Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Demographic drivers

In his very well known blog entry " Twenty reasons why it's kicking
off everywhere"
which you sent me a while ago, Mason lists the very first driver of
current global resistance movements as follows:

"1. At the heart if it all is a new sociological type: the graduate
with no future"

he continues that:

"11.To amplify: I can't find the quote but one of the historians of
the French Revolution of 1789 wrote that it was not the product of
poor people but of poor lawyers. You can have political/economic
setups that disappoint the poor for generations - but if lawyers,
teachers and doctors are sitting in their garrets freezing and
starving you get revolution. Now, in their garrets, they have a laptop
and broadband connection."

In this context is it a fait accompli that it is capitalism that has
produced this condition of failure. Could it rather be driven by
demographic factors?
If you look in most post-industrialised western countries their ageing
populations look like this


could it be that what is driving the lack of opportunity among
educated youth is rather the fact that baby boomers are hanging on to
top jobs beyond the traditional retirement age of say 65 and this
causes a certain bottleneck of oppurtunity being felt by the educated
youth today?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Americans and the state

Following the line of thinking in "The Art of Not Being Governed",
could we make the case that the USA is, and perhaps has always been in
principle, a stateless society?

We continually see this pathological fear of the state in america;
there is a suspicion of taxes to the extent that people would starve
the government entirely out of existence if they could. There is also
the will to annihilate all sense of public commons and to privatise
all things, even to the extent of having gated communities with their
own police forces. Then there is stateless communities in fact, such
as rural settlements such as some amish and mormon communities and
also the ozarks.

Could it be that some parts of the USA all along have really resisted
statehood to the extent that this antagonism is what is being played
out now? Are using the terms of libertarianism and maverick capitalism
actually misplaced?

Great art is always prescient

"Following the news coverage of his interview gaffe, Cain cancelled a meeting with New Hampshire's largest newspaper, Union Leader, less than an hour before the scheduled interview on November 17th. Additionally, at a rally in Nashua, New Hampshire, he addressed the situation by saying no official can know all the details about every situation across the globe and that America needs "a leader, not a reader. Several sites including Buzzfeed, Uproxx, Mediaite and Business Insider noted that this phrase was eerily similar to one spoken by the President in The Simpsons Movie: "I was elected to lead, not to read."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The limits of Zizek's radicalism


I think this is pretty good and it diagnoses something I've thought for a while, that there is a limit to how far radical European intellectuals like Zizek and Adam Curtis can go, and its boundaries are delineated by their ties to 20th century European history and their fundamental belief in 'politics' as such. Zizek is at odds with the idea of a completely decentralized, non-ideological way of looking at the world as the basis for new progressive forms of social organization emerging out of the various youth revolutions and protests. There's something, and I cant put my finger on it, which accounts for the affinities between the adamant silence and refusal to make demands at the center of the violence at the heart of the London riots and the Occupy movement as well as the refusal for the movements to coalesce around leaders. I think it has something to do with the ostensibly democratic systems out of which these two events have emerged where having agendas and demands are associated with a paralyzing and ultimately corrupt party politics which have consistently failed them but also the ability of various forces in these systems to co-opt revolutionary talking points.