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"We should have intention?" Sounds like a left-wing lolcat meme. Ugh, we really need to get organized.
Toggle Commented Sep 26, 2011 on Doug Henwood on Occupy Wall Street at I cite
Issues around Russia during and post-USSR, in relation to arguing for socialism today are always vexing for me. How do you tell students or other interlocutors that the Soviet Union "wasn't all that bad" in a way that doesn't valourize or excuse away many of the horrifying policies and events, especially under Stalin? I remember watching a Bill Maher interview with Whoopie Goldberg who, apparently lived in East Berlin for a bit. She said she loved her time there, hanging out with all kinds of bohemian artist types. But when she was pressed to make a normative comment about the political system, she only had the ability to say "it wasn't all that bad." It was clear that, that she was completely uneasy making even this simple statement, and today this sort of position is largely prohibited by the progressive Left. How do we go about distinguishing the Soviet Union's progressive social policies from the crimes? I know Zizek talks about this some, but I don't think I really understand his argument (something along the line of they're inextricably linked). It seems like the contemporary left wants to start something completely new and entirely disavow the history of the USSR, China, Yugoslavia, et al. This is clearly too easy a way out. I know you've posted something about this very question on this Blog, Jodi. I think I'll re-read it, but I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you might approach these issues with undergrads, for example, or just regular joes.
Toggle Commented Jul 8, 2011 on Russian population decline at I cite
I might add that the last sentence I wrote - that maybe the next disaster will return the stolen enjoyment - is a similar logic to Marxists who get partial enjoyment out of anticipating that "this collapse" may be the big one, THE collapse that brings on communism. I think your analysis would be useful to apply to far leftist thought as well, to see what kind of structural fantasies have to be overcome on the Left (or heightened, I suppose).
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2011 on Big government (ooh, baby, yes, please!) at I cite
Great post Jodi! Let me see if I understand the logic (although I think I'll be adding my own rambling thoughts to it). The reason why the Republicans (and to a lesser extent the Democrats) achieve electoral success, despite constantly performing poorly when in power, has two discursive components. First, they promise in advance that they will fail, because government is ineffective and inefficient. If they succeeded to govern well for the majority or the "people", they would actually fail in their promise to fail. This becomes a vicious circle ... maybe a little bit of the logic of Zizekian drive at work. Second, they actually appear to simultaneously succeed, in that as long as Wall Street, which is a proxy for the corporate elite, does well, their average American supporters believe the nation's doing well. When Wall Street doesn't do well, like during the financial crisis, the fetishized logic is that the government didn't fail enough at its job of (non)governing. The circular logic is what keeps Americans voting for the Republicans, despite the fact that said Americans are unable to attain their coveted enjoyment. But maybe the next failure will finally return that enjoyment which was stolen ...
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2011 on Big government (ooh, baby, yes, please!) at I cite
In Canada, we're dealing with the fallout of back-to-work legislation for our most militant, progressive major union - CUPW - that represents postal workers. Unfortunately, the fallout is that it appears the public is overwhelmingly hostile to the postal workers and have no issue with the Harper government's tactics. The vitriolic resentment of public workers in this country is terrifying, and I think at least comparable to the sentiment in the US. It seems reminiscent of Zizek's musings on one of the manifestations of the frustrating search for enjoyment. I don't have enjoyment (read: benefits, high wages, job security) but they do (public workers). Therefore, it must mean that they've stolen this enjoyment/benefits from me. Why can't we convince the middle and working class that it's the rich that's stolen these things from us? It should be simple ... obvious even, but nonetheless, here we are.