[lbo-talk] Boots Riley on Occupy the Hood

shag carpet bomb shag at cleandraws.com
Mon Dec 19 12:22:50 PST 2011

if any theory really were being critically examined here, a critic would be compelled to ask: where do you get the idea that just because people approach you and tell you that you are right that you, therefore, can claim that what you've said in your article is generalizable.

wherever you get the idea is an illustration of a commitment you have to 1. ontology (the nature of what it is you are observing, studying, and making generalizable claims) and epistemology (how you know what you know); and, in turn, what should be done about (ethics)

now, if you roll your eyes and say, oh ferfucksake, I don't want to go there right now, one might immediately think, Henwood is anti-theory! he's opposed to actually thinking about the commitments he has to scientific objectivity and how it is derviced, about evidence and whether or not, say, discussions with 200 people is representative of a broad population of anarchists, etc. in much the same way he recently concluded that poll data about support for obama doesn't necessarily speak to the question "do blacks stay away from OWS becuase of their support for obama.)

if he thought about those things, he might rethink the way he elects to make a persuasive case that his article is correct. maybe he will conduct a survey and run regression analyses on the data? maybe he will combine in-depth observations of people actually involved in social movment in order to prove his thesis.

much like the challenge in the article: if the people in the antiwar movement thought about it, they would do things differently. E.g., they wouldn't carry banners with slogans that exemplify bad explanations for why the war in Iraq should be opposed.


<> <> On Dec 19, 2011, at 1:08 PM, Carrol Cox wrote: <> <>> The Concrete Goals listed in the Communist Manifesto came from the <>> practice <>> of the Communist League; they were not theoretically derived. <> <> Marx spent a lot of time criticizing the practically derived goals of <> others. Theory contributed nothing to that? <> <> More than ten years after we wrote the activistism piece, we still get <> comments from activists burned out on precisely what we identify as <> its characteristics: a focus on action, without thinking about the <> point of the action, unless it's to recruit more activists. In other <> words, our critique - which you dismiss as empty theorizing - comports <> with their actual experience of practice. <> <> You know, I just don't believe that you're as anti-intellectual as you <> pretend to be when you're in this mode. <> <> Doug <> ___________________________________ <> http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/mailman/listinfo/lbo-talk <>

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