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Showing posts from July, 2012

Car Liberalism

I despise driving cars and try to avoid it as much as possible.  Driving from one city to another is a necessary evil, and something I do when it is more of a necessity (and cheaper based on the amount of passengers I can take) than taking a bus or train.  Then there are the times that I have to use a vehicle in the city to pick up large and unwieldy things that I cannot transport via public transit.  Otherwise, I try to avoid driving because: a) I cannot really afford to be driving all the time and to every place; b) I hate the stress of traffic and the always-existing potential of dying in traffic accident flames.  Generally, I really hate the fact that so many people drive all the bloody time rather than take public transit in a city that has a somewhat decent public transit system.  And I especially hate the way that people become  their personal vehicles. I am ranting about this because I've recently been forced to utilize a car more than I usually would due to all of the tr

Please Stop Talking About "True Communism"

If you're one of those marxists who defends communism by arguing that the "true communism" promised by Marx and Engels has never yet existed, then please stop.  This is not a very good argument for communism because this is precisely what liberals argue in order to claim "communism is good in theory and bad in practice."  Indeed, they use the fact that "true communism" has never existed as proof that it cannot exist because it is little more than a utopian doctrine .  ( "That Marx meant well," the liberal anti-communist will argue, chortling slyly, "It's just too bad he was proved wrong by those horrible communist revolutions of the twentieth century!" )  Thus, if you're making some sort of idealist argument about true communism ––as if communism is a Platonic form in which the material world has not yet learned to participate––then all you're doing is telling the liberal anti-communist that s/he's correct. Utop

Misadventures in Leftwing Academia

As regular readers of this blog will know, one of my constant obsessions has been with the role of leftist academics.  This obsession is primarily due to the fact that I am a leftist academic and so, because of the many years spent as a student (and now as semi-employed contractual labour trying to get papers published), I have a conflicted relationship with academia and the kind of leftism that is intimately connected to academia .  This conflicted relationship generally manifests itself as a critique of two positions vis-a-vis academics/intellectuals that I have always found troubling: a) the erroneous belief that leftwing academics/students are more inclined towards anti-capitalism and thus more advanced than the rest of the masses; b) the anti-intellectualism produced by the fetishization of a specific idea of the working class.  Although I believe that both positions are erroneous, criticizing one or the other often causes the misconception that I am supporting one rather than

The Academic Discourse of Trotskyism

In a recent post I ranted about the supposed trotskyist domination of first world marxist academia.  This post, however, raised more questions than it answered.  Intended to be a piece about the necessity of waging ideological struggle in academia––and using trotskyism/post-trotskyism as an example of a type of marxism that I believed had successfully waged this struggle at the centres of capitalism––it ended up devolving into something of a complaint about a possible trotskyist "gate-keeping".  Thus, two of my faithful readers and comrades were slightly confused about the focus of my argument: when they brought up examples of non-trotskyist first world marxism that was academically influential, and I replied that even these examples were influenced by a trotskyist discourse, it became evident that my messy rant had ended up being about something than it was initially intended.  Losing its focus halfway through, it had moved into a territory that I was unwilling at that time

Misconceptions About Maoism

Although maoism has been the most vital form of revolutionary communism in the world since the 1990s, those of us at the centres of capitalism who adopt the identity of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist  occasionally have to deal with some very annoying misconceptions about what we believe.  When we tell other leftists that we identify as maoist  we are sometimes met with bemused expressions, glazed eyes, and curious suspicion.  And despite our best efforts, we generally have to deal with the same bizarre assumptions about what we believe.  It doesn't matter how many times we correct these misconceptions, or how successful we are in organizing outside of the boundaries of the mainstream left, the same assumptions continue to be asserted irregardless––sometimes by the same people who have simply ignored everything that we've said to begin with.  So, while it probably won't matter one bit, I've taken it upon myself to list and again correct some of these erroneous claims about what

Ideological Class Struggle in Academia?

If there is one thing that trotskyists have been extremely successful at, it is that they have become the official representatives and gate-keepers of marxism in first world academia.  Thus, the academic industry of published marxist texts is largely dominated and managed by trotskyist and post-trotskyist intellectuals.  Even those popular academic marxists who have rejected trotskyist orthodoxy or semi-orthodoxy are most often people whose understanding of communism has been heavily influenced by a trotskyist style marxism. As one of my good friends and comrades has pointed out, regardless of the historical disagreements we maoists might have with trotskyism, at the very least we have to admire their ability to wage ideological struggle within the confines of bourgeois academia.  At the same time, however, the fact that the already non-hegemonic field of marxist academia is dominated by a trotskyist-influenced interpretation of historical marxism is a serious problem for us academic

American Xtian Family Values

The best thing about reactionary xtians in the US is that their propensity to make the most hilariously ahistorical assertions provides endless amusement for left-wing bloggers.  (Of course, shits-and-giggles aside, the fact that they have can influence public policy is not, admittedly, very funny.)  I mean, take this reply to an excellent marxist approach to Queer liberation .  Commenter "Paul" complains that marxism is just "conjecture" and then goes on to conjecture about God, the "nuclear family", and Darwinism. Point being: American right-wing Christians have a bizarre and ahistorical fascination with the nuclear family that forms the foundation of both their religion and politics––a terrifying Political Christianity that has far more global influence than the Political Islam overly highlighted by an Islamophobic discourse.  The reactionary xtian ability to command this discourse continuously places "family values" at the centre of electo

Let's Tweet Our Way Out of Capitalism!

The recent  Guardian  article that expresses shock and curiousity about how marxism "is on the rise again"  has, by now, made its obligatory internet rounds and succeeded in annoying most of the marxist left who have bothered to read it in the first place.  Aside from the smarmy attitude in which it is written, the terrible (mis)understanding of marxist theory (apparently Marx was wrong because the proletariat are working to keep capitalism alive rather than become its grave-diggers!), the obligatory anti-communist "wisdom" on the comment string (Marx and Engels are outdated and communism was a good theory that was bad in practice!), aside from even its notable ignorance about ninety per cent of the world (marxism, the author does not seem to understand, never stopped being popular outside of the centres of capitalism where, you know, the majority of the global proletariat are concentrated), at the very least it demonstrated that maybe communists at the centres of c