Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

Chairman Avakian: “On balance, Arundhati Roy ought not to be killed”

Berkeley celebrates Bob Avakian day Actually surprisingly good article by Bob Avakian in this week’s Revolutionary Worker:

At any given time, while in an overall and ultimate sense consistently and systematically applying the communist world outlook and method, in the best possible way, enables you, ultimately and in a fundamental and all-around sense, to get more deeply to the truth than any other world outlook and methodology—qualitatively so—this doesn’t mean that at any given time you necessarily have the truth about something. That’s a contradiction we have to learn to handle much more correctly than it has been handled in the past of our movement, and in the history of the socialist countries.

And reading articles like this does tempt me to join the RCP.

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You can’t even understand the lyrics

The sound film, far surpassing the theater of illusion, leaves no room for imagination or reflection on the part of the audience, who is unable to respond within the structure of the film, yet deviate from its precise detail without losing the thread of the story.… [Sound films] are so designed that quickness, powers of observation, and experience are undeniably needed to apprehend them at all; yet sustained thought is out of the question if the spectator is not to miss the relentless rush of facts.

— Adorno and Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 126

It seems like a bit of a cheap shot to characterize Adorno and Horkheimer’s analysis of the culture industry as the complaints of old men bewildered by modern culture. But I think there’s something to that, not just in the culture industry theory, but in the Frankfurt school’s theory more generally. Read more↴

Labour MP: employment is punishment

Well, that’s not what John Denham is actually saying. He doesn’t need to say it or even think it, as it’s the implicit New Labour model behind this bold policy initiative:

Unemployed people convicted of crimes should receive tougher sentences than those with full-time jobs or caring responsibilities, a leading Labour MP will say today.

John Denham, chair of the influential home affairs select committee, will call for an overhaul of community sentencing to enable courts to mete out tougher punishments for the jobless on the grounds that they have more time on their hands.

Bare life

Just come across this quote from Hayek:

The proletariat which capitalism can be said to have ‘created’ was thus not a proportion of the population which would have existed without it and which it had degraded to a lower level; it was an additional population which was enabled to grow up by the new opportunities for employment which capitalism provided. (The Constitution of Liberty)

There you go, proletarians: be grateful to capitalism for even allowing you to exist.

No on 90

California is, politically, an odd place. It has a reputation as one of the “bluest” states (which, in America’s curious chromo-semantics means “left wing”); but it’s also a home of libertarianism, which coexists with the left in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles. This combination makes California an interesting testing-ground for neo-liberalism, a form of right-wing politics adapted to post-New Deal (or post-Fordist) politics. One of the first moves here was Proposition 13, which capped tax rates, with predictable disasterous consequences not just for particular public services in California, but for the ability of the state to function as a political agent at all. We now face a new neo-liberal experiment, Proposition 90, which, in the guise of a “progressive” reform of eminent domain, would require any administration within the state to compensate property owners if their property lost value as a result of legislative measures. This is a staggering attack on the very idea of politics: the community will now have to pay in order to enage in collective decision making. In this, it is neo-liberalism in its purest form. Read more↴