Friday, August 30, 2013

Gramscio-Guattarian Flag

“Prior to its association with Guattari, the 'molecular revolution' was Gramsci's creation, and 1977, the publication date of Guattari's book, was a key period in Italian history during which a movement developed whose radicality and violence almost relegated France's May '68 to the ranks of students' pranks. Guattari was very strongly impelled and involved with these events as they were taking place. He and his friends experienced the 'Italian Spring' as a vertitable fountain of youth. Ten years after being deeply involved with the May '68 movement, they found themselves in the streets of Bologna looking on, nonplussed, stupefied, as the molecular revolution of their desires unfurled, a movement against bureaucracies of all kinds, expressed in a completely new language and with methods unheard-of until then.
Th[e] blocked situation encouraged extreme reactions, spontaneous explosions, and the violence of confrontations. Whereas in May 1968 the movement was expressed in traditional language, a Marxism-Leninism of either the Maoist, Trotskyist, or Spartakist type, ten years later the Italian protest was searching for new inspirations. A whole series of Italian currents on the extreme left found in the Deleuzo-Guattarian theses, and particularly in Anti-Oedipus was published in 1975, and the movement of 1977 made its honey from it. The Glorious Thirty Days of May '68 by then had become a distant memory, and the students no longer even had the slightest hope of doing something with their diplomas. Since there was no longer a future, the alternative, autonomous currents set out to change life in the present. They hoped to be able to invent the new here-and-now in convivial collective spaces, self-managed places, communities conducive to the liberation from the self. Compared to 1968, what one could witness was a generational change."1

"That aspect of the modern crisis which is bemoaned as a 'wave of materialism' is related to what is called the 'crisis of authority.' If the ruling class has lost its consensus, i.e. it is no longer 'leading' but only 'dominant,' exercising coercive force alone, this means precisely that the great masses have become detatched from their traditional ideologies, and no longer believe what they used to believe previously, etc. The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."2

“The philosophy of praxis has two tasks to perform: to combat modern ideologies in their most refined form, in order to be able to constitute its own group of independent intellectuals; and to educate the popular masses, whose culture was medieval. This second task, which was fundamental, given the character of the new philosophy, has absorbed all its strength, not only in quantitative but also in qualitative terms. For 'didactic' reasons, the new philosophy was combined into a form of culture which was a little higher than the popular average (which was very low) but was absolute inadequate to combat the ideologies of the educated classes. And yet the new philosophy was born precisely to supersede the highest cultural manifestation of the age, classical German philosophy, and to create a group of intellectuals specific to the new social group whose conception of the world it was. On the other side, modern culture, especially that marked by idealism, does not manage to elaborate a popular culture or to give a moral and scientific content to its own school programmes, which remain abstract and theoretical schemas. It remains the culture of a restricted intellectual aristocracy, which excercises a hold on youth only rarely and to the extent that it becomes immediate (and occasional) politics."3

“In the history of culture, which is much broader than the history of philosophy, every time that there has been a flowering of popular culture because a revolutionary phase was being passsd through and becaus the metal of a new class was being forged from the ore of the people, there has been a flowering of 'materialism': conversely, at the same time the traditional classes clung to philosophies of spirit. Hegel, half-way between the French Revolution and the Restoration, gave dialectical form to the two moments of the life of thought, materialism and spiritualism, but his synthesis was 'a man walking on his head.' Hegel's successors destroyed this unity and there was a return to materialist systems on the one side and spiritualist on the other. The philosophy of praxis, through its founder, relived all this experiences of Hegelianism, Feuerbachianism and French materialism, in order to reconstruct the synthesis of dialectical unity, 'the man walking on his feet.' The laceration which happened to Hegelianism has been repeated with the philosophy of praxis.”4

“I am soaked to my neck in psychoanalysis. . . in the university, and I do not see what I could bring to this domain. All the more so since I do not believe that anything can be changed by a transmission of information between speaker and listener. This is not, then, even a problem of ideological striving or of striving for truth, as one could have understood it here. It is simply this: either there will be other types of arrangement of enunciation in which the person will be a small element juxtaposed to something else (beginning with me), or there will be nothing. And worse than nothing: the development of fascism in continuous linear fashion is taking place in many countries, and there you have it.”5

1 François Dosse "Introduction" in Fèlix Guattari, Chaosophy: Texts and Interviews 1972-1977 ed. Syvère Lotringer (Los Angeles: SEMIOTEXT[E], 2009), 12 - 14.
2 Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks ed/tr. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith (New York: International Publishers, 1971), 276.
3 Ibid, 393.
4 Ibid, 396.
5 Fèlix Guattari, Chaosophy: Texts and Interviews 1972-1977 ed. Syvère Lotringer (Los Angeles: SEMIOTEXT[E], 2009), 290.

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