Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Did the Cold War Happen?

It's interesting to re-read the Cold War as a planetary system rather than a planetary conflict, as a kind of meta-stable postcolonial hegemony that mistook itself as the stalemate between two diametrically opposed ideologies when in fact it constituted more a lumpy but continuous ideological system expressing the values of extractive- centralizing- authoritarian industrialism.

The "End of the Cold War," then, would represent less the victory of one antagonist ("capitalism," so-called) over the other ("communism," so-called), so much as the exhibition of systemic contradictions at both poles in an industrial planetary hegemony that eventually convulsed the whole, first at one pole and very soon after (what wishful thinking, "the end of history," indeed!) at the other.

Few readers of this blog will be surprised to hear that I regard the proper successor to the failed planetary system of extractive-industrialism as polyculture: sustainable planetary peer-to-peer consensual multiculture.

Darker possibilities are certainly also possible: warlordism in the midst of climate catastrophe and planetary pandemics, militarist extinction events, corporatist feudalism presiding over genocidal precarization of "surplus humanity" among others. But it does seem to me that history in this moment is rather up for grabs, and more promising than not, especially given the vitality of global resistance movements against neoliberalism (and its neoconservative underside), the corporate-militarist consummation of global extractive-industrialism, the emergence of environmental consciousness and the proliferation of disruptive peer-to-peer formations.


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year and best wishes, from us, (ex)Commies!

Sorry for any typos, I hate typing while drunk...

Dale Carrico said...

I love typing while drunk -- as witness most of my comments in the Moot.

Anonymous said...

:) Depends on degree of drunkedness... I now love it too :) And we still have that emergency stash of Riga Herbal (My...Tastes like epensuive chocolate, only 100 proof... (Almost) all pleasures in one bottle...) :) Happy new Year! Happiness! For everybody! For Free! (Russian literati reference) Dale, you're great!