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Obituary: Chairman Gonzalo

On the same date as the 1973 coup in Chile, one of the great revolutionaries of the 21st Century, Abimael Guzmán ("Gonzalo"), has passed away at 86 after having spent nearly three decades incarcerated. As the Chair of the Communist Party of Peru's (PCP) Central Committee, Gonzalo was responsible for leading the People's War in Peru and initiating the theorization of Maoism as a third stage of revolutionary science. Moreover, the now defunct Revolutionary Internationalist Movement responsible for crystallizing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (as opposed to "Mao Zedong Thought") was only able to reach the ideological and organizational heights it once had due to the participation and influence of the Gonzalo-led PCP. For those of us who all ourselves "Maoists" because we recognize Maoism as a development in the same sense that Leninism was (however we position ourselves in the international debate about the meaning of MLM now) there is no avoiding or denyi
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Liberal Academia and Free Speech Absolutism in the Shadow of Imperialism

In the wake of the recent violence in Palestine, of the ongoing ethnic cleansing that is yet again patently evident, I cannot help but reflect on the state of academia and the discourse of free speech that normalizes this ethnic cleansing while at the same time demonizing anyone who names it for what it is. Especially in the discipline of philosophy which, for so long, has pretended that it is the guardian of truth and critical thinking. Why is it that scholars who challenge dominant politics––who, to cite the old adage, “speak truth to power”––are maligned as being political whereas scholars who either explicitly support ethnic cleansing or implicitly support it with liberal “both sides are wrong” discourses are treated as rational? And why do scholars who are critical of this ethnic cleansing also defend their liberal and conservative colleagues who are not? The free speech absolutism of the liberal university not only stands in the way of rigorously thinking thought and challenging

Poetry and Pig Shit

I have recently tried to get back into reading poetry, which once upon a time I read a lot of, because I feel I need more poetry in a reading life that is largely filled with theory and philosophy. By "recently" I mean since the summer of 2020. And by "try" I mean slowly and not regularly, though I want to make it more regular. In August I read Mia S. Willis' excellent Monster House . Now I'm rereading Dionne Brand's brilliant Ossuaries . There's something meditative and calming, while at the same time provocative, about reading good poetry by politically committed poets who are also attentive to their craft. When I read poetry regularly in the past, along with well-written literary fiction, I found that it impacted by own writing and thinking in a positive way, and I would like to think that readers can see a poetics in my style due to my past immersion in poetry––but not too much that I'm writing pseudo-poetry instead of philosophy! Throughout

My Current Book Pile

It's been a while since I've posted. Work, childcare, political work, manuscript projects, everything overdetermined by pandemic and pandemic exhaustion has got in the way of blogging. So in lieu of having anything that meaningful to say, and simply to write an enjoyable blog post, I want to blog about the 2021 book pile (excluding my job related reading, which is largely a massive amount of rereading) I'm currently working my way through. These are the books I'm currently working my way through, moving from one to the other, and not the ones I recently finished (such as Dylan Rodríguez's White Reconstruction  and LaRose T. Parris' Being Apart ), since I tend to read multiple books at once. Also, I tend to be a slower reading during work seasons due to work related reading––and also the pandemic has made me slower. Still, I'm enjoying the ongoing process of reading these books and finding interesting connections as I jump back and forth between texts. 1. Epi

More Poverty of Philosophy

"Each generation," Fanon wrote in The Wretched of the Earth , "must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it." This quotation has been one of my maxims for years, a way to structure not only my activist/organizing work but also my intellectual labour as a philosopher. While it is indeed the case that every activist and organizer must necessarily abide by this maxim––to discover the mission of the conjuncture, as difficult as it might be, and to work to fulfill this mission rather than betray it––because this is what organizers do by definition, such a maxim is often lost on philosophers. Indeed, in more than a decade of blogging here I have written multiple posts on the delusions of academic philosophy . Even still, I am continuously struck by the ways in which philosophers cannot live up to this maxim by failing to discover their generational mission and thus, due to this failure, betraying it without even realizing the betrayal. S

Junk This Division Between Siblings: some thoughts on the US electoral circus

In the weeks following Trump's defeat in the 2020 US Election the mainstream media has been obsessed by his unwillingness to concede, his intentional spreading of lies about election fraud, and the MAGA partisans' belief that their commander in chief is still the real president. Once again the term "unprecedented" is being thrown around, as it has been since 2016, and the electoral circus we have been subjected to for two years into his regime (the entire spectacle of primaries and the eventual culmination of the Sanders phenomenon ) shows no sign of ending. You would think that, by this point, pundits would realize that something is deeply wrong, and has been so for a very long time, with settler-capitalist democracy––especially since they have been croaking this adage about "unprecedented" for four years despite being shown some very stark precedents within this time. Precedents that, if these pundits bothered to study anything beyond what they've been

War of Position and Academic Freedom

In one part of  Demarcation and Demystification  I wrote about what I called the "annihilationist" aspect of philosophy that is linked to its clarifying aspect, both of which are concerned with the overall demarcating and demystifying that defines philosophical practice. That is, while philosophy is often about forcing clarity (through arguments and critical examination), sometimes it can be used to demand the demolition of wrong ideas and ideological constellations.: Take, for example, those philosophers who placed themselves in service of the concrete struggle against modern slavery by demanding the annihilation of every theoretical terrain and province that generated pseudo-truth procedures dedicated to the moral, religious, economic, and scientific justification of this social-historical edifice. Entire theoretical structures were singled out for liquidation; their potential clarity was no longer at issue, the clarity of choice [i.e. the logic of choosing one position ove