A Brief Note On Joy

At the end of the last post I wrote on the US election, I ended with a quote from Dave Chappelle taken from his recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, which on reflection poses a particular question, specifically with the  depths of the dejection, flat out disbelief and hurt that’s been felt by many following the results of the US election and perhaps more importantly the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis, how is it possible to find a way to continue to find joy in existence? This perhaps sounds incredibly dramatic. However as I write this a march consisting of...

Schadenfreude & Solidarity: A Quick Reflection On The US Election

At the time of writing despite various legal challenges and a lack of a concession by the the incumbent President it appears that Joe Biden has defeated Donald Trump to become President-Elect in what has been an, at times, fitful battle for the presidency which saw certain jurisdictions won by just a handful of votes. I, like perhaps many on the left, remain unconvinced of the potential of Joe Biden who on many issues appears to be positioned well on the right of the candidates who campaigned for the democratic candidacy, offering instead of a single payer healthcare a public...

Neither Pro Or Anti

The recent announcement of the UK Government to reimpose a nationwide lockdown has prompted a slew of recrimination with many posing the question of why these additional measures were not enacted sooner. Among the many responses that were given one that seemed particularly egregious1 was that the leader of the opposition had suggested a national ‘circuit-breaker’ lock in line with the SAGE, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies recommendation, prior to the governments most recent suggestions and as such the government could not be seen to be following the leader of the oppositions lead. I would argue however the partisanship...

Whiling Away The Hours With John Maus

In contrast to many other areas of arts and culture that have become trapped in a momentary stasis by the COVID-19 outbreak this year has seen a prolific of new musical releases, perhaps due to the fact that much of the music composed in the present can be pieced together with relatively few individuals being involved at a particular time. Despite this I’ve been somewhat reticent in finding new records to listen to, the often dislocating and disorientating nature of the present moment where consensus seems to form with rapid speed and then dissolve almost as quickly has lead me...

Marginal Notes on the Production of Plagues – Part 2

As previously noted part of the inspiration for my exploration into the political economy of viruses came from the Chinese collective Chuang’s exemplary piece, Social Contagion which, predominantly from a Chinese perspective, looked at many of the material circumstances surrounding the emergence of COVID-19. One particular fact that seemed particularly salient on first reading was how changes within the Chinese healthcare system formed a key part of the reaction to the pandemic. Prior to China becoming more fully enmeshed within the global capitalist system, healthcare in China was largely covered under the danwei system of enterprises, which offered, many different services including...

Making Sense of the Horror of COVID-19

Earlier this week the all-parliamentary on COVID-19 called for the government to adopt a zero-covid strategy. This included a package of recommendations including reducing the number of infections seen in England over a seven-day rolling average to no more than one new case per million population per day, rolling out a locally-led and coordinated track and trace system and screening for the virus and public transport hubs. Whilst these seemed like eminently reasonable suggestions there appeared to be a substantial amount of pushback. Suggesting among other things that “Surely the point of life, was to live and not just to avoid...

Life…The Best Game In Town?

It’s often the case that some of the most thought-provoking observations around a particular work of literature occur after it’s been published. In the recent online fracas that has emerged over Sophie Lewis’s ‘Full Surrogacy Now: Feminists Against The Family’, Lewis took the time to reflect on the contradiction that occurred when considering that those who are so often at ease with diminution of life seem to be incredibly appalled by any conversation around any justification for actually ending life which in this case is specifically represented by the unborn. Actually living, Lewis speculated appears to her detractors to be...

Marginal Notes On The Production Of Plagues – Part 1

My focus on attempting to sketch out a political economy of pathogens, outbreaks and their containment and treatment has so far focused primarily on the link between the development and expansion of agribusiness. Here as pointed out by Wallace, we saw nothing less than collusion between business, multi-national organizations and governments to alter narratives regarding the prevalence of pathogens and their dispersion and even muddy waters regarding their origins within the industrial farming processes and the process of primitive accumulation. There are however other aspects of the economy I haven’t remarked on so far that are none the less vital...

Tucker Carlson’s Capitalist Realism?

I haven’t actually finished working on this piece yet but I thought I’d publish an early draft whilst I continue to refine it. You might also find it useful to watch the clip that inspired this piece. I’ll also preface this by saying I’m not by any stretch a fan of Tucker Carlson’s, his deeply xenophobic rhetoric couched in “conservative” concern is of really no interest to me at all. What does interest me is a particular point he made during a recent interview he had on the Ben Shapiro Show, which whilst covered his new book, highlighted a particular contradiction in...

Rearranging Chairs While the Ship Sinks: Preliminary Reflections On Cancel Culture

On July 7, an open letter was published in Harper’s Magazine entitled a ‘A Letter On Justice and Open Debate’. Signed by a cast high-profile, authors, writers and columnists from across the political spectrum, although it should be noted, the signer’s appeared to be predominantly taken from the liberal media class, the letter warned of a slide towards “illberalism”, amidst a rise in “new moral attitudes” and “political commitments”. The letter has so far received a mixed reaction, with some arguing that the claim of ideological adherence does not ring true when considering the platforms that many of the people...