Daniel Blanchard: Regarding what poetry does

Jacques-Louis David, Calliope mourning Homer (1812)

For Daniel Blanchard, the second part of an essay that began with the “Crisis of words.

To men who discover the world by looking for a rhyme.

Italo Svevo

Thus, throughout this “crisis of words” – which I evoked in the previous essay – searching blindly beyond what had bitterly appeared to me as illusions of words, fallacies, artificial and abusive constructions, seeking a substance of an elementary language – I would almost have said material – on which I could build, in which I could, in a sense, recognise myself in order to reconstitute myself as a speaking being, I had found poetry – found it anew, recognised it.

But what I then noticed, and what I have continued to see since, is that the practice of the art called poetry, which consists of nothing other than the work of language on itself to rediscover, to re-inhabit, what is deep down, that this practice, therefore, far from being admitted into the circle of common conversation through which women and men talk to each other about their lives, both private and public, is strictly excluded. The very words with which I thought I was proving myself to myself that I had learned to speak again turned out to be inaudible. And it is obvious that today any statement that risks being qualified as poetic produces in this current conversation of members of society not even a silence, or a bafflement, but a blank, a space of insignificance over which flows, without feeling anything, the stream of remarks deemed sensible, that is to say, useful.

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A Global War Regime

Francisco Goya, Los Disparates (1864) – No. 13 – Modo de volar

From Sidecar/New Left Review (09/05/2024), we share the following piece by Michael Hardt and Sandro Mezzadra.

We seem to have entered a period of war without end, extending across the globe and unsettling even the central nodes of the world system. Each contemporary conflict has its own genealogy and stakes, but it is worth taking a step back and placing them in a larger framework. Our hypothesis is that a global war regime is emerging – one in which governance and military administrations are closely intertwined with capitalist structures. To grasp the dynamics of individual wars, and to formulate an adequate project of resistance, it is necessary to understand the contours of this regime.

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The Seattle Anarchists go to Mexico

From the Transmetropolitan Review (06/05/2024).

In the interests of fostering physical media, the full pamphlet is print only.


As it turns out, anarchists can get things wrong. Not only can they get things wrong, they can be dumb shit morons like every other human, but few anarchists got things so wrong as the Italian anarchists of Seattle, the ones who lived there at the start of 1911, over a century ago.

Not all of them got things wrong, mind you, just most of them. So what did they get wrong?, you might be asking. Well, it’s pretty simple, and unfortunately very complicated. In a word, they refused to support the Mexican Revolution, but only after fighting in its opening battles, physically, in real life. What makes this refusal even more shameful is that their reasons were undeniably racist, believing as they did that the indigenous could never mount a successful revolution.

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Ahead of Another Summer of Climate Disasters, Let’s Talk about Real Solutions

From the CrimethInc. collective (08/05/2024) …

In cooperation with Freedom, we present a short text from Peter Gelderloos exploring why the strategies that mainstream environmental movements are currently employing to halt industrially-produced climate change are failing—and what we could be doing instead. For a more detailed engagement with these questions, we recommend Peter’s new book, The Solutions are Already Here: Strategies for Ecological Revolution from Below.*

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Daniel Blanchard: Crisis of words

René Magritte, La clef des songes, 1930

At the social level, when a gigantic corporate, media and political engineering imposes, demands and expropriates at the same time the word, have not the silent majorities been for years an ambivalent black hole that express in their own way resistance against the imperialist occupation of our attention, the imperialist definition of our actuality without us (our problems, our needs)? One has only to listen to how media intellectuals qualify them (their “indifference” can only be a “moral disease”), who would like to see them enlisted on a side, any side rather than none. And how to understand the … revolt, without words, in the French suburbs of November-December 2005? The old spaces of direct communication between presences, composed of proximity, bodies, history and trust, are progressively colonised, mediatised and destroyed (neighborhood, bar, family, union, church). And we know to what extent freedom of speech is indispensable for individual and collective equilibrium. But soon other unnamed spaces open up where “the work of the word” takes its course, where the critical distance between my life and the dominant discourses on the meaning of “life” is elaborated. Breaking the silence can be an outdated slogan when what is fundamental is not the repression of the word and reality, but its total mobilisation in banality, the deafening noise that prevents us from “hearing ourselves speaking, hearing ourselves thinking”.

Amador Fernández-Savater, “Error del Sistema. Notas a Partir de Daniel Blanchard”, Espai en blanc – Tomar la palabra (01/11/2009)

For Daniel Blanchard

1. The word crisis scenario

The world does not allow itself to think because the words we want to use to refer to our reality are those same words that shape us within the space of capital and, in turn, they are those that describe the reality of capital. Capitalism is the scenario and the framework that we cannot erase. Within the space that capital configures, words are used to put this reality to work as if it were obvious, natural, a-historical and eternal. We know all this and we are left without words for two reasons: either the ones we have at our disposal are presented with a given meaning and predetermined by the logic of capital itself (repeating the obvious) or because there are things for which we do not have words.

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For Daniel Blanchard (1934-2024)

I think that radical, revolutionary critical theory is not a science; its purpose is not to provide a comprehensive, neutral account of reality. It is a political act carried out in order to transform the world and seeks to reveal within the real the potentials for positive action (as defined by the theory). Which is not to say that it is devoted to optimism. As far as I am concerned, I undertake the labor of critique (I am not a theoretician; I just take from here and there whatever seems pertinent to me) somewhat as a Pascalian wager: there is no more than one chance in a thousand that a positive transformation of the world will take place, but it is this possibility that interests me, to which I contribute my support and where I grasp my taste for living. I bet on this possibility, without being blind to others.

Daniel Blanchard (from an interview with Amador Fernández-Savater)

For Daniel Blanchard, who died this last week, on the 3rd of May. Essayist, poet, revolutionary, member of the Socialism and Barbarism collective, we mourn his loss, but also celebrate his life and thought.

We share below his programmatic text, co-written with Guy Debord, Preliminaries Toward Defining a Unitary Revolutionary Programme, an interview and a testimonial-obituary by Frédéric Thomas. In a series of future posts, we hope to continue to be able to share some of Daniel Blanchard’s work.

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The Gaza Solidarity Movement

Why the State Can’t Compromise with the Gaza Solidarity Movement, And What That Means for Us

From the CrimethInc. collective (03/05/2024) …

On April 17, students at Columbia University initiated an on-campus encampment in solidarity with Gaza. After the administration called in the New York City police department in a failed attempt to evict the encampment, students across the country established encampments and occupations of their own. In the following analysis, participants in the movement explore the strategic questions it confronts today.

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A B [Cinétract/Film-tract]

Gilles Deleuze, revolution, Palestine and stereoscopy

From Lundi Matin #427, (06/05/2024) …

What follows is an extract from Gilles Deleuze’s Abécédaire/The ABC Primer, over a series of images of stereoscopic photographs of Palestine dating from the 19th century.

We have added below the English translation of this segment (and a little beyond, covering the letter “G as in ‘Gauche’” (Left)) of the Abécédaire, as it appears in the translation of the Deleuze Seminars at Purdue University.

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Leftist rhetoric, leftist despair

From Freedom News (28/04/2024) …

If a contest were held for who publishes the most effective posters in my city, it would undoubtedly go to the Trotskyites because whatever is in the news that week they engage with and their message discipline is characteristically iron. At the top of their posters is the problem, and below that is the cause. They go like this:

Problem: War.
Cause: Capitalism!
Problem: Patriarchy.
Cause: Capitalism!
Problem: Deportations.
Cause: Capitalism!
Problem: Homelessness.
Cause: Capitalism!

Today, there is a proliferation of ‘doomerism,’ exhaustion, burnout, uptightness, depression, and anxiety on the left. Terrible things seem to happen all the time, and our ability to contest them looks weak. But I don’t think this is actually the case. The problem is that the left talks the left out of using its power: it tells itself it cannot make a difference. Weakness begets weakness. People from the outside listen in and hear our misery and can hardly be blamed for avoiding activism. “Don’t want to be like those miserable weirdos”, they probably think. Well, me neither! So, how do we undermine our own fighting spirit, and how can we regain it?

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Ian Alan Paul: Liberal Infernos

Larry Schwarm, Fire (before & after), Lyon County, Kansas, 1992

From Ill Will (27/04/2024) …

The liberal order overseeing and administering the genocide in Palestine is built upon the marriage of egalitarian values and exterminating violence, upon the intimate coupling of supposedly hallowed rights and the hell it unleashes upon the world. Arms must continue to be delivered, just as their use must be denounced and condemned. Demonstrations must be celebrated, just as orders must be given to smother them with tear gas. Everything thus burns twice, as the fuel of liberal politics and the fuel of liberal carnage, feeding an inferno whose fires rage ever more democratically. If there is no need to resolve the formal tension between its abstract ideals and its violent realities, this is because liberalism is the indefinite elaboration of this contradiction. For every sanctified constitution, there is a detention camp that will never close; for every promised equality, there is an economy imposing its cruel hierarchies upon every area of life; for each civic norm, a mob of police marching through the streets drunk on power.

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