Who are those invisible and whose perspective is being considered? That is the real trick of this whole story of the marginalized: they serve a culturalist left, more precisely a neoliberal elite, who perceive themselves as progressive, as a projection screen or as a cover, or they are, because politically unacceptable, the right margin slammed , In their name, one carries out their political business in the other direction. Some of these seemingly marginalized people have already slipped into prominence as gays, as colored people, as so-called LGBT, and are anything but marginalized. They are well-endowed with media power, language and all the tools to position themselves culturally, but they sell their privileges in jamming as a repression of society. These people work in media, in agencies, have book contracts with established publishers like Bertelsmann, they live in neighborhoods from which the old inhabitants were long ago ousted. (It was these contradictions that Pier Paolo Pasolini pointed out back in the 1960s when he wrote that the true underdogs were not the bourgeois militants protesting at the time, but the workers in the police who faced these youths.)
Such displacement of the residents of residential neighborhoods is in Kreuzberg, Kreuzkölln no different than in Schanzen- and Karoviertel in Hamburg the case. The protest of this milieu of neoliberal leftists against gentrification has something of a weird bigot as well as its political stance. Alleged tolerance serves as cultural currency, as cultural capital. The so-called diversity is in truth the old identity, the pabulum, only in a new, a purportedly left garb. Or as Adorno wrote about the ideology of the “Melting Pot” in the Minima Moralia entitled Melange:
“The usual argument of tolerance, all people, all races are the same, is a boomerang. It exposes itself to comfortable refutation by the senses, and even the most compelling anthropological evidence that the Jews are not a race will hardly change in the case of the pogrom that the totalitarians know quite well who they want to kill and who not , On the other hand, if equality were to be demanded as an ideal of all that man’s face carries, instead of subordinating it to fact, that would not help much. The abstract utopia would all too easily be compatible with the most discriminating tendencies of society. That all men are like each other is exactly what suited them. It regards the actual or imaginary differences as scandals that testify that one has not yet brought it far enough; that something is released from the machinery, not entirely determined by the totality. The technique of the concentration camps boils down to making the prisoners like their guards, the murdered murderers. The racial difference is raised to the absolute, so that you can abolish it absolutely, even if nothing else survived. An emancipated society, however, would not be a unitary state, but the realization of the universal in the reconciliation of differences. For that reason, politics, which was still seriously concerned, should not even propagate the abstract equality of men as an idea. Instead, it should point to the bad equality today, the identity of the movie with the gun aficionados, but the better state than the one in which one can be different without fear. If one assures the negro that he is just like the white man, while he is not, he is secretly wronged again. He is humbly humbled by a standard which, under the pressure of the systems, must be left behind, and which, moreover, would be a dubious merit. The advocates of unitarian tolerance are always inclined to turn intolerantly against any group that does not conform: the obstinate enthusiasm for the Negro is combined with indignation at Jewish imperialism. The melting pot was an institution of unleashed industrial capitalism. The thought of entering into it conjures up martyrdom, not democracy. “(Th. W. Adorno)
This aphorism can be modified in all possible directions. The negative remains negative until it passes. As long as this is the case, there will be dissent and conflict.
Guillaume Paoli addresses these social contradictions between those down there, those invisible, and the culturally arrested, who are increasingly obscured and covered in art as well, in the interview. An art of healthy middle-class children, with healthy middle-class problems. Refugees are their objects, but not actors as they should be: giving voice to those who speak instead of talking about them. A self-circulating art that scarcely hurts, whose innovative or avant-garde potentials have long worn out in favor of a fat return, as cultural capital, as Bourdieu put it, or as moral added value. Societal contradictions are barely put on stage or on paper and, if so shallow, they are meaningless. (I am very worried that Juli Zeh’s new novel is meant very well, but rather simple in aesthetics.)
In general, what we need is a culture, an art of conflict, of dispute, of differences, of conflict. Not to ban the opponent’s opinion as Hatespeech or to denounce it as Nazi speech, even where it is a decidedly critical view, as in Sloterdijk or Safranski, but first of all to grasp what is meant, and then, if necessary to respond with arguments.
And sometimes it is even the case that one has to endure another opinion. Freedom of expression does not mean that only one’s own theorem is valid. Freedom of expression applies unconditionally, unconditionally and everywhere, even to those views that are not compatible with one’s own mindset, even when people feel offended. Apart from that, the criminal laws that set limits for certain statements, such as abusive criticism or false statements, otherwise regulate this. Feeling racism is a private thing, anyone can accept what he likes, but that does not justify a ban. And in this sense, the Network Enforcement Act is fatal. Anyone who celebrates the blocking of Beatrix Storch today should remember that he could be the next tomorrow – keyword indymedia. And anyone who writes on Facebook about the G20 riots all too well risks a blockage in anticipatory obedience. That’s how it works when you shake the entrance to hell. Censorship is not a one-way street.
But now to excerpts from the instructive interview, published in the Friday of issue 1/2018 .
Question: So blame for misery is the relativism of post-structuralists!
Guillaume Paoli: Complicity, I would say. With this attitude, everything looks extremely tolerant, but who does not accept this pose, is branded as eternal. By the way, the current right-wingers play this game skillfully when they say they are not Nazis. They just invoke their identity, not in vain is a movement called “The Identities”. This is consistently modern in the times of identity politics .
That brings us to topics like Trump and Brexit. Just won the diehards?
No, I think the real sensation was that suddenly people became visible who were invisible until now.
How did they become invisible?
Let’s take Seattle. This is a wonderful city, everyone is cycling, there are only health food shops, chickens run through the city. Sitting in Seattle, Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, the residents in the center are well-paid employees of the companies mentioned. The old population, who lived in Seattle 15 years ago, now lives outside. They can not go to work by bike. They have to travel far to make the sandwiches for the hip residents, but in city life they are completely invisible. By the way, Seattle chose Clinton with 87 percent, which makes us proud.
What is so bad about 87 percent of Clinton?
At least it is questionable. For these people who live so exemplary and choose Clinton, they scoff their nose at each other contemptuously. They do not realize that they reproduce a class contempt as in the worst of the 19th century. At that time the bourgeoisie was scolding the stinking workers, but now – and that’s the perfidy – with a good conscience.
Now let’s talk about class struggle. So also about Marx?
Yeah, but there’s a punchline: in the Communist Manifesto , Marx praises the bourgeoisie for sweeping away rigid institutions like nation, tradition, or patriarchy in order to fully unleash capitalism. If modern leftists today boast of their fight against conservative traditions, they are essentially completing the bourgeoisie project of 1848. I mean, you can do that, but I ask myself, where is anti-capitalism? (Laughs.)
I do not know that. But according to this logic, the opponents of emancipation are suddenly no longer the rich as in the past, but the poor and the workers. They choose Trump, do not shop at the health food store and are probably sexist.
Why do writers, journalists and artists find it so difficult to make the invisible visible?
The big question. Where is someone like John Steinbeck, who described the misery in society in the thirties, where are the Hollywood films, for example, showing the drug misery of the white middle and middle classes in America or the exploitation of surrogate mothers by wealthy women, who do not want to ruin their bodies with a pregnancy? There are so many untold stories from reality.
They also say we live in a time of ongoing presence. What do you mean by that?
The Volksbühne is a good example again. It has always been said that a quarter of a century Castorf is now enough, because now comes the contemporary! As if the contemporary had value in itself. The amazing thing is, never before has so much been talked about creativity, but the only new thing is updates. I wonder if something new is possible with this constant drive for innovation and self-optimization.
Is that the dialectical punchline in late capitalism?
What I have described as a mutation is a form of society in which there are no opposing forces: working class, socialism, trade unions, all invisible or irrelevant. The point, however, is that the greatest danger to capitalism is capitalism itself, its self-destructiveness. We are now aware of this from the ecological catastrophes, and today – as was the case with the trade union workers – today, they are basically the capitalist opponents who are trying to save capitalism.”