Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Friday, December 9, 2016

DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA.

I think I have told the story of the time, back in the '70s, when I spoke to a meeting of the Socialist Scholars Conference in Manhattan.  When I got to Manhattan Community College and walked into the big central area, I was overwhelmed to find it packed to the rafters with socialists.  "My God, I thought, we are going to take over America!"  But then I thought, "This is all of us, and we fit in one decent sized room.  Maybe it is not yet quite time for the revolution."

One of the several things I did right after the election was to join Democratic Socialists of America.  Yesterday I got this message from them:

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to DSA!  You are receiving this email because you recently joined Democratic Socialists of America.  We are glad you are joining us on this journey, especially during this challenging time. We are a diverse group of people located across the United States.  We come from different backgrounds and have taken different paths to becoming socialists, but we come together for the purpose of building a society that provides equality and democracy for all.  

As a way to connect all of us across the country, we have created a DSA group on Facebook for new members. It will be a place for new folks to exchange ideas, ask questions, look for ways to volunteer, etc.  As many of us are new to socialism, it's a safe space where we can grow and shape our beliefs in the presence of like-minded people.  The group is "secret" by Facebook standards, which means that it cannot be seen or found via a search. Group membership and posts can only be seen by members of the group, which allows for some privacy.

Your participation in the group is entirely voluntary.  You should have already received an email giving you the option to join. If you received the invitation, but the link was "broken," your Facebook account may be linked to another email address.  If you'll send me the correct email address, I'll send you a new invitation.  If you did not receive the invitation or you're having trouble navigating the email address issue, feel free to contact me at this email address.  

I'm looking forward to connecting with you on Facebook and continuing the conversation.

In solidarity,

Julie

[The email address is juleshome42@comcast.net]


If this is your bag, you can contact DSA and join here.

Forget about the revolution.  That is, I am afraid, a story we tell the children at bedtime to soothe their fears of the President-elect.  But if enough of us join nationwide, we just might be able to put some weight on the scale to tilt it to the left.

A WORD OF EXPLANATION

Since I started this blog almost ten years ago [!], I have for the most part written and posted extremely lengthy essays, some of which have run 20,000 words or more and have stretched over several weeks.   I find myself now, in this desperately dangerous and frightening time, inclining more to many quick posts, several a day.  These posts link to things I have read on the web, respond to questions, suggest possible political actions, and in general constitute a running commentary in the minute, as it were, rather than, as I like to say, sub specie aeternitatis.  

I will not eschew the lengthy and thoughtful essay when the spirit moves me.  But as I learned all those years ago in Basic Training, when you are under fire and communicating with the next platoon down the line, brevity is to be preferred to literary elegance.


IS TRUMP BROKE?

Josh Marshall started and runs TPM, a first-rate progressive blog that I read regularly.  Today he has a fascinating, albeit admittedly speculative, piece here that I recommend.  He begins with the rather mystifying fact that Trump will remain Executive Producer of The Apprentice even while serving as President, a decision that goes beyond cupidity and boorishness to sheer weirdness.  Marshall's speculation, nicely buttressed by available facts, is that Trump is financially under water and needs the constant inflow of revenue from his countless enterprises, no matter how small, to stay afloat.

Dare we hope that he will simply implode of his own accord long before his term of office is up?

A MESSAGE FROM DAVID EHRENS

Dear political friends,

The new president-elect is slowly filling his cabinet with billionaires, neo-Nazis, fundamentalist voucher advocates, narcoleptic ex-surgeons, climate and science deniers, a professional wrestling mogul, and a quantity of generals large enough to trigger flashbacks of Argentina and Turkey.

Trump has just "solved" the Carrier Air Conditioning problem with a tax giveaway. The press hasn't focused much on his many conflicts of interest, but the Tweet-addicted fast-food aficionado will remain Executive Producer of "The Apprentice."

God help us if there is ever a national emergency while he is groping one of the apprentices.

Speaking of fast-food: Trump's newly-nominated Secretary of Labor is the CEO of Carl's Jr. and Hardees, which should give the Orange One's loyal supporters proof that America will be Great again. Great Americans will be doing plenty of great burger flipping these next four years.

In the coming political winter, Democrats and those of us slightly Leftier need to coalesce around a Democratic Opposition with some teeth. The Democratic Party has decided to retain Charles Schumer in the Senate, and Nancy Pelosi in the House. Not inspiring -- but the DNC Chair is up for grabs. This is a ray of hope.
Keith Ellison, a Muslim and Black American, is currently the most active candidate for the job, and he has been endorsed by Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, John Conyers, Maxine Waters, Tammy Duckworth, a fair number of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and -- today -- by the AFL-CIO, which respects the work Ellison has done in Minnesota. However, Ellison has a target on his back from both Republicans and AIPAC Democrats and every bigot in America.

So the Democratic Party has a decision to make -- go forward with a more progressive platform. Or double-down on the fuzzy grab-bag of centrist and neoliberal policies that got it in the jam it presently finds itself.
Ellison is an indisputable friend of the poor and of the working-class -- precisely the group that expressed its discontent with the Democratic Party last month. Ellison can give the party the focus it needs, can uniquely unite traditional Democrats and Progressives inside and outside the party -- and I hope you will give him your support and financial assistance.


Regards,
David Ehrens

WHO KNEW?

It appears that I joined Twitter in 2010, egged on by my hypermodern former student, Professor Tanya Mears.  I even have 27 followers, which is more than twice the number of the Original Disciples, so some would say I should rush headlong into the twenty-first century and Tweet.   On reflection, however, I think I shan't join the twittering masses.  As I understand it, a Tweet is limited to 140 characters, more than enough to empty the mind of our fascist bully in waiting.  However, when a reader idly asked me some years ago how to study society, I responded with a brief essay of some 86,587  characters!  140 characters is for me not even a full brush stroke in a haiku.  I even find blog posts rather constraining, rather like explaining the Torah while standing on one foot, which may have been possible for Rabbi Hillel, but is not, alas, for me.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

WHAT'S GOING ON?

I tried to sign up with Twitter and got the message that my email address was already in use!!!  I think I am entering a swamp here.  I am going to go sit on one end of a log and wait until someone sits down on the other end, and then I will have a conversation.

A NEW IDEA, COURTESY OF STEPHEN

Suppose I created a website that consisted essentially of an Excel spreadsheet into which any one visiting the site could enter data.  The fields would be "State" [with the option of entering "national"], "City or Town," "zipcode." "URL," "Phone Contact," and maybe "Brief Description."  I would invite readers of this blog, and any one they are in contact with, to go to the site and enter any progressive organization's data that they wished.  Periodically, I would sort the spreadsheet by state [I do know how to do that!], so that all the organizations in Kansas, say, would appear together.  At the top of the spreadsheet would be the national organizations.  I would regularly push the website URL on this blog, and encourage people to check it out and find organizations near them that they would like to be involved with.

Would that be useful?  Would it make sense?  Or would it just be makework for me?  My guess is this would be cheap to create, and might even piggyback on an existing format.

I am just struggling here, folks, looking for something, anything, to do.