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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…
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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…

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…