#1
I don't know what it is. Some of my communists friends seem to really hate it when you bring up theorists like Adorno or postmodernism or Baudrillard or similar things (I don't know much about these guys myself.)

I know that some academics are supposed to be opportunists who don't contribute meaningfully to the struggle of the working class through their theories because their work has no material analysis, and then suck up money or resources from Big University. But I don't really know which ones have a material analysis versus not from this perspective. Some feminists seem to do a lot of material analysis even if their claims may not have an easy way of being ground out in day to day living, like Andrea Dworkin talking about how all sex is rape under patriarchal society. And many of them very much approve of second wave feminists - but are those the only feminists worth studying?

Most specifically I guess I'm interested in LGBT and colonial scholars who aren't "academic right opportunists." I guess I mean marxist ones? But I'll take anyone who talks about these things with material perspective.

I have read some of capital, On New Terrain, and am working through Settlers now, and am presently helping some people organize some workers in a place, so I'm not completely gormless here in that I understand the basics of organizing and similar but I don't really understand how some academics are labeled 'bad' or 'good.'
#2

loudboy posted:

But I don't really know which ones have a material analysis versus not from this perspective.

...

I have read some of capital, On New Terrain, and am working through Settlers now, and am presently helping some people organize some workers in a place



does it help? like capital will tell you why your labor organizing should work at all, cuz the boss isn't making his money buying commodities low and selling dear. settlers shows why white-led class movements lapse into reformism, cuz of the land/nation struggle, telling us where the "offramps" are in rev struggle. if you took adorno to a meeting, would people leave with a clearer sense of the social terrain or would they misinterpret your flapping lips for a mid air auto blowjob

#3
hmm adorno probably wouldn't help. Is that the only metric for the value of theory though? Is it worth anything intrinsically?
#4
"academic right opportunism" refers to the tendency of tenured humanities & economics academics with a nominally leftist disposition to create a body of work that, rather than advancing alternative (marxist, revolutionary, whatever) politics, create and encourage an attachment to existing political and economic structures. a lot of Critical Theorists or people influenced by that field tend to fall under that definition, especially social theorists who sincerely use the "totalitarian" concept in their work, and economic theorists who cannot see anything outside of growth-based capital-accumulative systems as "viable".

ideally you gotta read and create your own assessment. if you ask about a specific theorist or text i'm sure plenty of 'zoners will share their incredibly impartial and well-researched opinion

but if you're actually organising people you're doing more work than most so congrats
#5
^^^

Edited by toyot ()

#6
As a clueless outsider, I was curious about all the theory people jerk off about. I devoured what I could independently (not a ton), ended up taking some university classes, etc, and now I am pretty comfortable saying that it is still a lot of jerking off.

I would actually say yes, aside from entertainment and personal challenge ("can I understand this bullshit" (cough lacan cough)), the best metric for the usefulness of any theory is literally how well does it connect to and apply to material reality. That still is very broad and includes tons of considerations and perspectives on economics, social relations, class, well-being, etc etc, and of course you can't tell how useful a theory is until you start applying it to already-real things, trying to start fires, but in my experience so far, if something seems on its face like a detached self-indulgent bunch of bullshit, it will not magically reveal itself to be something different after you wade through the muck.

If you take rhizzone posters as a whole, I think for the most part the only ones left here are people who do, I think, have a good understanding of what theories do stand up against material reality, even people who post in both high volume and high frequency about theory, so picking up reading recs and other things here probably is still worth it sometimes. My eyes gloss over occasionally still but mostly because I don't often have the spare mental energy to read 20 paragraphs of Lenin & Mao exegesis.
#7
That was long and mostly just agreed with the other posters. Re your question, I think another way of asking the same thing is just flatly "is postmodernist humanities actually fascist deep down?"

I wrote a bunch here and then deleted it. Short version: Postmodernism is anarchist, and maybe you like that or maybe you don't. Identity politics are anti-communist imo because, you know, they Consistently Erase Class.

Occasionally you get some shit about how "well it's complicated", but identity politics reify the specific oppressive identities they claim to want to break free from, and it sucks up a lot of smart, angry, revolutionary-minded people and makes it all about small accommodations and bullshit. It makes me mad.

On the other hand, the growing response to all of this is definitely fascist. For example, even though I genuinely believe, unlike probably everyone else on this forum, that Jordan Peterson hates Nazis, he's too much of a credulous ivory tower buffoon to realize that the explicit moral structure and monoculture he argues for only takes a light breeze to fall into a comprehensive program of gas chamber building.

I don't think it's productive to try and suss out whether you think there's some strain of some definition of fascism in some academics. I would just say our time is better used speaking about and using alternatives to all of the above that actually focus on class and material reality and that you know yourself are not fascist.
#8
Hell, what isn't academic right opportunism, know what I mean folks ?? *wild applause from our live studio audience*
#9

drwhat posted:

Occasionally you get some shit about how "well it's complicated", but identity politics reify the specific oppressive identities they claim to want to break free from, and it sucks up a lot of smart, angry, revolutionary-minded people and makes it all about small accommodations and bullshit. It makes me mad.


what is this, 2008?

#10
just imagining people mad at "academic right opportunism", theyre absolutly fuming an theyre telling me all about it, they effortlessly segue into a condemation of "identity politics", im leaning back and not even pretending to pretending to listen, daydreaming about smoking a big joint once they finally fuck off
#11
hmm i don't want to reify any identities but i also think like triple oppression theory is useful. i might be in a pickle.
#12

drwhat posted:

Occasionally you get some shit about how "well it's complicated", but identity politics reify the specific oppressive identities they claim to want to break free from, and it sucks up a lot of smart, angry, revolutionary-minded people and makes it all about small accommodations and bullshit. It makes me mad.



yeah but the left wing response to this in the first world also reifies the category of the "working class". all of a sudden any white man who works for a wage becomes part of the global proletariat who we should unite with. i think it s as idealist as (or maybe even worse than) identity politics

#13

loudboy posted:

hmm i don't want to reify any identities but i also think like triple oppression theory is useful. i might be in a pickle.


tears has it exactly right, the conflict over "identity politics" in the left is really over not because identity politics are universally bad but because the hashing out of what was great and what sucked is all done. what was genuinely useful and productive (there's a lot!) was kept by real survivors and organizers, while the chaff got integrated into bad liberal politics that were never going anywhere anyways.

that old fight was brutal at the time but it's not really a hot topic anymore, outside of certain Extremely Online feedback loops that are worthless anyways.

#14
like shallow israeli pinkwashing and Support Our Gay Troops is a thing that we all have to deal with now, but at the same time every marxist-leninist party worth its salt has also come around to being better about queer issues, white privilege and patriarchal chauvinism in the ranks. the dust has all settled.
#15

tears posted:

just imagining people mad at "academic right opportunism", theyre absolutly fuming an theyre telling me all about it, they effortlessly segue into a condemation of "identity politics", im leaning back and not even pretending to pretending to listen, daydreaming about smoking a big joint once they finally fuck off


#16

drwhat posted:

Postmodernism is anarchist, and maybe you like that or maybe you don't. Identity politics are anti-communist imo because, you know, they Consistently Erase Class.




this is just so fucking perfectly spot on and i will be using it irl now

#17
mustang thread
#18
“Postmodernism” is a meaningless phrase and its use to slop together a number of writers with widely varying ideas & positions represents a reactionary, explicitly anti-Marx & anti-Marxist project
#19
what a typically premodernist mode of analysis
#20
This is a good essay to refer to whenever these things come up

https://www.cpim.org/marxist/201101-postmodernism-Aijaz.pdf
#21
hey guys i wrote a book called capital in the twentieth century and it says that we need giant global taxes to fix the world's ills my name is thomas piketty i came to this conclusion after 2.5 million dollars of education
#22
his palms are sweaty, knees weak arms are heavy, there's capital in the twentieth century, thomas piketty
#23
lol