Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bulletin No. 4 of the Socialist Lavatory League

Of the thirty-three million water closets in Great Britain, no more than 157,000 are municipally owned – a puny enclave of socialism in its minimal-ideal sense – inhabiting the sclerosed superstructures of civil society. The gross majority of the remainder are dispersed in single household dwelling units. Only in certain areas of Glasgow, Liverpool and the North are communal excretory facilities maximally available in private dwellings – a tribute to the massive, homogenous corporate posteriority of the older working class. For the rest, the global privatisation of the means of excretion radically destructures and factually granulates the ascendant historical bloc. No more subtle and pervasive generation of ‘bad faith’ could be envisaged than this perpetual serialisation, in which living individuals periodically retire from the world of pulsating intersubjectivity into a solitary absence.

Of course, I find myself in agreement with much of this. Curiously, a previous bulletin of the S.L.L derived in some way from Perry Anderson. A true friend of the Comrade caught short.
ta to Savonarola for this one.


Anonymous Grim and Dim said...

You might have acknowledged the author of this - Peter Sedgwick, one of the great writers of the British left. The full text and many of Sedgwick's other writings are available at http://www.marxists.org/archive/sedgwick/1966/xx/pseudlr.htm

[Actually I think it is not the full version - there is a longer version in the LSE student magazine Agitator - does anyone have a copy?]

11:49 pm  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

Grim, the reason I didn't is that anyone clicking the hyperlink would have got the full piece and the author's name at the top of the page...

12:09 am  
Anonymous Grim and Dim said...

Fair point - us old folk are a bit slow at grasping things like hyperlinks. But it's still worth giving a plug for Sedgwick, whose wonderful writings should not be forgotten.

12:19 am  
Blogger Dan said...

Speaking of "the hegemonic status of the private sector", one of the less-acknowledged aspects of the alienation of labour is how excreting at work is discouraged: since yr time is not yr own, you're not exactly encouraged to go to the toilet outside breaks; there are only two toilets, next to the managers' office, so you're practically surveilled in the act...

9:44 pm  
Blogger owen hatherley said...

(which, as a Crohn's sufferer, is one of the reasons why I wouldn't last 5 minutes in many, many jobs...)

Incidentally, your comments box has been very amusing lately - I was going to chip in, but I think your interlocutor was willing to hoist herself with her own (vintage, naturally) petard.

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