Capitalism is eating its young. It’s only feeding us avocados to fatten us up first.
November 6, 2017
Millennial habits so often mocked and belittled in the press are the survival strategies of a demographic “born into captivity.”
The summation Kids These Days gives us is harrowing: here is a generation hurrying to give in to the unremitting, unforgiving commodification of the self. Malcolm Harris predicts a future of debt servitude, confinement for the “malfunctioning,” worsening misogyny (though his gender analysis is less coherent than the rest of his argument), and total surveillance. Millennials, that is, are the first generation to live in the dystopia to come.
May 26, 2017
On graduate labor and the Yale commencement protest
On Monday, Peter Salovey, president of Yale University, strode down the tree-lined streets of downtown New Haven, garbed in voluminous robes, a massive pendant, and a velvet cap with a gold, dangling tassel. Before him walked a scowling bulldog puppy that strained against its leash. Handsome Dan XVIII, the university’s mascot, was processing in his first commencement, and both figureheads were being very, very good boys.
August 26, 2016
Deans often feign surprise at graduate student complaints, and claim not to notice the thousands petitioning them every semester.
We need an Obama or Clinton NLRB to step in at Harvard and Yale, in other words, because Obama’s and Clinton’s friends and allies, their cronies and chiefs of staff, are preventing workers at those universities from exercising their rights. The reason we need to put a Democrat in the White House is to keep Democrats at bay in the private sector. The reason we need an Obama or Clinton to run the state is to stop Obamism and Clintonism in civil society.
The union movement’s problem isn’t that workers don’t want to fight; it’s that they don’t want to lose.
You can’t ever really be ready for the class war, but much of the job of working-class strategy is to stage and escalate conflict at the most advantageous moments. So-called legacy unions represent living traditions with institutional memories of what worked and what didn’t against an individual boss, in a given industry, or among workers of particular types. It’s an error to perceive union defeat as evidence of some strategic mistake. American workers can do everything right and still lose.
Affect theory does not discover an authentic self buried by oppression; it constructs one anew from the wreckage of defeat.
March 25, 2015
On NYU and the future of graduate student unionism
Academic life moves slowly. The university system is always changing, but the current is sluggish enough that it’s easy to imagine the institution is fixed in some permanent form. Then, sometimes, things happen fast.
The crucial feature in the South’s political economy was the attempt to tidy the physical world of the lower Mississippi.