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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…
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The Bigger Plague is Capitalism

Experiencing a pandemic in real time is surreal. The culture industry machine has pre-transcribed such events in multiple movies, books, and comics. We grew up with The Plague, The Stand, innumerable zombie films and books, more "realist" films like Outbreak… And then later iterations of the same pandemic fantasies––from 28 Days Later and The Walking Dead to The Passage and The Girl With All The Gifts to Contagion. We have been utterly saturated in fictional pandemic paranoia, both fantastic and realist, though we always assumed even the "realist" depictions were fantastic despite the fact that humanity has indeed experienced (and survived) multiple pandemics. But here we are, with COVID-19 declared a global pandemic, and we cannot help but understand it according to these fictions which means it appears simultaneously fantastic and nightmarish.

To be clear, while the pandemic is real it is not the most significant medical emergency on the planet. The most signific…

Thoughts on the US Electoral Machine, Its Spectacle, and the Current Bernie Sanders Phenomenon…

Although there are many things that annoy me about social media, recently I have become most annoyed by the prevalence of information regarding the US electoral machine. That is, I often feel I'm being subjected to the vicissitudes of the US electoral circus for four year spans, rather than every four years, due to the lead up to the elections and the sub-circus that is the primaries. Not content with subjecting their own population to their bourgeois dictatorship, they have to broadcast the performance of their shitty failed state democracy to the rest of the world. Not that I care about the performance of democracy in other capitalist nations, including the one in which I live, but at least I'm not subjected to these 24/7. Also, for a country that likes to proclaim itself as the beacon of democracy and freedom to the rest of the world, I find it rather odd that even amongst bourgeois democracies as a whole––all of which should burn along with their class dictatorships––the U…

The World Is Better Without Christie Blatchford

Lenin once remarked that "[d]uring the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it." Curiously enough, there is also a similar tendency amongst liberals and social democrats regarding reactionary intellectuals and public intellectuals. During the lifetime of these people, their peers on "the left" will distance themselves from their clearly backwards ideas but, upon their deaths, the same progressives will find ways to extol them, celebrat…

Errata and Qualifications for Demarcation & Demystification

My next book, Demarcation and Demystification, will be released this month. I discussed my general reasons for this project in a Medium article, and an early review of the book was recently published at Marx and Philosophy Review of Books––these articles should give the curious would-be reader a summary indication of the book's concerns. In any case, due to the book's impending release, I felt it was worth saying a few things about a book that might be less accessible than my previous works. Although I do my best to make my work accessible, a book on the meaning of philosophy and Marxist philosophy might be less accessible than what I have published to date.

Considering the ways in which some critics of previous works of mine have misrepresented and distorted aspects of these works, often focusing on isolated sections so as to undermine the work as a whole, I feel that it is necessary to immediately deal with parts of Demarcation and Demystification that might be misread or mi…

Again On Abdication

I grew up familiar with a lot of Christian circles, because of my family's Christianity, and some of them were quite weird. Despite the fact that my family, regardless of its own and sometimes odd commitments, was critical of mainstream Canadian evangelicalism, I still encountered those kids from Christian families that lived in weird little worlds of confirmation bias.  For example, I remember sleeping over at the house of a friend who was "pentacostal" on Halloween and being taken to a church drama ("Heaven's Gate and Hell Fire" – yes I remember the title) that scared the bejeezus out of me because it was about how all unbelievers would die screaming in hell. And this from a family that thought horror films were Satanic and yet subjected me to the worst kind of horror imaginable. To their credit my parents, whose commitment to Christianity was connected to conceptions of "the social gospel", were incensed that I had been subjected to such an exp…

Response to "Postmodernism Always Dines On Its Own Flesh"

Struggle Sessions' recent hatchet job on me, Postmodernism Always Dines On Its Own Flesh, is so bad, and such a terrible misrepresentation, that I have to wonder if the people behind these polemics actually read my work (beyond the odd quotes here and there) or if they're intentionally being dishonest. In the past I didn't think it was worth responding to them because I didn't want to feed the troll; dishonest criticism (whether intentionally or unintentionally) is always difficult to deal with because those behind it are usually interested in doubling down and repeating the same falsities regardless of what you say. But this time, since it was so bad, I felt it was worth making several interventions so as to correct the misrepresentations. That and they concluded the piece complaining that I hadn't responded to them so this will probably be my only direct response. I have no interest in a back and forth where I'll just be repeating my position over and over in…