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Richard Barbrook
Mark Dery
memes


Anti-Statism
part 2

THE LIBERALISM DISCUSSION

MD: I would simply add as a kind of hypertext link to that statement, the term 'liberal' in America means something very different [from the European use of the term. wvw] and I think the boilerplate phrase 'liberal economics' is more usefully phrased for Americans as a 'laissez-faire' Ayn Randian deregulated economics. Not liberalism in the sense of social policies but 'liberal' meaning the least regulated, the least statist intervention.

RB: Simon Martin Lipset says in his book 'American exceptionism': 'all Americans are liberals' it is just that they are either conservative liberals or social liberals. And that is part of the problem in the American debate ; it is completly narrow. And he says quit rightly that there's never been really a conservative party. You know pro church, pro-aristocracy party since the revolution and similarly there's never been a real socialist party, not even in the social democratic sense.

THE COMMODIFICATION OF SOCIAL THEORIES AND THE STATE

MD: When Richard suggested they recapitulate Spencerian social theory it is intresting to know that the Spencerian theory was every bit as popular with the monopoly capitalists of his days as the neo-biological downsized demassified decentralized theories of Kevin Kelly are with corporate managerial theorists as Peter Drucker and Tom Peters, the last one being the author of the book 'Thriving on Chaos' which is a bizarre carnival mirror, kind of funhouse distortion of Deleuze in a very strange way. The disillusion of the body politics in sort of a flesheating viral fashion into a poddle of anomic atomized cellular units protoplasmicly going their own seperate ways on the one hand echoes delirious excesses of Deleuzian theory at its most outermost bounds, and on the other hand the American millitia movement at this moment, which also embraces very much the notion of micro-political resistance. Where have we ever heard that phrase before? Foucault sits upright in his grave and coughs a bloodbubble!

RB: That's the interesting thing there is this link between the new left and the new right which is : anti-statism which actually anti-democracy. Both are against representative democracy. They see the political process as inherently corrupt because it involves compromise, the articulation of interests. The both have the common fantasy of direct democracy. Pure speech actions between people. This is interesting in classical republicanism media freedom was seen as part of participation in the democratic process, it was not the substitute for it. But both the new left and the new right saw the media as a substitute for representative political institutions. Guatarri talks about the community radio stations as the immense permanent meeting of the airways where people engage in direct democracy, bypassing the Italian state. As we know it is a very deeply reactionary idea. Because politics involves being a citizen and that's the reason why I'm an social democrate and not an ultra leftist? You have to accept that we are not we're not just members of supersociety. Both deny this dialectic between membership of civil society and political citizenship.

 
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