- ✨ I READ AT PARTIES SOMETIMES AND THATS OKAY
- ULWC Reader
- Viskas bendra / All is Common
- 🐝 EXITING THE DOMESTIC FACTORY 2021
- Bievre Garden w/Pauline Perplexe
- Intro & Reading
- Feast of Fools
- Homes without Kitchens / Towns without Housework
- 💦 ACTION GROUP
- Take Back The Night w K/REIVAS
- ULWC READER LAUNCH } The Age of Aqua Disko
- We Dance Together / We Fight Together Танцуем вместе / Боремся вместе
- 🏰 ASSEMBLY 2020
- From White Brothers with No Soul to Feminist Prometheans: Lights Out at the White Supremacist Theory Disco
- The Club is the Centre of the Invention of New Needs: Dead by Dawn
- Building Leisure Communism. Imagining a world without work
- Caring Labor and Mutual Aid in Queer and POC Club Communities
- Between Subjectless Crowds and Experienceless Subjects....A discussion on the place of rave in Leftist politics today
- 👽 Building Leisure Communism 2020
- Capitalist Leisure Industry and Rave Politics
- A Day Without End
- Alienation as Device
- Clubbing Body Politics & Queer Performativity
- Communal Luxury
Insurgent workers’ minds and bodies turned up on dance-floors long ago, anticipating their liberation from the factory's mechanistic discipline. Clubs were sites that integrated political education and entertainment; social recovery and antagonistic social articulation. Then arrived the weekend, ripe with evening temptations, as both a working class victory and a bargain with capital for an ever more dutiful submission to the pains of the working week. Whether mere toxic retreats into a world of purchased pleasures serviced by instrumentalized hospitality workers; or as maddening aspirations toward collective self-abolition in the crushing beat of capitalist ruins, spaces of nightly leisure are energized by a social desire for what Kristin Ross calls communal luxury: a communistic drive for collective prosperity that capitalism recuperates and exploits.
The Ultimate Leisure Workers' Club hopes to draw from these political potentials, linking up with groups and individuals involved in the struggle to open new terrains for social liberation and communal joy in the night and beyond. We are drawn to topics ranging from: emancipatory as well as toxic traits of spaces of escape; the class, race and gender politics of clubs and leisure time; the struggle for free time from the standpoint of reproductive labor; the political-economy of pleasure and the subversion of it; comparison of socialist and capitalist leisure economies; technological utopias of full leisure society and dystopias of machinic hyper-exploitation; social narratives about productive and nonproductive bodies; creative activity in the classless society.
write us to join the mailing list or to share your ideas about club activities.
Follow us: instagram.
✨ I READ AT PARTIES SOMETIMES AND THATS OKAY
Prompted by the Club’s recent Assembly (28 Nov–13 Dec, 2020), the ULWC Reader takes on the class, race and gender relations that mediate the contemporary, neo-feudal, realities of the nightlife and free time experience; while proposing the formation of insurgent leisure movements, critically built from the anti-work fantasy scapes of the night that capitalism, otherwise, recuperates and exploits. The Reader is edited by Noah Brehmer, Anthony Iles, Vaida Stepanovaitė and features contributions by: Anne Boyer, Annie Goh, Oramics, Leisure Communism Group, Community Bread, Palanga Street Radio, Mattin, Sacha Kahir, Christoph Fringeli, Anthony Iles, Neil Transpotine, Mark Fisher, Tiqqun, Arnoldas Stramskas, Vaida Stepanovaitė, Noah Brehmer. Cover Graphic by BCAA System. *** Find the ULWC Reader here. ***
Viskas bendra / All is Common
The publication features a translated text ‘Baroque Sunbursts’ by Mark Fisher about the potential of rave culture to establish communal relations amidst a world overcome by separations; as well as an introduction by club member Nindzė, comparing Lithuanian rave culture and its social history with the British story. *** Find Viskas bendra here. ***
🐝 EXITING THE DOMESTIC FACTORY 2021
From the ‘houses’ of Chicago House and mothers of vogue; to the tribes of rave; and on to the rent parties of the Harlem Renaissance; nightlife communities have long since challenged what a family is and how our domestic spaces may be inhabited as sites of labour, reproduction, intimacy, violence, pleasure and escape.
Unleashing the full potentials of these alternative kinship forms appears more relevant now than ever. Responding to a climate wherein right-wing valorisations of family life have conjoined with the intensified burdens of our domestic realities under pandemic conditions, a new cycle of the ULWC begins: Exiting the Domestic Factory.
The cycle will broadly explore an anti-work politics of leisure and rest from the standpoint of domesticity, caring labour, and reproduction. Run- ning parallel to this cycle, a series of mixtapes, gatherings and parties will unfold, organised by Deuxnoms.
Family abolitionism meets an Autonomist anti-work politics – on dancefloors and urban gardens; in communes, flats and district community centres.
Bievre Garden w/Pauline Perplexe
24th - 30th July, Paris
Responding to the Parisian communards revolutionary demands for the reconfiguration of urban space as a flourishing commons, Peter Kropotkin asked: “To what should the two million citizens of Paris turn their attention when they would no longer be catering to the luxurious fads and amusements of Russian princes, Romanian grandees, and the wives of Berlin financiers?” And his answer? The conversion of Paris’ senselessly luxurious parks, squares and aristocratic chateauxs into lush, vital, world sustaining community gardens.
And so, taking this revolutionary historical vision of urban gardening as our starting point, the ULWC (Ultimate Leisure Workers’ Club), together with Pauline Perplexe, welcomes you for a week-long convergence in the Bièvre district garden. Over the week we will communally explore strategies for the enchanting of Bièvre as a site of insurgent festivity – asking how gardens and gardening may be assumed as standpoints against the compulsory world of work, domesticity and alienation. Approaching this site as a medium for communal joy and autonomous artistic expression, we imagine these activities taking the form of what Kristin Ross described in our Assembly last year, as a “semi-autonomous space of care, festivity, mutual-aid”
Intro & Reading
Saturday 24th, 16:00 - 19:00
90 Avenue de la Convention 94110 Arcueil
The ULWC welcomes you to join for a gathering in the Bièvre garden. We will introduce the club and our current cycle ‘Exiting the Domestic Factory’, read a few excerpts from the ‘ULWC Reader’ and begin a discussion with Pauline Perplexe on the enchantment of the Bièvre garden as a space for insurgent leisure, festivity and mutual aid. Asking how gardens and gardening may be approached as a standpoint against the compulsory world of work, domestic reproduction and alienation? Links: ‘ULWC Reader’: http://luna6.lt/ultimate-leisure-workers-club.html#ulwc-reader
Feast of Fools
Friday 30th, 20:00 - 04:00
A ruling class nightmare: the marauding horde, the many-headed multitude, the insatiate, giddy, and murderous crowd.
A long-since murdered medieval rave haunts the present – threatening the upending of economy, the ordering of faces, the great distribution of societal roles.
Arthur J. Reptillian
Sacha Kahir (DE)‘HAUηTΣD TRΔΡΡ HΦUSΣ ΣSCAPΣPLAΝ’A history of sound system culture focusing on HOUSE and its earliest days in Jamaica (late 1950s and 60s), through to Northern Soul, Queer 80s synth pop, Hip Hop and Techno and onto Trap and Footwork. Through wild combinations of poetry, field recordings and dance (inspired by Butoh and Jookin), Kahir’s performance will explore the family home from Post-Fordism to recurrent returns to ‘family values’– asking how rigid and suffocating domestic space may be exited through these music subcultures.
DJ sets, food and co-organization by ULWC (LT)
Installation by Willie Osterweil
Hosting by Christel and Perplexe collective
Homes without Kitchens / Towns without Housework
Tuesday 27th, 18:00 - 21:00
Discussion and reading w/ Woodbine (NYC)
90 Avenue de la Convention 94110 Arcueil
A future without housework? A future without the violence, isolation, and drudgery of the private home. From the Fourierist phalanstère, to the Russian peasant commune, and onto contemporary mutual aid and disaster relief movements; many strategies have been developed for exiting the domestic factory.
The session will begin with a talk by an organiser of the autonomous hub Woodbine (NYC), who will share a few stories about the hub’s history of mutual aid organising through community gardens, weekly communal dinners and the running of a food pantry. The presentation will be given additional historical context through an engagement with Dolores Hayden’s book from 1981, ‘The Grand Domestic Revolution’. Hayden introduces 19th and 20th century feminist visions about the future of urban space and domestic living arrangements. Inspired by utopian socialists alike, these women were both practical organisers of communes and scifi visionaries who conjured speculative visions for the redesign of kitchens, community centres, and the lived environment at large.
We hope the reading and presentation will intertwine with the sharing of personal experiences on our struggles against domestic labour and for common infrastructures of care.
Hayden’s text may be found in the ULWC zine 'A Life Without Housework?'
‘Solidarity and collective autonomy: an interview with Woodbine’ (FR) 2020 https://rouendanslarue.net/solidarite-et-collectifs-autonomes-que-signifie-sorganiser-politiquement-a-lere-de-trump/
‘From mutual aid to dual power in the state of emergency’, Woodbine, March 2020: https://roarmag.org/essays/from-mutual-aid-to-dual-power-in-the-state-of-emergency
The abolition of the family must be the positive creation of a society of generalized human care and queer love.
- ME O’Brien, To Abolish the Family
A hybrid convergence (online/offline) in Warsaw, at the Modern Museum of Art, engaging with the concept of abolitionism as a strategy for exiting the domestic factory.
Thursday August 25th
Noah Brehmer – Introduction to Ultimate Leisure Workers’ Club and the Exiting the Domestic Factory convergence “Abolition”
A talk by Sophie Lewis (author of Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation) introducing the politics of abolitionism and its strategic importance within the current composition of capitalist domesticity.
Nóra Urgon (Social Housing NOW! movement, Cenaclul X queer-fem literary circle, Acasă social centre, ELMO network coordinator, Cluj, Romania) on domestic housing fronts in Eastern Europe under pandemic conditions and lines of connection betwen them and queer abolitionist politics, mutual aid networks, and scifi imaginaries.
Q&A with Sophie and Nóra moderated by Noah Brehmer
[20:30 IRL only]
Olia Sosnovskaya (Work Hard! Play Hard! and Problem Collective artistic-research group, Vienna and Minsk) lecture-performance ‘Incredibly relaxing meditation music’ addressing the concept of exhaustion (of bodies, resources and political movements).
Friday August 26th
[17:00 IRL only]
(IRL) A discussion and launch for the book Paths to Autonomy with Mikolaj Ratajczak and editors Vaida Stepanovaite and Noah Brehmer. Ratajczak will present on Edward Abramowski’s historical work Stateless Socialism (included in the book) and discuss the abolitionist strategy Abramowski advances through the historical Polish cooperativist movement. Vaida will present thoughts on the relation between Abramowski’s abolitionlist strategy and her research on destituent power in and beyond the artistic field.
Screening of Riar Rizaldi’s “The Right to do Nothing” (2020)
A film produced in collaboration with Indonesian Migrant Workers and International Migrants Alliance, The Right to Do Nothing is a sonic fiction in the form of radio play that will take you into a world of non-productivity, as entered from the standpoint of migrant domestic workers.
A discussion between the director and Marta Romankiv from Domestic Workers' Committee union who is organizing with Ukrainian Migrant Domestic workers in Poland. Touching on the topic of work refusal and migrant worker organizing across borders, wars, and households.
Abolition Readings and Other Relevant Links
Volume organized by the E.A.S.T. Network detailing housing and reproductive struggles in Eastern Europe under pandemic conditions, https://lefteast.org/book-essential-struggles-pandemic-fronts/
For an intro to Lewis’ thinking on Abolitionism see the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nfeTeUgBZg&t=281s
Also see her article, “Want to Dismantle Capitalism? Abolish the Family”
And for another important recent work exploring family abolition see, ME O’Briens “To Abolish the Family, Endnotes: https://endnotes.org.uk/articles/to-abolish-the-family.pdf
Check out a series of articles Nora Ugron recently cocurated on Eastern European housing movements: https://lefteast.org/central-eastern-european-housing-movements-resisting-neoliberal-urban-transformations/
For a recent take on post-work worlds from the standpoint of the home see the Left Accelerationist’s Helen Hester and Nick Srnicek discussion “After Work: The Fight for Free Time” https://culturepowerpolitics.org/2019/06/05/after-work-the-fight-for-free-time/
You can follow Olia Sosnovskaya’s activity with Work Hard! Play Hard! and Problem Collectie!, here: http://workhardplay.pw/en/2018/
Paths to Autonomy began as a series of assemblies in 2020 and has since taken on a new format as a book, newly released by the communal press Lost Property in collab with Minor Compositions: https://lostpropertypress.com/Paths-to-Autonomy
Mikołaj Ratajczak is a comradely philosopher who lives in Warsaw who together with Bartłomiej Błesznowski wrote an essay connecting Edward Abramowski’s philosophy of stateless socialism to contemporary autonomist thought. Abramowski’s work is included in Paths to Autonomy, alongside a preface by Błesznowski. See there collaborative essay here: https://pressto.amu.edu.pl/index.php/prt/article/view/15186
An article introducing the Polish domestic workers union founded by Ukranians that the artist Marta Romankiv is involved in, “Mutual support across the ocean: Domestic workers share their struggles and successes” https://www.transformingsociety.co.uk/2021/11/16/mutual-support-across-the-ocean-domestic-workers-share-their-struggles-and-successes/
Riar sends some links about the social unrest in Hong Kong that paralleled his film and suggests that the movie rehearses a social alternative to the grim reality confronted by the movement.https://crimethinc.com/2019/
09/20/three-months-of- insurrection-an-anarchist- collective-in-hong-kong- appraises-the-achievements- and-limits-of-the-revolthttps://www.aljazeera.com/ features/2019/10/21/domestic- workers-search-for-rights- amid-pro-democracy-protestshttps://hongkongfp.com/2022/ 07/03/hong-kong-25-migrant- domestic-workers-have-long- fought-against-reversals-of- their-rights-theyre-not- stopping/
💦 ACTION GROUP
ULWC Action Group is a place for Club participants and friends to hang out, share ideas about creative and political practices and build insurgent leisure strategies.
Take Back The Night w K/REIVAS
Friday, September 10th, 22hrs, @SkyleKreivės is throwing a queer after-bash together with the Ultimate Leisure Workers’ Club.We come to play together, we want to play with all who want to bring joy to themselves and everyone else.After looking at leisure through consumption glasses, after forgetting how it's good to gather, cause around u hear that instead of solidarity we should hide.– let's take back the night from those who know “better” how this all should look...Įėjimas – 5 €, reikalingas galimybių pasas.Entrance – €5, imunity proof required.Location - SkyleLineupALYSSA MYLANNO (ULWC)
https://soundcloud.com/ulw.../alyssa-mylanno-ulwc-the-age-ofDEUXNOMS (Queer womxn dj collective/ULWC)
https://soundcloud.com/ulwclub/ulwc-mixtape-1-deuxnoms-1Dj isDYKEle (Queer womxn dj collective)LUNARLOOM (ULWC)NAPTALIM **live** (ULWC)
ULWC READER LAUNCH } The Age of Aqua Disko
9 pm, 19 February, 2021 Livestream on twitch *** ULWC READER *** Аква Diskoteka Aqua Дискотека A few silver spoons. A shelf, or two, from the wine cellar. One pouch of dr\/gs each – equal to our monthly salaries. ….And why not some arms and medical supplies. *** Lineup: DEUXNOMS (Queer Womxn Collective, Lithuania)ALYSSA MYLANNO (ULWC, US/LT)DOGHEADSURIGERI (Oramics, Poland)Vengaboi (ULWC)*** Our dear friend Putin, if you haven’t heard, has much to offer us at his aquadisko palace* on the Black Sea… What location could be better for the launch party of the Ultimate Leisure Workers’ Club Reader… A publication taking on the class, race and gender relations that mediate the contemporary, neo-feudal, realities of the nightlife and free time experience; while proposing the formation of insurgent leisure movements, critically building from the anti-work fantasy scapes of the night that capitalism, otherwise, recuperates and exploits. To work for delight and authentic festivity is barely distinguishable from preparing for a general insurrection Although Putin certainly nailed it with the gold-plated swimming pool, we find his general interior design sensibility lacking – it’s hard to compete, after all, with the royal decorum of yesteryears feudal lords. And so, ALYSSA MYLANNO, with a lil help of Studio Cryo, will be doing a bit of redecorating – think neo-feudal opulence, abolitionist revenge fantasy, slavic voguing, spring looting, armed joy. *The Age of Aquadisco was recently coined by Russian protesters as a response to the release of a 3D rendering of Putin’s lavish palace, which has since come to symbolise our contemporary era of neo-feudal disaster capitalism. **The ULWC Reader, prompted by the Club’s recent Assembly broadly engages with the history of nightlife, leisure and free time as an organising terrain for autonomous movements. The Reader is edited by Noah Brehmer, Anthony Iles, Vaida Stepanovaitė and features contributions by: Anne Boyer, Annie Goh, Oramics, Leisure Communism Group, Community Bread, Palanga Street Radio, Mattin, Sacha Kahir, Christoph Fringeli, Anthony Iles, Neil Transpotine, Mark Fisher, Tiqqun, Arnoldas Stramskas, Vaida Stepanovaitė, Noah Brehmer. Cover Graphic by BCAA System.
We Dance Together / We Fight Together Танцуем вместе / Боремся вместе
4-12 pm, 22 August, Saturday
Ultimate Leisure Workers’ Club is part of a two-day fundraising event We Dance Together / We Fight Together in Kaunas and Vilnius (Lithuania) organised to support Belarusian activists and help them financially while they are fighting against an authoritarian state. Check the fundraiser leaflet, for more information on the groups receiving the support, an interview with them and how to donate online.
The Saturday portion is hosted by Luna6 in Vilnius. ULWC will contribute through the release of our first publication, to be assembled collectively in a workshop, as well as a music programme set for the assembly and, later on, for some ravish dance vibes.
The slogan “We Dance Together / We Fight Together” has circulated in various club scenes, as a means of expressing involvement in social movements against police and state brutality; such as Tbilisi’s rave-protest in 2018, and currently in demonstrations that are spreading throughout Poland against the wave of violence directed toward LGBTQ+ communities (check out a very informative discussion between philosopher Ewa Majewska and Polish creators in the queer culture scene).
More on the pocketbook
From 3 to 6 pm, we will have a new pocketbook Viskas bendra (All is Common) release, for which we invite you to a workshop where you will have the chance to make a customised pocketbook. The publication features a Lithuanian-translated essay “Baroque Sunbursts” by Mark Fisher about the potential of rave culture to establish communal relations amidst a world overcome by separations; as well as a Lithuanian introduction by club member Nindzė. The workshop is organised by two of our club members: Studio Cryo, who is also the graphic designer of the booklet and will lead the workshop, and Valentin of print.kamp who developed the printing and binding vision.
And of course, from 4 to 10 pm a group of ULWC friends will serve some good sounds:
Reyna Deyna & Lukas Danys
* There will be plenty of drinks on site, and please bring cash for donations which will go directly and entirely to Belarusian street activists. You can check here [RU] [LT] [EN] for more information on the groups receiving the support, an interview with them and how to donate online.
🏰 ASSEMBLY 2020
The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were within. Without was the Red Death.The ULWC Assembly, unfolding in the second wave of the pandemic, takes inspiration from Poe’s short story Masque of the Red Death. A gothic tale set in the Middle Ages, about a prince who shelters all his royal friends in a fortified palace amidst a plague, orchestrating a gaudy, fantastic, and endless party to escape responsibility for the misery that surrounds. We see the tale as a striking allegory about our present: an era of neo-feudalism marked as it is by unprecedented class divisions, state oppressions, and basic resource depletions. Our experiences of leisure and health are violently segregated along gender, race, and class lines. In the Assembly we will broadly strategize how the abolition of these divisions may be carried out through insurgent leisure cultures. Assuming the role of those excluded from and exploited within the Prince’s castle, we are the red-abject-horror: the invisibilized workers who produce their objects of pleasure and security. Our communal existence, the nightmare of their accumulated wealth and privately hoarded pleasure. The assembly will feature a series of discussions and conclude with a performance and the eventual release of a publication made up of text and visuals by our contributors.Anthony Iles Agnė Bagdžiūnaitė Annie Goh Arnoldas Stramskas BCAA system Community Bread Christoph Fringeli of Datacide Magazine Kristin Ross Mattin Neil Transpontine of History is Made at Night Noah Brehmer Oramics Palanga Street Radio Querelle Sacha Kahir Vaida StepanovaitėULWC is organised as a collaboration between political hub Luna6 (Vilnius) and nomadic project space Kabinetas. Visuals by Studio Cryo. The Assembly is financed by Lithuanian Council for Culture.
To join a talk write us and we will send you a zoom link: email@example.com . You may also watch the events through our youtube channel (TBA). The talks will begin with only the speakers visible, but we will switch to an open discussion at the end. All five talks feature unique visuals made by BCAA System, that you can put on your “background” in zoom. You will find the download link for the visuals in each event description. We encourage you to show yourself in the chat!
|28 November 19h (UTC+2)
|From White Brothers with No Soul to Feminist Prometheans: Lights Out at the White Supremacist Theory Disco
|Annie Goh in conversation with Anthony Iles
|30 Nov, 19h (UTC+2)
|The Club is the Centre of the Invention of New Needs: Dead by Dawn
|Neil Transpontine and Christoph Fringeli (mod. Anthony Iles)
|2 Dec, 18h (UTC+2)
|Caring Labor and Mutual Aid in Queer and POC Club Communities
|Community Bread and Oramics (mod. Vaida Stepanovaitė)
|3 Dec 19h (UTC+2)
|Building Leisure Communism. Imagining a World without Work.
|Kristin Ross and Agne Bagdziunaite (mod. Noah Brehmer)
|13 Dec, 19h (UTC+2)
|Between Subjectless Crowds and Experienceless Subjects... A Discussion on the Place of Rave in Leftist Politics Today
|Mattin, Arnoldas Stramskas, Vaida Stepanovaite, Noah Brehmer
From White Brothers with No Soul to Feminist Prometheans: Lights Out at the White Supremacist Theory Disco
Nov 28, 7pm (UTC+2) Annie Goh's recent critique of Xenofeminism explores the latest in a sequence of moves by which white feminist theorists have re-asserted new universalisms which thrive off but also re-marginalise the 'alien' identity of non-white and non-cis or non-straight others. This writing continues the project Goh began whilst working with Club Transmediale/CTM Festival Berlin of questioning complexifying the relationships to race and gender at the heart of the norms defining histories of club culture and electronic music. In conversation with Anthony Iles, Goh will attempt to work through the problems of who is, and who is not, written into or out of the dancefloor of history and what consequences this has for attempts to place emancipatory politics at the centre of the club's concerns. Reading list: - "Tekknologic as Tekknowledge” QRT aka Markus Konradin Leiner (Merve Verlag Berlin 1999) Excerpt Translated by Annie Goh 2013 https://archive2013-2020.ctm-festival.de/archive/festival-editions/ctm13-the-golden-age/feature-teaser-2013/qrt-tekknologic-tekknowledge-tekgnosis-ein-theoriemix-merve-verlag-berlin-1999/ - "White Brothers With No Soul: UnTuning the Historiography of Berlin Techno" An interview with Alexander G. Weheliye, by Annie Goh, January, 2015 https://www.ctm-festival.de/magazine/white-brothers-with-no-soul#64 - APPROPRIATING THE ALIEN: A CRITIQUE OF XENOFEMINISM, Annie Goh, July 2019 https://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/appropriating-alien-critique-xenofeminism - "business techno matters: how those who have the most sacrifice the least” by frankie decaiza hutchinson, Aug 2020 https://dwellerforever.blog/2020/08/18/business-techno-matters-how-those-who-have-the-most-sacrifice-the-least/
The Club is the Centre of the Invention of New Needs: Dead by Dawn
30 Nov, 19h (UTC+2) Neil Transpontine and Christoph Fringeli will discuss the seminal Dead by Dawn parties held between (1994-1996) at the squatted 121 Centre at Railton Road Brixton. Crossing self-publishing, visual and sonic experimentation, exploratory theory, social spaces, new communications technologies and the emergence of ludic and networked politics, the Dead by Dawn parties were a catalyst for exploring a leisure time clawed back from the social compulsion to labour. Christoph is the founder of Praxis Records and the editor of Datacide magazine for noise and politics. He was part of the collective responsible for Dead by Dawn. Neil Transpontine attended Dead by Dawn and has written about it for his blog History is Made at Night. He is a regular contributor to Datacide magazine.
Building Leisure Communism. Imagining a world without work
December 3rd, 7pm (UTC+2) In Lithuania we rightfully hold very negative associations about the idea of communism. Yet, as Guy Debord said, even words may be taken prisoner and put to use against themselves. Communism is very much one of those words –– appearing in the late 1800s to account for new social formations that REJECTED the state, the emerging capitalist regime of work, as well as all forms of gender, race, and nationalist oppression. Embracing this little known and actively marginalised history of communism, the ULWC seeks to support communist social movements by tapping into the anti-work imaginaries we find prosper in the capitalist sphere of leisure. And so we invite you for a discussion with one of the leading contemporary theorists of communism Kristin Ross who has vividly addressed the central role of nightclubs in the organisation of the Paris Commune (1871) and the historian Agne Bagdziunaite who will present on the class politics of leisure in the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. Comparing capitalist, state-socialist and stateless-communist orderings of work and leisure spheres, the speakers will address the following questions: Does leisure have a place in a communist society no longer dictated by the oppositions of necessary and disposable time and the class struggle over the shortening of the working day? To what extent may the leisure sphere of capitalism, of say nightly festivity, be taken as a viable standpoint for conspiring against the daily regimes of labor? And to what extent is this sphere overly determined by prevailing class, race, and gender hierarchies? What forms of class hierarchy and exploitation existed under state-socialism and what is there for us to learn from its differences with the contemporary reality of neo-feudal disaster capitalism?
Caring Labor and Mutual Aid in Queer and POC Club Communities
2 Dec, 18h (UTC+2) Club communities all over the world have been hit hard by the pandemic: artists and promoters as well as bartenders and bouncers have encountered a massive depletion of income and loss of work. The pandemic has only made problems of exploitation, racism and patriarchy all the more pronounced in the leisure industry. Often working informally, the same communities also confront particular difficulties in accessing state support for health, housing and financial security. While some countries have financially assisted the nightlife sector, the dominant pattern has been support of business interests over workforces. Facing up to this situation, some club communities have taken to devising their own means of mutual support, giving needed focus to those disproportionately damaged by the current situation. Oramics (PL) and Community Bread(US), will join us to discuss these issues and share practical strategies for organizing in these times. Oramics is a DJ collective made up of women, non-binary and queer people that has actively participated in resistance against enduring LGBTQI+ oppression in Poland. New York-based Community Bread is a global resource platform initiated to offset economic hardship for queer and POC club artists and their communities.
Between Subjectless Crowds and Experienceless Subjects....A discussion on the place of rave in Leftist politics today
13 Dec, 19h (UTC+2) A discussion with Mattin, Arnoldas Stramskas, Vaida Stepanovaite, Noah Brehmer Rave culture introduced ludic engagements with the socially sterilised urban spaces of neo-liberal capitalism –– the radical connectivity they proposed raged against a new regime of personalisation and alienated technological inter-dependency (Fisher). Notably, Fisher and his comrades announced the death of rave or the death of its political potentials at a talk in Berghain in 2013 (CTM, 2013). Applying Fisher’s well known thesis on capitalism realism, they claimed that the insurgent potential of rave culture was hollowed out and incorporated in the advanced capitalist culture industry, merely repeating the ghostly memory of its past forms and energies. Raves have also been criticised for their failure to cultivate and sustain the new collectivities they produce, as they are found to be lacking in the language, reason, and interpersonal complexity that would constitute true political subjectivity (Tiqqun). Yet, on the other hand, we find a Leftist politics lured by the antithetical fantasy of an experienceless subject of reason that simply doesn’t deal with bodies and sensations. It is clear that the Left has not been able to deal with bodies, with the psychosomatic consequences of neoliberalism. How then to build a Left movement that neither fetishises the experiential nor the rational, but rather introduces a critical mode of reason based on anti-patriarchal and colonial principles. Could raves and other insurgent dance cultures have a place in building an emancipatory communist movement today? And is Fisher’s conclusion about the death of rave in the era of capitalist realism really correct? Reading Material: Mark Fisher et al, “Death of Rave”, CTM Festival, 2013, available here: https://soundcloud.com/ctm-festival/ctm13-death-of-rave-1-uk Tiqqun, “Sermon to the Ravers”, 2008, available here: http://exploits.jottit.com/2._sermon_to_the_ravers Noah Brehmer, “RAVE-ACCELERATE-DIE”, Blind Field Journal, 2019, available here: https://blindfieldjournal.com/2019/07/18/rave-accelerate-die/
👽 Building Leisure Communism 2020
Our first year of activity began with the "Building Leisure Communism" cycle. Readings, chats, presentations and a day rave were the formats of our conspiracy against the world of work. Communism, as critically approached in contra-distinction with regional histories of existing state socialism, was cultivated as a possible strategy: a platform for dritage; an energizing force against the REAL of capitalism; a historical movement that sat between the traditions of anarchism and socialism – the commune, the revolution and the universal pursuit of joy.
Capitalist Leisure Industry and Rave Politics
28 July, 7 pm EET Kaunas Artists’ House (V. Putvinskio st. 56, Kaunas, Lithuania) For this session ULWC’s Leisure Communism Group is joining forces with the Insomnia Salon and discussing Mark Fisher’s Baroque Sunbursts (2016), which offers some juicy thoughts on rave as a kind of festive contagion that spreads new forms of communal bliss into miserably desocialised, commercially sterilised, urban space. Fisher addresses the historical war against the ravers in the UK and the onslaught of ‘mandatory individualism’ within the advanced capitalist culture industry. We see Fisher’s text as a constructive way of framing questions about local histories of rave and leisure economies in Lithuania. Moreover, with the current hype around rave and dance culture in the neo-liberal creative city, pressing questions must be raised about the insurgent capacities of these social forms in the present. Kaunas Artists' House reading room “Insomnia Salon” is a cycle of events that aims to expand the context of insomnia and to analyze various cultural phenomena related to sleep disorders. To what extent is insomnia associated today with creative processes, or it is a part of anxiety, insecurity, nightmares, exhaustion, or general boredom? All issues related to insomnia, sleep disorders and their symptoms are discussed in the salon, in a room where a group of people usually gathers to speak and discuss issues of politics, art and literature. Curator of the cycle - Agnė Bagdžiūnaitė.
A Day Without End
27 September, 7 pm EEST (GMT+3) Online On Sunday September 27th at 7pm we invite you for a reading and discussion on the class struggle over the ‘disposable hours’ of the night. We ask you to consider what role bars, clubs and other uncouth shelters of the night may serve in the struggle to transform the proprietary temporalities of capitalism into the communistic temporalities of ultimate leisure and communal life. Our discussion will be guided by a reading of the chapter “A Day Without End” from Laurent de Sutter’s book Narcocapitalism and moderated by Leisure Communism Group member Anthony Iles. Find the chapter here. Some additional context for the discussion follows: With the rooting of industrial capitalism in the eighteenth century, came a maddening reorganisation of the intensity and duration of work. The very idea of day and night would be radically transfigured by the voluptuous appetites of the metropolitan factory. An avalanche of violent and unregulated assaults met the newly emerging proletariat –– the work day was without end. As Marx contended:
Every boundary set by morality and nature, age and sex, day and night, was broken down. Even the ideas of day and night, which in the old statues were of peasant simplicity, became so confused that an English judge, as late as 1860, needed the penetration of an interpreter of the Talmud to explain ‘judicially’ what was day and what was night. Capital was celebrating its orgies. 390 The Working Day, Capital IYet, the night presented obstacles. Darkness resisted the disciplinary orders of the clock and the whip. Not to mention sleep or more broadly imagined those restorative hours where labor power was to be regenerated. With the emergence of the modern metropole came both rebellious compositions of nightly festivity and the emergent managerial science/technologies of population control. In a section of Laurent de Sutter’s book Narcocapitalism called “A Day Without End” a vibrant account is given of this protracted civil war over nightly activities, as they observe: “For too long, the night had meant a vague space, where festivity and a certain notion of rest were protected from the gaze of masters and proprietors; this obscurity now had to be conquered.”13 Guided by Sutter’s account, we invite you for discussion on the class struggle over ‘disposable time’ and ask you to consider what role bars, clubs and other uncouth shelters of the night may serve in the organization of the commune and the communist movement?
Alienation as Device
Our second event of the Action Group is coming up on 9 August, 7pm EEST (GMT+3), online - Mattin will present Alienation as Device.
As new communal formations are violently threatened by the anti-social infrastructures of capitalism, the ULWC asks what strategies have/are/can be applied to sustain and support (anti-authoritarian) communist forms of life in the present? For the noise musician and theorist Mattin, emphasis is placed on how we may overcome the cognitive individualisation of experience. Here Mattin turns toward the concept and practice of social dissonance, which encourages active forms of collective alienation from the individualising alienations we face under the reality models of capitalism. As Mattin encourages in his soon to be published book Social Dissonance:
Alienation must be taken as an enabling condition: as a way to reveal the social dissonance that occurs between the image we have of ourselves (as free individuals endowed with rational agency) and our socio-physical determination/constitution by the capitalist totality, which includes value-relation, technology and subpersonal mechanisms. The essential barrier social dissonance confronts is the naturalisation of personal experience understood as the proprietary right of individuals. The disruption of these hegemonic reality models hence involves grasping the mediations that underpin such processes of naturalisation.
To facilitate social dissonance, Mattin has developed a “social score" (see an intro at the end of the invitation), which may be performatively introduced as part of the talk. Finally, Mattin will present his critique of both the romantic communist tradition’s theory of dealienation, as found in the early works of Marx and groups like the Situationist International, and techno-positivist glorifications of alienation, as recently surfacing in Xenofeminism, but dating back to Futurist avant-garde traditions and various accelerationist currents.
Mattin is an artist and writer from Bilbao - living in Berlin - working with noise and improvisation. His work seeks to address the social and economic structures of experimental sonic artistic production through live performance, recordings and writing. He has recently completed a PhD at the University of the Basque Country under the supervision of Ray Brassier and Josu Rekalde. Mattin took part in documenta14 in Athens and Kassel in 2018. Along with the theorist Anthony Iles he edited the book Noise & Capitalism(2009). With Miguel Prado, Mattin runs the podcast “Social Discipline”. Mattin is a member of the interdisciplinary network “Whatis to be Done under Real Subsumption?”
Social Dissonance Score
The audience is your instrument, play it in order to practically understand how we are generally instrumentalized.
Prepare the audience with concepts, questions, and movements as a way to explore the dissonance that exist between the individual narcissism that capitalism promotes and our social capacity, between how we conceive ourselves as free indiviuals with agency and the way that we are socially determined by capitalist relations, technology, and ideology.
Reflect on the I/We relation while defining social dissonance.
Help the collective subject to emerge.
Clubbing Body Politics & Queer Performativity
Online, 3 June, 2020 Our discussion series was kindly started up by Edvinas Grin (aka Querelle) about their personal experiences as a party organizer/performer in Lithuania and how they’ve dealt with the tension between queer invisibility and cultural commodification. Since 2016 Edvinas has been one of the initiators and co-curators of the counter-cultural queer collective WE ARE PROPAGANDA. The same year marked the beginning of his terrorist drag dj performances under the alter ego – drag persona Querelle. The broader spectrum of their practice consists of curatorial and artistic activities, all connected through an active interest in leftist and queer politics, which aim to provide artistic practices with a transformative potential, especially within institutionalised structures.
An account of our discussion mapped out through some key questions and examples that came up before, during and after the event:
What are the political potentials of establishing queer community through organising in night life spaces?
Self-organised queer night events as entry points into leisure spaces - such as bars, clubs, and other institutions - that are otherwise unwelcoming for queer folks, can be perceived as a tactic to seize heterosexual space and temporarily transform it into a zone for community building and political education.
In this case, Edvinas presented an event Weare18 at ex-Yucatan in Vilnius, Lithuania organised in 2016 as part of the Queer Festival Kreivės. The aforementioned tactic could also take the form of performative interventions, as the case of Queer Nation’s shopping mall events.
How to deal with problematics of queer commodification that runs deep with the spread of neoliberal cultural structures?
While visibility is crucial for securing a safe queer public existence, not all queerings of heteronormative public structures yield transformative power and, if unexamined, might perpetuate fetishisation of marginalised societal groups. The culture industry also has a way of absorbing queer identity as a consumer good all the while violently erasing other aspects of queer life –– and the lives of other oppressed groups –– that do not fit into the brand identity of the business interest.
Here, the ex-club Platforma comes in, as an example of cooptation of ‘nightlife revolution’ as a marketing scheme, and for their attempt to earn social capital from the new queer party on the block Šaltkalvis. Such a case brings us to questions about the relation between the responsibility and awareness of individual artists and collectives, and the problematic cultural-commercial structures they may participate in.
Edvinas found himself in a similar situation while participating at the Alternative Education programme at Rupert, which was established as part of an EU sponsored incubator fund aimed to promote neo-liberal cultural policy models. While Rupert has shown itself as a supporter of critical thought, similar questions arise about the relation between an institution's cultural content and the particular capitalist form/structures they operate within. It invites as well, to rethink the sustainability of placing content that relates to the struggles of certain marginalised groups within contexts where these groups themselves do not have strong connection to, or representation.
This leads us to ask, whether queer representation might merely serve as a means of overshadowing the problematic neo-liberal structures upon which many cultural institutions and entities in Lithuania rely?
As a response, Edvinas began a new practice called Queer for Sale. The first manifestation of Queer for Sale was a series of posters advertising his drag persona Querelle as a rental service to: “gentrify the neighbourhood” and “spice up your hip party”.
Adomas has also brought in a set of questions to be further explored about the problematics of cultural initiatives operating within neoliberal funding structures. Does private capital involvement (whether at inception, or in its funding structure) subsume an art space/institution's activities? Does it undermine it and in what ways, how do they differ from an institution adhering to state/municipality pressures? What could be the strategies of simmering (referring to Vaida's term) resistance from within? That last question being especially potent as so many people working in Lithuania within art institutional settings face it, whichever funding and operational mechanism they work with. Also, what is a non-tokenising institutional interaction with a marginalised community? Can it escape the currency of representation? If yes, what could be the tactics?
Clubs captivate and mesmerize, but do they actually open doors for the building of emancipatory social movements?
When discussing (queer) spaces of nightly leisure and pleasure as emancipatory manifestations for social transformation, there is a need to address the difference between confrontational parties (sites of revolution) and safe-space parties (sites of restoration), as observed by Vuk of the labor union G1ps.
At the time of the discussion, a certain part of Berlin’s club scene had gone blind towards the urgent issues of repressed communities while on its leisurely protest for ‘saving the rave culture’ - begging to rethink organisation of confrontational parties as well as the need of cooperation between minority communities.
How can queer groups tied together by politics of nightly communal gatherings address broader problematics of societal life, i.e. publicly protest gender and sexuality-based injustices? We might look at the strategies undertaken by Polish platform Oramics that support women, non-binary and queer people in the electronic music scene.
The commercial club itself may be an energy trap, but could all of the desires to leave the world of work and oppression, that take the form of leisurely energy, be channeled in different directions, towards Leisure Communism? How could it be made possible to create parallel structures which would draw from the nightlife experience but depart from its entrenched commercial logics? Acknowledging that possibilities of political organising that arises in nightlife might come through sustained alliances, a question by Agne from Social Centre Emma in Kaunas, echoes this in thinking, how to expand our circles while refusing to participate in the building of a commercial public sphere?
In relation, calls against the commercialisation of Baltic Pride were well visible in 2019.
Finally, we are glad to mention the Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) that Milo shared with us, established as a "living history" archive of past and present queer zines, and to make a note about a historical queer-punk party called Klubstitute.
2 July, 7 pm EET Online For our first Leisure Communism Group reading we propose Kristin Ross’ Communal Luxury: the political imaginary of the Paris Commune. Ross’ text seems like a nice entry point for developing the concept of Leisure Communism as it provides a different historical narrative for the idea of communism as a confederation of independent worker clubs organized beyond the categories of nation and state. The text is also intriguing for its detailed accounts of the actual social transformations that took place during the commune, such as the creation of: public schools, daycares, a woman's union, and the democratic reorganization of arts institutions. We invite you to read the introduction as well as the first and second chapter. The first chapter is about where the idea of the commune came from, the role of nightclubs as an organising form, and Eastern influences; the second chapter is all about the reorganisation of art institutions, new meaning of creativity in a classless society and education. Please focus on a few details you find particularly worthy for discussion. We are less interested in factual representations of the text or the authors historical accuracy and more interested how it can be applied for analysis of our own situations and the building of a Leisure Communist horizon. You can find the book here. Registration: firstname.lastname@example.org