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Socialism and/or Barbarism
By Evan Calder Williams
Notes on a once & future nightmare. S a/o B 2008-2011 Follow @thickaswolves
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In love and memory

In love and memory of you, Chris, who were a friend and a comrade, you who literally taught me the meaning of that word. How it came from the Spanish camarada, the French camarade. From roommate, yes, but also how this was literal, from the real sharing of a space together, bound to the bonds formed by men who didn’t have security or wealth or private homes and so bedded down in the same small and rented rooms, who were friends and strangers, who fucked or didn’t. And this was at the heart of your brilliant queer history, starting not with a clearly defined erotics or identity but with that messy terrain of friendship and intimacy and class, inseparable from the spaces of capital and the attempts to make them our own. We organized and danced and argued together, and this was all part of our friendship, its care and work of trying to survive in the world we want to see upended.

When I saw you last, I had moved across the country and was back in California too briefly, and you drove me to the airport. Before I flew, we talked for hours over Indian by a highway entrance in San Jose, and I was struck anew by your impossible warmth, how it energized me and still does, and when we seize the bank and turn it into a dancehall, we’ll give it your name, Chris, our utopian, who this world couldn’t allow.


Any person who sings the praises of war is, in our opinion, a blithering idiot (Christmas Day, 1915)

O’ROURKE (London.) – Thanks, comrade. We are more proud of the comradeship of toilers like yourself than you can well imagine. It is such loyalty as yours that keeps us hopeful of our class and country.

CÚ CHULAINN (Dundalk.) – No! We do not believe that war is glorious, inspiring, or regenerating. We believe it to be hateful, damnable, and damning. And the present war upon Germany we believe to be a hell-inspired outrage. Any person, whether English, German, or Irish, who sings the praises of war is, in our opinion, a blithering idiot. But when a nation has been robbed it should strike back to recover her lost property. Ireland has been robbed of her freedom, and to recover it should strike swiftly and relentlessly, and in such a fashion as will put the fear of God in the hearts of all who connived at the robbery or its continuance. But do not let us have any more maudlin trash about the ‘glories of war’, or the ‘regenerative influence of war’, or the ‘sacred mission of the soldier’, or the ‘fertilising of all earth with the heroic blood of her children’, etc, etc. We are sick of it, the world is sick of it. And when combined with the cant about ‘patience’, and ‘waiting’, and the ‘folly of rashness’, and the ‘wisdom of caution’, and all the other phrases that are to be heard from the Irish eulogists of war we confess it gives us a feeling like sea-sickness – nausea.

No, friend! War is hell, but if freedom is on the farther side shall even hell be allowed to daunt us.


A brief review of Ngozi Onwurah’s Welcome II the Terrordome

Screenshot 2015-04-14 10.55.55

In a just world, a virus of tremendous scope and tenacity would ravage all the archives and vaults and shelves, all its servers and drives, its dens and libraries. It would draw no distinction between digital or analogue, bootleg or licensed. The CDC would be baffled: it appears to be crystalline in structure, yet its rate of replication is unprecedented…  Pundits would lose their shit on air, terrified that the virus might mistake them for the already-recorded and snake their throat mid-speech. Amazon would go on full lockdown: nothing in, nothing out, its long-rumored drones circling on updrafts, training red dots on anything that moved. Other rumors abounding, like how a conspirator’s union of ex-Blockbuster execs and the remnants of local videostores were behind it all. Still, it would creep through plastic and code alike, invading mancaves and Netflix queues, no matter the firewalls or plastic sheeting or shotguns. We would be held in thrall, in disarray. But despite the fears of those who lie awake and hear it rifling through code and celluloid, its endgame would not be to spread to the human body. Its symptoms would be simple: whenever it encountered a reel or MP4 or DVD that contained The Help or The Butler or The Intouchables or The Legend of Bagger Vance or Get Hard or Hitch, it would consume all the data that makes them up and leave in its place Welcome II the Terrordome.

But if this was a just world, Welcome II the Terrordome would not exist. It would not be entirely necessary, which is what it is. Maybe that’s the case for any of those rare things that actually deserve to be called political film: they need to be seen, as often and by as many people as possible, but they exist precisely because the order of the world is posed in full against that possibility, its hackles up and Bagger Vances ever-ready for immediate deployment. They could only be about this world, unmistakably so, but it’s this world alone that they exist to ruin.