Posted by Sasuntsi Anarchist on March 6, 2007
I’ve had a comment from Artashes with regards to responsibility of putting up the video below. Whatever I do, please believe me, I do with responsibility, integrity and a thought. My response grew large enough to make an interesting article. So here it is:
Dear Artashes, asking me what’s the point of posting this video (see below) is like asking David Lynch about the meaning of his films. Maybe, its for me to do and for others to think. But some encouragement may also be needed…
I mean… on which level do you want it?
It already appear that you are a rationalist moralist (like Chomsky, for instance, is a Cartesian rationalist), which is a good philosophical position to see and analyze most of the problems at hand…. but only upto a certain point. That point being the realization that rationalism and morality, though originally with noble intentions, are themselves involved in the originary encoding of the status quo. Don’t forget that ultimately it was the height of Rationalism and populist conscientiousness that led to Holocaust, Stalin’s repressions, Mao’s “cultural” revolution, triumph of fascism in many countries of Europe, dictatorships in Africa and last but not least the rise of Taliban (whose barbarity such the destruction of the largest in the world statue of Buddha stands out there with Azeri destruction of khatchkqars in Julfa). Yes, it was this Rationalism encoded in the logic of Statism and Conscientious appear of the Yerat Turks that led to Armenian Genocide.
But there are even more contemporary problems with Rationalism and Conscientious Moralism that are applicable today. To give a simple example: What’s worse? the tyranny of the State where most people are equally oppressed and repressed? Or the tyranny of the Community which conscientiously and self-righteously believed that it has found the Golden Ratio or morals and is free to marginalize and exclude everybody and anybody who in the slightest doubt or disagreement? Don’t forget that this was the primary reason why artists, intellectuals, eccentrics and avant-gardists were systematically purged in Bolshevick Revolution — because they did not think according to the generic standards of proletarians and peasants. The same pattern applies to life in a small American city, where the notion of “Community” and “Normality” is more oppressive and marginalizing then liberating or egalitarian. That’s a problem indeed, so how do you address that kind of problem? I have my thoughts on this and this is not the place to lay them out, but ultimately, it is definitely a serious practical question to think over.
When a society represses, marginalizes and excludes the segments which form its progressive core, that is when that society is doomed for depression and driving itself into oblivion. I see exactly this plague of anti-intellectualism corrupting the inherently progressive Armenian society. The role of the progressive force is no longer with the intellectuals, philosophers, students, artists and eccentric avant-gardists, but with Journalists (I have little against journalistic mode of argumentation, except that it should be secondary to the former list, rather then the primary force. Journalistic thinking often defends Law, rather then the concept of Justice, while there’s a wide gap between the two concepts). A similar process, though of a different configuration is taking place in the West – which is widely known as “Western Decadence”, a process that was only intensified after the King Kong towers collapsed. Society of the Spectacle is the name of this boredom and continuum.
At the same time what’s the point of pointing fingers at Kocharian&Co and oligarkhs without a sufficiently deep analysis? After all, all of the existing parties and well as 3,000,000+ people are doing exactly that. But why not think deeper? Deeper about the structures that we take for granted… deeper about the notions and terminologies (like “development” or “democracy” or “nation” or “freedom” or “justice” or “GDP” or “efficiency” or “civilization”) that we take for granted… deeper about the Culture that we take as “natural”… deeper about our conceptions of how is and what is “human nature” (if there is such a thing), and its historical rooting in bourgeois discourses and interests… deeper about morals that we take for granted, as well as their role in causing where we are now and where we are heading.
To emulate the Western models of Democracy without the prior deeper evaluation of its cultural and social processes, institutions and failures is a recipe for disaster. And we already see it materializing itself at a faster pace under Mickey “Mouse” Saakashvily than it did under Eduardo Shevarnadze. If elections could change anything, they would most probably be forbidden. To think that fair elections and that your vote is going to be counted are the key solutions to our problems is nothing less then an expression of political and intellectual naivety.
If you are dissatisfied and concerned about the conditions in Armenia and you’re serious about wanting a Change, then you/we cannot possibly afford to scratch the surface, or just deal with the tip of the iceberg. You/we must interrogate everything, and I mean everything, down to the bare existentials, and build our logic, theory and practical proposals from there. The 3rd Republic is a manifest failure. Our country is young inexperienced. At this embryonic stage where not everything is yet settled and where many things are still possible, it is necessary to think deep about the track that we’re going to set for it. We can choose to be clever about it and learn from the mistakes of the others (especially from the mistakes of the West), OR we can choose to emulate and export the standard mass-produced models of “Parliamentary Republicanism” (which are riddled with mistakes, contradictions and system failures, and which are designed to ease the Imperialist exploitations and manipulations) while comforting ourselves in the belief that this is the only viable political form, and teaching our children to comfort themselves in the same fashion.
The history is not all certain, but given the rate at which historical contradictions are unveiling themselves, and given the intensity of this centuries and millennia-old class struggle, there can be only 2 outcomes already visible in the horizons: Socialism or Barbarism.
I’m not demanding that everybody MUST understand Situationism (a movement that many artists and philosophers are still having difficulty understanding) or their texts. Nevertheless, it is a good food for thought. And as a progressive movement we see necessary to put Situationist questions, themes and achievements on the table and to evaluate their usefulness in understanding the scope and roots of the problems at hand.