Friday, June 14, 2019

Neo-liberalism and Controlled Opposition Markets

In a modern free market system, everything is for sale. Any idea that you have, even if it's, a "radical" idea can be marketed. We live in an interesting time, the same kind of economy that allows for private prisons also allows for the private sale and "regulation" of marijuana (the initial prohibition of which (interestingly enough), was one of the major catalysts to the private prison industry...

Hard work, innovation, equality, democracy, even political dissidence (or rather, the phantoms of such things) are what the adds project to us. Reaching out from the netherworld of bits and binaries. What this illusion of choice really does however is (very subtly) co-opt anything dangerous, anything that would really pose a threat to the existence of corporate neo-liberalism. This psychological conditioning and the creation of the controlled opposition within the economic structure is what permits the much more grotesque abuses of neo liberalism, the ravaging third world comes to (Kevin Carson of C4SS does a fine job explaining this here;

Modernity doesn't have a Diogenes. We have no one who is willing embody an act of rebellion, to scoff at the might of kings while living in a dumpster and eating his own shit. We have no one to deface the currency and if we did, it would simply be juxtaposed with a sense of fashionable irony (which is very marketable). Now we just have Che Guevara T-shirts...

A Perfect example of this is the Hungarian film Taxidermia an ambitious piece of transgressive historical fiction, telling the story of a family over three generations. Each one the product of the political conditions of Hungary at any given time. Beginning with its first iteration as a fascist state during World War II. Then as a Soviet satellite. Ending on the Hungary of the present, a liberal democracy (or as some may see it, lite-oligarchy). In these three systems, each member of the family tries to break away from the state and its various modes of power with what is most immediately available as a means for them to do so; their own bodies but even this most intimate act of rebellion ends up being cannibalized (we'll keep this spoiler free) by said cultural and economic institutions and ultimately, made to serve the ends of the state. A body turned against the spirit.

This is the abyss Nietzsche spoke of. This condition of being raises the question of what political rebellion really looks like. Gone are the days of "The Revolution." Both the Modern Left and the Far Right have failed to bring this about. The question of; "can any individual thought or action be meaningful?" lingers. If a God dies and no one is around to hear it, do His death-rattles go unheard?

Nick Land offers and interesting solution to this question;

"Capital is essentially capitals, at war among themselves. It advances only through disintegration. If—not at all unreasonably—the basic vector of capital is identified with a tendency to social abandonment, what it abandons most originally is itself.[8] That is why the left finds itself so commonly locked in a fight to defend what capital is from what it threatens to become. Bitcoin tells us—more clearly than any other innovation—what it is becoming next, by escaping transcendent governance in principle.

[8] Marx is not blind to any of this, although he tends to complacently bracket it as a self-destructive contradiction. The Communist Manifesto is especially stark in this regard. Continuous auto-liquidation of the establishment is modernity’s installed regulative idea. Recent history has only confirmed the insight. Capital revolutionizes harder, deeper, and faster than “the Revolution”. Its lack of attachment to itself exceeds anything the left has been able to consistently match. Capital’s scandalous immortality is derived solely from its inventiveness in ways to kill itself. There is no serious way in which it could die that is not more intensely effectuated as a functional innovation within itself. Revolutionary capital proceeds through disintermediation. It bypasses what it marks for extinction."

We now stand at a precipice; we can either embrace the inevitable descent (through art and vain intellectual pursuits violent extremism, mysticism, or hell even simple escapism. Turn on Netflix and mainline some hard drugs) or hack it in such a way that we harness its power. Capitalism may be able to replace our humanity, that day may have long passed by (spoiler alert, it has). We won't be beating it at what its already set into motion any time soon. The only question remaining is who gets to be in the driver's seat? Flesh and blood or consumer profiles and add revenue?

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