Oleg Kireev on Tue, 12 Jun 2001 23:31:35 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-bold] ghetto-edition: "Against all P's" (summary)

our book "AGAINST ALL P's", the first "ghetto" edition, is out of print.
It's available in Russian, order by mailgetto@yahoo.com or
kireev2000@cityline.ru. Also check the Russian fragments at
www.getto.rema.ru after a couple of days.


The "Against all P's" book is the first edition of "ghetto" project and the
sequel to the compilation "Against all parties" published during the 1999
election campaign. It refers to Victor Pelevin's book "Generation P", which
was quite a hit of late 90s. This book is an attempt to create unofficial
history of the last years of the last decade as seen by a certain milieu of
young people under thirty. And they are the authors.

The hero of the 90s was a "rascal", a man without definite social
identification playing occasional parts in many fields of culture and
politics. By the end of the decade some of such people occupied vacant
places in politics and transformed into a new social group, and the other
gave birth to the most diverse and radical kind of culture of the end of the
decade. The former are described in the first part of the book and the
latter in the second.

During the privatization that took place in the 90s, people's part in
politics grew weaker (as well as during the Perestroika times in 1991), and
a small circle of propertied persons grew stronger. Mass media (including
electronic) played the leading part in political campaigns, and political
parties were losing their positions. Ordinary personnel and idea generators
were now people of the new generation who used to be dissidents or children
of dissidents earlier. They're now called the media-intelligentsia. This
very media-intelligentsia turned out to be representing the concerns of the
new propertied class. Its function has long been unidentified, it was
"sociological unconscious". Journalists, image-makers, speechwriters,
political technologists created new corporate ideology of politics as a
"game". However, the real interests of their clients did not at all seem a
"game". The Chechen war made it obvious. By the end of Yeltsin's decade the
representatives of the intelligentsia had to define whether they were on the
side of the state that led that war or they were against it. And during the
first years of the new century they found themselves among those of
authority. This story is best depicted by the figure of Gleb Pavlovsky, the
head of the largest political technologies foundation, who is now Kremlin's
leading image-maker.

Younger ideological participants of the decade treated history the other
way. Authoritative ambitions of the media itelligentsia were confronted by
many activists who contributed their share in culture, media and politics.
They became famous and had success when they exploited the developing system
of newspapers and TV, in fact, the new public opinion. The successfulness of
their actions depended on their ability to create media events. Moscow
public media seemed to be ready to publish any sensational and scandalous

The first in this field were the radical artists. Alexander Brener's
provocative activities in mid-90s were the first example of how the media
could be used: one had to become an anti-hero. The same methods were later
used in the actions of Radek collective, anarchists, ecologists and
human-rights-defenders. By the end of the 90s the capabilities of the media
decreased, for they now tried to form the public opinion instead of
informing. From indirectly affecting the public through media the resistance
groups turned to direct action. At this point the largest part belonged to
the so-called "actions of appropriation", various forms of counter-culture
provocative aesthetics, Internet sites and mailing lists, and also
symbolical terrorism of the leftists. The history of each of these movements
is thoroughly described in the book. Ecologists are also a fine example
because they used provincial media instead of those located in Moscow.

Among political and cultural initiatives during the general social
estrangement there was a notable group of "anarcho-kraeveds"
("anarcho-drifters") that later transformed into SVOI 2000 movement. They
arranged the first street party in Russia in the spring of 2000. Together
with the theory of Free and Anonymous Art, anarcho-exploration created an
unique practice which somewhat resembles that of the situationists.

The top point of the decade was the parliament elections in 1999 when
corruptness and undemocratic approach of official politics reached their top
point. At these elections the "Against all parties" campaign was held by
marginal political groups, thus completing the tradition of Moscow anarchism
and actionism. During this period the most reckless actions were undertaken,
carrying on this tradition, and also the available possibilities were used
to inform the public through the Internet and other alternative media. In
the winter of 1999-2000 the events of the end of the decade were summed up
and analyzed . Neither "Against all parties" campaign nor leftist terrorism
had achieved the desired results, and as the result, the leftist activists
had to look for more appropriate means of resistance. It is quite obvious
that the time of stand-alone heroes has come to end. The new era requires
group initiatives and common subcultural leftist consciousness. The first
experiment of creating the new (sub)culture was the street party held on the
1st of May 2000.

Meanwhile, the people of Russia carried on with the "Against all parties"
campaign without the support of intellectuals and artists. The number of
those who voted "against all" at regional elections is very high, while
dirty political technologies and pre-electional PR are still used.

As far as the circles of Moscow intelligentsia are concerned, the way of
their radical politics has changed. The leaders of the left wing extremist
movement, Larisa Romanova and her friends are now in jail and are waiting
for the trial. Official newspapers and TV have finally lost any connection
with social reality, however, the significance of Internet sites and mailing
lists increased much. The open social space disappeared, but "interest
clubs" and new tusovkas became more important. The last part of the book
contains common thoughts about cultural phenomena and values of the time:
how the identification of man and woman changed, how feminism and new
women's fashion appeared, what significance had things like drugs, alcohol,
"glossy" magazines, second-hand fashion, wages and honorariums, how people
changed the design of their apartments and how the genre of enviromentalism
emerged in contemporary Moscow art instead of installations. While creating
this compilation, we paid much attention to the experience of historical
school "Les Annales": we wanted to create not the "history of war and
generals", but the history of everyday life instead. The book shifts from
political history to cultural one. Authors think that some kind spiritual
history should follow. The last chapter of the book is called
"Auto-training", where the rising interest towards oriental religious
practices of the new decade is analyzed. It is obvious that pragmatism and
rationalism are still not enough for solving the questions of man's

The book is divided into continuous text-history (sometimes the names of the
authors are not mentioned), and appendix texts that illustrate this history.
Each author of articles in this compilation has taken personal part in the
history described. Irina Aristarkhova (32) is the leading theoretician of
Russian feminism, the author of numerous lectures and publications on
feminism, currently teaches at the Institute of Arts and National University
in Singapour. Igor Bashunov, 27 years old, took part in many election
campaigns and radical activities as well. Ivan Zassoursky, 26, until 1998 he
was also connected with official politics and journalism (head of management
department at Nezavisimaya gazeta in 1992-1993), now an independent
media-theoretician. In 1998 he published a precise history of Russian media
of the 90s named "Mass media of the second republic" (M., MSU publishing
house), in 2000 read several lectures on Russian media-politics in American
universities. Oleg Kireev (25) was an art critic and participated in the
publishing of Radek magazine, in 1999 he took part in "Against all parties"
campaign. Prepared both "Against all parties" compilations for publication,
currently runs the "ghetto" project which includes Internet site
www.getto.rema.ru and bilingual mailing list "mailghetto". Vassily Koretsky,
27, author of several articles on music and fashion. Yulia Makarova, 29,
also writes articles on fashion and is a web designer. Dmitry Model (25) is
an activist and organizer of numerous radical actions in the 90s, also bears
the title of "acting comandante of kraeved movement". Marina Potapova (24)
also used to be one of the foundators and authors of the zAiBI (For
anonymous and free art) group, created films and in 1999-2000 was the leader
of the editorial team of the famous TV show "Up to 16 and older"; they both
initiated the first street party in Russia on the 1st of May, 2000. Aleksey
Tsvetkov, 26 is a writer and anarhist activist of the beginning of the 90s,
initiator of various anarchist actions and projects, also known for his
collaboration with right-wing radical magazines (such as "Limonka", and
"Elements"). Pavel Shevchenko (25) who did the layout of the compilation is
a web designer and non-conformist musician, the one behind musical projects
"Tryop" and "Tresk". Rootman (25), the author of www.legalize.spb.ru , a web
designer from St.Petersburg, also helped us much in our work and cheered us
up, and besides that he made the electronic version of the book at
www.getto.rema.ru. We would like to say thank you to him and all our friends

(especially to Lesha Kovalev, Vadim Guschin, Dima Cherny, Anya Bernstein,

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