Professor Judy Butler

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Tue Dec 8 16:16:31 PST 1998

>I don't know what position JB takes on strikes. Does anyone? Dick Walker,
>the fine Marxist geographer at Berkeley, had nothing but good things to say
>about her, including her activism.

I know Dick Walker has done some debunking of the myth of a post industrial society. (Andrew Sayer and Richard A Walker, The New Social Economy: Reworking the Division of Labor). From his contribution to David Goodman's and Michael Watts' new ed book on food production, Walker also seems to be something of a critical realist. But, Doug, are you sure that he is a Marxist? Does he claim to be one? Doesn't he strike you as something of a Schumpeterian, vacillating between Leninism and bourgeois Marxism? I wouldn't be surprised if he has exerted considerable influence on the other renegade Robert Brenner. Well, Walker does know a helluva a lot about Northern California from the bottom up. See his contribution to Fire in the Hearth, ed. Mike Davis. Verso. Oh by the way, Walker's own Marxist analysis of value theory in Capital and Class 1988 set me down the sorry path I have been on for years (for some reason, he didn't assign it in the grad seminar Nathan and I took with him--I think he was hiding from his Marxist past even then) and he will be asked to sign a piece of paper for me.

Nathan probably has fond memories of Dick's paeans to the continuous revolutionisation of technical conditions. Truth be told, now that Michael Reich has found the future in Japanese style labor relations (Nathan may have something interesting to say here!) and Manuel Castell has become after dinner conversation in the Atherton homes of Silicon Valley executives and de Janvry is writing policy relevant computer programs for statistical analysis in agricultural development and Michael Burawoy is exchanging American cigarettes for blankets from the Russian mafia somewhere near the North Pole, Walker is probably the last theoretical critic of political economy at Berkeley. Excluding Brad de Long of course.

As for Professor Butler, I have heard that she is the most remarkable dissertation advisor, subjecting draft after draft to rigorous scrutiny while actually reading key texts in the advisee's project, no matter how unrelated they are to her own work. But that's what someone at home tells me.

Yours, Rakesh

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