Category Archives: Ponderings

I’m going to write a paper and get it published in all the journals.

It will be titled “The Slytherin Complex: the Pacification of Civil Agency.”

It will discuss the neurosis developed through media forms, socialisation and political rhetoric that causes civil society to condemn a praxis which can achieve real change as being rooted in behaviour that is intrinsically evil.  Which is then normalised by constructing a perception that people who advocate such behaviour are not themselves necessarily evil, but they can overcome their situation by changing the behaviour rather than their purpose.

The point of reference will be the Harry Potter books and the occasional mention that “not all Slytherins are bad, some of them can be loyal too!” Id est, Slytherin behaviour patterns remain bad it is only by submission to other archetypical traits that they can redeem themselves.

And it will be published in all the journals.

I always get a sickly feeling when people talk about things being inspirational or motivational.  Can’t that wait until after the revolution?  Until then I’d rather see everybody fucking angry and disgusted.  That should be all the motivation you need, not some wanker in a suit throwing catchphrases at you.

The First Red Terror, or Acts 5

rawlsianism-with-a-human-face:

One hears, quite often, that sure, there are radical elements within Christianity, but they’re so vague, and so circumscribed by conservative tendencies which negate them, that one can get little further than, say, radical union support, liberal democracy, at the most extreme distributionism or some moderate democratic socialism. So I’d like to take this chance to show just one example of, from even a purely textual standpoint, the openness for radicalism within Christianity, particularly Catholicism (with its focus on the Apostolic tradition, among other things), with a passage from the Bible itself.

Beginning around Acts 4:32 we get a description of the essentially communistic society of the early Christians. We are told that they (viz. “the multitude of them that believed”) held “all things in common” (Acts 4:32). We are told that there were none among them who “ lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, / And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” (Acts 4:34 – 35) (None of which, of course, has any parallels with a certain well known passage from The Critique of the Gotha Program). We’re even given a specific account of a Levite named Joses who joins the community (and is consequently surnamed Barnabas) who sold his land, “brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4:37). Thus Acts 4 ends with an image of the society of the very people who bore Christ’s direct message and we’re divinely guided by the Holy Spirit forming an unequivocally collectivist society, primitive, yes, no model for a real future communism, but communist nonetheless. However radical this may seem vis-a-vis the degenerate bulwark of bourgeoisie society many have attempted to erect Christianity as today, it’s surely dwarfed by the following passage.

In Acts 5, we’re introduced to two members of the community, Ananias and Sapphira, who sold their own possession, but laid only part of it at the Apostles’ feet, keeping the rest to themselves. When Peter questions him about it, asking “Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? / Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart?” (Acts 5:3-4) What happens next? Does Ananias give a rousing defense of private property and how it’s the cornerstone of a good Christian Family? Does he appeal to human nature or the need to define and protect the individual and his genius? Whatever Ananias may have liked to say, we’ll never know; God immediately strikes him dead. Acts 5 states explicitly that “Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.” (For those who might suggest the phrase “gave up the ghost” may be ambiguous or metaphorical, this is followed by an account of his burial).

Now, surely God knew the whole time Ananias had retained this bit of property, so why does he wait until he can be confronted about it in public before dealing justice to him? Could the answer be anything but for the very same motivation behind a public guillotine? Is God not, in this passage, cementing the new order, enacting a red terror to make absolutely clear that those who greedily cling to old individualist habits and compromise the collective good are the greatest enemy of the community? And it doesn’t end here. About three hours later, having no knowledge of what occurred, Sapphira arrives, and when Peter questions her about the property, she lies, with Peter answering “ How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out” (Acts 5:9). Sapphira immediately falls dead and is soon buried with her husband, “And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.” (Acts 5:11)

And just to be utterly clear, this is not the ‘God of the Old Testament,’ about whom’s blood-lust we hear ad infinitum. This is the God of the New Testament, the God of forgiveness, The God who ‘so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,’ The God who did not strike dead Saul of Tarsus, the vicious hunter of Christians, but redeemed him as St.Paul, the greatest Christian missionary. And yet this just, forgiving God felt it utterly necessary to execute, in public, the two who dared maintain a drop of private property, in order to create a “great fear,” or, may we say, a Red Terror?

Fuckin-A.

name-redacted:

philosophy-of-praxis:

Here’s the thing about the London Olympics opening ceremony (re. the bang on commentary criticising Piers Morgan’s racist shitty comparison with the Beijing opening ceremony.)

It was never going to be about proving to the rest of the world how awesome Britain is and how great its achievements are.  It’s purely about creating a spectacle for the beeb to push on British citizens so that they start huffing and panting about how great we are.  It was an internal display to make people forget that the NHS is being privatised, care homes for the elderly and severely disabled are being closed, benefits for the disabled are being cut, people are being expected to work for less than minimum wage to be able to claim job benefits, working class kids are being cut out of being able to go to university and even college or sixth form, funding for community centres are being cut, unemployment is on a high, police are threatening water canons and rubber bullets to deal with demonstrations and public unrest, the use of CS spray is already on the rise, pensions are being cut back, the age of retirement is being raised … need I go on?

I absolutely agree with the commentary about Eurocentrism and that’s why I didn’t bash this in as an additional commentary directly to the post as it reblogs around.  But I think it’s also worth remembering that the Olympics in the UK aren’t about foreign policy or international relations in the same way they were presented in China.  Here they’re the panem et circenses, the nationalist populism.  Morgan’s commentary was about reinforcing how good it is to be British precisely because of his class position and precisely because, these days, being British and working class means you’re in the process of being roundly fucked by the Conservative/Lib Dem government.  The Eurocentrism is a tool to suppress unrest, the racism and orientalism that breeds is the repugnant by-product.

Threatening water cannons and rubber bullets? Oh please, they’ve been using them for coming on half a century! Or does Northern Ireland not count as a part of the UK anymore? And CS gas is on the rise? Really? So they’ve managed to beat the 1,000+ cannisters they fired into the Falls Road in around an hour, before enforcing a curfew for 36 hours before the gas could dissipate?

And I didn’t read any smart breakdowns about them marching the Olympic torch and about a billion Union flags through Belfast. And I didn’t see anyone else discussing that the last celebration of British culture – a little over 2 weeks ago – involved an analogue of the KKK burning Irish flags and effigies of murder victims as a fun night out for all the family.

Everything else is spot on, but lets not forget Ireland in all this.

Very true, mea culpa.

Here’s the thing about the London Olympics opening ceremony (re. the bang on commentary criticising Piers Morgan’s racist shitty comparison with the Beijing opening ceremony.)

It was never going to be about proving to the rest of the world how awesome Britain is and how great its achievements are.  It’s purely about creating a spectacle for the beeb to push on British citizens so that they start huffing and panting about how great we are.  It was an internal display to make people forget that the NHS is being privatised, care homes for the elderly and severely disabled are being closed, benefits for the disabled are being cut, people are being expected to work for less than minimum wage to be able to claim job benefits, working class kids are being cut out of being able to go to university and even college or sixth form, funding for community centres are being cut, unemployment is on a high, police are threatening water canons and rubber bullets to deal with demonstrations and public unrest, the use of CS spray is already on the rise, pensions are being cut back, the age of retirement is being raised … need I go on?

I absolutely agree with the commentary about Eurocentrism and that’s why I didn’t bash this in as an additional commentary directly to the post as it reblogs around.  But I think it’s also worth remembering that the Olympics in the UK aren’t about foreign policy or international relations in the same way they were presented in China.  Here they’re the panem et circenses, the nationalist populism.  Morgan’s commentary was about reinforcing how good it is to be British precisely because of his class position and precisely because, these days, being British and working class means you’re in the process of being roundly fucked by the Conservative/Lib Dem government.  The Eurocentrism is a tool to suppress unrest, the racism and orientalism that breeds is the repugnant by-product.

e-schatology:

jrantisexleague:

i’ve never met anarchists who are so concerned with marxists as i have marxists who are concerned with anarchists. what was funny about yday’s quote was everyone skipped right past the bit where trotsky spoke about the need for adhesion and how anarchists can be part of the revolutionary movement and went straight to ANARCHISTS DROOL COMMUNISTS RULE

if anyone was wondering why it was i turned away from communist groups to working with anarchist ones ^^^

For the first time since the International Working Men’s Association anarchism can boast a greater number of people identifying as anarchists (though on the world scale anarchism is continuing to ebb as mass workers struggles are intensifying in the perifieries of capital). As a result the primacy of class politics is contested within the movement as fundamentally Anarchism is not, in and of itself, concerned with class struggle nor even then abolition of capital. Instead the political antagonism is against “authority” as such, hence the possibility of anarcho-capitalism and the need to specify class-struggle-anarchism/Anarcho-syndicalism when class struggle does play a part.

Therefore as before with the 1st International the argument for class struggle must be made and is a political priority for socialist because again, as before, the logic of (Neo)liberal Ideology does form a natural antagonism with anarchism or anarchist forms of de-centralised networks  organisation because quite frankly its nearly identical*. As such we must argue against it, consistently. That makes matters worse is in practice when we encounter anarchists IRL the fact that 9 times out of 10 we are dealing with petulant childred actively working against the interest of the working class finding the fuckers irritating is to be expected.

Political tendencies should not simply work together as a point of virtue, as this leaves all principle and strategy compromised. Instead pragmatic alliances when we are doing the same things for the same reasons allow us to build united fronts, which can then split without “betrayal” are much more important. We are not friends, sometimes we must work together and some times we will fight.

However being a self righteous liberal saying “why cant we just get along” is irritating and smug.

(*the minor differences  can form powerful antagonisms don’t get me wrong)

I’m always up for Marxist/Anarchist unity as long as the anarchists are decent on the collectivist, class struggle shit.  Problem is these days the whole attitude towards anarchism without adjectives means most anarchists on the internet are all about the lifestyle anarchism, get stuck in a milieux, and aren’t consistent about what they do or why.  Anarchist groups risk getting pulled this that and the other way because they allow such multiplicity where they end up getting wanky liberal anarchists who are more concerned about complaining about how rights aren’t respected, or individualist anarchists who are all about martyr complexes and aren’t about building the class.

I know some very good anarchists and I’m always more than happy to work with them productively.  It’s just when the other shitty anarchists trot up and start complaining about authoritarianism without understanding what it means, and going sectarian and complaining constantly about Kronstadt (NAKA) rather than talking about how we’re building for the future, I have no time for that.

mamitah replied to your post: Anarchists are totalitarian, unless they’re…

explain totalitarian anarchism, pls

Against the totality of capitalism, for anarchism to resist, it must create a totality in response.  To overthrow the totality of the liberal state is to replace it with a totality of anarchism.  It is totalitarian.  Totalitarian is not the same as authoritarian.  All western states are totalitarian because they are all support capitalism and liberalism; they are authoritarian to varying degrees.  This is, for example, why Makhnovists had to establish their own form as a totality within Ukraine and defend it through force.  Until capitalism has been destroyed the totality of its existence and the necessary totality of the response to it cannot be escaped.

All the biggest and most important players within the fascist movement came from the socialists. It was a threat to the socialists because it was the most appealing political vehicle for the real-world application of the socialist impulse. Socialists crossed over to join the fascists en masse.

The Fascist Threat, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.

AND ANOTHER STUNNER FROM THE MISES INSTITUTE

another masterpiece

AND NATURALLY NO CITATIONS ANYWHERE

(via maozedongisnotcool)

Funny … I thought fascism is* athreat to socialists because they actively go about attacking socialists, trade unionists, strikes, along with ethnic and religious minority groups.  As political vehicles go it’s the one that will run you over and then reverse back over you, to see whether or not that bump in the road was a person.  Socialists didn’t cross over en masse, they were killed and/or imprisoned and/or exiled en masse.

It’s weird because the far right in the US love talking about Gramsci and cultural marxism, and highlighting how sinister Gramsci must’ve been because he was imprisoned for his politics as leader of the communist party.  Imprisoned by Mussolini, the fascist.  Do they just completely fail to make any connection there?  Like maybe he was a communist imprisoned by a fascist because the ideals are antithetical, and maybe he wasn’t imprisoned because he was a seditious bastard that wanted to kill people just for the fun of it, but because he’d have been instrumental in organising resistance to the fascist regime?  And maybe fascists aren’t ok just because they do the dirty work of capitalism?  But you suggest this to a supporter of Mises and they’re all “noooo at least fascism stopped communism.” and if they hadn’t already reached it long ago for all the other disgusting shit they come out with, that would be where they crossed the line.

*fascism isn’t dead, Mises dudebros.

what are your thoughts on the julian assange case?

I don’t think anybody really knows what’s going on with that.  I haven’t especially followed it closely.  There’s plainly more going on than just the rape allegations but at the same time I’m not going to rush to the defence of a rapist.  My experience of media reporting on court cases is that it’s basically shit and you don’t really have a fucking clue as to what happened in any situation by the end of it regardless.

Regarding wikileaks as a whole, I think the platform is an important example of counterhegemony and a good way to break down people’s perceptions of the world, but ultimately people will always say “oh but it’s just a one off incident” until something effects them specifically.  It’s not that vital.  The US and any other affected governments will kick up a shit and do what they can to prevent Assange from being a free person irrespective of whether or not he did rape the women who made those allegations.  But at the end of the day this is just another case of the sort of repression that western states go through on a regular basis to keep political activists subdued and locked down.  The only difference is it’s happened to a rich white guy who talks about defending freedom rather than changing the world, so the media is happy to talk about it.  Most stories of state repression, police brutality and so on get completely ignored by the press, or treated purely as smear campaigns, because the people don’t hold such normatively respectable positions within the liberal democracies expectations of the good citizen.  I’m much more concerned about the day to day repression than I am about this one off case.

liliththerebel:

philosophy-of-praxis:

liliththerebel:

philosophy-of-praxis:

liliththerebel:

philosophy-of-praxis replied to your post: philosophy-of-praxis replied to your post: If you…

Nope. Robespierre got shit done. Gandhi betrayed strikes and other liberation struggles.

Robespierre got shit done and then oppressed the French population once he got shit done, causing a reign of terror and thus the phrase reign of terror was coined.

When they turn your life into just another industrial process, you industrialise the democratic justice system.

When 72% of your victims are the working class I’d hardly call that democratic.

also it wasn’t democratic. it was Robespierre being a batshit dictator.

Does France have a monarchy though?

so it’s okay to replace one system of oppression with another?

Without Robespierre you wouldn’t have Civil Rights leaders because the idea of civil rights would never have survived the counterrevolution.  I don’t give a fuck whether or not you agree with what he did or how he did it, you wouldn’t have the chance to have this conversation about whether or not Gandhi was a good civil rights leader because the concept of civil rights wouldn’t have become a hegemonic force within liberal ideology able to solidify itself within the constitution of France and couldn’t have spread from there.

But wah wah waaah he was very nasty.  O noes.

…we can’t talk about intelligence without talking about stupidity, and stupidity is all tangled up in ableism. If some people are intelligent, some people are stupid. It just falls out that way when you start sorting people on a hierarchy of value. Some are capable of more — so we allocate more resources (money, education, employment, health care) to them — and others are capable of less, so they get less. Less money, less education, worse housing, more abuse. It doesn’t really work out that way though does it? People with ambition and skill and good ideas fail all the time for lack of connections, lack of familial wealth, having brown skin or believing in the wrong god or having been born on the wrong side of a river. (Occasionally someone gets really, really lucky and breaks through all that, lending a hint of truth to the lies that hard work and following the rules will be rewarding in the end.) People with connections and familial wealth and the right kinds of privilege succeed wildly despite a lifetime of bad decisions and appalling behavior.

And here’s where we really get into why intelligence is an ableist concept: Stupid is a perception, usually based on the perceived ability to communicate. A person with communication impairments is going to be perceived as stupid. The same word means ‘stupid’ and ‘unable to speak’ for a reason. (It’s one I’m trying to excise from my vocabulary. It’s a process.) Someone with cerebral palsy who requires that the rest of us slow down and wait for xer to communicate at xer speed is going to be perceived as unintelligent. Someone who can’t speak under stress (I stammer and eventually become dysphasic on bad days) is going to be perceived as unintelligent at those times. Deaf people are perceived as unintelligent. None of these conditions have a damn thing to do with cognition and everything to do with communication.

Except we don’t have to do any of this the way we’re doing it. We can talk about abilities like spatial reasoning, social adeptitude, and mathematical skills and needs like a school environment that accommodates one child’s ADHD variation, another child’s mathematical intuition and xer need for challenging material presented at xer pace. We can talk about good decisions and bad decisions, either of which can turn out well or badly. We can accommodate variations in cognitive ability — and consider it ability and not get stuck on what a person can’t do. We can learn (sometimes painfully for those of us privileged with the ability to communicate more or less as the majority of people do, but the examination of privilege is never guaranteed painless) to accommodate the needs of those who communicate differently. It’s not their responsibility to communicate in ways that don’t make us have to work.

It does mean we would have to jettison the hierarchy of intelligence. Nobody gets to be geniuses, nobody has to be idiots. We’d stop marking whole people as intelligent or stupid. On the plus side? People could stop thinking of themselves as stupid. Wouldn’t that be revolutionary?

kaninchenzero, Ableist Word Profile: Intelligence (FWD/Forward)

This passage explains what I mean when I say that I’m not so sure intelligence is a useful concept 🙂

(via kiriamaya)

Yes yes yes!  This details wonderfully the unease I feel when people call themselves stupid, or call someone else clever/intelligent/smart.  It’s a sort of self-deprecating obeisance to some idea of modesty that people feel compelled into which creates completely distorted perceptions of self-worth based at best on someone else’s competence with a communication medium and at worst on the advantages they’ve been given in life; rather than there containing any intrinsic truisms regarding a person in their totality.

liliththerebel:

ismashpatriarchyonthefirstdate:

i still dont understand why people are still saying “lol when we smash capitalism all our other problems will fall with it.”

no.

you are stupid.

shut up.

capitalism isn’t the root of all evil.

this

before capitalism there was still those issues

tbh I don’t think we can smash capitalism before we deal with those issues

I’m going with the “dealing with those issues is a necessary part of the revolutionary process.”

Communism isn’t about liberating just the white, male, heteronormative workers.  It’s about all workers.  Communism can’t be achieved through only helping a tiny section of the working class while maintaining oppression over the majority of people.

At the same time a lot of the power capitalism holds comes down to enforcing nuclear family attitudes to gender roles, the work place and consumption.  The division of workers is propagated through capitalism supporting ideas of racism which at the same time keep swathes of people subjugated into dead end jobs without a chance at social mobility.

So why can’t we do both, and not hedge bets on which will happen first, but understand that we cannot fully realise the downfall of capitalism without acknowledging that the path ahead is intrinsically linked with supporting these other struggles as well?

Some phrases that occur to me as reinforcing the capitalist hegemony.

sparrow-medicine:

philosophy-of-praxis:

I quite like spotting out turns of phrase which, as a part of capitalist society, normalise us into a capitalist way of thinking.  Phrases which you’d use off the cuff without a second thought, but if you do apply a bit more time the connotations of what they mean demonstrates the way that capitalism structures everything we do.  I find it sort of amusing.  This is what I have so far, if anyone else has any suggestions then drop them in an ask.

“A market place of ideas” – religion, ideology and so on are co-opted to the commodity culture of capitalism.

“I don’t buy it” – belief in something as a financial investment.

“Time well spent” – your time is a financial investment.

“Self-ownership” – the attitude that you are an item of property which you are in possession of.

“Human resources” – humanity is boiled down and objectified, it is a resource not an end in its own right.

“Job market” – careers and vocations are to be bought and sold/people try to sell themselves into a career or vocation.  Links into the idea of “immigrants come over and steal jobs.”  Bizarre in its own right but more so with this concept of possession over a job.

“My child”/”my (boy/girl)friend”/”my partner” – the attitude of property possession regarding close interpersonal relationships.  This links interestingly into the idea of people having their boy/girlfriend “stolen” (well, less poignant a problem when you get older, but I’m sure many people will have heard this phrase used even if not by someone in their immediate friendship group.)  Your romantic relationship is alienated by the ideology of capitalism, therefore infidelity is not the fault of the significant other, but of the person they get involved with.  An object is inanimate, it cannot falter or do wrong, ergo the agency and therefore error is placed on the third point of the triangle.  Weird.  And gross.  Also links into the idea of, rather than responsibility for parents to raise children to be a part of a society, instead parents are able to enforce their ideals and parameter onto the child – who is their possession.  Hence things like circumcision [this is just the most immediate thing that springs to mind due to recent discussions, rather than intended as a dig.] are the parents choice, because the child is an object without agency.

I just read an essay similar to this! To add on, there’s the idea of “selling yourself” in the “dating market” and looking at your personality as if it’s a physical good that needs to be sold.

I think everyone should read What Comes After Money and try to be aware of these things. It’s interesting.

“Selling yourself” is a really convoluted one to think about, excellent to bring up.  This ‘happens’ (or at least, we talk about it happening) in a variety of different formats.  People that work in really menial, soulless jobs where they don’t get to be themselves are “selling themselves.”  But more importantly and where I hear this word most commonly used is in regard to sex workers “selling themselves” as if, through the act of sexual relations for the purposes of putting bread on the table, an integral part of what it is to be human is somehow given up or lost.  This cognitive distinction normalises us into being degrading towards sex workers because they have lost their full humanity; they are no longer human but now an object and therefore do not meet up to the requirements for rights or common decency.

Also “selling out” which clicks back into the possessive attitude we have over celebrities.  Whereby a band that makes it big and either a) tailors their music to sell more or b) just generally changes style as they age.  The original fan base doesn’t like the change but because a celebrity is not their own person, their actions must answer to those who view themselves as the fan base and are therefore entitled, change to style is the possession of the fans rather than allowing the individual their own agency.

Some phrases that occur to me as reinforcing the capitalist hegemony.

allergictocats:

I’ve always thought about this in relation to people owning pets,
Like when I find myself saying “I want a cat/dog/etc.”, or “my pet”,
reducing the animal down to being a “pet” in which you own

But you do own your pet.  It isn’t a symbiotic relationship with the pet able to develop as an autonomous being, it is permanently dependent on you (well, most animals are.  Some which have been less intensively bred are more independent.)  Generally you go to a shop or breeder and buy your pet, they are a commodity.  You can make whatever ethical judgements on that which you wish, and you may perceive your relationship to animals in your life as being different, but the social relationship under capital that we have towards pets is that of a material commodity not just on a linguistic level.

Some phrases that occur to me as reinforcing the capitalist hegemony.

I quite like spotting out turns of phrase which, as a part of capitalist society, normalise us into a capitalist way of thinking.  Phrases which you’d use off the cuff without a second thought, but if you do apply a bit more time the connotations of what they mean demonstrates the way that capitalism structures everything we do.  I find it sort of amusing.  This is what I have so far, if anyone else has any suggestions then drop them in an ask.

“A market place of ideas” – religion, ideology and so on are co-opted to the commodity culture of capitalism.

“I don’t buy it” – belief in something as a financial investment.

“Time well spent” – your time is a financial investment.

“Self-ownership” – the attitude that you are an item of property which you are in possession of.

“Human resources” – humanity is boiled down and objectified, it is a resource not an end in its own right.

“Job market” – careers and vocations are to be bought and sold/people try to sell themselves into a career or vocation.  Links into the idea of “immigrants come over and steal jobs.”  Bizarre in its own right but more so with this concept of possession over a job.

“My child”/”my (boy/girl)friend”/”my partner” – the attitude of property possession regarding close interpersonal relationships.  This links interestingly into the idea of people having their boy/girlfriend “stolen” (well, less poignant a problem when you get older, but I’m sure many people will have heard this phrase used even if not by someone in their immediate friendship group.)  Your romantic relationship is alienated by the ideology of capitalism, therefore infidelity is not the fault of the significant other, but of the person they get involved with.  An object is inanimate, it cannot falter or do wrong, ergo the agency and therefore error is placed on the third point of the triangle.  Weird.  And gross.  Also links into the idea of, rather than responsibility for parents to raise children to be a part of a society, instead parents are able to enforce their ideals and parameter onto the child – who is their possession.  Hence things like circumcision [this is just the most immediate thing that springs to mind due to recent discussions, rather than intended as a dig.] are the parents choice, because the child is an object without agency.

Capitalist philosophy criticises that collectivist ideals deny the human will, yet it’s the most hardline free-marketeers that most ardently take a deterministic stance on social forces.  Trusting in the invisible hand of the market and lacking an analysis of the agency behind actions and their potentiality, free-marketeers not only deny human will they go to great lengths to ignore it.

ows [Occupy Wall Street] and the tp [Tea Party] are both essentially on the right, although the media never portrays it that way. here’s why; on the scale of left and right, where slavery is extreme left and total anarchy is extreme right, i would categorize the ows crowd as very mild anarchist. witness their leaderless movement, hardly a left leaning ideology there. the true tp, like ron paul, is libertarian, also a far right group, certainly more right than republicans and democrats. so there’s the connection, not hard to see. if anybody is far left, its the corporatists and statist who you fascist tactics to enslave the citizens of this country by controlling big government and big business. they claim they’re right wing, however on the left = slavery and right = anarchy scale, they’re much closer to slavery than any other group. that’s why ron paul’s message of freedom resonates and why the corporatists are so damned scared.

The first comment in reply to this article on Ron Paul claiming to be the Emissary, who will unite the warring clans of Occupy and Tea Party.

I’ve been saying for a while now that the left/right dichotomy needs reformatting to create a new understanding as it’s been warped by colloquial usage.  I think this is the most brilliant example of how some people understand it as being completely batshit and to some is now completely disconnected from its roots.

It started off in the French Parliament where the radicals sat on the left and the loyalists sat on the right.  Since then it broadly meant Liberals/progressives considered left-wing and conservatives considered right-wing.  I tend to like dissociating the left/right dichotomy from social issues and try to use it as an economic scale, with collectivism on the left and individualism/capitalism on the right.  This is, however, a conscious deviation from the norm and something I like to occasionally point out.  This guy, however, takes that personalisation of the scale to whole new levels …

When people finish practising religion, is there going to be a big religion concert?  Are there religion rehearsals for everyone who’s been practising enough?  Once you progress from simply practising religion do you get onto the professional circuit?

English is a strange language.

I understand your point of view. The New Left begun with R. Hilton (I think), after the war, saying that they failed to change the world as Marx said (“Philosophers only tried to understand the world etc.”)… but Perry Anderson (that is probably the most… bolchevist… from the New Left group) actually criticize against what he calls the Western Marxism (Adorno, Benjamin, Lukács…) for not linking properly theory and praxis like the antecedent generation (Kautsky, Lenin, Luxemburg…)

This is true.  But then if someone had been exactly as Lenin or Luxemburg in their action and deed they would not have been able to recreate the events.  Maybe I’m something of a fence-sitter on this one.  I think it was right that there was effort to find a new path, the reason that post-materialism got the attention it did and class analysis started to fade was that the post-war boom made the impending necessity of class struggle less a lived experience and more a rhetorical talking point.  Perhaps the “Euro-communists” were keeping Marxism alive in the ways most relevant to the socio-cultural position they were in, perhaps they should’ve been doing more to rally the masses …  Their works are definitely important, the challenge becomes how to weaponise it from being abstract analysis into a tool to effectively challenge power structures, incorporating it into the arsenal.  I know a tendency amongst Trot organisations (as a whole, not necessarily individuals) to be quite reductionist and narrow in the philosophers they look at or promote whereas really there’s a wealth of criticism that could be used and expanded upon, but the relevance to the physicality of class struggle isn’t so immediate so it gets left by the wayside.  Much like a marxist economist doesn’t have so much time for the concept of alienation, and I don’t have so much time for differential calculus …

(You possibly tapped into a ramble I’ve been waiting to have for a while)

What do you think about the New Left moviment and Edward Thompson’s work? Do you think they use the concepts of Gramsci and Benjamin properly?

I don’t have a very intimate knowledge.  Currently in between everything else I’m working my way through* Perry Anderson’s ‘The Antimonies of Antonio Gramsci’ which was printed in the NLR back in the 70s.  It’s … interesting so far but I’m finding the staunch emphasis on the War of Position to be … trying.  It’ll take me further reading to really solidify a strong opinion but I get this nudging feeling that they swung a bit too far in avoidance of the connections to Sovietism and became a little ossified as a class of intellectual marxists dissociated from active engagement with creating the sort of change they were talking about.

P.S. For disclosure I haven’t read anything on Benjamin to really be able to comment regarding him.

* The joys of ADD and reading chunky texts is I pick up three or four books/journal articles, start reading them around the same time and then decide a shiny spoon is much more interesting.  So it’s a slow process …

There is a myth (or not?) that gets often told in schools in germany, that the germans brought lenin to russia in an isolated carriage on the train (so that he could not talk about his revolutionary ideas to the other (often german) passengers) so that he would start a revolution and weaken russia. On another matter: would you call what happened in russia a revolution?

That is how I understood it.  A number of Russian revolutionaries were in exile, many residing in Switzerland because it maintains neutrality quite consistently.  The train was sealed to prevent communication with the outside world, and it travelled up from Switzerland, through Germany and Scandinavia before arriving in Russia.  Germany was banking on Russia withdrawing from the war effort with the success of the revolution, while in turn hoping it wouldn’t spread to their own workers.  Hence the sealed carriage.

I would call what happened in Russia a revolution, significant in that there developed a high degree of workers’ control.  A lot of that got rolled back under Stalin, but as a step and a demonstration of action it was significant.

clintirwin:

So, SOME ideological pacifists believe so strongly that all action should be non-violent that they will use any tactic to stop violence in a demo, including the morally questionable.

Yeah, but the problem is ALL pacifists, not just the ones that would rather punch someone for breaking the window of some bank.  Because pacifism is the ideological conviction that non-violence is the only legitimate tactic and therefore they won’t work cohesively with groups or individuals that aren’t pacifist.  If they happen to be people that accept violence as a tactic but don’t personally want to engage in it themselves, then they aren’t a pacifist.  Big difference.

It trikes me as strange that pacifist should be singled out for claiming movements as their own. When black bloc types start smashing and breaking things, they are doing just that. Violence drowns out all other voices and effectively becomes the only voice.

Don’t be fucking ridiculous.  Black bloc is a tactic, it can be used well or it can be used poorly depending on the situation.  There’s a difference between having a debate about whether or not it’s a contextually suitable tactic, compared to outright claiming ownership of a movement and saying that people are excluded as a result.

I have never seen a “black bloc type” walk about to a union worker who’s on a demonstration and say “you’re not radical enough, get off of my march”.  I have seen middle class assholes shouting at people for being masked up, when state profiling and repression of activists (especially youths who don’t necessarily have the backing of a union) is very much a reality.  ”Get off of my demonstration, you have no right to be here” – without any discussion about why the mask was worn, why that may or may not be suitable, and without consideration that this was a demonstration outside the conservative party conference and despite which specific group first called for the demo it could hardly be claimed by individuals.  This sort of behaviour of possessiveness, prejudice and exclusion is damaging to a movement.

It’s an attitude you seem to share though.

This is where you become problematic.

No it’s not.

This is sort of a generalized screed that essentially says, pacifists act like X (they don’t care about anybody but themselves)

Definitively, pacifists will not meet to resist fascists.  That’s why they’re a pacifist – because they’ll avoid conflict instead of meeting it where necessary.  Yeah, it’s a “generalised screed” if you want to look at it that way, but it’s also integral to the definition of a pacifist.  If a person wouldn’t act that way then they’re not truly a pacifist.

and socialists/anarchists act like Y (heroically down with the oppressed from the start.)

Erm.  Yes, because it’s a part of especially socialist creed that you take on the responsibility of combatting fascism.  Anarchists do so as well, consistently today and historically.  Antifa and united fronts against fascism are largely organised by anarchist and socialist groups.  It is NOT a part of the creed for liberals, for social democrats and so on.  It is especially not a part of the creed for pacifists.

That’s how shit goes.  On a UAF march there tends to be some Lib Dems and a few Labourites but the majority of the people there tend to be socialists and/or punks and/or anarchists.  It’s like a reunion.

This is a borderline ad hominem and incredibly glib but assuming it is true, it does not make them fascist.

lurn 2 reed.

>Pacifism isn’t fascist it’s pro-fascist,

Pacifism IS NOT fascist, it is PRO-fascist.

Pacifism IS NOT fascist, it WORKS IN FAVOUR of fascism.

Pacifism IS NOT fascist, it is FAVOURABLE OF fascism.

lurn 2 reed.

Doing something that has the effect of benefiting fascists does not make one a fascist, repugnant, maybe, misguided, maybe, but still not a fascist. I also find it a bit naive and somewhat arrogant to talk of bourgeois radicals being somehow effective and important in standing in defense of targeted groups.

In defence of?  That is a term I know I didn’t use, because I specifically would not say that.  It isn’t about defending a group it’s about standing with them.  It’s about solidarity, about building relationships with groups and working with them for a better, stronger community rather than being atomised by capitalist society.

Don’t project your own arrogance and insecurities onto others.  Just because your brain only computes it in one way, doesn’t make that the fact of the matter.

Your bourgeois radicalism is better than their bourgeois radicalism. Anarchism especially is predominately found in middle class white folk who are affluent enough and have enough political influence to think they have a degree of control, that their voice is listened to by the ruling elite.They must be racist, too.

Middle class=/=bourgeois.  Re-read your Marx.  They can be used interchangeably at points, but the contemporary definition of middle-class does not fit with the definition of bourgeois.  I also specifically find that not to be the case with anarchists that I’ve known but of course feel free to generalise, just as you lambast me for apparently doing.

Anarchism also specifically doesn’t function in that fashion – anarchism is specifically not about making pleas of the ruling elite.  I’m not really that bothered though, it’s not like I’m an anarchist and I’m sure many other people may have something to say about it.

 clintirwin answered your questionclintirwin replied to your post: This talk about…

Protip: it was unquestioned in the debate, here. Slight examination reveals it as dumb, so it must not have been questioned.

Yeah, but it wasn’t just me arguing that point and I didn’t make any of the original claims on the matter.  However you decided to argue with specifically me about it, rather than reblogging one of the posts on the matter so everybody who’d been involved in the discussion would be included.  Slight examination reveals you don’t have a fucking clue how to read and after that your entire argument falls apart, so whatever man.  It has been questioned, rigorously, and still continues to have currency in discussion.

I’m questioning whether or not you’re a really crap troll or genuinely don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.  You’re not actually coming back on the points which are being made, just making glib general statements that aren’t consistent with the rest of the discussion going on.

Lest We Forget

johnnydib:

November 11 is remembrance day, remembering the war to end all wars, in which a third of all casualties were civilians. It was followed after 30 years by a war in which a half of all casualties were civilians. 20 years later Vietnam 75%+ of casualties are civilians. Vietnam is just one of many of the “cold war” era conflicts, that saw similar proportions of non-combatants dying and getting injured. In the 21st century we had more than 1 war in which 90%+ of casualties were civilian. November 11 is not the day we celebrate winning World War I. It is the day we contemplate its atrocities, and vow not to repeat them. If we celebrate anything it is the “civilizing” effect the war had on us, we celebrate the Vienna Convention which states that the forcible transfer of populations and the targeting of civilians during armed conflicts are crimes of war. What irony it is, that war had to be legislated and regulated, to in fact attain previously unimaginable ugliness. Is it irony? Or is legislation the modern equivalent of religious commandments; righteous words on justice that serve the victim as an anesthetic but doesn’t cure her wounds?

I’ve always had a problem with remembrance day for a few reasons, and it always seems to be the most consistent point in time where I start arguments.  So lets get this one out the way early, and I’m not saying this because I disagree with what johnnydib put but because I guess this is an opportunity to also start a discourse on the matter and establish the playing field early.

I think for anyone who follows my blog it won’t come as a surprise that I have a great distaste for imperialist wars, not least for the “rich man’s wars, poor man’s blood” dichotomy which is ever present.

I also sort of feel it’s a massive cop out.  At least in the UK there’s this attitude of wearing the poppy, and through the act of wearing the poppy for the week(s) surrounding November 11th, you’re suddenly actively showing respect.  You’ve given your bit of money to charity and now you can partake in displaying what a good, considerate, empathic citizen you are that cares about our troops/doesn’t like the brutality of violence.  You’ve taken this act for a day each your and your conscience is salved through this act!

Tony Blair wore the poppy at the appropriate times.

Tony Blair sent our troops to kill and be killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tony Blair can, with all due respect, go fuck himself.

The greatest atrocity of Remembrance Day isn’t the “rich man’s war, poor man’s blood”, nor the blinding nationalism/patriotism that’s inherent in military parades as such.  The greatest atrocity of Remembrance Day is exactly that.  Remembrance Day.  Is it fuck, have Remembrance Year.  Every year.  Don’t remember the loss and the tragedy for one day of your year.  Remember it every day.  If people took Remembrance Day seriously we wouldn’t be stuck in neoimperialist wars in the middle east and north africa.  People who think that acting like an elitist shit about anyone who isn’t wearing a poppy, somehow not as good a citizen, is acceptable behaviour can go remove their fingernails with pliers.

Also in reference to the question: fuck the legislation as if that means anything.  Power politics shows the truth: the US, Britain, Israel, whoever else attack civilians (or take action they know will effect civilians but doesn’t care enough to prevent).  Without an organisation to enforce it adequately then the club that holds hegemonic military power (NATO, primarily) will do whatever they want and the legislation exists only so they can turn to it and say “but no, look how good we are we have rules about this shit.”  Global politics is interstate anarchy, and might is right.