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Showing posts from July, 2011

The Limits of Sex Work Radicalism

Back from a brief vacation with a long post that will probably annoy some people, but is the result of a long-standing annoyance... By now I am getting extremely annoyed with a certain discourse around sex work that has become popular amongst some sectors of the North American (and occasionally European) left.  Originally a discourse that was limited to lifestyle [and predominantly male] anarchists, as well as a few hippy sex fetishists, the political assertion that sex work is liberating, and that the liberating potential of sex work should be treated as part of a radically progressive politics, is now being embraced by the broader left-wing population and gaining the support of so-called feminists, socialists and communists who should know better.  Indeed, the unqualified pro-prostitution position is being treated by some as a litmus test for numerous radical commitments as it is now attached to, and turned into a falsely essential component of, feminism, queer and trans libera

Why I Support the Revolutionary Communist Party Canada [Part 3]

This is the third and final entry of a series that explains my reasons for sympathizing with and supporting the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada [PCR-RCP, as they have come to be short-handed by leftists in the blogosphere who want to differentiate them from the problematic RCP-USA].  For those readers coming late to this series, and who find the topic interesting, I would urge you to read the first and second parts. This series of posts can also be seen as part of a larger set of posts that, in some ways, are crude political autobiographies––attempts to explain my left-wing background, both in my activist and academic life. 4: revolutionary versus activist mind-set Despite the quality of its programme, I would still dismiss the PCR-RCP if it produced members who were the typical arrogant assholes one finds in most activist organizations.  After years of participation in the Toronto left, I was growing tired of  self-righteous activism ––the cliquishness, the holier-t

Why I Support the Revolutionary Communist Party Canada [Part 2]

This is the second entry of a three-part set of posts of why I support the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada [PCR-RCP].   The first part  was a general introduction where I explained the reasons for this series as well as indicating, based on the discussions I've had in the past, the five categories into which I planned to break this serial post.  The first category was about the PCR-RCP's proper understanding, in the concrete context of Canada, settler-colonialism and the national question.  Here follows the next two categories. 2: advanced guard versus tailism I've lost count of the number of times a member of a self-proclaimed communist organization has argued that you cannot talk about politics  x  because this might  alienate  everyday people.  Sometimes this has taken the form of not talking about communism––maybe going so far as to hide one's own communism––because "the working class", especially in Canada, might find communism frightening. Thi

Why I Support the Revolutionary Communist Party Canada [Part 1]

Originally this was supposed to be a much smaller post, generally meant to reply to some of the question I've received from friends and comrades who have asked me, for several years now, why I tend to sympathize with and endorse/support the Revolutionary Communist Party of Canada both in my blog and in my real life.  Due to the recent arrests of four PCR-RCP members , and the revelation that the Canadian state is taking this organization seriously as a possible threat, I decided it might be appropriate to write an article explaining the political and philosophical reasons behind my support.  Until very recently, aside from those of us who follow Maoist-style politics, the PCR-RCP has been generally unknown in english-dominant Canada (as opposed to in Quebec where they have much more recognition) and this is post is generally aimed at this part of the country, as well as those readers in other countries who have expressed interest in this organization.  As noted above, it was meant

Distributing the Partisan

This post is mainly an info-blurb.  Recently, because of some of the questions and comments I have received from friends and comrades about why I sympathize with the PCR-RCP more than other Canadian groups, I have started to write a semi-biographical and meandering discussion of how and why I became interested in this organization.  (Oddly enough, if I was just to continue participating in the loose-knit "movementist" community, in my union local's working groups, or in any other acceptable Toronto leftist organization, I doubt I would ever be asked this question: what is part of normative activity, even within the critical left, is always reified.)  As I had explained my "philosophical" biography in the previous entry, I supposed it would be appropriate to follow with another "political" biographical entry.  Since that entry's draft still requires organization and focus––and now will most probably be two entries––I have decided, in the meantime an

The Philosophy of Political Economy: Circumstances and Choices

Since my PhD happens to be in philosophy, due to my interests I often encounter the bemused question: "so how, exactly, is your chosen area of study philosophy ?"  That is, since I tend to spend a lot of time doing academic work on radical political economists such as Samir Amin––and in the context of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism––I'm often told that my areas of interest are supposedly outside of my chosen discipline, that I'm not doing philosophy, and I've shot myself in my metaphorical job-hunting foot by studying and writing upon areas that are the property of "political science" or "sociology" or even "economics." Well maybe I have cursed my academic career by choosing to focus on a political theory that leans towards what might be deemed "political economy."  I cannot help but recall how, years ago during my dissertation proposal process, a member of the philosophy department's faculty tried to block my project on the