David Garcia on Fri, 14 Aug 2020 14:30:58 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> notes on cancel culture

The whole world Cancel culture gets an even more sinister twist than usual when put through the filter 
of the title of a recent article by William Davies entitled “Who am I Prepared to Kill? In which he explores aspects
of Nazi Jurist and philosopher Carl Schmitt influential reduction of politics down to the base distinction between
friend and enemy and ultimately realised in the grim question "who am I prepared to kill and who am i prepared to 
die for?”. Some see this distinction as the foundation of populism.

In a podcast (link below) Davies further develops this theme describing a politics that is worse than simple 
‘factionalism’ which he characterises in terms of extreme forms of cultural identification where existential identification becomes
the very foundation of political difference. "And this political difference is expressed through an acting out or performance 
of some prior act of identification”. 

An affective politics of this kind that "precedes debate, precedes argument, precedes speech” In this extreme Schmittian landscape 
cancel culture is the only logical outcome. In this world in which politics has no space left for the epistemic, in place of argument we are 
reduced to the decisionism of picking a side. Not much space left for the careful judgement between rival truth claims. 

Given this reality I am puzzled that the extensive knowledge and work and examples of successful forms of experimental 
inclusive deliberative democracy such as citizens assemblies and sortition has gained such little interest or traction. Why is

Without such formations there is no possibility of a knowledge democracy in which citizens, stake holders and experts deliberate
on the issues of public concern..And all we are left with is a slide towards a Hobbsian war of all against all. Maybe politics like journalism 
now finds itself unable to shake off the old adage ‘if it bleeds it leads’. Is there democratic life beyond the fog of war? 

I am imagining some kind of curatorial landing zone in which Evidential Realists join forces with Dialogical artists of the "social
turn” to forge some kind of transitional bridge to a less toxic public sphere. Any thoughts?

David Garcia 
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