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HITLER IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Video spoofs ‘Nazi’ library cuts

The Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 2nd March, 2011, p.5

By Daily Telegraph Reporter

A video posted on the internet that compares a county council to Nazi Germany for making cuts to libraries has been condemned as “sickening”.

The spoof clip, which was uploaded to the YouTube website, shows Adolf Hitler in his bunker with sub-titles of him supposedly ranting about opposition to spending cuts in Gloucestershire.

One councillor, Philip Booth, was criticised by the Tory county council leader, Mark Hawthorne, for describing the video as “great stuff”. Mr Hawthorne said: “I am always disgusted when idiots try to use Hitler, Nazism and the Holocaust to score political points. To see this branded ‘great stuff is sickening.”

Mr Booth, from the Green Party, defended the clip, which is from the 2004 film Downfall, which depicts Hitler’s last days. “I think it has come out of the frustration of library campaigners that they haven’t been listened to,” he said. “I apologise if anyone has taken offence.”

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You can see the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAMRCY55lnQ

The Daily Telegraph, ironically, has listed the video as one of its top spoof videos!

The article online: http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx

Philip Booth’s blog, Ruscombe Green is at: http://ruscombegreen.blogspot.com/ It was voted 11th best blog in the Total Politics Top 30 Councillor Blog national poll for 2010. It was also voted 10th in the Green Blog poll for Total Politics in 2010.

Report on the issue in This is Gloucestershire, ‘Man behind Youtube Hitler spoof video stands by library message’, at: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Man-Hitler-video-stands-library-message/article-3281693-detail/article.html See also: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/news/Political-row-Hitler-library-video/article-3275999-detail/article.html  

Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries (FoGL): http://foclibrary.wordpress.com/

Friends of Minchinhampton Library: http://friendsofminchinhamptonlibrary.wordpress.com/

See also the ‘Hitler Versus Library Campaigners’ video, by Phil Bradley at the Use Libraries and Learn Stuff blog: http://use-libraries-and-learn-stuff.blogspot.com/2011/02/hitler-attempts-to-close-libraries.html  

Book Burning: http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005852

Heinrich Heine on Burning Books: http://atheism.about.com/od/weeklyquotes/a/heine01.htm

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Richard Wagner

FIVE LESSONS ON WAGNER

By ALAIN BADIOU

Published 8th November 2010

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Featuring an extensive afterword by SLAVOJ ZIZEK

Translated by SUSAN SPITZER

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PRAISE FOR ALAIN BADIOU:

“A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!” Slavoj Zizek

“An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser” NEW STATESMAN http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/02/sarkozy-france-badiou-french

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For over a century, Richard Wagner’s music has been the subject of intense debate among philosophers, many of whom have attacked its ideological—some say racist and reactionary—underpinnings. In this major new work, Alain Badiou, radical philosopher and keen Wagner enthusiast, offers a detailed reading of the critical responses to the composer’s work, which include Adorno’s writings on the composer and Wagner’s recuperation by Nazism as well as more recent readings by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and others. Slavoj Zizek provides an afterword, and both philosophers make a passionate case for re-examining the relevance of Wagner to the contemporary world.

As the first example of a “mass art”, Wagner’s operas are portrayed as a forerunner to David Bowie and gangster rap, promoting a “terrorist function” of music that breaks down the boundaries between high and low culture.

Wagner’s crucial role in the thinking of Nietzsche, Adorno and Heidegger leads Badiou to posit the composer as the “litmus test” for the role of music in philosophy. Whilst these philosophers tended to criticize Wagner’s attempt to marry nationalism and art as “proto-fascist”, Badiou vigorously defends the positive energy of Wagner’s “enthralling, alluring, deceptive, hysterical, shimmering, seductive, sexual musical edifice.”

Badiou argues that “musicolatry” has replaced idolatry in contemporary society as music plays an increasingly important role in how we define ourselves. Youth culture identifies with music more than any other art form, festivals have created a new type of sociability, and the music industry is a billion dollar enterprise.

In a surprising conclusion, Badiou responds to the criticisms of Wagner by suggesting that the composer represents the possibility for a coming resurrection of high art. This new artistic “greatness” will embrace multiplicity, revel in possibility, tolerate subjective differences, dispense with resolutions and allow endless formal transformations. Badiou forecasts a high art which embraces postmodernism, rather then being destroyed by it and which, instead of focusing on nationalist nostalgia, sees Wagner as preparing the way for future artistic celebrations.

In Slavoj Žižek’s comprehensive 60 page afterword, “the most dangerous philosopher in the West” applies his usual brand of acute anecdotal evidence and astounding critical insight to turn perceived notions of Wagner’s Christianity on their head, comparing Parsifal to the pagan triumph of Lord of the Rings as opposed to the “failure” of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.

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ALAIN BADIOU teaches philosophy at the Ecole normale superieure and the College international de philosophie in Paris . In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including THEORY OF THE SUBJECT, BEING AND EVENT, MANIFESTO FOR PHILOSOPHY, and GILLES DELEUZE. His five recent books THE COMMUNIST HYPOTHESIS, THE MEANING OF SARKOZY, ETHICS, METAPOLITICS and POLEMICS are available from Verso.

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PRAISE FOR THE MEANING OF SARKOZY:

“An enjoyably bilious essay” THE GUARDIAN http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/feb/06/alain-badiou-meaning-of-sarkozy

“As the recession worsens and social unrest increases apace, there is every likelihood that the ‘communist hypothesis’ will re-emerge to capture the political imagination.” Michael Cronin, IRISH TIMES http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0225/1224241762583.html

“Compared to Guy Debord’s prophetic 1967 masterpiece, THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE… a thundering, rallying tirade.” Lucy Wadham, NEW STATESMAN http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/02/sarkozy-france-badiou-french

 “Strangely compelling.” THE OBSERVER http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/01/nicolas-sarkozy-politics

 “Badiou’s concluding, rousing call for an emboldened left to rediscover and reassert ‘the communist hypothesis’ through new kinds of thought and collective action can’t be dismissed as the pipe dreams of an old militant any more.” Mark Fisher, FRIEZE — http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/the_meaning_of_sarkozy/

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 ISBN: 978 1 84467 481 7 / US$26.95 / £16.99 / CAN$33.50/ 256 pages

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 For more information and to buy the book visit http://www.versobooks.com/books/530-530-five-lessons-on-wagner

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Visit Verso’s all-new website for blog updates, information on our upcoming events, news, reviews, publications and special offers: http://www.versobooks.com

Become a fan of Verso on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Verso-Books-UK/122064538789

 And get updates on Twitter too! http://twitter.com/VersoBooksUK

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Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Crisis Sublime

SPRING AUTHOR EVENTS AT BOOKMARKS

Bookmarks Bookshop is pleased to announce our Spring 2010 programme of author events. Most events are free to attend. You can have a glass of wine, listen to the authors introduce their books, and ask questions. Afterwards, you can browse our selection of radical books, DVDs, t-shirts, gifts and cards. To book a place at any of the events below,  email: events@bookmarks.uk.com

The Imperial Controversy: Challenging the Empire Apologists, by Andrew Murray (Chair of Stop the War Coalition), Tuesday 20 April 6.30pm, Free.
Andrew Murray meticulously uncovers the intimate links between the war on terror and the history of empire, between colonialism and Nazism, between the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq and Britain’s bloody imperial record – and shows why the cheerleaders for today’s western military interventions now want to rehabilitate it. (Seumas Milne)

My Father Was a Freedom Fighter
Ramzy Baroud
Friday 23 April, 6.30pm, Free
Ramzy Baroud’s new book provides a deeply personal account of his family’s experiences, across three generations, of the theft and occupation of Palestine by the Israeli state. The book places Baroud’s experiences within the context of the broader political events of the conflict, in such a stark and moving way that this account evokes an understanding of what it is to be a Palestinian in a Gazan refugee camp.

The Enigma of Capital: And the Crisis of Capitalism/Companion to Capital
David Harvey
Tuesday 27 April, 6.30pm, Free
Capitalism will never fall on its own. It will have to be pushed. The accumulation of capital will never cease. It will have to be stopped. The capitalist class will never willingly surrender its power. It will have to be dispossessed. David Harvey is the world’s most cited academic geographer and his course on Marx’s Capital has been downloaded by well over 250,000 people since mid-2008.

Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists
Danny Dorling
Monday 10 May , 6.30pm, Free
“Beliefs which serve privilege, elitism and inequality, infect our minds like computer viruses. But now Dorling provides the brain-cleaning software we need to begin creating a happier society.” Richard Wilkinson author of “The Spirit Level”

Night of the Golden Butterfly
Tariq Ali
Wed 12 May, 7.30pm, £4/£2 concessions
Political campaigner, novelist and historian Tariq Ali will be talking about the fifth and concluding book in the Islam Quintet. Bloomsbury Church, 235 Shaftesbury Ave, WC2H 8EP, 2 minutes from Bookmarks

Bonfire of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World
Alex Callinicos
Tuesday 18 May, 6.30pm, Free
The crisis of 2007–9 is an event of historic importance that has affected economy, society and politics. Callinicos analyses its causes within the broader development of capitalism in recent decades. Particularly relevant is his stress on ‘financialisation’ as well as the implications he draws regarding the balance of imperial power across the world.

Bookmarks: The Socialist Bookshop
http://www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk
1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE
020 7637 1848

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Gilles Deleuze

Gilles Deleuze

DELEUZE & RACE

 

Jason Adams

While the relevance of Gilles Deleuze for a materialist feminism has been amply demonstrated in the last two decades or so, what this key philosopher of difference and desire can do for the theorization of race and racism has received surprisingly little attention. This is despite the explicit formulation of a materialist theory of race as instantiated in colonization, sensation, capitalism and culture, particularly in Deleuze’s collaborative work with Félix Guattari.

Part of the explanation of why there has been a relative silence on Deleuze within critical race and colonial studies is that the philosophical impetus for overcoming eugenics and nationalism have for decades been anchored in the conventional readings of Kant and Hegel, which Deleuze laboured to displace. Through the vocabularies of psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and moral philosophy, even the more sophisticated theorizations of race today continue the neo-Kantian/neo-Hegelian programme of retrieving a cosmopolitan universality beneath the ostensibly inconsequential differences called race.

Opposing this idealism, Deleuze instead asks whether the conceptual basis for this program, however commendable, does not foreclose its political aims, particularly in its avoidance of the material relations it seeks to change. The representationalism and oversimplified dialectical frameworks guiding the dominant antiracist programme actively suppress an immanentist legacy which according to Deleuze is far better suited to grasping how power and desire differentiate bodies and populations: the legacies of Spinoza, Marx and Nietzsche; biology and archeology; Virginia Woolf and Jack Kerouac; cinema, architecture, and the fleshy paintings of Francis Bacon. It is symptomatic too, that Foucault’s influential notion of biopolitics, so close to Deleuze and Guattari’s writings on the state, is usually taken up without its explicit grounding in race, territory and capitalist exchange. Similarly, those (like Negri) that twist biopolitics into a mainly Marxian category, meanwhile, lose the Deleuzoguattarian emphasis on racial and sexual entanglement. It would seem then, that it is high time for a rigorous engagement with the many conceptual ties between Foucault’s lectures on biopolitics, Deleuze and Guattari, and Deleuze-influenced feminism, to obtain a new materialist framework for studying racialization as well as the ontopolitics of becoming from which it emerges. While it will inevitably overlap in a few ways, this collection will differ from work done under the “postcolonial” rubric for a number of important reasons.

First, instead of the mental, cultural, therapeutic, or scientific representations of racial difference usually analyzed in postcolonial studies, it will seek to investigate racial difference “in itself”, as it persists as a biocultural, biopolitical force amid other forces. For Deleuze and Guattari, as for Nietzsche before them, race is far from inconsequential, though this does not mean it is set in stone.

Second, as Fanon knew, race is a global phenomenon, with Europe’s racism entirely entwined with settler societies and the continuing poverty in the peripheries. The effects of exploitation, slavery, displacement, war, migration, exoticism and miscegenation are too geographically diffuse and too contemporary to fit comfortably under the name “postcolonial”. Rather, we seek to illuminate the material divergences that phenotypical variation often involves, within any social, cultural or political locus.

Third, again like Nietzsche, but also Freud, Deleuze and Guattari reach into the deep recesses of civilization to expose an ancient and convoluted logic of racial discrimination preceding European colonialism by several millennia. Far from naturalizing racism, this nomadological and biophilosophical “geology of morals” shows that racial difference is predicated on fully contingent territorializations of power and desire, that can be disassembled and reassembled differently. That race is immanent to the materiality of the body then, does not mean that it is static any more than that it is simple: rather what it suggests is that its transformation is an always already incipient reality.

Possible themes:

CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS – Oedipus and racialization – fascist desire – civilization, savagery and barbarism – earth and its peoples – delirium and hallucination as racial – miscegenation

CAPITALISM – faciality – colonization and labor migration as racializing apparatuses of capture – urban segregation – environmental racism

POLITICS – hate speech and law as order-words – D&G, May ’68 and the third world – Deleuze and Palestine – Guattari and Brazil – terrorist war machines and societies of control – Deleuzian feminism and race

SCIENCE – neuroscience and race – continuing legacies of racist science and the “Bell Curve” debate – kinship, rhizomatics and arboreality – animals, plants, minerals and racial difference – miscegenation – evolutionary biology and human phenotypical variation – vitalism and Nazism

ART – affects of race (sport, hiphop, heavy metal, disco…) – primitivism (Rimbaud, Michaux, Artaud, Tournier, Castaneda, etc.) – vision, cinema and race – music, resonance and bodies

PHILOSOPHY – geophilosophy: provincializing canonical philosophy – race and becoming – decolonizing Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, Schelling… – the effect of criticisms of Deleuze (Badiou, Zizek, Hallward) on antiracism Chapters will be between 4000 and 7000 words long.

Arun Saldanha will write the introduction and a chapter called “Bastard and mixed-blood are the true names of race”.

Jason Michael Adams will write the conclusion.

For more details on this project, contact Jason Adams at: adamsj@HAWAII.EDU

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