This transcript is a excerpt of a workshop during which the reconstituted Karl Marx School of the English Language read the second to last chapter on primitive accumulation in Capital Vol. 1. An audio installation with paintings by Dmitry Gutov was shown in the framework of the exhibition “Principio Potosi” at the Reina Sofia Museum for Contemporary Art.
Dmitry Gutov (DG): The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation…David Riff (DR): …extirpation…DG: …the extirpation, enslavement, and entombment…DR:…entombment…DG: …entombment in mines of the aboriginal population…DR: …the aboriginal population…DG: …aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins…DR: Can you say “black-skins”?DG: Black skins?DR: Black-skins.DG: Black skins.DR: …DG: signalized the rosy of dawn of the era of capitalist production.Ilya Budraitskis (IB): These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation. Konstantin Bokhorov (KB): On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations, with the globe for a theatre.Keti Chukhrov (KC): But they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. (TOGETHER): Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power.DR: What does it mean?DR: Put the manuscript away. Kostya…KB: Okay….Retell this phrase, yeah…DR:…in your own words…KB: Colonial system use force to get the goal it wants, and it uses the force of the state for its purposes, to hasten, to hothouse the process…DG: I think that the meaning of this sentence is much wider…KC: BroaderDG: Broader?DR: Broader.DG: BroaderKB: Broader, because force is an economic power.DG: But, you see, here we’ve got pure violence as a form of greed. DR: Greed? IB: I don’t understand what greed is. I understand what greed means, but I don’t think this is a question of that capitalism is just greedy. Capitalism at every moment of its growth need to destroy…DR: Needs…IB: Needs to destroy and need to intervene in the areas…DR: NEEDS…IB: Neeeds to intervene in the areas where there are possibilities for capitalism to grow. I think that every normal capitalist crisis and every strategy of every capitalist company in a capitalist crisis is the best example for this kind of violence. DG: We remember it so well, all of us. The Nineties in this country were the epoch of primitive accumulation in its purest form, and I remember when I was reading this chapter in the Nineties, I re-read it maybe once a week. It was the best illustration of what was going on in the streets. KC: Murders.DG: Murders, violence…KC: Clashes between…DG: Absolutely in the same form. We KNOW…KC: We saw primitive accumulation.DG: It’s not history that was five or three hundred years ago. We remember: it was and it is part of our lives.KB: And I as an adult person think that this process was not primary accumulationDG: Primitive KB: Primitive, because it didn’t change the mode of production, it did not change the character of the property.KC: Since today’s capitalism is globalized, it always has interconnections with wild capitalism, the places where the new money is coming from. The places of the new money are China, Latin America, and if you talk about Russia, it is still not refined capitalism.DR: Primitive accumulation is still going on.DG: Friend, friends! I think what is really important. We have to find a way to connect all these theoretical problems and these historical problems…KC: With our livesDG: With our own lives. And for an example. Yeah it’s ok. With painting. It is absolutely impossible to deal with these pictures in painting. It’s the self-destruction of art. KC: So being ugly…DG: When we deal with this horrible violence…KC: Can you describe?KB: Is it undescribable…DG: …it is…KB: Or do we just stop our ability to see the world…DG: So. The instrument of painting is not enough. KB: But it can depict the whole picture of what is going on…DG: Of course, you can depict some aspect…KC: But what about Goya!? When I was a child and I saw the paintings of Goya, it was the horror…KB:…and it was the great painterly manner…and I would like to emphasize that this private property is the flipside of slavery and serfdom.DG: You have to stop…KC: Let’s remember Viennese Actionism which I don’t like at all.DG: You have to change your profession.KB: Marquis de Sade: the famous thinker of violence.DG: It is…KC: And Dostoyevsky.DR: InstitutionallyDG: Institutionally art.KB: Homer describes the violence of the fight.DG: But in mirrors, mirrors…DR: But it hasn’t attained.KB: Private property can exist under slavery, feudalism, and capitalism.DG: Comrades, comrades.KB: This is what Marx is writing about.DG: Any kind of virtuousity…looks like shit…in front of this subject. So in this case, it’s better not to be an artist, it’s better to be Marx and to do it directly. DR: It’s not art?DG: It is art but…DR: It’s art!DG: It is only art because Marx didn’t do…DG and KC: …art.DG: If you are trying to do art, the result will be like this artist. You will be lying on the floor and waiting for an angel.KC: So, what are you insisting on. You are insisting yourself on going beyond art’s limits? So you want to stop to be an artist? DG: No, no, you see…KC: Or you yourself want to remain within the limits of this artistry? DG: Yeah, absolutely. You have to make your decision. If you are going to be a painter…KC: What is your decision? DG: You see…DR: You have an idealistic dispositive of art. DG: Yes.KC: This is the point of our argument.DR: It’s what, it’s God?KC: Yeah, it’s God!DG: No! The law…IB: But we are talking about society. About human society.DG: Human society? IB: Human society! We are now talking about human society. KB: Human society is also the subject of gravity. IB: We are talking about productive forces.DG: Absolutely. IB: We are talking about property. We are not talking about…DG: No.KC: …he begets, but in a veryDG: You see, your strategy….KC: …longer perspective. It’s like when the second coming will be.DG: No, not the second coming…KC: So if we don’t perserve in its coming.KB: Dima, it will be.DG: No! It says here.IB: It’s a basic understanding what a social formation is about.DG: The workshop of Veroccio. Veroccio had a workshop…KC: Ты как то в социуме живешь. Ты не можешь просто где то жить на кулачке земли.DG: In English.KC: I can tell you what I think.DG: I like it. This is my idea. Why do you look at me like that? I can look at you like that!IB: I…DG: You see, this phrase…KC: But what precedes this phrase? DG: A law of nature.KC: It’s torn out of context.DG: Comrades!DR: The only thing that is interesting to you is this metaphysical structure.DG: It’s not metaphysical. It’s a very practical question. KC: You sound as a justification of opportunism. DG: I know all this accusations. DR: It’s worse.DG: My justification of opportunism is a hundred times closer…DR: You’re sitting here, reading Marx. DG: Okay.DR: You have this text in front of you. DG: You can’t change…KC: Dmitry, this is the phrase…DG…you can’t change the laws of nature. KC: What is revolution then? Why revolution is needed?IB: It is a part of this law.DG: Of course!