Link to an interview of Nancy MacLean, author of Democracy in Chains (2017), conducted by Nick Licata:
“The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America”
MacLean’s position should be problematized (i.e., critiqued from the left), which leads to criticisms of some specific things she says in the interview. Domenico Losurdo‘s War and Revolution: Rethinking the Twentieth Century (as well as his Liberalism: A Counter-History) are the touchstones for this criticism. Most of MacLean’s position is about defending the New Deal. But she defends the New Deal from a position “within” it, which is to say she appears to agree with the “radical reactionary” libertarians in assuming an anti-communist position. Isn’t it obvious that the way to oppose, in her words, the agenda of the Buchanan/Koch agenda of the supremacy of private property rights is to eliminate private property altogether? It is fairly well-established now that the New Deal was only possible as part of an anti-communist agenda, as a conservative compromise to avoid communist government rule. MacLean at one point jokes that she is not really a conservative, but Losurdo’s books suggest that perhaps she really is conservative, because political liberalism has more in common with the political right than the political left. She seems to assume that the New Deal was a self-sustaining coalition, which, historically, it was manifestly not — the New Deal was sustained only as a largely unprincipled anti-communist compromise that required at least the threat of communism to sustain itself. So when she praises, for instance, the recent student anti-gun march, she rejects the pro-gun position universally adopted by the leading figures of the political left (something explained principally by her anti-communist stance). Also, she bemoans the “identity politics” vs “class” debate, though it is actually an important one because no legitimate politics can overcome class divisions by maintaining an “identity politics” framework, which is necessarily dependent upon maintaining class or class-like divisions of some sort as part of a liberal politics of exclusion. MacLean’s history of the political right’s own tactics in the the United States in the second half of the 20th Century is nonetheless useful in many ways, and should be read alongside Isaac William Martin‘s Rich People’s Movements, Losurdo’s books, Fredric Jameson‘s An American Utopia: Dual Power and the Universal Army (which advocates precisely the opposite of the Koch plan to privatize the Veteran’s Administration), and the work of Slavoj Žižek (perhaps starting with Trouble in Paradise: From the End of History to the End of Captialism).
Link to a news video by Ben Norton:
“Former CIA Director Admits to US Foreign Meddling, Laughs About It”
Bonus links: “Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies” and Killing Hope and “Overthrow: 100 Years of U.S. Meddling & Regime Change, from Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to Cuba”
Bonus quote: “Go search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.” Frederick Douglass – July 4, 1852
Link to a video of a lecture by Randy Mandell:
“Modern Money Green Economics for a New Era”
A wonderfully simple and easy-to-follow explanation of MMT. This is essential stuff to understand taxes and sovereign government spending.
Bonus links: “Behind the Money Curtain: A Left Take on Taxes, Spending, and Modern Monetary Theory” and The State and Revolution
Link to a video of a lecture by Jodi Dean:
“The Limits of the Web in an Age of Communicative Capitalism”
“In communicative capitalism, capitalist productivity derives from its expropriation and exploitation of communicative processes.
“If we are honest, we have to admit that there is actually no such thing as social media. Digital media is class media. Networked communication does not eliminate hierarchy, as we believed, in entrenches it as it uses our own choices against us.
“Dispossession, rather than happening all at once, is an ongoing process. No one will deny the ongoingness of data dispossession. Sometimes it is blatant: the announcement that our call will be monitored for quality assurance, the injunctions to approve Apple’s privacy changes again or the necessity of renewing passwords and credit card information. Sometimes the ongoingness is more subtle; in maps, GPS signals, video surveillance, and the RFID tags on and in items we purchase. And sometimes the ongoingness is completely beyond our grasp, as when datasets are combined and mined so as to give states and corporations actionable data for producing products, patterns, and policies based on knowing things about our interrelations one to another that we do not know ourselves. Here the currents of lives as they are lived are frozen into infinitely separable, countable, and combinatory data-points.
“Approached in terms of class struggle, big data looks like further escalation of capital’s war against labor.”
“Communicative Capitalism and Class Struggle”
Bonus links: C.T. Kurien, “The Market Economy: Theory, Ideology and Reality” and Astra Taylor, The People’s Platform and “The Power Of Selling Out: Your Customers As Political Capital” and Nick Srnicek, Platform Capitalism and Nick Dyer-Witheford, Cyber-Proletariat: Global Labour in the Digital Vortex and Alexander Galloway and Eugene Thacker, The Exploit: A Theory of Networks and The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance and Victor Pickard, “Net Neutrality Is Just the Beginning” and “The Collapse of Media and What You Can Do About It” (this article discusses the “breaking” of a self-described “exclusive” story in January 2015 that was for the most part already suggested in When Google Met Wikileaks published in September 2014, though this story was certainly fleshed out further by the later report; this also was used as a plot point in the film Jason Bourne) and “Prosumer Capitalism: Mario Maker 3DS”
Link to a stand-up routine by Louis C.K., excerpted from the TV show Louie:
“Homeless Guy at Port Authority Bus Terminal”
Link to a lecture by Slavoj Žižek:
“Let Us Be Realists And Demand The Impossible: Communism”
The title of the talk alludes to the May 1968 slogan “Be realistic, demand the impossible.” This is one of Žižek’s more coherent lectures.
Link to a video narrated by Amy Goodman about the “Propaganda Model” of Edward S. Herman & Noam Chomsky:
“The 5 Filters of the Mass Media Machine”
Incidentally, this video helpfully updates the “anti-communism” filter of the original version of the theory. But the original theory always came up a bit short by failing to make clear that these five filters are really about the specific tactics of liberal capitalist media in an ideological war. Liberal capitalists find these filters to be “correct”, in the sense of being a reflection of their own ideology. Critics necessarily approach this with a different ideology.
Bonus links: Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda versus Freedom and Liberty and The Sublime Object of Ideology
Link to an episode (season 3 episode 7) of The Meltdown featuring Gelmania:
“The One With Tiny”