Matthew Stanley – Ulysses S. Grant: American Giant

Link to a review of Ron Chernow‘s book Grant (2017) by Matthew Stanley:

“Ulysses S. Grant: American Giant”

 

Selected quote: “To the extent that it overturns reactionary narratives and underscores the radical potential of the American past, Chernow’s Grant should be commended as a gain for truth. But his stress on the importance of political rights without discussion of how the market renders those political rights vulnerable (or even futile) is the primary shortcoming of liberal accounts of the Reconstruction era — and of liberal politics today.”

 

Bonus links: Democracy in America? and Golden Rule and Trade, Development and Foreign Debt and Review of Lenin

Liza Featherstone – Bad Romance

Link to a review by Liza Featherstone of Kristen Ghodsee’s book Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence (2018):

“Bad Romance”

 

But Ghodsee is open to criticism of the same sort Jodi Dean leveled at Naomi Klein: why is “unregulated capitalism” the problem rather than just “capitalism”?  Isn’t Ghodsee just making typically vague (left) populist claims?  We can critique that position by saying that “populism is simply a new way to imagine capitalism without its harder edges; a capitalism without its socially disruptive effects. Populism is one of today’s two opiums of the people: one is the people, and the other is opium itself. *** What remains of the passionate public engagement in the West is mostly the populist hatred, and this brings us to the other second opium of the people, the people itself, the fuzzy populist dream destined to obfuscate our own antagonisms.”

Daniel Zamora – Should We Care About Inequality?

Link to an article by Daniel Zamora:

“Should We Care About Inequality?”

 

This is really an article about historical battles for ideological hegemony.

Bonus links: Slavoj Žižek On Political Struggle and Trouble in Paradise and Making Money and The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives

John Steppling – Before the Law

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 aren’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