Saturday, May 24, 2014

Christopher Barnett: guardian of the flame

Guardian of the flame

I am reprinting below an unedited statement from the Facebook page of expatriate poet Christopher Barnett.
Christopher has lived for many years in Nantes, France.  Much of his writing is in the adopted language of that country.
As a working class teenager, Christopher joined the movement to oppose the US imperialist war of aggression in Vietnam and became a revolutionary.  He joined the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist). 
Through a series of twists and turns both personal and geographical, Christopher established Le Dernier Spectateur (The Last Spectator), a theatre in Nantes where he works as a performance poet with poor and marginalised peoples. 
Last year, Wakefield Press, a South Australian publisher, brought out a 320-page book by Christopher, When they came for you/elegies of resistance, a series of Facebook poems inspired by the Israeli Zionist murder of Gaza Flotilla participant Furkan Dogan, a Turk. 
Last November The Conversation published a review of that book under the title The greatest Australian poet you’ve never heard of.   
Later this year, documentary film-makers Anne Tsoulis and Georgia Wallace-Crabbe will release These Heathen Dreams, a study of Christopher’s life and work, subtitled journey of a cultural bolshevik.
Christopher is ill.  He struggles with pain.  He sees much greater pain in the bloody crimes inflicted upon the peoples of the earth by imperialism and all reactionaries.
Like all of us, his candle will eventually be extinguished.  While it burns, he helps keep alive the great flame that lights the way forward for the wretched of the earth.
from where/i come
it is as if the institutions of fear, so necessary for capital to survive(with all its applied violence, both physical & interior) was founded in australia.
yes you had the hearsts, the beaverbrooks, the springers etc but it was in australia that such an institution could be constructed - perfectly.
the medias owned by so few people, people who delighted in the destruction of community life unless it was a source of profit. a form on caging both culture & community. the medias owned by people with a vested interest in cultivating an institution of fear (when i was young sport was very local, very tribal an integral part of community life but that too was transformed both as an engine of profit & a means of alienation - until it is not sport at all but the stock exchange of the fields)
the framework of that is almost entirely conceived by the comprador bourgeoisie & their masters in washington
bread & circuses but bread & circuses, meticulously & brutally conceived, to capture the breath of the people, not for their exaltation but for their execration
an already deeply colonised culture exacerbated with a cross control of all medias, especially in a time where the normal ideological institutions like education & church & family were either deeply compromised or in plain collapse.
our generation witnessed the collapse of civic life - we witnessed it up close
silence piled on top of silence working in complicity with the savage rhythm of those medias - (i can remember returning to australia for a month in 1994 & the sound the percussive sound of australian television was physically unbearable)
there is no national conversation - there is too much noise for that & those media have made listening - a sin, a sin most are not even capable of committing.
the destruction of civic life was planned over drinks with kerry & rupert & peter abeles laughing at the maelstrom they had modelled would soon be applied in all anglophone countries - in concert. There is a specificity in australian media, & there is a specificity to its particular cruelty
what western counties & their cultures do is to destroy the destinies of their people - the poorest as always are the easiest target & the target with which the greatest concentration is unleashed
in a word, i was born in the 50’s & there must be now millions of men & woman who have never received a decent education, who have never had the work that befits their desires or dreams, if indeed they have work & i have worked this arena so often i know now here & in australia there are now three generations who have not known work & never will
why do you think thatcher/blair & their acolytes created the jurisprudence of ‘asbo’[1] & all the rewriting of 18th century jurisprudence about ‘public order’
the elites know that they are deeply hated & they have built a jurisprudential wall around their privileges. It is why they have criminalised every form of resistance, especially those within communities
the institutions of fear have been writing full time to demonise such acts of resistance in every form & in every sphere. These these elites wonder why on the weekends their cultural precints are full of people wanting to king hit one another. The campaign against this, in australia, again reveals a hatred of the people. There is no analysis or context. The scribblers for the monstrous media, for the institution of fear, are not there for that, they are there, so that all citizens are frightened. Fear is so easily ramped up, so easily elaborated by ‘journalists’ who have never experienced life in any of its forms
thatcher was ready & reagan too - they were ready to collapse all institutions, those of jurisprudence, of public bodies, of legislature of the academy into a maelstrom of murderous melodies or at least melodies constructed by murderers.
to do this civic life had to be destroyed & so it was.
& so it was possible to once again profane against an ancient culture like mesopotamia as a rapist would - fucking the country into the earth littered with holy books, ancient manuscripts, staining all the ancient busts & sculptures with blood, with a million people's blood & the west would feel nothing for the real or the ancient. for the screams & the tears, for the blood & the soil
it would be served up only as noise by the institutions of fear - so success & celebrity silenced any interior screams that might let on what was really happening
australian ‘journalists’ work for monsters & engage in monstrous practices - the near silence/sanitisation of the detention/torture of refugees is only the latest of its crimes
what is done, is being done to aboriginal people is equally concealed, equally sanitised by these so called ‘journalists’, servants & scribblers, almost without exception
you have to cook an aboriginal man in a paddy wagon for the media to wake up but it is all too soon forgotten, as were the deaths in custody, they continue & we all know that
it is a pity murdoch can only die once, i wish he could die many times & a death more painful than my own.
althusser wrote about the apparatus of state in the 60's, but being a reasonable man but also a deeply troubled one, perhaps he was blind to the diabolic nature of it's impulse because it is more than about profit or control. it is about degradation & destruction
the destruction of civic life exacerbated two impulses, already existing in their populations, fear & inertia & as each 'crisis' emerged these impulses would be exacerbated a little more but each time with greater intensity, &  like imperial wars, they make use of chaos, the chaos already at the centre of the colonised mind with a focus on crime & celebrity, where the two are intertwined & it would appear to me the arrival of 'telereality' at the turn of this century was to destroy all interiority, to make of interiority a form of pornography. the moral failure of populations in the west to react to the carnage of empire is concurrent with the complete destruction of an 'inner life' - & it is at this point too, that instead of substantial information - newspapers were flooded with 'lifestyle' & instead of facts, commentary, self interested commentary took its place -
we must all wake up, by moments & ask ourselves, "what kind of world is this"
it is not necessary to see it as a conspiracy, on the contrary it is the coherent 'refined' expression of the elite's hatred & contempt for the people. current conditions require that that expression is articulated with great viciousness - so even a quick scan of newspapers & their other media will reveal it's expression. the way the poor, the underclass, the marginalised are treated in our times is not possible without the institutions of fear. it requires a moral death, to be replayed & repeated, over & over, again & again. as in ancient times there are still two rivers that mark the point of no return
the tigris & the euphrates
c b mai 2014

[1] Introduced by the Blair government in 1998, an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) could be issued in response to "conduct which caused or was likely to cause harm, harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as him or herself and where an ASBO is seen as necessary to protect relevant persons from further anti-social acts by the defendant." It was essentially aimed at rebellious working class youths.

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