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Re: <nettime> Eric X. Li: Democracy Is Not the Answer..
mp on Mon, 16 Jul 2012 03:22:32 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Eric X. Li: Democracy Is Not the Answer..

On 13/07/12 17:36, Flick Harrison wrote:

> MP,
> Instead of just attacking me and democracy, why not say what you
> think about China, the topic at hand?  Are you defending their ruling
> system, or just attacking straw men (i.e. people defending capitalism
> here)?  Do you see democracy and capitalism as inseparable evils?

I don't really have anything to say about China, never been there, but
think it is where iPads come from, and generally I prefer to sweep in
front of my own door, before sweeping in front of others'. I defend no
ruling system - especially if it is based on power over other people -
and as such I attack democracy and capitalism.

No, I do not think that capitalism and democracy are inseperable evils,
rather I understand the two terms as two distinct angles to describe the
same period in European history: one of enclosure, colonialism,
suppression, enforcement of extreme laws of ownership and so on. And one
of fucking people over while, miraculously, successfully, giving them
the idea that they are realising, living, choosing freedom.

> I said the problem in our society is not too much democracy, but too
> little.  How do you interpret that as a defense of capitalsm?

Because although not inseperable in theory, I see the two stories
referring to the same system, history, period.

> How do YOU propose people govern themselves, if not by participation?
> Do you agree with Li that Democracy is not the answer?

I really do not understand democracy as participation, but exclusion
following enslosure. Participation is a nice word, but has long since
been associated with new forms of tyranny, by rather mainstream
management and social scientists. Another bit of empty rhetoric.

> "fascism is a mask that liberals put on whenever the scam of
> democracy is about to unravel."
> That's pure nonsense. Name one important self-described liberal who
> became a fascist.  Even the wild conservative fantasy is closer to
> the truth, that Fascism and Communism are the same thing.  See, it's
> right there in the name, "National Socialism!!!"

Fascist tendencies in the history of democracy appear to be operated all
across the spectrum, at least since 1927. Whatever can be said about
Agamben's pomo musings, his empirical footnote from State of Exception
reveals something relevant here:

( http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/009254.html ):

"Predictably, the expansion of the executive's powers into the
legislative sphere continued after the end of hostilities, and it is
significant that military emergency now ceded its place to economic
emergency (with an implicit assimilation between war and economics). In
January 1924, at a time of serious crisis that threatened the stability
of the franc, the Poincarà government asked for full powers over
financial matters. After a bitter debate, in which the opposition
pointed out that this was tantamount to parliament renouncing its own
constitutional powers, the law was passed on March 22, with a four-month
limit on the government's special powers. Analogous measures were
brought to a vote in 1935 by the Laval government, which issued more
than five hundred decrees "having force of law" in order to avoid the
devaluation of the franc. The opposition from the left, led by LÃon
Blum, strongly opposed this "fascist" practice, but it is significant
that once the Left took power with the Popular Front, it asked
parliament in June 1937 for full powers in order to devalue the franc,
establish exchange control, and impose new taxes. As has been observed,
this meant that the new practice of legislation by executive
[governativo] decree, which had been inaugurated during the war, was by
now a practice accepted by all political sides."

> You seem to be confusing my critique of China with some kind of
> cheering for the Republocratocracy.

Not at all. Your critique was expressly concerned with how the "Chinese
system" was *not* democracy, which was somehow held up as the better
system, even if flawed. I condemn them both.

> I don't think you seem to understand how closely they are allied.
> You argue that the world's ruling classes have a totally unified
> agenda but you think China somehow doesn't fit into that?

I am sure "they" fit very well into this and those running that system
is part of the global elite. I don't think "they" have a *totally*
unified agenda, but that from the perspective of those ruled,
sanctioned, controlled and oppressed there is a lot of reason to see the
agenda from above as pretty unified: against the poor - and as such
rather universal: gred and the rich = good ; the poor to be preyed on.

Stating that one system is bad does not entail that systems of other
kinds are good (or bad or anything else for that matter). The Chinese
system - entirely entwined with the rest of the global economy - only
makes sense - to me - as the owners of large parts of US debt, and as
such they are rather inseperable: two different elite groups that play
the same game.

> If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, what then is the Chinese
> Communist Party?

My enemy?

> Democracy - actual democracy - is the solution to our problems, not
> the cause.

What is actual democracy? Something non-existant? The history of
democracy, when not written by the winners, is one long history of
murder and environmental destruction. Hernando de Soto wants more
democracy, more of that thing, - once we are all kings and queens in our
own little worlds, all shall be well? Keep on pushing through until the
rough edges are smoothened out? Even if I should embrace such a
the-ends-justify-the-means view, there is nothing, except the fake
promises, theoretical moments and illusions, to suggest that the era and
politics of "democracy" is anything but the cause of problems, world-wide.

> What are you struggling for, if not democracy?

Anything else.

> have blamed the problems of the poor on Socialism, but Nazism was
> definitely thrown back on its ass in the most humiliating, painful
> way possible.)

I thought it was brought to the US, by special agents getting the Nazi
scientists out of Germany before it all fell apart - Dr. Strangelove
comes to mind, as a reference to the V2/Apollo programme - as
Chumbawamba sing: "... the fascists lost, but they never went away.."

martin pescador

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