Saturday, March 23, 2024


Thoughts have become concepts.
Concepts are called objects.
Writers of financial contracts are called financial engineers.
Contracts are called instruments.
Banking has become an industry.
Politics and economics are called science.
Rationalism has become empiricism.
Metaphysics has become physics.

All that is solid melts into air, and all that is ephemeral becomes material. 

1— Coming Soon Marion Fourcade and Kieran Healy, The Ordinal Society

The shift from the sale of physical computer hardware, frst to packaged software and then to web services as the basis for success in Silicon Valley, fostered a frm belief that “code” could and should solve most problems facing society. For the region’s “technological solutionists,” disregard for legal rules, hierarchies of knowledge, and existing organizational forms was the price of progress. There were echoes of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, who also acknowledged capitalism’s astonishing power to rip up the world and replace it with something new and almost incomprehensibly dynamic. “All that is solid melts into air”: capital discards obsolete technologies and flls up junkyards; it sheds the chrysalides of antiquated social structures, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake; it mocks ideas whose time has passed and incites the laity to pray to new idols. The metamorphosis is painful for everyone, even capitalists. To survive, they too must undermine their own production base. Joseph Schumpeter, himself a fne reader of Marx, termed the process “creative destruction”: the opening of new markets, the creation of new capacities, and product innovations, which “incessantly revolutionize the economic structure from within, forever destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”27 While the new revolution was made of code rather than coal, scripts rather than steam, its language and im- agery was curiously and inescapably industrial. Code was made, it seemed, in forges, with engines, through pipelines, by foundries—an entire metaphorical world of intensely physical production was conjured up to represent the activities of people who spent their days in front of screens, typing. They were not writing; they were building. Soon they would be mining also.

2—Something almost as annoying: Alberto Tuscano, "Undoing Oslo", NLR

Eid teaches English literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University and is a founding member of the BDS movement. He is the author of ‘Worlding’ Postmodernism (2014), a plea for an anti-authoritarian critical theory of totality anchored in readings of Joyce and DeLillo, as well as the editor of Countering the Palestinian Nakba (2017), a collection of writings by American, Israeli and Palestinian intellectuals which makes the case for one secular democratic state. As part of the systematic scholasticide visited upon the Strip – an intensification of Israel’s decades-long war on Palestinian intellectual life – Eid’s university has now been obliterated along with all other higher education institutions in Gaza. Scores of its academics and students have been murdered; all have been displaced and are now facing famine.

Decolonising the Palestinian Mind was completed amid Israel’s current onslaught, which Eid and his family were eventually able to escape because of his South African citizenship. A prologue, dated 26 October, captures the scale and ubiquity of the destruction: ‘I am standing over the ruins of a house in Gaza City, peering at the horizon. Most probably, the body of a martyr lies under the rubble. The body of someone who could not respond to an Israeli “warning.”’ In a poetic ‘out of body’ meditation, Eid surveys the pulverized landscape as if from the standpoint of a ghost. A further prologue, composed in Rafah five days later, describes his efforts to evade Israeli bombs with his wife and young children, fleeing from the razed Gaza City neighbourhood of Rimal to the north of the Strip and then down to the border with Egypt. It concludes by reiterating the demands for a ceasefire and ‘immediate reparations and compensation’, as well as one democratic state.

"'Worlding’ Postmodernism (2014), a plea for an anti-authoritarian critical theory of totality anchored in readings of Joyce and DeLillo...
Decolonising the Palestinian Mind was completed amid Israel’s current onslaught"

As I said elsewhere, if a rebel has a gun and uses it while also writing poetry I might want to read the poems. If a man with a pen and a foundation grant writes poems and calls them bullets, odds are I won't.

Mashal on Charlie Rose in 2014. Politics is a practical business. 

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