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Showing posts from January, 2012

Canadian Airport Anti-trans Laws

If Sweden's recent anti-person legislation is yet more proof that Sweden is not, regardless of what some self-proclaimed US "socialist" commentators imagine, a socialist paradise, then similar (but clearly less bio-fascist) legislation in Canada should be more than enough proof that this country is also far from socialist.  Not that any Canadian leftist worth hir salt has ever imagined that "our home and 'native' land" is anywhere close to socialism––our own experience with the brutal truth of Canadian colonial-capitalism has taught us otherwise––and we have always been rather bemused when US activists have tried to claim otherwise.  Yes, we have a better welfare capitalism, and only better for some, but the Canadian left's basis of organization, and whatever theory it has produced, begins by accepting that it lives within a context that is colonial, imperialist, and ultimately capitalist. (Side point: Please, please, please… Can all of you yankee

Clarifications, Just Because

After my most recent post on the lifestyle politics surrounding the sex industry , and probably because of the back-links, I have noticed that my older posts on prostitution and the polyamory/monogamy binary have again become popular.  (In my "year in review" entry I joked about making this blog partly about SEX!, due to the popularity of these posts, and it seems that I was not entirely off-base.)  Moreover, I've been forwarded some of the comments made outside of this blog––and have read some dodgy "left" idiot blog posts––about my supposed position on these matters which has caused me to be simultaneously amused and annoyed. Sometime ago, I complained about the inability of people to read and understand the arguments I was actually making.  I have become convinced that blog frequenters, redditors, and internet self-proclaimed "experts" are generally incapable of properly assessing arguments, especially nuanced arguments, defending a position tha

The Mass-Line and McLeftism

After the joint rally in support of the Peoples War in India, which I attended this weekend in Ottawa, my comrades and I encountered two demonstrations in the same city that were arguably better attended than ours.  The first was a reactionary anti-abortion rally; the second was a confused march that was demanding NATO intervention in Syria.  And though it was somewhat disheartening to realize that politically backwards demonstrations were better attended than one with a revolutionary message, it made me think again about how to make sense of a mass-line in contexts where large sectors of the masses are more willing to support retrograde rather than revolutionary politics. There is, after all, a very crude and dangerous way to understand the concept of the mass-line.   From the masses to the masses , when taken as a slogan blasted out of its theoretical context, can easily become synonymous with uncritical populism.  The masses don't want to support India, and would much rath

In Memoriam

In the past five or six months some of my more controversial and better read posts have been about people who died.  Namely about people whose deaths produced undeserved hagiographies amongst a leftwing population that should have known better.  In engaging with the events of these deaths I was more than a little shocked by the fact that their fame, far more than anything they actually did, and the illusion produced and fostered by this fame produced bizarre rites of mourning amongst those who: a) had never personally known these people; b) whose politics in theory were supposedly opposed to the politics represented by the objects of their grief.  I began one of these posts by talking about the Mao Zedong quote that claimed that the deaths of those who died in the service of oppression were worth less than the weight of a feather, where the deaths of those who placed themselves in the camp of the oppressed carried more weight than a mountain. And it is here that I want to mention, in

Out to Ottawa on Saturday!

The end of the Campaign to support the Peoples War of India approaches and soon it will be time for those of us who are participating in those demos and events organized in our areas.  For those of us who live in eastern Canada, there is the demonstration on Saturday  in Ottawa that will be supported by contingents from various cities. Again I want to emphasize, as I did in my previous post , the importance of making this protracted and historical struggle more visible in the centres of capitalism.  So often we focus on those struggles that seem "fresh" and "new", manic rebellions that explode without warning only to disappear just as quickly, fetishizing each manifestation if it's the newest thing.  But for those of us who are communists––although it is our job, to paraphrase Fanon, to sanction every rebellion no matter how desperate––we need to pay more attention to those struggles that are organized and unified with the intention of establishing communism.

Swedish Anti-Person Legislation

While it is rather common for some self-proclaimed "socialists" living in North America to perpetuate the delusion that Sweden is a "socialist" country (I'm looking at you, /r/socialism ), and though the Swedish left would tell us otherwise, it turns out the socialist utopia of Sweden should be throwing the moniker "nationalist" in front of its supposed "socialism". The Angry Marxists blog alerted me to the fact that Sweden is now planning  a forced sterilization campaign aimed at transpersons.  If you are Swedish and trans then you will be sterilized if you transition.  All to satisfy the religious right in Sweden, of course, who also aren't under the impression that they are living in a socialist country.  Nor is this entirely shocking, as the Sweden-is-socialist camp would hilariously have us think, since Sweden's capitalist class has, for a very long time, flirted with fascism.  Indeed, this is why the broadest left coalitions

International Week of Support for Peoples War

This week, January 14 - 22, has been designated the International Campaign to Support the Peoples War in India .  The call for such a campaign is particularly important due to the recent capture, torture, and eventual execution of Comrade Kishenji .  Clearly the Indian state is frightened by the growing peoples war, the so-called "red corridor", and the surrounding context of revolutionary instability caused by the Kashmiri independence movement, the potential problems still posed by the UPCN(Maoist), and an emergent peoples war in Bhutan. While it is quite common for anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists in North America and Europe to gather en masse for demonstrations supporting Palestinian self-determination, against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or in solidarity with the unexpected uprisings of the so-called Arab Spring, there is a general and disquieting absence of agitation around the recent and significant revolutionary movements in South Asia.  We have no pr

Against Capitalist "Rehabilitation": reading David Gilbert's Love & Struggle in the context of Judith Clark's renunciation

According to a recent New York Times article by Tom Robbins , Judith Clark, former Weather Underground member who was arrested in 1981 for the attempted robbery of a Brinks truck, has renounced her radicalism and is now politically "rehabilitated".  Robbins describes pre-rehabilitated Clark as if she was a member of a religious cult: she was a "militant zealot", a member of "a wild tribe of radicals", a "dogmatist"––in essence, the victim of leftist brainwashing.  For Robbins and his ilk, the actions of Clark and other 1960s-1970s US militants were an insane response to a sane society that just needed the help of a few enlightened liberals rather than a sane response to the insane reality of capitalism.  Now Clark has recovered her sanity, now she has healed from the madness of revolutionary ideology, and so now, Robbins argues, she should be let out of prison and allowed to become part of productive liberal society––after all, seventy-five years

Marxist Missionary Cults

Ever since I started this blog, I've complained off-and-on–– sometimes humorously and sometimes with outright annoyance ––about the cultish "marxist" groups that tend to afflict the broad left like an unfashionable sweater.  Anyone who has spent time as an activist is very aware of these ultra-sectarian groups, of their dogmatic "holier-than-thou" attitudes, and how they make the lot of us look like backwards weirdos trapped somewhere between 1840 and 1915.  And anyone (such as myself) who has spent a lot of years encountering these self-satisfied dogmatic cabals has learned that it is: a) generally unproductive to engage them because it is usually impossible to have an honest debate with close-minded zealots; b) better to ignore them, treating them as quaint and amusing, and hope that they will go away. Quite often they're the subject of leftist "in-jokes" , sort of like how one would laugh at an embarrassing family member.  Around ten years ag

Suggestion to Reddit: please consider renaming your "/r/socialism" subreddit "/r/liberalism" for reasons of conceptual accuracy

Although I do not like Reddit, or the kind of self-proclaimed "experts" who hang out on reddit, some of my internet comrades are obsessed with the wonderful world of Reddit and, because of this obsession, I am often more informed of the Reddit universe of stupid than I would otherwise prefer.  And one subreddit that is generally and unfortunately stupid is /r/socialism  which I have complained about at numerous points on this blog. The reason why the "socialism" subreddit is stupid is because the people making up the majority population of the posters and commenters are not socialists, and usually seem rather unaware of what socialism means.  My complaint is not sectarian––it has nothing to do with some maoist nonsense about claiming that a bunch of trotskyists aren't authentic socialists––but conceptual.  The hegemonic consensus of /r/socialism has nothing to do with the actual political and historical definition of socialism.  If you are a welfare capital

New Look for 2012!!

Really, I should have done this in 2011.  For the longest time I wasn't entirely happy with the look of my blog, and some of my faithful readers have complained about its ugliness (although I still like white on black, damnit, even if it does burn your retinae!), but I just didn't have the energy or time to waste switching things around.  Too many bloody choices of templates equals confused inaction.  That and the fact that I can finally admit that blogspot was crap compared to wordpress.  Truthfully, considering how much I hate shite design when it comes to magazines, posters, book covers, etc., it's amazing that I endured the shitty appearance of my blog for so long. But now blogspot is offering these new "dynamic" blog templates and so I finally caved, spent about an hour converting the links from my blogroll into a separate page, and another hour torturing myself over the fact that it was all changing… And here is an attempt at making MLM Mayhem   look diffe

How to Become a Feisty Leftist Political Blogger

Friends and comrades have often asked how I am able to produce so much crap on a regular basis on this blog.  Clearly my life is not primarily devoted to blogging––I have a job, I do political organizing work, and I have a social life––but it is pretty easy to be on the computer during and between the main aspects of my job, and nothing is usually happening between the hours of 11pm to 3am during the week, so there is always time to write.  Plus, since I spend a lot of time writing, I can crank out blog posts in very short spans because, trained to write academic papers throughout my time spent as an undergraduate to a PhD student, it's pretty much my only marketable skill.  But it's actually not as hard to produce the amount of writing that is on MLM Mayhem in an average month, so I figured I would spend this post, keeping with the semi-serious tone of the last post, providing pointers on how to become a feisty leftist political blogger. 1.  Read This should be obvious, o

M-L-M Mayhem! 2011 in Review

In an earlier post I joked that, based on the traffic of certain articles, if I turned this blog into an exercise of pissing on the graves of the recently dead I would probably increase my average traffic.  And due to then high traffic generated by my last article, maybe it would also be clever to transform this blog into one about dead people and sexual politics.  It could be called DEATH! SEX!  and would be sure to offend a lot of self-proclaimed lefties along with reactionaries.  Although I am not planning on making such a drastic shift in this blog's content focus, thinking about how some topics have generated far more traffic than others, I have decided to release an M-L-M Mayhem 2011 in Review  and list what posts were the most viewed and exchanged across the interwebs from last January to December. 10. Entries regarding the PCR-RCP initiated elections boycott : These articles generated a lot of traffic, and a lot of parliamentary ire on the part of sectors of the left w