If I am reading his essay Navigating Neoliberalism: Political Aesthetics in an Age of Crisis correctly, it seems that Nick Srnicek thinks increased application of technology and art can help the Left to visualize global productive activity as a totality and thus render the Left’s politics more coherent and viable.
If I understand his argument correctly, (and I want to emphasize this caveat, because he has told me he doesn’t recognize his argument in my first comments on twitter), he appears to believe that it may have been once possible for the Left “to make our own world intelligible to ourselves through a situational understanding of our own position”, but this is no longer the case:
“Jameson argues that at one time the nature of capitalism was such that one could potentially establish a correspondence between our local phenomenological experiences and the economic structure that determined it.”
However, with a globalized economy:
“We can no longer simply extrapolate from our local experience and develop a map of the global economic system. There is a deficiency of cognitive mapping, that is to say, there is an essential gap between our local phenomenology and the structural conditions which determine it.”
Why would this be a problem for the Left? Again, following this guy Jameson, Srnicek argues it becomes increasingly difficult to develop a socialist politics without the ability to conceptualize the social totality.
“With globalised capitalism having become unbound from any phenomenological coordinates, this possibility for a socialist politics has become increasingly difficult.”
Srnicek thinks it helps explain why, although neoliberalism is collapsing under the weight of its own contradictions, the Left has not been able to exploit this collapse to realize an alternative vision of society. There is an “abyssal void at the heart of alternative political thinking”, expressed in the “woefully inadequate” Occupy movement and a regressive longing to return to fascism’s Golden Age of the 1960s.
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