Notes Towards a Theory of Solidarity (talk from the Goldsmiths teach-out)

image.png

 

A few weeks ago, when many UK university staff were on strike against a major attack on their pension rights, I was invited to speak at the teach-out organised by the   UCU (University and Colleges Union) branch at Goldsmiths, University of London.

I gave a 20-minute talk from notes that I’d made the previous day. The talk provoked a really interesting discussion, and I promised a couple of people that I would make the notes available once I had had time to write them up. Well, I’ve written them up and they’ve become quite long, but that’s not all that surprising. This is still just notes – it’s not supposed to be a worked-out argument. But here it is in case anyone finds it useful.

Acid Corbynism: The Story so Far

(Latest update: May 7th 2019)

This page is about the ‘Acid Corbynism’ project.

(For general  updates, here’s our Facebook Page . At some point we’ll get a proper website)

What is ‘Acid Corbynism’?

If you don’t know what that means then read this short article (then later look at the quite extensive further reading list below).

Podcast!

The ‘ACFM’ podcast, hosted by Novara Media, seems to be the main focal activity of the ‘Acid Corbynism’ project for the moment (it’s the 21st century left, so… when in doubt, podcast).

Does ‘AC’ stand for ‘Acid Communism’ or ‘Acid Corbynism?’. The answer, my friends, is: Yes.

We had a whole issue with the podcast, around being able to use licensed music and still have the podcast appear in the Novara Feed.  The situation has finally been resolved, and we’ve recruited a great editorial team of Olivia Humphreys and Matt Huxley, so future episodes should appear regularly, once a month, from this week. They will appear in the Novara main feed with truncated music clips and the full-length cuts of the episodes will be hosted by them on Soundcloud.

So here’s the full length episode one of the ACFM podcast!

And here’s the link to episode two

You can subscribe to the Novara feed in iTunes by clicking here: Subscribe in iTunes

(or you can just search for Novara from inside your podcast client)

Also if you want Audio to listen to, then here’s the AUDIO RECORDING of the big Acid Corbynism seminar in February 2018

Writings on Acid Corbynism

Below is all the Acid Corbynist written material I’m aware of, and links to stuff on Mark’s Acid Communism work, and some material of mine that anticipates some of the Acid Corbynism arguments. Yes it’s all men I’m afraid. When we get the book together (yes, there will be a book eventually), it won’t be.

Why the time has come for “Acid Corbynism”

The article already linked to at the top of the page. The shortest and pithiest from me.No really it is. From the New Statesman.

Here is an interview that Casper Hughes did with me about Acid Corbynism for the Independent

 

What is Acid Corbynism?

The first article on the subject, for Red Pepper.

The same article in Italian

Psychedelic Socialism

This is the big one. 7,000 words with lots of philosophical reflection and some discussion of actual psychedelic culture.  By me. For open Democracy of course. If that’s too much for you then look at some of these…

Acid Corbynism: an experimental politics for testing times

By me, for the Conversation. One for the academic audience.

Acid Corbynism’s next steps: building a socialist dance culture

Matt Phull & Will Stronge on revolutionary rave. Well, left-reformist rave.

Acid Corbynism is a gateway drug   

Keir Milburn on consciousness-raising and that. 

How Memes Are Spreading ‘Acid Corbynism’ 

by John Sheil

Acid Corbynism and the Importance of the Psychedelic Counterculture

by Giulio Sica, who  thinks we’re all being too coy about the psychedelics

 

Acid Communism

Here’s some of Mark’s Acid Communism and post-capitalist desire material collated on a website  

It’s a great collection and also includes most of what Mark and I did together. (There’s some thoughts on counterculture in the dialogue between us and ‘Reclaim Modernity has a whole spiel about the legacy of the New Left).

And here is Plan C’s collection of Acid Communism material

Also a really good collection. Not sure if there’s anything here that isn’t on the above-mentioned website.

Here’s a very short article where I went into one about how it’s important not to see the counterculture as simply anticipating or leading inevitability to neoliberalism

From 2016

Here’s another place I laid out that argument a bit

From 2012

Here’s a thing I did about Music, dance, affect, and ‘possible worlds’

Originally published in ‘Art Press 2’ in 2010

 

Here are some links to relevant stuff not by white men

It’s a token gesture but until someone who isn’t writes something about Acid Corbynism then it’ll have to do:

Psychedelic Feminism

Decolonizing Yoga

An Ellen Willis Tumblr

Psychedelic Socialism: Acid Communism, Acid Corbynism, the Politics of Consciousness, the Future of the Left

acid-corbynism.jpg

Here is the short article I wrote for Red Pepper about ‘Acid Corbynism’ 

Here is the much longer essay I wrote about the same subject, about Mark Fisher’s idea of ‘Acid Communism’, and the general idea of a utopian psychedelic socialism (pdf), which will soon be published on open Democracy (so if you prefer to read it online you can wait for it to be posted there).

This is all inspired by the Acid Corbynism session at this year’s The World Transformed, organised by Charlie Clarke, Matt Phull, Elliot Dugdale and Will Stronge.

Welcome to the age of Platform Politics- explaining the election result and its implications

So just after the election Alex and I did a talk at the Anti-University of East London event on this subject, which will be central to our forthcoming book (among many other things). The video is HERE

A week or two after that I wrote a long essay on the subject and the implications of the election, but I had already promised to write on this subject for Fabian Review, so I produced a short edited version for them which was published here last week. I did an even shorter version for IPPR but I don’t think that’s been posted yet.

The full length version is on open Democracy HERE.

 

The Relations of Force: Politics and Power in Britain Today

All politics is about building coalitions and building power: if Labour cannot understand this truth and grasp its implications, then it is doomed. 

A quick preface

This was written as a short contribution to a Pluto Press book that was supposed to be published last year,  but never finally happened. I think it’s still pretty relevant to everything so I’m posting it now.

(If you’re one of the several people who are waiting for me to finish writing something – don’t worry – I did this ages ago…it hasn’t been distracting me from what I was supposed to be writing for you)

My aim in this short essay is to explain how a particular way of understanding politics and social change can illuminate our current situation. But first a disclaimer. I won’t be  saying anything new here. The ideas I will be using are very familiar to those who are trained in a particular intellectual tradition. I present them here because they remain invaluable and useful, and because lots of people have had  no access to that tradition; but not because I claim any originality for them.

I am going to be explaining in very basic terms how an approach derived from the ideas of the great Italian thinker Antonio Gramsci, who died in ta fascist prison in the late 1930s, can help us understand current British politics. It seems particularly appropriate to to do this right now, because the past month has seen the launch of Stuart Hall’s Selected Political Writings [https://www.lwbooks.co.uk/stuart-hall-event]. Hall was one of the giant’s of British public and intellectual life of recent decades (https://www.opendemocracy.net/author/stuart-hall; https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/jeremy-gilbert/tribute-to-stuart-hall). One of Hall’s great contributions to British intellectual culture was to bring to Gramsci’s ideas to on the analysis of British politics, in a number of key essays, several of which can be found in his key 1980s collection, The Hard Road to Renewal.

At the present time, Gramsci and his ideas seem to be undergoing yet another one of their periodic revivals, having been dismissed by many commentators as hopelessly outdated a few years ago. Many introductions to Gramsci are available,  but one of the best has been recently updates: Roger Simon’s Gramsci’s Political Thought: An Introduction (https://www.lwbooks.co.uk/book/gramscis-political-thought). Many scholarly expositions of Gramsci’s work have been produced, but Peter Thomas’ The Gramscian Moment (2009) set a new benchmark in English-language scholarship. I don’t know much about the state of Gramsci scholarship outside the English-speaking world, but I do know that the popular French radio show and podcast Les Chemins de La Philosophie (https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/les-chemins-de-la-philosophie) recently produced an episode on Gramsci simply because he is so widely cited by so many people. Radical publishers Verso have just published  a historical study of Gramsci’s key concept – ‘hegemony’ (if you don’t know what this means don’t worry, I will explain in simple terms shortly) – by one of its most prominent writers, Perry Anderson. In fact Alex Williams and I are currently writing a book for the same publishers on the subject of hegemony in the 21st century, which due to be completed before the summer. (We are considering presenting initial arguments in a series of public seminars and videos, so if you think you might be interested in that then do follow us at @lemonbloodycola and @jemgilbert).

Here it is