Edgar Cabanas & Eva Illouz – Against Happiness

Link to an interview with Edgar Cabanas & Eva Illouz, conducted by David Broder, regarding their book Manufacturing Happy Citizens: How the Science and Industry of Happiness Control our Lives (2019):

“Against Happiness”

 

Bonus link: “In the Name of Love” and “Žižek!” and “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Interesting?”

Jacques Pauwels – The Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23, 1939

Link to an article by Jacques Pauwels:

“The Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23, 1939: Myth and Reality”

 

This article makes some dubious assertions about the USSR, namely that Stalin knew approximately when Hitler would invade the USSR (when actually Stalin was paralyzed with shock and indecision — see Moshe Lewin’s The Soviet Century) and that the Red Army was knowledgeable and ready, when it suffered a defeat at the hands of tiny Finland and was greatly weakened by Stalin’s purges (again see Lewin’s book).  But the parts about appeasement by Western powers is good.

Intan Suwandi – Outsourcing Exploitation

Link to an article by Intan Suwandi:

“Outsourcing Exploitation: Global Labor-Value Chains”

The key seems to be that, at a minimum, contracting with outsourced suppliers on terms that are (objectively) unreasonable should force the large contracting party to bear responsibility for foreseeable problems — much like old fraudulent conveyance laws.  Suwandi’s article nails the problem, though this article provides only a cursory explanation of why Global South suppliers would agree to such an arrangement, something that others have explained more fully:   Slavoj Žižek Quote About Domination, “Multiculturalism, or, the Cultural Logic of Multinational Capitalism”, Ruy Mauro Marini‘s “Brazilian ‘Interdependence’ and Imperialist Integration” (“sub-imperialism” involves peripheral economies collaborating actively with the imperialist expansion of core economies like the United States, assuming in that expansion the position of a key nation), “Malcolm Describes the Difference Between the ‘House Negro’ and the ‘Field Negro.’”.  See also The Fissured Workplace

George Martin Fell Brown – Marxism and the Philosophy of Science

Link to a review by George Martin Fell Brown of Helena Sheehan’s book Marxism and the Philosophy of Science: A Critical History (1985/2018):

“Book Review: Marxism and the Philosophy of Science”

 

This review does suffer from a bit of a Trotskyist (anti-Stalinist) bias, but it still provides a useful historical overview.

Christine MacDonald – I Went to a Climate Change Denial Conference

Link to an article by Christine MacDonald:

“I Went to a Climate Change Denial Conference. It Made Even Less Sense Than You’d Think.”

 

This article was published on the magazine In These Times’ web site.  The publication is populist, meaning that it constantly strives to demonize its political opponents and construct an enemy.  Aside from that, what the article explains about climate change deniers is that they are engaged in what Jacques Lacan called “university discourse” in order to defend a particular social structureBruce Fink explained this concept of “university discourse” in his book The Lacanian Subject (1995):

“the university is an arm of capitalist production (or of the ‘military-industrial complex,’ as it was called . . . ), suggesting that the truth hidden behind the university discourse is, after all, the master signifier.  Knowledge here interrogates surplus value (the product of capitalist economies, which takes the form of a loss or subtraction of value from the worker) and rationalizes or justifies it.”  (p. 132).

 

“Working in the service of the master signifier, more or less any kind of argument will do, as long as it takes on the guise of reason and rationality.” (p. 133).

 

Populists generally avoid getting into these issues, because to do so would tend to reveal the large degree of agreement between them and the political far right.  But this article is still a good example of how the right doesn’t care about making “good” arguments as long as they serve their desired (if unstated) social arrangement.