File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0108, message 57

Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2001 10:33:58 +0100
Subject: Re: What is Empire about?

Eric all,

In the below I agree with the logic of the local except - usually when we
talk of the local we are referring to the situationist phrase '...Act local,
think global...'



Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:

> You are absolutely right about the egg. Empire is not about models or
> mimesis, the old "map of the territory" routine. It is about production,
> emergence, tranformation, creation.  You can't make an omelet without
> breaking eggs. The book wants to fly even without wings.
> I also agree with you that reading the book is beguiling. You feel like
> you're already there on the barricades, hoisting the black flag.
> Put the book down and you're back in the world again with nothing but
> lame commercials on the tv, the subway, the radio, the buildings,
> everywhere.(even the internet, for Pan's sake!)
> I walk to work humming a soft drink jingle.
> Your comment on wanting to fly before we can swim is appropriate.  It
> reminds me of Lucia Joyce, slightly mad, madly in love with Samuel
> Beckett.
> Carl Jung was brought in to examine her as her medical condition
> worsened.  He supposedly made the following comment. James Joyce was
> swimming. Lucia was drowning.
> That seems to be the question today.  Globalism - do we sink or swim?
> I was reflecting today how much our lives are pervaded by choice and how
> much we are told this is the very hallmark of freedom. However, we lack
> the ability to make the simple meta-choice to refuse the system itself.
> Whatever we choose, it is always capitalism.  (Free to choose, but the
> game is rigged.) If I simply decide to refuse to work, life would become
> very difficult, very soon.
> Capitalism is not something we engage on a take it or leave it basis. It
> pervades us like a polluted ocean.
> So while I agree with you that Empire is simply a moment, and not the
> revolution, I can't agree with you about the politics of the local. For
> one thing, it is already too late. Globalism is a Jackson Pollack
> painting. It has an allover canvas. It is like an intimate spouse in an
> arranged marriage. It is the primordial ocean, the new atmosphere. It
> surrounds us. To live without it is to attempt to live without air.
> Given this omnipresence, doesn't the politics of the local simply become
> another form of privatization?  Isn't the attempt to protect your own
> local area just a way to make it another gated community, one in which
> an elite prospers while the outsiders remain subject to harsher fates.
> In my town we have a local farmer's market with organic produce, while
> down the street the poor are living on dog food.
> I'm sure you are familiar with the slogan - NIMB (not in my backyard).
> This strategy has been used by local groups to distance themselves from
> wastedumps, halfway houses, low-cost housing, etc. in a reactionary
> attempt to keep their communities safe and pure.
> If globalism is the new reality, doesn't the politics of the local
> ultimately become another form of NIMB?  That is the question I want to
> ask you before I go to sleep and dream of shiny consumer products?
> I want the whole world and I want it no matter how hopeless the task may
> seem.
> eric


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