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Showing posts from June, 2019

Some Thoughts on the Memory of the Red Brigades

Having recently reread Strike One To Educate One Hundred, recently republished by Kersplebedeb, and now that I'm reading a draft of 1978: A New Stage in the Class War (a collection of Red Brigades documents) that will be published by the same press very soon, I'm again stricken by the fact that the Red Brigades (BR) were the primary revolutionary force in Italy in the 1970s-80s. Unlike the Red Army Faction (RAF) and other similar urban guerrilla groups of that period, the BR was embedded in the proletariat and was able to launch something akin to a People's War in the metropoles that was not focoist.

What is striking about this fact––the acknowledgment of which is inescapable when the documentation of that period is studied––is that the contemporary left in North America has an obsession with a particular articulation of Marxism in that period of Italian history that is not the politics of the BR and is largely ignorant of this politics. That is, for the past two or three …

The "Modernity Critical of Modernity" Essay Trilogy Draws to a Close.

My upcoming essay for Abstrakt forms the completion of my trilogy concerning the emergence of Marxism in the context of modernity and the bourgeois order. Being a series of philosophical treatments (rather than a historiography, sociology, or political economy) these three essays focus on key and interconnected themes––Enlightenment, science, sovereign power––that are related to Marxism's manifestation as a "modernity critical of modernity". The point is to think Marxism's meaning against the ideological constellation from which it emerged as a challenge, as well as contemporary criticisms of Marxism that seek to crudely identify it with this ideological constellation thus reducing it to an antiquated philosophy amongst the other philosophies of the space and time of Marx and Engels. In this sense, Marxism is treated as an inheritor of the European Enlightenment project, no more or less meaningful than liberalism, notable only because it influenced a radical traditio…

The Delusions of Academic Philosophy

Back during the 2008-2009 strike at York University, when I was walking the picket line as a Teaching Assistant and just a year away from completing my PhD, there were graduate students in my department who refused to participate. Not only because they refused to see themselves as workers (and instead believed in the "respectability" of being philosophy graduate students) but because they felt that their individual rationality, granted to them by studying philosophy, meant that they were experts in all areas of thought, even those they had done little to no research in. One student whose area was the philosophy of mind thus declared that the strike was "irrational" merely because he thought it was irrational. When asked about the meaning of a union, his understanding of what strikes were, and even basic information about what that strike concerned, he had nothing substantial to say except to repeat the talking points of anti-union columnists in a right wing newspap…

Some Thoughts on the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry

With the Inquiry on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) having released its final report, a not so curious and all too predictable phenomenon has manifested in the general Canadian public. Despite the fact that the Inquiry used the term genocide, and connected the tragedy of MMIWG to colonialism, politicians, journalists, pundits, social networking personalities, the "average Canadian citizen", and even some self-proclaimed "leftists" are loudly proclaiming this tragedy is not genocidal and ignoring what it would mean to recognize its connection with colonialism. This was predictable because the same groups of people (and indeed some of the identical individuals) made similar proclamations when the Truth and Reconciliation Committee that investigated the Residential School system also used the word genocide and implicated Canadian settler-colonialism.

Although it is important, maybe even monumental, that the Inquiry the Liberals set in motion an…