Pandaemonium

IN DEFENCE OF UNIVERSALISM

Hans Hartung Untitled

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This is an interview with Alex Hochuli, George Hoare and Ben Fogle for the podcast Aufhebunga Bunga, mainly on questions of immigration, identity, class and the left (though it opens with a discussion of the aftermath of the Notre Dame fire).

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The image is Untitled by Hans Hartung.

6 comments

  1. damon

    I listened to this yesterday morning and it was certainly interesting.
    There was that “open borders” issue discussed again …. which I really don’t understand the implications of at all really. I listened to that having just read a Daily Mail article on what Nigel Farage had said about segregation in Oldham last week.
    I think that Farage was wrong to talk about such things to an American audience who know nothing about such issues in the U.K. I don’t know Oldham either, although I have travelled to a couple of similar towns in the northwest. The Daily Mail is not known for great insight into matters such as this usually, but I wondered how much of this was true.

    “Ghetto Britain: After Nigel Farage claimed the streets of Oldham were ‘split down the middle’, troubling dispatch reveals how his dog whistle politics are being fuelled by a far more complex division”
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6990645/Ghetto-Britain-complex-division-Nigel-Farages-dog-whistle-politics.html

    It does seem like there is quite a complex division in Oldham. After all the talk since the riots there in 2001, the divisions seem to have remained. Some aspects have even exacerbated maybe, as the borough’s population has risen. New patterns of division have continued to roll out as some areas which were still majority white in 2001 are now majority Asian. I looked up some statistics on a government website about Oldham and saw this assessment:

    “Increased Diversity – Changes in Oldham’s ethnic composition are likely to affect patterns of residence within Oldham. There may be an increased need to support community relations, particularly within neighbourhoods where ethnic compositions are shifting rapidly.”

    An argument might be that we just don’t do things that well in Britain. We don’t build enough houses or invest in city infrastructure enough to make new and modern towns and cities. And our efforts at integration leave a lot to be desired. But it’s difficult to force things and things can just remain the way they are for decades.

    I read this article about Rotterdam, which is a city where they take investment in infrastructure very seriously.
    It might even be a model for what Britain should follow. It’s an extremely diverse society also, with 50% of people from BME backgrounds, but they seem to have their issues of segregation too.
    https://www.the-american-interest.com/2019/04/29/the-city-of-europes-future/

  2. The politics of economic growth has caused structural changes at the social, cultural and ecological levels. Underlying growth is competition. Growth fuels social, cultural and ecological competition.

    Underlying identity politics is not only the politics of growth but the politics of competition.

    Anti-migration sentiments are fuelled by the politics of growth and the politics of competition. There is not only anti-migration sentiments, but competition between ideological perspectives, competition between class perspectives and competition between ethnic perspectives.

    These intertwine to create simplistic binary oppositions between the liberal and the conservative, the left and the right, the migrant and the indigenous, the human right and the ancestral right, the open border and the closed border.

    This competitive opposition of simplistic binaries was predominantly fuelled by studies that sought to categorise libertarian identities in opposition to authoritarian identities.

    The focus on anti-migration, the integration of immigrants and the human rights of the migrant specifically seeks to deny democracy, the capacity of social, cultural and ecological systems and seeks to hide the underlying principles of growth and competition.

    Universalism, as advocated here, is predicated on growth and the underlying solutions are predicated on growth.

    The attempt to resolve economic grievances without acknowledging the capacity of economic, social, cultural and ecological systems requires growth.

    To sustain growth, it is necessary to transcend national capacities, therefore to displace anti-migration sentiments requires the market appropriation of foreign resources and future reserves of renewable resources in order to sustain growth.

    Therefore to overcome social, cultural, economic and ecological disaffections requires producing social, cultural, economic and ecological disaffections elsewhere.

  3. The politics of economic growth has caused structural changes at the social, cultural and ecological levels. Underlying growth is competition. Growth fuels social, cultural and ecological competition.

    Underlying identity politics is not only the politics of growth but the politics of competition.

    Anti-migration sentiments are fuelled by the politics of growth and the politics of competition. There is not only anti-migration sentiments, but competition between ideological perspectives, competition between class perspectives and competition between ethnic perspectives.

    These intertwine to create simplistic binary oppositions between the liberal and the conservative, the left and the right, the migrant and the indigenous, the human right and the ancestral right, the open border and the closed border.

    This competitive opposition of simplistic binaries was predominantly fuelled by studies that sought to categorise libertarian identities in opposition to authoritarian identities.

    The focus on anti-migration, the integration of immigrants and the human rights of the migrant specifically seeks to deny democracy, the capacity of social, cultural and ecological systems and seeks to hide the underlying principles of growth and competition.

    Universalism, as advocated here, is predicated on growth and the underlying solutions are predicated on growth.

    The attempt to resolve economic grievances without acknowledging the capacity of economic, social, cultural and ecological systems requires growth.

    To sustain growth, it is necessary to transcend national capacities. Therefore to displace anti-migration sentiments requires the market appropriation of foreign resources and future reserves of renewable resources in order to sustain growth.Therefore to overcome social, cultural, economic and ecological disaffections requires producing social, cultural, economic and ecological disaffections elsewhere.

    The alternative is a politics of sufficiency and a politics of cooperation. Here social, cultural, economic and ecological capacities are acknowledged. Here capacities are democratically managed in order to produce a sufficiency society. This requires national autonomy over national policy. This requires the Royal Perogative underlying sovereignty to remain within national borders.

    A politics of sufficiency and cooperation is in essence communitarian in its outlook, whether within the social, cultural, economic or ecological spheres. In essence, the politics of sufficiency and cooperation is the democratic politics of the common good.

    See also http://www.bluelabour.org/2019/04/30/jonathan-rutherford-the-end-of-progress/

  4. damon

    Universalism is a fine idea, but is it something the world can realise in the early 21st century?
    My answer has to be “No” for now. Maybe in the future when the world’s situation has changed enough.

    Travelling around different parts of the world just seems to have confirmed this to me. Places are so different that it means that people are very different. And we still haven’t got over ideas of nationalism and group identity yet.

    Looking at some YouTubes the other day, this one came up from Germany from a couple of years ago.
    A 75 year old German woman is being interviewed in the street about her opinions on the new asylum seekers in her city. And she’s complaining heavily. Things have happened to people like her which they’ve never experienced before. Like being harassed on public transport and robbed in the street.
    As she’s talking, a group of young lads turn up and start listening in, and then start interrupting her.
    And being rude to her. They are Albanian, (one of them says so to the camera right at the end and makes the sign of the Albanian double headed eagle with his hands).

    Just young lads being a bit cheeky and rude to an older woman. But having been in Albania myself for a few weeks last year, it’s the sort of thing they never would have done in their own country.
    And a foreigner behaving disrespectfully in Albania would be in serious danger of getting beaten up or worse.
    The culture wouldn’t allow for that. But it does seem that young people from places like that who go abroad to Western Europe, can soon realise that they can get away with more there than they ever could at home.

    And the thing is, that a lot of people in countries where these young guys from abroad go to, have experienced such things themselves. Or heard about them second hand. And there is a negative reaction.
    The woman in the video says that a lot of older people like herself voted AfD.
    Maybe a new generation can bring about the ideals of universalism in the second half of the century, because I don’t think it can even begin just yet.

  5. damon

    I’m listening to our divided society being proved on the radio right now, with the furore over the sacking of BBC radio presenter Danny Baker.

    The leader of Haringey council – Joseph Ejiofors – just made the first call on BBC radio London, saying how right it was for Baker to be sacked.
    https://mobile.twitter.com/CllrEjiofor/status/1126281129428910083

    I also saw a list of several black British celebrities (as well as people like you’d expect – like MP Jess Phillips) all saying that he needed to be sacked for his “terrible racism”. Bonnie Greer too.
    The fact that (I’m about 100% sure) Baker tweeted that picture without thinking of the racial connotations of it, will get no sympathy – even from some of the people who know him well.

    It’s what happens in a diverse “universalist” society.
    It’s like what happened when OJ Simpson got found not guilty.
    It split along racial lines – with many black people celebrating the verdict.

    Listening in online from very homogeneous Eastern Europe, I can see there are pluses and minuses with both diverse and non-diverse societies. In the U.K., one false step …. and you’re toast.
    Poor Danny Baker.
    The idea that he consciously meant it (and wanted to get sacked) is preposterous.
    He’s become a diversity martyr in a way.

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