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Jocelyn
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i am glad these folks are out there but i am cautious. i fear that after we have *our* demonstration of rage at OWS that some compromise will be made with the gov't in a jobs bill or something ... or maybe people will just get tired and go home. things will carry on as usual and capitalism, if it finds a way to accommodate the rage and make a place for it, it will fortify itself.
Toggle Commented Oct 6, 2011 on The struggle to occupy #occupywallstreet at I cite
i'm an IBEW member. it is rare to find other people who want to talk union politics at all, let alone trying to find those who are pro-union. most are very conservative, with an exceptional few (and i live in a very liberal-strong union town, in terms of market share). i know you all probably realize this, but unions are not enough. they were only ever meant to serve as merely a buffer to appease class conflict. i realize this is glaringly obvious. still, it is better to be union no matter where you are or what you do. it can never hurt. unfortunately i think *class consciousness* is lost on them. not sure why. not sure what can be done. at this point. maybe not too much at all. it is more like a waiting game, i am afraid. a waiting game for the worse.
okay, i see where you are coming from now. I agree that at the least, the OBL assassination was unlawful. perhaps, i am wiling to concede unjust, i don't know. what if he had been tried in a court and then put to death? would that be just? (not rhetorical, a serious quesiton--i am thinking of Arendt's writings on Eichmann--not that i believe there is a direct parallel btwn OBL & Eichmann). "The result: murderous violence occurs, but that doesn't make it just or right." perhaps you are right. but it (murderous violence) may be necessary or perhaps inevitable (obviously not in the case of OBL). i guess at which point, *justice* becomes something totally other, maybe even obsolete. I can imagine this but have never lived through something like this but can see how this might be a *truth*, in a Badiouian (?) sense. I am thinking specifically of Israel/Palestine. and then, something Zizek wrote: "for the oppressed, violence is always legitimate—since their very status is the result of violence—but never necessary: it is always a matter of strategic consideration whether to use force against the enemy or not." http://newleftreview.orgpage=article&view=2853%23_edn1%23_edn1 how do we avoid moralistic, liberal (foreclosed) frameworks while maintaining symbolic efficiency (ie justice)? your take on the big Other here is interesting. convincing, but i don't know if this changes anything because i think most people celebrating OBL's death know very well that torture is a reality and i think most of them are totally cool with it, in part because as you describe it, the big Other [allows them convenience]...but the more terrifying thing is that despite being at least somewhat conscious of this, they continue to dance. maybe we have reached a new threshold.
Toggle Commented May 11, 2011 on Obscenity and assassination at I cite
I found the cheering and ecstatic singing of the national anthem absolutely repulsive. God, we Americans just look lamer and lamer all the time. I am with Alain in the sense that * Justice * does not really resonate with me as I think the definitions for it are moderated by Liberalism and thus suspect. I can imagine moments when the sense of Justice could be altered from what I momentarily conceive it to be. Justice has long been perverted by the status quo, no? think of the industrial prison system here in this country. Further, I can imagine that my sensibilities regarding Justice might be altered with the unpredictability of a revolution (and the violence that often follows in its wake). What I note about the OBL incident is not a moral matter but rather the fact that however terrible this guy was and however terrible the crimes he committed may have been, the US, arguably, is guilty of such crimes many times over (drone strikes, countless wars, collateral damage). Yes, he was a terrorist but there are many people who would argue that our gov't is also guilty of terrorism. On the same note, there are many bad dudes out there. Why are Americans so attached to this one? Clearly, b/c of the incident on 9/11--but of course this screams nationalism (and with it fascism, racism-islamophobia). OBL was responsible for terrible crimes but the reality is, he was an obstacle to US expansionism and Empire. He threatened us in a way that no other entity has for some time. We are markedly different because of a movement of which he, appropriately (or not), became the figurehead. I really have no feelings about his death per se, but i find it appalling that the US gov't can invade any country it wants and assassinate whoever it wants. and get away with it. I think perhaps this is an argument for Jodi's *justice*, though i don't know if that is what she meant. The total domination of the world, the absolutism with which the US acts, is what is truly disturbing about this incident.
Toggle Commented May 11, 2011 on Alterman is wrong at I cite
yes, Alain, you are right. but a new order will not necessarily be a *better* one. I realize you prob recognize this but it baffles me how societies will wait until the last minute, hanging on to survival by a mere string before they are willing to think and act, proactively. I have the disintegration of unions in mind, and how we are just watching them blow away, along with the rest of the *middle class*. Perhaps this is the only way things will change. but i doubt it will be for the better.
I love it that the Willamette Week made it on yr page.
and, "What are leftists afraid of?... Maybe it's a fear for one's own privileged--an outraged people is unlikely to stop at the university gates." yes, precisely.
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2011 on What do you mean, "doesn't work"? at I cite
nicely done, i have been waiting for a post on this, seriously. i can't tell you how many times i have had this absurd argument with people. i think you make many good points, Jodi, that i will certainly add to my mental files as i have this conversation with people. I, in contrast to Jasper, absolutely think it is worthwhile to point out the ways in which the Soviet Union made great social strides within the context of "communism". I think part of this anxiety over the word communism, (in addition to everything Jodi pointed out, especially what i recognize as a fear of our radical freedom, in the hegelian, zizekian sense) has a lot to do with the desire for the purity of the word or purity of the idea. isn't communism as complicated as any other human idea, project, identity, desire? and so, while i definitely get Alain's point about the Left being castigated with terms like "socialist" or "communist", at what point do we use that logic to invert the understanding. someone brought up the use of the term, "queer". i think something like this is possible for communism. i think part of the difficulty with this issue is that we are getting hung up on the "essence" of the word, as if there were an essence. i think this is the vestige of liberalism, haunting us with its mandates and circumscribing our imagination. also, i find the anti-intellectualism, anti-academic mantra disconcerting. as if "working people" or "the young" aren't intellectual or academic. again, as if "the people" have some predetermined, simplistic essence. as if we don't need deep study and discipline if we are to foment rebellion and change because after all no revolution has ever come without those things.
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2011 on What do you mean, "doesn't work"? at I cite
hey jodi, where's the link to reference this? I tried googling but came up with nothing. thanks
a remarkable and desperate example of this is the Obama Admin./Arne Duncan's Race to the Top, where [public] schools are now being funded by federal *Prize* money.
Toggle Commented Dec 31, 2010 on Finding the one at I cite
to follow up on Conrad's point: here is a quote from Julian Assange in the Guardian newspaper a few days ago: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2010/dec/03/julian-assange-wikileaks "The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be "free" because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade." I was very much impressed with this analysis and he clearly is up to much, much more than simply being the thorn in the side of power. i think he is on to something and i hope the leaks are able to generate the debate referred to in Conrad's link. I too, think that perhaps there is something that looks like the commons here.
i think communism IS enough. i just want to broaden what it means. what isn't enough is a narrow understanding of communism that deals [only] with the tangible or concrete disparity of labor and resources. there are also the tacit inequalities that must be brought under the concept of a commons. if we accept that communism is the actualization of a universality, which i do, then it IS the ultimate horizon. that doesn't mean there is not conflict within it. or that it is utopian. or that it is determinant or fixed. but it is the realization of a universal. i am just suggesting a reconstruction or re-evaluation of our desires, our cultures, the very tacit ways we go about creating the world. otherwise i don't see how a successful transition or revolution can be sustainable. maybe you are saying that too, don't know. but i do think this will require discipline and commitment to education and especially philosophy. it will require people giving up things they are deeply attached to. this is not unrelated to difference, b/c difference signals particularity (and thus the symbolic). how we go about developing new understandings of difference, i think will not only be integral to the struggle of communism but also elemental in the very foundation and longevity of what we build ("the day after"-so to speak).
Toggle Commented Nov 24, 2010 on Closer to communism at I cite
i was thinking about this again. i think my point was more that, the redistribution of wealth and re-imagining the division of labor, under communism, is not enough. What makes Zizek so much more radical in thought, than most theorists/philosophers writing in this era, is that he wagers that we can create a different symbolic order. that we are not stuck btwn norms and [the unlikely story] of transgression. something else is possible. i think for communism to be truly transformative, thoroughly and deeply revolutionary, we must have the shared goal of developing a new symbolic realm. what will that look like? is it even possible? i think it is. i think a new ontology of difference, if you will, is necessary.
Toggle Commented Nov 24, 2010 on Closer to communism at I cite
yeah, your last line says it. my first thought in reading this was yes, but what to do about identity politics. i agree with zizek, if i recall correctly, something about other identities being a subtext of class, i buy this. b/c i think other identities are produced through and in capital. and i would agree that they then produce, inflect, generate one another in often unpredictable ways. but how can we be sure, or maybe we can't [that is that we will just learn to appreciate differences]. as i defend this premise (other identities are a subtext....etc.), i find myself hesitating. i mean the "stuff" part is taken care of--they won't be rewarded with a better quality of life for simply being heirs to the wealthy or brilliant opportunists, etc. but we still have other inequalities that may not fade away. this is something i have a hard time envisioning (what it might look like under communism).
Toggle Commented Nov 23, 2010 on Closer to communism at I cite
jodi, you have some very interesting ideas about the plan--to shift toward communism and organizing people. i have seen attempts that sound like the one you describe above, offering DIY workshops to people on a wide basis of skill development, political understanding, even philosophy and analysis, community gardens, alternative sources of energy and how to develop and use them on an individual basis. i have known people who have confiscated land and built something of what might be referred to as compounds without the money or religious fundamentalism that usually accompanies this sort of setup--most of these situations are usually integrated into a kind of back to the land movement, which is not uncommon in oregon where i am from. my question to you is, how do you make this kind of localism viral? in the sense of universal? because i think that is what it will take. does the Left exist, sure i think it does. are we/they organized and most importantly capable of collective action. i would say no, i do not think so. there was a very good discussion of this very issue last week on An Und Fur Sich ( i see you have them in yr blog roll). but i very much agree with some of the folks writing there that the Left must be universalized and that the response must also be universal. i think localism is very limited. how do we move to something on a grand scale because i do not think we can win without this. of course that is infinitely complicated. i feel the situation is growing more desperate by the day. thanks again.
Toggle Commented Nov 21, 2010 on Inept or unwilling? at I cite
both. inept and unwilling.
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2010 on Inept or unwilling? at I cite
i like this topic, i often think about this idea. i guess what i would add is, it all depends on who is doing the intuiting, now doesn't it. i clearly get yer point about "common sense" and "intuition", i think some of my favorite work on this is by Drucilla Cornell, if i remember correctly. and she and others are right to make this point, however, i also think there is something to be said for doing some intuiting--i think hegel made a statement that this is a sign that thought is going on (or at least ideally); for example, i suspect the teabaggers are up to no good, i imagine many who read this blog might agree; [though there may be a kernel of truth in their rage]. so, i think that there may be times when it is appropriate to assert one's "intellectual superiority" over the feelings or thoughts of others--or maybe not intellectual superiority but rather superior assessment of a given situation, cuz sometimes yer just right, ya know, and well... the teabaggers are misguided. there is truth in this. of course "our guts can go wrong", but i maintain, we also need not fear (or evade) our intuition either. many great academic treatises begin with, "i suspect...",--afterall.
Toggle Commented Nov 13, 2010 on Gut feeling at I cite
woah, when i first read that i thought it was a joke. jodi dean a communist, no. oh, and i am a "working" person--a union carpenter. jodi, i think far more people read your work than perhaps you realize.
"Not voting is an act that amounts, both politically and symbolically, to endorsing the right-wing train wreck" --so does voting. that is the point. it is all just a stupid joke. robert and jodi are right. and we are all fucked.
Toggle Commented Oct 28, 2010 on No Vote at I cite
"How long can people continue who view their lives in terms of appetites?" -a very long time, apparently. I think the crux of the problem (or question) here is ultimately a matter of belief. Of course, neoliberalism and the superego will compel us toward transience and enjoyment...but so will vast parts of the academic left, and in this way they seem to be aligned with popular opinion (generalizing here, but let's consider it for the sake of my argument)--as nuanced and valuable as I found postcolonial studies, queer studies-what zizek refers to as the culturalization of politics- to be, as a young person, the unfortunate sacrifice was truth and freedom and meaning. i don't want to rehash the culture wars or give way to too much tribalism but i do think this remains the stumbling block. While there is some truth in the critique of "narratives" of sovereignty or freedom or meaning--there is also something missing--think of a situation like that in the Gulf and BP telling the EPA to go fuck themselves regarding the use of dispersants--Things like a concern for a meaningful life or the faith in a deeper freedom--are a hilarious joke to such folks--the use of such terms as freedom or truth are "antiquated" "vacuous"--very recently, i actually had a friend in the academy dismiss my argument on exactly those grounds (followed by a long pause of pity), so it goes, it is not even worth discussing, we are past that now and can never return, this view is echoed by friends not in the academy (but then i am not in the academy and cannot say for sure). i guess this is why i think all of these kind of debates are really ontological ones, in this case, meaning debates about belief. a negative view of the world (as in a lack, a void through which we protrude outward and create a world) or is it the case that "it is what it is" and we can never really know more beyond what is displayed in front of us though it may be complex and in need of critique--a non-all view vs. a one-all view. without much more naysaying, what i really want to say is that, this line: "Private purposes are the privation of purpose, its evacuation from loci of meaning" was particularly poignant and beautiful. it made me really sad and i thought for awhile why this should get to me so much--well i know now, obviously: what is the purpose of talking about meaning if it is only a matter of belief? someone on my facebook page posted something last week to the extent that they feel the need to hide updates of a political nature, after all this individual surmised (paraphrasing here): nobody holds the trump card to anyone else's hand. of course i disagree. there are still a few trumps out there. nonetheless, it is all a stupid joke; why even talk about it, the verdict is in. there is no truth. i'll end with my favorite badiou quote and thanks again for this weeks posts. "It is very fashionable right now to be modest, not to think big. Grandeur is considered a metaphysical evil. Me, I am for grandeur, I am for heroism. I am for the affirmation of the thought and the deed. "--Badiou
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2010 on Disgust at I cite
i keep thinking about how-- and maybe this is glaringly obvious but nontheless--the administration keeps spinning the wikileaks case as: this is nothing new, no new knowledge has been ascertained while at the same time castigating wikileaks for putting u.s. personnel and general u.s. security at risk. so wikileaks is both inconsequential and critically detrimental to u.s. interests and lives. i don't know what this means but i suspect it is important to understanding this strange and interesting case.
i wonder, what is resistance anyway, Alain? Hedges is right to say the left or liberals (i do recognize them to be different) have failed--but isn't this just such a huge question that even the greatest minds cannot unravel--that of what constitutes resistance? I mean, could the left had done otherwise (besides a better healthcare bill, better fin. reg., but what about the whole larger issue of the entire machine)? what would it mean for the left to succeed? there was a discussion on another post about the "system being rotten to the core" or something like that--in which case, the left is sort of saddled with some unrealistic expectations. I don't agree with Hedges paranoic version of the fundamentalist christians taking over, although, i don't think it can be underestimated the extent to which they are/will be a force to be reckoned with, to be sure. look at the texas board of education.
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Nov 18, 2009