Newmedia on Mon, 14 Feb 2000 16:23:00 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Has the Euro-Left "Dis-Appeared"?


Pit Schultz's recent comments on the nlc-list have spurred an interesting 
exchange.  This is an exchange which potentially goes to the foundations of 
the nettime discussion and, more generally, the current status of the 

Discussing the recent flare-up of "smurfing" and other Denial-of-Service 
attacks on various Websites (including the etoys gambit) and prompted by the 
hypothesis that . . .

>This is . . . the machines "talking" to each other.  No humans involved.
>No humans in sight,

Pit as offered that we can . . .

>call this human-machine interaction... computer mediated
>communication.... hacktivism...or virtual sit in's to protest against
>the obscene risks and inequalities resulting out of the internet stock

I'd like to focus for a moment on the "punchline" of Pit's formulation.

So . . . this is a "protest against the obscene risks and inequalities 
resulting out of the internet stock frenzy", is it?

Let's un-pack that "punchline."

Apparently, the key notions involved in these "protests" are "protest", 
"obscenity", "risks", "inequalities" and "frenzy."  (I'll leave the question 
of "causality" -- indeed, of what is "effect" and of which is "cause" for a 
later phase of this exchange.  Okay?)

Allow for a little substitution and a little etymology, in the hopes of added 
a little to the linguistic clarity here.  Maybe.  Thanks.  A little.

The term "obscene" comes from "mud."  Presumably this, in turn, means "dirty" 
(and possibly "commonplace"?).  Let's go with the commonplace meaning of 
"dirty" which draws us towards the "vulgar", as distinct from the "sacred" 
and, for our purposes . . . substitute "sacreligious" for "obscene."  Okay, 
so far?

Now "risk" comes from "of uncertain origin" and very possibly "cliff."  So, 
presumably, "risk" in this context means something like "falling off a cliff 
and heading into (or out of?) uncertain territory."  That's too long, though. 
 So, let's substitute "uncertain cliffs", okay?

"Inequality" means "not equal."  And, in turn, "equal" comes from "level."  
So, let's substitute, "un-level."

"Frenzy" is interesting.  "Frenzy", according to Weekly comes from "mind, 
reason."  Hmmm . . . it that what Pit meant?  How about the usual 
definitions, "temporary madness" or "violent mental or emotional agitation"?

Lastly, "protest" is a "public declaration."

So . . . we are witnessing a "public declaration" (presumably) against a 
"sacreligious trip towards uncertain cliffs and un-level terrain caused by a 
violent mental agitation."

Hmmmm . . . this sounds awfully "conservative" . . . doesn't it?  This is the 
"left"?  The "Euro-Left"?

Given his key role at the foundation of the modern "Euro-Left", might 
Nietzsche have said about this "protest"?

Would Nietzsche have found attacks by "Protestants" against his own 
"sacreligious trip towards uncertain cliffs and un-level terrain" to be 
familiar?  Would he have noticed that the attitude of these "Protestants" 
regarding "frenzy" might be paralleled in the various attacks on him . . . 
regarding his own "violent mental agitation"?

What sort of "public declaration" ("protest") is this Denial of Service 
matter really all about?  And, what will all the future examples which we 
should certainly expect, really mean?

Could all this really be a profoundly "conservative" and, indeed, "romantic" 
effort to use the machine to "rage against the machine"?  Have we seen all 
this before?  Does the name of the "artist" Martinetti comes to mind?

Could the "Euro-Left" -- as reflected, at least, in the "cyber-culture" 
represented so thoroughly by nettime -- actually have "dis-appeared" as a 
"left" and re-emerged as something else?

And, what is the relationship between this cultural and digital "Euro-Left" 
-- which seems more "conservative" than "left" -- and the "parliamentary 
Left" now in power across Europe?  

And, does the support of various military alliances along with the general 
support for multi-national corporations thus the resulting attack (both 
economically and explosively) on various civilian populations, which 
characterizes the policies of this "parliamentary Left" have to do with the 
support of this cultural and digital "Euro-Left"?

Could we be witnessing a "dis-appearing" act of historic significance?

So, in the end, what's left?,


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