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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 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 Aristotlethat 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 bothering to real…
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On the Passing of Comrade Zia

As many of my readers will be aware, Comrade Zia of the Communist (Maoist) Party of Afghanistan [CmPA] recently passed away. Zia was not only the chairperson of the CmPA's Central Committee, but he was instrumental in building the contemporary Maoist movement in Afghanistan and played a key role in the construction of the international Maoist movement. He was not only involved in building the now defunct Revolutionary Internationalist Movement [RIM] but, with the CmPA and other former member groups of the RIM, played a leading role in the line struggle against the rightist line that cohered around the RCP-USA and that led to the RIM's dissolution. Indeed, one of the two major responses to the RCP-USA's "new synthesis" was likely written by Zia (the other being Ajith's Against Avakianism). Since then, the CmPA's attempts to help rebuild a new Maoist international was recognized as significant and exemplary by Maoists everywhere, as the obituaries from mult…

The Riots and Bourgeois Ideologues

Just as the riots responding to the pig execution of George Floyd have revealed the racist violence of the settler-capitalist state––that in the midst of a pandemic the ruling class is willing to spend more on police repression than healthcare, to murder those upset by police murder while tolerating reactionaries demanding that the economy start up again––it has also revealed the poverty of liberal thought, and particularly (in the case of this blog post) the poverty of mainstream academic "political philosophy". After all, institutionalized political philosophy has always sought to justify the dominant political order often beginning with the a priori and unquestioned assumption (that it takes as "non-ideological") that liberal capitalism is normal and good. The authorities of such political philosophy function as the ideologues of this normalization and determine (along with mainstream ethical philosophers), within universities and whenever they are called on as …

Pandemic Reads

During the past weeks since pandemic measures have forced me to spend a lot of time at home and online, I've read a number of essays and projects, and have listened to a number of podcast episodes, that I think are worth investigating for those looking for free readings and broadcasts that are interesting, enlightening, or challenging. While many of these have to do with the pandemic––since that is clearly the main concern for a lot of think pieces and projects––some published during this period are about other issues but are still well worth examining.

The first is a "rapid response" collection of essays, edited by Greg Bird (and old friend of mine) and Penelope Ironstone entitled Writing In The Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: From Vulnerability to Solidarity. Although much of the theoretical framing comes from a "biopolitical" register––a theoretical register I have issues with––it also distances itself from Agamben's recent proclamations, and some essays…

Combat the Liberalization of Marxism!

Back during one of the multiple strikes my labour union embarked upon (and I can't remember which one), I ended up in an online email exchanges with more than one union member who identified as "Marxist"––who wanted the strike to end early so we could get back to teaching––who got mad at me for telling them that they should stop calling themselves Marxist for capitulating to management and aping the political line of our neoliberal employer. Did I imagine myself as the only authoritative interlocutor of Marxism, they demanded, to dare to suggest they were poor Marxists for their capitulationism? Obviously I don't imagine myself to be such an authority, and these hyperbolic questions were clearly rhetoric designed to obscure what was actually at stake. While I do believe there is only one scientific way to conceive of Marxism as an unfolding science (i.e. Maoism), and have argued this to the best of my abilities, I still understand there are other valid ways of interp…

Reading In The Time of COVID-19

In this time of a global pandemic, where people are under some form of quarantine, a number of authors are providing links of their work that don't break copyright and/or don't place small presses under extra stress. For those comrades and fellow travellers stuck at home––either luckily being able to work from home, or dealing with unemployment––reading radical theory might be beneficial.

In the spirit of those authors who have already started providing links for free electronic copies of work they can provide links for, I am more than happy to provide similar links of my own work. And if folks are willing to provide me a small appreciation through my paypal account if they are working from home and have the means, that would be nice, but largely that is unnecessary. So here are two links to work of mine that possibly might be worth reading in these interesting times.

The first of these works––my essay trilogy concerning enlightenment, science, and sovereignty––was already mad…

Thoughts on the Pandemic and "Biopolitics"

The events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic have led to an explosion of analysis and debate within the ranks of those academics who are interested in the notion of biopolitics. Since biopolitics (following Foucault's instantiation of the term) concerns the political and social power over life itself, and is focused on "that domain of life over which power has taken control," a global pandemic and various state responses to the control of bodies––demonstrated by quarantines and medical interventions––is an opportunity to wax eloquent about biopolitics in the hope of using this rubric to explain what is happening. The fact that the biggest living theorist of biopolitics, Giorgio Agamben, who linked the biopolitical to the notion of sovereignty and the Schmittian notion of "state of exception" (so that, for a long time, these three notions were inseperable), revealed himself as a COVID truther who denied the need for a quarantine and instead treated any form of q…