Primacy

With regard to the debates about intersectionality and class, there is a major confusion that always comes up that i think is worth addressing.

A twin error that both the majority of Marxists and their critics make is to treat class as if it is one of many structures alongside sex/gender, race, nation, and so on. Given that the foundational principle of Marxism is the primacy of social class, most Marxists interpret this to mean that class–understood as one of a number of social structures–should be asserted to be more important than the other structures in society. Other social structures may exists and have various effects, but apparently, only one of them (class) is the “motive force of history” and thus class takes practical priority.

Critics rightfully question whether it makes sense to simply pick out one of society’s structures and assert it to be primary. Marxists are at pains to explain why one particular structure encapsulates and conditions all others, and i would agree with critics that Marxists who stay within this problematique do not make a convincing case. Marxists often make vague gestures to the predominance of relations of production, but they frequently fail to make a solid connection between the “base-superstructure” model (itself usually understood in a mechanical way) and the thesis of the primacy of class, especially when in practice “other” determinations like race or sex seem to have larger effects on the motions of events. Critics of Marxist approaches sometimes posit that a better way of conceptualizing the various oppression in society is to see social structures as like a rug–a set of interweaving threads that produce a coherent whole–rather than a strict hierarchy where one structure predominates over all others. Of course the weakness here is that intersectionality theories tend to only get as far as saying that structures interact, without being clear about how.

I think what both of these approaches fail to understand is that the real lesson of Marxism is not that one social structure is treated as primary. Class struggle is indeed the motive force of history. But this is because class is not a structure at all but is in fact the global effect of the interaction of the various structures of society. Class is what happens where the various social structures–sex/gender, race, nation, and economic structures (such as the social division of labor)–fuse to produce two antagonistic forces which determine the motion of historical events

It must be said that economic structures, and in particular the social division of labor, is foundational to this process for a couple of reasons. First, because production is what creates and satisfies any society’s basic needs, the struggle over production will play the most fundamental role in determining historical movement in the sense that the struggle over production set the boundaries of what is physically possible within a given set of relations. Any transformative movement must in turn be a struggle over production at a basic level. Second, the relations of production group people together in such a way that they tend to develop common interests and goals with other people in the same economic stratum. In other words, a common place in the social division of labor ends up being the groundwork upon which a broad, common consciousness, national bond, and political organization can emerge.

However, the relations of production and the social division of labor cannot be substituted for class itself. Although these structures are foundational to the process through which classes develop, economic structures are only some of the structures that interplay to produce classes. When we say that class struggle is primary, this ultimately means that none of the social structures by themselves–not sex/gender, not race, not nation, not even the social division of labor–can be said to be a “motive force.” It is precisely because class is the global effect of all of these different structures, what happens at the point where the various contradictions of society fuse, that class struggle is transformative.

This has many implications but in the context of the present discussions i’ve seen on tumblr, it makes sense of issues of race and nation in the united states. Radical struggles have obviously (and predictably) emerged principally among the poor. But national struggles have played an elevated role within the u.s. in the formation of classes. For example, historically the centers of “proletarianization” have been within Indigenous- and African liberation struggles. Meanwhile the resistant actions of Amerikan workers (”whites”) have largely been stunted by perpetual relapses into reaction and national chauvinism. This is not an example of class taking a back seat to “other” determinations (nor of “false consciousness” among a pre-given Amerikan “working class”). Rather, it is an example of how national structures are a critical component of the formation of class itself.

It’s that spirit – of faith in reason and enterprise and the primacy of right over might that allowed us to resist the the lure of fascism and tyranny during the Great Depression.  That allowed us to build a post-World War II order with other democracies.  An order based not just on military or national affiliations, but built on the rule of law, human rights, freedom of religion and speech and assembly and freedom of the press.  That order is now being challenged, first by violent fanatics who claim to speak for Islam; more recently by autocrats in foreign capitals who see free markets and open democracies and civil society itself as threats to their power.

The peril each poses to our democracy is more far-reaching than a car bomb or a missile.  They represent the fear of change.  The fear of people who look or speak or pray different.  A contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable.  An intolerance of dissent and free thought.  A belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s right.

—  PRESIDENT OBAMA

anonymous asked:

You think Clarke is in love with Bellamy? When L.exa drawing is the first thing she wants to see every day? Or Niylah's face sharing her bed? It just goes beyond my understanding that she can do those things while Bellamy is right there, in the same place as her. Niylah's love isn't possesive or passional but it's still love and makes Clarke feel comfortable. In your opinion why have the writers put Clarke and Niylah together, as a couple? What's the point?

(Listen, you sent this to my Bellarke blog, and you’re challenging my understanding of love, and the primacy of CL over Bellarke, so I’m going to tell you without worrying about your sensitivity. If what I’m about to say was going to trigger or harm you, you shouldn’t have come to me. And you know it. You’re either asking for real about how I can make this claim, or you’re trying to find a flaw in my reasoning and call me on… I don’t know? hypocrisy? lesbophobia? delusion? In which case, I’m just going to answer the way I’d answer the first possibility, with my reasons.  And if I say Bellarke is more important to Clarke [not as representation in the real world but in the narrative] I run the risk of being called a lesbophobe anyway, so I’ll say what I have to. But thanks for abbreviating Lxa. That’s kind of you.)

Yeah I think Clarke is in love with Bellamy. And has been for 2 seasons now. 

I think Clarke realized she was in love with Bellamy while he was in the mountain and she was spending all her energy and attention trying to keep him alive. I think when she told Lxa she wasn’t ready for anything with anyone, because of her first love’s very recent death, she was talking about both L AND Bellamy. That’s why she couldn’t hug him when she met him under the mountain and that’s ONE of the reasons she left Camp Jaha. Because it was all too much. But she did kiss him then. 

Yes. That means that Clarke was in love with Bellamy the entire time she was in Polis. Yes. I am saying that Clarke loved Bellamy before she loved Lxa. She sent him away from Polis to protect him from what happened to Costia. She knew already that L and Roan knew she valued him. They had already put his life at risk. And she also didn’t go home because she still wasn’t ready. It was still too much. She had not healed yet. She was not ready.

She stayed in Polis and worked with Lxa and for the most part it was pretty business like. She came to her in a nightgown and was sent away. Clarke did not open up to Lxa until after she visited Bellamy in Hakeldama and he refused her partnership and basically told her everything she’d done wrong and how she had hurt him and then tried to lock her up. In other words. She thought there was no shot with Bellamy anymore. She thought he hated her.

And then suddenly Clarke was open to Lxa and letting her in and more friendly. Yes. I am telling you that Lxa was a rebound. Or rather, the man she loved rejected her and she turned to the woman who loved her and she cared for a lot, and yes, loved… maybe not the same way that she loved Bellamy, but she loved her. They had a great chemistry and a connection that was a singular thing. And that is what allowed Clarke to love Lxa when she was already in love with Bellamy. And that was right and good. No one should ever have to pine away and deny themselves love because someone else doesn’t feel the same back. They should DEFINITELY move on and find love where it is. 

I mean, listen. love is not this thing you imagine it is, with One True Love and Never Again Shall I Love Another Or At Least Not Until I Have Suffered Enough And Am Old And Ugly And Not Hot Anymore.

She did love Lxa and it was a passionate, painful, traumatic love affair. It also lasted a couple weeks tops. If I’m feeling generous about what constitutes a love affair, and not a difficult, fraught political arrangement and royal imprisonment. But honestly, as someone who was in a passionate, painful, traumatic marriage for ten years, I’m really not all that impressed with a few days on vacation in a tower.

Do you know that I still have photos of my ex lovers that I look at from time to time? And they didn’t die a horrible death. Did you know that sometimes, when your heart is broken, you just need to feel human comfort and touch? This has already been their relationship, Clarke and Niylah. Human comfort, which I think is wonderful. We should be able to find that with each other, as long as both partners are on the same page. 

So how could she turn to Niylah when Bellamy is right there? 

Ahh…. my theory on Clarke turning to another lover when she is rebounding from Bellamy’s rejection has actually been proved.

Clarke touched his hand and opened the door for more intimacy, pressed her face to his hand, sought out more contact than they’d ever had before and he… told her to go to sleep. He shot her down. This does not mean she doesn’t love him. She puts it away, and goes back to work like he told her to. Her feelings for him, her caring for him more than anyone, are confirmed by his hostage situation. But she does not think he wants to be romantic with her. The comfort from Niylah, her friend, is the comfort she needs, because she cannot have the man she loves. She is SAD, nonny. And lonely. And Niylah is so sweet and supportive and beautiful. There is nothing wrong here.

Merton reminded us of the life of Franz Jäagerstätter, a name familiar to several of the retreatants but generally unknown at the time. Jägerstätter was an Austrian Catholic farmer, husband, father, and church sexton who, for his refusal to serve in the army of the Third Reich, was beheaded in Berlin on August 9, 1943. Despite his modest education, Jägerstätter had seen with amazing clarity what was going on around him, spoken out clearly and without fear to both neighbors and strangers about the hell Hitler’s movement was creating, and finally–ignoring the advice of his bishop to take the military oath–paid for his obedience to conscience with his life.

Why, Merton asked, does Christianity produce so many who fight in manifestly unjust wars and so few, like Jägerstätter, who say no? “If the Church,” said Merton, “could make its teachings alive to the laity, future Franz Jägerstätters would no longer give their witness in solitude but would be the Church as a whole reasserting the primacy of the spiritual.”

Jim Forest, The Root of War is Fear, p. 119.

A great question, right?

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When the Holy Spirit falls upon a community, a city or even a country, many people discover a new affection for the person of Jesus. They bow down under the weight of the glory of God and they worship Jesus, exalting him for his supremacy and his primacy. They fall in love with him all over again and nothing can eclipse this love.
—  Rolland Baker
Spare The Mercy

How dared he?

Tarn’s outrage was slow to build as he turned the contents of the speech over and over in his mind, trying to understand what his lord could have meant. Soundwave suddenly paled in importance – he confirmed that he did not know, and that was where his significance ended.

Tarn surged up from the divan, frame tense. 

Our conflict with the Autobots has ceased to be of importance.

Megatron had told him that the war was no longer important, but for them to cease? Was that it, then? Four million years down the drain for nothing? How could he? Why would he do this? Even after the Reapers were gone, it did not mean that the Autobots could rest easy. What did this mean?!

“We must go. Now.” Tarn stormed out of the room with a crash, abandoning Soundwave in his single-minded drive to find his lord and draw an explanation out of him. He was almost running, in the end, when he burst into the throneroom with a resounding crash.

“My lord,” he snarled, “What is the meaning of that announcement?”

“Institutions carry the same value as the order which sustains them, and today that order is worth nothing. The current order—at least that is what they call it—is founded upon an essential error: the primacy of the economic.”
— Georges Bernanos