Alex Vitale – Police and the Liberal Fantasy

Link to an article excerpted from the book The End of Policing by Alex Vitale:

“Police and the Liberal Fantasy”


Bonus links: “The Left Hand and the Right Hand of the State” and “Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People” and “Policing Class” and Punishing the Poor and The Fabrication of Social Order: A Critical Theory of Police Power and The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison

Michael Hudson – Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 Compared to 1917

Link to an article by Michael Hudson:

“Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 Compared to 1917”


For a more nuanced and detailed account of Soviet bureaucracy, and the construction and dismantling of Stalinism, see The Soviet Century.  Combined with The Half Has Never Been Told, it is worth wondering whether industrialization is possible without slavery.  Also, it is worth questioning Hudson’s characterization of China as pursuing “socialist” policy, rather than being state capitalist — he basically just assumes such points.  Though this was intended as a speech to be delivered in China, so maybe he felt the need to pander on that point a bit.

Richard Wolff – The Political Economy of Obama/Trump

Link to an article by Richard Wolff:

“The Political Economy of Obama/Trump”


(One small caveat about this article.  This statement is misleading: “Strictly trickle-down economics was how his administration ‘handled’ the 2008-09 crisis. Nothing remotely like the New Deal’s taxing the rich to fund programs for the poor and middle was proposed or debated, let alone adopted as policy.” At the federal level, there is no need to tax the rich to pay for programs for the poor, because the USA is no longer on the gold standard as it was during the New Deal.  Today, money can simply be printed to fund these programs, within reasonable limits.  This is explained in detail by Modern Monetary Theory publications.).

Douglas Allen & Paul Anderson – Consumption and Social Stratification

Link to an article by Douglas E. Allen and Paul F. Anderson:

Douglas E. Allen and Paul F. Anderson, “Consumption and Social Stratification: Bourdieu’s Distinction”, Advances in Consumer Research Volume 21, 70-74 (C. Allen and D. Roedder John, eds.,  Association for Consumer Research, 1994).

Selected quote:

[Pierre] Bourdieu sees the consumption field as a site of struggle over the definitions of legitimate, middlebrow, and popular culture. In his view, the socially and economically dominant in any society seek to maintain a strict hierarchy of cultural forms so that all judgments in the consumption sphere are subject to the hegemony of ‘legitimate’ (i.e., dominant) cultural tastes. This is accomplished without conscious direction or coercion because a person’s class habitus presents each individual with a preexisting set of ‘natural’ classifications that constitute his or her unreflective definition of reality. Thus, in western industrialized societies, classical music, opera, legitimate theater, books on philosophy, knowledge of foreign languages, modern art collections, and subscriptions to academic journals are just a few of the cultural forms that are unquestionably (and unquestioned) elements of the legitimate or dominant culture. While members of the middle and working classes may eschew such cultural forms (indeed, they may well view them with suspicion or disdain), their position at the pinnacle of the cultural hierarchy goes unchallenged. As a result, those who can appropriate elements of legitimate culture as their own have the power to define the status of all other cultural forms.


“For Bourdieu, the singular mistake made by dominated class fractions, particularly the petite bourgeoisie, is to associate culture with knowledge. Lacking the lived experiences that produce the elite habitus, the petite bourgeoisie misrecognize what are essentially arbitrary aesthetic selections for special knowledge of what counts as ‘legitimate’ and ‘illegitimate’ in the cultural sphere.”