Felix Stalder on Mon, 19 May 2014 16:19:58 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> tensions within the bay area elites

I'm astounded. Nay, dismayed. There is clearly a lot going. On a
historic scale.

New patterns of social control? Check. See them emerging long the axis
of service/empowerment (Google) and surveillance/repression (NSA).

Changing social patterns? Check. See the deepening and hardening of
inequality in Western Societies (99% vs 1%).

New spatial patterns? Check. See the gentrification and privatization of
cities spaces, eradicating histories of civic uses of the city and all
traces of anything that does not conform to market forces.

None of this is fundamentally new, but the everyday contradictions this
engenders -- particularly in centers of Western progress -- are more
visible today under conditions of economic crises that they were during
boom times.

OK, we all know that. What astounds and dismays me now is that all we --
lefty artist/intellectuals on this list -- manage to produce is a
cynicism and bickering.

Don't get me wrong, I'm personally very susceptible to the kind of
in-jokery that cynicism represents, but as an analysis, it's really poor
and asserts that it pretends to criticize. So, all this talk
along the line "a corporation cannot be evil because it simply does what
capitalism is set up to do" is really sophomoric.

And then the bickering. Even worse. We all know the line: there is
always a problem that is worse and that one REALLY should focus on,
rather than betraying one's own privilege/ignorance/collusion by
focusing on the supposedly superficial problem at hand. So
gentrification is SF is bad? What what about Istanbul, or, Bejing?

I wonder what that represents. Is this simply the endless jockeying for
difference typical of the attention economy? An exhaustion of the
project of cultural critique on favor of endless self-reaffirming micro
discourses? A situation to complex to comprehend? The decline of the
West in the face of changing global lines of force?

Perhaps all of that, or none of that. Whatever it is, it makes these
discussions stale, to say the least.


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