This has been a busy weekend for me. It was my first working in the campaign office of a major party’s election race in a densely populated urban district. It’s intense sometimes, but it’s so much fun.
I went on a little reflection on Twitter last night, about how happy I am that the New Democrats have stopped pandering to the ideology of marketization. Often, that’s called capitalism or neoliberalism. But I feel like using a more descriptive term that isn’t quite as much of a catchphrase as those two.
The words ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘capitalism’ work as tribalisms as much as descriptive terms themselves. So let’s try getting more explicit so you can really see the process in the word.
So you don’t have to choose principle or power. Western people are catching up to the reality that marketization’s marketing is a pack of lies. The principles of the people are now our principles. Now we start the job of repair.
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I still see parallels in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. As I slowly assemble the research points for Utopias, I feel like this book will be one for our time. By the time I’m probably ready to publish the thing in the early-mid-2020s, it should catch the wave of democratic pushback against 21st century fascism. It’s just building steam now.
In Deleuzian Concepts, Paul Patton writes about the concept of utopian thinking that emerges from Deleuze’s thinking. See, one of the reasons why utopian thinking has been largely dismissed over the last few decades is the totalitarian character of state governments run on marxist principles.
The Soviet Union, Mao-led China, Khmer Cambodia. They were all states that killed millions to remake their population’s culture according to radical communist programs. It was – to the tune of genocide after genocide – the biggest mistake of the Western left. The notion that a state could craft cultural transformation through police and military action.
A philosophical concept gives shape to an ongoing development – in many contexts, like thought, technological invention, psychotherapy, politics. Not as a blueprint of the perfect endpoint – that’s the totalitarian way of thinking.
The diagram of a concept is like a character sketch, or a personality profile. But of a complex transformation – like someone re-evaluating his morality, developing or implementing a new kind of machine, or managing a centreless political movement.
When you know the personality of a political movement in this sense, you don’t think in terms of an endpoint. You think in terms of potential – what that movement can do as it adapts to the dynamics of a world in flux. As the world always is.
Utopia properly done is a style. How you adapt to the problems that life will throw at you. How a culture develops, grows, changes. There is no endpoint. Only stopping eventually.
One day the sun will burn the oceans away. Then there’ll be no more politics.