June 11, 2007

'and that's why turning a profit has to be removed from the system' The title comes from the last line of a clip of Michael Moore on Oprah. They are discussing Moore's new film, 'Sicko,' about the crisis not only of health care in the US but of egotism, greed, and capitalism. CR has a clip and transcript of Moore's appearance on the show. Read and watch the whole thing. I had chills. Really. A sense of space and possibility (call me a naive optimist...). It was incredible to see Oprah approaching socialism, taking it seriously, and even calling upon her millions of viewers to think about it, talk about it. CR writes, in an altogether wonderful post: The slow but distinct re-discovery of what that word, "socialism," might mean by a figure obviously not associated with words like that. The discovery that we already very much have elements of it all around us, elements that we would never willingly part with. The emergence that a better synonym for "socialism" would be "universality," rather than "Stalinism" or "gulag" or "bread-lines" that it's usually equated with, when it's mentioned at all, in the US. The revelation of the fact that "socialism" in fact provides very simple, but persuasive answers to issues that only at first seem incredibly complex, impossible to repair, and as if natural, inevitable features of our sociopolitical landscape. In short, I think this little episode renders abundantly clear why exactly socialized medicine is such an important - perhaps the important - issue today in the US. It's not just about health...
The errors of 'post-politics' I keep thinking about the term 'post-politics,' particularly as it appears in Ranciere and in Zizek's appropriation of Ranciere. I've talked about it some already; here, as the flipside of claim that everything is political and here, in connection with claims for de-democratization. At the risk of repeating myself, I want to specify a bit more how I understand the use of the term and the reasons I reject it. Post-politics refers to the following aspects of the contemporary conjuncture: 1. Neoliberalization and the subjection of states to the demands of corporations and the seemingly inevitable logic of the market; this claim relies on the sense that states are powerless and that political authority has not kept up with the market; 2. The individualization of collective problems in the form of administration and therapeutization; this claim overlaps with emphases on changes in the functioning of political parties (they rely more on money and media than on grass-roots organizing) as well as the rise of single issue politics; 3. The primacy of the police; we might also think of this in terms of a focus on security both within and outside the state; I do not contest these three aspects of the present situation. What I reject instead is the claim that they indicate a post-political situation. Why? States continue to matter. More specifically, the different states of the US (and other countries, obviously, as well) and cities and various other regional political groupings continue to exercise authority and influence. Clearly...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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