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Showing posts from October, 2014

Response to Zak Brown: Without Revolutionary Strategy There Can Be No Revolutionary Movement

Recently, Zak Brown at Anti-Imperialism.com wrote a response to my claim that Protracted Peoples War (PPW) should be understood as a universal revolutionary strategy, particularly focusing on the problematic of universality.  I am going to try to keep my response constrained and limited, but first some qualifications:

1) Brown's article is written as if, and this might not have been his intention, I am a theorist of PPW who has spent an inordinate amount of time putting forward this theory.  This assumption is inherent in his claim, near the end of the article, where he talks about "the concerted efforts of JMP and his immediate allies" as if I am leading some revolutionary movement and am its principal theorist.  I am not.  My comments about PPW (and they have generally been comments and reflections) have to do with philosophically thinking through the already existing theory of PPW as universal that is something I encountered, but did not write, and obviously found it …

The More Banal Anti-Communist Cliches

It is interesting how certain cliches about communism manifest out of a need to say something anti-communist.  Take, for example, this small article about a GDR documentary on the more exciting sexual live of East Germans in comparison to their West German counterparts during the cold war era. While on the one hand it points out that the documentary demonstrates that the sex life of people in the GDR was more liberating, it also feels the need to assert, in a throwaway line: "Sure, nobody on the 'wrong' side of the Iron Curtain could have enjoyed the food lines, the crumbling housing, or the sheer boredom."  Take that communists!

This cliche, treated as a truism, is actually quite humorous in the context of a documentary that supposedly proves how sex was more exciting in drab old communist GDR.  Especially when it claims that life in this context was one of "sheer boredom" and, at least in my mind, an exciting sex life is one of the things that would make …

Meta-Review: The Worker Elite

Although it is true that an innacurate review of a book tends to reveal more about the reviewer's politics than the book in question, it is also true that such reviews might do damage to the reviewed book by convincing possible readers to avoid it at all costs.  In this context, then, the cliche "no press is bad press" is far from a truism: if enough potential readers assume that a review written by an author they respect is accurate––because why would they have reason to dispute the views of someone they trust?––then they will avoid that which this author has thrown into dispute even if this author has done so in an erroneous and dishonest manner.  Clearly, the average reader cannot read everything, and must trust those reviewers whose work s/he respects, and so reviews can sometimes function in a "gate-keeping" manner.  In this sense, even if a dishonest/inaccurate review can and should shed light on the reviewer's own political sympathies, such an insigh…

Upcoming Projects

Due to the onslaught of work, organizational commitments/responsibilities, spotty internet access resulting from my housing situation, and my book launches in Toronto and Montreal (which both went very well, thank-you very much), I haven't had the time or energy to post anything substantial for quite some time.  Although I briefly considered responding to Don Hamerquist's critical review of my book (which I felt was something of a straw-person critique that misrepresented aspects of The Communist Necessity but still made some good points), since I didn't respond to Gabriel Kuhn's critical review (which I felt was actually a very measured and precise review that also made some good points) I decided that it probably wasn't a good idea.  There are always going to be negative reviews regardless of what you write, because not everyone agrees with your position, and it is probably unprofessional to engage in a back-and-forth; better to fix the problems of your book that…