Brian Holmes on Fri, 17 Jul 2020 14:15:14 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> "Consume revolutionary media

On Wed, Jul 15, 2020 at 2:49 PM Molly Hankwitz <>

> Brian,
> I wanted to respond to some of this response you made to Prem and
> others...only because, and forgive me, but the questions you raise
> regarding..."but in what direction? but, for whom?..." in your first post
> made me quiver...mostly because 1) they might undermine the revolutionary
> capacity of the media(s) being created by the BlackLivesMatter movement,
> and 2) because i think you know the answer to these questions already. so
> maybe they are just rhetorical and seem to answer them
> in these passages...

 Well, it isn't rhetorical because I don't know the answer. What I mean is,
governments around the world are making massive investments right now, and
so is "ours" (huh? I mean, Amerikkka's). The question, or at least, one
good question is, will these investments be transformative, and if so, for
whom? Right now they are not transformative at all, the $2 trillion CARES
act that was passed by Trump and the Donner Party (formerly known as the
Republican Party, cf Rush Limbaugh's recent declaration) is just doing what
the Obama admin sadly did, which is to reinforce the financial oligarchy
and the big industrial corporations. But because of all those revolutionary
movements, spanning from Bernie to the Movement for Black Lives, that old
fuddy-duddy Joe Biden is making noises about really transformative
investments, the kind that can create a lot of jobs and not just build,
say, a new electric grid and a bunch of wind turbines (that would reinforce
some existing capital interests and create maybe a few new ones), but also,
invest in all kinds of neighborhood retrofitting, health care, community
solar projects, many things that could both employ people and change the
direction in which society develops. To me this is super important, and I
think the chances for meaningful investment benefitting all kinds of people
who deserve it have just gotten much much higher due to the recent
protests. I guess it must be the same in California, but for sue, here in
Chicago those investments are really being called for, directly in the
speeches you hear in the streets, because so many black and brown
neighborhoods are in such bad shape, there's no jobs, and people are just
killed all the time, there's so many guns in so many young hands and
basically, no alternative for many many people. Still the question is, will
the socially transformative effects really happen? And will the people who
really need it actually benefit, or will it be sucked off by the middle
class? That's what I am asking and I think it's important, because that
freight train is coming down the tracks.

I was talking with our housemate who is helping to run a food distro in
Chicago. He's just trying to get hundreds of people something to eat, but
also wondering if over the middle term there might not actually emerge in
society some kind of legitimate social space where people could do stuff
outside of the competitive economy, real care work in fact. It's a reality
now: could it continue to be a reality a year from now? Ten years from now?
No one knows but it's wonderful to see this going on, and though I and my
companion Claire are actually scared shitless of dying from the coronavirus
and don't go out much, we're pretty happy that our house is being used as a
resource for this work. Could society finally learn to care for the people
who, in the end, are that society? It's another way to ask the question.

I have noticed that people like Mariame Kaba, who did a lot for the
abolitionist movement here, use the term "non-reformist returns" (they
always seem to mention it was André Gorz who invented that term) to
describe what they are trying to get at. Some people call those
"revolutionary reforms" but maybe that's not exact, or maybe it is? Anyway,
the idea is a change in the law that actually affects the system, doesn't
just prop it up, but redirects it.

So that's what I was trying to ask. I hope it's clearer.

Thanks for the webinar links! Thanks a lot! You're totally right, if we
don't listen to the people making the revolution there will not be any
revolution, so the least I can do is listen to stuff like that.

all the best, Brian

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