McKenzie Wark on 20 Aug 2000 22:29:33 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> The New "Left" - OR why inequality is politicallyuseful

This radio program transcript phil points to is a good summary
of where what i would call the conservative left is at now. 
Much as i respect Guy Rundle of Arena magazine, it really is a 
fundamentally conservative position he adopts in the transcript,
and fleshed out more fully at the conference where we both spoke. 

It makes no sense to talk of left and right any more without
adding at least oner other dimension to the analysis. It could
be conservative / progressive. Some, like Guy, see politics as a 
matter of resisting change. Isee it as tring to get benefits
from change for working people.

Another way to see it would be to overlay the left right distiction
with the American terms communitarian / libertarian. You could
read Guy's position as communitarian in these terms, mine as 
libertarian. For Guy, for the Arena group, and many on the 'left'
community is an absolute good. I don't agree. Community vcan also be 
oppressive and conformist. A left or social libertarian, however,
would not agree with right libertarians that the market is the only
guarrantee of liberty, but would look to a wider range of institutional
means for maintaining the possibility of autonomy and community by

On the right, the tension between communitarian / libertarians is well
understood. On the left, less so. Also not yet understood are the
alliances of convenience between left and right communitarians. The
anti-globalisation demonstrators have often not faced up to the fact that
they are lending support to Buchanan and Le Pen. There's an extraordinary
silence about the economic racism of opposng globalsation from a 1st world

The other corner of the square, the connection between left and right 
libertarianism, recieves much more attention. Personally i'm mre
comfortable making concessions to personal freedom than to communal

In any case, as some of the more farcial outbursts at the Australian Labor
Party conference showed, its hard to have a civilised debate on these

The concept of the 'aspirational voter' was coind by Labor machine guru
John Della Bosca, not by me. Kevin appears to give me credit for it that
isn't warranted. Whatever one thinks of his views, 'Della' is a key
figure in the electoral success of the Labor party in the state of NSW. 
In a country where voting is *compulsory*, getting an electoral majority
on the left side of politics is a strange business!


"We no longer have roots, we have aerials."
 -- McKenzie Wark 

On Sat, 19 Aug 2000, Phil Graham wrote:

> This is a useful and interesting story on the "Left", and not only in 
> Australia.
> M. Wark is referred to here after talking at the annual Labor Party 
> Convention ... it'd be lovely to hear his comments on this one:
> "Kevin Murray: Aspiration was the great word yesterday. The aspirational 
> voters. A point raised by McKenzie Wark really, and echoed in some other 
> speakers that Labor has problems with the aspirational voters in the sense 
> that it's seen to be arguing for equity, whereas the majority of the 
> Australian population are looking to improve themselves, not necessarily to 
> be equal, but to be able to gain some of the things that might be abhorrent 
> to a lot of Leftists, like the four-wheel drives, and Pay-TV and kind of 
> consumerist treasures like that."
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