War as a happening thing

Jim heartfield jim at heartfield.demon.co.uk
Sun Jan 23 02:37:01 PST 2000

In message <01e401bf656a$66f90dc0$94e13ecb at rcollins>, rc-am <rcollins at netlink.com.au> writes
>I've argued a number of times that postmodernism is another way -- an
>aestheticised and/or idealistic way -- of talking about changes to the mode
>of production, for which we might look to concepts such as real and formal
>subsumption as a way of indicating and talking about those changes. Those
>who bemoan 'pomos' really enact a similar aestheticisation by rendering it
>as a cultural choice, philosophical brand-name, or job competitor in
>litcrit depts -- ie., whilst some folks complain that 'pomo' is not
>marxism, they can't manage to deliver a marxist analysis of what this might
>be. Implicit here is the assertion that nothing has _really_ hanged (by
>which 'really' is taken to mean actual practices, the ways in which life is
>produced and reproduced, etc), and hence that 'pomo' comes from the skies,
>someone's head, the world of ideas -- merely (!) ideas.

Doubtless there are changes in the mode of production, but not yet, as far as I can see a change in the mode of production. These ought to be isolated. But pomo does not do that. It takes surface appearances for ontological categories and declares, abstractly, an end to all grand narratives.

But there is a median point between the end to all grand narratives and the (admittedly depressing) assertion that things are the same as they have always been. That is that the subjective factor in history has been decisively set back. I mean the working class was beaten, and internalised its beating as despair, and further that the ruling class, having defined its own project for a century in terms of containing working class pressure, is also disoriented. These are real conditions that reproduce the ideas of 'the death of the Subject' and so on. But there is no more reason to think those ideas an adequate expression of the trends the mirror, than, for example, a fundamentalist Marxism that insists nothing has ever changed. -- Jim heartfield

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list