Theory

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"Debord, Secrecy & Politics"
Jack Bratich

When: 7.00 pm, Tuesday 03.15.11
Who: Free and open to all
Where: 16 Beaver Street 4th floor
What: Discussion/Presentation

This Tuesday night, on the Ides of March, we will be welcoming thinker,
writer, and frequent contributor to the space, Jack Bratich, to introduce
and lead a discussion on Guy Debord's seminal yet relatively overlooked
'Comments on the Society of the Spectacle.'

Written prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc,
Guy Debord’s short, cryptic book 'Comments …' (originally titled Treatise
on Secrets, and not to be confused with the original Society of the
Spectacle) presciently speaks of terrorism, pre-emption, organized
insecurity, unspecified enemies, infiltration of opposition, and ever
pervasive covert operations.

Call for Papers: Radical Democracy Conference, New York, April 4-5, 2011

April 4 – April 5, 2011, New York, NY
Paper Abstracts Submission Deadline: January 31
Notification Date: February 18
Full Papers Deadline: March 21

The Department of Politics at The New School for Social Research, incollaboration with the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University, is sponsoring a two-day graduate student conference interrogating the concept, history, and implications of radical democracy. Striving to assess the legacy of antiquity o ncontemporary radical democratic theory, as well as explore the work of contemporary theorists such as Abensour, Arendt, Castoriadis, Mouffe, Negri, Ranciere, and Wolin, we invite you to submit abstracts on any theme pertaining to the history, meaning, development and application, or critique of the concept of “radical democracy.”

Small Efforts To Contribute To Working Class Resistance In Today's United States Kevin Keating Since the early 1990's, actions in the San Francisco Bay Area around mass transit, described here, http://www.infoshop.org/myep/love2.html the initial impetus behind this, http://www.infoshop.org/myep/muni_social_strikeout.html http://www.infoshop.org/myep/muni_farestrike.html efforts to disseminate this among US military personnel, http://www.infoshop.org/myep/love3.html and the anti-gentrification Mission Yuppie Eradication Project http://www.infoshop.org/myep/myep_criticism.html have been part of an ongoing effort to establish a new kind of anti-state/anti-market, autonomous class struggle praxis among mainstream working people in the contemporary United States.
Telling the Truth about Class Gáspár Miklós Tamás One of the central questions of social theory has been the relationship between class and knowledge, and this has also been a crucial question in the history of socialism. Differences between people – acting and knowing subjects – may influence our view of the possibility of valid cognition. If there are irreconcilable discrepancies between people’s positions, going perhaps as far as incommensurability, then unified and rational knowledge resulting from a reasoned dialogue among persons is patently impossible. The Humean notion of ‘passions’, the Nietzschean notions of ‘resentment’ and ‘genealogy’, allude to the possible influence of such an incommensurability upon our ability to discover truth.
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Embodied Materialism in Action: An Interview with Ariel Salleh Gerry Canavan, Lisa Klarr, and Ryan Vu Ariel Salleh has been working at the intersection of ecology, feminism, and materialism since the early 1980s. Her emphasis on the need for an embodied materialist analysis of global capitalism offers a crucial antidote to the objective idealisms of postmodern and poststructuralist thought. Her seminal work Ecofeminism as Politics: Nature, Marx, and the Postmodern (1997) seeks to politicize ecofeminism, a branch of ecological thought often imagined to be “murky” and “essentialist,” particularly in its 1970s iteration. In Ecofeminism as Politics, Salleh introduces the ideological formation Man/Woman = Nature to underscore how the aligning of “woman” with “nature” allows for the instrumentalist appropriation of both nature and woman-as-nature. Climate change, overfarming, ocean acidification—all ecological crises stem from this basic ideological structure. In other words, all of these crises are sex-gendered. For Salleh, this is the hidden complication subtending the human/nature split, holding it in place despite the work of otherwise astute critical analysis. Her work is thus a key intervention into the fields of Marxism, socialism, and ecology, and it was with the intent of bringing the insights of feminism into conversation with scholars striving after eco-socialist aims that Salleh joined the editorial board of Capitalism Nature Socialism in 1988, a position she continues to hold. Salleh’s embodied materialist understanding of nature, society, and capitalism has evolved through decades of activist work. She has been a co-convener of the Movement Against Uranium Mining, founding member of the Greens, a participant in local catchment campaigning, the representative ecologist on the Australian government’s Gene Technology Ethics Committee, and an original signatory of the 2001 Eco-Socialist Manifesto.
“Peak Oil” and “Resource Curses” from a Class Perspective George Caffentzis [From a presentation at the Historical Materialism Conference, CUNY Grad Center, New York, NY, Jan. 14-16, 2010.] The intention of these notes is simple: to strip both the peak oil hypothesis of its apocalyptic pathos and the “resource curse” conjecture of its apologetic halo and examine them in the light of historical materialist categories. This translation from the realms of apocalypse and apology to a class analysis is a modest but, I believe, necessary step in fashioning an anti-capitalist energy politics. I do this not because I am an adherent of what I call the “peak oil complex,” or of the “resource curse” hypothesis, but because they have become major features of contemporary energy politics, and in order to enter into the discussion, one must recognize the milestones along the way.
Emancipation under Conditions that the Left Didn’t Want: Generalized Resource Shortages as a Historical Crisis of the Social Andreas Exner, Christian Lauk & Konstantin Kulterer “If there is a lack of appropriate analysis of environmental processes and societal relations to nature because they don’t fit into the wishful thinking of ‘eternal capitalism,’ dangerous ways of ideologically processing the crisis can gain momentum.” Rising prices for food are increasing hunger, a global recession is waiting in the wings, and at the same time, energy is getting more and more expensive. Within only a few years, the terrain has changed dramatically for left movements. Nonetheless, many people are still holding on to well-known formulas. Unfortunately, they don’t fit the new circumstances.
Grasping the Political in the Event Maurizio Lazzarato [This interview with Maurizio Lazzarato (ML) was conducted on 27 November 2008 by Brian Massumi (BM) and Erin Manning (EM). It is reposted from "Micropolitics: Exploring Ethico-Aesthetics," Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation, No. 3. October 2009. Maurizio Lazzarato: ML Brian Massumi: BM Erin Manning: EM BM: I thought I would take as the point of departure a recent article I read in the New York Times (2008), where a certain kind of rhetoric – seen everywhere these days – was mobilized. This was an article about Morgan Stanley, one of the large financial institutions, which stated that the problem is that we consume too much. We are dying of consumption. The economic crisis was caused by an excess of consumption, and it’s the fault of individual consumers who got themselves too indebted: it’s a personal moral fault. You speak of debt as a technique that is an aspect of an ensemble of governmental assemblages. Could you elaborate on and react to this idea that the crisis was caused by the individual behaviour of consumers? ML: I think that the financial crisis brings to the fore the governmental technique which is debt. I think that debt, therefore credit, is a governmental technique that is more widespread in the US than it is here in France. It is at once an economic technique and a technique for the production or the control of subjectivity. These things go together. It’s interesting to see how governmentality produces itself at the crossing of different assemblages: the production of subjectivity and the economy. We can see very clearly what was the neo-liberal project: generally speaking we can say that finance was a machine to transform rights into credits. Instead of getting a raise in salary, you would get a credit. Instead of having a right to retirement, you would get an individual life insurance. Instead of having a right to lodging, you would get the right to a mortgage. These are techniques of individualization.
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