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read online [ Class Notes Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene ebook ] Author Adolph L. Reed Jr.


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Class Notes Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene

Hailed by Publishers Weekly for its “forceful” and “bracing opinions on race and politics” Class Notes is critic Adolph Reed Jr’s latest blast of clear thinking on matters of race class and other American dilemmas The book begins with a consideration of the theoretical and practical strategies of the US left over the. This stellar collection of essays most of which were first printed in issues of the Village Voice was released in 2000 yet the issues discussed here have only become amplified through their aggregation via social media platforms The essays are grouped into three categories which 1 combat the personal is political modes of resistance as it particularly relates to black political involvement 2 combat strange technical notions of euality and their bizarre manifestations in American political life and 3 offers practical ways forward to move beyond the essentialist deadlock which the self proclaimed left finds itself inA running thread in this collection is Reed s aversion to the use of words such as community and grassroots to refer to a mystical like black voting bloc who all thinks and does alike The presumption here is that the black community does not suffer from the same contradictions as other groups ie whites stemming from class and status Thus the uestion of proper treatment of issues in relation to blacks in America takes a tone of the paranoiac what must They think of us whites This racial cultural essentialization of the community results in a deadlock where blacks are never addressed fully as eual citizens called upon to participate in a political decision making process But who exactly is the community How can we assess the claims of those who purport to represent it These uestions are seldom raised much less answered A strain of Jeffersonian romanticism obscures them among the left for whom community implies an organic entity animated by a collective mind and will From that perspective we don t need to ask how the community makes its decisions how it forms its will because it reflects and almost mystical identity of interest and common feelingBecause whites by and large don t see black Americans as a complex population of differentiated individuals the organic community imagery seems reasonable and natural to them Instead whites look for black spokespeople to speak on the community s behalf It goes without saying that this is particularly the case when this spokesperson does not effectively challenge the way in which political power is actually distributed and maintained which would of course need to take on the difficult task of historical materialist analysis which went beyond charges of the perils of whiteness or the authenticity of cultural blackness This theme of the pitfalls of the leadership impulse reaches a fever pitch in the essay What Are the Drums Saying Booker a tongue in cheek reference to the need for whites to have access to their black whisperer in the form of the black public intellectual Instead Reed argues that What the current environment demands from black intellectuals who would comment on public affairs is not whining about disparagement of the black body in Western culture as if that were news or examination of representations of representations or noodling about how if we apply the right spin everything black people do is resistance or oppression And most of all there is no need for interpretations that presume an uncomplicated conveniently mute black reality there s already a surfeit of analysis propelled by the collective black subject black people want feel etc As is true on the left generally what is desperately called for is stimulation of informed discussion among black Americans and between blacks and others that presumes proprietorship of the institutions of governance and policy processes on an identical basis with other citizens and aims at crafting agendas that define and realize black interests accordingly The other main strand I found was Reed s excellent citation of the morality play of the responsibility ethos as it began to spring up on both the so called left and the right after Reagan and the failure of McGovern which still haunts us to this day I m afraid Though cloaked in a cloth most Americans do not find fault with this ethos is used to justify some of the most horrific theories normalized in public discourse that there is a sector of the population usually with darker skin fancy that who essentially belongs to a different species of person This characterization is ever dangerous when you throw into the mix the rigid biological claims such as those found in Bell Curve If some of us are hard wired criminals and derelicts why what s the point of fighting for reform and access to resources Such a figuration of the problem lets the government off the hook as a body which ought to be responsible to the people and breeds the atomized cynicism I m sure we ve all cozied up to at some point in our livesIt is refreshing to hear all of this Reed is a statist and I respect that I think many who consider themselves to be in the left find it fashionable to proclaim their orientation against The State and simply leave it at that It s what fosters this docile everyday resistance politics which does not beg of us to actually engage with power and assume responsibility for its euitable proper distribution Call yourself whatever you will but an engagement with power is absolutely necessary if you wish to change the game No the aim is not to help people make choices and exercise a flimsy democratic right surely the goal is to enable people to determine their own choices This can only result from being unafraid of engaging with power in a real way So yes your revolutionary ideas do need to eventually become principles of governance That probably sounds boring but this is something we need to think about Reed knows this Hell as an organizer he does this Reed s analysis of the left s slow decline into lukewarm parables which used to be the handmaid of the right particularly as it relates to black public life is second to none

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??head spinning” and “brilliantly executed” by David Levering LewisAdolph Reed Jr has earned a national reputation for his controversial evaluations of American politics These essays illustrate why people like Katha Pollitt consider Reed “the smartest person of any race class or gender writing on race class and gender?. Adolph Reed where have you been all my life Class Notes is a collection of essays on black politics the labor movement left strategy the underclass debate the suckiness of liberals and a range of other issues all addressed with Reed s ascerbic wit and razor sharp political analysis His introductory analysis of the retreat of the left into the academy and postmodern identity politics since the 1960s should be reuired reading for all leftists His essay What Do the Drums Say Booker should be put in the same category as it definitively debunks the claims of the last wave of black public intellectuals to Voice ofthe Black Community status and manages to be completely hilarious at the same time What s best about Reed s perspective is that it allows him to walk and chew gum at the same time while recognizing the need for historically oppressed identity groups to organize around their specific grievances he argues persuasively that these oppressions are ultimately experienced through political economy and that class organization in the interest of all working people needs to remain the foundation of a real progressive political movement This seems so painfully obvious to me but unfortunately many of us on the left have lost sight of this reality How I wish Reed was an Honorary Co Chair of my own organization Democratic Socialists of America rather than Cornel West I think we d be much better off

Adolph L. Reed Jr. ☆ 7 review

Last three decades Reed argues against the solipsistic approaches of cultural or identity politics and in favor of class based political interpretation and action Class Notes moves on to tackle race relations ethnic studies family values welfare reform the so called underclass and black public intellectuals in essays called ?. Adolph Reed Jr is one of my favorite left wing intellectuals This collection of essays primarily focuses on political strategy racism and ineuality Reed provides a valuable materialist insight into the uniue features of black communities and politics as well He is very critical of the Postmodern turn of the academic left and substance less identity politics while still taking a strong class based and anti racist position himself Ultimately I found this book somewhat inspiring and refreshing He breaks down many problems I have with the modern left but he both understands them better than I and what potential solutions may be I highly recommend it

  • Paperback
  • 240
  • Class Notes Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene
  • Adolph L. Reed Jr.
  • English
  • 14 October 2017
  • 9781565846753

About the Author: Adolph L. Reed Jr.

Adolph Leonard Reed Jr is an American professor emeritus of political science at the University of Pennsylvania specializing in studies of issues of racism and US politics He has taught at Yale Northwestern and the New School for Social Research and he has written on racial and economic ineuality



10 thoughts on “Class Notes Posing As Politics and Other Thoughts on the American Scene

  1. says:

    Not every single essay in this book is earth shatteringly good And Reed is sometimes overly dismissive of what I consider to be dev

  2. says:

    This stellar collection of essays most of which were first printed in issues of the Village Voice was released in 2000—yet the issues discussed here have only become amplified through their aggregation via social media platforms The essays are grouped into three categories which 1 combat the “personal is political” modes of

  3. says:

    Adolph Reed Jr is a relatively new find for me and has a no bullshit uality I like in a public intellectual This book is a commentary on the dreary politics of the 1980s and 1990s the summer of our discontent mad

  4. says:

    Adolph Reed Jr is one of my favorite left wing intellectuals This collection of essays primarily focuses on political strategy racism and ineuality Reed provides a valuable materialist insight into the uniue features of black communities and politics as well He is very critical of the Postmodern turn of the academic left and substance less identity politics while still taking a strong class based and anti racist position himsel

  5. says:

    Adolph Reed is not only a compelling straightforward and remarkably engaging writer he is also fearless His collection of occasional pieces and topical essays together make for an excellent collection and introduction to his central themes the diversity of black American politics and perspectives the centrality of economic ineuality and the urgent need for state oriented political activity that is rigorous intelligent and implementable Anot

  6. says:

    Incredible political writing Very funny I'm amazed that this book is 20 years old and still rings so true

  7. says:

    Adolph Reed where have you been all my life? Class Notes is a collection of essays on black politics the labor movement left strategy the underclass debate the suckiness of liberals and a range of other issues all addressed with Reed's ascerbic wit and razor sharp political analysis His introductory analysis of the retreat of the left into the academy and postmodern identity politics since the 1960s should be reuired r

  8. says:

    This book is worth re reading which I should probably do before giving an extensive and deserved treatment to the thoughts and ideas Reed puts forth For now a few thoughtsI had a professor whose historical understanding was vast and seemingly all encompassing Nonetheless he told me once that the best thing about philosophy through philosoph

  9. says:

    Great book and will have to revisit soon to really digest the arguments Read this at the suggestion of Michael Brooks RIP Left is Best

  10. says:

    I first read this book several years ago and have been coming back to it ever since along with everything else Reed has ever written He has probably been the most influential thinkerwriter for me in the past 3 4 years He really offered a way of thinking about class race American politics and left strategy that I was hunger

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