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Showing posts from March, 2015

Announcement: Fire at AK Press

In case folks haven't heard, AK Press, one of the long-standing leftist indie publishers in North America, has just suffered a major fire to its warehouse.  This means that much of its stock will be damaged and, since it relies on moving this stock to function, also means it needs support.

Although it seems as if AK is known primarily for publishing anarchist material, it also publishes and/or distributes a lot of marxist/marxish books.  For example, it publishes Harry Cleaver's excellent Reading Capital Politically; it also distributes my book.  Aside from this, however, I happen to be a marxist who believes there is a lot of value in many anarchist texts for a variety of reasons.  I treasure what I have learned from past AK titles, even if my politics has changed since they found a beloved spot on my bookshelves.  Moreover, many will probably be aware, it is difficult for an independent anti-capitalist press to sustain itself in these days of corporate publishing syndicates…

Paper Marxists

Now that my unit has egregiously ratified a shite contract and left us in a position, come next Monday, of either crossing the picket lines of our own union or getting fired, I feel it's time to reflect yet again on the phenomenon of "paper marxists."  By this I mean those marxist academics whose entire career is built on papers and books about marxist theory but who, in practice, are often the most rank opportunists.  And since it is ultimately practice that matters for marxism, and not just a fucking career built out of published papers and books, paper marxists are about as marxist as carob is chocolate.  Except that I like carob and I don't like these pseudo-marxists.

Okay, maybe it's not entirely accurate to use the term "pseudo-marxist" here.  After all, I don't want to be accused of engaging in the "no true scotsman" fallacy (but screw all these random fallacies that are supposedly laws of proper thought!), so let me rephrase: these…

Back on the Picket Lines!

I never tire of quoting Marx's statement about historical events repeating first as tragedy and then as farce, particularly since it often applies to all of the ways in which we are haunted by history and, in this haunting, end up repeating the mistakes of the past.  Now that my union local is back on strike, that statement seems entirely appropriate: if my union's strike in 2008-2009 was the tragic repetition of its previous strike in 2001-2002, then the repetitions called forth by this year's strike have already been enough to place it on the road towards farce.

My analysis of the 2008-2009 strike can be found here, here, here, and here.  Much of what was outlined there, particularly the limits of trade union consciousness and a university local, as well as the way line struggle in even these spaces emerges, still holds for the current strike.  There are, of course, differences this time around that make the event of 2008-2009, with all of its limits, far more radical th…