Discussion facilitator: Gregory Sotir
Teacher bio: http://peoplescolloquium.org/teacher-bios/
We face many challenges, not the the least of which is the ascendency of an aberrant political state in the US, one that borders on fascism. This rise of a real domestic terror is unfortunately supported by a well-armed population who feels they have been slighted, perhaps too a military that lacks a definable enemy, omnipresent technological innovations that diminish human foundations of privacy and redefine patterns of communication, truth, realness, etc., and a consumerist culture that is creating economic confusion and despair.
Using the 1999 film the Matrix as a beginning point, and the cultural phenomenon against Trump happily called The Resistance, this discussion will attempt to address the current state of interaction and clash between the present US social culture, technology, and the unfolding climate change realities.
- Is the US hegemony still intact?
- Does our culture still impose positive values onto the nation and world?
- How does post-modernist sense of of authorship, and post-structuralist sense of truth play into this dilemma of resistance?
- Is the failure to engage in any resistance, given the potential for environmental collapse, and to just record or respond to the present confusion merely collapsitarianism, or does it hold some artistic merit?
A few conceptual frameworks to ponder:
A Marxist analysis:
"For Gramsci, the state embodies '... the hegemony of one social group over the whole of society exercised through so-called private organizations, such as the church, trade unions, schools, etc.,' in balance with the ensemble of public (coercive) organizations such as the state, the bureaucracy, the military, the police, and the courts. Thus, state power rests in a hegemonic equilibrium with alternated moments of force and consensus but without the necessity of predominance by coercion over consensus.” - The Concepts of Ideology, Hegemony, and Organic Intellectuals in Gramsci’s Marxism https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/periodicals/theoretical-review/1982301.htm
A poststructuralist analysis:
HyperNormalisation: The term “hypernormalisation” is taken from Alexei Yurchak’s 2006 book "Everything was Forever, Until it was No More: The Last Soviet Generation," about the paradoxes of life in the Soviet Union during the 20 years before it collapsed. A professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, he argues that everyone knew the system was failing, but as no one could imagine any alternative to the status quo, politicians and citizens were resigned to maintaining a pretense of a functioning society. Over time, this delusion became a self-fulfilling prophecy and the “fakeness” was accepted by everyone as real, an effect that Yurchak termed “hypernormalisation” — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HyperNormalisation