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Showing posts from March, 2011

Vote With Your Feet: Part Five

Over a week after the public discussion that launched the federal elections boycott campaign , there is still a bizarrely dogmatic antipathy amongst sections of the mainstream Canadian left regarding this campaign.  What makes this antipathy especially dogmatic is a refusal to critically grapple with the reasons for an elections boycott––a knee-jerk denunciation, filled with banal pronouncements about "ultra-leftism", that masquerades as political debate.  The vast majority of the groups and individuals who resist the very possibility of a boycott did not bother to attend, and in fact showed no interest   in attending , the discussion on March 19th and instead chose to boycott the boycott discussion. This refusal to engage in a critical discussion around the elections boycott, therefore, allows those who have decided a priori  to participate and agitate for bourgeois parliamentarianism to cling to the tired arguments without having to consider the possible counter-arguments

Boycott Elections!

For those comrades working in Canada, now under the impending manifestation of the May 2nd Federal Elections, the Boycott Elections 2011 website is now up and running.  More materials will be posted soon, as will other information (regarding events, etc.), but the official posters, in both French and English, are available in the "Materials" section. Check out the fancy poster that can be yours if you visit  and download your very own PDF to distribute (because we know you want to) in your own city, much to the distress of the bourgeoisie!!! Contact information is also available if you would like to get involved in whatever city you're based.  Clearly the sudden call for an elections makes the possibility of running this campaign rather manic, so the more hands the merrier.  All anti-capitalists/anti-imperialists are welcome to participate and use this campaign as an opportunity to propagate their ideology. Also, some of my Cana

Pseudo Anti-Imperialism

Now that the imperialists are bombing Libya, again speaking of liberation and humanitarianism, certain sections of the mainstream North American left are tripping over themselves in sophistic attempts to justify the intervention of their governments.  Gilbert Achcar, Znet favourite, even goes so far as to argue that supporting the "no fly zone" (those imperialist parameters maintained by US and Canadian bombs) is actually anti -imperialist.  In fact, he attempts to convince the reader that all "critical anti-imperialists" would support the intervention in Libya, using a fallacy known as a "false analogy" that compares the imperialists to police, Libya to a rape victim, and Qaddafi to a rapist.  Apparently Achcar missed the irony that his false analogy is an imperialist favourite: they always like to compare themselves to police, guardians of a rule of global law, when more accurately (as more than one critic of Achcar's post has noted about his analog

Ideological Unity and a Politics of Affirmation

The belief that all of our disparate and radical struggles will one day add up to the overthrow of capitalism and imperialism has been a general dogma of the North American left-activist scene.  Although many of these struggles refuse to imagine anything truly concrete beyond business as usual, and reject as a matter of principle any attempt to examine the methods that need to be taken to end capitalism and imperialism, we still like to believe that our various movements as a whole are more significant than they often are. In the year leading up to the G20, for example, the coalition of affinity groups involved in planning the demonstrations sometimes seemed like it was under the strange impression that it would WIN.  Indeed, on one of the organizational email strings, activists would often sign-off by claiming "we're winning."  But what could a weekend of heightened demonstrations  win ?  Clearly the overthrow of the state was not a feasible goal, nor could it be when

Since When Was it "Leftwing" To Love Imperialism?

Certain elements of the mainstream left in my context have abdicated all responsibility by supporting the US "humanitarian intervention" in Libya.  The argument is that the "Libyan people" have requested imperialist intervention and so imperialism can be humanitarian in this context.  Thus, arguments that were not acceptable during the phase of imperialism opened by September 11th 2001––a phase that gave rise to the 21st century antiwar movement––are suddenly acceptable now.  Perhaps the uncritical left here cannot separate the context of Libya from the context of Egypt and Tunisia and thus think it is all part of one big revolutionary movement where the Middle East is throwing off its chains and so requires the aid of well-meaning US imperialists to help with their liberation––as if the US was not the main determinant of their oppression in the first place. Thankfully there has been some critique of the recent "humanitarian intervention" promoted on Spe

Vote With Your Feet (part 4) - Guest Post by Wendy G.

This is a guest post by comrade Wendy G.  that addresses why the New Democratic Party (NDP) is not even a viable social democratic force in Canada.  Since many of the arguments levelled against a potential boycott by leftists who theoretically believe in revolutionary politics (but apparently not practically) centre around the belief that the NDP is our only viable option––or even worse that it's a party that actually represents the interests of the oppressed masses––it is necessary to discuss the actual behaviour of the NDP in Canada.  For those comrades just south of the border, we should also point out that the NDP is even (and sadly) to the left of the US Democratic Party... GUEST POST ON THE BOYCOTT ( upcoming event on March 19th ) by Wendy G.   1.  Past and present experiences of NDP governments show that the party ends up becoming just as pro-capitalist, anti-indigenous and imperialist as the other major parties in Canada.   The NDP has come to power in many provinces, i

Vote With Your Feet (part 3)

"The inevitable result of the lack of ambitious thoughts is a mediocre politics and a devalued ethics." -Alain Badiou (Theory of the Subject) When self-proclaimed communists react with horror to the possibility of boycotting bourgeois parliamentarianism, we need to speculate on the gap between their theory and practice.  Anarchists, regardless of the problems I have with anarchism (and my anarchist past ), are generally better in this area: when you suggest boycotting the elections to a group of anarchists, they wonder why it's even controversial.  Of course, a self-assured and comfortable communist will simply argue that of course anarchists are fine with boycotting the elections because anarchists, don't you know, are ultra-left children who do not understand politics to begin with. My question, though, is whether this supposed communist position is itself entirely communist .  Whether this desire to mock an elections boycott as some form of petty-bourgeois &qu

Vote With Your Feet (part 2)

"To want to abdicate is to vote." -Alain Badiou- This entry is the second part in a series about boycotting the upcoming Canadian federal elections, a movement initiated by the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada, in order to promote the Toronto launch of this movement on March 19th, 2011. In Xavier Gens' leftwing horror film Frontier(s)  a small band of racialized youth escape Paris in the furor of the riots surrounding LePen's possible election of 2002, fleeing to the French frontiers.  One member of the band, Yasmin, is pregnant and the film opens with her declaration that she does not want to give birth to a child in "this sick society."  But the flight out of this society, out of the riots inspired by a possible fascist election, results in an encounter with the open fascism of the countryside where her companions are slaughtered by nazis.  She survives this encounter and, drenched in blood, returns to the supposedly "civilized" citie

Vote With Your Feet: Boycotting the Federal Elections (part 1)

An upcoming event that I'm helping organize has begun to stir up some controversy amongst the leftwing activist population of my city.  This event, provocatively titled "Don't Vote, Fight" (or alternately, "Don't Vote, Organize"), is a workshop designed to discuss the possibility of boycotting the upcoming Canadian federal elections as a strategy of building revolutionary politics and fostering revolutionary consciousness.  This elections boycott movement was run in Quebec during the last federal elections by a coalition led by the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada.  The point of the movement is to draw a dividing line amongst the left––not the social democratic or liberal left but the elements of the left that claim to believe in revolutionary politics––and already, amongst those who are notified of the upcoming (March 19th) event, the dividing line is becoming clear. In retrospect, I think the event should have been titled "Vote With Your F

Slave Morality Kicks the Ass of Master Morality: stupid Nietzsche again

When I started this blog my first post was a somewhat strident entry on why I hate Nietzsche .  In retrospect, it was probably not the most logical choice for my first blog-post, but since I was my blog's only reader at the time, and was under the impression that this would be the normative state of affairs forever, I just wrote a quick rant to try out the space.  (Also in retrospect, I should have thought more clearly about the name and url of the blog rather than, in my typical slap-dash manner, just throwing something together randomly.)  Apparently my sloppily written rant about Nietzsche has annoyed at least one reader who felt the need, like a first year philosophy student, to "correct" my understanding with a rather typical pro-Nietzschean response in that entry's comment string. Although I do not feel the need to write a prolonged and devastating critique of every aspect of Nietzsche's philosophy now or ever (I have better things to do with my time), I w

The Need to Understand Multiculturalism Dialectically

Around a year ago controversy was stirred up in the Canadian fine arts world when the representative of a national gallery made a problematic distinction between "excellence" and "diversity."  That is, he argued that his national gallery was interested only in funding art work that was "excellent" (although he himself could not precisely explain the meaning of "excellent" art, a point of contention for art theory for centuries at least) and not simply in work by artists from minority groups.  His point was generally one of officially sanctioned state multi-cultural programs: "diverse" artists already have special galleries, funding programs, and avenues that promote their work, and so an austere national gallery should not have to bother about inclusion because inclusion will "naturally" happen if an artist's work, regardless of their background, fits some nebulous standard of "excellence."  The problem with maki