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Daily Archives: May 14th, 2010

Philosophy

MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY STUDENT OCCUPATION AND CAMPAIGN

Dear all

Another quick update from Middlesex: the student occupation continues to hold strong, and in the next couple of days will host events in the Mansion Building with Eyal Weizman and some of his collaborators (Friday 14 May at 8pm), and with Tariq Ali (Saturday 15 May at 3:30). The full set of campaign events is posted at: http://savemdxphil.com/events/.

A list of campaign press links is also posted at  http://savemdxphil.com/press-coverage/; more articles will appear in the coming days, in The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph…

An overview of the campaign to date is posted at  http://savemdxphil.com/about/,

Yours Peter.

phallward@gmail.com

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Fanaticism

FANATICISM

On the Uses of an Idea

By ALBERTO TOSCANO

Published 7h June 2010

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EVENTS:

Thursday 3 June, 1pm at the RSA, London: A special introduction to Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea. For more information and book your free place: http://www.thersa.org/events/our-events/fanaticism-on-the-uses-of-an-idea

Friday 2 July, 2-3.30pm at the Marxism 2010 Festival in London, Room 3E at ULU, 2-3.30. For more information and to book:  https://www.marxismfestival.org.uk/2010/bookonline.html

Thursday 8 July, 6.45pm: Launch talk at the ICA. Further details to be announced here: http://www.ica.org.uk/7945/Talks/Talks-listings.html

Monday 11 October, 6.30 -8.00pm at the LSE, Wolfson theatre as part of the Forum for European Philosophy talks. Further details to be announced here:http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/forumForEuropeanPhilosophy/events/Default.htm

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“A tour de force in every sense – Toscano wipes the smug smiles off the self-righteous faces of the New Philosophers.” Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

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Fanaticism is usually seen as a deviant or extreme variant of an already irrational set of religious beliefs. Drawing a straight line from the Peasant Wars to Bolshevism, this view of fanaticism is today invoked by the West in order to demonize and psychologize any non-liberal politics. Alberto Toscano’s compelling counter-history explores the critical role fanaticism played in forming modern politics and the liberal state, and undermines the idea that liberalism and fanaticism are irrevocably opposed. 

Tracing its development from the traumatic Peasants’ War of early sixteenth-century Germany, to contemporary Islamism, Toscano tears apart the sterile opposition of “reasonableness” and fanaticism. Instead, in a radical new interpretation, he places the fanatic at the very heart of politics, arguing that historical and revolutionary transformations require a new understanding of its role. Showing how fanaticism results from the failure to formulate an adequate emancipatory politics, this illuminating history sheds new light on an idea that continues to dominate debates about faith and secularism.

The ‘fanatic’ is the figure that we are all scared of – whether it’s the Islamic fundamentalist primed for a suicide bombing or the Christian anti-abortionist planning to murder a doctor. The fanatic is a whirl of contradictions: at once cold-blooded and insanely passionate, opportunistic but principled, backward and yet technologically sophisticated, murderous and prepared to risk everything to human rights. He or she is driven by abstract principles, whether religious or secular, that threaten the very basis of a pragmatic liberal democracy. But are these oppositions really the way to understand the conflict between religion and state, terror and democracy?

In this tour de force examination of political and philosophical rhetoric through the ages, Alberto Toscano examines the use of the term ‘fanatic’. Following its use by Martin Luther in the Reformation, the rationalists in the Enlightenment, and liberals in the Cold War and the present day, he finds our understanding of it dictated by the prejudices of the day.

Toscano argues that there is an unsettling intimacy between political behaviour regarded as fanatical, and rational, emancipatory politics: supposedly liberal political projects are also marked by fanaticism. Moreover, while a liberal would claim that passion and abstract principles (such as universal rights) are the jurisdiction of the fanatic and have no place in rational politics, we should seek to reclaim a place for these supposedly negative terms at the heart of contemporary politics. For example, finding that nineteenth century slavers called abolitionists fanatics for their ‘mad’ adherence to the Rights of Man, he asks us to reconsider who we regard as a fanatic.

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ALBERTO TOSCANO is a lecturer in sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Theatre of Production, translator of Alain Badiou’s The Century and Logics of Worlds and co-editor of, among others, Alain Badiou’s Theoretical Writings and Antonio Negri’s Political Descartes. He has published numerous articles on contemporary philosophy, politics and social theory, and is an editor of Historical Materialism.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 424 4 / $26.95 / £16.99 / CAN$33.50 / 304 pages

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For more information visit: http://www.versobooks.com/books/tuvwxyz/tuv-titles/toscano_alberto_fanaticism.shtml

To buy the book in the UK:

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844674244/Fanaticism

or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fanaticism-Uses-Idea-Alberto-Toscano/dp/184467424X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273744261&sr=8-1

To buy the book in the US:

http://www.amazon.com/Fanaticism-Uses-Idea-Alberto-Toscano/dp/184467424X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273744586&sr=1-1

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Visit Verso’s new blog for information on our upcoming events, new reviews and publications and special offers. http://versouk.wordpress.com/

And get updates on Twitter too! http://twitter.com/VersoBooksUK

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Vote Clegg, get Brown!

Tory / Lib Dem Government announce Plans for Swedish style ‘Free Schools’

 From Alasdair Smith at the Anti Academies Alliance

 AAA website at: http://www.antiacademies.org.uk

 The new Tory / Lib Dem government has already announced that we will see Swedish style ‘Free Schools’ being opened.

They also intend to rush through legislation to allow ‘outstanding’ schools to become Academies.

The Swedish ‘Free Schools’ have recently received a lot of criticism. Swedish Trade unions, politicians and even the Swedish National Agency for Education have warned that we there are serious problems with the ‘Free School’ model.

It’s not too late for Liberal Democrat members and MPs to demand that these proposals are abandoned.

In every city and town we need to start to prepare to resist these proposals.

No privatisation, No cuts: Defend Comprehensive Education!  

New Anti Academies Alliance briefing on Swedish style ‘Free’ Schools: https://sites.google.com/a/antiacademies.org.uk/aaa/Home/international/sweden/thecaseagainstswedishstylefreeschools

Recent news articles on Swedish ‘Free’ schools, and the myth that they are successful:

https://sites.google.com/a/antiacademies.org.uk/aaa/Home/parliament/thecaseagainstfreeschools

An Appeal to Liberal Democrats

The following Appeal has been circulated to Liberal Democrat MPs, councillors and activists.

At your Spring Conference in 2009 you passed a motion which stated you would “restore strategic Local Authority oversight and commissioning” of Academies.

The Anti Academies Alliance welcomed this decision. It made your party the only party that recognised a key problem with Academies; that they are schools that are outside of local democratic control.

In our questionnaire to election candidates many of your candidates replied repeating this pledge.

As the discussions about the formation of a future government proceed, we appeal to you to stand by this pledge, and to take this historic opportunity to halt the academy programme and the break up of our comprehenisive education system.

It is also important that the Tories’ plans for further privatisation & deregulation are thwarted. Michael Gove’s plans for “new” schools along the lines of the ‘Swedish model’ must be shelved.

We urge every Lib Dem to contact their leadership to demand that a progressive education policy is not squandered in any coalition deal.

Alasdair Smith, National Secretary, Anti Academies Alliance

‘Free’ Schools – a “disaster for standards”

This was the comment made by Nick Clegg, just a week before becoming Deputy Prime Minister:

Biggest academy sponsor hit by fresh Ofsted ‘failure’

The country’s biggest academy sponsor has been plunged into fresh turmoil after it emerged that another of its schools has been judged “inadequate” by Ofsted.

Stockport Academy, sponsored by the United Learning Trust (ULT), has been told that it needs “significant improvement” to address poor standards.

It is the third ULT academy to be described as inadequate by inspectors in less than a year and is the latest in a line of significant setbacks for the sponsor.

Education Bill within weeks as Tories dig in

The move opens the door for a raft of new schools to be set up by parent groups, charities and local businesses as well as existing school providers, a policy not backed by the Liberal Democrats before the election. Legislation later this month will give all schools ranked outstanding by Ofsted the right to step out of local authority control immediately and become academies.

Heads warn National Challenge schools face job losses and budget cuts

England’s worst performing schools – those categorised under the National Challenge – face redundancies and budget crises from next spring, heads and unions have warned. Improvements to the “named and shamed” secondaries could stall when they lose vital cash during tough financial times in 2011, the school leaders have said. See: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6043684

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowsk

Nick Clegg

 

David Cameron

‘THE MEANING OF DAVID CAMERON’ – WITH RICHARD SEYMOUR

Wednesday, 26 May 2010
Time: 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Housmans Bookshop
Street: 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross
Town/City: London, United Kingdom

Description:
Richard Seymour, blogger of ‘Lenin’s Tomb’ fame, and author of ‘The Liberal Defence of Murder’ will be in store discussing his latest publication, ‘The Meaning of David Cameron’.

The Tories are posing as a ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ alternative to New Labour. Drawing from George W Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’, they maintain that the ‘Big Society’ can do what ‘Big Government’ cannot – produce a cohesive, mutually supportive, happy society. Cameron’s court intellectual, Philip Blond, maintains that this if David Cameron’, which is a viable alternative to the failures of the egalitarian left and the excessively pro-market right. But is this more than campaign mood music? And are the conservative traditions that they draw on – from the bucolic, pseudo-medievalism of G K Chesterton to the anti-statism of Friedrich Hayek – really a bulwark of progress and radicalism?

Richard Seymour argues that such ideas can only seem ‘progressive’ in light of New Labour’s acquiescence to Thatcherism. To understand the Cameronites, it is necessary to understand how the social landscape and corresponding political language was transformed by the collapse of post-war social democracy and its more radical competitors. To resist the Cameronites, he argues, it is necessary to attack the neoliberal consensus on which all major parties found their programme.

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Wavering on Ether: http://blog.myspace.com/glennrikowski