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Documents Of Barbarism: Ryan Diduck's Limits Of Control Playlist
Ryan Alexander Diduck , October 3rd, 2020 08:48

Quoting Walter Benjamin while listening to Peggy Lee, author Ryan Diduck shares the soundtrack to his lockdown nightmares

“There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.”
                                                                                                                       –Walter Benjamin

In September of 1940, Walter Benjamin was in the process of a desperate run to evade the Nazis and flee Europe altogether. He had travelled from Paris, to Lourdes, to Portbou in Catalonia, where he anticipated passage to the US on a travel visa that his friend and fellow philosopher Max Horkheimer obtained on his behalf. But the fascist Franco government voided such travel visas with strict orders to return all refugees to France, especially any Jews stripped of their citizenship.

On 26 September, fearing recapture, Benjamin overdosed on morphine tablets. His suicide shocked Spanish police, which allowed the remainder of Benjamin’s camp safe course to Lisbon on September 30th. Had he chosen to live, would he and his entire camp have died? We’ll never know.

Everything we think we know — what is commonly referred to as ‘knowledge’ — starts out with a theory. In the scientific pursuits, it’s called a ‘hypothesis’. We can think of a hypothesis as a sort of educated guess. The hypothesis is usually then tested under standardized conditions through experimentation and empirical observation to either confirm or deny that hypothesis, that theory. If that theory implicates or involves more than one person, it is by definition a conspiracy theory. We are living not in a disciplinary society, although there is much discipline to be found, too; we are living in what William S. Burroughs and Gilles Deleuze subsequently called a “Control” society. But our current Controllers are not as they might have been in the past priests or police officers; they are members of a small billionaire elite hellbent on hoovering up the world’s wealth.

As I write these words, Montreal has entered into another coronavirus-correlated lockdown — not as severe as the first lockdowns that took place in March, April, and May, but severe enough, nonetheless. All public venues are once again shuttered. Libraries, theatres, museums, restaurants, bars, shops — all closed. Those, like me, who live alone are allowed only one visitor. And the municipal and provincial governments, led respectively by Valerie Plante and Francois Legault, are placing the responsibility for coronavirus infection rates squarely in our hands. I write these words from Edmonton, where I have fled fascist Quebec, never to return. I will never return. And had I not escaped, surely, I would now be dead.

I always wondered how fascism would manifest itself, knowing that Quebec — unwilling to fight in World War II because of pervasive and not-so-secret Nazi leanings in the province — would be its testing ground in Canada. How would concentration camps be constructed right under our very noses? Canada could never have anything as draconian as US-style ICE detention camps, could we? No. What we already had instead were privately-run “long-term care facilities” for the elderly. These centres were the first to be hit by COVID-19, and the majority of Quebec’s coronavirus-related deaths took place within their walls. In early April, just after Premier Legault cancelled all Easter celebrations for Quebec citizens, he sent in military personnel to clear out the departed, claiming that Quebec was amidst a “rebirth.”

In the western province of British Columbia, long known for its high rates of opioid addiction, 1,068 people have died of Fentanyl overdoses in 2020. So far, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 208. “Most people who die of an overdose in B.C.” according to the CBC, “continue to die alone indoors.” These lockdowns are unequivocally a form of mass-murder.

We have devolved to such a state in this world where civil conversation is no longer possible. To point out the blatant hypocrisy, the absurdity of government-instated health guidelines, the alternating silence and misinformation of “experts” like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, is considered by the dominant media channels as fanaticism, right-wing extremism, insanity. We now live in a world where up is down, where no means yes, where did not is did. Is this the world we want to live in? I desperately want to live in this world, but it’s what would generously be called a “fixer-upper” in real estate terms. It needs a lot of work to make it livable again.

There are three current Controllers of humanity — not a conspiracy theory but one upon which everyone agrees — all of which fall under the aegis of industry. 1: the pharmaceutical industry, which is selling the governments of every nation with a national healthcare strategy tests which confirm coronavirus cases, then therapeutics like remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients, and finally vaccines — vaccines which have not and could not have been safely trialed. 2: the tech industry, which is rerouting all communication through smaller and smaller platforms, consolidating capital to an alarming degree (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon — these were the world’s most profitable companies, and even more so in 2020). And 3: the energy industry which, despite scientific knowledge screaming warnings for decades, persist at pulling oil, gas, and precious minerals out of the ground. There are more Controllers than that — the global banking cabal, for instance — but if we manage to do something about these top three, we’ll have the current-day Controllers on the run.

Lines of flight. These were once our only options. I fled. But now we must draw lines of fight. Because there is nowhere left to fly to. This planet: this is it. This is what we’ve inherited, and it’s all we’ve got left. There is nothing more important.

The Limits of Control by Ryan Diduck is published by Repeater Books. You can read an exclusive extract in today's Quietus