Content of The Utopian Vol. 16.7 - 2017

  • The Utopian, Vol. 16, No. 7, August 2017

    Aug 4, 2017

    Cover and contents of The Utopian vol. 16, no. 7, August 2017. Korean nuclear testing, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Automation and Social Vision, Hunters and Farmers, Conservatives-Liberals-Progressives, and more.

    For earlier issues see Updates and New Discussion (Vol. 16 no. 6, June 2017) and Archives.

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  • Point of View: No to War with North Korea over Nuclear Weapons!

    Aug 4, 2017

    I detest nuclear weapons and believe they should be abolished as soon as possible. They seem to me to epitomize the worst aspects of modern technology. Based on the wonders of contemporary scientific knowledge and technical skill, they are good for only one purpose – destruction, and on a massive scale – and have no redeeming qualities whatsoever....

    It is with this as background that I make clear that I support the right of North Korea (and Iran, I might add) to have nuclear weapons and the means to launch them, and I oppose the efforts – via embargoes, sanctions, or threats of military attack - of other states, particularly those who already possess them, to force them to destroy them. Either all nations have the right to have nuclear weapons or no nation should have the right to possess them. Abolish them entirely or allow all states to possess them!


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  • Commentary: Reflections on Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me

    Oct 18, 2017

    If [Coates] believes in anything, it is the precarious survival of the embattled Black beauty he celebrates in his evocation of becoming a people. And, so far as I can tell from the limited sample of my own students, many of today’s Black youth also don’t share either redemptive visions of full freedom...or ideas of finding fuller rights over time. Rather,...many seem to believe in a future that will not change in any basic way, in which they and their children will seek to live in dignity and perhaps gain an improved social position—but not real rights—and will remain prepared to fight discrimination, but will never be truly equal or free. So, if this sketch is at all accurate, many feel as Coates also does. It is this fact about the youth, in my eyes, that makes Coates’ disenchantment about greater freedom truly significant.


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  • Exploration: Automation and the Need for a Social Vision

    Aug 4, 2017

    We are opposed to putting any workers out of work, and we’re opposed to forcing them to take wage cuts and / or to be subjected to degraded working conditions. But just holding the line – fighting to defend the status quo – is a losing proposition. Moreover, it is reactionary: it’s an attempt to take a snapshot of capitalism, as it is today, and fight to freeze it and preserve it. This has been a losing strategy for decades – witness the decimation of the formerly powerful industrial unions that were the backbone of the 1930s labor revolt. And it reflects an unfortunate attitude of much of the left: a fetishizing and romanticizing of wage slavery.


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  • Dialogue: Hunters, Farmers and the Shaping of the World

    Aug 4, 2017

    That kind of awareness of, and belonging to, the land we inhabit, or something approaching it is, it seems to me, much needed... and totally lost to a people fixated on human-created stimulation.  All the people walking around with their ear-buds in and their smart phones ahead will, I'm afraid, have no awareness of, nor reason to want to protect, the beautiful world through which they jog, or walk to school, or -- spandex-clad -- stretch their muscles on bicycles, etc., etc.


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  • Perspective: Conservatives, Liberals and Progressives

    Aug 4, 2017

    For most of the twentieth century, Marxists mostly argued among themselves about who should lead not the proletariat but rather ever-tinier micro-sects of true believers. Trotsky's Transitional Program set the pattern but, as Uhlmann's approach demonstrates, it is characteristic of a broad swath of human beings, left and right, who do not believe in anything resembling the direct democracy so central to contemporary movements that have made serious political questions once again the order of the day in the United States and shaken, when not toppled, deeply entrenched governments globally.


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  • Utopian Viewpoint: Who We Are

    Aug 4, 2017

    This racist, sexist, and authoritarian society has not developed any new charms. It remains exploitive and unstable, threatening economic collapse and environmental destruction. It wages war around the globe, while nuclear weapons still exist and even spread. Even at its best -- most stable and peaceful – it provides a way of life that should be intolerable: a life of often meaningless work and overwork; hatred and oppression within the family, violence from the authorities; the continuing risk of sudden violent death for LGBT people, women, and Black people; the threat of deportation of undocumented immigrants.


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