latest post on Hauntology, which references Derrida, Marx, Fukuyama, etc.


He mentions Burial and The Caretaker quite often. A lot of The Caretaker's stuff is available to download online and their 6cd box set (featuring an essay by K-Punk) is mail-orderable for relatively cheap. I have a lot of Burial's stuff so if anyone is interested in hearing it let me know.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bataille on Crustaceans

Crustaceans. – One day, Gérard de Nerval went for a stroll in the gardens of the Palais-Royal with a living lobster on a leash. The idlers crowded around him, flabbergasted and roaring with laughter at the strange retinue. One of his friends having asked him why he was making such a fool of himself, Nerval replied: ‘But what are you laughing at? You people go about readily enough with dogs, cats and other noisy and dirty domestic animals. My lobster is a gentle animal, affable and clean, and he is at least familiar with the wonders of the deeps!’
A painter friend of mine said one day that if a grasshopper were the size of a lion it would be the most beautiful animal in the world. How true that would be of a giant crayfish, a crab enormous as a house, and a shrimp as tall as a tree! Crustaceans, fabulous creatures that amaze children playing on beaches, submarine vampires nourished on corpses and refuse. Heavy and light, ironic and grotesque, animals made of silence and of weight.
Of all the ridiculous actions men take upon themselves, none is more so than shrimping. Everybody has seen that elderly gentleman, bearded and red-faced, a white piqué hat on his head, wearing an alpaca jacket, his trousers rolled up to his thighs, a wicker basket on his belly, his shrimping-net at the ready, hunting shrimps in a rock-pool for his dinner. Woe betide the poor shrimp that lets itself be caught! In desperation she wriggles, she slides, she flutters in the triumphant fingers. Elastic animal flower, graceful and lively as mercury, petal separated from the great bouquet of the waves. She is also a woman. Who has not heard of La Môme Crevetteı?
Among crustaceans, the crab known as the ‘sleeper,’ the image of eternal sleep, is the most mysterious, the most deceitful, the shiftiest. It hides under rocks and its mobile eyes watch for passing prey with a cruel malice. It walks sideways. It combines every fault. There are men who resemble it.
The crayfish and the lobster are nobles. They are cultivated like oysters and tulips. They are present at all human ceremonies: political banquets, wedding breakfasts and wakes.
All these beasts change their carapaces, grow old, harden, make love and die. We do not know whether they suffer or if they have ideas concerning ethics and the organization of societies. According to Jarry it would appear that a lobster fell in love with a can of corned beef…
Crustaceans are boiled alive to conserve the succulence of their flesh.

Georges Bataille Translated by Iain White

Sunday, October 15, 2006

For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing

Here's a great letter by the young Marx to Arnold Ruge from 1843, often published under the name 'For a ruthless Criticism of Everything existing'. I thought it was quite relevant to our discuss last week about Capital as blueprint, Marxist self-critique, and the future.

For a Ruthless Criticism

The reform of consciousness consists only in making the world aware of its own consciousness, in awakening it out of its dream about itself, in explaining to it the meaning of its own actions. Our whole object can only be – as is also the case in Feuerbach’s criticism of religion – to give religious and philosophical questions the form corresponding to man who has become conscious of himself.

Hence, our motto must be: reform of consciousness not through dogmas, but by analysing the mystical consciousness that is unintelligible to itself, whether it manifests itself in a religious or a political form. It will then become evident that the world has long dreamed of possessing something of which it has only to be conscious in order to possess it in reality. It will become evident that it is not a question of drawing a great mental dividing line between past and future, but of realising the thoughts of the past. Lastly, it will become evident that mankind is not beginning a new work, but is consciously carrying into effect its old work.

In short, therefore, we can formulate the trend of our journal as being: self-clarification (critical philosophy) to be gained by the present time of its struggles and desires. This is a work for the world and for us. It can be only the work of united forces. It is a matter of a confession, and nothing more. In order to secure remission of its sins, mankind has only to declare them for what they actually are.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I Dated A Robot

Saturday, totally caught up in thoughts about Marx and the BwO, Futurama gave me some motivation. We all know the ingenious mastermind of social critique by Matt Groening, so there is a lot to discover. And trust me: don't date a Robot!
Faithless - I WANT MORE

This video is not a bomb.

Cleaver - News - Party

Yes indeed. The Cleaver text is something you might want to read alongside the work of Samir Amin (DeLinking - zed books). Cleaver belongs to an autonomist US tendency that can sometimes be anti-Leninist in ways I personally don't get (ie, why fear organised party politics...) but on the whole its good. Another text that deserves attention in this corner would be Steve Wright's excellent 'Storming Heaven' (Pluto Press) which is a reading for week 5.

Meanwhile, keeping in mind that this is a University Course and you should never stray from authorised sources that might not have have a dewey decimal number, ISBN or some other approved mark, here below you can find a variety of alternate news and party links that I also do not officially endorse:

Cultural Logic
Dissident Voice
Lalkar Online
Marxism-Leninism Today
Monthly Review
Morning Star
People's Daily
People's March
People's Weekly World
Red Critique
Workers World
Weekly Worker

Bolshevik Party (North Kurdistan - Turkey)
Communist Party of China
Communist Party of Colombia
Communist Party of Cuba
Communist Party of Great Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
Communist Party of Greece
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)
Communist Party of the Philippines - Philippine Revolution Web
Communist Party of Venezuela
Communist Workers and Peasants Party of Pakistan
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Communist Party of Vietnam
Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - Ejército del Pueblo, FARC-EP
Hamas - Palestine Information Center
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
Sinn Féin
Socialist Unity Center of India
The Stalin Society
Workers Party of Belgium
Workers Party of Korea

h.cleaver 'reading capital politically'

so people keep throwing this text at me whenever i mention that i am studying capital. the book has been around for awhile and i cant remember if i like cleaver... but the section on the commodity form was simple and easy to follow as a summary/ overview

the entire book is available on line - the link is below

Reading Capital Politically
by Harry Cleaver


Friday, October 13, 2006

Derrida and Deconstruction

Here is the text that Jeremy recommended towards the end of the second seminar yesterday:

Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse on the Human Sciences


Sorry for the barrage of posts but K-Punk has recently been writing quite a lot on hauntology and often provides links to other hauntology related blogs, articles and sites. His blog is worth reading in general.

The Fetish of Use-value

I thought I'd recommend Jean Baudrillard's For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign for those that are interested in the extent to which Marx's underdevelopment of the concept of use-value is problematic or limits the scope and contemporary relevence of his argument. Baudrillard even gives a new reading of Crusoe.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Kojin Karatani's Transcritique

Here's a link to a pdf of the article by Zizek on Kojin Karatani's Transcritique: On Kant and Marx, which I mentioned in the second seminar:

Parallax View

Karatani gives an interesting, and apparently quite novel and provocative, reading of Marx's theory of value. They've got it in the library and the introduction gives a rather good summary of the book's key arguments.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Commentary on Spivak text

The End of History?

The infamous 'End of History' essay by Francis Fukuyama that Derrida refers to several times. At the very least it's interesting for capturing a certain zeitgeist.

'The End of History?'

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Capital: The Unfinished Masterpiece?

Here's a link to that article in the Guardian I mentioned today that discusses Marx along Balzac's novella The Unfinished Masterpiece.

'The poet of Dialectics'

Course Outline

This course will take Marx’s Capital Volume One as a core text, reading a chapter or more (80 pages or so) a week supplemented by more recent commentators and examples prominent in the theoretical and practical corpus of cultural studies broadly defined.

[Please note: as this is a lecture course that has not been taught before, some of the weekly reading suggestions are necessarily provisional. Additions and updates may be offered in class. The annotations in square brackets are usually mine – they may be supplemented on the web version of this guide.]

Many of the lectures will include some visual material. Very occasionally this may be a feature film or a longer documentary and on such occasion the screening time will be announced the week before (and usually shown on Tuesday evening in the cinema). At other times a short screening may occur in the second hour of the scheduled lecture.

The main reading will be the relevant chapter or chapters of Capital each week. Do also read the footnotes, they are sometimes quite entertaining (attacks on ‘moneybags’, comments on Shakespeare, notes on bamboo ‘thrashings’, and celebrations of the work of Leonard Horner, factory inspector). The key secondary text, and some supplementary reading or newspaper clippings will be in the reader pack available from the CCS office

Mode of Assessment: This course is assessed by a 5,000 word essay to be submitted to the Centre for Cultural Studies office on a date to be confirmed later.

Week 1.
Introduction –Trinkets. The appearance of wealth as a great collection of Commodities. Consideration is given to how we will read “Marx”, and why.

Spivak, Gayatri 1987 ‘Scattered Speculations on the Question of Value’ in In Other Worlds New York: Methuen

Gayatri Spivak reads Marx carefully, paying attention especially to, translation, of the 18th Brumaire, but also the Manifesto. So that we can not avoid Marx’s importance, his is what Deleuze called a Greatness. Statues – and congealed images. A film text that might be useful here is Citizen Kane and the scene where Kane collects. Marx also starts with commodities but we have to distinguish the method of analysis from the method of presentation. Consideration is given to how we will read “Marx”, and why. Pointing to the key works, the extent of scholarship – and activism – connected to the name of Marx, and the separate (to what extent?) project of Marxism(s). Gayatri Spivak’s speculations can be a guide here, looking at translation, sticking closely to the text, looking at context, metaphor, significance and the protocols of reading. The examples we might take up to start – where Marx starts – involve an immense collection of commodities. Citizen Kane as our totem, where Kane the newsman is the paradigmatic commentator – the purveyor of a vision of the world, provider of information, in a punchy format. Here, with William Randolph Hearst as the figure behind the picture, it is eyewitness news – ‘the whole world is watching’ – which has become the mode of appearance. For me this means today we might start with the circulation of shock images from New York, Iraq Lebanon. What is news? What interventions might be made? The film – Kane – much discussed and might be used as a counterfoil for too easy discussions of the videographic construction of war and truth.

Additional Reading:

Mulvey, Laura 1996 ‘From log cabin to Xanadu: Psychoanalysis and history in Citizen Kane’, in Fetishism and Curiosity, BFI
Mulvey, Laura 1996 ‘Close-ups and Commodities’, in Fetishism and Curiosity, BFI
Bazin, André 1978 Orson Welles: A Critical View, Acrobat Books [this volume contains a foreword from Francois Truffaut and a profile by Jean Cocteau].
Kracauer, Siegfried 1995 ‘The mass ornament’ in The Mass Ornament Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Week 2.
Fetishism, Exotica. The secret of commodities. The fetish is the key concept in the opening chapter of Capital. This mysterious moment has to be contextualized.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 1. (pp125-177 Penguin edition).
Derrida 1994 Spectres of Marx London: Routlege, Chapter 3.

Fetishism is our apparent theme. The secret of commodities – the congealed social relationship abstracted in production. Derrida’s Ghosts. The fetish is the key concept in the opening chapter of Capital – which presents the fetish character of commodities as appearance, but more. This mysterious moment has to be contextualized – thinking about why Marx starts with commodities can extend to a comprehension of the plan of the whole; and of the relationship between analysis and presentation. The hauntology of Derrida as a potential interruption offers an instructive protocol of reading, of which, there is no easy one to one correlation. Are the ghosts that haunt today perhaps those of Nepal, or other demons? Saddam’ slipper? Hezbullah? We will look at souvenirs, tourism, exotica and the commodification of culture as trinkets… Michael Palin as out guide.

Additional Reading:

Derrida, Jacques 1999 ‘Marx and Sons’ in Michael Sprinkler (ed) Ghostly Demarcations: A Symposium on Jaques Derrida’s ‘Spectres of Marx’, London: Verso, p213-269
Spivak, Gayatri 1995 ‘Ghostwriting’ Diacritics 25(2): 65-84
Benninton, Geoffrey and Derrida, Jacques 1991/1993 Jacques Derrida University of Chicago Press, Chicago
Phipps, Peter 1998 ‘Tourists and Terrorists’ in Kaur, Raminder and Hutnyk, John eds. Travelworlds: Journeys in Contemporary Cultural Politics Zed books, London
Taussig, Michael 2003 Law in the Lawless Land, New York: The New Press.
Vidal, Gore 2002 Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, New York, Nation Books.
Olalquiaga, Celeste 1999 The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury of Kitsch Experience. London: Bloomsbury [a sumptuous collection of curiosities – highly recommended gif purchase]
Stewart, Susan 2003 On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection, Durham: Duke University Press
Thomas, Nicholas 1999 Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture London: Thames and Hudson
Onesto, Li 2005 Dispatches from the Peoples War In Nepal London: Pluto Press
Week 3.
Market and the trick of Exchange – Exchange value leads us to the market, the site of a transaction where labour is sold to capital in what looks like a fair deal.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 2, 3, 4 & 5 pp 178-280.
Bataille 1934 ‘The Notion of Expenditure’ in The Bataille Reader Blackwell 1997

Market and the trick of Exchange – Exchange value leads us to the market, the site of a transaction where labour is sold to capital in what looks like a fair deal. The market is the public theatre of commercial exchange – but herein lies a trick, a feint, a deception that presents the congealed social relation as a relation between things. The false view (of Clifford) that exchange determines production, not production determines exchange. Clifford on objects of fascination. The market as alienation – a whirl of images, of demons, and dream. And of course money – coins, currency, the general equivalent. We also consider the uses of expenditure in Bataille, thinking of Marylin Monroe and the Marshall plan, Hollywood and the sale of war. Transgression and War.

Additional Reading:

Clifford, James 1997 Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Strathern, Marilyn 1991 ‘Or, Rather, On Not Collecting Clifford’ Social Analysis 29:88-95.
Mauss, Marcel 1926/2000 The Gift. New York: Norton.
Bataille, Georges 1949/1988 The Accursed Share, Volume 1: Consumption. New York: Zone Books.
Bataille, Georges 1985 Visions of Excess: Selected Writings 1927–1939. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Bataille, Georges 1991 The Accursed Share, Volumes 2 and 3: Eroticism and Sovereignty. New York: Zone Books.
Bataille, Georges 1994 The Absence of Myth: Writings on Surrealism. London: Verso.
Bataille, Georges 2001 The Unfinished System of Non-knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Hollier, Denis 1988 The College of Sociology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Hollier, Denis 1989 Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Week 4.
Production – technology, mechanization, machines, the factory… ‘No admission except on business’.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapters 7, 8 & 9. pp283-339.
Penley 1997 NASA/TREK. Popular Science and Sex in America London: Verso pp11-23

Production –technology and mechanization, machines, production and financialization, NASA/Trek – compelling all to adopt our ways, to accept warp drive and manufacture for the sake of profit. ‘No admission except on business’ – the sphere of production suggests a realm apart from the market, in a way probably unsustainable today, but nonetheless formative. The development of the factory, the struggles against mechanization, the rules and regulation of work – and the ideological effort to get us all to accept the bourgeois mode of production. William Gates says Technology can set us free. The representational politics of the future would claim to be progressive, but the plotting of Star Trek and similar confections does not boldly go so far. The Prime Directive and the Borg. Spock and Kirk’s Relationship. The ‘new’, digital media, broadband, hype and flows. Why must the ‘Californian ideology’ shape technocratic imaginings in Europe, the US and the third world.

Additional Reading:
Jameson, Fredric 2005 Archaeologies of the Future: the Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions London: Verso
Church Gibson, Pamela 2001 'You've been in my life so long I can't remember anything else', in Keyframes: Popular Cinema and Cultural Studies. M. Tinkcam & A. Villarejo (eds) London: Routledge
McQuire, Scott 2003 ‘From glass Architecture to Big Brother: Scenes from a Cultural History of transparency’ in Cultural Studies Review 9(1):103-123
McQuire, Scott 2005 ‘Urban Space and Electric Light’ in Space and Culture 8(2):126-140.
Castells, Manual & Peter Hall 1994 Technopoles of the World: The Making of 21st Century Industrial Complexes, London: Routledge
Creed, Barbara 1993 The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis, London: Routledge. Ch 2.
Kuhn, Annette 1990 Alien Zone 1 and 11, London: Verso.
Bogdanov, Alexander1908 Red Star Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1984 [the first Soviet utopia]
Zamyatin, Yvegney 1921 We New York: Harper Collins 1972 [the Russian precursor of many sci fi greats, before Orwell, Burgess, Golding…]
Bulgakov, Michael 1995 The Master and the Margarita New York: Random House [written in 1940, a Russian classic in many genres]

Week 5.
Workers – class composition. Marx spends considerable time in Capital documenting the conditions of the factory. Engels did similar work in Manchester.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 10. pp 340-416.
Wright, 2000 Storming Heaven, London: Pluto. Ch 2.

Workers – class composition and workers’ enquiry. Kolinko – call centre communism and the question of organization. Marx spends considerable time in Capital documenting the conditions of the factory. Engels did similar work in Manchester. The regulation of work must be examined, and has released considerable sociological examination and projects on class composition that aims to comprehend, as activist social science, changes in the social and political organization of production.

Additional Reading:
Kolinko 1999 Hotlines: Call Centre Communism -
Fortunati, Leopoldina 1995 The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework Prostitution Labour and Capital, Autonomedia
Kracauer, Siegfried 1930 The Salaried Masses London: Verso 1998
Balibar, Etienne 1994 Masses, Classes, Ideas: Studies on Politics and Philosophy Before and After Marx, New York: Routledge
Reed, Adolf Jr 2000 Class Notes: Posing as Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene, New York: The New Press.
Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio 1994 The Labour of Dionysius University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.
Gibson-Graham, J.K., Resnick, Stephen A. and Wolff Richard D. 2000 Class and its Others, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
Negri, Antonio 1991 Marx Beyond Marx: Lessons in the Grundrisse Autonomedia, New York
Negri, Antonio 1999 Insurgencies: Constituent Power and the Modern State Massechusetts: University of Minnesota Press
Negri, Antonio 1988 Revolution Retrieved London: Red Notes
Negri, Antonio 2005 Books for Burning: Between Civil War and Democracy in 1970s Italy London: Verso
Thoburn, Nicholas 2003 Deleuze, Marx and Politics London: Routledge
Dunayevskaya, Rosa 1991 Rosa Luxemburg, Women’s Liberation, and Marx’s Philosophy of Revolution Urbana: University of Illinois Press

Week 6. Programme Monitoring Week – no lecture.
Week 7.
Time and Technology - There is a general perception that the time of production is dominated by speed.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 13, 14 & 15. pp 439-592 [skim some]
Heidegger 1955 The Question Concerning Technology New York: Harper Collins 1982.

Time and Technology - Framing and Environment. Ticker tape and typewriter, Luddites (Reading Heidegger on Technology). Guattari Radio. Control – Burroughs cut ups and sound against control. Malaysia detention camps, ISAs – aid to the civil power.
There is a general perception that the time of production is dominated by speed. The ticker tape which recorded stock prices in 1867 (when Capital 1 was published) would fill a room in seconds given the volume and rapidity of change if functioning today. Does technology speed things up – or are we missing something that a certain Mr Ludd grasped long ago: technology is not just a tool, but a danger (qualified in various ways vis a vis Hiedegger). There are examples of machines that are social rather than technological – and these should give us cause for concern. Add to this the ways the technological becomes a threat, a means of coercion, a restriction surrounding us all – from the Atomic Bomb research centre at Los Alamos (Uncle Bill’s school) to the space and arms race R+D, which will lead us on (next week also) to social control and the concentration camps, from Mafeking to Guantanamo… Sonic opposition to the modes of control is considered.

Additional Reading:
Castells, Manuel and Peter Hall 1994 Technopoloes of the World: the making of 21st Century Industrial Complexes London; Routledge.
Burroughs, William S 1970 ‘Rapping on Revolutionary Techniques’ in Burroughs Live New York: Semiotext(e), pp 150-157.
Burroughs, William S 1982 ‘The Cut-up Method of Brion Gysin’, Re:Search #4/5:34-37.
Lydenberg, Robin 1992 ‘Sound Identity Fading Out: William Burroughs’ Tape Experiments’ in Wireless Imagination, Kahn and Whitehead (eds), MIT Press, pp 409-437.
Bertolt, Brecht 1993 ‘The radio as an apparatus of communication’, in Radiotext(e) New York: Semiotext(e) 16.
Walter, Benjamin 1993 ‘Theatre and radio: Towards the mutual control of their work of instruction’, in Radiotext(e) New York: Semiotext(e) 16.
Felix, Guattari 1993 ‘Popular free radio’, in Radiotext(e) New York: Semiotext(e) 16.
Critical Ensemble, 1994 The Electronic Disturbance, Video and Resistance, New York: Autonomedia
Augaitus, Diana and Lander, Dan 1994 Radio Rethink: Art, Sound and Transmission, Banff: Walter Phillips Gallery.
Attali, Jacques 1985 Noise: the Political Economy of Music, Man Uni Press.
Marcuse 2005 Heideggerian Marxism Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press
Meszaros, Istvan 1995 Beyond Capital: Towards a Theory of Transition London: Merlin Press
McQuire, Scott 2006 ‘Technology’ Theory Culture and Society 23(2/3): 253 - 265
Hartly, George 2003 The Abyss of Representation: Marxism and the Postmodern Durham: Duke University Press
Zizek, Slavoj 2002 Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin from 1917, London: Verso

Week 8.
Education – control-reproduction. The workforce has to be trained, taught, brought up. Their runny noses must be wiped.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 16, 17. pp 643-667 and 23, 24. pp 711-761.
Fortunati, Leopoldina 1996 The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labour and Capital New York: Autonomedia. Ch 4.

Education – control-reproduction and the Arcane of Reproduction. Racism as education for division of labour. Injustice, Sammie and Rosie, New Cross Fire, television – the manufacture of sanctioned ignorance through documentary. Education and reproduction. The workforce has to be trained, taught, brought up. Their runny noses must be wiped. Discipline. Order. The family, sexuality, education, health, morality and other topics not ‘strictly’ considered in the wage relation must be considered. Ahh, the worker under capital is “free” in a double sense!

Additional Reading:
Arendt, Hannah 2000 ‘Total Domination’ in The Portable Hannah Arendt, Penguin books
Agamben, Giorgio 1999 Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive, Zone books
Film 2001 Injustice, (Dir. Ken Fero & Tariq Mehmood)
Fero, Ken and Mehmood, Tariq 2001 ‘The making of Injustice’ Red Pepper, July 2001
Harper, Graeme 2001 Colonial and Postcolonial Incarcerations London: Continuum.
Foucault, Michel 1975 Discipline and Punish Harmondsworth: Penguin 1977
Sharma, Sanjay & Ash Sharma 2000 ‘So far so good…’ La Haine and the poetics of the everyday’, in Theory Culture and Society, 17(3):103-116
Kovel. Joel 1997 Red Hunting in the Promised Land London: Cassell [documents the extermination campaigns against communists worldwide]
hooks, bell 1995 Killing Rage, Ending Racism, London: Penguin
Wright, Steve 2000 ‘“A love born of hate” Autonomist rap in Italy’, in Theory Culture and Society, 17(3): 117-135
Ignatiev, Michael and William Wimsatt 1998 ‘I’m Ofay, You’re Ofay’ Transition: The White Issue, 73:176-198.
Gordon, Paul 2001 ‘Psychoanalysis and Racism: the Politics of Defeat’ in Race and Class, 42(4):17-34.
Gilroy, Paul 1987 There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack, London: Routledge
Hall, Stuart et al 1978 Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order, London: Macmillan
San Juan, E. Jnr 2002 Racism and Cultural Studies: Critiques of Multiculturalist Ideology and the politics of Difference Duke University Press
Spivak, Gayatri 1989 ‘In Praise of “Sammie and Rosie Get Laid”’, in Outside in the Teaching Machine, New York: Routledge, 1993.
Spivak, Gayatri 1991 ‘Strategy, Identity, Writing’, in The Post-Colonial Critic, Sarah Harysym (ed), Routledge, New York.
Taussig, Michael 1993 ‘The Golden Bough: the Magic of Mimesis’ in Mimesis and Alterity, Routledge: pp44-58.
Gramsci, Antonio 1971 Selections from the Prison Notebooks New York: International.
Derrida, Jacques 2004 Eyes of the University Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Week 9.
Accumulation, division, Circulation, transport, world system, fall of all Chinese walls, compelled to adopt the culture industry. Urbanization, Lumpenization.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 25 pp 762-870
Adorno 1991 ‘The Culture Industry Reconsidered’ in The Culture Industry London: Routledge

Circulation, transport, world system, the reserve army of labour. Capital v Capital. Credit. The sphere of culture – and politicization… The cultural industry or the creative reservation – immaterial labour or lumpenization… Music and representation in the reading of MTV: ‘Dog-Tribe’, ‘Rebel Warrior’ videos, ‘Naxalite’ track. What is important about representation studies in the context of cultural differences? What are the limits to cultural politics via the tube? What is the role of critics in the Culture Industry? The visibility of culture versus the politics of redress will be assessed, addressed and finessed.

Additional Reading:
Derrida, Jacques 2002 Rogues: Two Essays on Reason Stamford: Stamford University Press 2005.
Derrida, Jacques 2001 Paper Machine Stanford: Stanford University Press 2005
Harvey, David 2003 Paris: Capital of Modernity New York: Routledge
Cleaver, Eldridge 1972 ‘On Lumpen Ideology’ – republished from The Black Scholar, Nov-Dec, 1972 at
Adorno, Theodor 1994 The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture, Routledge
Harris, David 1992 From Class Struggle to the Politics of Pleasure: the Effects of Gramscianism on Cultural Studies London: Routledge
Situationist International 1966 ‘On the Poverty of Student Life’ in Situationist International Anthology, Berkeley: Bureau of Public Secrets, 1981, pp 319-336.
Sharma, Sanjay et al 1996 Dis-Orienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music, [chs 1, 2, 6 & 9] London: Zed Books.
Kalra, Virinder et al 1999 ‘Music and politics’, in (special issue) Postcolonial Studies. 1(3). Especially the Ko Banerjea chapter which was also published in Kaur and Hutnyk, 1999 Travel Worlds: Journeys in Contemporary Cultural Politics, Zed books.
Sharma, Sanjay et al 2000 ‘Music and Politics’ (special section), in Theory, Culture and Society, 17(3) [especially Virinder Kalra’s chapter].
Kalra, Virinder 2000 ‘Vilayeti Rhythms: Beyond bhangra’s Emblematic Status to a translation of Lyrical Texts’ in Theory, Culture and Society 17(3):80-102
Lipsitz, George 1994 Dangerous Crossroads: Popular Music, Postmodernism and the Poetics of Place, [chs 2 & 6] London: Verso
DeCurtis, Anthony 1999 'Lost in the supermarket: Myth and commerce in the music business', in Stars Don't Stand Still in the Sky: Music and Myth, London: Routledge

Week 10.
Pre Capitalistic Economic Formations. Marx goes back to origins at the end, but thinks forward. Onwards and Upwards.

Marx, Capital Volume 1 Chapter 26-33
Hardt and Negri 2000 ‘World Order’ in Empire Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University Press

Pre Capitalistic Economic Formations, Enclosures, transition, poor laws, great expropriation, slavery, plunder, Imperialism and war. Bougainville as example. The plunder of the third world, resource extraction, profiteering and piracy require a more sophisticated analysis then the simplified version of labour theory of value read off from Capital as blueprint for comprehension. Marx was never so easy.

Additional Reading:
Anon 2000 ‘Peace on Bougainville?’ in Do or Die, 8:201-207. (R)
Moody, Roger 1991 ‘Bougainville: the Island Revolt’, Plunder, Partizans, p62-76
Federici, Silvia 2004 Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation New York: Autonomedia.
Klein, Naomi 1998 No Logo: No Space, No Choice, No Jobs: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, (pts 1 & 4) Flamingo
Zimmerman, Patricia 2000 States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracies, (esp chs 4 & 5) Univ of Minnesota Press
Adorno, Theodor 1969‘Critique’, in Critical Models, New York: Columbia Univ Press 1998
Mattelart & Siegelaub 1979 Communication and Class Struggle, 2 Vols IG/IMMRC
Amin, Samir 1976 Imperialism and Unequal Development, New York: Harper and Row.
Shanin, Teodor 1983 Late Marx and the Russian Road: Marx and the Peripheries of Capitalism New York: Monthly Review Press

Week 11 – revision. Marx, 18th Brumaire London: Pluto Press. details tbc.

The edition of Marx’s 18th Brumaire that came out in 2002 with Pluto Press, co-edited by Goldsmiths’s James Martin, is well worth a read and might usefully constitute revision for this course, as well as giving a fine example of a close analysis of political intrigue. Further suggestions will be offered on the Trinketization website:

Additional Reading:
Lotringer Sylvere 2001 Hatred of Capitalism New York: Semiotext(e)
Avakian, Bob and Martin, Bill 2005 Marxism and the Call of the Future Chicago: Open Court

µ John Hutnyk – August 2006

Eagleton on Spivak

Here's Eagleton on Spivak's Critique of Postcolonial Reason from the London Review of books...

...and the response from Judith Butler and many others...