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The Mathmos
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Jodi is right though. The GOP fell in line (at least discourse-wise) behind what remains a minority, the Tea Party. A minority prone to agitation, infiltration and purity tests, all those things good Democrats warn leftists against indulging in. The Tea Party is ideologically incoherent, and their mainstream spokespersons ensure their own cooptation for elite-serving goals, but they remain a textbook example of a voting bloc. One issue is mass media. For obvious reasons, corporate news allowed the Tea Party to develop its presence and identity, while it ignored or distorted Occupy events. They allowed claims that Republican losses were incurred due to the Tea Party to solidify, etc.
Great post Jodi. One easy and idiotic comeback to any item of left-wing criticism anyday is "and what's your solution" or "yeah but Russia tried your way hasn't it". Even Democrats counter every criticism of Obama with the reality principle of "what alternatives?". There's a lot to unpack (or not) in those replies, but their basic thrust remains that the Left is vulnerable on the ground of expectations not being matched by actions (past present or future). The critical stuff no one worries about.
Toggle Commented Jun 20, 2012 on Critique at I cite
Quite the Kitchen-Industrial Complex there.
Toggle Commented May 20, 2012 on Occupying my kitchen at I cite
Aristotle coined a phrase in reference to what you call "thinking through the practical consequences of what would actually happen", ID. He termed it "begging the question". Don't waste your time and ours pointing out the theoretical ills of private property and read up on the actual practices of workers management and self-management.
"This kind of class warfare idea", christ! The man is with one of the foremost counter-cultural magazine in North America, and still he can't shake off the Fox News? Next, he'll be telling occupiers to disregard race relations for fear of "this racism idea", or something.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2012 on Why I disagree with Kalle Lasn at I cite
+1 about reclaiming "communist". I do this all the time ;) But it is also the case that mass-mediated politics is only rarely framed in properly defined terms and positions. What communism or conservatism or (to be extreme) terrorism mean at any given time is subject to gross distortion and confusion at the behest of entrenched interests. Surely, what was bracing about Occupy (and other mobilization efforts around the world) isn't their re-claiming or re-discovery of such and such political terms, but the way they deviated (sometimes completely) from the game(d)script of mass-mediated politics. At first glance the last year seems to indicate that movements are more powerful when arrayed against specific groups or entities (the "1%" or "Mubarak") and clear of the poisoned waters of political terminology.
Absolutely in agreement. And this 'leadership' canard is anti-democratic code straight out of business and management schools, applied uncritically all over society. A few years back, that sort of rhetoric was taking over help books and video lessons for every sort of menial service jobs, now it's university students. Guess what? Not a good sign.
Toggle Commented Jan 8, 2012 on Undressing the Academy at I cite
Thank you indeed! Inspiration by the people-load.
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2011 on Thank you, Occupy Wall Street at I cite
You hit the nail on the head about "the markets" being an euphemism for the criminal sovereignty of offshore capital. I hope no one outside of the mainstream media mistake it for anything else.
Look Websurrfrr : this government is headed by goons of the finance industry, gives the furniture away to the finance industry, pals around and obediently defers to the finance industry, frames every issue in the technocratic language of the finance industry, etc. And you want to draw a line between it and the capitalist class? Joke away. The stimulus? Recognized as a weak-kneed, supply-side neoliberal substitute for an actual recovery policy by every Nobel-prized economists and their mom, half-and-half spending and tax cuts that benefited almost no one in the long run but the very rich and (you guessed it) the finance industry, a mere sliver of the many, many trillions just disgorged on the (what was it again?) finance industry, etc. And you want to underline this nondescript fizzle of a post-crisis policy as a counter-example to what folks like Stiglitz are talking about? Keep on embarrassing yourself. And your concern for the black middle class can be best informed by googling 'neoliberalism', 'Clintonomics', 'New Jim Crow' and 'Private prison industry'. Or you can keep on missing History's point and blame 'big government'.
Toggle Commented Aug 10, 2011 on Stiglitz: inequality at I cite
I get where you're coming from on this feeling of fringe-ness, Jodi. These limits to discourse are being battered down however. One only needs to look over the Atlantic to see that all is not well with Liberal Democracy. One way or another, the American media consensus will give way to the feelings of the majority (and they've been ones of cynicism or defiance for a long time, even here).
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2011 on Krugman: Getting to Crazy at I cite
Portrait of the left-of-mainstream intellectual as a celebrity. For all the remediation of the former, no one comes out of embracing the latter. Intellectually, at least. When he's not occupied with the blaming of gypsies, our divo bravely counters the tabloid gossips. What a sigh.
You'll pardon me if I reuse your response in some future discussion, Jodi. Great patience and eloquence in tackling the confused, knee-jerk canards of "coercion" and "central planning/plannism".
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2011 on Occupations and days of action at I cite
What do you think you're describing, Chad? Re-read your comment.
This kind of junk history first emerged during the Lippmann Colloque in Paris at the time of WWII. A bunch of proto-neoliberals scrambling to pin the blame for nazism, and any other forms of political evil by the same token, on state intervention. The free market being scott-free, since it hadn't been tried yet. Now after thirty years of hardcore neoliberalism (with, yes, state intervention), the same zombie arguments. The free market hasn't been tried yet, don't we all know. What we're seeing is what state intervention has wrought. If only we tried freeing the market... After close to a century of such rhetorical maneuvers, neoliberals should have lost all remaining credibility. These people are paid hacks, please ignore them. Free market without state intervention is a myth, Chad. Open a book for Christ's sake.
Great David Harvey talk, with humoristic drawings, on the financial mess : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOP2V_np2c0
Don't let that Male Gaze construct take over. Anyway, great blog, good mix. In a world of cynical blasé bloggers, you sometimes strike as angry or doubtful, which is more more of what we need, in order for us to get out of this decades-long holding pattern.
Toggle Commented Apr 3, 2011 on Writing and not writing at I cite
If it's an aspect of too many people, then no matter how competent you appear, they have much to gain in continuing the free labor cycle. That's the whole point. They CAN do without anybody. No one can claim to be able to personally prove anything to companies that have been outsourcing their own mothers to the Third World for 30+ years.
I couldn't agree with you more. I've had this failure argument thrown at me in a great many political debates, and it never goes any farther than classic capitalist realism (to take Mark Fisher's phrase). People, intellectuals even, haven't only delegated all legitimate force to ruling authorities, they've done the same with radical thinking : while we hum and haw about collective alternatives, the ruling classes get away with what are essentially little manifestos for the purest cruelty and injustice against the majority. Within capitalist realism, only capitalists are allowed to revolutionize anything (notice the constant neoliberal lingo of "sacred cows", "old dogmas", "third way", "new solutions").
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2011 on What do you mean, "doesn't work"? at I cite
Reality : one step ahead of your worst paranoid fantasies.
I allow myself to believe that the Egyptian movements are larger than April 6 and figureheads like ElBaradei, and that maybe they'll be harder to recuperate along corporate-friendly lines of conduct. For many in the street, this was as much about fighting US influence than ousting the current puppet. And I have a hard time believing that the US State Dept. enjoy the prospect of labour mobilization.
Nicely done. You might want to check out the J.G. Ballard Pool on flickr. flickr.com/groups/jg_ballard/pool
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2011 on melting city at I cite
Are Guardian's comment sections always so dense with right-wing sophistry? Or is it just Hallward's column? Seriously, you find less misguided negative solidarity on Youtube.
An inspiring discussion. Thanks to all. I particularly appreciate Michael's effort at delineating the current organizations who could hopefully lend initial weight to a program like the one Jodi proposes.
Toggle Commented Feb 17, 2011 on Walk like an Egyptian at I cite
The politicization/radicalization of Anonymous is something that still surprises me. Having followed the phenomenon for a few years, I remember how the movement was more about mischiefs and hoaxes at the expense of mainstream American culture, and generally being against the perceived weakness of commitment to any one cause or issue. I don't know what changed, but the first signs for me were the DDoS attacks against banks in support of WikiLeaks.