Abolition Part 2: Proletarian Self-Abolition, Nagarjuna, Baudrillard

On this episode, I deliver the second part of my theory on abolition as it brings together “identity politics” in its highest forms, the movements to abolish race and gender. I show how these movements lead naturally, if uneasily, to the Marxist project of proletarian self-abolition, whereby the proletariat destroys itself, and all other classes, it its coming to exist for itself as a class.

This paradoxical notion leads us to Nagarjuna, who 1500 years before Marx was already working through the problem of mounting a global movement of awakening (Bodhicitta or the Buddhist project of eliminating suffering in all sentient beings) while not believing in categories. Nagarjuna was an early anti-essentialist and also shows there is nothing European about questioning essentialism.

Lastly, we turn to Baudrillard for his own views on abolition (of the distinction between life and death), and his own blend of imminent uptopianism. True revolutionaries “speak of the world as non-separated,” and these sense informs all transpolitical activity.

Stay tuned! Next week I’ll be interviewing Dr. Peter Lindsay of GSU, and I’m sure we will have another episode soon on this abolition business.

One Comment

I think some comments I made here can be seen as transphobic. I was talking about how I think we need to challenge gender norms “instead of” changing body chemistry, and said most people with gender dysphoria “don’t need surgery.”

I think we need to look at changing the environment in addition to using body changing techniques when they are called for. When they are called for is not something I know, and I defer to anyone who has taken on the huge challenge of modifying their body chemistry.

Regardless, I am actually really into transhumanism and try to distance myself from the concept of “need.” So I will be open to having my gastro-intestinal tract removed, if it ever comes that we transcend eating. Given that, I do not think the body is a pure haven we need to protect. Instead, I fear that the culture driving people to transition will lead to people who are not satisfied after treatment because society is still messed up, and they are processing all that the treatment has done to them as well. Yet I know that transitioning has saved many lives.

On necessity, no one “needs” gender reassignment surgery but I didn’t need that candy I just ate either. I’m in no position what’s proper for a given individual.

My claim in sympathy with gender nihilism is that it is more proper to speak of there being no discrete genders than to speak of two or any other “number” of genders. Hence my personal opinion is that even though I am displeased with how I am treated as a man, I don’t think I would like it any better as a woman. It’s not that I want to enlarge what it means to be a man, and I don’t want to stop being a man. I don’t want to stop people from existing as men. I want people too see that there never have been any men, or any of these other categories either.

I want this because I believe it is instrumental in the larger project of proclaiming social harmony. This can only happen by destroying what divides us.

This is obviously a grandiose task, and I expect no shortage of criticism. Yet I want my position to be a bit better understood.

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