Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Response to Butler on Obama

By Ben Trott

Artist, writer and Chicago-based organiser Dan S. Wang has written a response to Judith Butler's text, Uncritical Exuberance?, linked to from this blog around ten days ago. The piece argues that whilst Butler was correct to raise many of the concerns she did, the attempt to realise 'progressive dreams' has always involved building movements with leverage over national political figures. Wang argues,
'Rather than merely reminding us of Obama’s shortcomings, or, as Butler does, of listing the left’s minimal demands that must be met to prevent a ‘dramatic and consequential disillusionment,’ the urgent responsibility right now for the critical left is to dissect this victory and map workable strategies for pushing a progressive agenda, including in intra-coalition campaigns. This involves recalling what kind of thick-skinned work brought us that moment of Election Night joy, and, just as importantly, to study how the reactionary forces are likely to respond to this administration.'

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