What are you reading?

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:34 pm

John Bellamy Foster THE RETURN OF NATURE Socialism and Ecology Monthly Review Press, 2020

The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology

Posted Nov 16, 2020 by Peter Critchley

Originally published: Climate and Capitalism (November 13, 2020) |
John Bellamy Foster THE RETURN OF NATURE Socialism and Ecology Monthly Review Press, 2020In an age in which the call for system change is being heard more and more, in increasing recognition of the socio-economic causes of climate crisis, a book establishing the connection between socialism and ecology could not be more timely. In tracing the evolution of that connection, John Bellamy Foster’s The Return of Nature identifies the conditions for an effective ecosocialism.

The book is a work of recovery in several related senses: of Marx and Engels and those they inspired as pioneer social ecologists; of nature as necessarily ingrained in social analysis; of dialectics as a critical-practical method; of materialism as field of immanence and emergence; of socialism as the systemic mediation of the social-natural relation; and, importantly, of politics as the practical engagement with the world, rendering knowledge and reason socially effective.

Though neither Marx nor Engels used the word “ecology,” both displayed a critical systematic interest in the environmental questions arising from the metabolic interchange between human society and nature. Having established the foundations of Marx’s socio-ecological critique of capitalist society in Marx’s Ecology (MR Press, 2000), Foster traces its further development in The Return of Nature in the work of an impressive range of socialist scientists and thinkers. Taking up the story from the deaths of Darwin and Marx in 1882 and 1883, with a primary focus upon Britain, Foster shows that from its inception, ecology was “deeply intertwined” with “struggles for human equality and the revolt against capitalist society.”

Biologist E. Ray Lankester serves as a link between Marx and the socialist scientists who developed his materialist conception. A personal friend of Marx, Lankester introduced the word œcology into English, in his 1873 translation of Ernst Haeckel’s History of Creation. Rather than follow Haeckel’s usage, however, Lankester developed his own concept of “bionomics” to embrace the study of the mutual adaptations of plants and animals, studying complex mutual relations within “the infinite web of life.” Studying the co-evolution of humanity and external nature, and the issues arising from their interaction, Lankester paid particular attention to the threats that degenerative forms of human ecology under capitalism posed to civilization.

From this beginning, Foster establishes the basis of an expansive notion of ecology, one that joins culture, politics and science. Defining the dialectical approach concisely as “the social relation to nature, as mediated by science and art via labor and production,” he traces the advent of an emergent ecological materialism that integrates the objective and subjective flux of an organic dialectics mediating natural and human metabolic orders.

The “one science” which J.D. Bernal described in Marx and Science offers an integral conception that is capable of bridging the realms of theoretical reason (our knowledge of the world) and practical reason (how human beings act in light of that knowledge), thus informing and sustaining an effective eco-praxis.

Foster demonstrates that Marx and Engels founded a socialist ecology based on a two-faceted ecosystem analysis that focused on capital’s disturbance in the metabolic interaction between humanity and nature, tracing its further development in a number of socio-ecological critiques and analyses. Centered on the mediated relation between human society and nature, the critical dialectical ecology developed throughout this book is crucial in identifying the specific causes of environmental crises and addressing them effectively in a structural and systemic sense.

In this analysis, social systems emerge as human ecologies constituted by determinate material relations which, within capitalist relations, are driven by contradictory dynamics which are in violation of both the human and the natural ontology. Humanity–as “nature’s rebel” (Lankester)–can never separate itself from nature, but can generate ecological consequences through its actions within specific social relations to threaten its very survival.

Lankester identified the socio-ecological contradiction at the heart of the capital system as a “disharmony” in the relations between human beings and nature. Under the sway of accumulative imperatives arising from the overriding pursuit of exchange value, capitalist society systematically undermines its pre-existing natural conditions.

Lankester’s student, botanist Arthur George Tansley, socialist and pioneer of the concept of the ecosystem (in 1935) conceived humanity as an “exceptionally powerful biotic factor” capable of transforming natural ecosystems and disturbing the metabolic equilibrium between them.

It is this capacity for transformation and disturbance in the metabolic interaction between society and nature which lies at the heart of the ecological problems of the age. The “metabolic rift” identified by Marx has now assumed global proportions as the transgression of planetary boundaries.

Such analysis begs–and receives–an identification of the social forms facilitating a harmonious metabolic restoration.

Lankester argued for a sustainable society in which science would take the place of commodity relations as the basis of civilization.

In Dangerous Truths (1943), Lancelot Hogben argued that against “the Liberal doctrine that prosperity is being able to choose the greatest variety of goods,” the “other socialism,” set forth most clearly by William Morris, “asserted the need to decide whether the dark satanic mills were making things which are good for men to choose,” and having a benign rather than destructive impact on the environment.

Joseph Needham criticized the inherently disorganizing and dissipative nature of the capital system in using the gifts of nature to fulfil growth imperatives arising from commodity relations, wasting natural energy as well as human effort and creativity. Emphasizing the need to recognize the ecological limits to human societal expansion, he argued that this wasteful system be supplanted by a more sustainable path of human development. “The object,“ Foster argues, was “to create a society in which the alienation of nature and the alienation of labor no longer fed upon the other.”

Above all, William Morris offered a wider, more coherent and cogent socialist strategy, one more attuned to people’s needs and nature’s intrinsic worth in stabilizing the productive interchange beyond endless economic expansion.

Foster shows that a crucial part of Morris’s argument was that the luxury and waste which was having such a destructive social and ecological impact paradoxically represented a substantial economic surplus that gave society the potential to satisfy the genuine needs of all within egalitarian relations.

Morris, Hogben declared, was both “a social psychologist,” in his recognition that a socialist program could not ignore the fact that people want their lives to be “picturesque,” and “a sound biologist” in believing that Britain could be made “so beautiful that people would neither need nor wish to travel.” Calling for a “reorientation of social values,” Hogben concluded that “if we are to plan for survival our first aim must be to create a social environment in which the setting of the family is satisfying because it is picturesque.” (Planning for Human Survival). Such integral praxis involves more than design, engineering, and science:

There is no reason why Socialism should identify scientific planning with an exclusively mechanical technology.

Morris is hugely important in this respect. The extent to which the economic stagnation engulfing Britain in the late nineteenth century had not generated a wellspring of revolt made it clear to Morris that revolutionary transformation could not be considered an automatic response to objective conditions and crises. He therefore emphasized the need to strengthen the subjective conditions of social transformation, a process of “making socialists” by way of education and broad political activity. Without this, socialism would be but “the mill-wheel without the motive power.”

The testimony of the various thinkers gathered in The Return of Nature leads inexorably to the conclusion that the future health, harmony, and flourishing of Earth and humanity lies in a labor-environmentalist fusion that can supplant the capital system with new social forms, integrating sensuous human interaction with nature.

Some environmentalists entertain ideas of a “steady state” capitalism. Bill McKibben in Eearth argues for a realigned capitalism that could happily function without growth. The Return of Nature shows such thinking to be chimerical, having the concomitant danger of seducing those seeking a corrective environmental intervention that avoids conflict and division (i.e., politics and power) into “pragmatic” actions and common solutions that remain firmly within the accumulative logic of capital and its non-organic growth.

Endless and unresolvable controversies with respect to regulations and technologies, as well as behavioral and lifestyle changes, issue inevitably from the attempt to make an inherently unsustainable capitalist system sustainable. This book is a reminder that capital is not a neutral “thing,” to be appropriated and used in various ways (a typically bourgeois notion that naturalizes and eternalizes an economic category that needs to be historicized), but a power-infused class relation and process.

Capital cannot be delinked from the accumulative imperative: it’s systemic logic of accumulation and waste has to be uprooted at source.

In recovering nature, Foster recovers socialism as an emancipatory-critical project oriented towards the achievement of the rational society, a defetishized, free, and egalitarian social order.

Arguing that Marx and Engels saw a critical dialectical reason as “crucial for apprehending nature because it was itself a refracted, reflexive part of nature’s complex process of change mediated by historical society,” Foster’s brings the dialectical conception of materialism to bear on a transformative eco-praxis in which human beings are not passive heads to be educated from the outside, but practical-knowledgeable co-agents transforming a reality of which they are a part on the inside.

The result is an actively democratic environmentalism, based on the reflexive connection between human agency and emergent social and natural processes.

Foster does a superb job of recovering Marx’s dynamic conception of materialism, emphasizing fluidity against fixity to subvert metaphysical or philosophical tendencies to totalizing abstraction. The return of the materialist dialectic is, perhaps, the most significant aspect of Foster’s work of recovery.

While it is important to set the record straight as to “what Marx really said,” maintaining a theoretical and practical fidelity with Marx is more about respecting Marx as a pioneer of a critical-dialectical realism than as a prophet whose view is ossified in fixed concepts and systems. It is more important to apply his critical method than to repeat quotations.

Marx cultivated an intense passion for freedom and knowledge in their interconnection. This entailed a commitment to destroy all forms of fetishizing practice and mystifying consciousness implicated in humanity’s self-estrangement, and to develop critical ideas with a practical purchase in the struggles of the oppressed against relations of domination and exploitation. He would have looked first and foremost for future generations to engage in the practical-critical activity he pioneered, treating with scorn those who would turn him into an authority presiding over a static system of thought and politics.

Foster does impressive work in emphasizing that the materialism that Marx developed, and which those who followed in his footsteps developed further, emphasized movement and change, demanding a dialectical apprehension that was attuned to the dynamism and fluidity of reality, aiding those struggling for freedom and equality against all ossified and ideological forms.

This movement at the heart of Marx’s dialectical conception of materialism stands as a continual reminder that the theory and practice of freedom, like the reality we are immersed in, are always an unfinished and unfinishable affair. So long as this reality and our mediated relation to it exists, Marx’s materialist conception, in whatever form it may take within specific social relations, will remain obdurately relevant.

John Bellamy Foster has rediscovered that view in the work of others, giving it a shape, coherence, and clarity as a dialectical ecology that deserves serious consideration by all who are concerned with the parlous state of planetary health.

The critical analysis presented in this book leaves no doubt that the resolution of the environmental crisis requires not just cuts in carbon emissions and investment in renewable energy, but a new kind of society whose institutional framework and economic system–allied to the transformative agency with the structural capacity to act–make the implementation of such programs practicable and effective in the first place, and cease generating the ecological rifts that make it necessary in the second.

The Return of Nature is an informative and educational book that shows the close connection of socialism and ecology–in contradistinction to the dominant form taken by socialism in the twentieth century which lost touch with nature and became complicit with capital’s destructive imperatives. It restores a lost conception of ecologically sensitive socialism that the world is desperately in need of today.

Foster presents a worldview that can inform, enable, and inspire a new generation of ecologically-minded socialists and socialistically-minded ecologists, envisaging the day when these identities merge in the political commitment to put the society-nature metabolic relation on a harmonious and healthy basis.

The final line in the book states its lesson concisely:

What we must dethrone today is the idol of capital itself, the concentrated power of class-based avarice, which now imperils the ecology of the Earth. It is this that constitutes the entire meaning of freedom as necessity and the return of nature in our time.

Foster’s work of intellectual restoration demonstrates that the line of critical metabolic thinking leading from Marx and Engels to an integrated social-natural ecology remains the most cogent, intellectually satisfying, and practically relevant theory of liberation in the world today.

https://mronline.org/2020/11/16/the-ret ... d-ecology/

Dedicating this post to my buddy, 'The Kid...'

I agree with most of this but Foster's insistence on calling Marxism 'ecological' is annoying and really diminishing in that socialism is humanism which must be ecological if it's going to work in the long run. File under 'human need' and let's get on with things.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Mon Jan 18, 2021 12:46 pm

On the Anniversary of His Death, Theodore W. Allen’s Analysis Still Resonates
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on JANUARY 13, 2021
Jeffrey B. Perry

“White supremacy” wrote Allen, is “both the keystone and the Achilles heel of U.S. bourgeois democracy.”

“White identity had to be carefully taught.”

Theodore W. “Ted” Allen (August 23, 1919-January 19, 2005) was an anti-white supremacist, working class intellectual and activist. He developed his pioneering class struggle-based analysis of “white skin privilege” beginning in the mid-1960s; authored the seminal two-volume “The Invention of the White Race” in the 1990s; and consistently maintained that the struggle against white supremacy was central to efforts at radical social change in the United States. Born on August 23, 1919, in Indianapolis, Indiana, he grew up in Paintsville, Kentucky and Huntington, West Virginia (where he graduated from high school), and then went into the mines and became a United Mine Workers Local President. After hurting his back in the mines he moved to New York City and lived his last fifty-plus years in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn where he worked various jobs including as a postal worker at the Bulk Mail Center in Jersey City, NJ and as a librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library.

“The Invention of the White Race”

Allen’s two-volume “The Invention of the White Race” (1994, 1997: Verso Books, new expanded edition 2012) with its focus on racial oppression and social control is one of the twentieth-century’s major contributions to historical understanding. It presents a full-scale challenge to what he refers to as “The Great White Assumption” — the unquestioning acceptance of the “white race” and “white” identity as skin color-based and natural attributes rather than as social and political constructions. Its thesis on the origin, nature, and maintenance of the “white race” and its understanding that racial slavery in the Anglo-American plantation colonies was capitalist and enslaved Black laborers were proletarians, contains the basis of a revolutionary approach to United States labor history.

On the back cover of the 1994 edition of Volume 1, subtitled “Racial Oppression and Social Control,” Allen boldly asserted “When the first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619, there were no ‘white’ people there; nor, according to the colonial records, would there be for another sixty years.” That statement, based on 20-plus years of primary research in Virginia’s colonial records, reflected the fact that Allen found no instance of the official use of the word “white” as a token of social status prior to its appearance in a Virginia law passed in 1691. As he later explained, “Others living in the colony at that time were English; they had been English when they left England, and naturally they and their Virginia-born children were English, they were not ‘white.’ White identity had to be carefully taught, and it would be only after the passage of some six crucial decades” that the word “would appear as a synonym for European-American.”

“Allen found no instance of the official use of the word ‘white’ as a token of social status prior to its appearance in a Virginia law passed in 1691.”

In this context he offers his major thesis — that the “white race” was invented as a ruling class social control formation in response to labor solidarity as manifested in the latter (civil war) stages of Bacon’s Rebellion (1676-77). To this he adds two important corollaries: 1) the ruling elite deliberately instituted a system of racial privileges to define and maintain the “white race” and to implement a system of racial oppression, and 2) the consequence was not only ruinous to the interest of African Americans, it was also disastrous for European-American workers.

In Volume II, subtitled “The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America.” Allen tells the story of the invention of the “white race” and the development of the system of racial oppression in the late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century Anglo-American plantation colonies. His primary focus is on the pattern-setting Virginia colony, and he pays special attention to the reduction of tenants and wage-laborers in the majority English labor force to chattel bond-servants in the 1620s. In so doing, he emphasizes that this was a qualitative break from the condition of laborers in England and from long established English labor law, that it was not a feudal carryover, that it was imposed under capitalism, and that it was an essential precondition of the emergence of the lifetime hereditary chattel bond-servitude imposed upon African-American laborers under the system of racial slavery.

Allen describes how, throughout much of the seventeenth century, the status of African-Americans was indeterminate (because it was still being fought out) and he details the similarity of conditions for African-American and European-American laborers and bond-servants. He also documents many significant instances of labor solidarity and unrest, especially during the 1660s and 1670s. Of great significance is his analysis of the civil war stage of Bacon’s Rebellion when thousands of laboring people took up arms against the ruling plantation elite, the capital (Jamestown) was burned to the ground, rebels controlled 6/7 of the Virginia colony, and Afro- and Euro-American bond-servants fought side-by-side demanding an end to their bondage.

“Throughout much of the seventeenth century, the status of African-Americans was indeterminate.”

It was in the period after Bacon’s Rebellion that the “white race” was invented as a ruling-class social control formation. Allen describes systematic ruling-class policies, which conferred “white race” privileges on European-Americans while imposing harsher disabilities on African-Americans resulting in a system of racial slavery, a form of racial oppression that also imposed severe racial proscriptions on free African-Americans. He emphasizes that when free African-Americans were deprived of their long-held right to vote in Virginia and Governor William Gooch explained in 1735 that the Virginia Assembly had decided upon this curtailment of the franchise in order “to fix a perpetual Brand upon Free Negros & Mulattos,” it was not an “unthinking decision.” Rather, it was a deliberate act by the plantation bourgeoisie and was a conscious decision in the process of establishing a system of racial oppression, even though it entailed repealing an electoral principle that had existed in Virginia for more than a century.

Key to understanding the virulent racial oppression that develops in Virginia, Allen argues, is the formation of the intermediate social control buffer stratum, which serves the interests of the ruling class. In Virginia, any persons of discernible non-European ancestry after Bacon’s Rebellion were denied a role in the social control buffer group, the bulk of which was made up of laboring-class “whites.” In the Anglo-Caribbean, by contrast, under a similar Anglo ruling elite, “mulattos” were included in the social control stratum and were promoted into middle-class status. This difference was rooted in a number of social control-related factors, one of the most important of which was that in the Anglo-Caribbean there were “too few” poor and laboring-class Europeans to embody an adequate petit bourgeoisie, while in the continental colonies there were ‘’too many’’ to be accommodated in the ranks of that class.

“Any persons of discernible non-European ancestry after Bacon’s Rebellion were denied a role in the social control buffer group.”

In “The Invention of the White Race” Allen challenges what he considers to be two main ideological props of white supremacy — the argument that “racism” is innate (and it is therefore useless to challenge it) and the argument that European-American workers “benefit” from “white race” privileges and white supremacy (and that it is therefore not in their interest to oppose them). These two arguments, opposed by Allen, are related to two master historical narratives rooted in writings on the colonial period. The first argument is associated with the “unthinking decision” explanation for the development of racial slavery offered by historian Winthrop D. Jordan in his “White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812.” The second argument is associated with historian Edmund S. Morgan’s “American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia,” which maintains that in Virginia, as slavery developed in the eighteenth century, “there were too few free poor [European-Americans] on hand to matter.” Allen points out that what Morgan said about “too few” free poor was true in the eighteenth century Anglo-Caribbean, but not in Virginia.

“White race” privilege

My article “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy” (Cultural Logic, 2010) describes key components of Allen’s analysis of “white race” privilege. It explains that as he developed the “white race” privilege concept, Allen emphasized that these privileges were a “poison bait” (like a shot of “heroin”) and he explained that they “do not permit” the masses of European American workers nor their children “to escape” from that class. “It is not that the ordinary white worker gets more than he must have to support himself,” but “the Black worker gets less than the white worker.” By, thus “inducing, reinforcing and perpetuating racist attitudes on the part of the white workers, the present-day power masters get the political support of the rank-and-file of the white workers in critical situations, and without having to share with them their super profits in the slightest measure.”

As one example, to support his position, Allen provided statistics showing that in the South where race privilege “has always been most emphasized . . . the white workers have fared worse than the white workers in the rest of the country.”

“The power masters get the political support of the rank-and-file of the white workers in critical situations, and without having to share with them their super profits.”

Probing more deeply, Allen offered additional important insights into why these race privileges are conferred by the ruling class. He pointed out that “the ideology of white racism” is “not appropriate to the white workers” because it is “contrary to their class interests.” Because of this “the bourgeoisie could not long have maintained this ideological influence over the white proletarians by mere racist ideology.” Under these circumstances white supremacist thought is “given a material basis in the form of the deliberately contrived system of race privileges for white workers.” Thus, writes Allen, “history has shown that the white-skin privilege does not serve the real interests of the white workers, it also shows that the concomitant racist ideology has blinded them to that fact.”

Allen added, “the white supremacist system that had originally been designed in around 1700 by the plantation bourgeoisie to protect the base, the chattel bond labor relation of production” also served “as a part of the ‘legal and political’ superstructure of the United States government that, until the Civil War, was dominated by the slaveholders with the complicity of the majority of the European-American workers.” Then, after emancipation, “the industrial and financial bourgeoisie found that it could be serviceable to their program of social control, anachronistic as it was, and incorporated it into their own ‘legal and political’ superstructure.”

Allen felt that two essential points must be kept in mind. First, “the race-privilege policy is deliberate bourgeois class policy.” Second, “the race-privilege policy is, contrary to surface appearance, contrary to the interests, short range as well as long range interests of not only the Black workers but of the white workers as well.” He repeatedly emphasized that “the day-to-day real interests” of the European-American worker “is not the white skin privileges, but in the development of an ever-expanding union of class-conscious workers.” He emphasized, “‘Solidarity forever!’ means ‘Privileges never!’” He elsewhere pointed out, “The Wobblies [the Industrial Workers of the World] caught the essence of it in their slogan: ‘An injury to one is an injury to all.’”

“‘Solidarity forever!’ means ‘Privileges never!’”

Throughout his work Allen stresses that “the initiator and the ultimate guarantor of the white skin privileges of the white worker is not the white worker, but the white worker’s masters” and the masters do this because it is “an indispensable necessity for their continued class rule.” He describes how “an all-pervasive system of racial privileges was conferred on laboring-class European-Americans, rural and urban, exploited and insecure though they themselves were” and how “its threads, woven into the fabric of every aspect of daily life, of family, church, and state, have constituted the main historical guarantee of the rule of the ‘Titans,’ damping down anti-capitalist pressures, by making ‘race, and not class, the distinction in social life.’” That, “more than any other factor,” he argues, “has shaped the contours of American history — from the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to the Civil War, to the overthrow of Reconstruction, to the Populist Revolt of the 1890s, to the Great Depression, to the civil rights struggle and ‘white backlash’ of our own day.”


Allen also addressed the issue of strategy for social change. He emphasized, “The most vulnerable point at which a decisive blow can be struck against bourgeois rule in the United States is white supremacy.” He considered “white supremacy” to be “both the keystone and the Achilles heel of U.S. bourgeois democracy.” Based on this analysis Allen maintained, “the first main strategic blow must be aimed at the most vulnerable point at which a decisive blow can be struck, namely, white supremacism.” This, he argued, was the conclusion to be drawn from a study of three great social crises in U.S. history – “the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Populist Revolt of the 1890s, and the Great Depression of the 1930s.” In each of these cases “the prospects for a stable broad front against capital has foundered on the shoals of white supremacism, most specifically on the corruption of the European-American workers by racial privilege.”

Groundbreaking Analysis Continues to Grow in Importance

Ted Allen died on January 19, 2005, and a memorial service was held for him at the Brooklyn Public Library where he had worked. Then on October 8, 2005, his ashes, as per his request, were spread in the York River (near West Point, Virginia) close to its convergence with the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers – the location where the final armed holdouts, “Eighty Negroes and Twenty English,” refused to surrender in the last stages of Bacon’s Rebellion.

Allen’s historical work has profound implications for American History, African-American History, Labor History, Left History, American Studies, and “Whiteness” Studies and it offers important insights in the areas of Caribbean History, Irish History, and African Diaspora Studies. With its meticulous primary research, equalitarian motif, emphasis on the class struggle dimension of history, and groundbreaking analysis his work continues to grow in influence and importance.

Those interested in learning more of the work of Theodore W. Allen can see: 1) writings, audios, and videos by and about Theodore W. Allen ; 2) comments from scholars and activists and Table of Contents for “The Invention of the White Race Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control” ; 3) comments from scholars and activists and Table of Contents on “The Invention of the White Race Vol. II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America” [Verso Books]; and “The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights from Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy.”

Dr. Jeffrey B. Perry is the author of “Hubert Harrison, The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1883-1918” (Columbia University Press, 2008) and “Hubert Harrison: The Struggle for Equality, 1918-1927” (Columbia University Press, November 2020). He is also the editor of: “A Hubert Harrison Reader” (Wesleyan University Press, 2001); Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” Vol. 1: “Racial Oppression and Social Control” (New Edition, Verso Books 2012); Theodore W. Allen’s “The Invention of the White Race” Vol. 2: “The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America” (New Edition, Verso Books 2012); and Hubert H. Harrison, “When Africa Awakes: The ‘Inside Story’ of the Stirrings and Strivings of the New Negro in the Western World” (New Edition, Diasporic Africa Press, 2015).

The Invention of the White Race
The Growing Importance of Theodore W. Allen’s Work On the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy
The Invention of the White Race, Volumes 1 and 2

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2021/01/ ... resonates/
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:54 pm

NicaNotes: Book Review: The Revolution Won’t Be Stopped: Nicaragua Advances Despite U.S. Unconventional Warfare
April 7, 2021


We are happy to have this book review by Roger Stoll of the collective effort, The Revolution Won’t Be Stopped: Nicaragua Advances Despite US Unconventional Warfare, published in July 2020. https://afgj.org/nicanotes-the-revoluti ... al-warfare

Today we are fundraising to be able to print 1,000 books in Spanish (about $US6,000) to get books in the hands of Nicaraguans at a very important time: election year. To donate, click here. https://afgj.salsalabs.org/nicaragua-solidarity-fund

Book Review: The Revolution Won’t Be Stopped: Nicaragua Advances Despite U.S. Unconventional Warfare (Alliance for Global Justice, July 2020, 247 pp.)

by Roger Stoll

Republican strategist Karl Rove often advised his clients to attack not the enemy’s weaknesses but its strengths. The bipartisan US foreign policy disinformation machine has taken Rove’s advice with tedious devotion. So, to attack Nicaragua, the machine’s fabrications and propaganda have targeted some of that country’s strengths: gender equity, Indigenous rights and autonomy, democracy, sovereignty, and a successful response to the pandemic, as well as the Sandinista government’s great popularity.

This should not surprise. It’s the same Rovian method used against Nicaragua’s friends and allies and countries the US designates enemies. For example, to attack Venezuela, the machine ignores the country’s electoral hyper-democracy and dubs the popular government “dictatorial.” To attack Cuba, the machine calls Cuba’s doctors and nurses working in the most medically underserved corners of the world and fighting the pandemic in dozens of other countries, “victims of human trafficking,” or else it calls them “spies.” To attack China, the machine smears China’s lightening-speed discovery and successful suppression of COVID-19. To attack Russia, the machine assails the overwhelmingly popular Crimean referendum as an invasion and undemocratic annexation, and it calls the East Ukraine resistance to the US-implanted coup government in Kiev as Russian aggression by proxy. To attack Syria, the machine disparages as aggressive the popular national defense against the West’s brutal proxy invasion and occupation, while delegitimizing the efforts of allies Russia and Iran to assist Syria.

And so on.

By now, this Rovian practice should be an imperial “tell,” which in poker (I’m told) is key to beating a bluffer. The peoples of the world now read these tells like neon signs. Not so North Americans, at least not yet. This new compendium of essays could not more thoroughly expose the imperial bluff against Nicaragua.

The Revolution Won’t Be Stopped: Nicaragua Advances Despite U.S. Unconventional Warfare (Alliance for Global Justice, July 2020, 247 pp.) is a well-organized collection of essays, paragraph-length news briefs, and reference lists, covering recent Nicaraguan history, including the electoral return of the Sandinistas in 2007, through the 2018 counter-revolutionary, US-authored putsch, its aftermath, and the country’s recovery and response to COVID-19 in 2020. It is a compelling and useful collection, like the earlier collection published in 2019 by the Alliance for Global Justice, Live From Nicaragua: Uprising or Coup? The dozen-plus authors include scholars, reporters and activists well-known in solidarity circles for their deep knowledge of Nicaraguan politics, history and society and their ability to present it with clarity and eloquence.

The story of Nicaragua’s remarkable social, political and economic progress under Sandinista government will be familiar to readers of the alternative press, despite the hostility and neglect of Nicaragua found in faux-alternative media (e.g., Democracy Now). Essays throughout the volume detail this progress, but it can be quickly gleaned from the Introduction by Magda Lanuza and the opening essay, “Economic and Social Progress Continues,” by Nan McCurdy and Katherine Hoyt. The country’s more dramatic achievements include the reduction of poverty and extreme poverty, each by half or more, free basic healthcare and education, virtually zero illiteracy, near doubling of electrification to reach virtually the entire population, and production of about 90% of its own food consumption (“food sovereignty”).

Less well-known achievements include Nicaragua’s internationally recognized humane community policing system (ordinary Nicaraguans simply don’t fear their police), and the country’s ranking of fifth in the world in gender equity, just behind four Scandinavian countries (“Nicaraguan Women Take Their Rightful Place,” by Rita Jill Clark-Gollub). Despite recognition of these social and economic achievements, and many more, by international organizations including United Nations agencies, you wouldn’t know any of this if you follow only US corporate and government-sponsored media.

Perhaps the most fascinating essays are those that describe the unique politics that may be behind Nicaragua’s ability to survive and progress despite the US hybrid war of subversion, sanctions, disinformation, and the putsch of 2018. “Peace and Reconciliation in Nicaragua,” by Susan Lagos, explains the non-punitive treatment of members of Somoza’s National Guard after the 1979 revolution, the Contras after the war of the 1980s, and the putschists after 2018. This, along with the decision of the government to keep the national police off the streets during most of the very violent 2018 putsch, may strike one as excessively generous, forgiving and even pacifist to North American readers (including this one). But this piece shows how these practices may be effective in turning enemies into allies, such as when many former Contra sometimes became allies in opposition to the neoliberal policies of the rightist governments in power between 1990 and 2007. Further, these unusual military, policing and juridical policies, while certainly generous and forgiving, may also be good tactics, perhaps analogous to techniques used in martial arts to deflect the attack of a foe without using force, especially a much more powerful and determined foe like the US, the persistent author of assaults on Nicaragua from the 19th century to the present.

“Nicaragua’s Popular Economy: The Face of Five Centuries of People’s Resistance,” by Yorlis Luna, “Tourism in Nicaragua: Breaking with the Defunct Idea of Development,” by Daniel McCurdy, and the Afterword, “Nicaragua Puts People First in Pandemic Response,” by Nan McCurdy, all describe Nicaragua’s unique and successful economic and public health strategies. The Yorlis Luna and Daniel McCurdy pieces explain the theory and practice of Nicaragua’s “popular economy,” emphasizing the informal and smaller business sector, providing much of Nicaragua’s food, clothing and housing. It is a “self-managed, associative and solidarity-based economy,” based in pre-capitalist and pre-Hispanic economics, and which now provides “70% of employment, 42.3% of value added and 59.3% of income, excluding remittances.” It also generates most of the nation’s wealth. (See also, Live from Nicaragua: Uprising or Coup? A Reader, 2019, “The Popular Economy: Nicaragua’s Anti-Shock Therapy,” by Nils McCune and “A Creative, Enterprising and Victorious Economy to Defeat the Coup,” by Jorge Capelán https://afgj.org/nicanotes-live-from-ni ... ng-or-coup)

Nan McCurdy’s “Afterward” describes Nicaragua’s successful pandemic response. Lockdown would have been a luxury that Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the hemisphere, simply could not afford. But what it could do was mobilize health workers and brigadistas to make health check visits to most homes in the nation and give advice, set up COVID-19 hotlines, control entry points at borders and airports, urge 14-day self-quarantine to visitors, and rely on its public health system, which is the best in the region, even better than that of Mexico, a much richer country. As a result, Nicaragua has had fewer than 200 deaths from the disease as of this writing.

Other essays cover Nicaragua’s excellent progress in conservation and environmental policy, including significant conversion from fossil fuels to renewables (Stephen Sefton, Paul Oquist). Chuck Kaufman reviews the data showing the consistent popularity of the Sandinista party and leadership. Jorge Capelán summarizes a week of Nicaraguan news in September 2019, including the little-known but highly significant replacement of COSEP, the 2018 putschist business organization, with CONIMPYMES, an organization of small- and medium-size businesses, as Nicaragua’s representative at the Central American Business Council. The politics and imperial instrumentalization of the Sandinista’s opposition is dissected in a series of short essays by Barbara Larcom, Chuck Kaufman, Ben Norton, and Carlos Fonseca Terán.

Essays by Colleen Littlejohn and Adolfo Pastrán Arancibia outline the post-revolutionary history of the autonomous regions of the Caribbean coast, which cover nearly half of Nicaraguan territory. It’s a story of material and social progress, increasing communal land rights for Indigenous and Afro-descendant people, and the success and popularity of the Sandinista party in the regions. It’s also a story of relative neglect under the neoliberal governments of 1990 to 2007, the interregnum between the periods of Sandinista governance. All this will surprise those who in recent months have read various reports of government indifference toward the lives and rights of its minority populations, but it will not surprise those who have followed the thorough debunking of these tales in the (actually) alternative press. (See: “Nicaragua Rebuffs Attacks at Human Rights Hearing,” by John Perry, 3/20/21 https://www.resumen-english.org/2021/03 ... more-17092 ; “Dismissing the Truth: Why Amnesty International is Wrong about Nicaragua,” by AFGJ, 2/26/19 https://afgj.org/dismissing-the-truth-w ... -nicaragua ; and “Nicaragua’s Indigenous Peoples – Neocolonial Lies, Autonomous Reality,” by Stephen Sefton, Tortilla con Sal, 3/5/21 http://www.tortillaconsal.com/tortilla/node/11275)

The collection includes several essays exposing and refuting media and human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International (AI), which promote false, misleading and demonizing narratives about Nicaragua. (Brian Willson, Camilo Mejía, John Perry, Chuck Kaufman, Stephen Sefton, Nan McCurdy, and Nora Mitchell McCurdy)

It’s curious that these organizations fail to recognize human rights as a social, political and mass project, the kind of project Nicaragua is engaged in. When HRW, AI and others present North Americans with falsified and mischaracterized incidents as salient examples of Nicaraguan society and government, they willfully and disingenuously misunderstand the very idea of human rights, and fuel narratives that support deadly and destructive US sanctions and hybrid warfare. Indeed, this anthology reports Human Rights Watch’s explicit endorsement of US sanctions against Nicaragua (passed, by the way, by a unanimous consent voice vote Congress in 2018 and later expanded by presidential executive order in 2020). If these organizations really cared about human rights, they would celebrate Nicaragua’s unprecedented human rights accomplishments and compare them to the horrific abuse of human rights in some of Nicaragua’s Latin American neighbors, such as Honduras or Colombia, whose governments would not last a minute without US support.

It is a testament to Nicaragua’s exemplary success in being “the threat of a good example” that the US is hell-bent on destroying Nicaragua’s humane, liberatory, sovereign and democratic project. This book will help defend that example for the good of Nicaragua and all humanity.

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Fri Apr 30, 2021 2:56 pm

The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson

I read this so you don't have to.

I have read sf for over 50 years and am disappointed by most of it. It is said that Robinson is somewhat similar to Arthur C Clarke and I agree, he's boring. Packs in pages of fact, credentials of characters and other bulk to make up for lacking literary talent. Small wonder the old astronomer teamed up with real writers in his late years, for all the good it did...Mebbe Robinson should team up with M John Harrison. Nah.

I have disliked the work of Robinson since I first read him, one and a quarter books, having thrown down the second in disgust. If it hadn't got so much 'buzz' I would have happily ignored it. What sticks in my craw is the petty bourgeois arrogance,the assumption that these well paid and connected individuals are the class that will best address our environmental woes. The Owners are greedy but hapless, the masses are a dim audience for the acts of their betters. Well, there is a ready made following for such drivel, that said class. So I was not at all surprised that the world would be saved by bureaucrats, technocrats and lawyers in the present work, that both rich and poor would be pliant in the hands of these well meaning professionals. To quote that Zappa girl, "gag me with a spoon!"

What we got here is zero class analysis, starting with the assumption that State and Law are somehow independent of the class which created them for that class's benefit. It all follows from there, the rich will be controlled by the State and the Law will be turned against their interests. They will resist in a half-hearted manner then fold, the .01%ers will get to keep $50M to not be persecuted and all other assets will go to the common good. I'm sure. Capitalism will be tamed, in fact put on the road to extinction, in a lawful manner. Well, it is science fiction.

But it will not be just gentle persuasion, this Ministry, an afterthought of the Paris Agreement, an entity of the UN with a paultry nine figure budget for saving the world, will have a 'black ops' wing which will terrorize the booj on a grand scale,in one instance downing 60 mostly private jets in one go using new hi-tech drones en masse. The perps, even the point of manufacture of such technical devices at scale, is a completely a mystery to every cop shop on Earth. Right.

The book is one long love note to Switzerland and all of it's mythical qualities. Jfc.

There is mention of socialism: surprisingly a few good words for the Soviet Union after the obligatory potshot at Stalin, faint praise for the dead. And Cuba and Kerala get good mention, being small and safe. But China, despite it's good work, is 'Authoritarian capitalism', a sure marker of Robinson's adherence to petty booj norms. And the radical left will never get it's shit together because it is 'narcissist' in a grand display of pop psychology sans history. And by the way, the petty bourgeois will make the world safe for communism.

This book had an antecedent which came to me early on, "Looking Backwards" by Edward Bellamy .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Looking_Backward Bellamy, like Robinson, had the petty bourgeois as the leaders of the peaceful revolution, the other classes dragged along into the sensible(and militarized!) society of the future. And Bellamy was equally dismissive of the radicals of his day, portraying them as tools of the rich, a 'false flag' op.

If the copy I read didn't belong to the library I'd wipe my ass with it.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:50 pm

From Post-Marxism back to Marxism?
JUNE 5, 2021


The Handbook of Marxism and Post-Marxism I co-edited with Alex Callinicos and Stathis Kouvelakis aims to present the development of Marxism as a militant tradition in dialogue with other traditions and within itself. Even if it was conceived almost six years ago, the multiple crises we are confronting today – economic, political, social, gender, environmental and biological – vindicate the spirit of our project. The project seeks to look at Marxism as a tradition that is rooted in and addresses the totality of capitalist social antagonisms and, by doing so, is able to think strategically beyond capital.

Several contributions challenge reductionist interpretations of Marx’s critique of political economy, and the idea that Marxism is irremediably Eurocentric and underestimates race, gender and ecology. This opens a space for a more complex, and I would say fertile, dialogue with Post-Marxists currents. The format of the Handbook – combining longer contextual essays and shorter essays on individual thinkers mainly – aims at facilitating this dialogue. We chose this format, rather than concentrating on themes and concepts, in order to capture the specificity of, and interactions between, individual thinkers and problematics.

In the final part of the book, “Marxism in an Age of Catastrophe”, John Bellamy Foster and Intan Suwandi forcefully argue that Marx inaugurated traditions of thought that can intellectually encompass the present age of catastrophe, announced by the floods and fires around the world as well as by the Covid-19 pandemic. These reflections complement the first part of the Handbook, “Foundation”, which points to the strong connection Marx and Engels posited between the critique of political economy and a politics of working-class self-emancipation. Thanks to this connection, they were able to conceive of capitalism as a global, gendered, racialized and ecological class antagonism in which struggles over wages and working conditions are organically linked to struggles over dispossession, social reproduction, ecology, imperialism and racism. Support for the demands of the most oppressed is thus crucial for the advancement of the working class as a whole.

Anti-colonial Marxism – beyond the Eurocentric stereotype

The popularization of Marxism in the wake of the emergence of mass socialist parties in late 19th Century Europe strengthened reformist and economistic interpretations of it. But Daniel Gaido and Manuel Quiroga challenge the commonplace idea that the Second International was Eurocentric in focus, presenting its heated debates on reformism, imperialism and national self-determination. While Rosa Luxemburg stood out for her anti-imperialism, Kautsky initially stated that socialists must support “all native independence movements” and condemned the idea of inevitable stages of history as stemming from “European megalomania” and racism (1907). Interestingly, the Italian Socialist Party, who expelled rightwing reformists who supported the colonization of Libya, was among the few sections of the International who did not follow Kautsky’s capitulation to chauvinism and support for the First World War.

The catastrophe of the Great War, along with the Russian Revolution of 1917, led to a “second foundation” of Marxism. This was both political, with the birth of the Third International, and theoretical: as Lenin notably said reading Hegel’s Science of Logic in the summer 1914, since no Marxist had seriously engaged with the Logic before, none had really understood Marx’s Capital. Hegel’s dialectic informed critiques of historical inevitability, as well as reflections on ideology, hegemony and revolutionary consciousness. In the writings of Lukács and Gramsci, Marxism was no longer understood as scientific socialism, but as the theoretical articulation of workers’ self-consciousness. Marxism also became a much more plural tradition, with the canonization of a new Marxist-Leninist/Stalinist orthodoxy in Russia, the revolutionary engagements of Gramsci, Bordiga and Trotsky, and the emergence of a current of Critical Theory, with the Frankfurt School, increasingly located in the academy but, as Henry Pickford shows, in constant dialogue with Marx.

Vijay Prashad’s framing essay and the part it introduces on the Tricontinental powerfully challenge the assumption that theory, even Marxist theory, “is produced in Europe and in North America, while ‘practice’ takes place in the Global South.” Even during the Second International, from Ireland, James Connolly disputed stageist views of history, boldly proclaiming – and putting in practice as one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter rising – the inextricable link between the struggle for national liberation and the struggle for socialism. For the Peruvian Marxist José Carlos Mariategui this link meant drawing the history of indigenous anti-colonial resistance and the revolutionary anti-capitalist struggle together, in a “heroic creation” of socialism in Latin America. Energized by Lenin’s theory of national self-determination and the anti-imperialist programme of the first congresses of the Third International, many Marxists in the colonial or semi-colonial world – from Mao to CLR James, Tabata to Hadji Ali and Fanon – sought to break free of the strictures and dead-ends of Stalinism, arming the national liberation struggles towards socialism.

In their struggles, for Fanon, the colonized were “political animals in the most universal sense of the word”. Indeed, the anti-colonial revolutions challenged the global imperialist system, breaking the legitimacy of racial domination also in its core. There, the 1960s and 1970s saw a multiplicity of antagonistic forces – women, students and racialized groups – come to the fore of the political stage along with the working class, putting social revolution back on the agenda. Along with the Russian repression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, as Frédéric Monferrand explains, these movements inspired a “renewal” of Marxism that now more strongly relied on Marx’s Capital – with the Neue Marx Lectuere, Tronti’s workerism and Althusser emphasizing the rupture between Marx and classical political economy and addressing, in very different ways, the practical issue of social transformation (or its impossibility, as in the case of the NML). Militant scholars like Samir Amin and Immanuel Wallerstein tried, in different ways, to overcome methodological nationalism and Eurocentrism within Marxism itself, contributing to the development of dependency and world systems theories.

The collapse of socialism and the rise of post-Marxism

But this international convergence of struggles was unable radically to overthrow the system. Instead, as Giovanni Arrighi argued, it amplified its structural crisis in the mid-1970s, unleashing the neoliberal offensive and accelerating the collapse of ‘really existing socialism.’ Despite the wealth of Marxist criticisms of the USSR before 1989, these developments were associated with a ‘crisis of Marxism.’ For Stathis Kouvelakis, the ‘Post-Marxism’ that emerged in this period treated the search for the unity of a ‘structured totality’ as irrelevant or even damaging, leading to an ‘eclipse of strategic reason’ (Bensaid). On the one side, the new readings of Marx’s Capital that had previously emerged had failed to explain the articulation of different forms of exploitation and oppression within global capitalism. On the other, in a context of political retreat, the heterogeneous forms of domination contested were seen as not fitting the ‘Marxist schema of class struggle,’ contributing to the rise of post-structuralism.

If, for some, a move toward a poststructuralist interrogation of Marxism was implicit from the very start of the Subaltern and then Postcolonial Studies projects, the essays in this Handbook show that their relationship to Marxism is not necessarily conflictual. This is particularly evident in the essay on Ranajit Guha and in the essay by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak that introduces the part “Unexplored Territories?” interrogating how Marx’s “intuition of totality” relates to the subaltern experience. The subsequent entries on Angela Davis, Lise Vogel and social reproduction theory, Stuart Hall, ecological Marxism, Huey Newton, and Chandra Talpade Mohanty and Third World feminism show the fertility of Marxism, and of traditions inspired by it, for contemporary struggles for racial, environmental and gender justice.

Marxist critiques of political economy and rethinking class struggle

The penultimate part of the handbook “Hidden Abode: The Marxist Critique of Political Economy” then relates contemporary debates among heterodox and Marxist political economists, and their different understandings of financialization and crisis, to the tensions within Marx’s value theory itself. The entries on Paul Sweezy, Harry Braverman, Ruy Mauro Marini and David Harvey point to the continuing and increasingly international debates about Marxist theories of imperialism, dependency, and revolutionary strategy. This part complements the previous one, “Unexplored territories?”, which shows the inherently gendered, ecological and racialized nature of contemporary imperialism, neoliberalism and the multiple crises we are facing today.

These crises raise, again, the question of social totality and strategic thinking. This Handbook pushes us to rethink reductionist conceptions of the class struggle. It shows that Marx and Marxism have never been concerned only with factory workers but have dealt with the ways in which capital accumulation is intertwined with continuing processes of ‘primitive accumulation’, which shape, and are shaped by, labour exploitation. Imperialism, dispossession and ecological destruction swell the ranks of the global reserve army of labour, which is both mobilized and trapped by new mechanisms of global apartheid, racialization and super-exploitation. This framework sheds light on the current age as an age of catastrophe as well as global revolt. If – as John Bellamy Foster, Intan Suwandi and Alex Callinicos explain in the last part of the Handbook – the Covid-19 pandemic crisis is the consequence of a globalized, imperialist system based on environmental destruction and deforestation, then peasant and indigenous struggles against marketization and dispossession are not separate from workers fighting for safe jobs, conditions and reproductive rights, or from struggles against imperialism, sexism, racism and racist policing. And it is on the terrain of struggle that the deeper unity between social production and reproduction comes to light, when diversity becomes solidarity, strength and political radicalism.

If, loyal to the history of Marxism, contributors to this Handbook share as many disagreements as commonalities, Spivak’s clarification, at the launch of the Handbook, that she’s not a Post-Marxist, she is a Marxist, made me think. In the new age of global revolt inaugurated by the 2011 uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, the Black Lives Matter movement and the new Palestinian Intifada, retrieving the rich, global history of Marxism is even more important to think strategically about our future.

Lucia Pradella is Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at King’s College, London. She tweets at @LuGuangMing.

If your institution is a subscriber to the Routledge book, you should be able to access the book chapters here.

Photo: © BrooklynStreetArt.com / VARIOUS & GOULD.

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by kidoftheblackhole » Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:02 pm

Great work here BP. I just finished Helgoland by Carlo Rovelli who is a quantum physicist. This book more than any other recalls for me a comment by Anaxarchos that the only mistake Lenin made in Materialism & Empirio-criticism was vastly underestimating the number of positivists/Machists. At points Helgoland reads like nothing but a love letter to Ernst Mach. It is VERY enlightening in this sense as I came away with a much stronger grasp of how insidious Mach's tentacles truly are.

Rovelli has a knack for coming down on the wrong side of things -- on full display when he spends most of a chapter championing Bogdanov over Lenin in the realm of philosophy.

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Tue Jun 15, 2021 1:19 pm

Thanks. Reading that pos was a minor ordeal, took most of a month as I walked away several times in disgust. So I had some time to think about it instead of my usual off the cuff responses. Also, I had an ax to grind and couldn't let it go.

Physicists are the worst, I think, because their bailiwick implies 'final cause', bad as them philosophers. I've been reading about D'arcy Thompson who attempted to dismiss natural selection(and implicitly heredity) in favor of the physical constraints imposed by basic(Newtonian) physics. This kinda works at the level of unicellular but falls apart with multicellular critters, especially metazoans. To his credit he eventually backed off with grace, no small thing from a prominent scientist. His work still has some value in biology, though mostly philosophically.
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Mon Jun 21, 2021 1:18 pm


Book review: Roland Boer – Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners
Posted Jun 21, 2021 by Eds.

Roland Boer
Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: A Guide for Foreigners
Springer, Singapore, 2021. 316 pp., 103,99 € hb
ISBN 9789811616211

Ever since the reform and opening-up from 1978, and especially during the last few decades, China has often been portrayed as an economic and a political hybrid: an officially socialist country which has, under the aegis of its Communist Party and its leaders’ continuing declarations of allegiance to Marxism and building socialism, embraced two key components of capitalist systems: private ownership over the means of production and a market economy. For many, this hybridity is also an insoluble contradiction which, similar to the classical liar paradox, involves a range of mutually invalidating opposites lining up with popular understanding of ‘authentically’ Marxist/socialist/communist economic and political values, practices, etc., and respectively ‘authentically’ capitalist/liberal/neoliberal values, practices, etc. Overall, the reasoning goes that if China is truly socialist and if its Communist Party sincerely adheres to Marxism (as its theoretical and practical guide for building socialism and eventually communism), then introducing practices typical of capitalism constitutes a betrayal of Marxism (or deviation from it) and introduction of capitalism. Based on this essentialising dualistic logic, China has become ‘state capitalism’, ‘bureaucratic capitalism’, ‘capitalist socialism’, ‘neoliberalism/capitalism with Chinese characteristics’, ‘crony capitalism’, ‘red capitalism’, and many other capitalisms. Many of these ‘capitalist’ qualifications come from non-Marxists and are often just poorly veiled attempts to reassert Thatcher’s ‘there is no alternative’ slogan and Fukuyama’s ‘the end of history’ thesis. Unfortunately, many Marxists, especially in the West, also succumb to the trap of dualistic social ontology in thinking about China. The glaring fault in their approach: disregard for the basic Marxist method, more concretely, dialectics, which involves understanding reality, including the reality of socialism, as the constant development of contradictions and their resolutions through sublation.

Socialism with Chinese Characteristics challenges the simplistic mutually exclusive dualistic lens through which socialism in China is often viewed and judged. Truthful to its title, the book is a guide to Chinese socialism, both comprehensive and incisive, although not so much for foreigners as for those who lost sight of Marxist dialectics as theory, analytical method and most importantly, as a framework and guide for social practice. For others, who like myself, grew up and lived in a socialist country, reading Socialism with Chinese Characteristics is a journey simultaneously familiar and new: familiar in recognising the language of specifically socialist Marxism and new regarding the ways it has been applied in Chinese circumstances.

It is not easy to provide a short overview of Boer’s book. It has ten chapters (each one with many sections and subsections) which aim to provide comprehensive answers and explanations to many different questions one can ask about modern China. Some are more theoretical, other more factual, but all of them draw on a variety of strands involving history, Marxism, politics, law, linguistics, etc. The book covers what some might consider the ‘big’ issues such as the Marxist basis for the reform and opening up, the introduction of private ownership and market economy (chapters 4 and 5), the theoretical foundations and practical functioning of Chinese socialist democracy (chapters 8 and 9) and ideas about sovereignty and human rights and their practical applications (chapter 7). In dealing with these ‘big’ issues, however, a number of other questions are also clarified, such as the status of minority nationalities and their involvement in the democratic process (section 8.5), the meaning of ‘legal system’ and ‘rule of law’ (subsection 8.6.1), the role of the Party and the role of the government (subsection 9.6.2), views on globalisation (subsection 10.4.8), etc. Every chapter also involves quotes and references from Chinese sources, which include works and speeches by Party leaders (Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping), documents from congresses and conferences and an incredible number of Chinese Marxist philosophers, political scientists, economists, etc., most of which are unfortunately unknown outside of China. The book also includes explanations of Chinese words, expressions and characters which are part of the Chinese Marxist discourse, such as shishiqiushi (seeking truth from facts) (32), datong(unity, togetherness, harmony) and xiaokang (moderately well-off, healthy, peaceful and secure) (chapter 6), baquan (hegemony) (256), etc.

The way in which all of this versatile material is woven together and presented is clear and accessible, but the book is far from being a simple descriptive journey as one would expect from a ‘guide’. It is also a deeply analytical work which in order to highlight the distinctiveness of Chinese Marxism and the complexities of building socialism involves careful reading of Chinese textual material (and their squaring up with actual practice), frequent comparisons with Soviet and Western Marxism and Western liberal thought, constant moving between the past and the present, zooming in on details and zooming out to the big picture and frequent expositions about how described practical aspects fit in with Chinese Marxist discourse. In this sense, reading through Socialism with Chinese Characteristics is not an easy ride. There is breadth and depth to it which requires constant focus and, most importantly, also an open mind and readiness towards accepting reconfigured, sometimes in a completely new way, well-known Marxist ideas and concepts.

The picture of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ that emerges from this intense journey is of a vibrant, dynamic and complex society which is in constant development and in a critical dialectical dialogue within itself and with the rest of the world. Indeed, if I were to summarise what ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ entails without doing grave injustice to its complexity, it would be that it exemplifies Marxist dialectics in real action. Dialectics was the force behind the reform and opening up (chapters 2, 3, 4, section 5.3) and it is still the dominant theory and method that informs and shapes development of Chinese socialism (section 1.2 and chapter 10). What differentiates Chinese Marxist dialectics, however, from Marxist dialectics in the classical sense is that it is referential to Chinese history and conditions (subsection 1.3) and that its primary focus is not anymore on contradictions arising from capitalism, but on resolving contradictions that arise in socialism, that is, in a post-revolution social reality where, as Marx would say, the expropriators have already been expropriated (section 3.4 and subsection 4.5.1). In other words, this is a type of socialist/socialisticdialectics whose main concern is development of socialism as concrete social, economic and political practice.

Dialectics is the dominant theme of the book, but the key to understanding specifically Chinese socialist(ic) dialectics and appreciating the intricacies of Chinese socialism and its functioning are the first four chapters because most of the ideas they deal with are, with an ever-growing complexity, further elaborated in the rest of the book. In the introduction, Boer explains the role Marxism plays in China, what is specifically Chinese about it and a number of liberal and Western Marxists’ (mis)representations of Chinese socialism, which Chinese scholars and Boer view as inadequate and methodologically faulty since they try to understand China from the perspective of Western history, Western intellectual traditions and Western Marxism. The second chapter discusses Deng’s two principles (liberating thought from dogmatism for the purpose of liberating the forces of production, and seeking truth from facts as the basis of the Marxist method) that were instrumental for the move from strictly planned to mixed planned/market economy. The third chapter presents ‘contradiction analysis’ or dialectical materialism as it was developed in the Soviet Union, namely, the understanding that contradictions continue in socialism albeit in non-antagonistic form, and its application in Chinese conditions. Finally, the fourth chapter explains the reasons for the reform and the opening-up via contradiction analysis in a series of opposites such as collective/individual, equality/difference, revolution/reform, self-reliance/globalisation and their recalibration within the Chinese socialist economic and political context. From here, the book turns to an extremely detailed discussion of more concrete aspects of Chinese socialism, such as the economy, socialist modernisation, sovereignty, human rights and democracy, ending with an exposition of Xi Jinping’s thought. What all of these chapters clearly demonstrate is the firm footing of Boer’s claim from the introduction, namely, that Marxism is at the core of Chinese socialist project, although, as mentioned before, this is Marxism that is primarily referential to and applicable to problems arising in socialism.

Does Boer’s book deliver on the promise to ‘redress the lack of knowledge’ about the concept and practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics? It certainly does and more so. For those who wonder whether China is still socialist or suspect that Chinese Communist Party abandoned Marxism, the book provides a lot of material on which to base their answers. In fact, anyone who wants to engage seriously and extensively with ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ should read the book. As for me, I never doubted that China is socialist. What Socialism with Chinese Characteristics did for me was to reaffirm that communism is indeed ‘the riddle of history solved’, which I began to doubt after the Yugoslav and the Soviet disaster, and to rekindle the hope that the world will come to that solution sooner rather than later. China wants to lead towards achieving this aim by example and Boer’s book certainly shines a very bright light on the ins and the outs of that example.

Tamara Prosic is a Senior Researcher with the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Tue Aug 10, 2021 1:46 pm

Review of Keti Chukhrov – ‘Practicing the Good: Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism’
Originally published: Marx & Philosophy by Isabel Jacobs (August 5, 2021 ) | - Posted Aug 07, 2021

In a recent article, Maria Chehonadskih (2021) argues that the adjective ‘Soviet’ is today used as a `floating signifier’ either embracing totalitarian connotations of the Soviet State or positively referring to the event and legacy of the Russian Revolution. While appreciating the first decade after the Revolution as a period of avant-garde experimentation, Western Marxists still dismiss the Soviet experience of anti-capitalism after the Stalinist period. In fact, Soviet Marxist theories and practices from the 1960-70s are terra incognita for many contemporary Marxist theorists.

Russian philosopher Keti Chukhrov’s Practicing the Good: Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism excellently unveils how this dismissal of Soviet socialism originates in an unresolved desire for alienation in post war continental thought, permeating the works of Butler, Deleuze, Lyotard, and others. Instead of historically revisiting Soviet socialism, Chukhrov’s ambitious book analyzes how Soviet socialist culture challenges unrevised assumptions, paradoxes and aberrations in contemporary anti-capitalist critique. Chukhrov further explores the potentially divisive claim that Soviet socialism did not fail for being insufficient but because it was too much socialism.

Practicing the Good sets out to show how contemporary leftist theory resists anti-capitalism by dismissing its radical other: the concrete experience of Soviet socialism. In short, Chukhrov analyzes why the capitalist subject never really desires abolishing capitalism. Against this backdrop, Chukhrov argues that even what is aestheticized today as anti-capitalist critique unwittingly affirms the capitalist status quo. Instead of striving for radical transformation, the Western Leftist prefers her bourgeois bubble, narcissistically ‘leading the revolution one Guardian article at a time’, as Adam Lehrer recently put it. Consequently, for the capitalist subject, socialism as radical de-alienation, sublated desire, and the abolition of libidinal phantasmagoria is an uncanny dystopia.

Chukhrov’s argument is certainly not unfamiliar, deriving from a well-trodden path led by intellectuals like Boris Groys or Slavoj Žižek. And yet, Chukhrov’s provocative cross-reading of continental and Soviet philosophy is a rare example of engaging transnational criticism. As such, her eclectic book contributes to a larger project of resuscitating Soviet Marxism to uncover blind spots in contemporary anti-capitalist discourse.

For Chukhrov, Soviet socialism serves as a prism outside of capitalism ‘from which one can see how the aberrations and fallacies in the critique of capitalist subsumption are overlooked by the token of their own entanglement in the logic of capital’ (21). Soviet socialism, a zone of radical anti-capitalism, is marked by concepts that are defamed as metaphysical since post-structuralism: ‘the good’, ‘the universal’ (vseobshee), ‘the ideal’, ‘reality’, ‘de-alienation’. Chukhrov seeks to revalorize these concepts as materialist notions emerging from different fields of Soviet culture in the 1960-70s, including philosophy, psychology, art theory, film, and sexuality.

As the title reveals, Chukhrov is particularly interested in two aspects of Soviet socialism: desire and boredom. For a libidinally conditioned capitalist subject, socialism as a non-libidinal economy appears boring and unsexy. Chukhrov makes the contestable claim that from the inside of the socialist experience, however, everyday life was perceived as the full realization of communist ideals; in short, for Chukhrov, Soviet socialism was practicing the good. The tension between boredom and desire, economy and sexuality, loosely guides through the four parts of her book (I. Political Economy; II. Sexuality; III. Aesthetics; IV. Philosophy).

In his Foreword, Groys claims that the Western Left ‘still wants to remain in the West – and, thus, it is still defined by Cold War divides’ (11). To overcome these ‘epistemological gaps’ and the nationalization of the Soviet experience, Chukhrov aims to reanimate the universalist and global dimensions of Soviet socialism. In fact, Soviet society provides the only model of a society in which private property was successfully abolished in favor of the common good. Chukhrov investigates how this radical socio-economical shift led to a non-libidinal society where idealist expectations were concretely enacted. In this regard, Soviet socialism created a specific yet universalizable ‘discursive paradigm’ (92) with its very own epistemological, aesthetic and sexual mechanisms.

Already the first chapter in Part I, ‘Aberrations in Anti-Capitalist Critique: Desiring Alienation’, convincingly introduces one of the book’s main arguments: that contemporary anti-capitalist theory suffers from a perverted desire for alienation. Examining works by thinkers such as Deleuze and Guattari, Chukhrov argues that post-structuralist theory at its core affirms capitalism and thereby sabotages true emancipation. By transforming capital itself into the ‘desirable terrain’ of subversion, Deleuze and Guattari’s Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972), for instance, intensifies alienation and expresses an impossibility to overthrow capitalism.

Referring to Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Chukhrov claims that this libidinal desire for alienation fundamentally breaks with Marx’s theory of alienation. Whereas Marx emphasized that the desired fetish object is conditioned by and ‘decodable within the logic of production’ (31), post-structuralists like Deleuze and Guattari mistake the phantasmatic desire for alienation as preceding and thus subverting capitalism. Throughout the book, along with close readings of Marx, Chukhrov persuasively shows how Soviet Marxists such as Evald Ilyenkov, Merab Mamardashvili and Lev Vygotsky seriously question the kernel Western anti-capitalism inherited from psychoanalysis, linguistic idealism and post-structuralism.

Chukhrov’s analysis of Soviet B-films that draws on Agamben’s concepts of metanoia and halo is a stimulating yet not uncontroversial piece of film-philosophy. Through the lens of socialist film, Chukhrov examines why Western audiences are repulsed by the depicted social realia. Why, Chukhrov asks, do capitalist subjects watch these films with feelings of pity and repulsion? Chukhrov claims that it is not the poverty and squalor we are repulsed by but equality. From a capitalist perspective, the ‘erasure of the difference between poverty and welfare’, a concrete achievement of Soviet socialism as mirrored in popular films, is perceived as abnormal (116). But is the poverty we see on screen and that people suffered during Soviet times really merely the product of our Western gaze seduced by consumerism?

In Part II, Sexuality, Chukhrov brilliantly proves the claim to be ‘one of the most important feminist theoretical voices to emerge in post-Soviet Russia’ (Malabou). Chukhrov’s analysis of sexuality in socialism opens with a sharp criticism of Judith Butler’s gender theory. As Chukhrov argues, Butler’s notions of gender, melancholy, performance, and subversion are deeply rooted in the logic of capitalist economy and thus not fully applicable to former socialist societies. Chukhrov’s main criticism is that Butler understands subversive deviation and emancipation from alienation as an individual trouble rather than a collective struggle. A consequence of this ‘lack of commons’ (129) is a fatal atomization of social discourse: rather than a tool for communality, language is misconceived as a ‘Big Other’ (125) hostile to our individualized identity production.

In eye-opening readings of Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, Chukhrov deconstructs some of these unwittingly capitalist notions of desire, the unconscious, and freedom. Vygotsky’s non-structuralist approach to language and desire, in Chukhrov’s view, offers a timely critique of Freudian psychoanalysis by relocating desire from the unconscious into social reality. Soviet Marxism, in sharp contrast to psychoanalysis, grounds sexuality in consciousness (or discourse) which makes it a collective and material matter. Through the prism of Andrei Platonov’s pamphlet Anti-Sexus, Chukhrov claims that sexuality in Soviet socialism was ‘de-sexualized’ (151); sex had lost its phantasmatic ‘surplus charm’ (144) and turned into a mere mode of production.

Part III, Aesthetics, reconstructs Mikhail Lifshitz’s discussion of Hegel’s aesthetics in relation to Soviet realism. In the footsteps of Groys (2011), Chukhrov aims to rehabilitate Socialist realist art as a radical practice of de-alienation rather than a mouthpiece of Stalinist propaganda. As Chukhrov wonderfully elaborates, Lifshitz unveils supposedly subversive strategies in modernist art ‘as arbitrary gestures that were merely the flipside of bourgeois consciousness’ (189). In contrast to modernism’s elitist hubris, realist or classical art incorporates the artist’s ‘zealous selflessness’ (216) and ‘human resignation’ (190) when confronted with reality. In this sense, Chukhrov concludes, classical art is communist art par excellence.

Part IV is dedicated to Philosophic Ontics of Communism, focusing on the work of Evald Ilyenkov. Chukhrov’s fascinating interpretation of Ilyenkov sets up the philosophical base of her book’s argument. It is here where Chukhrov convincingly attacks the metaphysical axioms of object-oriented theories, accelerationism, speculative realism, and posthumanism. In contrast, Ilyenkov’s ontology is presented as a productive fusion of Spinozist monism and Marxian dialectics into a unique materialist idealism. Chukhrov’s cross-reading of Ilyenkov and Deleuze’s Spinozism is highly interesting. For Ilyenkov, as Chukhrov concisely presents, the ‘ideal’ is the purposeful, non-individual aspect of human labor (261). The ideal, deriving from Hegel’s notion of otherness or non-self, overcomes the split between self and world.

Unlike the post-structuralists, Ilyenkov conceptualized language as concrete action and labor rather than an ideal superstructure. Meaning thus results from labor and the manual engagement with material processes. With regard to Ilyenkov’s innovative work at the Zagorsk school of deaf-blind education, Chukhrov explores this material-ideal philosophy of the ‘thinking body’ (282) as a ‘cosmological humanism’ (242), offering a revelatory alternative to contemporary visions of a future after humanity (Meillassoux 2009). She comes to the conclusion that Ilyenkov’s vision correlates to what she calls the ‘noumenalization of objecthood’ (305), this is the philosophical quality of material everyday life in Soviet socialism.

Practicing the Good is both a stimulating introduction into Soviet Marxism and a persuasive critique of contemporary anti-capitalism’s thirst for acceleration, atomization, and alienation. While opening up many new territories of critical debate, this book will most likely be read controversially. In fact, Chukhrov’s attempt to reclaim the forgotten emancipatory aspects of Soviet socialism can be misconceived as a somewhat romanticizing view on historical socialism. While a critical stance toward some of Chukhrov’s claims is certainly productive, such a misconception could not be further from what her impressive book actually offers. To conclude, Practicing the Good is an invaluable read for anyone interested in how Soviet Marxism of the 1960-70s can re-evaluate our view on contemporary capitalism.

Chehonadskih, Maria 2021 Reformulation of Knowledge: Epistemological Reading of Soviet Marxism in the Post-Soviet Times Studies in East European Thought
Chukrov, Keti 2013 Epistemological Gaps between the Former Soviet East and the “Democratic” West e-flux journal #41
Groys, Boris 2009 The Communist Postscript London: Verso
Groys, Boris 2011 The total art of Stalinism: avant-garde, aesthetic dictatorship, and beyondLondon: Verso
Lehrer, Adam 2021 Based Safety vs. Cringe Propaganda #22https://safetypropaganda.substack.com/p/based-safety-vs-cringe-propaganda-91c
Meillassoux, Quentin 2009 After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of ContingencyLondon and New York: Continuum
Platonov, Andrei 2016 Anti-Sexushttp://stasisjournal.net/index.php/journal/article/view/125/201
Zizek, Slavoj 2011 Did somebody say totalitarianism?: five interventions in the (mis)use of a notion London: Verso

https://mronline.org/2021/08/07/review- ... socialism/

Practicing the Good: Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism
University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2020. 336pp., $30 pb
ISBN 9781517909550
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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Re: What are you reading?

Post by blindpig » Wed Sep 01, 2021 1:07 pm


Biology as Ideology at 30

Originally published: Science for the People by Kulyash Zhumadilova - Lewontin Memorial Collection (August 8, 2021 ) | - Posted Aug 31, 2021

This first U.S. edition of Biology as Ideology by Richard Lewontin is a reprint of the 1990 Massey Lectures, which were broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Company, and an essay titled The Dream of the Human Genome written for The New York Review of Books (May 28, 1992). The lectures and essay were written in response to the Human Genome Project (HGP) and aimed to explain why the “doctrine” of DNA is an ideology masquerading under biological research agendas. Much like any other successful work on ideology, Lewontin’s book exposes hidden lenses that obscure our vision of the world.

In it, Lewontin shows how economic and social forces shape our conceptualization of biology and how, in turn, biology shapes and further perpetuates capitalist hegemony. The increased atomization of society and associated political economy of capitalism justifies the logic of reductionism. Just as individual economic actors constitute society, so do individual biological parts determine an organism. Such ideological commitment facilitated the construction of DNA as a “master molecule,” “the cause” of organismal traits. This led to the idea of genetic (biological) determinism, with which certain groups could use to justify their privileged status. According to Lewontin, in a modern democratic society, where artificial barriers between social groups (in theory) no longer exist, biological differences could be used to justify inequality. Drawing an analogy from religion, he postulated that science, especially biology, is a modern “institution of social legitimation,” an ideological force that creates a certain reality for its followers. He goes further in elucidating the influence of capitalist ideology on modern biology. A vision of evolution that applies competitive logic of capitalism to workings of nature—or a more recent theory of sociobiology that extends the status quo into natural order—is nothing more than a lack of imagination, a blueprint re-casted to accommodate biological facts.

Although the primary audience for the book is the general public, I wish more scientists read it. The big picture that Lewontin draws is rare, valuable, and still relevant. Our knowledge of the human genome has advanced since the book was written, but it is still very pertinent if not prophetic about the overreaching promises of the HGP to crack a “code of Life.” Unfortunately, general disillusionment with DNA in post-HGP times didn’t result in re-evaluation of the program that Lewontin tried to expose.1 Aided with technologies that the HGP brought us, biology has switched to RNA as the “next favorite molecule” and recent mRNA vaccines are good examples of it. Although one step away from “vulgar determinism,”2 but still within the nucleic acid paradigm, current biology is incapable of self-reflection, exactly because a big picture could no longer be seen. Perhaps, as Lewontin suggests, philosophical revision of the “cause and effect” relationship is necessary. Common confusion between an agent and a cause has been exposed in the ongoing global pandemic that has shown the incompleteness of molecular biological explanations. Is a virus an agent or a cause of the disproportionate loss of lives in underprivileged communities, in groups with underlying health conditions? Biomedical models of disease place the blame on individuals, on DNA, or on viruses. However, as Lewontin urges, we must recognize it as one cause among others and put it into a context from which it derives its meaning.

A vision of evolution that applies competitive logic of capitalism to workings of nature . . . is nothing more than a lack of imagination . . .

It is worth situating the book in early 1990s, with its coverage of the debate over the heritability of I.Q. and its review of literature related to the HGP. The creation of a discourse around the topic is a part of ideology, as something constructed by representatives of the elite. It is worth noting that for Lewontin, biology as an ideology is not just a Machiavellian plan by establishment, but rather a complex web of financial, political and personal interests of many parties involved.

The discussion on a concept of “environment” could be read differently now than it did thirty years ago. In a dialectical fashion, the organism creates the environment, as the environment creates the organism, irrespective of organismal type and scale. This realization renders some discussions on resurfaced notions of the Anthropocene futile, such as those that disregard other species as actors and ascribe the modern epoch as its start date.3 However, the author does acknowledge that minimizing our damaging impact on the environment is paramount for our survival.

Overall, ideas in this book are the continuation of previous work by Lewontin on a dialectical view on biology, genes, and environment. Lewontin’s commitment to revealing problems of agriculture—not just from the perspective of “pure” biology, but from political and economic motivations of seed-producing corporations—is particularly telling.4 He believed that the ideological traps of biological dogmas “prevent a rich understanding of nature and prevent us from solving the problems to which science is supposed to apply itself.”

I am deeply saddened that Richard Lewontin is no longer with us. My hope, however, is that his example will continue to inspire generations of scientists to commit to social action and continue his work. – K. Zhumadilova

Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA Richard. C. Lewontin, Harper Perennial 1993 144 Pages $12.99

↩ Alasdair Mackenzie, “20 Years of the Human Genome: More Anticlimax than Breakthrough?,” The Independent, February 25, 2021, www.independent.co.uk.
↩ R. C. Lewontin, “Sociobiology–A Caricature of Darwinism,” PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1976, no. 2 (January 1, 1976): 22–31.
↩ For in-depth discussion, see John Bellamy Foster, “The Anthropocene Crisis,” Monthly Review68, no. 4 (September 1, 2016): 9–15, monthlyreview.org
↩ Richard C. Lewontin and Jean-Pierre Berlan, “The Political Economy of Hybrid Corn,” Monthly Review 38, no. 3 (July 1, 1986), monthlyreview.org; R. C. Lewontin, “The Maturing of Capitalist Agriculture: Farmer as Proletarian,” Monthly Review 50, no.3 (July 6, 1998): 72-84; Richard C. Lewontin, “Genes in the Food!,” The New York Review of Books, June 21, 2001, www.nybooks.com.

https://mronline.org/2021/08/31/biology ... ogy-at-30/

This book should be required reading in any biology degree program.
"There is great chaos under heaven; the situation is excellent."

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