Dear Emily Post-Avant,

I just watched this video about the new Commune journal and clicked around their shop, where they have various items of apparel for sale. I was wondering what you thought. Me, I think it’s a knee-slapper, especially the guy who does the 80s Valley-girl up-talking, while educating us about the dictatorship of the proletariat. But I am still buying a tote bag and a hoodie. You know the word Commune will soon be on the haute-couture runway.

If Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr come to power, what do you think they’ll be like?

Build the Fourth International.

–Once a Member of the Spartacist League




Dear Once a Member of the Spartacist League,

Hey, I remember, back when I was in the Socialist Workers Party (before it became a cult, too), how you guys used to sell the Workers Vanguard, with blaring headlines like (after a series of slaughters of white settlers in Rhodesia in the early 70s), “IMPERIALISTS: LIVE LIKE PIGS, DIE LIKE PIGS!!!”, or even better, “HUBERT HUMPHREY DEAD AT LAST!” But one thing you folks had the right line on, and all credit to you: Nuclear power. Looking back, no question we should have converted the grid back in the 80s to nuclear, supplementing with renewables later. Too late now. We’re all going to cook.

So, yeah, you’re the fourth or fifth person to write me about this video and website.  It’s pretty funny. Jasper Bernes, the comrade who does the SNL-like up-talking, is a riot. Not that we should poke fun at people’s speech patterns… But if you are going to sell your journal at plant gates, you might want to work on your bourgeois intonations.

Still, he and his academic-based rad friends sure do seem to have the Entrepreneurial Spirit down pat, promotional agency and Kickstarter, and all, and you have to hand it to them on that. They do seem to have the cash pouring in. If they can come up with the Marxism app for the new iPhone, they might make a killing. (I stole that notion from one of the other four or five letters I’ve gotten.) And who knows, they may well get their Silicon Valley Yakov Fürstenberg sugar-daddy (the guy who helped finance the Bolshevik revolution through Scandinavian condom-sale money), and be off to the races, with a journal looking more fly than Condé Nast.

As to your question: My guess is that Joshua Clover would be worse than Stalin. And Juliana Spahr would likely give Madame Mao a run for her money. Is that too impolite to say? No, it’s not. Poets make the worst tyrants. Especially “avant-garde” ones.

You gotta love this shit.

—Emily Post-Avant