may ’68

What’s May ’68 mean to you?

You’ll be shocked to hear that the New York Times thinks of the approaching 40th anniversary as a nice excuse to decry anti-capitalism as simultaneously juvenile and elitist. Apparently all we need to know is that even old Maoists have i-phones these days.

I feel no end of rage towards the political artchitecture we’ve inherited from baby boomers, and in particular for its leftist ruins. But the New York Times I hate even more.

Sarkozy prevails because at the end of the day people graduate from graduate school and buy i-phones?!? Is that why so many of you are afraid of social democratic reforms- do you think it’s going to take away the diversity of nonfat yogurt options and cable tv now that it’s finally getting good? Really. Cuz I can promise you we socialists love the shit out of pizza, too. Rest easy.

Ooh, the whole bit closes with the suggestion that May 1968 actually _made_ Sarkozy, which makes a sick bit of sense, and resonates with Tom Frank’s famous writings on how the upshot for the 1960s was Reaganism and a better soundtrack for Pepsi ads. It’s a windfall for adolescents, the knowledge that you can be a rebel your whole life without ever having to think about politics.

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4 Responses to “may ’68”

  1. The New York Times Blubbers Over Free Trade « The PrisonShip Says:

    […] Over Free Trade April 30, 2008 — lexdexter Thanks to Dean Baker for obviating my petty titter-tattering about the NYT with this solid, incisive […]

  2. minx Says:

    Yeah, I have a real problem with poorly thought through rebellion, especially coming from the high school students I teach. Spiked belts, skater pros, getting drunk, and saying “fuck the government” or “I don’t care” seem to be the extent of their rebellion.

  3. dlp Says:

    I’ll probably be attacked for saying this, but my impression is that Sarkozy prevailed not because former Marxist grad students now own iphones but because the social democratic model of France’s gov’t can’t pay for itself and now the country is wracked with high unemployment and a dragging economy.

  4. lexdexter Says:

    Alain Badiou the communist hypothesis
    • If we posit a definition of politics as “collective action, organized by certain principles, that aims to undolf the consequences of a new possibility which is currently repressed by the dominant order’, then we would have to conclude that the electoral mechanism is an essentially apolitical procedure. This can be seen in the gulf between the massive formal imperative to vote and the free-floating, if non non—existent nature of political or ideological convictions. It is good to vote, to give a form to my fears; but it is hard to believe that what I am voting for is a good thing in itself. This is not to say that the electoral process is repressive per se; rather, that the electoral process is incorporated into a state form, that of capitalo-parliamentarianism, appropriate for the maintenenace of the established order, and consequently serves a conservative function. This creates a further feeling of powerlessness: if ordinary citizens have no handle on state decision-making save the vote, it is hard to see what way forward.


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