SPOTLIGHT

  • The Struggle for Ecological Sanity

    By: Carl Boggs At this particular juncture of history, fraught with new dangers and new challenges, it is time for humanity (or crucial sectors of it) to being exploring the intersection between politics and ecology, between the requirements for radical change and unprecedented challenges posed by the global crisis.  For many reasons, this dialectic has rarely been addressed, even among progressives and leftists.  One dimension of this failure – central to the key arguments that follow – is the declining relevance of the Marxist tradition, in all of its variants, to provide intellectual substance for any future anti-system politics.  The extreme gravity of what humanity now faces – not only global warming but a world of shrinking natural resources and drastic food shortages – means that time for creating a viable strategy is running out.  The problem worsens once the momentous tasks at hand are taken into account:  a revitalized politics, sustainable economic development, popular shifts in both cultural behavior and natural relations.   Sadly, in the world to date we encounter no movements, parties, or governments that even remotely meet this challenge. For at least a century after the deaths of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – that is, the

  • Divided, we Fail: Understanding our Struggles by Looking at the System

    By Gus Bagakis Blaming the victim protects the system by keeping the focus on what individuals are doing instead of what the system is doing to them. —Susan Rosenthal. While there is a lower class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free. —Eugene V. Debs An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. —Martin Luther King Jr. INTRODUCTION Have you ever wondered where your ideas and beliefs come from? Did they just pop into your brain because you were a human being, or were you trained by your culture to view the world in a specific way? Did you learn how to believe, or did you learn how to think? Do you believe that whatever your view, “This is just the way the world is?” How do you think, and what do you believe about your relationship with other people? Do you prioritize yourself over the group and value being independent? Or do you base your thoughts and actions on the needs of the community?

  • “Hell Is Other People”: Sartre on Personal Relationships

    What exactly is freedom of speech? And what does it permit us to say?

  • Can We Exit This Road to Ruin?

    Catabolic capitalism isn't your grandparents' capitalism. Back then, industrial capitalism profited primarily from growth, fueled by abundant fossil energy. But the centuries of cheap energy and an ever-expanding economic pie are over; and so are the rising living standards they generated. Even the recent decades of stagnation, debt-driven bubbles, and government bailouts are reaching their limit. Capitalism's future is becoming catabolic.

  • The Dangers of Individualism: Covid-19 and the Case for Collectivism

    By: Holly Barrow Across the West, individualism has long been considered a pillar of democracy and liberty. Individualism - which prioritises autonomy, independence, and personal freedom over the broader needs of society as a whole - often goes hand in hand with neoliberalism. As a more recent ideology, neoliberalism has served to heighten individualistic culture, stressing greater individual responsibility and undermining solidarity. In the UK and the US, where neoliberalism is arguably most rigorous, this self-serving ideology has thrived. Neoliberalism insists that we are all responsible for our personal well-being; it breeds a culture of ‘each man for himself’, detaching us from any sense of communal cooperation and collective responsibility. For decades, neoliberalism has determinedly chipped away and reduced the role of the state in our lives, instead asserting that deregulation, privatization, and ‘the market’ are vital to a free society. George Monbiot writes that neoliberalism views competition as the defining characteristic of human relations; it defines citizens as consumers and promotes the facade of meritocracy - that each person will succeed and reap rewards if only they work hard. In direct contrast are those nations and societies which practice a collectivist culture, viewing each person as part of a

  • The Ethics of Belief: It’s not just Trump supporters who believe wrongly—it’s all of us

    Many of people’s most cherished beliefs—on important matters such as religion, health, science, ethics, justice, and more—are not based on strong evidence.

THEORY

The Fire This Time

By |February 18th, 2021|0 Comments

The fundamental principle of any free society is that for every legal or moral right there is a corresponding duty.  That applies to everyone, regardless of rank.

Who’s the Chump?

By |February 18th, 2021|0 Comments

The fundamental principle of any free society is that for every legal or moral right there is a corresponding duty.  That applies to everyone, regardless of rank.

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PRACTICE

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JUSTICE

Collectivism & Consensus in a Post Covid-19 World

By |July 10th, 2020|0 Comments

Death is a great leveler and, a virus that strikes at individuals indiscriminately, a potent reminder of just how precarious life can be and why, much like the pioneers, it might be in humankind’s best interest to re-invest in a philosophy that acknowledges man’s ability to understand the real world around him. Ayn Rand’s maxim that “nature to be commanded, must be obeyed” seems particularly appropriate (9). The question is, do we have the courage and the humility to subject ourselves to the laws of nature and identity?

Long Walk to Freedom: Xenophobia Continues Against African Migrants in Johannesburg, South Africa

By |October 4th, 2019|0 Comments

South Africans need to have a national dialogue about what it means to have immigrants in their midst and what part of this falls outside the country’s earlier vision of being a Rainbow Nation. South African cannot continue to preach the gospel of African Renaissance while it practices the talk of xenophobia

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ARTS & LETTERS

Ragnarök in the Norse Myths and the Power of Dystopic Fatalism

By |November 20th, 2020|0 Comments

The Norse myths are singular among mythic narratives for a fascinating reason: the gods lose. They do not just lose a treasure, nor just a battle. They lose everything. Fatalism, the idea that the future has already happened in the sense that it is fixed, feels primitive to the modern mind. Dystopic Fatalism, the belief everything we have known and have experienced will one day be annihilated in a disaster of apocalyptic proportions, seems even more distasteful. And yet, it may be the only thing left with any hope of saving us from ourselves.

Recognition by the Father: Montreal’s Favorite Son Leonard Cohen and an Ancient Story of Homecoming

By |October 31st, 2020|0 Comments

The themes of homecoming and the father-son relationship have received a lot of literary attention recently. Marilynne Robinson just published Jack, the fourth novel in her Gilead series, about the Ames and Boughton families’ complicated stories of homecoming, fatherhood, and sonhood in an American small town beset by racial and religious tension. The tensions between fathers and sons, and the son’s struggle with finding his way back home are timeless and cross-cultural, and trigger some of the deepest issues we have with identity and belonging. Look to any cultural literary tradition, whether of the West, the East, or the Middle East, and you will find tales of fathers, and those sons who attempt to find their way back into their recognition. Songs by the Canadian musician Leonard Cohen, who died four years ago at the age of 82, suggest that he grappled with the father-son relationship, and with the emotional desire for home and homecoming. Cohen might not at first seem to have much in common with an ancient Greek figure, but a comparison yields rich and provocative similarities between Cohen and Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s poem of homecoming, the Odyssey. Odysseus, a fictional warrior with talents, like Cohen, as a language-artist, is better-known for his homecoming as a husband, but he ultimately returns to his broken father as the honored and beloved son. Homer’s and Cohen’s poetry have some surprising parallels on this theme. The fictional character of Homer’s ancient epic and the real-life contemporary poet and musician speak to each other across time and space.

A Visit From The Donald

By |October 31st, 2020|0 Comments

‘Twas Election Day eve and all through the states, / Strange forces were brewing, motivated by hate; / Guards ordered to precincts in order to scare / The minority voters that might show up there. / The children, who were lying dead tired in bed, / Dreamt of zoom calls and masks and had feelings of dread. / My wife in her shirt, and I in my shorts, / Were viewing the news channel’s latest report, / When over the sound waves there came a long beep… / The news was the latest on a new POTUS tweet.

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