Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wednesday 2pm Section

The nice thing for me about reading Jameson is that at least he's always explicit about his political aims. The guy is a Marxist through and through, and we can expect him to always be forthcoming with the political motivations for his analyses. In the example he gives in "Cognitive Mapping" of the failure of the League of Black Revolutionary Workers, I was struck by how a revolutionary political movement was stymied by the very structure of the dispersal of power (and, for that matter, concentrations of people) in the nation/state/city model in America. He puts it succinctly thus: "one of the enormous strengths of the superstate and its federal constitution lies in the evident discontinuities between city, state, and federal power: if you cannot make socialism in one country, how much more derisory, then, are the prospects for socialism in one city in the United States today?" (352).

I wonder about this in the context of new media as maybe the one great hope for the cognitive mapping project Jameson gestures at but cannot envision specifically. For him, this would represent the salvation of Marxism as a radically revolutionary enterprise, and it seems to me that new media, the internet, and the new ways in which we interact with the computer, as we have said, may both reinforce and undermine the traditional divisions of power within our national framework. However, what seems to me most interesting is the question of to what extent does new media and the internet expose the operations of the division of power in the US to a degree which was never before experienced? That is, since we can fairly say that the internet enables us to elide differences in the spatial location of its users all over the country and world, can we then say that it may render those differences moot, or at least trivialized?

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