After his monumental two volume opus on “Political Order” the theme of “Identity” is a surprise though not a pleasant one. In the introduction Fukuyama ascribes his book to the fact that Trump was elected president and his dislike of this fact is clearly visible in his writing. Not very scientific, although he tries and sometimes succeeds in taking a Neutral Point of View (Wikipedia’s NPOV). In fact one tastes contempt for any “populist opposition” in the USA and EU. In his final chapter “What is to be done”, Fukuyama — not disclosing the fact that this title refers to Lenin’s famous pamphlet — pleads for an overarching nationalism based on “creedal” identity. But this nationalism is so “inclusive” and abstract that it will not appeal to many. Lees verder →
For me, present-day Marxism is exemplified by the most eminent Michael Roberts as a Marxist economist and by the no less eminent Peter Thomas for the philosophical and ideological side of Marxism. To a large extent I can value their contributions to the Marxist analysis, though I have some pressing unanswered questions regarding economics.
Now, analysis is only one side of Marxism and both observe that it’s necessary “to change the world”. And while they update the analysis, this can’t be said for the political, strategic ideas, which still uncritically rests on notions like proletariat, class struggle, revolution and abolishment of the capitalist relation of production. Thus paying no or little attention to the failure of these strategies in the past 150 years and the fundamentally changed composition and position of the working class(es), which makes such strategies even more unlikely to be successful. This, though Thomas’ excellent book on Gramsci points to many issues in these strategies. Lees verder →
Failure: not organizing the anti-establishment.
Let’s not talk about who used the most violence Let’s not talk about left or right. Let’s not talk about the set-up from a Democrat mayor to make shit happen.
Let’s talk about pro or contra establishment. And establishment, that’s the swamp, the universities, Wall Street, (global) Capitalism, the “Mainstream” media. Pro or contra are not necessary aware of their actual role. So Black Live Matters are actually serving the establishment, as do all identity politics-looneys. And though the Nazi’s in Charlottesville seem unaware of this they too are serving those interests. This all points in the same direction: a serious organization of anti-establishment forces is lacking. An organization who can propagate a strategy and could make clear who belongs to the organized opposition and who not. An organization that can deal with Nazi and anti-Semitic “opposition” at the earliest stage, either bringing them to heel or to oust them and even try to get them convicted. The bloggy, loosely knit “alt-right”, tea-party or whatever is too divided and unconscious of political strategy. Maybe they should read Lenin.
The first one to blame for this deplorable(!) situation is Donald Trump and some of his long time advisers, like maybe Steve Bannon. While running for president Trump was able to organize and enthuse ten-thousands of people. This enthusiasm should have been canalized in a serious, permanent organization. Not just for canvassing during the election but as a permanent force that can exercise the necessary pressure in the right direction, and can produce functionaries that can replace Democrat and some Republican functionaries. From the beginning it was obvious that one man with only a few companions can’t drain the swamp. Even if their capacities and insights were far greater then Trump & co.
For a good account on Charlottesville read We’re Being Played
See also: Trump’s lives matter
With the “Google Diversity Memo” controversy it seems like the grab for power from Social Justice Warriors, Diversity Dictators and other snowflakes has arrived at a critical phase. Looking from the other side of the Atlantic I think there is some momentum to start a roll-back. We still have to wait for that in Europe, but on the other hand the situation hasn’t gotten that much out of hand yet, though it’s coming close.
It isn’t hard to see that social science departments and possibly law schools play a big role. Here the “left” has landed after ’68 and was able to oust other points of view, spewing out whole generations of political correct warriors who took over the media, the Democratic Party and subsequently invaded other institutions and companies. This was crowned by the election of Obama as president in 2008. The past years show an attempt to cleanse these departments from the last remnants of rational and realistic thinking about society and culture.
I am not versed in the way the US federal or state government can intervene in the curriculum of social sciences, but I guess some kind of accreditation is necessary. It could be a way to roll back the influence of the loony left to form or reorganize committees to evaluate the “scientific quality” of these departments and pull their accreditation, possibly annulling previously handed out qualifications and effectively closing them down or forcing them to reorganize drastically.
Of course, as with all draining of swamps, the crocodiles won’t go away without a fight and will use their allies in “justice”-departments and courts to hinder. Unfortunately the stalemate in Congress makes proper lawmaking impossible at this moment but putting up the fight is step one to show what is at stake.
If you still need to be informed, I can recommend The Truth About the Google ‘Diversity’ Memo (I hope it is not pulled).
Whether you like it or not Trump will most probably be the next president of the United States. The big question is: what will the elite do with him and what will he do with the elite. There are three possible Trump-lives: Lees verder →
Sunday august 21st Daniel Little (University of Michigan-Dearborn) published The rise of Austrofascism on his blog Understanding Society. A very informative blog on this subject based on Janek Wasserman’s Black Vienna: The Radical Right in the Red City, 1918-1938 (2014). Especially mentioning
“Wasserman emphasizes the importance of ideas and culture within the rise of Austrofascism, and he makes use of Gramsci’s concept of hegemony as a way of understanding the link between philosophy and politics. The pro-fascist right held a dominant role within major Viennese cultural and educational institutions.” Lees verder →
Maybe driven by a lack of subjects, attention or funding or the three of these together, a number of organizations have taken the initiative to organize yet another discussion on free will. I would hope this discussion was finalized by the publication of an interview with Daniel Dennett in “de Volkskrant” in 2012 when he was in Amsterdam on the occasion of his acceptance of the Erasmus prize. He then too participated in a number of symposiums and workshops, even one where there was a noted absence of Swaab and Lamme. From the outset I have been critical of the determinism of Lamme and others. Of course, thanks to my insignificance, to no avail.
In the past years every now and then the subject was again presented in the press, in theme publications or symposiums, without ever coming to a conclusion. The outcome of the “discussion” with the arrogant “scientists” Lamme and Swaab is quite predictable: they will not succumb. Mainly because they and their followers can’t comprehend the reality of an illusion or, better, a concept; however commonplace this is these days.
I know Daniel Dennett is a kind and very patient person who is always prepared to give the same answer another time another way in the hope one finally understands. In this case however I am disappointed he has agreed to participate.
In “Cognitive Capitalism” Yann Boutang tries to show he is a good Marxist fellow, knowing what valorization, surplus value and exploitation means. To understand “cognitive capitalism” he introduces “living labor” that “continues to exist”:
The solution is to split living labor into two, and to assume that — alongside living labor as an expenditure of energy that will be partially consumed and crystallized into new machinery in the following cycle — there is a living labor that continues to exist as a means of production throughout the cycle. In other words, this living labor is not destroyed as an intermediate consumption. It is consumed as bodily energy, certainly, but it also develops as a means of production of living as living labor. It builds itself as a skill, as a know-how resistant to its reduction to pure human capital that can be objectified.
How very strange. I understood that next to labor that went into machines (“dead labor” represented by fixed capital) there always was living labor consumed in the manufacture of goods or services for the consumer, represented by variable capital. So Boutang really proposes a third category: living labor that is not “destroyed” (=consumed) in the goods or services but which continues to be there as a kind of perpetuum mobile “a know-how resistant to its reduction to pure human capital that can be objectified” How very nice! A workforce with built-in resistance! Lees verder →
Almost every week now there are reports of major hacks and other cybercrimes, mostly committed from or by the usual suspicious countries. The hack of the personnel database of the US government, the German parliament, the kaspersky hack to name the most recent. Reports of the inherent unsafety and possible instability of the internet are also quite frequent. On the other hand it turns out that China is quite capable of censoring. So one begins to wonder why the common opinion among experts is that nothing structural can be done about it. Lees verder →
From the excellent exposé on Hannah Arendt by Corey Robin I extract this long citation about a theory on the roots of anti-Semitism (p10):
|There’s an old theory about anti-Semitism that goes something like this: The reason so much of the world hates the Jew is that the Jew asks so much of the world. From Sinai to the soviets, from Moses to Marx, the Jew has sat in judgment, insisting that the world be other, better, than it is, and always for the sake of an ideal so remote—a God who cannot be represented, a utopia that cannot be sketched out—that it requires a hallucinatory zeal to sustain it. The “blackmail of transcendence” is what the literary critic George Steiner calls it: the insistence that the world take a leap into the void in the name of a God who cannot be named.|