Oleg Kireev on Mon, 14 Sep 1998 11:22:32 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Syndicate: mailradek no. 3 (economic crisis in russia)

Moscow-based magazine "Radek", dedicated to theory, art and politics
continues the project "mailradek in english". The information about the
magazine is available on the Website:


and the issues in English will be also available soon. Everybody who
doesn't receive it can send a "subscribe" e-mail to radek@glasnet.ru, and
we'll include him into the mailing list.
Our address is: Russia 117333 Moscow, Vavilova 48-237, for O.Kireev.
tel./fax:(095)137 71 31. 

                                                       										text no. 57

On August, 17, a terrible economic crisis exploded in Russia. The
"robot"-Kiriyenko was dismissed, dollar tripled in one month, the food
stores were abandoned, and the private bank system has been practically
destroyed. Finally, the State Duma (the Parliament) rejected Chernomyrdin
(the president's candidacy) for a Prime Minister's chair for the second
time, thus, leaving a State machine headless at least for another week.

Once again the mass media tries to scare population with the dictatorship,
hunger, state destruction, hyperinflation etc. All this bullshit is
presented to us not only as a bankruptcy of the Russian governement and of
the President, but as a total breakdown of our existence in general; first
of all, as a total breakdown of the concrete life of the concrete person. 

Certainly, everyone depends on the degree of his or her own integration
into the completely (as it seems at first) bancrupt system, on the degree
of psychological, economic and cultural connections he or she has managed
to establish with it and hence to become a part of it. One has lost a bank
account, another one failed to sign a profitable business deal, and
someone else become totally dissapointed with "democracy" and fell into a
kind of social apathy.

However, the main issue is that in reality there is no bancruptcy. All the
happening today is an ordinary life of an ordinary (albeit young)
capitalist system. In other words, previous five years that have been
presented to us as a "crisis" ready to explode every moment, were in
reality a capitalist "flourishing" and we face a real crisis only now.
It's necessary to clarify this to ourselves at least for the sake of
getting liberated from the hypnosis of capitalist rhetorics. However, we
are not to expect anything extraordinary: there is hunger, there are
disorders - a common reaction of disoriented people. If Russia had a
revolutionary subject - a small and united group with a high degree of
consciousness - the revolution could have happened (which is the only
positive chance given by the capitalist system in its critical moments),
but its absense means that no mechanism of an adequate reaction is
provided for the population.

How should we react?

1) Nothing has happened. Russian capitalism has completed its first stage
(which is not free yet of socialist humanism) and propelles itself into
the new round, much more cruel and cynical. Instead of a small sphere with
capitalist relationships and a small possibility of freedom within them,
we'll have a total capitalism with a high degree of freedom in marginal
spheres. That's why all our projects buried under the ruins of the
previous system are not worth to be remembered. On the contrary, those
only things that have survived this crisis deserve to be kept and
developed. That's the first. The second: this new period of capitalist
expansion will open new and more powerful possibilities for the
resistance. Although it might look as a paradox but it is right now or
just a bit later that contemporary culture can discover a real audience.
Surely, this will happen only to those social and cultural phenomena that
will be ready to change. 

2) Don't be afraid of anything. Even while absolutely vulnarable (without
money, patronage, connections etc.) one always has a wide space for
personal freedom. If you're hungry - rob, frustrated - rebel. Decisive
action clears all problems. New relationships will demand a new level of
self-sacrifice. In the world all is breathing with death, it's crucial to
get used to this breathing. 

3) Stay attentive! Places free from spectacle, gossip and lies are
emerging in the capitalist society right now. As situationists wrote,
"Only the one who passes the way of denying the existing reality, gets to
the other side of nihilism... Everything that had been worked out and
built outside of this perspective, destroys itself and doesn't require the
help of S.I. But it's undoubtedly too that S.I. uses exactly these empty
spaces appearing as a result of sudden collapses which exist everywhere in
the consumption society to experiment with new values. We are able to
build something only on the ruins of the society of spectacle". In other
words, by destroying the exsisting system we create for ourselves a space
free from the social relationships of this old system. Any social
experiment is possible only after the total destruction. 

Therefore we have to be attentive to identify the free zones and mark the
successfull initiatives in social self-organization without ideology and
totalization. For every critically thinking contemporary person a valid
laboratory has appeared to check the practical use of his or her ideas. 
Situationist International, Questionnaire publ. in Russian in: Radek no.
01, M. 1998, p.0040
						Anatoly Osmolovsky

project: Anatoly Osmolovsky, Oleg Kireev translation: Irina Aristarkhova
and Oleg Kireev realization: mailradek

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