I thought the earlier essays were better than the ones in the second half. I'm not very into Springer's promotion of "post-structuralist anarchism," iI thought the earlier essays were better than the ones in the second half. I'm not very into Springer's promotion of "post-structuralist anarchism," insofar as that's how one could define his project. He definitely does draw from the classical anarchist tradition as well, though, especially P. Kropotkin and Reclus. It seems that there are tensions between these tendencies in Springer's thought....more
This is an amazing collection from WW3's comics over the years. The art deals with a number of contemporary pressing social issues, from racism to milThis is an amazing collection from WW3's comics over the years. The art deals with a number of contemporary pressing social issues, from racism to militarism, patriarchy, colonialism, environmental destruction, the oppression of labor, inequality, and so on. The collective seems to have been comprised of many NYC-based artists, so much of the focus is on NYC, particularly Bk (Brooklyn), the NYPD, 9/11, etc. The comics address George W. Bush, Hurricane Katrina, the invasion of Iraq, the Occupation of Palestine, the eco-crisis, Occupy Wall Street, and much more. This is a lovely testament to the power of art to change consciousness and represent reality in a practical-critical way....more
This book was pretty slow during the first half, but the second half is quite explosive and scandalous! Le Carré trains his criticism on U.S.-BritishThis book was pretty slow during the first half, but the second half is quite explosive and scandalous! Le Carré trains his criticism on U.S.-British imperialism as well as capitalism of all flavors, be they U.S., Chinese, or otherwise....more
This was pretty good. Though it wasn't as revolutionary as Absolute Friends, it still had some good social commentary in passing, particularly about MThis was pretty good. Though it wasn't as revolutionary as Absolute Friends, it still had some good social commentary in passing, particularly about Marxism....more
This was a pretty good volume deconstructing the recent move to rename the current geological epoch (the Holocene) "the Anthropocene." The essays by EThis was a pretty good volume deconstructing the recent move to rename the current geological epoch (the Holocene) "the Anthropocene." The essays by Eileen Crist and Justin McBrien were the best, in my opinion, with Jason Moore's article also being good. If it had just been these essays, I would have given the volume 4 or 5 stars. The problem is that the rest of the essays were sub-par to me. Elmar Atvater's essay on geoengineering didn't even really discuss geo-engineering, save for the last page or so, while Christian Parenti regurgitated the line he has been promoting for a few years now, i.e. that the left should try to "take over the State" in order to deal with the climate and ecological crises. This latter opinion was not very well-developed or convincing. Donna Haraway's essay was very intriguing but often quite difficult to understand, at least for me. Overall, it seems strange that the impetus to rename this epoch to "Anthropocene" should take on a technocratic, neo-liberal meaning, rather than lead to a profound questioning of the very factors that are impelling utter disaster, but the authors were right to call out this perplexing dynamic. McBrien's discussion of capitalism as "accumulation of extinction" is very apt....more
I liked this short piece by Singer. I agree with him that Darwin's findings should not be seen as relevant only for the right-wing. I particularly agrI liked this short piece by Singer. I agree with him that Darwin's findings should not be seen as relevant only for the right-wing. I particularly agree with Singer in that Darwin's research should show us humans that we are not radically different from the other animals with whom we share the biosphere--with religion and Marxism alike seemingly wanting to push the idea that there is a vast chasm between us and the rest of nature. Evolution shows us instead our commonalities and has implications, I think, for how we treat non-human animals and nature as a whole; though my conclusion may be hasty in terms of Singer's skepticism about bridging the gap between "is" and "ought," I believe that reflection on evolutionary theory should lead us to embrace the cause of animal liberation, the overturning of speciesism, and the destruction of capitalism as a thanatopolitical/suicidal system.
I have more reservations about Singer's points about the "constants" in human nature or forms of social organization, as in the ideas about tribalism, family-orientation, sexuality, gendered divisions of labor, etc. It seems that he runs a serious risk of resorting to a positivistic observation of dominant social norms and using this to conclude that the things he sees are "just the way things are"... Such that these aspects can't likely be changed by a worldwide left-wing revolution. Such a claim seems more questionable and even dangerous to me....more
I'm very sympathetic to Dawson's project in this short book. Like others on here, though, I feel that the text is too short to deal with the reconstruI'm very sympathetic to Dawson's project in this short book. Like others on here, though, I feel that the text is too short to deal with the reconstructive aspects that reflection on the question of extinction requires. The author dedicates less than 20 pages to this, and while he make a lot of important points in the final two chapters, I do not see him calling for social revolution or intensification of class struggle, etc. I think he wants revolution, but he doesn't have many suggestions for how to go about organizing such, and this is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the text. Another thing was that the chapter on synthetic biology and "bringing extinct species back" was a bit bizarre and reminiscent of Jurassic Park. (Dawson only calls for such technocratic, "biocapitalist" projects to be regulated rather than abolished.) Another tension I'm interested in is Dawson's discussion in the first couple of chapters about the Paleolithic extinctions of megafauna, which he claims (according to scientific studies) were mostly due to the efforts of pre-agricultural human bands--he frames the problem with a genealogical investigation into the problem of extinction in human history, but then goes on to focus primarily on capitalism as a global-extinctional force... Such that he might be overlooking the more general problem of the domination of nature which capitalism forms part of, but which goes beyond it. This isn't exactly to accuse Dawson of being like the Marxists of yesteryear who advocated Prometheanism (see the USSR), but it is to highlight an interesting aspect in the argumentation....more
This book is awesome! The theoretical framework regarding exilic, non-state spaces was very compelling, and the case studies on the Cossacks, ZapatistThis book is awesome! The theoretical framework regarding exilic, non-state spaces was very compelling, and the case studies on the Cossacks, Zapatistas, and prisoners very excellent! Extremely highly recommended!...more
This was a fascinating future-historical speculative fiction volume. It's incredible to consider how there may some day be 8 iterations of the human sThis was a fascinating future-historical speculative fiction volume. It's incredible to consider how there may some day be 8 iterations of the human species over the coming billions of years, spanning Earth, Venus, and Neptune. W. Olaf Stapledon certainly got the tendency toward catastrophe and self-destruction right, but I wonder if even he was too optimistic? That is to say, will humanity even survive climate change and nuclear war?...more
This is a fascinating account of Michel Foucault's seemingly puzzling support for Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamist clerics who took over the IraniaThis is a fascinating account of Michel Foucault's seemingly puzzling support for Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamist clerics who took over the Iranian Revolution after the hated Shah was overthrown by the people. It is almost shocking to see this figure renowned for an incisive anti-authoritarianism claiming the Iranian people to be a singular, undifferentiated mass who all desired the coming of the Islamic Republic; the critiques launched against the philosopher by Iranian and French thinkers are in this sense embarrassing for him. The most poignant moments of the revolutionary process come when women mobilize en masse against the imposition of the chador on International Women's Day 1979, and then once the regime began executing suspected homosexuals--Foucault can say little, merely guarding silence about his grave error. The authors argue that his late work on the question of "What is Enlightenment?" provide a more balanced view in comparison to his earlier repudiation of the Enlightenment, for which he is perhaps best-known, within academia and beyond.
Afary and Anderson's argument is that Foucault's uncritical view of the Iranian Revolution follows from his nihilist rejection of Western modernity, even including its radical critiques, like Marxism and anarchism, as MF clarified in his debate with Chomsky (1971). In my view, his affinities for Nietzsche should be a primary angle to consider in this investigation of the intellectual's relationship with Iran and the mullahs, as for his overall thought and that of post-structuralism as well....more
This book is an excellent review of the philosophy and historical practices of Maoism, which remain irredeemably authoritarian. Liu, who organizes with Take Back the Bronx, shows that Maoism is Stalinist, as Loren Goldner argues in parallel in "Notes toward a Critique of Maoism" (https://libcom.org/history/notes-towa...). Mao Zedong followed Lenin and Stalin in prioritizing the imposition of state capitalism on the workers and peasants of an "underdeveloped" society, with all the massive crimes such processes evinced in both countries, from the Russian Civil War to Stalinization and the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution in Red China. Such horrors have little to do with the autonomist, anti-state Marxist or anarchist vision that the author counterposes to the Red Terror. Liu concludes quite rightly: "For revolutionaries who aim at a free anarchist and communist society, Maoism as a whole must be rejected."...more
This was an interesting if sometimes incredulous study of "golden-age" piracy in the Caribbean having affinities with anarchism or anti-authoritarianiThis was an interesting if sometimes incredulous study of "golden-age" piracy in the Caribbean having affinities with anarchism or anti-authoritarianism. Sometimes the argument blends pirates too much with buccaneers, who served empires and national flags, in contrast to the pirates' black flag (taken up by anarchists like Louise Michel during the Paris Commune of 1871, as by the Makhnovists of the Russian Revolution). The sections examining the misogyny of pirate crews as well as the slavery that they practiced themselves challenge the overall thesis about anarchism or proto-anarchism....more
An amusing semi-accurate portrayal of Mikhail Bakunin as the title character. While Bakunin's actual "return" to Russia involved imprisonment in the PAn amusing semi-accurate portrayal of Mikhail Bakunin as the title character. While Bakunin's actual "return" to Russia involved imprisonment in the Peter and Paul fortress and exile in Siberia due to his revolutionism (including participation in the 1848 uprising in France), Turgenev does not portray Rudin as participating in anything terribly subversive until the text's very end, when he is shot down while defying the reactionaries atop a barricade in Paris, July 1848, brandishing the red flag....more