Saturday, 25 May 2013
Jow Lindsay: Poets as Activists
Note: I delivered a version of only the first part of this ((1)-(3)).
(1) Writing exercise.
Quietly, without talking to each other: what might plausibly occur within the next five years, which would significantly alter the context in which we do activism (and criticism, writing, etc.)? Write down an event, an occasion, or a nexus of circumstances. The tricky part: try to think of something no one else here will.
Okay? We done? Forget that for now. Next, try to think of something which could form the initial basis of a small working group. It could be anything at all: a plan of action, an issue, method, skill, topic, theme, problem, goal, relation with another organisation. Write that down too. Put loads if you like.
While waiting for some people to finish, the rest of you might think about this: are progressive and radical aims categorically opposed?
Or must we consider their frictions and tensions on a case-by-case basis?
I believe the latter! An example of something which is both a stepping stone towards "soft," humanised, social democratic capitalism, AND towards radical stateless forms of social organisation, is country-by-country reporting of corporate tax.
BUT I also think those of us who agree on this - that progressive and radical aims are not always everywhere mutually exclusive - will be unable to persuade very many people that it is true. So I also think we need to anticipate that the assumption that they are will permeate the communities in which we conduct our activism.
[To discuss later: Other concrete examples? Affirmative action, all women shortlists, quotas etc., considered not as supremely enlightened nudging, but as a tool actually capable of that cliché, smashing the existing social order?]
(3) Outcome of writing exercise.
Take a look at the first thing you wrote: your plausible prediction. Could it also be an example of something which a working group might address?
It may seem counterintuitive to prepare for what may never happen, when disaster is all around us right now. But there are many forms of preparation. Preparing for what may be can be a way of processing and responding to what actually is. Preparation could be choosing topics to become experts in, for instance, so that we know who to go to help us learn, as certain topics becomes more sharply relevant. Preparation could be gaining varied and diverse skills in many different areas, which might be shared with the group as they begin to look more useful. Preparation could be starting work now on extremely likely events: the next General Election. The people and institutions many here might designate "the enemy" -- corporations, states, right wing activists -- are constantly forecasting, analysing, and preparing.
[To discuss: of course, people and institutions many here might consider allies also do a lot of planning -- perhaps green activism in particular. Climate Camp didn't just happen. Perhaps some people here are already involved in long term planning? Anyone want to share experiences? Or perhaps that's better left for working groups].
[To discuss: what is "the present moment"? How long is it? What is the role of "urgency" in how we do or don't co-ordinate ourselves?]
Here are a few of my suggestions: there are riots again this summer. There is a flu pandemic. There is a terrorist incident: Islamist, leftist, right wing, ambiguous. Utilities catastrophes. One of us is invited to a party at 10 Downing Street, how do they best comport themselves? A major economy defaults on its sovereign debt. The UK is locked under heavy snows - no one saw that coming. A violent change of government in a European country. A further wave of NHS privatisation is announced. A major new deployment of British troops. A major tax haven is afflicted by an ecological catastrophe. The pound rapidly depreciates. Here's a nexus of circumstances: it's 2017, Scotland is leaving the union, and the rump union under a Lib-Lab coalition is holding a referendum on EU membership.
[To discuss: but how does this relate to fear? How does it relate to refusing official versions of the future?]
[To discuss: dilettantism. Perhaps not so much a "risk," just an inevitable part of the bell curve?]
[To discuss: that desire, "enough talking, we want action!" Cf. Harry / Walter Benjamin on the judge's violence. Cf. this: "you take the guy on the left. Okay, on three." Obviously we don't want action without thinking and talking. We want praxis, you could say.] [I think if we're honest with ourselves, we know the kind of talking that's really characteristic of praxis. It is dense with promises, for instance.]
[To discuss: I meant to look this up earlier, but ran out of time -- possibly I can look it up in Keston? -- Marx has a reputation for being deliberately vague about post-revolutionary society. First: do those who know his work think that is the case? Second: if so, what is the rationale? Third: is it applicable today? Should we be describing in concrete, minute detail the kinds of futures we desire? In five years, in ten years, in fifty? And learning about this detail, arguing about it?] [Example of my attempt to write a constitution for the UK. An absurd labour, but what if there were even just twenty lawgivers, who all knew what the others were up to?]
[To discuss: did people mostly put down suggestions that are downbeat, gloomy, catastrophic, calamitous? Of course, whether they are finally ultimately undesirable partly depends on what we can come up with to respond to them!]
[To discuss: the system of domination is incredibly strong and fluid. We talk about co-ordination, building solidarity, raising consciousness, transforming culture, ideology, language, and those are certainly the most important projects. But as a typical poet and student of the humanities, I have a pocketful of reasons why the prognosis for those projects isn't great. Ideology is impervious to ideology critique. Recuperation makes all tools temporary. But I suspect that sometimes the machinery which sustains our social order has to operate near its top capacity. The social order whines and shakes. Pieces rattle and might even fly into a new configuration.]
[To probably not discuss: If I understood Marxist economics better I might be able to say this so that it sounds less stupid, but it seems to me that market relationships should be counted as part of the means of production. Markets are located in the world, in institutions, customs and habits.]
[To probably not discuss: Sometimes I get a massive crush on the police. When they really are protecting me from someone, for instance. Can I take precautions against my own disposition to compromise and skive at times of unpredictable social upheaval? Can we talk about this without always employing the terminology of steadfastness, weakness, foxholes?]
(4) Practical / administrative suggestion / non-suggestions.
Many of us are already doing activism. Whatever comes out of today, I think it will be most useful if it is not only compatible with existing activism, but also nourishes it. I think it should feed, rather than drain, our personal capacity.
It should be autotelic, you might say. Or more simply, it should be fun. Adorno famously suggested that fun was a medicinal bath, which is great, because medicinal baths are really fun!
So what fits that criterion? What energises, nourishes?
First of all, we should do this again some time, y'all! Perhaps a little more frequently than once a year?
In terms of rubric I think we could keep poetry to a minimum. We are poets - I'll use that as shorthand for poets, ex-poets, scholars, critics, fans, friends of poets - our discussion & activism will inevitably be permeated by poetry. What would happen if we just focus on politics, activism and revolution? Don't "ban" poetry from the agenda or anything, just don't make it the main reason we've all got together.
(Of course, funding applications & any prominent public presence, would need to be full of tact and tactics).
[Note: For instance, have a book table and readings, and leave it at that].
Secondly, we should keep in touch in-between.
[To discuss: Golden Hex. UKPoetry, etc. Sharing tales of derring-do as well as of laziness and frustration could be fun. A place where you can have a hilarious big grumble about your non-poet comrades and activist friends? It would be amazing if the convention was that we can all share words about the political work we are doing - however small - or are not doing, and it never be interpreted as dismayed or proud or passive-aggressive! But if we end up bickering, it could still be worth having - it's just a matter of setting up the right filters and folders in your email, so it's a conversation you can check in on, rather than one that confronts and disheartens you].
Thirdly, I wonder if working groups for these more speculative projects, these luxurious counterfactuals, could be fun? They could be both online and face-to-face. But I think there ought to be a sense of accountability melded with our revels.
[To discuss: Adding suggestions to those put down in the writing exercise. Circulating this list. What if we pick problems in the next few days and form groups around them? Then we could definitely be demonstrating six months' worth of work when we all get together again?]
[To discuss: Not just fun, also therapeutic. Stabilising. A relief, a support, a solace. Also: where you go when you know you need to be set right?]
[To probably not discuss: maybe shouldn't call them working groups?]
[To probably not discuss: another interesting feature of the slightly longer time-frame is the way it could hybridise certain features of horizontal and hierarchical organisational structures. That is, a group whose number was called by history -- the "UK exits the EU" group when the UK exits the EU -- has a certain temporary authority, evoked naturally by sensitivity to initial conditions, path dependence and lock-in. There would be no presumption that the group should give them any special deference, or anything like that: they wouldn't necessarily be the last word on the matter, but they would probably speak the first words].
(5) But what should we be doing AS poets?
Is my answer to that, more-or-less, "nothing"? Is poetry just a distraction, a will-o'-the-wisp legging it into bogland?
PRETTY much, yeah. Try just for a moment to ignore the disanalogies, & hear something true in this analogy. What should we, as pastry chefs, do? How can pastry cheffery respond to the constantly shifting, often intellectually, emotionally & materially overwhelming nexus of global capital, the state system, patriarchy & other forms of domination?
We might laugh at the pastry chefs! But the pastry chefs might respond: we have a community (or at least, a sort of weird distributed neighbourhood). Moreover, we have a network of chefs who are tutors and administrators at chef schools, who can sometimes access funds to buy bus and train tickets, and book rooms we can meet, in which there is coffee we can drink. We share a complex, intellectually intricate passion which gives us a way of talking & bonding with & energising each other, even if we only know each other a little. In our tasting sessions, where we display our latest inventions, we have inexpensive and ever-ready solace & entertainment, & to hold such sessions in the midst of political activism may change the collective mood in some vital way. We are all over the world. Some of us love each other. Some of us are colleagues. Some of us have children together.
(6) Poets and their powers!
I wouldn't for one second equate pastry cheffery with poetry or with pushpin. But I think it is interesting that the sociological form of poetry, if I can put it that way, even emptied of everything that makes poetry poetry, is already a pretty alarmingly good platform for political activism.
To finish, I hope to make amends for this crude pedagogy by suggesting some specific things which poets can accomplish as activists better than anyone else. These are frail ideas: I'd love to talk about them, but I'm more likely to renounce them than defend them. I wonder if you can see anything in them which you might strengthen?
Remember I'm talking about a mix of poets and other writers and artists, plus critics, scholars, fans, friends, ex-poets, etc. (And obviously I don't mean all poets).
(a) Negative capability. Romantic irony. Dwelling in contradictions. Containing multitudes. I've mentioned the version of this which feels blazingly important to me right now: getting together as poets, and yet focusing on things other than poetry, poems and poets. Pastry chefs couldn't cope, but I think we can.
[Note: Poetry-phagic/memento mori fashion in naming of poetry events currently giving way to an interest in welfare state, institutions, organisations? From Verse Hearse and Against to Dole, Syndicate, Benefits. (Throat Cuts Not Benefit Cuts has a bit of both)].
[Note: These are dark times in which, paradoxically, citizenship is possible only on the margins, only underground. I hope we can know that what is specific to us must seldom take priority in what we strive for. We are voices on radios, retweets, bodies in the street.]
[Note: Perhaps ask Jen to repeat point about Graeber?]
[Note: Perhaps relates to humanities / liberal arts education together with amorphousness of post-neoist poetry . . . I feel confident to speak against poetry because I know that poetry will flow around whatever is created to keep it back].
[Note: But do we sometimes congratulate ourselves for assimilation, rich variety, etc. when actually e.g. Marxism, anarchism & various identity politics well-represented, but not perhaps e.g. associationalism, development and aid discourse? Multiple specialist knowledges on which reproduction of social order partly relies. Radical theory is perhaps theoretical not by virtue of form - speech, words, words, words - but because it is empty of those knowledges.]
[Note: Cf. generally Middle English charge of hypocrisy: "for someone who hates capitalism, you're pretty keen to sell your art!" or "if you love the planet so much, why are you printing all these flyers? Why did you fly to China?]
[Keywords: contradictions, essentially contested concepts, overconceptualisation, blether]
(b) Poets are good at getting bored and wanting to skive. Poets are also good at knowing about damaged life + the absence of the transcendental signified. Nobody's perfect eh? Nor do we ever express ourselves perfectly. Might as well give each other the benefit of the doubt. No point in laying the blame for impersonal endlessly self-replenishing violence at the feet of its latest unlucky conduit. Could poets be particularly tolerant of terminological diversity, rather than insisting on the use of shibboleths?
Hold up a second. Co-ordination and unity remain the priority. Unity within the left, unity between leftist projects & those rooted in identity politics, unity with less politicised elements of working classes, global unity, unity even with the third sector and the private sector's own baffled, despondent moralists within sustainability and corporate social responsibility. BUT THAT SAID, I think there is a significant side-project which is NOT to do with unity, but to do with skiving the work of achieving unity. How can we work towards the common good without common ground? How can we harmonise our activity without necessarily really understanding one another, let alone agreeing?
For instance, I am interested in steering around any plans which require a consensus that does not yet exist, however gentle & rational that consensus seems.
[Note: e.g. I'm interested in occasional imaginative and perceptive choices of language which let sleeping essentially contested concepts lie. Sometimes if I express myself in a careful and/or unusual way, I don't have to have that long flurried debate which mainly only blurs the world and leaves the real material loggerheads from which it spouts intact and undepleted. I don't think we should stop talking about violence, but I often find it helpful to talk about vandalism, or blood shed, or wage labour, or "talking loudly over people" instead. Disagreements can dissolve with that kind of specificity. Or they can be deferred, but the deferral may be all that is needful].
[To maybe discuss: sped through those unities with embarrassment. Why? Cf. e.g. “unity between feminism & women.”] [Keywords: Critique of humanism. Sense of systematicity].
[To discuss: Forgiveness, tolerance, tenderness, acceptance, negative capability, openness, "beholder's share"].
[To discuss: Poets & intersectionalism. Mainstream / "vulgar" intersectionalism whereby unique meanings are impossible, all meaning being reducible to a set of coordinates in warring categories of class, gender, statuse, wealth, race, ability, sexuality, beauty, etc. At the same time, vociferous critique of unchecked privilege can be transformative in a way sarky comments & rolled eyes fail to be. Also: important to DO intersectional critique, rather than endorse intersectionalism as a superior brand of feminism, class politics, race politics, et al.). Also: role of passions? Not just quasi-indifferent interest in disciplining others, but the outburst? A space in which candidly taking offense can truly be collectively liberating? Is this just impossible?]
[To discuss: Acts & statements have ideal implications which are not necessarily materially realised. "Reconciliation in the performative abstract of real antagonisms," a definition of idealism which has stayed with me. But also: "the performative antagonism of differences which, left to chance, might do no more than briefly brush into each other. More concretely: when do we call out privilege? Perhaps if there is a community, however inchoate, it should be not incidents, but patterns of behaviour. Must be done generously: risk of confronting someone with a "dossier" of all their abuses of privilege.]
[To discuss: I don't know if we really have any special talent at avoiding talking at cross-purposes. You'd think we might be, being so sensitised to the ineradicable fruitful ambiguity of language, and to the non-identity of concept and thing, and all that.] [But then, I feel like I personally have had more than my fair share of imaginative forgiveness in these communities, almost as if it's gone about that the throat I so often bare may be toxic?].
[To discuss: I am often tempted to hurl accusations of idealism at poets. I'm tempted to go, '"We need poetry which is..." is categorically wrong, as "we need pastries which are..." is categorically wrong. That cannot be what is needful.' But often I need to check myself. I think maybe these moments involve a particular disadvantage that pertains to poets but not to pastry chefs. The stuff we write, for reasons which are partly mysterious to me, can only be grasped with a terminology which is political through-and-through. But it is also intricately equivocal. A good working assumption is that a seemingly intelligent individual making an apparently exaggerated claim for the efficacy of poetry does so in the context of a life of pragmatic political reasoning and practical political work, and indeed that their poetics are only intelligible within such a context. Indeed this alleged idealist may well steeped in such practical political work, if they feel that the distinction between it and poetry is something that can go without saying, though the two share so many textures and structures. Of course this isn't always true, but it often is, and it's a good assumption. I wonder if anyone can think of any specific examples of poets arguing about the political efficacy of poetry, even though they completely agree? I can if I have to.]
[To discuss: categorically wrong in the same sense that "we need to eliminate the idea that..." is categorically wrong? That is, idealism / Marxian ideology?]
[To discuss: ask Keston to repeat the thing about "applicability" being a bit of a funny concept?]
(d) I am interested in ratcheting activism. Gains which may be small, but are very difficult to undo.
[To discuss: Relationship between entrenchment & cultural production per se. Justin's example of ruining someone's reputation as peculiarly difficult to undo.]
(e) I am fascinated by a kind of Hippocratic nonmalifence as applicable to activism. "First, do no harm." How, under conditions of such social complexity? How can we do actions which may accomplish little or nothing, but are guaranteed not to interfere with thousands of other simultaneous worthwhile projects. Is this perhaps just impossible?
And as we've already talked about
(f) Prepare for the future. Imagine the future. The ones we want, and the ones that might be. We'll figure out how to connect them eventually.
[To discuss: normalising detailed exploration of speculative social orders. We're going to have conferences, aren't we? Let's have conferences about how journalistic ethics, or payroll and HR, or librarianship, or rigger erector certification, or digital archiving, or refrigeration industry, or workplace dispute resolution, will change under radically egalitarian circumstances such as all things held in common. My sense is that such speculative constructs are more tenable grounds for critique than, say, dogmatic anthropology ("human nature/human condition is such-and- such"), or the most conspicuously unfulfilled official values of our society (e.g. liberty, democracy, prosperity -- cf. Jen on confronting capital with its hypocrisies)].
[Note: Compare Sean / Brecht didacticism vs. suggestions.]
(g) Many of us are good writers.
[To discuss: We needn't only write poetry & criticism about poetry. News, opinion, political analysis, broader cultural analyses & critique, debunking, public / class interest research, even forums and message-boards.]
[Cf. Selena's question about audience. There are platforms, if we are prepared to inscribe the Palimpsests of Permanent Depression. There's the internet, especially online wings of print journalism. Wikipedia. 3,000,000 hits for Maggie in April. Nearly 60,000 for UKIP, 200,000 for David Cameron. 150,000 for Muslim, 380,000 for Islam, 170,000 for feminism, 40,000 for intersectionality, spoon 12,000. The radio. World Have Your Say, Any Answers, etc. etc. I text in to Radio 1Xtra often signing myself with your names BTW. Difference b/w crankish venting & agitprop is determination, coordination. There's also family, friends, students, colleagues . . .]
[To discuss: Can we write more simply? Can we express ourselves more plainly? We can have a sophisticated understanding of simplicity, by all means! We are academics but we are not only academic writers: can we popularise radical political philosophy? We know there is no such thing as the general reader, but that shouldn't be an excuse! That should be our starting point!]
[To discuss: Perhaps these are genres that have no more transformative power than poetry. But perhaps that's something we'll never know. If any of us have a hunch that they do have such potentials, shouldn't we pursue them now? If we do it together, it might be fun.]
[To discuss: mere "transferrable skills"? Why do we sometimes think we are "co-opting the enemy's language & concepts," sometimes think that they are rather infecting & subverting us? Cf. SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time-bound activism.]
(h) Relatedly, we can articulate new political positions that are difficult to pigeonhole.
[To discuss: dishonest? Not for me for complicated reasons. The twin provisionality of a view I recognise both as leftist and as my own, (a) that it waits on the realisation of certain material conditions, (b) that I may say I no longer believe it, or that I was pulling your leg. For me, (a) takes priority. AND YET].
[To discuss: compare difference between traditional social realism & Keston's use of term].
(i) Relatedly - and I'm afraid I'm being impossibly crude again - we can attack the good guys. This could include us. This could include critique, satire, translation, narration, recontextualisation, a kind of strange detournement. I don't feel we should necessarily feel like we're playing catch-up, & forever trying to be more like movements for whom political struggle is their sole raison d'etre. We
speak from a slightly different place.
[To discuss: Steve's question to Danny?]
[To discuss: the danger of producing rhetorical grist for right wing / liberal quietist mills].
[To discuss: the danger of participating in hyperfragmentation of radical politics].
(j) Recruitment? Come for the weird, weird, weird poetry, stay for the social justice!
The only document we wrote. I may have lost a few bits, sorry. & I think there were a few bits that
were just notes & doodles. If I've left anything vital out maybe someone will say. Some of these could be suggested topics for the next big meeting of this kind. And/or a small group might pick
one as a project to work on. And/or it could be a list we keep adding to.
1 Impact of global warming on natural resources, animal populations, human communities
2 Middle class coming nearer the poverty line.
3 Propaganda aimed at many different sorts of people, not just "natural" allies
4 Links with trade unions
5 Subjectivity - how to engage people not included, not like us ...
6 Practical activism. What laws / attacks on groups are happening? How can we prevent them? Investigate SPECIFIC THINGS. Think about the consequences of this.
7 A European general strike.
8 Militant wildcat strike in British factory
9 24 hour general strike
10 Police strike
11 Organisation of rent strikes
12 Help for the evicted
13 Affiliation & the state of revolutionary organisation.
14 Korea / China conflict.
15 North Korea launches a full scale military attack on S. Korea
16 Violent change of government in European country
17 A coup (not in Britain)
18 Major new deployment of British troops
19 Further rise of UKIP etc.
20 Rise in right wing terrorism
21 Leftist terrorist incident
22 Islamist terrorist incident
23 Small group assignments
24 Sea levels rise, massive removal of people to interior lands
25 Group formation around super-local site specific slogan placement
26 Culture jamming
27 Neighbourhood panel
28 Bus shelter, [street & road Job Centre sanction busting]
29 High profile death of protester / activist
30 Future event: interruption to the flow of elections
31 Action: [word jams in shopping centres] (crossed out), writing [slogans] (crossed out) poems on people's bottoms
32 Criminalisation of squatting in commercial buildings
33 How might critical writing be done in prisons?
34 Left Unity sweeps the polls
35 Establish what poetry does well; DO IT BETTER ([is preparatory to poetry])
36 Major European economy defaults on sovereign debt
37 Pound rapidly depreciates
38 Collapse of Chinese banking system
41 “Esperanto”: how can we create languages, platforms, institutions which bring together disconnected struggles, improve mutual comprehensibility?
42 EU referendum in 2016
43 Define the means of production in the places we live
44 Ecological catastrophe in London, emergency services and hospitals can't cope
45 Multilingual / multinational poetics events galvanising pro-Europe feeling
46 Situationist adornment of government posters with actual truth, e.g. speech bubbles
47 Print & distribute fake Sterling with internationalist messages hidden
48 Flyer in front of specific businesses
49 Tobacco made illegal
50 Collective shoplifting
51 Collectively shoplift and stockpile tobacco
52 Promote mixed arts encounters
53 Thinking while moving - walks
54 Thinking in costumes
55 Happenings with people we've never met
56 Tactics at protests, combating police, e.g. kettling
57 Squat a building, create Occupied Centre for Militant Poetics
60 Parliament surrounded and cut off by a ring of 100,000 people demanding a Constituent Assembly
61 Slogan production
62 Analysis of language of Prime Minister's Question Time, circulation of notes
63 Dissolution of public universities
64 Address to financial system
65 Address transnational European dimension
66 Corporation tax, tax havens, capital flight, country by country reporting, unitary taxation, different kinds of state
67 Increased repression - raids on Leftist papers etc.
69 Massive food shortages because of bees
70 Blockage of bourgeois media, i.e. prevention of distribution via hacking and physically
71 The Singularity
72 UK withdraws from Human Rights Act
73 UK exits the EU
74 Kidnap IDS
75 Expanded privatisation of NHS
76 Questions of publication, specific Qs in location of group
77 Margaret Thatcher dies again
78 Someone in the poetry community will be on live TV: what should they speak about?
79 Analyse patterns of public "debate" on e.g. immigration, find ways to derail / disrupt
80 Conference to include workshops by non-poet activists
81 Workshop on representations of capitalism
82 Ambiguity of language
83 Children and literature
84 Action against poverty amongst children
85 Amazon succeeds in swallowing us all
86 Utilities catastrophe
87 Huge rise in price of water globally
88 Plague (or flu pandemic)
89 Bird flu ... No seriously
90 Build a ram
91 Fly bombing for poetry readings
92 Next General Election: what can we do?
93 Referendum on Europe
94 Exit EU
95 A UKIP Tory supply and confidence arrangement
96 Military dictatorship in Greece
97 The collapse of the Eurozone
98 Tory / UKIP coalition
99 Hung parliament in 2015
100 Coalition collapses or amicably disentangles into a supply and confidence arrangement this summer
101 Slogan creation and imaginative dissemination
102 Intervention and infiltration into organisations and events
103 Public [calumny?] of the enemy
104 Define the enemy
105 Form cadre within existing issue specific activist group
106 Biological crisis
107 Mass progressive movement
108 Slogan MAKING and - key - SPREADING, ie putting in right ground
109 Finding or developing spaces in which people who don't write poetry, or make art, then do. Would this help create a sense of "self development" and self-organisedness or is this just wishful thinking?
110 To agitate against the resulting increase of cuts and erosions of workers' pay and conditions
111 Final privatisation of language / knowledge
112 Police nano bots
113 UK drones (ie in UK airspace)
114 Total surveillance via nanotechnology
115 Languages as a common [scribble]
116 Building a Twitter account with 100,000 followers to tweet, test slogans and push out content
117 Develop a new revolutionary aesthetics for above
118 Social media & agitprop
119 Subtly rewrite all of Wikipedia
120 Criminalisation of social networking
121 The language uses of Palestinian refugees
122 Kate Middleton gives birth to centaur
123 The newly developed super wheat advances wheat intolerance, previous forms cannot now grow. A food shortage becomes immediate in the West
124 Bacteria will create a lot of tsunamis over the world
125 Bio poetic rehearsals to transform
126 Long history of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse in the royal
family is exposed
128 Civil war England / Scotland
129 Quakes from fracking
130 Sean Bonney gets shot by a rubber bullet while reading at a police line, he dies and his death is taught on school syllabuses
131 Start writing elegies about Sean, talk about how awful it is that Sean is dead
132 Disappearance of Jow Lindsay
133 Jow Lindsay policeman?
134 Something bad happening to Lenin's corpse
135 A reviewing circle: every book is circulated and reviewed by everyone
136 Reading Hegel properly
137 Read more books
138 Permeate poems through new outlets
139 Disappearance of vowels
140 Scotland turns
141 Bad survivalism
142 Regular coordinated calls to radio slots e.g. Any Answers, change terms of debate
143 Riots occur this summer
144 Critique all aspects of culture and society not just poetry
145 Links with leftist musicians even if their music is terrible
I've mixed the order a bit to draw out a few patterns, & hopefully to suggest a kind of swollen & bulbous version of the present moment. My original idea with this exercise was that small groups might be formed by people signing up to work on a particular topic. But I suspect that'd only really work as online groups, & there seemed to be much more support for forming groups on a geographical basis, (& maybe on the basis of mixed ideologies, aesthetics, perspectives,
& people not necessarily just going with their closest friends ... & with one eye on inclusiveness while also being, I dunno, a bit realistic about it for now anyway).