Super weird world.
Today my friend Luka explained currency trading to me.
I didn’t get it.
‘but what are you buying and selling? What actually is it?!’
‘Nothing man. I’m just switching money, collecting the difference.’
He was watching a line graph on his phone, calculating something.
‘but what do those numbers mean? what determines the value of the currencies?’
‘Nothing. Maybe some people know, but you have to pay them a lot of money to hear it all… they probably don’t know.’
‘They dont know.’
He said economics is really just psychology- that’s the real foundation of financial capitalism. There isn’t really a material basis to currency trading; the Dollar isn’t set to equivalence with any substance, like Gold, for example. [Maybe its petroleum? I read somewhere that if you want to buy oil (on an industrial, national scale) you have to buy it in dollars. You can’t use Euros or Yuan or Rubles.]
But yeah. I don’t fucking know. What does it mean that the dollar is 1.453 of the Euro this afternoon; and tomorrow it’s predicted to be 1.425?
‘Nothing man. It’s just psychology. People just believe the bars on the application and repeat it. They buy when it’s going up, sell at the top. It’s a rhythm.’
Hooey-phooey, hocus pocus, ‘economics.’ I have a degree in Sociology, whatever that means, and a minor in English literature. I understand magic. But economics is some other shit.
[Did you know ‘abra cadabra!’ is actually a Hebrew phrase, that means ‘I create what I speak!’]
In other news. I was reading Anzaldua, to stop being such an unconscious colonialist, and she believes in magick.
Nowadays we hear so much about intersectionality, or the mainstream expropriation of it, ‘identity politics.’ And while there are many interesting debates, some centered around praxis and some on theory, I think both sides are missing the other’s advantage. They miss each other. It’s humorous and interesting.
Some, like Mark Fisher and Zizek, (in ‘Exiting the Vampire Castle,’ for Fisher and everywhere all the time for Zizek) are not all-for the intersectional approach. They see an identity politics that instead defends ‘pluralistic’ liberal capitalism.
The immediate, obvious fact is that these theorists are both middle class and ‘white’ (not really, since they’re not American) and hence it’s clear why they reject the intersectionalist approach. Clearly.
I would like to say that another person’s ‘identity’ or whatever is not the proper ground for disputing or rejecting the claims they make. I would like to say that, and in the strict terms of logical debate it is certainly axiomatic. But this is politics and social theory, where our ‘identities’ are the very pieces we’re fighting over. Who gets what? Why?
When it comes down to the ground, in implementing some supposed policies we will someday have the power to make, lets hope that our leaders are steeped in intersectionality and understand the differences in culture so as to effectively heal the horrors of capitalism. Or give whatever they need to these peoples and to let them do it themselves with socialist self-management.
That seems like such a pipe-dream in Trumpland.
The strongest points of the opposition (the class-oriented, political-economically minded) is both in political critique and metaphysical, psychoanalytical.
The metaphysical-psychoanalytical: the intersectional schema of ‘hyper’ specified identities is in itself very… how should I say… Western, and neurotic… There are (or were) other cultures where the ego develops in a very different familial and social structure and the frame of subjectivity is vastly different. There is no solid unit of ‘identity’ that exists innate, inside you somewhere.
The very concept of identity, (which I imagine as the value/meaning/story of your body) can only be constructed in dialectic with society, family, others, all the oppressors and all the allies. if there is some kind of identity, it exists only because, it derives its meaning and value from; the social system that defines it, and tells you who to be. It’s not real in the sense of your flesh. It’s imaginary. Neurotic to be obsessed with it, to be ever-mindful of what the Other tells you of yourself. But that is the state of mind of the marginalized, it’s not their privilege to be forgetful.
- I need to brush up on my Lacan, it’s been a while, but you get what I’m saying. The idea of identity is too shaky, in a philosophical sense, and too shallow, in a spiritual one. I guess that’s my personal observation.
The political critique: Also interestingly noted is how easily (but not seamlessly for Hillary Cringe Clinton) was intersectionality ripped off and used by the capitalist democrats. Here I must repeat Zizek’s point- that identity politics allows capitalism to survive by meeting all the individualistic demands of sexual freedom, ungendered bathrooms; various token gestures and campaign sentiments that roughly mean an including of POC in the middle class (which no longer really exists in the US anyway). It’s sort of a bargain the people in power will make with the liberal arts professors and activists- yes, yes we will recognize your right to marry and work and be who you are, as long as you get to work.
All identity-based grievances will be accounted for, so long as you drop the political-economic demands, the economic bill of rights, economic democracy, etc. We’ll open museums, but no reparations.
Besides these rather important critiques I largely agree with Anzaldua’s line of thinking and the broader intersectionalist sentiment; that we should be more thoughtful, more considerate human beings, just generally. Humans have characteristics that revolutions cannot change. We have to really strive to be better; and that includes more than accepting the demands of recognition- that I am a ‘they’ and not a ‘he,’ that I can never be white; it goes beyond that, that I can never be a machine, that I can never forget God, that you, the Other to whom we address our demands of identity, are just a shameful, embarrassed, weak human being like any of us, you need our acceptance and love if even in the form of oppressing us, and we deny you that desire as subjects of our own. We demand survival, life, and do not ask it of You. We don’t need your permission.
See where the lines meet? No. It takes more than a blogpost. Basically, Take Lacan, and read Anzaldua, and do thirty jumping jacks. Hocus pocus!