Taking notes 33: Budgets, values and visions

by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi The release of the Congressional Progressive Caucus budget recently brings up once again the familiar maxim that a budget is, or should be, a moral document. I believe, however, that this statement, although true, does not convey adequately the most salient significance of a budget. I would contend that budgets not only shed light on our schemes of moral values, but also, at a still more fundamental level, bring to manifestation our guiding visions, our deepest views about the meaning of human life and the type of society we should strive to create. Moral values frame … Continue reading Taking notes 33: Budgets, values and visions

The security state and a theory of destituent power

by Giorgio Agamben A reflection on the destiny of democracy today here in Athens is in some way disturbing, because it obliges us to think the end of democracy in the very place where it was born. As a matter of fact, the hypothesis I would like to suggest is that the prevailing governmental paradigm in Europe today is not only non-democratic, but that it cannot be considered as political either. I will try therefore to show that European society today is no more a political society: it is something entirely new, for which we lack a proper terminology and … Continue reading The security state and a theory of destituent power

Taking notes 26: Revolution-in-waiting

Are we destined for history, for philosophy, for the world, have we been sent, probably from further afield than from our individuality, to wage a war in their name? — Anti-Badiou, Laruelle With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. — John F. Kennedy The US of A is on the brink again. It is on the verge of running out of cash … Continue reading Taking notes 26: Revolution-in-waiting

Taking notes 24: Why I am a Christian communist

by Roland Boer Often I am asked, in all manner of situations, what is your position? What is your belief? Christian communist, is my answer. I may be speaking with a group of Chinese students and specialists on Marxism, or a gathering of young anti-capitalist activists, or a room of trade-unionists, or a congress of hard-core Marxists, or indeed a group of religious believers. Inevitably, my answer produces a rain of questions. Christian and communist – are not the two poles apart? Are not communists and communist countries against religion, since it is the ‘opium of the people’? Are not … Continue reading Taking notes 24: Why I am a Christian communist

Beyond the postmodern “moment”: Utopianism, aestheticism, and the avant-garde

by P.J. Laska The first item of interest for any inquest concerning the status of postmodernism will surely be the fact of continuing post-mortem activity of the sort Dostoevsky described in his grotesque tale “Bobok :”  “Prodolzhayetsya  zhizn’ kak by po inertsii”  [The (conscious) life of (the recently deceased) continues as if by inertia]—a phenomenon D. H. Lawrence commented on later in his Studies in Classic American Literature: “Post mortem effects. Ghosts. A certain ghoulish insistency.”  A contemporary example of this phenomenon was voiced recently by Paul Krugman:  “America’s political landscape is infested with many zombie ideas—beliefs about policy that … Continue reading Beyond the postmodern “moment”: Utopianism, aestheticism, and the avant-garde

Taking notes 18: On the need for Infrastructures of Resistance

by Jeff Shantz The habitat in which twentieth century radicalism could thrive no longer exists in the form that previously sustained radical movements and ideas (Sears, 2008: 8). Anarchism and socialism, the forms of political radicalism that animated much resistance of the working classes, poor and oppressed, were vital as components of broader infrastructures of resistance. These infrastructures developed within contexts of particular organizations of life and work. The last few decades have ushered in significant changes in the organization of social relations and conditions of production, which have transformed the possibilities for specific political projects (Sears, 2008: 8). Emerging … Continue reading Taking notes 18: On the need for Infrastructures of Resistance

Getting serious about politics

by Zoltan Zigedy Economic relations clarify politics just as politics can return the favor. In truth, it is impossible to fully understand one without an understanding of the other, and especially without a grasp of their inter-relationship. No doubt that explains the wisdom of the classical economists (and Marx and Engels) in describing their studies as “political economy.” Similarly, the failure to systematically integrate the two social domains explains the frustration of the modern-day academic economists, even Nobel laureates, who fume about the politicians standing in the way of their ready solutions to the current global economic crisis. A case … Continue reading Getting serious about politics