Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An Open Invitiation To All Illiterati

Are you a proponent of critical-thinking yet inform yourself by consuming edukashun at the trough of the Glenn Beck/Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity/Redstate/Freeper Idiocracy? Please read on to see how one teeny group of the "educated elite" in this country are meeting to have [gasp] a conversation about communism in an academic context with other academics (not students, so you may not shout "programming!"). Because when people in academia have questions about something, just like normal people they ask it instead of shouting "Liar!" And when they need an answer they discover it for themselves... you know, by studying and reading and shit. Just like normal people.

Any trolls who want to go toe-to-toe with me on Hegel, Lacan or Žižek, read this post, its links and cited texts and bring it.

I just checked my university email account, and the following mass list-serv [sic] invitation was awaiting:


"There will be a meeting of the Marxist/Post-Marxist reading group on Wednesday, September 30 at 5:30pm. For the next couple of sessions we will be looking at the themes of alienation and commodities.

On the 30th, we'll be reading the first of the 1844 Manuscripts, excluding the section on rent. This can be found at

In order to set the groundwork for the following session, we will also discuss, somewhat separately from the issues in the Manuscript, Brian Donahue's essay 'Marxism, Postmodernism, Žižek.' This is available through Project Muse and in the journal Postmodern Culture.

Sometime in October, we'll discuss the first chapter of Capital in which Marx introduces commodities and commodity fetishism.

Either at this session or the next, we'll move on to cover Slavoj Žižek's Introduction and first chapter of the Sublime Object of Ideology, which uses a Lacanian framework to explicate some of Marx's ideas about commodification and alienation.

If you're not familiar with us, we are interested in exploring the possibilities and limitations of Marxist thought by examining different thinkers who are identified as either Marxist or post-Marxist. The goals of this reading group would be to question, discuss, and understand these possibilities and limitations throughout different fields. We are interested in how different thinkers have attempted to pose alternative models to key Marxist concepts. We welcome all perspectives and disciplinary orientations on these ideas."


This group espouses *no* ideology, only the *study* of Marxian paradigms. This is how it goes in academia. We have a civilized conversation on texts *everyone* has read first hand and on which not everyone agrees. Also, it is to start a conversation that has relevance to today's world... notions of production, manufacturing, jobs, workers, etc. Not to *worship* Marx, but to have a dialogue on what's right and wrong with his philosophies and other philosophers who either agree or disagree with him and to understand how his philosophies developed as a result of his own studies.

The following, written about Žižek, summarizes the thrust of his current scholarship: "Žižek has determined that late-modern capitalism has engendered a whole range of alternative seductions to keep the eye and brain off of the Real. The Real only exists as a fragment, fast receding on the horizon as fantasy and often phantasm intercede. These dreams and nightmares are systemic, structural neuroses, and they are part of the coordinates of the hegemonic." Žižek also critiques the capitalist notion of borrowing from the future to pay for the present (very watered down). Hmmm... a "lefty" who sounds just like the Teabaggers in this country?

This is a prime example of what the recently well-publicized mass of illiterati in this country are guilty. They have *no* idea what they are talking about when they blithely use terms like socialist and communist.

Now if only the rest of the country could follow suit on day-to-day common issues in general... Oh, yeah. That's right. Some people tried to have a civilized conversation at town hall meetings in August and to be part of the audience as the President addressed a joint session of Congress last week...


Riot Kitty September 16, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

The key word being "normal"!

msprimadonna67 September 16, 2009 at 2:18 PM  

Ah, such a novel idea--to read about the thing one wishes to discuss, rather than relying on heresay and assumptions. Subversive concept, that.

Seeing Eye Chick September 16, 2009 at 4:07 PM  

If only. You will forgive me Skye though, if I do not hold my breath. Some people are positively orgasmic in their stupidity and ignorance.

Lovely post though.

In the Idiocracy, even considering the notion of reading material written by the [ahem] "enemy" is a sign that one is sympathetic and not to be trusted. This is how true elitists are able to control these masses of the Illiterati, emotionally manipulate them with accusations and guilt, while simultaneously using their solid bone heads to yell slogans that help to frame one half or the whole debate.
Fucking Morons.

Sidhe September 16, 2009 at 7:19 PM  

Ah, zesty and refreshing. I wish I could join in on these discussions (of course, one of my greatest peeves is the indiscriminate use of the terms being bandied about by those who claim FOX as their "news" source).

Diana September 16, 2009 at 9:33 PM  

Nice post... Thanks for stating what should be obvious..

I state at the outset that I am not an economics or poli/sci major, but I think this country would have done better by its children to honestly study socialism and communism along with capitalism (prior to college) without branding any idea as devilish at the outset. Who knows, we may have been able to survive capitalism if it could have evolved.

The red scare is very much alive in this country, but it has been confiscated and used for different (and hidden) reasons.

poietes September 18, 2009 at 12:11 AM  

Lovely post. Lovely idea: intelligent discussions based on research. Unfortunately, not an idea espoused by individuals possessing the audacity to yell "you lie" at the POTUS, or any of the other fantasyland news............... sources. Sorry, had to pause to stop choking after typing the word news in conjunction with images of Beck et al.

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