Angela Mitropoulos on Tue, 15 Nov 2016 10:34:13 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> What is the meaning of Trump's victory?

On 14 November 2016 at 20:26, Felix Stalder <> wrote:

> > 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.
> I think this is precisely it. Neo-liberal policies very deliberately
> destroyed social solidarity and increased competition and
> exploitation. The effect was a massive rise in social inequality,
> economic insecurity and total lack of any sense of collective destiny
> (aka what's the greater purpose of all of this?).

With all due respect, the myopia in this discussion is breathtaking.
If the explanation of declining social solidarity were true, then
why was it white people who overwhelmingly voted for Trump? Why
isn't fascism's constituency made up of those who are poor rather
than those who are white (irrespective of income)? etc. The reason
is fairly straightforward: because "social solidarity" meant "white
solidarity." And the problem with the term 'neo-liberalism' is that
it relies upon a determined blindness and white myopia so as to even
begin to make sense, peddling the fantasy that previous decades
have been marked by deregulation, globalisation and every other
euphemism that could be found that would more or less tacitly make
excuses for xenophobia and the derangement that it requires to imagine
the previous decades were, in truth, marked by deregulation and
globalisation. In truth, there has been greater levels of regulation,
an intensified authoritarianism, the frenetic construction of borders
to staunch the consequences of wars and entrap labour for easy picking
of arbitrage.

I have no idea why it isn't plainly obvious that Polanyi's theory
of capitalism rests on a nostalgia for feudalism. And slavery. All
Polanyi did was write Catholic Natural Law theory in the language of
classical sociology's obsession with the destruction of social order
and white familial bonds. What he meant by "social solidarity" is a
euphemism for ethno-nationalist homogeneity, the heterosexual family
bonds, and a lament for their decline.

In all seriousness, perhaps the lapse into unthinking
ethno-nationalism on nettime is indicative of how parts of the tech
industry were realigned around Breitbart et al. If so, then we are in
more dire straits than even I thought, and I was one of the few who
had wagered (since June) that Trump would win the election. I guess
nettime has a choice to make about what social solidarity means in
this moment, and not hide the practical implications of any given kind
of solidarity behind the euphemisms of a Polanyiesque nostalgia for
the return of feudalism.

// angela.mitropoulos

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