Against Democratization

It’s become common to complain that social media have created “bubbles” and aided political polarization. It has also become common to object that the Internet has fallen short of serving as a public sphere, largely because of the ways commercial interests have shaped it. In this context, various technologies—from apps and online petitions to organizational […]

You Say You Want a Revolution?

Since the latest UN climate report, some friends and acquaintances have been saying (repeating, actually) that https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fjodi.dean3%2Fposts%2F10156553770399277&width=500“>only a revolution can save us. This strikes me a not just wrongheaded, but dangerously so.   By “revolution,” these people generally mean something like seizing direct collective control of the means of production—of necessity on a global scale. […]

Compromised Terms, or How To Win “The Working Class”

One of the most important insights generated by post-Marxist thought is that “class,” as the name of a structural position/condition within capitalist relations of production, is that which cannot function as a social identity. It emerges there only in displaced form of various proxies. Unfortunately, various critiques of liberalism, the nation-state, procedural democracy, and the like […]

Russiagate: A Reply to Marxist Friends

Many of my Marxist friends are deeply put off by Russiagate. Best I can tell, their argument runs along the following lines: Claims, largely advanced by liberals, corporate Democrats and for-profit media outlets, that “Russia interfered in our elections” are overstated. Conjecture and assumption often pass for established fact, and allegations are either unsubstantiated by […]

Populism or Fascism—A False Choice

In a recent blog post about what he calls “aspirational fascism,” William Connolly writes: …a focus on guardrails alone reproduces the conditions that created the crisis in the first place. It under plays how radical actions within universities, corporations, localities, and the state challenged ordinary party politics as it extended the pluralization of civic culture. […]

The Trouble with Radicalism

For all the sharp criticism self-described leftists and radicals aim at liberals and liberalism, virtually every successful social movement in the US has been liberal at its core. Even when movement leaders, such as MLK, Jr., were opposed to liberal ideas, they succeeded largely by relying on those ideas. King may have been a socialist, […]