Wednesday, 15 October 2014


When she arrives at The Enclave, Derren Jones is talking about the inconclusive, finally ambiguous Spanish pre-Crisis social movement Pinchar la Burbuja, inspiration for their own Burst the Bubble campaigns after which Andrew Gillingham will be talking about the crisis of the Seventies and the series of overlapping unresolved crises that have been circling the world since the dot com collapse of 1999. They are in Enclave 4, the art space down on Resolution Way. After the meeting they will assemble at the station, summoning forth, from phones and across networks of friends and fellow activists, sympathetic groups, a wildcat demonstration, point of protest, the Shard.

There are a lot of familiar faces, some people she knows through Laura, others she sees all the time, standing around outside the Bird's Nest, or drinking Flat Whites in Kwofee, but dare not speak to yet, sure they are too smart for her. Lewis skulks around at the back of the room waiting for Laura, her hood up, looking scowly, feeling excited, awkward, enthused, ashamed, exposed.

She wants to go on the Demo, but she has promised her mum she will be back in the flat at 10:30 to answer the land line. She doesn't mind, she wants her mum to go and have fun, to relax and in the end it was the only way she could get her to agree. I will be home safe and sound, no I won't sneak out later. Just go, go.

A nu-step remix of Hot Money by The Derivatives has come on and a couple of drunk girls next to her start ironically twerking and laughing, passing a bottle of Lambrini back and forth. This is why some people don't like this crowd, these art-kids, some people think they are the problem. but she knows, of course there are some idiots everywhere, everyone acknowledges that, these are the people, these are the people among whom she belongs

She wanders about looking at the paintings, picking up fliers, fiddling with her phone. Laura assures her she is on her way. People around her are talking, saying many things she doesn't understand or half understands. She skulks and eavesdrops, swigs nervously at a carton of black coffee.

….every life is a series of unresolved overlapping crisis, why would the aggregate effect of our lives not be chaos...

Yes well that's the kind of liberal humanist line isn't it, all of this is due to incompetence or unintended consequences no-one can possibly control or foresee.

Yet, y’know, there are these remarkably stable continuities in terms of land and wealth, in terms of ownership of resources, class position, power, generation after generation, amazing consistency and stability in the creation and maintenance of structures and institutions that allow for such continuities.

There's a very beautiful, tall pale boy with a coronet of jet-black tumbling glossy curls and heavy stubble wearing a very baggy blue Nylon blouse, top button fastened, talking animatedly to a shorter Asian guy with a mullet, holding a can of Stella. She loops their way pretending to look at the paintings. These are the guys with the weekly net radio show, aren't they? The one's whose friends John and Jo do Left- Wing Workouts.

It's a banal observation, a theoretical commonplace that the formula for money and that of desire are virtually identical, money’s aim is more money, desires aim is not its object but more desire, this isomorphism is central to the way in which finance Capital specifically and liberal capitalist world views are inter-constitutive as long as you are a desiring subject, that is to say a capitalist subject, that’s all that matters

Isn't it more that post capitalist mean a post desiring subject.

Someone else leans in. What is with the Post-capitalist meme anyway. It's an article of faith that post-capitalist must somehow be better than capitalist, it's just historical materialism 2.0

Jake groans at the already antique use of 2.0.

But seriously why can't post capitalist just be worse? Why must it be more egalitarian or more democratic?

She loops away again. Someone is talking about Lizzie Borden's Born in Flames. Another the role of women within Nepalese Communist groups. The floor is sticky, her coffee carton drained.

She heads toward the door to get a breath of fresh air. There’s a guy there she recognizes, in his mid-forties with steely gray hair, a suit and a nervous manner talking to two women in their twenties dressed in what she can only think of as some kind of Sixties style militant Sci-Fi boiler-suits. One of them she knows is Jessica Durham, a lecturer at Goldsmiths, she has seen her speak a few times and has a massive crush on her that she angrily denies to Laura, though Laura probably has one on her too.

The other girl, young maybe her lover, with a sharp face and very soft blond hair. looks nervous and seems brittle and edgy, all her energy focused on saying brilliant, unforgettable things.

Just out through the doorway, there's another group, looking grim and tetchy, texting away. There’s Dan she nods, he smiles and nods quickly back, looks distracted. Already several people have been arrested, dawn raids or pinched on public transport, in supermarkets, swiping their claimant card or passing one of the million chipped bins, windows, lamposts that grid the city, swept up either under the massively expanded powers of the USG’s Welfare Enforcement Division or in straight busts by the Met. No-one knows where they are now, in cells somewhere, detention centers, holding- pens, being deprived of sleep and food, lent on, intimidated. It’s only a few months since the last hard stop fiasco left Lewisham shopping centre gutted and the police station across the road pocked with flying bricks, and so the crackdown continues. Water cannon, rubber bullets, expanded powers to detain, reclassification of the term terrorists, the legal redefinition of the idea of violence, the extravagant sentencing.

The latest mayoral campaign poster has the incumbent in a black and white poster posing at a a window and peeping through the blinds, holding a taser, a parody of the famous image of Malcolm X and the later recreation by KRS-One.

Keeping London open for business. By all means necessary.

Someone behind her is saying the point is that reclassification of laws is not a discursive practice and therefore can’t be countered by one, it’s a recomposition of the relationship of power, access to space, freedom of movement, political agency. we are not fighting fire with fire, that’s the mistake i think, to fail to understand the legal framework.

Lewis leans against the rail and looks up and down Resolution Way.

maybe you should write a book on it, give another fucking paper on the need to understand the problem more fully.

actually the voice says I am I am focusing on performatives and how we can

Where is she?

Isn't the problem that the requirement for theoretical novelty for a niche and brand is the logic of biopoltics. If we just say, ok it has all been said basically, we are all, I mean academics, out of a job. But we want to be out of a job right, we want everyone out of a job, the problem is we can't conceive of ourselves as non-productive subjects, we can't defy the demand to produce the new, in more and more contrived, inessential increments.

Lewis checks the time on her phone

So we should just abandon thought?

And suddenly Laura has arrived, sashayed in out of nowhere on stiletto heels, sidled up beside her.

She runs her hand up Lewis’s back, says hello gorgeous.

No that's not what I am saying at all, I am saying we should aim at our own abolition. And if we are too invested in our position we must accept that others, less so, will abolish us.

She looks spectacular, she’s late but it was worth it. Sorry I'm late, took ages getting ready.

Stay using the mesh network. I don't trust that guy . I think he's a Jake. No not Jake! A cop, A fed. Five-O.

Laura kisses her, her lips taste of nothing but her own delicious lips, her hair smells uniquely of Laura herself. Lewis goes up on tip toe. Lauras’ breasts push against her throat and her whole sublime heft strains against the black satin suit she is wearing. She grips at Lewis’ arms through her tracksuit top feels the knotted muscle, runs a hand over her shaved head and gazes into her eyes.

If the state is so useless, so impotent why have the right spent so much time and money trying to co-opt it,

You are so fucking hot, Lewis says and runs a hand up between her legs, watches Laura's nostrils flare, a smile tickle at the corners of her mouth as her knuckles bump softly to a stop. Laura squeezes a little on her Lewis' fist with her thighs and bites her lip.

Well equally if protest is so useless why do they spend so much time trying to ban it

Oh my stars, she is ridiculously hot. That eye makeup and the insanely thick false eyelashes. She moves her hand. Not here, not here. But really. She wants to breathe her in, be enveloped by her, to both be subsumed and to incorporate her on some atomic level. Flesh of my flesh, molecular integration, any sense of separation or remove, and distance dissipated.

Yes but that's an atavism, a kind of formal game played out between the state and the public, it’s there for the right to keep their voters onside, in fact you play into the rights agenda by protesting

but we also make it visible to the left

Visibility is in some ways the problem. the spectacle.

Lewis is half tempted to just pop back to the empty flat right now but suddenly the buzz in the room subsides and a series of Presi slides are being projected against the far wall, images taken from property websites Yourhome, Zoopla, Rightmove , others from what is increasingly being called the Shadow Housing Sector, a nice euphemism, the boy in the sky-blue blouse, standing at the front of the slowly assembling crowd says, for slum housing: more specifically he wants to address the overlap between the two and the increasing discursive legitimation in the popular press of price gouging, overcrowding and the construction of ad-hoc and improvised “accommodation” in gardens, abandoned sites, garages, jerry built extensions, the accelerating subdivision of existing housing stock into smaller and smaller spaces, into capsule and, informally, “coffin” accommodation, the government's restriction of planning and tenancy laws in order to prolong the housing crisis from which they and their supporters benefit. He concludes with a critique of the Alter-housing movement, the wigwams and Yurts and wagons snuck away in outlying fields or sympathetic friends gardens as mirroring the logic of rentier capitalism under the guise of libertarian Leftism and concludes by explaining that their own Burst the Bubble campaign differs from the Spanish Pinchar la Burbuja in that the latter attempted to collapse the bubble from below by mass refusal to take on mortgages, whereas they see the necessity of making property itself subject to attacks to send a clear message that property is not a global asset class and that any attempt to use it as such will be met with concentrated attempts to occupy, confiscate or radically devalue that asset.

By any means necessary? Some one in the crowd asks, to laughter.

Burn baby burn someone else shouts out. They are all mindful of the undercover police who are certainly in the room, all mindful of the comrades given seven years for unfurling a sign saying “this property is condemned” on one of the new Hypervillages in the process of being constructed by Singaporean magnate Jensen Foo, photographing it along with a number of activists in balaclavas brandishing petrol bombs and comedy dynamite and clock bombs posing on the only half constructed seventeenth floor of Three Bridges Tower, studios starting from six hundred and fifty thousand pounds. They hacked into Throwbridge's Singapore Property portal and posted the images up over the original pictures of the development. 

The list of charges was insanely long, including the newly implemented Threats against Property and Violence against Property, the existing terrorist classification being extended to those who would “subvert or seek to prevent through means of intimidation the lawful transaction of business.” Housing terrorists. Reification at its purest, someone shouts when the recent conviction gets mentioned. People are property, property is a person.
The final image left hanging up on the screen is an advertisement for the new build around London Bridge. The slogan: Shard apartments, not shared apartments, because you were meant to be apart. A picture of a benignly clean cut young couple gazing down onto a crowded street and across to what looks like a crumbling Victorian slum.