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Re: <nettime> When repression is cheaper than redistribution
Keith Hart on Mon, 4 Sep 2017 22:30:30 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> When repression is cheaper than redistribution


Thanks for the interview, Walter. I am a huge fan of Adam Curtis as a documentary, but less impressed by him as a political philosopher. I prefer to get their thoughts on revolution from revolutionaries like Lenin and CLR James. The latter once told me this:

The number of serious political activists like him in a country at any time is probably only in the tens of thousands. They devote their energies to plotting how to turn the world upside down. Most people, however, want to keep onto what they have and this is good thing, he said. Society would be impossible if people like him were running it without that as the predominant impulse. Great events like war, the threat of invasion or revolution are not chosen by the masses, but they have to come to terms with their objective consequences. Often they discover that they have lost what they were trying to keep or could easily lose everything. Then they embrace the necessity of change and the revolution becomes general.

He gave a hypothetical example. You this this guy at the bus stop every morning, buttoned down, does look at or talk to anybody. When the revolution is a reality, you may see him in his shirt sleeves organizing a street committee. This phenomenon has been identified for major wars as the trigger mechanism, a digital before and after scenario that changes life for everyone. Think August and September 1939. Under these circumstances the political activists may find themselves in a job, since they have spent all that time thinking about transformation.

Adam Curtis, in that 5 minutes slot, talks sententiously about people in advance what they would be willing to lose in the context of large-scale change and then concludes that they would only be willing to lose a bit. Of course they would, so would everyone according to James' logic. But sometimes history happens to us in devastating ways and they were have to live in new ways which might include embracing wholesale change. Subjective radicalism is more likely to come after than before the objective event.

Keith
 

remembered this 5min part of an interview with Adam Curtis regarding your question
https://soundcloud.com/chapo-trap-house/episode-65-no-future-feat-adam-curtis-121216#t=45:45

The question is "Do you really want change or do you want just change things a little bit?"
49:50 "you spot real change, when ..."

risk aversion, or the pricetag you might have to pay

walter

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