Bulletin N° 752
Subject : Psychoanalysis & Capitalist Power vs. schizo-analysis & 'democratic socialist' desires . . .
May 17, 2017
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The old adage, "war is the midwife of revolution", circulated widely during the years of the Vietnam War. A generation of students was steeped in this thinking, and for some it had a profound effect, restructuring a good part of their entire character. The process was dialectical, of course, and all of us remained ‘over-encoded’ by the imperialist agenda under which we lived. There was no escaping this writing on your souls; nevertheless we developed certain insights into our lives and our habits of thought, thanks to many critical readings and collective discussions. We were alerted that our would-be leaders could be co-opted or eliminated and our ideas distorted or repressed by the powers that be, in an effort to delay egalitarian changes in the political economy.
Meanwhile, debates held in good faith continued to flourish on campuses and they often produced deeper understandings. Félix Guatarri’s essay, “Psychoanalysis and the Struggle of Desire”, was one of the texts we read and debated. Below is an excerpt from this text, first produced for a conference in Milan, Italy on 7-9 May 1973:
The problem facing the workers’ revolutionary movement is that there is a dislocation between the apparent relations of power at the level of the class struggle and the real desire investment of the mass of the people.
Capitalism exploits the labour capacity of the working class and manipulates the relations of production to its own advantage, but it also insinuates itself into the desire system of those it exploits. The revolutionary struggle cannot therefore be restricted simply to the level of the apparent state of power relations. It must extend to every level of the desiring economy that is contaminated by capitalism (the individual, the couple, the family, the school, the militant group, madness, prisons, homosexuality or whatever).
The objects and methods of the struggle will vary from one level to another. Such aims as ‘Freedom, Peace and Plenty’ demand political organizations that can intervene in the power struggle, that combine forces and constitute blocs. In the nature of things these organizations must be representative, coordinating the struggle and providing it with a strategy and tactics. On the other hand, the struggle against what we may call ‘microscopic fascism’ – the fascism implanted within desiring machines – cannot be carried on via delegates or representatives, by identifiable and unchanging blocs. The face of the enemy is changing all the time: it can be a friend, a colleague, a superior, even oneself. There is never a time when you can be sure you are not going to fall for a politics supporting bureaucracy or privilege, into a paranoiac view of the world, an unconscious collusion with the establishment, an internalization of social repression.
These two struggles need not be mutually exclusive:
- The class struggle, the revolutionary struggle for liberation, involves the existence of war machines capable of standing up to the forces of oppression, which means operating with a degree of centralism, with at least a minimum of coordination;
- The struggle of relation to desire requires collective agencies to produce a continually ongoing analysis, the subversion of every form of power, at every level.
It is surely absurd to hope to overthrow the power of the bourgeoisie by replacing it with a structure that reconstitutes the form of that power. The class struggle in Russia, China and elsewhere has demonstrated that, even after the power of the bourgeoisie has been broken, the form of that power can be reproduced in the State, in the family, even in the ranks of the revolution. How can we prevent centralizing and bureaucratic authority from taking charge of the coordination that is necessarily involved in organizing a revolutionary war? The struggle as a whole must include stages and intermediaries. At the ‘microscopic’ level, what must happen, first of all, is a kind of direct changeover to communism, the abolition of bourgeois power in the sense that the power is embodied in the bureaucrat, the leader or the militant dedicated revolutionary.
Bureaucratic centralism has been introduced permanently into the workers’ movement in imitation of the centralist model of Capital. Capital supervises and over-encodes production by controlling the flow of money and wielding coercive power over production relations in State Monopoly capitalism. There is a similar problem with bureaucratic socialism. But real production does not need this kind of direction in the least – in fact is better without. The major productive machines in industrial societies could manager very well without such centralism. Clearly, a different concept of how production is related both to distribution and consumption, and to training and research, should shatter the hierarchical and despotic powers that prevail within present-day production relations, and give free play to the workers’ capacity for innovation. Evidently, then, the basis of centralism is not economic but political, In the workers’ movement, too, centralism leads to the same sort of sterility. It must be accepted that far more effective and broader struggles could be coordinated away from bureaucratic headquarters, but only if the desiring economy of the workers can be freed from the contamination of the bourgeois subjectivity that makes them the unconscious accomplices of the capitalist technocracy and the bureaucracy of the workers’ movement.
Here we must be careful not to fall into the simplistic trap of saying either ‘democratic’ centralism, or anarchism and spontaneism.
Alternative marginal movements and communities have absolutely nothing to gain by falling into the myth of a return to the pre-technological age, of ‘back to nature’; on the contrary, they have to cope with real society, real sexual and family relationships, with what is happening now. On the other hand, one must recognize that the official workers’ movement has up to now refused to consider how far it may be contaminated by bourgeois power, to consider its own internal corruption. Nor is there at present any scientific discipline that can help it to do so. Neither sociology, or psycho-sociology, not psychology – still less psychoanalysis – has extended Marxism into this area. Freudianism, in the guise of a science sets up as its unquestioned norms the very things that produce bourgeois subjectivation – the myth of a necessary castration of desire, in terms of the Oedipal triangle, a signifying interpretation which tends to isolate the analysis form the realities of its social setting.
I allude to the possibility of abolishing the technocratic centralism: of capitalist production, which would be based on a different understanding of the relationship between production, distribution and consumption on the one hand and production, research and education on the other. This would obviously tend to make a total change in attitudes to work, and especially the split between work recognized as socially useful (recognized as socially useful by capitalism, that is, by the ruling class) and the ‘useless’ work of desire. All of production, whether of commercial value or use value, whether of individual or collective bodies, is under the control of a form of social organization that enforces a certain pattern of social division of labour. The disappearance of capitalist centralism would therefore bring with it a fundamental re-casting of production techniques. Even in a society with highly developed industry and highly developed public information services etc., one can conceive of different production relations that would not be antagonistic to the production of desire, or art, of dreams. In other words, the question is whether or not it is possible to stop seeing use value and exchange value as mutually opposed. The alternative of rejecting all complex forms of production and demanding a return to nature merely reproduces the split between the different forms of production – desiring production and production of recognized social utility.(from Molecular Revolution, pp.62-64)
. . . .
From intensities that might mean many things, we have thus come to invest punitive social values with the promotion of the castration complex. In point of fact, the closing-in of psychoanalysis upon the Oedipal triangle represents a kind of attempt to escape from that drive to abolish desire that leads it almost in spite of itself towards this binary, Manichean perversion. The Oedipus schema was constructed as a barrier to narcissism, to destructive identifications. It seemed to represent a necessary fate of the instincts. But the death instinct comes into begin only at the point when one leaves the sphere of desiring intensities for that of representation. The Oedipal triangle is an attempt – always more or less unsuccessful – to stop the descent into the death instinct. It never really works as a triangle because death, symbolic abolition, libidinal collapse, threatens all three sides of it. In the theatre of the psychoanalytic Grand Guignol, there is always an unhappy ending. . . . .
In short, I should say that, unlike psychoanalysis, schizo-analytic politics would be led to consider that the death instinct is not something that exists in itself, but that it is linked with a certain way of posing the problem of desire in a certain type of society. Desire is unaware of death, of negation, and the tragedies of the familialist Grand Guignol strike it as funny. Since negation is always related to the position of a subject, an object and a reference point, desire, being purely and intensively positive, changes round subjects and objects; it is a flux and intensity. In so far as the subject is bound up with a system of representation, the individual libido finds itself dependent on the capitalist machine which forces it to function in terms of a communication based on dualist systems. The social environment is not made up of objects which pre-existed the individual. The person imprisoned in such bi-polar systems as man/women, child/adult, genital/pre-genital, life/death, etc. has already been subjected to an Oedipalizing reduction of desire to representation. For desire to be expressed in individual terms means that it is already condemned to castration. There exists a totally different notion: the idea of a collective force, a collective direction of libido to parts of the body, groups of individuals, constellations of objects and intensities, machines of every kind – thus bringing desire out of that back-and-forth between the Oedipal triangle and its dissolution in the death instinct, and linking it up with ever-wider possibilities of many different kinds that become ever more open to the social environment.(p.72)
For more on schizo-analysis, see our January 15, 2009 CEIMSA Bulletin 386.
The 19 items below present descriptive materials of the contemporary political-economic debacle of neo-liberalism, that fatally flawed capitalist ideology that refuses to die.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
Why Did the FBI Leak the Comey Memo?
Prof. Robert English, who worked for the U. S. Department of Defense, tells Paul Jay that a deep Russophobia and the interests of the military industrial complex are driving the permanent state to exaggerate the significance of Trump's transgressions so they can torpedo a more rational approach to U.S. Russia relations; that said, Trump and friends financial corruption involving Russian oligarchs may emerge as the real story
Meet your all-white, all-male Senate
by Joan McCarter
All those white men in that picture are reportedly going to be deciding the next round of Trumpcare. While House Republicans were having their Bud Lite and Trump party after the vote Thursday, enough Republican senators were rejecting that bill, meaning this group is going to have to pretty much start from scratch. They are left to right, top to bottom:
A few glaring things, besides the lack of a hue darker than pasty: Texas, Utah, and Wyoming are disproportionately represented, as usual; none of the most vocal detractors of the House bill are present; the only two senators who've put something forward this term—Susan Collins and Bill Cassidy—are notably absent; several of them have said they're not too comfortable with their state losing its Medicaid expansion. But bomb-throwing Ted Cruz is there to represent his peeps, the House Freedom Caucus maniacs who exhorted their wish list out of their spineless colleagues.
Also, what about Jeff Flake (AZ) and Dean Heller (NV)? Those are the two who are genuinely vulnerable in 2018. Might not they get to have a say in the biggest piece of legislation facing them this cycle?
But the main thing? Where are the women? They actually do have six to choose from, so even if they didn't pick those radicals Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who think Planned Parenthood is kind of important for women's health, didn't it occur to them that having one woman might be smart? Since they're deciding things like whether rape or domestic violence or having ovaries are going to be pre-existing conditions?
Third Mysterious Death of a Black Ferguson Activist
Edward Crawford is the third mysterious death of a young Black activist man in Ferguson over the past three years. Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report argues that this cannot be a coincidence
5 Types of Bullsh*t Jobs with David Graeber
BANNED INTERVIEW with George Bush Jr. US President
Washington is Leading the U.S. and its Vassal States to Total Destruction
by Paul Craig Roberts
“The problem is that the world has listened to Americans for far too bloody long.” — Dr. Julian Osborne, from the 2000 film version of Nevil Shute’s 1957 book, On the Beach
A reader asked why neoconservatives push toward nuclear war when there can be no winners. If all die, what is the point?
The answer is that the neoconservatives believe that the US can win at minimum and perhaps zero damage.
Their insane plan is as follows: Washington will ring Russia and China with anti-ballistic missile bases in order to provide a shield against a retaliatory strike from Russia and China. Moreover, these US anti-ABM bases also can deploy nuclear attack missiles unknown to Russia and China, thus reducing the warning time to five minutes, leaving Washington’s victims little or no time in which to make a decision.
Who Is Destroying Syria?
by Philip Giraldi
Arab Gulf States, Israel, and Turkey all prefer anarchy to Assad.
The United Nations Charter, to which all member states are signatories and which prevails over all other treaties and agreements, states that the organization is obligated to “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression” and to take military and nonmilitary action to “restore international peace and security.”
The justices at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 concluded that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
The U.S. Constitution’s Article I states that only Congress has the authority to declare war, with the understanding that, per Article II, the president is empowered to respond to a “sudden” or imminent threat only if there is no time to pass such a declaration. An Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) amended in 2016 grants the president blanket authority to respond militarily to threats against the United States, but only if they originated with al-Qaeda and “associated forces.”
So how is it that on April 6 the United States attacked a fellow member state in the United Nations that has an internationally recognized sovereign government?
The Universal Lesson of East Timor
by John Pilger
East Timor was the greatest crime of the late 20th century.
Filming undercover in East Timor in 1993 I followed a landscape of crosses: great black crosses etched against the sky, crosses on peaks, crosses marching down the hillsides, crosses beside the road. They littered the earth and crowded the eye.
The inscriptions on the crosses revealed the extinction of whole families, wiped out in the space of a year, a month, a day. Village after village stood as memorials.
Kraras is one such village. Known as the "village of the widows", the population of 287 people was murdered by Indonesian troops.
Using a typewriter with a faded ribbon, a local priest had recorded the name, age, cause of death and date of the killing of every victim. In the last column, he identified the Indonesian battalion responsible for each murder. It was evidence of genocide.
I still have this document, which I find difficult to put down, as if the blood of East Timor is fresh on its pages.
From: United for Peace & Justice
Sent: Saturday, 6 May, 2017
Subject: No to NATO, No to War! RSVP for an Important Call w/ Int'l Allies
Emmanuel Clinton and the Revolt of the Elites
by Pepe Escobar
So in the end the West was saved by the election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France: relief in Brussels, a buoyant eurozone, rallies in Asian markets.
That was always a no-brainer. After all, Macron was endorsed by the EU, Goddess of the Market, and Barack Obama. And he was fully backed by the French ruling class.
This was a referendum on the EU – and the EU, in its current set-up, won.
Cyberwar had to be part of the picture. No one knows where the MacronLeaks came from – a last minute, massive online dump of Macron campaign hacked emails. WikiLeaks certified the documents it had time to review as legitimate.
That did not stop the Macron galaxy from immediately blaming it on Russia. Le Monde, a once-great paper now owned by three influential Macron backers, faithfully mirrored his campaign’s denunciation of RT and Sputnik, information technology attacks and, in general, the interference of Russia in the elections.
The Macron Russophobia in the French media-sphere also happens to include Liberation, once the paper of Jean-Paul Sartre. Edouard de Rothschild, the previous head of Rothschild & Cie Banque, bought a 37% controlling stake in the paper in 2005. Three years later, an unknown Emmanuel Macron started to rise in the mergers and acquisitions department, soon acquiring a reputation as “the Mozart of finance.”
by PAUL STREET
As liberal Democrats for the most part, United States historians have no doubt been having a field day with Donald Trump’s recently reported clueless comments on United States history. The president’s moronic take on the nation’s past was front-page news last Tuesday in liberals’ and academics’ favorite newspaper, The New York Times. Times reporters Peter Baker and Jonah Engel Bromwich told readers about Trump’s historical idiocy,
seen in the president’s:
· Suggestion that Andrew Jackson had been “really angry”about the Civil War, which did not break out until 16 years after his death.
· Assertion that the Civil War could have been prevented by smart policymakers who should have just gotten together and cut a deal.
· Apparent belief that the great 19th century Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass is still alive.
· Apparent surprise at learning that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.
· Putting up a golf course plaque marking a Civil War battle that never happened.
The ahistorical discourse of delusion out of Washington, D.C.
I’ve sent this out before, but I’m insisting on it for those who haven’t had time, because it expresses so well the liberal mindset that prevails in Washington and beyond, relentlessly condemning Russia as “the enemy, trying to destroy our democracy, which protects the whole world", in order to impeach Trump. My opinion is that they will eventually succeed, because they are slick and Trump is bumpity, and they have big money, the media and the military industrial complex behind them, and they have sold their soul to the neocons. This exchange reveals the total moral and intellectual corruption of the liberal intelligentsia.
Memory Loss in the Garden of Violence
by John Dower
Americans Remember (and Forget) Their Wars
Some years ago, a newspaper article credited a European visitor with the wry observation that Americans are charming because they have such short memories. When it comes to the nation’s wars, however, he was not entirely on target. Americans embrace military histories of the heroic “band of [American] brothers” sort, especially involving World War II. They possess a seemingly boundless appetite for retellings of the Civil War, far and away the country’s most devastating conflict where American war deaths are concerned.
How Information Is Controlled by Washington, Israel, and Trolls, Leading to Our Destruction
by Paul Craig Roberts
Will Russia and China accept the hegemony of this evil or will they not? It is a very serious matter that Washington
has convinced the Russian and Chinese governments that Washington is preparing a preemptive nuclear strike against them. This is extremely serious, not something for narcissists and trolls to play with.
For all who ask what to do, the answer is to speak out strongly against Washington for risking all life by convincing Russia and China that Washington is preparing to nuke them. To understand how dire the situation is, ask yourself why you hear no protests against such provocation of Russia and China from the West’s print and TV media, from the US Senate, from the House of Representatives, from European political leaders, from hardly anyone.
The absence of protest tells the Russians and Chinese that the American Empire is OK with the preemptive attack. Where is Merkel’s voice? Where is May’s? Where is any leader’s voice?
The absence of protest voices tells Russia and China that the die is cast.
The Deep State and the Boomerang Effect
by Jerry Kroth, Ph.D.
Academic psychology does not rank high on solutions to international crises, but it does have a concept worthy of our attention, “reactance” or the boomerang effect.
It means that the more you push in one direction, the more the opposite result occurs as a powerful form blowback. The greater the sanctions on North Korea to stop its nuclear program, for example, the more rapidly it develops its weapons, and the further grows the range of its ballistic missiles. The more the U.S. tries to decapitate Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the more Al-Qaeda storefronts open in over 14 countries from Uganda to Uzbekistan.
The more you push forward, the greater the pushback. It is curious how mainstream media wonks on Meet the Press or Face The Nation rarely venture into this terrain. For one thing, there is almost no discussion of Israel’s nuclear cruise missiles on three submarines stationed off the coast of Iran. They patrol 24-7, and they can reach any target in Iran in a matter of minutes. Corporate media censorship on this issue is absolute and ironclad. How can one talk about Iran’s development of nuclear weapons—as a boomerang reaction to Israel’s constant nuclear threat—if there is no permissible discussion of Israel’s nuclear threat in the first instance? And there isn’t.
So our punditocracy obsessively blathers about the myriad dangers facing the United States with little interest in how many of these external threats are actually boomerang reactions to our own behavior.
MAY 9, 2017
Donald Trump’s Firing of James Comey
Donald in Wonderland
with Jeremy Scahill
THIS WEEK ON INTERCEPTED, an ex-CIA analyst and a former FBI counterorism agent say they fear that a terror attack against the U.S. could result in a coup for the radical ideologues in the Trump White House. As Trump continues to promote his alternative facts, Nada Bakos and Clint Watts explain how Trump’s administration could use Dick Cheney’s model of “alternative intelligence” to justify dangerous military actions. Immigrant communities across the U.S. are facing a dramatic uptick in raids as part of Trump’s pledge to deport millions while Attorney General Jeff Sessions cancels the Obama-era order to end the use of private prisons. Shane Bauer of Mother Jones worked as a private prison guard and breaks down the connections between the raids and soaring private prison profits. Intercept reporter Ryan Devereaux discusses his investigations into the Department of Homeland Security and the White House plans for mass deportations. Trump’s insane adviser, Sebastian Gorka, hangs out with Alice in Wonderland. And an Intercepted exclusive: the world premiere of the new song “Fake News” by the acclaimed Iraqi-Canadian hip-hop artist, Narcy. We bet you never thought you’d hear Steve Bannon’s name rapped in auto-tune.
I attended a meeting in Moscow on Friday with Vladimir Kozin, longtime member of Russia’s foreign service, advisor to the government, author, and advocate for arms reduction. He handed out the list of 16 unresolved problems above. While he noted that the United States funds NGOs in Russia, as well as Ukraine, to influence elections, and described that as a reality in contrast to U.S. stories of Russia trying to influence a U.S. election, which he called a fairy tale, the topic did not make the top-16 list.
Germany and NATO: Preparing for a “Fascist Repression”
by Peter Koenig
While Washington is in turmoil, Trump’s firing of FBI’s Director Comey being hailed by some, condemned by others and questioned with innuendo by yet another group of critics, it looks like the U-turn The Donald has supposedly made a few weeks ago, is fizzling out – into a cloud of confusion and chaos. And who are the beneficiaries of this chaos? – The Neocon-Zion-Democrats, who else?
From Bill Maher to Sigmund Freud, a Very Unfunny Look at the Enduring Politics of Hate
by Bill Blum