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Hyper-political anti-politics

by Andries du Toit in 2017

Are we standing on the brink of a new kind of nihilistic governmentality, where politics is turned into perpetual theatre, disconnected from any kind of coherent government programming?

In many parts of the world, there is a growing crisis in the hegemony of what has commonly been called the ‘neoliberal’ project and its domination of the global order. Whether we are talking about the unexpected lurches that have characterized British politics since Brexit, the crisis that seems to have descended on US governance with the election of Donald Trump, or the rise to power of populist demagogues like Modi, Duterte, Erdoğan, Orbán or Zuma, a new kind of politics appears to be afoot.

As a result, we seem to be living in a world very different from the much more stable, possibly more conservative but certainly more legible world order presided over by the likes of Obama, Clinton and Mbeki. While the details differ from place to place – there’s worlds of difference, for instance, between the modalities of kleptocratic state capture in South Africa and the chaotic politics of Brexit Britain – there are also many uncanny resemblances and resonances, particularly at the level of political style and strategy.