General thread about Jacobin Mag + American railroads discussion

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Juan Conatz
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Mar 27 2015 03:26
General thread about Jacobin Mag + American railroads discussion

Just wondering if people had any thoughts about the magazine, Jacobin. If you don't know, its an independent socialist publication out of New York. It publishs a print/digital magazine 4 times a year, as well as puts out a highly frequent articles from bloggers, online-only articles, etc. It also has a book series with Verso, and reading groups in most major American cities.

I originally came across them when Occupy was taking off in 2011. Malcolm Harris was writing a bunch about Occupy Wall Street. This was right in the beginning, around the Brooklyn Bridge march and the first widely covered rough police response. I don't think he writes for Jacobin anymore. He started The New Inquiry a couple years ago, which I followed for a bit, but the majority of the articles I couldn't understand, so haven't checked in a while.

Jacobin is probably most famous for hosting a panel at a radical bookstore in which a reporter for the New York Times, who had been covering OWS and had been arrested during the protests, came out in support for the movement. This was picked up by right-wing media, the NYT responded by saying they weren't planning to use her anymore. She wrote something about the whole thing, which is interesting.

In an interview with the New Left Review, the founder of Jacobin talks about it representing the middle ground "between Leninism and social democracy" and describes himself and some of the contributors as the "left-wing of the Democratic Socialists of America". That's actually a pretty good description.

Some of their stuff borders too much on liberalism/social democracy for me, but they put out a lot of stuff that you don't see elsewhere. In some ways it reminds me of a modern version of the old International Socialist Review, which was affiliated with the left-wing of the Socialist Party and IWW. It also reminds me of a less elitist and further left version of The New Yorker, which was one of the first magazines I read a lot when I was much younger.

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Mar 27 2015 06:21

Nothing more than left-keynesianism redressed with pop-art and a red paint. International Socialist Review was independent and international. It published european left-wing Marxists who were not popular even in Europe. Its goal was really international; as many members of the ISR proved with their staunch internationalism during the WW1. ISR inquired and challenged and stayed away from frontism and populism. Jacobin on the other hand is a pet project of a stratum of disgruntled professional activists, single issue campaigner political science graduates, young AFL-CIO organizers etc, and their professors i.e. an increasingly precarious segment of the establishment left. Due to the crisis their social position and welfare is threatened and they fear for their own future more than they trust the working class. In that sense they resemble more to Syriza and Podemos. Jacobin (as an aspiring representative of this group) doesn't challenge capitalism/state in a systematic, organized and radical way. Instead it provides a platform/a kind of eclectic united front for left-technocrats to prepare themselves for future opportunities.

So if the ISR swam against the stream the Jacobin is just riding on the tide. Saying that, having International Socialist Review reborn in a new form would be absolutely amazing...

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Mar 27 2015 06:39

I wholeheartedly agree with Mikail. There's no Mary Marcy at Jacobin. And no anti-war internationalists like her either. It smacks too strongly of grad students in the ascendancy of their careers.

Personally, I still read the The New Yorker out of my neighbor's recycling bin. Some of their coverage of Silicon Valley tech is the best stuff I've read.

fnbrilll
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Mar 27 2015 13:35

Not socialist in any way. But pretty. And that's something. I guess.

petey
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Mar 27 2015 15:32

was tempted, read a few things, stopped. i agree with all above.

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Mar 27 2015 15:37

I remember an article from the original ISR at the time of the split in the Socialist Party (1914 maybe?).

It's a story where a Socialist farmer in Nebraska sees a notice in the paper that anyone who supports "direct action" will be expelled from the Party. He's not sure what all the fancy talk about "direct action" means, but thinks back to when he was a homesteader in the 1870s, building his house, and had to fight off the local Native American residents. He reasons that that's probably what "direct action" is and supposes that the hullabaloo from the right wing is actually directed against reasonable folks like him.*

That was the glorious left wing of American Social Democracy at its height.

Here are some things I like about Jacobin:
It's ambitious - as far as I can tell, no other left-wing publication in the US actually wants to have a mass readership. This is the thing I like most about it.
It runs pieces that talk about work and workers, in ways that are readable - some I agree with more than others, but again this is actually a pretty rare thing for an American leftist rag.
It's not tied closely to any particular sect or even one sect's outlook. I agree with Juan that the left-DSA thing is pretty accurate for most of the editors and probably the more active readers as well, but they run a pretty wide gamut of stuff. They actually run interesting articles, about interesting topics, arranged in a visually interesting way. Again, almost unique on the American left.

I want to see Jacobin succeed because I think their success could inspire competition. It would be great to see other left-wing magazines with similar ambition and production value, but centered around different subjects or political positions.

The last thing that I find interesting about them is that they've had success where so many micro-sects have failed, and are a successful example of what Hal Draper called a "political center" as a nucleus which could completely avoid the route of the micro-sect.

If some comrades think the politics of Jacobin are shit, then outperform them with a politically better magazine. But otherwise some of the comments seem colored by envy, not to mention removed from reality - the idea of a group of grad students "In the ascendancy of their career", or preparing themselves to become "left technocrats" makes for great comedy but poor political analysis.

*I've been trying to find this ISR article for years, and haven't been able to - does it ring a bell to anyone?

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Mar 27 2015 16:20
OliverTwister wrote:
*I've been trying to find this ISR article for years, and haven't been able to - does it ring a bell to anyone?

No. Sounds like an urban legend.

Jacobin is like junk food: pretty packaging, satisfies all our unhealthy cravings on the tongue, but once it's in your gut for a while you're not only unsatisfied, but actually so unfulfilled that you're craving more junk. Break the habit and find something wholesome.

OliverTwister wrote:
I want to see Jacobin succeed because I think their success could inspire competition.

This is a joke, right? A little competition to bring out better commodities?

I actually got in an argument with an older Bordigaist ("Tugboat," who Oliver has met), where I ended up defending Jacobin. He claimed that none of the authors had ever worked, even if they're writing about work conditions and the working class (erroneously assuming students, professors, journalists and bureaucrats aren't workers). I pointed out some piecards who used to work, but had a hard time finding articles by workers in the sector they're writing about. So his criticism has validity.

And why do we need more magazines? The medium is dying, as much as that saddens me. I'd much prefer to see projects like Stan Weir's Singlejack Little Books. Portable printed works written by workers about their sector, explicitly for other workers.

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Mar 27 2015 16:48

Kinda agree with Oliver here, although I think the best of American social democracy would have been ISR and the Socialist Party holding to their principles on being anti-war. They (well ISR at least) got destroyed by that.

Also, I remember that article you described, I'll have to track it down.

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Mar 27 2015 17:43
Hieronymous wrote:
OliverTwister wrote:
*I've been trying to find this ISR article for years, and haven't been able to - does it ring a bell to anyone?

No. Sounds like an urban legend.

Jacobin is like junk food: pretty packaging, satisfies all our unhealthy cravings on the tongue, but once it's in your gut for a while you're not only unsatisfied, but actually so unfulfilled that you're craving more junk. Break the habit and find something wholesome.


Where is the "wholesome" food that you suggest? Aufheben? Insurgent notes? Boring. I mean, I'm glad they exist, and I like to read them sometimes, but the world would be so much more boring if all we had was quinoa and black beans, flavored with Bragg's amino acids (and on Friday night, perhaps some Sri Racha).

Also, as Juan confirmed after you, the ISR article I'm describing is real, not an urban legend. I read it years ago, but haven't been able to find it since then. Also, what's so incredible about the American left of the 1910's uncritically engaging with farmer/homesteader populism and ignoring the intensified genocide that accompanied the recent Westward expansion?

Quote:
OliverTwister wrote:
I want to see Jacobin succeed because I think their success could inspire competition.

This is a joke, right? A little competition to bring out better commodities?

I actually got in an argument with an older Bordigaist ("Tugboat," who Oliver has met), where I ended up defending Jacobin. He claimed that none of the authors had ever worked, even if they're writing about work conditions and the working class (erroneously assuming students, professors, journalists and bureaucrats aren't workers). I pointed out some piecards who used to work, but had a hard time finding articles by workers in the sector they're writing about. So his criticism has validity.

And why do we need more magazines? The medium is dying, as much as that saddens me. I'd much prefer to see projects like Stan Weir's Singlejack Little Books. Portable printed works written by workers about their sector, explicitly for other workers.

OK. Jacobin published an article about the importance of the oil strike, which presumably wasn't written by an refinery worker. My own organization, the IWW, completely ignored the oil strike. They published an article about right-to-work in Wisconsin, written by the co-presidents of the Teaching Assistants Association at UW, so presumably they work at UW and are affected by right-to-work (the article was favorable to the ISO, but I have no idea if anybody else in Wisconsin has written anything). The IWW also ignored right-to-work in Wisconsin.

Lest I appear to be throwing stones only in my own glass house, a quick look at the most recent Insurgent Notes shows nothing about work or workers except for a review of a book about the Detroit Newspaper Strike.

Maybe it's my inner bolshevik, but if there aren't any revolutionaries working in oil refineries writing about the strike, I'd still rather acknowledge its importance and debate how to intervene in it. If "revolutionaries" want to ignore what's happening in Wisconsin, I'd rather read a report from left-social democrats than join in ignoring it.

Your criticism that Jacobin only features non-workers writing about places they don't work, is only valid if the quinoa-and-black-beans communists that you support are doing anything different. Which they aren't, because the only radical press in the US that emphasizes direct workplace reporting is the Industrial Worker.

Anyways, if the magazine is a dying form, why is Jacobin succeeding? (Perhaps it's because they have been a hybrid on-and-offline publication from the start?) Why criticize them specifically when there are so many boring magazines which are not succeeding?

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Mar 27 2015 18:09

Why do you bring up Insurgent Notes? That's just a pet project of a single person who's financially secure and doesn't need to work.

As for the USW refinery workers strike, the only credible information I found about it was from rank-and-file workers themselves (a couple of whom identify as "revolutionaries," whatever than means in a non-revolutionary time). All the other stuff, including Jacobin, was fluff about Naomi Klein's book, peak oil, social-democratic public ownership schemes and abstract contemplations about its relevance to climate change (none of which are irrelevant, but the main issues in the strike were around safety and workers' ability to shut down the production process for grievances over these safety concerns).

I found better coverage of the refinery worker strike in the Wall Street Journal.

And please stop putting words in people's mouths (I wrote "wholesome" metaphorically, not to start a debate about gluten-free food, trans-fats and veganism). Is this your "inner Bolshevik" overriding your inner Menshevik?

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Mar 27 2015 18:53

So the words that you use, I shouldn't quote them? The metaphors that you make, I shouldn't point out their conservatism?

S. Artesian
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Mar 27 2015 20:22

Come on, the thing reads as if it were written by and for "radical" political economists. Plus, I don't know about you but I'm not all that enamored of the Jacobins-- it was after all the government of the radical bourgeoisie who, under Robespierre, did attack the commune. If you want a revolutionary club, go for the Cordeliers

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Mar 27 2015 20:59

1) There's a reason why the figure in the masthead is dark-skinned, not light. Whatever the founder may have taken as inspiration when he started it, they've made a lot of effort to tie the name to CLR James' Black Jacobins. Now OK maybe that's appropriation or whatever, but Jacobin doesn't just mean Robespierre. Which leads me to...

2) The terms 'Jacobin' and 'Gironde' were used during the entire period of the Second International to refer to the left-wing and the opportunists of the movement. Again perhaps it's not a great term, but it's a term with a lot of history behind it.

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Mar 27 2015 21:17
OliverTwister wrote:
So the words that you use, I shouldn't quote them? The metaphors that you make, I shouldn't point out their conservatism?

Fellow traveler (Bolshevik or whatever), you need a time out.

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Mar 27 2015 21:50
OliverTwister wrote:
1) There's a reason why the figure in the masthead is dark-skinned, not light. Whatever the founder may have taken as inspiration when he started it, they've made a lot of effort to tie the name to CLR James' Black Jacobins. Now OK maybe that's appropriation or whatever, but Jacobin doesn't just mean Robespierre. Which leads me to...

2) The terms 'Jacobin' and 'Gironde' were used during the entire period of the Second International to refer to the left-wing and the opportunists of the movement. Again perhaps it's not a great term, but it's a term with a lot of history behind it.

Yeah, and the Bolsheviks referred to themselves as Red Jacobins and all that, and it only showed how fucked up the Bolsheviks were; how incapable they had become of distinguishing the proletarian revolution from that of radical capitalists.

But whatever. That stuff about the Jacobins was supposed to be a bit humorous-- although I much prefer the Cordeliers.

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Mar 27 2015 21:56

They publish an interesting article worth reading from time to time, but politically they are rather tame. And as a grad student, I'd agree with the analysis that it's a magazine for up and coming academics. Certainly reads that way....

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Mar 28 2015 04:45

On the Jacobin bit, which as a critique is very boring to me...I believe the founder's family is from Trinidad and he grew with CLR James stuff around the house, so the title is a reference to James' stuff.

I didn't mean that the old ISR and Jacobin are exactly the same, just that the latter reminds me of the former. Obviously, 100 years have passed. The type of dual unionist, internationalist social democracy of ISR doesn't exist anymore. It only existed for a short period right when ideological lines were becoming harder. But it is a formerly nonaligned or nonofficial, independent socialist publication that's aimed at a larger readership.

The thing about ascending academics, there's a point about that, although I think maybe left journalists might be a better description. In that New Left Review interview, the founder admitted as much that they've been serving as an entry point for people. Some of the content seems academic politically, by which I mean it reminds me of actual political academia writings I've read. But if you mean academic as in needlessly wordy and complex for the sake of it, I'd have to disagree. A lot of what I've read has been pretty easy to understand.

As far as specific content that I've liked from Jacobin, well, much of it I've posted in the library. The pushback on the Ferguson "outside agitator" slur by Douglas Williams and Richard Seymour was worthwhile. Ramon Glazov's piece on Adbusters was good. Eli Friedman's work in Chinese labor unrest has been informative, and accompanied with Nao and Gongchao's efforts, very valuable, in my opinion. Jacobin put out one of the first, or at least one of the first high profile, anti-Teach For America pieces.

I don't think they can just be written off because they publish pro-SYRIZA/Podemos articles.

I'm with Oliver on this, I hope that Jacobin helps others elevate their game. Not just the mass directed publication, but design wise as well.

autonomice
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Mar 28 2015 09:01

Another good Jacobin article I read the other day:
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/02/logistics-industry-organizing-labor/
It's about logistics and class composition

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Mar 28 2015 10:50

Looks marginally better than Red Pepper.

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Mar 28 2015 20:54

Also worth pointing out that they've published stuff critical of Podemos, and that they're probably the most reliable source for information in English on and from Syriza's left wing and internal critics.

Whether or not Syriza's left wing is worthwhile could certainly be an interesting debate. But they're certainly not a mouthpiece for Tsipras or Varoufakis.

ETA: Frankly one of the worst things they've published is this crap, from Staughton Lynd. But Staughton gets published on Libcom too, so not worth a boycott.

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Mar 28 2015 23:26
Quote:
In an interview with the New Left Review, the founder of Jacobin talks about it representing the middle ground "between Leninism and social democracy" and describes himself and some of the contributors as the "left-wing of the Democratic Socialists of America". That's actually a pretty good description.

Doesn't this kind of make any further critique almost unnecessary. Between "Leninism and Social Democracy"? What's that supposed to be? Like between the rock and the hard-place? Like between scylla and charybdis? Like between the Socialist Party and the Communist Party in Allende's Unidad Popular government?

And "left wing of the Democratic Socialists of America"? Wasn't that Michael Harrington's group? Tucked into the pocket of the Democratic Party in the US? Endorsing the US in Vietnam? Or is this a different Democratic Socialists of America?

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Mar 29 2015 22:34

Hmm. Maybe I didn't frame this conversation in the way I wanted to. I'm not really interested in "critiques" of the politics of the founders of Jacobin or the political organization they are seemingly a part of. I would think it is obvious that as someone who helps run an explicitly libertarian communist website, that I'm perfectly capable of this myself. I think Jacobin is a mixed bag.

There's a lot of truth to what mikahil said about the composition of people who write for them, although I think that's true of probably most of the American left (and UK left?). Certainly those types, or at least the broad demographic of downwardly mobile white college graduates they are a part of, are overrperesented in the socialist groups, the IWW, the anarchist political organizations, as well as movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter.

I also think there's way too much stuff that strays into managing capitalism. The issue before last, 'Paint the Town Red', had a lot about urban planning and all that. While I thought it was interesting to see stuff that contested the 'consensus' on public housing and neoliberal 'common sense' on gentrification, some of the pieces just weren't enough. They seemed to be saying state ownership of housing can work if just done better. So a lot of the time, the concern isn't primarily about eliminating the root cause, but restricting the worst excesses of the market, basically putting a leash on the market. While I originally made the ISR comparison, stuff like this kinda fawning piece over the 1920s-30s era Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria's housing programs have more to do with the 'Sewer socialists' of the Socialist Party of America's right-wing that ISR was antagonistic towards. And although I have mixed feelings on pop culture critisisms, I thought the piece critiquing SimCity was interesting, considering it is played by millions, and worthy of examining the unconscious assumptions it encourages, just as much as the prevailing pop culture also does the same thing with race, gender and class. Lastly, its interview with arguably one of the leading proponents of gentrification was fascinating, in that they got this guy to do somersaults in his attempt to justify what he's written through Marx and Kautsky.

Also, true to its DSA background, it seems over-concerned with reaching out to and converting liberals. In fact, insofar as maybe its main aim is to contest neoliberal truisms, its second implicit aim is to convince liberals, or at least to make more left liberals take things to their logical extent, pass Obama, past The Great Society and the New Deal, and into 'socialism'. This stuff reminds me more of the cultural stuff that the Popular Front-era Communist Party USA attempted. I find this interesting, although it leaves quite a lot to be desired.

So it is a mixed bag, but within the mixed bag, there's stuff that just gets no play in any other publication, which is a shame.

I saw Tom Wetzel say somewhere that even though Jacobin is often limited, politically, a broad, openly socialist publication becoming big is a good thing. Maybe I'm too used to the rightward drift of American politics and am too optimistic. Also, when was the last time a publication not formally aligned with a specific organization had face-to-face reading & discussion groups popping up around the United States? Radical America? Ramparts?

khadir
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Mar 30 2015 02:06

DSA, reaching out to the youth:
https://dsausa.nationbuilder.com/swagshop

iexist, what is ulatra-leftism to you? after checking out there website i see nothing that would give me the impression that they are ultra-left or left-communism.

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Mar 30 2015 02:35

Juan,

The "headline" on the thread was "what do you think about Jacobin...?" "Not much" is the answer, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is their self-description. Good production values, interesting articles? OK, in the US The Nation has interesting articles and good production values, plus, if you've got the green, you can take a two week cruise in the Caribbean with your favorite liberals. Includes all you can eat buffets, and a "swim-up" bar in the Olympic size pool.

I think calling yourself the "left wing" of the DSA, a group that did support the US in Vietnam, and is tucked firmly into the pocket of the big D Democrats is enough to warrant dismissal-- and all the references to CLR James Black Jacobins, which work has serious problems of its own, is pretty much irrelevant, given in particular James' record in participating in bourgeois governments.

I do think on the question of Syriza and Greece is a litmus test, like the Unidad Popular in Chile was the litmus test 1970-1973. And like Chile, the outcome of the struggle in Greece will set the tenor for class struggle over the next 25 years.

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Mar 30 2015 05:09

It is essential for communists to take Syriza, Podemos, and Jacobin journal in the US very seriously. They are not just tendencies "in the middle" between bourgeoisie and the working class since there can be no such middle ground. This illusion of middle ground itself is the creation of the stagnant nature of the contemporary class struggle. As Rosa Luxemburg wrote opportunism is a species that grow only in slow streams and muddy waters.

And this professional activist/success hungry academic type is the class that tend to become more aggressive in historical conditions like we are living through. Their historical mission is to smoother the edge of struggles, if possible. As Pannekoek wrote;

Quote:
A ruling class cannot voluntarily give up its own predominance; for this predominance appears to it the sole foundation of the world order. It must defend this predominance; and this it can do only so long as it has hope and self-confidence. But actual conditions cannot give self-confidence to the capitalist class; therefore it creates for itself a hope that has no support in reality. If this class were ever to see clearly the principles of social science, it would lose all faith in its own possibilities; it would see itself as an aging despot with millions of persecuted victims marching in upon him from all directions and shouting his crimes into his ears. Fearfully he shuts himself in, closes his eyes to the reality and orders his hirelings to invent fables to dispel the awful truth. And this is exactly the way of the bourgeoisie. In order not to see the truth, it has appointed professors to soothe its troubled spirit with fables. Pretty fables they are, which glorify its overlordship, which dazzle its eyes with visions of an eternal life and scatter its doubts and dreams as so many nightmares. Concentration of capital? Capital is all the time being democratised through the increasing distribution of stocks and bonds. Growth of the proletariat? The proletariat is at the same time growing more orderly, more tractable. Decay of the middle class? Nonsense; a new middle class is rising to take the place of the old.

This is from an excellent essay by Pannekoek, which was published in English first in the ISR. (here: https://www.marxists.org/archive/pannekoe/1909/new-middle-class.htm)

Lefty professors, activists campaigning for single issues, graduate students with a lot of conscience and a huge appetite for competition and career; this strata constitutes the wide pool that bourgeoisie picks its soothsayers from. As Pannekoek wrote:

Quote:
All the regular bourgeois prejudices strike deepest root in this class, further, because its members are nourished on the study of unscientific theories. They regard as scientific truth that which existed among the small bourgeois as subjective, unreasoned opinion. They have great notions of their own education and refinement, feel themselves elevated far above “the masses”; it naturally never occurs to them that the ideals of these masses may be scientifically correct and that the “science” of their professors may be false. As theorizers, seeing the world always as a mass of abstractions, laboring always with their minds, knowing nothing of little of material activities, they are fairly convinced that minds control the world. This notion shuts them out from the understanding of Socialist theory. When they see the masses of laborers and hear of Socialism they think of a crude “levelling down” which would put an end to their own social and economic advantages. In contrast to the workers they think of themselves as persons who have something to lose, and forget, therefore, the fact that they are being exploited by the capitalists.
Quote:
Take this altogether and the result is that a hundred causes separate this new middle class from Socialism. Its members have no independent interest which could lead them to an energetic defense of capitalism. But their interest in Socialism is equally slight. They constitute an intermediate class, without definite class ideals, and therefore they bring into the political struggle an element which is unsteady and incalculable.

In great social disturbances, general strikes, e. g., they may sometimes stand by the workers and so increase their strength; they will be the more likely to do this in cases in which such a policy is directed against reaction. On other occasions they may side with the capitalists. Those of them in the lower strata will make common cause with a “reasonable” Socialism, such as is represented by the Revisionists. But the power which will overthrow capitalism can never come from anywhere outside the great mass of proletarian.

Today from Gezi revolt to Occupy and Indignados, the proletariat could not yet form itself as a united class. it could not solidfy its self-confidence. Since the proletariat cannot see communism on the horizon yet, this class of professorial elite is seizing the day. They are forming technocratic parties with left-nationalist slogans and slowly succeeding in countries where the bourgeois illusions like "democracy" or "stability" are openly collapsing. They are cynically and ignorantly stealing the names and concepts of the past proletarian organizations and eclectically coating their statist theories with those. On their part this is of course dangerous business. Raising the dead spirits and all that. But anyway this is what Jacobin and the likes are; they are so low in the business of bourgeois lackey-ism and their numbers grew so much during the long years of post-WW2 "prosperity" that they feel the heat of the crisis most. This already dying "new middle class" is all the more dangerous because it is so shameless in manipulating Marxist and anarchist theories for its own benefits and so bold and shameless in defending its bourgeois program. Not even fascists are so self-confident. That is why I think Jacobin and its kins represent a huge danger today.

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Mar 30 2015 12:56

I hear that the professorial elite is behind the missing Malaysian Airlines flight too!

Since Pannekoek became a part-time professor in 1925, and then a full-time professor in 1932, I guess his work from 1909 is alright. But if we want to be rigorous, we should reject Lenin as Philosopher (1938) and Worker's Councils (1947).

Also, I was surprised to find that there is a "class" of professorial elites! What would Bordiga say about the discovery of a new class?

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Mar 30 2015 16:10
OliverTwister wrote:
What would Bordiga say about the discovery of a new class?

Who knows what he would say, but his inner-Social-Democrat would be swayed by the Noam Chomsky testimonial and Yanis Varoufakis articles and would bust out some plastic for the $295 lifetime subscription (but really for the "special gift"; I could easily imagine him wearing the aesthetically quite beautiful new Jacobin t-shirt to a Strike Debt meeting or the Left Forum or a Fight for $15 civil disobedience at a McDonald’s shareholder meeting). His eager reading of all the books published in partnership with Random House and Henry Holt & Co. would rekindle his desire for cultural polemic and he'd join one of the study groups, coming out as a professional leftist intellectual pushing -- from the left -- for DSA (and Syriza, Podemos, and the Jacobin journal itself) to move in a more "reasonable" Socialist direction.

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Mar 30 2015 17:36

Pannekoek was also an astronomer, diverting the working masses attention from the everyday struggle to the ethereal world of stars!

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Mar 30 2015 19:02
jura wrote:
Pannekoek was also an astronomer, diverting the working masses attention from the everyday struggle to the ethereal world of stars!

Sky pilot!

He's third from the left. The other four around him are the editorial board of Jacobin. Bordiga stayed on campus for a 3-way debate between the ISO, Richard Wolff, and Platypus.

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Mar 30 2015 19:51

Bordiga would say the same thing that he did when the idea of a "managerial class" first started flowing out of France in the '50s: that new classes enter the stage of history with a bang, and not a whimper.

I'm disappointed to think of all the implications of the professorial elite class analysis. I've always thought Mike Davis was alright but now I realize that City of Quartz is really just another attempt by a power hungry academic to keep the proletariat from coming to consciousness during the crisis of capital!

Hey have you guys read the CGI's analysis of Aids? It has about the same level of relationship to reality, and the same chance for changing reality, as an analysis that considers any publication less orthodox than Aufheben to a conspiracy on the part of the "professorial elite".

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Hieronymous
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Mar 30 2015 20:13
OliverTwister wrote:
I'm disappointed to think of all the implications of the professorial elite class analysis. I've always thought Mike Davis was alright but now I realize that City of Quartz is really just another attempt by a power hungry academic to keep the proletariat from coming to consciousness during the crisis of capital!

Is he really "power hungry," as his academic-activist-celebrity and 6-figure salary is well established? Or are his grad students, the ones doing all the research? Who's most concerned with their careers? And who's labor is being most exploited?

And you should be disappointed with all Davis rubbish about "surplus population," and other ahistorical nonsense trying to make working class immigrants the passive victims of history. But Davis never denied his social-democratic soft-Trot politics.