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Showing posts from August, 2014

The Refusal of Strategy

So as to stop posting more updates on my now released book, and thus boring my readership with self-promotion spam, I decided to finish a post I've had on the back-burner for a while.  Those readers who are interested in upcoming book launches of The Communist Necessity , though, will be happy to know that there are book launches planned for both Toronto and Montreal , on September 25th and September 28th respectively, so mark them off on your calendars.  With that out of the way, on with this article! In the comment section of one of my posts on Israel's offensive on Gaza , a tangent about the meaning of protracted people's war [PPW] ensued based on an anonymous commenter asking me what I thought about the viability of PPW in Palestine.  One of the people arguing with me was doing so in good faith but, due to the problem with anonymous accounts, it soon became clear that I was also arguing with others who were simply parachuting in to complain about PPW as a strategy. M

Reflections on "The Communist Necessity" Book Launch

Now that my first book launch has come and gone I'm living under the (perhaps false) hope that: a) the book will be well read and critically received; b) its publication will lead to the future publication of larger projects.  In many ways, the launch felt like a success.  The reading of the book's introduction was well received, the ensuing discussion was pretty good, and people seemed genuinely interested in reading the small treatise.  No one hostile to the book's politics was present––after all, there were enough PSF events happening simultaneously that could absorb these elements––and so the launch was amiable rather than antagonistic.  Not that the latter climate is not without its benefits: engaging with detractors can potentially sharpen your political line, isolate the backwards and win over the intermediate, but as a first book launch I far prefer the former climate.  After all, I was in a city with which I am unfamiliar and it feels good to be among comrades and

Socialism and the Repressive State Apparatus

In my most recent post about Ferguson, someone in the comment string assumed (and probably with good reason) that I was talking about policing in general and so asked about my thoughts about the necessity of policing in a socialist context.  Actually-existing socialisms have possessed the institution of police, after all, and so it was assumed that my comments about policing applied to these contexts.  To be clear and extremely simplistic: they do not. A following comment, most probably by a well-intentioned anarchist, demonstrated some understanding of where I stood on this issue and pointed out that while communists (at least of the Leninist/Maoist variety) often took a correct position against the police under capitalism, their theory of the dictatorship, if actualized, would produce "police states."  Although I disagree with a historical analysis that filters all successful revolutions through the hermeneutic of "totalitarianism"––and, in this vein, often fee

Canadian Hack Journalism in the Context of Ferguson

In light of the events of Ferguson, is it any wonder that pro-pig ideology is closing ranks?  Once again we are presented with an event that proves that the police function more-or-less as guardians of a racist bourgeois order; once again we are faced with an ideology that tries to defend this order as common sense, treating the racism as "excesses", exceptions to the bourgeois rule of law.  In this context, then, is it that surprising that Toronto Life would release a piece of "yellow" journalism about the supposed truth of the shooting of a racialized youth, Sammy Yatim, that happened around a year ago?  Here we find a piece that is timely: in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri execution of Mike Brown there is suddenly an "authoritative" article that justifies the killing of a racialized teenager in Toronto.  The message is clear: the police are only doing their job, every non-white youth they murder deserves termination. There is really no point in a

On Some Questions Regarding *The Communist Necessity* [more shameless promotion]

Due to various comments and emails raised by my previous posts about my soon-to-be-released book––and because I want to keep using this blog to plug my book in the days leading up to the first launch ––I've decided that it is worth responding in detail to some of the questions here rather than just redirecting people to the documents that will answer them more thoroughly.  Although some of the comments I've been receiving are trollish and unprincipled (I don't see what is so amusing about people trying to associate me with the Avakianites and ask random RCP-USA questions, what political or even humorous point such "interventions" produce when I end up deleting most of these vacuous claims), there have been a few that are honest inquiries that, if answered directly and simply, might result in more book sales and a higher attendance at the launch. 1) Is The Communist Necessity  a collection, or a cut-and-paste exercise, of entries from MLM Mayhem ? No, it

The Communist Necessity: Ottawa Book Launch

In my first post about my upcoming book , The Communist Necessity , I mentioned that there would be an Ottawa book launch coinciding with the Peoples Social Forum.  The details of the launch are now available and, if anyone is in Ottawa for the weekend of the PSF, you can either visit the publisher's table (Kersplebedeb, shared with PM Press), where you can buy a copy of my book along with many other great books, or attend the book launch on August 23rd, 5:30 pm at the Avant Garde .  I will be speaking at the launch––hopefully there will be a good discussion of the book's subject matter––and socializing after the talk/discussion, surrounded by Soviet kitsch.  (Question: is it ironic that a literally communist event is being held at a pub that has adopted communist symbology as ironic, or is there such a thing as counter-irony?) Click on the image and zoom in so you can read the flattering blurb Robert Biel, author of The Entropy of Capitalism  and Eurocentrism in the Commun