Fresh on the news that American Sniper has made a record $92 million on its debut:
Its time to have a closer look at Cultural Constituencies and how they relate to economic rationale
In France, on the back of ‘Je suis..’, ‘Charlie Hebdo is reported to have printed and disposed of 5 – 7 million copies of its commemorative edition. (I million of which were paid for by the French government.) While in the USA, supporters have raised $ ½-1 million or more for Darren Wilson; the now infamous Ferguson shooting cop.
Is a pattern emerging?
I think so.
I have referred to Cultural Constituencies as the new driving force in politics. I describe them here:
Having defined cultural constituencies in specific terms, the next question to answer is : What differentiates cultural constituencies from political constituencies?
Simply put, political constituencies vote with ballots to control money and cultural constituencies vote with money to control politics.
Understanding this relationship between cultural and political constituencies requires a deeper understanding of ‘economic rationale’.
Economic rationale is the idea that specific groups of people have defined and identifiable economic interests that they can and should recognize and seek to advance, hence the ‘rationale’. It follows that these groups are defined as economic ‘classes’ and interact with each other on this basis. In ‘democracies’ economic classes are supposed to interact through the democratic process and the outcome of this process is an economic compromise, The nature of this compromise is the content of politics.
But in order for this to work satisfactorily democratic power is supposed to be divorced from economic power. However, we all know that this is not so. The Credit Crunch and international governmental response it provoked illustrates direct political control of economics and direct interference in politics by economic actors.
This has given rise to a crisis of democracy that is directly attributable to financialisation, the democratisation of money and the Credit Crunch. This crisis of democracy has led to the appearance of cultural constituencies and its latest and so far most potent expression in the Syriza movement.
Syriza as a prime example of a cultural constituency for which:
‘Economic demands (are) secondary or irrelevant’.
‘Profound realignment of politics within constituencies; Less and less will traditional areas of contention and politics operate within cultural constituencies. The members will tend to see what they have in common over what they have in difference.’
In other words cultural constituencies produce political alignments which are unexpected and difficult to explain in terms of left and right. Which brings us to the following in ‘The Telegraph’:
‘ ..Syriza and their new allies, Independent Greeks, are strange bed fellows. Their differences could herald a highly unstable new phase in Greek politics as Mr Tsipras embarks on bruising negotiations with the EU and IMF over the country’s massive debt and deeply unpopular austerity regime, writes Nick Squires.
Like Syriza, the Independent Greeks are stridently opposed to the “troika” of international creditors who have leant the country 240 billion euros (£180 billion), saying that Greece simply cannot pay the money back.
But beyond that, they have little in common with Syriza, raising fears of even more uncertainty in a country battered by five years of recession and political conflict.
While Syriza is a coalition of socialists, Marxists, Maoists and Communists, the Independent Greeks are a conservative, nationalist party.
They were formed in 2012 by a breakaway group of rebels from New Democracy, the conservative party of Antonis Samaras, the outgoing prime minister.
They also have close links to the Greek Orthodox Church, further putting them at odds with Mr Tsipras, who is an atheist.’ ‘
Some of the key points to draw out from this brief description are:
This new political alignment is to be regarded as ‘strange’ and ‘unstable’; which means unpredictable within the standard left/right context.
This new alignment will be hard fight and control using traditional political and economic methods because it contains elements of both left and right.
This new alignment will be hard to negotiate with because it has no economic rationale (see above). Simple economic interest is no longer the end point of its activity, now it is only the means to an end. The cultural constituency that Syriza represents will be willing to pay in hardship to make this point.
Just as a cultural constituency in USA was willing to pay into the Darren Wilson retirement fund effectively bypassing the political governmental control of the police force. Just as a cultural constituency in France was willing to effectively invest in Charlie Hebdo as a promotion of their collective identity, so the cultural constituency of Syriza is willing to face economic consequences of defying the German leadership of the EU.
The point of all this is that SYRIZA is not ‘left wing’ any more than the people who donated to Darren Wilson are ‘right wing’. Any more than the people who bought Charlie Hebdo are left wing. They are cultural constituencies. Next I will deal with what this means in terms of Whiteism.