Nettime mailing list archives

[Nettime-nl] Bugger - position #2
Anneke Auer on Sun, 2 May 2004 19:20:33 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

[Nettime-nl] Bugger - position #2

Bugger - position #2


Although the discoveries in the USA and Great-Britain of photographs of
American and British soldiers torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners
should make us wary and wonder if their simultaneous disclosures aren't a
deliberate move in Anglo-American war propaganda to demoralise the enemy,
they do reveal an aspect of the clash between Western capitalism and Islam
hitherto less manifest. The most striking feature, the overall atmosphere of
the photographs, is a sexual one. Sexually active champions of capitalism
are opposed to sexually passive Muslims, or Muslims are forced to take part
in sexual activities against their will. Sexual abuse of Muslims, especially
by female soldiers, has also been reported by prisoners released from the
Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. At the same time in several Western
European countries the controversy about headscarves worn by muslim girls
and women has grown to absurd proportions. Wearing a headscarf (an
instrument to desexualise girls and women) by pupils and/or teachers has
already been forbidden at all schools in France, and at conservative schools
in Germany and Holland. The fury that this traditional symbol of
desexualisation evokes in capitalist countries and the perverse delight with
which muslim girls and women are forced to expose themselves in public show
similarities with the sexual harassment revealed in the recently published
photographs. For that reason we, The Buggers, believe that sexualisation has
become a capitalist strategy in the conquest of its opponents.

Based on the theories of Marx and on misinterpretations of Freud the sexual
liberation of the masses used to be a revolutionary strategy to bring down a
repressive capitalist system and its bourgeois values and social structures.
Western revolutionary art in the 20th century embraced this strategy, from
surrealism to Beat poetry to the counter-cultural art of the sixties and
seventies. Although the pursuit of individual sexual freedom has brought
about many positive changes in capitalist societies, it failed to undo the
capitalist system itself. We now know that the strength of the capitalist
system lies in its absolute lack of morals and its subsequent ability to
absorb the moral force of its opponents, only to pervert it for commercial
purposes. Now, instead of pursuing sexual freedom and changing society in
the course of it, the masses find themselves chasing the sexual mirages
produced by the capitalist industry - without ever finding gratification.
The capitalist system deliberately keeps its sexually emancipated consumers
in a prolonged sexual frenzy. Bugger it!

Since Lacan's interpretation of Freud we know that sexual desire centres
around a void, a lost 'object', and that it can never be really satisfied.
An endless string of ungratifying substitutes for the lost object marks the
trail of individual sexual realisation. Capitalist industries consciously
exploit this phenomenon; they promise sexual fulfillment, provide eroticised
substitutes for the lost object, know how to sell them, and make huge
profits in doing so. Desexualisation, the refusal to become part of a public
sexualised circuit, poses a genuine threat to capitalism. Anti-capitalist
cultures and religions, and particularly individuals or groups within
capitalist societies that scorn sexualised consumerism, have come to
symbolise the origin of the sexual desire that capitalism feeds on: the
void, the nothingness. They shatter the illusion constructed to keep
consumers prisoners of their own desires and must therefore be sexualised or

The Buggers' second proposition is that modern revolutionary art can no
longer employ sexual liberation as a weapon against the capitalist system.
We believe that nowadays desexualisation, emphasis on the void behind the
sexual drive, provides a more appropriate weapon. We invite you to explore
the artistic possibilities of desexualisation, and to redefine the
'obscene'. Or to be more precise, to develop revolutionary strategies of
public desexualisation (we wouldn't want you, or any other individual,
muslim or non-muslim, to stop buggering in private).

If you don't want to be buggered by us again, let us know.

The Buggers are hosted by:
Sea Urchin Editions
PO Box 25212
3001 HE  Rotterdam
The Netherlands
tel. +31.10.4366349
fax +31.10.4366349
email: ben {AT} sea-urchin.net
* Verspreid via nettime-nl. Commercieel gebruik niet
* toegestaan zonder toestemming. <nettime-nl> is een
* open en ongemodereerde mailinglist over net-kritiek.
* Meer info, archief & anderstalige edities:
* http://www.nettime.org/.
* Contact: Menno Grootveld (rabotnik {AT} xs4all.nl).