I have a new blog, here (without content at present).
Happy new year.
There’s a lot of ‘real life’ stuff that I need to urgently attend to, so I’m putting the blog into standby mode for a while – hopefully I’ll stick to it this time. Take care, all…
Holy shit everything’s very complicated, isn’t it. Between you and me, I think I’ve done an okay job of crafting reasonably coherent blog-posts as I’ve written this thing. But screw that. I can’t hold it all in my head. From now on the blog’s going to be just… words. I’m also going to respond much less to comments – because much of what I’m going to be writing isn’t proposals, or even particularly thoughts, and so I reject the implication that I ought to be able to talk coherently about posts’ contents. Enough.
The greatest existential threat to our existence:
Imagine this: a ticking nuclear bomb is about to go off in a major European city. You can only stop it by seizing the assets of all Icelandic companies operating in the UK. Can you honestly say you wouldn’t do it?
“the rings of Saturn are in all likelihood… fragments of a former moon that was too close to the planet and was destroyed by its tidal effect.”
“still and moving images of the most intense available moments of human anguish.”
(Rosenbaum. “the process by which torture becomes a box office staple may indeed not be too difficult to understand”)
“The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time”
“Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection” [$8,184,000,000,000] “and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.”
“Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency”
From this week’s Economist
“Outside the Republican convention, largely peaceful protests were marred by a few thugs who smashed windows. More violent disruptions were avoided, however, because police informants infiltrated a gang of anarchists who were allegedly planning them. Police seized weapons and buckets of urine, apparently intended for throwing at people. Lawyers for some of those arrested demanded the return of their possessions. ‘Who should we return the urine to?’ asked the judge, according to the Star-Tribune, a local paper.”
Over on EconoSpeak, ‘Sandwichman’ has been pounding away for months about the working day. He’s offered a $10,000 reward to anyone who can demonstrate that the ‘lump of labour fallacy’ is actually a fallacy, rather than a straw man created to assert and reassert the necessity of grisly working hours (i.e. in order to justify the exploitation of labour.)
Which is, of course, a good old Marxist theme. Here’s Lafargue’s ‘The Right to Be Lazy’. It was in relation to Lafargue, and his colleagues [uh… comrades], that Marx asserted, famously, “I am not a Marxist” – so one shouldn’t take Lafargue’s work as necessarily congruent with, say, ‘Capital’. All the same, the right to be lazy is something that’s easily lost in all the assaults on capitalism. Most notably, it can be occluded in the development of mass working-class political movements; movements that assert the rights of labour as labour – which is sort of the sine qua non of the socialist movement.
As N Pepperell has pointed out, on Rough Theory, the self-identification of labour as labour plays an interesting structural role in ‘Capital. For one thing: the labour market – the most characteristic structural feature of capitalism – is the stroke of social genius whereby exploitation can present as freedom. (There’s a lot of great snark in ‘Capital’, about how unemployment ‘frees’ workers – frees them to starve.) But also (among other things): it’s only when emancipatory critique comes to focus on labour’s rights as labour that full-blown capitalism is able to constitute itself.
So: one genius of the capitalist system is the way in which the self-identification of labour as labour allows even emancipatory critiques to focus on the perpetuation and reproduction of the labour market, and the working day. And one of the exemplary figures here – the Mephistopheles, the angel who is also the boatman of the damned – is Keynes. For (as I’ve said before) the Keynesian ‘critique’ of laissez-faire capitalism is based on making explicit something that was largely implicit in earlier economic theorising: the idea that production is not oriented towards consumption, but rather towards the maintenance of ‘full employment’. That is to say: the maintenance of a certain social structure, based around the working day; a structure of discipline, control, and exploitation.
All this is by the by. The point of today’s post is just to say: fuck me I’m knackered. I’ve been spending quite a lot of time on this blog, over the last year or so. And while it is, of course, always a pleasure… it doesn’t leave much time for anything else – what with the working day and all.
Therefore –the blog will shortly become inactive. It may be revived at some more or less distant time. But in the medium term: no more blogging.
Sorry! I’ve really enjoyed, and learnt a lot from, all the conversations that have taken place here. Thank you everyone for commenting! & for reading. For taking the time to do either… It has been most lovely …
On the other hand, I’m looking forward to some laziness.
So, to send us out, one of the good old songs of my adolescence. It’s Suede, folks!