Propaganda on 24 Aug 2000 14:34:36 -0000

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RE: <nettime> The New "Left" - OR why inequality is politicallyuseful

This debate between the forward and rearguard directions never really got
going at the Fabian Society conference. The gentle globalist Mark Latham
was too readily howled down by old guard. And the elders of the Australian
Labor Party didn't cock an ear to the really critical issues -- resting
instead on worn catch phrases. 

McKenzie Wark's argument had a Foucauldian edge to it: forget the
confected theories, the real business is to win power. I was familiar with
the post-critical line, that there is no Archimedean point of resistance
left, but I hadn't imagined what it would sound like in a political
context. One positive effect was to help clarify the missionary heritage
of the left. 

Coming from the Melbourne liberal tradition, Guy Rundle's evolutionary
story of alienation had much to offer. It seemed to make sense of how the
ex-Premier of the state, Jeff Kennett, could move so easily from champion
of multimedia to crusader for depression. I'm naturally inclined to this
old-fashioned critical distance on power structures, but have real doubts
about its veracity. Perhaps it is so, that the prefabricated consumer
culture is perfectly satisfying for the vast majority of the western
world.  Maybe there's no reason now to play the stern doctor, warning the
bon-vivant against over-indulgence. 

Maybe it is time to change from the diagnostic attitude to an openly
ethical stance. Like, it is not better for you to produce your own
culture, it is better in the broader scheme of reciprocity between

Of course, to develop such an ethical argument today is hard work and
likely to make more enemies than friends. But it seems that the power-care
dialectic, as played out in the Wark-Rundle argument, helps force the


Precis Forecasts for Melbourne
Issued at 0505 on Thursday the 24th of August 2000 for today and tonight
Few showers.                             Max 14

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