Home > Uncategorized > Effective local blogging (3): creating the interface between Habermasian ‘lifeworld’ and anti-hegemonic narrative

Effective local blogging (3): creating the interface between Habermasian ‘lifeworld’ and anti-hegemonic narrative

I am too serious a socialist thinker to waste time reading the right wing blogosphere.  I have, however, been made aware that my previous post on the development of the leftwing blogopshere did meet with some criticism from that benighted quarter.

I have of course no doubt that all those reading my article did so fair-mindedly and completely, and so have therefore been at something of a loss to work out how such criticism might have come about; my argument was, as ever, coherent, well made and impeccably sourced, so there can have been no issues to pick at in terms of the consequent recommendations for solidaristic action.

 However, on reflection, I concede that the post may not perhaps – especially for a relatively uncultured and epistemologically naïve audience – have given sufficient specific guidance on what might be the precise content of the emerging leftwing local and regional media, itself set within its wider ‘web’ of local and then wider actions.

Here, therefore, I seek to provide such further guidance. This is apposite enough, since in the initial stages of this leftwing media development programme there will inevitably need to be some centralized guidance on what kind of content can or cannot be authorized in the developing local publications; there is little doubt that a central committee will need to be established to co-ordinate the programme and provide editorial control over all local ‘blogs’ and their allied multi-media developments (and needless to say, it is likely that I would need to play – however reluctantly – a key role in this committee, possibly as its founding General Secretary).

Fundamentally, the remit of any new localized ‘cell-based’ but centrally co-ordinated publication, whether electronic or hard copy, will be the creation of an effective interface between the existing ‘lifeworld’ and the development of an appropriate register of anti-hegemonic discourse. 

By ‘lifeworld’, I refer to the post-Husserl Habermasian conception (‘Lebenswelt’) of a set of socially and culturally sedimented linguistic meanings, shared in their current form by the working class and its hegemonized identities (and sets of identities). 

Into this existing set of shared understandings of how the world operates, it is necessary to ‘infuse’ the appropriate set of Marxian conceptions both around the essential nature of capital/labour relations and the consciousness of the working class as an objective entity in relation to capital.  In turn such conscientization will lead to the development of a renewed ‘Lebenswelt’ in which class struggle becomes both  more desirably and feasible through solidaristic local and then wider action.

Perhaps a concrete example of this process may assist our more epsitemologically challenged readership.  

Clearly, in today’s shared ‘lifeworld’ the proletatiat has been subjugated through the realisation of a mass media enculturation project (cf the Lacanian concept of ‘jouissance’, if you will) based on glamourised notions of romance. 

To grasp this is a useful starting point for all the centrally driven local publications aimed at, in the medium term, creating a renewed revolutionary spirit within the working class.  Each new publication should therefore contain at least one ‘romance’ story, written in the appropriate register (cf. the ‘Mills and Boon’ phenonemon, and the rise of Heat Magazine), but with elements of Marxian teaching and concientization woven into the fabric of the story, along with other elements (in the shape of minor character and secondary plot devices) aimed at challenging some of the more reactionary theoretical and practical digressions offered up by the so-called ‘post-Marxist’ left. 

Plot lines for these ‘romances’, and accompanying sample of dialogue, for submission to the putative Central Revolutionary Activist Publishing (CRAP) committee will therefore be along the following lines.

First, all such publications will have three central ‘romantic’ characters in a triangular love/Marxist doctrine triangle.  Though some variation may be authorised in time, initially one character, whom in the first editions should generally be called Malcolm, will both be something of an overly orthodox ‘reductionist’ Marxist (cf. Althusser), and believe himself to be ‘in love’ with Barbara, a headstrong and occasionally incomprehensible ‘post-Marxist’ firebrand with a mysterious background in psychoanalytical dabblings and a penchant for referring to The Big Other, sometimes in French.   

After some twists and turns of appropriate local invention, but usually involving plans for a strike, heavy handed tactics by state agents, and some telling revelations about the intellectual relationship between Zizek and Lacan, Malcolm should be betrayed by the ultimately unreliable Barbara, only to be rescued from a fate worse than Compass-based liberalism by the strong, steady presence of Ethel, whose character should be developed subtly from the first strike meeting onwards and slowly revealed not just as brilliant in the sack (as is Malcolm, after an unsure start) but also to have a mature intellectual grasp of both the basic immutable tenets of historical materialism and of the capacity to adapt tactics to this particular historic bloc, in addition to a ready grip the use of discourse as a subtle but powerful counter-hegemonic device. 

In this way, all such ‘romances’ will have an in-built structure reflecting the essential dialectical thesis-antithesis-synthesis played out by and through the central characters.  The following sample dialogue also pertains.

It was then the realization hit Malcolm, as fiercely as that recent blow on the back of the head from an agent of the state, in which he now fully understood that violence was always and irredeemably inherent.   

Yes, yes, he thought. Ethel was the one. Ethel was the one who really understood the dynamic relationship between the ideological superstructure and the essential economic base, and how surplus value was really at the heart both of the so-called postwar economic miracle (as Jessopian ‘spatio-temporal fix’ in the principal form of the welfare state) and now more so much more clearly in ‘raw power’ form in this latest crisis of capitalism. 

‘Oooh, Ethel’, he swooned, as she folded him in her womanly arms, strengthened by years of proletariat toil, and held him against her beating heart of socialist endeavour.

‘Ethel, tell me again about the relationship between Rosa Luxembourg’s incisive vision of how the working classes can come together in revolutionary force, and the somewhat later but, you suggest, no less relevant, writing of Gramsci on intellectual and moral reform within a temporal nation-state context. 

‘Take your overalls off, comrade’ whispered Ethel, huskily, Poulantzian in her growing desire for unity between socialists.  ‘I need to feel your Lukacs compendium’. 

Malcolm moved closer, and as the sun dipped behind the horizon, far to the well metaphorical left, Ethel gasped: ‘Now that’s what I call entryism by the Hard Left, comrade’.

I hope this helps. All romances should introduce light Shakespearian comedic relief about two thirds of the way through.  Unless otherwise authorized, this should be in the form of two well-meaning but bumbling professor figures, whom you should usually calls Professors Louffe and Maclau ,who will tend to mix up neo-liberal and pseudo-radical concepts a lot, and will  often be ejected from strike scenes by the workers, and this often by the seat of their pants.   

In later US-set versions of the Central Committee’s work, the professors should generally be thrown out of a saloon-bar style doorway into a muddy unpaved street, while in the more socially realist British tradition they should generally end up in one of those big refuse collection bins the Conservative Council hasn’t collected for ages. 

At least one professor should emerge, crestfallen with a leaking Kentucky Fried Chicken box on her/his head but flattened down into an approximate mortar board shape, to create symbolic image of her/his intellectual immersion in the detritus of capitalism, and what mortar boards are used for in the socialism-building trade. 

There will be one other important character in all of the romances.  This will almost invariably be a wise, avuncular figure, generally a rural Labour councillor known for his occasional but hugely insightful blogging.  This character will pop up frequently to gives sage advice on the need for a focus on praxis even in the heat of events, and will generally be able to distil his interpretation of recent events in the novel, both in terms of intellectual development and strike practicalities, into less than 5,000 words, though he should be allowed longer if it casts him in a particularly noble and heroic light. 

In the subsequent film versions, this character should generally be played by left-leaning Hollywood A-Listers George Clooney and, when he gets too old, Johnny Depp.  On no account should Sean Penn be involved, because he is silly.

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  1. January 30, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    I think my approach here would have been a little simpler: sheerly ripping the piss out of these so-called libertarians. Several of them make comments which demonstrate that they didn’t read your article, particularly as regards where the funding comes from for your blogging endeavour.

    Also, gotta love how reflective they are about absolutely anything which might suggest why the Right has a preponderance, which deviates from the unfailing line of “We rock, the Left sucks, ne-ner-ne-ner-ner.” Bunch of fucking five year olds – and that’s an insult to five year olds.

  2. paulinlancs
    January 31, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Ah yes, you’re probably right. I was taken over by a sudden uncontrollable surge of whimsy. It’s hard to be properly angry with this lot though. I was more amused at the herding that took place amongst the ‘libertarians’ when faced with something to do with (social) entrepeneurship. Though, as you say, most of them probaby didn’t get that far. Heh ho, they’ll love it when it’s been nicely packaged.

  3. January 31, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    What outstanding satire, highlighting exactly why so many people feel alienated from the left when encountering such insufferably arrogant and patronising verbiage. “especially for a relatively uncultured and epistemologically naïve audience” indeed. This has been bookmarked in my ‘comedy gold’ folder.

  4. Jeremy Poynton
    January 31, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Socialist eh? Excellent history of socialism here

    http://www4.ncsu.edu/~nvdemanc/socialism.html

  5. Private Widdle
    January 31, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Sorry mate, but even as satire this is an abysmal FAIL.

    You lot just don’t get how the libertarian/right-wing/call-it-what-the-hell-you-like blogosphere works, do you? You can self-satirise Frankfurt school jargon, rampant bureaucracy and heavy-handed control-freakery all you like, but this is how the Left operates. You can accuse me of being whatever kind of troll you like, but I’m a working-class, grammar-school Lancashire lad who was a long-term Labour supporter/voter (but never a party member) until quite recently when I became sickened of the illiberal, condescending and authoritarian tendencies of much of what passes for Left-leaning politics. There are a lot more like me out there, too.

  6. Fabian the Fabulous
    January 31, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Why save the best ’til last? Loved the idea for the Romances, and especially that passage you quoted.
    If the resulting blog/multi-media thingy is up to this standard, count me in as a reader!

  7. January 31, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Brilliant. The best satire is often unintended.

  8. StarLighter
    January 31, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Why don’t you just start using the word “cunt” a lot? That seems to work for the libertarian bloggers…

  9. Tom Miller
    January 31, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    “It was then the realization hit Malcolm, as fiercely as that recent blow on the back of the head from an agent of the state, in which he now fully understood that violence was always and irredeemably inherent.

    Yes, yes, he thought. Ethel was the one.”

    This is SO ace.

  10. January 31, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    He said ‘jouissance’ – phnarr phnarrr

  11. Vladimir
    February 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Has anybody actually managed to read all of this? Look, I know you’ve only churned out this Howard Kirk garbage to mess with the horrible “right wingers”.

    But it would really help your case for “left wingism” or “progressivism” or whatever it is you advocate if you could state what your case actually is, instead of assuming that your beliefs are self-evident, no justification or explanation is required, and anyone who thinks otherwise deserves only mockery.

    If libertarianism and conservatism are such bad ideas, and progressivism is so good, then it should be really easy to get to the heart of the matter and explain why, in terms so simple that even a thicky right winger could understand them. Right now, there may be good reasons for the things you believe, but if they’re buried somewhere inside Das Kapital I really can’t be bothered to figure out what they are.

  12. Jez
    February 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Gawd save us. Listen me old son – get out more. Go down the pub. Share a few jars. Join a club. Play some sport. In a word re-join the rest of the human race and stop behaving like an insufferable little twit. In a word – grow up.

  13. February 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Who was that little rant directed at Jez?

  14. January 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Jez – ‘grow up’ is two words.

    Arf.

  1. February 2, 2010 at 11:53 am
  2. February 5, 2010 at 4:25 pm
  3. February 16, 2010 at 11:11 am
  4. February 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm
  5. January 4, 2011 at 11:27 pm
  6. May 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm
  7. November 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm

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