Discussion:
Jodi Dean to Speak at the James Connolly Forum in Troy
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Jonathan Flanders
2011-12-14 01:04:20 UTC
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The Meaning of Occupy Wall Street for the Left

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith
Colleges in Geneva, New York, and holds the Erasmus Chair in the
Humanities in the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University,
Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She has authored or edited 9 books,
the most recent of which is ?Democracy and Other Neoliberal
Fantasies? (Duke UP, 2009). Her latest book, ?The Communist Horizon?,
will be published by Verso in 2012

Co-Sponsored by: Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace
The Media Alliance
Verso Books

The James Connolly Forum
7:30pm, Friday, January 13
Oakwood Community Center
313 10th St., Troy, NY

Located right turn off 787 Collar City Bridge for Rte 7 east : ,on left
at 2nd light between 9th and 10th Sts.
Parking on left on 9th St., Old Fire station building parking lot left
on 10th Use the door facing Hoosick St.

Donation of $5 requested, $2 unemployed and students
more information: 518 505 0948
Louis Proyect
2011-12-14 01:17:31 UTC
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Post by Jonathan Flanders
The Meaning of Occupy Wall Street for the Left
Jodi Dean
Jodi Dean is professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith
Colleges in Geneva, New York, and holds the Erasmus Chair in the
Humanities in the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University,
Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She has authored or edited 9 books,
the most recent of which is ?Democracy and Other Neoliberal
Fantasies? (Duke UP, 2009). Her latest book, ?The Communist Horizon?,
will be published by Verso in 2012
Jodi is a very sincere and well-meaning young academic but I am afraid
that her obsession over "communism" shared with Badiou and Zizek is
curtailing her ability to make a real impact politically.

Here's a discussion that took place earlier on Corey Robin's FB page:

Corey Robin A possible epigraph for Jodi Dean's forthcoming book: "If
they ain't calling you a Communist, you ain't doing your job." Fannie
Lou Hammer

Louis N. Proyect The term communism communicated something
different when Marx wrote in the nineteenth century. Communism was the
name Marx used to describe the society of free and associated producers
-- "an association of free men, working with the means ...
?
Evan Rowe That's funny, because I think of communism as nothing
more than a brand. A negative label that gets used to smear people. It's
a curse word that people can use casually to attempt to frame them into
something that can be managed.

Jodi Dean wow--the one day I don't spend hours on FB and there
is cool action in a thread that mentions me; love the epigraph, Corey;
and, Evan, in the south "liberal" is a bad word; so, why play to those
folks, anyway?

Louis N. Proyect We have to develop our own terminology, icons,
etc. When I first joined the Trotskyist movement in 1967, the youth
group was fixated on hammers and sickles. We wanted to festoon our
magazine with them. Wiser heads cautioned against that. I ...

Jodi Dean I don't find it surprising that movements in the last
30-40 years have not used the word communism--this is the period of
capitalist restoration, neoliberal triumph, left accommodation, etc. On
OWS -- there are many voices. Will the movement be able to continue as
that kind of assemblage or will a new communist party emerge out of it?
I think the latter is worth fighting for.

Doug Henwood As Boots Riley said the other day, he never uses the words
"capitalism" or "communism" but everyone knows he's a communist.

Evan Rowe Henwood, I am with him on that, I use the same thing. And
Jodi, unfortunately, if you live in the south, you need to win in the
south, and I have something wrong with me, and it makes me want to see
the left win and so whatever it takes to get things going, that's where
I tend to gravitate.

Jodi Dean @Evan--what is win? I mean this seriously. Are you thinking
about elections? @ Doug--what do you mean? are you saying that leftists
should not be communists or that communists should stay in the closet? I
think that there is no such thing--so, should those who have a view like
the one I described use terms like "economic justice" and democracy in
the economy, opening themselves up to attack by a right, who,...

Doug Henwood I'm saying that calling yourself a communist, even when
you are some variety of one, may not be helpful. I've found that many
times over the years when I make Marxist analyses of capitalism without
using any of the red-flag words, people agree. I think that's what Boots
Riley means too.
Louis Proyect
2011-12-14 02:45:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis Proyect
Corey Robin A possible epigraph for Jodi Dean's forthcoming book: "If
they ain't calling you a Communist, you ain't doing your job." Fannie
Lou Hammer
I was just chastised by Robin for posting this stuff without his
permission. I told him it wouldn't happen again especially since I
"unfriended" him.

Frankly, that's one of the things that bothers me about FB. What the
fuck is a "friend"? I am not the friend of either Dean (who I also
unfriended) or Robin, just people who sent me a friend request. I am
proud to say that for all the time I have been on Facebook, I have only
sent a friend request to a handful of people. One to Ed George, our
brilliant Marx scholar in Spain who is far more interesting than any
character in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy". The other to my mizpuchah
Frannie who grew up in Woodridge with me. When she saw me in
kindergarten, she yelled out, "Is he in my class? He is so *small*."

This facebook deal gives left academics a way to mingle with the masses
but keeping their musings private. I think this is bullshit frankly.
That is why I make sure that the archives of Marxmail are public and why
I really prefer to have my political discussions on blogs where the
whole world, including the sans culottes, can keep track of my spews.
Jonathan Flanders
2011-12-14 03:27:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis Proyect
Jodi is a very sincere and well-meaning young academic but I am afraid
that her obsession over "communism" shared with Badiou and Zizek is
curtailing her ability to make a real impact politically.
Yes she is young,as are the ranks of the occupiers. The Connolly Forum
doesn't have a "line", and we hope the forum provokes discussion.

I'm also hoping Jodi will draw in some of our local occupy activists and
get us all thinking. Not necessarily agreeing, but thinking.

We have Marina Sitrin next up, btw on February 24.

Jon Flanders
Andrew Pollack
2011-12-14 03:44:22 UTC
Permalink
Marina has done FANTASTIC, dedicated legal work on behalf of OWS. When it
comes to radical politics, though, she is a proponent of the self-limiting
Argentine anarchist movement (google her name and Argentina). This very
unfortunately overlaps with the Graeberite trend in OWS.

On Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 10:27 PM, Jonathan Flanders <
====new national civil liberties coalition?>
We have Marina Sitrin next up, btw on February 24.
Jon Flanders
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Send list submissions to: Marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu
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Jonathan Flanders
2011-12-14 03:57:39 UTC
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======================================================================
Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
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Marina has done FANTASTIC, dedicated legal work on behalf of OWS. When it
comes to radical politics, though, she is a proponent of the self-limiting
Argentine anarchist movement (google her name and Argentina). This very
unfortunately overlaps with the Graeberite trend in OWS.
Again, this forum series doesn't have a line. We hope to provoke
discussion, promote discussion, with speakers from the left who have
interesting things to say.

So far attendees have been pretty happy overall with the series.
And its been fun to organize and has raised a little money for the
community center where it is based.

Our FB page:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Connolly-Forum/252985311407474

I'm hoping to get Frank Bardacke, fingers crossed on that.


Jon
Politicus E.
2011-12-14 15:42:43 UTC
Permalink
I was just chastised by Robin for posting this stuff without his permission.
That's inane. It is clearly unreasonable to expect that "what happens
on Facebook, stays on Facebook." The appropriate analogy for thinking
about a Facebook conversation is a perhaps discussion in a speakeasy.
At a speakeasy, the proprietor has the right to determine the rules of
access to the bar and hence conversation. Once access rights are
granted, however, any participant to a given discussion is free to
share the specifics of this discussion, ex post, with others; another
way of thinking about this is that most Facebook discussions are more
or less "heard on the the street" and therefore can be passed on
without consent. There are clearly exceptions to this general rule. If
one overhears a friend announcing they have cancer, it is best to
treat that information as confidential. But again, it's unreasonable
to expect "what happens on Facebook, stays on Facebook."

About "friends" and "friending", one has to accept that there is a
wide range of norms, although it must be conceded that Facebook has
done much to dilute the meaning of the term friend. My own rule when
I first joined Facebook was that I would generally add one as friend
only if I have met them in the real world (and actually found that I
enjoyed being in their company). More recently, I have relaxed this
rule somewhat.

epoliticus
Louis Proyect
2011-12-14 16:29:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Politicus E.
That's inane. It is clearly unreasonable to expect that "what happens
on Facebook, stays on Facebook." The appropriate analogy for thinking
about a Facebook conversation is a perhaps discussion in a speakeasy.
At a speakeasy, the proprietor has the right to determine the rules of
access to the bar and hence conversation.
I get about 4 or 5 FB friend requests a day. When I first got on,
I ignored any from people I did not know. Lately I've been
accepting all requests if I can determine that the requester is
some kind of leftist. But it has reached the point where there is
just so much stuff posted that I feel like it is information
overload. From time to time I will find something really useful
but mostly it is links to NY Times articles, Counterpunch,
Alternet, etc. that is part of my daily reading. Frankly, I am
reaching the point where I might join the group described below:


NY Times December 13, 2011
The Facebook Resisters
By JENNA WORTHAM

Tyson Balcomb quit Facebook after a chance encounter on an
elevator. He found himself standing next to a woman he had never
met ? yet through Facebook he knew what her older brother looked
like, that she was from a tiny island off the coast of Washington
and that she had recently visited the Space Needle in Seattle.

?I knew all these things about her, but I?d never even talked to
her,? said Mr. Balcomb, a pre-med student in Oregon who had some
real-life friends in common with the woman. ?At that point I
thought, maybe this is a little unhealthy.?

As Facebook prepares for a much-anticipated public offering, the
company is eager to show off its momentum by building on its huge
membership: more than 800 million active users around the world,
Facebook says, and roughly 200 million in the United States, or
two-thirds of the population.

But the company is running into a roadblock in this country. Some
people, even on the younger end of the age spectrum, just refuse
to participate, including people who have given it a try.

One of Facebook?s main selling points is that it builds closer
ties among friends and colleagues. But some who steer clear of the
site say it can have the opposite effect of making them feel more,
not less, alienated.

?I wasn?t calling my friends anymore,? said Ashleigh Elser, 24,
who is in graduate school in Charlottesville, Va. ?I was just
seeing their pictures and updates and felt like that was really
connecting to them.?

To be sure, the Facebook-free life has its disadvantages in an era
when people announce all kinds of major life milestones on the
Web. Ms. Elser has missed engagements and pictures of newborn
babies. But none of that hurt as much as the gap she said her
Facebook account had created between her and her closest friends.
So she shut it down.

Many of the holdouts mention concerns about privacy. Those who
study social networking say this issue boils down to trust. Amanda
Lenhart, who directs research on teenagers, children and families
at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, said that people
who use Facebook tend to have ?a general sense of trust in others
and trust in institutions.? She added: ?Some people make the
decision not to use it because they are afraid of what might happen.?

Ms. Lenhart noted that about 16 percent of Americans don?t have
cellphones. ?There will always be holdouts,? she said.

Facebook executives say they don?t expect everyone in the country
to sign up. Instead they are working on ways to keep current users
on the site longer, which gives the company more chances to show
them ads. And the company?s biggest growth is now in places like
Asia and Latin America, where there might actually be people who
have not yet heard of Facebook.

?Our goal is to offer people a meaningful, fun and free way to
connect with their friends, and we hope that?s appealing to a
broad audience,? said Jonathan Thaw, a Facebook spokesman.

But the figures on growth in this country are stark. The number of
Americans who visited Facebook grew 10 percent in the year that
ended in October ? down from 56 percent growth over the previous
year, according to comScore, which tracks Internet traffic.

Ray Valdes, an analyst at Gartner, said this slowdown was not a
make-or-break issue ahead of the company?s public offering, which
could come in the spring. What does matter, he said, is Facebook?s
ability to keep its millions of current users entertained and
coming back.

?They?re likely more worried about the novelty factor wearing
off,? Mr. Valdes said. ?That?s a continual problem that they?re
solving, and there are no permanent solutions.?

Erika Gable, 29, who lives in Brooklyn and does public relations
for restaurants, never understood the appeal of Facebook in the
first place. She says the daily chatter that flows through the
site ? updates about bad hair days and pictures from dinner ? is
virtual clutter she doesn?t need in her life.

?If I want to see my fifth cousin?s second baby, I?ll call them,?
she said with a laugh.

Ms. Gable is not a Luddite. She has an iPhone and sometimes uses
Twitter. But when it comes to creating a profile on the world?s
biggest social network, her tolerance reaches its limits.

?I remember having MySpace for a bit and always feeling so weird
about seeing other people?s stuff all the time,? she said. ?I?m
not into it.?

Will Brennan, a 26-year-old Brooklyn resident, said he had ?heard
too many horror stories? about the privacy pitfalls of Facebook.
But he said friends are not always sympathetic to his
anti-social-media stance.

?I get asked to sign up at least twice a month,? Mr. Brennan said.
?I get harangued for ruining their plans by not being on Facebook.?

And whether there is haranguing involved or not, the rebels say
their no-Facebook status tends to be a hot topic of conversation ?
much as a decision not to own a television might have been in an
earlier media era.

?People always raise an eyebrow,? said Chris Munns, 29, who works
as a systems administrator in New York. ?But my life has gone on
just fine without it. I?m not a shut-in. I have friends and quite
an enjoyable life in Manhattan, so I can?t say it makes me feel
like I?m missing out on life at all.?

But the peer pressure is only going to increase. Susan Etlinger,
an analyst at the Altimeter Group, said society was adopting new
behaviors and expectations in response to the near-ubiquity of
Facebook and other social networks.

?People may start to ask the question that, if you aren?t on
social channels, why not? Are you hiding something?? she said.
?The norms are shifting.?

This kind of thinking cuts both ways for the Facebook holdouts.
Mr. Munns said his dating life had benefited from his lack of an
online dossier: ?They haven?t had a chance to dig up your entire
life on Facebook before you meet.?

But Ms. Gable said such background checks were the one thing she
needed Facebook for.

?If I have a crush on a guy, I?ll make my friends look him up for
me,? Ms. Gable said. ?But that?s as far as it goes.?
Politicus E.
2011-12-14 21:43:16 UTC
Permalink
I take exception to the thrust of the New York Times article about
Facebook that you shared with the list. Certainly, it is not true for
me that "I am not calling my friends anymore" because of Facebook.
It's all about specific social relations. Many Facebook friends are
political contacts; Facebook, therefore, is useful for keeping track
of what is being discussed in various circles. Many Facebook friends
post "off-the-beaten track" political essays and analyses; I read
these whenever I have time. Many Facebook friends are not US
residents; Facebook, therefore, is helpful to keep informed of the
course of their lives, since we see each other infrequently. Surely
there is a price to be paid, but for me, the benefits exceed the
costs. Is it a shitty application? Indeed. Do people stalk me on
Facebook? Yes, that happens. Nevertheless, it remains a useful
communications medium for the time being.

Take it for what it is, log on a couple of times of per week to check
in, and go your way. No one thinks it's the road to socialism.

epoliticus
jay rothermel
2011-12-15 00:12:05 UTC
Permalink
I found several books and articles by Jodi Dean at http://aaaaarg.org/home

and put them on my scribd shelf if comrades want to take a look:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/75717190/Zizek-s-Politics-by-Jodi-Dean
http://www.scribd.com/doc/75716719/The-Communist-Horizon-by-Jodi-Dean
--
Comradely,
Jay
Alan Bradley
2011-12-15 02:41:15 UTC
Permalink
From: "Politicus E."
It's all about specific social relations. Many Facebook friends are
political contacts;
This is true. Louis and other ex-SWP members might like to wonder how things would have been if Facebook had been around back in the 60s/70s.

These days, it's quite normal for members of left grouplets to be FB friends with members of their organisation in other branches, ex-members (including ones who were expelled), and members of other grouplets. That is, engage in daily interaction and communication with them, on both political and social levels.

How does that compare with life in the old SWP?
Many Facebook friends are not US residents; Facebook, therefore, is
helpful to keep informed of the course of their lives, since we see
each other infrequently.
Absolutely. Anything that makes it easier to keep in touch with people in other countries, or on the other side of the same country, is a good thing.
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