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Re: <nettime> what if we were all right but all wrong?
Jaromil on Thu, 29 Oct 2015 18:34:09 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> what if we were all right but all wrong?

On Sun, 30 Aug 2015, Geert Lovink wrote:

> > On 30 Aug 2015, at 12:26 pm, Alex Foti <alex.foti {AT} gmail.com> wrote:
> > 
> > So anarchists, autonomists, ecologists, queers are right in what
> > they say and fight for, but they are also all wrong, because if they
> > don't unite neoliberals and fundamentalists will defeat each one by
> > one. We need a new intellectual synthesis, a new political
> > philoposophy, a new, less intellectual and more popular, way of
> > doing politics.
> Strong analysis, Alex. I agreed up to this last point. Coming from the
> low lands where pragmatism rules, the culture here is deeply
> anti-intellectual. It's main problem is the rejection of debate and
> reflexion, outlawing intellectuals, both from political parties and
> social movement. The source of this is positivism on the one side
> (specially amongst the Greens who detest any form of negativism and
> critique as not constructive and exclude all these voices that are not
> 'reasonable'). So do not forget, in many places, more intellectual
> means more popular because it is inclusive of different voices that
> break the New Age consensus that paralyzes us right now.

I completely disagree with this. Wanted to make my point, then let it
aside, but now reading your refrain in Dorien's interview I'll just get
this out of my chest, for the little I know of the Netherlands and the
much I know of Italy the country also Alex comes from.  In Italy we are
literally engulfed by (critical or not, same) intellectualoids swimming
into academy/politics and unable to get anything done, or even
understood by the masses, completely detached from the actual legwork it
takes to carry on a political campaign or initiative.

Geert, this is clearly not your case so I really advise you to look
deeper into this rather than countering Alex conclusion with your fight
against the Dutch mills.

Let Italy be once again a political laboratory worth observing: even
critical voices who have all the reasons to be there countering the
late-capitalist "positivism" you define become the very enemies of
themselves - at least on the intellectual plane, since the bodies are
usually enriched from exposing their smart-ass critic.  A political
stance that is true to the post-capitalist phase we are approaching
should be there to produce accessible value (knowledge and practice)
rather than ivory-towers of know-it-all that often and gratuitously
cash-in on a all-round critical position which has no other role than
that of advertising the presence of another talking head.

The population is numbed by this dynamic and in the worst case made very
cynical, there is no trust anymore, not even in critical thinking which
is oh-so-right but not followed by practice.  There is simply no trust
because noone is walking the walk, but everyone likes to go around and
criticize, from the sport-bar to the academic palace, the latter being
the place where the privileged can cash in on their refined use of
language and references.

This is ultimately a total disaster for the very critical culture you
care so much about and me too and Alex too. All the space is taken by an
enlarging old-boys camp to the point today I'm not really sure where
Brecht would go sit, perhaps withing the new ranks of a generational
conflict which is unfolding under so many names, last but not least that
of disruptive innovation. The real problem we are facing is that of
succession, whose consequence is also production of sense that is
relevant and nurturing someone more than the intellectualoids
themselves. This is the last stage where capitalism is still winning.

And sorry to say but if you insist in this vision please consider that
the Netherlands (a place I admitedly love for its pragmatism too) is
also a very small context and the context you are trying to defend is
the smallest in this smallness. Defending the petty interest of a
mistreated cast of intellectuals in the land where cultural cuts have hit
pragmatically and dramatically hard won't ever help to understand the
larger analysis Alex is bringing forward.


Denis Roio aka Jaromil   http://Dyne.org think &do tank
  CTO and co-founder      free/open source developer
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