14 March 2008

"re-imagining progressive politics in the age of fantasy"

Comrades: read this. Or the whole thing.

Duncombe argues that the age of Enlightenment rationality is past; that progressives need to cease the obsessive search for "facts"; that, in essence, Baudrillard and Debord have taught us the capital-T Truth doesn't exist anymore -- so if we're going to win hearts and minds, we need to construct new narratives of progressive truthiness.

In short, we should learn from Bush&Co. As Duncombe writes, "Spectacle is our way of making sense of the world. Truth and power belong to those who tell the better story."

Every now and then I point out articles like this, and they're routinely ignored by my progressive compadres, who feel more comfortable deluding themselves into thinking it's all a big conspiracy of the media. Chomsky has it right on the side of production, but doesn't deal with reception -- and that's where meaning gets made in a mediated world.
Progressives should have learned to build a politics that embraces the dreams of people and fashions spectacles which gives these fantasies form - a politics that employs symbols and associations, a politics that tells good stories. In brief, we should have learned to manufacture dissent.

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