Thursday, January 20, 2011

M-L-M Mayhem Reviews

A few months ago, Matt McLennan must have felt that I need more Maoism in my life, because he recommended that I spend some time reading over M-L-M Mayhem (here). In December, JMP (the main contributor) wrote a series of posts on what he argues are unjustly neglected titles in revolutionary history and theory, and his choices piqued my interest. Rather than let them disappear behind the holiday fog (which for me means writing a paper on Rancière and Marx), a few links:

First: J. Sakai's Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. Taking on previous reviews of the the book, JMP writes:
So when Sakai argues that the white working class of North America constitutes, within the confines of settler society, a labour aristocracy, a valid counter-argument is not to snidely point at, as if Sakai was historically ignorant, that there is no such thing as a labour aristocracy because these white settlers were actually poor, exploited, and callously used by the colonizing aristocracy and bourgeoisie.  Sakai already accepts that this was the case but is tired of the colonial ideology that asks the colonizer to recognize that the settler working class is also exploited.  Following Fanon and every anticolonial theorist, Sakai wants to examine the ideology that permits the settler working class to occupy an oppressing position.  He wants to answer the question asked by Amin and others: why did this white-working class as a class fail to generally become a class for-itself, what were the terms of its composition in America (it arrived as predatory, Sakai argues with a significant amount of historical data), and what were the historical and materialist reasons for its structural development? [... ] Settlers is attempting to map the development of the ideology Sakai calls "settlerism", the material conditions behind its emergence, and its ramifications for class struggle.
Second, Butch Lee and Red Rover's Night-Vision: Illuminating War & Class on the Neo-Colonial Terrain. Of the the relations between class, race, and gender,
Lee and Rover grasp the intersection in two sentences: "In class society what is man-made is always disguised as the natural, the biological, or the Holy.  What we think of as race or gender or nationality is class in drag."
 Finally, after criticizing some of the academic modes of reading Fanon (à la Homi Bhabha),  JMP writes of James Yaki Sayles's Meditations on Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth:
Understanding the context of oppression, the problem of organization, the need to organize and struggle against the current system of oppression, and how to build a better society: these are Yaki Sayles' interests in his study of Wretched––again, the same interests possessed by Fanon when he wrote the book in the first place.  Thus, Yaki Sayles places Fanon in dialogue with other revolutionary thinkers, unearths the radical dialectical materialism beneath his thought, indicates the connection to Mao Zedong's analysis of contradictions, and emphasizes the need for "a comprehensive campaign to change people, society, and the world."

No comments: