Theoretical research summaries

Variegated Social Reproduction as Critical Thinking

Variegated social reproduction as a conceptual lens is meant to acknowledge that the unfolding of the contradiction between capital accumulation and the conditions of social reproduction is not uniform but uneven and variegated, involving developments that are sometimes unanticipated.

By |2020-01-23T09:15:32-05:00Jan 22, 2020|

Lessons of Rojava and Histories of Abolition

Abolitionists and anti-authoritarians are right to be inspired by example of Rojava but translating the lessons of the Revolution to a wildly different political context like the United States is no simple task. The impasse between a rejection of abolition and the tired revolution/reform binary can be resolved by returning to fundamentals of historical materialism, and particularly, W.E.B. Du Bois' analysis of “abolition democracy” in his seminal work, Black Reconstruction.

By |2020-01-15T18:11:30-05:00Jan 15, 2020|

States and Stakes: Relational Theory and the Politics of Class Struggle

How we conceive of the state has profound effects on how we understand political strategy. In this essay, written in response to Michael A. McCarthy's recent intervention, Zachary Levenson and Teresa Kalisz argue that only by seeing the state as truly relational can we avoid the pitfall of placing undue emphasis on organizing within the state, rather than the vital work of base building.

By |2019-11-20T13:09:26-05:00Nov 20, 2019|

Marx and the Dutch East India Company

Marx's examination of Dutch colonial violence in Indonesia highlight's important aspects of his approach to original accumulation that are easily lost when viewing the chapter, "the so-called original accumulation," through the lens of English exceptionalism, as many Marxists are prone to do.

By |2019-11-05T12:31:37-05:00Nov 5, 2019|

The New Memphis

This Life is a profound tour of our inner life and purpose that deftly weaves in religion and political economy, with an eye always to the future. But it fails to appreciate the profound worth of institutional changes that might reallocate powers and capacities to exploited people here and now for its chief goal, spiritual freedom.

By |2019-08-07T12:31:02-04:00Aug 7, 2019|

The Ruling Class Does Rule

Social scientists should assuredly keep the structural constraints of capitalism in mind when developing state theory in the 21st century. However, we should not lose site of the fact that individuals also make history, and that a single-minded focus on the structural constraints of capitalism may only lead to a functionalist interpretation of the state, alongside a cynical approach to politics.

By |2019-07-17T11:52:11-04:00Jul 17, 2019|

It’s Not Just Profitability: A Response to Michael Roberts

Marxism has a future only if its practitioners confront unexpected developments with a determination to find their roots using the methodology and concepts of Marxism, not by trying to show that the evidence is wrong out of a misplaced fear that any unexpected development threatens to undermine Marxism.

By |2019-06-21T11:19:09-04:00Jun 21, 2019|
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