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Monday, April 28, 2008



Hi Brodie...

Good to even hear people using those terms again- speaking as one who lived for such things at one time.

I think you are right about the 30s being a hotbed for all kinds of wonderful ideological thought. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though- the wars in spain, followed by WW2, and the post war cold war in Europe, and hotter versions in Africa and South America inevitably put a different spin on radical thought.

But still, I have a nostalgia for a time when all things were simple, and life could be subdivided into politicaly un/acceptable.

Ideology died. I think it was before 1989 in Britain. You could say 1979, when Thatcher came to power and took on the unions. I was in berlin in 1989, and ideology was dead then too- at least in terms of its validity to most of the population, either side of the wall.

I have thought a lot of about class divisions in modern Britain. Of course, they are still there- we still have a block of old wealth and land owners who have massive assets, and we still have the disenfranchised and poor. Blairites stopped talking about poverty, and instead used that awful phrase 'social exclusion', almost as if the whole thing is about being polite! I think we see a dominant cultural influence on our social structures that comes from the USA, were personal acheivement is talked up, but there remains this huge underclass of often Black folk, who not only have few aspirations, but even fewer opportunities.

Was is Engels, looking at Britain in the '30's who talked about 'Embourgeoisement' (spelling of this rusty- it has been 20 odd years since I thought much about this!) We used to suggest that this was the Thatcher governments greatest weapon- we can all aspire to own our own (council) house, and run a tidy second hand car...

What has replaced the old ideolology?

I think the 'spirit of the age' question remains to be answered- if we believe the post modernists, then the next dominant ideology (or competing set of the same) is yet to come...

The relevance of America is interesting. We have MacDonalds and Starbucks, but the liberal/conservative political language of America seems to have no relevance in Europe- at least not in the way these concepts are understood over there? Is America a superpower with no 'big idea' outside capitalism?

I wonder then, if the engine of the conflict between America and Islam is not ultimately about power, and land, not about religion.

Which kind of brings us back to Marx.




Chris - thanks for your thoughts and questions. Will think about these before saying any more.

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