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Donald Trump: The Most American President in History?

The Institute of the Radical Imagination presents:

Donald Trump: The Most American President in History?

A one day seminar on Saturday, April 24th from 1 to 3 p.m. (USA East coast “diabolical time”) with Peter Bratsis presenting and facilitating.

Donald Trump is very often understood as someone who is out of step with the cultural values and political ethics of the United States. Some present him as a Russian 'asset', a foreign agent who is attempting to subvert the United States from within. Others prefer to think of Trump as psychologically deranged, a pathological figure who ended up as president by accident and has perverted and greatly damaged the political integrity of the United States. This one-day seminar will examine the thesis that what makes Trump such a dangerous and destructive political leader is precisely the opposite, Trump's remarkably extreme Americaness. From his love of diet Coke and well-done steaks to his arrogance, dedication to competitive individualism and self-interest, belief in conspiracy theories, hucksterism, conspicuous consumption, and attempts to aggrandize presidential power, it is the ways that Trump exemplifies American values that explains why he was able to mobilize such a large fraction of the population and why, even if Trump were to disappear tomorrow, the Trumpist tendency in American politics seems unlikely to end any time soon.

Suggested contribution: $15*

* Sliding scale registration

* Zoom details will be emailed shortly before the class starts

The Subversive Weber: Two Seminars on Max Weber's Teaching with Carlos Frade

The Institute of the Radical Imagination presents:

Two Seminars on Max Weber's Teaching

April 11 and 18, 2pm EST.

That there is a subversive Max Weber may go unrecognized even by Marxist scholars who may be appreciative, if critically, of Weber, to say nothing of mainstream Weber scholarship. This is not because mainstream Weber scholars try to conceal that subversive side, but rather because they entertain no desire whatsoever to see it – indeed it is this lack of desire to see any subversive aspect in Weber’s thought that defines the ‘Weberology’ they practice. That the subversive side of Weber’s thought lies in his figure of subjectivation or stance, a stance of world confrontation, may seem a very surprising claim to make. Yet, it is precisely this claim what the first seminar seeks to probe by undertaking an in-depth analysis of that stance so as to delineate its pure form and bring out the Weberian subject. In doing so we will see how Weber’s social science is both summoned by this subject and specifically suited to study it.

The second seminar will focus on Weber’s impressive sociology of domination, a political sociology which upset Leo Strauss and other conservative political thinkers who saw in the famous three types of legitimate rule-domination an attempt to do away with the traditional language and categories of political philosophy concerning political regimes (democracy, aristocracy and monarchy) and their endless circulation through its degenerated forms (anarchy, oligarchy and tyranny). Yet, Weber’s political sociology has serious problems of its own, all arising from the impossibility of the theory to deal with forms of politics which deny rule-domination and even affirm non-rule (i.e. emancipatory forms of politics). We will study the architecture of the Weberian political sociology and its impasses, paying particular attention to how Weber was haunted by that problem, as shown by his references to, but lack of engagement with, a category of non-domination and his attempts late in his career to theorise a fourth type of legitimacy.

$30 Suggested Contribution for both Seminars*

* Sliding scale registration

* Zoom details will be emailed shortly before the class starts

Slackers, Sabotage, and Syndicalism: Irish Soul and American Labor

The Institute of the Radical Imagination presents:

Slackers, Sabotage, and Syndicalism: Irish Soul and American Labor

This 5-Week course will map out the role of the refusal of work in American working class history.

Five week session: 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16

Fridays, 6:30 – 8:30 PM

This course will map out the role of the refusal of work in American working class history. We will focus especially on its Irish rebel roots, and its implications for questions of identity, class power, and radical strategy today. Over five sessions, the group will consider four related themes:

Session 1: Theoretical introduction: the refusal of work

Session 2: Sabotage and industrial unionism

Session 3: Culture, counterculture, and worker power

Session 4: Anti-imperialism and refusal

Session 5: Collective project work and presentations

In addition to doing readings and participating in conversations, course comrades will work together to produce a piece of creative digital scholarship that uses the radical imagination to consider and to broadcast the political themes of the course in film and text. Specific outlines and roles of the collective project to be determined by the group.

Excerpts from the following texts will be circulated before the sessions in which they are discussed:

(Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals), (LaFargue, The Right to be Lazy), (Marcuse, Eros and Civilization), (Negri, Marx Beyond Marx), (Davis, The Stopwatch and the Wooden Shoe), (Flynn, Sabotage), (Lens, The Labor Wars), (Terkel, Working), (Negt and Kluge, History and Obstinacy), (Rosemont, The Rise and Fall of the Dil Pickle), (Brundage, From Bughouse Square to the Beat Generation), (Rosemont, Joe Hill and the Making of a Revolutionary Counterculture), (Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism), (Said, Yeats and Decolonization), (Robinson, Black Marxism), (Marx, On the Irish Question), (Connolly, Labour in Irish History), (Moten, In the Break)

* Sliding scale registration, if you cannot pay the full registration email leftforum@leftforum.org

* Zoom details will be emailed shortly before the class starts

$75-125 for all 5 Sessions – Register Here!

Overcoming Servitude? Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus with Michael Pelias

A ten week course on Wednesday evenings beginning February 24th from 7 to 9 p.m. (USA East coast “diabolical time”) with Michael Pelias presenting and facilitating.
This course will re-situate the 1972 published the “non-collaboration” (really two streams of consciousness finding a third among the many) between Gilles Deleuze, the philosopher and Felix Guattari, the militant analyst on the “in betweeness“ and break from dogmatic and dominant psychoanalysis and orthodox Marxism. No longer could we think in terms of the family makes you sick, the new family will make you well; or the new state will be a great advance and a healthier one than the old one.

Through a close (and multiple) reading of the text in ten parts ending with the decade later publication of “Rhizome” in A Thousand Plateaus (1980/1987) we hopefully will examine and encounter Desiring Machines in a new light as well as interrogating our propensities toward safety and servitude. This reading will open a new adventure in thought and practice and give us a new toolbox of concepts and understanding of the double –binds of our schizoid culture and some possible liberation from slavish morality, identity politics, and old safe havens of the isms we hold all too dear. Most of all, to recapture play and serious laughter as weapons of struggle in the pandemic era.

A syllabus will be uploaded to the Left Forum site and distributed through email.

The Deleuze and Guattari's book can be found here for sale

$125 for all 10 Sessions – Register Here!

*If you cannot pay the full price please email leftforum@leftforum.org*


1st week: Introduction and situating the text: Read Foucault’s preface (saying beforehand) and Seem’s introduction.

Desiring Machines ( why the mechanistic language – remnants of Cartesianism?)

2nd week: The Desiring Machines, 1–4, pages 1–35 – beginnings of a materialist psychiatry

3rd week: The Machines and The Whole and its Parts, pages 36–50

Psychoanalysis and Familialism: The Holy Family (Freudo-Marx synthesis and critique)

4th week: the Imperial Oedipus and three texts of Freud, connective synthesis and disjunctive synthesis, Pages 51–83

5th week: conjunctive synthesis through Reich on social and psychic repression, movement of deterritorialization and territorialities, pages 84–138

Savages, Barbarians, Civilized Men

“We are all tattoed savages.” Gustave Flaubert

6th week: The socius and Nietzsche’s genealogy with Artaud’s anti –theater and then a geology of morals (see pages 39–74 in A Thousand Plateaus, God as Lobster, double articulation). Read pages 139–183 in Anti-Oedipus.

7th week: Territorial representation to the founders of the Urstadt pages 184–221.

8th week: The Capitalist Machine to Capitalist representation, Adam Smith and Freud, pages 221- 272.

Introduction to Schizoidanalysis

9th week: From the social field to Psychoanalysis (classical and structural) and Capitalism, pages 273–321.

10th week: the two tasks of Schizoid-analysis: Forgetting Hegelian piety pages, 322–382.

Of course, if necessary, there can be an additional session that reviews the material in order to resituate the insights of this text for today’s movements and challenges.