By John S. Saul
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Additional info for A Difficult Road: The Transition to Socialism in Mozambique
But the most complex and challenging text to appear in this period was David Peaceʼs GB84, a novel that will still be discussed when the twenty-year itch has moved on to Maradonaʼs hand ball or Thatcherʼs resignation. 1 The novel is Peaceʼs ﬁfth, following his Red Riding Quartet of crime ﬁctions set in Yorkshire between 1974 and 1983. Stylistically, and to an extent atmospherically, it resembles that sequence, but while deploying some of the moods and motifs of crime writing it moves into more unmistakably political territory.
In Tafuriʼs account, this troubled dialectic generated an ever-exacerbating tension for avant-garde projects. Shaped by avant-gardistsʼ varied attempts to relate to, and act on, their surrounding reality, Tafuriʼs inversion sets in motion a dialectic of crisis. The relation between metropolis and the theory of reiﬁcation has already been noted, but Tafuriʼs and Cacciariʼs engagement with Lukács had a more polemical edge. Tafuri, like Cacciari, tarries with the thinkers dismissed in The Destruction of Reason.
Capitalist reformismʼ, Negri noted in his 1968 essay, had learned to assert its own interests, while the ʻsocialist reformistsʼ of the Left continued to ʻwhineʼ about the ʻimbalancesʼ of the system. The point was – and here we ﬁnd the political dynamic at the heart of Cacciari and Tafuriʼs version of completed nihilism – to face the negative, to meet capital head-on and outwit it. Harsh and sympathetic, the Tafurian critique of the avant-garde was certainly not posed in a dismissive tone, and bears no relation to those views that consider the Soviet avant-garde and Bolshevism to be co-authors of the Gulag.
A Difficult Road: The Transition to Socialism in Mozambique by John S. Saul