|Brian Holmes on Sat, 12 Nov 2016 11:50:38 +0100 (CET)|
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|Re: <nettime> What is the meaning of Trump's victory?|
On 11/11/2016 08:27 AM, Frederic Neyrat wrote:
Here is my thought: as I don't think that racism is just a natural passion/affect/drive, I try to understand where it comes from. And, as I try to understand what happened in the USA, I thought that the neoliberal/capitalist/economic destruction of the economic, cultural, symbolic conditions of a certain number of white people, who however voted for Obama during the two last elections (at least some of them), fueled, generated or regenerated racism and a reactionary moment: to restore (or/and produce) a patriarchal/racist/misogynistic situation.
That sure is the way I see it. The settler-colonial legacy did leave behind a powerful racism, but that legacy continually gets reshaped by emancipatory-egalitarian politics. Throughout US history here have been major efforts to overcome racism, starting long before the Civil War and continuing long after the Civil Rights movement (just go to a Black Lives Matter demo today and see who shows up: an incredible mix of people, all colors). There have also been huge and continuing attempts to rekindle racism and channel it as a political tool, the way Trump just did with such resounding success. Four and eight years ago, crucial Midwestern and Southern states (Florida) voted for Obama in the hope of changing the entire system: you cannot blame that on White Supermacy. Every individual is at the center of multiple intersecting social forces, including very old race attractions and race hatreds among others. Each person and group struggles within that intersectionality. The always contradictory and moving pattern that emerges from millions of micro-struggles, and also from very many organized attempts to guide, channel or manipulate those micro-struggles, makes up the political character of any given moment or period. Not always for the better. Way back in 1944, Karl Polanyi defined both Axis fascism and Stalinist communism as self-protective movements of society against the damaging forces of capitalist exploitation. The forms taken by these self-protective movements, he said, could be more damaging than the problems they initially tried to address. This is definitely happening again now, in a big way. By destroying the livelihood of so many people, the elitist policies of the neoliberal period have allowed hateful and opportunistic leaders to give shape to a tremendous reactionary wave that is now likely to damage almost everyone, including those who voted for it. What's at stake here is not an essential and timeless White Supremacy. It's a political-economic-ecological configuration where racism is being deliberately stimulated as a political organizing tool. The challenge of emancipatory-egalitarian politics is to create a social and cultural world where frightened and disoriented and angry people cannot be lured into the easily manipulated positions of racism, sexism and nationalism that were first laid down by the European colonial capitalist project. When people like myself now criticize the Democratic Party for failing to address the scared and dangerous white working classes of the ruined industrial cities and desolate rural zones, they are not denying the existence of other, far more progressive, mixed-race working classes, certainly not. What we are saying is that in a period of economic breakdown and unleashed oilgarchical greed like the one we are living through today, a true political ecology that gives a whole range of constructive roles to a broad majority of a country's inhabitants is the only politics that can hold off a misguided "self-protective movement of society" that brings to power the kinds of dark and cunning interest groups that are now going to take at least momentary control of the US, and maybe other countries in the near future. The open question is how to effectively counter those forces. # 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: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: firstname.lastname@example.org # @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: