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Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies

  • #2
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,245 mod mzungu


    Jodi Dean (2009) believes the left in America have capitulated to conservatives by playing their game of 'communitive capitalism' which has many facets but once of which is technology.

    She suggests that the US left should refrain from pushing the emancipatory power of the internet, as it serves capitalist interests first and foremost. Once example she gives is of the claim that all voices are equal on the net when it reality it serves to gather 'niche' voices and package and market them for industry to exploit for profit under the guise of social progression. Furthermore she points out that 'tribal communities' that form are too individualised with a self centred approach (identity politics) that wallows in victimhood.

    Dean believes that there has been no coherent response to neo-liberalism by the left in America and instead they have played into the game.

    I think she was onto something when she criticised the internet being celebrated as great tool of democracy. In the 9 years that have followed the release of the book we have seen plenty of high profile examples like Fake News and the Cambridge Analytica scandal that clearly highlight the internet as the greatest surveillance tool in existence, and better yet, the subjects gladly hand over all their information. Coercion is not involved, in fact the subjects are actively seeking this out and paying for the privilege.

    I am not sure about what she means about the US left, though, as it is never explicitly stated. If we are to take it as being the Democrats, is it really surprising? The Democrats and GOP are two parties with capitalism in their DNA. The only difference is that you will get most likely more socially liberal policies from the Democrats. AFAIK there are no parties in America that are anti-capitalist (except fringe groups with little to no support) and this was true nine years ago when she wrote the book. This leaves me wondering where exactly she sees this anti-capitalist push coming from? It seems to me like it has never been there.

    Thoughts?



    Dean, J. (2009) Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics. Duke University Press.


Comments

  • #2


    mzungu wrote: »
    Jodi Dean (2009) believes the left in America have capitulated to conservatives by playing their game of 'communitive capitalism' which has many facets but once of which is technology.
    "Left in America?" Comparatively, how does that relate to the left in Ireland, Germany, France, Sweden? Does left and right mutually exclusive categorizations mislead us to what extent?


  • #2


    The concept of left and right in America was completely obliterated when a

    - Historically left wing candidate was not voted in because voters thought she would act in a right wing manner (conservative and slow to change anything)

    And

    - A historically right wing candidate was voted in because they thought he would act in a left wing manner (bringing jobs back to the lower classes and being more open to change)

    Left and right in America is meaningless to me now.


  • #2


    The left vs right distinction is problematic. It's not universal across nations. Doubt that it's universal across American regions that are culturally and politically different. It's also a dichotomy. Jacques Derrida cautioned about such things. The real world and its participants were more diverse than 2-dimensional in nature.


  • #2


    Fathom wrote: »
    "Left in America?" Comparatively, how does that relate to the left in Ireland, Germany, France, Sweden? Does left and right mutually exclusive categorizations mislead us to what extent?

    To be honest, what would be considered right wing in Ireland (Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael) would be considered ultra left in the USA. Mainly because they would be socially liberal and we still have a welfare state (a great thing IMO) which would not go down to well at all with Conservatives or even more right wing elements of the Democrats. I would not see the vast majority of either FF or FG sitting comfortably as part of the GOP, or vice versa. Hence left and right mean different things in different countries.


  • #2


    CPTM wrote: »
    The concept of left and right in America was completely obliterated when a

    - Historically left wing candidate was not voted in because voters thought she would act in a right wing manner (conservative and slow to change anything)

    And

    - A historically right wing candidate was voted in because they thought he would act in a left wing manner (bringing jobs back to the lower classes and being more open to change)

    Left and right in America is meaningless to me now.

    It was obliterated long before that. As a general rule the only thing that differentiates them would be policy on social issues, when it comes to finance you could barely fit a credit card between them.


  • #2


    Fathom wrote: »
    The left vs right distinction is problematic. It's not universal across nations. Doubt that it's universal across American regions that are culturally and politically different. It's also a dichotomy. Jacques Derrida cautioned about such things. The real world and its participants were more diverse than 2-dimensional in nature.

    Very true, these things means vastly different things depending on where you are from.


  • #2


    mzungu wrote: »
    Very true, these things means vastly different things depending on where you are from.
    Those claiming middle-of-the-road seem to vary greatly on this 2-dimensional poll across regions and countries.


  • #2


    Fathom wrote: »
    Those claiming middle-of-the-road seem to vary greatly on this 2-dimensional poll across regions and countries.

    History and how nations have developed come into it too. In Europe, a welfare state is considered a good thing (and I agree) and easily accessible healthcare os another whereas in America it raises cries of "But, my money?" (resistance to Obamacare etc). I think the Cold War effect still looms large, anything that's brought in to help out the less well off is rounded on like something from a McCarthy-era witch hunt.


  • #2


    American democracy. An oxymoron? Elections a popularity contest. Popularity influenced by campaign ads. Advertising paid for by PACs and super PACs that circumvent campaign finance reform dollar limits. Offices sold to the highest bidder. Those elected influenced by PAC monies, and those that donate most to PACs. If you go against PACs and super PACs, they will finance your competitor in next election. "Money talks, and (politicians) walk."


  • #2


    Fathom wrote: »
    American democracy. An oxymoron? Elections a popularity contest. Popularity influenced by campaign ads. Advertising paid for by PACs and super PACs that circumvent campaign finance reform dollar limits. Offices sold to the highest bidder. Those elected influenced by PAC monies, and those that donate most to PACs. If you go against PACs and super PACs, they will finance your competitor in next election. "Money talks, and (politicians) walk."

    It is a secondary school popularity contest just with older faces. I think the advertising lobby is so strong for both sides they may well cancel each other out. The GOP and Democrats are part of American identity, I would really like a social experiment where they both spend $0 on a presidential election and see where they come! Maybe the Libertarian party would make gains, but nowhere near enough to win. Being in cahoots with business means that favours will need to be returned at some point so the sitting president always needs to lend a helping hand to those that opened their wallets on the campaign trail. It's not right, but every president has been up to their neck in it.


  • #2


    mzungu wrote: »
    It is a secondary school popularity contest just with older faces.
    Agree.


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