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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

International Times June 1st 2005

There are no spectators.
We all participate. There is no neutral. To wash your hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless is to side with the oppressors.


Re- membering the Beanfield

It was twenty years ago today that the Empire struck back against the countercultural forces of chaos and anarchy. We may have been going in and out of style ever since the launch of IT in 1966, but we have always been more possible than the powerful could imagine. The threat has never been what the counterculture is , but rather what we might become.

Thus each revolutionary eruption of energy out of the cultural unconscious has first been repressed and then recuperated. The Battle of the Beanfield of June 1st 1985 was but one skirmish in Empire's Eternal War Against Imagination.

The fusion of knowledge and action must be realised in the historical struggle itself. Yet the struggle of history to shake off the shackles of Empire remains mired in confusion. They can call it freedom, but slavery is still the game played by the administrators of 'history'. So long as history is confined to the past, knowledge and action remain divided. The counterculture's challenge is to create a history of the future, by fusing knowledge and action in the eternal present of everyday life.

To achieve this fusion we must deconstruct and re-member our stories, using whatever sources and techniques that lie to hand. Under the shimmering diversions of the spectacle, banalisation dominates modern society the world over. The smug acceptance of what exists has hitherto merged with purely spectacular rebellion as dissatisfaction itself became a marketable commodity.

Suddenly, after all the sound and fury, it was over and silence returned.
Writing is fifty years behind painting. Therefore we propose to apply the painters' techniques to writing: things as simple and immediate as collage or montage. Cut right through the pages and shuffle the columns of text. Put these together at hazard and read the newly constituted message. You'll soon see that the words and sights which they refer to belong to everyone. This is the present, our present and we mean it, man.

Love and chaos,
Clara Bow- the original IT girl- June 1st 2005

A Sacred Site?
It was as if the site was still alive, far from the fossil it appeared. Finds of coins whose dates suggest this is a recent phenomenon slowed us down. Ten were less than five years old and all but one of the other eight no older than 1986. The revolution must therefore be seen from two aspects as serious attempts which in our view might be supported by analysis of the discursive and political frameworks in which contestations occur. The (still) ongoing negotiations around Stonehenge open access are a case in point: A couple contacted me who wanted to get married at Stonehenge. They had requested permission and had been told "No, we don't allow weddings at Stonehenge".

So I phoned up English Heritage , made an appointment and sat down and spoke with the new manager. We tried practically to stop the cruise missile base by living on the land, taking peace camps one stage further. We chatted about our children, about gardening, about how to lose a bit of weight, about discursive boundaries of other framings and how I could marry this couple at Stonehenge.
It became hard for those actively working to promote harmony to see where the Offerings had been buried near some of these posts, including polished stones bought from the souvenir shop in Avebury, crystals beads and the implications of phrasing and emphasis in creating trust or mistrust. It was really exciting front-line stuff although the practicalities of mud and winter and endless disagreements took their toll.
We ended up just getting on with life as best we could. She gave me permission, she didn't know that 'we' existed, mainstream, ordinary gentle people who remained resolutely indifferent to the hard grind of changing society, preferring the more indulgent process of tinkering with their own lives within it. Yes we had to pay, but much less than the politically motivated, who can best be bracketed (official, political or alternative) together, for all their viciously backbiting fissipariousness, as the new left and the culturally oriented who weren't angry-ex-hippies with acid flashbacks.

The tourists pay. Which is only fair really; it costs a huge amount to maintain official discourses which enable different questions from those of pagans, and these differences require exploitation to facilitate transparency of intention.

Rule of law overthrown
Who now are the lawful and who the lawless? Ever since the International Times First All-Night Rave Pop Op Costume Masque Drag Ball Et Al in 1966, we of the radical counter-culture have been accused and even convicted of seeking to overthrow the rule of law by every Government in turn.
Who are the criminal conspirators now? No-one other than the Executive of the State. They are guilty of breaching international law in Iraq. Their actions have subverted the domestic rule of law.

Illegimate institutions
As subjects of the Crown, we the people rely upon the 'conventional respectability' of our rulers to preserve us from a return to Stuart Absolutism and Government by Divine Right. Long Live the Glorious Revolution of 1688! Forward to the Spectacular Revolution of 2005!
With the State exposed as a criminal conspiracy, all its institutions are now illegitimate, including English Heritage and their attempt to deny the lawful rights of the 2005 Stonehenge People's Free Festival.

Spectacular conspiracy
Stonehenge is a fake. After twenty years of dedicated research by a team of underground reporters, International Times can now reveal the startling truth.

Cruise missile test 'went wrong'
In the early hours of 21st June 1984, a Cruise missile convoy left Greenham Common for an exercise on Salisbury Plain. For the first time, one of the missiles was 'live'. It carried a deadly nuclear payload. Then something went wrong. The live missile was accidentally launched, its target a Soviet ICBM site.

Abort, abort, abort
Frantic commands were sent to abort the missile's mission in case it triggered the apocalypse. Appoximately 1000 feet above the ancient stones of Stonehenge, the missile exploded. An eye-witness, Ms. Patti Smith described the scene to our reporter.

It was like the sun had melted the stones so they coagulated as a river of glass and hardened.. I saw one man and his eyes were like two white opals. Not human. He cried out as he pushed the sky: " I see them [Cruise missiles] coming in, plutonium lights, like black ships, the sun, the sun, like the shape of a tortured woman."

Replica created
The authorities moved swiftly to cover-up the 'accident', creating a replica of the site, exact down to the finest detail. The bright thermo-nuclear flash, reported by Wiltshire residents, was explained as a UFO sighting. To prevent the replica being exposed as a fake, the decision was made to exclude the public from the Stones.

Battle of the Beanfield
The biggest threat to the cover-up was the Stonehenge Free Festival. Festival go-ers knew something had happened, but even the most paranoid never sussed the full extent of what was called the 'Stonehenge Situation'. The infamous 'Battle of the Beanfield' was a deliberate and spectacular ploy to divert attention from the Stones. It succeeded only too well...

Pagans: the manufacture of tradition.
The vaporisation of the entire Druid Order, gathered in the Stones to celebrate the 1984 Solstice, required a major recuperative effort. The image of white clad Druids greeting the sun was too spectacular to be easily forgotten. The answer, supplied by state employed archaeologists and anthropologists was to create a new religion. Called paganism, it was fractured into many 'paths' on the principle of divide and rule.

Everyone has their price.
A couple contacted me who wanted to get married at Stonehenge. They had requested permission and had been told "No, we don't allow weddings at Stonehenge". So I phoned up English Heritage , made an appointment and sat down and spoke with the new manager. We chatted about our children, about gardening, about how to lose a bit of weight, and about how I could marry this couple at Stonehenge. And she gave me permission. She didn't know that 'we' existed, mainstream, ordinary gentle people who weren't angry-ex-hippies with acid flashbacks. Yes we had to pay, but much less than the tourists pay. Which is only fair really; it costs a huge amount to maintain the illusion that Stonehenge is real and not fake.

Turn it on: a new religion.
The boredom and poverty of academic life has to be experienced to be believed. The multiplicity of specialists and specialisation's frantically competing for status created the perfect conditions for this experiment in social control. The tragic quest for authenticity, for recognition, for approval, for legitimacy which haunts contemporary paganism is the sign which marks its origins in the groves of academia. Beware! The recuperators are amongst us! Know your enemy! All the branches of knowledge, which continue to develop the thought of the spectacle, have to justify a society without justification, and constitute a general science of false consciousness.

Stonehenge conspiracy denied
Confronted with evidence that Stonehenge was destroyed in June 1984 by a nuclear explosion, a spokesman for English Heritage denied that there had been a massive conspiracy to cover-up the event.

Knowledge, power, corruption and lies
Earlier research indicated a number of areas in which a climate of mistrust has emerged between heritage managers/archaeologists and pagans/ alternative interest groups, though with some attempts to challenge this by individuals or groups- sustained and serious attempts which in our view might be supported by analysis of the discursive and political frameworks in which contestations occur. The (still) ongoing negotiations around Stonehenge open access are a case in point: it became hard for those actively working to promote harmony to see where the discursive boundaries of other (official, political or alternative) framings lay and the implications of phrasing and emphasis in creating trusts or mistrust. Official discourses enable different questions from those of pagans, and these differences require exploitation to obscure transparency of intention.

Harmony is Alienation.
What has existed since 1984 is the Anti-Stonehenge, a false construction of false consciousness. The only truly revolutionary act would be to occupy and then destroy the illusion. There can be no compromise with this post-modern prehistoric spectacle, with this mock monument to the pretensions of self-confessed law-abiding pagans

Pseudo-celebration of pseudo-time
The 'festivals' of pseudo-pagans exist in pseudo-cyclical time. They bear no relation to the free festivals of the counterculture. What were the transgressive moments of the counterculture's participation in the luxurious expenditure of life are impossible where there is neither community nor luxury. The pagan 'wheel of the year' is fixed to the repetitive calendar of alienated labour. This 'pagan time' with its sudden return of multiple festivals is a time without festivity. It is solar time, where the spectacular past dominates the present.
Brighter than a thousand suns, the nuclear flash which erased Stonehenge in 1984 vitrified time as well as the megaliths. The spectacular consumption of this congealed time includes the recuperated repetition of its negative manifestations. The critical truth of this destruction [ of Stonehenge] is obviously hidden, since the spectacle's function is to make history forgotten within culture.

We will remember the past for you.
The new [road] protesters often have a better grasp of ancient history than of what happened only ten or twenty years ago. The total historical movement of the counterculture must now be re-membered. But if you can remember the sixties/ seventies/ eighties/ nineties then you weren't 'there'. I love the friends I have gathered here on this thin raft, we built pyramids in honour of our escaping. Out here on the perimeter there are no stars, we is stoned- immaculate. The people of the before-time tells us 'Forget the night and live with us in forests of azure'. I tell you this - no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.

Gaia dominatrix
The truth about the manipulation of the UFO phenomenon may turn out to be that it has been a grotesque hoax, perpetrated on thousands of unsuspecting witnesses as a means for influencing social beliefs and behaviour. If so, who has decided in what direction this behaviour should be bent? Jacques Vallee/ Messengers of Deception/1979

Vallee advanced two hypotheses: the now common place 'political control' one and a second ' occult conspiracy' one. The recent rise of 'paganisms' could be placed within either of these. But what if something else is going on? The Gaia Hypothesis offers an alternative explanation for the events of June 21st 1984. What occurred was a cultural mutation, a psychedelic eruption from deep within the earth. The upsurge in 'earth centred spirituality' that has been witnessed and analysed pre-figures a shift from a parasitic to a symbiotic relationship between post-modern, post-spectacular society and Gaia.

The great tidal wave of human expansion, knowledge and power reached its limit and is now in retreat. Spectacular society will end - but not in the joyfully anticipated 'revolution of everyday life'. Instead the complex structures of globalisation will collapse into a chaotic maelstrom of localised power centres each imbued with a survivalist ethic. The old gods and goddesses will return, heralding a new dark age. Dreams of cultural liberation will be replaced by ecstatic/ enforced submission to nature's bondage and the worship of Gaia ...

Gaia is not an organism.
Any organism must either eat or, by photosynthesis or chemosynthesis, produce its own food. All organisms produce waste. The second law of thermodynamics speaks clearly on this score: to maintain a body's organisation energy must be lost, dissipated as heat. No organism feeds on its own waste. Gaia, the living earth transcends any single organism or even any population. one organisms waste is another's food. Failing to distinguish anyone's food from someone else's waste, the Gaian system recycles matter on a global level. Far from being fragile, planetary life is highly resilient. Gaia is a tough bitch, not at all threatened by humans.We need honesty. We need to be freed from our species-specific arrogance. No evidence exists that we are 'chosen', the unique species for which all others were made. Our tenacious illusion belies our true status as upright mammalian weeds.[Lyn Margulis].

Funny thing is, without creative human conciousness there would be no Gaia Hypothesis. So we must be in the loop there somewhere.

Spectacular Hypothesis?
The radical de-centering of human agency implicit in the Gaia hypothesis condemns history as an illusion. 'True' history is the 3 billion years of life on earth. Within the infinitesimal period allocated to humanity, James Lovelock has suggested feudalism as a stable,low-tech/ lo- entropy alternative to hi-tech/ hi- entropy modernity and thus an appropriate cultural response to Gaia's indifference.
Yet the acceptance and consumption of commodities which defines and distinguishes the society of the spectacle requires the production of commodities. This process drives both the globalisation of the spectacle and generates the entropy which now threatens to stifle the spectacle as a functional process. Can the spectacle survive once the flow of commodities is reduced to a mere trickle as global climate change begins to bite? The critique which goes beyond the spectacle must know how to wait.

The Empire of the Panda's Thumb
The problem with 'survival of the fittest' is that it suggests that only the very best will do. In fact, cultures can survive perfectly well even though other cultures could occupy their niche more effectively. All they need to do is prevent the new culture from gaining a foothold. The same problem arises in respect of particular characteristics of a given creature. Stephen Jay Gould called this the Panda's Thumb Priciple. Panda's don't have real thumbs, but have a 'thumb like digit' which works in a thumbish way. Mathematically the Panda's Thumb Principle says that a local optimum -the best out of a bad bunch- will win; you don't need the global optimum, the best that could possibly be. At least you don't until something happens that re-writes the equations.

Counterculture as energy efficient
To maintain its Empire of the Panda's Thumb, the spectacle requires uninterrupted power supplies. Our texts are spoken in the blackout, in the liminal zone between the world as it is and the world as it will become. Our apparent apathy is the conservation of energy, thus we dream our psychedelic dreams; recycling these old and worn out texts, the yellowing pages of surrealist manifestos, giving them away like the damnation of your soul under the grey mist of a summer dawn to the crowd flowing over London Bridge. So many. I had not though death had undone so many.

Tomorrow never knows
And in the death as the last few corpses lay rotting on slimy streets, strange mutant eyes gazed down on Hunger City, this City of the Dead, where we lie side by side in bed. Turn off your mind relax and float down stream. It is not dying. Surrender to the void. It is shining.

The Will to Surrender
The Will to Knowledge, Power and Control, which we define as the Thelemic illusion, is coexistent with the Genocidal Impulse of the dominant culture. This was first revealed in the writings of Edward Alexander [Aleister] Crowley in 1904 and the simultaneous Relativity equations of Albert Einstein. "I am the Warrior Lord of the Forties; the Eighties cower before me and are Abased" and e = mc2 had their symbolic thermo-nuclear resolution at Stonehenge on 21st June 1984. This war of all against all can have no outcome but the extinction of our humanity. The counterculture exists as an affirmation of life beyond death. Thus we celebrate the Will to Surrender, embracing the Sacred Void ( the totality of Chaos and Anarchy) as the negation of the genocidal Will to Knowledge, Power and Control.

We accept that these truths are uncertain
The melting acid fever which sweeps through our minds allows of no certainty. By throwing open the Doors of Perception, the continuous psychedelic revolution has confounded our bondage to space and time. We are at once everywhere and nowhere. Thus we have demonstrated that the human mind is capable of rising/ falling to the absolute point of view and becoming the vehicle, as it were, of absolute thought or reason's reflective awareness of its own activity. When this condition is fulfilled, there is a certain continuity between Kant's idea of the only possible scientific type of metaphysic and the idealist conception of metaphysics. Whilst going beyond anything that Kant envisaged, this is not a simple reversion to a pre-Kantian conception of metaphysics. Rather it is the emergence of a quantum metaphysics into the spectacular realm of everyday life.

Magickal mystery tour
Over and over again reputable researchers have found strong evidence for the existence of ESP in tightly controlled experiments. But then subjectivity once more rears its head. Sceptics claim that pretty much any explanation for the evidence is more plausible than ESP, undermining the most cherished principle of the scientific process- that, in the end, the accumulation of evidence ensures that the truth will come out.
Both camps look at the same raw data but reach utterly different conclusions because they have radically different models for the cause of the data. More than any other scientific discipline, parapsychology pushes the scientific process to its limits and reveals its fatal flaw : that data alone can never settle this or any other issue. Thus science cannot give us an objective view of reality.

Objecting to reality
Do not adjust your mind. There is a fault with objective reality. Objective reality is the reality of the object. What is the object? The only object in spectacular society is the spectacle of society. This object is no more than the economy developing for itself. It is the true reflection of the production of objects and the false objectification of the producer who is also the consuming subject. Buy back in 'free' time what you produce in 'work' time. The countercultural revolution is rooted in the psychedelic revelation that there can be no objective view of reality, since the viewer is not other than reality as subjectively experienced. What you see is what you are.

Nostalgia for Stuart Absolutism
The Will to Power, Knowledge and Control has been deployed to fabricate the objectification of reality and to deny the very possibility that alternative orderings, and hence cultures and societies, can exist. Entangled in the state's nostalgia for Stuart Absolutism, the political consequence has been the suppression of the counterculture and its recuperation as 'youth subcultures' and now as 'paganism'.

Solidification of the Sacred
The sacred is what underlies the familiar and everyday. In science it is represented by the 'quantum ocean', a sea of energy out of which the physical world of space, time, matter and consciousness emerges milli-second by milli-second. The sacred permeates and suffuses everything, including our physical bodies and our brains. It exists in the most distant star and in a bag of rubbish. Everything that exists is therefore sacred. But if we constantly perceived the sacred, we would be permanently enraptured by the patterns and possibilities of the world. We would become forever lost in the texture of reality. And yet, the world still seems pretty solid and real. An archaeologist digging down through the layers of history at Stonehenge does not actually uncover an infinite ocean of quantum mist, sparkling and glistening with [im]probable [im]possibilities. What the archaeologist finds are overlapping and jumbled layers of signification. The solidification of the sacred.

The megaliths have all melted.
A river of molten glass pours through the world, congealing in the sea of space and time. It forms a burnished mirror wherein we gaze, entranced, enraptured by the lights which dance across its black deep surface.
The festival of eternity, the eternal festival. The festival never ended, can never be ended though the megaliths have all but melted; oh caress yourself my urchin one, for I hear them on the rails- because of all we've seen, because of all we've said. We are the Dead.

A breathe of wind mists the surface of the black deep mirror. The wind scatters a handful of dust. Each particle gleams with the myriad colours of the rainbow. At first we were iridescent. Then we became transparent. Finally - we were absent.
Clara Bow - the original IT girl
June 1st 2005


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