This is to say it is not a question of the creation of "mythology" but a creation of self. That is by changing one's material circumstances in the knowledge that those material circumstances will in turn change oneself. There is always a "leap of faith" because of this moment of non-agency, because one can't predict fully how in creating new material circumstances one will make changes to one's self. So this is the connection between any praxis and revolutionary act, that it operates within co-ordinates that are of the future. Or as you put it, "putting one's self in situations where something has to happen".
The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of changed circumstances and changed upbringing, forgets that it is men who change circumstances and that the educator must himself be educated. Hence this doctrine is bound to divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. The coincidence of the changing of circumstances and of human activity or self-change [Selbstveränderung] can be conceived and rationally understood only as revolutionary practice. —Karl Marx, "Theses on Feuerbach, III"
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Saturday, November 16, 2013
'Postcolonial theory has become enormously influential as a framework for understanding the Global South. It is also a school of thought popular because of its rejection of the supposedly universalizing categories of the Enlightenment. In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory. Focusing on the hugely popular Subaltern Studies project, Chibber shows that its foundational arguments are based on a series of analytical and historical misapprehensions. He demonstrates that it is possible to affirm a universalizing theory without succumbing to Eurocentrism or reductionism.'
Good interview here
So basically his argument is that post colonial studies over estimates the homogenaity and monumentality of capitalism in the West and ascribes to it a totalizing role that doesnt accord with reality, thus, in their arguments that since capital failed to become totalizing in the East and non-Western world, the entire project of the Englightenment which capitalism is seen to represent is bankrupt. Chibber argues that the penetration of capitalism within the West, like in the East and else where was piecemeal and met by various worker and minority revolts and resistances and therefore, Marxism as an Enlightenment instrument for critiquing it is as valid a tool for looking at peasants revolts in India and in England. I don't buy it totally.
So, I guess the reason the left is ineffectual is because of things like below. I particularly like the threat at the end, very macho
Dear Professor Chibber,
I have established that you were the person who interrupted me during the discussion period during the workshop on Neil Davidson's new book on the bourgeois revolution this morning at the Historical Materialism conference at NYU. I didn't quite hear what you were saying, but it sounded something like "What is your question…get to the point."
Of the three workshops I attended today, not a single chairperson said something along those uncharitable lines. By and large, people made much longer comments than me and far more in the name of some sect–the sort of thing that wastes time.
It was all the more unexpected to hear this from you since you were not a chairperson, number one, and number two you were going to be speaking at a closing plenary session on Sunday night to an audience of hundreds. Frankly, I thought it was very petty for you to interrupt me in that manner considering the power you exercise both at NYU in your capacity as associate professor and as someone who has written dozens of articles in places like the HM journal or NLR on the questions under debate. You couldn't wait for me to complete my 3 minute intervention while you have had the opportunity to defend your ideas on the Brenner thesis to a broad swath of the left community owing to your hard earned intellectual capital as a recipient of many highly coveted and prestigious awards.
I honestly don't know why you walked out immediately after making your remarks because I would have liked to take them up with you face to face. Don't worry, I have no interest in taking them up with you any further since I have said all I have to say at this point on the Marxism mailing list. My only advice is not to pull this bullshit on me ever again or you will truly regret it.