The straight line is godless and immoral

Hidden Potencies

Mobilizing the erotic body of the intellect.

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2011 was the first year of the European uprising, when European society entered into a deep crisis that seems to me much more of a crisis of social imagination than mere economics. Economic dogma has taken hold of the public discourse for three decades and has destroyed the critical power of political reason. The collapse of the global economy has exposed the dangers of economic dogmatism, but its ideology has already been incorporated into the automatisms of living society.

Political decision has been replaced by technolinguistic automatisms embedded in the interconnected global machine, and social choices are submitted to psychic automatisms embedded in social discourse and in the social imagination.

But the depth of the catastrophe represented by the collapse is awakening hidden potencies of the social brain. The financial collapse marks the beginning of an insurrection whose first glimpses were seen in London, Athens and Rome in December 2010, and which became massive in the May-June acampada in Spain, in the four August nights of rage in the English suburbs, and in the wave of strikes and occupations in the US.

The European collapse is not simply the effect of a crisis that is only economic and financial – this is a crisis of imagination about the future, as well. The Maastricht rules have become unquestionable dogmas, algorithmic formulae and magical spells guarded by the high priests of the European Central Bank and promoted by stockbrokers and advisors.

Financial power is based on the exploitation of precarious, cognitive labor: the general intellect in its present form of separation from the body.

The general intellect, in its present configuration, is fragmented and dispossessed of self-perception and self-consciousness. Only the conscious mobilization of the erotic body of the general intellect, only the poetic revitalization of language, will open the way to the emergence of a new form of social autonomy.

Franco “Bifo” Berardi is an important thinker of the Italian Autonomia Movement. In the 1970s, Berardi fled to Paris for political reasons and became a close friend and collaborator of Félix Guattari, philosopher of schizoanalysis. Berardi is a media theorist and media activist who currently teaches Social History of the Media at Accademia di Brera, Milan. This essay is adapted from his newest book The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance, to be published by Semiotext(e) in November.

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global capitalism is not in actual decline, since it is growing. it is perhaps in decline among certain disaffected demographics, however it's an open question as to whether this disaffection will have any practical effect on global capitalism itself


Interesting article, I appreciate the idea of revitalizing our feelings, poetry, emotion, etc...This is a very broad idea, and I think useful. Also useful is attacking the status quo using its own analytical processes in creative yet practical ways.

For example, I think a great weakness of the occupy movement was its general failure to grasp the actual details of what is destroying the world economy.

I would love to see, for example, a kind of Occupy think tank, that will take apart piece by piece the financial situation, and show, for example, how the Federal Reserve acts as a shadow government, making its own laws, printing trillions of dollars, doing what it wishes with those funds, and refuses to have much oversight.

Or, for example, an analysis of possible constitutional changing to the U.S. voting process that could allow a better chance of participation of more than 2 parties in the political process.

It would also be beautiful and poetic in a way to see an analysis of the actual individual human owners of all major banks, oil companies, and defense contractors. Made accessible in an online database. This would be a great tool to see exactly who is benefiting when legislation is bought and national assets plundered.

Not sure if this is what the author had in mind, but screwing with the current paradigm in a way that creatively deals with its complexities head-on, but still can be reduced to fairly simple concepts, is high erotic intellectual expression to me.

Sea Gym

In recent years I have observed that Adbusters seems to be mainly concerned with waging a rhetorical battle against "the system". While there seem to be weekly "calls to action", often combined with a sincere joy that economic systems are in free-fall collapse - tell that to the Greeks who can't balance their books at all but could still retire at 55), I don't see much being published that offers pragmatic solutions, as was more common years ago.

I visited the Halifax Occupy site last year on two occasions and was stunned at how irrelevant it was. Sure, it made some people feel good about themselves, but in observing the General Assembly I immediately noticed obvious problems: 1) it was dominated by young personalities, some of whom insisted that because they had been there since the beginning their opinion ought to carry more weight, 2) the woman responsible for tracking speakers was so incompetent that she could not tell who was next in line to speak (I had to interject twice even AFTER making her aware that I intended to speak), 3) there was little to nothing available towards community outreach (for example, something posted, printed or otherwise created to explain to the public what Occupy was about, made available at the camp gates), 4) when I offered support in terms of food / fuel not a soul approached me afterward to follow up or to make arrangements, nor did anyone seem much interested. Clearly the whole thing was being run "democratically" to the point that no one seemed able to take the initiative and actually do something without having to ask permission first.

As someone who was involved "from the beginning" with the FTAA mobilization that brought 70,000 people to Quebec City in 2001 I was unimpressed with the slack and incompetent thing that was Occupy Halifax. In fact there was a sense even amongst some of the most impressive grassroots people I know here that Occupy Halifax was a pointless dud.

Politicians know that street protests can be ignored because they are usually gone tomorrow, or in the case of Occupy, by winter or by eviction, and while Occupy was a fine symbolic gesture, it is hardly the basis for a "revolution".

If Occupy Halifax was any indication of what the "revolution" looks like, then it's as pointless and incompetent as the power structure it aims to replace. I'm 45 years old, a professional with decades spent abroad in some of the most brutal dictatorships on earth, and I need more than feel-good calls to "action" which in the end manifest as people just sitting around in the park, talking a lot of blah, blah, blah about what "Marxism, socialism, and anarchy" have to offer me.

The more I read Adbusters the less it seems to offer the world, beyond the obvious suggestion that things are not going well. If calls to action that go nowhere are all that Adbusters has to hang its hat on, then its painfully clear that there is no "revolution", only that there will be survival for those who are doing the work to make that happen. All over Nova Scotia people are going into farming, building wind turbines, and a whole lot more. Not a one of them bothered to turn up for Occupy and sit in the park for more than an hour or two. Sorry to pee on your parade, but Occupy has nothing to offer me that I can see, nor will I ever bother to make an offer of support or food again.

Sea Gym
Halifax, NS


I think you are missing the point. I have had the same complaints about Occupy but now I believe there is a tactic we aren't identifying. Occupy isn't trying to reach someone such as yourself, its trying to reach the young under 30 group. The youthful "call to action" with its whimsy and party like theatrical presentation is a ruse to mobilize young people and engage them in an alternative political language (anarchism, marxis etc.), hence the "sitting around and talking". These are tactics to try and wake up the young college students and the like so they can build a future revolution by introducing and acclimating them to radical ideologies, political thought and offering a structure for networking in a generation that hasn't been mobilized by the traditional political spectrum and perhaps wouldn't have had much introduction to radical political ways of being. This of course doesn't mean it will be successful at any future date but even you must admit that there are more young people being introduced to the likes of Bakunin, Goldman, Kropotkin etc. than has been for a very long time.

This is why I no longer think of Occupy as something either designed to actually do anything at present to reform or challenge the present social political structure nor attract people in our age group. I could be wrong but I think they are trying to grow a crop of future revolutionaries by planting a seeds now.


is adbusters running out of competent writers? the schizo-dogma of the euro sexy-collapse seems to have resulted in many car-crash compilations from russia (with the love-bone). i'm still waiting for the hidden potencies to escape my brain-but while my auto-techno-lingo-isms flapped away at the occupy tanking of their think-o-tastic dogmatic self-consciousness. My guess is if you flip a few syllables around you'd get Dr. Seus. Bifo, Seus:... Sues, Bifo.


Most of us see tension included in existence though it may be one of the biggest causes of health issues


What's understood about anxiety disorder is that the fight-or-flight response inside brain doesn't work the way it really should

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