University of Wisconsin, Madison Autumn 2009
Bascom Hall, room 55 T/R 4-5.15 p.m.
Radical political theory.
Instructor: Jimmy Casas Klausen Consultation: T 1.45-3.45 p.m.
Office: North Hall 409 E-mail:
Political Science 513
Overview. There are many strands of radical political theory in the Euroatlantic West. This course engages only two of them—namely, Marxism and anarchism—and we will pay particular attention to the fraught relationship between the two at the levels of both political theory and political praxis. Specifically, we will explore Marxist and anarchist arguments about the status and centrality of the state, the relation between national and international struggle, the “nature” of the human, party organization and the role of vanguard parties, the techniques and pitfalls of centralizing or decentralizing power, and the character of revolution. We end the course by examining a handful of post-1968 thinkers who seem critically to synthesize (heavily reconstructed?) Marxian and anarchist perspectives.
Course format. The course will be conducted as a seminar. We will cover between one hundred twenty-five and one hundred fifty pages per week and puzzle over, interpret, and analyze the texts’ arguments and themes in the context of rigorous, critical discussion together. Please note that I will lecture only briefly and occasionally.
Requirements. All requirements, except for the assigned readings (our basic framework), are negotiable and to be determined collectively. This will constitute our attempt at autonomous, decentered self-governance. Freedom as a practice, however, is not reducible simply to “negative freedom,” that is, freedom from requirements or impediments. Rather, freedom is an active and open-ended process that necessitates limits, techniques of self-mastery, and reciprocal challenge (between self as subject and self as object, as well as intersubjectively among peers). Hence, as the facilitator of your instruction, I do want to suggest that we consider seriously the value of consistent attendance and participation for the ultimate quality of our discussions; I ask also that we entertain the important role writing can assume in the refinement of our understanding of difficult arguments and concepts.
· Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521450164).
· Michael Bakunin, Statism and Anarchy (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521369732).
· Robert C. Tucker, editor, Marx-Engels Reader, second ed. (Norton, ISBN 978-0393090406).
· Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks (International Publishers, ISBN 071780397X).
· Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction (Vintage, ISBN 978-0679724698).
· Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle (Verso, ISBN 978-1859841693).
In addition to these texts, which are available for purchase at the Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative (426 W. Gilman), you will be asked to consult a handful of writings online. The URLs for online documents appear after the assignments.
Copies of these books are also available at College Library Reserves.
3 September 2009.
8 September 2009.
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, What Is Property?, Chapter III, §§1-2; Chapter V.
Marx-Engels Reader, 3-6, 9-11, 26-52.
10 September 2009.
Marx-Engels Reader, 53-109.
15 September 2009.
Max Stirner, The Ego & Its Own, 1-18, 137-98.
17 September 2009.
Stirner, Ego & Its Own, 198-254.
22 September 2009.
Stirner, Ego & Its Own, 254-324.
24 September 2009.
Marx-Engels Reader, 133-75.
29 September 2009.
Marx-Engels Reader, 176-200, 203-17, 469-500.
1 October 2009.
Marx-Engels Reader, 586-617, 653-64.
6 October 2009.
Marx-Engels Reader, 221-76, 291-93, 294-98, 302-12.
8 October 2009.
Marx-Engels Reader, 312-64.
13 October 2009.
Marx-Engels Reader, 373-88, 397-99, 417-38, 512-19, 522-41.
15 October 2009.
Michael Bakunin, Statism and Anarchy, 1-51.
20 October 2009.
Bakunin, Statism and Anarchy, 103-68.
22 October 2009.
Bakunin, Statism and Anarchy, 168-97.
Marx-Engels Reader, 542-48.
V. I. Lenin, What Is to Be Done?, chapter III.
27 October 2009.
Rosa Luxemburg, Organizational Questions of Russian Social Democracy (also published as Leninism or Marxism?).
Luxemburg, “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination.”
Lenin, The Right of Nations to Self-Determination, chapters 1-4, 8, 10.
Lenin, State and Revolution, chapter 1.
29 October 2009.
Lenin, State and Revolution, chapters, 2, 3, 5.
3 November 2009.
Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, 5-23, 52-55, 125-75.
5 November 2009.
Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, 175-205, 210-23, 228-38.
10 November 2009.
Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, 238-43, 245-46, 257-70, 323-43, 347-61, 364-67, 375-77.
12 November 2009.
Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life, chapters 19-22.
17 November 2009.
Vaneigem, Revolution of Everyday Life, chapters 23-25.
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle, chapters 1-3.
19 November 2009.
Debord, Society of the Spectacle, chapters 4-5.
24 November 2009.
Debord, Society of the Spectacle, chapters 6-9.
Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, 1-27.
26 November 2009.
Class will not meet.
1 December 2009.
Debord, Comments on the Society of the Specatcle, 27-89.
3 December 2009.
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction, 3-50.
8 December 2009.
Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1, 51-114.
10 December 2009.
Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1, 114-159.
Foucault, “Truth and Power,” in Power/Knowledge, ed. Colin Gordon, 109-34. [To be distributed.]
15 December 2009.
Hakim Bey, “Black Crown & Black Rose: Anarcho-Monarchism & Anarcho-Mysticism,” “Nietzsche & the Dervishes,” “Resolution for the 1990’s: Boycott Cop Culture,” The Temporary Autonomous Zone (entire).
Bey, “Permanent Autonomous Zone,” “The NoGoZone,” “The Periodic Autonomous Zone,” “Primitives and Extropians.”