THE HUMAN FACE OF NECESSARY DISCIPLINE (2020, 4,400 words)

Abstract:  Review article of J. Dean, Comrade.

Keywords: Jodi Dean, comrade, communism, communist party, discipline, messianism, cognition, exempla

First published as “Jodi Dean’s Comrade” (review article) in Socialism & Democracy no. 83 (July 2020):  www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080 08854300 .2020.1805263 

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WE HAD A CLASSIC: Notes Defining Predrag Matvejević (2020, 10,700 words)

Japanese Slavic and East European Studies Vol.40. , 2020

A unit in 2 parts:

1/ A necrological look back at PM’s writings and how I encountered them as old friend, with stress on those written after the fall of SFR Yugoslavia, about the “ex” world and what values remain (as in Mediterranean Breviary, The Other Venice, and Daily Bread);

2/ review of a booklet by Tommaso di Francesco, Breviario jugoslavo, 2018, of interviews with PM on ex-Yugoslav affairs curing 20’ years, the main point being that the sins of successors much surpass those of SFR Yugoslavia

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UTOPIA OR BUST: CAPITALOCENE, ANTIUTOPIA (2019, 13,350 words)

Keynote speech at the Utopian Studies Society (Europe) 2019:

Part 1: Where Are We in the Capitalocene;

Part 2.  What Existential Antiutopia Means for Us;  

Keywords: Capitalocene; utopia; antiutopia; ecocide; totality; epistemology; counterrevolution; violence

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ORWELL AND 1984 TODAY: GENIUS AND TUNNEL VISION (2019, 14,500 words)

Orwell, as he himself said, came from a lower, professional service fraction of the English and imperial ruling class that was “simultaneously dominator and dominated” (R. Williams), so that a combination of State and monopoly power became his major nightmare. His horizon was as of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 a revolutionary socialism committed to freedom and equality, opposed both to Labourite social-democracy and to Stalinist pseudo-communism.
I concentrate on 1984, drawing on narratology (its agential system, spacetime descriptions, and composition — “the Winston story,” the “Goldstein excerpts,” and the Appendix on Newspeak) and historical lessons. I conclude that 1984 has an interesting but limited “Tory anarchist” stance and horizon: being revolted against the rulers but not believing the revolt can succeed (in direct polemic with the Communist Manifesto). In Orwell‘s view there are “three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle and the Low,” but the mindless and passive Low reduce this to the Middle against the High, or intellect and impotence vs. cynical power. No economics entails here no class struggle and a fair amount of misogyny. Orwell‘s textural skill was penetrating, but his thematics very limited. Still, he was one of the first to notice the long-duration slide of politics toward fascism is, even if he drew a wrong consequence from it, as evident in his early conflation of Stalinism and Nazism into the untenable “totalitarianism.” 1984 remains a concerned, appealing, and in some ways useful text that lacks wisdom.

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WORDS AND LESIONS (2018, 16,800 words)

Abstract: The essay is divided into 2 parts. Part 1, For a Rectification of “Violence”, discusses within a “political epistemology of inflicted lesion” first the denotation and yardsticks of violence, then systemic or “structural” violence, and finally argues for counter-violence as self-defence when necessary. Part 2, On the “1968 Moment”: Characteristics of Violence, the Defeat, and the Cost, is historical, it deals with the “1968 Moment”: its violence, defeat, and the cost, as exemplified in the long “Sanrizuka struggle” of farmers helped by students against the expropriation for a larger Tokyo airport. It then compares the Japanese characteristics to those of the French May ’68. It concludes that the main historical achievement of the youth movement came about in the USA, where it contributed to ending the US intervention in Vietnam. As concerns all other major collective and radical aims and instances, the movement failed, and the causes are briefly indicated. A long note gives data about civilians killed by State vs. “group” terrorism ca. 1965-2004. 

Keywords: 1968, epistemology, youth revolt, Japan, France, violence

First published as „Words and Lesions: Epistemological Reflections on Violence, the 1968 Moment, and Revolution (with Particular Reference To Japan).“ Critical Q 62.1 (2020): 83-122. 

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(With Boris Buden) ONLY INTELLIGENT PLANNING WILL SAVE US (2017, 2850 words)

This interview was originally published in e-flux journal no. 86 (Nov. 2017) and has not been published in hard copy., 2017

A wide-ranging discussion between two ex-Yugoslavs, both from Croatia, both students (in different generations) at Zagreb University, and both in de facto exile, about where we are now, and how to understand the situation of “post-communism,” transiting to destruction of people. Much SF is also discussed as an early-warning system.

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PARABLES AND USES OF A STUMBLING STONE (2017, 11,880 words)

 

— To the memory of Franco Fortini, a great poet and critic of my times

and for my landsmann Sezgin Boynik, who revived my interest in the Formalists

[…] doubt wisely; in strange way

To stand inquiring right, is not to stray;

To sleep, or run wrong, is….

John Donne

We have to live now amidst and with crass defeat, in a kalpa when dominant meanings of socialism and communism have suffered an epochal, though not necessarily irreversible, death: it follows, to upgrade Dostoevsky, that if God and Communism are dead, everything is permitted. It is therefore high time to consider more fully the complex and sensitive matter of how life can (and necessarily must) live in feedback with death. I shall start my consideration with the use in Jewish and Christian traditions of the term and image of a stumbling stone or rock, continue with matters of estrangement, and finish in Death vs. Eros.

  1. The Monotheistic Denunciation of Disbelief: Stumbling into a Trap
  2. Thiswordly Salvation through Estranged Perception

2.1. Values and Religiosity

2.2. Shklovsky‘s Stumbling to Refocus, or Poetry Is What Makes the Stone Stony

  1. Brecht: The Estrangement Effect Is Most Intimately Political (Critical or Mythical)

3.0. Context

3.1. Textual Syntax and Reference

3.2. The Potent (and Bipolar) Estrangement

  1. Brecht and the Stone – Stumbling or Other
  2. A Parthian Shot: On Death and Creative Eros

Alas, death has been a blind spot in canonic Marxism.

Marvell, To My Coy Mistress

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SPLENDOURS, MISERIES, AND POTENTIALITIES OF SOCIALIST YUGOSLAVIA: THE BERLIN THESES (2016, 10,150 words)

PART 1:

1. Why a Book about S.F.R. Yugoslavia;

2. 2: Accumulation and Its Discontents;

3. The Class Pyramid in SFRY;

4. The Ruling Class;

5. Political Contradictions;

6. The Singularities’ Hypothesis; 7. Periodisation of SFRY; 8. The Communist Party;

9. Self-Management 1: The Promise, the Achievements, the Limits;

10. Self-Management 2: The Stall between Self-Government and Oligarchy;

11. Theorising Achievements and Disappointment;

12. Oligarchic Economism Vs. Radical Democracy;

13. Socialism, Politics, the Vanguard Party;

14. On Communist Emancipation and the State;

PART 2:

A Chronology of S.F.R. Yugoslavia

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ILLUMINATING FREEDOM AND KNOWLEDGE IN KAPITAL (2016, 3,500 words)

Abstract: To understand some central presuppositions of Marx’s, such as knowledge and freedom, within an anti-scientistic and anti-bourgeois horizon, central elements within Leibniz and Spinosa are discussed, with a glance at Hegel. Capital turns out to be an anti-Leibnizian monad, while Das Kapital is undergirded by a Spinozist value-political treatise.

Keywords: epistemology, politics, freedom, Marx, Leibniz, Spinoza, First published in International Critical Thought 11.1 (2021): 120–129.

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USES OF MARX: THE IMPLICIT OF THE MANIFESTED (OR, DEMYSTIFICATION AND CRITIQUE) (2016, 19,500 words)

This integral version was first published in Rab-Rab [Helsinki] no. 3 (2016): 35-72., 2016

A smaller paper on the Communist Manifesto was first written by MA + DS in French and English and redone much later by DS only. It is divided into: 1. The Figuration of Demystification, which deals with imagery and metaphors, and results in an underlying englobing image that is also a concept, that of the Naked Truth; 2. [Marx’s] Oscillation and Its Limits: Demystifying Scientism and Anti-Essentialism; 3. A brief conclusion reveals that if we cannot accept the deterministic Marx, we cannot do without his horizon.

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