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Re: <nettime> scattered thoughts on Obama's green empire and black new d
Olja Petrovic on Mon, 10 Nov 2008 20:25:43 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> scattered thoughts on Obama's green empire and black new deal

Benedict Seymour wrote:

> Are you on drugs? Three decades of free market theology are about to be 
> ramified over the dead and unemployed bodies of black and white working 
> class americans (not to mention whoever else the next round of wars take 
> as their humanitarian aid victims). 

And do you think that if the US election results were different, things
would look better in this regard? I presume and hope you are not one of
those people who think the worse things go the more the society will become
aware of the problem (because the worse things become the worse the media
situation tends to get, at least in my experience, and that doesn't favor
awareness of the facts and problems).

> This sickening, almost 1930s-style explosion of nationalist and racist
> 'euphoria' is bad enough, but seeing the demoradicals of europe
> celebrating it as the beginning of some new new deal (remember the
> original New Deal ends in WW2; You don't get one without the other - and,
> this little detail aside, FDR's policies were as racist and punitive to
> blacks - eg on housing - as Obama's will be) is a grotesque joke.

I won't get into the US politics issues now, since I do not know enough on
the matter, at least not yet. But I do think that if Obama's victory makes
one smile for a moment, it is understandable.  I feel no need to go
"all-or-nothing" on this issue (or in general), nor do I feel like I need
to do an in depth analysis before writing this e-mail (I'll try to get as
informed as possible later on, of course).  Consider, for example, the
Italian situation, where the obstacles on the second generation inhabitants
for obtaining the permit to stay and, later, a citizenship are absurd and
cruel. Very much so.

It is reasonable to hope that the victory of Obama can send a signal, at
least as far as these questions are concerned, and the questions are really
important, socially, politically and personally for the individuals
involved and the others whose paths intertwine with theirs (and that means
all of us, in the end, the whole society, of the country one lives in, and
then of course the influences go even beyond that single country).

Maybe this signal will be sent and received, maybe not, but I think it was
really hard these days not to be a bit more hopeful. Of course, one must be
careful not to be manipulated, but not so careful as to become aggressive
(I did not appreciate the tone of your e-mail) and risk sounding dogmatic.

> Makes me glad not to be european or american but communist when i read 
> this disgusting propaganda for a faltering system. we should be working 
> out how to kick it down, not engineering the next wave of destruction.
> Get a grip.
> Ben

Makes me glad I am neither European nor American nor a communist.

:D Just kidding. I suppose I am of European origin (Europe as in continent,
not as in Union, for now, that is "for now" if origins can be redefined
retrospectively).  And I do continue to live in a European context, which
kind of makes me European, because my point of view tends to be ... well,
"from here".

Kick down what? And what do you mean by kicking down?

Now don't take this personally, I've been wanting to say or write these
things for a while now.

First of all, I think we all need to take a long deep breath here.

We who? Pretty much anyone amongst us, Europeans or not, of whatever
origin, who is trying to live her or his life accordingly to her or his
believes in a more or less active way, whatever is the way they choose,
especially if one is leftist.  I am. (I don't think I'm kicking down
anything, though. Maybe trying to ruin as little as possible and improve as
much as I can in the world I live in. Not kicking down entire systems,
whatever that means, though. Personally.)

A lot of us have started sort of rebelling in adolescence, some later, and
that creates certain patterns in creating groups, methods, dogmas,
dynamics, networks etc. That can be useful and creative, the idealism of it
all, the honesty. But when it comes to the point that one feels it is
enough to choose a side (this "schieramento", choosing sides, thing is very
present in Italy) and (maybe and/or partially) act accordingly, and
defining oneself in contrast to something, a lot of energies get wasted,
and not only.

Then there are the group dynamics, the "how we get our information", the
manipulations, the irrationality, etc., to beware of.

I'm, personally, trying to grow up. Personally and... socially? Would that
be the right word?  I am not saying to you "please do grow up", that would
be rude and presumptuous, of course. But I'm not the only one who must get
used to the idea that the world is not at all simple, and not only think it
but really try to act accordingly.

The world is always in transformation, by default, but it is also very
influenced by inertia. Yes, there are powers and manipulations and
violence, but inertia does exist as well. People are always lagging behind
their time, the actual reality of it.  Institutions are. Groups are.
Opinions are.

When I say people I don't mean just the "bad guys", whoever these are in
your opinion. All of us have our prejudices, fears, and are struggling to
really grasp, in real time, what is surrounding us.

I don't know if this is the case with anyone reading this, but often the
"radicality/ism" becomes sort of a brand or a game, which serves more to
make one feel better about oneself and/or appear better in the eyes of
those around, then anything else.  Most of us have gone through this, in
one way or another, some maybe not necessarily in the political sense (many
people try to exaggerate in something for the feeling of self worth and the
approval of others). It's human, but I think we need to be careful about

Putting it simply, I guess I'm trying to stop judging myself only by my
ideals and aspirations, and the others only by their results or worse yet
only by their errors.

The risk is that, not knowing you well, it may appear that I am judging you
for what you have written, and only that, thus repeating that very error.
So please do not take it personally but as an overall reflection that has
been maturing for some time now. It is mostly just coincidence that I bring
it all up now.  Sorry if it appears to be all aimed at you. It isn't. :)

I also apologize for the length of this e-mail and if I have offended
anyone at all, and thanks to this list for offering me "food for thought"
and the possibility to express my views.  I wish you good continuation of
your info-navigation and communication, and a nice day, greets, Olja


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