Although the discoveries in the USA and Great-Britain of photographs of American and British soldiers torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners should make us wary and wonder if their simultaneous disclosures aren't a deliberate move in Anglo-American war propaganda to demoralise the enemy, they do reveal an aspect of the clash between Western capitalism and Islam hitherto less manifest. The most striking feature, the overall atmosphere of the photographs, is a sexual one. Sexually active champions of capitalism are opposed to sexually passive Muslims, or Muslims are forced to take part in sexual activities against their will. Sexual abuse of Muslims, especially by female soldiers, has also been reported by prisoners released from the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. At the same time in several Western European countries the controversy about headscarves worn by muslim girls and women has grown to absurd proportions. Wearing a headscarf (an instrument to desexualise girls and women) by pupils and/or teachers has already been forbidden at all schools in France, and at conservative schools in Germany and Holland. The fury that this traditional symbol of desexualisation evokes in capitalist countries and the perverse delight with which muslim girls and women are forced to expose themselves in public show similarities with the sexual harassment revealed in the recently published photographs. For that reason we, The Buggers, believe that sexualisation has become a capitalist strategy in the conquest of its opponents.
Based on the theories of Marx and on misinterpretations of Freud the sexual liberation of the masses used to be a revolutionary strategy to bring down a repressive capitalist system and its bourgeois values and social structures. Western revolutionary art in the 20th century embraced this strategy, from surrealism to Beat poetry to the counter-cultural art of the sixties and seventies. Although the pursuit of individual sexual freedom has brought about many positive changes in capitalist societies, it failed to undo the capitalist system itself. We now know that the strength of the capitalist system lies in its absolute lack of morals and its subsequent ability to absorb the moral force of its opponents, only to pervert it for commercial purposes. Now, instead of pursuing sexual freedom and changing society in the course of it, the masses find themselves chasing the sexual mirages produced by the capitalist industry - without ever finding gratification. The capitalist system deliberately keeps its sexually emancipated consumers in a prolonged sexual frenzy. Bugger it!
Since Lacan's interpretation of Freud we know that sexual desire centres around a void, a lost 'object', and that it can never be really satisfied. An endless string of ungratifying substitutes for the lost object marks the trail of individual sexual realisation. Capitalist industries consciously exploit this phenomenon; they promise sexual fulfillment, provide eroticised substitutes for the lost object, know how to sell them, and make huge profits in doing so. Desexualisation, the refusal to become part of a public sexualised circuit, poses a genuine threat to capitalism. Anti-capitalist cultures and religions, and particularly individuals or groups within capitalist societies that scorn sexualised consumerism, have come to symbolise the origin of the sexual desire that capitalism feeds on: the void, the nothingness. They shatter the illusion constructed to keep consumers prisoners of their own desires and must therefore be sexualised or destroyed.
The Buggers' second proposition is that modern revolutionary art can no longer employ sexual liberation as a weapon against the capitalist system. We believe that nowadays desexualisation, emphasis on the void behind the sexual drive, provides a more appropriate weapon. We invite you to explore the artistic possibilities of desexualisation, and to redefine the 'obscene'. Or to be more precise, to develop revolutionary strategies of public desexualisation (we wouldn't want you, or any other individual, muslim or non-muslim, to stop buggering in private).