Duty Free of Doubt

Anti-capitalist flyer. Karl Marx Strasse, Berlin. July 2012.

Like many of the politically-oriented flyers to be found in Berlin, this one impresses through sheer volume. Unlike some of the ones featured in Souciant, neither the main text here — translated below — or the supplementary ones that accompany it are particularly elegant. But the scattered, fragmentary quality of the language, its rhetorical sloppiness are in some ways a breath of fresh air.

This is clearly one case where Karl Marx’s famous eleventh thesis on Feuerbach makes its presence felt. Instead of carefully constructed interpretation, we get instead a call to participate in a project meant to demonstrate what a truly participatory society would look like. The mastermind is Rainer Wieczorek, who bills himself as an “artist, sociologist and ‘Dada-soph.’” In recent years, he has conducted a series of mail art experiments, asking contributors to send him work on various political themes.

The one for which this text was composed took as its starting point the famous lines in the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany about the relationship between property and duty, the notion that ownership creates obligation to one’s fellow citizens. As the text below suggests, Wieczorek and his collaborators rue the rise of the money-first mentality, even as they discern within it the potential for a trans-valuation that will turn the world upside down or, better said, right side up.

“Resistance as Duty”

(Also a birthday hymn to Georg Büchner, who turns 200 years young on October 17th, 2013)

The concept of duty isn’t taken up with much enthusiasm. But I consider it important, since a complex society can’t manage without it and one that longs for “absolute” human development must locate duty in what is autonomous and self-determined. Duty out of insight and anchored in thinking for oneself, acting for oneself, and being oneself.

Resistance is essential, is a duty in a state that is regressing in authority, that neglects its people because it doesn’t develop the social and grounds itself more and more in the weight of money. A lot of money means privilege. The poor run out of more chances with each day. “The dignity of the human being is sacrosanct” is always becoming less true: the preventative fatal shot, the shooting down of passenger planes are from now on within the realm of political calculation; getting the army involved domestically has once more been brought into the conversation. Money-class medicine and money-class care is being prepared, a ruthless retirement age. The abysses of euthanasia, does someone see something there? Preventive detention, a Moloch of unsuspected horror. Germany once again has an army that makes military interventions. The dignity of the human being is infringed upon daily by political decisions and the institutions of the state that carry them out, as well as a population that looks on from a presumed majority.

Secret societies in political and societal fields are part of everyday life.

A privatization that leads to the cannibalization of generational potential is taken for granted.

To think for oneself, to act for oneself, to be oneself in one’s own conception of resistance to injustice, inhumanity, the unacceptable in politics, authority and the establishment.

And never forget yourself. Without personal labor in and of itself for the “Good,” what remains is the odor of the commercial, of abuse, of the lies to persons subject to rendition.

Georg Büchner was a consequential opponent of the monarchy, a claim to power that evolved into the parasitic annihilation of its subjects.

Our task today is to abolish this “money-aristocracy,” if it won’t permit itself to be trained. Its specialists in the absurd: there, where money only begets money and demonstrates its compatibility with human existential foundations in an extortionist and destructive manner, that’s where a new anchoring must take place. Modern and future-oriented societies will anchor money in the law, which means: Every human is from now on equal before money and possesses it just like everybody else. The forces of production of essential goods and the “egoism” of individuals’ participation in possession and property then becomes a promotional element. With the perfection of a new system of money exchange based on law, the possibility of the extortion of everything from individuals up to whole states becomes difficult to the point of nullification. A kind of “pedagogic mercantilism” of sharing could be a transition, i.e. currency within a system and currency to other systems, therefore globally compatible.

Or: War on greed and peace to creation in solidarity.

Introduction and translation by Charlie Bertsch. Photograph courtesy of Joel Schalit.

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