Brian Holmes on Sun, 7 May 2017 01:59:02 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The meaning of Macron (short answer: none)

Sebastian wrote:

"The only purpose of my little sketch of a larger German Sittengemälde
is to illustrate why I think that "hold your nose and vote" is a losing
strategy, and that it can be useful not to vote, if only to make sure 
that certain parties that self-identify as center-left remain left of 
center: in opposition, rather than in government."

In a country that totally lacks any party left of center, I felt
compelled to adopt the losing strategy. Having lost, I find that the
incredible passivity, cynicism and willful ignorance of my center-left
compatriots is melting like the polar ice caps. Are they, indeed, are
*we* ready for the discipline of tragic solidarity that alone can stave
off outright barbarism during the breakdown of the coming decades, when
no social-democratic welfare state will be able to restore the
sickening overconsumption and unconsciousness that used to pass for
good times? Obviously not yet, far from it, but there is time to learn
while the last fragments of the Great Liberal Illusion are dismantled
before all eyes. So far, Trump's election has been the best thing that
ever happened to late-capitalist American politics. Tomorrow it may be
valid to say to the French: Victory when you lose everything is worse
than defeat that makes you stand and fight again.

On Fri, May 5, 2017 at 3:33 AM, <[1]> wrote:

> And as for dear Sebastian's bitter but welcome comments on this thread:
> Yes, of course politics is political theatre. It always has been, as
> thinkers from Machiavelli to Guy Debord have always been quick to point
> out. Jan Söderqvist and I even predicted in "The Netocrats" in 2000
> that soon the U.S. would likely elect a game-show host as president as
> a result of politics going ironic and increasingly powerless (therefore
> turning into a "celebrity democracy"). In 2016 we were proven right.
> So you could easily regard our comments in this thread as "nothing more
> than football babble", if it was not for the fact that politics still
> controls, deals with and directs trillions of dollars worth in jobs and
> wealth between the world's nations and populations. Your nihilism
> consequently adds nothing to address these complex issues. So what do
> you want to say besides attacking fellow Nettime debaters for the
> apparent fun of it? Or was that all?

   You're right: nihilism would in fact add nothing. And it's tempting to add
   nothing, undoubtedly. However, I'd be much more in favor of reclaiming the
   notion of "pragmatist realism". I'm not against voting, just against what comes
   before and after. Not only in the U.S., elections have become a serious threat
   to democracy, and that's not because people might end up voting for the wrong
   guy, which they did. Trump's presidency must not make us forget the horror of
   2016: the neverending campaign, the indefinite suspension of democratic
   politics in the name of a democratic procedure. At the same time, last
   November, I would have voted for the Democratic candidate (more enthusastically
   than I would have opposed her in the primaries), given that her opponent was
   openly inciting violence against women, African Americans, religious minorities
   and countless others. But of course, I'm not a U.S. citizen, and if I was, I
   wouldn't live in a place where my vote would have made any difference.

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