by Eddie Goldman
It was just sitting there in its oversized envelope, this absentee ballot I get sent since I decided that my various health problems had made it too difficult for me to navigate these poorly run polling places. And it is quite easy to fill out: Just fill in the circle next to the name of your choice for each office. You can even quite easily write a candidate in, much more easily than at a voting booth, with the last column left blank just for that purpose. It’s all a bit like writing a check and paying a bill by mail, without having to include a check in the return letter, but still having to affix one of those “Forever” stamps.
But of course it is much more than that, supposedly a matter of principle, some would say. Or is it? For me, the vote simply indicates whom you would least likely want to lose the election. And contrary to what others have argued, a vote for someone does not indicate support, or require you not to fight all the crap they will do once in office. As the Marxist Andrew Kliman wrote, “voting isn’t supporting…. This distinction may be a difficult one for the dialectically challenged. But to me, it is straightforward, even obvious.” (Although I am not sure he is right about the actual situation in Utah.)
by Andrew Kliman
MHI’s editorial on the extraordinary dangers of Donald Trump and Trumpism expressed Marxist-Humanists’ opposition to both Trump and Hillary Clinton, but pointed out that “[t]o falsely equate Trump and Clinton is to ignore the grave threat to our civil liberties and lives that Trump represents.” It urged the “relatively small number [of people] who live in the handful of ‘battleground states’” to
bear firmly in mind that defeating Trump is the crucial immediate task and thus vote in a way that minimizes the chance that he will be elected. This election is not about you. Your vote isn’t an act of self-expression or personal morality.
MHI will present a panel at Left Forum 2016 entitled “The Vanguardist/Spontaneist Binary and the Marxist-Humanist Alternative.” Left Forum, the largest left academic conference in the U.S., will take place May 20-22 at John Jay College, 860 11th Avenue in New York City. Our panel will be on Saturday May 21, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (Panel Session 1 of the conference) in Room 1.107. You will do best to register in advance and check in early so you can get there on time.
We also recommend the following panels on Sunday May 22:
“Overcoming Capitalism” - Sunday at 12 noon (Session 6) in Room 1.109
This panel tackles the broad subject of how to transcend or overcome capitalism from the perspective of economics, history, and worker revolt. Participants include Terry Tapp, author of A Serf’s Journal, the radical journalist Anne Jaclard, Andrew Kliman, author of The Failure of Capitalist Production, Pete Dolack author of It’s Not Over, and Douglas Lain, publisher of Zero Books. Sponsored by Zero Books.
“Human Rights Industry and Commodification of Public Spheres in Iran” – Sunday at 10:00 a.m. (Session 5) in Room 1.121
Commodification of Political Activism in Iran: o What is political activism? o How we can conceptualize commodification in general and specifically in political activism as a use-case? o What is the impact of commodification on reproducing revolutionary subjectivity? • Human Rights Discourse o How can we deconstruct the dominant human rights discourse in general? o What are the impacts of the dominant human rights discourse when it comes to the global South, particularly in the Middle East? • Human Rights Industry in Iran o How can we conceptualize the human rights industry? o What are the features of the human rights industry regarding the current situation in Iran • Commodification of Public Spheres in Iran o How we define public spheres? o How one can distinguish commodification from privatization in public spheres in so-called developing countries like Iran? o When we talk about commodification in Iran today, what are the signifiers? What are the elements of resistance?
Speakers: Soheil Asefi, Dept. of Politics-New School, journalist and former political prisoner; Arash Kia, scientist and left Iranian activist; Andrew Kliman, author of Reclaiming Marx’s Capital.
Note: MHI will not have an exhibit table this year. Don’t confuse others with us. If you wish to meet us, come to these panels or email us before the conference to arrange meeting.