Sunday, August 29, 2010
Looking at the city from my cube of a backyard. It's so open and exposed to the elements there - the view of the city constantly changing in accordance with the varying light and weather - often reflecting my states of mind. At times, the buildings are obscured in haze or fog. In the evenings, I like to make the lights dance a bit, by moving my camera very slightly, like in this photo from the other night (though it should really be shown much larger than I can do here).
Friday, August 20, 2010
"CAPITALISM REMAINS A FORMIDABLE DESIRING MACHINE. THE MONETARY FLUX, THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION, OF MANPOWER, OF NEW MARKETS, ARE ALL THE FLOW OF DESIRE. IT'S ENOUGH TO CONSIDER THE SUM OF CONTINGENCIES AT THE ORIGIN OF CAPITALISM TO SEE TO WHAT DEGREE IT HAS BEEN A CROSSROADS OF DESIRE, AND THAT ITS INFRASTRUCTURE, EVEN ITS ECONOMY, HAS BEEN INSEPARABLE FROM THE PHENOMENON OF DESIRE. AND FASCISM TOO - ONE MUST SAY THAT IT HAS 'ASSUMED THE SOCIAL DESIRES,' INCLUDING THE DESIRE OF REPRESSION AND DEATH. PEOPLE GET HARD-ONS FOR HITLER, FOR THE BEAUTIFUL FASCIST MACHINE. BUT WAS CAPITALISM REVOLUTIONARY IN ITS BEGINNINGS, HAS THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION EVER COINCIDED WITH SOCIAL REVOLUTION? NO, I DON'T THINK SO. CAPITALISM HAS BEEN TIED FROM BIRTH TO A SAVAGE REPRESSIVENESS; IT HAD ITS ORGANISATION OF POWER AND ITS STATE APPARATUS FROM THE START. DID CAPITALISM IMPLY DISSOLUTION OF THE PREVIOUS SOCIAL CODES AND POWERS? CERTAINLY. BUT IT HAS ALREADY ESTABLISHED ITS WHEELS OF POWER, INCLUDING ITS POWER OF CLASS IN THE FISSURES OF PREVIOUS REGIMES. IT IS ALWAYS THE SAME: THINGS ARE NOT SO PROGRESSIVE; EVEN BEFORE A SOCIAL FORMATION IS ESTABLISHED, ITS INSTRUMENTS OF EXPLOITATION AND REPRESSION ARE ALREADY THERE, STILL TURNING IN A VACUUM, READY TO WORK FULL CAPACITY. THE FIRST CAPITALISTS ARE LIKE WAITING BIRDS OF PREY. THEY WAIT FOR THEIR MEETING WITH THE WORKER, WITH THE ONE WHO DROPS THROUGH THE CRACKS OF THE PRECEDING SYSTEM. IN EVERY SENSE THIS IS WHAT ONE CALLS PRIMITIVE ACCUMULATION."
- Felix Guattari (excerpt from Capitalism: A Very Special Delirium, 'Hatred of Capitalism/A Semiotext(e) Reader' 2001) -
Friday, August 13, 2010
Not much else to say right now - just looking forward to things being a bit warmer. Sick of being cold. Sick of having a cold - 3 weeks so far and I still haven't shaken it. People are whingeing all over the net about this particular lurgy and many ask: "Is this some new type of super-virus?" Others say they'd prefer the flu. Anyway, the jasmine will be out in a couple of weeks and the buds will follow. Just hanging in for now. Will post more shortly.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
It's become increasingly common to see people begging on Sydney's streets - often accompanied by pets and partners. Somehow, I feel a bit awkward bringing this issue up here - even a bit guilty - as if I'm somehow exploiting the fact. But then again, it's just something I've noticed for quite a while now and it brings up mixed reactions in me.
The first time I noticed someone sitting on the street, holding up - as they usually do - a cardboard sign with details of their plight, was around 1995. He was a fairly young guy - kind of bedraggled - and his sign said that he had been offered a job in Melbourne and was trying to raise the fare to travel there and take it up as soon as possible. A couple of months later, I saw him again - with exactly the same sign. Huh? I was out and about with a DAT recorder at the time, recording 'vox pops' for a university radio project I was undertaking. Without really thinking beyond my mission to record people's opinions and thoughts on the street, I fronted up to him with my microphone and asked him what had happened with the job he'd been offered, saying that I'd noticed him those months earlier. He was furious with me and basically told me to get lost. Instantly, I realised that his sign was merely a front for a new type of scam and I felt foolish. I also felt like a bitch.
When I see people begging, I have to admit that I somehow feel resentful of them. But why? While I try to be a compassionate, non-judgmental person, clearly I am judging these people and I am forced to question myself. I guess it's partly because it seems undignified, when we have a social security system that provides modest living expenses for those who, for whatever reason, can't provide for themselves. It's also irritating because I can see that, for most of them, they are clearly just supporting drug habits and their signs belie this truth. Also, I recently saw an article on TV about one such beggar - who, rather than holding up a sign, crouches on his splayed knees outside the main entrance to the Myer department store with his head down and arms outstretched, holding a cap - in which it was revealed he makes $50,000 per annum. WTF! I guess it also bugs me to see people fall for it - helping it to rapidly become such a lucrative option - appealing to people's sense of pity and guilt in relation to their own comfortable lifestyles, whilst giving them a sense of gratification that they're 'giving something back' - in turn feeling better about themselves when they toss a coin down.
What is most disturbing about all this really is my bourgeois reaction - in that it bothers me at all and that I'm even writing about it here. However, to be fair, much of my reaction is due to the fact that this begging doesn't actually change anything. It doesn't change the fact that the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer. It doesn't change society or the system and its inequalities and injustices. It doesn't make taxpayers feel less resentful about their money being used to support those who can't (or won't) find work. It's more just a part of (indeed a result of) the system itself.
From now on, I'm shifting my thinking. If someone wants to beg all day and makes good money, all power to them!