Lovely moment in an interview with Angela Nagle of "Kill All Normies" authorship fame.
She was asked why the 2010 cyber utopia moment when the young progressive left seemed on the verge of overthrowing the establishment died and failed. Arab Spring. Iranian Youth. Occupy. All were suppressed. And then Bernie succumbed to rigging of primaries. And online media have been swamped by alt-right memes, the worst kind of insincere centrist mainstream corporate shill old news media, and hate speech masquerading as free speech, and false claims of denial of free speech, etc.
Nagle puts her finger on one of the key issues, she says the progressive movement circa 2010 failed to realise that the issues were deeper than just getting the online world woke. She correctly points out the real issues were not amenable to technological fixes, but ran much deeper. She thinks the left tried to "bypass very old problems through technology, and the thinking that they would not have to deal with all these old problems that were moral and philosophical, and that now technology would just allow us to leapfrog all of that." She says, "There was kind of a naivete and hope in that. ... and it was misplaced because it was very much style over substance. And what has been shown since is that just about any politics can fulfil that void, as long as it is kind of anti-establishment".
Paul Mason's predictions are not yet bunk, in fact far from it. There is a long way to go, including, I think, Mason's most expansive hopes for a brighter post-capitalism which really require some kind of democratisation of the use of high tech and in particular ethical deployment of Artificial General intelligence systems, which do not yet exist. It is not just the tech either, to see a fruition of a social revolution of the broad kind Mason envisaged will also require a breakdown and grass roots reformation of current political power structures, and in the USA that is an extremely long term project which might take several more generations, because the old farts who still inject money into politics are not dying off too rapidly yet. And hopes at the Congress or SCOTUS level are also currently blocked, because young activists cannot get a toe in. The Pelosi-Schumer baby boomer generation needs to die off (and they look like they are in no hurry to retire) and to balance the Supreme Court to fairly reflect general public preferences will take at least another two left wing president terms, and that might not be until 2032. I know aneudemonia is rife in Millenials, but they must activate. The baby boomers hanging on to power have been blocking the X-geners who have largely given up or disappointingly caved in to normiehood. So you have to give the positive forces of the light side of the Internet time to fully cohere with deeper societal bedrock before you can expect miracles. By the time the Dark side of the Internet weakens and basically shrinks to zero offline, and by the time the Light side strengthens and aligns with offline society it will be so far down the track it will no longer seem like a miracle, it will seem in retrospect a natural long slow arc of justice. At least that's my amateur sociologist reading. I like Nagle's work, but I seriously hope she puts her talents now to greater use in working on the positive side.
The interviewer asked Nagle why the alt-right seems to have won out over the alt-left. But he has it all wrong. In the USA at least, the problem was that Obama was perceived initially as representing the radical left hopes ("radical" as in addressing the root causes of problems not as in any violent overthrow sense), and he failed, his whole army of neoliberals failed (because they never wanted to succeed in becoming the new establishment, they were still too tied to Wall Street and Silicon Valley deep pockets). The alt-left have not failed, they just did not have their representative in power, they were duped by Obama. And unless they realise someone like Jill Stein is a far better representative for their hopes than any Democrat POTUS candidate lining up for 2020, they will lose again, and again, and again.
Plenty of lefties criticize stein for being a bit naive and overly idealistic (The Michael Brooke's crew for example) but this is itself extremely naive and stupid. You can easily criticize the environmentalist left for allowing a monster like Donald Trump to get power, but it is idiotic to say this is the Green's fault. Strategic voting notwithstanding. One strategy is to organize masses to vote en masse, and to buck the establishment in a healthier way than using the human middle finger of Trumpism. And besides this, Jill Stein would not have gone mad in implementing a Green agenda. To think that is absurd. No leftist party has ever swept through the halls of power so suddenly and overwhelmingly to be able t implement a radical agenda. The effect of a Stein/Green backed presidency would therefore not have been any great sock to the system. To think otherwise is at best blindly ignorant and at worse scaremongering and cowardly.
What the USA needs is a lot of Green political influence, but at present it has none and a little bit of Green party policy would not be a bad thing, it does not ave to be a whole scale flood. In fact a Green revolution would probably not be advised since the political right has a violent streak and viciousness that saner folks would be well advised to avoid. The USA could easily degenerate into a society held hostage by right wing ideologues in the same way Venezuela is now being strangled by corporations holding back food supplies. they are prepared to deliberately endanger the lives of the poor in order to undemocratically overthrow their own government.
Thus it would have been very different if Bernie had had the guts to take up Stein's offer to lead an alternative left coalition of Greens and Berniecrats. Just as Obama missed a pivotal moment in history by choosing to bail out Wall Street instead of the indebted Main Street, Bernie lost his moment to shine in history by snubbing Stein. He probably still has not learned his lesson, and he might fail yet again. A pity, because in politics you rarely get three swings at bat.