Archived entries for politics

Manuela Carmena: “otras estructuras de representación de los ciudadanos que estén más centradas en términos concretos”

“Ahora ha cambiado todo tanto que se ha abierto la posibilidad de hacer una nueva política. Probablemente los partidos políticos van a sufrir una evolución porque el futuro no es de los partidos políticos, sino de otras estructuras de representación de los ciudadanos que estén más centradas en términos concretos. Los partidos tienen algo muy negativo y es que tienen que tener postura sobre todo. ¿Por qué un partido tiene que ser como un dogma? Comprendo que haya un grupo de ciudadanos que se unan para plantear el tema de la eutanasia, por ejemplo, me parece súperimportante y creo que alargar la vida inútilmente es algo a resolver. Pero, ¿a su vez tienen que tener claro qué vamos a hacer con la política económica? Hay que romper con esa idea de partido.”

Manuela Carmena: “Vamos a ir a los bancos a decirles: queremos garantizar el derecho a la vivienda”.

Atmósfera y política

En su análisis del parlamento británico Paulo Tavares (2008) da cuenta de cómo la reconstrucción de éste a mediados del siglo XIX va acompañada de la implementación de toda una infraestructura de acondicionamiento para la cámara. El responsable de ello es David Boswell Reid, un médico y químico que diseña un sistema de ventilación destinado a mantener el aire dentro de la cámara en permanente movimiento evitando que se estanque. Reid pretende responder, por ejemplo, al cansancio de los diputados disminuyendo la temperatura interior de la sala cuando las sesiones son largas. El parlamento es concebido de esta manera como una cámara cuyo aire está controlado y en permanente movimiento para habilitar las condiciones del ejercicio político. Esa idea se lleva hasta el paroxismo cuando en el año 2004 el mismo parlamento considera la posibilidad de introducir un muro de cristal entre la cámara y la galería del público y un sistema de ventilación completamente autónomo como precaución ante un posible ataque químico. El diseño que se plantea haría completamente independiente y estanca a la cámara del exterior.

Asambleas al aire: la arquitectura ambulatoria de una política en suspensión —
Adolfo Estalella y Alberto Corsín Jiménez
.

Design for a Post-Neoliberal City | e-flux

Whether pessimistically or optimistically, it is at least interesting to note that design is again on the agenda in urban and political theory. Mouffe refers vaguely to design as a political tool for the construction of a common space, and Foster laments the lack of room for alternatives, but these could also be (mis)read as pleas for the design of a “stage for the imagination,” as Davis puts it. All of them could be considered as having in mind a kind of proto-design, producing fewer solutions (and new problems), but also social situations and processes enabling social imagination, debate, and conflict.

via Design for a Post-Neoliberal City by Jesko Fezer | e-flux.

Despising agency

This means that we decline to answer the general question of whether entities like trees have ‘agency’ and are capable of normative or political action ‘in and of themselves’. Instead, we consider material participation as a specific mode of engagement, which can be distinguished by the fact that it deliberately deploys its surroundings, however widely these must be defined, and entails a particular division of roles among the entities involved – things, people, issues, settings, technologies, institutions and so on. Rather than concentrating on a secular version of the metaphysical question about causality – do non-humans have agency? – we then consider material participation as a specific phenomenon, in the enactment of which a range of entities all have roles to play.” Noortje Marres in Material Participation: Technology, the Environment and Everyday Publics.

…But this enactment is the materialization/actualization of a certain configuration of potentials, of agencies. If we despise that fact, if we decide not to go into that, we are turning a constant process of reconfiguration into a frozen final state. Reifying what is essentially processual.

Two revolutions

There were, we may oversimplify, two revolutions in mid-seventeenth century England. The one which succeeded established the sacred rights of property (abolition of feudal tenures, no arbitrary taxation), gave political power to the propertied (sovereignty of Parliament and common law, abolition of prerogative courts), and removed all impediments to the triumph of the ideology of the men of property – the protestant ethic. There was, however, another revolution which never happened, though from time to time it threatened. This might have established communal property, a far wider democracy in political and legal institutions, might have disestablished the state church and rejected the Protestant ethic.

Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down:
Radical Ideas in the English Revolution, Penguin; New Ed edition, 1991, via English Revolution – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Antonio Gramsci – The Modern Prince: Brief Notes on Machiavelli’s Politics

The basic thing about The Prince is that it is not a systematic treatment, but a “live” work, in which political ideology and political science are fused in the dramatic form of a “myth”. Before Machiavelli, political science had taken the form either of the Utopia or of the scholarly treatise. Machiavelli, combining the two, gave imaginative and artistic form to his conception by embodying the doctrinal, rational element in the person of a condottiere, who represents plastically and “anthropomorphically” the symbol of the “collective will”. In order to represent the process whereby a given collective will, directed towards a given political objective, is formed, Machiavelli did not have recourse to long-winded arguments, or pedantic classifications of principles and criteria for a method of action. Instead he represented this process in terms of the qualities, characteristics, duties and requirements of a concrete individual. Such a procedure stimulates the artistic imagination of those who have to be convinced, and gives political passions a more concrete form.

Where the G.O.P.’s Suicide Caucus Lives : The New Yorker

The members of the suicide caucus live in a different America from the one that most political commentators describe when talking about how the country is transforming. The average suicide-caucus district is seventy-five per cent white, while the average House district is sixty-three per cent white. Latinos make up an average of nine per cent of suicide-district residents, while the over-all average is seventeen per cent. The districts also have slightly lower levels of education (twenty-five per cent of the population in suicide districts have college degrees, while that number is twenty-nine per cent for the average district).

The members themselves represent this lack of diversity. Seventy-six of the members who signed the Meadows letter are male. Seventy-nine of them are white.

As with Meadows, the other suicide-caucus members live in places where the national election results seem like an anomaly. Obama defeated Romney by four points nationally. But in the eighty suicide-caucus districts, Obama lost to Romney by an average of twenty-three points. The Republican members themselves did even better. In these eighty districts, the average margin of victory for the Republican candidate was thirty-four points.

In short, these eighty members represent an America where the population is getting whiter, where there are few major cities, where Obama lost the last election in a landslide, and where the Republican Party is becoming more dominant and more popular. Meanwhile, in national politics, each of these trends is actually reversed.

via Where the G.O.P.’s Suicide Caucus Lives : The New Yorker.

in a democracy there is less danger of a government behaving unreasonably, for it is practically impossible for the majority of a single assembly, if it is of some size, to agree on the same piece of folly… unless?

Spinoza in the Theologico-Political Treatise, XVI: “in a democracy there is less danger of a government behaving unreasonably, for it is practically impossible for the majority of a single assembly, if it is of some size, to agree on the same piece of folly”, unless of course, it is the Spanish Parliament and there is such a stupid thing as party discipline.



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