by Richard Seymour If a theory of populism could be inferred from the media’s coverage of the subject, it would go roughly like this. The majority of people outside the political class, which is the reasoning executive of the body politic, are essentially vulgar, corporeal beings, pushed around by basic needs and desires, and unable to engage in authentic political reflection. Sometimes, in difficult situations, the people turn their inchoate, mobbish, tendentially violent rage against their benefactors, and are led astray by false masters (‘demagogues’) promising false solutions. ‘Populism’, then, is what happens when the people no longer recognise
by Richard Seymour Some interesting things have begun to happen while the old far Left has been ‘waiting for the upturn’. Although strike rates in most OECD countries remain at historic lows, there are modest signs of the beginning of a leftist revival. Syriza and Podemos are the most visible cases, and perhaps the most expected, occurring as they do in indebted southern-European social formations subjected to the most extreme variants of austerity, with indigenous communist traditions and experience, within living memory, of struggles in which the whole future of society was at stake. But even in the Anglo-American
by Richard Seymour What is your solution, then? Or, to put it another way, what if there is no solution to the Daesh massacres? There was a moment, in the declension of the late Hitchens, when he scandalised his audience by suggesting that they were too soft, too susceptible, too easily impressed by jihadist massacres. You should expect this, he said. A hospital, an airplane, a government building, once a week at least. This is war. This is what you are signed up to. Get ready for it. And — implicitly — don’t feel so damned sorry for yourselves.
by Richard Seymour And that will be England gone, The shadows, the meadows, the lanes, The guildhalls, the carved choirs. – Philip Larkin The British crisis has a human form. A shabby, caecilian smile. The rorty bray of an arriviste thug. The exasperated air of a lone trader fighting the Inland Revenue for every last penny. Some rehearsed off-the-cuff witticisms alleviating a tense sales patter. There is just something about Nigel, once a forgettable clown, that is now luridly compelling.
by Richard Seymour This is an extended version of a blog originally published on Lenin’s Tomb You don’t see the consensus in all of its suffocating conformity until someone challenges it. If you want to know what the consensus is made of, just look at what the media considers a gaffe. Corbyn, a republican, doesn’t sing the royalist national anthem. Gaffe. Corbyn, a socialist, appointed a hard-left socialist as shadow chancellor. Gaffe. Corbyn refused to answer journalists’ questions. Ultra-gaffe. That’s just rude. From the Guardian to the Express, from the New Statesman’s craven toeing of the Blairite line to
by Richard Seymour Towards a genealogy and analysis of a loathsome British symptom, and on the shrewdness of faux dissidents and hard-right ‘clowns’. This article is not yet online. To read it now, please buy this issue.
by Richard Seymour We were exhorted by Labour’s supporters to ‘vote with hope’ in this election. What now that hope has been so cruelly dashed? What now that neither the ‘Edstone’, nor ‘Milibae’, nor pink buses for women, nor condescending to Scottish voters has been enough to deliver victory?