Category: Articles

Not: Marxism as ‘Organised Sarcasm’

by Richard Seymour Women, children, and revolutionaries hate irony. —Joseph Conrad     I. Gramsci is supposed to have claimed, in one of his recondite quips, that Marxism is ‘organised sarcasm’[1]. There is something terribly appealing about the idea of sarcasm, red in tooth and claw, being marshalled into the proletarian side of battle. It is ludic and yet hugely suggestive. And Gramsci certainly withered his opponents nicely when duty demanded it. What would the claim be like if it were true?

‘One thinge that ouerthroweth all that were graunted before’: On Being Presidential

by China Miéville The stricken punditocracy agrees that Donald Trump is missing a crucial quality, a je ne sais quoi necessary for his office. He may be president, but he is not presidential. The liberal world is in mourning for this dispositional quiddity, presidentialness. According to one recent poll, 70 per cent of Americans surveyed held that Trump has – particularly in his genuinely startling use of social media, his deliberately offensive provocations – acted ‘unpresidentially’. Plucking examples from vast reserves, the LA Times decries Trump’s ‘self-indulgent and unpresidential demeanor’; the Village Voice his ‘unpresidential’ ‘antics’; the Atlantic ‘the

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‘With or Without You’: Naturalising Migrants and the Never-Ending Tragedy of Liberalism

by Maïa Pal[1]   To be homeless is to be nameless. He. The existence of a migrant worker. John Berger     The One Day Without Us campaign was launched in the UK in October 2016 ‘in reaction to the rising tide of post-Brexit street- level racism and xenophobia’ and, according to its website, ‘the divisive and stridently anti-migrant rhetoric emanating from too many politicians that has accompanied it.’ It held its target protest day on Monday 20 February 2017. ‘At a time when the political discussion about migration too often depicts a false narrative of “us versus them”,

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Class, Race and Capital-centric Marxism: an interview with Charlie Post

by George Souvlis, Sebastian Budgen, Jeremiah Gaster and Charlie Post. Could you introduce yourself, by describing the formative experiences (academic and political) that strongly influenced you? Politically, I was shaped by the social struggles of the late 1960s and early 1970s. My father’s family were working-class Jewish social-democrats, who, while voting for the US Democratic Party since the 1930s, were anti-racist and anti-imperialist. They supported both the civil rights and black power movement. My uncle, who was involved in the unofficial and illegal strikes among teachers in the late 1950s and early 1960s that won collective bargaining rights, broke

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L’autonomie s’organise

by Valerio Starita A note on the text[1]: The piece that follows was originally given as a talk at the event ‘L’autonomie s’organise’ (autonomy gets organised) organised by Penser l’émancipation at the Bourse du travail in Saint- Denis, France, 2 March 2017. Other speakers were Morgane Merteuil, Toni Negri and Jean-Marc Rouillan. It addresses a context of creeping authoritarianism in French politics, as seen in two recent episodes. The first is the French government’s response to the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. Following the attacks, the government declared a state of emergency giving extraordinary powers to search and

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What happened to the workers’ movement?

by David Camfield. Too often people on the radical left find ourselves thinking with concepts we’ve inherited from the past that have become misleading because the realities to which the concepts refer have changed fundamentally. This happens a lot when we talk about the workers’ movement. As New York City transit union activist Steve Downs put it, We speak about the labour movement and I think we tend to do it out of habit or maybe generosity or maybe even embarrassment, but there is no labour movement in this city or in this country, frankly… there is no unifying vision, there

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Behemoth and Leviathan: The Fascist Bestiary of the Alt-Right

by Harrison Fluss & Landon Frim If we want to fight the new fascism, we must not only organise against it politically, but also understand its ideology. Far from being a morbid curiosity, this is essential for understanding twenty-first century fascism’s inner dynamics. Beyond racist tweets, memes, and Richard Spencer’s obnoxious media appearances, we need to lay bare the images, concepts, and ideas that form the core of alt- right thought. We must lay bare the alt-right imagination. This imagination is an unstable and fractured thing, torn between two opposing ‘animal spirits’. These are Behemoth and Leviathan. Originating in

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The Plague of ‘Whiteness’

by Richard Seymour.   “As long as you think you’re white,” James Baldwin said, “there’s no hope for you.” And if this seems counterintuitive — as though one might think white people are the only people with hope — he went on to say: “Insofar as you think you’re white, you’re irrelevant. We can no longer afford that particular, romance.” There’s something odd, and challenging here. It’s a strange way to put it: whiteness is supposed to be a privilege, something those interpellated as ‘white’ are getting something out of, not — as Baldwin seemed to believe — doom. At

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Making and Getting Made: Towards a Cyborg Transfeminism

by Sølvi Goard. ‘I feel confined, only free to expand myself within boundaries.’ Major Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell In the 1995 anime version of Ghost In The Shell, we’re offered both the dream and the nightmare of trans politics. Ghost In The Shell is particularly incisive, in that it won itself a place in millions of young minds, including mine, without openly presenting itself as a film about trans lives. Yet the cyborgs, and Motoko Kusanagi in particular, are undoubtedly transgender: they choose and change their bodies based on what relationship they desire from that body. But

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