jstenner + politics   1521

Taibbi: Censorship Does Not End Well – Rolling Stone
For more than half a century, we had an effective, if slow, litigation-based remedy for speech violations. The standards laid out in cases like New York Times v. Sullivan were designed to protect legitimate reporting while directly remunerating people harmed by bad speech. Sooner or later, people like Alex Jones would always crash under crippling settlements. Meanwhile, young reporters learned to steer clear of libel and defamation. Knowing exactly what we could and could not get away with empowered us to do our jobs, confident that the law had our backs.

If the line of defense had not been a judge and jury but a giant transnational corporation working with the state, journalists taking on banks or tech companies or the wrong politicians would have been playing intellectual Russian roulette. In my own career, I’d have thought twice before taking on a company like Goldman Sachs. Any reporter would.

Now the line is gone. Depending on the platform, one can be banned for “glorifying violence,” “sowing division,” “hateful conduct” or even “low quality,” with those terms defined by nameless, unaccountable executives, working with God Knows Whom.
politics  censorship  security  social_media 
3 days ago by jstenner
Mistaken Identity - Verso
A powerful challenge to the way we understand the politics of race and the history of anti-racist struggle

Whether class or race is the more important factor in modern politics is a question right at the heart of recent history’s most contentious debates. Among groups who should readily find common ground, there is little agreement. To escape this deadlock, Asad Haider turns to the rich legacies of the black freedom struggle. Drawing on the words and deeds of black revolutionary theorists, he argues that identity politics is not synonymous with anti-racism, but instead amounts to the neutralization of its movements. It marks a retreat from the crucial passage of identity to solidarity, and from individual recognition to the collective struggle against an oppressive social structure.

Weaving together autobiographical reflection, historical analysis, theoretical exegesis, and protest reportage, Mistaken Identity is a passionate call for a new practice of politics beyond colorblind chauvinism and “the ideology of race.”
identity  politics 
5 days ago by jstenner
Jordan Peterson’s Bullshit
Peterson’s writings are a hodgepodge of Christian existentialism, Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal, and E. O. Wilson. But the main philosophical issue is his Nietzschean conception of power. Only a strong will, exercising itself against a contingent and meaningless world — and against the weak — can ever hope to flourish.

Peterson’s philosophy reflects the brutal nature of capitalism’s irrational demand that we sacrifice human beings for profit, which he transforms into a call for individuals to sacrifice themselves for something transcendent and holy. In other words, Peterson tries to Latinize the bourgeois kitsch with mediocre calls of self-actualization. But the self is not actualized: it is told to kill or be killed in capitalism’s endless competition.

Ironically, Peterson’s critique of postmodernism is itself very postmodern. His description of postmodernism as a new form of “dialectical materialism” that exercises totalitarian thought control not only echoes Cold War polemics against Marxism but also certain tendencies within French postmodernism. These accounts, such as Lyotard’s, accuse the Enlightenment, Hegelian dialectics, and Marx of constructing “metanarratives” on top of an irreducibly complex reality. Peterson shares the French post-structuralists’ fear that reason lends itself to a logic of domination. Indeed, Peterson recapitulates Heidegger’s own influential rejection of the “Cartesian Self” as the launch of a new stage of civilizational nihilism.
politics  psychology  pop  alt-right 
11 days ago by jstenner
Three Variations on Trump: Chaos, Europe, and Fake News - The Philosophical Salon
We can now see what those who bemoan the “death of truth” really deplore: the disintegration of one big Story more or less accepted by the majority, a story, which used to bring ideological stability to a society. The secret of those who curse “historicist relativism” is that they miss the safe situation where one big Truth (even if it was a big Lie) provided basic “cognitive mapping” to all. In short, it is those who deplore the “death of truth” that are the true and most radical agents of this death: their motto is the one attributed to Goethe, “besser Unrecht als Unordnung,” better injustice than disorder, better one big Lie than the reality of a mixture of lies and truths. One thing is clear: there is no return to the old ideological hegemony. The only way to return to Truth is to reconstruct it from a new cognitive interest in universal emancipation.
zizek  politics  fake_news  international 
15 days ago by jstenner
The Neolithic, Capitalism, and Communism
The problem is not technology or nature. The problem is how to organise societies at a global scale.

Today we need neither a return to primitivism, or fear of the "ravages" the advent of technology might bring. Nor is there any use in morbid fascination for the science-fiction of all-conquering robots. The urgent task we face is the methodical search for a way out of the Neolithic order. This latter has lasted for millennia, valuing only competition and hierarchy and tolerating the poverty of billions of human beings. It must be surpassed at all cost. Except, that is, the cost of the high-tech wars so well known to the Neolithic age, in the lineage of the wars of 1914-1918 and 1939-1945, with their tens of millions of dead. And this time it could be a lot more.

The problem is not technology, or nature. The problem is how to organise societies at a global scale. We need to posit that a non-Neolithic way of organising society is possible. This means no private ownership of that which ought to be held in common, namely the production of all the necessities of human life. It means no inherited power or concentration of wealth. No separate state to protect oligarchies. No hierarchical division of labour. No nations, and no closed and hostile identities. A collective organisation of everything that is in the collective interest.

All this has a name, indeed a fine one: communism. Capitalism is but the final phase of the restrictions that the Neolithic form of society has imposed on human life. It is the final stage of the Neolithic. Humanity, that fine animal, must make one last push to break out of a condition in which 5,000 years of inventions served a handful of people. For almost two centuries — since Marx, anyway — we have known that we have to begin the new age. An age of technologies incredible for all of us, of tasks distributed equally among all of us, of the sharing of everything, and education that affirms the genius of all. May this new communism everywhere and on every question stand up against the morbid survival of capitalism. This capitalism, this seeming "modernity," represents a Neolithic world that has in fact been going on for five millennia. And that means that it is old — far too old.
badiou  politics  neoliberalism  capitalism  communism 
16 days ago by jstenner
A Neoliberal Nightmare at OZY Fest 2018 – Rolling Stone
“There are some tech experts in Silicon Valley whom I have met who say that maybe what they will do this time is really disrupt the actual election,” she continued. “We are still very vulnerable.” Her repeating leitmotif of a solution: “The best way to deal with them is to vote in November.” Perhaps starting to wrap their minds around the catch-22 presented, the cheering women began to slouch.

“There’s nothing you can do about any of this, so all you can do is stay hydrated,” summarized Christman, taking a sip of electrolyte water. Give in, children. Let the cleansing waters of techno-vation pull you under as they hydrate your fucking lungs.
politics  election  neoliberalism  clinton 
23 days ago by jstenner
Opinion | Liberal Blind Spots Are Hiding the Truth About ‘Trump Country’ - The New York Times
Populism on the left. Today, “populism” is often used interchangeably with “far right.” But the American left is experiencing a populist boom. According to its national director, Democratic Socialists of America nearly quadrupled in size from 2016 to 2017 — and saw its biggest one-day boost the day after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s recent primary upset. Progressive congressional candidates with working-class backgrounds and platforms have major support heading into the midterms here in Kansas, including the white civil rights attorney James Thompson, who grew up in poverty, and Sharice Davids, a Native American lawyer who would be the first openly lesbian representative from Kansas.

To find a more accurate vision of these United States, we must resist pat narratives about any group — including the working class on whom our current political situation is most often pinned. The greatest con of 2016 was not persuading a white laborer to vote for a nasty billionaire with soft hands. Rather, it was persuading a watchdog press to cast every working-class American in the same mold. The resulting national conversation, which seeks to rename my home “Trump Country,” elevates a white supremacist agenda by undermining resistance and solidarity where it is most urgent and brave.
politics  class  race  economics  neoliberalism  Trump 
27 days ago by jstenner
It’s not wage rises that are a problem for the economy – it’s the lack of them | Thomas Frank | Opinion | The Guardian
This is the central story of the last four decades, the vast social engineering project to which all our recent presidents and both parties have contributed. Next to this stupendous transformation, all the culture wars and flag-fights and stupid tweets fade into insignificance.
economy  economics  employment  labour  politics  neoliberalism  thomas_frank 
4 weeks ago by jstenner
America in Populist Times: An Interview With Chantal Mouffe | The Nation
I do still think that the culture of the left in the United States is somewhat averse to populism because we are averse to universalist politics. The dominant political framework on the left is intersectionality, and a particular stand of intersectional discourse has often led the left into particularism and difference rather than universalism. Solidarity among the working class has always been fraught due to the persistence of racism.

Yes, this is also a major problem. But I do not like the term “universalism.” I prefer the term “establishing a collective will.” This is about how we think about different people coming together for common cause and aspirations. Do we have the right tools and language to think about this project?

I am not talking about abandoning particular forms of struggle. But when we talk about collective will, we will inevitably create some contradictions. That is politics. The chain of equivalence is about mobilizing people together through their different struggles—we call this a convergence of struggles. And creating a bond between those struggles in a way that recognizes the specificities of different struggles but also fiercely recognizing the commonalities and solidarities among the various struggles.

In the United States this is a very big problem to confront. There is a tendency in recent years in the American left toward a particular form of identity politics that doesn’t imagine itself as the powerful collective. We must recognize that there is a specificity to the feminist struggle or black struggle. Their form of domination is specific. We can’t say all of this is a product of capitalism and all we need is socialism.

In Europe, the opposite tendency is very strong. People on the left say: “All those struggles are middle class and the main struggle is the class struggle.” It’s good to put this dogma into question.

In the United States, you have the opposite problem. You have too much identity politics and not enough collective struggle. How do you bring these two things together? I discussed this with Iñigo Errejón from Podemos in our latest book, Podemos: In the Name of the People. Politics must be about establishing a collective struggle between a large “us” and a small “them.” This is the whole point. This frontier can be established in a traditional, Marxist way: working class versus the capitalists. But it doesn’t work in the United States because of racism and now will never work in Europe anymore.

We need to establish a frontier in a populist way —the people versus the establishment and the elite. “The people” is a political construction. The task of the left is to construct “a people.” The difference between left and right is that we construct different forms of “the people.” The chain of equivalence is different. Left-wing populism is crucial to bring together all these struggles of identity alongside the working-class issues. Americans won’t confront the system of dominance unless you can answer this crucial question.
politics  populism  mouffe  theory  left 
5 weeks ago by jstenner
Chantal Mouffe: "We urgently need to promote a left-populism" In an interview, Chantal Mouffe explains her conception of left-populism.
Through my contacts with Occupy Wall Street I had the opportunity to write a text for their theoretical review, which is called Tidal. There I spoke out against the idea that all our problems come from a super-rich minority, which we simply have to eliminate in order for the people to be reconciled with itself… I have a bit of a sense of humour, so here I’ll cite Mao Zedong where he reminded us that there are also contradictions within the people itself. The fact that the people is heterogeneous and made up of differences and productive tensions between these differences should lead us to accept these differences, and to accept as pluralist as possible a framework for negotiating conflicts. This is what political liberalism does bring to democracy: democracy means not only the rule of the majority, but also respect for minorities.

Indeed, I start out from the principle that what defines politics is an irreducible dimension of conflictuality, which is inherent to any society. Basically, without that dimension it would suffice simply to rationally arbitrate and administer conflicts, and politics would merge into what we call "governance." But the presence of an antagonism signifies a conflict that can have no rational solution — a conflict which is so impossible to decide on the basis of a rational decision, that it demands that we take sides. Taking sides — and for me, that is what politics is — thus introduces another fundamental element, which is the role of passions and emotions. I emphasise the fact that the construction of a political "us" is realised through the crystallization of emotions. The whole conception of democracy based on the theory of deliberation and communicative rationality ends up wiping that element away. That is why I find Carl Schmitt interesting, when he remarks that liberals claim to be able to talk about politics using a vocabulary borrowed from economics or morality. Fundamentally, liberals are trying to build a political philosophy without politics.

For me, the fact that the subject is divided, the fact that the subject falls prey to ambivalent emotions, and that there are no collective identities that are not the product of identifications, are incontestable gains of psychoanalysis. It is also in this sense that I take an interest — like Gramsci did — in the place of art and culture in the construction of political identities. After all, emotional identifications always result from our inscription in a world of cultural and discursive practices, the books that we read, the films we see, etc. We do not come to the world, and to the political world, without being crafted by all this culture and language. To repeat, this place for emotions and emotional identifications is essential. We are told that the Left should only use rational arguments, and hold itself back from addressing emotions, if it is not to engage in a form of populism and fascism. But you do not fight emotions with ideas, but with emotions stronger than those that you want to displace. And for ideas to have some force, they have to translate into emotions. Obviously I am not against rationality (otherwise I would not write books of theory). But it is important that the Left does not limit itself to a rationalist idea of politics. That is what Podemos has so magnificently understood. Those who do not understand the support that Marine Le Pen has been able to excite in France, or the FPÖ in Austria, are yet to grasp this point.
politics  populism  mouffe  theory  left 
5 weeks ago by jstenner
Don’t the Rich Deserve to Keep Their Money?
Wealth is socially created — redistribution just allows more people to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
politics  economics  socialism 
5 weeks ago by jstenner
Data Suggest That Gentrifying Neighborhoods Powered Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Victory
The lesson, said Chakrabarti, is clear. “Run unapologetically on a bold vision with solutions as radical as the problems our country faces. And then work like hell to make sure everyone hears about it. If your ideas are just too good and you can make sure voters hear them, no amount of money on the other side can defeat you,” he said.
election  ocasio-cortez  politics  change 
6 weeks ago by jstenner
Mexico's 'Bernie Sanders' Wins in a Huge Historic Landslide With Mandate to Reshape the Nation
It’s quite likely that within a year the US intelligence services will be tasked with the job of finding ways to bring him down.
politics  mexico  left 
6 weeks ago by jstenner
What gave Ocasio-Cortez’s platform its power is not just her rhetorical acuity — the fact that she’s frank where others are euphemistic. She’s able to be frank because her ideology is internally consistent and uncompromised by the influence of money — just as others are euphemistic where the truth would upset their donors.

Nor can her popularity be boiled down to the fact of her racial identity and the similarly brown demographics of her district — despite many attempts to do so. Wallace-Wells, for instance, notes early in his article that the 14th District is half Hispanic and only one-fifth white. “Crowley lost because of the changing demographics in his district,” writes Dana Milbank of The Washington Post. That implication is so pervasive that Ocasio-Cortez felt the need to push back, tweeting: “Some folks are saying I won for ‘demographic’ reasons. 1st of all, that’s false. We won w/voters of all kinds.”

And she’s right. The southwestern part of the district (located in northwest Queens) was where Ocasio-Cortez performed best, with 60 to 100 percent of voters choosing her over Crowley, even though that area is only 15 to 40 percent Hispanic.

Hopefully, a more insightful leader will emerge who understands that while demographics are important, identity should be political only insofar as it serves an inclusive, progressive and humanistic ideology.

Ocasio-Cortez put it best: “At the end of the day, I’m a candidate that doesn’t take corporate money, that champions Medicare for all, a federal jobs guarantee, the abolishment of ICE, and a green New Deal. But I approach those issues with the lenses of the community that I live in. And that is not as easy to say as ‘identity politics.'”
socialism  politics  democrats  election  democratic_socialism  ocasio-cortez 
6 weeks ago by jstenner
Rebecca Solnit: Not Caring is a Political Art Form | Literary Hub
And a fifth is to simply ignore the suffering, as we have so often done.  This is done for us by news media that have done almost nothing to inform us about the horrific violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala from which refugees are pouring in with their children as an alternative to being killed. And they have done almost nothing to make us understand how much of that violence issues from our own country, whether it’s our policies that created the political situation in Honduras, our boundless appetite for illicit drugs that funds and fuels Mexico’s cartels and many of the gangs, or the fact that a lot of the gangs are the result of deporting immigrants who came over as children and were corrupted by gangs that arose in the USA.
politics  immigration 
7 weeks ago by jstenner
Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power by Byung-Chul Han – review | Books | The Guardian
Politics too has been transformed in the era of psychopolitics. We’re incapable of conceiving politics as a communal activity because we have become habituated to being consumers rather than citizens. Politicians treat us as consumers to whom they must deliver; we grumble about politics as consumers do about a disappointing product or service. Shock and buyers’ remorse are the only fitting attitudes towards politics conceived as an extension of shopping.
capitalism  politics  neoliberalism  facebook  power_seminar 
7 weeks ago by jstenner
Dismantling the “West” | Current Affairs
The harm in buying into the right’s framing of a venerable and antiquated “Western tradition” goes somewhat beyond being mocked by classicists in academic footnotes. Accepting their terms means accepting, implicitly, that there is a tradition of thought with enough internal coherence that one can decide what falls within it and what doesn’t. This is the premise of those conservatives like former education secretary William Bennett, whose report on higher education declares that “our society is the product and we the inheritors of Western civilization,” and immediately goes on to identify “Western civilization” with “masterworks of English, American, and European literature.” This is a transposition of the Paris Statement into a more intellectual and less geopolitical register, but it sounds all the same notes: a patrimony that belongs to “us” by inheritance; the necessity of maintaining its integrity; the danger that opening it too widely will destroy it; the implicit threat from influences inside it but somehow also foreign. (It’s curious that the right, which so loathes “identity politics,” embraces the most extreme and dangerous forms of identity politics: the civilizational and the national.)
politics  history  westFAILia 
8 weeks ago by jstenner
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