[-empyre-] theatre of resistance

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Fri Mar 17 14:41:27 AEDT 2017

...I write under a new subject-, thread-heading because I don't want to 
outstay my welcome and what I have to say, having only niche interest, 
ought not deflect interest away from the main subjects of discussion... 
with which caveats:

Dear <<empyreans>>, Johannes,

You rightly point to Alan's reply to a comment I made about purging 
impurity as being interesting:

in fact all that is occurring_is_  impurity, and the incompetence of the regime finds this intolerable.

...and you ask about Minus Theatre in relation to resistance.

It is worth returning to another point of Alan's, about the


which you noted as also being, this time /strangely/, interesting:

"Something reminds me of the French resistance, which romanticized 
itself, found itself as resistance, acted piecemeal, and so forth. Like 
a lot of other resistances, and micro-cultures grow out of these - 
literatures, and here in the U.S. there are artworlds responding in all 
sorts of ways (for example the anthology Resist Much / Obey Little which 
just came out)."

Mark Fisher, who sadly died recently (which is an egregious 
understatement of the depression he, as they usually say of cancer, 
fought bravely, and died fighting), differentiates between the /weird 
/and the /eerie/: the latter is the feeling that nothing is there where 
there ought to have been something; the former is the feeling that 
something is there which ought not be.

My problem with resistance is its totalisation of the whole problematic 
field of what it is that is resisted. With that totalisation--and Alan 
has remarked on this tendency to respond to what is locally and 
specifically constellated as if to a totality--comes an understanding, 
in the strong sense of /supporting/ or /grounding/, of, for example, 
Nazism. So that the question of what resistance is comes from what is 
resisted, what is understood as being that to which resistance responds.

Did, say, the Resistance in France resist Nazism? This is an impossible 
question because Nazism did not achieve the totality of what we now 
understand by it until after the Nuremberg Trials. Would the Resistance 
have been such if it had understood, had had an immanent understanding, 
of the implacable evil it was resisting? (Its romanticising plays on the 
possibility of it having this weird foreknowledge.)

Although Arendt is considered to have demystified Nazism in all its 
horrific banality, what would it have meant (and what does it mean now) 
to resist such a banality? (to have such an understanding of banality?)

Is that one resists all one needs to know? as just a matter of doing? 
(In this, I think, lies the reason to question totality, as a weird 
knowledge of something: but, resisting, actively, is not this a form of 
knowledge? Or is it eerily acting on what is not there?) (In Arendt, is 
not banality simply this: a failure of imagination?)

How do we gain an idea (and I would suggest that an idea is a totalising 
image, that the world is reducible to an image because it is not one) of 
what, by resisting, we are resisting?

The Resistance constitutes Nazism in its engagement with it. The Left 
(not given up on, Johannes) is the eerie absence of an adequate image 
for contemporary resistance.

What Minus has tried is weird, to make an adequate image, to understand, 
support, ground Left resistance. Its subterranean strategy is not to 
resist but to escape meaning, essentially decomposing meaning, 
distributing its essential elements, its languages, in an energetic 
matrix (exactly a /soil/), and spending its riches to make what is not 
there, in an expenditure without hope or need of recompense--minus.

Why? What's this?

To break a cycle by showing that the energy which it requires, to roll 
out the future from the present, need not be put back into it, is not 
locked into it, except by force of a present, moral, natural and organic 
order. So the energy that goes into resistance, the same as the energy 
that goes into maintaining an order that is resisted, can be 
freed-(without a resistance that has taken on some of the tenor of a 
/ressentiment/)-in a public and collective spectacle, with the splendour 
of its profligate expenditure, exalting in an effort that is limitless 
because it knows no bounds.
(Suicide rates in New Zealand allegedly outnumber the toll of those who 
die on roads; although millions are spent on informing the public about 
the dangers of driving in New Zealand, very little is spent on informing 
the public about the dangers of living.)


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