Archive for the 'Personal' Category

Paul’s back

Well, after a month-long hiatus because of a confluence of 4 personal crises — breaking up with my live-in girlfriend, finding a new apartment, finishing my masters degree and my car getting ‘totalled’ — I’m pleased to say that I’m back to blogging!

I’ve already started by putting up a massive, and long overdue, update on the Paulitics polling resource which you can can access here.

More to follow in the upcoming days and weeks.  Stay tuned.

It’s good to be back.

Paulitics to return to full blogging status shortly

I am pleased to announce that the convergence of crises that have been my life for the past month and a half are mostly over — or at least the worst part of them are.

To my loyal readers (who, I have been surprised and pleased to learn, in my absence, have still been visiting this space at a rate of over 300 hits per day), expect Paulitics to return to its regularly blogging schedule beginning sometime shortly after mid-month when I will be settled in my new apartment and finished my masters degree.

Paulitics to go on a (hopefully) short hiatus

I’ve been getting some e-mails from regular readers of Paulitics who have been wondering why I have not been posting as frequently as of late. So, I feel like an explanation on my part is necessary.

A number of factors have been keeping me (against my wishes) from publishing more regularly on this blog. Originally, these reasons included the fact that this is my last semester of my masters degree as well as my having to work longer hours to afford to go on a trip to Alberta for a friend’s wedding. However, I just returned from Alberta recently and, a few hours after returning, I broke up with my live-in girlfriend and thus now I am faced with the prospect of finishing my schooling, finding a new apartment as well as finding a new job all at the same time and all in short order.

Because of this latest development in my personal life, I will not be posting on the Paulitics blog for a couple of weeks until I get my living arrangements and new career settled. Please bear with me as I go through this process.

Paul is back from hiatus

You know you’ve been away too long when you start getting other bloggers noticing and writing posts about your absence.

You know you’ve been away way too long when you start getting phone calls from your mother and the former leader of the federal Green Party asking when your blog’s going to be updated next.

So, I just wanted to write to let everyone know that I haven’t abandoned Paulitics, in fact far from it.  I’m just finishing up my last semester of my masters degree and I didn’t plan out the schedule for all my assignments very well, so it just worked out that I had 5 major presentations/projects/essays due in the span of 13 days.  But as of yesterday evening, I’ve finished my crazy two weeks and will return to blogging and podcasting very shortly.

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In fact, I’ve got two blog topic ideas ready to go as well as a new podcast episode in the works that will be released in the next few days.

Stay tuned.

Paul’s off for a much needed vacation

As of 10pm tonight, I’m going to be heading off for a much needed and long overdue vacation with my girlfriend and family.  We’re going to be heading to the Florida Keys, and apparently there’s extremely limited internet access in the Keys, so the blog is going to slow down for a bit while I’m gone for two weeks.  However, I do plan on updating the polling resource at least once while I’m down there as well as doing a post when I get my 100,000th hit which should be any day now.

If I don’t return to blogging by early January, please let somebody know because that probably means that I’ve been ‘disappeared’ or become an “unperson” by homeland security.  :)

And, just as a precaution, if any of the good, kind folks from Homeland Security are reading this blog and know who I am (I can’t imagine how they would know, because it’s not like the government has had any shady dealings with telecommunications companies), I would like to take this opportunity to point out that, while I am a Marxist who seeks the abolition of capital and the state, I do oppose individual expressions of political violence and thus am completely and totally harmless.

What should Paul do?

Help, I need my readers’ advice.

As my regular readers will know, I’ve been contemplating expanding Paulitics: Paul’s Socialist Investigations now for some time.

I’ve been wanting to develop an American Empire Encyclopedia — possibly as a wiki, but at the very least with a clickable map containing links to academic scholarship documenting the democratically-elected governments the U.S. has overthrown throughout history and the brutal dictatorships they’ve supported.

I’ve also been wanting to develop a home for far left bloggers to put their feeds all in one place and read what each other thinks.  I figure if libertarians, Liberals, Tories, and New Democrats each have one, there’s no reason why can’t we anarchists, Marxists and socialists have some sort of a website to promote each other’s blogs, get more readers, and find new far-left blogs that are interesting.

Now, unfortunately it looks like both of these things will require me to host my own blog and thus to move Paulitics away from wordress (but I’ll make sure to pay wordpress for a domain mapping service so that it redirects).

In order to afford the bandwidth and the hosting services and the domain mapping services, I will have to put some advertisements up on the new blog and that, I realize, is a sensitive issue for leftist bloggers.

My plan for the ads is that I would place the ads in a few select locations (not everywhere like most bloggers) and I was hoping to take from the revenue only the money needed to maintain the site, and then with 100% of the profits that remain, host a monthly or quarterly ‘election’ with Paulitics readers to decide which charity/leftist political party should receive the left-over money.

This way, I figure, not only would we be blogging and expressing important revolutionary opinions, but we would also be able to generate revenue for important charities and revolutionary causes.  These charities could be anything that was democratically elected by you, the readers, such as Amnesty International or homeless advocacy organizations or local charities such as women’s shelters or even political causes such as a particular candidate for the Communist Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party, Quebec Solidaire or the Socialist Caucus of the NDP.

So, given that this would be a big move, and one which would require the implementation of advertisements to pay for the newly-found overhead, I wanted to ask my readers what they thought and what their advice was.

I’ve created a poll for this topic and I’d appreciate it if you’d all go and vote to give me your opinions.  You can find it here:

Vote Now!

What do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?

harper-bush-monkey.pngIt’s been my experience that Marxists are a peculiar bunch.  Peculiar not in a bad way necessarily, but just peculiar nonetheless.  Most of the orthodox Marxists I’ve met want people to get engaged in politics; want people to get interested in politics and social movements; but we just don’t want people to be interested in what I suppose can be termed the ‘pop culture’ elements of politics at all.

You know what I mean by this.  It’s the part of politics that would be more on the monkey-shit-fight end of the spectrum of intellectual stimulation as opposed to an-evening-reading-Proust end of the spectrum.

It’s Polls as opposed to policy.

It’s Cults of Personality as opposed to principle.

It’s Idiotic right-wing conspiracy theories as opposed to ideas.

For the most part, I couldn’t agree more with my fellow comrades, and, as those of you who read this blog regularly know, I do enjoy (and, in fact, thrive off of) the more cerebral elements in politics.

But that said, the fact of the matter is that sometimes, regardless of how cerebral we may think ourselves, a political “monkey shit fight” is just plain fun to watch!  Sometimes you don’t want a steak, sometimes you just want a bag of potato chips.  And for those of us who run in left-wing circles, it’s been my experience that we tend take flak for this as being somehow less progressive or less committed to revolutionary change.

For years now I’ve been trying to reconcile these two things — intellectual, progressive, socialist political discussion, and pop-culture politics like polls and image politics — in my mind.  But it wasn’t until the other day, during one of my now frequent stints bashing Ron Paul die hards who believe their own spam that I came to a realization.

I realized that, just as I don’t necessarily need to root for one group of monkeys in a monkey shit fight in order to be entertained and captivated by the spectacle, so too can I be captivated by things like polls without really caring which one of the capitalist parties is winning and which one is losing.

So what do politics and monkey shit fights have in common?  Well, with the way politics is structured in North America where there is no real genuine choice — they’re both similar insofar as the results will largely be the same regardless of which group wins at either competition.

But it doesn’t make us any less progressive to nevertheless enjoy the fight.

Blogs to expand your mind

The always delightful Polly Jones nominated me a while back as one of the five blogs that make her think.  I haven’t had a chance to participate in naming the five blogs that make me think yet, so I figured that now was as good a time as any.

There are way more than 5 blogs listed on my blogroll which make me think and which challenge me to better myself everytime I read them.

I’m going to try to not re-nominate some of the blogs who have already been nominated for a thinking blogger award.  So, despite my love of Red Jenny’s blog and Polly Jones’ blog and April Reign’s blog (and they’re all fantastic blogs), I’m going to try to draw my readers’ attention to what are maybe some less popular blogs who are just as worthy of receiving a thinking blogger award as these three popular blogs.

So, my five nominations for a thinking blogger award are:

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#1)  http://theproles.blogspot.com/

In my opinion, Doug’s blog is one of the most underrated blogs on the internet and deserves to be read by every progressive and thinking comrade.

#2)  http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/

Even if you know nothing of Louis Proyect, reading his blog makes you abundantly aware that this is a man who knows what he is talking about better than 99.9% of all bloggers out there.  Truly, a joy to read.

#3)  http://scottneigh.blogspot.com/

Now Scott’s blog, I believe, is a very popular blog, so it’s entirely likely that it has already been nominated for a thinking blogger award.  But, nevertheless, I first stumbled across his blog through a post he had discussing the Gramscian roots of the popular television series Sesame Street.  As a Gramscian, I couldn’t help but find instant respect for Scott and that respect has stayed ever since then.

#4)  http://rppe.wordpress.com/

While I definitely identify as a Marxist, the truth is that my formal education was painfully wanting in economics and political economics.  So, whenever I find myself drifting towards utopian, purely moral socialism, Relentlessly Progressive Political Economy is one of the sources I rely upon to help put me back in touch with scientific socialism.

#5)  http://democraticspace.com/blog/

Lastly, there’s Greg’s blog Democratic Space.  Never let it be said that I’m a purely partisan who can’t recognize intelligence in non-socialist and non-anarchist comrades.  Greg and I have definitely had our differences and I don’t agree with him on everything he writes, but I can’t deny that he puts an inordinate amount of work into his blog and it is always very well researched and well thought out.  I would recommend it even to other socialists

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So, that’s it.  I hope everybody goes and gives each of these fantastic blogs a try.  You’ll be better off having done so.

An atheist argument for teaching religion in school

This video is of a short but fantastic lecture given at the famous TED lectures in California by Dan Dennett.   The lecture makes a compelling case why we atheists should support the teaching of religion in schools (with Dennett’s caveat, of course, that ALL religions are taught and that instruction be factually-based).

As a product of Ontario’s publicly-run Catholic education school system from kindergarten up until my first year of university, I do have to say that while I hated catechism class and found it terribly brainwashing, Dennett does make a very strong case.

Looking back, I can see that the one religion class of my entire pre-university schooling which I actually enjoyed was the one which was taught without bias and which was geared towards exactly what Dennett is talking about — all world religions.  This class helped lay the foundations for me to understand the ability of religion to manipulate society and opened my eyes to many issues and topics which still continue to influence my research.  And that was just one short class.

Maybe we athiests have been going about it all the wrong way?  Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to ban religion from the classroom, but should try instead merely to get away from the parochial cuius regio, eius religio by presenting a complete anthropological account of religion stripped of its dogma?

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For Dan Dennett’s TED lecture, click here.

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For the TED website with links to other very interesting lectures on Technology, Entertainment and/or Design, click here


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