Spectre

The Communist Manifesto presented in Morse Code.

Attenuated, improvised,  mixed live, & broadcast as

durational radio over a twelve hour slot on London's Resonance Extra,

to mark the centenary of the  Soviet Revolution.

Manifesto of the Communist Party A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries? Two things result from this fact: (I) Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power. (II) It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself. Karl Marx 26 OCTOBER 2017 8AM 8PM: SIMON TYSZKO It’s one hundred years today since the October revolution and decades since the dismantling of European Communism, and Marx still accompanies our time, an era where any notion of revolution is in retreat. His presence demands: How do the people become the decision makers in society? What are the reference points for a revolutionary movement? What does it mean to organise for revolution today? How does the universal path that was opened up for humanity by the October Revolution pose itself today? The transmission of the Communist manifesto in Morse code is this voice from the past. Marxism, treated as dead and buried in late capitalism, something that which remains hidden and secret, now becomes visible. A thing considered lifeless becomes animate again – an eerie presence where an absence is expected. The transmission is a revelation: the suspicion that the thing has been there all along, kept animate by the automatic mechanical process of Morse code. When we hear this message it creates the sensation that we have been walking over ‘a buried spring under a dried up pond’ that could come up at any time. It is the unanticipated recurrence of this thing banished from out consciousness, the involuntary return that generates a sense of helplessness – this is what haunts and scares us. In the opening line of the Communist Manifesto Marx channels a messianic vision of a supernatural force: ‘A spectre is haunting Europe…the spectre of Communism’. Like a ghost it stalks capitalism and the old powers of Europe, Pope, Tsar, Matternich and Guizot, French radicals and German Police-Spies. It shadows the monstrous excesses of the twentieth century, its losses and what it has left behind. Haunting Europe until exorcised by the re-ordering of the late twentieth century, after the failure of its totalitarianisms. Jacques Derrida called these the ‘lesions’, or ‘the deepest wound’ that has been sutured only because Capitalist societies can always heave a sigh of relief and say to themselves: Communism is finished since the collapse of totalitarianisms of the twentieth century. And not only is it finished, it did not even take place, it was only a ghost. A Morse code broadcast of the Communist Manifesto, the fuzz and crackle of an arcane technology, a universal language to transcend material limits of the nineteenth century, speaking of a universal path that is now overgrown, the future that it led to now mourned as a loss. A twelve hour broadcast of a spectral message, an ideology of the 1880’s that fused in a state of permanent irreducible entropy with a technology of the 1880’s. The temporal caesura is eerie. It’s Freud’s Umheimlich, unhomely. What is this thing, a presence in the here and now where there should only be an absence? A presence that emerges in the voids between the dots and the dashes. It’s like hearing something of oneself from the past, one’s own voice perhaps, played back. We encounter a once familiar ‘nursery tale’, a part of us abandoned or repressed, now reanimated. We recognise ourselves and are estranged from ourselves at the same time - the surprise of finding something that was inside, incorporated, is now outside of us. Familiar but strange. The manifesto is a thing that has disappeared only to manifest as revenant over a century and a half after its birth, 100 years to the day after its maturation, and 3 decades or so after its many deaths. French philosopher Jacques Derrida argued that when Marxism reveals its presence, like Hamlet’s Father’s ghost hiding behind its visor, hidden in plain sight. It has been present all along haunting. In late capitalism, the end of times that Frances Fukiyama describes, where ideologies and history – the notion of Hegelian progress itself - are erased in ‘the beginning of a market universe which is a perpetual present’ there is no traction for temporal points or absolute origins. Authenticities like ideologies become nostalgias and retro-aesthetics. The messages once authenticated by the aura of history are diluted by automated mechanical reproduction but still retain the trace of their origin. Why does this transmission that escapes from history to emerge now, hold such appeal? Estranging and knocking ‘time out of joint’, it is disengaged from our present time and daily concerns, carrying the strange reassurance and calming action of something repressed, something original and primitive that is revealed to be true after all. Marxism is a ghost that is repressed, and like Hamlet’s father’s ghost it never disappears: ‘This ‘Thing’, totalitarianism, meanwhile looks at us and sees us not see it even when it is there… The spectre first of all sees us. From the other side of the eye, visor effect, it looks at us before we see it…’ By disrupting time it demands its re-ordering and up-righting like the ghost who implores us to do right but without being able to show us how. This is how Communism haunts. It’s uncanny, the way Marx is discarded only to re-emerge an unanticipated presence in the absence. Derrida recognised that the spectre of Communism is even stronger since its decline, that in death the ghost is untethered, allowed to visit and co-join things that would never likely be together. The message that it carries from the nineteenth century to now is not the relevance of an ideology of the past to the problems of the present - but of the crisis of our time and the responsibility to a radical critique that is inspired by the spirit of Marx. International Sand 26/10/2017

 

presented here in six two hour segments

Feburary Aurora Bolsheviks Soviets Struggle Winter Palace

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