Saturday, October 11, 2008

The thirties, part I

Now that I know that at least two guys are reading my blog, I can go on - the next thing on my wish list is "more comments" but – und das ist jetzt eine völlig unpassende redewendung aber ich wollte sie einfach mal verwenden - that would be mit kanonen auf spatzen schiessen.
This is more a reply to an article a friend sent me the other day. He wrote on a documentary by Austrian filmmaker Marco Doringer about the generation thirty-something (or in fact thirty to middle-thirties) from a kind of self-observational perspective. In the last paragraph he intertwined the current political situation with this portrait of a generation and asked me about my opinion. And I can only put some notes and questions here related to our last readings in class (Arendt, Derrida, Deleuze) and I am sure that I am only repeating things that more elaborate thinkers have already reflected upon. Anyway, like I always say, it’s ok to repeat or copy something if that leads to a better understanding of what you’re actually intending to do.

To get back to the article – there was this analysis of the elections and that the left failed to make suggestions for a „Vergesellschaftung“ of a generation consisting of „schamvolle Egoisten“ (egoists full of shame) – also the article’s title, and I think it’s quite symptomatic that it’s not including the female form, but I’ll come back to that later ... – and the far right being successful in promoting a „wehrhaften Egoismus des Mittelstandes“ (offensive egoism of the middle-class).
The question for me is was the left really offering attractive suggestions? Do they have to offer suggestions or would it have been highly efficient and sufficient just to say: No! Not with me! Not with us! Or is this the nature of politics that this cannot come from a political party but has to emanate from a society (kind of grassroots)?

Could it be that easy that the moment of participation is already in the thinking and questioning about/of things, in discussing the political situation (as Arendt suggests)? Or does this require an action (following it), and if this action could also be an individual one, then it would be in fact so easy that we are already acting in buying the „right“ products. Though I think that many people in this (my) generation think that this is the solution, the crucial point lies exactly in this confusion of acting and consuming due to a confusion, not only of the private and the political sphere but also of the significance that shifted from acting to working.

First of all consuming, no matter of how responsably and consciously it may be executed can never replace thinking and questioning (acting).
Secondly when a government is more and more acting like the ancient „despot“ of the household (the private!) – der Haushaltsvorstand – and there are more than enough examples in recent Austrian history, e.g. Grasser’s statements that the state budget is like the household’s and it’s all about not spending more than you have in your pocket.... – than it is quite clear that there is no place for actual political thinking and acting. This also reminds me of former federal chancellor Vranitzky’s saying: Wer Visionen hat, gehört zum Arzt (One who has a vision, needs a doctor) – btw. google tells me that also German former chancellor Schmidt said that. And I am aware of not considering the historical dimension (kammeralismus, welfare-state, sozialpartnerschaft, residues of a constitutional monarchy etc..).

1 comment:

.car_kat:: said...

regarding the problems of the left and the relation to our consumerism: a book i'm currently reading (ullrich, wolfgang: haben wollen. wie funktioniert die konsumkultur? - besides a few interesting points on the mechanisms of consumption not really worth to read) suggests that exactly these two "elements" are going hand in hand: theories and actions of the left are closely observed by marketing-companies since "the left" always look(ed?)s for "the alternative" - which undoubtedly is what companies are looking for: an alternative to existing products to increase one's own production. one just has to look which products emerged in the last twenty years: most of them would have been classified "alternative" twenty years ago (-bio, -eco, -individual, blablabla), but now this is mainstream. one could argue this is ok since somehow "left" ideas are reaching the masses with the market as it's medium, but i tend to go with mcluhan here in saying "the medium is the message" and the message is lost.
and since "the market" (or call it neoliberalism) is a real problem for most of the people they are electing the opposite of what is connected to this system: the far right.
(i know this all is oversimplified, sorry for that. but this is just an ad hoc reaction). cheers - carlos