Adolph L. Reed Jr. î 5 Free read
Last three decades Reed argues against the solipsistic approaches of cultural or identity politics and in favor of class based political interpretation and action Class Notes moves on to tackle race relations ethnic studies family values welfare reform the so called underclass and black public intellectuals in essays called ?. Adolph Reed is not only a compelling straightforward and remarkably engaging writer he is also fearless His collection of occasional pieces and topical essays together make for an excellent collection and introduction to his central themes the diversity of black American politics and perspectives the centrality of economic ineuality and the urgent need for state oriented political activity that is rigorous intelligent and implementable Another clear theme across these essays and foregrounded by the introduction is that Reed has little time for the vague pronouncements of theory after the linguistic turn and less time for the increasingly dominant performances of cultural criticism as he argues that both of these traditions unhelpfully guise their accommodations with the status uo in a misleading and ineffectual language of resistance He thus prises apart the claims of identity politics from their effects to argue that politics based in particularist identities form the burgeoning paralysis of socially atomized politically active neoliberalism It s bracing stuff and you don t need to agree with Reed to see the clarity of his arguments Reed s mode of critiue here clearly occupies a moment in many ways alien to our own but bears lessons for contemporary political analysts and strategists His central concerns are certainly timely poverty exploitation racialized power political agency and the active participation of a broad assortment of people in political movements A Tangled Affair (The Pearl House you don t need to agree with Reed to see the clarity of his arguments Reed s mode of critiue here clearly occupies a moment in many ways alien to our own but bears lessons for contemporary political analysts and strategists His central concerns are certainly timely poverty exploitation racialized power political agency and the active participation of a broad assortment of people in political movements
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Hailed by Publishers Weekly for its “forceful” and “bracing opinions on race and politics” Class Notes is critic Adolph Reed Jr’s latest blast of clear thinking on matters of race class and other American dilemmas The book begins with a consideration of the theoretical and practical strategies of the US left over the. Not every single essay in this book is earth shatteringly good And Reed is sometimes overly dismissive of what I consider to be developments on the Left that aren t particularly harmful or insignificant But reading this book made me feel like a serious weight had been lifted off of my shoulders It gave me permission to admit to myself that developments or ideas within the Left that I ve long had internal personal doubts about but have never wanted to admit out loud or even to myself may in fact be right or if not right at least worth voicing and debating The Left as anyone who s been around it in the past few decades already knows is in really rough shape And when you re in such rough shape you re desperate for anything that you can claim as a victory or even just a positive development When victories around major society wide issues that reuire real mass movement building and thus are really difficult to win issues like ending racial segregation in housing universal health care affordable housing workers rights etc are in short supply it can be really depressing and debilitating So it makes sense that many of us would choose to set the bar a bit lower for ourselves to battles that we are capable of winning many of which of course as Reed notes several times in the book are also extremely important to fight over and win But Reed s basic case here is about not indulging in that temptation He s arguing here that we need to keep our eyes on the prize that we can t give up on those bigger picture goals and that there s no substitute for a mass movement reuired to win them no shortcuts to achieving mass social change And the sooner we can admit that to ourselves the sooner we can get to the business of actually creating that kind of movement and winning those victoriesIt s a message that s a bit depressing in its sobriety But if we re going to ever win victories around those issues we don t really have another choiceAlso I d be remiss if I didn t mention that Reed has some of the most scorching prose I ve ever read from an academic Seriously It s so white hot and so brutal that I m afraid to have the man read anything I ve ever written lest he take issue with any piece of it and write such a blistering merciless takedown that I ll be paralyzed from ever writing anything again
Free download Class Notes Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene
??head spinning” and “brilliantly executed” by David Levering LewisAdolph Reed Jr has earned a national reputation for his controversial evaluations of American politics These essays illustrate why people like Katha Pollitt consider Reed “the smartest person of any race class or gender writing on race class and gender?. This book is worth re reading which I should probably do before giving an extensive and deserved treatment to the thoughts and ideas Reed puts forth For now a few thoughtsI had a professor whose historical understanding was vast and seemingly all encompassing Nonetheless he told me once that the best thing about philosophy through philosophical writing is its never being out of date that is even philosophical schools of thought whose main tenets have fallen entirely out of favour present one the opportunity for a particular object of historical interest as much as a tour of thought as thought History in the form of historical writing he told me did not always hold in this same senseReading Reed today I would now like to extend this idea to political writing good political writing will always maintain a kind of relevance in part and like philosophy because of its ability to demonstrate how and not simply what someone should think How to approach a splintering left politics for instance or how to think in terms of worn out and idealist leftist tendencies et cetera serve to demonstrate Reed s commitment to the instrumental as opposed to purely expressive forms of political actionA critiue of another s political stance with no substantive response or formulation of one s own ie expressing opposition can often act in favour of those you hope to oppose A purely expressive politics exists and operates within a framework of existing tendencies and historical realities it rides the waves of both action and inaction leverages its attitudes off of existing realities often enough without concern for those realities themselves it complicates and individualizes the experience of the political as the personal No solidarity movement at home nor abroad can be built off the purity of the individual as an abstraction which the politics of individualism has proven and the borrowing of such abstractions from an oppositional heritage based self understanding rooted in the tyrannical pursuit of civilization as a colonial construction mentality with ever new packaging in contemporary culture The main concern of gaining cultural hegemony is representation in things like already established consumer markets thus stripping the political dimension of a reality prior to the purchases we are allowed to make the forms of entertainment we take in the clothes we wear and so onIt is telling on this front that the response to the carbon tax here in Canada by fervent industry defenders besides a purposeful turn away from their science meaning the global scientific community to ours meaning a bought and sold intelligentsia operating through the think tankapparatus was also meted out along consumer lines of increased prices in grocery storesThus the discussion of the responsibility of the individual in one class context is turned against communities whose political inaction a sign of being left in the dark while civilization is held to be booming all around is the fault of themselves and themselves alone The failures of a large enough portion of the American public to understand social structural forces as a dance between badly formed racial and class categories with their pressures on political institutions the destructive nature of industry on our ecology and other super citizenry meaning those over and above any individual citizen issues become filtered through the language of individual responsibility no housing rampant drug use crumbling infrastructure Try cleaning up and going to church Global warming polar caps melting and carbon emissions at an all time high Have you recycled adeuately this week or turned off your lights before leaving the houseAlongside the abstraction of the individual as the sole vehicle for social change Reed delineates the mythological idea of the community as it was currently is held against the people Just as the individual is told to set his house in order before he has any expectation of changing the world an incredible irony considering the state of the housing crisis and the history of the politics of housing in America the community as a symbolic entity must gain some sense of a monolithic nature in order to have any sway in politics In other words it is the lack of black community not any political economic carry over from pre Civil Rights the Jim Crow era and a historical subjugation of chattel slavery that has lead to generational ineuities in the American conception of blackness as defined from withoutThere is much to touch upon here but I will simply say this for now this idealist politics using abstractions to belie the reality of the instrumental policy and impact of state apparatuses on citizens has lead to the funnelling of the ideas of race gender and similar lines of oppressive social structures to be slowly but surely embraced in academic settings and ever moving from institutional analysis and policy based action to the academic context of expressive politics whose presence carries its own tensions and contradictions as well the perpetual underclass the working class and so on generally alienated from such high falutin settings finds the abstractions and symbolism of a right wing politic to beat the ever moving target of academic representationalism and contemporarily intersectionality and the boogie man of today s iteration of cancel cultureReed largely demonstrates a return to the political as rooted deeply than the cultural a discussion of culture already demonstrates a moving of the goalpost from action to reflection pressing issue politics built off of demonstrable unity with a sort of conceptual theological unity which though much needed is often enough used against the policy battles of the instrumental left coalition Reed s contention is the need to realign the interests of the left with its fight to dispel a mythological anti establishment resistance movement to face head on the need for coalition building to undertake any form of effective political action and to understand the left as an organizing force not one of disorganization