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It probably makes the most sense to do this in terms of bio and background type stuff. I always hate this shit because I feel as though my life has spread to so many places in such a short time. However, I've chosen critical-theory as the thematic focus for this blog, so why don't I start right there and maybe iterate my background on the subject, my reason for such a focus, and some of the more relevant intentions of this blog.

To be clear, by 'critical-theory' I generally mean the various marxist schools. However, something clearly need not be 'marxist' to be critical, and I would not be surprised to find myself reading Derrida in about seven years. Currently, I am in Capital vol. 3. I began a tentative study of Marx shortly after I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts in poetry from the University of Nebraska (Omaha) -my home town. I began with his early works around the time I moved to Washington, DC, where my studies became less tentative throughout my involvement in the anti-war activity of 02'-03'. I was a reliable volunteer, a volunteer worth grooming, with International ANSWER, a front organization for the Worker's World Party.

The Worker's World Party (WWP) is one of three (at last count) extremely small communist parties in the United States. I did not know this at the time, but I always knew it was marxists driving the car -which quite naturally made me want to stay and do more. When my interest in marxism became known to the chapter heads they invited me to attend a weekly book club moderated by who is (when last I checked) the WWP's official spokesperson.

This particular organ sticks pretty much to the Bolshevik (minus Stalin) tac: Lenin, Trotsky, and so forth. The State and Revolution is what we read, me and the four young women who ran the chapter in DC, which was quite accidentally just a few minutes walk from my front door. While I think Lenin brings value to the table, I don't quite agree with all the value that he brings. (Regardles of what one thinks about the Bolsheviks, they at least had the balls to follow the Second International and extract their people from the first great war of imperialism (WWI), as opposed to the rest of Europe's socialists who capitualted to base nationalist instincts, supporting the slaughter of the very workers they nominally sought to emmanciapte.) The Bolsheivk revolution and its heirs may require a closer look.

My time in DC was but a year, and soon I found myself in Chicago promoting an album and getting ready to tour. It was while on tour that I finished Lenin's book, and moved on to other texts, including a cool but short lived book club with whom I will refer to as my post-modern friend. We read The Poverty of Philosophy by the good ol' K.M., and it was somewhere at this time I realized that social science was the field for me.     

My studies in Marx became a truly serious endeavor in late 2004 after I moved to Amsterdam, where I began reading Capital vols. 1-4, and applied for a Master's program in social theory and public affairs at the University of Amsterdam (UvA)- International School for Humanities and Social Science (ISHSS). How it was I was able to move to The Netherlands in the first place is top secret. Nevertheless, I began the Master's program in February 06'.   

This blog is to serve several functions. It will be a hub for my studies, notes, papers, bibliographies, and trains of thought. Some of this material may also be of use to others interested in the subject, and will then be available for their work. Auntie Vulgar will be a place to speak loosely on topics; to get ideas out without the retarding effect of paper style sourcing, and, most important, a place to get feedback on any and all of the material I post.

My particular aim is for the main posts to be accessible to those less familiar than I with the subject; with other material organized in pages or sometimes interspersed. Please. Point out to me those places where my language is too jargon riddled to understand. This for me will be a process of unlearning, so please also be kind!                

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7 Comments

  1. Just wanted to say way to go on your reply about Karl marx’s anti-semitism!

  2. Ha Ha!! Thanks Romius. I only wish I actually had time for all of this! Thank you for the quote and the blog of the week…

  3. Dear Auntie,

    Of Karl Marx’s great contributions, his application of dialectical materialism to the investigation of social structure and development and his theoretical explication of how Capitalism really works, the bones and guts of it, stand out to me. My anti-war work in the ’60’s and ’70’s brought me into contact with Marxists of various persuasions, mostly those that read and subscribed to Mao. Four Essays on Philosophy was my favorite work. On Contradiction, in particular.

    On the practical side, does it still make sense to you, nearly 160 years after the Communist Manifesto was written, that civiliation’s next step is toward the rule of the ‘industrial proletariat’, that this class, even under the tutelage of middle class intellectuals, will lead us forward into a classless society, into the next paradigm? I think not.

    Marx was a great thinker and he walked his talk. But once a great thinker is reduced to an ‘ism’, can dogma be far behind? I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

  4. Hi webmaster!

  5. Hi webmaster!

  6. LOL
    that doesn’t even make any sense!

  7. Hi. I just found your blog. I have just begun the preparatory semester for the Social Theory & Public Affairs program at the ISHSS/UvA. I was wondering if you had any thoughts / perspective on the program? Thank you!


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