The New Delta Blues

George Szirtes – Mapping the Delta (Bloodaxe)

These poems now leer out of the pages with increased significance. The title piece is about a globalised world that now feels like it is shrinking:

‘There’s no exhaustive language. The maps are a start, in gathering up strands of a notional heart.’

Out this year, it feels old already, this poem. A piece called ‘Bartok’ follows on, it describes how eastern European folk music became transcribed, with all of its atonality for the concert hall, so that those audiences could hear music that ‘screeched and snapped like bullets freshly fired’.

The preceding poem describes the old men of this even older landscape, respectably concealing trenches with corpses in them. The plucked strings and bleary ravaged landscape of Bartok’s String Quartet No.4 in C., Movement III rises to the surface.

Szirtes virtually inhabits your body with his description, via his own music, which is not the same as Bartok’s, even though he came from Hungary. From those landscapes.

But now, after Brexit, after Trump… This is not just a great collection of poetry (it is) this is an essential book of any sort for our newly darkened times.

It is an actual map. I fear that we are all going to need it.

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The Master of the Untitled Statement

Hans Haake – Working Conditions, The Writings of Hans Haake (MIT Writing Art Series)

Hans Haake’s shopping lists must be amazing. He has a way of putting things down on a single A4 sheet that makes them stick on the walls of art student digs and then adhere all the way through to their mature studio spaces and beyond. He’s right up there, along with Dieter Roth.

His statements veer between the completely distilled and the wide open and suggestive. For instance one untitled piece from the early 1960s that provides the exact crosshair position of contemporary avant garde art, next to the ‘why don’t you switch off your television set go off and do something less boring instead’ pieces (I’m sure he would have approved).

After Duchamp, after Fluxus, this is a game and the pieces on the board move. Duchamp was a great chess player, running several simultaneous international games by post from his flat. Haake understands that this is now the territory and as Lyotard explained everything is a move in a game, but if there are no rules, there is no game. Haake is a master player of the new ruleless game.

But Haake’s ‘game’ isn’t the international art career he has. The pieces in this book the writing corresponds to are livid, anti-capitalist, through and through.

Documenta, which Haake is so associated with, came out of need to revive the avant garde after the Nazis destroyed it. Haake then goes on to make the most furious political, informed pieces, persistently, and persistently with humour, for the rest of his career, something that is little short of miraculous. No postmodern bubbles for Haake.

This is a book you can live in. When Haake writes ‘articulate something natural’ those three words contain the whole philosophical understanding that art is not nature, that articulation is language, visual or otherwise. Three words by Haake are that good. They are worth a thousand by lesser artists and writers.

These instruction-based pieces are the counterpoints to the micro-manifesto style writing. In fact on second thoughts, Hans Haake’s shopping lists are probably just shopping lists.

In this spirit, surely Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt took some inspiration from Hans Haake when putting Oblique Strategies together?

‘Just carry on.’

The No Longer Sacred Profane

Jeff Nuttall – An Aesthetic of Obscenity: Five Novels (VP Reprint Series)

It is good to see Jeff Nuttall returning as Jeff Nuttall. Those who care should brace themselves for a whole wave of Nuttall nonsense to come. Papers already exist that link him to Deleuze and Guattari, missing the way Jeff hated them, outlined with little ambuguity in Art and the Degradation of Awareness, one of his best books.

Jeff hating them doesn’t mean those links can’t be made, but those links are very weak. There are theorists attempting to push the cumbersome Nuttall body into genderless Bataillean theorising, which itself arrives largely via Allan Stoekl’s flawed Marxist readings of Bataille. Nuttall was phallocentric if he was anything, performing with his cock and balls out often.

‘The subversive thread of the imagination’ currently being claimed for Jeff, is now the most re-directable force for capital there is, on the planet. ‘Social’ labour on the internet is all surplus value for others who know how to profit from the processes.

‘Happening assemblages’ are supposedly all unconscious intensities, but Nuttall hated what happened to the experiments of Allan Kaprow. The ultimate end of those were U2s Zoo Tour. They were absorbed into Neoliberal Europolitics, the Rock ‘n’ Roll dome of Blair and a Stratocaster in number ten, a rebound from Clinton, the first black man in the white house, with his saxophone.

Nuttall hated rock music, he once told me it was ‘stand up wanks using somebody elses’s fist.’ I’d like to propose that Nuttall is a radical materialist, something that has been and will be overlooked. These collected novels give me ballast.

In them, Nuttall tries to use words, often to describe sex, that will wake our switched off bodies to their anaesthetised conditions, conditions he thought were injected by the presence of the nuclear bomb.

Nuttall’s small press poetry was put out by tiny outfits like Arc, struggling for years and then selling the remainders as rare luxuries. I have never seen the novels and so hats off to Douglas Field and Jay Jones for collecting them in all their profane glory. They have done a marvellous job here.

These novels should be read by all the academics preparing to chop Nuttall’s body up even further to use as fuel in the Higher Education novelty race. Snipe’s Spinster proves what they all conveniently forget, that Nuttall was ANTI-COUNTERCULTURE. Bomb Culture was a way of distancing himself from it all, rather than pulling himself further in.

This does not mean that Nuttall was some kind of conservative, far from it, he saw the counterculture commodified and he disaffiliated immediately. For Nuttall, the counterculture was not radical enough.

There’s lots of fucking of the non-transgender sort. Cocks and fannies. Very British, and the novel writing in between the mad nutty riffs is so very British too. Kingsley Amis sticking two fingers up then getting his wanger out. This isn’t Joyce or Burroughs, no matter how much people want to claim him for ‘non-linearity’.

There’s a clear lineage of music hall smut, stand-up comedian, jazz riffer and scat singer. These novels are a whole lot of fun and they are an antidote to the pretentious radical posturing being performed around Nuttall’s corpse, which oddly makes them a whole lot more radical than they were before, somehow.

I can’t imagine that this collection exists in vast numbers or that they will hang around for long. Get one from verbivoraciouspress.org

After Saint Mayakovsky

Vladimir Mayakovsky – Vladimir Mayakovsky & Other Poems (trans., James Womack, Carcanet/Fyfield)

This new volume presents a very sharp set of translations for a fundamentally incisive poet, with a clear and unromanticised introduction. The selections give us a very open reading of Mayakovsky, the Mayakovsky that is relevant to all times, without ever losing his utterly iron circumstances in history. The footnotes explain the arcana of Soviet terminology where needed, but the whole seems much more light than other collections, an aggregate of what is universally useful in Mayakovsky.

Mayakovsky’s influence on poetry and art is huge. The Beats would be lost without his R&D. Kenneth Rexroth’s poem Thou Shalt Not Kill reaches a ridiculous crescendo in its recited version, in 1957. Here, Rexroth melodramatically roll calls the names of the dead, Dylan Thomas, Mayakovsky, with a cello sawing darkly, under braying trumpet:

‘You killed him! In your gawd damn Brookes Brothers suit, you son-of-a-bitch!’

However much we might want to claim it, neither Mayakovsky nor Dylan Thomas were killed by a city slicker in a suit. In some ways, their deaths were polar opposites.

Dylan Thomas died of ennui, anomie, the lack of a name for himself and the thing his whole being did, the thing he escaped, through the clear door at the bottom of his glass, just once too often and too far…

Mayakovsky, on the opposite side of the globe, ideologically speaking, died because he cared too much. Like many of the avant garde, his revolution turned to clay in his lifetime.

To be clear, we don’t really know why Mayakovsky committed suicide, the introduction here is admirably unpretentious on such points, scholarly and engaging at the same time. But what is certain is that Mayakovsky loved and lived for the revolution and saw it splintering apart in himself. The translator and editor of this new volume James Womack cites Mayakovsky putting ‘his foot on the throat of his own song.’

Womack makes interesting points regarding the dating of the poems. One was later re-dated to place it a year before the revolution, when its real date of writing in 1917 meant that Mayakovsky was being critical of both the Bolsheviks and the opposition. These little ‘alterations’ were made in post-Stalin editions of Mayakovsky. Boris Pasternak apparently named Stalin’s enthusiastic championing of Mayakovsky’s poetry as his ‘second death’. Mayakovsky was unfortunate enough to have emerged from Stalin’s treasured Georgia.

I have one of these Mayakovsky-The-Saint volumes, Volume 2, the longer poems. The long piece here is the ‘play’ called ‘Vladimir Mayakovsky’. This gives the lie to the view of Russians as somehow egoless drones of the revolution, in fact Mayakovsky gives the lie to the default view of Russian Constructivism as all angular lines and squares. Here are Schwitters scraps at beer tables, cigarettes, dirt, grease, sweat. But the four-square rhyming is of cubism and tallies with the formal aesthetics of the time, Futurism, Vorticism.

But despite these organic scraps of everyday life, Mayakovsky was not a personal, existential, individualist writer either. He valued sound and pulsebeat over meaning itself. He looked outwards to the world, often with a kind of third person ‘Vladimir Mayakovsky’ that was in no way proto-postmodern ironic or romantic: ‘They say my themes are too i-n-d-i-v-i-d-u-a-l-i-s-t-i-c’ he wrote, returning even the rebuttal of the charges to formalism.

Mayakovsky often became a cipher in the world observing that world, to then be filtered through rectilinear formal aesthetics and the music of modernity. Mayakovsky’s beat is in no way straightforward though, and more often than not he is closer to surrealism than any other movement. Rexroth became an anarchist, seeing through the Bolshevik myth of the Russian Revolution when the Kronstadt uprising was crushed by Lenin in 1921. Mayakovsky killed himself in 1930, he was going down badly with his public. ‘How many are hopeless alcoholics?’ Rexroth asked of the poets and revolutionaries of his time.

Perhaps Mayakovsky ‘pulled back the curtain in Oz, proved that the Man Upstairs is a scam.’ Perhaps he simply sensed what was coming with all of the precognition of the poet and decided to leave.

Powerhouse Gothic

Joseph Darlington – Avon Murray (Joseph Darlington)

This collection of short stories by Joe Darlington is limited to less than a hundred copies, but it is well worth tracking down. The beautiful cover, designed by Broady Blackwell, suggests that the book dovetails at northern romanticism and neo-goth, Wuthering Heights perhaps, via some of the dark savagery of Ted Hughes. Avon Murray seems like a sick composite of High Peaks and Calder Valley towns.

But this book is also hilarious, in a bleak, nutty, dark way. The overall narrative involves The Search for The One Big Laugh, but The One Big Laugh is also Death. How much more quintessentially northern, of the Greater Manchester region, particularly its outlying Lancastrian towns, can you get?

The answer is none more. But this collection seems equally informed by the European surrealist tradition and bizarre 1970s works of Thomas Pynchon. The Brothers Even More Grimm and Will Self’s early novels, My Idea of Fun. It is not a simplistic leaden Lancashire comedy novel at all.

The Search for The One Big Laugh goes on through the history of Avon Murray. The Enlightenment section is particularly side-splitting, but also philosophically astute. It involves Elgar Nisferdanus, the Alchemist, with his OcculensadPurgatorisSpecularum. Voltaire’s Candide, then, floats ghostlike through the book too.

Then there’s young Toby and his addled father, finding equally raddled vagrants in the shed. Each section melts away into beautiful surrealist prose, leaving you giggling but feeling slightly frisked, before another weird fairground ride cranks up again:

‘She found herself a new man who gave her a new tongue. He’d carved it from all the editions of Capital he’d never read.’

Vintage jazz, poppers and vegan sausage rolls form the backdrop to a man called Stodge and a girl called Frigg, definitely names coming down to us from the Yorkshire Danelaw tradition. Martin Amis would approve of them, they are names that Do Jobs.

The tale of Sally Lumb, M.P., ‘Shievemaster’ and Town Planner, feels as though it is going to complete the narrative of Avon Murray, this Northwestern Twin Peaks. But the whole book is extinguished in the mind-ravishing tale of Celery, the Forest Spirit, seemingly all that is left after the deluge, after all the residents of Avon Murray have been fucked off to a world of pure shit.

That’s plenty of spoilers. You will need to hurry if you are to get one of these editions, run now, before reality itself buckles again: josefadarlington@hotmail.co.uk

Windows within Windows

John Berger – Landscapes (Verso)

On an ordinary page, right in the middle of this collection, John Berger states that ‘stupid people often accuse Marxists of welcoming the intrusion of politics into art.’

It is one of those wake-up moments John Berger is so good at providing. He goes on to explain that these intrusions are painful and often have great suffering at their roots. Even Marxists do not welcome these into their contemplations. As a counterpoint, he then describes Picasso, staying at the Savoy in London, as a successful enfant terrible, no longer seeing the poor at café tables.

What Berger has done, persistently, from every angle, all his long life, is explore how our windows on the world are constructed. He questions what they engage with, edit out and why.

If we look at ‘English landscapes’ from the late 18th century, they are made through the lenses of Italy, and the grand tour. The misty blue beyonds are coming out of an appreciation of the Italian renaissance as the ‘pinnacle’ of perfect art, and also out of the artist visiting Italy.

They are historical constructs. This is how ‘Landscapes’ makes sense here. This is not a BBC4 scan of lush English Pastoralism to tasteful music.

Renaissance perspectivalism was seen, in the west, in British art traditions all the way up to the early twentieth century, as ‘more real’, ‘more natural’, more correct in the ways in which they represented the world. The example often given in art schools is Piero della Francesca’s View of an Ideal City (1470) which uses technologies of perspective to illustrate the ‘ideal form’ of utopian city spaces.

But perspectivalism was exactly that, a technology. These pictures contain the idea that their way of representing the world was becoming ‘more correct’, that western art gets better and better, more realistic, as history goes on, an idea that the era was steeped in, partly through the philosophy of Hegel.

Yet if we look at non-western art, we get a very different range of ways of representing the world. We also get very different ways of seeing through the ‘isms’ that shattered those simplistic ‘windows on the world’ in the twentieth century.

Within the western representational tradition, one of the few places we can find a very different take on visual representation is in the art of children. The idea of the child as something untutored lies here, of the ‘primitive’ as something to be ironed out of creativity.

These debates sit on bigger questions of nature versus nurture, of Rousseau and Locke. But when we look at an example such as Alfred Wallis, we can see how this intuitive, ‘untrained’ sense of visual representation isn’t exclusively produced by infants at all.

Wallis began painting in his 70s after his wife died, and was considered eccentric until discovered by Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth in the early twentieth century, when modern artists were beginning to think all over again about the idea of the ‘primitive’ and the ‘sophisticated’ in art.

Similarly, what Berger does is to explore everyday life at the other side of his window on the world. He goes to the marginal edge zones figures such as Wallis came from, again and again, as much as he goes to national galleries to interrogate dubious masterpieces.

Rather than look at what is assembled ‘out there’ as a landowner might, looking at what he owns to then have it painted in oil, Berger travels to engage it in dialogue. So here we get lettuce, radish and horseradishes on market stalls in Krakow, next to discussions of Joyce’s Ulysses, now utterly levelled in its importance, back to the everyday it emerged out of.

For Adorno, a revolutionary painting teaches you how to read its new dialect at the same time as it utterly shatters the linearity of previous conventions, as did Ulysses, but with Berger we never lose sight of the everyday life such new forms came from.

Abstraction and other ways of seeing come out of the real. Artists abstract from that real, for various reasons. They are not trying to break into the real from the abstract, even if they try, even if this is what they think they are doing.

Berger might, then, add another thing that people often do, which is to declare avant garde art elitist and impenetrable.

But Picasso intentionally brought African forms into cubist perspectivalism, for instance, in his controversial Demoiselles d’Avignon. Both Cubism and the interest in non-western art were calculated to shatter the assumptions of a ‘natural’ form of representation, or a ‘correct’ form in perspectivalism.

The interest in so-called ‘outsider art’, arriving out of these sorts of discoveries, also examines – and murkily collects and sells – the art of asylum inmates. This can be traced back to Jean Dubuffet’s ‘Art Brut’ or ‘raw art’ and early twentieth century modernists and their interest in the art of the ‘primitive’, or untrained, or children.

But we need to question the politics implicit in terms such as ‘outsider’. For what are these artists and these ways of representing the work actually outside of?

It has been suggested, by writers such as Martin Jay among others, that the renaissance perspectival form is just one ‘regime of modernity’. It is just one way of representing the world, a product of just one culture, which, because of the violence of imperialism, saw itself ‘at the centre’ of ‘civilisation’ and the ‘primitive’ or ‘savage’ to be in the ‘peripheral’ colonies they were subjugating and exploiting.

This is then mapped onto practitioners such as Alfred Wallis even in western territories, and onto asylum inmates. This is why Marxists do not welcome politics into their contemplation. Because the messages those intrusions bring are heavy.

In excerpts from his trilogy here, that begins with his novel Pig Earth, Berger sides with the ‘so-called backwards’, as he does so eloquently in his collaboration with Jean Mohr, A Seventh Man.

Berger is not just ‘for the outsider’, in some ways – although we have to be careful with this – he has lived with them and as one of them. We can ask questions about whether or not Wallis’s vision of the world is more correct than that of Francesca. Is it right to call Wallis ‘child-like’, ‘eccentric’, or ‘primitive’?

Such terms are at least implicitly imperialistic, we must stare those facts fully in the face and they are big intrusions.

Berger gives us different stories of both artists and peasants moving from place to place, via his own peripatetic life. He shows us, in short, the windows through windows through windows that writing about art inevitably involves.

Like Sigmar Polke, who treated his canvases with resin so you could see the frame behind, Berger does not try to convince us that he is providing a clear view through clean glass onto an objective reality. But oddly, via doing that he always gives us a richer, more authentic and real take on that reality.

Also like Polke, once he has disabused us of the notion of a straightforward ‘window on the world’, Berger overlays the resulting deflated space with poetry. Tom Overton’s editing has an important part to play here, as with the previous volume Portraits, he puts Berger’s artificially separated projects of fiction, criticism, biography and politics back into the single powerful river it always came from.

These collections are only just beginning to resurrect Berger from the default image of him smoking on television in big shirt collars. These are the landscapes of Berger’s life as he reaches its end, and they are nothing short of a journey through the whole of twentieth century Europe.

Their Revolution, Our Revolution

Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga – Revolution in Rojava (Pluto)

The complexities of the current middle eastern conflicts don’t make it easy to see what is assembled there. The stories that get out are fed into the global news sausage machine, then out they pop, a neat pinched off bit of ideology, that lands with a brief whiff of truth.

All we see is smoke rising from above, interminable maze-like streets and another explosion, as equally mystifying three-letter acronyms scroll beneath. It seems like a non-starter to suggest that among the high-pitched screaming over no-fly zones, Assad and the Russians, something progressive might be happening.

But Rojava in Syrian Kurdistan is a real world-historical Asterix village, not only holding out against ISIS, but installing ‘one of the most progressive societies in the world today’ and this book is coming straight from Syrian activists.

This is the first single authoritative volume on the Revolution. It is the counterpoint to Patrick Cockburn’s book on ISIS, which barely registers the Rojava struggles. Cockburn essentially believes in Assad as ‘a solution’. This book is the antidote to his argument.

This new Rojava society is being constructed via a polity named ‘democratic confederalism’, which is a ‘communally organised democracy’ that is ‘fiercely anti-capitalist’ and ‘committed to female equality.’

At the same time, it rejects ‘reactionary nationalist ideologies.’ Leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan, pronounced ‘oh-ja-lan’, says that a ‘nation state is not the solution but rather the problem’, although Öcalan is described as ‘a Kurdish nationalist’ almost by default.

The federalist system is apparently built on ‘effective gender quotas’, a ‘bottom-up’ democracy, ecological policy and ‘a powerful militancy that has allowed the region to keep ISIS at bay.’

This book works very clearly through the origins of the conflicts in the region. The different groups with their abbreviations that often cause acronym-blindness.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for instance, and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) are affiliated but separate, and rivalry is more than detectable. These are the two main bodies, but surrounding them are a myriad more.

The writers then exhaustively detail the working parts of the Revolution, co-ops, portraits of tough women soldiers, organisational strategies and layers.

These portraits and discussions with participants are particularly strong. They really cut through the CNN view from above. The everyday banalities, sacrifices and heroism are all of a piece here.

I also admire this book from a fairly traditional Orwellian standpoint: The women’s autonomous collectives and ecological cooperatives in Rojava are protected by ‘multiethnic peoples’ self-defense’.

There is no sense of the naive peacenik here, how could there be? This idea that washes around the left in the west, that ‘if we all just say no to conflict’ is refreshingly absent.

Rojava’s Revolution means picking up and using the gun for the collective, and that means all the genders and ethnicities within it. Conscription for short periods of time is in effect, but the right to conscientious objection has also been upheld in the region this year.

This is all the more astonishing considering what Rojava is facing. The Revolution is fragile and surrounded by powerful and persistent forces that want to destroy it. Not only the ISIS fanatics funded by the super-rich Gulf States and Turkey, but the whole madhouse capitalist globe beyond the Revolution. NATO are supporting Turkey in its fight against both ISIS and the PKK.

The middle east is not just a crucible for those who live in the region, it is the world stage of global power. But this is where this book moves beyond the sum of its detailed and well-oiled parts into something like a manifesto for the rest of the world. As Servet Dusmani explained elsewhere:

‘In this situation, we must neither be surprised by, nor blame the PYD if they are forced to abandon even their current position, in order to found an alliance with regional and global powers to break the ISIS siege. We cannot expect persons struggling in Kobane to abolish the world scale hegemony of capitalism or to resist this hegemony for long. This task can only be realised by a strong worldwide class movement and Revolutionary alternative.’

Revolution in Rojava, like the Spanish War in the 1930s, already involves all of us, but it will only succeed if we all get involved. For our local readers, there are Syrian Kurd support groups and fundraisers in Manchester, but we all need to think about how we live and organise through this book.

From Manchester to Moscow

Lenin’s April Theses and Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto (Verso)

Here’s one to ponder for our more local readers: If you go to Parsonage Gardens, just off Deansgate in Manchester, and look at the greyish building overlooking the lawn, the Ermen & Engels office was once in there. We don’t really know, but it might not be stretching credulity to suggest that Engels frequented that office to salt away petty cash to send to Marx in London, so that he could write Capital. We know that he did it, but not all of the exact details.

Stand there then, and try to take in the full weight of the facts. Manchester Capitalism was created here and exported to the world. Capital was partly paid for here and based on the city, the trilogy was encouraged and finished by a man sometimes working in that office.

Capital was translated first into Russian, where it later exploded in the 1917 Bolshevik takeover, for the intellectuals who oversaw it. Then comes the huge historical arc of WW2, the Cold War and the fall of the wall separating East and West Germany: Capitalism triumphed at the cost of millions of lives.

Stand there, in your ordinary shoes, and look and think about all of that.

The Communist Manifesto and what became known as Lenin’s April Theses are clearly linked. When Karl Marx died, in 1883, Russian revolutionary exile Pyotr Lavrov wrote from Paris on March 15:

‘In the name of all Russian socialists I send a last farewell greeting to the outstanding Master among all the socialists of our times. One of the greatest minds has passed away, one of the most energetic fighters against the exploiters of the proletariat has died. The Russian socialists bow before the grave of the man who sympathised with their strivings in all the fluctuations of their terrible struggle, a struggle which they shall continue until the final victory of the principles of the social revolution. The Russian language was the first to have a translation of Capital, that gospel of contemporary socialism.’

These Russian copies of Capital were unexploded ordnance, waiting for the trigger of the Global Imperialist Wars, which in Britain we really only know via the dates 1914-1918. Tariq Ali, who introduces both texts here, understands and explains this well. But those books also lay obscure for nearly a quarter century.

There has been too much written on the Manifesto and not enough on the April Theses. The later postscript to the Manifesto by Engels is also included, which is great, but to have the Manifesto clearly placed in a lineage that goes even further forwards, rather than looking backwards to the text as a monument of past struggles, is refreshing.

This beautifully designed edition has one text beginning one way, flip the book over and the other text starts the other way. In the middle, then, is a kind of no-man’s land that I think is the most interesting space of all: Two pages, facing each other, upside-down.

This odd space is important. There is a clear line from Marx’s graveside in London in 1883 to the Bolshevik takeover in Russia in 1917, but there is also a huge gap and the texts do have an inverted symbiotic relationship in some ways. Marx’s death and revolution in Russia were only 24 years apart, but in some ways they may as well have occurred in different dimensions. In 1917, Lenin and others, also exiled, boarded a sealed train to Russia as the Czar and family were placed under house arrest. Lenin went back to Marx to ask the now-famous question ‘What, then, is to be done?’

But the answer to the question was not obvious at that moment. Its response, socialist statism based around the Soviets, would have to be fully enacted later. This inverted gap between the two texts is poetic because Marx only ever threw in a token line about the Russian struggle. He never envisioned the Revolution beginning in a largely agrarian country with low literacy levels, he assumed it would come through more ‘advanced’ urban societies experiencing the sheer polarising contradictions of accelerated, hyper-catalysed history.

This book performs the dialectic, formally. This place in the middle where the end of the following text comes in, upside-down, is the middle point where the helix comes together and then steadily diverges, away, into the future…