The release of Labour’s manifesto marked the moment when the tide turned.
Opinion polls had long shown that left-leaning economic policies were popular in principle. The problem was that there were very few opportunities to vote for them in actual elections. What 2017 shares with 1983 is an unusually deep commitment to these policies, to tangible and plausible things.
There is nothing in HyperNormalisation Adam Curtis has not done before, except that his pace is increasingly relaxed, with lengthy, drifting, wordless sound/image juxtapositions that feel closer to contemporary “artists’ film” than anything on television. You could read this languor generously, as a conscious new direction in his work. Or it could simply be the sign of burgeoning self-indulgence, the kind of thing cult figures often become susceptible to.
When the reconstructed Warsaw is praised, it’s usually the Old Town Square which is meant—a giant cobbled expanse, surrounded by a jagged skyline of sweetly marzipan-like Mitteleuropean buildings, with a market inside. This impressive visual effect, like a real civic hub, a real town center, means that for the neophyte it is easy to mistake it for the Polish capital’s agora, its heart, and to extend this to the Old Town itself. It didn’t take long staying here and living with a Varsovian to realize that it is no such thing.
Let’s pioneer the provision of communal eating facilities!
In Archaeologies of the Future, his heavy volume on science fiction and Utopia, Fredric Jameson argues that collective, social eating facilities are an essential part of any socialist Utopia. Why? Mainly because they immediately abolish in their very existence one of the main aspects of domestic drudgery, and of unpaid housework, liberating women to (alternately) ‘govern the state’ (as Lenin once put it) or at least to participate in the labour process.