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Re: <nettime> American elections
Merijn on Sun, 9 Nov 2008 22:03:36 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> American elections


Hey Ben, Alex and others,

in this entire discussion on the American elections, I feel I'm missing the
substance. Also from my experience in home town Amsterdam, it's like the
radical left is still stuck on the archaic distinction between revolutionary/
reformist politics.. In the present, with no broad movement to press for
anything close to utopian, it seems much more logical to focus on shifting
the immanent balance of power, which i think Obama's campaign is exactly
aiming at doing. The only other option seems to bet on verelendung.

knowing that the trade unions have played an essential role in the Obama
campaign ("yes we can" is a literal translation of the SEIU Justice for
Janitors campaign "si se puede"), and that in exchange they have brokered
the promise that the Obama government is going to make unionizing more easy
in the US, it looks they are trying to push through the same kind of
structural shift in power paradigm that Reagan did in his years.

Look at this financial times article:
Corporate America gears up for labour battle
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/09b21e5c-ac3e-11dd-bf71-000077b07658.html 

And this one, where chief candidate for the Treasury Lawrence Summers, who
we know from the Clinton years to be a moderate neoliberal, now pleads for
more power for organised labour and more government investment in social
services
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/62cfa31e-a528-11dd-b4f5-000077b07658.html

The question, of course, is not whether the U.S. is going to shift to
Keynesian policies. The U.S. government has always been secretly Keynesian,
through it's large investments in the military-industrial complex and zero
tolerance politics, meaning a massive police and prison industry. It's what
sociologist Lo?c Wacquant has called the neoliberal penal state,
reinforcing the right hand of government at the detriment of the left. We
have seen on election night that every area with a large military base is
voting Republican, so no doubt the Republican Keynesianism has created it's
own power base. Imagine the amounts of people that have come through
military service, what an amazing political device the American military
is. I think what the unions and the Obama campaign will be trying to do, is
to undermine and shift that power base to the left, by channeling
investment back to what Wacquant calls the "left hand" of the state. 

Of course, remaining well within the insitutional limits of American
politics, which are quite narrow, and knowing that even these reformist
strategies are likely to fail, i think this is still something to be
cheerful about.

greets,

M  

-------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Sun, 09 Nov 2008 12:00:03 +0100
> Von: nettime-l-request {AT} kein.org
> An: nettime-l {AT} kein.org
> Betreff: nettime-l Digest, Vol 14, Issue 7
 <...>
> Today's Topics:
> 
>    1. the green and the black digest [seymour/byfield x2, hart]
>       (nettime's_charterhouse)
>    2. what's green and black and second digest [yacub, touchon,
>       cubitt, (net)] (nettime's_recount)
>    3. More thoughts on the American election (Wade Tillett)
> 
 <...>

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