Archive for December, 2016

“History knew the truth. History was the most inhuman product of humanity.It scooped up the whole of human will and, like the goddess Kali in Calcutta, dripped blood from its mouth as it bit and crunched.”

– Yukio Mishima, The Decay of the Angel. New York: Knopf-Doubleday, 1974.  p. 210.

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Joseph-Désiré Court, Gravin de Pagès, née de Cornellan, as St. Catherine. Oil on canvas, c. 1850.  

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

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““As Marxists,” writes Trotsky, “we have never been idol worshippers of formal democracy.” Surely, we have never been idol worshippers of socialism or Marxism either. Does it follow from this that we may throw socialism on the scrap-heap, à la Cunow, Lensch and Parvus [i.e. move to the right], if it becomes uncomfortable for us? Trotsky and Lenin are the living refutation of this answer.

“We have never been idol-worshippers of formal democracy.” All that that really means is: We have always distinguished the social kernel from the political form of bourgeois democracy; we have always revealed the hard kernel of social inequality and lack of freedom hidden under the sweet shell of formal equality and freedom – not in order to reject the latter but to spur the working class into not being satisfied with the shell, but rather, by conquering political power, to create a socialist democracy to replace bourgeois democracy – not to eliminate democracy altogether.

But socialist democracy is not something which begins only in the promised land after the foundations of socialist economy are created; it does not come as some sort of Christmas present for the worthy people who, in the interim, have loyally supported a handful of socialist dictators. Socialist democracy begins simultaneously with the beginnings of the destruction of class rule and of the construction of socialism. It begins at the very moment of the seizure of power by the socialist party. It is the same thing as the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Yes, dictatorship! But this dictatorship consists in the manner of applying democracy, not in its elimination, but in energetic, resolute attacks upon the well-entrenched rights and economic relationships of bourgeois society, without which a socialist transformation cannot be accomplished. But this dictatorship must be the work of the class and not of a little leading minority in the name of the class – that is, it must proceed step by step out of the active participation of the masses; it must be under their direct influence, subjected to the control of complete public activity; it must arise out of the growing political training of the mass of the people.”

– Rosa Luxemburg, “Democracy and Dictatorship,” chapter 8 of The Russian Revolution. New York: Workers Age Publishers, 1940.

Written in 1918 and first published in 1922 by Paul Levi. Translated by Bertram Wolfe.  Source.

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Rum and nog on Christmas Day.

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Three Wise Men or Magi, mosaic, Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna. c. 565. Source.

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December 24, 2016: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9 FM. If you need a break from the season – a change of pace, with much more meditative and outright New Age music tonight. Featuring Mo Boma, Victor Régis, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Suzanne Ciani, Dead Can Dance, Sarah Davachi, Laurie Spiegel, CHI, Sanford Ponder, सौर मंडल – Saura Mandala + more. Check out the whole setlist below, tune in at 101.9 on your FM dial, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or download the finished show at cfrc.ca or on mixcloud here.

Mo Boma – “Food of the Gods” Myths of the Future Part 1 (1994)
Dead Can Dance – “Flowers of the Sea” Garden of the Arcane Delights (1984)
Laurie Spiegel – “Drums” The Expanding Universe (1980/2012)
Sanford Ponder – “Tigers Are Brave” Tigers Are Brave (1986)
Jean-Pierre Thanès – “Ruines” Occitania (1984)
Chi – “Before The Mountain” The Original Recordings (1986, 2016)

Sarah Davachi – “Ghosts and All” Vergers
सौर मंडल – Saura Mandala – “Sea Walker (Taut Risque)” Sea Walker
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith + Suzanne Ciani – “Closed Circuit” Sunergy
Dirty Beaches – “Displaced” Stateless (2014)
Régis Victor – “Seizure Tapor” Dix-sept titres de la République du Civou

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“Will It Be Christmas If They Are Forgotten?” Toronto Star. December 23, 1938. Page 03.  

Appeals for aid from Toronto Star readers for aid for impoverished children in Toronto.  Alone amongst the major Toronto papers, the Star outdid itself in fundraising for the ‘less fortunate’ of the city – and was very good at using photography to tug on heartstrings.  The academic side of me notes the failure of relief to provide for these children in any meaningful way, even if the language and attitudes are patronising and pitying – but I’m also a big softy with enough direct personal and family experience with poverty that a campaign like this would have worked on me every single time…

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