Friday, July 12, 2013

The German New Left

A fascinating article at Dissent on the history of the German left and the ghosts of the Nazi past.
All these unresolved anxieties and desperate claims about the all-too-present Nazi past endowed the German student movement with an almost unique fierceness (though the Left in the other defeated Axis countries, Italy and Japan, would also turn to terrorism), and lent it what Kundnani calls its “strange mixture of guilt and moral superiority.” Whereas the French new Left was inspired by the heroism of the Resistance, and the American new Left by the brave dignity of the Civil Rights Movement, the German new Left was haunted by visions of the gas chambers: it believed that the only two alternatives for Germany were, quite literally, the creation of a utopia or the recreation of Auschwitz. Shame, guilt, fury, and fear, rather than pride or hope, were far more common in the communes and classrooms of Berlin than in those of Berkeley or Paris. 
Well worth a full read!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Revolution for One, Please!

From the ever irreverent Baffler comes this gem:
It does often seem that, whenever there is a choice between one option that makes capitalism seem the only possible economic system, and another that would actually make capitalism a more viable economic system, neoliberalism means always choosing the former. The combined result is a relentless campaign against the human imagination. Or, to be more precise: imagination, desire, individual creativity, all those things that were to be liberated in the last great world revolution, were to be contained strictly in the domain of consumerism, or perhaps in the virtual realities of the Internet. In all other realms they were to be strictly banished. We are talking about the murdering of dreams, the imposition of an apparatus of hopelessness, designed to squelch any sense of an alternative future. Yet as a result of putting virtually all their efforts in one political basket, we are left in the bizarre situation of watching the capitalist system crumbling before our very eyes, at just the moment everyone had finally concluded no other system would be possible.
We live in an age when there do not seem to be any viable economic alternatives.  Perhaps this is a good sign?  Like the Battle of the Bulge, a last gasp effort by a morally and economically bankrupt neoliberal order is in process and we just need to hang on while it blows itself up.

I can only hope that we figure out an alternative in time...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Blogging Again?

I've often felt this song is a perfect metaphor for American politics and society...

We are all so Comfortably Numb.  I know I've become comfortably numb over the past two years after our failure to unseat the hyper-ambitious sociopath in the Governor's Mansion, a psychopathic glad-hander if ever there was one.  But wave after wave of regressive, hateful and destructive legislation has pushed me, once again, over the edge.  Time to sharpen the quill and put pen to paper...

Time for Revolution.

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me
Is there anyone home?

Come on
I hear you're feeling down
I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again

I'll need some information first
Just the basic facts
Can you show me where it hurts?

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move
But I can't hear what you're saying

When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like
Two balloons
Now I've got that feeling once again
I can't explain
You would not understand
This is not how I am

I... Have become comfortably numb

Just a little pin prick
There'll be no more aaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick

Can you stand up?
I do believe it's working
That'll keep you going through the show
Come on
It's time to go

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship's smoke on the horizon
You are only coming through in waves
Your lips move
But I can't hear what you're saying

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye

I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I... Have become comfortably numb