2012 BASTARD Conference – Theme: No Future

Time is a beast. It has torn through humans chasing them from the fields and woods into suits and office buildings, suburbs and mortgages. There was a chance we were going to defeat it, on the commons of England, Mesopotamia, or during the revolutions on the old continent. But we didn’t. Instead time sits on our chests and makes us do horrible things.

This years BASTARD conference will examine time in all its perniciousness. What does a critique of time say about our relationship to history. Is history redeemable? Are we living at the end of history with the glorious victory of the neo-liberal revolution of the past 50 years? If there is no time does that argue for eternal recursion? Is there hope if there is no time?

Theme: No Future
Date: April 1st, 10 am – 5 pm
Location: UC Berkeley Campus (Dwinelle)

Against the Day: anarchism in the fiction of Pynchon

Focusing on Gravity’s Rainbow, Vineland, and Against the Day.

Lew: Pynchon and Blake should mud wrestle.

The Anarchist Provenance of Occupy Oakland Tools and Tactics

We will identify and discuss the presumed anarchist origins of various OO characteristics, including (modified) consensus, the general assembly, refusing negotiations/demands with local government, and reclaiming public and private space. The philosophical and historical antecedents and critiques of these forms will be examined.

Lawrence, long-time bay area anarchist and keeper of the faith

Identity as Apparatus and the Case for Ahistorical Commonalities

This talk will explore the construction of identity as social apparatus, that which “always has a concrete strategic function and is always located in a power relation” (Agamben). In direct opposition to the reification of identity as that which holds us hostage to history and allows it to define our possibilities, we will argue for commonalities – semblances of communality – which are based on an explicit negation of the historicizing impulse to define existence as concrete identity. To support this argument, we will be utilizing the work of Giorgio Agamben.

Cody – There is nothing to be said. Alden is a hater, has a soft spot for anarcho-nihilism and Tiqqun, and is an editor of Applied Nonexistence.

Insurgent Theatre In the Belly

A play that is a non-narrative examination of solitary confinement, prominently featuring Time, and how it is stolen, regimented, and manipulated by the prison system, breaking down and overlapping three fictional isolation captives’ realities. It explores different ways prisoners cope with having so much time, but so little control of it. A number of formerly incarcerated people in our audiences have commented on how our disjointed action reminds them of how time is often actually experienced inside.

The Killer of the Civilized Ego: queer theory against progress

Making a critical intervention into the anti-social turn in queer theory, we will argue that Lee Edelman’s work in No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive, while expressing the nihilist geist of the times in the context of queer theory, is in fact based on the ideas of Walter Benjamin and Guy Hocquenghem, but that Edelman radically severs himself from their project by cleaving idea from practice. Our intention is to salvage what is dangerous about No Future from the safety of the academy and turn it to a weapon in the project against progress.

Bædan is a journal of negative queer theory in the tradition of the Mary Nardini Gang and Gender Mutiny.

Nihilist Theses on Duration

10 Theses will be defended. They include…

1. The rejection of measured and meaningful time by anarchists is the outcome of a still partial critique.
2. In some very strange sense, duration is real enough, as novelty. New things happen all the time, weirdly, meaninglessly. This irruption is sometimes what we mean by anarchy.
3. Duration is real enough as the barely articulable messy passage of everyday life, usually experienced as boredom, with its interesting side glimpsed as an Outside often mistaken for timelessness.
4. History as a meaningful process is a nightmare or hallucination, a way of narrating what we usually mean by time, and rarely relevant to what we mean by anarchy.
5. A sense of weird, meaningless duration can be detached from history. For us this amounts to an anarchist recreation or pastime, the discovery of every kind of rupture and discontinuity in duration.
6. Partial critique is not coincidentally but necessarily tied to a historical conception of progress and so not very interesting. This includes the impatient critique of time, which conceals or sometimes openly proclaims a demand for timelessness.
7. A total critique admits many weird durations, but rejects progress and history: no future, which is very interesting, since anything can happen next and have nothing to do with the future.
8. Insofar as weird durations are real enough and the cosmos does not care about us, something may happen next: meaningless, we call it the quasi-future.
9. We do not hope for a better future, but study and participate in the irruption of strange quasi-futures.
10. The only thing worth hoping for is amusement in the meaningless quasi-future.
A. de Acosta, philosopher and aesthete

No Future for Modern Slavery

With the convergence of the neoliberal social-economic crisis, the passing of peak oil production, the ecological crises (of mass species extinction, global warming, etc.), the coming end of the US empire, and the accelerating technologically-mediated degradation of human culture there is no future for the current forms of modern and postmodern slavery.

How do we help their fall while preventing their potential survival through mutation to ever newer forms?

Jason, editor of Modern Slavery, a soon-to-be-regular magazine of long-form anarchist critique.

Tearing Down All Boundaries: Anarcho-Transhumanism In Our Lived Experience

There very well be no hope for the future, but one thing is for sure, technology will keep advancing beyond anything we can imagine within our lifetimes. How can anti-authoritarians and anarchists successfully combat ever arching techno-fetishism? Is there a way anarchists can use technology in a way that is not repressive? How can we use hacking and transhumanism advances to change our bodies and how we interact with the state?

Greg: yay for transhumanism!

“What do you mean you’re anti-accountability?!” Rethinking Responses to Intimate Violence

A survivor critiques anarchist responses to sexual violence. The Accountability Process, while ostensibly set up to counter the states response to rape, actually mimics it while still failing to address or alleviate the causes of – or fallout from – sexual assault. The presentation will cover Consent, the Survivor and Rapist Identities, as well as our conceptualizations of both support and accountability, among other things. To be followed with a discussion.

Ariel Amend-All: pronounced ahr-ee-elle, like the French

Whose Time Is It?

There have been anarchist (and dadaist and surrealist) critiques of time, all bringing up significant questions. But does time need to be destroyed? Is it something that can be destroyed? What exactly is it? I wrote two little essays on time. The first one, entitled “The Liberation of Motion Through Space,” calls for the destruction of time. The second, “What Time Is It?” calls each of us to make time her or his own. I will make both of these available to anyone interested in the workshop (either online or getting paper copies to individuals before the conference) so that participants read them before the workshop. I would then make a brief introduction and open things up for discussion.

Apio Ludd (aka Wolfi Landstreicher) long-time anarchist, egoist and vagabond, author of the book Willful Disobedience, pamphleteer, and publisher of the egoist bulletin My Own.

Open Space Thread

(workshops in which facets of the year’s theme are explored in discussions that are open but facilitated)

A. Time, as we experience it today, exists primarily as a means of dividing the whole of our lives and potential into quantifiable units of a saleable commodity, of coordinating the activity of bodies for commerce and exploitation. How do we resist this power structure without succumbing to its logic, without sacrificing the present to some phantom future by logging hours down on the revolution shop floor.

B. If history is often used to shape progressive narratives oriented toward the future, how does the idea of abandoning these narratives – and assuming no future – change the meaning of now and our relationship to the past; how does this shape what we spend energy doing and thinking about?

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