File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0110, message 6

Date: Mon, 01 Oct 2001 21:41:57 -0500
Subject: Re: the event


My first prejudice, as you probably know, is against responding thread
to thread.  It gets too convoluted for me.  I'd much rather write an
essay and hope somehow its responds adequately to the points the other
has raised.

I'm going to deal with this post point by point, however, as an

$$I hesitated to respond to this as a European voice, a driftwork
in from the east...

I certainly want to hear other voices right now, European as well as
American. This site is very quiet right now.  That is understandable
with everything that is going on, but I would like to find out more how
others are reacting.  The media seems to have covered everything with
such a thick brush, I'd like to hear what people think and feel about
this more directly, outside my friends in the local neighborhood.  

$$The differend between Bush and Bin-Laden remains drawn out
in the public realm. However there is still no public evidence that Bin 
Laden's terroist gang(s) did the appalling act, perhaps a trial will be 
required to publish the evidence. I await this with interest... 

One of the things this event has taught me is that, perhaps
unconsciously, I've always tended to think of the differend implicitly
in binary terms.  Perhaps, right now, to do justice to the differend, we
need to regard it as a multiple, a rhizomic differend - the US and Bin
Laden, but also the US and counterglobalists, the Bid Laden and the
domestic population in the Mideast, the counterglobalists and the
domestic population in the Mideast etc etc.  the differend is now
becoming a ever widening vortex.

$$ Media hysteria of course - what changes of G8 policy are being 
negotiated at present - none. 

I simply disagree.  The ends perhaps remain the same, perhaps, but the
means differ greatly.  Since George W. Bush became president, as a
right-wing Republican, he has pushed for the doctrine of American
unilateralism.  Although this is now conveniently ignored by the media,
the intellectual foundations of this policy have clearly become

Already the UN debt has been repaid, new alliances in the Mideast are
being sought out and the US is looking for greater solidarity in its
cause from other G8 nations.  Reading this in the terms laid down by
Hardt and Negri, I would argue that this event has forced the US out of
its neo-isolationist mode and much closer towards the paradigm of
Empire.  What may emerge out of this is the attempt of a multi-nation
alliance to establish a tighter global hegemony in the name of fighting

One consequence this has, I would argue, is a negative impact on the
counter-globalist movement.  After gaining momentum, counter-globalists
have now, through no fault of their own, instantly become more suspect.
Conservatives will waste no opportunity in linking them with terrorists
and there needs to be a major effort made simply to recover lost ground.

Steve, do you really believe nothing has changed in the aftermath of
9/11? And that as a result, our position remains the same and is not
more precarious?  (although, not hopeless either!) 

$$ Except that you are reading this as an American event - it is not. 
The days of the Pax-Americana have been over for some time. In these 
days of post-modern globalisation no country can stand alone - the 
attack on america was an attack on globalisation - confusedly 
'Bin-Laden' theorises that the G8 globalisation process is irrelevant 
this is possibly because he hates America on a personal basis. But his 
attack was on globalisation - hence the near global response.

I am trying hard not to read this merely  as an American event, although
here again this event has taught me how difficult it is to think and
feel from a global, postmodern perspective.  

But I think we are talking from different points of view.  As a
American, I know first-hand the mythic innocence of the American people
as this has been childishly spoon-fed to them by a cynical media.  We
are constantly told we are simply the most generous people in the world
and everyone else envies our open society with its freedom and
democracy.  America stands for civilization itself.

My point has been all along that this was simply one of those moments in
the land of Oz when the curtain accidentally falls and the tricks of the
wizard are revealed.  Of course, little time was lost in recuperation
from this hideous revelation.  

Steve, you have no idea how much Susan Sontag has been pilloried over
here for daring to express the truth that things may actually be more
complex than what the media has said. There are military people
appearing on shows like the O'Reilly Factor saying that any disagreement
with the government right now is an act of treason.  

I think that some of us here like Sontag, myself and others are
attempting to discuss this from a global perspective, but we are being
drowned out by the voices of a resurgent nationalism in the media.  What
is ironic about this is that it seems to be occurring at a time when
Washington seems to have abandoned this very policy on pragmatic grounds
and is currently seeking to form new global alliances, as I said above.

(I do not make any claims to have special insights into the mind of Bin

$$ It is also the fear of memory - the dark history of colonialisation 
remains hidden, the memories and histories remain suppressed and are 
scarcely discussed, in the context of this event it seems to have been 
more spoken of in Europe than in the USA which is regrettable.

Yes, I agree with you here and this is partly what I am saying.  There
is this huge disconnect between what America actually does and the
stories it tells itself.  If China is a sleeping giant, that America is
the giant who walks in its sleep.

I guess some of the questions I want to raise right now would be as

1. How do we move away from retaliation and towards a policy of greater
justice globally?

2. How does the counter-globalist movement re-assert itself?

3. Is there a way for progressive people in the so-called first world to
make a greater alliance with progressive people in the so-called third
world to make a movement capable of answering the first two questions in
a positive manner?

4.   Are you having strange dreams at night?  (I know I have been.)

the globe is flying at half-mast from my window,



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