Tagged: populism

Hwylio mewn cyfog

Western democracies have been around for two centuries. There’s no revolutionary force in existence of any sufficient weight, whether progressive or regressive (i.e., today’s gutter populism), to suggests there’s a threat of their demise on the near or distant horizon.

The endless stream of “end of this or that” columns (e.g., the end of liberalism, the end of neoliberalism, the end of the elite, the end of the state, the end of globalization, etc.) is a shopworn brand of political prognostication. It does show, however, the futility of ideology critique in the era of late capitalism and the worldwide culture industry (as per Adorno), whether immanent or transcendental.

The critical question is whether today’s forces of regression (e.g., Brexiteers in the UK, Deplorables in the US) are strong enough to undo all democratic institutions without facing significant resistance from the forces of enlightenment and reason.

Hairless heart

It is difficult to make a natural born buffoon sound even more buffoonish, but Mr Baldwin carries it off in his portrayal of Trump. The bit about Trump confusing a photo of himself with a plate of mashed potatoes is SNL at its Dadaish best.

The French Left was once the top left in the world, laden with intellectual giants (Sartre, de Beauvoir, Foucault, Althusser, etc.), who brought theoretical sophistication and panache to the grubby world of politics. Its apparent demise is shocking.

Italy is in need of a new political Barbarossa.

At least the populist menace was thwarted at the Austrian border.

On reflection

Mr Trump is a failed President even before taking office. He’ll have to answer to the pitchforks and patarini who elected him sooner than later.

His fate depends on what motivated the Deplorables. If they were motivated by the prospect of manufacturing jobs returning in mass numbers to the US, their belief will be shattered. However, if they were motivated by identity politics (i.e., misogyny, xenophobia, and racism), then their faith will be fully rewarded by Trump’s Presidency.

There are pockets of reason and enlightenment strewn over a landscape of inbred cultural backwardness. Radical cosmopolitans must stand up and say no to ignorance and cultural backwardness, whenever and wherever revanchist populism surfaces.

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There are also historical precedents for the Trump-Farage-Le Pen-Petry phenomenon. Cola Di Rienzo, Savonarola, Luther, and Robespierre attempted to channel the anger of “the people” towards various political ends. They lost control (the Peasants’ War of 1524-25, which was crushed with Luther’s help) and lost their lives in the process (Savonarola, Cola, and Robespierre).

Chaconne

Ms Clinton’s emails are like Obama’s birth certificate: something to keep right-wing loons busy.

There’s no evidence that mimicry of the right’s gutter populism will pay off as a tactic for the Democrats. Mr Obama drew people to him emotionally without wallowing in filth.

Who could have guessed this film would cause the twitter outragetariat to go bonkers.

The FSB is creating a new site for Ms Trump.

Own goal

Mayonnaise is a staple of economy of scarcity.

Hip hop is well into middle age. It is an exhausted musical form.

It’s time to disarm police forces in the US as a public safety measure.

Populism, left or right, frequently walks hand in hand with chauvinism and xenophobia. It should not be encouraged.

Class wars are also culture wars. Always have been. Only traditionalist Marxists fail to notice this fact.

Marxist theory is dead. Marxist common sense is revenant.

Problems

There is no “Western” model. Abstract structural processes (l’histoire quasi immobile, la longue durée, and mentalités, in the terms of the Annales School) have engulfed the world and have taken on their own dynamics in particular places. To tie them to their points of origin is to mangle the object of historical analysis. What is potentially broken — or, at best, significantly frayed — is the post-WWII Entente Cordiale (i.e., Bretton Woods and the United Nations) that established a new world economic order and legal order for managing financial crisis and political conflict (respectively). Porous borders (which are imaginary in any case) means regional problems become global problems; because borders cannot be sealed in any permanent way (the pipe dream of all contemporary nativist-populist political tendencies). Backwardness in the form of medieval monotheism or nineteenth-century nationalism is a symptom of the problem, not a solution.

There’s a moon in the sky

The only question is why did the rebels shoot down a civilian plane? Incompetence? Savagery? Both?

Putin’s Lockerbie.

Populism typically takes a conservative and violent turn.

The creation of an EDM club scene is a good way to entice the ironic generation to visit Vegas. The tagline of the Cosmopolitan Hotel (“just the right amount of wrong”) did the trick for me.