What is important right now is to twirl in a cheerful danse macabre on the grave of bourgeois enjoyment.
A speculative, provocative and experimental intervention, from Eukariot (Issue 1) …
Firm Statements (Soon To Be Proven Wrong)
– There are, perhaps, two initial challenges that an anti-bourgeois experiment faces: first, the participants need to learn how to enjoy failing in the bourgeois Olympics and to stop running after the tin medals that, once pinned into our flesh by various authorities, promise us their eternal respect and love. This failure involves learning how to enjoy the discomfort of being a disappointment to mom and dad, teachers, sergeants and bosses, to God, the superego, the prime minister, to “people” and the laws of Nature. The bourgeois world makes a lot of seductive offers – protection, recognition, tenderness, copulation, uniqueness, the status of rebel, a pat on the back, a diploma to hang around our necks or therapy. But bourgeois comfort comes at a price too high to pay; we need to cut its throat.
– Second, and potentially harder, is acknowledging that our great political aims, our fantasies of truth, fullness, peace and harmony, of the revolution that will purify and perfect us, of the harmonious collective, will fail. These fantasies are as impossible to fulfill as they are to abandon. As modern Western subjects we have limited resources, abilities and potentialities. We are a checker board of anxiety nodes; our lifelines are attached to a complex of governing apparatuses that we are unprepared and reluctant to disturb. Consequently, we accept that we might need a political fantasy that verges on the metaphysical in order to engage in risky activities. This fantasy functions as a shining light that might be a lure, but still gives us some direction. Or as an amulet, offering us the illusion of protection while we de-occupy spaces, build collectives and stick pieces of scrap iron in the mechanisms that provide us with being, comfort and enjoyment.
– Currently most of our political inventions follow rules laid down by a few European men and women from past centuries; the only thing that these tired rules can stimulate is the compulsive pleasure of the political ritual. Following these rituals makes easy our attentive policing by a bourgeois order that has long ago learned how to re-signify our games, how to make them irrelevant or impracticable. We might still be ahead of our adversary at the level of structural analysis (are we?), but the bourgeois order, despite its rudimentary logic, prevails at the level of tactical and strategic struggle.
– Alarmingly, it seems that today the survival of many of our groups and practices depends on the enemy’s ability – what we generically call the State, capitalism, bourgeois order, colonialism, patriarchy, heterosexism, fascism and so on – to keep up its brutal practices. By this I mean that most of our resistances come from a reactionary position, reacting to the events created by liberal-capitalism. We engage in struggles that have already been lost several times in the past so that we can shout truths from the cross to an absent public. And we ignore that stubbornly repeating these customary practices makes us points of support and vessels of power, a part of the system of pipes through which bourgeois enjoyment circulates.
– We have stopped experimenting with assembling and disassembling different life-forms and economies of enjoyment, away from the lurid semantics of bourgeois pleasure. We do not work towards inventing and building our own fantasies and worlds. We sit tight in the lairs that we’ve dug for ourselves within the bourgeois world, scavenging leftovers from the libidinal forage they feed their flock with: a concentrated spec(tac)ular mix of submission to authority, (self) humiliation, terror, war, revenge, jealousy, camps, murder, torture and death, packaged in the multi-coloured tin foil of “entertainment”, “education”, “success” or “progress”. At the light of organic wax candles we obsessively scan the news, gorging on the latest disaster, commenting, critiquing, shouting outrage, calling for justice, organising protests or aid missions. It is this placidity that we nowadays call “activism”. I have come to the strange conclusion that I am really bored with critique. Wow, what a devastating point for a “radical”, isn’t it, since what we enjoy most is critiquing, assiduously looking for the next disaster so that we can indulge in this sado-narcissistic pleasure? But critiquing is now irrelevant: we have all the critiques we need. Critique keeps us attached to the world of the enemy, glued to the window of fantasy through which we watch its exploits, seduced by the governing dispositifs we so carefully survey from behind our twitchy curtains; it keeps us in a libidinal relationship with the bourgeois world, often one where our spite hides desire and admiration. We need to start something else, start demolishing, start building, in all registers of reality. A much more daunting and serious matter, one that will get our hands dirty with the contradictions and compromises of each other’s enjoyment; one that can aspire to no purity or resolution, no bird’s eye view; and all this without guaranteeing the enjoyment that critique provides.
-The pleasure that we take in these reactionary politics signals our dependence on the recognition of bourgeois authorities: we still place ourselves on a stage for the gaze of the Father, we still enjoy transgressing his prohibitions so as to get a reaction from him, so that he notices us. How many of us would lose their reason to be if these prohibitions were lifted? But the point is not simply to transgress or to critique; the point is not simply to lift the prohibition. The point is to stop enjoying that which the prohibition prohibits, since the purpose of prohibition is just that: to stimulate our desire for the bourgeois law, even if it is the desire to break it. As long as we critique the bourgeois world rather than inventing our own we are still in love with it.