With apologies for applying a half-assed title, some additional formatting, and without having secured his permission, I am reproducing this incisive tweet storm by the excellent circadianwolf. CW, if you want me to make any modifications, or delete this altogether, let me know in comments.
Been said many times but nationalism is a project of convincing the working class to compete against each other. Nations are myths constructed by the global ruling class to distract workers from the structural operation of exploitation. They function very similarly to narratives of individual heroic and villainous actors (with which they are often conflated). Putin/Russia as some unified super being, quite literally occupying the same functional space as the devil, the power lurking in the shadows.
The enemy of workers everywhere is the ruling class and their enforcers, today centered absolutely in the US government and military. The fantasies are sufficient so long as they distract from working class organization against empire, even if they are not believed. Indeed the destruction of facts and material reality as a stable referent is a long running project of capital/empire. As with the countries they attack-where a puppet state may be nice but chaos is a perfectly acceptable result as well. So too is the destruction of fact largely sufficient for victory of capital even without successfully replacing it with a specific fantasy. The structures of capital/empire persist through violence, without need of belief in or understanding by the exploited.
In Pattern Recognition, Gibson said “we have no future because our present is too volatile. we have only risk management.” As a liberal invested in the apolitics of capital he blamed technology, but of course while technology enables this, it is not the cause. It is capitalism that causes technology’s abolition of labor to produce unemployment & insecurity rather than plenty & freedom from work. Our technological potential applied to productive processes should today give us a world of unprecedented security and real freedom. Instead capital uses this very independence from material necessity to enforce a nightmare world of terror and endless virtual bureaucracy. Yet though capital takes power from this freedom from material necessity, it is still a system for the exploitation of human labor.
If the labor of workers becomes unnecessary, where does that leave capital? This is an open question. We can see some capitalists’ ideas in the internet of things, the digital tagging and tracking of every object & concomitantly of people. In social media, the metricization of social relationships, & in the enclosed corporate ecosystems of ‘virtual economied’ run on corporate script. In ‘playbor’ & paying for the opportunity for a fantasy of stable work. This projection of the future is a frictionless digital. A world of pure ideology (I like to say that in his story of cartography borges never conceived of google maps).
But while capital may seem capable of escaping materiality (tho CS has something to say about this), human bodies definitely cannot. Of course climate change is likely to cause such catastrophic destruction as to render our technological gains moot, recreate real scarcity. Idk; the future indeed seems a terrifying event horizon to me, but one we can nonetheless approach through material analysis & theory.