Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

1

Adult authority is so knowing, so sanctimonious, so frequently full of it about youth violence. But it isn't an adult experience, most of the time, to be regularly chased, smacked in the head, kicked in the stomach, baited, spat on, challenged to a fight, ambushed, have a weapon waved in one's face. Adults aren't the ones that have to deal with this.

Adolescence, for boys, especially working-class boys, is a violent threshold. When you're a teenager, you live in the state of hyperbole: where every misery is singling you out, where each sleight and disappointment is unbearable, where all emotion is consuming, and where humiliation is ultimate. And if there's violence, you think it will never stop. You think there will always be bullies, big sticks, and boys wielding them. Ambushes, sadists, knuckledusters, and gangs. Knives, sucker-punches, broken noses, and boys put in hospital.

This is what it's like, and you don't need a special theory -- say, of 'gangs' -- to comprehend it. And you don't have to seek the violence; it will find you. I can't tell you how many times I had to block blows, improvise escape, contrive to hide, or just run and run and run, hurdling barbed wire fences, tearing skin and flesh, charging through back yards, bombing across busy roads. As a boy, I ran so blindly from a boy that I dashed straight in front of the school bus. It had just enough time to brake so that all I got out of the interaction was a small groove in the back of my skull.

And how badly I wanted to come back at them, with anything, anything at all. It doesn't surprise me at all that young people -- and they're getting younger -- want to carry weapons. I wanted to carry weapons. Weapons seemed intrinsically impressive, the unanswerable answer. They were magic wands that would transform any difficult situation. They were the techne of rage, glamorously lethal. [...]

—p.1 Adolescents by Richard Seymour 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Adult authority is so knowing, so sanctimonious, so frequently full of it about youth violence. But it isn't an adult experience, most of the time, to be regularly chased, smacked in the head, kicked in the stomach, baited, spat on, challenged to a fight, ambushed, have a weapon waved in one's face. Adults aren't the ones that have to deal with this.

Adolescence, for boys, especially working-class boys, is a violent threshold. When you're a teenager, you live in the state of hyperbole: where every misery is singling you out, where each sleight and disappointment is unbearable, where all emotion is consuming, and where humiliation is ultimate. And if there's violence, you think it will never stop. You think there will always be bullies, big sticks, and boys wielding them. Ambushes, sadists, knuckledusters, and gangs. Knives, sucker-punches, broken noses, and boys put in hospital.

This is what it's like, and you don't need a special theory -- say, of 'gangs' -- to comprehend it. And you don't have to seek the violence; it will find you. I can't tell you how many times I had to block blows, improvise escape, contrive to hide, or just run and run and run, hurdling barbed wire fences, tearing skin and flesh, charging through back yards, bombing across busy roads. As a boy, I ran so blindly from a boy that I dashed straight in front of the school bus. It had just enough time to brake so that all I got out of the interaction was a small groove in the back of my skull.

And how badly I wanted to come back at them, with anything, anything at all. It doesn't surprise me at all that young people -- and they're getting younger -- want to carry weapons. I wanted to carry weapons. Weapons seemed intrinsically impressive, the unanswerable answer. They were magic wands that would transform any difficult situation. They were the techne of rage, glamorously lethal. [...]

—p.1 Adolescents by Richard Seymour 2 months, 2 weeks ago
1

And adolescent boys who have good reason to fear attack, and that is an awful lot of them, have precious little protection. There's almost no one they can turn to. Adult authorities can present as dithering, indifferent, canting or downright callous: full of fire only after something disastrous happens, rather like the politicians who, as Gary Younge puts it, "respond to the coverage not the crime". They often think the same way as boys with knives do. The demand for more cops, more stop-and-search, tougher daddy figures, is a demand for bigger and better weapons: implicitly to protect the 'innocent' from the 'wicked'. It's what you get when working class lives only become visible at the point of catastrophe, as a pathology to be stamped out. It's fairy tale logic, magical thinking for adults, faced with their own helplessness.

the buildup to the last sentence is amazing

—p.1 Adolescents by Richard Seymour 2 months, 2 weeks ago

And adolescent boys who have good reason to fear attack, and that is an awful lot of them, have precious little protection. There's almost no one they can turn to. Adult authorities can present as dithering, indifferent, canting or downright callous: full of fire only after something disastrous happens, rather like the politicians who, as Gary Younge puts it, "respond to the coverage not the crime". They often think the same way as boys with knives do. The demand for more cops, more stop-and-search, tougher daddy figures, is a demand for bigger and better weapons: implicitly to protect the 'innocent' from the 'wicked'. It's what you get when working class lives only become visible at the point of catastrophe, as a pathology to be stamped out. It's fairy tale logic, magical thinking for adults, faced with their own helplessness.

the buildup to the last sentence is amazing

—p.1 Adolescents by Richard Seymour 2 months, 2 weeks ago
1

How does the spectre of communism still haunt quite well-to-do people after long spells of centrist administration? Perhaps it isn't irrelevant that Brazil is a society built on racial slavery, where the class system is still powerfully structured by race. Brazil was one of the biggest consumers of slaves, importing forty percent of the total in the Americas, and one of the last states to abolish slavery in 1888. It was subsequently one of the last to have a long, stable period of democratic government, which has now lasted for just over thirty years. The majority of workers identify as either black or multiracial. The vast majority of the middle class and bourgeoisie identify as white. These identifications don't have any 'phenotypical' validity, but they do link different classes in a symbolic chain back to the relations between African slaves and European slave-masters. History, as always, is sedimented into the unconscious.

ahhhh the last sentence is so gorgeous

—p.1 Anticommunism without communism by Richard Seymour 2 weeks ago

How does the spectre of communism still haunt quite well-to-do people after long spells of centrist administration? Perhaps it isn't irrelevant that Brazil is a society built on racial slavery, where the class system is still powerfully structured by race. Brazil was one of the biggest consumers of slaves, importing forty percent of the total in the Americas, and one of the last states to abolish slavery in 1888. It was subsequently one of the last to have a long, stable period of democratic government, which has now lasted for just over thirty years. The majority of workers identify as either black or multiracial. The vast majority of the middle class and bourgeoisie identify as white. These identifications don't have any 'phenotypical' validity, but they do link different classes in a symbolic chain back to the relations between African slaves and European slave-masters. History, as always, is sedimented into the unconscious.

ahhhh the last sentence is so gorgeous

—p.1 Anticommunism without communism by Richard Seymour 2 weeks ago
1

[...] no religious truth actually is essentially, eternally true. Rather, as Marx's great influence Ludwig Feuerbach was pointing out in the 1840s: they are a particular ossification of the values of the society from which they have emerged – human truths, obscured by being placed in the mouth of God. This ossification makes it difficult for people to think critically about them – it gives the ideas of some other society, perhaps one from way back in the ancient past, a peculiar power over us, an alien force. We might not want to throw all these ideas away wholesale – but we need to bring them back down to earth, where we can really think about them for ourselves.

if Harry Potter becomes a new state religion. this is great

—p.1 Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 4 days, 23 hours ago

[...] no religious truth actually is essentially, eternally true. Rather, as Marx's great influence Ludwig Feuerbach was pointing out in the 1840s: they are a particular ossification of the values of the society from which they have emerged – human truths, obscured by being placed in the mouth of God. This ossification makes it difficult for people to think critically about them – it gives the ideas of some other society, perhaps one from way back in the ancient past, a peculiar power over us, an alien force. We might not want to throw all these ideas away wholesale – but we need to bring them back down to earth, where we can really think about them for ourselves.

if Harry Potter becomes a new state religion. this is great

—p.1 Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 4 days, 23 hours ago
1

[...] whence, after all, have the ideas of J.K. Rowling and her books emerged? From middle-class Britain – and not just any era in the history of middle-class Britain. Harry Potter is, irreducibly, a product of the End of History years: after the fall of the Soviet Union, and before the 2007-08 financial crash (the last book in the regular series was published in July 2007, two months before the collapse of Northern Rock). Years of smug certainty, where a vague progressivism and myths of meritocracy were allowed to conceal the still-entrenched injustices that the ruling class would weaponise once everything started to go wrong. Certain members of Rowling's generation – herself, of course, very much included – benefited immensely from this order, and their politics is now largely defined by their inability to recognise why it failed.

In fact: there is no principle that defines the wizarding world of Harry Potter more clearly than that of meritocracy. In the series, wizards constitute a ruling class, membership of which is precisely defined by merit – you're either magical, so you deserve to be a member of the wizarding class (no matter how evil you are), or you're not and thus you don't. The thrill of Harry Potter is not that of fighting evil wizards – it's that of being inducted to the ruling classes: from the comically dull, petty-bourgeois world of the Dursleys that Harry grew up in, to the Eton/Oxford substitute of Hogwarts, where every strange ritual seems alive with meaning. At age 11, the wizard child discovers something about themselves – that essentially, inherently, they are deserving, that they, unlike all the Muggles, have merit. That the whole of the magical world belongs to them.

But of course, this 'merit' – much like the merit which ostensibly fuels mobility in our own world – is suspiciously heritable: magic often runs in 'great wizarding families' (although these families can technically produce non-magical 'squibs') – often, magical merit looks like nothing other than having gone to the right school. [...]

so good!

—p.1 Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 4 days, 23 hours ago

[...] whence, after all, have the ideas of J.K. Rowling and her books emerged? From middle-class Britain – and not just any era in the history of middle-class Britain. Harry Potter is, irreducibly, a product of the End of History years: after the fall of the Soviet Union, and before the 2007-08 financial crash (the last book in the regular series was published in July 2007, two months before the collapse of Northern Rock). Years of smug certainty, where a vague progressivism and myths of meritocracy were allowed to conceal the still-entrenched injustices that the ruling class would weaponise once everything started to go wrong. Certain members of Rowling's generation – herself, of course, very much included – benefited immensely from this order, and their politics is now largely defined by their inability to recognise why it failed.

In fact: there is no principle that defines the wizarding world of Harry Potter more clearly than that of meritocracy. In the series, wizards constitute a ruling class, membership of which is precisely defined by merit – you're either magical, so you deserve to be a member of the wizarding class (no matter how evil you are), or you're not and thus you don't. The thrill of Harry Potter is not that of fighting evil wizards – it's that of being inducted to the ruling classes: from the comically dull, petty-bourgeois world of the Dursleys that Harry grew up in, to the Eton/Oxford substitute of Hogwarts, where every strange ritual seems alive with meaning. At age 11, the wizard child discovers something about themselves – that essentially, inherently, they are deserving, that they, unlike all the Muggles, have merit. That the whole of the magical world belongs to them.

But of course, this 'merit' – much like the merit which ostensibly fuels mobility in our own world – is suspiciously heritable: magic often runs in 'great wizarding families' (although these families can technically produce non-magical 'squibs') – often, magical merit looks like nothing other than having gone to the right school. [...]

so good!

—p.1 Harry Potter as Religion by Tom Whyman 4 days, 23 hours ago
1

The reforms to welfare, justified by an attempt to undermine the supposed cultural sources of poverty, have been slowly turning it into a disciplinary mechanism. But it doesn't absolutely have to be that way. That just happens to be one way of solving unemployment from a supply-side perspective. And while the fungibility of cash gives you a certain range of choices, freedom is not reducible to choice. To an extent, freedom paradoxically involves being freed from those choices that are not intrinsically meaningful.

For most people, the NHS offers more freedom than a tax refund would. If you want to know what exhausting rigours it frees you from, look at the US healthcare market. An affordable, socially-owned house would free you in another way. You might have less choice with public provision. But a home is a complex thing. It puts together a range of amenities and affordances, from energy to water to sleeping quarters. It's a base from which life projects can be embarked upon. If your home is secure, all of those other things are secure, and your attention is free to focus on other things. You can plan your life. You don't have to put every ounce of your ingenuity into the classically middle class pursuit of 'climbing the property ladder'.

Not everything we could have a use for is amenable to this logic. In some areas, choices are meaningful. What books you read, what films you see, who you spend time with, what clothes you wear. Of course, the emerging digital order is predicated on the idea that choice is not meaningful; it is always heteronomously determined. Whether or not the platform bosses, the gaming companies, behavioural economists and government bureaucrats really believe in radical behaviourism in a deep sense, its precepts have filtered into everyday practice. Preferences have become an object for manipulation and guidance, rather than the self-evident starting point of all individual action in a liberal society. The silicon order is not just post-democratic in that sense, but post-liberal. Nonetheless, while this describes technique, it doesn't yet describe human action. And even if it did, the illusion of choice is still very important to us. So choices for the time being matter.

god he's such a good writer

—p.1 Plenty in an age of scarcity by Richard Seymour 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The reforms to welfare, justified by an attempt to undermine the supposed cultural sources of poverty, have been slowly turning it into a disciplinary mechanism. But it doesn't absolutely have to be that way. That just happens to be one way of solving unemployment from a supply-side perspective. And while the fungibility of cash gives you a certain range of choices, freedom is not reducible to choice. To an extent, freedom paradoxically involves being freed from those choices that are not intrinsically meaningful.

For most people, the NHS offers more freedom than a tax refund would. If you want to know what exhausting rigours it frees you from, look at the US healthcare market. An affordable, socially-owned house would free you in another way. You might have less choice with public provision. But a home is a complex thing. It puts together a range of amenities and affordances, from energy to water to sleeping quarters. It's a base from which life projects can be embarked upon. If your home is secure, all of those other things are secure, and your attention is free to focus on other things. You can plan your life. You don't have to put every ounce of your ingenuity into the classically middle class pursuit of 'climbing the property ladder'.

Not everything we could have a use for is amenable to this logic. In some areas, choices are meaningful. What books you read, what films you see, who you spend time with, what clothes you wear. Of course, the emerging digital order is predicated on the idea that choice is not meaningful; it is always heteronomously determined. Whether or not the platform bosses, the gaming companies, behavioural economists and government bureaucrats really believe in radical behaviourism in a deep sense, its precepts have filtered into everyday practice. Preferences have become an object for manipulation and guidance, rather than the self-evident starting point of all individual action in a liberal society. The silicon order is not just post-democratic in that sense, but post-liberal. Nonetheless, while this describes technique, it doesn't yet describe human action. And even if it did, the illusion of choice is still very important to us. So choices for the time being matter.

god he's such a good writer

—p.1 Plenty in an age of scarcity by Richard Seymour 4 months, 3 weeks ago
1

Their hijacking of antisemitism, though very successful in setting the media's agenda, hasn't cut through to the wider public. That's because allegations that Labour is institutionally antisemitic, or that Corbyn himself is a racist, cut against, rather than with, the grain of what people already suspect to be true. Those who dislike Corbyn overwhelmingly think he's a politically correct peacenik, not a Jew-hater.

So why stick with it? For some people, no doubt, Corbyn's criticisms of Zionism make him an antisemite. That isn't, I suspect, what is driving the Labour Right. I think they like it because it confuses and demoralises the Left. It may not cut through to the public, but it cuts through to the Left's anti-racist conscience. Because we're not cynical about racism, in the way that someone who suggests putting white people at the head of the housing queue is, we're easier to troll on the subject. It also acts on submerged strategic disagreements on the Left. It's easy to be a happy family when things are going well. But hard choices and difficult, nuanced arguments flush out division. It reveals where the ideologically harder and softer parts of the opposition are, and it gets them arguing among themselves.

For the Labour Right, it also supplies the missing sense of moral purpose. Their polemics have tended to look flaccid, stale, or moon-bound over the last few years. Communism has no place in the Labour Party? Hardly electrifying. On this issue, however, they can achieve moments of superficially impressive indignation. Tony Blair once commented on the difference between himself and the activist Left. The latter being the protesters, the ones who say, "let's get that bastard out of power". As he went on to muse, "I'm the bastard". Well, just for a moment, the hard, cynical political operators who spent their whole lives training to be the bastard, can say, "let's get that bastard out of power". Frank Field, Gordon Brown, Margaret Hodge, the Kinnocks. They know where the bodies are buried, but for the moment they can adopt the style of the campus SJW activist. It's quite animating (take it from an ex-Trotskyist), but totally unsustainable for that tendency.

—p.1 The Labour Right's pyrrhic victory by Richard Seymour 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Their hijacking of antisemitism, though very successful in setting the media's agenda, hasn't cut through to the wider public. That's because allegations that Labour is institutionally antisemitic, or that Corbyn himself is a racist, cut against, rather than with, the grain of what people already suspect to be true. Those who dislike Corbyn overwhelmingly think he's a politically correct peacenik, not a Jew-hater.

So why stick with it? For some people, no doubt, Corbyn's criticisms of Zionism make him an antisemite. That isn't, I suspect, what is driving the Labour Right. I think they like it because it confuses and demoralises the Left. It may not cut through to the public, but it cuts through to the Left's anti-racist conscience. Because we're not cynical about racism, in the way that someone who suggests putting white people at the head of the housing queue is, we're easier to troll on the subject. It also acts on submerged strategic disagreements on the Left. It's easy to be a happy family when things are going well. But hard choices and difficult, nuanced arguments flush out division. It reveals where the ideologically harder and softer parts of the opposition are, and it gets them arguing among themselves.

For the Labour Right, it also supplies the missing sense of moral purpose. Their polemics have tended to look flaccid, stale, or moon-bound over the last few years. Communism has no place in the Labour Party? Hardly electrifying. On this issue, however, they can achieve moments of superficially impressive indignation. Tony Blair once commented on the difference between himself and the activist Left. The latter being the protesters, the ones who say, "let's get that bastard out of power". As he went on to muse, "I'm the bastard". Well, just for a moment, the hard, cynical political operators who spent their whole lives training to be the bastard, can say, "let's get that bastard out of power". Frank Field, Gordon Brown, Margaret Hodge, the Kinnocks. They know where the bodies are buried, but for the moment they can adopt the style of the campus SJW activist. It's quite animating (take it from an ex-Trotskyist), but totally unsustainable for that tendency.

—p.1 The Labour Right's pyrrhic victory by Richard Seymour 4 months, 2 weeks ago
1

Of course, the disenchanted early-modern perspectives which treated wilderness as barrenness were themselves relatively recent. As Andreas Malm points out, the European capitalist class was born in hatred of wildness. For Locke, wildness was not to be protected or revered, but to be subdued. Whatever was deemed wild, be it a forest or a population, was defined mainly by desolation, by what it lacked: subordination to the grid of production.

Where does the idea of "wilding" fit into this? As the -ing suffix implies, it is not a 'return to nature' but an artifice. It is a form of geoengineering. In a qualified endorsement of geoengineering, the science-fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson argues that the term must be rethought: "engineering implies we know what we’re doing more than we really do. Also, that we have more powers than we actually have." In this sense, wilding could be seen as a form of geoengineering on a small scale. It entails, not the retrusion and abdication of humanity, but our assumption of collective responsibility, within the necessary limits of our powers and knowledge. As Monbiot put it in his 'wilding' book, Feral, it isn't to restore ecosystems to any prior "natural" state but to engineer a set of circumstances where natural processes can take place.

This has no intrinsic political valence, however. It need not even be primarily motived by ecological considerations. It can be used to turn land, where farming has ceased to be profitable, into a commercial 'natural beauty' spot -- as with the Knepp Wildland in West Sussex. Moreover, as Monbiot acknowledges, "wilding" has a dark history. Even when not deployed as part of a brutally racist, blood and soil enterprise, most wildings have been the spontaneous result of "humanitarian disasters" -- massacres, plagues, starvation. From a certain perspective, the wilding of the planet would be coextensive with human extinction, as in the eerily beautiful, closing passages of Gore Vidal's novel, Kalki.

the arguments are intriguing but im mostly saving this for the understated beauty of the writing

—p.1 Wilding by Richard Seymour 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Of course, the disenchanted early-modern perspectives which treated wilderness as barrenness were themselves relatively recent. As Andreas Malm points out, the European capitalist class was born in hatred of wildness. For Locke, wildness was not to be protected or revered, but to be subdued. Whatever was deemed wild, be it a forest or a population, was defined mainly by desolation, by what it lacked: subordination to the grid of production.

Where does the idea of "wilding" fit into this? As the -ing suffix implies, it is not a 'return to nature' but an artifice. It is a form of geoengineering. In a qualified endorsement of geoengineering, the science-fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson argues that the term must be rethought: "engineering implies we know what we’re doing more than we really do. Also, that we have more powers than we actually have." In this sense, wilding could be seen as a form of geoengineering on a small scale. It entails, not the retrusion and abdication of humanity, but our assumption of collective responsibility, within the necessary limits of our powers and knowledge. As Monbiot put it in his 'wilding' book, Feral, it isn't to restore ecosystems to any prior "natural" state but to engineer a set of circumstances where natural processes can take place.

This has no intrinsic political valence, however. It need not even be primarily motived by ecological considerations. It can be used to turn land, where farming has ceased to be profitable, into a commercial 'natural beauty' spot -- as with the Knepp Wildland in West Sussex. Moreover, as Monbiot acknowledges, "wilding" has a dark history. Even when not deployed as part of a brutally racist, blood and soil enterprise, most wildings have been the spontaneous result of "humanitarian disasters" -- massacres, plagues, starvation. From a certain perspective, the wilding of the planet would be coextensive with human extinction, as in the eerily beautiful, closing passages of Gore Vidal's novel, Kalki.

the arguments are intriguing but im mostly saving this for the understated beauty of the writing

—p.1 Wilding by Richard Seymour 4 months, 2 weeks ago
1

[...] Whence this "People's Europe"? The European institutions are even more resistant to popular pressure, and even less democratic, than the national states participating in them. Is the European Commission ripe for socialist capture? Are decades of legislation pertaining to competitiveness, state aid and budgets vulnerable to collapse provided Britain reverses its decision to leave? I don't foreclose struggles for reform, but this "People's Europe" is even more of an hallucinogenic fantasy than "Lexit". As for "Brexit appeasement", that is choice little jingoistic turn of phrase to refer to the acceptance of defeat in a once-in-a-lifetime democratic referendum in which the overwhelming resources were on the side of Remain.

—p.1 The problem with a People's Vote by Richard Seymour 5 months ago

[...] Whence this "People's Europe"? The European institutions are even more resistant to popular pressure, and even less democratic, than the national states participating in them. Is the European Commission ripe for socialist capture? Are decades of legislation pertaining to competitiveness, state aid and budgets vulnerable to collapse provided Britain reverses its decision to leave? I don't foreclose struggles for reform, but this "People's Europe" is even more of an hallucinogenic fantasy than "Lexit". As for "Brexit appeasement", that is choice little jingoistic turn of phrase to refer to the acceptance of defeat in a once-in-a-lifetime democratic referendum in which the overwhelming resources were on the side of Remain.

—p.1 The problem with a People's Vote by Richard Seymour 5 months ago
1

[...] The point of having an activist, interventionist state, is that one no longer has to do things on neoliberal terms. In other words, one doesn't have to accept the blackmail according to which you acquiesce or you lose jobs, wages and taxes. That's the neoliberal blackmail in a nutshell, and its persuasive power always depended fundamentally on the idea that there is no alternative. What if there is an alternative? Even if it isn't a "socialist phoenix", it changes the equation, and forces a different and less caricatured conversation.

The strongest part of Cortes's case is that leaving the neoliberal EU, Britain will still be part of a neoliberal world. In other words, a range of global institutions, trade and financial bodies, from the WTO to the IMF, will continue to have a pronounced role in how British capitalism is governed. Nevertheless, there are certain specific constraints that come with membership of the European Union. May's soft Brexit plan, of course, did not address those: why should it? But a government of the Left, with a suitable flexibility of tactics, could address it.

The point I'm making is that, setting aside phoenixes and appeasement and other such shopworn imagery, there are ways to adapt to Brexit, to protect workers, and even make something of an opportunity out of the relinquishing of eg state aid rules. This is no longer a terrain in which the outcome has to be settled by the most reactionary elements in our political life. Moreover, given this, if the agenda is to fight for any kind of "People's Europe", that would surely not be helped by a rush of the loyalist Left to rejoin these institutions and acquiesce to these rules. If there is a route to a People's Europe, it is surely through the crisis of those institutions.

Every choice is a renunciation. Every decision comes with opportunity-costs. There are a million possible ways to waste your time. In politics, there being so many issues, you have to be parsimonious. You hammer away, relentlessly, at the biggest prize, the biggest opportunity. If you make the wrong choice, that is wasted money and labour-hours. Prioritising a quixotic campaign to save Britain's position in the European Union is, for the Left, a waste of its energies. It would be far better placed dedicating its forces to a creative project -- for which, slogans regarding a "People's Europe" are an exceedingly poor, emaciated substitute.

i hate brexit shit in general but this is SO GOOD

—p.1 The problem with a People's Vote by Richard Seymour 5 months ago

[...] The point of having an activist, interventionist state, is that one no longer has to do things on neoliberal terms. In other words, one doesn't have to accept the blackmail according to which you acquiesce or you lose jobs, wages and taxes. That's the neoliberal blackmail in a nutshell, and its persuasive power always depended fundamentally on the idea that there is no alternative. What if there is an alternative? Even if it isn't a "socialist phoenix", it changes the equation, and forces a different and less caricatured conversation.

The strongest part of Cortes's case is that leaving the neoliberal EU, Britain will still be part of a neoliberal world. In other words, a range of global institutions, trade and financial bodies, from the WTO to the IMF, will continue to have a pronounced role in how British capitalism is governed. Nevertheless, there are certain specific constraints that come with membership of the European Union. May's soft Brexit plan, of course, did not address those: why should it? But a government of the Left, with a suitable flexibility of tactics, could address it.

The point I'm making is that, setting aside phoenixes and appeasement and other such shopworn imagery, there are ways to adapt to Brexit, to protect workers, and even make something of an opportunity out of the relinquishing of eg state aid rules. This is no longer a terrain in which the outcome has to be settled by the most reactionary elements in our political life. Moreover, given this, if the agenda is to fight for any kind of "People's Europe", that would surely not be helped by a rush of the loyalist Left to rejoin these institutions and acquiesce to these rules. If there is a route to a People's Europe, it is surely through the crisis of those institutions.

Every choice is a renunciation. Every decision comes with opportunity-costs. There are a million possible ways to waste your time. In politics, there being so many issues, you have to be parsimonious. You hammer away, relentlessly, at the biggest prize, the biggest opportunity. If you make the wrong choice, that is wasted money and labour-hours. Prioritising a quixotic campaign to save Britain's position in the European Union is, for the Left, a waste of its energies. It would be far better placed dedicating its forces to a creative project -- for which, slogans regarding a "People's Europe" are an exceedingly poor, emaciated substitute.

i hate brexit shit in general but this is SO GOOD

—p.1 The problem with a People's Vote by Richard Seymour 5 months ago