Richard Barbrook on Mon, 1 Dec 1997 23:54:11 +0100 (MET)

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Re: <nettime> Richard Barbrook and Luther Blissett


My apologies to those nettimers who are reading a debate about a text which
hasn't been yet published. Unfortunately this listserver operates in the
ASCII format which makes it very labour intensive to reassign footnotes and
correct non-anglophone spellings from a conventional word processor. As I
haven't yet finished the piece, I can't be bothered to do this. I'm very
happy to send a Word version to anyone on the list who wants to look at it
on the understanding that the article is only a draft. As Luther Blissett
has gleefully pointed out, there are some errors in the text which need to
be uncovered and corrected - especially when corrections reinforce the
article as in his point about Guattari's lack of real involvement in Radio
Alice despite claims to the contrary in France. So if you want a copy,
please send comments back.

Even if you all had access to the draft, I'm sure that most people on the
list aren't really interested in the ultraleft trainspotting found in our
recent mails. I can reply to St. Luther that Bordiga was kicked out of the
IIIrd International in 1927 (not 1930) after Lenin's death, but the process
was started through a denounciation by the dictator himself in 'Left-wing
Communism: an infantile disorder" which was published in 1920. I can also
point out that Bordiga pioneered the suicidal sectarian politics imposed by
Stalin on the western Communist parties which helped to bring Hitler to
power. But what is the point of the argument? Who really cares about this
tragic and embarassing moment in the history of the European Left apart from
a few people like myself?? As I greatly admire the media pranks of Luther
Blissett (particularly against Hakim-fucking-Bey!), I don't even want to
slag off my critic in a vicious manner.

What I do think is important is that we should free ourselves from defunct
ideologies. In 'The Californian Ideology', Andy Cameron and myself pointed
out that WIRED were promoting a dated neo-liberal vision for the Net which
could not explain how cyberspace had developed - or was likely to evolve in
the future. Accused by some critics of being anti-American, I thought that
it would be interesting to demolish a European ideology too. Just like our
yankee cousins, we also have our own fantasies about cyberspace. 
Given the uncritical acclaim given to Deleuze and Guattari by many Net
activists over here, they seemed like obvious targets to me. People should
know about the disastrous role which Guattari played in the free radio
movement in France - and therefore question whether his and Deleuze's ideas
should be adopted for the Net. If we are serious about reigniting the
emancipatory process of modernity, apologists for Nietzsche like D&G should
be severely criticised. If I can expose the limitations of the
Deleuzoguattarian discourse, the article will have served its purpose. Maybe
then we can work out how to intervene with the really existing Net rather
than being trapped within neo-liberal or rhizomic fantasies.



p.s. Like most members of the Labour party, I voted for Ken Livingstone in
the recent executive elections rather than Peter Mandelson, Blair's candidate. 
Dr. Richard Barbrook
Hypermedia Research Centre
School of Communications, Design & Media
University of Westminster
Watford Road
Northwick Park

+44 (0)171-911-5000 x 4590

"...the History of the World is nothing but the development
of the Idea of Freedom." - Georg Hegel

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