May 1st, Thursday, 4pm, Market and 15th Street.
Let’s join together to FIGHT BACK against the 1% and return International Workers’ Day to its roots as a day that builds power for all of the working class, including the unemployed, the poor, and the marginalized. We will march in solidarity against all forms of oppression and injustice to demonstrate that our demands are part of a connected class struggle ignored by our elected leaders.
The Philly May 1st Coalition wants you to join our growing coalition of progressive groups from Philadelphia working together to organize a working class unity march for International Workers’ Day. This group will serve as a meeting place for members and potential members of the coalition as we work together to prepare for May Day.
In Occupy, in a memorial to Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky gives a lot of the very basic history necessary for understanding the possibilities for revolution in the United States. I focus on his talk because it covers my chief concern when thinking about revolution: Why is revolution rarely defined as the seizure of workplaces by workers? Why has this notion of revolution been taken out of contention in favor of protest and legislative and juridical action?
Some of you have seen this, but I wanted to share the link to the CTW website so that others have it as well (feel free to circulate it since the Workshop will take place every year).
This is an initial attempt at working out and synthesizing some thoughts on an excellent book by a friend of mine, Rodrigo Nunes. I think it relates to a few people’s projects, so my focus here has been mainly to recapitulate some main arguments, but I’m planning to do a little bit more work and publish this somewhere pretty soon, so I’d appreciate thoughts and criticisms, especially from people who are honing in on specific contemporary movements.
Alain Badiou’s provocative The Rebirth of History poses some interesting challenges for anyone wishing to weigh in on the revolutionary wagers taking place around the world since at least late 2010. One of the central assumptions driving Badiou’s metaphors and argumentative shifts is that these wagers are usefully categorized under the general heading of riots. This move allows him the neat distinctions between immediate riots (characterized by unrest and state violence, but ambivalent in terms of progressive potential), latent riots (the potentiality for an immediate riot within affluent western countries) and historical riots (an immediate riot that has undergone a transformation from nihilistic and chaotic outbursts of violence to a pre-political riot capable of undergoing progressive organization, expressing the general will, and finally enacting real changes within what exists in the world). Badiou centers his attention around the task of organization, which he rightly defines as “the problem of politics par excellence.” (42) However, Badiou’s characterization of these revolutionary wagers as riots also allows him a heuristic around which he is able to play out some of his central concerns regarding the relationship of philosophy, politics, and truth, sometimes to the detriment of obscuring actual commonalities or real differences within the organization of revolutionary events, such as the fact that in Spain and the United States, protests and riots have been generative of new networks of collaboration, whereas in Egypt and Brazil, new protests and riots have been subsumed as nodes into already-existing networks.
Such a fact is not simply trivial, but rather an essential type of knowledge necessary for bringing theoretical reflection to bear on the contemporary moment. Continue reading
§14. Mapping the Contemporary Revolutionary Conjuncture (4/25 from 5-7:30 p.m. at The Wooden Shoe)
Thanks to the absolutely relentless support we have received from around the world, Northeastern University has backed down on the suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine! We are reinstated and will be fully functional for the fall semester. This is a huge victory for free speech on campus, but also for the entire Palestine solidarity movement in the US. Our fight demonstrates that we will no longer tolerate discussions of Palestine and Israeli crimes being marginalized because some may disagree with us and use their power to try and silence us. Our message was heard at Northeastern loud and clear, so now let’s spread it around the country. Viva Palestine!
Nietzsche and Foucault – The Challenge of Genealogy and Revolutionary Practice (optional reading blog post)
In a 1975 interview, Michel Foucault breaks his self-imposed silence on his relationship with the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche. Foucault underscores Nietzsche’s importance in the history of philosophy, stating “[it] was Nietzsche who specified the power relation as the general focus […] of philosophical discourse.” (1) Regardless of Nietzsche’s historical and contemporary primacy, Foucault nevertheless “prefer[s] to remain silent about Nietzsche” given his intellectual fatigue with scholars “studying him only to produce the same kind of commentaries that are written on Hegel and Mallarmé.” (2) In passing, Foucault gestures toward a different approach to engaging with Nietzsche “the only valid tribute to thought such as [his] is precisely to use it, to deform it, to make it groan and protest.” (3) Not unlike the methods of his friend Gilles Deleuze, Foucault proposes a sort of philosophical enculage that does not necessary respect all the hermeneutic intricacies of traditional historical philosophizing. Continue reading