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MLM Mayhem Year In Review [2015 edition, late]

I'm over a month behind in making this assessment but, as regular readers of this blog will recall, I've usually provided a "year in review", at the beginning of a new year, where I list my most popular posts of the preceding year.  The problem with 2015, though, is that I posted less frequently. This infrequence was due to a combination of work, childcare, and organizational responsibilities; I apologize for letting my readers down, in this regard, but it was unavoidable.  In any case, the lateness of such a post is thus due, in large part, to my general posting sluggishness during 2015.  But here are the top ten posts, late as they are, of this infrequent year…

I never get tired of this joke.

10. Let's Read Terrorist Assemblages! (Preface): The first entry of my still incomplete "phenomenological review" of Jasbir Puar's influential book.  I finished the book because of my decision to do this series of reflective chapter-by-chapter reviews, and wrote a bunch of draft notes for each of the chapter reviews I haven't yet written, but I have not completed the blogging of said notes.  One of the things I did not expect, when I started this series, was the trolling, on the part of a strange eclectic tankie (just check the comment strings of some of these entries) who seems to be under the impression that Puar, and the entirety of queer theory, defends their right to be ortho-communist homophobic.  The weird comments on the part of this person not only demonstrate a strange understanding of theory, but a weird attempt at trying to mobilize my regular readers around their asinine banner of bad thinking.  Makes me wonder why I allowed them to slip through moderation in the first place, considering that they failed to pass the qualifications of critical thinking in the first place.  In any case, yes I need to translate my draft review notes back to the blog to finish this series.

9. More Reflections on Pacifism: Just a reiteration of previous posts on this subject, but it's a topic that keeps coming.  Here, I was just reflecting on the fact that, in order for the "pox on both houses" kind of pacifist ideology to function, there actually has to be a situation where "both houses" are equal combatants and equally virulent.  Such a situation does not exist in the real world where the context of violence is primarily defined by an oppressor-oppressed context––pacifism is thus a fantastic narrative.

8. Symptoms of Decay: A really fucking long polemic I wrote about the nihilist communist, accelerationist, and queer nihilist trends in theory.  A little bit too long, if you ask me, considering that these trends are, at the most, examples of boutique-chic academic theory, but I was annoyed enough by their idiocy (and why the fuck did I read them in the first place) to spew off around seventy pages.  I'm not sure if all the hits on this page demonstrate that people actually downloaded, let alone read, the PDF, but I guess that I wouldn't waste too much time reading such a PDF either.

7. Theoretical Ressentiment: The post that motivated the Symptoms of Decay document, after encountering these minoritarian theoretical trends at an event in Hamilton, I thought about confronting them philosophically and, despite my longstanding problems with Nietzsche, thought of them as perfect examples of ressentiment.

6. Paper Marxists: More rumination, during the 2015 CUPE 3903 strike, about the gap between those who declare themselves "Marxist" and their practice at moments of struggle.  While we can joke that academic Marxists are terrible when it comes to the most revolutionary struggle, it becomes even more cartoonish when they can't even demonstrate the most low-level commitment to Marxism in their own union.  When you get "Marxists" arguing that nobody should strike, that we should go back to work, and that a union local collaborating with management is a good thing, it's kind of laughable.

5. Reflections on Robert Biel's "Entropy of Captalism": Probably the best book I read in 2015 because it surprised me in the way it was able to ground itself in Marxist theory and use non-Marxist theories without losing this grounding, as is so often the case.  It also was the most focused and anti-revisionist Marxist engagement with the necessity of environmentalism.  Prompted me to write a better review for Red Flag.

4. The Distance Between the French and American Revolutions: Prompted by yet another peonage to the supposed greatness of the American Revolution while I was reading both Losurdo's Liberalism and Horne's The Counter-Revolution of 1776.  I was like, "yay the Terror" while being greatly annoyed by that very strange (but predictable) American tendency to, in its pop culture, classify the more progressive French Revolution as horrific.

3. Syriza and the Peaceful Co-existence of Capitalism: Not a perfect piece, by any means, but was still apt enough to not get sucked into the "Syriza-represents-a-break-with-capitalism" bullshit that so many in the left got seduced by, for no reason that I could tell.  I mean, good lord, Panitch and his ilk were still defending Syriza even when everything so many of us predicted demonstrated, to the optimistic mainstream left, that they were wrong again.

2. Tankyism & Competing Imperialisms: An expression of my annoyance with the term "tanky" and how it is used by ultra-leftists, as well as my frustration with those who are indeed "tankies", as defined by those anti-revisionist Marxists who first started using the term before it was appropriated by a bunch of left communists and anarchists––screw off and find your own terms, especially since you use them to refer to all communists even though we made them up for you.  Article is significant, it should be noted, in drawing the ire of that troll who, as aforementioned, has a weird reading of Puar and pretty much all reality.  (But, then, these kinds of actual tankies aren't usually people who engage in either practice or theory anywhere outside of the internet, these days, so it is to be expected.)

1. Identity Politics at its Nadir - the VietCong controversy: Remember when all those so-called Canadian "activists" were complaining that the rando indie band, Viet Cong, were problematic because they named themselves after anti-imperialists? Remember how all of these critics of anti-imperialist thought of themselves as actual anti-racists?  Remember how the band Viet Cong, as any of us could predict, capitulated because they had no politics to begin with?  Oh the wonderful world of impoverished politics.