Greta Thunberg Does Not Exist

Plastic People and Spontaneity (or Lack Thereof)

Forgive me for aping Baudrillard yet again, but the theme just works so well.

Greta Thunberg got caught out:

In effect, a global group of NGOs planned to launch a coordinated campaign against the actions of India’s government regarding the Indian Farmers situation.

Whatever your views on the Farmers situation, there are a number of key lessons to be learnt here (or reminders worth repeating):

  1. “Spontaneous” political movements are rarely spontaneous and are usually manufactured from Elites/Power Centers. The few that begin as wholly spontaneous either are co-opted by current Elites, or generate their own Elites (who direct the movement from there on out).

  2. Elites are not unified. They are not a singular class, but rather a diverse group of institutions and individuals with varied interests who are competing with each other along the lines of various forms of power (material, financial, social, political, etc.). Movements can be understood, in many cases, as the battlefield for “proxy wars” between elites.

  3. The “people” that you see in the public sphere do not exist. They are completely fabricated facades, shallow and unreal. And the actors who play them step into a role where they are no longer full persons and instead plastic imitations, playing a role on a stage. Perhaps they believe in the role. Perhaps they’re a cynic in it for power. It doesn’t matter.

We live in a simulation: an entirely fabricated, plastic, unreal society.

Now, what does this mean:

  1. Once again, representation is a lie. Your politicians are your rulers, and whether or not your ruler looks like you or is someone you’d get a beer with is irrelevant. The barometer of effective ruling is whether or not the ruler materially improves your life in a meaningful manner.

  2. Analysis of society and history demands a “map” of competing power centers and their rival interests, as well as internal conflicts within power centers.

  3. Be wary of “grassroots” movements, and when you form your own local organizations, be wary of potential co-option from other power centers. Gatekeeping and unity are critical.