allan siegel on Wed, 21 May 2014 12:03:07 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> tensions? elites? governance?


This discussion seems to have moved from one end of a shallow pool
to another. As Felix has said, "What astounds and dismays me now is
that all we -- lefty artist/intellectuals on this list -- manage to
produce is a cynicism and bickering." And, that the discussion is
'stale.' Yes, to say the least. Gentrification is talked about in the
most ahistorical terms - as if Google and its buses were some isolated
phenomenon peculiar to San Francisco. What is most striking about the
discussion are the barriers that seem to impede placing the issues at
stake into a larger context and more pointedly any reference to the
vast amount of writing (and research) that has focused precisely on
the issues that are at the centre of this struggle. And, the issues
are certainly not new; they most certainly predate Google, Facebook
etc etc?.

I would take a guess at least of one of the possible causes of the
'cynicism and bickering.' Robust political entities that can challenge
the dominant social/class interests, in the U.S. particularly, outside
of the mainstream parties, are passing aberrations. Eventually,
political outsiders succumb to one party affiliation or another;
lefties moved to the Obama camp rather than have Romney et al
in the White House; popular political discourse covers a very
narrow terrain; people look to the New York Times for enlightenment
(how depressing); a handful of outspoken public intellectuals are
continuously marginalised. Movements such as Occupy appear and
then disappear because they cannot come to grips with, nor think
strategically, in terms of long term power struggles that are
necessarily waged in order to alter the power relationships that
enforce (and monitor) an inscribed set of social priorities. All this
fosters cynicism and bickering.

Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) one needs to ask the questions:
'what kind of world do we want to live in?' and 'how, through what
processes, might that possibly come about.?' In some small measure
we face these questions daily; we do this in our own little worlds
or social/political/work enclaves but at what point do our best
intentions coalesce into something larger? And, how do we communicate
that with some kind of collective voice that resonates above the
malignant droning of tea parties, Nigel Farages and other right wing
populists shaping the dimensions of popular discourse.


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