[lbo-talk] Platypus: what we are, what we do, and why

Sean Andrews cultstud76 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 9 20:15:52 PDT 2010

On Fri, Apr 9, 2010 at 18:58, James Heartfield <Heartfield at blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> But Chris Cutrone is teaching us an important lesson that ought to be heard.

teaching who? Who the fuck doesn't understand this in the terms you've suggested here? do you really think we understand that better with some navel gazing circuitous route of self flaggelation and empty theorizing?

> The decisive factor - and I mean the decisive factor - in contemporary political life is indeed the defeat of the left.

and? what we should accept this and move on? I know you don't really believe that, even if you have your moments of celebrating capitalism yourself.

> Left wing politics (no doubt flawed in many ways) was none the less a real factor determining the balance of social forces in the twentieth century.

Why do we have to repeat, every fucking time, that left wing politics were flawed. I think it is pretty obvious to everyone who's bothered to look that most wings of the political spectrum have had their brutal, bloody flaws--the main of these which refuses to admit for the most part that it is flawed, even after near collapse.

> Maybe that is not immediately apparent in the US, but in the world, the division between left and right, shaped the twentieth century.

yes. and?

> If you want to understand why Islamism emerged (by default) as the most attention-grabbing movement in the developing world; if you want to understand why radicals have been so willing to laud reactionary movements like Hezbollah, Hamas or even Al Qaeda; if you want to understand why scientific and technological progress have become so loathed; or why working class consumption is so readily reviled there is one clear explanation:
> The left wing alternative in the developing world, and the West, the movement that embraced progress, championed wage-claims, and reviled religious obscurantism is decidely on the back foot.

Oh jesus mary and josephus I had no fucking clue. I'm so glad these enlightened fellows have finally stepped in to help us see this. Otherwise I would have gone one thinking...God I have no idea what I was thinking. Why am I sitting here in my underwear and what was I doing with this hammer and sickle? For fucks sake sometimes I wish I had a "shag" button on my computer that would generate the relevant level of ostentatious befuddlement and ridicule.

> There is no point sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting the old radical slogans in the hope of drowning out the terrible news.

Who. was. doing. this???? Everyone who engaged with him did so on a fairly specific level of precise statements he insisted on defending, pedantically, and arrogantly, despite very specific textual and logical arguments contradicting his claims. [SHAAAGGGGGG!@#$%^&*(] Further, the claim that he's interested in dialogue and discussion rather than programs and proscriptions has in these interchanges been fundamentally disproven: this is fine, but he should not act as if his project is not a doctrinaire one. It has a doctrine and it seems to be only slightly to the left of the reactionary turn at a journal like Telos, with the possible exception of their being slightly more room to engage in open ended theoretical exploration of a mainstream libertarian/neo-new left variety rather than circle jerking over the Schmitt cookie and fighting over who gets to eat it.

> My only real difference with Chris Cutrone is that he does not seem to want to analyse the movement towards 'humanitarian imperialism' in the same terms, as the outcome of the left's collapse. If he did so, he would have a clearer understanding of the way that Fred Halliday, Kanan Makiya, Nick Cohen and Christopher Hitchens have all raised up the U.S. military as the vehicle of social progress that they no longer divine in the Stalinist camp, or in the Third World revolution that eluded them.
> The case for progressive intervention, too, is an outcome of the left's confusion.

I can't figure out what you're saying here. But I can't quite understand why we're even talking about "humanitarian intervention" abroad; let's get some intervention at home under way. Let's face it, the US is in no shape to be nation building anywhere but in the contiguous 48 (fuck alaska; hawaii already has health care).


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