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’. 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?
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
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
Sarah Grey There’s a special kind of dread that breeds in the path of a hurricane. They call it the ‘cone of uncertainty’ – that brightly coloured funnel on the weather map that traces the possible paths of a storm. It’s a statistical mishmash created from dozens of predictions of varying quality, and when you see the dark red centre touch your part of the map, you can almost feel the barometric pressure dropping. You might have days to prepare, days before you know whether it’ll really hit you and how badly. You might not have days to get
Matthew Cole According to the speculations of techno-futurologists, left and right, the machines are here to liberate us. Most of the discourse is dominated by the neoliberal right such as Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee and Andrew Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England. Their arguments, avoiding questions of exploitation, are naturally popular with the establishment. McAfee’s best-selling book The Second Machine Age has been lauded by leaders at the World Economic Forum.