Electronic Music Experimental Hauntology Philosophy

Ruptures In The Fabric Of Everyday Life

So many dreams of collectivity have died in neoliberal London.

Now they are incarcerated in hospitals, or languishing in the gutter.

‘territories of commerce and control’.

Once those spaces are enclosed, practically all of the city’s energy is put into paying the mortgage or the rent. There’s no time to experiment, to journey without already knowing where you will end up. Your aims and objectives have to be stated up front. ‘Free time’ becomes convalescence. You turn to what reassures you, what will most refresh you for the working day: the old familiar tunes (or what sound like them). London becomes a city of pinched-face drones plugged into iPods.

No Pedestrian Access To Shopping Centre.

a bombed-out city, full of chasms, caverns, spaces that could be temporarily occupied and squatted.

The struggle here is not only over the (historical) direction of time but over different uses of time.

The whole city is forced into a gigantic simulation of activity, a fantacism of productivism in which nothing much is actually produced, an economy made out of hot air and bland delirium.

The eroticism here is not primarily to do with sexuality,

Fugitive time, lost afternoons, conversations that dilate and drift like smoke, walks that have no particular direction and go on for hours, free parties in old industrial spaces, still reverberating days later.

the city as a site for drift and daydreams, a labyrinth of side streets and spaces resistant to the process of gentrification and ‘development’ set to culminate in the miserable hyper-spectacle.

Cool Britannia. Old joke. ‘Space’ becomes the over arching commodity. Notting Hill. New Age cranks peddling expensive junk. Homeopathy and boutiques, angel cards and crystal healing.

ruptures in the fabric of everyday life.’

A new kind of human being was supposed to live here, but that all had to be cleared away so that the restoration could begin.

Haunting is about a staining of place with particularly intense moments of time,

trapped inside the drearily glossy spaces imagined by advertising and regeneration propaganda, sometimes free to drift.

Perhaps it is here that the space can be opened up to forge a collective resistance to this neo liberal expansion, to the endless proliferation of banalities and the homogenising effects of globalisation. Here in the burnt out shopping arcades, the boarded up precincts, the lost citadels of consumerism one might find the truth, new territories might be opened, there might be a rupturing of this collective amnesia.

Words by Mark Fisher &/or Laura Oldfield Ford

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Philosophy Politics

Momentum, autonomy & censorship

I feel as if the Black Lives Matter protests have started to make some real advances in a relatively short period of time. This is the third week of protests & so far, for the first time in history, the defunding, demilitarisation & eventual disbanding of the police has entered mainstream political discourse. Several states have agreed to it in some form, even if not completely. The main thing is that it’s currently being negotiated & that would have been unthinkable a few short weeks ago.

Another positive step taken in this last week is the widespread disgust at statuary of rich, white men who participated in, & became rich from, the Transatlantic Save Trade. Confederate statues across the states were either torn down or defaced by protesters or removed by concessions made by local authorities. On Monday, the statue in Bristol, UK, of vicious slave trader (& Tory MP) Edward Colston was pulled down by protesters, defaced & thrown into the river. Across Europe more statuary was taken away by local authorities, who finally acknowledged the offensive & insulting presence these monuments to brutality had in the first place. Right-Wing freaks & headbangers waste no time accusing protesters of “erasing history.” You can’t help but wonder where their love of history was when the Tories were closing Libraries & Schools, defunding museums & generally wreaking havoc with our societies cultural fabric.

We’ve also seen the debate about the legitimacy of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill as a figure of worship. This came about after some protesters sprayed “was a racist” beneath his name on a statue of him. Many on the right worship him & attribute defeating Nazi Germany directly to him. There is also a mass cognitive dissonance in people saying things like: “I know he was a racist but he was still a great man.” When speaking to rational people, this is easily countered with teaching about the many failures (Gallipoli) & war crimes (Bengal Genocide, Black & Tans etc.) he was responsible for. Another common counter is that Alan Turing should be the one worshipped this way, & perhaps the Churchill statues should be replaced with Turing states.

Back in the States, the sport of NASCAR announced that it would be banning the Confederate flag from its events. This is the flag flown by soldiers fighting to the death for the right to profit from human misery. The flag of a defeated upstart nation which failed to survive past its formation. A failed nation. A flag of failure. Racist fans, & even drivers, came out on social media decrying the decision. “Well done for ruining the sport,” said the detractors. Well, fuck them. They’re racist.

One of the most exciting developments is the formation of Free Capitol Hill, or the Seattle Autonomous Zone. After ten days of clashes with protesters, the Seattle PD abandoned their East Precinct & quit their barricades around the neighbouring streets. Protesters wasted no time in turning around & reinforcing the barricades, closing off a large area in the heart of Seattle & declaring it the Seattle Autonomous Zone. We are a few days into this now & it is unclear how it is going to pan out, but so far it has remained peaceful & communal. Trump has made some rumblings on Twitter, but WA Governor Jay Inslee told him, figuratively, to fuck off. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also told Trump to “go back to your bunker.”

This situation is obviously on a knife edge & no one is quite sure how it is going to be resolved but the protesters in the Autonomous Zone are, according to The New York Times, in talks with the Mayor. Its a beautiful omen, & more than a coincidence, that it has remained peaceful since the Police have left the protesters alone.

The final point I wanted to make is about the various TV programs & movies which have been removed from streaming services over racist or racially insensitive material. The reactionary right-wing, & so called liberals, have erupted in apoplectic fury at this. Screams of “freedom of expression”, “free speech” & “Stalinist censorship” have reverberated around social media. Going under the block were the slavery glorifying Gone With The Wind, & several British comedy shows which have used blackface insensitively. Raging right-wingers & closet racists are demanding, literally demanding, to be told why the blackface in unfunny sketch show Little Britain is racist but the comedy movie White Chicks (which features two black actors playing undercover cops disguised as white ladies) isn’t. Never mind that the show’s creators have admitted to the insensitivity & stand by the decision to pull the programs. I’m hearing that League Of Gentlemen & The Mighty Boosh have also been pulled.

An overlooked issue with this is the right-wing complainants sense of entitlement. They have become so used to having what they want to watch at their fingertips, at the push of a button, for so long that they’ve become incandescent with fury over this decision. Questions of censorship & freedom of expression are moot unless you completely disregard the streaming services right to choose what they do & don’t want on their services. These streaming services regularly rotate shows out of their lineups anyway, so there was no guarantee that any one show would be available to stream permanently. Suck it up, act like an adult & watch something else. If you absolutely must watch Little Britain, buy it on fucking DVD, you entitled pricks.

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Philosophy Politics

The Paradox Of Tolerance & Misinterpreting Freedom Of Speech

I’ve been seeing & participating in a lot of conversations recently which often accuse people on the left (often myself) of being intolerant when we call out people whose views we disagree with.

Many of these conversations will eventually boil down to the catchphrase “so much for the tolerant left”. I think it’s necessary to explain people who have that mindset that, as per the cartoon infographic above, tolerance of the intolerant is dangerous & even leads to the “extinction f tolerance”.

Furthermore, as Enrique Dans explains below, freedom of speech does not protect intolerant speech against anything other than prosecution for saying what you want. Private companies like Facebook, Twitter & YouTube are not bound by this. If you have content censored on one of these platforms the you have no legal recourse. The companies do not have to provide you a platform for your intolerant views.

Even in a country where the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, we should remember that this doesn’t mean anybody is obliged to listen to it, provide a platform for it, or be tolerant of intolerance. If, because of what you think or say, other people ignore, insult or exclude you, that’s your problem, not the state’s.

Enrique Dans
, Facebook Grapples With The Paradox Of Tolerance

Recently, impeached president Donald Trump has fallen foul of his misinterpretation of Freedom Of Speech when Twitter have added Fact Check warnings to one Tweet & flagged him for glorifying violence on another. These Trump Tweets broke the platforms community guidelines & were therefore challenged. Trump’s response to this was to declare social media companies instruments of the “far-left” & to threaten them with state intervention. Obviously this would be akin right-wing claims of state intervention in socialist countries. I wonder if his followers have noticed that?

In fact, no private individual is bound by law allow intolerant views to be aired unchallenged. It is our duty, as tolerant people (as paradoxical as it seems) to be intolerant of the intolerant. We must call out, boycott & where possible de-platform all far-right & far-right tolerant views we see.

xkcd Webcomic

My thoughts on this came about as a result of a couple of conversations I have had on Facebook with friends who I respect. We were discussing Krist Novoselic’s recent Tweets in support of Trump. I had posted a link to an article with the comment “Never thought I’d write this sentence but fuck Krist Novoselic”. Part of the conversation included my friend saying that “you cannot fight fascism with a ban on […] someone whose beliefs don’t align with your own.” Obviously I know this & don’t believe that is what I was doing. I was exercising my own freedom of expression to call out intolerance as & where I saw it. I was, per the webcomic above, calling Novoselic an asshole & showing him the door.

There is one other small thing to bear in mind too. Not everyone who shares these intolerant views is doing so out of malice. They are pervasive & often dressed up in reasonable & logical sounding language. This will nearly always crumble to nothing if subjected to even the slightest critical analysis. We need to remember though, that not everyone has been taught the critical analysis skills that many of us take for granted. Day 1 of University level study taught me ways to analyse the veracity of content found online as well as general critical analysis of evidence you’ll be using to back up what you say in your academic writing. This has become second nature to me (even though I sometimes slip up) & I have caught myself taking these taught skills for granted in discussions with people who haven’t being taught it. This can make me come across as a bit of an arsehole & I am trying to be better.

Here’s some good advice for spotting fake news.

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