Brian Holmes on Wed, 9 Nov 2016 23:12:33 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> PTS post trump syndrome - the suicide of the west

On 11/09/2016 11:04 AM, Felix Stalder wrote:

Austria is next, and the "soziale Heimatpartei" is ready and fired
up. We will know if civil society remains stronger here on Dezember
4th. The political parties have already given up.

I agree with your analysis, Felix: the status quo for which the US
left just relectantly voted has produced the problem against which
it claimed to be the safeguard. For many years, in many different
countries, the progressive-left elements of civil society contributed
to "holding off the worst" by supporting parties which gave them no
reasons to believe in a better future. With the Democrats in the US,
one could at least have hoped that racial and gender discrimination
would diminish - but the Obama administration has deported more people
than any other, and Black Lives Matter has very clearly shown just
where we are with racial discrimination.

After decades of oligarchical politics geared toward financially
driven globalization, a charismatic bigot has named and addressed the
working classes, with clear and unprecedented success. The address
was founded on racism, patriarchalism and nationalism, to the clear
profit of the military, the extractive corporations and the police. An
opposition based on the unlikely, indeed, hallucinatory combination
of minority rights and extreme class privilege has collapsed. The
chances of a traditional left surging up with a fresh address to its
traditional proletarian constituency are, in my view, nil.

What should progressive civil society do when it can no longer hold
off the worst? The minority-rights position suggested, hypocritically
and falsely, that our societies were rich enough to solve all the
historical problems of capitalism, while continuing to concentrate
wealth and power at the top. I think that when the holding actions
fail, civil society has to work out an entirely new development
program that can solve the real problems of the entire two thirds or
even three quarters of the population who are being expropriated by
the current form of capitalism: the so-called minorities *and* the
so-called majority. Like it or not, such a program has be configured
as an address to the majority: a multi-racial majority *including
whites*, whose interests, crucially, are not indentifiable with the
upper five or ten percent of the population. If such an address cannot
be formulated in the traditional language of the classical left - and
I don't believe that it can, because far too much has changed since
1968 for that to work - then there is a need for a tremendous process
of invention, based on broad cooperation and really solid work.

One thing stands out to me: Bernie Sanders could have swept last
night's election. The establishment consensus of the hypocritical
oligarchies has to be cleared entirely away, in favor of a new
social-democratic populism with the governing capacities required to
transform complex and highly stratified societies.

all the best from all the worst, Brian

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