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Showing posts from 2018

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…

Charles Post Writes Another Shitty Article for the New Socialists

Charles Post's Actually Existing 'Socialism' – A Critique of Stalinism is such a mess of ideological nonsense, category mistakes, and predictable Trotskyist adages that, as one of my comrades pointed out, it must have been rushed to publication since Post, regardless of his flaws, is usually much more rigorous. In a context where people are turning to variations of Marxism-Leninism that are decidedly not Trotskyist I suppose it is natural that academic Trotskyists, who have worked hard to control the discourse about Marxism in the imperialist metropoles, would react with alarm. Post's article thus functions as a banal work of confirmation bias in that it repeats what Trotskyists have told themselves for decades, which just so happens to run parallel to the "common sense" of bourgeois ideology.

As I've been arguing for a while, "Stalinism" has to be one of the worst conceptual categories and Post proves, yet again, that this is the case. Generall…

Class Struggle in the Terrain of Theory Again!

After attending Jasbir Puar's recent Toronto talk and book launch the other night I was struck again with the dilemma that post- theory presents to Marxists, particularly Marxists like myself who occupy some sort of academic space. We all, to different degrees, represent the deep-seeded problem with what is often called "post-modern" philosophy/theory: its displacement of Marxism upon the sanctified pedestal of recognized radical theory, its idealist (and quite often obscurantist) bases that permit identity politics and movementism to proliferate as praxis, and (most damningly) the fact that the foundational authors of this tradition only achieved academic hegemony through a translation project funded by the CIA. I have diagnosed this problem in previous posts, and in Continuity & Rupture I attempted to provide a general explanation for the rise of "post-modernism" by linking it to a Marxist retreat forced by the "end of history" narrative of capi…

Another Meta-review: Capitalist Realism

The bizarro anti-intellectualism that tends to manifest itself in leftist circles has always been paradigmatically represented by perspectives put out by the International Marxist Tendency (IMT)––whether they are shitting on BDS, claiming that the coup in Egypt several years ago wasn't really a coup, or claiming that physicists are liars––and yet again they've proved this anti-intellectualism with their recent hatchet-job on the late Mark Fisher's Capitalist Realism. These days I try to ignore their embarrassing hot-takes but both a local comrade and a twitter mutual sent me this article and it's the kind of thing that would make anyone who actually read Fisher's book gape and face palm. It also demonstrates something significant about the IMT and groups like the IMT: they are incapable of critical thought, their critiques of positions that are not wholly their own rely on straw-person misrepresentations, and so their political lines about reality in general––the i…

MLM Mayhem Year In Review [2017 Edition]

Well here it is again, as my New Year semester contract begins, the MLM Mayhem line-up of the most popular posts of the past year. Considering I've lacked the time and energy to post regularly, and my traffic has dipped here and there because of this, I can at least get at least one new post simply listing what entries did the best in the past year of 2017. So here's the round-up:

10. Guest Post: Narratives of Exclusion by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Faithful readers of this blog and my cultural blog, Achilles Powder & Lead, should be long aware that I'm an avid SFF reader and that one of my favourite contemporary authors is Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Close to the release of her excellent novella Winterglass at the beginning of December, Sriduangkaew embarked on a blog tour and I was more than happy to loan her the blog space to write about her narrative choices designed to push the margin to the centre. (Also, as most of you are aware, I have a book coming out in collaboration w…