Wednesday, April 03, 2013


"In the beginning is the scream. We scream.

"When we write or when we read, it is easy to forget that the beginning is not the word, but the scream. Faced with the mutilation of human lives by capitalism, a scream of sadness, a scream of horror, a scream of anger, a scream of refusal: NO.

"The starting point of theoretical reflection is opposition, negativity, struggle. It is from rage that thought is born, not from the pose of reason, not from the reasoned-sitting-back-and-reflecting-on-the-mysteries-of-existence that is the conventional image of 'the thinker'.

"We start from negation, from dissonance. The dissonance can take many shapes. An inarticulate mumble of discontent, tears of frustration, a scream of rage, a confident roar. An unease, a confusion, a longing, a critical vibration...

"Our anger is directed not just against particular happenings but is against a more general wrongness, a feeling that the world is askew, that the world is in some way untrue. When we experience something particularly horrific, we hold up our hands in horror and say 'that cannot be! it cannot be true!' We know that it is true, but feel that it is the truth of an untrue world...

"That is our starting point: rejection of a world that we feel to be wrong, negation of a world we feel to be negative. This is what we must cling to...

"Our anger is constantly fired by experience, but any attempt to express that anger is met by a wall of absorbent cotton wool. We are met with so many arguments that seem quite reasonable. There are so many ways of bouncing our scream back against us, of looking at us and asking why we scream. Is it because of our age, our social background, or just some psychological maladjustment that we are so negative? Are we hungry, did we sleep badly or is it just pre-menstrual tension? Do we not understand the complexity of the world, the practical difficulties of implementing radical change? Do we not know that it is unscientific to scream?"
—John Holloway (Change the World Without Taking Power, 2002)

Guernica (Picasso, 1937)

"If the moral fire of anger were not capable of being identified with all forms of Fire, visible or invisible, it would not be worth the trouble of living and for that matter we would never have been able to live, for after all, of what else are we made?

"Between the anger of a furious mind and the devastating force of all fires, there is in reality no distance. But there is something to be found. I have found this something and this is what permits me always to speak with complete assurance."
—Antonin Artaud (Letters, 1937)

"To think deeply in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and if you cannot tolerate this anger, you are wasting the time you spend thinking deeply. One of the rewards of deep thought is the hot glow of anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo, thought will starve to death." —Jules Henry (Culture Against Man, 1963)


Anonymous said...

"Do we not understand the complexity of the world, the practical difficulties of implementing radical change? Do we not know that it is unscientific to scream?"

Justifying irrationality is the easiest way to relegate any movement to irrelevance. An unwillingness to deal with evidence, to acknowledge reality with an open mind, and to give charity to the benefits of the current system all smack of demagogy. Cultural jamming, theories of the spectacle, and a litany of other tactics and theories of the radical left have failed. Capitalism can not be fought with infantile tactics and unsound theories.

How many punks does it take to change a lightbulb? None, punks can't change anything.

Tyler said...

Everything in this post is there for a reason. To pick out part (of a part) of it as though the other pieces don't exist is rather missing the point.

Also, anger can be perfectly rational as well as good, fruitful, productive--hence the existence of Picasso's Guernica.

How is this post condoning an "unwillingness to deal with evidence"?

Did you miss the Jules Henry quote at the end?

Is that last line there just because you hate Henry Rollins or something?

What does this post have to do with punks or culture jamming?

I can't say I understand your reaction.