INBETWEEN THE RESISTANCE, ANGER, MEMORY AND IMAGE
“The real image of the past, silently passes by our side. The past can be reached out or remembered only as a bright shining image at the moment of the awakening of the awareness and fades away in infinity, afterwards. Since, with each present moment, the image of the past can disappear forever, in which she failed to recognize herself … The state of urgency, the constant state of alertness, which characterizes the entire history, is equivalent to a photographic snapshot. The records of resistance and emancipation of each time period, are the records of a timeless historical and biographical camera. The pho- tograph shows the reality of the memory.” Walter Benjamin
Она што ни останува како аманет е да го запомниме мигот кога од „непостојни“ станавме „постоејни“. Тоа е мигот на отпорот. Мигот на протестот. Мигот на побуната. Мигот кога гневот поради отсуството на пристаништето во кое би сакале да го вкотвиме нашиот живот, го здружуваме во заеднички конфронтирачки порив со опозитот, со неприфатливото, со ентропиското. Мигот кога дисензусот станува единствена алатка со која ќе го потврдиме нашиот револт поради натежнатата рака врз нашите осамени плеќи, која насилно ја ставила моќта на доминантниот наратив, на варварскиот бескрупулозен суверен, кој сака да нѐ поништи, да нѐ замолчи, да ни го одезме мислењето, да ни ги поткрши крилјата кои сѐ уште нераскрилени копнеат да го најдат ветрот чија струја ќе нѐ оденесе низ мноштвените неба во себе и надвор од себе.
What remains as a legacy to us is the memory of the moment when out of “the “nonexistent” we become “existiant”. That`s the moment of resistance. The moment of protest. The moment of rebellion. The moment when we associate our anger, de- riving from the absence of a port where we would like to anchor our life, with the common confrontational drive against the opposition, the unacceptable, the entropic. The moment when the dissensus becomes the only tool of affirming our revolt due to the heavy palm placed on our lonely shoulders, which forcibly imposes the power of a dominant narrative, the barbaric un- scrupulous sovereign, who wants to annul us,to silence us, to deprive us from our opinion and break our still unopened wings, longing for the wind, whose current can carry us through the multifaceted heaven within us and outside of us.
We have a memory problem. We feel discomfort and fear of the memory. We have no culture of leaving traces and records on the margins of history. The archiving of our continuum is lazy and negligent.
The culture we live in, is a culture of forgetfulness and a culture of silence … That is why, perhaps the most important gesture that we can compare it with is, the diachronic section of our modest, however not irrelevant, history of resistance, of the history of anger. And this can best be done through visual texts, the proverbial, through the slogan, through the voice of the image, the graphic, which can convert us into existing subjects. Thus, the revolt shall leave a trace, which is crucial for any emancipation history – a trace by means of which the anger and the creative confrontation shall be remembered.
MACEDONIA AND THE ANGER
Macedonia, does not possess a rich history of constructively articulated anger, concentrated on strategic functional resistance. With the exemption of the anti-Fascist movement between 1941 and 1945, we cannot boast with having a concentration of critical mass that would strive towards the changing of the social narratives. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to try and record every single attempt of articulated resistance. It is precious to create memory of our past century records of resistance, since this is the only manner to justify our actions in the world. Resistance, rebellion, instead of a comfort zone, are the ones that keep us in existence as cognitive entities.
AN ATTEMPT TO PROVIDE CERTAIN CLARIFICATIONS – WHAT IS THE REBELLION ABOUT?
We live in barbarity and the likelihood of us sinking into it is very high. The landscape is as follows: a corrupt and massive crowd of people without any subsistence, living in a world structured on exploitation and oppression. These are people who are present in the world, however absent from its logics and decisions about their future. People from a “non-existent world”. Only then can we conclude that, the change in the world is possible only when a non-existent world begins to exists with great intensity. That’s what people expressed at the protests and mass gatherings in Egypt: “We did not exist, now we do exist and we can decide about the history of the country.” That’s what people wanted to express and people concentrated in our protest organisms. The non-existent took the initiative, it took a stand. Using emblems, (images) art, language.
The importance of what happened during this period through the resistance, rebellions and protests (I’d like to use the word revolution carefully), is the renewed existence of the non-existent (of being present and giving political relevance to the citizen), conditioned by what we call an event. The definition of an event as that what renews the non-existent is abstract, yet indisputable, since the renewal or the change in itself consists of mindfulness – what people say or determine to be their language and opinion, here and now. This is the essence of existence – its recognition, pronouncement, performance. It is im- portant to understand that during a real change, new venue are opened, within a general localization – around the world. One square, one street, one trajectory through which a group of people who are in resistance, feel anger and scream, is the place where these people in fact exist, although the day before, they did not exist for the Government systems, which represent facto- ries of dissatisfaction. It concerns a body which suddenly becomes aware of his/her existence as part of the essencial necessity to become visible, to exist and to participate.
The recent political rebellions, those that allowed for a possibe new outlook of the political map of contemporary history -although it is too early to say whether they are able to successfully attain that possibility – are characterized by a momentary exaltation that creates two types of reactions. One leading to an intellectual reaction in a certain regime and performatively articulated narratives of the rebellion and another, leading to mass thunderstruck and fatal fights, in which the body is exposed not only politically, but also physically. Our rebellion belongs to the first type. So far, so good.
WE WERE ALL OUT ON THE STREET
In analysing the French protests from 1968, during which factories and universities were overtaken, having millions of dem- onstrators and many venues where rallies were constantly held, there was a phenomenon that points to the collective memory and boils down to a single sentence: “But, we were all out on the street! “The political philosophers and analysts believe that this syndrome of belonging to the very process of becoming a visible entity in the society was also known before 68 , ‘during the emancipatory protests of the time. They responded: “No, of course not, not all of us were on the street.” In spite of the huge size of the protests, only a minor group of citizens normally gathers there. Their strength does not lie in the size (the more absurd
is the persistent counting and double checking as a measure of the success of a protest), but the intensification of the subjective energy – people know precisely what is their focus, what are their intense and concentrated demands, they know they are on call 24/7 and everything is in the spirit of enthusiasm, revolt, anger and passion – including the localization of their presence at places that are “unconquerable”.
As soon as the intensity becomes more concentrated and the localization becomes more dense, the movement, even though it is minor in size, becomes so confident as if represening the entire citizenship, which often, no one can deny publicly that it does represent it, as such. This is a proof that such a scenario of “historical rebellion” contains an element of universal- ity. The combination of the venue, which is a symbol for the whole world and the intensification that creates new existing entities, entails massive affiliation and anyone who stays aside becomes suspicious – it is suspicious that he/she might be on the side of the despot against which this venue and intensification were created in the first place.
THE EVENT AND THE POLITICAL ORGANIZATION – AN ATTEMPT TO SUMMARIZE OUR EXPERIENCE
Gatherings that are localized at public spaces, at a square, on a boulevard, on a street, at a factory, public space in front of a public institution, this concentration and quantitative pooling of people, plays the role of a reality, since it encourages an intense existence of the “political truth”, which a certain group of people considers as utopia, directed towards becoming a reality. At the same time, it is about restoring something non-existent (something taken away and placed in the realm of the oppressed and the invisible), which correlates with the liberation of the symbolic knots and dungeons of the state. It is a matter of early political assumptions about the flourishing history of resistance, that goes beyond the very resistance, the very protest, which is the start of the process of building a new truth, implemented in the politics by means of organization.
AND AGAIN – THE ANGER
If we try to express the strongest psycho-political status in the world, in a single sentence, it should read: we have entered an age where there isn`t any room for the concentration of anger, in terms of it having global prospects of making fundamental changes related to freedom, justice and welfare. Neither here on earth nor in heavens, do we know what to do with the “legitimate fury of the people,” as Peter Stoderdike once called it. The Holy Fury in 1789, one of the greatest and most dreadful kind, out of which Jean Paul Mara expected to create new society, is almost non-existent nowadays and can be considered as futile. It only creates irritated murmurs and a poorly articulated discursive act.
Anger receives an emblematic, symbolic value that does not have the capacity of changing the value. And the opportune waves of indignation turn into debates where the days of injustice are being debated, analogies and the fascination with the fascism, which are always lingering in the air, for the criminogenic ministers and bureau- crats. Here and there, there are also some solid and ambitious political projects or networks of local and regional significance, however, we cannot not see an articulated vision and strategy that would give radical alteration of the cry and the pain in our surroundings. These are obviously not only local, Macedonian, for example, but also interplanetary. And, therefore, it’s time for us to become uncomfortable with our weakness in relation to the Achilles anger, of which Homer sang at the beginning of his Iliad, which predicted a vision and utopia for the freedom and against the injustice. The potential amount of suffering, misery and injustice should cause anger, being ten times more intense compared to the one in 1917, especially if we take into account the improved information opportunities, ever since. However, the bitterness does not demonstrate any “global idea” anymore. It presents it only on a level of a discurs. Unlike the 18th-century Byron’s “World pain” that made the English poet go and fight for the rights of the Greeks, and eventually pass away during his quest.
Radicality has been reduced to a level of aesthetic attitude, perhaps a philosophical habitus, and has abandoned the meaning of a political strategy. With great consistency, the “middle”, “the balance”, “the leveling” as the most invincible monsters, have accomplished everything on their agenda and declared themselves as the main celebrities of the posthistoric landfill. All around blends with it, like the “middle” that was misin- terpreted among the Aristotelian circles – as impersonal, mediocre, weak character, despotic, authoritarian. Yes, we are oppressed by the despotism of our surroundings, of the balance, of the dictatorship of moderation, opportunism, and conformism. The agents of the former extreme intolerance seem to have “lost their jobs,” since the current times do not offer any roles for them. Right now, we are looking for the boring and balanced in their mediocracy. It is expected that around the big roundtable they may find the world’s formula for “uniformization”. Eros never defys Thanatos.
We used to struggle for diversity,whereas now we struggle for blending in. The subtle “soft” environment can turn anyone into a hybrid. And it does not have anything to do with caring for each other, with the love or the global well-being of the blended, of the mass. It has to do exclusively with the fostering of particular interests, with the struggle for a personal, individual comfort zone. It is closely related to identity imposition as the only narrative of unification and belonging, in order to create amorphous condition, in contrast with the narratives of the generic, universal potentials.
And, on this occasion, let us remind ourselves of the anarchist exclamation: “I irritate therefore, I exist!”. The importance of this topic is raised on a pedestal when it comes to irritation, being a result of the critical thinking skills for understanding the world and seeking opportunities for changing it, will suddenly turn into an institution, with visible spokespersons and permanent collaborators, with customer service and experts reports.
Due to the reflexive irritation, the critical agon suffocates the anger and gives priority to the billboard, as a space where the changes in the world can be advertised.
When a resistance or a protest “sacrifices” its anger in favor of the billboard, on behalf of the “brand”, then naturally, we can not speak about a strategy that will fundamentally change the world, but only at the moment of exaltation which means, making baby steps, however it may be, beyond the familiar millennial matrix of human behavior.
Whatever remnants of resistance’s articulation we were left with, they have to be remembered. All the “points” trying to create a collage of our memories must be “photographed”. Since, the photograph depicts the reality of the opinion.
A self-explanatory replica is called a transparent replica in the theater, a slogan. In the mass gatherings of citizens who express certain dissatisfaction or emotion, the slogan or the banner is the logical replica. The emotion and the message within its commu- nication format, are sublimated in slogans. They accurately detect, illustrate and relate the problem. By doing this act, someone can either propose or conveys something, conveys an emotion.
Similar to the theater, the crisis or the problem are the reasons behind the product, in this case, the slogan. Generally, when a group of people go out on the street to protest, the participants demonstrate a certain discontent and anger, with exception of rare occasions when the intention is to have a laugh or lift up the spirits. Their slogans sublimate the dissatisfaction that they demonstrate-in words. The medium is the message, the tagline. Many of the slogans are often sharp and cruel. Usually revolted. Furious. Sometimes lascivious. witty … However, what is common to all of them is that they always try to convey the essence of the problem, the injustice, the violence, the disappointment … and even their resignation, in a clear and contented form and short format. We keep on writing slogans, and you don’t give a f..k!.
If we want to make a vivsection of a historical period in order to understand the spirit of the time, the slogans certainly represent a solid base for diagnostics. A medical record containing the history of social diseases. In that sense, if we look at the time period in Macedonia from 1945 till today through the prism of the slogans, we can observe a much more complex and emotional picture of the historical events and facts from the period. For example, the fact that, chronologically the presence of protests and thus the slogans, is significantly greater in the period following 1989, which explains a lot about the historical context. And the freedom of the media. Protests and slogans are one of the products of democratization. How controlled and manipulated they have been, that’s another story. Anyway, as Shakespeare would put it, “the whole world is a stage…”
In short, in my opinion this is a significant and an interesting project in many different aspects. It is a document in itself.
Finally, I must say that I had the great honor to attend, ‘a round square’ table in Debar Maalo as part of the research of the same, chaired by Milan Banov and Panta Mizhimakov on the topic “The Memories and Testimonies of the Slogans throughout our His- tory”. Valuable conclusions and experiences were shared on the table … and I left the debate with a slogan buzzing in my head, of a time, pretty much my own time, as well “We Love Tito” …