‘What’s left ? Just the future.’ – A paper by Nigel Thrift.

by mattmcneany

We are always open to new ideas and innovative research especially from leading academics. Our esteemed Vice Chancellor has seen fit to express his views on protest. His work  ‘What’s left ? just the future.

We would we welcome him to arrange a talk on his paper next term, should he be unable to do so then students would be happy to discuss the paper without him.

Some Choice quotes:

“It is simply not possible, for example, to attribute ‘agency’ to other kinds of actor and retain a stay-at-home ethics. An expanded ethics is required. And this is not a trivial point in a world in which violence is rife and forms of inhumanity seem to be multiplying”

“…at various points in history, a certain Utopian impulse in Left thinking can be and has been too easily converted into an authoritarian reality.”

“Our belief is that the internal dynamics of capitalism are increasingly likely to be interrupted by forces like these and by growing complexity, such that it becomes increasingly difficult to read off determinate outcomes … Thus we are very wary of highly structured readings of  apitalism, replete with scales and driving logics.”

“it is difficult to find commentators on the Left who do not believe that there has been some kind of shift in the way in which space and time  appear. Furthermore, this shift is not innocent. It has political resonance.”

“something is going on and that it can frame Left politics positively and negatively – for example, in terms of the speed of transmission of ideas  and affect, in terms of the ability to associate together, in terms of the ‘(a)whereness’ of democracy, and in terms of how the spacetimes of the body are being redefined.”

“What these challenges add up to are powerful new geographies of organisation, belonging and attachment, which are literally redefining the spaces of what it is to be political.”

“We are seeing the rise of a heterarchical order which increasingly constructs its power by both producing and using diversity. In these circumstances, an imperative for the Left, first of all, is to identify the varied sites and geographies of heterarchical power and not to shy away if that journey takes us in to unfamiliar territory. A second imperative is to accept that the assault on instituted power must be selective and that a division of political labour is not a bad or contrary thing.”

“There is nothing that adds up in a way that can be grasped through a singular politics of resistance.”

“Some political actions are taken without the full benefit of analysis, programme or certainty of outcome, and yet may well have important consequences for a politics of struggle and emancipation. The principle we wish to defend is that of democratic experimentalism.”

“it follows that we believe that political action can take place at all kinds of scales, and that there is no necessary need to make a distinction between little and large politics. In the annals of Left struggle, it is not clear to us that producing clean water for a village in Ethiopia is somehow less important than producing a world political manifesto. Acts of freedom are many, varied, and often require just as much work of alliance and political nuance at one scale as they do at another. The Left cannot afford to believe that it has privileged oversight”

“It would be difficult to deny the difficult days that the world is going through. One might say that the four horseman of the apocalypse have moved from a quiet trot to a full gallop and this increase in activity has been accompanied by the rise of right wing politics of various kinds which are clearly associated with a series of state and corporate ideologies and practices that must be denied any more room in the world and that– in time– must be rolled back.”