Tag: Fragile Movements and Their Politics Cultures

This excellent essay by Jan-Werner Müller in the London Review of Books raises an important issue about the forms of political mobilisation facilitated by social media: Trump has called himself the Hemingway of the 140 characters. He has ‘the best words’. He loves Twitter, he says, because it’s like having one’s own newspaper, but without […]

Reading this section in Brad Stone’s The Upstarts, it occurred to me this faith* displayed by the airbnb founders is an interesting example of what Nick Couldry describes as ‘the myth of us’. From loc 2171: EJ had also raised fundamental questions about the safety of users on its site and Airbnb’s role as an […]

A really disturbing extract from Arlie Hochschild’s new book, Strangers In Their Own Land. On loc 1445 she shares the profile of the “least resistant personality” offered by a consultancy firm in 1984, hired to advise on locating waste-to-energy plants in areas likely to provoke little resistance from the local community: – Longtime residents of small […]

From Riots and Political Protest, by Simon Winlow, Steve Hall, Daniel Briggs and James Treadwell, pg 195: A great deal of contemporary radical politics is dominated by pseudo-activity: activity that covers up a deeper inactivity. Waving placards and moaning about the government are all well and good, but, if no benefit accrues, if policy doesn’t […]

In complete agreement with this. From Riots and Political Protest, by Simon Winlow, Steve Hall, Daniel Briggs and James Treadwell, pg 7: The idea that constantly challenging what are often incautiously deemed to be aspects of cultural hegemony is a political act in itself, insofar as it will clear away ideological obfuscation and allow latent […]

From Rethinking Social Exclusion, by Simon Winlow and Steve Hall, pg 73: Political protests these days are taken not as an indication that something is going wrong and that a significant number of the population are dissatisfied with the nation’s political leadership. Rather, they seem to indicate that a healthy and vibrant democracy is in […]

A really fascinating post on Lenin’s Tomb, saved here because I’ll want to come back to this for a second and probably third reading: One of the most interesting theories of reification came from Gaston Bachelard who, in his Psychoanalysis of Fire, proposed that there sometimes exist “epistemological obstacles” built into the phenomena themselves, which […]

From Inventing the Future, by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, loc 3468: Generic demands to experiment, create and prefigure are commonplace, but concrete proposals are all too often met with a wave of criticism outlining every possible point at which things might go wrong. In light of this dual tendency –for novelty, but against the […]

An absolutely fascinating article from Arlie Hochschild, whose new book on the American right sounds like a must read: Traditional Tea Party supporters wanted to cut both the practice of cutting in line, and government rewards for doing so. Followers of Donald Trump, on the other hand, wanted to keep government benefits and remove shame […]

From Inventing the Future, by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Loc 674-694: Without the central focus of the occupied spaces, the movement dispersed and fragmented. Ultimately, the organisational form of these movements could not overcome the problems of scalability and construct a form of persistent power capable of effectively resisting the inevitable reaction from the […]

From Inventing the Future, by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, loc 85-94: From the alter-globalisation struggles of the late 1990s, through the antiwar and ecological coalitions of the early 2000s, and into the new student uprisings and Occupy movements since 2008, a common pattern emerges: resistance struggles rise rapidly, mobilise increasingly large numbers of people, […]

From Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot. pg 15: The strike is the form of collective action that  1) struggles to set the price of labor power (or the conditions of labor, which is much the same thing: the amount of misery that can be purchased by the pound);  2) features workers appearing in their role […]

From Joshua Clover’s Riot. Strike. Riot pg 2. He argues that the return of the riot reverses a long term trend observed by Charles Tilley, in which the riot had given way to the strike as the foremost tactic in socially available repertoires of contention: As the overdeveloped nations have entered into sustained, if uneven, […]

An interesting analysis from Pity the Billionaire, by Thomas Frank, loc 1746-1759: And so, over the years, the movement came to affect a revolutionary posture toward the state that it might have borrowed from Karl Marx or Jean-Paul Sartre. It imitated the protest culture of the sixties, right down to a feigned reverence for anticommunist […]

From Pity the Billionaire, by Thomas Frank, loc 1380. This is a summary of the populist right’s understanding of the structure of society: America is made up of two classes, roughly speaking, “ordinary people” and “intellectuals.” According to this way of thinking, as we see again and again, either you’re a productive citizen, or you’re […]

I love the phrase ‘rhetorical rapture-race’ used by Thomas Frank to describe the mobilising dynamics of the far-right resurgence in the U.S. From his Pity the Billionaire loc 960: Conspiracy theorists have always been with us. But Glenn Beck brought them into the mainstream. And so began one of the most distinctive features of the […]