New Publication: A Method to the Madness: The Revolutionary Marxist Method of Deleuze and Guattari

A new issue of the Russian journal Stasis was recently released. Its title, “For Deleuze.” The issues includes a piece by me in which I argue that the third chapter of Anti-Oedipus on philosophical anthropology is Deleuze and Guattari’s most enduring contribution to Marxism. I bookend my argument with a discussion of Marx’s mode of presentation in Capital, which I theorize through Marxist Feminism and a critique of various political positions their proponents attributed to D&G (social democrats, Braudelian markets, non-capitalism). Furthermore, I include a very substantial chart of AO that may be one of the more important contributions of the article.

Stasis is a significant venue for me. It is run by scholars at the European University, St. Petersburg, a shining star of radical theory and critique in Russia. Their radicalism has met serious state repression, such as having their teaching accreditation revoked for a time and being forced out of their facilities. In spite of this, they continue to publish pathbreaking work like Stasis. Also significant is how the journal expands on the country’s long tradition of thinking while remaining independent from a wider intellectual environment awash in scientistic positivism (both surging neo-liberal social sciences and older Soviet orthodoxy).

All issues of Stasis remain free, accessible, and bi-lingual with simultaneous English and Russian texts for every article. Their rich cross-pollination of what American scholars came to call “theory” and the post-Soviet archive is uniquely rich. For one, there is significant working reading the Russian archive back into scholarly conversations (such as so-called Western Marxism) that tended to have a one-dimensional depiction of Soviet-era thought as it was prismatically refracted through massive state propaganda. Of particular significance are pre-Stalinist materials from workers journals, speculative philosophy, and political experiments prove that the Soviets had much more to contribute than what many had been led to believe. Moreover, their scope is not merely historical but brutally contemporary. Post-Soviet reckoning with the putative constitutional republicanism of liberal capitalist democracy helps break out of the Euro-American obsession of treating their own experiments as models for the rest of the world. Continue reading “New Publication: A Method to the Madness: The Revolutionary Marxist Method of Deleuze and Guattari”

Militancy, Antagonism, and Power: Rethinking Intellectual Labor, Relocating the University

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Here is the expanded version of a co-written talk presented at the 2015 MLA Subconference. Thanks to the organizers, my wonderful co-panelists, and the incredibly vibrant follow-up conversation.

“What was once the factory is now the university.” This is the premise the opens the Edu-factory Collective’s Towards a Global Autonomous University–it is also the premise upon which the collective was formed. Co-founded by Gigi Roggero, the collective’s work functions as a road-block to the demands of academic labor. It critiques the foundations upon which academic labor is organized and opposes the hierarchy that commands academic publication. The collective’s conceptual work, forefronted by Roggero’s thought in particular, explains the importance of these interventions.

The number of ways in which in the university is now the factory are perhaps too many to list: increased demand for productivity, an increase in working hours without an increase in pay, the rapid proliferation of contingent positions, and the production of a highly skilled but also an under/unemployed population of workers are perhaps the most recognizable in this list. These and more are addressed in Towards a Global Autonomous University, but they are also enduring sites of struggle. Especially in the US, academics have yet to recognize and mobilize against these issues en masse. Continue reading “Militancy, Antagonism, and Power: Rethinking Intellectual Labor, Relocating the University”

Militancy, Antagonism, and Power: Rethinking Intellectual Labor, Relocating the University

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This is the abstract for a co-written presentation I will be presenting at the MLA Subconference in Vancouver, BC in about a week. Perhaps I will see some of you there.

“Above all,” co-founder of the Edufactory collective Gigi Roggero writes, “[The Production of Living Knowledge] inquires into the new production of subjectivity: the category of living knowledge is the attempt to reread the Marxian concept of living labor within the present context.”n1 His project grows out of a collective effort by Edufactory to identify how the university exists as a space of struggle, but also how it serves as apparatus that captures social knowledge to prevent its becoming-common. For them, the politics of the university is “how to collectively re-appropriate the university;” their answer is to “face this problem from within.”n2 Continue reading “Militancy, Antagonism, and Power: Rethinking Intellectual Labor, Relocating the University”

Open Call: With Friends Like These?

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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?”

Cynical Ideology

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Cynical ideology is a powerful explanatory tool. It is important to be clear about ideology, its function, and the effects of ideology and ideology critique. There is a common sense definition of ideology: the warping of reality. Marx’s definition of ideology in Capital follows a similar path but with a twist of obliviousness: “they do not know it, but they are doing it,” he writes about humans who do not understand abstract labor and thus to unknowingly accept a wage for less than the value of their labor (“The Commodity,” Capital). Ideology in this formulation is the naiveté that emerges when consciousness drifts from reality to delusion. The greater the miscrecognition, the most warped the representations of the social world, and the wider the separation of a subject from effective causes. This problem stated as such implies its own solution: a critical-ideology procedure can “lead the naïve ideological consciousness to a point at which it can recognize its own effective conditions, the social reality that it is distorting, and through this very act dissolve (ideology) itself” (Sublime Object, 28).

Certainly there are some critics of naiveté that promise ways to peer behind illusion to see how things “actually are,” as if there were truer, more accurate ways to see social reality. Frederic Jameson calls this approach to ideology critique ‘conspiracy theory,’ as its focus on ‘unmasking’ or ‘unveiling’ social realities presupposes that action will follow such denuding (“Cognitive Mapping,” 356). Conspiracy theory further approaches ideology through an elitist approach to knowledge whereby a select few hold enough privileged knowledge while the rest are kept in a state of naiveté. Continue reading “Cynical Ideology”

Software as Ideology

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Digression I just cut from a paper:

Hardware alone appears meaningless. When you gaze into an electric circuit, nothing gazes back into you. Software’s visual environments seem to be the real point of access – in particular, operating systems populated by desktops and recycling bins (Chun, “On Software, or the Persistence of Visual Knowledge,” 43). Transistors are not represented on the screen here. This is not to say that software exists independent from hardware. In fact, the basic function of hardware is to emit “signifiers of voltage differences” (Kittler, “There Is No Software,” 150). What connects hardware and software is then a “functional analogy to ideology” (43). Continue reading “Software as Ideology”

Representing Abolition: A Critique of Communisation

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Highlights from Ray Brassier’s quite substantial critique of “communization”:

Endnotes “argue (rightly, in my view) that there can be no exit from the capital relation because it constitutes us: ‘What we are is, at the deepest level, constituted by this relation, and it is a rupture with the reproduction of what we are that will necessarily form the horizon of our struggles.’11 Thus there can be no secession from the capital relation, only its abolition. Communisation is the name for this abolition-in-process.” Continue reading “Representing Abolition: A Critique of Communisation”