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Re: <nettime> England leaves Europe
Eric Kluitenberg on Mon, 27 Jun 2016 09:48:34 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> England leaves Europe

Dear Brian, all,

Slowly recovering from the immediate shock of the turmoil across the Canal (writing from Mokum, Holland), the sense of bewilderment by the string of events unfolding is hard to put into words - nettime helps a bit to find, and come to, terms to begin dealing with the situation - something that the plethora of news messages from the main-streamers barely helps with…

I was struck in particular by this early remark of Brian in the discussion - essentially the question bow to reinvent a truly progressive politics and effect it:

> On 24 Jun 2016, at 18:54, Brian Holmes <bhcontinentaldrift {AT} gmail.com> wrote:
> We on the Left have our identity too - the multirace, multigender solidarity of experimentalists. Can we use it to create an ecological developmentalism for divided and desperately inegalitarian societies? We need to look outside the network of urban centralities and see how entire territories could be recreated in a new image. That image cannot simply be the old wild dream of the post-68 era, which was forged in universities and urban cores. Remain was lost by the City. Leaving the narrow pathways of financially directed development is what we must do.
> It's about time, Brian

There’s one thing that almost escapes attention in the preoccupation with Brexit fallout, and that is the results of the elections held in Spain today. It would seem on the basis of what is known so far that the election will produce a nearly identical result to the previous one half a year ago, which was unable to produce a viable (coalition) government for Spain - It would seem then that with an identical result the problem also remains the same, and most likely will result in the formation of a non-viable government coalition that will then fail quite soon and in the meantime be primarily dysfunctional - leading to new (snap) elections, etc…

One might begin to wonder if it is not the failure and slow break-down of electoral politics and representational democracy that we are witnessing (at an now accelerated pace), rather than a reaction to a specific set of political issues? 
(migration, EU bureaucracy, rising national-chauvinism, globalisation blues, austerity, etc..)

The question of how to reimagine and then reconstitute progressive politics, something which I would describe as an act of ‘political design’, might then start to mean that this must be reimagined and reconstituted outside of the arena of representational democracy / electoral politics. That would be a very risky move, as we need to be able to organise collectively to build enough of a countervailing force to global markets that are increasingly organised as oligopolies, and sometimes dominated by monopolistic players flat out.

The British referendum has lead to a complete political meltdown, not just of the governing party (“Where is Boris?”), but also the opposition (open revolt against ‘Gandalf the Grey’), and most likely will lead to the break-up of the kingdom, while at the same time the European project of the formal union is fundamentally called into question, even by its main protagonists (see the initiatives of Germany and France over the weekend), but on top of that Podemos and the alliance with civic networks across the country in Spain is failing to break through on the national level (after previously taking Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and more…).

It is remarkable then, how the Guardian newspaper (admittedly by and large a mouth piece of Labour, a kind of British version of the good old Pravda) is still discussing the ‘future of left politics’ <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/26/the-guardian-view-on-post-brexit-politics-perilous-times-for-progressives> exclusively in terms of how to move forwards with and within the Labour party - nothing else even seems possible to imagine, or is seen to exist, in this ‘guarded’ universe… To me that is truly amazing!

Brian’s call to 'create an ecological developmentalism for divided and desperately inegalitarian societies’ needs to be imagined and constituted then outside of these accustomed political systems, also outside and beyond political edifices such as Podemos and Syriza, who had their part to play but already seem redundant or past their sell-by date right now. I’m not advocating accelerationism here, far from it, but I am calling for a kind of ‘post-governmental’ form of political design.

It seems we cannot expect to get out of the mess within the crumbling walls of our cherished democracies, for all of the reasons highlighted in the discussion so far. I somehow hope this view is wrong, but I fear…


p.s. - there are of course a whole set of building blocks that can be used to start creating Brian’s ecological developmentalism, but that’s the big discussion that’s on non-stop and unending, right now we need to make sense of the current situation and dynamics - we don’t know yet where this is going to end.      

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