Gabriella "Biella" Coleman on Sun, 18 Jun 2017 09:15:08 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: <nettime> Can the Left Meme?

On 2017-06-15 05:16 PM, t byfield wrote:
> Lots of bad bits too. No amount of theory can paper over basic flaws
> in analysis.

Thanks for your points below. But I am just not seeing the connection
between your analysis of left vs right language politics and the basic
flaws in the analysis. Could you elaborate?

Others (Tilman/Florian) have raised historical examples that might
contradict Matt's arguments and I can't speak for Matt (who maybe will
speak up?) but his piece seems concerned with the contemporary moment
not with making an argument about the whole of the historical left
and transgressive imagery. Some of his own work has even looked at
the transgressive practices of the avant garde artistic left. Nagles
book (, which I have
not yet read but am keenly waiting for, traces how the left's recent
obsession with the politics of language purity has helped embolden
certain transgressive strains among conservatives (if I am reading the
reviews corrently), so it's directly relevant to some of the points
Matt makes and the discussion around language.

> Leftoids can "counter-mirror" (IOW, parrot or even ape) rightist
> techniques as much as they want, but it won't work very well because
> the left has a fundamentally different view of the relationship
> between speech and violence. The mainstream left, and even most of the
> radical left at this point, has completely forsworn violence as a
> legitimate political strategy. 

Agree, many, likely most quarters do reject violence but you seem to be
deliberately excluding Antifa, which may not be experiencing a surge of
popularity but they are quite visible now, even featured in the
mainstream news recently thanks to their battles with the Alt-right.
They may not be dominant but they are a long standing radical strain
popular in parts of Europe that have certainly not forsworn violence as
a legitimate political strategy. The literal punching of Nazi's after
all became both a much beloved viral video and flash point to debate
some of the issues you raise around language and violence.


Gabriella Coleman
Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy
Department of Art History & Communication Studies
McGill University
853 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, PQ
H3A 0G5

#  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:
#  archive: contact:
#  @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: