With existence comes responsibility.


August 04
It is a common failing of human nature to be more confidant in strange and unprecedented circumstances...-Julius Caesar, "The Civil War"

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"...the individual is not the primary datum on which discipline is exercised.  Discipline only exists insofar as there is a multiplicity and an be obtained on the basis of this multiplicity. School and military discipline, as well as penal discipline, workshop discipline...are all… Read full post »

I. Police and Policing

"Law enforcement is more than the application of the law, since it involves a whole series of real instruments which have to be employed in order to apply the law...Law enforcement is [therefore] the set of instruments employed to give social and political reality to the act… Read full post »

One should have gotten this out of the way by now.  We see a long, low-lit corridor.  Every few feet or so there is a door.  Along the opposite side there are windows, perhaps there are bars but the frosted (or dirty?) glass does not permit one to see.  It is raining, li… Read full post »

MARCH 25, 2014 12:02AM

Is Passive Media Over?

As I survey the media landscape just prior to the biggest media merger in history--the massive, overdone wedding of Comcast and Time-Warner that will give a single monstrosity access to well over two-thirds of U.S. households--I have to wonder, where have all the Passives gone?

In the mid-90's when I… Read full post »

DECEMBER 2, 2013 2:48PM

The One Suggestion Nobody Likes

Man is not Man, but a wolf to those he does not know.


                                       &nbs… Read full post »

OCTOBER 17, 2012 7:17PM

The Recent Past

The older I get the more I realize that it's recent history that counts the most.  It's not eighty or a hundred years ago that we need to remember in order to gain some insight into what's happening today.  It's twenty or thirty years back. 

When I look at the "new… Read full post »

AUGUST 15, 2012 1:40PM

The Multitude: Labor, Empire, Crisis

Peasants and Migrants

In their work Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri talk about the disappearance of the peasant. At one time this layer of labor represented an entire way of life the world over. Where have they gone? H&N explain their disappearance first by distinguishing between the peasantRead full post »

As the global economic crisis spreads and mutates into a political crisis--with all the attendant, predictable attempts by the ruling classes to contain it through a combination of brute force and empty electoral politics--it would seem wise to review some of the ideas about resistance and stratRead full post »

DECEMBER 30, 2011 6:12PM

Zinn versus "Empire"

Introduction: Looking Out from Here

As the crisis deepens, and nationalism and religious belief, the twin last resorts of capital, are mobilized around the world to set working people everywhere against each other in the false name of "democracy," it might help us to ask … Read full post »

DECEMBER 21, 2011 3:36PM

Relativity for Traveling Carolers



The title is a bit of a holiday joke.  Of course there's nothing easy about understanding the theories of special and general relativity first developed by Einstein, and now expanded to include multiple theories about gravitation and how the universe really works.… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 21, 2011 4:03PM


In the wake of the massive layoffs, failures on the part of politicians and corrupt business leaders, and the re-emergence of neoliberal savagery in the first world, it is easy to mistake the reaction for an alternative.  It is even easier to assign previously existing alternatives--weak reformi… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 7:23PM

Obama and Empire, Part 2



In The Empire's New Clothes, Paul Street criticizes the foreign policy direction of the Obama administration, and the large degree to which it represents a continuation of the Bush years.  But Street's analysis would be sharper if he had included more material on… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 1, 2011 7:05PM

Obama and Empire, Part 1

Since the victory of Barack Obama in the presidential election of 2008 by an overwhelming landslide over his opponent Sen. John McCain (more than 9 million votes difference overall, more than 150 electoral votes), we have witnessed one of the most unique, and the strangest, sights in history.&nb… Read full post »

It's hard to pinpoint when philosophy came into my life.  The traditional definition of philosophy--that it begins with the criticism of criticism--would suggest that it belongs more to the reflection of old age, or at least the middle years, than it does to youth.  But I think that I… Read full post »

JUNE 21, 2011 3:06PM

Union Life, part four: Politics

When I was very young, maybe five or six, I can't remember exactly, I used to have a recurring nightmare:

I was walking in a forest.  Up ahead there was a clearing, but it was dark and I was hidden from view by the undergrowth.  In the clearing, a large circular… Read full post »

JUNE 9, 2011 11:48PM

Union Life, part 3: Education

When I was a kid my father and his friends used to get together to play cards around our kitchen table.  They'd sit up all night talking about politics, the union and its latest confrontation with management, and the general "rotten" state of the world.  There were many different political… Read full post »

MAY 21, 2011 3:49PM

Union Life, part 2: Religion

Religion is a "delicate" issue because this is the way people usually refer to discussions of religion, and not because it's a good description of the way those discussions are usually conducted. 

When I was growing up, however, I don't remember anyone discussing religion.  In fact, even t… Read full post »

MAY 18, 2011 2:39PM

Union Life

Early one morning when I was nine years old my father took me out to the picket-line of a strike at a slaughterhouse in my hometown.  They killed pigs on an assembly line there.  It was winter, January or February, I can't remember which, and when we arrived at the line… Read full post »

Now that the managers of the global economic system--politicians, business leaders, big investors, market economists--have decided to restart it without making any major changes to its structures, the squeezing of workers is beginning in earnest.  In the budget battle in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jer… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 14, 2011 2:29PM

Egypt: Just the Beginning

Well, it happened.  The people of Egypt managed to overthrow the U.S. backed Mubarak regime after thirty years of despotic rule.  And with celebrations in Tahrir Square and elsewhere, there was a sense of finality.  But not so fast...

Despite the weird impression fostered by Weste… Read full post »

JANUARY 31, 2011 4:38PM

Cossery in 2011

Albert Cossery was not a son of the poor.  Or, to put it in the street vernacular of his characters, the "son of a dog."  That's just one of the many epithets they use for each other, constantly, in Arabic translated into French--its closest meaning in English being not the literal… Read full post »

JANUARY 25, 2011 6:04PM

Why We're Broke

Tonight president Obama will give the State of the Union and the topic will be jobs, jobs, jobs.  He'll highlight several (minor) new jobs initiatives, once again champion the (already dead) stimulus, and talk about how urgent it is that we make some (major) cuts to the budget.  But ev… Read full post »

JANUARY 20, 2011 4:34PM

Are We Safer?

Back in October, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest and her colleague Bill Arkin reported on the extensive, out-of-control growth of private security contract work in the federal government.  Their series "Secret America" revealed the booming industry, including hundreds of office buildings sc… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 22, 2010 5:25PM

Christmas in Afghanistan



With the president busy doing victory laps for caving into the idea of exchanging a few favors for the poor for huge tax cuts for the super-rich, and Washington all aglow in its usual holiday splendor, it's hard to recall that there are those who will be spending Christmas… Read full post »

DECEMBER 13, 2010 8:55PM

A Little On Conflict

Conflict is Necessary to Resolve Conflict 

About fifteen years ago, I was working for a large telecommunications company on trying to figure out why their administrators couldn't agree on how to implement a broad new retraining plan in their firm.  The executives felt that th… Read full post »