Radical media, politics and culture.


"Twilight of the Neocons:

Richard Perle Has Begun to Panic"

Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke

Reviewing An End to Evil by David Frum and Richard Perle, Random House, $25.95

Since 9/11 a cascade of books purveying instant analysis on the ramifications has hit the bookstores. A deep fault line runs between them. Those with "evil" or "jihad" in the title lie on one side of the divide; those with "empire" or "lies" are found on the other. Their mutually antagonistic readerships snarl at each other across the chasm. So it is with David Frum and Richard Perle's new book An End to Evil: What's Next in the War on Terrorism, in which they reinforce the thesis -- now usually described as neoconservative -- that American interests and values are best pursued with a maximum of military stick and minimum of negotiating carrot. It makes little difference whether the issue is Libya, Iran, or North Korea. The authors believe market-democracy is best delivered on the back of a Tomahawk missile.

Here Now Next: Paul Goodman and the Origins of Gestalt

Taylor Stoehr

Reviewed by William Hoynes

The libertarian impetus in modern times has often
taken somewhat peculiar ways of resisting and
countering domination and exploitation.
Psychotherapies provide some interesting examples,
often with striking parallels to earlier heresies
within mainstream religious contexts. Among the
dominant psychologies in mid-twentieth century America
were various behavior controls, usually of reductive
positivist cast and medical dressing, in which
authority figures psychomedically defined and
manipulatively treated "abnormalities" and other
deviations which included much primarily tabooed and
dissident. Leaving aside therapists as associate
jailers for psychiatric wards and military and other
totalitarian institutions, and "crisis" coping and
more overt psychopathologies which therapists mostly
tried to restrain, they were, in the language of half
a century ago, insistently enforcing "conformity" by
inculcating "adjustment." Therapy was often lessons in

An anonymous coward writes:

"Open Marxism?"

Tadzio Mueller

Reviewing Holloway, J., Change the World Without Taking Power,
London: Pluto Press 2002.

A spectre is haunting Marxism: the spectre of
anarchism. Anarchists, whether self-described or
called thus by the media, have been reaping most of
the publicity that the radical wing of the
globalisation-critical movement has been able to
generate, and Marxists are both excited and dismayed
by this. Excited, because for the first time in many
years there is a recognisable anti-capitalist protest
movement on the streets of advanced capitalist
countries; dismayed, because this relative resurgence
of anti-capitalist radicalism has not been accompanied
by a resurgence of Marxism.

"Did Somebody Say Slavoj?"

Carlos Pessoa

Reviewing Slavoj Zizek, Did somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions in the (Mis)use of a Notion. London: Verso, 2002.

Slavoj Zizek has become known for writing on the 'postmodern condition' and its implication for a radical political project. Although Zizek's Lacanian analysis (with a Hegelian impulse) can intimidate certain readers, his comical and entertaining writing enables a reading of key contemporary political issues. Although taking a critical stand to postmodern thought, I would argue there are postmodern aspects in Zizek's work that in the end make it postmodern radical chic.

"Marxism Against Postmodernism in Educational Theory"

John-Michael Bodi, H-Net

Reviewing Marxism against Postmodernism in Educational Theory, Dave Hill, Peter McLaren, Mike Cole, and Glenn Rikowski, eds.
edition. Lanham and New York: Lexington Books, 2002. x + 341 pp.
Notes, bibliography, index. $90.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-7391-0345-8;
$34.95 (paper), ISBN 0-7391-0346-6.

It is always a uniquely rewarding experience to read current ideas
about philosophy and the human condition especially as they relate
to education as it is affected by capitalism. Most readers will
appreciate this book for its attempts to shed light on the evolution
of thought past postmodernism although the connections to education
are few.

O.K. writes

"A Surrealist Phone Book"

Oliver Katz

Reviewing Franklin Rosemont's

An Open Entrance to the Shut Palace of Wrong Numbers

Chicago: Black Swan Press, 2003. Illustrated with drawings by Artur do Cruzeiro Seixas. Available through Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company, 1740 West Greenleaf Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626.

In the seldom-seen late-Cold War thriller "Miracle Mile," (1989), a young man in Los Angeles answers a ringing telephone in a booth out of pure serendipity on an empty street at 3 AM. The call turns out to be from a frantic USAF technician employed at some remote Midwestern missile silo. The caller announces that he’s just launched his thermonuclear payload at an enemy state, and that an apocalyptic retaliatory missile strike directed at the US will come with full force in about an hour. If I remember correctly, the young man who answered the phone responds to this awful news by taking his girlfriend on a late-night date to the La Brea tar pits.

While the U.S. "Big Media" rarely notice books that challenge the dominant ideology, this is not always so in other lands. Franklin Rosemont’s Joe Hill: The IWW and the Making of a Revolutionary Workingclass Counterculture (Charles H. Kerr, 2003) -- see Peter Linebaugh’s review here -- has not been mentioned in the New York Times or Newsweek, but here is an informative notice from the current (January 2004) issue of Le Monde Diplomatique, a paper with over 400,000 readers, published in Paris in nine languages. Reviewer Michael Lowy’s books in English include Redemption and Utopia: Jewish Libertarian Thought in Central Europe and Romanticism Against the Tide of Modernity.

Franklin Rosemont's Joe Hill

Michael Löwy

This is a splendid biography of Joe Hill (1877-1915), the legendary figure of American radicalism -- poet, composer, songwriter, cartoonist, and union militant, executed by the authorities of the State of Utah in 1915 after a notorious frame-up trial.

But this book is also a history of the counterculture created by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the great revolutionary union movement in North America. The author analyzes the internationalist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and profoundly subversive spirit of this movement, emphasizing the humor, poetry, creativity, and romanticism of its culture, which in many respects seems to anticipate surrealism.

Abundantly illustrated with images, drawings, comics, and paintings produced by Joe Hill and his IWW friends and fellow workers, this 639-page book restores a too-little-known chapter in the history of the North American workers’ movement.

Stuff it: The Video Essay in the Digital Age

Edited by Ursula Biemann, Zurich Institute for Theory of Art and Design

With the entry of documentarisms into the arts, the video essay, as a visual reflection on reality, has gained much attention in recent art debates. Moreover, due to its subjective, dissociative, and highly self-reflexive characteristics, this video genre has become a preferred visual medium for theoretical considerations regarding the major shifts taking place in visual culture.

Surrealist Subversions:

Rants, Writings & Images by the Surrealist Movement in the United States

Edited by Ron Sakolsky; Autonomedia 2002; USA; ISBN 1-57027-122-4; pbk. 742pp

Reviewed by Doug Campbell, Edinburgh Review #111, pp.113-15

Each new retrospective exhibition brings a flood of articles which seek to pigeonhole Surrealism as a Parisian Art movement of the twenties and thirties, damn it by association with Guinness ads and Dali’s careerist antics, and bury it with Breton, if not the outbreak of the second world war. Over and above the fact that Surrealism was, for Surrealists, always about far more than art, this ignores the existence of the other Surrealist groups that sprang up across the globe and of their distinct traditions.

The story of the Chicago Surrealist group, and the wider U.S. Surrealist movement that grew out of it, is a colourful one, likely to be unfamiliar to those who know Surrealism only through art historical accounts.

"The Ontology and Politics of Gilles Deleuze"

Todd May


Alain Badiou, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000 [orig. pub. 1997]).

Paul Patton, Deleuze and the Political (New York, Routledge, 2000).

John Rajchman, The Deleuze Connections (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000).

In the small but growing circle of Deleuze scholars on this side of the Atlantic, there has been a notable shift in recent years regarding the aspects of Deleuze's thought that receive emphasis. Early on, with the publication and subsequent translation of (and the stir in France about) Anti-Oedipus, Deleuze was treated here as primarily a political philosopher in the Nietzschean mold. Anti-Oedipus, co-authored with Felix Guattari, was (justly) taken to be political theory that was influenced by the events of May '68 in France, and was also (not quite so justly) taken to be emblematic of the entirety of Deleuze's thought.
In recent years, however, there has been a shift from the study of his political views toward his ontological ones, and with that shift has come a corresponding shift in attention from the later works, many of them co-authored with Guattari, toward the earlier ones. Deleuze's central work Difference and Repetition, long neglected here, appeared in translation by Paul Patton (one of the authors under review here) in 1994, and, alongside other earlier works, allows English speakers a full range of study of all of Deleuze's major early works. Combined with the focus placed on Deleuze's ontology by Constantin Boundas, his most significant promoter in North America, scholars of Deleuze's thought are now as likely to read the collaborative works with Felix Guattari through the eyes of Deleuze's earlier studies as the other way around.


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