Verdejost on Sun, 13 Feb 2000 21:23:22 +0100


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Re: Syndicate: Art & the Strategy of Absence against...


Lorenzo wrote:

<< Two years ago Haider declared his deep appreciation of Hitler points of 
view on several themes. >>

This doesn't make him a Nazi.  I could say I appreciate both the design 
quality and the effectiveness (we can still see it hanging from the stadium 
here in Rome once in a while) of NS graphics: that swastika, red, black, 
white, leaning on ancient symbols, punchy bauhaus graphic qualities, 
certainly was grabby and certainly is holding up.  No slouches were they in 
such things, and in spectacle, manipulating the media, etc.  To say so 
doesn't make me a Nazi.

I think Haider's appreciations are a bit different, but still, he's no Nazi, 
and for that matter nobody can be a Nazi these days at least in Europe, since 
the socio-political etc. circumstances that produced an organised state which 
inadvisadly more or less declared war on the world, set up industrialised 
killing camps and other such things just can't happen these days.  Haider is 
not about to do that.

To get to Lorenzo's real point, that matter is to redefine what politics is, 
and along the way to think clearly about what one does or doesn't support, 
why, how, etc.  One of the apparent functions of normal politics is to do 
exactly the opposite: to reduce things to elementary binaries, good/bad; to 
deflect thinking and look for knee-jerk responses from a fixed constituency 
(Italy is a good place to see this in action as Berlusconi and Fini and Bossi 
wrangle with each other on the right, deciding whom should go to bed with 
Emma Bonnino and her dope espousing radical partner, while the left of 
D'Alema veers off toward Blairite 3rd wayism, embracing most capitalist 
tenets while trying to fend off the old hardline Stalinist Bertinotti and 
Italy, poor Italy, sinks deeper into its own shit while the squabbles get the 
headlines).  

The origin of the word "politics" comes from greek, polis, having to do with 
the city, or more generally we might say with clumps of people big enough to 
generate conflicts, problems, etc., and "politics" endeavors to mediate this, 
to, in its honorable sense, solve those conflicts and problems.  A vist to 
Siena provides a nice instruction on the city hall murals where "good 
government" and "bad government" are illustrated in some lovely frescoes.  
Bad government there is shown as decay, war, famine, etc.; good government by 
its opposite.  

In a sound-bite era, hot on the heels of a very heavily ideology-driven 
period of, oh, about 100 to 150 years (capitalism vs commie/socialism) in 
which banners, slogans, fetishised symbols (swastika, hammer and ....; red 
star, U$ etc.) and corresponding slogans were injected to supplant the more 
complicated matter of thinking, it is surely going to be hard to get a foot 
in edgewise.  But, the first thing is to dump these words, LEFT and RIGHT, 
since if you are of the so-called left inclination (socially oriented) the 
very terminology is already loaded and poisoned:  I am sure that it is not 
for nothing that LEFT in latin languages happens to be sinistra, or tightly 
connected to sinister (evil, bad, etc.), and RIGHT is, well, "right" - good, 
correct, etc. (and statistically most people are right-handed).  Good to get 
out from under this linguistic yoke.  Likewise good to get out from this kind 
of binary white/black, right/wrong, good/bad mentality which is way way to 
simple for the complexities of the real world.  

So leave behind this left/right stuff.  Look at the real world with very real 
problems, of which Haider is a small example, though the "problem" which he 
represents is a big one:  under the impress of modern technological and 
economic and political realities there is massive immigration going on, for 
many simple and complex reasons.  But humans don't change so fast, so when 
you put person X from their culture smack in the middle of persons Y in 
theirs, with some economic pressure, some deeply rooted cultural stuff, etc., 
you get not surprisingly people who simple-mindedly choose a Haider who 
appeals to their stress.  Jet-setting intellectuals zipping around on the net 
or in planes may miss the on-the-ground interaction, but it is real.  Haider 
capitalizes on it.  It won't go away by getting rid of him, or chanting No 
Nazis.  Haider is a small time representative of a big time 
sociological/political/economic "problem" which happens to be complex and 
will not be resolved with simple-minded sloganeering.  Period.  

Ok Lorenzo, let's have another pizza.

ciao,

jon
roma




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