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<nettime> rejoinder: is a radical project identity achievable?
Alex Foti on Thu, 27 Jul 2006 16:26:44 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> rejoinder: is a radical project identity achievable?

dear net-timers,

i am an activist that doesn't sit well with Lazzarato's description of
her/him (actually you might say I try to embody the negative he
exposes: "the activist is not someone who becomes the brains of the
movement, who sums up its force, anticipates its choices, draws his or
her legitimacy from a capacity to read and interpret the evolution of

Brian Holmes (I'll catch up with your latest in due course;) says
microstructures and swarms are crucial for understanding networked
politics and he was convincing (although the examples cited seem a bit
backward-looking; there seems to be an unrealistic yearning for the
spirit of 1999-2001).

In normal times that kind of decentered, non-strategic politics would
be highly effective against states and corporations. But we don't live
in normal times. We are immersed in a global war between two very
strong ideological identities: neoconservative occidentalism and
islamist fundamentalism (make your own labels; the huntingtonian
substance remains). Many anti-imperialists have acknowledged this
dilemma by siding with hizbullah or hamas as a way of counterbalancing
the west's unbridled military power (not even them side with the
salafis, though). But I assume most of ushere do not want to choose
between camps. We side with the victims in Lebanon and Palestine, and
with the progressive secular forces that are stil left in the region
(free Marwan Barghouti!!!). And we'd welcome an IDF setback in this
callous war venture, but defend the right of Israel to exist etc. etc.

In Castellsian terms (tell me Felix if I got it right), bushist
occidentalism is a legitimizing identity and shia/sunni fundamentalism
is a resistance identity. Castells contrasts these two forms of social
identity (for him, networks and identities are all there is on the
globe) with progressive and transformational project identities, such
as feminism and environemntalism.

My point then is this: what kind of project identity would be needed
to stave off this double threat to the basic welfare of humankind? And
even harder but more crucial, can the inheritors of the
Seattle-Gothenburg-Genoa movement, as well as other radical and
progressive forces, achieve it?

I think this is the core issue western(ized), secular radicals have to
face today, if they don't want to become politically irrelevant, while
the two fierce enemies of tolerance burn every possible ground for
global democracy.

ciao, lx

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