As any astute Marxist knows, the working class has not always been progressive (the example of their support for Brexit and Trump is the latest evidence). Also, this Marxist would know that the mode of production in capitalism does not stand still, but is constantly revolutionised. Consequently, the industrial mode of production (most highly rationalised by Henry Ford and Frederick Taylor) could only be a time limited affair. Moreover, the skills and aptitudes needed for work under these labour conditions would also have a relatively short life span. In other words, industrialism as a mode of production would never last forever; thus the towns which built themselves around a mode of production that would become obsolete are similarly doomed to go the way of weavers and steam powered locomotives.
This process of obsolescence was hastened by the battering down of “all Chinese walls” (Marx): not only were “foreign” markets opened to the mode of capitalist consumption, they were opened to mode of capitalist production (industrial production). If capital follows “cheap labour,” then it was also inevitable that industrial production (manufacturing) would migrate across borders to more hospitable climes for the maximum profit extraction/labour exploitation. The spirit of socialist internationalism, that workers of the world share a common plight and a common struggle, is thwarted by national populist tendencies. The effort to restore Chinese walls in the form of new Hadrian’s Wall against the EU or neo-mercantilist policies (Trump) is anachronistic.
Finally, there’s the issue of climate change. The romanticised vision of industrial production, which runs counter to the satanic mill, The Jungle, and the workhouse of its reality, does not comport well with efforts to curb the degradation of the environment. Here, one can turn to an auto-critique of Marx himself: his Grundrisse is brimming over with anti-ecological statements. In other texts (such as the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844), the great man holds that the essence of the worker is bound up with “his” ability to work on nature, i.e., to destroy nature. The worker’s alienation from nature (both internal and external) is premised on “his” loss of the object of labour in a system of private property; “his” alienation is not premised on the filthy waters, toxic air, and superheated atmosphere that results from “his” labour in industrial capitalism. It is not surprising that the states inspired by Marxist thinking (the old CCCP and DDR, and today’s China) were/are global leaders in pollution, no different from their non-Communist brethren in “the West.”
Looting museums to meet the emotional needs of the present is foolish and dangerous to art. To treat culture as property is philistine.
Nationalists instrumentalise art to embellish their power. Museums are a bulwark against such abuse of art.
National populism is an international menace.
Bernie Sanders will push 80 in 2020 and is damaged goods politically (dismissing southern primaries in 2016). Moreover, he should run as an Independent to avoid the charge of opportunism (i.e., using the Democratic Party when it’s convenient, ditching it when it is not).
Opportunism: After losing the nomination in 2016, Mr Sanders renounced his membership in the Democratic Party and was soon busy raising funds for his revolution on YouTube.
The nineteenth-century bases of industrial capitalism are no longer the leading edge of liquid capitalism (to paraphrase Zygi Bauman). The social disruption caused by AI and the “flexible” labor arrangements of the twenty-first century capitalist economy is not addressed by Trumpist and Sandersite ideas (neo-mercantilist protectionism and “socialization,” respectively), which remain locked in a nineteenth-century perspective of the nation state and labour-capital relations.
Consumers are primarily concerned about quality of service and consumer rights, not ethics and workers rights. The twist is workers are also consumers.
Smart twentieth-century Marxists used Freud’s work. Dumb ones didn’t.
Althusser liked Freud. Zizek is also cathected
Freud’s essay on group psychology explains the craving for the love of a strong leader among the populist masses.
Smart socialists are never motivated by envy. However, the dumb ones are.
There’s no litmus test for holding office other than being elected or appointed. To apply one to “wealth” is undemocratic and discriminatory.
If you like family dictatorships:
Hafez al-Assad 12 March 1971 – 10 June 2000
Bashar al-Assad 17 July 2000-
Putin aims to restore the glory of the Russian Empire. His ideology is neo-imperialism. Externally, he found a useful idiot in Trump, whom he plays like a balalaika. His investment in Brexit appears to be paying off as May and Corbyn unwittingly (or wittingly) do his bidding against the EU. Internally, the economic outlook for Russia remains bleak, as its leading exports — orphans, mail order brides, and political violence — have remained unchanged for at least a decade.
The civilised world will have to come to terms with the Black Hand of Donetsk sooner than later. One observes that what appear to be relatively small slights (see Pussy Riot’s stunts and WADA’s ban of Russian athletes) are more of an affront to his fragile ego than the threat of military reaction. Like Trump, Russia’s Eternal President can be played.
Some people say that Ivanka Trump is complicit. But I think once she’s under oath, she’ll spill the beans. She won’t want to face a perjury charge and wind up in an “Orange Is the New Black” situation.
Sean Spicer works for “President Trump.”
Like Romans on the eve of the Dark Ages, this is the last chance for Britons to experience the cultural achievements of Western civilization. Before Brexit kicks in.
A forward-thinking entrepreneur will create an app for “Brexit brides.”
Along with foraging, scavenging will become a way of life under the twin forces of Brexit and Trump.
Fighting gentrification is like fighting gravity.
From an aesthetic point of view, film has no necessary relationship to reality. The more unreal film is, the better.
Bob Dylan will not attend the Nobel Prize ceremony. Perhaps he has nothing to say.
Mr Assange is releasing the emails as soon as he receives them from the Russians.
People were never lonely before neoliberalism.
One can carbon date the beginning of neoliberalism precisely: the recording of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”
Brexit is the sound of wealth leaving the UK.
The poverty of sovereignty.
Schadenfreude is never wrong.
Re Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week: the fashion industry has always drawn inspiration from the urban street, the rural field, and the courtesan’s boudoir.
Re Jimmy Kimmel at the Emmys: the faux introduction of “Dr Bill Cosby” and the ad lib about Johnny Cochrane were the best bits. Gervaisesque, really.
Re the Labour Party leadership vote: Mr Corbyn is the Stannis Baratheon of Labour. He has a better chance of presiding over the High Table at Hogwarts than becoming Prime Minister.
As a genre, the Western is passé, especially a re-booted Western that lacks irony (“The Magnificent Seven”).
Virtual Brexit (the present state of affairs) is not to be confused with real Brexit (a future state of affairs after Ms Merkel and friends reduce the UK to a giant workhouse).
The Ryder Cup is the perfect sh*storm of commercialised, god-bothering, flag-fluffing, 1%er machismo, wrapped in polyester shirts and dad khakis.
Brexit was a political gambit by Mr Cameron to head off a challenge from the right by UKip/Fearage in the parliamentary election last year. He had to reverse course in a last ditch effort to stave off a disaster that would be an entirely Tory manufactured own goal. Now he’s out of a job.
Plebiscitary democracy has an ignoble history. Brexit is the latest chapter in that history.
Plebiscites are notoriously poor vehicles for democratic decision making and one doesn’t even have to resort to Godwinian references to find examples:
California’s Proposition 13 (1978)
California’s Proposition 209 (1996)
California’s Proposition 8 (2008)
The lot of the working class would still be miserable post-Brexit. Then who would they blame?
The problem for the poor is that the elite wind up winning anyway, no matter what the outcome is/was.
A Truth and Reconciliation Tribunal might be necessary given the extreme propaganda of the Brexiteers.
Once Scotland and Northern Ireland leave, it will be Tiny England.
Brexit remorse has already overcome the leading Leavetariat.
Nicola Sturgeon is the big winner. The fact that she’ll parlay Brexit into a second Scottish referendum makes her the most savvy politician in the UK.
The silver lining for Labour is that Mr Corbyn’s incompetent performance makes him more cullable than ever.