What does it mean to be a revolutionary today?

Here’s another excellent conversation between Alex Callinicos and everyone’s favorite bad boy Slavoj Zizek (whose talk is, of course, twice as long) – in related news, Reid Kant of Planomenology has a post related to the idea of revolution –  I have posted these before, but now you can watch them with High-Definition quality, I hope you enjoy these videos: Continue reading

Corporate University Is Now

Reading Wannabe U and slowly growing more and more depressed. Here’s a quote from David Harvey’s recent essay that describes my present state of mind:

The current populations of academicians, intellectuals and experts in the social sciences and humanities are by and large ill-equipped to undertake the collective task of revolutionizing our knowledge structures. They have, in fact, been deeply implicated in the construction of the new systems of neoliberal governmentality that evade questions of legitimacy and democracy and foster a technocratic authoritarian politics.  Few seem predisposed to engage in self-critical reflection.  Universities continue to promote the same useless courses on neo classical economic or rational choice political theory as if nothing has happened and the vaunted business schools simply add a course or two on business ethics or how to make money out of other people’s bankruptcies. After all, the crisis arose out of human greed and there is nothing that can be done about that!

The current knowledge structure is clearly dysfunctional and equally clearly illegitimate. The only hope is that a new generation of perceptive students (in the broad sense of all those who seek to know the world) will clearly see it so and insist upon changing it.  This happened in the 1960s. At various other critical points in history student inspired movements, recognizing the disjunction between what is happening in the world and what they are being taught and fed by the media, were prepared to do something about it. There are signs, from Tehran to Athens and onto many European university campuses of such a movement. How the new generation of students in China will act must surely be of deep concern in the corridors of political power in Beijing.

A student-led and youthful revolutionary movement, with all of its evident uncertainties and problems, is a necessary but not sufficient condition to produce that revolution in mental conceptions that can lead us to a more rational solution to the current problems of endless growth.

I feel that the action is elsewhere, that my students don’t really give a shit, that I’m somewhere I will hate to be more and more in the next decade or so.

New Book: Cosmopolitanism and the Geographies of Freedom

David Harvey has a new book out, I haven’t read it yet, but it looks very promising:

CUP blurb:

Liberty and freedom are frequently invoked to justify political action. Presidents as diverse as Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush have built their policies on some version of these noble values. Yet in practice, idealist agendas often turn sour as they confront specific circumstances on the ground. Demonstrated by incidents at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, the pursuit of liberty and freedom can lead to violence and repression, undermining our trust in universal theories of liberalism, neoliberalism, and cosmopolitanism.

Combining his passions for politics and geography, David Harvey charts a cosmopolitan order more appropriate to an emancipatory form of global governance. Political agendas tend to fail, he argues, because they ignore the complexities of geography. Incorporating geographical knowledge into the formation of social and political policy is therefore a necessary condition for genuine democracy. 

Harvey begins with an insightful critique of the political uses of freedom and liberty, especially during the George W. Bush administration. Then, through an ontological investigation into geography’s foundational concepts—space, place, and environment—he radically reframes geographical knowledge as a basis for social theory and political action. As Harvey makes clear, the cosmopolitanism that emerges is rooted in human experience rather than illusory ideals and brings us closer to achieving the liberation we seek.

David Harvey on Democracy now: Continue reading

David Harvey On Financial Crisis in Red Pepper

David Harvey talks about the financial crisis in April/May issue of Red Pepper

What happened in the US was that eight men gave us a three-page document, which pointed a gun at everybody and said ‘give us $700 billion or else’. This to me was like a financial coup against the government and the population of the US. Which means you’re not going to come out of this crisis with a crisis of the capitalist class; you’re going to come out of this with a far greater consolidation of the capitalist class than there has been in the past. We’re going to end up with four or five major banking institutions in the United States and nothing else.

Read the whole thing.

Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey

Via Larval Subjects (via Rough Theory) – a series of lectures on Marx’s Capital by David Harvey is found here. This is useful as I’m sure despite the fact that many would claim to have read it, it’s probably not true – it’s certainly not true for me as I’ve read it here and there, but never really as a whole book but I certainly claimed to have read it, to behave otherwise would be so… unprofessional – here, I said it…