[iDC] Re: The politics of cultural production

saul ostrow sostrow at gate.cia.edu
Sun Aug 27 09:42:20 EDT 2006

I want to thank Christiane and Matthew for there responses to my  
missive -  its good to know others feel as I do - and that for the  
moment while we have more questions than answers, that others are  
willing to acknowledge that our present condition can no longer be  
addressed using out-moded  conventions and readymade answers premised  
on dualistic and instrumental thought or the promise of a  
technological solution. Equally important we must understand that  
social and political engagement is not about developing art forms but  
creating a environment that can sustain a dynamic virtual, collective  
cultural identity  that is significantly different than the one that  
our present culture is premised on.

As for Matthew's question concerning emerging non- traditional forms  
of protest - my observation is that too many non- traditional forms  
have traditional content (and continue to be premised on the view  
that the truth will make us free)  -  in other words its about  
getting the message out - but what is the message  - from my point of  
view, first thing we need to rid ourselves of is the notion of  
protest - its too  negative  - its reactive and is  premised on the  
vision that if the bad goes away the good will take its place- which  
is a mode of instrumental thought which does not offer us a vision of  
what it is we might actually want or how to achieve it - another  
thing  we need to  recuperate the term  propagandist - and develop  
forms that propagate  programatic alternatives, as well as new  
visions and rules of engagement - Let us for the moment take a big  
issue  the opposition to  globalization - if one opposes it  they are  
denying reality, this includes those who oppose it in the name of a  
romantic view of other non modern culture's in the name of self- 
determination - If we are serious in our opposition then we must  
offer up- propose alternative forms of development within the context  
of  the existing  global  economy-- this would be a real act of  
opposition  - the problem, seems to be  is that the latter because it  
lacks a ready made position from which to be indignant,  is less  
emotionally rewarding - one last thing  remember marx thought that  
capital's ability to form global systems was a positive  - it was  
imperialism's abuse of these systems  whcih created poverty and  
despotism that was the negative aspect.

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