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Re: <nettime> Portland Occupation's tactical innovation
Dean, Jodi on Wed, 4 Jan 2012 23:17:27 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Portland Occupation's tactical innovation


Mark,

One of the fundamental mistakes you make is in thinking in terms of individuals and then "the electorate." You don't consider other organizations--which
include corporations, alliances, bureaucracies, communities, states, NGOs, coalitions, classes, interest groups, networks etc.  So you focus on either very 
specific actions (one person "doing something in Washington") and then general electoral politics in a two-party system that favors incumbents.
I don't have in mind anything like a"wizard behind a curtain" but about institutions, systems, and class struggle. Nor does my argument entail an elite 
group with the capacity fully to determine the system through which it exploits workers and appropriates the common product. There
are struggles, conflicts--this is why strategies are necessary.

The growth in the federal budget is linked to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, massive tax cuts, and entitlements. 
Entitlements were the result of working class struggles that emphasized collective responsibility for common resources, benefits, and
burdens. The very idea of government was as a way that people collectively take care of common concerns, secure common interests in employment, 
a basic quality of life, education and the capacity for freedom, and the common defense. As this has broken down in favor of the individualist winner-take-all ideology of "get what 
you can and screw everyone else," we've confronted an ever-growing political crisis. I think it is like the legitimation crisis of the 70s. Then, in part because of
global pressures and in part because of domestic upheavals, the suppositions of Keynesianism broke down and failed to convince any longer. Now the suppositions of
neoliberalism have broken down and there is a struggle over what will come next. The struggle is manifest in multiple ways--including between classes and within classes.
So to say, for example, that capitalists act as a class or that the finance sector acts to secure is in interest does not mean that there is no disagreement within or among
this class/sector.

That a class or a group has a strategy does not mean that they can control the outcomes, its implementation, etc. There are often compromises. There are always unintended consequences.
It's clear that since the 70s there has been a policy and ideological change that has seen the private sector as the site of solutions (rather than problems) and government as a source of
problems. The interesting thing about Americans for Tax Reform is that their ostensible strategy to starve the government to the size that it would drown in the bathtub has accompanied
growth in the budget and in deficits--again, the wars make a difference, but so does the implementation of the strategy in the context of an electoral system that dis-incentivizes the
elected from cutting benefits that their constituencies receive.

The top one percent will continue to look for ways to accumulate more. And, as it looks right now, they will face increasing problems in doing so (although
some have suggested that we might be in a new tech bubble). Having "eaten our stores" (failed to invest adequately in infrastructure, domestic production, a middle
class with sufficient income to consume, the preservation of resources and development of alternative, more sustainable modes of transportation and energy, etc), they
are in a bind. In effect, having pushed a race to the bottom, they've gotten us there and now are looking around and trying to figure out how to get more blood from
us turnips (and this "us" is global as well as domestic).

Elections and national political office are not the sum total of US politics. Supreme Court decisions matter beyond a specific election cycle. Passing laws and implementing
policies exceed any given election--an example here might be Obama's continuation of the militarist policies many linked exclusively to the Bush administration. 

I agree we aren't in Kansas anymore. We are in Detroit, looking for a way to contract and thrive.

Jodi

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From: nettime-l-bounces {AT} mail.kein.org [nettime-l-bounces {AT} mail.kein.org] on behalf of Newmedia {AT} aol.com [Newmedia {AT} aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 1:52 PM
To: nettime-l {AT} kein.org
Subject: Re: <nettime> Portland Occupation's tactical innovation

Jodi:

> This post from Mark Stahlman is the most naive, misinformed,
> self-deceived, and deceptive piece of writing I've ever seen on this list.

Thanks (but you must be new to the list <g>)!
 <...>


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