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Showing posts from June, 2013

Branding Communism!

An international comrade of mine recently argued that communist movements need to seriously consider the necessity of "branding" themselves in a systematic manner.  After all, the masses are aware of bourgeois companies due to a process of marketing and branding that has instilled logos, catch-phrases, product concepts, and commodity ideas on their very consciousness: innumerable people are aware of what it means to facebook  or google  someone, just as they are aware of the logos of these corporations––we can cite countless examples.  Thus, if communism is seeking to achieve cultural hegemony and make its ideological position known in a context where the ruling ideas of the ruling class are often codified by a commercial sensibility, it must also find a way to insinuate itself within a discourse that people have been socialized to understand as the primary mode of comprehension. Let's be honest: communism isn't always the most "hip" ethos, even for those

Instrumentalizing Theory

If you are studying and/or producing marxist theory as a marxist then the logic that guides this activity should be the necessity of class struggle.  That is, if the point is to transform rather than interpret the world, then any approach to marxism that is not about furthering revolution––that is divorced from practical action aimed at making revolution––is a marxism that is opposed to the essential point of marxism, a dead marxism.  Hence, I think we can say with confidence that the vast amount of people studying and producing marxist theory on an academic level do so as marxists in appearance rather than substance: this amounts to role-playing marxism, reducing it to a theoretical game. In at least one previous post I've complained about the "intellectual resignation" that is often commonplace amongst academic leftists (a population, to be fair, in which I place myself), but it is a problematic that continues to bother me.  While I am not interested in endorsing an

Commie Dad Blog Launched!

As I have noted in previous posts , myself and two other dads planned to work on a collective blog about parenting from a decidedly communist position.  Finally, after all this time, the blog in question has launched.  (Actually, it launched last month but I never got around to advertising it properly.)  Still waiting for a post from the third dad involved, and hoping that there will be regular posting, but at least I can advertise the blog now. In any case, the blog in question is called Red Diaper Dads  and it will contain posts by commie dads that are insightful, humorous, interesting… all based on our different experiences.  So far there are two posts, one of which is quite funny, and hopefully more will follow.  And hopefully some readers will be interested in contributing articles of their own parenting experiences. Red Diaper Dads  was partially inspired by the leftish blog/community Daddy Dialectic : partially because some of us enjoyed aspects of that blog, parti

Belated Obituary: Iain M. Banks [or "Space Communism"]

Several days ago, Iain Banks died.  Although he made his mark on literature with a variety of social realist and transgressive novels, he garnered something of a cult following with his foray into science-fiction that amounted to twelve books and a critical rebooting (along with novelists such as Alastair Reynolds) of the "space opera" genre.  More importantly, and the reason why I'm bothering to note his death on this blog, Banks was known for being a socialist  author and his science-fiction, more than his supposed "literary" fiction, was stamped with his politics. Iain Banks drinking, like so many socialist authors Having grown up reading science-fiction and fantasy, when I encountered Banks I was already a marxist.  There was always a part of me who felt that progressive politics and speculative fiction went hand-in-hand––I grew up reading the kind of science fiction and fantasy, after all, that was largely opposed to the tradition of Tolkien and Star

"Seize the Time" Document: MER-PCR

Since the second MER-PCR/RSM-RCP conference is happening at the end of this week, I have received a pdf of the document that was made public after the first conference.  Although I am no longer a student, due to my experiences in the student movement I feel that this document addresses a lot of the long-standing problems that repeat themselves every five years.   Indeed, there is often quite a lot of talk about reviving the student movement although very little talk (and very little knowledge) about why past high-points of struggle disintegrated or why student unions such as the CFS have, for a long time, been on the margins of the more radical and mass-based moments of student struggle.  When I think back to some of the student activist coalitions of which I was a part, and now see multiple attempts to reinvent a wheel that was broken, I often get somewhat frustrated. In any case, here is the Seize the Time, Blaze a Revolutionary Path  document of the first conference.  The se


Due to the popularity of some of the larger pieces I've posted on this site, I have decided to make a downloads  page .  This page not only centralizes documents such as Maoism or Trotskyism ,  The Communist Necessity , and the free novella I posted over a year ago, but will also offer various essays from my academic career––some of which I lost interest in and never pushed for publication.  I also plan to eventually centralize some documents I haven't written, but that I've offered on this site before, by organizations I support. Since my job situation is currently unstable––I currently work as a casualized contract teacher and have to fret over whether or not I have a job come September––I have tagged some of these documents with a "suggested donation" price to encourage readers to donate some money for what they choose to download.  Obviously I understand that some people cannot even afford to donate a dollar, and so am more than happy to keep these docum

Communism and Security Culture

Recently, on what is turning out to be an excellent blog , the issue of internet security was addressed .  This is a problem that has bothered me for some time and for two reasons: i) I have been rather open with my politics and have done so in a way that ties these politics to my actual identity; ii) the problem of security directly relates to the problem of organizing.  The first reason is somewhat banal because it has to do with my own identity as a marxist academic––although I probably should have been wiser with my URL and identification on this site, the fact that I have written a dissertation and published on marxist philosophy means that my name is already connected to the politics I express here and so, even if I attempted to obscure my identity here, I would still be identified with revolutionary theory.  The second reason, however, is worth addressing and will form the subject of this post. Lock it up, comrade! Let us begin by asserting the primary problem of security