Brian Holmes on Thu, 22 Nov 2001 09:21:31 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Habermas on Faith, Knowledge and 9-11

Wolfgang Sueztl writes:

"Now if the legitimacy of violence is linked to the universality of human
rights, as was the case in the NATO bombings [of Serbia]... then all those
who stand up against this violence stand 'against themselves' and run the
risk of ending up as weird marginal figures engaged in a monologue."

This is a good statement of the double-bind that increasingly is imposed on
those who attempt to criticize the international alliance system that has
arisen after 1989.

Another way to reveal how this double bind works is to ask: Can the
existence and maturity of a so-called global civil society only be proven
by universal support of the policies endorsed by the global alliance of
democratically elected leaders?

With each new war, with each new global economic treaty, an onslaught of
voices from what was formerly recognized as the oppositional left requires
everyone to answer yes. This attempt to silence critique is taken by many
of those who continue trying to forge a critical position as being proof
that "global civil society" is an ideological construction - a mirror the
globalizing state holds up to itself.

There are then only two alternatives, for those who continue to situate
themselves in opposition. Either find a politically viable replacement for
the concept of "global civil society" (with its key reference to universal
human rights). Or find the political strength to insist on a definition of
global civil society precisely by its capacity to seriously and
legitimately critique the dominant judgment (and its technical

I am very curious to know which option Wolfgang Suetzl chooses, and why.
And by the way, there is no hostility whatsoever implied in this question.
It is a genuine question, which has everything to do with what used to be
called "socialist strategy."

Brian Holmes

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: