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This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

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20

Class rule necessitates violence and its contested, overlapping, jostling ideologies. It justifies, or more, Orgreave in 1984, the armed wing of the state laying down manners on insurgent workers. It insists that waterboarding is not torture and anyway it defends our freedoms. It explains the necessity of the spikes carefully fitted at the bases of new buildings to ensure the homeless can’t sleep there. Rising unevenly from a fundamental necessity to capital – oppression – are brutalities necessary to sustain class rule at home; to sustain imperialism abroad; everyday sadisms so metabolised their cruelties often hide in plain sight.

The drives to such phenomena are hazy-edged, non-identical but inextricable, imbricated, mutually constituting. They’re constant but not static. The parameters and place of violence, repression and sadism change with history. And with them, from the rush of jouissance they tap, inevitably flows their excess – a scandalous, invested sadism, enjoying its own cruelty. A surplus sadism. Baum’s Halloween party.

—p.20 On Social Saidsm (17) by China Miéville 2 years, 3 months ago

Class rule necessitates violence and its contested, overlapping, jostling ideologies. It justifies, or more, Orgreave in 1984, the armed wing of the state laying down manners on insurgent workers. It insists that waterboarding is not torture and anyway it defends our freedoms. It explains the necessity of the spikes carefully fitted at the bases of new buildings to ensure the homeless can’t sleep there. Rising unevenly from a fundamental necessity to capital – oppression – are brutalities necessary to sustain class rule at home; to sustain imperialism abroad; everyday sadisms so metabolised their cruelties often hide in plain sight.

The drives to such phenomena are hazy-edged, non-identical but inextricable, imbricated, mutually constituting. They’re constant but not static. The parameters and place of violence, repression and sadism change with history. And with them, from the rush of jouissance they tap, inevitably flows their excess – a scandalous, invested sadism, enjoying its own cruelty. A surplus sadism. Baum’s Halloween party.

—p.20 On Social Saidsm (17) by China Miéville 2 years, 3 months ago
29

Colonial sadism is not a result of racism; racism, rather, is created by that sadism – viciousness justifying itself post-facto. The agonies inflicted by the metropole’s torturers are the ‘civilising process’.

This exonerated colonial savagery continues even – especially – where the ‘civilised’ population is a subset within the borders of the state. Thus the management techniques of slavery, the panoply of baroque, spectacular, inventive viciousness, whips and rapes, punitive scatology, spiked wheels, salt-rubbed wounds.

Capitalist social sadism is still, of course, a racialised, colonial logic. Its victims are by no means always non-white, nor are those who apply it always white, but it’s intrinsically derived from these techniques of colonialism, its social Darwinism and naturalisation of hierarchies, and the racialising drive is irrepressible. New configurations of viciousness illuminate this, as neoliberalism stretches the boundaries of quotidian sadism.

—p.29 On Social Saidsm (17) by China Miéville 2 years, 3 months ago

Colonial sadism is not a result of racism; racism, rather, is created by that sadism – viciousness justifying itself post-facto. The agonies inflicted by the metropole’s torturers are the ‘civilising process’.

This exonerated colonial savagery continues even – especially – where the ‘civilised’ population is a subset within the borders of the state. Thus the management techniques of slavery, the panoply of baroque, spectacular, inventive viciousness, whips and rapes, punitive scatology, spiked wheels, salt-rubbed wounds.

Capitalist social sadism is still, of course, a racialised, colonial logic. Its victims are by no means always non-white, nor are those who apply it always white, but it’s intrinsically derived from these techniques of colonialism, its social Darwinism and naturalisation of hierarchies, and the racialising drive is irrepressible. New configurations of viciousness illuminate this, as neoliberalism stretches the boundaries of quotidian sadism.

—p.29 On Social Saidsm (17) by China Miéville 2 years, 3 months ago
41

[...] The liberal is often the most outraged and vociferous chanter on the demonstration. Richard Seymour once made the indispensable distinction between those who are liberals out of fidelity to liberal ideas, and those who are liberals out of fidelity to the liberal state. The latter will never be on the side of emancipation. The former, to the extent that such ideas embed ethical politics predicated, however fallaciously and ideologically, on certain supposedly liberatory and universal claims, may be.

—p.41 On Social Saidsm (17) by China Miéville 2 years, 3 months ago

[...] The liberal is often the most outraged and vociferous chanter on the demonstration. Richard Seymour once made the indispensable distinction between those who are liberals out of fidelity to liberal ideas, and those who are liberals out of fidelity to the liberal state. The latter will never be on the side of emancipation. The former, to the extent that such ideas embed ethical politics predicated, however fallaciously and ideologically, on certain supposedly liberatory and universal claims, may be.

—p.41 On Social Saidsm (17) by China Miéville 2 years, 3 months ago
48

Humans have many capacities. It’s a doomed enterprise to prefigure socialism, but we can certainly feed the drives that, as far as we can imagine, we’d like to hope will cut with its grain.

—p.48 On Social Saidsm (17) by China Miéville 2 years, 3 months ago

Humans have many capacities. It’s a doomed enterprise to prefigure socialism, but we can certainly feed the drives that, as far as we can imagine, we’d like to hope will cut with its grain.

—p.48 On Social Saidsm (17) by China Miéville 2 years, 3 months ago
107

The Left’s euphoria over Corbyn (and before that, the SNP) is a clear example of mistaking joy for optimism. Everybody was taken by surprise, and overjoyed, by his success. But if one does not admit how bad things have gotten, Corbynmania can be seen straightforwardly as the dawn of a new era that could spark the movement that brings down the government.And it is true that given the situation of recent years, this is a fantastic development. But if one thinks relative to the postwar period and the 1945 government, about which the Left was not starry-eyed at the time, much of the programme on offer from Corbyn and his team constitutes not a huge improvement over traditional left social democracy. And the odds of him getting anywhere close to being able to implement it are vanishingly unlikely.

We are with him as he tries. We are delighted – and surprised – if he succeeds, and ready if he fails.

—p.107 Some Final Words on Pessimism (103) by Rosie Warren 2 years, 3 months ago

The Left’s euphoria over Corbyn (and before that, the SNP) is a clear example of mistaking joy for optimism. Everybody was taken by surprise, and overjoyed, by his success. But if one does not admit how bad things have gotten, Corbynmania can be seen straightforwardly as the dawn of a new era that could spark the movement that brings down the government.And it is true that given the situation of recent years, this is a fantastic development. But if one thinks relative to the postwar period and the 1945 government, about which the Left was not starry-eyed at the time, much of the programme on offer from Corbyn and his team constitutes not a huge improvement over traditional left social democracy. And the odds of him getting anywhere close to being able to implement it are vanishingly unlikely.

We are with him as he tries. We are delighted – and surprised – if he succeeds, and ready if he fails.

—p.107 Some Final Words on Pessimism (103) by Rosie Warren 2 years, 3 months ago
165

In fact, the principle of ‘An Injury to One Is An Injury to All’ is most often invoked as part of an imaginative process of proto-class formation, rather than to reflect immediate material realities. When it comes to these at an international level, the ugly fact is that trade union ‘interests’ – in terms of marginal wage gains – are sometimes better served in the immediate term by making protectionist alliances with national capitalist classes or states to preserve jobs – in exchange, perhaps, for an insular approach to the rest of the world. Yet, it is clear that in the long run, workers everywhere are harmed by harm to workers anywhere, from lowering standards, increasing the size and desperation of the reserve army of labour, and emboldening states and employers to step up attacks. This tension between short- and long-term interests is a classic problem of trade-union economism – a problem that of course remains just as relevant today as it was in the past.

—p.165 Is an Injury to One an Injury to All? Some Critical Thoughts on Trade-Union Internationalism TOday (163) missing author 2 years, 3 months ago

In fact, the principle of ‘An Injury to One Is An Injury to All’ is most often invoked as part of an imaginative process of proto-class formation, rather than to reflect immediate material realities. When it comes to these at an international level, the ugly fact is that trade union ‘interests’ – in terms of marginal wage gains – are sometimes better served in the immediate term by making protectionist alliances with national capitalist classes or states to preserve jobs – in exchange, perhaps, for an insular approach to the rest of the world. Yet, it is clear that in the long run, workers everywhere are harmed by harm to workers anywhere, from lowering standards, increasing the size and desperation of the reserve army of labour, and emboldening states and employers to step up attacks. This tension between short- and long-term interests is a classic problem of trade-union economism – a problem that of course remains just as relevant today as it was in the past.

—p.165 Is an Injury to One an Injury to All? Some Critical Thoughts on Trade-Union Internationalism TOday (163) missing author 2 years, 3 months ago
177

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

If you’re reading this, Gemini, chances are you don’t really believe in astrology – or, at least, true to your sign, you’re in two minds about it. Saturn opposes your Sun; you might find yourself locked in a strange space of indecision and indeterminacy. If you corner a believer, grab them by the lapels and really interrogate them, they’ll probably end up admitting in a desperate squeak that no, they don’t really think that moving lumps of rock in outer space determine everything that happens on Earth, but it works, it makes them feel better, it helps them makes sense of things. They understand the situation far better than people who firmly insist that it’s all bullshit. (There’s certainly a gendered division of labour when it comes to astrology: in modern times, at least, horoscopes appear mostly in women’s magazines, while men are subjected to a less sophisticated system of mythology – tales of barbarian heroes, legendary characters who drive expensive cars, bed attractive women, and always have the right length of stubble. Much of this has to do with old-fashioned sexism: women’s bodies, primal and unrestrained by higher reason, are susceptible to the wheeling rhythms of nature. But at the same time women are judged to be at least minimally capable of seeing their lives in context, while the fragile male ego hides from any influence beyond itself.) The astrological sign should be read as just that, a sign; astrology concerns the logos or wordliness of the night sky. In Saussurean linguistics, the signifier is always arbitrary. It’s only because there’s no organic connection between word and thing that anything like meaning can take place, otherwise you’d break your teeth trying to describe a rock. Astrology is a vast and complex system of signs, a symbolic realm in which things can be represented and understood. To complain that it’s all just made up is like angrily walking out in the middle of a play because nothing happening onstage is real, or yelling over a public speaker that they’re just making noises with their mouth. The point is to delve into this system, to see how it’s used, who holds what ground, and how it might be changed.

—p.177 12 Theses on Astrology (175) missing author 2 years, 3 months ago

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

If you’re reading this, Gemini, chances are you don’t really believe in astrology – or, at least, true to your sign, you’re in two minds about it. Saturn opposes your Sun; you might find yourself locked in a strange space of indecision and indeterminacy. If you corner a believer, grab them by the lapels and really interrogate them, they’ll probably end up admitting in a desperate squeak that no, they don’t really think that moving lumps of rock in outer space determine everything that happens on Earth, but it works, it makes them feel better, it helps them makes sense of things. They understand the situation far better than people who firmly insist that it’s all bullshit. (There’s certainly a gendered division of labour when it comes to astrology: in modern times, at least, horoscopes appear mostly in women’s magazines, while men are subjected to a less sophisticated system of mythology – tales of barbarian heroes, legendary characters who drive expensive cars, bed attractive women, and always have the right length of stubble. Much of this has to do with old-fashioned sexism: women’s bodies, primal and unrestrained by higher reason, are susceptible to the wheeling rhythms of nature. But at the same time women are judged to be at least minimally capable of seeing their lives in context, while the fragile male ego hides from any influence beyond itself.) The astrological sign should be read as just that, a sign; astrology concerns the logos or wordliness of the night sky. In Saussurean linguistics, the signifier is always arbitrary. It’s only because there’s no organic connection between word and thing that anything like meaning can take place, otherwise you’d break your teeth trying to describe a rock. Astrology is a vast and complex system of signs, a symbolic realm in which things can be represented and understood. To complain that it’s all just made up is like angrily walking out in the middle of a play because nothing happening onstage is real, or yelling over a public speaker that they’re just making noises with their mouth. The point is to delve into this system, to see how it’s used, who holds what ground, and how it might be changed.

—p.177 12 Theses on Astrology (175) missing author 2 years, 3 months ago
178

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

Neptune square to the Sun. Lunar eclipse. Planets vanish in the gaps between constellations; stars drift screaming into the void; the Milky Way runs in glittering rivulets down across the sky’s glassy dome, coming to rest, defeated, against the hard bed of the horizon. There’s no mistaking it. You are going to die.

—p.178 12 Theses on Astrology (175) missing author 2 years, 3 months ago

CANCER (June 21-July 22)

Neptune square to the Sun. Lunar eclipse. Planets vanish in the gaps between constellations; stars drift screaming into the void; the Milky Way runs in glittering rivulets down across the sky’s glassy dome, coming to rest, defeated, against the hard bed of the horizon. There’s no mistaking it. You are going to die.

—p.178 12 Theses on Astrology (175) missing author 2 years, 3 months ago
178

LEO (July 23-August 22)

Of course, dying is one of those things that never happen in horoscopes. The planets spin in their circles forever, and while they might help you out from time to time with dates and job interviews, they’re also entirely untroubled by your death. Astrological time is cyclical and repetitive. As Roland Barthes notes, ‘the stars never suggest that order could be overturned, but merely exert a little day-to-day influence, remaining respectful of social status and of the working week as defined by one’s employers.’ Barthes was in many ways a classic Scorpio: always piercing, always interpreting, clawing through the surface of things to find the buried truth inside, and only then discovering that it was always hollow. I’ve not been able to find a horoscope for the 25th of February, 1980, the day he was fatally hit by a laundry van on the streets of Paris, but with a roughly constructed natal chart and an ephemeris it’s possible to approximate. On that day the Sun was at seven degrees Pisces, in his eleventh house, suggesting that it would have been a good day to focus on friendships or close colleagues. Jupiter was in the fifth, indicating a particularly fertile period for literary and creative endeavours. Perhaps the stars had fated the new ideas buzzing ceaselessly in his head to find expression through a collaborative project, possibly with François Wahl or Julia Kristeva. But instead he died in hospital, and the stars kept on shining, heartlessly distant: they didn’t care.

—p.178 12 Theses on Astrology (175) by Sam Kriss 2 years, 3 months ago

LEO (July 23-August 22)

Of course, dying is one of those things that never happen in horoscopes. The planets spin in their circles forever, and while they might help you out from time to time with dates and job interviews, they’re also entirely untroubled by your death. Astrological time is cyclical and repetitive. As Roland Barthes notes, ‘the stars never suggest that order could be overturned, but merely exert a little day-to-day influence, remaining respectful of social status and of the working week as defined by one’s employers.’ Barthes was in many ways a classic Scorpio: always piercing, always interpreting, clawing through the surface of things to find the buried truth inside, and only then discovering that it was always hollow. I’ve not been able to find a horoscope for the 25th of February, 1980, the day he was fatally hit by a laundry van on the streets of Paris, but with a roughly constructed natal chart and an ephemeris it’s possible to approximate. On that day the Sun was at seven degrees Pisces, in his eleventh house, suggesting that it would have been a good day to focus on friendships or close colleagues. Jupiter was in the fifth, indicating a particularly fertile period for literary and creative endeavours. Perhaps the stars had fated the new ideas buzzing ceaselessly in his head to find expression through a collaborative project, possibly with François Wahl or Julia Kristeva. But instead he died in hospital, and the stars kept on shining, heartlessly distant: they didn’t care.

—p.178 12 Theses on Astrology (175) by Sam Kriss 2 years, 3 months ago
179

VIRGO (August 23-September 22)

We could repeat the exercise. Theodor Adorno, who called occultism the ‘metaphysic of dunces,’ who argued in The Stars Down To Earth that astrology forms an institutionalised, objectified ‘secondary superstition’ in which the irrationality of social domination is perversely rationalised as the expression of cosmic fate, was of course (like me) a Virgo. The horoscope that he read for The Stars Down To Earth urged him to ‘ignore the things or statements you don’t like, and take a constructive viewpoint of things.’ Not the best-calibrated advice; he sullenly refused. On the day he died of a heart attack, Jupiter transited the fourth and Mars the twelfth: a good time for solitary thought and reflection, but also bearing a strong chance of financial good fortune. No such luck. But it wasn’t always like this. In ancient times the movements of the heavenly bodies were thought to foretell wars and revolutions, the crumbling of empires, or the fiery end of the world. How did we get here? Modern astrology tends to not really predict anything; the stars just describe, in a strange and cryptic code, things that are happening here on Earth. Read enough horoscopes and you’ll end up with the uneasy impression that the stars and planets, with all their light and fury and strangeness, are really just ‘about’ the day-to-day world of offices and public transport, small monetary gains and small romantic misfortunes. Vast clouds of searing fire a million miles wide have been domesticated, so that they can no longer accommodate the death of even one person, let alone an entire mode of production. Against all this, it’s necessary to insist that the galaxy itself does not have any particular regard for capitalism. If astrology has been pressed into the service of mundane power, to represent a world that can never change, our task is not to do away with it, but to fight for its liberation. We must – to employ an ironic inversion of the type Adorno was so fond of – put the stars back in the sky.

—p.179 12 Theses on Astrology (175) by Sam Kriss 2 years, 3 months ago

VIRGO (August 23-September 22)

We could repeat the exercise. Theodor Adorno, who called occultism the ‘metaphysic of dunces,’ who argued in The Stars Down To Earth that astrology forms an institutionalised, objectified ‘secondary superstition’ in which the irrationality of social domination is perversely rationalised as the expression of cosmic fate, was of course (like me) a Virgo. The horoscope that he read for The Stars Down To Earth urged him to ‘ignore the things or statements you don’t like, and take a constructive viewpoint of things.’ Not the best-calibrated advice; he sullenly refused. On the day he died of a heart attack, Jupiter transited the fourth and Mars the twelfth: a good time for solitary thought and reflection, but also bearing a strong chance of financial good fortune. No such luck. But it wasn’t always like this. In ancient times the movements of the heavenly bodies were thought to foretell wars and revolutions, the crumbling of empires, or the fiery end of the world. How did we get here? Modern astrology tends to not really predict anything; the stars just describe, in a strange and cryptic code, things that are happening here on Earth. Read enough horoscopes and you’ll end up with the uneasy impression that the stars and planets, with all their light and fury and strangeness, are really just ‘about’ the day-to-day world of offices and public transport, small monetary gains and small romantic misfortunes. Vast clouds of searing fire a million miles wide have been domesticated, so that they can no longer accommodate the death of even one person, let alone an entire mode of production. Against all this, it’s necessary to insist that the galaxy itself does not have any particular regard for capitalism. If astrology has been pressed into the service of mundane power, to represent a world that can never change, our task is not to do away with it, but to fight for its liberation. We must – to employ an ironic inversion of the type Adorno was so fond of – put the stars back in the sky.

—p.179 12 Theses on Astrology (175) by Sam Kriss 2 years, 3 months ago