Darfur and the Dow Jones
Condi Rice issues another of her stern warnings, this time to Sudan, saying co-operate or else. But of course say doesn’t say exactly what “or else “is. In the image –world we now operate in, there is no more dangerous perception than that of a powerless superpower. The Iranians, the Hizbollah, the Taliban, the Chinese or Russians, none of them are “blinking” first because first in VietNam and now in Iraq we destroyed our credibility, we ceded even the perception of moral high ground, and showed our vulnerability. In destroying the concept of a “United Nations” we undermined the possibility of humanitarian intervention as well.
Back to the image- world. Check out the wording of the “controversial” National Intelligence Estimate (oxymoron?). “ Should jihadists leaving Iraq PERCIEVE themselves, and be PERCIEVED, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.” All about perception, of course, so that the same logic applies to us “viewers” on this side of the TV screen. The Spectacle, as the colonization of everyday life, the submission of human sociability to the deadly solicitations (the bright, lifeless, sameness) of the market. Fuerbach put it well: “But for the present age ,which prefers the sign to the thing signified , the copy to the original, representation to reality, appearance to essence…truth is considered profane and only ILLUSION is sacred.”
So we see a “bounce” in Bush’s approval rating and the Dow Jones average at a near-record high. Consumer confidence. Baubles ,bangles and beads. The endgame is one little box that does everything you want and costs everything you’ve got. I watched a documentary on Maquiladores yesterday evening, part of CAJA’s series on depressing situations (just joking). Toxic chemicals run through the dirt streets in the barrios of Tijuana, the women on the way to the factories have to walk across bridges of old tires,while the fumes in the air burn their eyes and noses. Buy a TV from Sony to watch Condi Rice, it was made by the women making 11 dollars a day.
And lastly, David Aarnovitch, in No Excuses for Terror,is tired of arguing , tired of questions like: “Are Bush and Blair responsible for suicide bombers? Are we all somehow to blame?” He and Norm Geras and a million right wing bloggers and the punditocracy demand clarity! They ask: “How did we get to the point where British socialists support Islamofascist Terrorism?” ( his capitals, to indicate their new status?) Of course, thinking people are looking for explanation ,not justification, but Mr. Aaronovitch has “framed” the terms of the debate with his word “excuses”. As for blame, in a word, YES, we are all to blame, me ,him , you, everyone to different degrees. To the degree we own productive capital or property, to the degree our profit is exploitive, to the degree our consumption habits enable exploitation, to the degree we support institutions of oppression. All by way of explanation, while in no way excusing terrorist tactics. And of course our complicity also extends to the degree to which we resist and support others in their struggles, David.