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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La névrose des camarades PAR JACQUES BRODA, SOCIOLOGUE.

by Jacques Broda, Sociologist

The Neurosis of Comrades

Translated Monday 1 June 2009, by Cynthia McKennon

Saturday May 16, 2009, Docks des Suds, Marseille. A Rap concert by Keny Arkana.

Two to three thousand people gathered here, singing together in chorus the devilish words of that wild kid. Keny Arkana is a great rap singer, committed and controversial. She heads up an association, La Rage du peuple (The People’s Rage). La Rabbi Del Pueblo, in Marseilles, again this evening, far from the Canebière with its demonstrations, its calls for civil disobedience, I wonder why, and how, these kids, some over thirty years old, know by heart the words of Akhenaten, the Rumor, Rocca and Keny Arkana. Those who are struggling to learn the multiplication table for 7’s are able to sing rap songs non-stop for two hours. A rap which is involved, with class consciousness, political awareness, social awareness, and a human conscience.

These young people many of whom do not vote, will not vote, are the epicenter of imperialist mass and class destruction. Their rap rehabilitates the word comrade. "They are afraid of freedom, comrade! Fighter, strong, militant, indomitable, insurgent, insubmissive, tireless rebel with free spirit of the nomad or vagabond ... call me comrade! " [1]. It is the return of the significant. Alone, it is a only a declaration, and does not join in the class struggle, neither in its structure nor in its organization. Here lies more than a gap, it is a abyss. It is a neurosis, a neurotic compromise between what is intolerable in a situation, its enunciation, and the point of no return leading to its transformation. The sensual pleasure of the complaint and the cry is pathetic. With the same non-gesture, it sends us all into the wall, first those victims who can not go all the way in popular revolts. Fear dominates, even terror, and there’s an absolute lack of courage.

For we must decide quickly and stop equivocating when reality strikes. The absence of class identity, positive here, is so dangerous because reversible, emotional, rebellious but not revolutionary, opens the door to all kinds of identifications. Especially when nothing really changes! Complaints and
submission to the discourse of the masters, wherever they come from, go to bed with populism. The Left Front is an alternative, courageous all the way, it triangulates the financial, social and institutional forces, at the brink of a cultural revolution without which nothing can succeed in the sense of real empowerment.

Keny Arkana appeals to the subjective and collective subversion; there lies her strength. The strength, energy, courage for everyone to declare her(him)self to be the subject of its her(his) own development in a ferocious class struggle [2]. The approach of the Left Front is going in the same direction when it proposes a permanent revolutionary conscious citizen intervention. There is a point where the conjunction fails, that tangential point of contact, a friction, that could unite all these registers: courage committed to transforming the chaos of the world through a subjective act. To move from revendication to action, and from action to self management, the three linked in what could be called a new revolutionary subjectivity.

The neurosis of the comrades, all these young people who can take it no longer, who are conscious of being dominated, but not of the need of organization and durable struggle, this neurosis with its pathetic sensual side effects is blocking the motion forward. On 29 May at the National Assembly and on June 7 2009, we can displace the symptoms. In 1930, Ernst Bloch revealed the contradictions of emancipation: "Poverty can be abolished, but that does not free us from alienation, there is still chance, cares, destiny, and there is no remedy against death. However, comrades must search within themselves for the baggage they carry, not only in their economic relations ... This is what the Communist said, and what worried the Other ... because man is still something to be discovered [3]. "


Keny Arkana - La Rage (Clip)
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[1Keny Arkana and MAP (Ministère des Affaires Populaires)

[2Corcuff, Ph; Keny Arkana: a collective personal and spiritual struggle, Politis, March 22, 2007.

[3Bloch, E; Traces, Gallimard, Paris, 1968.


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