A brief discussion of the origins, decline, and fall of modern working class culture as a culture of resistance to capitalism, a process that led to our current condition of “perpetual present” “without time or memory”, concluding with some reflections on the possible reemergence of “communities of struggle” that will rediscover history, as the system can only “overcome its contradictions … by plunging into even greater ones”, thus unleashing new conflicts in a society that has become increasingly more unpredictable due to the proliferation of unhinged, “desperate identities” in search of a remedy for their “feeling of uprootedness”.
An essay “written on the occasion of the premier of the documentary film, ‘Asfaltar Bolivia’” [Paving Bolivia] in Barcelona (2015), denouncing the destructive impact of capitalist development and its hypocritical rhetoric of “progress”, “development” and “modernization”, in the context of the recent nationalist upsurge based on extractive industries and a modified form of globalization that has swept over Latin America as the new populist leaders attempt to impose “modern, consumerist, individualist and predatory lifestyles” to create a “social base” so the “extractivist bureaucracy can consolidate its power” at the expense of indigenous communities and “collective ways of life”.
Marxist academic Ralph Miliband's extensive and detailed analysis and critique of the role played by the state in advanced capitalist society. It examines each part of the state, including the government, civil service, legal system and armed forces and their relationships with business, the media, religion and trade unions. Written in 1969, most of the tendencies he points to are even further advanced today, so while there is little mention of race and gender this remains an invaluable text.
Now, for the first time in English translation, The Obsolescence of Man, Volume II, in its entirety, by Günther Anders, first published in Germany in 1980, an indispensable “philosophy of technology” by one of the most insightful philosophers and social critics of the 20th century, more relevant now than ever, the result of over twenty years of considerations “On the Destruction of Life in the Epoch of the Third Industrial Revolution”, featuring essays on consumerism, automation, work, leisure, “meaning”, totalitarianism, conformism, mass culture, sports, religion, surveillance, fascism, ideology, history, science fiction, art, “happenings”, psychotherapy, drugs, and more.
A relentless denunciation of the concept of “progress”, tracing its ideological roots to Saint Augustine and then to Turgot, its use in the Enlightenment as a two-edged weapon of the rising bourgeoisie against the Ancien Régime, its golden age in the time of Comte, Darwin and Marx (reminding us that it was Marx who said, “every development in the means of new productive forces is at the same time a weapon against the workers”), its temporary eclipse amidst the world wars and genocide in the first half of the 20th century, and documenting its culmination as a philistine “password”, “myth” and “alibi” for generating conformist submission to technological disaster.
In this 2007 essay, Robert Kurz examines the question of theory and practice from the perspective of the “categorical” “critique of value-dissociation”, with extensive discussions of Marx, Engels, Bloch, Adorno, Horkheimer, Gramsci, Althusser, Foucault, Debord, Negri, and Holloway, and concludes, in the face of the prevalent urge for immediate “action” and the equally widespread denigration of theory, that “critical theory must consciously maintain a distance from all existing praxis”.
Excellent text examining the creation of the first police forces, which took place in England and the US in just a few decades in the mid-19th century. And explaining that they were not brought into being to prevent crime or protect the public, but primarily to control crowds: the working class, white and black.