The personal is political. #FreddieGray
The phrase “the personal is political” was originally intended to mean that the oppression that you experience as an individual is patterned—that there are structural factors underlying your experience, and so there are probably others experiencing similar things. “The personal is political” encouraged individuals who were experiencing oppressive situations—for example, a woman abused by her…
¡Eduardo Galeano, presente!
An amazing person left us today. Eduardo Galeano’s writing about Latin America is a gift to all of humanity. If you’ve never read anything by Galeano, The Open Veins of Latin America is a good place to start.
my articles on Occupy Wall Street
A reader recently brought to my attention that there’s no landing page that houses all of my publications on Occupy Wall Street. Now there is… Smucker, Jonathan Matthew. 2014. “Can Prefigurative Politics Replace Political Strategy?” Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 58:74–82 ——. 2013. “Occupy: A Name Fixed to a Flashpoint.” The Sociological Quarterly 54(2):219–225. ——. 2012. “Radicals and the…
more notes on ‘prefigurative politics’
In convening a forum on power and prefiguration this past month for the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, I have had the opportunity to engage in a lot of deep and clarifying discussions—with readers and with the forum’s seven other authors. There is no way around the ambiguity of the phrase prefigurative politics and the fact…
The Story of the Righteous Few, Exhibit #1: “a very solitary journey”
A friend just brought this meme to my attention: I’m elaborating on problems with the (relatively new) concept of activism and also about the story of the righteous few in my manuscript. For now, here’s an excerpt concerning the latter (from my chapter in AK Press’ book We Are Many): Too often we get stuck in a story…
Berkeley Journal of Sociology Forum on Power & Prefiguration
In case you missed it, the Berkeley Journal of Sociology relaunched on October 1st. I’m part of the collective of Berkeley sociology grad students who worked this past year to re-imagine the BJS’s mission, which ultimately led to the launch of a really great new website: berkeleyjournal.org — check it out! The idea is to…
#PeoplesClimate: “a radical critique of a radical critique”
Michael Premo and I have a piece in The Nation this week: “What’s Wrong With the Radical Critique of the People’s Climate March”. We didn’t write the title. Maybe a more accurate title—which I saw in a Tweet of the article—would have been “a radical critique of a radical critique of the People’s Climate March.”…
The logic of a campaign and the life of a subculture
Figure from a draft chapter of hegemony how to.
The danger of fetishizing revolution
Originally published at Waging Nonviolence. What do contact with extraterrestrials, the return of Jesus Christ, apocalypse, and revolution all have in common? In a sense, they are all imagined redemptions — epic reset buttons for humanity. Onto these we can pin our heartbreaks and frustrations with the world as it is, with all its suffering,…
dissent and resignation
With the relatively recent invention of the activist as a special category, non-activism becomes the implied norm. Non-activists—i.e., normal people—are excused from having to wrestle with the content of pertinent political issues and what remedial collective action might be taken, as activism is treated as a distinct realm unto itself—an elective activity in some ways…