Link to an article by John Steppling:
“Before the Law”
While fairly detailed in its analysis and proffered support, the asserted parallels with fascist regimes of the past isn’t fully convincing. Does the current moment not have neo-feudalist (or neo-Bonapartist) aspects? Doesn’t the present moment have some unique features without complete historical precedent?
Bonus link: The Courts Are Political
Link to a review by Landon Frim & Harrison Fluss of Steven Pinker‘s book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress (2018):
“Steven Pinker: False Friend of the Enlightenment”
This is a great tear-down of Pinker’s thinking, which is problematic because of how basically insipid it is as mere status quo boosterism.
Bonus links: Review of The Great Leveler and Review of Domenico Losurdo’s Liberalism: A Counter-History and Slavoj Žižek On Political Struggle and Review of Making Money
“in the analysis of ideology, it is not simply a matter of seeing which account of reality best matches the ‘facts’, with the one that is closest being the least biased and therefore the best. As soon as the facts are determined, we have already — whether we know it or not — made our choice; we are already within one ideological system or another. The real dispute has already taken place over what is to count as the facts, which facts are relevant, and so on.”
Rex Butler, “What Is a Master-Signifier”
Link to an article by Benjamin Fogel:
Curiously, while the author says moralism isn’t an answer, his argument is essentially moral! He really is saying mere moralistic, individualistic finger-wagging won’t convince political opponents to change their ways, which is a tactical argument that glosses over normative/ideological (moral) bases for action. But isn’t the author simply arguing that instead of criminalizing the political left through “anti-corruption” laws such policies should instead criminalize the political right? He offers no real explicit argument to this effect, relying instead on implicit ideology and morality. This is about a political struggle for hegemony, making certain specific procedural/tactical suggestions along the lines of Rosa Luxembourg’s famous “socialism or barbarism” maxim.
Bonus links: Slavoj Žižek On Political Struggle (technocrats as defenders of hierarchy) and Slavoj Žižek on Populism (populists)
Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Ryan Coogler
Main Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Andy Serkis
This film is repugnant. That is perhaps not too surprising for a contemporary superhero movie. But Black Panther dons a particularly reprehensible mantle when it makes the “bad guy” (Erik “Killmonger” Stevens) someone pursuing basically Frantz Fanon‘s program — which inspired the real-life Black Panther Party for Self Defense, which in turn inspire the “Black Panther” comics — and makes the “good guys” a bunch of aristocrats (led by T’Challa) who resemble Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. What is the significance of these parallels? Well, Fanon was an anti-capitalist while Solzhenitsyn was a shameless opportunist who ingratiated himself with rabid anti-communists to promote a restoration of tsarist autocracy. What is the plot of Black Panther? [spoilers] A reactionary, isolationist autocracy in the land of Wakanda is displaced by a (rightful) challenger who seeks to use Wakanda’s accumulated wealth in a quasi-communist way to benefit the oppressed around the world, but then a palace coup occurs in order to violently restore the autocracy (led by basically a Donald Trump-like neo-Bonapartist figure), prevent a radical equitable distribution of wealth and maintain a slightly modified, reformist strain of selfish, isolationist hoarding — now with a few inconsequential, token welfare programs still totally in line with the global status quo of massive inequality. So, the best way to view this film is as a tragedy revolving around an unreliable protagonist. The “bad guy” is really the good guy, and he loses.