Sunday, January 23, 2011

The protagonist...

...of redemptive violence, in the revival of this crypto-fascist radicalism generated in universities and marketed as Marx-flavoured radical thought, is an agent of white supremacist patriarchy.

Even dyed-in-the-wool liberals are now vending info- and commentainments which consist of nothing but the flaunting of their pique and dudgeon. A genre emerges – let’s call it BritCrit – wherein the complaint is usually some scarcely disguised version of the kvetch of the 70s skinheads, those loyal subjects of a once so awesome empire reduced to poor neighbour, sneered at as crude and second rate by Europe on matters of old and elite values, annihilated by the US in those few areas in which they could boast of superiority to the continentals (mainly pop music, theatre and cinema/tv humour).

It's fashionable again for the imperial petty bourgeoisie to celebrate itself for its "anger" - about them, of course, about the loss of national integrity and apex predator status, the escape of subject markets, whose native competitive industries like linen or cotton were abolished, like India and Ireland: to these growling, perpetually enraged whites, deprived as they see it of their full share of the imperial legacy, the ruling class’ rearrangement of its exploitative operations is envisioned as a Heimat de-industrialisation repeatedly painted as collapse of erection and onset of effeminacy, and (not always but) too often as racial degeneracy as well.

Empire alone can create and sustain whiteness, despite the common fantasy of its self-sufficiency. The Black Swan must be mastered and absorbed to save whiteness from enervation and sterility. (As Odile in the poster, the heroine’s genuine essential whiteness is in question; having absorbed the whiteness-creating blackness of Lily, the Prima Donna is red-eyed like an albino and thickly painted white.) The bourgeois culture industry has deconstructed only to reconstruct as indestructible because ideal; it has discursively destabilized with “gynesis” the hierarchies of white supremacist patriarchy only to reaffirm them, killed them to give them the eternal life of spectres. Spectacle’s layerings – able to create the illusion of that DeManian “infinite” irony through a kind of seductive hypnosis – assist in the re-establishment of debunked mythology deploying a levelling operation whose main move is to place reality under an erasure it cannot re-emerge from entirely.

When hipster bourgeois theory reasserts an ancient mind/body, spirit/matter dualism draped in philosophical jargon and declares some labour "immaterial" (divine, supernatural), then distinguishes between potent masculine intellectual labour and an impotent "feminised" labour, it's expressing a resentment not at the loss of muscle of the "white working class" labourer but at the white petty bourgeois clerk's loss of his admiring dark slave. It is not power-steering, nespresso machines and telecom technology that "feminise" the imperial core worker but what is perceived as a transformation in the human hierarchy of the imperial order which deprives the ever "immaterial" whiteness of Mind of control and ownership over dark animal Body. This is the castration that petty bourgeois crypto-fascist dissident cocaculture bemoans and attempts to reverse.

ZizNey of course provides the crassest, most obvious instances:

1. For the multiculturalist, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are prohibited, Italians and Irish get a little respect, blacks are good, native Americans are even better. The further away we go, the more they deserve respect. This is a kind of inverted, patronising respect that puts everyone at a distance.

2. Why should revolutionary politics not take over the Catholic cult of martyrdom? And one should not be afraid to go to (what for many liberals would be) the end and to say the same about Leni Riefenstahl. Her work seems to lend itself to a teleological reading, progressing towards its dark conclusion. It began with Bergfilme which celebrated heroism and bodily effort in the extreme conditions of mountain-climbing; it went on to her two Nazi documentaries, celebrating the political and sport forms of bodily discipline, concentration, and strength of the will; then, after World War II, in her photo albums, she rediscovered her ideal of bodily beauty and graceful self-mastery in the Nubi African tribe; finally, in t he last decades, she learned the difficult art of deep-sea diving and started shooting documentaries about the strange life in the dark depths of the sea.

We thus seem to obtain a clear trajectory from the top to the bottom; we begin with the individuals struggling at the mountain tops and gradually descend, till we reach the amorphous thriving of life itself at the bottom of the sea — is not what she encountered down there her ultimate object, obscene and irresistible eternal life itself, what she was searching for all along?

We can easily see how the white supremacist, aryanist, fascist schemes vended by Zizney to the centre and left and NewsCorp to the right are necessary to the intelligibility of the hipster cocaculture Black Swan, which need not itself teach the audience its underlying material. A typical mass culture commodity, the film has enough ambiguity then to be the object of interpretative disputes regarding whether it simply articulates, or “subverts”, the clichés and formulae of which it is constructed, which disputes themselves serve to maintain the unassailable validity and signifying power of the symbolic foundations.

Suzanne Moore in the Guardian longs for Shulamith Firestone and Andrea Dworkin, two ferocious champions of whiteness and imperialism whose fervent fantasy of world improvement involved destroying the genitals of masses of the most vulnerable people. These were bourgeois authors obsessed with power and violence, coveting the former and dreaming up plans for massive infliction of the latter. Moore calls up the vision of these absent "angry women" to romanticise their anger as itself laudable and revolutionary. The ostensible excuse for evoking them is to address a purported trend in feminism to be problematically polite to male oppressors (she doesn’t mention hooks’ The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love as the target but one supposes that is the sort of thing in Anglophone feminism that has gotten her back up). Moore’s choice of inspiration is eloquent. She doesn't lament the absence of say Olive Morris, Rosa Parks, Gloria Anzaldua, Queen Mother Moore, Flo Kennedy, Valerie Solanas, Myriam Merlet; she doesn't honour the memory of Claudia Jones or Rose Pastor Stokes; she doesn't celebrate and appreciate the thousands of very present and plenty (but not only) angry feminists like Maria Mies, Vandana Shiva, Gayatri Spivak, Silvia Federici, Angela Davis, Gerda Lerner, Charlene Mitchell, Selma James, Rosa Amelia Plumelle-Uribe, Sheila Rowbotham, Heidi Hartmann, Cherrie Moraga, Caryl Churchill, Leslie Marmon Silko, Toril Moi, Assata Shakur, Ntozake Shange, Carmen Boullosa, Naomi Wallace, Arundhati Roy, and countless others whose fancy can conjure ways toward a better world other than the bourgeois favourites of despotic control and mutilation of humanity by "enlightened" elites. Firestone and Dworkin are exemplary of the type of angry egoist individual whose anger and personality are modish now. The problem is other people. There are just too many of them; they reproduce “unchecked”. (Especially black people and Palestinians.) And since there's not enough wealth or land to go around to solve the fact of their poverty and statelessness by eliminating the poverty and statelessness, it will have to be solved by eliminating them. Since the poverty and the statelessness, beyond being a blight on the planet's decor, makes the surplus population depraved menaces to the privileged and enlightened, the elites really have every right and reason to submit masses of people to whatever measures may be necessary to secure their own comfort and safety. Meanwhile, until that can be carried out, Firestone and Dworkin devoted themselves to being very angry about how vile all these surplus people are, and also about how hard it is to please those who are depended on to master the majority. They won't love you if you are not pretty and deferential. And even if you are, and do everything they seem to require, they even sometimes prefer...


  1. Speaking of notverycryptofascism Vandana Shiva is now fronting for the Hindutva wing of Aryanism. Really.

  2. not entirely surprised though

  3. Me neither. Shiva's previous work on India always implied that an authentically organic and yet inclusive nationalism was possible*. Hindutva was not authentically Indian, Hindutva rapes and massacres of "fellow Indians" showed "the complete confusion of Indian identity", and the cultural nationalism of the right was "pseudo-nationalism"......... Maybe she no longer believes that but will take exclusive nationalism in its stead.


  4. "an authentically organic and yet inclusive nationalism was possible"

    I'm not familiar enough with her views on this topic to have known she used that fasho lexicon; I remember her saying soemthing about a nationalism against empire/"globalzation" and then identifying hindutva as nationalism in the service of globalization. but yeah, it's not a huge shock; in fact she always struck me as a kind of fabian.

  5. Considering her apparent accomplishments:

    This is a rather depressing development.