more bottoming

No, not that kind of bottoming.

I’m referring to my notion of “bottom” from two posts ago. That is, adding a 2nd dimension, top/bottom, to the traditional left/right political spectrum because after all, politics does not come in one dimension.

I’ve begun reading Empire, and in doing some preliminary study (read: google-o-matic) I’m finding lots of objections to it, many of which focus on the “fact” that Toni Negri “is” the mastermind behind the Red Brigades kidnapping of Aldo Moro in Italy in the 1970s. Funnily enough, I have very vague memories of the Red Brigades from 6th grade; I am just old enough to remember that I was supposed to have believed that the Red Brigades should have had black hats on.

Anyway, most of these reviews don’t bother to point out that Negri was acquitted on these charges, and instead was “convicted” of “crimes of association and insurrection against the state” and for being “morally responsible for acts of violence between activists and the police during the 1960s and 1970s largely due to his writing and association with revolutionary causes and groups.”

Il fratello maggiore sta guardandoli. Or something.

Anyway, I noticed in these critiques — which are available from all across the political spectra — that the “right” reviews tend to be the ones who most insist upon the Left/Right political spectrum. I’m not sure why, or even if this is completely accurate. But it seems as if that as long as there are only 2 possibilities, Right or Left, that the Right will probably win most or all of the time, in part because those on the “Left” aren’t even sure that’s what they want to be called. Look at the fragmentation of the “Left” in the US alone; the past couple of elections in the US have seen “Leftists” confused about who to vote for. Many people were idealogically aligned with Nader, but wanted to vote for Gore for strategic purposes, etc etc etc. My own struggle about whether I am a progressive, a Marxist, an anarchist, a radical, or just a freak falls within this category.

But I think the idea of a Top/Bottom parameter to the Left/Right spectrum is a good one. Though to extend the dimensional metaphor, we should also add an In/Out parameter, as well as allow for the 4th dimension of time. I can see it now: “in 1986 I was a kid, and a definite Bottom Right In person. But now in 2006 I am clearly Bottom Left Out.”

If this extended metaphor only opens up political debate a little bit, I will be happy.

Leave a Reply