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<nettime> whole earth or planet america catalogue
allan siegel on Sun, 28 Jul 2013 22:19:16 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> whole earth or planet america catalogue

Dear Nettime listers…

Like so much of 60s counter culture initiatives the Whole Earth Catalogue was soaked up by the various forms of consumer fetishism symptomatic of a highly developed consumerist society; a phenomenon that Herbert Marcuse understood only too well. As a consequence it is easier to replay the the good notes it represented (or embodied) rather than seek out what kernels of both political and practical knowledge lie in its past existence and experience; and here lies one of the unique aspects of advanced (brand America) or late stage capitalism (if one prefers): the centripetal dynamics of American society have successfully defanged those internal political movements that have threatened the global agenda of the American state. This is a Faustian thread that wends its way through all layers of the society and unfortunately has become a paradigmatic tool in the kit of neoliberal statesmen, politicians and plutocrats. The case of the American labour movement is a prime example; Gompers agreed to jettison labour's political weapons (ages ago) and in return American workers would get a bigger piece of the capitalist pie - the formula has worked successfully in other sectors as well… and so it goes; isn't it remarkable that out of all the political movements from the 60's nothing emerged that substantially challenged the dual party dominance of American political discourse? It's the Ellsebergs or Snowdens or Kings that continue to unsettle the system… hmmm. The Tanner film Jonah in the Year 2000 is worth look for those interested in some of the group dynamics from that era (from the French vantage point).


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