Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Mayfly: a short and no doubt soon to be disowned comment on the phenomenon of Europe's contemporary populist desurgence

The electoral percentages of Europe's unconventional right: 25% France, 23% Denmark, 22% UK, 20% Austria, 15% Hungary, 13% Finland, 12% Greece, 8% Germany
The comment is in three parts: the first part treats upon the phenomenon itself; the second part concerns itself with the reason for the desurgence; the third part conveys some or other desultory lesson to be drawn.

1. 
The evanescent flaring of any ideological content always expresses the end of its political viability. Such contents are manifested via a retrocessive flow back along the channels from which they have been previously expelled - the eleventh hour traits which these phenomena exhibit is often interpreted as an accession to power when there is only a gathering up of forces at the moment of their taking leave of the world. It is true that such flares appear in relation to organisation and structure, but these are also indicators of the end stage of the energies that being organised and structured - formalisation is a method of conserving apparent gains at the point where they are about to be captured by other forces. Whether lost or conserved, such energies are dissipated from their earlie,r virulent form... the radical party never expresses what had once been the radical will.

In politics as elsewhere, there is an energy constraint on function, and more than in defeat, that constraint appears as a corollary of success. The victories of fanatical forms may be intense, and therefore traumatising, but they are also always short-lived - the other's political enthusiasms are inexorably relativised, appearing both mystifying and paltry. They are autumnal phenomena which, strangely conforming to the Peter Principle, and at the threshold of their own success, find themselves incompatible with the wintry landscape which they have been elevated to command.

The political right is now encountering the same unintended consequences of success that in previous decades the left confronted as it presided over the breakdown of the cross-class social pact... in the present case, the success of right-populism indicates the severance of the national motif (it having become an obsolete baggage) from the metabolic imperatives of technocratic world-production... the cybernetic state is thereby conserved whilst the nation is reduced to its reassigned function as a mere phenomenon of mass psychology. 

In practice, right-populist pressure for efficiency and rationalisation will most likely be realised as an increase in the rate of economic integration (running directly counter to the populists' demands) and this will be accompanied by a further acceleration in the greater-state's disinvestment from social welfare programmes.

The last moments of eras are conventionally marked by a decadent, and subjectively maintained, flourishing of fundamental values. At the very end, at the precipice, a 'return' is vigorously championed, but there is no way back - the nation appears as an entity to vote for (where before it was the context in which elections took place); the entity itself appears at the moment it has become historically unrealisable, receding sentimentally over the horizon of possibility. The nation is no longer integral to world production, and with its exclusion as a factor of social process, the right is also thereby historically consigned.

The de-selection of right wing motifs at the height of their electoral appeal (and being de-selected through institutionalised programmes of legal equality and economic non-discrimination) also indicates the final historical passing of the register of 'politics' itself - the left having been co-opted decades earlier. The right will now take to the streets as the left once did but its reliance upon popular enthusiasm is further evidence of its distance from power. That which was once integral to the established order, in the transit of its obsolescence, and having been ejected from its own institutions, briefly endures a moment of oppositional popularity before disappearing into the margins. 

Politics has always been constituted as the call for a restoration of that which has lately become dependent on politics but which at an earlier stage had categorically (imperiously) denied the legitimacy of such 'calls' (thus democratic arguments for monarchy and/or communism).

The democratic proposition that the more or less politically constituted masses could more or less incoherently ally themselves to the more or less competing (and more or less irrelevant) political ideals that are generated by an impervious technocratic superstructure, has itself become structurally non-sustainable. 

It is no accident that Richard Dawkins, of all people, should make the observation: 50% below average IQ. We're lucky not to get a UKIP-type surge more often. Elitist? Well I admit I'd rather be GOVERNED by an elite.


2.
It is said, and I do not say it is true, that pickpockets use 'pickpockets operating in this area' signs to observe the involuntary pattings and reachings of passers-by as they check the continued safety of their portable wealth. When disturbed, and subject to incomprehensible pressures, political populations are most susceptible to ideological suggestion and/or misdirection. However, unlike those crowds passing beneath the gaze of pickpockets (naively patting their wallets), the politically constituted population involuntarily reaches for a delusory wealth of political motifs. Why?

It is easy enough to explain the contemporary popularity of unconventional right wing ideology. Let us spend no more than two medium length paragraphs upon it. The political electorate is brought forth by an apparatus of which it is the product and not the producer; as a consequence, it has no awareness of the structures upon which it is dependent. It is incapable of looking back upon its origins and effecting an act of self-separation. It is tormented, but not with the knowledge, that it will never exceed the expression of the functional values which have been allocated to it. 

The electoral populace is angry, or rather, its bewilderment is articulated as an impatient demand for simple solutions to its vaguely intuited sense of disconnection from the processes of world-production. It seeks both to disrupt the invisible process of the world and to assert a motif-value which has already been disqualified from that process - the simpler the form of this motif, the more it appeals; the more appealing the motif, the more disconnected it is from world-production. Politics is a sort of set-aside reservation where impassioned acts are permitted as long as they make no difference.

3. 
There is a generalised working assumption that political institutions are problem solving mechanisms that generate a range of solutions which are presented to the electorate for their decision. In practice, the electorate votes only upon the tone and texture of the direction that has already been taken. It is likely, therefore, given the structured lag of awareness in relation to world-production, that problem solving (and therefore, the category of 'politics' itself) is in practice an inappropriate means for 'solving' 'problems'. 

We have found that the register of politics does not adequately engage awareness with world-production. It is therefore not unreasonable to assume that the alienation which has hitherto been expressed as an investment in prefabricated political motifs is now subjectively taken one step further in the form of a complete disinvestment of consciousness from the register of politics, and in pursuit of another reality.

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