The Post-Industrial Strategy
Note: These manifestos tare taken from RE/Search #6/7 -'The Industrial
There's also a long SPK interview in the book, see the Interviews section.
EXPOSING THE CATHEDRAL OF DEATH
The true meaning of the slogan, We are all German Jews, is not solidarity
but the inescapable fact that these people are not deviant phenomena.
This situation is the norm. Death is everywhere in life. SPK is
not fetishing a situation. It is exposing
this cathedral of death.
The strategy is not dialectical - liberation vs. control, unconscious vs. conscious, deviant vs. normal, sexual vs. chastity.
The strategy is CATASTROPHIC - pushing the situation to the limit.
The strategy is SYMBOLIC - using the system's own intolerable signs against .
The strategy is ANONYMOUS - the refusal to be categorizable as another star deviant. We are the norm. We are the twilight.
THE POST-INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY
(Twilight Of The Idols)
Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish: the mechanism of social control
has changed from liquidation or internment to therapeutic. Criminals or
the insane are now simply recycled and turned into normalized homogeneous
citizens. Both the right and the left wish to feel responsible for these
problems and to reintegrate the deviant. We must not do this Our
interest in social deviance must be to maintain and extend the disability
of the system to keep its margins under its control.
Another fiction is the idea that by liberating the unconscious or the "psychic" we can attack the post-industrial simulacre. To begin with, the modern notion of unconscious is just another metaphysical concept. The primitives had no need of it because they had no distinction between the civilized and the savage mind. Only with emancipation or the idea of freedom did the need arise for the Master to be interiorized in us all and alienation begins. All savage, wandering and symbolic processes came to be called "unconscious" and were thereby domesticated like death. Any idea which maintains this artificial separation is tragically missing the point. Furthermore it is foolish to think that a social code which created the unconscious is not able to inscribe and
control it, just the same as it manipulates our conscious lives. Indeed this is the most effective method the code uses for its perpetuation. Psychic liberation is the very form of the system, not a radical solution as the drug experimentation of the Sixties showed. Changing individuals does not necessarily change societies.
THE POST-INDUSTRIAL SIMULACRE
It has been some decades since Western culture could be accurately described
as Industrial. Since the under-consumption crisis of the Thirties, we have
shifted entirely into a social structure dominated not by production but
by reproduction, not by equivalence but by commutation, not by merchandise
but by the model. We live in a post-industrial world. A world no longer
where all labor is exchanged and loses its singularity but where labor
and leisure become entwined. Not a culture bought and sold but one where
all cultures simulate one another. Not a place where love is prostituted
but where a liberated keel sexuality is compulsory. And an era in which
time is no longer accumulated like money but is broken in a confused web
fetishism and futurism.
SPK has always been certain to establish its separation from any label like "industrial" because it has always pursued a strategy radically more efficient - the successor to industrial society. The realization of this difference is vital for any strategy: artistic, revolutionary, terroristic. If not, we shall only continue to confuse the symptom for the cure...
If the industrial era was determined capitalist mode, then the post-industrial is hypercapitalist. And in the sphere of signs the society has become indeterminate and codified. In the pre-industrial era every sign had a corresponding reality. In the industrial, every sign became equivalent to all others with money as the mode of social coherence. Now, however, all signs have become models, slightly differentiating all social reproduction - a generalized code of simulation. The real horror is that this process no longer stops at the factory gate but penetrates our homes, our loves and our minds. All our time becomes marked time...
Walter Benjamin (McLuhan later) was the first to realize that technology was not a productive force but a MEDIUM - the principle - the FORM of the new society of publicity, information and communications networks. Seriality or the mechanical reproduction of exactly equivalent clones had given way to models generative of all forms according to a modulus of differences. This digitalized genetic cellule - the code-produced all questions and all possible solutions. A DNA generative of control of the social organism.
The system has produced a special kind of death, a calculated system
of signs. If the cemetery and the asylum are in the process of disappearing
it is because death is everywhere and no longer needs to be hidden away.
Today it is ethnocidal, judicial concentrational, sensational. A complex
fetishism of death as deviance - hence "star" deaths like Manson, Jones
or Vietnam are just part of the system's own sensationalist fetishism.
The true horror is statistical death which is the by-product of normalization
and the therapeutic. Serums and laboratories are only the alibi for the
prohibition of the speech of the dying.
It is quite obvious, then, why all our attention is focused on violent death, which alone manifests something like sacrifice - the transmutation of the real by the WILL of the group. All artificial death is therefore a product of a social death.
Suicide equals murder (from the manifesto of the original Sozialistisches Patienten Kollektiv).
THE MANNEQUIN OF THE SECOND SKIN
The "sexual revolution" was nothing but a neutralization of all sexuality
by its extension to all significations. It is a spectacle, an imperative,
an advertisement. The fetishes are no longer private or anti-social as
in de Sade - they are compulsory, they are normalized, they are transparent.
Transparency is not a radical idea but a fundamental demand of the system
today. Michael Foucault in The History of Sexuality (vol. 1) shows how
all sexuality including deviations are "confessed" so that the code can
be total. Read Penthouse Forum. Every sexual possibility is cataloged in
some cheap porno movie to be reproduced by us in our private lives.
The body has become entirely sexualized/but sex without qualities. Nudity is sexually redundant, the body having passed to a mannequin to focus signs - clothing, make-up, furniture, restaurant, car, etc. The body is fetishized as a manipulation of masks; the idea of the optimum body becomes nothing but the "you" of the advertisement - fragmented and reconstructed as a model.
The only possible attack on this totality is the exhibition of intolerable bodies mutated, diseased, deformed, dead. Hence our extensive file of unacceptable flesh. This is not our obsession - this is merely the obverse of the obsessive code.
Marcuse called this sexual revolution "repressive desublimation." It is no longer violent and aimed at the genitals, it is more subtle and seduces us to play. Death is the only possible pornography for this system... there is no radical sexuality...
OBSESSION WITH THE NEW
To demand that information tell the truth is to revert to a pre-industrial
mode. Today there is no reality, or everything is real and everything is
unreal. Today the object no longer refers to the real nor to information.
Both are already the result of a selection, a montage, a taking of views.
The role of messages is no longer information but a test - of success at
interpreting the code according to the code for the perpetuation of the
code. Thus the control problem is not one of surveillance, propaganda
or paranoia. It is one of subjective influence, consent and extension to
all possible spheres of life. The incorporation of the code into the corpse
itself (Cf. Baudrillard: the "leucemisation" of all social substance, 103).
Modernity is not the transmutation of values - the myth of progress and change - but a commutation, combinatory and ambiguous. In this process art and reality come to simulate each other. The dichotomy between real and imaginary collapse and commerce, the political, and the scientific become immersed more in aesthetics than in reality in the old sense. Symbols everywhere - ideologies, personalities, publicity - the new form of power. In politics as in art and culture, the obsession with the "new" is always limited to the rate of change tolerable without altering the essential order. And our lives, as works of art created by this public/ity code, participate in the same re-production.
"It remains to be seen if this operationality is not itself a myth, if DNA is not itself a myth." (Jean Baudrillard, L'Echange symbolique et la Mort, p94)
We are living at the beginning of an epoch which history will come to know as another Dark Age. But unlike the first one characterized by the concealment of information, we suffer from an almost opposite problem
- information overload. The demand for more information is not radical - it is to demand exactly what the system already inundates us with.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF DEATH
We live entirely a fiction of evolutionism: for capitalism a belief
in an eternity of accumulation and progress; for science a faith in an
infinite march towards truth, for social manipulation a belief in control
from cradle to grave. The profound law of the prevailing social order is
therefore not economic but the progressive manipulation of life and death.
From birth control to death control it's the same system of extermination.
Only now there is no longer any need for actual death. The operation is
realized in forced survival which only suicides not made of despair can
breach. Society in the post-industrial era is one of slow-death where all
time is marked, where all subjects are the (in)voluntary recipients of
the unilateral gifts of employment, social security, material/sexual gratification
and most of all the incessant bombardment of how one ought to look, think,
and act. A living death.
Power always rests in the last instance on the power to put to death - actual, threatened or symbolic. And in the modem case this power operates symbolically by the naturalization, or MEDICALIZATION of life and death. "Primitive" societies treated death as a social relationship, hence the initiation ceremony or sacrificial rite was a shared or social birth and death respectively. No "individual" was ever bom or put to death. This symbolic exchange ends the disjunction between life and death (a concept of naturality which is just part of our modem scientific idealism) and therefore also between real and imaginary. Instead we have autonomized death as an individual fatality, thus absolving society from most responsibility.