historical-materialism

  • 1600s aristocrat: Can you point to one successful example of a capitalist republic in the history of time? You can't, and that's because democratic election of leaders goes against human nature. It might work on a small scale, but all notions of individual liberty are just idealistic pipe dreams. Any time it's been attempted on a large scale, capitalism has killed more people than feudalism ever could. We've already reached the end of history.
  • Radical peasant: *looks at the audience of the stage play like James from The Manor*
io9.com
Author Ken Liu Explains "Silkpunk" to Us
Ken Liu’s new novel The Grace of Kings is a sprawling fantasy set amidst war, rebellion, and border-crossing intrigue. But it also features a truly fresh technological world to explore. Here, Liu explains to us where that technology came from—and just what exactly “silkpunk” means.
By Ria Misra

Ken Liu talks about silkpunk in his latest novel:

“Like steampunk, silkpunk is a blend of science fiction and fantasy. But while steampunk takes as its inspiration the chrome-brass-glass technology aesthetic of the Victorian era, silkpunk draws inspiration from classical East Asian antiquity. My novel is filled with technologies like soaring battle kites that lift duelists into the air, bamboo-and-silk airships propelled by giant feathered oars, underwater boats that swim like whales driven by primitive steam engines, and tunnel-digging machines enhanced with herbal lore, as well as fantasy elements like gods who bicker and manipulate, magical books that tell us what is in our hearts, giant water beasts that bring storms and guide sailors safely to shores, and illusionists who manipulate smoke to peer into opponents’ minds.

The silkpunk technology vocabulary is based on organic materials historically important to East Asia (bamboo, paper, silk) and seafaring cultures of the Pacific (coconut, feathers, coral), and the technology grammar follows biomechanical principles like the inventions in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The overall aesthetic is one of suppleness and flexibility, expressive of the cultures that inhabit the islands.”

We can't emphasize it enough: the tyranny right-wingers claim to oppose is already here and has been here since the founding of capitalism.

Capitalism is tyranny by the rich – by the capitalists, by the production autocrats, by the politicians who help facilitate it all. This system began through state violence and widespread expropriation of indigenous land, leading to the vast accumulation of property and capital in the hands of a small caste of elites. Capitalism today and all its problems and injustices cannot be separated from those original sins of systematic conquest. 

We are fighting for a world without this top-down bullshit, where people aren’t forced to sell their labor to powerful property owners or starve. We believe in a socialist system of economic democracy, where people come together and self-manage their workplaces and the larger economic goals. We presently have the capacity to free people from a bulk of the menial jobs capitalism forces on us – through automation and the active rejection of jobs that don’t provide for a tangible need in society, we could expand leisure time for all people, each person, by leaps and bounds. This is not just about cutting down inequality; this is just as much about human freedom and liberation. These values are two sides of the same coin. 

Now that Trump is president, we must abandon the neoliberal Democratic Party and move leftward towards ideas and solutions that can actually transform society away from all the aforementioned injustice. We must bring those disillusioned with the political and economic system into our fold – provide answers, organize, build a movement.

As queer of color analysis claims an interest in social formations, it locates itself within the mode of critique known as historical materialism. Since historical materialism has traditionally privileged class over other social relations, queer of color critique cannot take it up without revision, must not employ it without disidentification. If to disidentify means to “[recycle] and [rethink] encoded meaning, and “to use the code [of the majority] as raw material for representing a disempowered politics of positionality that has been rendered unthinkable by the dominant culture,” then disidentification resembles Louis Althusser’s rereading of historical materialism. Queer of color analysis disidentifies with historical materialism to rethink its categories and how they might conceal the materiality of race, gender, and sexuality. In this instance, to disidentify in no way means to discard.
— 

Roderick Ferguson, “Introduction: Queer of Color Critique, Historical Materialism, and Canonical Sociology,” Aberrations in Black: Towards a Queer of Color Critique, pg.5 (x)

It is impossible at the present time to write history without using a whole range of concepts directly or indirectly linked to Marx’s thought and situating oneself within a horizon of thought which has been defined and described by Marx. One might even wonder what difference there could ultimately be between being a historian and being a Marxist.
—  Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge

This is the first installment in a series of book recommendations, all of which will introduce you to kickass women from mythologies around the world, all of them written by women. All books listed had to pass the following criteria:

  • Be written by a woman
  • Have a woman from Greek mythology as (one of) the protagonist(s)
  • Be fictional
  • Be set during ancient times (i.e. not be a modern AU)

Thanks are due to @marcusantonius, @astynomi (x), and @hephaistionisawesome​ (x) for their insightful and enthusiastic replies.

Finally, I would like to direct your attention towards this meta on Medusa, seeing as she is one of the women who played a big role in my decision that I want to create these recommendations (here’s the cool essay mentioned in the meta). Both her and Persephone have had their power taken away from them as years passed and patriarchal values were introduced into their stories. Don’t forget the original stories. 

UPDATE #1: I added Memoirs Of A Bitch and had Daughter Of Troy struck off - I didn’t realise Sara B. Franklin is the pseudonym of Dave Duncan. Oops!

UPDATE #2: a kind anon suggested some poems by women about women in Greek mythology, so those are now added as well.

UPDATE #3: I changed the link for the chapbook by Rishika on her request.

UPDATE #4: I added Destroyer Of Light under Demeter - it is the sequel to Receiver Of Many, which is listed under Persephone.

UPDATE #5: relinked some of the poetry collections, since @mhythology-deactivated20160909 is no longer active.

And now, without further ado, the list(s):

Kickass human women

Kickass non-human women

Poetry

Honourable mentions

More lists you can consult

If you have any suggestions for other Greek women who deserve more attention (and a corresponding book), or which mythology should definitely be in this series, drop me a line

Other kickass women in mythology: women in Egyptian mythology & history | women in Mesoamerican mythology | women in Celtic mythology | women in Native American mythology | women in Asian mythologies | women in Russian & Slavic mythologies

One thing, however, is clear: nature does not produce on the one hand owners of money or commodities, and on the other hand men possessing nothing but their own labour-power. This relation has no basis in natural history, nor does it have a social basis common to all periods of human history. It is clearly the result of a past historical development, the product of many economic revolutions, of the extinction of a whole series of older formations of social production.
—  Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I
With whom does the historicism actually sympathize? The answer is inevitable: with the victor. And all rulers are the heirs of prior conquerors. Hence, empathizing with the victor invariably benefits the current rulers. The historical materialist knows what this means. Whoever has emerged victorious participates to this day in the triumphal procession in which current rulers step over those who are lying prostrate. According to traditional practice, the spoils are carried in the procession. They are called ‘cultural treasures,’ and a historical materialist views them with cautious detachment. For in every case these treasures have a lineage which he cannot contemplate without horror. They owe their existence not only to the efforts of the great geniuses who created them, but also to the anonymous toil of others who lived in the same period. There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.
—  Walter Benjamin, The Concept of History
  • socialist: it is a commonly-accepted idea among many leftists that a society needs to go through an analogous period of liberal capitalism so that its infrastructure can be built up and automation can diminish work load. this is why the soviet union and others devolved into state capitalism -- because they hadn't built up an infrastructure well beyond feudalism. though this "late-capitalism-before-socialism" argument is relatively common overall, others also argue that a mutualist or market socialist system would have the same effect of a liberal prerequisite.
  • capitalist: so you admit that capitalism is necessary! you can't just use capitalism like some tool and then discard it like some spoiled child!
  • capitalist: because, as we all know by looking at history, capitalism arose naturally from nothing -- not after centuries of slave empires and definitely not after further centuries of feudal monarchies that laid the groundwork for political and technological progression resulting in changing organizational modes based on material conditions.
  • capitalist: no siree bob. from nothing.
  • socialist: *jim-halpert-looks at the camera*

I think the most exhausting thing about ‘egalitarian’ and the 'we all bleed red’ mentality, is the erroneous assumption that racism is 'just about color’. Like how far up your ass do you have to be to really think that racism is simply 'a division of races for the hell of it’ and not an oppressive structure that was explicitly made to excuse slavery, exploitation, colonization and imperialism, in order to steal resources, land and make money.
Are we really supposed to believe that 'well educated’ emperors, priests, conquistadors, kings, politicians, educators etc. etc. through out history simply said 'their skin color is stupid! Let’s war!’
Racism, like almost any other type of oppression has a real fucking purpose.
Racism has a purpose.
Racism was not and is not an 'accident’
Racism is deeper than 'color’
You can’t separate racism from economics or historical materialism. Sorry to burst your little bubble liberals, but you’re not gonna 'fix it’ by making us all hold hands. Because it is not profitable to fix it.

In its rational form [dialectics] is a scandal and abomination to bourgeoisdom and its doctrinaire professors, because it includes in its comprehension and affirmative recognition of the existing state of things, at the same time also, the recognition of the negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up; because it regards every historically developed social form as in fluid movement, and therefore takes into account its transient nature not less than its momentary existence; because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in its essence critical and revolutionary.
[Marx’s] ‘concrete’ is concrete in a different sense from the first formulation. In the first case, ‘population’ is ‘concrete’ in a simple, unilateral, common-sense way – it manifestly exists; production cannot be conceived without it, etc. But the method which produces the ‘complex concrete’ is concrete because it is ‘a rich totality of many determinations and relations’. The method then, is one which has to reproduce in thought (the active notion of a practice is certainly present here) the concrete-in-history. No reflexive or copy theory of truth is now adequate. The simple category, ‘population’, has to be reconstructed as contradictorily composed of the more concrete historical relations: slave-owner/slave, lord/serf, master/servant, capitalist/labourer. This clarification is a specific practice which theory is required to perform upon history: it constitutes the first part of theory’s ‘adequacy’ to its object. Thought accomplishes such a clarification by decomposing simple, unified categories into the real, contradictory, antagonistic relations which compose them. It penetrates what ‘is’ immediately present on the surface of bourgeois society, what ‘appears’ as ‘the phenomenal form of ’ – the necessary form of the appearance of – ‘a process which is taking place behind’. Marx sums up the point. The concrete is concrete, in history, in social production, and thus in conception, not because it is simple and empirical, but because it exhibits a certain kind of necessary complexity. Marx makes a decisive distinction between the ‘empirically-given’ and the concrete. In order to ‘think’ this real, concrete historical complexity, we must reconstruct in the mind the determinations which constitute it. Thus, what is multiply determined, diversely unified, in history, already ‘a result’, appears, in thought, in theory, not as ‘where we take off from’ but as that which must be produced. Thus ‘the abstract determinations lead towards a reproduction of the concrete by way of thought’.
—  Stuart Hall, ‘A Reading of Marx’s 1857 Introduction to the Grundrisse’.