In this episode, Sid and John have the pleasure of talking with Dr. Michael Sawyer about his new book, Black Minded: The Political Philosophy of Malcolm X. Offering a systematic account of Malcolm X’s philosophy, Sawyer surfaces the distinctive radical humanism suffusing Malcolm X’s thought. Against the backdrop of ongoing anti-Black state and vigilante violence, we ask: What are the stakes of reading Malcolm X as a political philosopher, and what does it mean to be “Black minded”? How does Malcolm X theorize and practice the body as a site of Black subjectivity and self-sovereignty in the face of white supremacy, especially in white supremacy’s expression through the violent policing of Black bodies? In ways is Malcolm X a “bridge” between W.E.B Du Bois and Franz Fanon, and what do we learn from reading Malcolm X through Audre Lorde? What are the resonances and differences between Malcolm X’s conception of the New Human and the anti-humanism of Afro-pessimism? How should we grasp his often misunderstood notions of Black nationalism, violence, and revolution? Our conversation works though these pressing questions, clarifying the complexity, continued relevance, and radical horizon of Malcolm X’s political and philosophical critique of the white supremacist social order. We close with Sawyer’s reflections about contemporary struggles against white supremacy and the Black Lives Matter movement.
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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 FutureCommons; always already thanks to B for the outro music. For the mp3 of the episode click here.
Thanks to our friends at the New Books Network, we are cross-posting John’s interview with Neil Roberts for New Books in Global Ethics here. Enjoy!
What does it mean to be free? How can paying attention to the relationship between freedom and slavery help construct a concept and practice of freedom that is “perpetual, unfinished, and rooted in acts of flight” (181)? In his book Freedom as Marronage (University of Chicago Press, 2015), Neil Roberts (Africana Studies, Religion, and Political Science, Williams College) explores this and many other questions. Proceeding from and working with the concept and practice of marronage – modes of escape from slavery emerging from the Caribbean – Roberts articulates a theory of freedom that is historically specific while having trans-historical reverberations, and that is attentive to lived experiences of freedom and slavery. In doing so, he engages histories of the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, diaspora, the Haitian Revolution, and American slavery. Arguing for the need to creolize political theory and philosophy, Roberts also takes up the thought and practice of W.E.B. DuBois, Hannah Arendt, Philip Petit, Frederick Douglass, Angela Davis, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Edouard Glissant, Rastafari, and much more.