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Showing posts from April, 2013

"Sublimated Colonialism" (PDF download and shameless self-promotion)

Although some of my faithful readers have asked to read parts of my doctoral dissertation (which was completed and defended in 2010), I have generally refused to comply.  For one thing, by the time I finished my dissertation my politics had slightly shifted towards a clearer understanding of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and so, though I was still committed to many of the conclusions of the thesis [which was a philosophical engagement with anti-colonial theory], as well as the maoist and semi-maoist theory I used, in retrospect I feel as if I was often coming to the correct answers by way of the wrong questions.  For another thing, since I am a struggling academic part of what I sell as [admittedly privileged] labour are my ideas and, also being somewhat paranoid, worry about plagiarism––that is someone taking something I struggled to write and profiting off it, a common horror story in academia.  Moreover, since I submitted my dissertation to an academic press several months back and am sti

10 Theses on Identity Politics

Some thoughts, in the form of theses, that require extrapolation.  Those of us at the centres of global capitalism who define ourselves as "marxist" and "historical materialist" are, to greater and lesser degrees, at this historical juncture of theory.  This is not necessarily a good thing… 1) By basing a definition of oppression on sites of identity wrenched from a materialist basis, there emerges a concept of oppression that lacks any revolutionary praxis.  There can be no solidarity in a theory that divides along multiple moments of identity and elevates these molecularities above the molar basis that actually divides a given mode of production into ruling and ruled classes.  While it may be unfashionable in certain academic circles to make this claim, the only basis of revolutionary unity is still the basis of social class since a given mode of production, as well as the momentum of history, is determined, in the last instance, by class struggle. 2) While it

Bourgeois Moralism

Bourgeois moralism continues to haunt the left even though some of us should know better.  Some of the predictably banal responses to Thatcher's death, for example, are proof of this haunting: that, in the midst of all the laudable celebration of a dead reactionary, you have the occasional "leftist" chiming in with some appeal to liberal humanistic platitudes ("celebrating the death of any human is wrong", or "we socialists should be more humane", or etc.) was annoying but predictable.  Thankfully, there are enough people who remember the violence of Thatcher's politics countering this pseudo-Gandhian ideology that, for once, this moralism was buried in an avalanche of anti-Thatcher articles and parties.  And so, because I don't feel the need to write what so many people have written already, I'm not going to bother posting an obituary about why there is nothing wrong with celebrating the death of a reactionary.  Rather, I think it is simpl

Why I Sometimes Think That "Gulags" Might Be A Good Idea

One of the reasons I stopped being an anarchist was because, due to anarchism's often unquestioned utopianism, I was incapable of theorizing a mechanism that could suppress reactionaries.  Instead I wanted to believe that a revolution, if it was truly a revolution, would somehow convince those reactionaries who were too cowardly to fight and die for their beliefs in the moment of revolutionary upheaval, would somehow be convinced of the righteousness of the cause.  I believed that any attempt to build a state capable of legislating against their behaviour would be authoritarian and that this legislation, amounting to "Stalinist gulags", was also counter-revolutionary. This is indeed an extreme form of utopianism because it is premised on the idea that there is some root and nebulous human nature that, once we remove the authoritative mechanisms, would flourish and immediately evolve into something entirely socialistic.  Humans would become as they really are (as if the