Mind Invaders: A Reader in Psychic Warfare, Cultural Sabotage and Semiotic Terrorism
"The only movement to work consistently towards the death of history since the disbanding of the Situationist International has been the Global Neoist Network. Only Neoism carries within it the revolutionary potential for the realisation of our complete humanity. Since 1979, Neoism has been defending the revolutionary gains made by the Situationists and Fluxus. The Neoists are the only group to have brought about the conjunction of nihilism and historical consciousness — the two elements essential for the destruction of the old order, the order of history."
You can never quite be sure to what degree Stewart Home, (or the Neoists from whom he noisily split, but under who's banner he long continued to write / agitate), is / was taking the piss. Decades of provocation, parody, backhanded agitation, ideological feuding, art, anti art, ideological feuding as both art and anti art, all of it written up, reported upon, exaggerated, added to , invented, and thrown into the face of late 20th / 21st century culture /subculture , first as polemic , eventually as farce .
Mind Invaders was first published in 1997, culled from a panopoly of underported , unregarded, barely noticed sources : obscure zines, half finished manifesto's , loosely formed political strands starting to coalesce in shaded corners of the early web. Through force of will and a desire to exist, it pulled together a ramschackle, but somehow cohesive collection of currents that run deep through the post Situationist, anti art, anti trot, anti capitalist European underground.
At the core of this amorphous milieu runs a loose but definable lineage, traceable back from Dada > Bauhaus > Lettristes, but which takes more solid shape with the beginnings of the mail art movement of the 50's : loosely tied to Fluxus, and by it's very nature a scattered, interconnected avant garde network attempting to subvert the art-industrial complex by circumventing it, undermining commercial straitjackets by ignoring them.
Out of this atomised but cohesive network came the shared / collective name projects of Monty Cantsin and Karen Elliot :
"A multiple name, if used outside small circles of radicals, is a practical solution to problems such as the relationship between the individual and the community, or the quest for identity."
3 Sided Football, somewhere in the Nordics, 2009, including protracted explanation, and slightly dissonant, but still pleasingly rousing, pre-kick off rendition of 'The Internationale'
And eventually, from Rome, came Luther Blissett :
"The Luther Blissett Project was launched in Summer '94 by an international gang of revolutionaries, mail artists, poets, performers, underground 'zines, cybernauts and squatters, setting up "Radio Blisset, raves on buses, attempts at 'massive psycho-sexual be-ins' " , all in an endless battle vs "the nihilistic tyranny of the spectacle"
Though four Luther Blissetts collectively soon stumbled into fame and fortune via the historical thriller Q' ( an epic, allegorical account of an Anabaptist crossing Europe in the first half of the 16th century, as the upheavals of the Protestant reformation were unleashed ) the project had been born out of more ambitious, esoteric ideals than mere commercial aspiration :
" Luther Blissett is a -dividual, because she has many personalities and numerous reputations. Luther Blissett is also a con-dividual, because many people share the name. Luther Blissett is a multitude as well as a decentred subject. Luther Blissett is what Marx called Gemeinwesen, the common essence of wo/mankind, awareness of the global community.
. She is a cultural terrorist who nevertheless supports the religious programme of the NEOIST ALLIANCE. Sabotages, hoaxes, urban legends, performances, magazines, bulletin boards and TV or radio broadcasts are spreading the name all over the world. This prank is constantly hitting new heights. Anyone can be Luther Blissett simply by adopting the name. Plug into the General Intellect, become Luther Blissett before Luther Blissett comes gunning for you.
"Better than making useless complaints about the omnipotence of the spectacle. Become Luther Blissett!"
Alongside L Blissett's shared name / multi appearances throughout, ideological descendants of Ralph Rumney's original late 50's 'London Psychogeographical Association, drift through the book with their "creative mythology" a provocative ever presence.
"Psychogeographers pass each other like ships in the night, show up late or not at all. Rebels and bohemians traverse cities scattering signs, staging enigmas, leaving coded messages, usurping the territorial claims of priests and kings by transforming the social perception of specific urban sites."
In 1994, as the Nazi BNP win their first elected council seat in East London, the LPA search for perspectives outside of well trodden paradigms :
"Beacon is a dedicated Nazi occultist... an adept of Enochian magic …Many people believe that Greenwich is in fact the Omphalos — or spiritual centre — of the British Empire.
However, the British establishment did not think that the pro-German British Nationalist Party would challenge them on this power line. But the BNP knew what price they would have to pay. Having conducted his obscene rituals to gain electoral success, Beacon fled his home fearing the negative Karma which would result. The BNP cynically pretended that he was in hiding from some unspecified anti-racists. Richard Edmonds, another cowardly BNP occultist was so worried he arranged for some BNP moles in the police to keep him out of harm's way locked up in a cell. However the karmic law is remorseless. Having used the power of the ley line, a human life had to be sacrificed.
As the principal culprits had protected themselves from psychic attack, another top Nazi occultist would be the victim. It was Ian Stuart, lead singer of the cult band Skrewdriver" (died in mysterious/heavily contested car accident, 1993)"
In Manchester, intrepid psycho explorers embark on Labyrinthal drifts :
"A Roman temple unearthed in Hulme in 1821" which was "dedicated to Mithras, a sun deity with Persian origins, who enjoyed a cult following in the army" , and reflect that "The occult and the political/military complex, guarded by their surface elites, shrouded in secrecy, express their influence upon the modern city via symbols which literally undermine the everyday world of streets given over to increasingly simulationist consumerism."
Their response is direct, and ambitious :
"We want to lift the lid on the subterranean power-circuit. Consequently, we have decided to gather on the 400th anniversary of Dr Dee's arrival in Manchester, at a point near his probable home, with a view to the levitation of the Corn Exchange. Anyone sympathetic, please meet us outside the aforementioned building, on the corner of Hanging Ditch and Cathedral Street, on Saturday February 10, at 11.00 am."
We don't get to find out how successful they were in this particular endeavour, but the symbolic value of the assault on the allegorical strength of the "political/military complex" is clear. The Luther Blissett camp are also drawn into occultist play, but make clear their opposition to "mysticism, and obscurantist, occultist concerns."
"Luther broadens traditional notions of social struggle to encompass everything that is positive in contemporary urban folk culture. The manipulation and overthrow of the language of myths is Luther's starting point. He ransacks the archetypes of popular culture, as well as those thrown up by techno-Pagan religious revivalists. Luther Blissett is not the product of a pre-democratic and pre-individual view of the world that lays claim to a despotic social unity. Avant-bardism is a lucid shamanism that places itself BEYOND democracy and individuality."
Elsewhere, we get to see more practical intent at the heart of these apparently esoteric pursuits, and traditional Psychogeography is questioned :
"Psychogeographers still see mysterious ley lines everywhere. Whether ley lines actually exist is irrelevant, as the widespread dissemination of astrological materials demonstrates, belief in mysterious 'phenomena' adversely effects the behaviour of millions. The satirical deconstruction of these beliefs is merely one achievement of the 'avant-bard'.
notorious egg bagel eater : Stewart Home
And it's not just the obscurantist mystifications of 18th century, pagan revivalism that comes under the collective's corrosive glare :
( " Delirious claims and wild Trot baiting by Monty Cantsin under the banner of "COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNISM")
The concept of 'Revolution' is inherently 'religious' and refers to an unrealisable abstraction, Dialectics are mystification.. The concept of historical inevitability is completely laughable. An understanding of 'history' shows the accumulation of 'contradiction', the identity of which is produced by the logical habits of the observer. it is the worst mystification for revolutionaries to couch their agendas in a 'scientific' context. Revolutionaries' tend to engage the system only within their own minds, creating separate identities which 'self-manage' their alienation. To be a 'revolutionary' is to engage in a nostalgic fascist mythology, part of the entertaining stage-set of the 'western world'
( From a Mutating text that has been in circulation for several years, it lacks a fixed point of origin and has previously appeared in many different forms, often in several places at once.)
Elsewhere, a vibrant and determined LPA offshoot, the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, though "smarting at rejection by the James Whale show for being "too esoteric", demand the right to community based space programmes, well away from the dead hand of the military-space complex :
Contributions to the evolutionary struggle intended to be discussed, corrected and principally put into practice without delay by Inner City AAA 1996
AAA : The days of this society are numbered : come join us
"The days of this society are numbered. It's reasons and it's merits have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; it's inhabitants are divided into two parties, one of which wants to build their own space ships and leave this society behind. A Five Year Plan for establishing local, community-based AAA groups around the world, dedicated to building their own space ships, is part of the AAA's independent space exploration program, launched on April 23rd 1995. The AAA released balloons into the air at 3 PM (GMT) in synchronisation with Autonomous Astronauts across the world doing likewise in celebration of this historic occasion."
On a more terrestrial basis, the AAA look to challenge the restrictions of binary focused sporting convention with their resurrection of Three Sided Football, as dreamt up by Asger Jorn in the 1950's, in an attempt to help shed light on his theory of Triolectics, a development of Marx's Dialectic.
"The Association of Autonomous Astronauts research skills that use the imagination, requiring the ability to move in several directions at once, exploring the power to abolish thought constructs we are commonly socialised into believing like, for example, the concepts of space and time. Playing three-sided football has been a crucial component to training at Inner City AAA, who report that it improves competence in deception, even preparing players for learning how to change and adapt the terrain they play on."
Back on earth, a couple of decades before Aaron Bastani and the Fully Automated Luxury Communism crew hove into view, Decadent action share some sound election day (1997) tips whilst getting to the core of the Blairite decade that was to follow :
"Spend the day of the next general election in bed with a jug of your favourite cocktail, a Combustible Edison soundtrack and read up on Baader, Meinhoff, Chomsky, Susie Bright, Harry Roberts, Valerie Solanas, Viv Nicholson and troublemakers the world over. The odd few pence on a meagre minimum wage is not our concern when we want to bring the whole system crashing down."
Elsewhere, The Church of England 's status as a 'multinational landowner' is examined, as is the role of their 'international operatives', Terry Waite and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Queen's visit to the Greenwich Leyline during a solar eclipse is questioned.
"The false Hegelisation of Dada by the Situationist International" is attacked under the banner of 'avant bardism', 'Psychedelic Bordigism' is celebrated, the "magico-scientific gardens of Heidelberg" are remembered, "Holy Grails" debunked as ""historical accumulation of myths", "language without words, deadly hieroglyphics", are heralded...
As we career headlong into the (near) fully realised chaos of 21st century, late stage capitalism, Mind Invaders is a reminder of the potency of gnomic wisdom, playful provocation and parabolic play out in the margins of art-political subculture. We need to hold on tight to these half remembered truths and semi abandoned currents. "Dream time is upon us."