The implicit politics of the present—in which the deep left aim of creating a society of universal self-flourishing is rendered as a society of universal ‘safety’, in an expanded sense—trends towards a ban on representation, since any representation of suffering or wrong can be taken as exploitation or aggression.
The bright young things of Silicon Valley, with their dreams of direct democracy on Mars and digital immortality, are often difficult to take seriously. But their hubris is only the gaudy version of a broader cultural and political belief in the power of science and technology to edit, alter and override the very stuff from which our world is made—in other words, to ‘play God’.
After decades of encouraging competition between landlords and tenants, the government has turned around at lightning speed and now wants landlords and tenants to cooperate and negotiate. This is not in the nature of free-market economics...
Whoever controls the computer-based infrastructure of the city can determine the type of future the city has... ‘Smart city’ vendors and their platforms will immediately lock-in governments and citizens and limit their development, shaping the way we relate to the city while programming citizens’ behaviour.
Eventually, we trust, the virulence of the pandemic will recede, and the social-distancing measures associated with it will ease too. But what will happen to those disadvantaged groups whose public life is threatened not by an easily transferable, invisible freak virus but rather the older tenacious social contagion called racism?
The ‘smart city’ agenda follows a logic of neoliberal platformisation of the city and its urban infrastructures, where wealth is transferred to private corporations that structurally cannot prioritise public benefit or citizens’ well-being above their own profit-maximising drive, or work to strengthen democratic governments and their institutions.
The Kerr–Palace letters have turned attention back to the role of the Queen and British power in the sacking of the Whitlam government. But the dismissal was really the beginning of a new type of US power, linked to total surveillance, with Sir John Kerr as its willing accomplice.
The counter-narrative would be that it is we, not China, that are isolated in the region: white, settler, a firm US ally, happy to support a US- and Europe-dominated world order at the UN, and to give no real recognition to the narrative that joins billions of East Asians together: that for a century or so they were dominated, exploited and humiliated by white imperial powers, and that they are now on the way to…
…we have to face the fact that the United States is in serious decline. It is powerful militarily, in the technical sense, but socially it is falling apart. What future is there for an empire-dependent outlier community in this circumstance?