The members of Mode all emerged from fashy signalling New Romantic and avant grade electronic milieu. The band’s first album, mainly written by the synth pop guru and genius Vince Clarke of later Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S) and Erasure fame, launched the band with their first album Speak and Spell. Politics was not so present on the first album, but was more reflected the band’s name a reference to Fast Fashion and New Romance – a pre-Bret-Easton-Ellis type notion that celebrated the decadent 80s love of surface, fast living, young love, good looks, and high times. But, as soon as Vince Clarke left the band and Martin Gore took over the songwriting slot, they began signalling political ideas of both the Left and Right.
This Left and Right synthesis was both progressive and forward-looking for the era, and really added to the band’s power level, intellectual weight, longevity, and the ability of their work to sound as relevant today as ever. A Broken Frame, their second LP, featured a Neo-Realist folk type cover, reminiscent of both Nazi art and the Communist “Realism” that was favoured by the Stalin and subsequently China and North Korea. The follow up Construction Time Again was an open rebellion to Jacques Derrida’s openly nihilistic and destructive deconstructionism that was all the rage in the 80s intellectual scene. It also featured a fascistic cover of an Aryan man smashing down a hammer. From that image alone the Alt-Right could have been born. Again, the Left and Right symbolism were being mixed together. The album Music for the Masses featured a kind of overarching, fashy motif of a loudspeaker in the wilderness on the cover and an anthem and theme song on the record, Pimpf, given visual expression with the help of the wonderful Anton Corbijn. This was quite openly the most fascist reference in their whole oeuvre. Pimpf was named after a Nazi Youth Movement, and at this time Martin Gore began making his most fashy statements in the media about politics. Gore, the rumour goes, was getting into fascist aesthetics, fashion, and ideas from the mid to late 80s until the early 90s, until he discovered his real father was of mixed race, or something along those lines. Then he went silent on the issue. But he still continued to signal these ideas in his art, albeit in a slightly more diffused and subterranean way. But he was also signalling some left-wing Socialist ideas. With him, it seems, there’s always been a kind of dialectic at play.
Left-liberal attitudes and habits of mind may at one time have been radical, provocative, and gutsy, but today they are staid, stale, conventional, and boring. Any honest contemporary cultural Marxist will have to admit that, politically speaking, his side now holds all significant power. Those who openly decline to subscribe to the ideological establishment’s point of view on such matters as race, gender, and sexuality have in effect committed social suicide; having put themselves utterly at the mercy of the powers-that-be, such unfortunates have left themselves open to attack by legions of official Zeitgeist-enforcers and their numerous toadying minions.
Today’s thought-criminals and ideological deviants are liable to be thrown in jail or fined for indulging in so-called “hate speech,” or at the very least, to be subjected to harassment, humiliation, and deprivation of livelihood. It is, in short, a bad career move not to toe the company line. Even in a country where free expression is nominally protected, one still in actuality faces a stark choice: conform to the enforced conventional wisdom, or be thrust into the outer darkness.
For radical traditionalists, alternative rightists, race realists, and other such present-day thought-criminals, things seem dire indeed. Yet all is not lost, and much, in fact, has been won. For our adversaries’ victory on cultural matters is very much a pyrrhic one. In becoming the Establishment, the Left has hemorrhaged its mojo. To be a lefty today has none of the allure or glamour that it once possessed in halcyon times when one actually faced persecution and ostracism for taking up left-wing causes. One who spouts liberal rhetoric and parrots politically-correct bromides doesn’t seem like a troublemaker, but rather a brown-nosing goody-goody. A defiant rightist, on the other hand, has gained the status of a dangerous outlaw; though reviled, feared, and loathed by the authority-fearing populace, such a one nevertheless exudes an exciting primordial appeal for his insolent refusal to curtsy before the almighty Zeitgeist. There is more of Andy Nowicki to come.
the point is not to do away with foundations, or even to champion a position which goes under the name of antifoundationalism: Both of these positions belong together as different versions of foundationalism and the sceptical problematic it engenders. Rather, the task is to interrogate what the theoretical move that establishes foundations authorizes, and what precisely it excludes or forecloses.
The notion of contingent foundations, proposed by Butler as an alternative framing, could best be described as an ontological weakening of the status of foundation without doing away with foundations entirely. It is on its account, that what came to be called post-foundationalism should not be confused with anti-foundationalism. What distinguishes the former from the latter is that it does not assume the absence of any ground; what it assumes is the absence of an ultimate ground, since it is only on the basis of such absence that grounds, in the plural, are possible. The problem is therefore posed not in terms of no foundations (the logic of all- or -nothing), but in terms of contingent foundations. Hence, post-foundationalism does not stop after having assumed the absence of a final ground and so it does not turn into anti-foundationalist nihilism, existentialism or pluralism, all of which would assume the absence of any ground and would result in complete meaninglessness, absolute freedom or total autonomy. Nor does it turn into a sort of post-modern pluralism for which all meta-narratives have equally melted into air, for what is still accepted by post-foundationalism is the necessity for some grounds.
What becomes problematic as a result is not the existence of foundations (in the plural) but their ontological status – which is seen now as necessarily contingent. This shift in the analysis from the ‘actually existing’ foundations to their status – that is to say, to their conditions of possibility – can be described as a quasi-transcendental move. Although implicitly present in Spivak’s notion of a ‘perpetually rehearsed critique’ as well as in Butler’s notion of ‘interrogation’, this quasi-transcendental turn is made explicit by Ernesto Laclau who, starting from the post-foundational premise that ‘the crisis of essentialist universalism as a self-asserted ground has led our attention to the contingent grounds (in the plural) of its emergence and to the complex process of construction’, comes to the conclusion that ‘[t]his operation is, sensu stricto, transcendental: it involves a retreat from an object to its conditions of possibility’.