The following is a guest entry by sociologist and prankster, Wolfgang Moneypenny. He advocates sovereignty for South London. In this post he writes on the topic of Bad Faith: the theme for our pending fourth issue.
Bad faith. I can barely continue. But I must.
Hello. You might well recognise me. I’m a radically free being. And so are you! However. I’m probably more radical and more free than you. But don’t worry. Don’t panic. You can be so too.
Bad Faith, mauvaise foi, has an equivalent in the old edge-of-extinction-bring-it-back-with-EU-funding South London dialect of Transpontongue. That word is plonk’stalibon and means, quite approxiliterally, an inauthentic lack of appreciation in one’s free choice and choice-responsibility. It is believed by etymologists to be the root of “plonker”.
But to really sink our teeth into Bad Faith and what we can learn from it, let me take you back to that less cinematic but more profound Vietnam… An Algerian War of Independence…
A war that is Sartrean in one variety of interpretation. A particularly juicy. flavoursome variety. A variety so splendid that it’s tempting to stick with it. Whilst it’s oh-so-important to appreciate our free choice, too much choice must dualitially be recognised as a bad thing. I’m here to fight the spread of hypercapitalist postmodernity, people!
Algeria et al. did what they had to do. They overthrew, first, their own denial of their free choice, and, in so embracing a vividly nauseous stench of authenticity, inevitably overthrew their imperialist masters, The Bastard French.
Sartre was the hero of this war. Undoubtedly. He had ideas. And words. Some sort of anti-Sartrean movement has insisted on peddling some sort of quote from some sort of Algerian farmer, some sort of “No matter the consequences I will fight to keep my family alive” faux peasant-hero being-in-itself counterrevolutiography. Laughable. Ha ha ha!
This wasn’t a war between Algeria and France, centring around normal people, as the above propaganda suggests. It was a war fought by Sartre, personally, against Bad Faith. And, no, not the “Sartrean concept of Bad Faith”, a sub-abusive device used to devalue and disguise the difficult reality of Bad Faith.
(Bad Faith is undoubtable. So stop being silly.)
It’s only politeness that prevents me from saying Sartre won the war singlehandedly. But politeness is Bad Faith. So, fuck it. Sartre won the war singlehandedly.
People – snobs, more accurately – will decry this. He was just a philosopher. Relaxating in the bed of Simone de Beauvoir. He didn’t see action. BUT HE DID. He survived bomb plots, he received death threats. He was a target of the French right.
And it has never been proven that his death, in 1980, wasn’t indirectly a result of injuries and/or mild shock sustained through these bombings…
What Sartre did for Algeria was stupendous. I was sorely tempted to abort this article and instead make him a medal to put round his dead neck. But progress demands forward motions.
The drive for authenticity should carry on. There are so many subjugated peoples on this planet. How much longer can we stand idly by? Choice surrounds us. Choice very nearly chokes us. Every choice is anguished.
People – nay, comrades – of countless self-determined local identities need to escape their own Bad Faith and rise up against their imperial überlords. For national independence is The Most Authentic state imaginable.
We live in a world of regional eggs hitherto unhatched. But, now, yes, a crack at the shell! A little albumin-sloppy paw reaches out. For freedom. For choice (but not postmodern junkchoice). For delicious anguish.
We, the subjugated peoples, are many. The Quebecians. The Cornish. The Lakota. The Kurds. Old imperial powers & supernations (Britain/England, the USA, and the Ottoman Empire) oppressing 21st Century breakaway movements.
Sometimes, the superpower brutes oppress our regional movements to the point of being barely noticeable, even within the region itself…
I have been asked to write this article by the progmatic pragressives at New Escapologist to report on my own hyperlocal ‘bourhood in this patchwork of revolutionary Good Faith (glam’stalibon)… South London. The spearhead of fractional, metropolitan independence movements.
I am a South London separatist, waging a war of words (and war) against the imperialist British state since 1998.
Over the centuries, the area south of the River Thames has been consistently repressed by their wantonly perverse, powergrabbing northern counterparts. From the conquering of the Atrebates to the brutal closing of the bear-baiting arenas to the heavybooted policing (by racists) of the inner-halfcity, transpontine history has been a long, bloody throbgasm of pain & intrigue.
But South London is also crippled by Bad Faith. On top of social environmental factors (a state apparatus of control, idea-budgetry, & hegemonic slyness), South London is itself oppressive, self-oppressive, denying its own responsibility, its own potential. South London is, as indeed is contemporary humanity on the whole, self-defeating.
How else can it be explained that a charismatic philosopher-revolutionary such as myself does not command a majority of support in the motherland?!
Having read so very widely and knowing exactly what I’m looking for, the Bad Faith, at times, seems so bad and so damn faithful that I feel ready to just quit my brave fight. But! Ah ha! That would be me falling into the trap once again. The trap of Bad Faith.
I realise that, as the Algerians needed the glorious war leader Sartre, the people of South London need inspiring. And convincing. But predominantly the former.
The independence of South London takes precedence over all other conscious possibilities. Some (supposedly) learned scholars of Sartre have claimed that I am wrong. That I am an idiot. That this way of thinking is Bad Faith on my part, because to talk of an inevitable collective revolutionary will in South London is to telelogically deny free choice. To which I say: sod that, nobheads! Do you think Great Man of History, Comrade Sartre, (nearly) died in the Algerio-Sartrean War of Independence just so you Information Economists (don’t deny it!) can spout such counterrevolutionary nonsensicals?!?! Do you?!
The glorious future Authentic Self-Determined Republic of South London, being the result of Good Faith, or at least unBad Faith, is a splendidly worthy goal. To this extent I applaud both myself and my comrades at terrorist cell/new media operation/revolutionary tourist board FreeSouthLondon.
Our antiestabadfaithlishmentarian (it is a word. Fill it into the relevant page of your normative dictionary) efforts have included the bombing of the Liberal Interventionist Millennium Dome in Greenwich Peninsular in 2000 (Technical failure – caused, quite conspiratorially, by an inability to top-up mobile phone credit. Bloody capitalism. But this was essentially what started the War on Terrorism), the setting up of a revolutionary vanguard, and the obtaining of the addresses of several local post offices, the holding of protests in the heart of enemy North London, the making of malicious phone calls, and the educating of the masses.
Some would poo-poo the value of a philosophical theory to the mobocratic throng. Critics undervalue their intelligence. They also underestimate the teacher. Sometimes, when my comrades fail to understand the vibrant ideatruth of Bad Faith, I use a simple analogy: “Mauvaise foi was a pâté I once had in Paris. It was lovely.”
A better analogy for those less Department of Education-sinned is to read Sartre’s famous book, The Trial. In it, he showcases the problem of bad faith. At any point Joseph Kaye could have roared righteously, “DAMN YOU! Let me out of this Sartresque nightmare.” His bad faith was so stinking bad that he couldn’t even just say, “Look, fuckwads, what am I being charged with?!” The bad faith of others completes the picture, a teetering yet monolithic chaotic system. Is it any wonder he walks into a shopping centre and shoots everyone?
In conclusion… Nope. Sorry. No time. I’m taking the old soapbox to Clapham Junction in rush hour to spread the word. Anti-Plonk’stalibon.