Posts tagged left politics

Posted 2 years ago

amory’s 17-point guide to graduate school, or phds for radicals in the humanities & social sciences

threepennypolly:

12. After surviving the indignities of graduate school, you will gain a little bit of status, prestige, and financial security as faculty. However your academic work will continue to be demoralizing. You feel that you must master and keep up with an impossible amount of material. You will never know enough and you will live in fear of getting caught not knowing something that you should. While you will get positive feedback from students, most of your colleagues will appreciate your successes and failures only insofar as they provide useful cannon fodder for their own careers and egos. You will find only sporadic meaning and fulfillment in this work. You may have very few or no colleagues with whom you have satisfying intellectual relationships. Therefore, you must DESIGN a life with political activity and meaning. The academy WILL NOT meet your political (or social) needs on its own. You will have to make a political path outside/beyond the academy. See your academic life as one part of an overall plan for your political, intellectual, community, and life-meaning development. This is a big task. Live your life as a graduate student building political connections, activist skills, community involvements, and popular pedagogy so that in the next phase of your life you will already know how to connect with communities and do political work outside of the academy as a public intellectual, a community member, a citizen in service to social justice organizations, a political activist, etc…

Posted 2 years ago

David Harvey - Nice Day for a Revolution

Why May Day should be a date to stand up and change the system

May Day is the occasion we celebrate the grand achievements of the workers of the world in making our world a far, far better place to live in. There is, unfortunately, not too much to celebrate these days. The past 30 years are littered with battles and skirmishes that have resulted in defeat after defeat for organised labour.

A capitalist class gone rampant has now consolidated its power to command or corrupt almost all the major institutions that regulate the body politic – the political parties (of both left and right), the media, the universities, the law, to say nothing of the repressive state apparatus and international institutions. The democracy of money power now rules. A global plutocracy exerts its will almost everywhere unchallenged.

So what is there to celebrate? We would not, of course, have what we still have now (from pensions to the remnants of reasonable health care and public education) had it not been for the labour movement. But waxing nostalgic over the undoubted achievements and heroism of the past will get us nowhere.

May Day should therefore be about relaunching a revolutionary movement to change the world. The very thought of doing that – even just saying it and writing it down – is as exhilarating as it is astonishing.

Posted 3 years ago
There’s an opportunity for a new society to be built on people who are transforming themselves, and who are not just opposing those who oppress them.
Grace Lee Boggs
Posted 3 years ago

"In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things." Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto

Posted 3 years ago

Twenty reasons why it's kicking off everywhere

jhnbrssndn:

Paul Mason, BBC News’ excellent Economics Editor:We’ve had revolution in Tunisia, Egypt’s Mubarak is teetering; in Yemen, Jordan and Syria suddenly protests have appeared. In Ireland young techno-savvy professionals are agitating for a “Second Republic”; in France the youth from banlieues battled police on the streets to defend the retirement rights of 60-year olds; in Greece striking and rioting have become a national pastime. And in Britain we’ve had riots and student occupations that changed the political mood.

What’s going on? What’s the wider social dynamic?

My editors yesterday asked me put some bullet points down for a discussion on the programme that then didn’t happen but I am throwing them into the mix here, on the basis of various conversations with academics who study this and also the participants themselves.

At the heart of it all are young people, obviously; students; westernised; secularised. They use social media - as the mainstream media has now woken up to - but this obsession with reporting “they use twitter” is missing the point of what they use it for. 

In so far as there are common threads to be found in these different situation, here’s 20 things I have spotted:…”

CLICK THROUGH AND READ ON

Posted 3 years ago
Being a leftist is a calling, not a career; it’s a vocation not a profession. It means you are concerned about structural violence, you are concerned about exploitation at the work place, you are concerned about institutionalized contempt against gay brothers and lesbian sisters, hatred against peoples of color, and the subordination of women. It means that you are willing to fight against, and to try to understand the sources of social misery at the structural and institutional levels, as well as at the existential and personal levels. That’s what it means to be a leftist; that’s why we choose to be certain kinds of human beings.
Cornel West
Posted 3 years ago

Egyptian Activists' Action Plan: Translated

Egyptian activists have been circulating a kind of primer to Friday’s planned protest. We were sent the plan by two separate sources and have decided to publish excerpts here, with translations  into English. Over Twitter, we connected with a translator, who translated the document with exceptional speed.

What follows are side-by-side translations of nine pages from the 26-page pamphlet. They were translated over the last hour and pasted up in Photoshop to give you an idea of what’s in the protest plan.

Posted 3 years ago

On the Cusp of Class Warfare

We’re in a class war.

It’s the corporations and the very wealthiest against all the rest of us.

We’re losing.

In 1962 the wealthiest 1% of American households had 125 times the wealth of the median household. Now it’s 190 times as much.

Is that a case of a rising tide lifting all boats, just a few of them a little bit higher?

No.

When people accuse the left of ‘encouraging class warfare,’ just remember that it wasn’t our fight to choose.

Posted 3 years ago

Shakesville: Let's Get This Straight

Both sides are, in fact, not “just as bad,” when it comes to institutionally sanctioned violent and eliminationist rhetoric.

An anonymous commenter at Daily Kos and the last Republican vice presidential nominee are not equivalent, no matter how many ridiculously irresponsible members of the media would have us believe otherwise.

There is, demonstrably, no leftist equivalent to Sarah Palin, former veep candidate and presumed future presidential candidate, who uses gun imagery (rifle sights) and language (“Don’t Retreat, RELOAD”) to exhort her followers to action.

There is no leftist equivalent to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a group which was created from the mailing list of the old white supremacist White Citizens Councils and has been noted as becoming increasingly “radical and racist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which classifies the CCC as a hate group—and is nonetheless considered an acceptable association by prominent members of the Republican Party, including a a former senator and the last Republican presidential nominee.

There is no leftist equivalent to Glenn Beck, host of a long-running nationally syndicated radio show, former host of a show on CNN and current host of a show on Fox, best-selling author, DC rally organizer, and longtime user of eliminationist rhetoric, including equating universal healthcare to rape, joking about victims of forest fires being America-hating liberals, comparing Al Gore to Hitler, condoning the murder of Michael Moore, accusing Holocaust survivor George Soros of being a Nazi collaborator, joking about poisoning Nancy Pelosi, equating immigration reform with burning US citizens alive, publicly endorsing violent revolution, and winkingly telling his viewers not to get violent, all of which amounts to a speck on the tip of a very big iceberg.

There is no leftist equivalent to Ann Coulter, best-selling author and syndicated columnist, who has been a panelist on Fox’s Hannity 28 times and was on Hannity & Colmes an additional 18 times, who has been a guest multiple times on The O’Reilly Factor, Geraldo at Large, Larry King Live, Huckabee, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Hardball, and other cable news shows, has made appearances on The Tonight Show, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher, and has co-hosted The View, and has also said that a baseball bat is “the most effective way” to talk to liberals, as well as: “We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too.” And: “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.” And: “In [Clinton’s] recurring nightmare of a presidency, we have a national debate about whether he ‘did it,’ even though all sentient people know he did. Otherwise there would be debates only about whether to impeach or assassinate.”

There is no leftist equivalent to Bill O’Reilly, Fox News television show host, nationally syndicated radio show host, and best-selling author, who has appeared on The Tonight Show eleven times, The Late Show with David Letterman six times, The Daily Show six times, Live with Regis and Kelly five times, The View four times, Good Morning America three times, and Real Time with Bill Maher twice, among other national shows, and has lied about and stalked his critics, said that progressive bloggers should be dealt with “with a hand grenade,” said Air America hosts were traitors and should be “put in chains,” as well as: “And if Al Qaeda comes [to San Francisco] and blows you up, we’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.”

There is no leftist equivalent to Rush “I tell people don’t kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus—living fossils—so we will never forget what these people stood for” Limbaugh, nationally syndicated radio show host and invitee to the Bush White House.

There is no leftist equivalent to Pat “Hitler’s success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path” Buchanan, a regular MSNBC contributor and syndicated columnist.

There is no leftist equivalent to Michelle “In Defense of Internment: The Case for ‘Racial Profiling’ in World War II and the War on Terror” Malkin, a regular Fox panelist, best-selling author, and prominent conservative blogger.

There is no leftist equivalent to Pat “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians” Robertson, host of The 700 Club, who was a guest on Fox’s Hannity & Colmes five times.

There is no leftist equivalent to Michael “Howard Dean should be arrested and hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war” Reagan, or Michael “Smallpox in a blanket, which the U.S. Army gave to the Cherokee Indians on their long march to the West, was nothing compared to what I’d like to see done to these people” Savage, both nationally syndicated radio show hosts.

There is no leftist equivalent to the Minutemen and other radical and eliminationist-spewing anti-immigration groups, some of whom have been subcontracted to work the border by the US government.

There is no leftist equivalent to radical and eliminationist-spewing anti-choice groups, who openly target doctors and call for their assassinations—and had a success just last year in the murder of Dr. George Tiller—and whose leaders get featured in whitewashing profiles in the Washington Post.

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

This is not an argument there is no hatred, no inappropriate and even violent rhetoric, among US leftists. There is.

This is evidence that, although violent rhetoric exists among US leftists, it is not remotely on the same scale, and, more importantly, not an institutionally endorsed tactic, as it is among US rightwingers.

This is a fact. It is not debatable.

(Source: silas216)

Posted 3 years ago

Erik Olin Wright | The Tasks of Emancipatory Social Science

Emancipatory social science seeks to generate scientific knowledge relevant to the collective project of challenging various forms of human oppression. To call this a form of social science, rather than simply social criticism or social philosophy, recognizes the importance for this task of systematic scientific knowledge about how the world works. The word emancipatory identifies a central moral purpose in the production of knowledge– the elimination of oppression and the creation of the conditions for human flourishing. And the word social implies the belief that human emancipation depends upon the transformation of the social world, not just the inner life of persons.  

 To fulfill this mission, any emancipatory social science faces three basic tasks: elaborating a systematic diagnosis and critique of the world as it exists; envisioning viable alternatives; and understanding the obstacles, possibilities, and dilemmas of transformation. In different times and places one or another of these may be more pressing than others, but all are necessary for a comprehensive emancipatory theory.