Economics, Violence, Gaza and the West Bank
The Paper Thin Underpinnings to Peace: Occupation and Intifada in 2014
by GARY M. ENGLISH
Thinly Veiled Code for Genocide
Israel’s War of Attrition in Gaza
by ROB URIE
Confer the material on the Universal Class in the Introduction to LFM: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/75650151/LFM_Introduction.pdf
Here is an older collation of marxism, but something seems ‘off’ now with this somewhat formal material.
These standard pieces on marxism begin to seem dated now, although one hardly dares to challenge anything lest the phantom of cooptation rise over the exercise. Their charm value is great, like classic cars in a parade, and a new left can both embrace and set aside such legacies.
They are actually quite cogent in their oldish fashion, but generate instant cavil from a population that no longer listens to such shiboleths. But the solution is not that complicated: we can form a basic definition of communism without the marxist corpus, keeping it nearby for comparison. Communism precedes marxism, and is an independent category. The coming of postacapitalism is not likely to follow this classic but now century plus old formulation. Its core is correct, no doubt, but beset with cliches that produce strong negative reactions.
Is the working class really going to take control from the bourgeoisie and dominate that class? The whole formulation seems slightly off. The answer is simpler: a new Universal Class, with a core of the proletariat, where that still exists, can be an exit strategy for all classes to a common unity of citizens. This allows the capitalist a new class identity, beside that of the former working class individual, now mostly condemned to anything but classic proletarian status. The issue is social equality. Why sacrifice social equality in the name of the proletariat. It is an old phantom of the earlier years of industrialization, now gone. We need waste no time in arguments. What is the proletariat? The Universal Class. But everyone else is in that class also. The call for the proletariat to dominate the bourgeoisie made the ‘communist party’ the dominant new class. It looks like a goof now. Victorious communists of the Universal Class will have no grounds to dominate anyone: like Platonic guardians, perhaps, they can live without possessions, like a group of renunciates.
The idea of a ‘Universal Class’ can easily both fulfill and transcend the idea of the proletariat, and provide a more engaging challenge to the masses of disparate persons in incoherent categories far from their nineteenth century originals. The lumpenproletariat mostly outnumbers the proletariat in the US, if you discount the reality that a true proletariat is globally dispersed. The American proletariat, what’s left of it, doesn’t correspond to the hopes placed on it, and is not going to be a vanguard. The corruption of so many proletarians by the Nixonian strategy of creating working class racists just about finished the whole concept. But the reality is simple: a ‘class’ is not an historical agent, but an abstraction. The ‘proletariat’ is not an agent, and the expectation otherwise results in disappointment. The answer is simple: only individuals can be historical agents, hopefully in enough numbers to form a vanguard. A comeback is easily achieved by recasting the proletariat as a Universal Class, which can encompass vast numbers of people forced to the fringe of proletarian identity by the straightjacket of rigid definition. The people who show up at street protests, consider the OWS, weren’t the classic proletariat, which rarely shows signs of activism…
These issues simply suggest the need to be more fluid with the now stale codifications of the older marxism.
I am told that a number of readers have found the first part of the Appendix to LFM clarified the enigma of the so-called ‘macro model’.
This model is designed to replace the whole confusing nexus of historical theories with a simple outline, so the basic idea is ‘not hard’.
As we study world history in the light of the discovery of a ‘non-random’ process [Read more →]
This post seems to have hit a nerve: I think that the emergence of a broad secularism was always the real direction of modern history: but the contraction into scientism has forced the attempts to recreate religion.
The problem lies in defining modernity in terms of science. But the rise of the modern, as noted here many times, is far broader in its effects than simply science.
It is important to see this, but unfortunately the attempt to force all questions into a scientific mode has failed: free will, consciousness, are but two issues that don’t fit the regime.
Nothing in science really implies it should apply at all levels. The point is obvious now in retrospect, as we look at Newtonian physics: it is obvious now that even physics itself won’t fit this category.
Venezuelan Network Telesur Expands Into English
By the Associated Press
July 23, 2014
CARACAS, Venezuela — The Spanish-language television network started by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as a vehicle for promoting in Latin America his leftist brand of political change will now reach audiences in English.
Under the motto “Don’t resign yourself to having just one side of the story,” Telesur on Wednesday unveiled a news website that will serve as a hub for hours of daily multimedia programming in English from correspondents and pundits around the world. The website goes live Thursday, coinciding with the ninth anniversary of Telesur’s launch and the celebration of South American independence hero Simon Bolivar’s birthday.
Dear friends of NCSE,
NCSE’s next webinar for activists, and survey results on public
opinion about climate change from twenty countries.
NCSE’S NEXT WEBINAR FOR ACTIVISTS
NCSE is pleased to announce the next of a new series of on-line
workshops aimed at broadening and deepening the networks that make our
work possible. The next workshop focuses on on-line petitions as a
tool in science education advocacy, with advice about how to write,
promote, and use such petitions.
[Read more →]
Book Review – “The Counter-Revolution of 1776″
What emerges from Gerald Horne’s new book, “Counter-Revolution,” is a picture of courage, heroism and betrayal. Most importantly, it is a history that accounts for the fact that so many “advances” of democracy in the United States have been at the expense of Africans and their descendants, people brought in chains to the shores of the United States.
July 20, 2014
Letter from Gaza
Ellen Cantarow reports on the email Dr. Mads Gilbert sent to friends July 19 from Gaza -The last night was extreme. The “ground invasion” of Gaza resulted in scores and carloads with [the] maimed, torn apart, bleeding, shivering, dying – all sorts of injured Palestinians, all ages, all civilians, all innocent. Jonathan Shapiro, world renowned cartoonist “Zapiro”,likens Israeli attacks on civilians to Göring’s attacks on civilians in Guernica.
Le Monde diplomatique – English Edition
July 23, 2014
Biologist warn of early stages of Earth’s sixth mass extinction event
July 24, 2014
The planet’s current biodiversity, the product of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary trial and error, is the highest in the history of life. But it may be reaching a tipping point. Scientists caution that the loss and decline of animals is contributing to what appears to be the early days of the planet’s sixth mass biological extinction event. Since 1500, more than 320 terrestrial vertebrates have become extinct. Populations of the remaining species show a 25 percent average decline in abundance. The situation is similarly dire for invertebrate animal life.
We in the middle of a maelstrom of confusion, between science, religion, politics, capitalism, globalization, and the faultline of scientism. Last and First Men tries to probe this zone of chaos, which will prove the undoing of our current civilization. The model of history in LFM can be of some use in trying to bridge these confusions.
It is sad but true that science as we know can’t really deal with our situation. Look at the post today on Harris and ethics. A civilization that put a man on the moon can’t deal with the issue of free will or ethics.
Science is going going to try anyway to be the master of man, and in the New Atheist movement we can see the kind of artificial ‘religions’ about to be created to replace the legacy religions of the Axial Age. The competition in the New Age movement is going to be an equal and opposite set of confusions.
The Preface to LFM tries to troubleshoot some exotic issues in the hope of creating a larger domain of discourse than ‘historical materialism’. But marxists are remarkably dogmatic and almost totally closed around just the kind of religion of scientism now being recreated by the New Atheists. You would think they would learn from the failure of marxism.
This is the early phase of what will be an attempt to renew the legacy of religion for a global context, for better or worse…
The left is trying to replace religion with historical materialism. It can hardly hope to succeed. In reality it needs to ‘get religion in a hurry’. But for such an endeavor haste would be the worst approach. As the blog Darwiniana suggested, the solution is to initiate the ‘virtual church of the Holy Brick’, trowel and mortar ready for the t-0 moment of the ‘foundation stone’, with a Cancel button to the right of the high altar. Bad religions are dime a dozen. Be prepared to hit Cancel and try again. Pause and reflect, forever…That moment can be endlessly delayed to the far future as with the waiting of Sheherezade. All that is needed to bypass religious fanatics is a project of historical study of religious history and anthropology, a neutral dialectic beyond material/spiritual, but with, not a spiritual faith, but a spiritual hypothesis, a project of meditation in action, and a robust Kantian before Hegelian critique of metaphysics. As Hegel noted, the secular conclusion to the Reformation was German Classical philosophy, a useful resource, and ‘tavern of ruin’ in the sufi phrase. A spot of evolutionary science fiction might help, to see that homo sapiens emerged into a real yet still primitive spiritual state. All this is connected to the ‘hyparchic’ future which leads the tales of Sheherezade in a virtual conclusion…Or something to that effect. Christians spoke most cleverly with a ‘revolutionary’ political metaphor of the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, mysteriously guided from the virtual future to…that final theocratic realization in time of a universal church. Perhaps that temporal realization of the ending was false. But the simple mechanics of this movement visible over time is spectacular, and a format with infinite potential: a secular version comes with a simple reshuffle of the deck. This ‘religion’ thus already exists and is already the case for the ‘prophetic eschatological’ left, now converging on a global Commune in a phase of postcapitalism.
Mix the mortar or press ‘Cancel’
LRB Vol. 36 No 15 · 31 July 2014
by Bernard Porter
The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania by Tom Lawson
Tauris, 263 pp, £25.00, January, ISBN 978 1 78076 626 3
It’s well known now that contact with British settlers in the early 19th century led to the extinction of the native Tasmanians; it was pretty well known at the time too. But much about that extinction is obscure, including the numbers involved: most estimates suggest that in 1803 between five and ten thousand aborigines lived on the island, and that by 1876 there were none – only mixed-race Tasmanians and those deported to the Australian mainland survived. (William Lanne, the ‘last man’ of Tom Lawson’s title, died in 1869; two Tasmanian women survived him briefly.) There is also disagreement about the way they met their end, or rather about the relative roles played by settler violence, intertribal conflict, exogenous diseases, declining fertility and plain demoralisation; and about the contribution made by the local colonial authorities. Modern Australian historians seem prepared to accept a large measure of retrospective blame on behalf of their nation; a few years ago this provoked the almost comically reactionary Liberal prime minister John Howard to inveigh against what he called the ‘black armband’ view of his country’s history (as opposed to the proud Gallipoli view), which launched the popular debate that became known in Australia as the ‘history wars’.
[Read more →]