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Quick Links

By Al Schumann on Thursday January 14, 2010 11:30 PM

Owen suggested I might want to try a link post. I'm getting the feel of the thing and have a couple I think will do.

Splintered Sunrise will appeal to comrades who know or can guess what Norn Iron is without needing an explanation.

The Cedar Lounge Revolution has a bunch of sticks, and a whole lot more. An excellent place to visit for lefties too stubborn to quit.

Comments (28)


Splintered Sunrise will appeal to comrades who know or can guess what Norn Iron is without needing an explanation.

I'm Irish and I never heard that term, and I've got a few relatives there. You learn something new every day. Thanks for the links.

Al Schumann:

This is working out well. I'm glad you like the links, Sean. I loved "Norn Iron" when I finally had the sense to say it out loud. Took me a while, and before I did that I was trying to read too much in. Once I got it, I realized I'd only scratched the surface.

There's a hidden joke in "bunch of sticks" too.


thanks for the links. Here's one that I enjoy:


I'm not really a fan of the whole birkbeck/zizek/cultural studies brand of marxism in the UK, but I do enjoy K-punk's blog.


why I ultimately don't like that strain of marxism:

"In particular, not only did Badiou leave out political economy from his descriptions of how the revolutionary event might challenge the capitalist status quo; but also, when questioned on this score, he explicitly denounced any attention to political economy as being the sin of "economism". All this is captured in the video here. Badiou claims that economics can only be part of "the situation" which it is the business of a new "truth," produced in an event and by fidelity to that event, to disrupt. Badiou shows his Maoist pedigree (as Ken Wark remarked to me) in this insistence on politics as the ultimate ruling instance. Instead of engaging in the critique of political economy, and seeing the political as so intimately intertwined with the economic as to makie any separation of them impossible, Badiou relegates economy, in a nearly Gnostic sort of way, to the realm of the irretrievably fallen. His notion of a pure politics (and a pure philosophy) unsullied by any contact with, or 'contamination' by, the economic, is really the mirror image of today's neoclassical economics which imagines itself to be value-neutral and apolitical. What this comes down to is that Badiou is a Maoist without the Marxism — a stance that I find rather terrifying."

Al Schumann:

Bob, I'm with you on avoiding that strain. It gets weird too easily. So I stay away the Critical Theory/Cultural Studies people. I'm sure it's pure chance, but every CritCult expert that has noticed me has been able to read my mind and find things that terrify them. This is pretty bad, but then they want to have sex with me. Not for the sake of, or even with, my body (which is humbling enough) but for the interaction of our braaaiiiiinnnnsss! braaaiiiinnnsss! brainnnnnsss! After which I'm left brooding in resentful philistinism and they, somehow, have acquired an audience and a bit of money.


I wouldn't avoid it necessarily. I do find a lot of the stuff on class, media, architecture, post-fordist culture etc. pretty interesting, in a coffee table book sort of way, and once in a while they have some pretty good insights into politics. good in small doses, though.

You know how it is.. One minute you're reading a Lacanian interpretation of Top Chef, the next minute Herr Doktor has got you in the nipple clamps, forcing you to shout "The Real is nothing but a symptom of man's ego-sick mind!" until you pass out from pain and exhaustion. or so I've heard

Al Schumann:

I can't actually admit that I know how it is, but the scene you've outlined is uncannily familiar.

"Fordism" is a concept that serves as a pretty excellent sorting mechanism. Those who think there ever has been "Fordism" are the ones to ignore.

Henry Ford neither invented the assembly line nor sacrificed his own profit margins. And factories merely moved, so there's no "post" anything.


I recommend studious avoidance of neo's and post's who effortlessly glide from utterances about "political economy" (no problem there) to pantomimes about "THE political" and "THE economic." From that moment forward one can safely predict further pantomimes about "THE body" and critical deconstructions of Top Chef (not that there's anything wrong with a little cult stud fun, per se).

The growing mini-bubble surrounding overrated figures such as Badiou and Zizek seems to be a result of two factors (among others): 1) the ongoing existence of a large clique of wannabe Eurotrash graduate students and 2) their well-intended, if somewhat narcissistic and definitely futile, strivings for "relevance" in a time of rampant devaluation of capitalist value.

Or to put it a little differently: today's Badiou is yesterday's Kristeva or somesuch, with a lot of product innovation and a tinge of social consciousness added to the mix.


Bourdieu, on the other hand, actually had some theoretical insights with practical legs... that is, if you have the training and the luxury to clear away the dense underbrush.


amendment: "today's Badiou FAD is yesterday's Kristeva FAD or somesuch..."

Al Schumann:

I don't want to carp and be peevish, but doesn't anyone care about "[the] hidden joke in [a] 'bunch of sticks'"?!

It's not a great joke, when it comes right down to it, but I did put in an effort.


You don't refute a neo or a post by showing that their empirical claims about "Fordism" are erroneous. They don't make any empirical claims. They don't even necessarily have a theoretical take on this or that stage of capitalist development, or whatever. "Fordism" is merely a cultural signifier (one thing neo or posts do know a lot about)... a cultural signifier referring to THEMSELVES and their purported dabbling in "Marxism." "Fordism" is to neos and posts as the mesh trucker cap is to hipsters: now THAT tells you something interesting about so-called "late" capitalism.


Al: something about faggots or fasces, I suppose? Yours, without-a-cluelicker.

Al Schumann:

Thank you! And yes, sort of, it's my attempt at a play on words. The Cedar Lounge blog is closely affiliated with the Workers Party, sometimes called the Sticks or Stickies. I've read two stories about the origin of the nickname. One is that the Workers Party commemorated the 1916 Easter uprising with lapel lilies that looked like a bunch of sticks -- though not anything likes fasces. The other is that the lapel decorations were backed with adhesive, were not pin-ons.

Al Schumann:

The joke is on a par with calling this place Dirty Stop Out Before Me Vote Again.


My mom taught me not to click on any links starting with the word "Dirty" and followed by a word beginning with the letter "S"...

Al Schumann:

MJS assured me that I would be beaten with a bunch of sticks, real ones, if I shock-linked a reader. After which I'd be sent to a Zizek presentation. I'm not sure if he's serious, but the threat is severe enough to catch my attention and there's no downside risk to respecting the admonition.

A person who stays out all night shagging or generally up to no good! An affectionate, jokey expression originated in the North of England to describe slutty girls and boys.

Where have you been all night? You dirty stop out!


Adhesives? Had Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing come up with double-sided scotch (natch) tape yet?

Al Schumann:

I suppose it would depend on when they started that way of commemorating the uprising. I have my doubts about the adhesive story, frankly. It seems silly. I'll ask them directly. They're quite friendly.


who turned the lights on

i prefered we all stay in the dark

Al Schumann:

Owen, clearly you didn't catch the president's recent speech. As he remarked,

This is a fine candle. A good candle. A candle made in America, where candles don't always get made as often as we might like. This is the darkness. It's an American darkness, with candles in it. American candles. American darkness. There are some who think it's better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness. Can you eat the darkness? Did I eat the candle, that American candle, made here in the darkest heart of America? I don't know, but I'm here to find out.

So, there you have it.

Phillip Allen:

Comrade Al, are you actually (also) Fafnir?

Al Schumann:

Fafnir is an inspiration, and a comfort when the walruses are closing in. I draw heavily on him, with a nod (ho, ho, ho) to Bull Lee, when I write for the president.

Hi Al, thanks for the link, as regards the Sticks the second story is the correct one. What happened is that in the late 1960s Sinn Féin split into Official SF and Provisional SF. The former were broadly speaking Marxist, the latter nationalist (albeit with a hint of a rather low level socialism). The Officials had sticky back badges to commemorate the Rising, the Provisionals used a pin. Hence the Officials became known as the Sticks.

There was no, I hasten to emphasise, no tinge of fascism about the Officials who later became Sinn Féin the Workers Party and ultimately the Workers Party. The WP was and is effectively an old line orthodox Communist party (i.e. critically pro-Soviet during the Soviet period). And for all their faults - and while I applaud their transition to constitutional politics there's much about the past (also true of the WP) to not be delighted with - I'd certainly not suggest that SF were linked with fascists.

I'm not sure the Cedar Lounge Revolution is *closely* affiliated with the Irish Workers' Party. I was a member in the 1980s, but when that party split in the early 1990s I went with the social democratic Democratic Left. I'd currently be an independent democratic socialist I guess. However one of our number is a member of the WP. On the other hand we've had members of Sinn Féin (who as many of you know would be... ahem... antagonistic to the WP, and likewise, as regular contributors) and others members of other left wing parties and none.

To be honest we try to stay away from party lines while gladly hosting material and contributions from left wingers and progressives of any stripe whether social democratic, democratic socialist, Republicans (Irish), Marxists of Trotskyist or orthodox variants, greens, feminist, etc, etc. Not sure what it achieves but some of your commentors, contributors might be interested in the Left Archive we host which has freely downloadable PDFs of Irish left wing political arcana...

I should add that Sinn Féin's socialist and left wing approach deepened as time went on. By the early 1980s despite huge differences of opinion with its approach as regards armed struggle I'd personally consider it of the left. And even today I'd do so as well, albeit that it is now in government in the North of Ireland it has had to trim its policies hugely.

Al Schumann:

Thanks so much for the generous response (and the generous nature of the correction on the history of "Stickies", too!). I'm very much hoping your archive will interest our comrades. I suspect a few of them will be spending a good bit of time going through it. Not least because the ecumenism of overall effort is very appealing, especially to those who have had their fill of sectarianism.

You're very welcome Al.

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