screen 2
screen 2
screen 2
screen 2
screen 2
screen 2

Marxism and Nature

The Metabolic Rift

Rebecca Heyer

Karl Marx spent much of his life considering the relationship between the human race and the world they live in. He excelled in the study of philosophy, history and the natural sciences. Marx's world view was grounded in philosophy, particularly that of the ancient Greeks. The subject of his PhD thesis was a comparison of philosophy of two of the classic Greek scholars, Epicurus and Democritus. Both of them were materialists, in contrast to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle who were idealists. Idealism had dominated western thought for centuries and provided a foundation for much of Christian theology. The Enlightenment marked a revival of the materialist school. Marx saw the relationship between humans and the environment in materialist terms and saw humans as part of the world they live in. Marx's world was not populated by ideal forms. It was made up of matter, time and space. It existed independently of any deity, and humans did not govern it or maintain it as agents of God. They interacted with their environment in a dialectical relationship, with all participants affecting all other participants. Marx saw labor as a process that connected humans with their environment. In Volume I of Capital, Chapter Seven, Section One, he wrote: "Labor is, in the first place, a process in which both man and Nature participate, and in which man of his own accord starts, regulates, and controls the material re-actions between himself and Nature. He opposes himself to Nature as one of her own forces, setting in motion arms and legs, head and hands, the natural forces of his body, in order to appropriate Nature's productions in a form adapted to his own wants. By thus acting on the external world and changing it, he at the same time changes his own nature.."

Read More

What is the End Game?

Moving Academics Out of the Ivory Tower

Cherise Charleswell

Simply stated, there is absolutely no value in research and theories if none of this information reaches the groups that were studied or whom the theoretical framework applies to, or society as a whole. There is no value in research that points out problems, but offers no insight or recommendations on how they may be counterbalanced, and there is certainly no value in research that only serves the purpose of ensuring that another person earns the right to put large letters behind their last name. These points should especially resonate with scholars who come from minority or marginalized racial/ethnic/religious backgrounds; those who should be able to produce knowledge that betters or addresses the conditions that members of their racial/ethnic/religious group are subjected to. Historian, author, journalist and the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Carter G. Woodson, said it best with the following statement: "The large majority of the Negroes who have put on the finishing touches of our best colleges are all but worthless in the development of their people." But being worthless is apparently what is being taught, encouraged, and reinforced to academics. In response to my question during that NWSA session, my co-panelist turned to me and said, "There is no end game." She shared with the audience words of guidance imparted on her by a senior faculty in the sociology department. He tried to throw shade by calling her an applied sociologist, and reiterated that she should focus more on publishing. He also finished with stating the following: "If my work ever reaches or is used by the public, that is fine, but that is not my focus, or concern."

Read More

 

Commentary on the Concept of Enlightenment

Spenser Rapone

Adorno and Horkheimer's work demonstrates how the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, et al. were in many ways the logical conclusion of enlightenment thought. They did not exist as an aberration, but were in the spirit of other oppressive enlightenment figures and regimes (when one takes into account the genocidal impulses of the British Empire in India, or the same of the United States with regards to indigenous peoples, this picture becomes much more clear). Francis Bacon's edict of "knowledge is power" is far more than a pithy musing; Horkheimer and Adorno insist that when it comes to knowledge and power, the two are synonymous, within the Baconian framework. Thus, enlightenment did not seek out knowledge for the sake of knowledge; knowledge was only useful insofar as its utility in the pursuit of power. In other words, knowledge became the object of instrumental reason; that is, knowledge was used to achieve a certain end, in this case, power. Resultantly, knowledge itself existed as a crude, empirical framework to arrange, observe, and dominate objects; inevitably, this process further entrenched the capitalist mode of production. Yet, the enlightenment's regressive tendencies under the guise of human progress, did not appear out of thin air; it traces its lineage to and draws from the various mythologies of the western canon. More than anything else, I seek to emphasize that both Horkheimer and Adorno wrote Dialectic of Enlightenment as a warning against the cult of "progress." In other words, we ought to see to it that in the process of liberating ourselves from the shackles of our miserable existence, we do not lose sight of what it means to truly carry out an emancipatory movement. Enlightenment merely perpetuated myth under a veneer of scientism and technocratic impulses, existing as manipulator of things as dictator exists as manipulator of human beings.

Read More

Fascism in the USA

An Interview with Shane Burley

Braden Riley

This is really hard to say because their success and failures are less because of their choices and more because of the social tides. They got a massive boost in 2015, a score that many attributed to Trump, yet came before Trump's real entry into the cultural landscape. Their biggest boost came actually by their own work and tapped into the same mood that Trump tapped into as well. That victory was the hashtag #Cuckservative, which ended up trending on Twitter and brought the popular white nationalist podcast The Daily Shoah onto the public stage. The were calling out beltway conservatives who worked against their own racial "interests" on immigration issues. This became popular long before the term Alt Right did, and that only became a trending hashtag after Cuckserative and other Alt Right memes had set the stage for it. The term Alt Right was actually a throwback, major Alt Right figures like Richard Spencer had actually traded it in for Identitarian, a word used by cultural fascist movements in Europe like the Nordic Resistance movement. He thought that the Alt Right phase of their development was over by this point, but a circle developing online, and without the direct control of Spencer, began using it again to describe their views. All this is to say that there was a cultural force happening that was not completely in their control, but they certainly influenced discourse and rode the nativist insurgency into the public spotlight. 2015 and 2016 were huge for them. They were able to ally with the "Alt Light," the slightly more moderate nativist Civic Nationalists like Breitbart and Rebel Media, allowing a more mainstream channel to popularize their message without committing fully to their open fascism. They were able to get multiple more memes into the culture, gain huge media attention for their major figures, and kept their ideas relevant to the larger conservative culture with the Trumpian populist movement.

Read More