Skip to main content

Posts

More Poverty of Philosophy

"Each generation," Fanon wrote in The Wretched of the Earth , "must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it." This quotation has been one of my maxims for years, a way to structure not only my activist/organizing work but also my intellectual labour as a philosopher. While it is indeed the case that every activist and organizer must necessarily abide by this maxim––to discover the mission of the conjuncture, as difficult as it might be, and to work to fulfill this mission rather than betray it––because this is what organizers do by definition, such a maxim is often lost on philosophers. Indeed, in more than a decade of blogging here I have written multiple posts on the delusions of academic philosophy . Even still, I am continuously struck by the ways in which philosophers cannot live up to this maxim by failing to discover their generational mission and thus, due to this failure, betraying it without even realizing the betrayal. S
Recent posts

Junk This Division Between Siblings: some thoughts on the US electoral circus

In the weeks following Trump's defeat in the 2020 US Election the mainstream media has been obsessed by his unwillingness to concede, his intentional spreading of lies about election fraud, and the MAGA partisans' belief that their commander in chief is still the real president. Once again the term "unprecedented" is being thrown around, as it has been since 2016, and the electoral circus we have been subjected to for two years into his regime (the entire spectacle of primaries and the eventual culmination of the Sanders phenomenon ) shows no sign of ending. You would think that, by this point, pundits would realize that something is deeply wrong, and has been so for a very long time, with settler-capitalist democracy––especially since they have been croaking this adage about "unprecedented" for four years despite being shown some very stark precedents within this time. Precedents that, if these pundits bothered to study anything beyond what they've been

War of Position and Academic Freedom

In one part of  Demarcation and Demystification  I wrote about what I called the "annihilationist" aspect of philosophy that is linked to its clarifying aspect, both of which are concerned with the overall demarcating and demystifying that defines philosophical practice. That is, while philosophy is often about forcing clarity (through arguments and critical examination), sometimes it can be used to demand the demolition of wrong ideas and ideological constellations.: Take, for example, those philosophers who placed themselves in service of the concrete struggle against modern slavery by demanding the annihilation of every theoretical terrain and province that generated pseudo-truth procedures dedicated to the moral, religious, economic, and scientific justification of this social-historical edifice. Entire theoretical structures were singled out for liquidation; their potential clarity was no longer at issue, the clarity of choice [i.e. the logic of choosing one position ove

Another Negative Obituary: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It's a testament to the imagination of a certain swathe of liberals that imagine themselves "leftwing" that Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death has resulted in performative mourning and lamentations that seek to depict her as some kind of anti-fascist hero. In the midst of large-scale uprisings in response to the state violence against black lives––rebellions met by the same state violence––the partisans of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (now "immortalized" as RBG as if she is on the level of MLK) want a Supreme Court justice as a hero. A cop-loving, self-proclaimed American patriot, whose only accomplishments have been in defending a certain class of white women––and even then she was a mediocre yankee politician. In a time when a large number of grass roots organizers are putting themselves at risk, when many of them have been incarcerated and murdered, the RBG partisans want to apotheosize a legal representative of the liberal wing of settler-capitalism merely because she d

On Monuments and Moral Panic

The moral panic surrounding "cancel culture" that I discussed in a previous post has blossomed into an outrage over the multiple statues and monuments of racists and slavers that have that have been torn down, defaced, and renamed. And as has been the case with the entire discourse of so-called "cancel culture" this outrage is largely more performative than misplaced. That is, while the explicit justification for this outrage is that the destruction and replacement of these statues/monuments is that "history" is being "cancelled", those making these claims generally do not care about history as something to be rigorously studied. Rather, they are upset that a ruling class conception of history––purely ideological without critical depth––and its concatenation in monumental symbols of power is being challenged. Hence, the claims that a decapitated statue, a renamed building, etc. constitute an attack on history are merely performative claims. Nobo

On Ajith

As I have argued and asserted for a long time, Ajith is one of the important thinkers of the modern Maoist movement. His Against Avakianism , though it is largely concerned with the deviation of Avakian's "New Synthesis", uses this debate within the ICM to establish significant principles just as Engels' Anti-Duhring  established similar principals against Eugen Duhring who is now a nobody. Just as we don't read Anti-Duhring  to learn about the thoughts of Eugen Duhring, we shouldn't read Against Avakianism  as a historiography of Bob Avakian's thought: it is what is established against this deviation that matters. This is not to say that Against Avakianism  has the same theoretical status as Anti-Duhring ; the analogy, here, is meant to indicate that it possesses the same function––it theoretically "spills" beyond its polemical target. For those outside of the Maoist International Communist Movement (ICM), it might seem a bit strange that an ent

Apparently Aristotle Is In Danger of Cancellation

After the release of that ludicrous Harper's letter that claimed the biggest threat to civilization ( civilization  defined as the liberal marketplace of ideas) was "cancel culture", numerous philosophers have gone out of their way to defend this hot take with even worse hot takes. The most asinine and yet pretentiously self-assured of these was Agnes Callard's Should We Cancel Aristotle   that was not only a massive red herring but paradigmatic of the kind of assessments of reality that come out of mainstream [bourgeois] philosophy. That is, as I have noted so many times, there are a lot of philosophers who talk about problematics they haven't studied in great detail, accepting certain flawed parameters as a priori correct and then, upon this faulty conception of the world, build an entire argument they think is meaningful. It's a bit like an astronomer of the bygone era accepting the Ptolemaic conception of the world as fundamentally correct, never botherin