[Marxism] Fwd: What Exists is Good: On “The Architecture of Neoliberalism” - Los Angeles Review of Books

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Sun Mar 26 17:25:32 MDT 2017


As always, thanks Lou for posting this.  I want though to comment on this
paragraph from Staten's article.  He wrote

*Neoliberalism does not impose itself on us coercively, via punitive
measures or structures of discipline, but gently shapes our common-sense
understandings of the world and ourselves through the medium of our
everyday experiences, turning us into competitors, entrepreneurs, and
round-the-clock workers. We are not exactly subjugated by neoliberalism, as
one is subjugated by totalitarianism; instead, we are “subjectified” by it.
Rather than its victims, we learn to become its willing participants; and
architecture, argues Spencer, becomes one of our key instructors.*

I am currently working though Enzo Traverso's Left wing Melancholia and
also preparing a piece on the great South East Queensland Electricity Board
[a publicly owned entity] dispute in Queensland in the 1985 period when
1002 electricity workers were sacked and their work was outsourced to
private contractors.   It was one of the incipient moments in the onset of
neoliberalism in Australia and it was far from gentle.  I myself was
arrested five times that year and fined thousands of dollars for solidarity
work on picket lines that were made illegal by the government. Others
suffered much more, of course

Now, a central part of Traverso's argument is that we must see the past not
in terms of victim-hood but as the defeat of militancy.  The defeats
testify to the existence of struggle and we mourn them, but we also try to
learn from the defeats. The Staten-Foucault thesis though would deny
struggle and agency and therefore the possibility of an alternative
outcome.  It is as if neoliberalism is piped into the air
conditioning system and we all become robotic neoliberals.

Rubbish, yes and it does not give any indication how we are now at the
stage where neoliberalism is breaking down as a paradigm and we are capable
of making a rational judgement that we would be better off with an
alternative paradigm.

Staten's article reinforces for me personally once again the danger of
Foucault-Nietzsche thought with its inherent disdain for the possibility
that the lower orders might have agency.

comradely

Gary

On Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 8:41 AM, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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