March 31, 2006

Juliana and Bill say that I should post on this blog thing. And then it will be a Family Blog. Yule Log. Cranberry Bog. I read today that bogs and heaths are similar ecosystems (which disturbs and pleases me because I thought one was wet and one was dry, which I guess is one of those life-long misreadings that has made certain novels, the ones involving heaths, completely misshaped in my brain). Both, it turns out, are inhospitable, acidic, involve layers of decayed matter, and have poor drainage. Like many of us. Bogeymen & heathens live there. I am reading Stephen King's Desperation for the third time, I think. I've read every Stephen King book at least 3 times...except the Dark Tower series (now up to volume 7) which I find surprisingly unengaging, maybe because they lack the implicit class politics of most King books. And, because I plan to read that (relatively) new BetweenTheLines/PlutoPress book, Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements, I am first re-reading Gramsci and Gramsci-related shit. Two sections from the Prison Notebooks ("The Intellectuals" and "State and Civil Society"), two chapters from Laclau & Mouffe's Hegemony & Socialist Strategy, and random bits of bits of Carl Boggs' The Two Revolutions: Gramsci & the Dilemmas of Western Marxism (sweetly old-school...remember back in the 80s when everyone was talking about Western Marxism and its dilemmas? Mainly because the actually existing Eastern "Marxist" societies were such a drag to think about). I want to read Gramsci is Dead because I think it will fuck me up. I like Gramsci, like thinking in solid, totalizing terms about hegemony and historical blocs, all tectonic and shit. But I suspect I'm outmoded and the kids today consider his search for a fat, unified, coherent, counter-hegemonic, proletarian, oppositional power oppressive and dangerous. I suspect/hope I'll be politically destabilized by minor, nomadic, decentralized concerns...even though I also suspect that the Gramsci I know (have invented) is a lot more open and variable than a title like Gramsci is Dead suggests. I fear that the anarchist kids, my brethren, are doing their all-too-frequent conflation of all Marxist theory with closed systems and hardening cement. Speaking of which, I am also reading books on how to build a patio. Juliana has provided a pile of them. I think we're going to go with the 16" x 16" red cement paving stones. The spaces between will be planted with low-growing thyme. Does proofreading count? I'm proofreading a new edition of George Katsiaficas' The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life that AK Press will be publishing in June. And I'm reading up on Peter Kropotkin, because I'm supposed to be writing the intro to a new edition of his out-of-print The Conquest of Bread. Martin A Miller's biography of the "Anarchist Prince" is pretty useful, despite a lot of annoying over-psychologizing (you know: all revolutionaries become revolutionaries because their parents were mean or cold or distant...not because the world is a screaming, nightmarish pit of injustice, exploitation, and general nastiness). That is all. Sweet chocolate Jesus, I'm a blogger.

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