Despair & Utopia (was Re: "Post-Modernism")

Mr P.A. Van Heusden pvanheus at
Mon Nov 8 08:59:50 PST 1999

On Mon, 8 Nov 1999, Doug Henwood wrote:

> Mr P.A. Van Heusden wrote:
> >What does an anti-capitalist politics in a society where most people have
> >a car, a job and a fucking big TV look like? I've got some ideas, but they
> >look almost as little like 'traditional working class politics' as they
> >look like a page out of Baudrillard.
> Do tell...

I wish I could with more precision than I can - the answer, as always, is a question resolved in practice.

At the moment I've got little more than a set of instinctual feelings, based on my experience of organising a group of computer-workers not around pay issues, but rather around the way the structuring of work (with high-skilled being done by consultants) was making their jobs less secure. My brother-in-law is organising at his workplace around 'workplace culture' issues as well.

As I said, nothing much more than an instinct, but my feeling is that issues such as the structuring of time and work - when exposed as being a result of capitalism - allow for a starting point. Focussing on the nature of work itself is hardly anything new, of course.

Another angle which I think is important in the UK is that of an attack on 'British'-ness. The current 'beef war' is not, I think, entirely a seperate issue from the insistence that Britain is a one-language, one-culture society, and the idea that it is Britain's place to 'civilise' the rest of the world (however many bombs that would take). Such an attack would have to mean practical solidarity over borders - raising the issue of what 'restructuring' means in Eastern Europe, for instance. Also, very importantly, attacking the immigration system (particularly in practice - such as organising against the seperation of immigrants into barracks, etc).

It's not that I have a lot of theories of where to go - I'm mostly just discontent with the current theories of 'where to go' that are on offer.

Peter -- Peter van Heusden : pvanheus at : PGP key available Criticism has torn up the imaginary flowers from the chain not so that man shall wear the unadorned, bleak chain but so that he will shake off the chain and pluck the living flower. - Karl Marx

NOTE: I do not speak for the HGMP or the MRC.

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