Sunday, November 21, 2010

Peter Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey) - Utopian Poetics (Excerpt)

Pirates Party Protest TSA in Underwear at airport (MIRROR)


The intelligence connected fruit-of-the-loom bombers on [yes, there were two of the same runs that day:http://tinyurl.com/2bmplfd] Christmas Day attack has prompted calls for the increased use of full-body scanners at airports.

So to protest, members of the Pirate Party in Germany organized a fleshmob of people who stripped down to their skivvies last Sunday and converged on the Berlin-Tegal airport.

The protesters marked their bodies with a number of messages such as, Something to hide? and Be a good citizen — drop your pants.

One woman has the word diaper scrawled on her lower back with an arrow pointing to her underwear and the word prosthetic printed on her leg. The word piercing and an arrow point to one of her breasts.

The full-body scanners use high-frequency radio waves to produce an image of a passengers naked body beneath clothes. Anything a passenger is carrying against the body — weapons, drugs or explosives — would be exposed. The scanners would also reveal the presence of prosthetic devices and breast implants.

'Likeable anarchist, modest Übermensch, atheist preacher'

From Antichrist by Jonathan Ré [New Humanist]:

The calamity of madness did no harm to Nietzsche's burgeoning reputation: he came to fame as the philosopher who denounced the demands of reason so effectively that at last he lost his own. Twilight could now be seen as foreshadowing the eclipse of an intellect of such power that no one could stand it, even himself, and Zarathustra became a record of insights too deep to be expressed in the ordinary discourse of reason: indeed it inspired two of the most adventurous young composers of the 1890s – Richard Strauss and Frederick Delius – to transpose the gospel of the death of God into swathes of futuristic sound.

The first self-proclaimed Nietzscheans in the English-speaking world were avant-garde writers like WB Yeats, Jack London, JM Synge, James Joyce, DH Lawrence and Edwin Muir: rebellious radicals, unmistakably "modern" and self-consciously "young". Nietzscheanism, to them, meant the call of the wild. They adored Twilight – which appeared in translation in 1895 – not only for its general air of braggadocio (the subtitle is How to Philosophise with a Hammer), but also for its ferocity about an earlier generation of English radicals. "England", for Nietzsche, was the land where "for every little emancipation from divinity, people have to re-acquire respectability by becoming moral fanatics," or where the typical atheist "aspires to honour for not being one". He poured scorn on Darwin as a complacent peace-loving optimist, and condemned Carlyle for combining a "longing for a strong belief" with "the feeling of incapacity for it".

Uninhibited by direct knowledge (he never visited Britain, let alone Ireland or America, and could not read English), Nietzsche was able to mock John Stuart Mill for his "offensive transparency", while dismissing George Eliot as one of those "ethical girls" who, having "got rid of the Christian God … think themselves obliged to cling firmer than ever to Christian morality."

The young Nietzscheans knew that their master would have despised their socialism and anarchism, not to mention their feminism, and many of them were aware that, back in Germany, a very different cult of the Übermensch was being promoted by Nietzsche's ultra-conservative sister Elizabeth. But they were exhilarated by Nietzsche's highly quotable motto Nichts ist wahr: Alles ist erlaubt ("nothing is true: everything is permitted"). They were inspired by his ethic of magnificent autonomy – the "master-morality" of the proud blond beast as opposed to the slave-morality of trembling Christian killjoys. They found glamour in Nietzsche's extremism, and were more interested in excitement and inspiration than guidance or exact interpretation. "Nietzsche is worse than shocking," as the unshockable George Bernard Shaw put it, enviously: "he is simply awful – his epigrams are written with phosphorus on brimstone". And the glorious Isadora Duncan – self-styled "dancer of the future" – was of much the same opinion: "How do we know," she asked, "that what seems to us insanity was not a vision of transcendental truth?"

The young Nietzcheans did not hesitate to identify Nietzsche himself with the Übermensch – or the "beyond-man", as the first translator of Zarathustra put it – and they dreamed of a day when they too might be acclaimed as pioneers of post-humanity. The main vehicle for their project was a little magazine called The Eagle and the Serpent: A Journal of Egoistic Philosophy, started in 1898 by a young Londoner by the name of John Erwin McCall. Its policy was summed up in two defiant slogans: "a race of altruists is necessarily a race of slaves" and "a race of freemen is necessarily a race of egoists", and the first issue called for the creation of a network of "Egoist Coteries" to serve as centres of resistance to all kinds of religion – or rather to all except for McCall's fresh new creed, known as "the Religion of Hate".

McCall and his fellow haters were passionate about social change, but they wanted nothing to do with the progressive politics of the past. Their aim was not social justice but self-emancipation, and "the realisation of a higher type of human being … a being as much superior to man as man is superior to the ape." But where Nietzsche might have expected the dictatorship of the Übermensch to be the work of a cultural aristocracy, his followers at The Eagle and the Serpent looked to a revolutionary workers' movement based in what they called "class-consciousness" or "class-selfism". They also amended Nietzsche's attitude to Darwin, claiming that the "master morality" of the future was "synonymous with … the modern doctrine of evolution". But in spite of their appeals to mass movements and natural science, they still conducted themselves like an exclusive sect. The principles of the Übermensch (or the "overman" – a term they preferred to "beyond-man") were "not for boys, nor for old women, nor for dreamers either," they declared: "they are the ethics for full-grown men, for noble, strong, wide-awake men, who shape the world's destiny."

Radical Nietzscheanism was probably the first philosophical movement to pride itself on the raw extravagance of youth rather than the mature wisdom of experience. Bernard Shaw, now in his forties, found it made him feel old; but he offered the egoist teenagers his support, hoping they might re-invigorate the socialist movement by "bringing Individualism round again on a higher plane". He also broke the translation logjam over the Übermensch with his all-conquering neologism "superman", and gave the journal an endorsement that its editor could brandish with pride: "it promises," he said, "to be foolish enough to make people think."

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Ram Dass Day: Nov. 7

From: Celebrating High Holy Daze

Coming up Sunday is "Ram Dass Day," which was officially declared a city holiday by Mayor Christopher Krohn in 2001. Celebrated spiritual teacher (and WAMM member) Ram Dass—author of the classic book on Hindu spirituality, Be Here Now—was a conservative Harvard psychology professor known as Richard Alpert in the early 1960s. Along with Timothy Leary, he helped conduct the studies for Harvard's controversial psilocybin research project. Later he went to India and studied Hinduism, becoming one of the first Westerners to explore Eastern spirituality. Ram Dass' latest book, Love Here Now, was published recently, just in time to help us celebrate the day distinguished for his honor.

To find out more about Ram Dass see: ramdass.org

The secrets of Britain's abandoned villages

By Tom Geoghegan, BBC News Magazine

The ghosts of thousands of long-forgotten villages haunt Britain, inhabitations suddenly deserted and left to ruin. As a new campaign begins to shed further light on these forgotten histories, the Magazine asks - what happened and why?

Albert Nash, blacksmith for 44 years in the village of Imber, Wiltshire, was found by his wife Martha slumped over the anvil in his forge.

He was, in her words, crying like a baby.

It was the beginning of November 1943, a day or two after Mr Nash and the rest of the villagers had been told by the War Office they had 47 days to pack their bags and leave, to make way for US forces.

Within weeks Mr Nash had died. Folklore had it that the death certificate said the cause was a broken heart.

Imber, once a Saxon settlement, is one of thousands of British ex-villages - once thriving communities that succumbed to natural or human forces, like disease, coastal erosion, industrial decline, reservoirs or war.

To mark the launch of the new Times Atlas of Britain, its publisher Collins wants people to send in their memories of such places, to create a digital archive dedicated to these lost locations.

[ ... ]

All 155 villagers left, most of them scattered around the Salisbury Plain area, working as farmhands. Their demands to return after the war came to nothing.

"There was no anger at the time. Dismay and disappointment, yes, but the anger took a long time. They felt they were helping the country and helping the war effort, and they thought they were coming back. My mother was visibly upset but I don't think it really affected the children."

For a few weekends a year, the Ministry of Defence allows public access to Imber, so Ken and other surviving villagers return, but the thatched cottage he left behind has been demolished and the Victorian vicarage destroyed.

The story of Imber has long fascinated Rex Sawyer, a former headmaster in Wiltshire and author of Little Imber on the Down, and he says it's now part of the county's identity.

"It has such a grip on the hearts and minds of Wiltshire people. When Imber opens, people flood there, but the village is in a very sad state now, just a few buildings."

For many other "ghost" settlements, there are no remains at all, so long ago were they inhabited and then deserted.

Villages, hamlets and farms have been moving around since the Neolithic Age, when people settled down for the first time, says Trevor Rowley, author of Deserted Villages, although some periods in history such as the Black Death in the late Middle Ages, have been more turbulent than others.

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The CIA's Family Jewels: Agency Violated Charter for 25 Years

The Family Jewels is the informal name used to refer to a set of reports that detail activities conducted by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Considered illegal or inappropriate, these actions were conducted over the span of decades, from the 1950s to the mid-1970s.

William Colby, who was the CIA director in the mid-1970s and helped in the compilation of the reports, dubbed them the "skeletons" in the CIA's closet. Most of the documents were publicly released on June 25, 2007, after more than three decades of secrecy. The non-governmental National Security Archive had filed a FOIA request fifteen years earlier.

Background

The reports that constitute the CIA's "Family Jewels" were commissioned in 1973 by then CIA director James R. Schlesinger, in response to press accounts of CIA involvement in the Watergate scandal — in particular, support to the burglars, E. Howard Hunt and James McCord, both CIA veterans. On May 9, 1973, Schlesinger signed a directive commanding senior officers to compile a report of current or past CIA actions that may have fallen outside the agency's charter. The resulting report, which was in the form of a 693-page loose-leaf book of memos, was passed on to William Colby when he succeeded Schlesinger as Director of Central Intelligence in late 1973.

Leaks and official release

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed some of the contents of the "Family Jewels" in a front-page New York Times article in December 1974, in which he reported that:
    The Central Intelligence Agency, directly violating its charter, conducted a massive, illegal domestic intelligence operation during the Nixon Administration against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States according to well-placed Government sources.

Additional details of the contents trickled out over the years, but requests by journalists and historians for access to the documents under the Freedom of Information Act were long denied. Finally, in June 2007, CIA Director Michael Hayden announced that the documents would be released to the public. A six-page summary of the reports was made available at the National Security Archive (based at George Washington University), with the following introduction:

The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s.

The complete set of documents, with some redactions (including a number of pages in their entirety), was released on the CIA website on June 25, 2007.

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Hooray for the Yippies

Phillip Adams reports for The Australian:

Contemporaries of the hippies, the Yippies were a small group of satirical subversives who persuaded the media and the FBI they were a mass movement.

They did this by initially holding press conferences outside stadiums as crowds left rock concerts. Then they became one. A few of the originals remain friends of mine and, half a ¬century later, our phone conversations are still listened-in-to by the FBI. This is understandable given the Yippies' successful invasion of Disneyland, their rabble-rousing activities at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, their unsuccessful attempt to levitate the Pentagon and their threat to put LSD into the water supplies of major cities. An attempt to gridlock Washington DC on May Day 1971 by crowding roads and bridges led to the largest mass arrest in US history. Oh, I almost forgot. They tried to run a pig for the Presidency.

One of my favourite Yippie stunts involved a few sneaking into the visitor's gallery at the New York Stock Exchange and tossing handfuls of dollar bills over the railings. Here, in the belly of the capitalist beast, rich men in suits trampled each other over a few crumbs from the table, and the place had to be closed down. Before spending billions on the bail-out, Obama could have tried the same approach – to dramatise Wall Street's insatiable greed.

As well as tossing money, the Yippies tossed pies. They reinvented cream pies as a potent form of political protest – weapons of mess distraction. Public figures up to William F. Buckley Jr were targeted by Yippie hitmen. And if the Right didn't like the Yippies, neither did the traditional, humourless Left, who saw them as foolish and embarrassing. Exactly right. That's what made the Yippies so marvellous.

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U.S. in Vast Insider Trading Probe

By Susan Pulliam, Michael Rothfeld, Jenny Strasburg and Gregory Zuckerman [WSJ}

Federal authorities, capping a three-year investigation, are preparing insider-trading charges that could ensnare consultants, investment bankers, hedge-fund and mutual-fund traders and analysts across the nation, according to people familiar with the matter.

The criminal and civil probes, which authorities say could eclipse the impact on the financial industry of any previous such investigation, are examining whether multiple insider-trading rings reaped illegal profits totaling tens of millions of dollars, the people say. Some charges could be brought before year-end, they say.

The investigations, if they bear fruit, have the potential to expose a culture of pervasive insider trading in U.S. financial markets, including new ways non-public information is passed to traders through experts tied to specific industries or companies, federal authorities say.

One focus of the criminal investigation is examining whether nonpublic information was passed along by independent analysts and consultants who work for companies that provide "expert network" services to hedge funds and mutual funds. These companies set up meetings and calls with current and former managers from hundreds of companies for traders seeking an investing edge.

Among the expert networks whose consultants are being examined, the people say, is Primary Global Research LLC, a Mountain View, Calif., firm that connects experts with investors seeking information in the technology, health-care and other industries. "I have no comment on that," said Phani Kumar Saripella, Primary Global's chief operating officer. Primary's chief executive and chief operating officers previously worked at Intel Corp., according to its website.

In another aspect of the probes, prosecutors and regulators are examining whether Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankers leaked information about transactions, including health-care mergers, in ways that benefited certain investors, the people say. Goldman declined to comment.

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Of Greed, Vice and Bernard Mandeville

From The Legacy Of Friedrich Von Hayek: Fascism Didn't Die With Hitler by Jeffrey Steinberg [LaRouche PAC]

On Sept. 3, 1995, EIR editor Jeffrey Steinberg addressed the Schiller Institute/ICLC Labor Day Conference in Tyson's Corner, Va. A transcript of his speech was published in the American Almanac of the New Federalist, where subheads were added.

"...Writing The Road to Serfdom in London in 1944, while teaching at the British Fabian Society's London School of Economics, von Hayek was certainly in no position to pen an apology for Adolph Hitler and National Socialism. Instead, he took a sophisticated detour to arrive at the same end result. Von Hayek denounced National Socialism as a classic expression of statist, totalitarian ideology, and then argued that all forms of dirigist government involvement in the economy strangle freedom, crush the free market, and lead inevitably to Hitlerian totalitarianism.

Von Hayek slandered Friedrich List, Germany's great "American System" economist, and the Weimar-era German political figure, Walter Rathenau, as part of the same "socialist" camp as Hitler and Lenin. Von Hayek let his own Anglophiliac sentiments all hang out, as he pilloried List as the principal author of the "German thesis" that "free trade was a policy dictated solely by, and appropriate only to, the special interests of England in the nineteenth century."

He slandered Walter Rathenau, the German foreign minister whose assassination in 1923 helped break the resistance to the draconian conditionalities that the Versailles Treaty imposed on Germany, and also proved to be a key step toward the Nazi Party's rise to power: "Ideas very similar to these [anti-individualist views] were current in the offices of the German raw-material dictator, Walter Rathenau, who, although he would have shuddered had he realized the consequences of his totalitarian economics, yet deserves a considerable place in any fuller history of the growth of Nazi ideas."

Talk about Nazi ideas! The radical alternatives that von Hayek posed—strict monetarism, near-total deregulation, and Pan-European federalism—were all expressions of the same feudalist outlook that produced Hitler's National Socialism and the thousands of other varieties of Conservative Revolutionism after World War I.

"We shall not rebuild civilization on the large scale," he wrote in The Road to Serfdom. "It is no accident that on the whole there was more beauty and decency to be found in the life of the small peoples, and that among the large ones there was more happiness and content in proportion as they had avoided the deadly blight of centralization." Prince Philip Mountbatten, head of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), who advocates the genocidal elimination of 80 percent of the world's population, could not have been more explicit.

[ ... ]

Burckhardt attacked the fifteenth century Golden Renaissance as one of the worst events in history. For Burckhardt, the pre-Renaissance feudal alliance between the oligarchy and the Church represented the high point of civilization. It was a theme that von Hayek would take up more than half a century later in The Road to Serfdom, and in another critical work, The Counter-Revolution of Science, which he published in 1952.

In that 1952 book, von Hayek, reflecting the strong influence of Burckhardt, railed against the two great achievements of the Council of Florence and the Golden Renaissance: the creation of the modern nation-state governed by principles of natural law, and the development of modern science. Von Hayek rejected the idea that the individual was capable of creative scientific discovery, describing it as a fraudulent construct, demonstrating the "collectivist prejudices" which he claimed were inherent in all science.

Von Hayek devoted an entire chapter of The Counter-Revolution of Science to an attack against France's L'Ecole Polytechnique, and particularly against its two greatest figures, Gaspare Monge and Lazare Carnot. What he specifically detested about the L'Ecole Polytechnique—which he ridiculed as the "new temple of science" and the "source of the scientistic hubris"—was, in his own words, the L'Ecole's notion that there were "no limits to the power of the human mind and to the extent to which man could hope to harness and control all the forces which had so far threatened and intimidated him." This, he denounced as "a metaphysical fiction."

Von Hayek didn't stop there. He then argued that the L'Ecole Polytechnique was the source of all subsequent socialist ideas, from Henri Saint-Simon, to Auguste Comte, to Karl Marx. He then went one step further. He lumped together as leading Saint-Simonists, the great American System political economists Henry Carey and Friedrich List!

Von Hayek totally rejected the principle that man was created in the image of God. In fact, he traced his own philosophical roots to the early eighteenth century Satanist, Bernard Mandeville. In a lecture he delivered at the British Academy on March 23, 1966, von Hayek lauded Mandeville as a "master mind," as the inventor of modern psychology, and as the true intellectual forbearer of David Hume, Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham, Carl Savigny and Charles Darwin.

Von Hayek argued in his Mandeville lecture that Mandeville's poem, "The Fable of the Bees," was perhaps the greatest philosophical treatise ever composed. He credited Mandeville with inspiring Adam Smith's argument for the unbridled free market. ..."

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From Civil Disobedience by Benoit Loiseau [Unfold :: Amsterdam Edition]

One contributor is Dutch artist Marc Bijl, who'll present a poster quoting the 18th-century philosopher Bernard Mandeville. The quote reads: 'Trots en ijdelheid hebben meer ziekenhuizen gebouwd dan alle deugden bij elkaar', which translates as 'Pride and vanity have built more hospitals than all the virtues together'. Set to infiltrate hospitals and other public spaces in the city, the work is a reaction to the increasingly privatised healthcare sector and the crisis of the welfare state.

How did the project come about, and what was your interest in Bernard Mandeville?

I came across Mandeville years ago due to a long time interest in enlightened thinkers such as David Hume, Adam Smith and Thomas Hobbes. I found it striking that there wasn't much information available about him in Rotterdam, where he was born and raised. He lived there until he was 25 and then moved to London. I suppose Erasmus is a much more 'politically correct' historical figure for Rotterdam, even though he never actually lived there. It is also interesting to see how enlightened and liberal thinking came closer to the roots of the anarchist movement later – which was my original interest - whereas socialist and communist ideologies were totalitarian by nature. I always found it striking that in certain progressive movements people would rather go for those ideologies.

I once made a giant beehive at Boymans van Beuningen Museum, for the exhibition Dark. The beehive was a dividing structure from the top (money and oil) with the ruling class on the next level, down to the foolers with the church and the media. Then you had the 'protectors', consisting of the army and terrorists, the elite or the art collectors, and finally the people, or exhibition viewer.

I was inspired for this piece by a poster of American industrial workers and communists who wanted to create a union. It was a very simplified propaganda piece about the way society was structured in 1910. I mixed it with the idea of the society as a beehive, where everything works because of greed, corruption and striving competition to please the queen bee. On the walls, I spray painted 'The Fable of the Bees' from Mandeville.

I like the idea of using communist propaganda with liberal capitalist thoughts. I find that they somehow use the same human survivalist desires.

Mandeville's idea of vicious greed - a natural condition allowing individual interests to be self-regulated - shares some similarities with Adam Smith's concept of the invisible hand, founding justification for the ideology of the 'laissez-faire'. As an artist, how do you position yourself in this constant tension between private and public?

As artists, we are constantly shifting from private to public, from studio to street and from institutes to underground avant-garde structures; that is the production phase. The art 'industry' (galleries, collectors, museums) however functions very much like a market place, like any other business model.

Is art working for or against democracy?

It should question democracy and non-democracy, so I would say both. It is a free-thinking obligation of creativity.

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