Diet Soap Update Pop the Left update: Brendan Cooney communism electric ant fluxus henry flynt Marxism PKD thirteenth floor
This month’s Pop the Left features a conversation about Henry Flynt’s lecture “An Autopsy of the Left.” The conversation, as is typical, wanders, and in the end Varn and I end up mentioning the difficulty of escaping from our current ideology.
Henry Flynt is a musician, a member of Fluxus, and the last Communist standing. I wrote to him and asked him onto the podcast, but this email met with scorn and ridicule, which was really too bad. If you know Henry Flynt please tell him that I did not mean to insult him when I called him a commie.
For your edification here is a definition of Fluxus as lifted from wikipedia:
Fluxus—a name taken from a Latin word meaning “flow, flux” (noun); “flowing, fluid” (adj.)—is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been active in Neo-Dada noise music and visual art as well as literature, urban planning, architecture, and design. Fluxus is sometimes described as intermedia.
In this episode you’ll here a song inspired by the Philip K. Dick story “The Electric Ant” and a clip from “The Thirteenth Floor.” Here’s an essay I wrote for Tor.com about both the short story and the movie.
Diet Soap Update Pop the Left update: Great Pretender Left Marxism occupy wallstreet The Spectacular Now tj clark Verso Zizek
This week I’m presenting the latest Pop the Left Special wherein C Derick Varn and I discuss Slavoj Žižek’s little book “The Year of Dreaming Dangerously.” Neither of us found the book to be either coherent or useful. My main complaint would be Žižek’s failure to take Marx’s critique of Capitalist political economy seriously and his abandonment of the Labor Theory of Value. The conclusion we reach is that Žižek is a worthwhile philosopher, but that his philosophy is not a firm foundation for the development of a politics or a movement. What Žižek does deliver is an imperative: “THINK!” It turns out that this imperative will require us to think beyond him.
In this episode you’ll hear clips from the movie trailer for The Spectacular Now, a youtube mash-up of Zizek’s lectures, Zizek at Occupy Wall Street, and a bit of a Diet Soap interview with the art historian TJ Clark.
C Derick Varn and I discuss the anarchist/communist strategy of dual power and how the term has come to mean too many things. Starting with a wikipedia article that lists everything from communes to workers coops as examples of “dual power” Varn walks us through the history of Lenin’s use of the strategy. Stopping briefly to imagine the end of Capitalism we end up taking on the list of “dual power” institutions head on.
The notion of dual power is usually associated with prefigurative politics which accounts for a lot of our criticism and debate.
From the Mutualist Alliance Blog:
The mutualist praxis is not based on insurrection (though it does not strictly object to it, it views it as frequently ineffectual), nor open revolution (as the enemies of mutualist society far exceed us in power and capacity at this point in time). Instead, it is based on what Proudhon termed the dissolution of the State in the social mechanism, or what Lenin called “dual power” and Konkin called “counter-economics”. The essential principle of mutualist organization is to build a better, freer society, right here and now, which can serve as an alternative to the current system.
This month’s Pop the Left features a conversation about C Derick Varn’s feelings and thoughts on and against what he calls political Marxism. The conversation wanders in a process that is a bit like free association, and then again nothing like it.
You’ll hear clips from my daughter’s favorite author John Green on the question of the Renaissance, clips from Philip K Dick and Big Time TV on the Black Iron Prison, and a discussion of the repetition compulsion and psychoanalysis.
I want to thank listeners who have supported my Kickstarter campaign for the Think the Impossible tour. As most of you know, I’m Douglas Lain and I’m the co-host of Pop the Left and the host of a podcast called Diet Soap. I’m also a novelist and my book for MacMillan called Billy Moon tells the story of Christopher Robin Milne’s entirely fictional involvement with the student/worker strikes of May 1968. When I go on the Think the Impossible Tour I will take both my novel and my podcast to San Francisco, Chicago, and New York.
In the last week there were seven backers and I want to thank: Chris L, Shauna R, Tom W, Charlotte K, Claire M, Damian K, and the cyberpunk author Rudy Rucker.
If you like Pop the Left backing Think the Impossible is a great way to show it.