Friday, July 22, 2016

All Your Faves Are Problematic

One of my favorite magazines, Orchestrated Pulse, published a piece by Ray Valentine critical of the viability of lone wolf tactics in building a broader left.

While I don’t dispute any of the facts presented in the article, to my mind, there are some omissions that I think calls into question the absoluteness of Valentine’s moral thesis. The failure to consider the material realities of security policy and liberal politics, in my estimation, weakens Valentine’s argument that the left (or perhaps, more appropriately, society from a leftist perspective) cannot benefit from condoning independent acts of mass violence.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Oh What, We're Not Gonna Strike?

You know me. Why would I ever pass up the opportunity right? It should probably come as no surprise that I am asking my fellow workers in the City University of New York to vote 'no' on the proposed pay cut and power grab from Governor Cuomo, Bill De Blasio, and Chancellor Milliken.

So a union is supposed to fight for worker power, right? To get a better living standard, worker control, and worker democracy, that's not happening right now. The union leadership tell us that this was the best they could get.

CUNY workers should have their suspicions.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sam Hyde Will Never Be Responsible For A Mass Shooting

Sam Hyde is the co-host of a questionable anti-comedy & prank show called Million Dollar Extreme and he is not responsible for a shooting today at UCLA. As with most publicized US shootings for the past year or two, neo-nazis are once again intentionally trying to muddy the information pouring out of developing news stories.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Full Amnesty

This week, I wrote a post on the New School Economic Review blog advocating for a complete abolition of immigration restrictions. Here's a sample:

From my interactions with Branko both in person and online, I'm fairly certain that he has absolutely no desire to embrace racism and would likely rebuke it at any opportunity. However, the geopolitical paradigm he crafts here makes such a result nearly inevitable. By essentializing historically fluid categories such as national culture and language, Milanovic sets up a framework in which migration is an invasive force. By treating geographic income disparities as historically neutral and sacrosanct, he sets up a Paretian world in which changes are only permissible insofar as they are immediately beneficial to everyone involved. In other words, Milanovic's assessment of migration creates a paradigm in which only the wealthy should be allowed to migrate.

For Milanovic, migrants bring nothing but their monetary endowments to their new host countries. Anyone migrating without her own wealth, according to this reasoning, will merely drain the system. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, studies show that more often than not, migrants end up in forms of employment that create the opportunity for the creation of new higher-skill job in complementary sectors. All of this amounts to the strengthening of the very systems which Milanovic claims they will destroy.

Far from being idle surplus population, migrants provide an overwhelming economic boon where institutional systems support it. Historically, this institutional support has not led to the destruction of national culture and language, but rather its expansion. When flocks of Jewish and Slavic migrants fled the Ottoman and Austrian persecution in Milanovic's native Serbia in the latter part of the 19th century, they brought with them cultural and linguistic traditions that have since become so sewn into the fabric of this country as to go without notice.

Read the full post here

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Why 'Expert Hackers' Can't Write the Code

In a recent letter to the Financial Times, associate professor of the University of Hong Kong John Ure asked why if Apple could theoretically write code to bypass the iPhone message encryption service for the FBI why the expert hackers Apple warns of couldn’t do so as well. This speaks to a fundamental misunderstanding of how end-to-end encryption works.

This misunderstanding is completely understandable. Admittedly, before switching to Whisper (an open-source encryption service put out by the makers of Twitter) and doing some research, I probably would have had the same misunderstanding. While the actual workings of encryption itself are fairly complex, I think I can make them understandable by means of an analogy.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Economics in Historical Perspectives

Stack of books for the course

I have been fortunate enough to be given the privilege to teach a 300-level course in the Spring. The course, Economics in Historical Perspectives, takes students from the Paleolithic era up to the present day exploring economic history, history of economic thought, and historiography.

The course is designed through the lens of my politics (left anarchist, what have you), and the readings reflect that. Because of this I urge you (and my students) to be critical of the readings contained within. You should consider who you're reading, their historical context, their motivations, their social status. This approach to scholarship, probably above all else, is what I hope for my students to get out of the class.

For your approval (or disgust, whatever), I give you the course syllabus and the recommended additional readings.

Friday, November 27, 2015

This Whole Terrorist Thing

For whatever reason, the word "terrorist" still has currency across the spectrum of the broad left. Perhaps it should be of little surprise that anyone would want to immediately translate their feelings of moral indignation into the language of the state. However, the more curious matter is the way in which the left employs the word "terrorist" to eclipse some possibly more useful & illuminating signifiers.

I had personally hoped that the lampooning of Giuliani's campaign for the 2008 presidential elections spelled the death knell for the use of "terrorism" to end conversations on the ideological and organizations intricacies of political mass violence. Instead, the opposite has appeared to happen. The left, in an attempt to race-bait the right, has eagerly applied the appellation to every mass murderer who cannot immediately be identified as marginalized.

Of course, the right-wing media doesn't really care if it's race-baited and is perfectly happy to differentially apply the term "terrorist." In the Current Year™, the implication of one's endorsement of racism just doesn't have the same earth-shattering consequences as it did in the few decades following desegregation and the Civil Rights Act. In an era of #cuckservatives and armed white nationalist "protesters," it's becoming increasingly less dangerous to be a neo-Nazi than it is to oppose them.