Great to see a proper dialogue with participants supporting and building on each other. On the face of it it was a debate on the (potential) job-destroying nature of AI and new algorithmic technologies, but it morphed into enlightened politics for a future we cannot know or control.
â€” BBC This Week (@bbcthisweek) January 26, 2018
â€” Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) January 29, 2018
I’ve always said – “I love Paul Mason’s economics – but his politics stink.” But this shows that with the right dialogue, enlightened politics can emerge. In fact Chuka’s headline says it:
“I’m convinced Labour needs to stop pretending it’s a party of Marxists versus Neoliberals.”
And he says that
“After talking with Paul, … ”
” … Everyone wants to be ‘radical’ but the truth is a bit different.”
Too right. Again, as I’m always saying, what’s killing all modern discourse is the meme that everything is about binary choices in opposition, whereas Paul’s first one-word response to Chuka’s question is “both”. Its OK to talk with rather than always choose sides andÂ argue against.(*)
Interestingly in Chuka’s piece he leads with the identity politics problem of choosing labels of factions or tribes we feel the need to identify with, to set ourselves in contrast or opposition to others. “Do they serve any useful purpose in 2018?” he asks. There is only passing summary of the content of PostCapitalism, but there is very positive alignment, focussing on the degenerate nature of competing labels.
“Paul was accused of being a “revolutionary Marxist” in the House of Commons in May 2016 by the then Tory Chancellor George Osborne, who was mocking Labourâ€™s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for signing Paul up to speak at Johnâ€™s New Economics lecture series.”
This meme of mocking perceived opposites as extreme caricatures is part of the problem, as I’ve also often said.Â I always knew Paul’s thinking was enlightened. When I say his “politics stink” I do mean it when I see the all the “eat the rich” rhetoric in his pro-Corbyn / pro-Momentum social twittering – he goes to great efforts to look like a revolutionary radical in his anti-government and anti-moderate pronouncements. But in a constructive dialogue, no reason our politics can’t be as enlightened as our thinking.
Well done Chuka, I think he gets it. Hope for the Labour Party yet.
Question is do those currently in party-power get it too?
[Post note: Only watched the whole of the Paul Mason contribution after posting the above. Recommended. He makes one mistake trying to claim Corbyn as a social democrat, much to “semantic” consternation of the others. Probably what prompted Chuka’s piece on identity politics?]
[Post Note: (*) Obviously this is close to the idea of a middle-ground position, somehow including the “excluded middle”. Very important to recognise the Mary Parker-Follet position here, that “anyone who thinks this is about some waterered-down PC compromise has missed the point” … that it’s about “integration” of opposing possibilities.]
[Post Note: Interestingly Paul had posted this piece disagreeing tactically with Chuka, only a week before.]
[Post Note: And since then,Â Paul is explaining what a “radical” social-democrat needs to be …
â€” Laurie Macfarlane (@L__Macfarlane) February 2, 2018
… though he is still bandying around the “neoliberal” epithet, making enemies for rhetorical purposes. Hmmm.]