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Showing posts from March, 2014

Canadian Health Care is not "Socialized"

Danielle Martin, a Toronto-based doctor, has recently been getting a lot of attention due to her participation in US Senate subcommittee debate about health care.  Brought in as an expert of the Canadian health care system, along with doctors from other first world countries that possess similarly accessible health care systems, she succeeded in making the Republican senator attacking her with half-truths and speculations about the Canadian medical system look ignorant.  More proverbial grist for the mill for the average Canadian nationalist looking for any reason to celebrate something "uniquely Canadian".  Both the National Post and the Toronto Star (the conservative and liberal papers, respectively) briefly bonded over this proud moment of Canadian punditry––they even had similar headlines about Martin "smacking down" US senator ignorance. Obviously, there is something to be said about the assumptions and misapprehensions US conservatives have about medica

NASA-funded Study Reasserts Historical Materialism

It is interesting that an institution that was once invested in demonstrating the superiority of capitalism to communism during the cold war has now released a study that proves the opposite.  I am speaking, of course, about the NASA-funded study that pretty much agrees, though not with the same language, with one of the axiomatic claims of historical materialism––that capitalist forces of production are being hampered by capitalist relations of production. Even though this study does not define itself according to a slogan such as "socialism or barbarism" this is pretty much what it argues: the production of surplus and "overconsumption of resources" in the current global system will destroy civilization unless we "reduce economic inequality."  Moreover, not only does it argue that market forces are incapable of producing equilibrium (thus rejecting the parascientific claims of bourgeois economists), but it asserts that groups of "Elites"––th

Marxism and Philosophy: a reflection on some misconceptions

Recently, due to a manuscript I've been writing off-and-on for over two years (there's always more to read and Scrivener makes editing and re-editing both easy and eternal) about what it means to practice philosophy after rupture produced by Marx, I finally read √Čtienne Balibar's The Philosophy of Marx .  When I first thought about writing this book, I decided it was worthwhile to return to Althusser , since he had written a lot about marxist philosophy, despite a decidedly anti-Althusserian bias I had somehow absorbed from the university in which I earned my doctorate.  As noted in the aforelinked blog, since I had read a lot more marxist theory of various tendencies since I had first encountered Althusser (a time in which I was an autonomist), I discovered that I actually agreed with much of what he was arguing, with the exception of a few areas, and that he was a far better thinker than the theorists I liked at the time.  So of course it was only natural that, after re-r

More Thoughts on Confusing Rebellion with Revolution

At the 2014 Academy Awards Jared Leto, upon receiving his award, received an excited round of applause for recognizing the rebellions in Venezuela and Ukraine, celebrating those involved in these uprisings as "dreamers".  Thus, due to the warm reaction his statement elicited, there is little reason to doubt that these two rebellious events have found their way into the imagination of those involved in shaping the US pop cultural imagination. The fact that one uprising is another attempt at a US backed and endorsed coup, and that the other has become the property of the fascist camp (also US backed), apparently mattered very little to Leto and the audience who enthusiastically applauded his endorsement.  It is not as if they lacked the information that would tell them how to understand these rebellions––even mainstream newspapers have reported, at the very least, on the fascist aspect of Ukraine's uprisings––but only that, as ambassadors of the Culture Industry, they wer