Ep. 63 – Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch

[Edited to add: Federici published an earlier version of this book in Italian in 1984; the English book Caliban and the Witch, published in 2004, as a synthesis of the earlier work and her ongoing research, thinking, and experiences, including time living in Nigeria in the 1980s. This context bears on our discussions of colonialism and the slave trade in the episode. Thanks to a listener for pointing this out.] 

In this episode, join James, Emily, and John for a discussion of Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation. We attempt to parse her engagement with/extension of Marx’s concept of primitive accumulation, and question whether the figure of the witch in this text is a historical materialist one, a metonymic one, or some combination of the two. We also ask after the analogizing of witch hunts with the slave trade, draw on James’s rich knowledge of witchcraft to interrogate the role of actual witches in the text, think through the idea of capitalism’s historical inevitability, and perhaps even reveal ourselves to be different kinds of Marxists in the process!

Thanks to listener Jonathan Lowell for the request to read Federici. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Image of Silvia Federici, sitting on a chair while turned to the camera.

Silvia Federici in 2014. Photo by Marta Jara, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 es license. Found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silvia_Federici#/media/File:La_escritora_y_activista_feminista_Silvia_Federici_(cropped).jpg

 

Cover of the book Caliban and the Witch

 

Ep. 62 – Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital Part III

In this episode we (finally!) get to the third section of Rosa Luxemburg‘s The Accumulation of Capital“The Historical Conditions of Accumulation.” This juicy–and oft-quoted section–addresses the ongoing nature of primitive accumulation and the violences of capitalism, the non-capitalist markets required for the expanded reproduction, and the ways this reproduction necessitates imperialism and militarism. The team mulls over what, precisely, Luxemburg means by external, non-capitalist markets (can they be internal to capitalist states? Does she necessarily mean colonized states “abroad”?) We parse the difference between Luxemburg’s “political geography” and “social economy”, the implications of her critique for neo-Marxist framings of neoliberalism, and the ways she enlivens, expands, and reinvigorates Marxist thought. And, most importantly, we raise the eternal question of whether Crate & Barrel is part of Marx and Luxemburg’s schematic Department I or Department II of the capitalist economy. Join us for the final episode of the trilogy!
Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
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Ep. 61 – Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital Part II

Join Rachel, John, and Sid as they tackle Part II of Rosa Luxemburg’s The Accumulation of Capital. Picking up where Part I left off, the team waste no time in connecting Luxemburg’s analyses of nineteenth-century economic debates to the neoliberal present. Spurred by Luxemburg’s witty inquiry into the ways vulgar economists, classical and Marxist alike, understood capitalist crises (spoiler: they didn’t quite get it), we try to think with Luxemburg about the crises of late capitalism. Should we be hopeful in moments of crisis? What’s the relation between socialist theory and practice? How are the political forms available to us different from Luxemburg’s time? From the Amazon model to Bernie Sanders’s declaration to run in 2020 to the tension between determinism/teleology and contingency in Marxist thought, the team shuttle back-and-forth across two hundred years of history.

In other words, you don’t want to miss the second installment of the first ever AAP podcast mini-series.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment, potentially provide episode transcripts, and more – plus, you may have the chance to jump your request to the top of the request queue. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their new album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Ep. 59 – Rosa Luxemburg, The Accumulation of Capital Part I

Join Rachel, John, and newly-appointed co-host Sid for the first entry in the first ever AAP podcast series, a multi-part exploration of Rosa Luxemburg’s The Accumulation of Capital. In Part I, the team examines Luxemburg’s account of the reproduction of capital, including its relationship to Marx’s Capital, the relation of individual capitalists to capitalism as a whole, the ‘superstructure’s’ role in reproduction, and more. What is particular about accumulation as capitalism’s form of expanded reproduction? What are the political stakes of Luxemburg’s analysis? How could we think through post-Fordism, the gig economy, and neoliberalism from the standpoint of Luxemburg? How many times can we preface a question with jokes about being vulgar Marxists? The (quasi-)answers to these and other riddles lurk in the episode.

Stay turned for the next installation of our Luxemburg series, coming your way in January.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment, potentially provide episode transcripts, and more – plus, you may have the chance to jump your request to the top of the request queue. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here. Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, “Post Digital,” from their new album FutureCommonsalways already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

 

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Ep. 55 – Kylie Jarrett: Feminism, Labour, and Digital Media

In this episode of AAP, John and Emily are joined by guest and friend of the podcast Amy Schiller for a discussion of Kylie Jarrett‘s book Feminism, Labor, and Digital Media: The Digital Housewife. We attempt to unpack “the digital housewife” as a device, method, standpoint, and subjectivity for understanding the role that affective labor plays in exploitation and the extraction of surplus value in digital media. We discuss the scope of the intervention in the context of the various Marxist traditions invoked, inquire whether there are resonances with labor in the academy, reflect on our own digital laboring, and pose questions that the book raises for us regarding radical politics, resistance, and alt-right meme culture.

Support us on Patreon to help us upgrade our recording equipment, potentially provide episode transcripts, and more – plus, you may have the chance to jump your request to the top of the request queue. Requests for texts for us to discuss? Dreams for us to interpret? Advice questions for us to answer? Email us at alwaysalreadypodcast AT gmail DOT com. Subscribe on iTunes. Follow us on Twitter. Like our Facebook page. RSS feed here.Thanks to Bad Infinity for the intro music, and always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.

Also, we are excited to announce that we have joined the Critical Mediations network! You can check them/us out on the Critical Mediations website, soundcloud, or twitter.

 

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Engels Cat: I Can Haz False Consciousness

The Engels Cat meme that is the focus of Chapter 5 of Jarrett’s book