"Certain publications of the so-called movement are staging a sinister leftist farce of madness which has nothing to do with real madness"
With respect to the unfeeling, mutilated rationality that is about to drive the human species to self-destruct, the temporary loss of the representative self, the persona, can be the point of departure leading to a superior comprehension and perception of the world. Madness and the fitful madness of hallucinogenic drugs can break the enchantment of capitalism and open up a wonderful vision of the living world. But, in a bewitched world to liberate oneself from the self-persona means running the risk of voyaging in unexplored regions, whereby dangerous yields of the capitalist storm are encountered and, although sometimes transfigured by brilliant hallucinations, one can surely die. In the labyrinth you can lose direction - and then, either you piece together an arbitrary reality justifying the construction of a towering hierarchical paranoid edifice, or you come to grief in an interior abyss unable to find the way back. Therefore, a profound knowledge and a quick perception of the dangers and false paths are the travelling companions of those who wish to come back intact, enlightened by such journeys. In the taking of depersonalising drugs (e.g. LSD or psilocybin) like that of erotic passions, all our best qualities are more than ever necessary at the moment the possible becomes tangible.
The anti-psychiatrists, apologists for madness and lunacy, amongst whom David Cooper is the most 'radical' register in their being as therapists, the neo-Christian affirmers of the sense of guilt - they cure what they praise. Their message takes the form of militant third worldism (towards the mad, likewise towards the real body) whilst their critique of the family and institutions leads them to a cynical apology for separations and the individual left high and dry in the capitalist desert. But, really, the actual desert-like climate (which, in addition to the crises of the family, the break-up of traditions, is affixed the repressive strangulation of passions, the impossibility of attaining genuine pleasure, love and is beyond the order of things) has generated the explosions and the subsequent "loss of contact" of the mad that the therapeutic society theorised, huddled in their communities and ghettoes, through anti-psychiatry. The death of the family having been decreed for sometime the family of death - the therapeutic society - opens its arms to all.
Belatedly fascinated by the projectors of a therapeutic society, neo-hippies - 10 years out of date and modern day Indians - embark once more on an apology for madness, delirium, confusion and letting it all hang out. As distinct from their teachers, the various "Wow" and "Oask" mags etc don't know what they are talking about - they get out of their skulls at cut price rates - and to incinerate their brains one joint is enough. Wow, what a release! The gloomy flirtations with death by therapists is transposed into mawkish rejoicing by people who put on in earnest the spectacle of delirium and drugs and whom everyone ignores. It is a crude mystification springing from crude minds, which only yesterday, were bullying militants now rejecting reason only because they were wrong in the first place.
Having entered into a situation of social dissolution and insecurity and given what the present conflict proffers to the real movement, to praise madness and lunacy, the gilded mystifications of the power of the superficial, can really have a deadly outcome. In the hellish atmosphere of the dissolution of capitalism whoever 'sets off' irresponsibly, defenceless and naive - the number of 'cases' constantly increases - shall tend to end up trapped where they 'finished'.
Obviously infiltrated, Lotta Continua following a directive press for the politics of letting it all hang out - pursuing its political game of modernisation - it pushes youth and feminism as a politicised eminence grise into a war of diversion against archaic residues and consequent effects enshrined in the politics of organised autonomy. They continue without any real change to their old trade of cops and bullies - leading astray rebelling marginals and the unconventional, regimenting them into mindless herds drunk with the excitement of sporting occasions, on demos, or at parties. They continue to push others out in front knowing, right from the start, they are doomed to defeat destined to a fatal neo-vanguardist outcome habituated to their condition as expropriators of a cart wheeling sense of initiative and love, spouting miserable eulogies to superficiality, weighed down by lifeless words, incoherent gestures, defenceless rebellion and spectacular variety shows (c/f the article by Luigi Manconi criticising groups within the sphere of autonomy called "The Brutality of Affectation and Those who Indulge in it". (Lotta Continua. May 6th 1977). "One can affirm paradoxically but not overmuch that democracy is an end not simply a means. For a movement constituted by en large by youth who have been - and are still - totally expropriated, who really represent the entire infinite misery of humanity reduced to silence, their actions, desires and expressions mutilated - for the moment I had stated, democracy understood as a comprehensive and limitless right to speak, to act, to revolt, to be different, is already subversion."
With perfect synchronisation, the neo-therapists, who undoubtedly know their trade, like vultures equally ready to devour themselves, lose their bearings in the rough waters of lunacy, all at sea in the desert of capitalist reality. The neo-therapists are habituating the crazies to join the ranks of their clients freed from the mind "which in Italy would signify not contenting oneself with what goes on from Basoglia to Trieste - we must make the demented one of us and we don't mean psychologists and psychiatrists but all those who feel able to help, in whatever form, people who dwell in psychosis." (L'Erbe Voglio 1977 p. 6)
Everyone renounces standard reason and standard reasons for the lucidity of a coherent conflict, faithful to oneself, with power and for a superior sensibility which passion can equip itself - anyone then can always be their own therapist. Who pushes for the renunciation - to valorise the spectacle of a feigned letting loose - can always hope to take up a position as a therapist or guru or, at least, as a social worker. But they cannot deceive revolutionaries as to what they are - cops of the counter-cultural neo-vanguardist 'movement'.
Milan. May 1977
ADDITIONAL NOTE ON THE USE OF CULTURE AND THE SPECTACLE IN AN ACCELERATING DECOMPOSITION
(PEOPLE AND INTERPRETATIONS)
Short of a decisive blow from mass critique/practise, politics and its pathological agents survive by modernising language, form, signs and appearances. The throw-away wrapping to their nihilism is changing, remaining essentially faithful to their commitment to "criticise" the most crudely militant aspects of politics - in order to hijack any questioning of everyday life - it is then becomes an apology for an apotheosis of the roles of an everyday alienation.
Lotta Continua, who provided the greatest number of signposts, had marked out the trail. Now many others are applying themselves to a decomposition that wants to putrefy everything. They go in hot pursuit of each modernism, each fashion launched by the country of the spectacle - and so of capitalism - in its most advanced form. Thus the USA is mindful of its unenviable luck at being elected the leftists country of 'choice'. China is dead, Cuba too but there remains New York and California. It's proof positive these people have never worked out a single valid criticism of life as programmed by Capital. The alibi of these toadies has always been one of reflux conceived as inevitable. In reality, they are manipulators and ideologists.
In the same manner as post '68 groupuscules there are people around who are set on reactivating the collective experience of 1977. The former had, with their respective organisational projections (mini-bureaucracies) and ready made ideological cages, pitted themselves against the movement of negation.
What is the reflux? Any ideology, which abandons the explosive terrain of '77 progressively ditching its supercession. This time it no longer proceeds through leftist stereotypes and mannerisms (that still draws on the arsenal and traditions of the defunct, reformist, workers' movement) but absorbs and directly propagandises the prompting's of need saturating the appetites of rebels with the show biz of musical commodities, cultural commodities, and spectacular commodities.
In contrast to France where the reflux came about as a specifically reactionary phenomenon (the New Philosophers and their nostalgia for tradition and the Old Testament) in Italy, as we shall see, it came from the left.
In the last issues of A/traverso (a Mao Dada mag -TN) the basis was established for what in the past couple of years were to become alienated mass behaviour - i.e. music festivals and the voracious consumption of this ideological commodity. Bifo and acolytes with their discourse on the death of all language and expression save that of electronic rock - unique, alive and universal - were the unconscious avant-garde of this.
What these poverty stricken individuals have "theorised", Gianni Sassi, Cramps, etc have transformed into surplus value and Red Bologna has become Altamont, Woodstock, Isle of Wight... ... ..
In what follows we supply the minimal components outlining the initial activities of the "avant-garde" of reflux.
The New Philosophers
Baptized by the psych' Fuckinelli ( Elvio Fachinelli -TN) editor of Erba Voglio books (Erba Vogliosa) and constituting part of AREA - tools for communication (of alienation). Promoted by Bifo and Rastogna they were launched in a window display at Macondo.
Isolation ward for people whom social workers use to designate "marginality", launching pad for the so-called "art of getting by" cadging knick knacks and re-cycling the commodities and ideological leftovers of the society of intensive consumerism. Involuntary - but ever so loyal - followers of Prof Peccis of the Club of Rome, the Apostle of the saving and preservation of Capital proposing to arrest the development of the productive apparatus and proclaiming ecologisms and above all belt-tightening by the proletariat. Macondo is the creation of Mauro Rostagno, Italo Saugo and respectable - and wealthy - individuals belonging to the left (like Sambonet). They even solicited Craxi (Prime Minister -TN) to obtain money. They did not succeed because in the meantime they became "counter-revolutionaries", followers of Rajneesh, dressing in orange.
(A word play in Italian meaning to upset as well as John Travolta. Travolta's pathetically 'funny' films founded the disco craze in the late 1970s - TN.)
Lotta Continua became champions of the 'right' of ex-militants to listen and dance to music. Supreme at having upheld all ideologies - Workerism, Maoism, Castroism, third world nationalism. IRA armed struggle, youth revolt. feminism, Khomeni (in Iran), Yoga, lonely hearts, music mania, they devoted the central pages of their shameless, inchoate paper to the stars of the hit-parade. Enough of meetings and demo's, let's struggle for all we're worth to do what our grand parents did at the firm's shin-dig -ie dance. Bifo and Skiantos' the latest stunt team to imitate John Travolta, did their bit intervening at the Piacenza conference of the writers cooperative following to the letter Gianni Sassi's (organiser of the congress and its spectacular contestation) guidelines. The lectures were mere blather and the noise that came from Bifo's cassette player on the platform - communication. The noise was that of John Travolta the vegetables hurled by Skiantos in search of publicity.
Tools of communication (of alienation). Proprietors, Luigi D'Urso, Gianni Sassi, and Nanni Balestrini, the Managing Director,.
An ambitious project which sought to recuperate the creativity which at that time - existed, to bring it under the control of the industrial apparatus. It aimed to be a kind of Ministry of Popular Culture for the projected PAO - Poverty of Workers' Autonomy - which never saw the light of day because of the lack of a ratified agreement between the PCI and PSI (Communist and Socialist party ) who would have had to sponsor it. The failure was due to the stated conviction within the PCI that the leaders of the future autonomy party had already exhausted their task of mediation and internal direction of the 1977 movement. Because of the "disinterested" collaboration of Balestrini who produced a surplus of commodities as part of the "market" the '77 rebels did not consume, it was a fake bankruptcy. They met with no success in institutionalising - as they had hoped for - nor in transforming the groups and collectives they had annexed to the firm, into cultural specialists.
Re Nudo I
Owned by Valcarenghi who after a Maoist period and a stay in jail for possession of dope specialised in the attempt to synthesize two experiences: even a militant can spliff-up without adulterating their faith. Hammer and spliff. Importer of "alternative" ideology from the USA. Come the end of '76, Re Nudo is still "militant" - White Panthers and Weathermen are the models.
Re Nudo 2
Art Director Valcarenghi and Rostagno. Spectacularising the Metropolitan Indians, they support the weakest and most backward elements of the movement distancing themselves from radicality and engineering a pacifist reversion.
Re Nudo 3
Valcarenghi and Rostagno - Rajneesh = the Pravda of Reflux. Recuperation, vulgarisation and banalization of tantrism through the absorbing and propagation of the thought of the Indian manager Rajneesh. It's a therapy for the afflictions of formerly guilty ex-militants. The remedy: immediate being is the divine being, liberation from the sense of guilt, explicit acceptance of subjective mutilation through the self-conviction that it is not a matter of superseding it because it has already been superseded. At best, vegetarian food can be of help as can breathing techniques, dancing and bonking. In order to change the world and life, it's enough to change the world of internal illusions and the image one has of oneself. Liberated from blocks, restraints, inhibitions be what you are: a zombie.
Re Nudo 4
Valcarenghi and oranges (Rajneesh wore orange clothes - TN) are turfed-out and the magazine reverts to a music periodical.
After having the cheek to make collections at factory gates (whilst the founding members were opening boutiques) a re-cycling took place after the first had failed with massive debts. Strays and derelicts without means were gotten rid of and it was transformed into a respectable elite club promoting an even-keeled, easy-going, self-satisfied ideology and put onto a proper profit and loss basis.
Amongst the first to recognise how in the reflux 1977 was regurgitated he made - as if to combat it - by propounding all the causes of it yet again. Lauding the social dispersion of big cities and its intrinsic effects - wretchedness, the flushed ingratiation of addicts, an extreme anaesthetization of the senses, a death of perception, a complete lobotomization (through the use of heroin) resulting in the acceptance of everything and the role - of what they formerly combated - prior to the modernist mania. They supported "acceleration", that is jumping astride social dispersal to precipitate it. Becoming the first to plumb the depths of the shit heap the result was an apology for the existent. They recuperated Punk which - after its initial beginning - had already been recuperated by recording multinationals injecting a deadening aesthetic of cynical impotence and self-immolation. Codifiers of a new coded language of abandon, emptied of all critical thought and complacent about defeat, they earned the esteem of Ruggeri Orlandi who from New York reported on musical events. If rock is the only language why not play a guitar rather than bore us by continuing to write? Bifo sent to the American "semiotext" the appalling rubbish that "Insurrezione" had criticized in a fake A/traverso - namely that the mobile proletariat of the black economy must forge an alliance with an advanced "dynamic" capital in order to attack the reformists - with guaranteed fallback - and parasitic capitalism.
If what's left is not enough to label them, their behaviour on the occasion of the Patti Smith concert last year surely does: useful idiots at the service of the PCI and ARCI who are in the meantime, doing well out of' youth. The Patti Smith tour and the Roman summer of American poetry where - ten years later - they attempted to pander to the deep frozen corpses of Ginsberg and Co constitutes for the rock summer of 1980, the general proof. For the pyrotechnics of Santana to Bologna, capital of rock, thank Bifo. The summer of '80 was a massive bombardment of "culture" that became ever more lightweight and affected a ritual of inert passive spectators. Beethoven as John Travolta.
We conclude this argument with the following quotations explicitly stating that the underground ideologists were deluded. They were not nihilists like the people we are dealing with who are definitely worse.
The "liberating" music of the movement as a rehash of the synthesis of magical judgement which Marcel Mauss mentions.
"The hidden drives of the body are re-awakened, tending to shatter the horizontal segmentation of the carapace. It is surreptitious projections of an orgasm indicating an organic recomposition (at the level of the functional restructuring of the body the orgasm is already that in relation to pre-genital polymorphous eros). The movement's music, placing itself beyond combination and beyond its supercession/revolutionary resolution, is still alienation, a screen. Therefore, one has delusions of the worst sort. That is what the ideologists of the underground like Jerry Rubin and his European caricatures don't want to understand - it is a mode of presenting oneself as liberated revealing an "underground" which is more of a prison. Pigs". (Giorgio Cesarano's, "Critica della Utopia Capitale")
Art magazine owned by Gino di Maggio, industrialist and card-carrying member of' the PCI and directed by Simonetti and P. Alferj.Its function was to promote the exhibits on sale in the Multiple gallery of modern art owned by Di Maggio. It was a vehicle for the propagation of artistic ideology.
Belonged to Gino Di Maggio and Gianni Sassi (card-carrying member of the PCI ). Sensing the times - very ripe for the art business and the spectacle - they got rid of the aforementioned individuals, increased the number of correspondents transforming it into the Literary Bazaar of the 80s - a cleansing tissue mopping up the puss from the Gramscian corpse, the leftovers of group 63, assorted modernisms and whoever has the most front. Setting up a popular front of dim-witted intellectuals which, on congealing, corroded the intelligence, heedful of the golden rule of reading/writing as a sedative. On the pages of this tampax, all that was inessential and completely useless found a place. Without distinction of faith and ideology, all manner of squalid creatures consorted there. They had one thing in common end that was to support the PCI and spread decomposition. It's not worth the bother of dwelling on the correspondents who wrote in it. Rather, it is better to concentrate on the bosses who paid them. Who were they? Gianni Sassi, advertiser, organiser of concerts, recitals, poetry readings, trains, sound events - armoured cars - which criss-crossed red regions' packed with artists of the John Cage variety. He is the type of modern impresario that turns his hand to everything, content to stay in the background, who hangs around Sbalestrini, Tontorella, Toni Negri and the Confederation, youth circles and regional political bosses extorting surplus value from the lot. A nihilist that dotes on modernisms who, to sublimate creative impotence, let's fly a truly inexhaustible repetition compulsion. Di Maggio is his one "other" specialising in the sale of "pretty pictures".
Both are in league with the red regional administrations and they vie with one another in the effort to sell in Italy the remains of the defunct European avant-garde and others as well. They ought to do so rapidly under pressure as they are from the growing consciousness of the death of art that has overtaken the avant-garde and every branch of art.
The Rock Party
Pack of imbeciles. They furnished proof-positive of this during the elections when they proposed rock candidates. There single declared aim was to recuperate the refusal of politics and people abstaining from poetry.
Bifo, Torrealta, Simonetti etc. This last individual - a failed artist - after parodying everything came to parody himself carrying in his pocket his CP membership card. After having posed in vain as a radical "theorist", he accepted his own particular bent, a specialist in youth ideologies and a consultant for Panorama. On these matters - a hack who pronounces on youth customs in respect to music - he goes from aping Adorno to being the amiable companion of ex-militant music maniacs. This magazine vulgarised for common folk the dottiest thoughts of its founders ending up as a mixture of the ideology of music and the spectacle. However they did not succeed in hiding their real identity as filters for DAMS.
Lotta Continua for Communism
People believe Lotta Continua became counter-revolutionary after the Rimini Congress when it "dissolved" into the movement. Instead, this was only one amongst many of its countless adaptations renewing its make-up to be presentable, intent on putting itself on the same footing as the real movement to sabotage it from within. It did this throughout the summer of '77 and at the Bologna conference. The attempt to put back its militant image in addition to being in vain is a pure diversion. Rather it might tell us something about the hidden financiers of the central organ of the reflux.
The Radical Party
Innocents of bourgeois rights and democracy in an epoch in which it is definitively dead. With their referendum they succeeded in keeping alive the increasingly shaky illusions in politics and institutions. Why don't they sponsor a referendum on the abolition of private and state property and complete emancipation from alienation? Everything would be resolved in a flash. Stage designers - to be honest a trifle routine - skilled at the upholstering of politics and democracy possessing a great potential for collective involvement. Public relations personnel when all is said and done of Italian state policing.
This has been, however defective, a diagrammatic sketch of the Party of Reflux - that is of people who since '77 have led a lock-out and a fairly articulate cultural counter-revolution which piles up more victims and is linked to the so-called "psychological war" which the armed struggle factions moan about.
Not only the front page and TV news coverage with their propagandistic barrage on terrorism but the other pages as well - the pull-outs advertising "specialised services" and listings of "cultural events" - are the vectors of a militant counter-revolution. For every I0 people who perish in armed struggle, I,000 flounder in the everyday. This is a far more insidious weapon destroying people, striking down revolutionary passions and the will to negate the dominance of the economy and the spectacle. Above all because it has remained uncriticised.
What is the message implicit in the ideology proclaimed by the ecstatic devotees of the hustings? To create a sub/human characteriological type based entirely on the resumption and forgetting of all the events and theoretical practica1 weapons which made conscious critics and at times, creative subjects - at the moment they are reduced to the state of mere naked consumers of the show business commodity and devourers of the music spectacle's ideology/commodity. If, as Nietzsche said "work is the best policeman" and, as this particular mass lacks work - which, the system cannot and does not want to give them - it is essential power controls them through the programmed colonisation of life making them consume spectacularised stocks and cultural goods of every kind.
With the colonisation, which induces passivity, the alienated fruition of objects, all sensibility and creative potential stagnates. In other words, the political spectacular machine which manipulates the strings of the counter-revolution has recuperated the most ideological aspects of the '77 carnival and is able to mount ever larger carnivals which are ever more disturbing. It's enough to be simply good and pay up.
The 1970s tended towards the creation of a problematic type who introjected the "problem" (the crises of value) and ideologised it resulting in a manic-depressive who alternated between moments of euphoria (only rarely) and moments of deep depression.
In the 80s, with the onset of crises, a resumption was proposed to prevent a possible supercession and avert a potential radicalisation. They therefore constructed an empty individual whose principal activity was the simulation and initiation of anybody. For this person catastrophe was already a fait accompli.
It is a ghost which having lost everything of substance advances in its city-wide wanderings obsessed by every flashing light and device. It is totally impotent because the desert lies within. When the curtain rises on moments of euphoria - patently a mad fit- it recites something that does not come from within but has been put there.
It is a crushed, brittle, brainless individual, thirsting for falsehoods and a weakling when confronted with the truth. The very same who launched on the market the functionaries of the party of the Reflux.
The moment has come to tear away the masks that no longer transforms and restore all the Mafia. We have mentioned their true counter-revolutionary identity.
(For further articles on Italy see the following)