Slightly modified 18/4/17
The following was published in May 2008 on the Endangered Phoenix site, written by me and Red Marriott, in response to stuff on “Revolt against plenty”:
Response to only recently seen comments on the Revolt Against An Age Of Plenty (RAP) website – most notably “Dumbvirates & what the hell“, “From Mass Observation to King Mob” and a few other scattered texts:
The RAPpers flatter themselves that much of this site is a veiled attack on them – this is narcissistic self-importance gone mad. Yes, the ideas expressed here are partly a result of interaction with many other ideas and practices, including in the past with the RAP people – and even including aspects of ourselves and our pasts. Some disagreements with their views will therefore surface – but those differences were there often before and after knowing them or emerged more clearly through discussion with them – and are merged with various other views and critiques. Discussing and delving into differences is obviously one of the means of overcoming separations. It’s only absolutist dogmatists and authoritarians who think that expressing an opinion different from them is automatically an attack on them! When we feel the need to attack them about fundamentals, be sure we’ll be explicit about it.
They throw around the ancient accusation “pro-situ”. There is nothing more “pro-situ” than the ideological way they’ve ‘theorised’ this ‘break’, making an ideological spectacle of their own past – always safer than dealing with real issues with real people in real life. Sad, sad, sad.
The number of inaccuracies, hypocrisies, half-truths, misrepresentations, incidents taken totally out of context, paranoid delerium, grossly exaggerated caricatures, lies by omission, out and out calumny, hypothetical speculation and false assumptions about what we were thinking, even about our finances, turned into incontrovertible fact, attribution of opinions and attitudes to us that we have never held, conversations and actions that never took place (even in the distorted form they present them), , etc. etc. in the RAP account of us are really too many to mention – so many in fact that maybe few would believe just how inaccurate the account is. Even we found it unbelievable! After years of their brooding festering resentments the fictionalising is so great and truth so bent out of shape in self-justifying ways that it becomes impossible to have the slightest rational discussion of it.
Expressed in a manner designed to convey a cultured but down-to-earth non-politico image, mixing in a very rare compliment here and there to give a façade of ‘balance’, the attacks, to anyone who doesn’t know us, might well ring true, even if over the top. Their stream-of-consciousness ramblings is a fetish of immediate spontaneous thought – precisely because they’re mostly too inhibited/cowardly to act like that in their social relationships. Their critique of art/culture as compensation for what is repressed/unrealisable in daily life is applicable to the function of writing for them. Everything they’ve written is a representation of the forthrightness and frankness they failed to deliver in real life and real time. Frustrated by the enormity of the socially imposed difficulty of real subversive creativity and communication against the world, they fall back into virtual invention, a ‘creativity’ where fantasy magically becomes “fact”.
Whatever needles of pertinent critique there are buried in this haystack of bullshit, sifting through these decades of accumulated shit on the net – as opposed to clarifying it to individuals we know – would be as nauseating a task as refuting the crap in a years’ supply of The Sun or The Guardian. Besides, virtually nothing in our refutations would be objectively verifiable.
So we shall content ourselves with 2 contradictions, vaguely verifiable by means independent of what either of us say about each other:
1. They ‘reluctantly’ (ho ho) accuse us of rubbishing them on the net. These were people we’d, for the most part, had complete and utter respect for whilst they, according to their own version of events apparently never had the minutest respect for us, far far less so than for all the other people they attack on their site. The only negative thing we said about them was that we “have now disassociated ourselves from [the site] due to the uncommunicative dictatorial attitude of that site’s webmaster”, though we took that off a few months after the site was launched. Apart from this, we said “we have no essential differences with the contents of almost everything on that site.” (though we took this off just over a year ago because of some implicit lie about us in one of their new texts). Such a devastating “rubbishing” was obviously far too much for them.
2. One of them openly provides Vicki Maguire, an art historian/Tate Liverpool pop-art exhibition curator and recuperator (apparently “a nice gal”), with loads of esoteric information for her recuperative research, and has an interview with her in which a magazine like “Principia Dialectica” can be praised. Courting such flattery seems only designed to maintain some assumed ‘radical reputation’ and to assert their own historical significance – claiming their corner in the ideological museum. Both Vicki Maguire and “PD” stand for perspectives far more fundamentally in conflict with their point of view than anything we’ve ever expressed.
SamFanto added 3rd verifiable lie on 18th April 2017):
3.Somewhere in the onslaught of bullshit DW says that Re-Fuse has nothing in it but public denunciations of individuals that I have met. Anyone can see that this is not so by clicking on the link to it above. Moreover, when Re-Fuse came out, DW said to a common friend that he hadn’t realised it was going to be so good (overall, it isn’t particularly good, but there are a lot of good insights in it) . But almost 30 years after it came out, he felt the need to trash it.
It certainly is odd to read on the Internet, over 4 years after the break, such violently, obsessively detailed trashing of our friendships with people who have virtually never communicated any of this to us personally in any medium – either during or after the friendship. They testify to the world about how hard done by they’ve been by so many people throughout their life (in fact by most of their former closest friends, whom they’ve progressively cut off from). In an epoch where a confrontation with immediate misery has been brutally repressed, the image of ‘telling the truth’, to be preserved in the internet museum for posterity, becomes a substitute for all practically subversive truth, even for the simple effort of getting out more. Either they spent decades harbouring these secret criticisms and resentments – or they’re rewriting history to their own benefit. Neither of which reflects well on them. If only we’d known that every comment judged ideologically incorrect was being distorted and silently filed away for future public denunciation. Some who were favoured are now blacklisted, others who were out of favour (at least, in private) are now, for the moment, publicly rehabilitated. But in the Court of the Wise – the Judge is always the most guilty. Their approach is: History will be kind to me for I intend to rewrite it. Another indicator that the Internet is likely to be the biggest falsifier of history in history. All the worse because, unlike traditional falsifications from the State, businesses, the media, etc. it has all the appearance of individual freedom.
This settling of accounts in public is clearly a very sad pursuit and we clearly don’t want to go along that path ourselves beyond what’s said here. So some people fell out, for disputed reasons – are people so alienated that they want to read about it? This is the Reality TV syndrome applied to the Net – nothing really exists now unless it’s online. Presumably this momentarily “satisfies” a general desperate desire for gossip as entertainment in a world where no one really cares about (or can even verify) what is true or not as long as they can somehow feel some righteous emotion, an ersatz substitute for real life emotion and interaction. Who amongst the anonymous website readers really cares – except as the net equivalent of Big Brother, nothing to do with real concern at all? The tiny proportion of these events that has any theoretical usefulness to anyone else could be put in a small paragraph. Is there life after the internet? The internet has now, for the most part, become the false exit from an epoch in which isolation and the repression of a community of experimental resistance to external authority has reached unprecedented proportions. False because it’s an exit which intensifies what its users think they are escaping from. It’s all depressingly symptomatic of the acute implosion the defeat of significant class struggle has imposed, the obsessive domination of the present by the past and a perpetuation of the war of each against all they claim to despair of.
For these reasons and more, we have decided to break the link.
May 19th 2008
On the re-vamped “Revolt against Plenty” site several of our texts, as well as texts written with the Wise twins, claim to be written by “The Administrator”. Although we understand that this is a technical error due to a default mechanism, we asked them, in lieu of the correction of this problem, to put a note at the beginning of those texts written exclusively by us to the effect that these were not written by anyone at Revolt Against Plenty. They have ignored this request. So we shall list the texts written solely by us here:
“Last Orders For The Local”, “Culture in Danger – If Only”, “French Movement May – June 2003”, “1969: Revolution As Personal And As Theatre”, “Soaps Get In Your Eyes”, “Hope, Faith, Charity, Lottery”, “Art & Gentrification” (written with someone else not involved in either of the sites), “Om Sweet Om”, and “Moore Is Less” (different title on their site).
Samotnaf note added September 20th 2013: over 4 years later (sometime this year), the Wises began to put up the names of the authors of the different texts on their site.