Left-Legalism and the Antinomies of Resistance Starts Tomorrow!

In the face of the ongoing rightward shift in politics, much of the resistance that has arisen on the nominal left has focused on formal and legalistic efforts. From the impeachment of Donald Trump to the attempts to outlaw hate speech and establish housing and healthcare as ‘rights’, the efforts to overcome the current political impasse imagine existing political institutions and norms as capable of providing a solution to the very same political realities that characterize them. This class will review Marxist legal and political theories with a focus on better understanding the limitations and antinomies of current efforts to resist the right through the language and institutions of law. Does left-legalism function to strengthen the very institutions and norms that constitute the capitalist state? What forms of resistance would be necessary for breaking the existing political hegemony and creating the possibility of a democratic society? Readings will include Louis Althusser, Wendy Brown, Karl Marx, Antonio Negri, Evgeny Pashukanis and
Jean-Paul Sartre.

Peter Bratsis is associate professor of political science at Borough of Manhattan Community College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His publications include the books Everyday Life and the State (Routledge) and, with Stanley Aronowitz, Paradigm Lost: State Theory Reconsidered (Minnesota), as well as essays in numerous journals including Social Text, Historical Materialism, and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. He is a founding member of the editorial collective for the journal Situations: Project of the Radical Imagination and is currently working on a book, Twenty Years of Boredom: Veganism and the Cultural Logic of Late Liberalism, which examines the rise of veganism and the giving of human names to dogs as symptoms of capitalist alienation.

A four week course with Peter Bratsis Beginning Saturday, February 8th, 3 ‑5 p.m. at 350 West 31st Street, Suite 404, law offices of Lewis, Clifton and Nicolaidis – $15 per class or $50 for the entire seminar.