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Showing posts from July, 2015

Symptoms of Decay: another PDF polemic!

In a recent post I mentioned my encounter with a nihilist turn in radical theory.  Since making that post––which was mainly a complaint based on my first impression after having read these "nihilist" texts––I have reread and crafted a sustained polemic about the problems inherent in this understanding of reality.  Furthermore, as noted in the aforelinked post, there was something in these nihilist approaches that intersected with other minorly popular theories, such as left accelerationism, and ended up conceptualizing them altogether as an ab-movementism . I won't let the proverbial cat out of the bag regarding: i) why I bothered to write what turned out to be 60+ pages on what is in fact be a completely minor trend (or trends); ii) why I link both the two instances of nihilism ("nihilist communism" and "queer nihilism") with accelerationism, treating all three as a larger untheorized trend; iii) what I mean by ab-movementism, why I think this

The Distance Between the French and American Revolutions

[I originally planned to post this on July 4th but then, partially because I didn't have the time or energy to finish it, decided that it would be better to post it on the date of Marat's execution by a reactionary agent.  And no, I do not think that Charlotte Corday was some "hero" for assassinating a revolutionary simply because she was a woman; there were far more women who were on the side of the French Revolution and Corday was a royalist.] Despite the fact that the American and French Revolutions overlapped, and despite the fact that historians have attempted to draw parallels (particularly since Thomas Paine visited France at the height of its revolution), there is a significant theoretical distance between these two events.  The way this distance is charted by historians and popular culture is often quite telling in that it tends to reveal one's political commitments. Just as a European historian's identity as a progressive or a reactionary is reve

Announcement: I'm restarting Achilles, Powder and Lead

I've decided to restart an old side blog project that was initially intended to be a shared blog with my partner.  The point was to make a joint blog dedicated to engagements with culture (novel reviews, etc.) where we could write some joint articles, maybe have some fun, and where at least I could centralize writing about novels and movies.  We named it Achilles, Powder and Lead  after a quote from Marx's Grundrisse  and, after a few posts, it became dormant. Since I've read a lot of novels and watched a lot of films that I would like to review––and since I think these reviews might be anachronistic here––I've decided to restart that blog and link it to this one.  Indeed, in the time that it has been dormant I have read at least three books that I thought were more worthy of review than what I reviewed before: Roberto BolaƱo's 2666 , Sofia Samatar's A Stranger in Olondria , and Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake … the last of which caused me to restart Achilles,

Andrea Smith: On the Reification of Identity

EDIT: One of the commenters below has brought up an important intervention.  To be fair, after writing this I was somewhat uncomfortable with the way I let it stand, and I'm glad someone has intervened.  I'd urge anyone who reads this old post to also read this website mentioned in the comment. I'm obviously not the only person who was shocked to discover, in the wake of the Rachel Dolezal revelation, that Andrea Smith was not an Indigenous woman , despite having built an academic reputation on this very fact.  For those who are unaware, Smith published the seminal and very important book Conquest , that chronicled the intersection of sexual violence and genocide in the Americas, and was also one of the founders of INCITE.  Like many, and though I did not always agree with Smith's political positions (i.e. such as her many blanket and ahistorical claims about Marxism-Leninism), I have been influenced by both her academic and political work and was under the impressio