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DAMTP ALYTUS MEETING REPORT & REFLECTIONS Print
Written by DAMTP   

The DAMTP meeting took part in Alytus on September 21st – 22nd, 2012.

The main topic was defined as psychic (de)colonization, agenda (the word proposed by Mawuna) – prolegomena for future actions.

First part of the meeting was given to critique on biennialization as neoliberal form of eurocentric bourgeois propaganda‘s ritualization. There were presented various strategies to attack biennials (particularly BB7 and dOCUMENTA 13), hierarchies, structural racism, appearent neo nazi formations, fascist reanimations, and gentrification plans in Berlin – all researched, collected and presented by our comrades located in Berlin: DAMTP, Organ Kritischer Kunst - OKK and Polaris International Ltd.

More to be found: http://2012istheseasonfortreason.wordpress.com/why/ , http://polarisinternational.wordpress.com/ and in previous publications on BB7 and dOCUMENTA: http://www.alytusbiennial.com/news/547-zuckerbrot-und-peitsche-militaer-und-kultur-eine-erfolgsgeschichte-aus-kasselcarrot-and-stick-military-and-culture-a-history-of-success-outcome-of-kassel.html

http://www.alytusbiennial.com/news/546-documenta-13-zusammenbruch-und-wiederaufbau-des-zusammenbruchs-documenta-13-collapse-and-recovery-of-collapse.html

http://www.alytusbiennial.com/news/545-beautiful-confusion-about-retro-futuristic-european-colonialism-of-documenta-13-.html

http://www.alytusbiennial.com/news/527-warning-polish-national-left-realism-.html

http://www.alytusbiennial.com/news/522-die-spektakularisierung-aktivistischer-kunst.html

http://www.alytusbiennial.com/news/518-comment-to-critical-reflections-on-berlin-biennale-7.html

http://www.alytusbiennial.com/news/517-why-critical-reflections-on-berlin-biennale-7-.html

 

As it was the trialectical strategy outlined: http://alytusbiennial.com/news/551-report-on-alytus-2012-damtp-meeting-psychic-eurocentrist-workers-colonization-features-of-belarus-and-africa.html and it was tried this year:

1. attack:

highlight hierarchy - supression of viewpoints - careering - structural individual and institutional racism (Berlin, dOCUMENTA13, Hasselt)

2. network

create alternative and counter spaces (Berlin)

3. solidarity

connecting with and publishing workers, immigrants, students (Dakar, Berlin, Hasselt)

 

The aim of a wahdat (union) is to bring these 3 together on our own terms

 

DAMTP also did the 3 in Alytus in 2011: we connected with local psychic workers (e.g. Afghanistan war veterans, psychic spaces touring, students, address to Tunissian workers) - we combat imperial eu - we network with those who accept our invitation.

 

While combating the „serious culture“ structures workers starting to attack other workers. As it happen with our comrade Martin to appear among BB7 artists. Instead of highlighting the hierarchies he still tries his strategies based on individual „parralel revolt“ – direct impact towards oppressor strenghtens it, while indirect - as he guessed – ignores it and therefore makes useless. In fact he repeated the same trialectics: attacking (paralel one), networking (double/tripple agent) and solidarity (without agreement), but instead of moving towards wahdat (union) took on the „salvation system“ (Mawuna‘s remark). Salvation system is nothing but the identity‘s option inside the capitalist society. The main point – the salvation system to be effective - it must be temporary!

The second part was trying to dive further on Psychic colonialism and features of structural racism in the modes of capitalist production [African & Belarussian experiences].

 

The basic topic was covered by Fidelis (main positions were presented in the paper „Immigration, Linguistics and Human Relation Conflicts in the Western World“, which is obtainable from the scans overdrawn by belorussian comrades who took it without understanding - http://www.alytusbiennial.com/news/551-report-on-alytus-2012-damtp-meeting-psychic-eurocentrist-workers-colonization-features-of-belarus-and-africa.html ), who described the way of Cameroonian colonization and his own experiences as immigrant in Europe.

Colonization is based on destroing local identities: language, human relations, social structure and transposing it into the identity theft – simply turning it into exotism.

Immigration therefore follows up collonization – never in the oposite order - and involves the use of language, culture and identity.

Comming back home even to a colonized country with your double colonized mind means lost original human relations for ever.

Multiculturalism is a trap.

Civilization is a trap.

White people from the first world are always colonizers in whatever part of the world.

Black people from 3rd world are always immigrants in whatever part of the world.

White people from the 2-nd world are immigrants in the 1st world, but also colonizers in the 3rd world.

Black people from the 1st world are treated as „whities“ in 3rd world?

 

Very to point was the critique of the new exotisms as awareness of stereotyping the other (uncritical and pseudo-anthropological lens based works) – pointed out by Sharlene & Fouad (unfortunately they did not attended the meeting, but have sent some notes for discussing). As one of the great examples of the previously effective strategies (which faded away giving the way for stereotyped ones) was Manrique Figueroa‘s Museum of Poverty: artist decided to subvert the strategies of depictions of powerty as typical to the 3rd world into the depiction of the poverty in the 1st world and showing it to the audiences in the 3rd world.

 

The basic features of colonizer/colonialist could be detected in a small scale as well. Turning out from Prague to Libušin [Martin] even during the 20 years was not accepted by the local community. Colonizer‘s [romantic one] case. Leaving for studies to Estonia and comming back to Alytus, Lithuania [Redas] resulted rejection as in local as in a wider – Lithuanian – community. The fate of colonized [„civilized“]. Even moving through the different parts of the same country (Vėjūnė).

I am not a person that I want to be, but I am still not a person what I used to be. [Fidelis]

Also there was presented the critique towards DAMTP because of showed support towards the Chus Martinez group, which without any regard for the author as a producer plagiarized her text „Gatekeeping Africa“ without even asking her for permission. Sharlene accused the Chus Martinez group and DAMTP in total disregard for the respect of Others, who produce the work; and in White racism because of the linking towards the pseudo-radicalism.

This was the position from Chus Martinez group: „dear comrades, please forgive the plagiarism of Sharlene's text - it is for a psychic work against art system:

see also

http://destroydocumenta.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-curator-as-culture-broker-critique.html

and

http://chusmartinezproject.wordpress.com/about/

Aside from being that Spanish easy listening guitarists (who made me realise it was a common name) Chus Martinez is also the name of one of the curators from Documenta this year who comes from a philosophy background and has a reputation for being over ambitious. So that's one male and one female Chus - you get the name with both sexes. I never met the curator but I did met her ex-husband when he was still with her, Lars Bang Larson, who is another ambitious curator. The critique of the western supermarket curators is a nice spin off from them in the Gatekeeping Africa!“[Chus Martinez]

DAMTP finds out that White racism features also in individualist authorship and especially in the identity of owner of the intellectual property...what is inconsistent keeping in mind that itself the author‘s position is to criticize colonization as such. DAMTP notes that the text got much more reaction and ideas presented there were brought into discussion - seems it does not to happen while it was published in the art contexts. But it is hard to discuss issues when comrades from both sides of the conflict are not present at the discussion [more on that particular case in the final comments].

The presentation by Lipovy Tsvet gang from Belarus was based on enjoying making detournements of Belarussian contemporary identities which is stucked in some Soviet times aesthetics, but filled with capitalist content. The result tends to fit western stereotypes of Belarusians as oppressed by their own dictator, which is in fact supported by western colonization system (including money for the regime and hand-off policies). The short video documentation was presented about „[self] vandalism act“ performed by Denis Limonov – ex member of Lipovy Tsvet, who burn his own valid pasport and was trying to identify with the western (civilized) radical cultural clishes and also russian (civilized) serious culture clishes. Shocking is not the form of transgression, but rather the level of mazochist desire to be „culturally“ colonized, which is not an ironic one.

 

Identity is an absolete term [Stephanie‘s remark] and not adequate to the contemporary use because does not corresponds to what it is signifier for.

 

Bla Bla Bla

Identity

Bla Bla Bla

Identity

Bla Bla Bla

Identity....[so Lipovy Tsvet resumed the 2nd part of the meeting]

 

Bourgeois identity: letter+language+nation+name=dimensions of class

How to swich out of the identity question towards the class question, which differs from identity?

Class consciousness as a network+solidarity+attack?

The agenda for the upcomming day.

 

Third part was innitially and intentionally undefined, so we started by trying to reveal the topics of main importance to everybody. DAMTP proposed to try to make wahdat (union) from Kathiral (multitude) of identities. There was clear that the wish to scope once again on issues of identity took over.

 

Identity as based on the lack [Povilas]. People stream towards something they have lack of. But that is exactly what the bourgeoisification of proletariat is about. The desires are produced in the capitalist society in the way identities could be build up [DAMTP comment].

 

Do we really want to sink into a swamp of identities?

 

What‘s the oposite of identity? [Martin]

 

Might be identity

Identity started as selfness

Identity as selfness imposed on myself. [Chus Martinez]

 

Identity as a term we use now is a bourgeois construct. [Redas]

 

How could identity be an absolete term when bourgeoisie rules?

There is no proove that identity is an absolete term – realy shows that identity is multiplied.

Bourgeoisie is too strong and is able to leave itself unidentified.

Identity starts with the individual thousands of years ago. Cats, for example, do not recognize themselves – they do not have self-understanding. [Chus]

 

Individuality rather starts with the European civilization and therefore cats are not europeans?[DAMTP remark]

 

I do not think that society is an adition of individuals [Chus]

I do not think that identity is a bourgeoisie thing – rather it brought something to identity [Chus]

Identity is what came from peoples‘ costoms [Fidelis]

Lithuanian identity was invented in 19 century by manipulation with the name then surfing on linguistics and finally followed by creation of nation wich imposed the customs [Redas]

 

I am from the French speaking Afrika – I frame myself.

I am from the 3rd world – I frame myself.

I am from the 1st world – I frame myself.

Afrikans live not in houses – they live in bushes. Africans live in tribes, not as population... There is a lot of colonist literature. Even beeing a woman comes first from identifying it and then becoming a woman.

Africans were divided by colonist and now we deal with imposed identities. [Mawuna]

 

Identity as such in pre-bourgeoisie communities  was very different as a role and concept from that in bourgeois society. Neither in Lithuania, nor in Cameroon there were no such word as identity - in Lithuania we use either Latin, or some relatively new-made word [Redas], while in Cameroon they had something to describe identity so far they had a pre-colonial flag for the country, but it is out of use for a long time as people are talking French and English... just bended in some very specific way and out of „civilized“ order [Fidelis].

 

Is it not colonizing happens because people in Africa are colonizible? [Stephanie]

Is it not exploatation happens because workers are exploitable? [Mawuna]

This sort of questions is possible only in White historical context of theorizations without knowing or simply hiding the real conditions.

 

Identification as colonist framing: an example of huttu and tutti in Rwanda what gradually were developed into a anthropologigal absurd of more inteligent and less inteligent people. In the same way bourgeoisie has an agenda to create any kinds of labels and impose identities of democracy, anarchism, communism etc. [Mawuna]

 

Individuality manifests itself with the Greek tragedy [Chus]

 

Is it not an Eurocentrist issue? [Kęstutis]

 

The labling is not the matter of language only. Changing the words does not improves the problems – as it happens with political correctness. The performative role of the language. Word is followed by action [Judith Butler‘s theory of performative]. It declared that if to change the role of the language the identity to be changed as well. But it doesnt worked. [Chus]

 

But it does work in the line of colonizing people, recuperation of workers, or black‘s movements etc. Just it doesn work in de-colonization line. Might be the problems of academicians consists on exageration of role of „serious“ discourse, which is far away from practice – including performative use of language [DAMTP remark]

Even the name Africa has a colonist origin: Afri was a Latin name used to refer to the Carthaginians who dwelt in North Africa; it stems from the Berber word ifri or ifran meaning "cave" and "caves", in reference to cave dwellers; the later Muslim kingdom of Ifriqiya also refers to Arab colonialism.[Mawuna].

I completely dissagree with the concept of identity as bourgeois construct so far the identity existed at least with the christianity in the Europe and it is quite evident. Just with the capitalism and bourgeoisie it was multiplied. [Saulius]

 

The features of the bourgeoisie existance must be documented so far to prove its forms of existance. [Chus]

 

Multiple identities of bourgeoisie could be present on one person in the same time: one could be an oppressor as the chief of the company at work and oppressed as a woman /wife at home in the evening. The identities are like multiple boxes (bourgeoisie, working clas, black people, women, gays etc) and some of them more important, while some less. The structures are different but there must be some common elements in the public service cuts in Lithuania and some of Congo for example which has something in common and explains capitalist system. And collaboration between labor and capital.And this is essential. Even in the case of revolution – that what I would like to happen – is about not the esential change of some for example interrelation of man-woman relationships, but to atchieve changes through the changing interrelations between labor and capital. But the real problem with the conversation we have here is that everything was said is more or less right, but not an equal. Language is unequal to social insurrections; social strikes – to vocabulary; feelings – the same like strikes? What is the first – first we go into the streets, stop working, going for strikes, not going to schools...and mentality is secondary. [Chus]

 

Every revolution starts from one persons idea which involves more people, somebody buys it and then things go to history. Things are used to be changed by a daily process: when just arriving to Hasselt (Belgium) I was used to go into the street and nobody used to answer to my greetings. But I did it every day and used to continue. In some year a man from the other side of the street came up and greeted me – that was what he never did before. This is not an idea what changes the minds, but rather concrete doings with the attention to common people. And the mentality changes every day, every hour, every minute. The revolution of today is not the one what was done 100 years ago, and we are here not to remake them. [Fidelis]

 

Unfortunately the example fits only for the single cases, but doesn‘t work on the big scale like a social revolution. This is not true that revolutions start from the single person. Like the French revolution. Of course, there were thinkers. There were necessary to be people in the streets, demonstrating, fighting, getting together. And that was the same in Paris commune – everywere..in Lithuania. [Chus]

 

Prague‘s velvet revolution was manufactured - and intetionally – and from the very beginning - that I saw with my own eyes [Martin]

 

People complain, but do nothing to change. But it starts from meeting, talking together, taking a risk, but not from just going into the street. [Fidelis]

 

All revolutions what did happen were bourgeois revolutions in fact. And no one solved the cultural problem – that one of bourgeoisie mentality. What is the first – revolution or mentality? That must go all together: doing and thinking in the same moment. If you think at the beginning and doing what you just constructed mentaly – you are becoming a machine. If you‘re doing and then thinking – somebody will misuse you even before you‘ll realize it – that was to happen in Lithuania in 90-ies. [Redas]

 

I completely dissagree with that statement. I think this is wrong. I don‘t think the Paris Commune 1971 was bourgeois at all – it was bloody and it was crashed, and it leed – thats truth - towards the French Republic and modern democracy, but it was not a bourgeois revolution. I would leave Russian revolution aside as it is too complicated. Germany in January 1919 was not bourgeois at all – that was a proletarian revolution – then the Weimar republic came. I think the historical knowledge there is something what‘s lacking. Also Spain 1936. If you disregard all that – that is easy to interpret everything. And again – 1968. Or Italy in 1977? What we are talking about? All were an attempts of proletarian revolutions. And Fidel Castro in Cuba – it ended of course on one more capitalist regime..as Soviets too. But there were the failure, either there was no revolution. French revolution and English revolution – yes they were bourgeois, but not the others.[Chus]

 

Separation of Paris Commune from French revolution is a big mistake, because that was a long and continuos process. In beween of those was 1848. Its a long process of competition. [Stephanie]

 

Everything is possible with the words.You are using the word revolution in a sense of evolution. [Chus]

 

The point is that fixing only on some particular events and taking them away from the context gives a false effect. It‘s like fixing the meanings. [Stephanie]

 

I see revolution as a break through a time, through class. If there would happen the revolution I would like – it would take not a week, nor month or year, but the whole generation period. [Chus]

 

But all the examples of the proletarian revolutions failed. So it doesn‘t happen at all. But why not to talk why proletarians took the same bourgeois concept of the revolution which ended-up on building-up of bourgeois society. Revolution which starts and stops at some point is exactly the bourgeois model. I am talking about mechanisms evolving the continuos change. The problems to be solved – leadership, specializations, roles... identities if you want. Including identity of the revolutionary. [Redas]

 

Imagine scientific example in a completely dark chamber holding two bottles. Then you put bees into one bottle and flies into another. Then after some time bring the bottles back to the light and it happen that almost 100 % of bees died, while all flies came out of the bottle. Bees are too rational to survive. The romantic image of the revolution is very exiting, but things behind it are different from the image. [Mawuna]

 

But what is about eliminating the concepts as the basis for the things to be done? [Kęstutis]

 

That was a main point of schism for Situationists into a Nordic and Southern internationals. The word-following tradition from the Rome Empire and still pevailing in southern European countries could be described as Fascio (the bundle – in the analogy that the formulated idea keeps the bundle tighten) and that of the Nordic was based on verbalizing the things done.[Redas]

 

Then Mawuna took a long speach on aboundancy of African nature and enjoyable way of the africans to live in it without stress. Aboundancy mentality. When compearing to scarcity mentalities of europeans (also the dessert inhabitants), who are those to invent capitalism, interventions, greed, exploitation, competition etc. And following on imposing of a catastrophic sensoring of the living through all over the world.

 

I don‘t thing that this European identity leads us anywhere – please leave it aside.Lets go to the main topic – how did the scarcity mentality came to Africa? [Saulius]

 

That is about colonization. People in Africa lived as one. They called it civilization what made people separated. Everybody started to look different. And conflicts started. Westerners cut the hugest areas of forests [in Cameroon] which were resources of aboundancy – now it‘s a dessert, emptiness, hunger. I somehow believe Europe was the same aboundant as Africa, just they exploited all their resources. [Fidelis]

 

But it shows also that there is no way back. We must do something on finding the way towards common living in the way it never happen before. It would be different for Africa. It would be different for Europe, unfortunately. Equilibrium must somehow to get power to improve uneveness. It for the justice sake. That is what we need a solidarity for. Asgern Jorn elaborated the concepts of unity [for european „psychopatic geography“]:

  1. Fascist – the bundle – based on ideas to be followed by action. Specific to the Southern part of Western Europe – former Roman empire. Attacking the linguistics as basic to eurocentric shauvinism and therefore colonization.
  2. „Polyphonic singing“ or weaving – based on individualities interwowen into a single tissue or polyphonic singing of viking solders‘ army. Specific for the Nordic countries. One of the versions to talk on everyone‘s language in the same time was proposed by Vėjūnė just at the beginning of the discussion. DAMTP was involving this aspect by arranging D.I.Y. scrach concerts without audience – just performers. Networking.
  3. The strong as weakest ring of the chain – inherent to the former Byzantine area. DAMTP gives right to lead for less organized workers, while more organized workers follow them. Solidarity. Support to those who are oppressed and struggle.

[Redas]

 

I was expecting to talk on the processes how people were put to labor in order to exploit those resources. And there our conversation stucked. We should be talking about wage labor, exploitation, why its happen in Africa etc. Instead we were talking on all those bourgeois identities: white, black, women etc. All that continuation concepts in the context of the revolution is the main cause why those revolutions failed [Saulius]

 

So, lets be radical! [Mawuna]

 

How to do afford to live together happily, without humilation.

We are talking each his own language – not in a sense of linguistics only, but in a sense of meaning because of our differences ( especially those created because of the getting „civilized“). It is very easy to talk when you‘re in some affinity group, where you are used to get the guestions you would love to answer. This is easy. This is an identity. But the problem is that there are many those kind of boxes. Even this particular case of our meeting could be an example – depend what one would like to emphasize – communication or miscommunication. And if you would decide that our communication failed – its time to think, where is the weakest point. [Redas]

 

We would need to arm and defend it with our trialectical approach as a wahdat (union) in kathiral (multitude): to proletarianise the local and global situation - to combat colonialism/imperialsim / nationalism - to connect with class - to empower the endangered and supressed [DAMTP remark]

 

Later-on DAMTP received a sharp critique from comrades anarchists as organizing "failured" of-point discussion, which Chus Martinez labled as a "messy" one. DAMTP answer was simple - rrrrrevolution to be a messy thing and different from those described by "white theoreticians" which are promoting nothing but racism (rooted in [eurocentrist] aesthetics).

 

Prolegomena for 2013

Art strike biennial format – to abolish the roles of the art, an artist and spectator in the society.

To critisize and abolish the mechanisms of „serious culture“ from inside and to stress the „ever beeing positive“ image of the subject in the society.

To be pointless and repeat it endless what makes more sense then doing things as it supposed to be.

To stress „white“ and „serious“ discourse of theoreticians.

To destroy the the whole subject of biennalization establishing worse biennial ever.

To invite artists and theoreticians in the same status as immigrants and workers. [Redas, DAMTP]

 

It‘s hard to define when things done are related to the promotion of one persons ideas for the wider market and when it is done from the inner [collective] necessity. When something formulated is used for the market, or enough to have confidence.

First – networking – we already starting it here. [Fidelis]

 

Art that distributes [or is distributed – DAMTP addition] must be changed into art of sharing and connectivity. [Edvardas]

 

Artists are united either by idea or by space – example Teatre Vallo Occupato. [Rita]

 

Free art space – integrates into the system – it‘s a collonizing. [Povilas]

 

We are all inside very different. The artists of oneselves. Thing is not about showing, but about sharing. [Fidelis] Alytus proposes something to share – I accept or decline – it depends on ones own ability to share with something.: time, thougts.

 

Thing happens every two years. Revolution-biennial. Biennalization of the social level. [Martin]

 

When I grew up in the small village in Togo I did not felt any colonization. I realized what the colonization is when I got to a city. Especially the effect of the mass media. But there were some levels – first you must become a christian – other way you will not get access to resources – so, my farther send 3 sons to become christians while other kids were unchristianized, then they asked my father to be a chief of the village. The further level was when I came to Paris. [Mawuna]

 

The colonization is about change – European colonizers wanted to change africans according to their understanding. Decolonization actually also came from the 1st world as recolonization as well. Especially it is evident during the „democratic“ procedures in Cameroon – it doesnt work – it is performed. We live in Cameroon, Africa, but the system is imposed – that never was there, nor was decided by local people. The colonization stronger affects on vulnerable people, more resistant people are less colonized. [Fidelis]

 

Keeping in mind how this event started [ might be he had in mind the fact that it was given to the young students once to do what they would love to do] – might be to invite people who are dubious – who have doubts on what is happening here. Some feedback of the art strike as reflected in their minds how it was done. That would be different level of perspective – as Stephanie was talking about concerning French history. We could learn much more from the different level of the persons who do things from the feeling, with emotions and not as would fit/correspond „high“ theoretical discourse which is usually gets as a goal for cultural events. [Mawuna] It would go not as a top idea proposed by colonizers clishe, but rather low-brow messy replicas what usually sais more about „high“ ideas then it used to mean. [DAMTP comment]

 

The theater of oppressed based on real practices [Vėjūnė]

 

From the experience of the visual artist I was always upset because my experience never gave enough opportunity to talk to coleagues, friends – just occational talks. That is why I got a need to make meetings people to talk. While beeing an artist I was needed [usually] just as picture producer – few times was cenzored because of mine verbalizations – „we have people to write – all we need are your pictures“ – I realized that I need first to talk instead of giving the pictures. When you talk critically on your own field its harder to put you into the system while critical pictures are easily recuperated.

 

A nice coincidence – simply great story about colonization - was recovered during the meeting, that in the year 2003 four pesons present in Alytus meeting were participating in the slightly related events in Tirana. One then art curator, one then artists and one still artist were participating in Tirana biennial which was ridiculously recuperated and misused for local mayor ellections and supported in it by Italian/French art mafia. [In fact this biennial was the main impact to start Alytus biennial in 2 years as political pastiche]. The Tirana biennial was planned as some detail of huge ellection campaigne. On the other side there were invited a Tsmall Theater and rock band from Lithuania to play for Tirana biennial artists, which occured to be ell; ection campaign for to be re-elected mayor Edi Rama. So far artists were too disobedient they were kindly invited for the concert when it was almost over, but the theater show was even before. So far lithuanians brought also a crew from national TV and arranged their own version of the event for Lithuanian TV – they ridiculed Tirana biennial artists (actually they filmed not a biennial show, but of some students), the overpresent powerty of tiranian social life, and very explicit corruption of police. In that context themselves they depicted as „high culture“ bringing people for some savages [Redas]

 

For the end DAMTP presented Kent's Ten Key Values of Proletarian Post-Modernism

 

1. The insistence upon a tough-minded grip on reality.
2. A willingness to confront the self searchingly and even with laughter.
3. Patience and endurance.
4. Humour as a tool for transcendence.
5. A sort of dead-end courage, and not so dead-end.
6. An acceptance of the role of suffering in retaining one's humanity and in retaining some perspective on the humanity of the oppressor.
7. A high development of dissimulation and camouflage.
8. A sense of something more than this world and of its rhythms.
9. A deep sense of the inexorable limitation of life and all that we associate with the tragic and tragicomic vision.
10. Ceremonies or poise in a non-rational universe. (The hipsters and the cool-cats play an endless satire upon
Western assumptions of rationality.)
[Taken from George E. Kent's 'Ethnic Impact in American Literature' a lecture read at the Annual Meeting of the
College Language Association, 1967]

 

Post conference DAMTP comments:

 

Due to obvious reasons (poisoning by crappy beer in one of the bars/clubs me with Fidel have visited on the previous night), I can not participate in the chat about the outcomes of the discussion on Saturday in Alytus, and can not fully engage in the last discussion in retrospective of the conference on psycho-decolonization. Nevertheless, I will draw on Friday events and the couple of texts linked to us by different participating comrades after the meeting.

 

Having lived in England for a while, i've encountered the position of "class war and nothing else matters" from a friend who's a member of "good boys club" SPGB (Socialist Party Great Britain, itself a national section of World Socialist Movement). "Economy and nothing else" (including a sometimes comical classification of society drawing on positioning in relation to the means of production yet simultaneously excluding social/"cultural" upbringing/tastes/principles) approach to each and every problem encountered in a current shape of alienated society is somewhat paralleled in the text "Oppression is not an easy matter" forwarded to us by Saul in one of the recent e-mails criticising the meeting in Alytus per-se. I have to admit that such a piece of writing surprised me big time: nevermind the complete lack of depth in the text, a conclusion where "the feminists" (among others) are accused of "bringing Bush into power" ("event" paralleled to the role of German Social Democracy in bringing Hitler to power); So to say the "identity-based" social movements are more "evil" than the "evil itself"!

 

It is precisely this kind of economism that enables these people to claim, without evidence, that declining wages is universally more important to most black people than police brutality or having to wait an hour for a seat at Denny's. One is hard economics that unites people; the other is just narrow identity politics. Thus, when black gays and lesbians take to the streets to protest violence against them, that's "identity politics." When angry white males claim that affirmative action is taking jobs from them, that's class politics muffled beneath a racial blanket they themselves don't understand (...) Something's wrong with this picture.  http://nova.wpunj.edu/newpolitics/issue22/kelley22.htm

 

The "everything and nothing" discussion in Alytus, besides the things going on on Saturday, had a Friday program which included an in depth critique of the serious culture in 2012 Germany in its relationship with wider expressions of racial profiling; first-hand experiences of migration to Europe from Africa, among other things. I haven't read the newly released Chus book in full, and had too less of a conversation with him in order to deal with the issue of his theory in relationship to the struggles of non-whites, etc., but what I gathered in the presentation of the mentioned book in Vilnius on Sunday, was that Chus was not interested in the riots that "did not connect with the workers of factories" - but who is to say they were not the same workers, just out of factories, but taking on the shops?

It is now often said that American youth, after thirty years of silence, are rising again as a force of contestation, and that the black revolt is their Spanish Civil War. This time their “Lincoln Brigades” must understand the full significance of the struggle in which they are engaging and totally support its universal aspects. The Watts “excesses” are no more a political error in the black revolt than the POUM’s May 1937 armed resistance in Barcelona was a betrayal of the anti-Franco war. A revolt against the spectacle — even if limited to a single district such as Watts — calls everything into question because it is a human protest against a dehumanized life, a protest of real individuals against their separation from a community that would fulfill their true human and social nature and transcend the spectacle. http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/decline.html

Likewise, I'm sorry Chus has missed the Friday discussions, since I had difficulties in explaining him later what was the practice of the assault on serious culture all about; Conversely, Black Mask (who connected their struggles with the Black Panthers in the 60s) understood the importance of also connecting anti-Vietnam uprisings with the boycott of Museum of Modern Art New York.

 

I would like to pinpoint one more thing: people disgusted the most by "identity" discussion in Alytus were themselves white, European males of not the poorest background. As described in Robin D. G. Kelley's "Identity Politics & Class Struggle", the sneers at (at least) an attempt to merge proletarian initiatives with the experiences of social movements which are firstly focused around the issues of race & gender come from the camp which has a stereotypical image of the communities they see themselves defending. Curiously, this stereotyping includes an image of "the worker"...

 

I would finish with the oldschool feminist slogan of "personal is political", which i think should be taken seriously, if one is ready to at least differ from the nationalist left of various manifestations such as bullshit fascist Nazbol & others...

 

And the comment on machismo? I remember the oldest still existing squatted Berlin social centre freaking out when a bunch of Nigerian guys who were self-organizing against a big migration policy change (a collaboration among European & African states led by Germany & Nigeria) lived in the house... The bubble has lost a touch with the struggling people a while ago... Likewise, the history of the black man is the one of having to entertain a whitey musically, while his lover experienced the harshest sexual exploitation by the same colonizers... Yes, oppression is not a simple matter, especially if you are not white. And it should be people like Robin D. G. Kelley (like in his "Identity Politics & Class War" available  http://nova.wpunj.edu/newpolitics/issue22/kelley22.htm ), rather than anonymous yet glorious "enlightenment" scribbles like the author of "Oppression is not a simple matter", referenced in the debates about or beyond identity. [Andrius]

 

I congratulate all fellow workers and comrades on the 2012 Alytus conference.

I have 3 proposals:

1.       We request Chus Martinez to take down the “Gatekeeping Africa” article – and that DAMTP issue a formal apology to Sharlene Khan. As she has accused us of disrespecting her as a worker and producer of the text. Our use of the text was a plagiarism done without contacting her. While I defend this method and do feel that our plagiarism has been successful in disseminating the basic ideas therein in a new and proletarianised context, I do acknowledge and want to extend our respect to her as a worker. I also think that as an African and a woman artist (operating in a capitalist system that is patriarchal and Eurocentric) we should support her wishes. I also do not wish DAMTP to be associated with alienating fellow workers in this way.

 

2.       I also request that we do not publish the “oppression is not a simple matter” text. The main reason is that its basic premise equates capital with labour and this is unacceptable. While I am in agreement with much of the positions and some of the historical observations, I do feel that this basic orientation means that the conclusions drawn are wildly inaccurate and misleading and I do not wish DAMTP to be associated with them.

 

3.       We work on a collective text/declaration/constitution/manifesto etc which addresses our approach to our production and our constitution as proletarians – to be written in a non-European language or mixture of languages – to be signed by individuals but also as a collective identity. At the last conference in 2011 we were in general agreement on the identity of psychic worker but this may also be reviewed. We finalise this document and publish it at the 2013 conference.

 

The moving finger writes. Or to use a different example: a finger points to the moon. But let us leave the abstract and look at this situation: my finger on this keyboard. It has a point in space –a point in time –a point in class. These 3 interwoven axes – what the ancients called Desa Kala Patra are sometimes translated as “space, time, identity” or alternatively “space, time, situation” – but I will term them as Space, Time and Class.

If there are only 2 identities possible in class: that of bourgeoisie and proletariat then also in space: the west and the east or the north and the south. Also in time: the past and the future.

Already you are witness to the expansion in space, time and class of this text. I have written and you read. But we are just a part of its expansion in space, time and class – there are workers who preceded it and produced the computers etc in space time and class. There are workers who will read it after us and who will come in other space, time and class.

The orientation – the point of origin in space, time and class are all on my body. The body of the worker is the orientation for all measurement and the situation can only be understood as a relationship between workers.

This text, having expanded in space from its origin in my body, now occupies a volume that encompasses the machines, telephone wires and minds of other fellow workers including you, across different countries.

In time it has blossomed from a point in my own time, to having an origin in its conception and a magnitude into the future when fellow workers will read it as you are doing now.

And in Class it was created by me, a situationist worker, defined by various letters: perhaps a sign found on public toilets indicating male, a letter in the English language and maybe also Arabic, urdu. Already multiple names and nations – identities, as I have 2 passports and more than one occupation. But it has now been also processed by other workers – with different identities - some students, some academics, at least one in the employ of the police or secret services.  But in every case – this text deals with the conditions of production of the workers reading it and how they can oppose the formation of capital.

Whether this escapes the formation of cultural capital is determined by its movement in space : Out of the north and west – by its movement in time: out of the past and into the future ie new ideas – and out of the hands of the bourgeois class into workers.

The map used by DAMTP in order to understand Class, is that of the IWW industrial unions. This is the point of departure for the DAMTP. We have created a Union of Psychic Workers that breaks with the IWW’s administrative and regional organisational structure. We have created a Union of Dead Workers. We have created a Union of Reproductive Workers – all of which break with the IWW’s industrial classification system and redraw the map of class.

This is because any point on the map of industrial unions – a 2 dimensional map – has a coordinate also in the hierarchy of management. To deny that union officials – that academics – that other psychic workers are not located there is to undermine our organisation as workers and to foster a “revolutionary” identity without achieving class consciousness at all. All that this achieves is the creation of cultural capital.

Capital – the spectacle – the sum of commodity culture – is the abstraction of labour – the expression of labour in its inhuman form. Oppression is all that creates alienation. Revolution is all that liberates labour from its inhuman form.

To obscure the fact that psychic work is indeed a form of work is to side with the Bolshevic separation of politics from economics and culture. It is also to side with the Bakuninist agenda to obscure the 3rd dimension of class – that of situation – and limit workers to their own identity – whether that be industrial or national. However it is that identity that is prerequisite for an understanding of class.

It is clear that some industries dominate others. it is clear that some nations dominate others. It is clear some genders dominate others. It is our task to support those who are oppressed while always pushing for proletarianisation and class unity against not just capital but the capitalists themselves. It is equally clear that the capitalists will use our efforts, our labour, against us – after all that is the essence of capital.

[A Situationist Worker]

 

And few more proposals:

  1. To request from Fidelis to find out that original Cameroonian word for „identity“ – the same he never knew and already forgot - and to use it to name what we have had in common while beeing together as distant from the family of bourgeois identities and so to experience it without clear labling and self-attachment [so far [psychic] workers identity is still hardly acceptible to many of us). And in a case Fidelis would not find the word – to name it without actually knowing how it sounds.
  2. In the case whomever of us will find out not him/herself enough organized/motivated to join in the upcomming Art Strike Biennial, which will be held on 19th-25th August, 2013 - we would be very pleasant to get instructions/requirements from you how to improve the art strike movement.rooting your proposals on theoretical hypothesis and historical knowledge. Those to gather (if they would agree) would try to survive while implementing it right in a place.
  3. On the basis of our talks and DAMTP constitution we will compile the address to World Biennial Forum No.1 in Gwangju to stress their eurocentrist pathos, to ask them to resign from mchinery which creats cultural capital based on alienation of workers and to join DAMTP so canceling the further colonization by „serious culture of whities“ and stressing the structural racism prevailing in those structures.

 

And instead of conclusion:

I figured out that after endless talking there is not so important whom one would like to be, but it‘s so exiting whom everyone is used to be. There is a thin limit where the endless talks step beyond into the [psychic] practice.

 

Thanks to everybody

[Redas]