Trump’s victory and the rise of insurrectionism in America
Ethan Zuckerman

Ethan, I love your work, and I agree that it is helpful to understand the raging dichotomy between culture and counter-culture vis a vis your “institutionalists” vs “insurrectionists.”

However, there is a significant point that I wish more people would realize, namely this: the distinction that defines the difference between culture and counter-culture, between the system and its opponents, is itself defined by the system. (Noted political thinker Gramsci said that the discourse is defined by the hegemony in his “hegemonic discourse” work).

My own work (drawing as it does from resources like complex systems theory and Hannah Arendt) offers a “third way.” This third way is to:

  1. reject the only two positions offered to you by the system, an
  2. engage in activity that by its very existence and character negates the binary opposition you are handed and establishes a new ground for human relations.

I believe that “panarchy,” i.e. the emerging commons-based peer-production culture does precisely that. The “old” system is not the establishment. Rather, the “old” system is the set of definitions that forces us to operate under a set of distinctions that are no longer relevant. We don’t have to be “institutionalists” or “insurrectionists” because in the panarchical landscape of interwoven networks we can be both, neither, and something else entirely.

Anyway, I’d love to know what you think of it:

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