Faculty Writing: Organizing Academics, Socialism and the State, and the Labor of Reproduction

In n+1, Alyssa Battistoni recalls her experiences organizing a graduate student union at Yale, focusing particularly on the interplay between community organizing and cultural hegemony. Writes Battistoni, “there is no economic deus ex machina that will bring the revolution. There are still people, in their stubborn, contradictory particularities, as they exist in concrete space and time. It is up to you to figure out how to act together, or not; how to find common ground, or not.”

For Verso blog, Rafael Khachaturian and co-author Stephen Maher discuss the relationship of the state to socialist practice in the context of the 21st century and “Third Way” tendencies. For Khachaturian and Maher, contemporary conditions demand socialists employ a strategy beyond that of traditional democratic socialism and Leninism: “Just as social democrats lose sight of what is fundamentally capitalist about the capitalist democratic state, Leninists have reductively understood it as simply another institutional form of capital. This view treats the state as a unitary, monolithic apparatus without internal contradictions that is superimposed upon society and controlled by a unified capitalist class. Yet conceiving of the state in this way, as a ‘machine for maintaining the rule of one class over another,’ tells us little about how actually-existing capitalist states function, and is not helpful in developing practical political strategy.”

In The Nation, Sophie Lewis is interviewed by Rosemarie Ho on her new book, Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family (Verso, 2019). Lewis reflects on her work, “I found myself stating the obvious: Gestation was work already, before it got commodified as commercial surrogacy. So how do we build a politics that bridges these two workplaces, and build solidarity between paid and unpaid gestators?”

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