Category Archives: Uncategorized

Slavoj Žižek On Political Struggle

Ernesto Laclau has conceptualized . . . the struggle for hegemony.  *** That is to say, class struggle is ultimately the struggle for the meaning of society ‘as such’, the struggle for which of the two classes will impose itself as the stand-in for society ‘as such’, thereby degrading its other into the stand-in for the non-Social (the destruction of, the threat to, society).

“To simplify: Does the masses’ struggle for emancipation pose a threat to civilization as such, since civilization can thrive only in a hierarchical social order?  Or is it that the ruling class is a parasite threatening to drag society into self-destruction, so that the only alternative to socialism is barbarism?”  Slavoj Žižek, Afterword to Revolution at the Gates: Selected Writings of Lenin From 1917 (pp. 209-10).

 

Bonus link: comments by Domenico Losurdo

Boaventura de Sousa Santos – Horizons Needed

“The reactionary project shares with rationalist and dogmatic extremism the notion that Western modernity has created too many human beings and that a distinction between humans and sub-humans is necessary, although it does not think that this should come from technical engineering interventions, whether they entail death or race improvement. It suffices that the inferiors be treated as inferior, whether they be women, black people, indigenous peoples, Muslims. The reactionary project never questions its own privilege and duty to decide who is superior and who is inferior. Humans have a right to have rights; sub-humans should be the object of philanthropy to prevent them from becoming dangerous and to defend them against themselves. They may have some rights, but they certainly must always have more duties than rights.” Boaventura de Sousa Santos, “Horizons Needed”

Jonathan Feldman – Police Shootings, Neoliberal Scarcity Regimes and the Left

Link to an article by Jonathan Feldman:

“Police Shootings, Neoliberal Scarcity Regimes and the Left: Behind the Balch Springs, Texas Murder”

Bonus link: “How Racial Disparity Does Not Help Make Sense of Patterns of Police Violence” (“It should be clear by now that the focus on racial disparity accepts the premise of neoliberal social justice that the problem of inequality is not its magnitude or intensity in general but whether or not it is distributed in a racially equitable way.”)

Tom Bartlett – Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not

Link to an article by Tom Bartlett:

“Can We Really Measure Implicit Bias? Maybe Not”

 

A problem with “implicit bias” theory is that it has its own implicit bias of the cognitivist and/or politically liberal variety.  In short, the question of detecting “implicit bias” is inexorably tied to a supposed “solution” (or “acceptable” range of solutions) that is less explicitly discussed, thereby denying the political character of how the question is formulated in the first instance.  While no doubt the elimination of bias/discrimination/oppression is important, it is possible to question whether advocacy of political liberalism under the guise of “neutral” science is worthwhile to those ends.  Conservatives, who are mostly the problem in terms of advocating for biased institutions, obviously oppose this stuff because they realize it is set up to be against them and their desired hierarchies of inequality.  Moreover, offering political liberalism as the solution to the problem of bias has the subtle effect of excluding liberalism from being part of the problem — especially if liberalism is seen as being about limiting/softening but still maintaining the sorts of hierarchies of inequality that conservatism seeks.  So consider what follows a critique of “implicit bias” theory from a left perspective.

Bonus link: “Understanding the Racial Wealth Gap” and “A Southern City With Northern Problems”