Skip to main content

Posts

On Marxist Philosophy Yet Again

With Methods Devour Themselves nearing its release date, and thoughts of Continuity & Rupture on my my mind due to another manuscript (about philosophy) I recently prepared for submission, I felt it might be worthwhile to talk a bit about what I do as a philosopher. Specifically, what I do as a philosopher of Marxism and how I generally understand the meaning of philosophy within the boundaries of historical materialism. Such reflections will, at the very least, prevent my blog from languishing in stasis.

Since the manuscript I recently submitted for publication concerns this question (what it means to practice philosophy as a Marxist, what philosophy means under the shadow of the 11th Thesis on Feuerbach) I am not going to get into the meaning of Marxist philosophy in any real depth. I wrote that book because in order to deal with this question in depth it required, in my mind, an entire book.  In fact I've already written three posts that serve as entry points into that proj…
Recent posts

Still Waiting For Some Honest Critiques of Continuity and Rupture

So far, all the critiques of Continuity and Rupture, when they have been expressed, have been little more than straw-person representations of that book's arguments. Nearly a year ago I posted The Argument of Continuity and Rupture that clarified and reasserted the book's argument, pointing out how nobody outside of the Maoist camp who took issue with my claim that Maoism was the accomplishment of historical materialism had succeeded in providing a counter-argument. I summarized the book's main argument in this regard, demanding that it be engaged with, and received no response aside from outright dismissal. Such is the state of thought amongst the non-Maoist "Marxist" tendencies. Since then, however, there has been some buzz within the Maoist camp about the book's claims, most of which seem to be throwaway comments on social media, that reinforce the reasons why I wrote the book to begin with: there is the need for philosophical consensus within the terrain …

Thoughts on Eric Wilson's *The Republic of Cthulhu*

1 An intriguing concept: to use the work of H.P. Lovecraft to map the aesthetics or poetics of the "parapolitical". Assuming that there is a subterranean political order (i.e. clandestine agencies, criminal enterprises that intersect with deep state functions, the tendency to imagine conspiracy), Lovecraft's fiction is supposed to provide the aesthetics of this order due to its obsession with eldritch conspiracies that lurk below the level of appearance. Lovecraft's "cosmic horror" thus becomes a useful "mytho-poetics" for explaining the meaning of the parapolitical.

*



The conception of the parapolitical is not, to my mind, the most meaningful problematic. While it is indeed the case that the appearance of a given state is mirrored by the reality of multiple levels of clandestinity (intelligence agencies with their intrigues, criminal enterprises sometimes drawn upon by these clandestine institutions), the assumption that this constitutes a &quo…

Shit I've Published In the Past Several Months

Although I have been posting here with less and less frequency, I have been writing and publishing elsewhere. Aside from my upcoming co-authored book, Methods Devour Themselves, in the past several months I have written and published a few articles. In lieu of writing a proper post, here is what I have published since January.

1. Benjanun Sriduangkaew's Winterglass and Necropolitics

My first (and maybe only?) officially published review of a work of fiction. As regular readers are probably aware, one of my favourite contemporary SFF authors is Sriduangkaew. Indeed, she guest posted on this blog about the book I reviewed just before it was released. Winterglass is a phenomenal novella, tightly plotted and beautifully written, and my review focused on the philosophical notions it evoked. Thankfully, minor literature[s], the literary journal that published my review, promotes the kind of book reviews that a philosopher would write. I hope the review, despite at least one flaw I notice…

A Thesaurus of the Revolutionary Concept

I have long argued that we have a duty to reclaim and preserve the revolutionary concepts and terminology that have been won through class struggle. Core concepts of the science from Marx to Mao are scientific notions, key to building and operationalizing a revolutionary movement. To give up on these concepts because they have been rendered insensible to various strata of the masses due to decades of anti-communist propaganda, or to dismiss them as old-fashioned because they are out of step with academic fads, would be a mistake. Their meaning has been proven by class struggle, which makes them correct, and we cannot build a sustainable movement based on incorrect conceptions.

At the same time, and following Mao's criticisms in documents such as Oppose Stereotyped Party Writing, I am well aware that there are ways in which the terminology surrounding these concepts can be rendered sterile, their dynamic meaning locked in static formal patterns. We only need to look at the ways in …

Thoughts On this 3903 Strike

We're around 60 days into this strike, my third strike in this local, and all of the assessments and experiences of the past strikes are as acute as ever. The particular details change with each strike but the general facts remain the same. The particular details: in 2008/2009, at the beginning of the crisis, the Bargaining Team was close to the employer whereas the Executive tried to push a radical agenda; in 2015 the Executive was reactionary and the general membership went on strike against the conciliatory will of its leadership; now, in 2018, the Executive and Bargaining Team are united in their will to struggle against concessions and only the usual reactionary suspects, members who do not walk the lines and have backwards politics, are attempting to undermine the strike. The general facts: the strike is still limited by economism, the lack of an external revolutionary movement that possesses hegemony have means that trade-union consciousness will remain the norm even in the…

Socialist Fightback: "Everyone is sectarian except for us!"

My union local's current strike has, as usual, taken up a lot of my time. Since most of what I would say about a strike I have written before (the limits of trade union consciousness, the trap of economism, the potential to build a red centre to push for a politics that is beyond union militancy, etc.), I wasn't planning to write very much about this round of striking. But the occupation of the York University senate chambers led by the Students for CUPE 3903 coalition, of which the Revolutionary Student Movement (MER-RSM) is an important part, is a development that is unique to this strike and, in the democratic general assemblies and demands that have grown beyond my union local's strike, demonstrates the ways in which union militancy can be used as an opening for more radical demands. Moreover, the way in which the occupation was initiated and the line struggles that defined its development provides some interesting lessons of mass work within united fronts.

The stronge…