People confused by the shape of their world would be served well by remembering that it makes no sense. Simulation, the dominant mode of producing the real, no longer bears any relationship to anything as a ground. It no longer operates by force, but by recursive absurdity. We are constrained not by coercion, but by befuddling circular choices which leave us with no way out of the silly self-referential play of a system which exists purely based on its belief in itself. The real has been overwhelmed by the simulacra, and only its incensed and non-sensical practice and reproducing form remains. No reason. No purpose. No basis in any possible reality. Only circulation and reproduction spiraling out of control.
Reform is no longer possible. Only a radical new beginning can threaten it. It is the meta-modern mindset which knows the simulacra, but is able to re-invest it with the strength of the Real, which is leading us. By knowing that our reality is the product of ourselves, of Simulation, instead of pretending that Power exists outside this play, we are able to invest the product of our play with the seriousness and reality which will dissolve the absurd remains of a lying objectivity. Our simulacra can emancipate us, because we can use it to escape the bonds of an old and useless frame of mind.
Knowledge that reality is fake and real at once, the inescapable reality of simulation, gives us a new creative power to live in the world of our own production. Perhaps.
The Construction of a Welfare Nation, or: Alas! Where have all the Socialist parties gone!?
I have seen a variety of complaints about Occupy Wall Street going around which basically give it shit for some variation of ‘not having a clear agenda’. And I have to say that I cannot disagree strenuously enough with this view. But I will still try:
The way I see it, the issue areas which the Occupation has chosen to focus on are actually very coherent, it’s simply that these people are looking at the organization in the wrong way. There is a false optic of the Occupation as a traditional “Pressure Group”: that it represents interests in the public and is trying to get a political party to endorse and then enact those interests (think Tea Party hijacking the republican party). This might work well for the Right populist movement, since the entire political system at this stage of most Liberal Democracies is so far right (‘Neo-Liberal’) that, they can easily find an ear for whatever they want done. The Left is not so lucky in our world anymore. (c.f. Alas! Where have all the Socialist parties gone!?)
The welfare state of old is today dwindling, walking down the path of privatization. In many ways the State itself is no longer the locus of the People’s interests (or Agency), but rather of Business & Government’s interests. Increasingly marginalized as Protest, and eventually submitted to the Ruler’s Logic, modern forms of dissent and resistance which try to reform the state have essentially lost meaning. Today’s Left requires a totally new means of mobilizing to actually express their political ideals. Fittingly, the difference between Protest and Social Movement has become reductionist in the case of OWS. Entering into the third continuous week of activity, it has clearly moved past the point of traditional “protests”, and is instead exactly what it calls itself: it is an Occupation. It is today a full blown social movement, constituted by its own structures of Governance.
Its supposedly ‘broad agenda’ is actually a set of issues all linked by very simple common values. Concepts of Justice (economic, social, environmental, etc) as being all inter-relatable, combined with the simplest (and thus most radical) ideals of democracy. It is these very simple common values, so divisible into a dizzying array of individual issue area, which create this inter-linked, but seemingly heterogeneous, constellation of issues which really allows the OWS protests to be such a draw for so many passionate people. Because all these causes are united by common values, disparate movements and groups can find links of solidarity which allow them to create a successful collective action. I think this is why OWS has seen such a continuing, and growing, success.
I honestly think that OWS is a part of a larger movement happening worldwide, that it is a part of the coalescence of a new Left which is able to take up the work done by so many other generations. Historically, we have had to fight for the least aspect of Human consciousness and compassion in our societies. It has been the tireless organizing of countless people which has made the modern world even a tolerable place, and which has worked to reform the State along more humane lines. Today it is up to us to take over after the work made to procure even the basic Welfare State and to move it into a past-materialist concept of collective identity.
Occupy Wall Street is a piece of that movement, a real and new artifact of this coalescing new Left. We are witnessing the construction of what is perhaps the first Welfare Nation. They are not a traditional pressure group, with well-defined demands to make of existing State apparatus. They are out there decrying the State apparatus itself, deciding to give up on ‘reform through channels’ and to appeal directly to the People for a totally new system. One which they are taking it onto themselves to begin the process of sketching out.
OWS has demands, but it also has Ideals. Itself it is the expression and enactment of those ideals, not to reform some rules, but in an attempt to change the very nature of the game. It is an example of a real and viable form of self-governance happening right now, today. It is a real community holding itself alive Outside the state. Even if this occupation fails, and it easily could, the imaginations of our generation have already been set on fire. The Left has a new rallying point, and it is Occupy Everything.
What if there is nothing But veils? Should one disturb their whole perception to discover the deep nothing at the heart of everything? Perhaps. But one is left rebuilding what was destroyed afterwards, realizing that only illusion exists.
“You must not grieve that the world is glimpsed
Through veils. How else can it be seen?
How will you rip away the veil of the eye, the veil
That you are, you who want to grasp the heart
Of things, hungry to know where meaning
— Suji Kwock Kim, “Monologue for an Onion”
If you rip away the veils, would you not find disappointment anyway? Perhaps one should find some veils whose colours and textures seem preferable, to defer that disappointment. Add and remove patterns as preferred. Cover them, layer them with other veils and see what happens.
An initial analysis of the BOG’s response to the EGRC report, as seen in their Amendments to Concordia’s By-Laws
Look, as I’m sure you can all guess already from the title: This is gonna be an Exciting post!!!!! Seriously though. I spent my time analyzing how well the Board of Governor’s proposed amendments to Concordia’s by-laws match up to the recommendations made by the External Governance Report Committee, so I thought I might as well post it. Obviously not a topic of general interest, but something which interests me. So everything is under the break, and I recommend you not look into it! Cause it. is. Dry!