Friday, April 25, 2014
As you know, Lawrence and Wishhart, an English private publishing house, has decided to hold the copyright of MECW, thus deleting all the texts starting from April 30th. It is ironic that the works tha are going to be deleted fought and critique such behavior.
However, here is the PDF to all 47 volumes.
However, here is the PDF to all 47 volumes.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Chiasma: A Site for Thought seeks submissions that perform a double operation of disjunction and conjunction upon their given materials of thought. Originally a Greek word denoting an X or a ‘cross-shaped mark,’ in the field of genetics ‘chiasma’ refers to the point of contact between crossed chromatids undergoing meiosis. Genetic materials are here brought together and broken down, then reassembled to form novel combinations. Analogously, Chiasma is a site dedicated to breakdown and innovative hybridity at the level of thought and in the context of theory.
The core of the editorial board of Chiasma: A Site for Thought is housed in Western University’s Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism. The Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism is rare in its focus, being dedicated to theory as such and not to a specific disciplinary lineage or application, whether literary, philosophical, sociological, politico-scientific, or aesthetic. The Centre catalyzes theoretical production by synthesizing and transforming knowledge from disparate domains, and then relaying this altered material to those same domains. We collect and gain from them; they are ramified by our labour.
All published research articles are selected by a blind review committee and undergo double-blind peer review. Our review section features solicited book, conference and exhibit reviews. We offer one themed issue in the spring of each year, and occasional special editions. Submissions conforming to our guidelines and annual theme are invited until early November of each year.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
New York Times:
"Plenty of scholars sweated through the 20th century trying to reconcile inconsistencies across the great sweep of Marx’s writing, seeking to shape a coherent Marxism out of Marx. Sperber’s approach is more pragmatic. He accepts that Marx was not a body of ideas, but a human being responding to events. In this context, it’s telling that Marx’s prime vocation was not as an academic but as a campaigning journalist: Sperber suggests Marx’s two stints at the helm of a radical paper in Cologne represented his greatest periods of professional fulfillment. Accordingly, much of what the scholars have tried to brand as Marxist philosophy was instead contemporary commentary, reactive and therefore full of contradiction."
Numerous attempts have been made to get Fidel Castro to tell his own story. But it was only as he stepped down after five decades in power, that the Cuban leader finally decided to set out the detail of his life for the world to read. In these pages, he presents a compelling chronicle that spans the harshness of his school teachers; the early failures of the revolution; his comradeship with Che Guevara and their astonishing, against-all-odds victory over the dictator Batista; the Cuban perspective on the Bay of Pigs and the ensuing missile crisis; the active role of Cuba in African independence movements; his dealings with no fewer than ten successive American presidents, from Eisenhower to George W. Bush; and a number of thorny issues, including human rights, the treatment of homosexuals, and the use of the death penalty in Cuba. Along the way he shares intimacies about more personal matters: the benevolent strictness of his father, his successful attempt to give up cigars, his love of Ernest Hemingway’s novels, and his calculation that by not shaving he saves up to ten working days each year. Drawing on more than one hundred hours of interviews, this spoken autobiography will stand as the definitive record of an extraordinary life lived in turbulent times.
Castro justifiably argues the impressive social gains conquered in medicine, health and education as a result of the revolution in 1959/60. “The life expectancy of Cuban citizens is now almost eighteen years longer than in 1959, when the Revolution came to power. “Cuba has an infant mortality rate under 6 per 1,000 live births in their first year of life, behind Canada by a slight margin. It will take us half the time it took Sweden and Japan to raise life expectancy from seventy to eighty years of age – today we are at 77.5.”
At the time of the revolution, Castro points out, life expectancy was 60! This was after 50% of doctors fled abroad following the revolution. For every doctor who remained at the time today there are 15. Free education is open to all who are not employed in a job and over 90,000 students are currently studying medicine, nursing or other aspects of health related studies. All this, despite an economic embargo imposed by US imperialism since 1960 and a severe economic decline which followed the collapse of the former Soviet Union, in 1992, and consequential loss of economic subsidies.
These and other impressive achievements mentioned by Castro give a small glimpse of what would be possible with a socialist planned economy that was democratically controlled and managed by the working class. Another indication of this was reflected in some aspects of Cuba’s foreign policy. Apart from mobilizing over 30,000 doctors to work in over 40 countries one of the most impressive achievements was the sending of tens of thousands of “internationalist volunteers,” from 1975 onwards, to Angola and Namibia. In Angola, the 36,000 troops were able to do combat with the South African apartheid army and, for the first time, inflict a military defeat on it. Cuban forces were crucial in freeing Namibia from South African rule. Over 15 years, more than “300,000 internationalist combatants fulfilled their mission in Angola.” These struggles were to play an important role in the eventual collapse of the apartheid regime. Cuba was, as Castro argues, “The only non-African country that fought and spilled its blood for Africa and against the odious apartheid regime.”
—HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING (with reservations)—
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century
What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.
Piketty shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities on the apocalyptic scale predicted by Karl Marx. But we have not modified the deep structures of capital and inequality as much as we thought in the optimistic decades following World War II. The main driver of inequality--the tendency of returns on capital to exceed the rate of economic growth--today threatens to generate extreme inequalities that stir discontent and undermine democratic values. But economic trends are not acts of God. Political action has curbed dangerous inequalities in the past, Piketty says, and may do so again.
A work of extraordinary ambition, originality, and rigor, Capital in the Twenty-First Century reorients our understanding of economic history and confronts us with sobering lessons for today.
Monday, April 7, 2014
David Harvey, Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism
"What I am seeking here is a better understanding of the contradictions of capital, not of capitalism. I want to know how the economic engine of capitalism works the way it does, and why it might stutter and stall and sometimes appear to be on the verge of collapse. I also want to show why this economic engine should be replaced, and with what." --from the Introduction
To modern Western society, capitalism is the air we breathe, and most people rarely think to question it, for good or for ill. But knowing what makes capitalism work--and what makes it fail--is crucial to understanding its long-term health, and the vast implications for the global economy that go along with it.
In Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism, the eminent scholar David Harvey, author of A Brief History of Neoliberalism, examines the internal contradictions within the flow of capital that have precipitated recent crises. He contends that while the contradictions have made capitalism flexible and resilient, they also contain the seeds of systemic catastrophe. Many of the contradictions are manageable, but some are fatal: the stress on endless compound growth, the necessity to exploit nature to its limits, and tendency toward universal alienation. Capitalism has always managed to extend the outer limits through "spatial fixes," expanding the geography of the system to cover nations and people formerly outside of its range. Whether it can continue to expand is an open question, but Harvey thinks it unlikely in the medium term future: the limits cannot extend much further, and the recent financial crisis is a harbinger of this.
David Harvey has long been recognized as one of the world's most acute critical analysts of the global capitalist system and the injustices that flow from it. In this book, he returns to the foundations of all of his work, dissecting and interrogating the fundamental illogic of our economic system, as well as giving us a look at how human societies are likely to evolve in a post-capitalist world.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Slavoj Zizek, Mapping Ideology
For a long time, the term ‘ideology’ was in disrepute, having become associated with such unfashionable notions as fundamental truth and the eternal verities. The tide has turned, and recent years have seen a revival of interest in the questions that ideology poses to social and cultural theory, and to political practice.
Mapping Ideology is a comprehensive reader covering the most important contemporary writing on the subject. Including Slavoj iek’s study of the development of the concept from Marx to the present, assessments of the contributions of Lukács and the Frankfurt School by Terry Eagleton, Peter Dews and Seyla Benhabib, and essays by Adorno, Lacan and Althusser, Mapping Ideology is an invaluable guide to the most dynamic field in cultural theory.
David Graeber, Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire
“If anthropology consists of making the apparently wild thought of others logically compelling in their own cultural settings and intellectually revealing of the human condition, then David Graeber is the consummate anthropologist. Not only does he accomplish this profound feat, he redoubles it by the critical task—now more urgent than ever—of making the possibilities of other people’s worlds the basis for understanding our own.” —Marshall Sahlins, University of Chicago“Graeber’s ideas are rich and wide-ranging; he pushes us to expand the boundaries of what we admit to be possible, or even thinkable.”—Steven Shaviro, Wayne State UniversityIn this new collection, David Graeber revisits questions raised in his popular book, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Written in an unpretentious style that uses accessible and entertaining language to convey complex theoretical ideas, these twelve essays cover a lot of ground, including the origins of capitalism, the history of European table manners, love potions in rural Madagascar, and the phenomenology of giant puppets at street protests. But they’re linked by a clear purpose: to explore the nature of social power and the forms that resistance to it have taken, or might take in the future.Anarchism is currently undergoing a worldwide revival, in many ways replacing Marxism as the theoretical and moral center of new revolutionary social movements. It has, however, left little mark on the academy. While anarchists and other visionaries have turned to anthropology for ideas and inspiration, anthropologists are reluctant to enter into serious dialogue. David Graeber is not. These essays, spanning almost twenty years, show how scholarly concerns can be of use to radical social movements, and how the perspectives of such movements shed new light on debates within the academy. David Graeber has written for Harper’s Magazine, New Left Review, and numerous scholarly journals. He is the author or editor of four books and currently lives in New York City.
Friday, April 4, 2014
David Graeber, Direct Action: An Ethnography
Anthropologist David Graeber undertakes the first detailed ethnographic study of the global justice movement. The case study at the center of Direct Action is the organizing and events that led to the one of the most dramatic and militant mass protests in recent years—against the Summit of the Americas in Québec City. Written in a clear, accessible style (with a minimum of academic jargon), this study brings readers behind the scenes of a movement that has changed the terms of debate about world power relations. From informal conversations in coffee shops to large “spokescouncil” planning meetings and tear gas-drenched street actions, Graeber paints a vivid and fascinating picture.
Along the way, he addresses matters of deep interest to anthropologists: meeting structure and process, language, symbolism and representation, the specific rituals of activist culture, and much more. Starting from the assumption that, when dealing with possibilities of global transformation and emerging political forms, a disinterested, “objective” perspective is impossible, Graeber writes as both scholar and activist. At the same time, his experiment in the application of ethnographic methods to important ongoing political events is a serious and unique contribution to the field of anthropology, as well as an inquiry into anthropology’s political implications.
David Graeber is an anthropologist and activist who teaches at the University of London. Active in numerous direct-action political organizations, he has written for Harper’s Magazine and is the author of Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value, and Possibilities.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Brian Awehali, Tipping the Sacred Cow: The Best of LiP: Informed Revolt, 1996-2007
Tipping the Sacred Cow is a flabbergastingly refreshing smarty-pants collection of iconoclastic politics, culture, sex, and humor culled from the uncompromising, eclectic, and frequently laugh-out-loud pages of LiP Magazine. Author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz describes LiP as “Marvelous! . . . Witty, but substantial . . . there's simply nothing that comes close to it in the culture today." Gleefully skewering shibboleths across the political continuum, the radical brain trust gathered here by editor Brian Awehali takes critical aim at everything from women-first feminism, green capitalism, and queer assimilation and gay marriage as participatory patriarchy, to the uses and abuses of shoplifting, the currently fashionable cult of catastrophism, and the prefabrication of political speech. Between broadsides, stops are made for a lively community flag burning, intentionally comedic genderqueer erotica, and other items of pointed mirth. Contributors include Lisa Jervis, Winona LaDuke, Tim Wise, Heather Rogers, Iain Boal, Mattilda a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore, Neal Pollack, Guillermo G?mez-Pe?a, Michael Eric Dyson, damali ayo, Tim Kreider, Christopher Hitchens, and Mary Roach, among others. Brian Awehali is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in or on Britannica.com, Z Magazine, AlterNet, Tikkun, The Black World Today, and High Times. He is a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, but makes his home in Oakland, California. Under his editorial guidance, LiP garnered a host of awards and nominations, including Best Online Cultural Coverage and Best New Title from Utne, People's Choice from South by Southwest, Best Magazine from Clamor Magazine, Best Political Magazine from East Bay Express, and two Project Censored selections.
Ariel Dorfman, Armand Mattelart, How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic