Open Call: With Friends Like These?

party

I’m looking for co-authors on a text rethinking alliance. Please contact me here or over email, if interested.

If there are good memories of The Party, we are far too young to have them. The Party has always appeared to us as a collection of dim-wits jockeying for power within wooden organizations that shout to the wind in dead languages. Those still fascinated by The Party seem to be geriatrics whose struggles we never really understood, red diaper babies still suckling from their parents, history fanatics obsessed with long-dead rituals, and gray-faced control freaks obsessed with rules or efficiency. So now that The Party’s only arrives at its twilight, we cheer on its zombie existence: The Party is dead! Long live The Party!

The end of The Party comes at another time: the Decline of The Left. Perhaps The Left has never been more than a convenient fiction. Now, more than ever, it is time to question that the loose grouping of “The Left” has anything in common. As radicals, we share nothing with the state bureaucrats, corporate fanatics, and technocratic managers. The Left at its very best is stuck in the Whiggist fantasy of incremental improvement at the hands of a constitutional republicanism that prides itself in personal freedom and scientific skepticism. If there is anything still living in The American Left, it is limited to their plans to recycle projects from the early-20th Century Welfare State or the loose collection of social issues that born out of the 1960’s counter-cultural New Left. Perhaps those two sets of issues are worth fighting for, but in doing so, one cannot help but feel that they are sorely inadequate half-measures.

Without The Party, without The Left, and without The State. We are more than happy to cheer on their demise. But what is lost along the way? Alliance. Continue reading “Open Call: With Friends Like These?”

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Politics Is Dangerous: Against Innocence

goodbyeinnocenceThe recent LIES: a journal of materialist feminism is an excellent collection of critical essays, reflections, communiques, and other writings. Despite its obvious roots in ‘zine culture, it rises above such classification; perhaps what I like best is that the collection presents things to disagree with. Many of these authors have certainly spent time in the world of the personal essay, which puts most writers in a position too vulnerable to propose anything worth disagreeing with your friends about – ‘recognize my experience or fuck you,’ – yet these authors reinvigorate the true meaning of the phrase “the personal is the political.” This isn’t a dumb boys club that starts the night with a good argument that is only to be forgotten  after a few slaps on the back at the bar. This is the lived realization that friendship is political, which is now understood as the politics of struggle built on intimacy but hidden by the seemingly-innocuous cover of “friendship as a way of life.” Yet friendship here is neither an underground network of subversive cells nor a support group turned family, it is the way we make it through our miserable lives by being political. They’re not looking for reform, rights, recognition – they’re laughing at Andy Warhol selling pictures of his mangled chest, they’re eagerly sharing diary entries about cheating the boss and getting back at bad boyfriends (aren’t they about the same?), and they’re trying not to gloat about having their finger on the pulse of the struggle way before everyone else.

But for me, the real gem of the journal is Jackie Wang’s “Against Innocence: race, gender, and the politics of safety.” Continue reading “Politics Is Dangerous: Against Innocence”