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Showing posts from 2018

Academic Training and Class Struggle

One of the topics I keep returning to on this blog, since it has to do with my social circumstances, is the role of academics vis-a-vis the revolutionary movement. As one of my old posts makes clear (and includes back links to previous posts) I'm always caught between the problematic of the over-valorization of academic expertise amongst some leftists and the anti-intellectualism amongst others, both of which are erroneous positions. Although what I'm going to write in this post will probably repeat my thoughts from these older articles, the reason I keep returning to this topic is because it concerns my job and training and the way I cognize this part of my life in relation to the politics to which this life is dedicated. Mainly I want to focus on a question that I keep seeing raised, either online or directly to me, by other leftists embedded in academia, particularly those who come from proletarian backgrounds. "How is pursuing an academic career, or any form of acad

My Next Book: Demarcation and Demystification

As some of my long time readers and supporters might be aware I have a new book coming out with Zero, most probably at the end of 2019 after Methods Devour Themselves  has been given time to find an audience and thrive. This book, Demarcation and Demystification , is that book on philosophy that I have mentioned multiple times on this blog and elsewhere, a manuscript that took around 7 years to complete. Started just before I started the draft of Continuity and Rupture  it developed, going through multiple rewrites and revisions, alongside that project and others. Concerned with the meaning of philosophy in the shadow of Marx's eleventh thesis on Feuerbach, and particularly the meaning of the Marxist practice of philosophy, it was a manuscript that I put a lot of time and energy into since it also functioned as a way to clarify what it was I did as someone trained in "philosophy" who was also a Marxist. Since I plan to release a supplementary and promotional essay closer

On The Importance of Engels

Anti-Duhring  remains one of the greatest works of classical Marxist theory despite all attempts to claim that, being written by Engels, it is somehow separate from or even opposed to Marxism-qua-Marxism. In 1979, for example, Jack Mendelson wrote a journal article that was paradigmatic of this claim that Engels' conception of Marx's project was a "metaphysical" distortion of a proper Marxism. Indeed, in On Engels' Metaphysical Dialectics , Mendelson describes and defends the commonplace argument that Engels, specifically in Anti-Duhring (though he cites Ludwig Feuerbach And The End of Classical German Philosophy  as a secondary symptom), produced a warped ontology of the Marxist project that, by providing us with notions such as "dialectical materialism" and claims that Marxism was a "world outlook", wrongly mutated Marxism into an orthodoxy that was not properly Marxist. It is strange that these claims linger. This strangeness becomes most a

On "Reading"

In 2016 I joined Twitter so as to promote, following the publisher's suggestions, Continuity and Rupture . Although I suppose that site is useful for self-promotion since it allows me to introduce my work to a broader audience (and I can't deny it put me in touch with the author who would collaborate on Methods Devour Themselves  with me) most of the time I find myself annoyed, stressed, and enraged. Aside from the vast amount of reactionaries and liberals who like to parachute into strings to troll, there are the Marxists of all types (sometimes including my own type) who also tweet infuriating things, performing Marxism in the same way identity opportunists perform radical liberalism. Even worse are the Marxist edge-lords who say the most infuriating things and make Marxism look dumb and/or elitist. Usually when I get involved in these debates I end up wasting my time across several days, exchanging tweets with these people (who double down just as much as reactionaries), s

Methods Devour Themselves Release and Launch

In lieu of having written a substantial post in quite some time here is some shameless self-promotion: my newest and co-written book, Methods Devour Themselves , is now available. I wrote it with one of my favourite contemporary SFF authors, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and it is a conversation between fiction and non-fiction, literature and essay. Specifically, the concept of this book is the following: I would respond to a story of Sriduangkaew's with an essay provoked by the story (not an analysis or review but a discrete essay inspired by elements of the story, using these elements as analogical details), Sriduangkaew would respond to the essay with another story provoked in the same manner, and we repeated the process twice. I wrote a promotional essay about the book on Medium that explains the project and my feelings about it in detail, but since I'm of the mind that you can never have too much promotion (see for example how many promotional posts I've written about all

Obituary: Samir Amin

When I heard about Amin's death I was on holiday with sporadic online access. This is what I wanted to write seven days ago… When I began my PhD I was still an autonomist Marxist who was under the impression that my doctoral work would have something to do with Deleuze and Guattari, whose work had formed a central part of MA dissertation. But I also felt that something was missing, mainly a thorough understanding of Marxist political economy. Hardt and Negri's Empire  had just been released and, despite my autonomist Marxist sympathies, I felt that there was something fundamentally wrong with the Empire thesis. I could not explain this wrongness in the language of philosophy, not without a proper understanding of political economy, so I knew that I needed to develop my understanding of Marxist economics. Naturally I dove into Capital  but, because I felt I needed a contemporary political economist to help with this exploration, I picked up some books by Samir Amin. My c

Reflections on MLM Mayhem Nearly a Decade After its Establishment.

Thinking back on this blog from my current perspective and concrete circumstances is difficult. Nearly a decade has transpired since, out of boredom and in the midst of graduate student frustration, I created MLM Mayhem . The name was an afterthought and the the URL ill-considered, the product of someone who wasn't interested in social media savvy and who believed that nobody would read whatever ill-considered thoughts he sent out into the void. (Also the choice of Blogger rather than Wordpress was a poorly reasoned decisioned. To be fair, however, in 2009 Blogger [or, rather, Blogspot ] was the dominant blogging platform.) It was months after my union local's bitter strike of 2008/2009, right when I was engaged in finishing my dissertation, and was conceived of as little more than a space to post random thoughts and frustrations. Hell, my first post was entitled I Hate Nietzsche  and was far from rigorous. Successive posts were either asinine comics made from GPCR clip art o

Every Instance of Post-Marxist Theory is More Eurocentric Than Marxism

In reading Sayak Valencia's Gore Capitalism  I was again struck by the way in which the Marxist theoretical tradition is deleted according to opportunistic identity politics. Theoretically, this deletion is quite strange, though practically not so much: we should not forget that the editors of the Semiotext(e) "interventions" series (of which Gore Capitalism  is a recent publication) have no problem breaking political boycotts and justifying their actions by appealing to liberal ideology . Valencia and her book had nothing to do with the behaviour of the Semiotext(e) editors, however, though her inclusion in the series is symptomatic of what perspectives are allowed to circulate as "radical". Gore Capitalism follows intentionally Marxist interventions that have drawn upon genre violence to explain the state of affairs, such as Mark Steven's Splatter Capital . And yet Valencia's analysis rejects Marxist analyses because Valencia does "not need Firs

On Marxist Philosophy Yet Again

With Methods Devour Themselves  nearing its release date, and thoughts of Continuity & Rupture  on my my mind due to another manuscript (about philosophy) I recently prepared for submission, I felt it might be worthwhile to talk a bit about what I do as a philosopher. Specifically, what I do as a philosopher of Marxism and how I generally understand the meaning of philosophy within the boundaries of historical materialism. Such reflections will, at the very least, prevent my blog from languishing in stasis. Since the manuscript I recently submitted for publication concerns this question (what it means to practice philosophy as a Marxist, what philosophy means under the shadow of the 11th Thesis on Feuerbach) I am not going to get into the meaning of Marxist philosophy in any real depth. I wrote that book because in order to deal with this question in depth it required, in my mind, an entire book.  In fact I've already written three posts that serve as entry points into that p

Still Waiting For Some Honest Critiques of Continuity and Rupture

So far, all the critiques of Continuity and Rupture , when they have been expressed, have been little more than straw-person representations of that book's arguments. Nearly a year ago I posted The Argument of Continuity and Rupture  that clarified and reasserted the book's argument, pointing out how nobody outside of the Maoist camp who took issue with my claim that Maoism was the accomplishment of historical materialism had succeeded in providing a counter-argument. I summarized the book's main argument in this regard, demanding that it be engaged with, and received no response aside from outright dismissal. Such is the state of thought amongst the non-Maoist "Marxist" tendencies. Since then, however, there has been some buzz within the Maoist camp about the book's claims, most of which seem to be throwaway comments on social media, that reinforce the reasons why I wrote the book to begin with: there is the need for philosophical consensus within the terrain