The difference between Tracy Chapman’s 1988 original and the Jonas Blue remix spans the entirety of ideology.

The cyclical perpetuation from the singer’s ‘old man’ to her partner is a product of the father’s lack of labor power to sell as an aged person. He cannot exploit himself on the market and there are not adequate social resources in place for those in such a position (the frail, elderly, mentally unfit, etc.) Thus the singer is compelled to quit school in order to sell her own labor for a minimum, non-living wage. She is coerced out of a future.

In the remix, stanzas 6 through 8 are excised, but such stanzas index precisely the forms of societal subjugation: ‘I work in the market as a checkout girl. You’ll find work . . . We’ll move out of the shelter . . . You stay out late drinking at the bar’. The fact that the American dream, ‘buy[ing] a bigger house and liv[ing] in the suburbs’ was never anything more than a delusion: ‘I’d always hoped for better’. In their absence, the one stanza of critique which remains, ‘Somebody’s got to take care of him so I quit school’, becomes senseless in its out-of-placeness.

The song instead becomes an ode to escapism rather than precisely a critique of a society that bars any escape for its subjects. For capitalist ideology needs you to believe you are freely selling yourself, and here pop music falls in step with the official ideology. The only truth that remains would be dialectical: the subject must desire a liberated escape precisely because it knows itself to be unfree.


The official statement from the Chechnyan presidential office damns it precisely as much as if it had openly admitted to torturing homosexuals: ‘You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic. If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.’

The rhetoric recalls Stalinism. Not simply in its apophatic invocation of Siberian labour camps. One must make the dialectic switch in order to read between the lines: precisely because these are non-people, ‘people who simply do not exist’, that is why they cannot be detained: for, in order to be unjustly detained one must be legally recognized as a person with human rights. The erasure of them as non-people is the admission of inhumanity.

‘If there were such people’: the subjunctive conditionality of the counterfactual. This is precisely how Adorno defines totalitarianism: ‘Totality is to be opposed by convicting it of nonidentity with itself- of the nonidentity it denies’ (Negative Dialectics, 147). Ramzan Kadyrov’s ‘republic’ denies anything unlike itself, must deny that anything could be unlike itself, anything that would threaten its integrated, self-identical totality. To deny that things could ever be otherwise is the shibboleth of ideology.


Mordrons à l’hameçon et acceptons cet être imaginaire, cette ‘femme de paille’ qui s’appelle ‘Sandra’. En plus, laissons à coté le fait que les étrangers font environs 10% de ceux qui sont dans un logement sociale. La vraie honte n’est pas que ‘Sandra’ ne peut pas emménager dans un logement social- comme si cela était un privilège. La vraie honte c’est plutôt que, dans un monde de surproduction, une société existe qui fait qu’une mère soit réduite à avoir besoin d’un logement social. C’est-à-dire, ce n’est pas la faute de n’importe quel immigré en particulier. C’est plutôt la faute d’un système qui fait une telle société, un système qui vous oblige de choisir, dans le faux dilemme ‘cette personne-ci ou cette personne-là’, qui mérite une vie. Quand la vraie, la seule réponse à un tel dilemme serait : les deux. Les seules personnes coupables ici sont ceux qui défendent et défendraient un tel système pour eux-mêmes.

If one were to speak of ‘market freedom’ it could only be in the sense that Hitler freed the German people from the war guilt ratified in the Treaty of Versailles, or in the sense that the National Liberation Movement liberated the Albanians from Italian fascism- only to step right into Hoxha totalitarianism. In its ideological guile, capitalism belongs twinly with fascism.

The market offers freedom from freedom. This in the precise sense of Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom. The market is a liberator in the same way los libertadores were, and likewise will bequeath all the authoritarianism of a caudillismo.

There is no such thing as ‘market freedom’ Paul Ryan; it is a contradiction in terms.

The market is precisely what ties our hands behind our backs, forcing us to take on inordinate debt for college degrees it has decided we need in order to be competitive on the market, forcing us to take on jobs, for the market has decided that with a job does not come a living wage, forcing us to go into debt for an operation, for the market has decided that people are not guaranteed the right to not die from a preventable death. The ‘market’ is precisely that which administers unfreedom.

The market can only be synonymous with fascism. There is no freedom in fascism. The market is the jailer leading us to the gallows.

Trump has overwritten Obama’s memo which limited the amount of penalizations the student loan industry (for, as with prisons and the military, student loans today in the US are an industry) could charge.

When facists respond with ‘Well then don’t be late’, one should hear precisely in this the same matter-of-fact rhetoric Rousseau quoted a great princess as saying on hearing that the peasants did not have enough bread: ‘Let them eat cake’.

The ‘common sense’ answer reveals itself as precisely the reactionism of ideology. It is not merely that the answer is ignorant, inhumane, etc.; it is that it disregards to the point of exoneration the unjust system that creates this historical situation in the first place- the unjust system that is this historical situation.

An education is not a commodity to be sold off, and students are not barter chips. An educated polity is necessary in order for democracy to function: it is a matter of the republic itself. Sarkozy learned this back in 2006 when he railed at La Princesse de Clèves being included on government job application exams. Knowledge is not a priori compartamentalized; capitalism violently coerces knowledge. The lessons of Book VII of the Republic, the aesthetic propaganda of Triumph of the Will, the patronage of fascism by Futurism are necessary to a polity if it is to make informed, democratic judgements. Such lessons will not be learned in an education subjugated to market value and job opportunism.

Such a system wherein somebody who owes a sum is further penalized has existed before: the debtors’ prison of the 19th century. Jailing the person so that he cannot work and thus has no means with which to pay off the debt for which he has been jailed, while further indebting him if he wished while in prison to eat, to receive visitors, etc. That it is systematic abuse of human rights is proved by the fact that Article 1 of Protocol 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights expressly prohibits such imprisonment.

A ruler did once in fact create a government around him of preachy, American businessmen: the last King of Hawaii. His successor was coerced into abdication by them, her kingdom illegally and hypocritically annexed by them, so that the former Kingdom of Hawaii could be exploited for profit by and for them.