Wednesday, 28 November 2012

For A Left With Some Sense

Nina Power, on "the pessimism of time":
As we defend those who await trial, or write to those in prison, or sit in courts, job centres and universities as futures are crushed all around, time may be all we have left: time in which to abolishtheir notion of time and replace it neither with Clark’s tragic present, nor Fukuyama’s ‘ideology of the future’ but with a life in which nobody seeks to make time measurable at all, for all time.
The left has truly no future, when it deals, thus, not only in the imagined futures against which Clark would argue, but in unimaginable futures, "in which nobody seeks to make time measurable at all, for all time." Even when read, carefully, in the context of the article in which it appears, this is, literally, non-sense. It is not possible for us even to imagine a life in which time is not measured, or is immeasurable. What, then, is gained here by invoking it, above and beyond the credentials of being of the left?

Never has Clark's argument in favour of "plain" speaking been more necessary. "Plain" speaking need not be banal, he says. He is right. For, nothing is as banal as nonsense.

There is, as Power reports, a vacuum where the left ought to be. With conditions, in Greece for instance, so ripe, left-wing politics has so far been devastatingly ineffectual. One has the sense that the Greek people were yearning to vote to reject the bailout-government they (almost didn't) vote to accept. But, if it is understandably difficult to place one's trust in an imagined future, it is sheer nihilism to throw in one's lot with an unimaginable one. The left must begin to talk sense.


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