Luther Blissett on Fri, 16 Apr 1999 11:26:43 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Franco Berardi Bifo: Europe, the stillborn ideal

> From:
> Data: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 23:56:14 +0200
> This text will be published in the next issue of Tempos, due for release on
> the 20th of April 1999 at:
>  <>
>  Franco Berardi Bifo
>  Europe, the stillborn ideal
>  "People never rave about their mothers, they rave about nations, borders,
> ethnic groups, race, class… in the last couple of years everyone (myself,
> the Pope, Milosevic, Emma Bonino and Marc Dutroux included) have all taken
> to raving about Europe.
>  Europe does not exist, a fact which is hardly worth shedding a tear over.
> Identity is always and only something that has already been lost (or better
> still, something we thought we had) and the more we go on about Europe,
> “Europeanism”, European Culture, etc. the further the spectre retreats into
> the shadows. We have all been taken for the biggest ride on record; a
> united Europe: the Bundesbank, FMI, Pensiero Unico, ENFOPOL and American
> bases all over the place." (luther blissett)
>  The empire of catastrophe, national communism and the end of century
> identity disease
>  Kosovo Polje, 1989. While the empire of Evil collapses, the empire of
> catastrophe takes its place.
>  The empire of catastrophe is the gospel according to aggressive identity
> affirmation; the bloody ghouls, People, Nation and Race are back to haunt
> us again.
>  In the 1900s, what was wrongly referred to as communism, proved to be a
> powerful bastion of archaic resistance (feudal, bureaucratic, military and
> nationalistic) against the dynamic innovations of capitalism and against
> the trend towards globalisation that can be seen right from the beginning
> of the century.
>  One day the true story of these regimes has to be told, the story of these
> ultra reactionary twentieth century regimes and how they usurped the title
> of communism: the regime in Russia that placed absolute power in the hands
> of the army, the police bureaucracy and the orthodox church; the regime in
> China that shored up the power of the mandarin class, the regime in
> Yugoslavia that let the military caste and priests of various denominations
> (but principally that of the orthodox church) take control.
>  It is now clear that these regimes played the same role as fascism in
> Italy or nazism in Germany and their main aims were to contain the dynamic
> innovations of capitalism, to protect national identity from nomadic
> deterritorialisation resulting from technological breakthrough, to snuff
> out any unidentified sparks of life and to impose the shackles of family,
> nation and state.
>  Slobodan Milosevic is an excellent example of a figure who succeeded in
> uniting the bureaucratic class, who had denied freedom of movement to
> entire populations, preferring to incarcerate them in cells of social
> conservation and ideological dogmatism, and the nationalistic military
> class who had seized power, a pattern recurrent in most of the ex communist
> countries.
>  In 1989, Kosovo Polje, witnessed the birth of end of century national
> communism. National communism is the synthesis of the worst aspects of the
> socioauthoritarian tradition (dogmatism and dictatorship, without the
> trappings of social egalitarianism, in other words a version similar to
> that consecrated in the massacre of Tien an Men square in the same year),
> with the aggressive re-emergence of nationalistic and ethnic
> identification, a process parallel to that of the Islamic world in 1979, of
> neo Hinduist India in the 1990s and of Christian fundamentalist America.
>  Historical communism at least had the saving grace of universal size. End
> of century national communism is nothing more than another fundamentalist
> regime to add to the list. It has less archaic depth, less power of
> imagination, more atomic armaments, more conventional weapons and a higher
> degree of segregation.
>  From Kronstadt to Sarajevo
>  Let us have a brief look at the history of the ten year war in Yugoslavia.
> The country was created in a series of stages starting >from the Serbian
> Nationalist uprising of 1989. The Germanic revolt and the catholic church
> then stirred up the fire of Croatian secessionism.
>  It is important not to forget that the horror of the Serbo-Croatian war
> was created under the auspices of both Woytila and Kohl and that they have
> Vukovar on their conscience just as much as Milosevic and Ratko Mladic do.
>  After this came the war in Bosnia and the protracted agony of Sarajevo.
> Sarajevo is of immense importance, because it was there that Europe fell,
> along with the hope and dignity of modern civilisation. Sarajevo had a
> population of five hundred thousand people, today only two hundred and
> fifty thousand are left. Fifty thousand are dead, massacred by Karadzijc’s
> snipers. Sarajevo was the city of interracial harmony, the city that
> represented the dignity of the human race, the city where no one was
> excluded.
>  Sarajevo was the token of human solidarity. So why did the “international
> community” do nothing to help? At the time, a number of people, who no one
> (without running the risk of seeming ridiculous) could accuse of war
> mongering, begged Europe, the USA, ONU, and NATO, to intervene.
>  Why was not a single bomber sent to intervene then? Was it because, at the
> time, Milosevic was considered to be a reasonable person? Why was Sarajevo
> left to its fate?
>  There are those who oppose humanitarian interference in the name of
> national sovereignty. What a shit-ass expression national sovereignty is.
> It is forever on the lips of people like Cosutta, the epitome of a
> murderer’s slimy sidekick, if ever there was one. Cossutta wasn’t around in
> 1921, but you can bet your bottom dollar that if he had been, he would have
> been all for the Bolshevik extermination of the communards at Kronstadt. He
> was around in 1956 and 1968 enthusiastically supporting the use of tanks to
> quell the student uprisings in Moscow and the factory workers in Budapest
> and Prague. He is currently breaking all records by paying lip service to
> the assassin Milosevic while simultaneously supporting the murderers
> taxiing down the runway at Aviano. It is his vote that sustains the
> government which continues to give carte blanche to the bombers.
>  A person such as Cossutta opposes the bombing in the name of national
> sovereignty and yet this is like opposing lightning in the name of thunder
> or opposing the effect in the name of the cause.
>  At Sarajevo, the conflict between national sovereignty and human
> solidarity was so clear that now there can be no doubt that the nation
> takes over where humanity leaves off. Humanity cannot stand up straight
> until it has thrown off the chains of nationalism, the bonds of membership.
> Humanity did not manage to free itself from nationalism even after Hitler.
> The rhetoric of the post second world war years is full of appeals to the
> nation and the people and the results of this are what we are witnessing
> today.
>  Why did they do this?
>  Why did Europeans and Americans let Karadzijc’s fascists kill fifty
> thousand people in Sarajevo without raising a finger, and yet now they
> choose to intervene in the Kosovo? Why did NATO decide on such a demented
> course of action as that undertaken on the 24th of March 1999?
>  You do not need to be a military expert to realise that NATO politics in
> the Kosovo are complete folly. To begin with, they chose to support the
> Kosovo Liberation Army, an aggressive, nationalistic group linked to the
> mafia of Berisha, thus isolating the followers of Ibrahim Rugova, a group
> that has been struggling to avoid bloodshed for the last ten years. In the
> end this decision catalysed an offensive whose inevitable (and predictable)
> effects could never have been anything other than what we have seeing on
> our TV screens. In a year the Serbian military machine massacred 2000
> Kosovites, in a week it massacred ten times that number. NATO then launched
> its own offensive and its first move was to strike down the very wretches
> it was supposed to be protecting. The cover of the Economist from the first
> week in April shows an ageing Kosovite crying desperately, and the
> superimposed question he asks himself is: Victim of Serbia - or NATO?
>  Why did they do this? Are the political and military leaders of Nato all
> out and out sadists or idiots?
>  Even if I wouldn’t readily discount their idiocy, I think that the real
> reason lies elsewhere.
>  Over the past year American foreign policy has undergone a substantial
> change. From 1989 onwards, arms expenditure has been reduced drastically
> and with the cold war at an end government finances moved from military to
> civil research. The 90s however did not turn out to be the decade of peace
> that the new liberal ideology had predicted. In 1993, in a book entitled
> Out of control, (published in Italy by Longanesi) Zbignew Brezinski speaks
> of a future, dominated by an escalation of regional conflict and planetary
> civil war.
>  The United States has turned out to be a complete failure at a global
> level. Saddam Hussein emerged the victor of his war, the blueprint of a
> host of other battles, and ten years after the bombing of Baghdad continues
> to tyrannise and murder Curds, Shiites and various other dissidents. US
> intervention in Somalia, another fiasco, finished in hasty retreat. The
> allied Afghan forces financed by the USA to undermine the USSR have
> established one of the most horrendously inhumane regimes imaginable. The
> mentally unstable son of Kim il Sung continues to launch missiles and build
> up his stock of atomic armaments while in the last five years as many as
> three million North Koreans have died of hunger, not perhaps quite the new
> order the Americans had in mind.
>  At this point, American foreign policy has had to make a choice: either to
> adopt an isolationist policy, to retreat, leaving Eurasia to sink into the
> slough of its increasingly powerful, age old conflicts, or to crank up the
> American arms industry and increase the technological expertise of the
> American military machine.
>  The isolationist policy is rather weak: how could America possibly turn
> its back on Middle Eastern and Central Asiatic oil resources and how could
> America possibly forget that these archaic fundamentalist groups are all
> equipped with nuclear weapons?
>  In early 1999, President Clinton, who as a young man refused to fight in
> the Vietnam war, announced that American military expenditure would return
> to the same level as that under president Reagan. For those who delight in
> the machinations of behind the scene politics, it is not difficult to
> imagine the price that the American lobby demanded of Clinton in exchange
> for resolving the despicable case set in motion by judge Kenneth Starr.
>  Europe, the land of bankers and corpses
>  So now it is the turn of Europe to take the stage. This new born financial
> power begins to contemplate the possibility of a united army, an army that
> could one day challenge the monopoly of the American military lobby on
> global warfare.
>  The American arms industry lobby cannot possibly allow this to happen. The
> European risk must be dispensed with and this is where the Kosovo fits in.
>  Pandemonium and chaos are unleashed in the name of humanitarianism. In
> order to protect the Albanian population, a criminal force is sent to
> exterminate and deport them. In the midst of this confusion, Europe is
> forced to take the front line and those who govern behave like torpid
> puppets, void of the slightest trace of dignity.
>  A marginal aspect of the disaster that is taking place, is that the dazed
> actors involved in this tragedy are those were twenty years old in 1968.
> Now, they are nothing more than presumptuous cretins who have lost any
> right to exist and yet refuse to step down from the stage they conquered
> all those years ago in the name of utopia and justice. These ageing cynics
> are willing to turn their hands to actions as vile as this to cling onto
> the positions they have gained.
>  The idealism of the 1968 revolt has sunk under the waves of hypocrisy and
> egotism.
>  The generation of ’68 is no more; it has been lost in the inhuman lust for
> power, in its lies and in its violence.
>  If there is any logic at all behind the Easter war, it is this: the North
> American industrial military machine has defused any threat that Europe may
> have constituted in political and military terms. It has succeeded in
> forcing Europe to take part in a suicidal war that can only end in
> humiliation and defeat, a war in which the worst instincts of the European
> nations will be rekindled.
>  The war in the Kosovo is only part of a vast puzzle of interlocking
> pieces. The antagonism between Turkey and Greece, the war between the Turks
> and the Curds, the labyrinthine Caucasian conflict. The war between Iran
> and Iraq, between Pashtun and Tajik in Afghanistan, between India and
> Pakistan. The entire Eurasian continent is immersed in low profile wars
> that regularly explode into unspeakable violence and continue to establish
> the disturbing threat of the capacity for mass extermination.
>  This is the powder keg into which the Kosovo, with a lighted match in its
> hand, could easily blunder.
>  Europe is a stillborn ideal. It is now little more than a secondary
> element tacked onto a NATO initiative and will never be able to act
> independently. The link between the ancient world and the post modern has
> been smashed.
>  At the risk of repeating myself I feel it is important to underline this
> point: Europe is the link that joins the continent of past identity, the
> continent of the vile history of archaism and modernisation, to America,
> the continent with no history, the continent that is free from archaic
> fundamentalism, free to construct all the synthetic, fake fundamentalisms
> it chooses.
>  Europe is the link between history and technology, between the root and
> the expedient.
>  This is the link that has been broken.
>  A macabre screenplay
>  The screenplay to the 21st century has begun to unravel.
>  Globalisation has nothing to do with the homologizing of human society. On
> the contrary it institutes a profound and lasting duality in planetary
> society.
>  Five or ten per cent of the human race make up the virtual class, enclosed
> in the info-economic system CAORBINT (interconnected orbiting capsules),
> and somewhere way below, on planet Territory, planetary civil war becomes
> the main driving force behind the material economy.
>  The virtual class and civil war have no geographical boundaries, they are
> not territorial functions: Bangalore plays no part in the virtual circuit,
> whereas South Central Los Angeles is part of planet Civil War.
>  Therefore, even if it is easy to foresee that Eurasia is the continent
> where the collapse of archaic territorialism will remain predominant, in
> America it is the virtual economy that will prevail. Either Europe can
> function as the link and point of dynamic interchange between these two
> worlds or be smashed and swept up by one or the other or both.
>  The war in the Kosovo seems to favour the second hypothesis.
>  As far as one can predict, the American isolationist hypothesis (the idea
> of transferring the American continent to a separate, inaccessible planet)
> is somewhat unrealistic: the proliferating threat of the bomb holds the
> planet tight and united in an infernal embrace.
>  In this screenplay, there is no role for us to play.
>  We must desert from this inevitable war.
>  We must desert from nationhood and state, from identity and from
>  We must become life without duty and without justification.
>  We must live as if the world did not exist.
A New Guide To The Luther Blissett Project
last update: April 1999
the endless self-historification. the baffling creation mythologies. the
amazing media pranks. the incredible amount of press coverage. Dozens of
texts and several useful pics (including LB's face). You too are invited to
adopt the "Luther Blissett" multi-use name for communication guerrilla
actions, hacktivism, civil disobedience (electronic and not) and radical

'Well, I don't wanna remain underground. There is subculture and main
culture, and I don't wanna remain as one of the subculture at all. More and
more people who like subculture are coming close to me. They nestle close
to me saying "Mr. Blissett", and all of them are weird. I often think "You
must be sick. Take balanced nourishment, vitamins too, and become healthy,
then come to me." I don't like people intending to be underground.' (F. P.
Belletati, Naples, April 7th, 1999)

Re-thinking AIDS:

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL:  contact: