Difference and Politics

The everydayness of politics both brings forth issues of where the domain of politics sits and how such analyses overcome falling into banality as “everything as politics” devolves into inconsequential argumentation. Further, it raises questions of how one escapes or partialises themselves against battles for hegemony. A domain of politics has become increasingly fluid as issues surrounding art, ethics and identity become fodder for culture wars and key determinants for the production of new constituencies. Everything is a game of power in this sense.

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Revolt from Beneath

The ongoing protests from anti-Covid restriction demonstrations to trucker’s protests in Canada, strikes in the UK and farmer’s protests in the Netherlands demonstrate an increasing sense of revolt against the existing economic order, particularly its intensification in the post-Covid era to a technocratic model of governance. However, this doesn’t represent the growth of a holistic movement against capitalism or globalisation, nor even a coherent front for popular mobilisation. Rather, it is the development of fractured pushbacks against distributional decisions.

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Colour Revolutions & the NGO Complex

“Liberalism disembodies the friend-enemy distinction”[1]. The expansionary nature of liberal ideology and its infrastructural power is sublimating. Space is to be extended through, with obstacles removed or absorbed. “Despite its relative physical durability—infrastructure space is often only regarded as a byproduct of more volatile markets and political games”[2]. Space is a liminal element that is mouldable to market dynamics. It is to be homogeneous and parameterised so as to extend ideological contiguity.

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Resistance in the Liberal Empire

In conceiving a liberal empire we are dealing with inherent contradictions. The premise of liberalism is that of spontaneous emergence through the mechanism of an invisible hand (or series of invisible hands) that concatenate various social actors into an array of competitive and cooperative games. “Invisible hand mechanisms of balance, competition, and emergent system-level goods were at the heart of the liberal project”[1]. Through these mechanisms should emerge a social order that both expresses individual autonomy and induces obedience to higher goals related to the general welfare, and thus emerges the contradiction.

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The Office Complex

The office has become the defining workspace in late modernity. While administration and bureaucracy have been ubiquitous features of all forms of economic activity historically, the central position of the office as the coagulating core of such activity has become especially important in post-industrial landscapes and trade hubs that link an interconnected globe. Coagulation is more than just a metaphor here. The distinct feature of the modern economy is the extent of flows and processes that intersect and define socio-economic activity, from workplace relations to governing structures. The office complex acts as a solidifying feature both architecturally – as office space becomes the prime form of urban building and city administrations clamber to create vast expanses of office parks, skyscrapers and glass facades to house business activity – and economically – as commercial real estate is foundational for city taxation and central for employment growth in economies dominated by the service and administrative sectors[1].

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The Logistical State

“Logistics is the beginning of the economy of war, which will then become simply economy, to the point of replacing political economy”[1]. Logistics, the flow of goods, information and wealth beyond the space of the state and the temporality of the human. Constant movement emerging as an autonomous force that recircuits and undermines spatiotemporal institutions. Sovereignty, as the essence of spatiotemporal configuration through territorial contiguity and temporal-institutional solidity, is revolutionised and fractured into these flows. A duality emerges, concatenating in antagonism sovereign power and logistical flow.

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Down the Warpath: The Ukrainian Front

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has precipitated the re-emergence of Western warmongering after the lull of covid and the American disengagement from Afghanistan. A foreign policy establishment has regrouped out of the chaos of the Trump presidency and into the settled situation of the Biden administration, where an entrenchment of liberal imperialism pushed by figures like Victoria Nuland and Anthony Blinken is on the cards. And Ukraine is the perfect theatre through which to push such imperial ambitions, becoming centre-stage for expanding American energy interests and maintaining the encirclement of Russia (and by extension maintaining a foothold in the Eurasian rimlands).

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The Conservatism of the Left

On describing postcapitalism as an emerging ideological proposition attempting to constitute itself as a force, I noted that “whether basing postcapitalism within the world of information flows or within the developments of automation, an assumptive rationality emerges that suggests a unidirectional travel”[1]. Postcapitalism as a pre-constitutive force aims to transcend the dialectic through the peaceful acquisition of power brought forward by production technologies and the new classes they inhere. It is paradoxical in implementing itself through indeterminacy, that being its strength and its weakness as it can both exploit capitalist dynamics but also be exploited (and expropriated) by them. Such exploitability is evident in the direction postcapitalism attempts to cohere a transformational moment (or series of moments), eschewing violent revolution, democratic arbitrage or shadow sectors in government or civil society in favour of a post-political moment of automation, where the forces of the fourth industrial revolution prove beyond the control of capitalist forces, producing societal contradictions in the form of automation-based mass unemployment and goods abundance on such a scale that the cognitive workers that undergird these systems become the modus operandi for transformation.

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Political Liquidation

Oscillations of political power, the expansion and contraction of sovereign and elite control, define the nature of conflict and cycles of politico-economic activity. Elites will always exist as political power is always in grasp so long as dynamics of status and wealth gains and the consolidation of support bases are possible. “The tendency in both the hard and soft managerial regimes has been for managerial forces to pervade all areas of political, economic, social, and intellectual life”[1]. Such consolidation is the hallmark of any elite structure. It must dominate and control so as prevent subversive elements and sub-elites from marking out their own territory and developing their own powerbases. The circulation of elites as Pareto called it is a consistent game of governance and power. Much of modern political thinking has concerned itself with the transformation and supersession of such conditions, forging a revolutionary moment or a balance of power so as to either destroy or nullify elite power structures.

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The Covid Caste Structure

The cultural narrative that the pandemic has birthed has provided new cleavages for the dissemination of social and political actions. While the underlying class structure and the power of an overarching managerial-capitalist elite remain intact, covid has created new vectors for culture war conflicts and an overlying caste structure delineated by educational attainment, one’s position in administrative hierarchies, and one’s views on current cultural battles.

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