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Showing posts from February, 2016

"Torsion & Tension" [Chapter One, PDF download]

As discussed in my previous post, I'm slowly publishing a small manuscript––an extended essay I intended to expand but eventually shelved––as a serial, chapter by chapter, after some light copy-edits to make it more readable.  Today I'm offering the first chapter (The Meaning of "Dialectical Materialism"), and the prologue can be downloaded in the aforelinked post.

I also noted in my introductory post, which was kind of a rambling introduction to the actual manuscript introduction (and I hope nobody made the mistake of thinking the post was the prologue, quitting in frustration before discovering the link to the download at the bottom), that one of the reasons I left this manuscript in an early draft form was because I was uncomfortable with some of its aspects.  While doing the copy-edit I noticed one of these aspects, that will become a little problem later on, and that is an appeal to a kind of ontological language, i.e. the concept of being.  While it is correct …

Introducing "Torsion and Tension": a serial on dialectical materialism [prologue PDF download]

Recently, I was reflecting again, based on reading some random online articles, on my longstanding frustration with the way in which dialectics––specifically dialectical materialism or materialist dialectics––is often used more as a buzz-word, or a rhetorical ploy, by so many of us Marxists.  As I've written elsewhere, we tend to throw at the word dialectical to brand some insight with authority, or inversely we use the word undialectical to brand something we don't like as erroneous, while it is not always clear if we're actually talking about dialectics in the first place.  Of course, the tendency to use jargon as rhetorical replacements for actual arguments is nothing new in the Marxist left, or any other theoretical tendency for that matter, and nor is an appeal to the term "dialectics" the only culprit in this regard.  (A couple weeks ago, for example, I was called an "idealist" by someone at an event because I didn't except the Avakianite &quo…

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…



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 ea…

Reflections on the Discourse of the Heretic

1: The contemporary discourse of the heretic is a petty-bourgeois discourse because it locates itself according to an imaginary where a genius intellectual is undermined by the collective of a church. Here, class struggle, a collective process of knowledge, and an engagement with the truth-value of the heretical pronouncement is judged as less important than an individual's supposedly unique ideas.  It is presupposed that these ideas have been deprived of autonomy by an already-existing knowledge formation: the church.  This already-existing knowledge formation's meaning is less important than the fact that it excludes its critic––the heretic––which is enough to valorize this critic as a heretic.  For example, if an individual questions the "truth" of the labour theory of value, and is put in their place by Marxist academics, then this individual becomes the heretic and the Marxist academics the church.  It doesn't matter if the latter is itself fighting against …