Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

As a predictable result, Greece's economy shrivelled, the debt-to-GDP ratio skyrocketed, and the political system began to fly apart. Obviously, the austerity agenda was never about paying off the unpayable debt. Austerity is never about paying off the debt. There is no such thing as 'expansionary austerity'. Austerity predictably, in almost every case, suppressed growth for the duration, making it impossible to pay off any debt. Debt is the political instrument through which austerity, desired for other reasons, is achieved. In this case, austerity was the means by which the social advances achieved by past Greek generations - particularly the leftist movements that arose after the dictatorship - would be undone. And while much has been achieved in that respect, the debt-to-GDP ratio in Greece has barely moved since 2013. Last year it reached a new record high at 181%, well over the 60% limit that usually triggers the "excessive deficit regime". This after a series of 'bailout' packages came totalling €241.6 billion euros. Even so, Greece's status has been 'normalised'. To reiterate, it was never about the debt. Austerity is never about the debt.

Syriza: the denouement by Richard Seymour 2 weeks ago

As a predictable result, Greece's economy shrivelled, the debt-to-GDP ratio skyrocketed, and the political system began to fly apart. Obviously, the austerity agenda was never about paying off the unpayable debt. Austerity is never about paying off the debt. There is no such thing as 'expansionary austerity'. Austerity predictably, in almost every case, suppressed growth for the duration, making it impossible to pay off any debt. Debt is the political instrument through which austerity, desired for other reasons, is achieved. In this case, austerity was the means by which the social advances achieved by past Greek generations - particularly the leftist movements that arose after the dictatorship - would be undone. And while much has been achieved in that respect, the debt-to-GDP ratio in Greece has barely moved since 2013. Last year it reached a new record high at 181%, well over the 60% limit that usually triggers the "excessive deficit regime". This after a series of 'bailout' packages came totalling €241.6 billion euros. Even so, Greece's status has been 'normalised'. To reiterate, it was never about the debt. Austerity is never about the debt.

Syriza: the denouement by Richard Seymour 2 weeks ago

What, you might reasonably sputter at this point, has any of that got to do with politics? But if you've got this far, you've patiently waded through relatively ordinary observations about the anthropocene, guilt and genocide. So stick with it. We're almost there. The point I'm making is that, in political discussions it is increasingly the worst thing in the world to be wrong. Indeed, it's often hard to separate being wrong from being a loser, thick, malevolent, or bigoted.

There's something about social media, in particular, but also the wider culture, that favours zero-sum, win-lose arguments. I often find myself responding to this pressure on social media, but you can also see it in television 'debates'. Not to be precious about this, some arguments are actually win-lose in their essence; sometimes those are the stakes. But it is in the nature of such arguments that we can't encounter other people being wrong without gleefully strutting and clucking over the grave of their rectitude, the tattered remains of their dignity. Logically, that also entails that we can't stand to be wrong about anything ourselves. Which means, we can't stand to learn anything, because in any conversation like that, pedagogy is only ever one-way and takes the form of a punishment beating.

This gleeful grave-dancing of the victors in argument, moreover, looks uncomfortably close to the kind of prideful cock-walking that you might expect from some of the victors of the neoliberal game. At times, dare I say, this form of communication looks a little fascistic, as through difference could be settled through group humiliation. Which brings me back to what I was saying earlier. “Humanity rocks” usually, in practice, means that “humans like me rock hardest”.

If, however, we start from the premise that humanity isn't all that neat, that it doesn't always 'rock', that there is a lot to be wary and frightened of in ourselves, that there are things to be guilty about, that there are failures that are understandable but not okay, that we don't and can't know it all, then we might find the gleeful grave-dancing of the victors (in whatever domain) far more ridiculous and repulsive than the losers. Indeed, we might acknowledge the losers, whether or not we personally like them or their politics, with a certain rueful solidarity, a certain recognition of their predicament. It’s the egalitarianism of universal failure. That’s the sort of pessimism I’m talking about.

fuckkkk

When humanity doesn't rock by Richard Seymour 10 months, 3 weeks ago

What, you might reasonably sputter at this point, has any of that got to do with politics? But if you've got this far, you've patiently waded through relatively ordinary observations about the anthropocene, guilt and genocide. So stick with it. We're almost there. The point I'm making is that, in political discussions it is increasingly the worst thing in the world to be wrong. Indeed, it's often hard to separate being wrong from being a loser, thick, malevolent, or bigoted.

There's something about social media, in particular, but also the wider culture, that favours zero-sum, win-lose arguments. I often find myself responding to this pressure on social media, but you can also see it in television 'debates'. Not to be precious about this, some arguments are actually win-lose in their essence; sometimes those are the stakes. But it is in the nature of such arguments that we can't encounter other people being wrong without gleefully strutting and clucking over the grave of their rectitude, the tattered remains of their dignity. Logically, that also entails that we can't stand to be wrong about anything ourselves. Which means, we can't stand to learn anything, because in any conversation like that, pedagogy is only ever one-way and takes the form of a punishment beating.

This gleeful grave-dancing of the victors in argument, moreover, looks uncomfortably close to the kind of prideful cock-walking that you might expect from some of the victors of the neoliberal game. At times, dare I say, this form of communication looks a little fascistic, as through difference could be settled through group humiliation. Which brings me back to what I was saying earlier. “Humanity rocks” usually, in practice, means that “humans like me rock hardest”.

If, however, we start from the premise that humanity isn't all that neat, that it doesn't always 'rock', that there is a lot to be wary and frightened of in ourselves, that there are things to be guilty about, that there are failures that are understandable but not okay, that we don't and can't know it all, then we might find the gleeful grave-dancing of the victors (in whatever domain) far more ridiculous and repulsive than the losers. Indeed, we might acknowledge the losers, whether or not we personally like them or their politics, with a certain rueful solidarity, a certain recognition of their predicament. It’s the egalitarianism of universal failure. That’s the sort of pessimism I’m talking about.

fuckkkk

When humanity doesn't rock by Richard Seymour 10 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] whence, after all, have the ideas of J.K. Rowling and her books emerged? From middle-class Britain – and not just any era in the history of middle-class Britain. Harry Potter is, irreducibly, a product of the End of History years: after the fall of the Soviet Union, and before the 2007-08 financial crash (the last book in the regular series was published in July 2007, two months before the collapse of Northern Rock). Years of smug certainty, where a vague progressivism and myths of meritocracy were allowed to conceal the still-entrenched injustices that the ruling class would weaponise once everything started to go wrong. Certain members of Rowling's generation – herself, of course, very much included – benefited immensely from this order, and their politics is now largely defined by their inability to recognise why it failed.

In fact: there is no principle that defines the wizarding world of Harry Potter more clearly than that of meritocracy. In the series, wizards constitute a ruling class, membership of which is precisely defined by merit – you're either magical, so you deserve to be a member of the wizarding class (no matter how evil you are), or you're not and thus you don't. The thrill of Harry Potter is not that of fighting evil wizards – it's that of being inducted to the ruling classes: from the comically dull, petty-bourgeois world of the Dursleys that Harry grew up in, to the Eton/Oxford substitute of Hogwarts, where every strange ritual seems alive with meaning. At age 11, the wizard child discovers something about themselves – that essentially, inherently, they are deserving, that they, unlike all the Muggles, have merit. That the whole of the magical world belongs to them.

But of course, this 'merit' – much like the merit which ostensibly fuels mobility in our own world – is suspiciously heritable: magic often runs in 'great wizarding families' (although these families can technically produce non-magical 'squibs') – often, magical merit looks like nothing other than having gone to the right school. [...]

so good!

Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 6 months ago

[...] whence, after all, have the ideas of J.K. Rowling and her books emerged? From middle-class Britain – and not just any era in the history of middle-class Britain. Harry Potter is, irreducibly, a product of the End of History years: after the fall of the Soviet Union, and before the 2007-08 financial crash (the last book in the regular series was published in July 2007, two months before the collapse of Northern Rock). Years of smug certainty, where a vague progressivism and myths of meritocracy were allowed to conceal the still-entrenched injustices that the ruling class would weaponise once everything started to go wrong. Certain members of Rowling's generation – herself, of course, very much included – benefited immensely from this order, and their politics is now largely defined by their inability to recognise why it failed.

In fact: there is no principle that defines the wizarding world of Harry Potter more clearly than that of meritocracy. In the series, wizards constitute a ruling class, membership of which is precisely defined by merit – you're either magical, so you deserve to be a member of the wizarding class (no matter how evil you are), or you're not and thus you don't. The thrill of Harry Potter is not that of fighting evil wizards – it's that of being inducted to the ruling classes: from the comically dull, petty-bourgeois world of the Dursleys that Harry grew up in, to the Eton/Oxford substitute of Hogwarts, where every strange ritual seems alive with meaning. At age 11, the wizard child discovers something about themselves – that essentially, inherently, they are deserving, that they, unlike all the Muggles, have merit. That the whole of the magical world belongs to them.

But of course, this 'merit' – much like the merit which ostensibly fuels mobility in our own world – is suspiciously heritable: magic often runs in 'great wizarding families' (although these families can technically produce non-magical 'squibs') – often, magical merit looks like nothing other than having gone to the right school. [...]

so good!

Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 6 months ago

[...] no religious truth actually is essentially, eternally true. Rather, as Marx's great influence Ludwig Feuerbach was pointing out in the 1840s: they are a particular ossification of the values of the society from which they have emerged – human truths, obscured by being placed in the mouth of God. This ossification makes it difficult for people to think critically about them – it gives the ideas of some other society, perhaps one from way back in the ancient past, a peculiar power over us, an alien force. We might not want to throw all these ideas away wholesale – but we need to bring them back down to earth, where we can really think about them for ourselves.

if Harry Potter becomes a new state religion. this is great

Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 6 months ago

[...] no religious truth actually is essentially, eternally true. Rather, as Marx's great influence Ludwig Feuerbach was pointing out in the 1840s: they are a particular ossification of the values of the society from which they have emerged – human truths, obscured by being placed in the mouth of God. This ossification makes it difficult for people to think critically about them – it gives the ideas of some other society, perhaps one from way back in the ancient past, a peculiar power over us, an alien force. We might not want to throw all these ideas away wholesale – but we need to bring them back down to earth, where we can really think about them for ourselves.

if Harry Potter becomes a new state religion. this is great

Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 6 months ago

How does the spectre of communism still haunt quite well-to-do people after long spells of centrist administration? Perhaps it isn't irrelevant that Brazil is a society built on racial slavery, where the class system is still powerfully structured by race. Brazil was one of the biggest consumers of slaves, importing forty percent of the total in the Americas, and one of the last states to abolish slavery in 1888. It was subsequently one of the last to have a long, stable period of democratic government, which has now lasted for just over thirty years. The majority of workers identify as either black or multiracial. The vast majority of the middle class and bourgeoisie identify as white. These identifications don't have any 'phenotypical' validity, but they do link different classes in a symbolic chain back to the relations between African slaves and European slave-masters. History, as always, is sedimented into the unconscious.

ahhhh the last sentence is so gorgeous

Anticommunism without communism by Richard Seymour 6 months, 2 weeks ago

How does the spectre of communism still haunt quite well-to-do people after long spells of centrist administration? Perhaps it isn't irrelevant that Brazil is a society built on racial slavery, where the class system is still powerfully structured by race. Brazil was one of the biggest consumers of slaves, importing forty percent of the total in the Americas, and one of the last states to abolish slavery in 1888. It was subsequently one of the last to have a long, stable period of democratic government, which has now lasted for just over thirty years. The majority of workers identify as either black or multiracial. The vast majority of the middle class and bourgeoisie identify as white. These identifications don't have any 'phenotypical' validity, but they do link different classes in a symbolic chain back to the relations between African slaves and European slave-masters. History, as always, is sedimented into the unconscious.

ahhhh the last sentence is so gorgeous

Anticommunism without communism by Richard Seymour 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Adult authority is so knowing, so sanctimonious, so frequently full of it about youth violence. But it isn't an adult experience, most of the time, to be regularly chased, smacked in the head, kicked in the stomach, baited, spat on, challenged to a fight, ambushed, have a weapon waved in one's face. Adults aren't the ones that have to deal with this.

Adolescence, for boys, especially working-class boys, is a violent threshold. When you're a teenager, you live in the state of hyperbole: where every misery is singling you out, where each sleight and disappointment is unbearable, where all emotion is consuming, and where humiliation is ultimate. And if there's violence, you think it will never stop. You think there will always be bullies, big sticks, and boys wielding them. Ambushes, sadists, knuckledusters, and gangs. Knives, sucker-punches, broken noses, and boys put in hospital.

This is what it's like, and you don't need a special theory -- say, of 'gangs' -- to comprehend it. And you don't have to seek the violence; it will find you. I can't tell you how many times I had to block blows, improvise escape, contrive to hide, or just run and run and run, hurdling barbed wire fences, tearing skin and flesh, charging through back yards, bombing across busy roads. As a boy, I ran so blindly from a boy that I dashed straight in front of the school bus. It had just enough time to brake so that all I got out of the interaction was a small groove in the back of my skull.

And how badly I wanted to come back at them, with anything, anything at all. It doesn't surprise me at all that young people -- and they're getting younger -- want to carry weapons. I wanted to carry weapons. Weapons seemed intrinsically impressive, the unanswerable answer. They were magic wands that would transform any difficult situation. They were the techne of rage, glamorously lethal. [...]

Adolescents by Richard Seymour 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Adult authority is so knowing, so sanctimonious, so frequently full of it about youth violence. But it isn't an adult experience, most of the time, to be regularly chased, smacked in the head, kicked in the stomach, baited, spat on, challenged to a fight, ambushed, have a weapon waved in one's face. Adults aren't the ones that have to deal with this.

Adolescence, for boys, especially working-class boys, is a violent threshold. When you're a teenager, you live in the state of hyperbole: where every misery is singling you out, where each sleight and disappointment is unbearable, where all emotion is consuming, and where humiliation is ultimate. And if there's violence, you think it will never stop. You think there will always be bullies, big sticks, and boys wielding them. Ambushes, sadists, knuckledusters, and gangs. Knives, sucker-punches, broken noses, and boys put in hospital.

This is what it's like, and you don't need a special theory -- say, of 'gangs' -- to comprehend it. And you don't have to seek the violence; it will find you. I can't tell you how many times I had to block blows, improvise escape, contrive to hide, or just run and run and run, hurdling barbed wire fences, tearing skin and flesh, charging through back yards, bombing across busy roads. As a boy, I ran so blindly from a boy that I dashed straight in front of the school bus. It had just enough time to brake so that all I got out of the interaction was a small groove in the back of my skull.

And how badly I wanted to come back at them, with anything, anything at all. It doesn't surprise me at all that young people -- and they're getting younger -- want to carry weapons. I wanted to carry weapons. Weapons seemed intrinsically impressive, the unanswerable answer. They were magic wands that would transform any difficult situation. They were the techne of rage, glamorously lethal. [...]

Adolescents by Richard Seymour 8 months, 2 weeks ago

But these technologies are designed to fit existing social and cultural ideas. They represent themselves as a sort of magical solution to social problems, but their magical effect depends on the way they lubricate way-finding within an existing neoliberal framework. Whatever the problem, there’s an app for that, one weird trick to solve the erectile dysfunctions of neoliberalism.

Where communities break down, the network substitutes. Where news is no longer trustworthy, citizen journalism can bring the news to you direct and unfiltered (that’s pure ideology). Where politicians are no longer trustworthy, online communities can hold them to account (that, too, is ideology; the platforms facilitate online punishment beatings of individuals who breach mores). If you’re depressed, you can get cognitive behavioural therapy through an app on your phone. If you’re poor or underemployed, you can bid for jobs on taskrabbit, or use your car to make money through Uber or spend a few hours working for Deliveroo. If you’ve got a room you’re not using, post it on airbnb. If you think you’re not valued enough in your life, you can bid for a share in an increasingly diffuse online celebrity (again, pure ideology — celebrities are notoriously miserable). In other words, it administers users on the basis of the radical extension of market relations, and commodification.

This is not a hegemonic practice. It doesn’t seek to persuade anyone of the virtues of markets and neoliberal behaviour. It simply builds it into your practical experience. It's the persuasion of reality-shaping: what I might call a sub-hegemonic practice, since it works on the infrastructures rather than through the ideological and political superstructures. This is what neoliberal administrations have been doing for the last few decades, but far less efficiently. Tech treats us as behaviourist experimental subjects, to be hooked and then manipulated in real time for the advertisers. Now they’re under pressure by politicians to use this power for social good, which is terrifying. And in the new smart cities such as the one Google is building in Toronto they will try just that. But it’s neatly congruent with the post-democratic, beyond-hegemonic practice of neoliberal capitalism. It is the ideal model of what Gilles Deleuze called the ‘control society’. No one tells you what to do, what to believe in, what’s right or wrong: on the new technologies, whether it’s gaming or platforms, you are just given a series of stimuli, a set of options within an acceptable bandwidth, and get on with it.

!!!

What has happened to Britain's ruling class? by Richard Seymour 9 months, 3 weeks ago

But these technologies are designed to fit existing social and cultural ideas. They represent themselves as a sort of magical solution to social problems, but their magical effect depends on the way they lubricate way-finding within an existing neoliberal framework. Whatever the problem, there’s an app for that, one weird trick to solve the erectile dysfunctions of neoliberalism.

Where communities break down, the network substitutes. Where news is no longer trustworthy, citizen journalism can bring the news to you direct and unfiltered (that’s pure ideology). Where politicians are no longer trustworthy, online communities can hold them to account (that, too, is ideology; the platforms facilitate online punishment beatings of individuals who breach mores). If you’re depressed, you can get cognitive behavioural therapy through an app on your phone. If you’re poor or underemployed, you can bid for jobs on taskrabbit, or use your car to make money through Uber or spend a few hours working for Deliveroo. If you’ve got a room you’re not using, post it on airbnb. If you think you’re not valued enough in your life, you can bid for a share in an increasingly diffuse online celebrity (again, pure ideology — celebrities are notoriously miserable). In other words, it administers users on the basis of the radical extension of market relations, and commodification.

This is not a hegemonic practice. It doesn’t seek to persuade anyone of the virtues of markets and neoliberal behaviour. It simply builds it into your practical experience. It's the persuasion of reality-shaping: what I might call a sub-hegemonic practice, since it works on the infrastructures rather than through the ideological and political superstructures. This is what neoliberal administrations have been doing for the last few decades, but far less efficiently. Tech treats us as behaviourist experimental subjects, to be hooked and then manipulated in real time for the advertisers. Now they’re under pressure by politicians to use this power for social good, which is terrifying. And in the new smart cities such as the one Google is building in Toronto they will try just that. But it’s neatly congruent with the post-democratic, beyond-hegemonic practice of neoliberal capitalism. It is the ideal model of what Gilles Deleuze called the ‘control society’. No one tells you what to do, what to believe in, what’s right or wrong: on the new technologies, whether it’s gaming or platforms, you are just given a series of stimuli, a set of options within an acceptable bandwidth, and get on with it.

!!!

What has happened to Britain's ruling class? by Richard Seymour 9 months, 3 weeks ago

So what is it? Neoliberalism isn’t about ‘free markets’. That’s the populist soft sell, which claims that everyone is just a self-maximiser, out for maximum utility — whatever the fuck that is — yearning to be freed from moralist hypocrisies like ‘public service’. That was the classically liberal creed; just let everyone be as selfish as they really are, and it will all work out! What St Augustine called ‘cruel optimism’. But what posed as description was prescription. The mandarin sell, for policymakers, was different. People were too fucking stupid and socialistic to be self-maximisers. (I paraphrase). The power of the state and law had to be used to make them behave as such.

The issue was never the volume of regulations or spending, but their character. Financialisation, intrinsic to the neoliberal model, necessitated an explosion of regulations. The point was to reform economic and government activity so that everything operated like a market, construed as a kind of Darwinian mechanism for selecting efficiency through competition. That could mean things like Compulsory Competitive Tendering, internal markets, spending caps, workfare, the short-lived nudge unit etc.

It also entailed a counterrevolution against democracy. [...] in most states, it was sufficient to redistribute state power to unelected bodies, quangos, or centralise more of it in the executive, or outsource it to SERCO or similar bodies.

This diagrams a mode of power. One which transferred class power to corporations, linked to a new set of hegemonic practices governing people as ‘entrepreneurs’. For a while, combined with dynamite growth in south-east Asia, a boom in speculative capital, a series of Wall Street bubbles, the concomitant reduction in bargaining power and sharp decrease in share of incomes going to labour, increased profitability and thus investment.

But most people didn’t become neoliberal ideologues. Bits of the new dispensation were popularised and sedimented into more traditional ideologies — social democracy, socialism, authoritarian conservatism, classical liberalism, etc. There has never been a pure capitalist discourse. Ruling class parties had to operate on those traditional beliefs too, though they had trouble substantiating those commitments. Anyway, they were seen, especially on the social-liberal end of neoliberalism, as residual, being gradually supplanted by the new competitive individualism. That wasn’t entirely wrong; it just wasn’t the whole story.

god i love his writing

What has happened to Britain's ruling class? by Richard Seymour 9 months, 3 weeks ago

So what is it? Neoliberalism isn’t about ‘free markets’. That’s the populist soft sell, which claims that everyone is just a self-maximiser, out for maximum utility — whatever the fuck that is — yearning to be freed from moralist hypocrisies like ‘public service’. That was the classically liberal creed; just let everyone be as selfish as they really are, and it will all work out! What St Augustine called ‘cruel optimism’. But what posed as description was prescription. The mandarin sell, for policymakers, was different. People were too fucking stupid and socialistic to be self-maximisers. (I paraphrase). The power of the state and law had to be used to make them behave as such.

The issue was never the volume of regulations or spending, but their character. Financialisation, intrinsic to the neoliberal model, necessitated an explosion of regulations. The point was to reform economic and government activity so that everything operated like a market, construed as a kind of Darwinian mechanism for selecting efficiency through competition. That could mean things like Compulsory Competitive Tendering, internal markets, spending caps, workfare, the short-lived nudge unit etc.

It also entailed a counterrevolution against democracy. [...] in most states, it was sufficient to redistribute state power to unelected bodies, quangos, or centralise more of it in the executive, or outsource it to SERCO or similar bodies.

This diagrams a mode of power. One which transferred class power to corporations, linked to a new set of hegemonic practices governing people as ‘entrepreneurs’. For a while, combined with dynamite growth in south-east Asia, a boom in speculative capital, a series of Wall Street bubbles, the concomitant reduction in bargaining power and sharp decrease in share of incomes going to labour, increased profitability and thus investment.

But most people didn’t become neoliberal ideologues. Bits of the new dispensation were popularised and sedimented into more traditional ideologies — social democracy, socialism, authoritarian conservatism, classical liberalism, etc. There has never been a pure capitalist discourse. Ruling class parties had to operate on those traditional beliefs too, though they had trouble substantiating those commitments. Anyway, they were seen, especially on the social-liberal end of neoliberalism, as residual, being gradually supplanted by the new competitive individualism. That wasn’t entirely wrong; it just wasn’t the whole story.

god i love his writing

What has happened to Britain's ruling class? by Richard Seymour 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This is a strangely paranoid discourse. It’s true that the centre has often found its nemesis in candidates, of the right and left, who succeeded in using online networks to outflank the traditional dominance of the centre in the print and broadcast media. But the ruling class, by definition, is the class that rules. And it is the richest ruling class in history, with the most complex and subtle instruments of domination. It has had more opportunity than any other group of people on the planet, ever, to shape politics, culture, and society. Could they really be upended by online mobs so easily?

[...]

In the background to this is a crisis in an older regime, an older way of practicing hegemony. The ruling class never rule by themselves; they never do anything by themselves. They are too divided to have a single interest. They require networks of institutions, think-tanks, lobbies, banks, media outlets and political parties to develop class-wide perspectives and strategies, and win public support. This is hegemonic in the sense that it seeks to build broad, cross-class consent for a social mission, a project for development, which in the last analysis is shaped by and for ruling class interests. It seeks to persuade people intellectually and morally, as well as chastising and disciplining them.

What has happened to Britain's ruling class? by Richard Seymour 9 months, 3 weeks ago

This is a strangely paranoid discourse. It’s true that the centre has often found its nemesis in candidates, of the right and left, who succeeded in using online networks to outflank the traditional dominance of the centre in the print and broadcast media. But the ruling class, by definition, is the class that rules. And it is the richest ruling class in history, with the most complex and subtle instruments of domination. It has had more opportunity than any other group of people on the planet, ever, to shape politics, culture, and society. Could they really be upended by online mobs so easily?

[...]

In the background to this is a crisis in an older regime, an older way of practicing hegemony. The ruling class never rule by themselves; they never do anything by themselves. They are too divided to have a single interest. They require networks of institutions, think-tanks, lobbies, banks, media outlets and political parties to develop class-wide perspectives and strategies, and win public support. This is hegemonic in the sense that it seeks to build broad, cross-class consent for a social mission, a project for development, which in the last analysis is shaped by and for ruling class interests. It seeks to persuade people intellectually and morally, as well as chastising and disciplining them.

What has happened to Britain's ruling class? by Richard Seymour 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Nor has it softened opinion on Israel-Palestine. Quite the opposite. I suspect many activists who had never considered what they thought of the foundation of Israel have, in recent weeks, been getting a crash course.

Palestinian rights have been a growing concern in the British Left since 1982, and Sabra and Shatila. But historical awareness of the issue of Zionism and its complexities was something that was kept to the fringes. The broader pro-Palestine movement focused on concrete and immediate wrongs, human rights injustices, campaigning for peace. Now an otherwise recondite and difficult history is being driven up the agenda. And an historically informed, internationalist, anti-racist opposition to Zionism is being legitimised not despite but by means of the media furore against it. You could call it consciousness-raising-from-above.

And by whom? Who chose that terrain? And what an odd moment to force that conversation, when Israel has just, by the verdict of many of its supporters, defined itself as a racist state. How do you think it would look if a Palestinian speaker was to point that out at Labour conference this year?

The Labour Right's pyrrhic victory by Richard Seymour 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Nor has it softened opinion on Israel-Palestine. Quite the opposite. I suspect many activists who had never considered what they thought of the foundation of Israel have, in recent weeks, been getting a crash course.

Palestinian rights have been a growing concern in the British Left since 1982, and Sabra and Shatila. But historical awareness of the issue of Zionism and its complexities was something that was kept to the fringes. The broader pro-Palestine movement focused on concrete and immediate wrongs, human rights injustices, campaigning for peace. Now an otherwise recondite and difficult history is being driven up the agenda. And an historically informed, internationalist, anti-racist opposition to Zionism is being legitimised not despite but by means of the media furore against it. You could call it consciousness-raising-from-above.

And by whom? Who chose that terrain? And what an odd moment to force that conversation, when Israel has just, by the verdict of many of its supporters, defined itself as a racist state. How do you think it would look if a Palestinian speaker was to point that out at Labour conference this year?

The Labour Right's pyrrhic victory by Richard Seymour 10 months, 2 weeks ago