Modern Edinburgh Film School
Posted by Paul Conneally May 2013 via http://www.bopsecrets.org/ bureau of public secrets
January 1970. Poster issued following the December-January worker revolt in Poland. Reprinted in Public Secrets: Collected Skirmishes of Ken Knabb.
The text, which I don’t know how to make more legible without making the image prohibitively large, reads as follows:
Box: The uprising in Poland is only the most recent gesture in the developing struggle against modern capitalism. But like other revolutionary moments, from Hungary 1956 to France 1968, it exposes the ideological falsifications of those who claim to speak for that movement, from the pseudo-socialist East to the bureaucrats of the Spectacle of Opposition… .
Child: It often happens that the “excesses” of a revolt are precisely its most revealing moments — when everything becomes transparent, tangible, within everybody’s grasp. But it is also precisely these theoretico-practical advances which are obscured by the ideologues of the “Left.”
Newspaper clipping: “Then things began to move rapidly. The windows of the Communist party building were smashed. A group of youngsters climbed up the walls and into the building and began to throw out furniture, paper and other things, while people down in the street clapped their hands. When a very expensive table in jacaranda wood was thrown out of the window, everybody shouted with joy.”
Tom Hayden: The people wouldn’t have had to go so far if the rulers hadn’t been such pigs. Otherwise, we could have continued our nice manipulative “opposition.” (Don’t forget to vote for “community control of alienation”!)
Box: What a pity. Precisely because the insurgents in Poland, as in Watts, temporarily avoided such false-consciousness, they manifested a critique in acts of the commodity itself, demystifying that famous fetishism described by Marx over a century ago.
Child: The looting of furs and champagne by the Polish celebrants is no more an example of their “attraction to the Western way of life” or “bourgeois revisionist degeneracy” than the looting of Watts was proof of the essential integration of blacks into the American system.
Another child: These actions should instead be considered as positive signs of the new social order now possible: “To each according to his own desires” — in this case, still the false desires and “needs” produced by the commodity system.*
Footnote: *On the game in Watts, see the pamphlet The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy by the Situationist International.
Box: “The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that his labor becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him, independently, as something alien to him, and that it becomes a power on its own confronting him. It means that the life which he has conferred on the object confronts him as something hostile and alien… . A commodity is therefore a mysterious thing … because the relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor.” (MARX)
Side box: MEANWHILE …
Gangster 1: Christ! Another spontaneous struggle where the people are acting on their own and for themselves. Where does that leave us Movement leaders?
Gangster 2: You can see why we have to push sacrificial militantism: armies of activists ready to sacrifice themselves to our ideology (= dogma). Any ideas for a good slogan?
Gangster 3: I like “Forget your life, serve the people!”
Gangster 4: How about “Revolutionary suicide!”?
Box: “REVOLUTION CEASES TO BE AS SOON AS IT DEMANDS SELF-SACRIFICE” (France, May 1968).
Box: Picture of Mao above a huge crowd, labeled “PORTRAIT OF ALIENATION” and followed by this quote: “Their lives are so squalid that the majority can only live as a caricature of the Master… . To the sacrifice of the dispossessed, who through his work exchanges his real life for an apparent one, the proprietor replies by appearing to sacrifice his nature as proprietor and exploiter; he excludes himself mythically, he puts himself at the service of everyone and of myth… . Renouncing common life, he is the poor man amidst illusory wealth, he who sacrifices himself for everyone while other people only sacrifice themselves for their own sake, for the sake of their survival. The more powerful he is, the more spectacular his sacrifice. He becomes the living reference point of the whole of illusory life.” (Raoul Vaneigem, The Totality for Kids [= Basic Banalities #8])
Child: A critique of the commodity in a state-capitalist society becomes directly a critique of bureaucratic class rule itself. The official truth of the bureaucracy — that it does not exist as a separate class — is exposed as a lie by the events themselves. The rulers and their Movement counterparts attempt to divert the radical critique of all hierarchical power into false choices between “good” and “bad” bureaucrats… .
Newspaper clipping: “The local Communist party leadership hung a white flag from a window of the top floor and left the building with their hands up. The house was set on fire and party officials were seized by about 3,000 shipyard workers who had marched in from the harbor.”
Eldridge Cleaver: Poland is a pig state, unlike North Korea, etc., where the rulers (whose ranks we aspire to join) are so kind as to serve the (survival) needs of the people they exploit.
Jerry Rubin: Like Bernardine [Dohrn] says,* there are good leaders and bad ones. Good ones are defined as those who are able to manipulate people into “freely” following them. Me? Shucks, I’m a “non-leader”!
Footnote: *See the Tribe, December 18-25.
Side box: The more far-seeing regimes attempt to recuperate (take under their wing, deflect into partial solutions) the struggle for proletarian power… .
Castro: Under our tactful rule (as similarly in Yugoslavia and Algeria) the people are free to make all the decisions that — change nothing. The factory and farm councils are allowed to participate — within the state-controlled framework of alienated labor. Viva self-management!
Child: Stinking pig of a bureaucrat!
Another child: Proletarian revolution must recognize its tactics as self-management at every level of the struggle; and its goal as the management of all aspects of life by the workers councils!
Child: In the development of the proletarian critique of bureaucratic state-capitalism, the greatest danger will be to stop half-way. Thus, Kuron and Modzelewski’s important Open Letter to Polish Communist Party Members, as with recent anti-bureaucratic formulations in China,* attempts to reconcile the power of workers councils with a return to “true Leninism.”
Footnote: *Not to be confused with the “Cultural Revolution,” that spectacular pseudo-revolt produced by courtesy of the Chinese ruling class.
Lenin: The Stalinist class societies are only a natural (if excessive) development from the original Bolshevik seizure of totalitarian state power in 1917. My famous “vanguard party” theory of organization led to the greatest single defeat of the classical revolutionary movement: the power of the party over the masses, ruling in the name of the proletariat.
Trotsky: The real truth of Leninism was revealed when we slaughtered the Kronstadt soviet and the anarcho-communist peasants of the Ukraine in 1921. Yet fifty years later our faithful followers continue the alienating hierarchy within their organizations, and the corresponding manipulative practice “leading” the masses. They only reinforce (by presenting a false form of opposition) the capitalist system which still reigns everywhere.
Child: So far, the movements in the Third World have only tried to emulate the Bolshevik coup; and the Movement in the U.S. can only worship these underdeveloped imitations of revolutionary failure.
Voice off: Ho lives!
Box: One “anti-imperialist” star:
Ho Chi Minh: Yes, kids, here’s ol’ Uncle Ho back from the grave! And you can be sure I’d support the Polish regime’s actions just like I did the Russian interventions in Hungary and Czechoslovakia. I’m not exactly a stranger to crushing autonomous popular revolts myself, you know. (Cf. the 1945 Saigon insurrection and the peasant uprising in 1956.) But you’ve got to support me anyway, sucker: I’m Third World, remember?
Pogo: The real struggle is still for “All power to the soviets (workers councils)” — but this time without the Bolshevik afterthoughts. This power (outlined in Spain 1936 and Hungary 1956) must not be mediated by anyone representing the people; the councils will federate with each other by means of strictly mandated, immediately revocable delegates. The total democracy of the councils (whose first project will be the abolition of work) will be the effective end of all hierarchical power.
Lady worm: … and of the commodity economy, too!
Child: In the end, it is only through the refusal of ideology, of sacrifice, of representation — all the rotten leftovers from the old world — that we will be able to annihilate everything that stands in the way of our desires, and live without dead time!
Mother: Practice must seek its theory!
Box: For the Power of the Councils, P.O. Box 1044, Berkeley, 94704From http://www.bopsecrets.org/ bureau of public secrets
New York by George Bellows
Details from the 1958/9 tiled mural by ceramicist William Donald on the facade of St Aidan’s Church in New Parks Estate Leicester.
We pass by graffiti daubed concrete. This former mining area has high unemployment. Local youths have become recruitment targets for right wing groups such as the BNP and English Defence League.
Most ignore their advances. Ignore all politics. Some succumb.
Painted words bear witness to their corruption.
under this bridge
weeds grow from the walls
an old flame
brings on a humbler mood
Paul Conneally 2011
Transform Snibston has reported the graffiti to North West District Council who will hopefully now look to support the Swannington Heritage Trust to clean it up. Transform has also reported the racist terms to the Hate Crime Unit. We’d encourage anyone that finds such material to do similar wherever you live in the UK or the world.
If you live in Leicestershire you can report racist and other hate crimes HERE:
The three line haiku towards the end of the Hypnotised haibun was written on the Swannington Incline during a Health Walk with Nita Pearson from Whitwick to Swannington and back and was placed first in the Cities of Green Leaves Ginko No Kukai organised to garner support and raise funds for relief for victims of the Japanese Tsunami 2011. Funds raised went to:
Architecture for Humanity
Japanese Red Cross Society
Ngo Jen Official Website
Salvation Army in Japan
Hypnotised comes out of the interaction and connections set up between Conneally, the people on the walk, the area walked through and the William Wordsworth poem ‘How Rich That Forehead’s Calm Expanse’.
Wordsworth walked this area many times when he lived with his familly at Coleorton Hall Farm and during his regualr visits to stay with his friend Sir George Beaumont at Coleorton Hall. Wordsworth tells us that the poem was written at Rydal Mount and inspired by a print at Coleorton Hall. Mrs Wordsworth however says that by her recollection the poem was actually written at Coleorton not Rydal Mount.
Paul Conneally is Cultural Forager for Transform Snibston, Snibston Discovery Museum, Coalville, Leicestershire, UK.
SO LOOKED CECILIA
Nita leads us up the bridle path from Hermitage Recreation Ground towards the sound of traffic.
Tells tales of past and present. Of fields to the right that developers want to get their hands on. Of protest groups and petitions.
We reach the kerb. Stephenson College and Coalville to the left.
Nita’s head turns both ways and we follow.
so looked Cecilia when she drew
an angel from his station
across the road
and down Spring Lane
Paul Conneally 2011
From ‘Health Walk’ with Nita Pearson ‘Whitwick to Swannington and Back’ May 2011
So Looked Cecilia is a haibun. Haibun is a Japanese form of prose containing linked verse - usually haiku or tanka - interspesed with or following the prose. During my walks through the area, including this one led by Nita Pearson, I feel close to Wordsworth. He walks with us. He walked extensively all around this place when he lived at Coleorton and at other times when visiting his friend George Beaumont at Coleorton Hall and his son John Wordsworth when he was parson at Whitwick Church, living in what is now The Old Vicarage Residential Home.
So looked Cecilia when she drew
An Angel from his station;
Are from “HOW RICH THAT FOREHEAD’S CALM EXPANSE” by William Wordsworth.
Wordsworth tells us the poem was inspired by a print at Coleorton Hall, North West Leicestershire. Mrs Wordsworth’s impression was that HOW RICH THAT FOREHEAD’S CALM EXPANSE was also written at Coleorton Hall despite William’s note that it was written at Rydal Mount in the Lake District.
Paul Conneally Transform Snibston Cultural Forager
More Ren (Connections) and Notes:
1. Cecilia is a female given name of Latin origin meaning the way for the blind.
2. St. Cecilia is the Patron Saint of Music and St Cecilia’s Feast Day is November 22nd
3. The Benedictine Sisters of Saint Cecilia are a group of women consecrated religious sisters. These women shear the lambs’ wool used to make the palliums of new metropolitan archbishops and the Pope.
Tape Measure Art from Kristina Lahde