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No More Confederate Nostalgia in NOLA

Darryl Barthe

For the last few days, armed men in New Orleans have been protesting the removal of monuments to a failed, White Supremacist, republic. The workers tasked with carrying out the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans are working in flak jackets and with masks to obscure their identities since threats of violence have surrounded the plan to dismantle statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and Generals Robert E. Lee and Pierre Beauregard. Many of the "protestors" at these monuments are not from New Orleans but have traveled from elsewhere in the South in order to express their disapproval of the City Council of New Orleans' decision to remove monuments to men who raised armies against their own country in order to defend slavery. It would be easy to attribute this latest episode of white racial outrage to the rising tide of "populism" surrounding the ascent of Donald Trump to the Presidency. Yet, the monument to the Battle of Liberty Place, in particular, had been the cause of controversy in 1989, 1993, and 2004. White Supremacy and racism wrapped in a veil of "heritage" is not new for Louisiana. It would be even easier to connect the liberal insistence on removing these monuments to the Charleston Church Massacre. In June of 2015, Dylann Roof murdered nine African Americans at a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church because he believed black people "rape (white) women and are taking over our country." Roof wrapped himself in symbols of White Nationalism for pictures he posted of himself online before he went on his rampage and so, of course, liberals concluded that these symbols were problematic and, to be fair, these symbols are problematic. However, what is more problematic is that the United States has existed as a White Nationalist Republic for much longer than it has existed as a, nominally, representative democracy where all citizens enjoy equal protection under the law.

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Marxism, Psychiatry, and Capitalism

An Interview with Dr. Bruce M. Z. Cohen

Brenan Daniels

Following my point above, the mental health system (I use this as an umbrella term here to bring together psychiatry, psychology, and the various support professions and agencies working in the area of mental health including therapists, counselors, psychiatric nurses, and social workers) and the education system in their contemporary forms are both products of industrial capitalism. Briefly, compulsory schooling developed across western societies in the nineteenth century due to the needs of capital for higher skilled workers as well as to socially control working class youth (through, for example, socializing them into the norms and values of capitalism as the only "correct" way to think and understand the world). As I discuss in my book, the mental health system develops during the same period as another institution of social control: the asylums separate the able from the non-able bodied, it pathologises and confines problematic populations (primarily working class groups). In neoliberal society, I argue that the connections between the mental health system and the education system (as well as many other areas of public and private life) have become much stronger and more explicit. For example, my socio-historical case study of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the book demonstrates that the origins of the diagnosis began with psychologists' concern for deviant working class youth who failed to "adapt" to the demands of compulsory schooling. A hundred years later, we can still see in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) that the symptoms of ADHD have nothing to do with having a mental illness but rather denote the requirements for more productive and efficient students and workers..

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The Chasm

On State Socialists and Anarchists (An Interview)

Brenan Daniels

During the Russian revolution there were a variety of anarchist and libertarian socialist groups. Two groups that worked in an alliance during the revolution were the Union of Socialist Revolutionaries-Maximalist and the Russian Anarcho-Syndicalist Confederation. For example at the time of the October revolution the alliance between these two groups controlled the important soviet in Kronstadt and provided armed sailors to overthrow the Provisional Government. The October 1917 revolution occurred when the Soviet Congress took power and overthrew the unelected Provisional Government. All the anarchist and libertarian socialist groups supported this move. However, the Bolsheviks got the Soviet Congress to let them centralize power in a new state via the Council of People's Commissars. The syndicalists and maximalists opposed this but continued to give "critical support" to the revolution because they believed they would be able to still organize for their view in the factory committees, soviets and unions. By 1921 however the militants of these groups were in prison and they were completely suppressed. Between 1918 and 1920 the Communist..

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Anarchism, Paganism, and Resistance

An Interview with Rhyd Wildermuth

Brenan Daniels

I can't and won't define Paganism for everyone, but I'll happily tell you how I define it for myself. Paganism is the moment I lose my words at the sight of wildflowers breaking through sidewalk cracks in the poor areas of a city; the resurgence of the wild into the disciplined misery of the oppressed. It's the body that doesn't fit into the machine, the dream of buried rivers and streams under pavement. It's the tears I shed and the rage I feel when I see a river poisoned by an oil spill or see a mountain blown to bits to get at the coal underneath. For me, it's all about relation to not just the human-world but the other-than-human world. The mountain that gets blown apart so industrialized capitalism can grind on, the river that gets poisoned so people can have cars-I'm in relationship with them. Just like when a trans friend is harassed or a Muslim neighbor is terrorized, I cannot stand by and accept that violence, because we are related, we relate to each other, and our existence is all bound up together. I've always been like this, I think, but I didn't always identify the way I relate with the world as "Pagan." Animism and witchcraft also describe it just as well. The words matter less to me than the worlds of meaning they attempt to describe.

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