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<nettime> Digital leftism in a globalised world?
Alexander Bard on Mon, 30 Jan 2017 14:39:14 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Digital leftism in a globalised world?


   Thanks a million for your lengthy and thoughtful response, dear Dan!
   Exactly what I was looking for. Cheers to lucky Madison for having you
   around.
   Well, I have been here at Nettime long enough to see people blame
   "neoliberalism" for the crisis in Greece when in reality those
   neo-liberal bastions the IMF and the World Bank largely sided with
   Greeks (due to Keynesian trends in economics after 2009; the IMF and
   the World Bank are after all only chasing the latest trends the way H&M
   and Zara do in fashion retail, they are not neo-liberal per se,
   bureaucrats have no predetermined ideology besides their own paychecks)
   while what crushed the Greek economy was the unwillingnes of German
   voters to bail out the Greeks (and consequently German and French
   banks).
   So are these German voters neo-liberals? Of course not. They are
   classical Lutheran social conservatives. Possibly even racist ones. But
   not neo-liberals or even any other sort of liberals. Neoliberalism is a
   comfortable demon. But it is to a large extent a non-existent one.
   Especially after 2008-09. I would prefer to see it gone in this forum
   (but that's just me).
   You see, there is a reason why I wrote "The Global Empire" with Jan
   Söderqvist in 2004 which was that "Empire" with all its naivities
   needed a proper both Marxist and Nietzschean response (Hardt and Negri
   wrote a pop book, not a work of philosophy). I still believe this to be
   the case and by now I also have the full support from say Simon
   Critchley and Slavoj Zizek. The Identity Left is dead (or at least
   should be). Jeremy Corbyn has been an even bigger disaster for British
   politics than Brexit ever could be (I personally don't mind a messy
   Brexit for people to realise what such a populist adventure costs). Et
   cetera, et cetera.
   So we need a drastic return to Marx. Blaiming "neoliberalism" again is
   no better than Christians blaming "The Devil" when they should blame
   atheism.
   And as for your excellent response, we also need a return to Freud.
   Because American voters already know all those dirty secrets about
   Trump that you list. And love him for them all. And will love him even
   more for the scandals that you and others try to provoke. Rather
   prepare yourself for a battle between Trump vs Madonna in the 2020
   election, because that is where the social media-heavy United States is
   heading next. To understand this scenario, you need Freud. Why do
   people love to lick the ass if power? Now, mix Freud with Marx and what
   do you get? The Frankfurt School. That is where at least I am today.
   Meanwhile, Picketty's mistake is to think that people (and even more so
   corporations) CAN be taxed in the future. We are all digital-savvy
   enough on this list to see what is really happening: Ethereum will
   release its next generation of memes and software this year, the
   z-cash-driven web browser is just around the corner. National
   currencies may very well be obsolete within a decade. And with it
   nation-state taxation. And with that the last remnants of the classic
   Picketty-driven Left is gone, the hope for a fairer heavy-taxed
   nation-state. Am I a neo-liberal saying this? Am I illusionary? No, of
   course not. I'm just trying to ground The Leftist discourse in reality.
   Any other option is just a Freudian pervserse enjoyrment of our own
   hopeless predicament. And THAT I do not buy. I am not a lazy leftist
   literature professor more concerned with keeping my paycheck than with
   a better fairer future for humanity.
   So where do we go then? My response is to reach for the utopian skies
   and go all the way for a global democracy. Through an enlightened and
   if you say so Maxist spirituality. Syntheism, Alter Ego in the UK, the
   Pirates, all these new phenomena point towards a plurarchic radicality
   that I'm all in favour of. I wish more of it on Nettime too.
   Because otherwise the world will be ruled for the next 100 years by The
   Libertarian Netocracy coming from out of Silicon Valley, the real
   Washington. And do they care about democracy? Of course not. Because
   here we actually have the first new elite in history for some 500 years
   that can afford to ignore democracy completely. Just google Peter Thiel
   and Palantir and there you go. The blue collars of Michigan do not see
   this yet, but we should.
   The Liberatarians do not even need an ideology such as neo-liberalism
   to gain power. They just use their technologies and not only capitalise
   on human relations, they tinderfy them. This is the world of pure
   attentionalism. Isolated human robot-like entities infantilised into a
   world of computer games and thousands of hours of internet porn. With
   bigger class divisions than ever.
   So what is our response? Do you have a heart? Well, then start building
   monasteries. Because this is really the new middle ages. The global
   empire. A plurarchic empire without a head. And if you don't want to
   read my books (es, I hate anything that smacks self-promotion too),
   then check out Critchley's "The Faith of The Faithless" for a start.
   Zizek's "Less Than Nothing" is brilliant too. The Frankfurt School 2.0
   - the digital version, anyone?
   Best intentions
   Alexander Bard

   2017-01-29 23:50 GMT+01:00 Dan S. Wang <danwang {AT} mindspring.com>:

     Alexander, a late reply to your original post and later:

     >>Can we please raise the quality of postings on this forum to at least
     >>slightly above the junior high school level?
     >>Best intentions from Cape Town

     I accept your best intentions. A provocation in a spirit of impatience and
     with a sense of urgency is just what I want now. Thank you. That said, you
     went to a different junior high than I did.
 <...>


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