File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 133

Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 17:44:14 +0000
Subject: Re: gas


I need to think about how to reply to this and will do so more 
coherently later.

However a couple of initial observations.  

Firstly I did not mean to imply that some glorious socialist revolution 
would arrive as a consequence of the existence of the 'mulitude'.

Secondly Globalisation has come into existence as a direct result of the 
domination of neo-liberal economics  (the theory goes that neo-liberal 
economics has led to globalisation)- the reality is that in the early 
21st century it is a fait accompli and to late to change or prevent, the 
Negri and Hardt take on this (which I think is theoretically sound which 
is why I repeat it) is that the success and failures of the left during 
our life times, anti-colonialism, 1968, the anti-vietnam war movements 
forced (capital, the right, development), to rethink and created the 
neo-liberal economic restructuring what was purely nation state 
capitalism into globalisation. The resurgence of the left as evidenced 
by the anti-globalisation movements including Negri and Hardt's 
deleuzian-marxist Empire text, and the possibility of imagining a utopia 
again is returning to the fore as the pro-globalisation forces have run 
into intellectual trouble...

Thirdly I did not mean to imply some vulgar notion of the inevitablity 
of social-revolution. Not only does this seem unlikely but given the 
social and human cost I cannot even imagine this as a good thing.

Fourthly the G20 countries, are all individual capitalist states, not 
only are they part of the ongoing globalising process but they are also 
in competition. Don't imagine that in Europe anything beyond a loose 
confederation of states is possible at the moment...


Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:

>hbone wrote:
>Steve's post (paragraphs excerpted below) put the nation-state vs.
>global "empire" argument in focus. If we collect evidence and highlight
>the differends that distinguish our personal points of view we can,
>hopefully, increase our areas of agreement.
>Hugh, Steve, anyone else?
>The problem I have with Steve's observation is that he makes it sound as
>if Globalism were a fait accompli! He says:
>- as the economic wealth of this group expands and additional states
>enter into this group - the economic center of the planet will become
>diffuse and increasingly challenged by the 'mulititude', by the savages
>within and without. When the old Eastern block countries start joining
>the EC scheduled to start within the next 5 years, including Russia the
>diffusion of economic resource from the USA will become more obvious.
>To me, this sounds like saying that since workers outnumber management,
>they will soon unite and create the glorious socialist revolution. One
>of the reasons this never happened was because the powers that be have
>always found ways to keep various workers divided. Politics has been
>used time and time again to defer the class war.
>My question to Steve is this.  If what you are saying is true, why
>didn't Europe unite ten years ago, with the fall of the Communist bloc?
>One answer I would give is that the US has not merely been passively
>sitting on the sidelines watching events unfold.  Instead it has been
>playing a very activist role in Europe and will continue to do so. In
>the nineties, it did not hold back from even waging war within European
>borders against the will of many leading European states. 
>Even though the other countries have potential power if they unite, this
>will never occur if the US can use its military might and financial,
>economic and political influence to keep them divided and establish its
>own hegemony first. 
>Just as class struggle can be redirected, so can global struggle. It is
>all a matter of politics.
>Such a American led hegemony would wear a global face, of course. I have
>not been arguing against Globalism in that sense at all.  Nor have I
>been arguing that the current conditions are much like those of the
>pre-Vietnam American glory days and the old nationalist cultural
>imperialism of guns and Coca Cola.
>What I am trying to suggest is that the ultimate form that globalism
>takes will be shaped by a struggle over how this is defined. The US has
>not and will not simply practice lassez faire with regard to politics.
>It will not give up its current power (and it is considerable in many
>ways) without a fight.  
>To believe that some form of participatory and democratic globalism will
>simply emerge out of some dialectical version of historical materialism
>because the potential power exists for it to do so seems as naive as the
>view in the early twentieth century that nothing could stop the eventual
>triumph of socialism.
>My thinking may not be as nomadic as yours, but it is much more Kynical.
>I am a global as you are, but I don't think it will merely happen. I am
>simply arguing here that we need to pay attention right now as events
>occur to the US political role in attempting to determine the vectors
>globalism will take.
>The Faustian bargain of military and political protection to wealthy
>elites in exchange for open economic and financial flows will be a
>tempting one to many. Even if these elites are not the multitudes, it is
>not the multitudes alone who have power. 
>The dream of the corporations is that they alone are the true nomads and
>everyone else must stay put, preferably with a cyber-chip identity card.
>Can we agree on this?


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