July 21, 2015 at 5:16 pm (Continental Philosophy, Death, freedom, Heidegger, philosophy, Radical Phenomenology, Spinoza, Temporality)
Tags: death, Epoche: A Journal of the History of Philosophy, freedom, Heidegger, James Luchte, monotheism, philosophy, Radical Phenomenology, Radical Temporalisation of Thought, Spinoza, The Death of God
July 12, 2015 at 6:56 pm (Anti-Austerity, Anti-Austerity UK, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, Conservative Party, Labour Left, Plaid Cymru, SNP, The Green Party, Tories)
Tags: Anti-Austerity UK, democracy, Devolution, English Votes For English Laws, European Referendum, European Union, Family of Nation, fascism, Fox Hunting, Human Rights Act, One Nation Britain, Paralysis, Stagnation, Tories, Tory Government
The Tory Regime – A Government of Paralysis
Nearly two months after the Queen’s Speech, it has become all too clear that the Tory government is already in a state of paralysis. Central precepts of the Queen’s Speech have already been quietly abandoned.
The political earthquake of 2015 reverberated with the rise of multi-party politics in the UK, the decimation of the Labour Party in Scotland, the failure of Austerity Labour to reach disaffected Tories in England and the disillusion of the vast majority of the electorate with status quo politics. This disillusion was given expression in a fragmentation of voting demographics, which, due to the current voting system, was not reflected in the representational pattern in Parliament.
What we have been left with is a Conservative government with a slim majority. Yet, it is not the slim majority (obtained with a rather small percentage of the popular vote), that is the cause of the paralysis of the Tory government. The paralysis lies instead in the internal divisions within the Conservative Party itself.
Already the Tory government is attempting to distract us with international military adventures (of questionable legality) so as to cast the search light of public attention away from itself and its evident failure.
The Human Rights Act, The European Referendum, English Votes For English Laws, Fox Hunting… All face Tory rebellions. If the Tory government cannot unite its own party over central planks of its government agenda, then how is it to unite a “One Nation” Britain – a “one” that has already evolved into a “Family of Nations”, a multi-national state or union, subject to continuous negotiation and development?
With the clear Tory failure, less than two months into its tenure in office, and with the struggle in the Labour party over the direction of its party, it is the broad based progressive Anti-Austerity movement which is filling the void of Tory paralysis.
What is also significant is the unity between the parliamentary anti-austerity bloc and the plethora of anti-austerity activists on the streets and across the social networks. This emergent united Left in the UK has also clearly expressed its solidarity with the European-wide anti-austerity movement, most notably with Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain.
The Left has become a force in its own right in the UK, no longer unquestionably attached either to the Labour Party or to the many out-dated and ineffectual sectarian parties of the past. Indeed, this new Left, composed significantly of trade unionists and organisers, together with students, activists and members of progressive parties, has risen to fill the void created by Tony Blair’s capitulation to Thatcherism and his subsequent ruination of the Labour Party by his government’s continuity with Neo-Liberalism and his active and personal involvement in American-led illegal wars.
The left-wing candidacy of Jeremy Corbyn for Labour Leader, for instance, finds support not only from the rank and file of the Labour Party and the union movement, but also from the resurgent Left in the UK anti-austerity UK movement itself. Yet, this movement remains beyond the control of the Labour Party as it is organised by citizen’s organisations, the Green Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Labour left.
Yet, the root difficulties of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” will never be solved simply by reform of the voting system or an enlightened leader in London. The problem is Constitutional, expressed in the contradiction between Cameron’s notion of a “One Nation” Britain and the competing motif of the “Family of Nations.”
All of the issues upon which the Tories are faltering are, with the exception of fox hunting, intrinsically linked to the devolutionary reality of the United Kingdom – but, it does not seem that there has been competent stewardship over this irreversible constitutional transformation. Indeed, the real problem in effect remains a giant elephant in the room – the historically and technically imperial character of the Westminster parliament, which, in conjunction with the Monarchy and the Church, constitutes the British State in the British Isles.
It could easily be imagined a reasonable process by which a new constitutional order could be negotiated between equal democratic nations. Yet, the conditions for such negotiations must include English devolution – with the caveat, moreover, that with three equal parliaments, the union could be renegotiated to dissolve imperial forms of power – with the elimination or privatisation of the Monarchy, the Abolition of the House of Lords, the dis-establishment of the Anglican Church, and the unification of Ireland. Canada and Australia could maintain the Queen as their head of state – yet, it would perhaps be suggested to them they modernise their constitution towards an elected Head of State.
In other words, the new union of equal states, within a sovereign European Union, would no longer require the current order of the British State as it is no longer fit for purpose in a democratic and multi-cultural state of affairs. Indeed, the British State, with its power base in the City of London, hinders the democratic development of the European Union and its work to become sovereign with regards to the United States. Indeed, the latter, in association with its junior partner, the United Kingdom, have effectively governed the European continent through the IMF, NATO and trade agreements, such as the proposed TTIP.
Britain and the United States have in fact enforced compliance of member states, such as Greece, by military intervention, espionage, and financial control (not to mention cultural imperialism). Europe, which is being spied upon by the United States and Great Britain right at this very moment, must instead declare its own independence and build its own sovereignty and freedom of political, economic and military self-direction.
The Tories, wallowing in their paralysis, are merely a symptom of a deep and radical democratic deficiency in the UK, a problem that the wardens of the state, from whatever London-based and thus non-devolved political party, are loathe to address. How long can we ignore an unprecedented constitutional crisis, one that necessitates, at the very least, a new union as the prerequisite event for the establishment of equality between the Nations?
In light of this impasse (not to mention Cameron’s contemptuous lie to the House of Commons and the peoples of the United Kingdom with respect to his military involvement in Syria – a war crime), a vote of no confidence will mandate a new general election, and provide the people with an opportunity to establish a new progressive government.
June 13, 2015 at 3:55 am (Uncategorized)
Insult to Injury: The Proposed “Wales Bill”
The Necessity of a Multi-Cultural Wales National Movement
Wylit, wylit, Lywelyn, Wylit waed pe gwelit hyn. Ein calon gan estron ŵr, Ein coron gan goncwerwr, A gwerin o ffafrgarwyr Llariaidd eu gwên lle’r oedd gwŷr.
You would cry, you would cry, Llywelyn, You would cry blood if you saw this. Our hearts in the hands of a foreign man, Our crown in the hands of a conqueror, And a peasant-folk of favour givers Meek their smile, where men used to be.
——— Gerallt Lloyd Owen, ‘Fy Ngwlad’ or ‘My Country.’
The offer in the Wales Bill of the powers over the ports, regulation of taxis (not taxes one should note well) and sewage is a provocative and intentional insult to the people of Wales.
Yet, it is certain that Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales, the only viable opposition to the Westminster parties (Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and UKIP) will not be able to be elected into government in a predominately English speaking population as Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales is perceived as a party of Welsh speakers.
We already know moreover that the current Constitutional Arrangement of the United Kingdom is an injustice against the people of Wales, whether the current population wish to acknowledge this fact or not – and irrespective of one’s first language. So, the issue of the independence or at least the homerule of Wales concerns everyone.
Indeed, from the results of the most recent General Election, it would seem that the majority of the population of Wales were afraid to “rock the boat” (having been bribed by the Labour administration to stay the course with such amenities as free health care and the subsidisation of Higher Education) or, become a “little less well behaved” as suggested by Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales.
There also appear to be others who are not only held captive, in a sort of “Stockholm Syndrome”, a malady in which the captive begins to identify, psychoanalytically, with the captor, but are also outright racists. It is ironic that the words of Plaid MP Candidate Mike Parker turned out to be true, and once again, truth is the first casualty as the people living in Wales voted for UKIP in more numbers than Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales itself.
Yet, how can this be? It is clear that the current constitutional arrangements of the “Family of Nations” are woefully dysfunctional and not fit for purpose.
And, how can a “Family of Nations” be at once “One Nation”?
Wales is moreover the second most impoverished country in Europe. Need anyone say more?
Apparently a lot more needs to be said and done as the voters of Wales behave as sleepwalkers un-prepared for the cuts that are immanent. Free health care? Higher Education subsidies? The local post office? The hospital, school, day care facility, hospice?
These are not new questions. The original devolution settlement of Wales was (though historical significant) radically flawed and ineffectual, as was the augmentation of 2011 – mandated by a democratic referendum.
Indeed, without the state-building process of home rule, devolution itself (as we can see with the devolution of Manchester) could be used as a means to break up the welfare state itself – if that is, such interpretations of devolution are not challenged by the people of Wales.
Such blatant inequities are already a clear violation of European Union legislation on Equality in such matters. Yet, no suits are being taken in the European Court of Human Rights for what seems to be an obvious challenge on the grounds of the Human Rights Act and the previously mentioned legislation of equality of regions and nations.
The inequality of Wales has already been enshrined in the European Structural Fund, which was established for the poorest “regions” in the European Union.
Imagine what would happen to Wales if either the Human Rights Act was abolished or Brexit occurs. Wales would cease to exist.
The existential threat to Wales could not be more explicit as is the utter contempt of the current “One Nation” government has toward not only the “National Assembly” of Wales, but also its people. But, the people of Wales seem to either ignore the situation altogether, or if they choose to engage, fail to comprehend the urgent threats to Wales, not only as a Nation, but also as a cultural community and way of life.
Although this threat has been recognised by some, it is at the end of the day the current population which will decide the fate of the nation – and it is to these people who we must speak and build relationships. Indeed, it is the current population and all of its demographic specificity which voted as it did. This is the reality of our current situation as excruciating as it may be.
It is indeed perplexing that, despite the prolonged national humiliation of the Welsh and the very difficult lives of most of the people (not to mention their utter servitude to the tourist economy and external control of land ownership and natural resources) and lack of any control over any important features of their national existence, Wales has not been A LOT LESS well behaved (although in the past, this has been the case).
Yet, from the view of the streets, people seem to have resigned themselves to a mythology of historical cliché and believe the political situation will always be unsatisfactory, one way or the other, and that the best way is to support one’s own tribe, like a rugby or football team.
Hope for a better life has died for many in Wales.
Indeed, perhaps it was unknown to some – but it is hardly possible that anyone in Wales did not notice something different this year – there was a party (it showed up in the “national” Leaders Debates for the General Election 2015), which campaigned for an extra £1.2 Billion in the Welsh budget – parity with Scotland – a demand that had been, before the election, endorsed by Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland.
The question? Why did the people of Wales vote for the status quo instead of seeking to add £1.2 Billion to their own economy? The party which presented this offer to the voters was of course Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales – an extra £1.2 Billion in the economy.
The question again – So why did Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales come in fourth in popular votes in the General Elections, even after UKIP?
Why, for that matter, was the Rally For Welsh Independence, organised by Yes Cymru, only attended by several hundred people? It certainly was not for lack of advertisement.
The comparison with Scotland is a distraction, though, it could be – if the appropriate strategy and tactics are enacted – a vision or model for the future of Wales – though it may have to be achieved by different means than Scotland has employed. Scotland is not the only model available for the cultivation of self-governance in Wales.
No one should be complacent that “things” will simply carry on as they have done.
The situation in Wales, moreover, is radically different than Scotland, in two important respects. On the one hand, Scotland has always been ahead of Wales – for three hundred years at least in terms of its constitutional status and powers. The specific features and qualities of this difference are well known.
On the other hand, the national movement in Wales has become embedded in the labyrinth of the National Assembly – and Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales has achieved significant success in the legislative domain, including measures to protect and augment the Welsh language, something that Scotland cannot boast. The longstanding survival of Cymraeg as a living language is significant and it was a major achievement for proper steps to be taken to preserve and strengthen this cultural and existential life world.
Yet, it is perhaps this achievement – the protection of the Welsh language – which has also created a difficulty for the Wales National movement. It is a common assumption, by many people in Wales, that Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales is a Welsh language party. And, even though it is true that most members and all employees of the party are proficient in Welsh, Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales is merely following the law for public employees of a bi-lingual Nation. They are actually a left of centre party for progressive change.
It is ironic that its work to save the Welsh language has served, it would seem, to alienate or dis-associate a large portion of the electorate. Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales is the only party which, for instance, translates nearly all of its communications on social media into Welsh or English as the case may be – though it is usually from English to Welsh. This mirrors the National Assembly, but it does not mirror the current population of Wales who predominantly speak English. This may not always be the case, but it is the case now.
In fifty years, the situation will perhaps be completely different, if nothing essential changes. (But, that is a big “if”). At that point, nearly all people in Wales will have received training in Welsh, and the percentage of Welsh speakers will have risen dramatically. In a significant manner, the battle for the Welsh language has been won, though nothing is set in stone if hostile parties win at the box office and influence policy on the local, national and multi-national levels. It is legally possible, for example, for the National Assembly of Wales to be abolished.
In this light, if 80% of the population of Wales has English as their first language, then a party that is identified, rightly or wrongly, as one merely of Welsh speakers, could lag in the polls for decades. As we have seen with the vote share of UKIP, it is possible that the National Assembly will remain impotent or face possible abolition for decades.
In this way, it would seem prudent for the Wales National Movement to celebrate its achievements and distinction with regard to the Welsh language, and continue to protect this distinctiveness, but, for the sake of electoral success and philosophical accuracy, realise that a language does not equal a Nation. If that were the case, Scotland would not be a nation as most of the people speak English. Think of Belgium, Switzerland, etc. This is not to downplay the Welsh language movement. Indeed, it has been a resounding success. Yet, we must understand that nation-building requires victories at the ballot box, amidst a nation of voters, 80% of whom currently speak English as their first language.
The Wales National Movement must, as it did in the 1960’s reach out to – and be composed of – multiple communities in a proactive manner for the sake of nation-building and the improvement of the life of the people, irrespective of their particular language or ethnicity.
The danger of course is that in the meantime, while we wait for the bi-lingual Nation to evolve, in a generation or so, it will either struggle for decades or even no longer exist as parties like UKIP – or even the Conservatives – decide that the National Assembly of Wales is too burdensome for their vision of a One Nation Britain.
At the same time, however, it could even be imagined a Wales National Party (WNP) which is predominately English speakers, like the SNP, and the population of Wales, and works to build the Nation of Wales in the context of whatever constitutional arrangement that may exist in the “Union” at that time. Such a movement would of course still support the Welsh language, heritage, history – and the growth of the living Cymraeg language and bi- or even tri-lingualism – but it would not be identified with the Welsh language per se but with the bread and butter issues which matter to the people living now in Wales.
The importance of these issues lies in the fact that Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales is the only party which is seeking the shift the scales of power and wealth with respect to the people of Wales. Yet, not enough of the people are listening since many believe Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales is a party of Welsh speakers, a belief which is not altogether inaccurate, as noted above. Of course such tribalism is irrational and counter-productive but is a fact of life amongst a population which ironically is quite diverse. The truth of the matter is that most people in Wales do not work in the public sector and thus are not required to be proficient in Welsh.
Amongst the current population, there are many voters who will never need to learn Welsh, but are still concerned with the immediate issues of survival, employment, austerity and cuts. But, if the only “viable” opposition to the austerity parties, Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales is not favoured by the electorate, then the people are left without an alternative. In this way, Plaid must focus its message on those issues which concern the people: employment, education, healthcare and social security.
If Plaid Cymru is no longer the only custodian of devolution or even of the Welsh language, as recently suggested by Leanne Wood in her recent speech “What Next For Wales,” then it must open itself up to the demographic and cultural realities of contemporary Wales or expect continued disappointment at the polls. This concerns both the internal culture of the party itself and the resulting perception and communication problems.
In this way, over the next twelve months, the party that is open to all the people and is seen and heard working for the fulfilment of the needs of all the people of Wales will be the party that wins at the ballot box. If Plaid Cymru fails to make a breakthrough in 2016, the Wales National movement will have to, as Adam Price MP recently suggested, think differently for the sake of “real change”.
June 13, 2015 at 1:02 am (Aesthetics, deconstruction, French Revolution, Holderlin, philosophy, Poetry, Revolution, Romanticism, Temporality)
Tags: Adorno, ancient greek philosophy, Benjamin, constructivism, death, deconstruction, Derrida, Foucault, Heidegger, Holderlin, Mortality, Nietzsche, nihilism, philosophy, Poetics, poetry, Romanticism
Mortal Thought will be published in 2016 by Bloomsbury Publishing.
Holderlin and Philosophy
Introduction – Mortal Thought
Mortal Thought seeks to illustrate the historical, artistic and philosophical contexts for Hölderlin’s poetic thought and philosophy and to not only comprehend his thought as such, but also to trace his profound impact upon subsequent philosophy, most notably Nietzsche, the Frankfurt School, Heidegger and Post-structuralism.
A. Holderlin’s World
1. The Unity of Philosophy in Kant
In this opening chapter, I will argue that Kant scholarship, for the most part, has been, since the emergence of Neo-Kantianism at the end of the 19th century, a formal exercise of analysis, dismembering Kant according to the division of labour of theoretical philosophy (ontology), ethics (moral or practical philosophy), and aesthetics. While Kant paid heed to the traditional divisions in philosophy, he considered all the operations of our several faculties of knowledge and thought as acting simultaneously under the auspices of a rational and existential unity. In this light, I will argue that any interpretation of early German romanticism and German idealism – and specifically, any consideration of Hölderlin – must take into view the entirety of the Critical Project.
2. Transcendental Poetics and the Doctrine of Reflection
Beginning with an exploration of reflective judgment, of imagination, understanding and reason in the Critique of Judgement, I will examine the poetic character (the most free of the arts) of aesthetic ideas as indices for different types of reflective judgments, which in this case are those of the beautiful and the sublime. I will trace the emergence of reason, which Kant regards as that which is truly sublime, as an event made possible by the imagination in its own self-suppression of space and time, of the aesthetical forms of mortal existence, in the production of a pure rational conceptuality. The implications of Kant’s doctrine of reflection will be considered in the work of Novalis and Schlegel.
3. Poetics Beyond Reflection: Being and Judgment
In his Urtheil und Seyn, Hölderlin will place into question and transgress the ultimately subjective limits of reflection and the poetics of reflection with his distinction between Being and Judgement, or that between the sense of mortal existence and its tragic thought and the divisions and architectonics of consciousness. For Hölderlin, such a consciousness – as it was with Fichte – is a denial of the true meaning of the sublime, which is the thought of mortality, an idea which emerges as a recognition of the finitude of existence in the midst of a Being which transcends and exceeds our comprehension. Rationality is merely a form of escapism for those without the courage to gaze into the Nothing.
4. Hölderlin and the Tragic Sublime
Holderlin regarded Ancient Greek tragedy as an intellectual intuition of human existence, as the art work that, in its failure to resist the sublimity of Being, discloses the tragic character of our existence. Amidst the tragic absolute, of the One and All, the truth of mortal existence is expressed not only as an indication of our fundamental predicament, but also as a return of the self in such remembrance. It is a remembrance of mortality. Holderlin’s Sophocles will be the focal point.
5. The Poetics of Being and Existence
Mortal thought, in this way, is a tragic poetics of Being and existence, one which seeks to remind those who pretend at ‘infinite thought’ of its own hubris and its mortal character. In this chapter, I will lay out Holderlin’s philosophy as expressed in his essays, and juxtapose his mortal, poetic thought with the mathematical, infinite thought of Badiou.
B. Hölderlin’s Child: Nietzsche
6. Hyperion and The Birth of Tragedy
In this chapter, Holderlin’s Hyperion will be considered together with Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy. The intimacy of Holderlin’s regard for the Greek Independence movement of his and later in Bryon’s time, as well as his attempts to bring the Greeks into Germany through his translations of Sophocles, will be brought into dialogue with Nietzsche’s engagements with academic classics and slightly later with Wagner in the context of his own attempt to contribute to a rebirth of the tragic.
7. Tragic Poetry and the Thread of Ariadne
In this chapter, I will read examples of tragic poetics in Holderlin an7 Nietzsche. For the latter, I will read his Dionysos Dythrambs. For the former, we will consider his translations of Sophocles, and his poems ‘Homecoming’, ‘Mnemosyne’, ‘Patmos’, and ‘Remembrance’. I will disclose through the readings not only the philosophical significance of their respective poetics, but also their orientations within the tragic poetic cosmos.
8. Empedocles and the Death of Zarathustra
In this chapter, I will read two more texts by Holderlin and Nietzsche, The Death of Empedocles by the former, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra, by the latter. I will place emphasis upon the respective deaths of the two protagonists, one, Empedocles, who dies due to his hubris and the double bind of the law, and the other, Zarathustra who dies in innocence (only to open up his eyes again, with the next recurrence). Zarathustra signifies Nietzsche’s departure from the Greeks and from gods to a novel constellation of fate.
C. Hölderlin and Contemporary Thought
9. Hölderlin and the Frankfurt School
In this chapter, I will explore Hölderlin’s influence upon the Frankfurt school, with a focus upon the figures of Walter Benjamin and Theodore Adorno. I will first consider Benajmin’s ‘The Concept of Criticism in Early German Romanticism’ with respect to his interpretation of the doctrine of reflection in Novalis and Schlegel, his clarification of the meaning of ‘criticism’, and his pregnant reference to Holderlin at the end of the essay. I will next turn to Adorno’s ‘Parataxis: on Hölderlin’s Late Poetry’ in which he thematises the use of parataxis in the later poetry of Hölderlin and its relation to the expression of disconnection and disruption – breaks in the continuity of existence. Hölderlin’s critique of consciousness underlines the emphasis placed by Benjamin and Adorno on the cultural reproduction of ideology and power.
10. Heidegger and the Question of Being
In this chapter, I will explore the affinities between Hölderlin’s philosophical innovation in Urteil und Seyn and Heidegger’s re-articulation of the question of Being. Emphasis will be placed upon the isomorphism of Gefuhl and Stimmung, as that which breaks through determinative and reflective consciousness in the event of the tragic sublime, as the breach which allows for the disclosure of Being, which for both, is tragic existence.
11. Heidegger’s Poetic Turn
The implicit relationship of Heidegger and Holderlin becomes explicit with the former’s turn to thought, as the metontology of the topos of finitude. I will consider Heidegger’s work on Holderlin in the context of his distinction between thought and poetic thought, in which poetics is the articulation of the disclosure of the ways and manners of being, as a poetic phenomenology of finite existence, while thought persists in its meditation about Being.
12. The Poetics of Deconstruction
This chapter will explore the influence of the Holderlinian destruction of ‘consciousness’, of science, morality, and taste, upon Poststructuralism with respect to language, power, meaning and identity. I will examine the relationship between the implications of Holderlin’s poetic thought and Derrida’s motif of differance, each of which places consciousness into question, which, as it was for Heidegger, is a word laden with metaphysical baggage, a metaphysics of the worst sort, that of dogmatism, despotism, subjectivism, and logical identity.
13. All in All: The Poetics of Intimacy
With the deconstruction of Cartesian consciousness and the metaphysics of order, the barriers of rational delineation and the pathos of distance of Reason become disoriented in the play of the tragic (or comic) sublime, of mortal existence, in which the hegemony of an order has been placed into question, is challenged and overthrown, displaced. In this case, that which is being displaced is the incarceration of windowless turrets, divisions, the fragmentation of modernist thought. These constructs are cast away disclosing the inescapable intimacy of mortal existence in the openness of Being.
Epilogue: The Revolution of the Mortal
In this Epilogue, I will reflect upon the implications of the intimacy of mortal thought for the planetary existence of human beings. What must be emphasised in this reflection is the utter fragility of human existence, and of the physical eco-systems in which we dwell. In light of the deconstruction of consciousness, of the hegemony of reason, which in this era is Capital and Technology, the emphasis of thought and action must be to dismantle Capital and its political economic control and perversion of technology amidst a radical and equitable reconfiguration of human existence with an emphasis upon openness and mutual aid.
May 20, 2015 at 6:56 pm (Uncategorized)
Give The Left A Chance: Reflections on “The Longest Suicide Note In History” – Labour’s 1983 Manifesto
May 18, 2015 at 10:07 pm (Anti-Austerity, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, Bataille, British Politics, Cameron, Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament, Chomsky, Creativity, deconstruction, Deleuze, Democratic Community)
Tags: Anti-Austerity Movement, Anti-Austerity UK, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, GMO, IMF, Labour Party, Michael Foot, NATO, TTIP, United Kingdom
The poetic cliché that “history repeats itself” has turned into parody and farce in the current leadership selection process in the Labour Party in which various right wing candidates, like brands of dish soap, vie against each other in a boring and meaningless spectacle.
This essay is published in Daily Wales: News for a Sovereign Nation, 19/05/2015
The parody and farce of the situation is manifest – a “Labour” Party in which the leadership selection process involves neither workers nor advocates of workers. The necessity of the intervention by Len McCluskey, a union leader, merely exacerbates the farce. But, no one in our corporate headline media will look at this process outside of the box.
The box is simply placed upon our heads and we are given a fait accompli which is a forced choice between different brands of the same corruption of the Labour Party. But, how many times have we been here before? The Left & the Right, the continuous and methodical divestment from the union movement and ordinary Labour Party members who are given the unenviable position of advocacy for something in which they no longer believe – all choice in politics becomes a forced choice if we do not have representation.
The current government has a mandate, an elective dictatorship for five years based upon 37% of the electoral vote. Very few of us were in any way involved in the selection processes of the leaders and thus our votes are merely a rubber stamping process, the criterion for which is an impressionistic sensibility disseminated by the information industrial complex.
Vague impressions, innuendo, brother stabs brother in the back, sick child, archetypes, corporate control, the manufacturing of control through distraction and superficiality. The problem is that we as humans in post-modern society live in a world of poetic clichés, inside a mythology of ghosts and innuendo. Old Labour, New Labour – clichés, stereotypes, misunderstandings, distortions and lost/missed opportunities.
The Left has never been given a chance, except for the catastrophe of 1983. But, in itself, the loss of Michael Foot means nothing. Should we talk about the interference in Wilson’s Labour government by the United States and the subservience of the United Kingdom to America ever since? Or, is that not allowed, outside of the box, extremist propaganda. But, outside the box is the truth, the perspective to see things as they are.
The Labour programme of 1983 was a courageous document as it was the last time Labour attempted to tell the truth, without any concern about electability. While not a perfect programme – (the position on the EU is questionable in light of the urgent necessity of a declaration of independence of Europe from the United States and its institutions of occupation: the IMF and NATO. Europe can be democratised, de-centralised, etc. if it has sovereignty. This modification moreover is quite compatible with the other so-called radical positions in the platform.) it was a bold statement of the state of affairs as they were and continue to be.
Though “doomed to fail”, due in part to the split with the SDP, the Labour programme of 1983 should not be merely dismissed as “old left” and therefore outside of the box. We need to tear the box apart and see the world as it is.
The Left sought such a transformation of our perspective, first, in the domestic context, in its brief, yet inadequately supported, attempts of worker ownership in the 1970’s and second, in its 1983 statement, which, in the present context, asked a fundamental question about the nature of the UK.
The advocacy of leaving NATO for instance, and to unilaterally disarm, both of these are institutional realities over which we are still fighting today. But, no one questions NATO – Trident has become the symbol of a movement which forgot why it was a movement. Of course, Trident is ethically and economically indefensible, but disarmament, as it was advocated by Tony Benn and Bertrand Russell included a re-orientation of the foreign policy alignment of the UK with respect to the USA.
This is not questioned today, even though it has metamorphosised into opposition to TTIP which has been described as America’s economic, and in effect political, complement to NATO and the IMF. UKIP distracts us with its anti-EU positions when the real threat is not Brussels, but Washington. But, we never hear questions like this, no one talks about it anymore, or at least not that many of us.
The manufacturing of consent outlined by Noam Chomsky has transfigured into a multi-media culture of distraction, addiction, obsession and narcissism. The many who have any inclination to find out about these questions, of European sovereignty, for instance become corralled into various networks, surveillance machines, social media. Technological networking without actual engagement on the streets is merely a complement to the manufacture of consent.
That which is lacking in the Labour Party is not merely the intelligence to know what the most fundamental questions are, but the courage to follow these questions with actions to their most profound logical conclusion. The 1983 Labour programme may perhaps present a series of positions which would make any contemporary party “unelectable”, but such a reality, that the questions cannot even be raised, clearly shows the humiliation of Europe and the United Kingdom to an unquestioned and ever-expanding United States occupation.
May 11, 2015 at 11:43 pm (#ToryRegime, Anti-Austerity, Anti-Austerity UK, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, Deconstructon, Green Party, Left Unity UK, Peoples Assembly, Plaid Cymru, Red Labour, Regime Change, Resistance, SNP, Tory Regime, Truth Event, United Kingdom)
Tags: #ProgressiveAlliance, #ToryRegime, Adorno, Anti-Austerity Movement, Anti-Austerity UK, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, Bataille, Cameron, Coalition Government, dadaism, deconstruction, Deleuze, European Left, Human Rights Act, Iain Duncan Smith, Progressive Alliance, Tory Regime, Truth Event, UK Left
May 11, 2015 at 5:33 am (Anti-Austerity, Banks, Bataille, Censorship, Creativity, Death, deconstruction, Dionysian, Dionysus, European Left, Great Britain, Hellenic Paganism, Joyce, Literature, Poetry, Tabloids, United Kingdom)
Tags: Anti-Austerity UK, Apocalypse, Corruption, dadaism, feminism, Ginsberg, Hugo Ball, Instant Karma, Literature, mayan prophecy, mythopoetics, Novel, Occupy, poetry, Protests, Radical Politics, Rebellion, Russell Brand, State Violence, Supernatural, surrealism, surveillance, United Kingdom
‘From the re-incarnation of a Dadaist Poet fixated on an Edwardian pornographic photo to the end of British Civilisation in an Apocalyptic Earthquake, this novel sprawls across the devastated landscape of the ‘teens of this century. The seedy underworld and the seedy overworld clash in a kaleidoscope of sex and violence leaving only the ‘feral children’ to make their own world from the wreckage.’
—- Robert Gilham
May 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm (Anti-Austerity UK, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, Banks, Creativity, deconstruction, Democracy, Democratic Community, Family of Nations, Progressive Alliance, The Three Graces, UK General Elections 2015)
Tags: #AntiAusterityUKAlliance, #PeacefulRevolution, #ProgressiveAlliance, Anti-Austerity UK, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, Coalition Government, European Left, Hung Parliament, Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennett, Nicola Sturgeon, Peaceful Revolution, Plaid Cymru, Plaid Cymru the Party of Wales, Progressive Alliance, Scottish National Party, SNP, The Green Party, Three Graces, UK Left
May 3, 2015 at 8:48 pm (Aesthetics, Anti-Austerity, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, BBC Leaders Debates, Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament, Coalition Government, Cultural Sustainability, deconstruction, Democratic Community, European Left, Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennett, Nicola Sturgeon, Peaceful Revolution, Plaid Cymru, Plaid Cymru the Party of Wales, Progressive Alliance, Scottish National Party, SNP, The Green Party, UK General Elections 2015)
Tags: Anti-Austerity Movement, Anti-Austerity UK, Anti-Austerity UK Alliance, Coalition Government, Democratic Community, Ed Miliband, Edward Snowden, Equality, Europe, European Left, European Union, Family of Nations, Greece, Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennett, Nicola Sturgeon, Peaceful Revolution, Plaid Cymru, Plaid Cymru the Party of Wales, Progressive Alliance, Rebalancing of Power, rebalancing of wealth, Scottish National Party, SNP, The Green Party, UK General Election 2015
The Three Graces of Politics
Faith, Hope and Charity
By James Luchte
Jonathan Jones reminded us recently through “probably a wildly inappropriate pre-feminist art historical reference”, in his article, “Something new is happening in British politics. This image captures it.” (Guardian, 17 April 2015), of the resemblance of the embrace between the party leaders of Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales and Green Party, Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennett and Nicola Sturgeon, respectively and the Three Graces.
The Three Graces are commonly known as faith, hope and charity, but have the tangible meanings of trust, confidence, and love or solidarity,.a symbolism common to many religions and tendencies of thinking.
Indeed, Jonathan’s suggestion is quite apt, and can demonstrate the importance of humanities (crassly cut out of the Coalition’s Tory budget) in the context of political reality. We already know what Burns, Mary and Percy Shelley, Dickens has taught us, and Camus, Joyce, Ginsberg and Dylan Thomas, as contributors to the ethos of a culture which engages in political economic and social questioning from differing perspectives.
This embrace of three progressive leaders, amidst an era of constant crisis, allows us, by coincidence, it would seem, to remember the Three Graces and their significance to the meaning of the New Politics – one of trust, well-being, and social solidarity.
These Graces, or Virtues, in this light, are politically speaking, the characteristics of a healthy society, with some resemblance to Plato’s own tripartite schema in his Republic, and I will consider each of them in turn.