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Very happy to have the incisive and forcefully anti-capitalist presence of George Ciccariello-Maher - scholar, activist, writer, Marxist - on AEWCH this week.
We break down what dialectics are, if you're unfamiliar. Then we talk about the Cuban revolution, why liberal centrists are a total failure, how we can't expect to resolve every contradiction, why Marxism needs anti-imperialism, how inner struggle translates into action, how a skewed focus on our wounds can stop us from doing what needs to be done in the world, why solidarity requires struggle, Hegel vs the individual (AKA Geo vs Conner), whether or not everything is political, the value of Stormy Daniels, how struggle exists outside of capitalism, and what we can actually DO with all this theory.
• For more on Geo, here's his website. The book of Geo's that we talk about the most is Decolonizing Dialectics which is a great, if not beginner's book. He's also written a book on Venezuela, Building the Commune: Radical Democracy in Venezuela, an urgent topic (and one which Abby Martin and I have talked about way back on AEWCH 2), and We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution.
• If you're wondering why George's amazon reviews are so low, it's not because the books aren't good. It's because he was the target of a hate campaign that included online smears and death threats. You can read a bit about it here.
• Here's "The Same Old Song" by Russell Means. Means's essay is not actually an essay, for, as he states at the outset, "The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of 'legitimate' thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken." (and below is a photo of Means, who died in 2012)
• Frantz Fanon figures largely into Geo's work, and if you have not yet read his blend of postcolonial thought+Marxism+psychoanalysis, well then, his major works, The Wretched of the Earth and Black Skin, White Masks, are just waiting for you.
• Here's the so-called "hate crime" anti-Columbus graffiti in Philly.
• Sarah Schulman has helped me refine my thoughts. She's an amazing thinker and writer, and we reference her book, Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair.
• If you want to investigate Hegel's concept of dialectics, well, have at it! Here's a starting point for you!
• I've mentioned the Lon Milo DuQuette book enough times that I should probably link to it. If you want to check out some short essays on magick, it's a fun book, for sure.
• Whether you agree with Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, you'll still find a lot of worthwhile provocations in their work. You can start with Empire or Multitude, or just read the super-short, though not exactly complete Declaration.
• Geo mentions Argentine philosopher and theologian Enrique Dusel. I don't know much about him, except for what I've learned from Geo. But there's plenty of his work out there. Start here.
• For more on how capitalism functions via incompleteness, check out my recent episode with anti-capitalist psychoanalytic theorist, Todd McGowan.
• Interested in the anti-fascist redneck movement? Yes, it exists. Here's Redneck Revolt who are, in their words, "Putting the Red Back In Redneck"
• Walter Benjamin comes up, and he is definitely worth checking out. Of particular relevance is Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History” (also sometimes translated as "On the Concept of History") which you can read here. But if you’re new to Benjamin, better to start by reading Michael Lowy’s truly excellent book, Fire Alarm: Reading Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History’ in which Lowy tackles Benjamin’s essay section by section in plain and accessible language.
Until next time, friends,