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Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.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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Monday, June 1, 2015

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL


A group of young folks announce their intention to occupy Wall Street [or a nearby park] and the Occupy movement goes viral.  An obscure French economist publishes a fat book with a provocative title and suddenly the grotesque inequality in the distribution of income and the even more grotesque inequality in the distribution of wealth is the topic of the day.  The only member of Congress in living memory actually to embrace the label “socialist” announces implausibly that he is offering himself as a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President and despite being too old and having really unstylish hair, he raises four million dollars in a few days and storms into Iowa, where he pulls more people to a speech than are listed as living in the little town.

What’s up?  Every reliable sign points to a virtually permanent Republican lock on the House of Representatives and a Democratic nominee who is a bought and paid for servant of the financial classes.  Is the great dormant beast of the American public beginning to stir, or is this just a flea crawling up an elephant’s leg yelling “rape?”  Lord knows, I did not see the Sixties coming, even though I was there at the time, but then, the Sixties ended up giving us Reagan and a professional military freed up to pursue endless war.

Will there be one more hurrah before I pass the torch to my grandchildren?  Or am I simply intoxicated by all the Beaume de Venise I have been drinking since arriving in Paris?  As soon as I get a new credit card [I lost mine and had to cancel it], I shall order a Bernie T-shirt.  I have given his campaign five hundred dollars, but that was just a jeu d’esprit. 

We shall see.

1 comment:

Jerry Fresia said...

That the US is a tinderbox cannot be denied. But given the constraints of the two party system and the corporate control of the media in the US, I don't see a future spark, any time soon, that might ignite much of anything. It comes down to values; were fed-up Americans to have a real voice in public affairs, I'm not convinced that they/we would demand anything beyond a less corrupt republicanism/entrepreneurialism. I think the ball may have been passed to the European court. If we are to look for a social movement that is consciously resisting neo-liberalism with alternative values, we need look no further than Syriza in Greece, or Podemos in Spain, or even Sinn Fèin in Ireland. It is not surprising, therefore, that the ECB/IMF is doing everything it can to smash Syriza's anti-austerity effort and make it an object lesson along the lines of Cuba.

Another glimmer of hope, however, in the US is the effort to publicize the progressive values of the New Deal (see http://livingnewdeal.org/). Here, scholars and ordinary types are cataloguing of all the accomplishments of the New Deal. Given that many of the New Deal accomplishments are still very much "living," alerting Americans to this "alternative" reality that is still very much a part of who we are, can, I think,
remind Americans that government can be good and that solidarity and community are values that will help to move us in a better direction.