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Introduction As over 200,000 people gathered on the National Mall in October, 2010 for the Rally to Restore Sanity, more than a few of Jon Stewart's fans were confused as to why exactly he had summoned them there. In fact, many people on the left end of the political spectrum felt distinctly uneasy about the whole project, as Stewart's call for reasonable and polite dialogue seemed to vitiate his voice as a political critic in the face of increasingly volatile bombast from the Right. During the weeks leading up to the event, Stewart mobilized a vision of "the 70-80 percenters" sitting down to discuss the nation's issues in a gracious, civil manner regardless of their party affiliation. This approach to the political process bears a striking resemblance to that which President Obama has promoted since taking office in 2009. During his campaign, Obama became famous for the sentiment that "there's not a liberal America and a conservative America ... there's not a black America and a white America; there's the United States of America," as he stated in his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Over the past few years, this call to civil agreement has taken the form of numerous failed attempts to reach across the aisle in the spirit of mutual cooperation. Indeed, Obama has even sought to solve several major crises of capitalism--such as the financial meltdown of 2008 and the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico--with respectful and sometimes even jocular meetings with the CEOs of the corporations in question. Like Stewart, Obama seems to believe that if he can just get everyone together at the same table Americans will be able to tackle these "challenges" (as he calls them) in a sort of win-win exchange. In the process, he has seen fit to rely on the advice of neoliberal stalwarts like Lawrence Summers and Paul Volcker, the very men whose economic policies have helped create the crises at hand.

Essais et sciences humaines
1 janvier
Institute for Ethnographic Research

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