The Political Logic Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

By   /   July 3, 2018  /   22 Comments

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Red-baiting is about to get a new lease on life.

FOR AS LONG as socialism constituted a genuine threat, red-baiting remained a constant feature of United States politics. With the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, however, red-baiting eased-off. Global capitalism was in a triumphant mood and its celebrants looked upon those who still espoused the socialist cause with a mixture of condescension and pity. In their eyes, at least, the socialists had missed history’s bus. The traditional Left had been left behind.

Taking the place of the old-fashioned, Soviet-style Marxist-Leninists in triumphalist capitalism’s new line-up of people to hate were the so-called “Cultural Marxists”. Their mission was said to be nothing less that the complete undermining of Western Society: its values; its traditions; its institutions.

Exactly why the cultural Marxists would want to do this was never made entirely clear. The traditional Marxists had sought to replace the exploitation and individualism of capitalist society with the co-operation and collectivism of socialism. Highly contentious though this goal may have been, it was also reassuringly rational. Cultural Marxism, on the other hand, was presented as being wholly negative. What the cultural Marxists appeared to want was the utter destruction of the system which had defeated “actually existing socialism” in 1991. It was a nihilistic quest for political vengeance – nothing more.

What the triumphalist capitalists failed to grasp was that the new philosophy they mis-named Cultural Marxism was in fact the ferocious enemy of all grand ideological narratives – especially Marxism. Post-modernism, far from being the enemy of the free market, was its principal protector. In a famous essay, published in 1984, the American literary critic and political theorist, Fredric Jameson, described post-modernism as “the cultural logic of late-capitalism”.

Fittingly, it was Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, authors of The Communist Manifesto, who best described capitalism’s terrifying capacity for cultural corrosion:

Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

Post-modernism provides the sort of philosophical architecture in which a ruling-class determined to strip society of its most cherished assumptions can find refuge. The triumph of global corporate culture has, however, left maladaptive conservative intellectuals stranded. To them, the world feels as though it is under attack from their worst (i.e. Marxist) enemies. The conservative mind, which clings so tenaciously to “ancient and venerable prejudices”, simply cannot accept that it is capitalism itself which is dictating the dissolution of moral certainty and the indiscriminate mixing of the present with the past. Post-modernism is the surest means of keeping “late-capitalism’s” opponents – the Right as well as the Left – off balance. People cannot walk on air.

People can, however, “face with sober senses” the “real conditions of life” and the real relationships within which they are enmeshed. And it is precisely at such moments: when culturally and politically people are freed from the myths that have constrained their lives; when the post-modernist Wizard of Oz is exposed for the charlatan he is; when reality shatters the screens onto which late-capitalism’s unrealities have been projected; that the politically impossible happens and a candidate espousing “democratic socialism” defeats the candidate of the Democratic Party machine.

What lies beyond the cultural logic of late-capitalism? The political logic of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Red-baiting is about to get a new lease on life.

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22 Comments

  1. esoteric pineapples says:

    Here is Alexandria’s speech to her supporters straight after the primary results had become official. It’s a very inspiring message for all progressives – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqNxp0DgS68&feature=share

    • Sam Sam says:

      Adam Smith maybe the greatest enlightenment figure but capitals is not infallible. So let’s go over a few strategies that can defeat capitalists. Before I begin I’d have to plug The Standard. Now that’s out of the way let’s get to cannon.

      To defeat capitalists you must know them, not simple there tactics but there history, philosophy and art. The maxim is to defeat an some one you must know them. And capitalisms most impressive asset is its Wallstreet traders and there ability to forecast the future and predict how the markets will react. A great example of this was when John Key and his government naturalised the Global financial crises of 2008 with a great refinancing. John Key was the only one who wasn’t fooled by the desires of locals to create better conditions for themselves. Wallstreet traders foresight is so extreme it causes every one to second guess both every action they take and everything there political leaders take. Under a free casino market system every move seems infallible and every action is assumed to have a purpose behind it.

      Related is the military officers ability to embed themselves and understand capitalisms enemies and absolutely insane pattern recognition abilities. In every engagement a competent commanders first move is to identity there opponent. The commander will recall past or determine likely strategies and respond effectively. While all this does seem generic and relatively easy moves a General McCarthy type uses much more strange factors like pervasive cultures amongst society or how opponents perceive there own strengths. Often McCarthy’s predictions and understandings was so far fetched that his contemporaries and underlings questioned his hunches. How ever defenders of capitalism are at there best when the know there enemies and develop strategies around them. This skill is useful for developing tactics after encountering something new or for creating a strategy for a grand campaign.

      One of capitalisms most underrated strengths is its entrepreneurs creative use of resources and makes the absolute use of everything available to capitalists. During the Cold War the Soviet Union was brought to its knees by only a very small percentage of western intelligence and security measures while creating uses for technology or circumstances. For example Bill Gates and Steve Jobs was able to purchase surplus military programmes and turn them into hundred billion dollar companies. And now we not only see coordinated file sharing with authorities but more generally it confuses a lot of people. Micro targeted ads and paywalls is used heavily to ankle tap users of information but the point is having a numbers advantage against capitalists is certainly not enough to guarantee victory and it’s this creativity along with incredible foresight and ability to know ones enemies that makes capitalism so dangerous. But as I say capitalism isn’t infallible so I believe taking a look at capitalisms failures highlights common threads so let’s jump into the other half.

      During the financial crises of 2008 and the preceding financial crises stretching back to Richard Nixon’s uncoupling of the U.S. Dollar from the gold standard in the 70’s, and Nixon’s misunderstanding of journalism during Water Gate gives capitalisms critics there best chances. This in part is due to not understanding ones society and culture elected officials are voted in to lead and are defeated by the laws they’re meant to protect and that’s a clear trend we see even in our own political landscape here in New Zealand. I think the clear tend here is while capitalisms minders from its traders and commanders to its entrepreneurs, clearly they spend a lot of time analysing but as we saw in the Iraq and Syrian wars they’re less skilled at anticipating attacks or even the actions of third parties such as ISIS. President Obama really should have anticipated ISIS ideology braking out into the U.S and abroad because of his administrations alliance with terrorists and organisations on there own terror watchlist. Also given the U.S propensity to utilise and oppress Middle Eastern oil interests and oppress culture Obama never should have allowed his party to take donations from the enemies of the United States Of America. We even saw this thread show up in the Nazi occupation of France when military commanders failed to anticipate the actions of the resistance on there plans. So when facing off against capitalists I think it’s best to utilise nerds, bloggers, YouTube or just information capitalists are not aware of. Again capitalisms best assets is the ability to prepare and foresee events so with withholding information gives the rebel its best chance of defeating capitalists. It still won’t be easy because capitalisms minders can adapt quickly but in my mind this is another crack in capitalisms Windows.

      Another weakness I think is the general incompetence or more accurately lack of perfection of those under the boot of capitalism. Even John Key was nowhere near Henry Kissinger’s tactical genius and ability to lie. Even Kim Dotcom was able to escape the might of the U.S because of the incompetence of John Key and the people around him. Now admittedly John Key and his key intelligence and security appointments had to resign so the incompetence didn’t last very long but the fact of the matter is no matter how skilled a Prime Minister they have to rely on tens of thousands if not millions of people around them to execute to help a leader complete there plans.

      So to summarise, capitalisms minders probably understands what individuals do even better than an individual would know themselves. I think best practices would be using some kind of third party. Had bankers not been payed off they very well might have caused another Great Depression and every won would have liked lost so paying them off is the sort term so people like Cortez can go on to reform the Democratic Congress and National committee probably would have been a good idea. But while political leaders may not be totally humane those around them are.

      And I’d like to turn the question over to readers. If you where put in a leadership position what would you do against an angry John Key or Bob Jones. How would you hope to stop them. Are there any ideas I didn’t mention. And what over all strategy would you modulate.

  2. David Stone says:

    What the f***k are you saying here Chris ? If Alexandria can follow the logic in all these terms , and their relationships with each other, she should have an amazing political future.
    D J S

    • Sam Sam says:

      The top people in the Democratic Party are not young. Where just going to see more Alexandrias of the world as the left bloods on new talent.

      • Andy says:

        That’s also true of young conservatives. There is new blood coming through in all threads of the political spectrum, and I sincerely hope that they all have it in them to discuss their differences in an open and civil way, before, as I have intimated here, it ends in bloodshed

      • Sam Sam says:

        I mean I just don’t think we are that dumb. I do think there’s some bad apples with way to much of a following and I’m not talking about the likes of Martyn Bradbury or a David Farrar. But there are people that Stephanie Rogers follows that are crazy, and there’s anonymous avatars like @Kermy on the Twitter who’s got a little bit of power to effluence some weak minded journos.

        Nah I think it’s more likely that every one celebrates the death of commercial media, maybe in America, it might trigger waves of revolutionary springs but I just don’t see the academic decay needed for that. Maybe if the Democrates really screw themselves with something dumb like nominating Hillary again but the lust for blood just isn’t what it used to be in America. They’ve really become gun shy.

  3. countryboy says:

    Brilliant Post @ Chris Trotter.
    Your Post resonated with me because that’s kind of how I would explain my approach to politics. I’m often accused of being a ‘Leftie’ because I’m not shy about openly loathing what masquerades as ‘Right’ here, but, I’m not really a ‘leftie’ at all. I like new stuff and I like my ( supposed at least) freedoms etc. We must all find a way to mesh together otherwise we’re as fucked as we are and our planet will kick us off it.
    The reality, for me at least, is that those few who find themselves, either by good luck or swindling, standing on piles of money not their own want to keep it that way by defending criminal actions with unbridled narcissism which gives them, the Right, an unholy confidence.
    The bloated U$A store bought Lords are going to have seizures at the rise of a moderate thinker with public media on her side, and I have to say, a beautiful face to match, two potent marketing tools, some might argue, to show people how the rich few fucked them on the deal. A virile combination to rouse the fascist Lords to arms lest the serfs come to their senses.
    You’re dead on the money, no pun intended.

    • Mike the Lefty says:

      As to your politics I kind of think I’m a bit like you CB.
      Not a natural lefty, more of a centrist at heart, but the 30-40 years of right wing greed, manipulation and outright lies in this country has driven him over to the “other side”.
      One thing I have learned over the last few years: Do not be ashamed to admit to being left, be proud of it. I didn’t used to be: I was a closet lefty but now – in part thanks to being a regular contributor and reader of TDB – my workmates and my family know which side of the fence I am on and that I don’t apologise for it. If any one has any problems with that – tough s…t!
      Ki ora.

      • ropata says:

        I have been a swing voter, constantly betrayed by governments promising to reverse the injustices of Rogernomics and improve the lot of those crushed by the ‘tender mercies’ of the free market.

        Happily, after 35 years of neoliberal lies (a dark stain on our souls), there is hope that Aotearoa has found its conscience and is beginning to heal under a kinder form of government.

  4. WILD KATIPO says:

    Must say I’m out of the loop.

    But she certainly speaks the right language on issues, that’s for sure.

    Here’s a link of who she is and what she stands for :

    ——————————

    ► 2:08
    The Courage to Change | Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – YouTube
    YouTube‎ · ‎Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez

    ——————————

    She just might put the fear up all the powers that be that for too long have had it all their own way. If so ,… she will be a force for good.

  5. Andy says:

    Violence will follow as night follows day

  6. Mjolnir says:

    “The traditional Left had been left behind.”

    And Trump happily filled that anti-establisment political vacuum. At least the Soviets had an ideology to combat capitaism………

    • Andy says:

      That’s right Mjolnir, they sent them to Gulags for “re-education”

      I can sense that you are actually itching for this outcome.

      Being that you are not member of a “minority’ and part of the fascist imperialist majority that gets sexual pleasure out of torturing people different to you

    • Andy says:

      Yes they sent people to Gulags for toture
      I’m guessing that you like this idea since you seem so keen to force Christian bakers to bake Gay Cakes, as per our previous discussions

  7. Lois Griffiths says:

    Chris, a VERY important point you’ve not mentioned is that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Palestine sympathizer who defeated an incumbent AIPAC lackey..in New York City! That is exciting news!

    Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept, describes her “stunningly, unflinching denunciation of Israeli violence against unarmed Gazans last month”.

    (AIPAC , American Israeli Public Affairs committee, a powerful wealthy Israel lobby group ..maybe, just maybe, AIPAC is losing influence)

  8. Marc says:

    US America is changing fast, the demographics and socio economic realities there, and it will all have a great potential for progressive movements and candidates to get traction.

    What few here realise is that Trump is the LAST GASP of the old red neck style right and white populist movement in USA, it was a reaction not only to middle class whites losing incomes and so, it was about them fearing the new USA, of mixed race, more Latinos, more Blacks, more immigrants from various sources, and being outnumbered.

    Those Trump supporters are going to die off, sooner or later, as brutal as it sounds, Alexandra is just one example of a modern, new generation fighter of the new USA, of immigrant background, who is somewhat impressive.

    There are others evolving also. Question is how they will deal with the establishment there, and how the establishment will deal with persons like her, as to the establishment she must represent a real threat.

    Will the US become a more evident dictatorship of sorts, or one state controlled by the elite, more so than now, suffocating any dissent, or will the establishment running the show there be forced to compromise or even be overthrown.

    We are heading into very interesting times. Let us not forget, there are formidable opposing forces, we could see a new civil war of sorts, or a splitting up of the USA into separate alliances, e.g. the Pacific Rim states forming one progressive one, the North Eastern states a separate similar union, and the Mid West and South forming their own conservative Hillbilly kind of union, run by the Tea Party and other party interests representing the right.

  9. Marc says:

    NZ Inc is a SAD place, some have spirits, in other places, such as these:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emlpj76Yl8k

  10. Marc says:

    Viva Chile, el Pueblo unido en musica:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVJF0RM2Tko