Hello and welcome to Meet the Prisonship of Sunday, Feb 24th. Meet my distinguished panel.
Paulie Huerta is a Graduate Fellow at a non-minor research university.
Pete Henning works for a labor union as a senior strategist.
Pavlov Halstead makes oblique, modernist music that one blogger called “marx-folk.”
Patty Hansen is a politico and outspoken half-Trotskyist.
Very Well, Hansen let’s begin with you. What say you to the WI results, Nader announcment, McCain tirrades, etc?
I think Nader is going to have a rough turnout, because the kids will stay with Obama. I think his is a vanity run, although I will appreciate having somebody asking tougher questions back in the race. From an ideological point of view, the level of the Dem debate has gotten less redistributive since Edwards left.
But of course the Dem race has been enchanting if considered as human drama. White people everywhere are having strange, moral-ethical non-epiphanies with their white, Baby Boomer parents. It’s a bummer that despite the diversity of the candidates and their candidacies, the pundits hang around in these weird, white and patriarchal formations…because sometimes, despite my respect for Obama and my enthusiasm about his campaign, I get embarassed being inundated with all these people who talk like me and my dad, endlessly riffing about how awesome my candidate is. But that’s more a statement on the media then on him.
Forget allegations of affairs, what matters is that we get the Savings and Loan era of McCain’s provenance in the foreground…….
Pete Henning: Let me agree with your point. I make a living doing “opposition research,” and if I were in charge of a presidential campaign I could and would make good decisions on these kinds of scores. Obama should not initiate any shennanigans McCain, but if the Sen. from AZ decides to go negative, he has every right to allude again and again to the dissonance between McCain’s anti-spending rhetoric and the S + L story. That’s just fair. The people need to know.
Right now I am most excited about the prospects of Obama’s foreign policy, but if I were McCain I would go after them rigorously. Obama can beat McCain in the “talking to our enemies” debate, but if the campaigns come down to that it’ll end up being closer than I would like, which is to say, closer than we need for a mandate.
Paulie Huerta. Yes. I myself am getting more interested in the state politics of Oregon, where the government faces economic revenue shortfalls as well as quickly waning federal subsidies. We need to articulate local politics – both social movement politics as well as electoral politics – with the Obama candidacy.
At this time let’s turn to the cultural and ur-cultural spheres.
Pavlov Halstead. I am not quite sure what to say about horses such as these, the ones that unfurl like mere Jacobs upon the rope-ramp.
Hey, okay. Now we have a letter from someone named Luther in Green Bay. Luther writes, “Solid. So, what’s going on at university, Huerta?”
Mostly I have been teaching. I have shown them three minute clips from Godard’s tout va bien, which is a full-blown, maoist agit-prop art piece from 1970 or so. I have introduced a weird, Lacanian side-motif about consumer desire that probably would come off as ersatz Zizek to a brighter crowd. I post links to non-required articles about finance capitalism on the course website, and students read them. I am really impressed by the design of this course, which is the work of an admired friend and teacher of mine. I think that in addition to doing a good rendition of this time-honored course, I have added my own weird vibe to it.
Pete Henning. Which reminds me, who among your students might be good to either intern with or organize for labor unions?
Paulie Huerta. Well, that’s not at all the point, you know. Last week I was talking about more longue duree consequences of expanding capitalist levels of consumption to the periphery, and a guy raised his hand and had a total moment, and said, “Well, Paul. What are we supposed to do to get out of this? What is to be done?” And I get a lot of that in office hours, too. And I put up links to idealist.org and other stuff on the site for them.
Anyway, I have a good feeling about my eleven-week voyage of discovery, Henning. How’s your charter, is my question?
Well, this is not a good forum for me to discuss anything too quotidian, lest it metamorphasize into intelligence for somebody else’s opposition research.
But, I would like to talk about white guy identity politics on the labor left, though. Like many of the places I go, the majority of sane people in the labor movement happen to also be female. In the milieu I’m working, most of the fellows posture like SDS-seasoned free speech jocks or like diffident elliot smith fans.