(eng)100 Years of Cruelty Conference (Oz)

peter mcgregor (p.mcgregor@uws.edu.au)
Sat, 14 Sep 1996 03:00:20 +1000 (EST)


The following text (graphics & formatting deleted - a hard copy of the
glossy leaflet available upon request) was handed out toniet (black
Friday 13th) at Derrida's session, to the consternation of the conference
organisers. the main graphic used is a reworking of Nancy Burson's Big
Brother - composite of Stalin, Mussioline, Hit,er, Mao & Khomeini -
juxtaposed to the list of events of the last 100 years.
-----
B E Y O N D
C R U E L T Y
ARTAUD CONFERENCE

CONDITIONING : -
WATER + PIPES + FLOOD + SHOCK
-> FREEDOM

Abandon 100 YEARS OF CRUELTY
& three thousand years of darkness,
& embrace 10 days of
insurrectionary violence.

Read all about it in "HOMAGE TO CHIAPAS: AGAINST NEO-LIBERALISM & FOR
HUMANITYS,
this - just published - collaboration by Jacques Derrida, Julia
Kristeva, Sam
Weber, Sylvere, Allen et al (dirt cheap at $10, but Jacques, Julia, Sam
et al
are issuing it gratis/ complimentary to conference participants).

----------------------------------------------
For further info contact ... better still, why not stop wallowing in your

oh-so-vicarious-&-voyeuristic artistic & intellectual pretensions, & go &
join
the Zapatistas (as many - but not Artaud - joined the revolution in Spain
in the
1930s
- see for instance, Orwell's "HOMAGE TO CATALONIA").

ROCK AGAINST CRUELTY
(Saturday October 5)

HOMAGE TO CHIAPAS
a collaboration by Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, Sam Weber, Sylvere
Lotringer, Allen Weiss, et al
- Yes, ALL the conference speakers/performers !
- demonstrating that intellectuals like us can work together for
revolution,
rather than being oh-so-profitably-employed hustling each other for
celebrity
status in the spectacle of ideologies of the merely fragmentary.

Is this conference serious in 'celebrating' cruelty, agony, etc ? What
would
Antonin think ? We wonder how much the push for this conference is a
parasitic
recuperation of Artaud's very life, let alone his push to change life
beyond
cruelty, agony, etc. towards freedom & pleasure.
What do YOU think ? And just who are you ?

authorised by Emiliano Zapata, Lucy Parsons, Buenaventura Durruti, Emmett

Grogan, Karen Elliott, Fabrizio P. Belletati & Subcommandante Marcos et
al

There is a turbulent frontier of subjectivity afflicted by the sickness
of
power. This zone is rife with undying hatreds, inhabited by the gods of
vengeance, the tyranny of envy, the snarls of frustrated desire. Its
corruption
is a marginal one, yet it threatens on every side. It is an interworld.
The interworld is the wasteland of subjectivity. It contains cruelty in
its
starkest form - the cruelty of the cop & the cruelty of the rebel, the
cruelty
of oppression & the cruelty of the poetry of revolt. Resisting
spectacular
co-optation yet never turned to the ends of insurrection, the dreamer's
superior
space-time takes monstrous forms as the norms of individual will are
warped by
the perspective of Power. The growing poverty of everyday life has ended
up by
making it a completely public realm, open to every kind of experiment, an

exposed battlefield between creative spontaneity & its corruption. Being
an
intrepid explorer of the mind, Artaud is able to describe this uncertain
combat
with great clarity:

"The unconscious belongs to me only in dreams, & even there I cannot tell
if
what I see lingering is a form marked for birth or filfth that I have
rejected.
The subconscious is what emerges from the premises of my internal will,
but I am
very unsure as to who reigns there, though I suspect that it is not I,
but
rather a pack of adverse wills which, for reasons unknown to me, think in
me,
but have never had any other thought than that of usurping my very own
place in
my body & in my self. But in my preconscious where all these same adverse
wills
seek to abuse & distract me with their temptations, I can see them
clearly once
I arm myself with my full consciousness: what do I care for all their
harassment, so long as I feel myself THERE ... I thus came to feel that I
must
travel upstream, & delve into my preconscious until I could see myself
evolving
& DESIRING."

And, as Artaud added later, "It was peyote that got me there".
The itinerary of the hermit of Rodez sounds a dire warning. Artaud's
break with
the surrealist movement is significant. He reproached the group for
allying
itself with Bolshevism; for putting itself at the service of a revolution
(a
revolution, be it said, that was caked with the blood of Kronstadt)
instead of
putting the revolution at its own service. Artaud was absolutely right in

attacking surrealism's failure to found its revolutionary coherence on
its most
fruitful demand, on the primacy it accorded subjectivity. But no sooner
had he
made his break than he completely lost himself in solipsistic ravings &
magical
thought. He abandoned all notion of realising subjective will through the

transformation of the world. Instead of externalising what lies within,
he
sought to make it holy, to discover a permanent mythic reality in the
rigid
world of symbols. The only road to this kind of revelation is the road of

impotence. Those who hesitate to cast out the flames that devour them
within can
only burn, can only be themselves consumed in accordance with the laws of

consumption, in ideology's tunic of Nessus. Ideology, be it the ideology
of
drugs, art, psychoanalysis, theosophy or revolution, is the one thing
that never
changes history in the slightest.

The world of imagination is the exact science of possible solutions, not
a
parallel world granted to the mind in compensation for its real failures.
It is
a force destined to bridge the gap between internal & external. A praxis

condemned for now to inaction.
With its phantoms, its obsessions, its outbursts of hate, its sadism, the

interworld is like a cage of wild animals driven mad by their
imprisonment.
Anyone is free to go down there by means of dreams, drugs, alcohol or the

disordering of the senses. Its violence asks only to be freed. A good
climate in
which to steep oneself, if only to reach the consciousness that dances &
kills -
what Norman O. Brown calls the 'Dionysian consciousness'.

The red dawn of riots cannot banish the monstrous creatures of the night.
It
clothes them in light & fire, strewing them across town & countryside.
The new
innocence is baleful dreams becoming reality. Subjectivity cannot
construct
itself without destroying whatever stands in its way; the violence
necessary for
this it draws from the interworld. The new innocence is the clear-sighted

construction of an annihilation.
The most peace-loving of people are haunted by dreams of blood. How hard
it is
to be solicitous towards those whom one cannot kill on the spot; to use
kindness
to disarm those one cannot disarm by force. I have a great debt of hatred

towards those who have very nearly succeeded in enslaving me. How can
hate be
destroyed without destroying its causes ? The barbarity of riots, the
arson, the
people's savagery, all the excesses which terrify bourgeois historians,
are
exactly the right vaccine against the chill atrocity of the forces of
law, order
& hierarchical oppression.
In the new innocence, the interworld suddenly erupts & sweeps oppressive

structures away. The play of pure violence is transcended by the pure
violence
of revolutionary play.
The shock of freedom works miracles. Nothing can withstand it - not
sickness of
mind, not remorse, not guilt, not the sense of importance, not the
brutalisation
produced by the world of Power. When a water pipe broke in Pavlov's
laboratory,
none of the dogs who survived the flood showed the slightest trace of
their long
conditoning. Can the high tide of social upheaval have less effect on
people
than a broken water pipe on dogs ? Reich recommends explosions of anger
for
neurotics with emotional blocks & muscular armouring. This kind of
neurosis is,
I think, particularly widespread today; it is, simply, survival sickness.
And
the most consistent explosion of anger will probably bear a suspicious
resemblance to general insurrection.
Three thousand years of darkness will not withstand ten days of
revolutionary
violence. The reconstruction of society will necessarily entail the
simultaneous
reconstruction of everyone's unconscious.

The revolution of everyday life obliterates the notions of justice, of
punishment, of torture - notions determined by exchange & by the reign of
the
fragmentary. We do not want to be judges but masters without slaves,
rediscovering, beyond the destruction of slavery, a new innocence, a life
of
grace. The point is not to judge the enemy but to destroy him. Whenever
he
liberated a village, Durruti gathered the peasants of the place together
& asked
them to point out the fascists. These he summarily executed. The coming
revolution will do the same. With equanimity. We know that there will be
no-one
to judge us thereafter: judges will be no more, for we shall have eaten
every
last one of them.
The new innocence means the destruction of an order of things which has
never
done more than impede the art of living, & which today threatens what
little
remains of authentic life. I have no need to justify defending my own
freedom.
Not a moment passes without Power's putting me in a posture of legitimate

self-defence. The spontaneous justice of the new innocence is
well-expressed in
this exchange between the anarchist Duval & the cop sent to arrest him.
"Duval, I arrest you in the name of the Law !"
"And I suppress you in the name of freedom !"
Things don't bleed. Those who weigh with the deadweight of things will
die the
death of things. Victor Serge tells how, during the sack of Razoumovskoe,
some
revolutionaries were criticised for smashing some porcelain. Their reply
was:
"We shall smash all the porcelain in the world to change life. You love
things
too much & people too little ... you love people too much as things, &
people as
people you don't love enough." Everything we do not have to destroy
should be
saved: such, in its most succinct form, is our future penal code.


100 YEARS OF CRUELTY
A R T A U D CONFERENCE

WOUNDED KNEE (1890)
DREYFUS/DEVIL'S ISLAND (1894)
QLD. ABORIGINALS' PROTECTION ACT (1897)
KING LEOPOLD'S CONGO (1897)
ST. PETERSBURG (1905)
SUFFRAGETTE HUNGER STRIKES (1913)
ARMENIA (1915)
THE SOMME (1916)
KRONSTADT (1921)
GREAT DEPRESSION (1929)
SOVIET COLLECTIVISATION (1932)
ABYSSINIA (1936)
GUERNICA (1937)
NANKING (1937)
BABI YAR (1941)
DRESDEN (1945)
NAGASAKI (1945)
MARALINGA (1957)
THE GREAT LEAP FORWARD (1958)
SHARPEVILLE (1960)
THALIDOMIDE (1962)
MY LAI (1968)
AMIN'S UGANDA (1971)
PINOCHET'S CHILE (1973)
CHELMSFORD (1973)
KHMER ROUGE (1975)
SABRA & SHATILA (1982)
DILI (1991)
BOSNIA (1992)
RWANDA (1995)

WHATUS THERE TO
C E L E B R A T E ?
.