Vultures and Starlings: Class and Debt Feudalism in Ozark

The European Starling was first introduced to America by a Shakespeare enthusiast who felt that New York city, already a booming theater-going town in the early 1800's, must have every species of bird Shakespeare ever wrote about. Just last year, 1.7 million of these foreign Starlings were poisoned and put to death. It's now legal …

Obscure Subjects: Myth and Metapolitics on the alt-Right

I have a new essay up at the Critical Theory Research Network called "Obscure Subjects: Myth and Metapolitics on the alt-Right." Here is an overview of the essay: In this piece I consider the syndicalist intellectual Georges Sorel and his influence in early 20th century fascism in France and Italy prior to the rise of …

Lukács, labor and the humanization of man

The premise that the economic sphere impacts the moral sphere of society is well accepted. Marxists claim such a separation of these spheres, whether in functional or analytic analysis results in idealism. Thus, the wager that the task of critique is to isolate or show how an autonomy of these spheres is possible is deeply …

A post clash of civilizations framework?

What if Trump's upcoming speech in Saudi Arabia signifies a shift at the level of discourse -- one that effectively propels international relations into a new, post clash of civilizations framework? A post clash framework no longer requires any allusion to the idea that the west has a moral duty to help Islam revive its lost greatness, …

Jameson on Badiou: Ships Passing in the Night

The American Marxist literary theorist Fredric Jameson's latest article in the New Left Review, "Badiou and the French Tradition" (full PDF here) ends by noting the most important omissions Badiou makes throughout his oeuvre. I find Jameson's reading of Badiou highly contradictory and sloppy at times. Jameson gives us a reading of Badiou that takes …

The Theory of the Social Bond in Gauchet

I finished a careful reading of Marcel Gauchet’s The Disenchantment of the World: A Political History of Religion. He works with a method that is quite innovative, one part genealogy, one part philosophical anthropology. Gauchet is a working class liberal in terms of his politics. However he pulls from a rich set of post WW …

Theory Without an Enemy

Enemy-creation is the enterprise of contemporary politics. Temporary enemies proliferate all around us, from the immigrant, the bureaucrat, to the Mexican, to the Muslim--we all know these figures are little false flags which hide a more confused politics. The temporary enemy is a substitute for the true enemy as they offer an object by which …

Help Fund My Documentary Film on Philosophy and Revolt

Dear Reader, I am writing you a more personal post to ask for your help. If you have enjoyed my writing, if it has been helpful to you in any way, I ask that you consider helping my crowdfunding campaign to bring the world of ideas to film. As you may know, I have been working …

Is Conversion Possible?

What if we began to view leftist revolutionary thought as inextricably tied up with the problem of religious conversion? After all, a convert to revolutionary positions is far different than the merely philosophical conversionary model of Plato and St. Augustine, which is a cognitive level conversion. For Plato, conversion is when the individual develops a newfound commitment to …

Insurrections and the Role of Philosophy

Here is the abstract of my talk at the upcoming Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World conference happening July 23rd-27 at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. My talk will include a rough trailer and some clips from the film Insurrections that I am directing. I welcome your feedback on this abstract. “Insurrections and the …

The Political Appeal of Ibn Taymiyyah

Ibn Taymiyyah looms large in today's imaginary; he is an untouchable authority in the minds of many Muslims. If you watch Salafi videos on YouTube, you'll notice the hagiography around the man clouds many of his followers from engaging him on a serious or critical level. Some scholars are told to avoid him outright, while …

Philosophy in Saturated Times

Frank Ruda's For Badiou: Idealism Without Idealism probes the question that has driven a number of interventions into Badiou's thought: what is the role of philosophy in non-evental or saturated times? Saturation is a state of atonality, a state in which the exception is not made actual. Saturation implies the end of a process or procedure of …

Badiou’s Revision of Sartre’s Fused Group

In his late Marxist work, Critique of Dialectical Reason, Sartre was pessimistic about revolutionary politics. He theorized the subject of history in the figure of the group in revolt, what he termed the 'fused group'. The fused group, through their acts of negation (revolt), develop a new interior, untranscedable position. In a Lacanian sense, Sartre's fused group is …

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: A Catharsis of Pleonexia

Mehdi Belhaj Kacem is a highly enigmatic thinker: an autodidact in the history of philosophy, a well known actor in French cinema and self-proclaimed anti-philosopher who had a major public break with his former mentor Alain Badiou around the same time as the Arab spring was taking off. I just finished his first major work translated into English, …

How to Win an Aesthetic War: On Bernard Stiegler’s Symbolic Misery

How do we think political conflict that impacts all aspects of social life, from the family to public institutions? What domains of private and public life are affected by a form of conflict which is ubiquitous? The Greek term stasis has been invoked to theorize this form of ever-present conflict by a number of contemporary …