Art & Language, 1975, Corrected Slogans

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All lyrics appear as printed on the insert of the Recommended 1982 pressing of the LP, which was also the first to feature cover art (pictured left). The original 1976 pressing on the Music-Language label was released with no cover art but instead a piece of typed paper glued on the outer sleeve (pictured right).

Since Thompson worked with both the London and New York Art & Language branches on a number of different projects, this is probably why neither he nor the Red Krayola is listed separately on the original release. Only the mention of Jesse Chamberlain (the New York musician with whom Thompson reformed the Red Krayola in 1978) as the album’s drummer hints at the Red Krayola’s or, rather, Thompson’s involvement in the project. Later releases credited both Art & Language and The Red Krayola as the contributing artists, perhaps due to the respective 1978 and 1979 repressings of the first two U.S.-released Red Krayola albums on the British Radar Records label and Thompson’s own increased reputation.

For more background information on and discussion of the album, please read our Corrected Slogans related posts.

SIDE ONE

Maharashtra

To an advertisement
For seventeen bureaucrats
One-hundred thousand replied
(In Maharashtra).

There was a riot
When somebody found
That the interviewer denied
That he should turn up.

Maharasthra.

Keep All Your Friends

‘And we will be fed
With breakfast in bed,
And served by a fat millionaire’.

‘A contradiction is the norm for breaking —
dialiectically’.

‘It’s not the social content
It’s always the political form’.
(Keep all your friends..’)

To fail to perceive the difference
Is to fail to perceive the difference
Between the meaningless pattern
Of political occurrence
And historical meaning
In social life.

To stipulate the difference
Is to fail to perceive the difference
Between boundary postulation
And boundary location.

‘And we will be fed
With breakfast in bed
And served by a fat millionaire’.

Imagination I & II

You never heard a rat complain
That the strategies he and his fellows maintain
Appear unnatural to his sick and insane.

Imagination is funny.
It makes a cloudy day sunny.

You can’t find objects of the mind.

The logical checklist’s eluded
Probability precluded.

Imagination is the reflected base
Of intelligence.

Coleridge v. Martineau

Coleridge once said to
Harriet Martineau,
‘You seem to regard society
As a congeries
Of individualities’,
To which she replied,
‘Of course I do:
Happiness equals
Freedom equals
Personality.’

A non-meeting of minds
Is the permanent legacy
That finds
History
In the encounter:
Something’s made Coleridge transfer
To the biologically impeded
But nobody’s superseded
Harriet Martineau.

‘Happiness equals
Freedom equals
Personality,’
She has similarly replied
To those on the other other side.

An Exemplification

Exemplification of a
Class collaboration
Is the casual advocation
Of sociality.
Because you can’t find conflict
As a norm of conversation …

(In Poor Man’s Heaven that’s
A function of class — reciprocal
Conservation.)

Where nothing’s lost
Nothing’s gained
In being changed.

There’s no possible rejection
As choice in isolation
From working out relations
As class confrontation

Nothing’s lost
Nothing’s gained
In being changed
Is merely for the voice

Postscript to SDS’ Infiltration

Be a good neighbour to nature:
Support regionalism in nature

And solve the theoretical problem
How one region
Is in another’s neighbourhood.

Be a good neighbour to nature
And discover the coherence
Of normativity in
Social stature.

War Dance I & II

Here are some people
being themselves
As individualities.
Bodies, relations, thoughts
And capactiies
Over which
They must exercise rights.

The gentleman’s utility
Of right non-alienability
Remains and retains
The right to alienability
— Salesmanship

… Here and there are some
People being themselves
And conflicts can arise
When these rights
Are reflected
In unequal abilities
Or proprietorial powers
For the exercise.

The gentlemanly utility
Is the one form
Of equality
For death defying
Autoiconographers.

Here are some people
Being themselves
Is the exercise
Of half-wit actors
— Proprietorial cultural
Disfunctions
And the exercise of rights thereto
Remains a condition

For the commnications menu
Of authenticity.

here are some people
As a limited edition.

You might ignore
The rational allre

Of Thomas Moore
And his Bondsmen
You can’t fool around
With the social history
Of Oregon.

An Harangue

The insecurity of crystalline political super-
structures as a consequence of economic crisis and
social conflict, is not in itself a new form of social
organisation — making deep changes in the social
project. Unless a conscious socialist transformatory
alternative develops, the result of crisis must be the
further entrenchment of reaction and the growth of
mass repression in lieu of solutions to societies’
problems. The ruling classes are universally appraised
of such prospects: in the non-industrial countries
the only growth industry is military and in the
industrial (‘advanced’) countries, there is a vogue
for discovering and ‘elimination’ ‘dangers within’
and an increase in hysterical, repressive legislation.
The ideal is now the ‘strong’ and opaque state where
repression keeps workers in line and activists
harassed .. entangled in a charade … tolerated
up-to-a-point. The point is that at which the
activists cease to resemble traditional reformist
organisations. The latter are, in any case, afforded
space in which to operate — mystify.

For the ruling classes to want such regimes is one
thing — to achieve them is quite another: the
workers can move to the centre of political events
rapidly and surprise the ruling classes with their
economic power. This — even when the working
class, as, such, is a minority.

But the prospect remains bright for the authori-
tarian right: for this, both the reformist parties and
peasant-fixated 1960’s revolutionaries are to blame.

What is needed is an integration of the ideology of
socialism … socialist … transformatory sections … with
the industrial working class.

Socialist-working class solidarity is historical
leadership identity.

Ergastulum

To increase your income out of
Nothing
You’ve got to have
Privacy at home —
Detachment.

‘I want to be free,
Free: like a bird in a tree.’

My viewpoint is sociological
And historical,
‘I want to be free
Free: like a bird in a tree.’

Three times riper in the U.S.A.
Three times riper in the U.S.A.
Is a ridiculous idea.

Maturing conditions of change
derange;

Objective contradictions,
Independent contradictions
Can’t grow.

Three times riper in the U.S.A.
Is a ridiculous idea.

(Three categories.)

‘C’, ‘V’ and ‘D’ are fundamental.
‘D’ should be ‘S’ but it’s inconsequential.

Chorus:
‘C’ is constant capital.
‘V’ is varied capital.
‘D’ is surplus value.
‘C’ is the produced
Means of production
‘V’ is wages and
‘D’ is the excess of
(The) net production.
The profit rate is
‘D’ over ‘C’ plus ‘V’
As a long term tendency.

Chorus
A central argument
That ‘C’ grows more rapidly
Than ‘V’ but ‘D’
Can’t be an influence
For ‘V’ against ‘C’

Chorus
‘C’ plus ‘V’
Rises faster than traditions
Numerator ‘D’:
But we must rejet the
Argument
As formally inconsistent
And politically
Irrelevant.

The Mistakes of Trotsky … Thesmorphoriazusae

You will pray
For a stay
Of good fortune …

Tio-tio-tio-tio-tinx.

The platform of the ten
Tio-tio-tio-tinx.

The Tsektran ran
And planned the train.
It’s measures got it running again …

Tio-tio-tio-tio-tinx.

It meant a consistent
Planning operation …

Tio-tio-tio-tio-tinx.

You will pray
For a stay
Of good fortune …

But you’d find it hard
To say when.

Louis Napoleon

(To) forsake your Italian
For a German
Who shouts (iconically)
Is creativity
And art history.

Half the former Fatherland
Is the spiritual homeland
Of the International Proletariat —
Which must
Accept the aesthetic apparat
Of bundes republican fat.

A social project is a commodity
Conditioned by the obvious nobility
Of a geriatric
Luftwaffe reject,
Autoiconographic,
Door to door,
Wall to wall …
Nobody.

It takes a careless singer
To provide a nonentity
With the identity
And the last claim to territory
Of a teacher
To fools and heroes.

Desert your Italian
For a German:
Someone wants to help you learn
The interdisciplinary
Publicity
Of complimentary (sic)
Cultural creati-creativity.

SIDE TWO

Seven Compartments

Seven compartments exactly
As a series of logical steps
Fit the facts exactly
(In ‘Family, Socialisation and
Interaction Process’)

The only remaining problem
Is tht the seven
Are logically replete
(There’s no imperialism,
or exploitation or excess).

‘Mechanic power then ministers
To health and lengthening
Leisure gladdens greatening
Wealth’ …

Natural law
Supported anyone with things
To achieve
In the definite task of
Expansion.

Rationality
Diverted possibilities
Long enough
In a pattern o
Wierarchical function.

‘Mechanic power
Then ministers to health
And lengthening leisure
Gladdens greatening wealth.’

Petrichenko

Historic locomotion in
Sectional activation
May simply be a value
That’s fixed externally —
The value of instrumentality.

An historical fact
As a value received
An historical theme
That the value’s O.K.
And the instrument
Is working.

And combine:
The value received
And the nstrument’s working
The historic theme
And the instrument is working
The value received
And the instrument’s failed.

Opportunism flourishes
When internal events
Have noindependence
From and in the
Historical theme.

And Kronstadt failed
Because nobody checked
The instrument’s function
And someone else knew the
Historical theme.

They laughed and were glad
But it didn’t last long
Because somebody else
Was terrible.

Don’t Talk to Sociologists …

Don’t listen to sociologist; don’t talk to
sociologists. Social practice has no sociological
content. Consider its history; because of its
historical role within bourgeois ideology — the
ideology of the ruling class, it can’t provide anyone
with an analysis or even a picture of our conditions
of exploitation.

This is not a piece of weird and obvious logic,
bar-room logic, not oafish opinion based on the
precept that a practice is, without mediation,
either inside or outside … some practices are,
because of their history, historically irredeemable.

Don’t unite artists and don’t talk to them. If you or
they are made to think that there’s a ‘rational core’
in that talk or unity in support of the view that
‘society’ is maintained harmoniously — rather than
by exploitation and force: violence.

What Are the Inexpensive Things the Panel
Most Enjoys? … An International

An impenetrable din;
What are the inexpensive things
That the panel most enjoys?
An impenetrable din:
Transformation, transformation,

The everyday nexus:
Finding what, when, who?
Is transitive
And not spontaneous.

Transformation, transformation:

Hiding as Bakunin
Is only adding to
The surplus value
Of Original Sin

Tio-tio-tio-tio-tinx
Transformation, transition.

History

The misery of being exploited
Is nothing compared to the misery
Of not being exploited at all
— from day to day.

The history of not being exploited
Is nothing compared to the history
Of being exploited day to day
Economically.

The misery of consumers is nothing
Compared to the misery
Of non-consumers.
But, consumer activity
Derived from property
Is subsidiary:

Ideology, ostentation
And irony
In lieu of control.

The first kind of misery
Is a history of the second.

The point of production
A problem at home
With a hopeful history
Is a valuation of a strategy.
Specific activity is
An index for accepting
Or rejecting strategy.

Going on
Mediates historical projects.
Going on is class history.

Society is classes.

History is made.

Strategic supercession of Problems at home
Is a valuation
Of the point of production.

Class strategy
Is the critical nexus
For specific activity.

Class strategy
Must direct going on.
Don’t work outside
Class terms.

Society is classes.

Make history.

Organization

The organization of activity into social and critical
action will be no more than degenerate if it remains
in the realm of participatory conflict. Concrete
tasks of transition must separate the aimless
wanderings of fetishism. In this connection
allegedly progressive smart people have no advan-
tages over the people they feel sorry for. They have
no class basis.

The willing servants of the ruling class have split
societies’ forms away from reality. This is a
cultural index of its measures to depoliticise and
disarm those who may be in a position to struggle
against it. High culture as a dimension of ideology
has been absorbed into the absurd ideology of
high culture.

The struggle for realism, a social practice is vitiated
by private commitment. The only first step is the
performance of concrete organizational tasks.
Organization on class lines against the institutional
ideology.

Such activity will of course be condemned as
insufficient work, etc. by the ruling class. They
are in a position to legislate in this connection
only within the confines of ruling class ideology.

Class action and its historical meaning with few
exceptions remains opaque to them and their
institutions. Organizational, socialising tasks will be
met by an increased intensity of repression — a
proliferation of arbitrary measures in the guise of
substantive criticism. Transitional tasks are not
negotiable.

It’s an Illusion …

It’s an illusion
Separate technology’s another thing
Historically.

There’s no autonomous technology
Nor any ingrained tendency
To dynamic autonomy
As economic history.

The greatest part of history’s
Stagnation in technology.
And most of modern history’s
Been technic ideology
Or ‘instrumentality’.
And separate technology
Is class domination —
(Hegemony).

It’s just not just autonomy
That support for technology
Is hegemonic agency —
So that technological autonomy
Has mystery
As history.

In spite of shared technology
The class-active history
Of the British motor industry
Is different from that of the French.

Penny Capitalists

The careless purveyors of high culture are
presented with clear alternatives. One of them is
finally to be fixed as the harmless class, the
dangerous harmless class, the social and historical
scum; for the most part, the bribed flunkey (tool)
of reactionary intrigue, the worst of all possible
allies, absolutely venal and absolutely cunning, a
wholly indefinite disintegrated mass thrown here
and there, rich and poor, offal, organ-grinders, rag-
pickers, mountebanks… The helpless dregs who turn
in circles between suicide and a tedious madness
incapable of the uncritical violence which is their
true heritage, a plague zone which can’t be cleansed
by the plague. Or they can seldom find their way
around the countryside, recognise that they are a
non-working, not-working class — penny capitalists —
and ask themselves what that means: become people
in process.


Plekhanov

Who’s learned the language
Of the Internationale?

The granma had a personnel
Crazy enough to eschew
Historic investments —
Of which there were few
Locally

Who’s learned the language
Of the Internationale?

Nobody’s crazy enough
Locally
— Nor can they be
In a way that
Obviates pathology.
The crazy are consigned, then,
To third-world iconography.

Who? What? When? How?
What for?
Act, agency, scene
And actor
Is hating something communally.
(It’s clear
To volunteers.)

Our ‘conversation’
Has volunteered
For seventeen years
Plekhanov
A priori.

Neither anticipation
Nor fulfilment
Is realistic
In dialectic

Who was ever disowned
By his Granma?

Natura Facit Saltus

‘Natura non facit saltus’ means
Nature doesn’t make leaps.
It’s a corruption of logic.

(And)
‘Natura facit saltus’ means
Nature does make leaps,
But no-one really said it.

The confrontation’s not
A strategy.
One side disarms the other
In cultural disarray.

(J.K. Galbraith …)
(What is ‘…’ in song?)



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    write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!

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This is an alpha version of That’s Not It, a blog/magazine focusing on political theory, literature and poetry by exploring the limits and interrelationships between these spheres. The magazine’s title refers to French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. This journal was founded by Claes Wrangel (Stockholm) and David Feil (Houston) in December 2006 to inspire a theoretical and analytical dialogue. Reader contributions and comments are readily encouraged.

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