Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Chris Paul: Improvised response to the Militant Poetics website (4 June 2013)

I couldn't make it to Birkbeck the other week – I live in Wales and sadly I was too broke to make it there – only oligarchs take train these days. As a poet I locate myself severally, across time zones, nations, decades – etc – but praxis is located and determined by the material, obv.

I am grateful for Jow's notion of keeping poetry to a minimum – for me the value of poetry is in rupture, conceptual/sensual disruption, its expansion of the art of the possible – but in terms of de-privatising and democratizing capital production, meeting future energy needs within climatically sustainable limits, altering the perception that the economic, the environmental, and the constitutional are mutually exclusive pursuits, avoiding false flag hysteria, protecting civil liberties as the economic elite fuckbuddyup with the conservative right to shoddy up their mutual interests, resisting hegemonic shite grilloesque populism, securing supply chains and essential services (like hospital refrigeration) as we strip past peak oil, avoiding food crisis if these supply chains are suspended, mobilizing class interest along class instead of racial lines, defining a sustainable constitutional space on an internationalist basis to avoid races to the bottom and vulture corporatism, de-centralising the power grid with no nuclear power, rejecting property rights as the cornerstone of policing, ensuring representation across the media and the judiciary, opening out media ownership, establishing tax justice international, seeing off fall out from trade derivative collapse, sustainable public transport, insulating the vulnerable from hyper inflation and currency war, miantaining the remnants of the welfare satate, resisting expansion of war and a new international cold war when syria is in ashes and iran vulnerable – poetry's value is limited....I think actually we (poets) have a vital role in documenting these concerns, articulating them in disinterested aesthetic circles, as a means of 'saying nothing', breaking into fresher epistemological ground. However, these concerns are essentially material and temporal – and the right are actively setting about, consciously or otherwise, in setting the conditions where popular dissent becomes shaped along divisive lines – inter-generational tensions (as in the london riots – this will be exacerbated as the benefit cuts kick in), and racial lines, we see clusters of EDL supporters petrol bombing mosques. We face a wholesale failure of the political class, and representative democracy, like prose, has reached its limits in terms of effecting this change – but we need to address to make structural alternatives through any channel that will listen, – SWP, Greens, SNP, Plaid, Labour, the CPGB, Occupy, the TUC, NUS, WI, FoE, CND, Greenpeace, radical independence, syrzia, Tax Uncut etc, etc. We exist where we are – severally, let's debate and dialogue, talk shit, actively though this and other channels, from where we are now – we'll never attain ideological perfection or revolutionary readiness, dualist fallacy, but we can sure as hell organise ourselves intellectually, as a foundation for political and social action, to withstand the shitstorm of history and elitist self interest coming our way.  We have no war but the class war but recognising and removing privilege is a driver in all this – intersectionality is vital, resistance, autonomy, equality of decision making, accountability, 'the proletariat are recruited from all segments of society' but perception of class consciousness is drawn from along sterotypes determined by the bourgeois.  As Europe is pauperized and we enter neo-feudalism – we need to address the big questions of the age in tangible terms – what does – eg – Keston Sutherland think we should do with the Euro really? – it is not enough for us to simply say 'I don't believe in capitalism'. How can we put in place an international alliance with the democratic safeguards the EU lacks? How can we sustainably and equitably organise free trade as the life machines won't power themselves without fossil fuel trade? It is not enough to simply say build more wind turbines, although we need to build more wind turbines. How do we overcome the armed interests that hinder us given we can't ever outgun them? It is not enough to filter these issues through a highly specialist filter – as a poet, hell no – we need the inter-conncectdness of ideas, to make concrete absent concepts to form meaningful social economic policy from across academic disciplines – intermediacy and cross disc', spanning sciences and humanities, as activism, above all, to revert to type – What will we do?

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