Propaganda on 24 Aug 2000 13:09:31 -0000

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

This debate between the forward and rearguard directions never really got
going at the Fabian Society conference. The gentle globalist Mark Latham was
too readily howled down by old guard. And the elders of the Australian Labor
Party didn't cock an ear to the really critical issues -- resting instead on
worn catch phrases.

McKenzie Wark's argument had a Foucauldian edge to it: forget the confected
theories, the real business is to win power. I was familiar with the
post-critical line, that there is no Archimedean point of resistance left,
but I hadn't imagined what it would sound like in a political context. One
positive effect was to help clarify the missionary heritage of the left.

Coming from the Melbourne liberal tradition, Guy Rundle's evolutionary story
of alienation had much to offer. It seemed to make sense of how the
ex-Premier of the state, Jeff Kennett, could move so easily from champion of
multimedia to crusader for depression. I'm naturally inclined to this
old-fashioned critical distance on power structures, but have real doubts
about its veracity. Perhaps it is so, that the prefabricated consumer
culture is perfectly satisfying for the vast majority of the western world.
Maybe there's no reason now to play the stern doctor, warning the bon-vivant
against over-indulgence.

Maybe it is time to change from the diagnostic attitude to an openly ethical
stance. Like, it is not better for you to produce your own culture, it is
better in the broader scheme of reciprocity between cultures.

Of course, to develop such an ethical argument today is hard work and likely
to make more enemies than friends. But it seems that the power-care
dialectic, as played out in the Wark-Rundle argument, helps force the issue.

Precis Forecasts for Melbourne
Issued at 0505 on Thursday the 24th of August 2000 for today and tonight
Few showers.                             Max 14

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