Monday, January 27, 2014

Great Books From Graduate School | Hannah Arendt on Why Violence is the Opposite of Power

Power and Violence are Opposites
“…. Politically speaking, it is insufficient to say that power and violence are not the same. Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance. This implies that it is not correct to think of the opposite of violence as nonviolence; to speak of nonviolent power is actually redundant. Power can destroy power; but it is utterly incapable of creating it.” Arendt 1969, 56

Power through Violence Can Never be Legitimate
“Violence can be justifiable, but it will never be legitimate. Its justification loses in plausibility the farther its intended end recedes into the future. No one questions the use of violence in self-defense, because the danger is not only clear but also present, and the justifying the means is immediate.” Arendt 1969, 52

Power Gained through Violence Negates its Own Power
“To substitute violence for power can bring victory, but the price is very high; for it is not only paid by the vanquished, it is also paid for by the victor in terms of his power.” Arendt 1969, 53
“It is often said that impotence breeds violence, and psychologically this is quite true, at least of persons possessing natural strength, moral or physically.” Arendt 1969, 53

Terror is the Condition of Holding Power Through Continual Violence
“Nowhere is the self-defeating factor in victory of violence over power more evident than in the use of terror to maintain domination, about those whose weird success and eventual failures we know perhaps more than any generation before us.
Terror is not the same as violence; it is, rather, the form of government that comes into being when violence, having destroyed all power, does not abdicate but, on the contrary, remains in full control.” Arendt 1969, 54, 55

Terror requires full social atomization
“It has often been noticed that the effectiveness of terror depends almost entirely on the degree of social atomization. Every kind of organized opposition must disappear before the full force of terror can be let loose.” Arendt 1969, 55

Climax of terror is the absence of opposition
“The climax of terror is reached when the police state begins to devour its own children, when yesterday’s executioner becomes today’s victim. And this is also the moment when power disappears entirely.” Arendt 1969, 55

Source: Hannah Arendt. 1969. On Violence. Pg. 52-55

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Free Market Mythology | How Libertarian Ideology Undermines Democracy Part I: Toward a Reconstruction of Discourse and Democracy

The United States, as the apex of Enlightenment political theory, was founded on two competing principles: democracy and the free market. In contemporary times the two are almost indistinguishable but in reality they are in direct conflict. The free market is understood as a natural mechanism completely disconnected from political institutions and democracy is solely a political institution. 

Craig Gilson is a good friend of the WUW? crew and provides some of the best material to refute.

The purest of Libertarians (anarchists, although not the only strand of libertarianism tend to be the most vocal) view the state and the market as dichotomous institutions and they contend that you can only have one or the other - true freedom can only exist within a market society - free of all political intervention. This strain of political and economic thought is problematic because Democracy, a form of government constituted by the nation-state system and purely a political institution, is that form of government in which the people legitimize the government through informed consent and equally participate in the acts of ruling an being ruled. To simplify, for the sake of being clear, democracy cannot exist outside the state.

Note: In the same way, market economies also came into existence with the alongside the nation-state and have always been embedded in the state. we will discuss this further in part 2 of this article.

Southern Nerd Rap | GQ Marley - DREAM II: Revenge of the Nerd

We are pleased to introduce you to the newest WUW? affiliated hip hop artist, GQ Marley.

Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, GQ graduated from Texas A&M University where he found his voice and made the tough decision to dedicate his life to his art.

DREAM II is the second official mixtape release from GQ Marley and represents the 
dreams of an everyday NERD with a story to tell. Reflecting on his hopes & fears and triumphs & tragedies, GQ has crafted a complete album balancing club anthems with intense lyrical narratives.

Holding it down behind the boards, Platinum Pat taps into the essence of Marley's style and stories with beats that make you move and allow you to think. 

Both the producer and the MC shine when Platinum Pat flips a Lauryn Hill Sample (track 4) and Marley channels his inner college dropout letting us in on all the wisdom Kanye has provided a generation of stereotype bending hip hop youngstas (track 2). 

Pat & Marley display some serious chemistry when Pat leaves the boards and enters the booth to contribute to the club banger "Burn it Down" and the coming of age tale "Against the Grain."

Overall, DREAM II is about as solid of a release you can get from a truly independent artist. Make sure you follow GQ Marley on twitter at and Platinum Pat at

The Midwestern NERD Blogger,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Free Market Mythology: Deconstructing the Rhetorical Construction of Human Nature, Democracy, and the Market

Political Words, The Decline of Discourse, and Solving Democratic Deficiencies through the Deconstruction of Democracy

OK... we admit that we, those of us at the WhatUpWally? office, can be a little opinionated, argumentative, and maybe even sometimes a little sarcastic (just a little) but every time one of us scrolls through our Facebook timeline we can't help but wonder what the hell is going on in the minds of Americans when discussing political economy. 

However, the more we study the history of political and economic discourse, we are somewhat comforted by the fact that - how we should live together in society -has always been intensely debated. 

From Aristotle to Luther, from Hobbes to Locke to Rousseau, from Smith and Marx to Weber and Durkheim, from Keynes to Friedman, from Foucault to Habermas, and from Reagan to Clinton to Obama - the definition of society, government, human nature, democracy, capitalism, and so on have always been contentious ideas worth debating.

Here is our current problem: 

  • Political Discourse is Fucked

Here is an underlying cause: 

  • We don't know the meanings of our words
    • We lack a mutually vocabulary to engage in productive discourse
  • We do not understand how our words and ideas are the result of a history of arguments
    • Arguments formed to theorize what the best way to organize our collective existence
  • Therefore we lack the collective ability to construct a better future

Obviously using this tweet that I just received should not be the full representation of one point of view, but this libertarian "activist" seems to demonstrate the very decline of productive discourse that we are attempting to address in the article.

What does "big government" mean? It may seems as if this is a simple question, but if we retrace a history of political and economic words and ideas, we should no longer be able to make simplistic statements like these from Eric Dondero - the self professed "Publisher, Libertarian Republican, Founder of the Republican Liberty Caucus, Former Senator aide to Ron Paul, and Former Libertarian National Committee Member." (here is his website for those of you that need more examples of the decline of discourse and the simplification of reality)

Solution #1: Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Reality

Chicago Soul-Trap Hip Hop | Tree - The @MCTREEG E.P

We've been reppin the Chicago hip hop scene pretty hard over the last year and the killer youngstas from the windy city keep hitting us with fire. Now that Add-2, Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, and Nico Segal have done their thing, it looks like it is the soul-trap rapper Tree's turn. Check out his first mixtape Sunday School II: When Church Let Out and then stream the new joint below.

Windy City Bloggin,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dallas Hip Hop | Dustin Cavazos - When Death Stares You in The Face Mixtape

Another progressive hip hop album from WUW?s favorite D-Town MC. Never comfortable staying in one place, Dustin Cavazos continues to push the barriers of creativity in hip hop. This latest project When Death Stares You in the Face, successfully merges the new school of hip hop with production elements that could easily be the instrumentals from an electronically influenced indie rock band - and not in a Chiddy Bang, take the hottest indie rock song and flip the sample into a cheap cover band style track (no diss to Chiddy Bang as one of the originators of the new school indie flip production).

Although the production is on some that next wave shit, Cavazos, as usual, is able to match or surpass the genius production with his always introspective and emotional lyrics. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Great Books from Graduate School | Karl Polanyi, Markets, Ficticious Commodities, and the Need to Protect Society from the Market

Land, Labour, and Money are Ficticious Commodities

“For at the heart of neoliberal and neoliberal theory lies in the necessity of construction coherent markets for land, labour, and money, and these, as Karl Polanyi pointed out, ‘are obviously not commodities … the commodity description of labour, land, and money is entirely ficticious.’” Harvey 2005, 166

Capitalism needs these fictions

"While capitalism cannot function without such fictions, it does untold damage if it fails to acknowledge the complex realities behind them.” Harvey 2005, 167

Market Mechanisms | Fictions destroy society

“To allow market mechanisms to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment indeed, even of the amount and use of purchasing power, would result in the demolition of society. 

For the alleged commodity ‘labor power’ cannot be shoved about, used indiscriminately, or even left unused, without affecting also the human individual who happens to be the bearer of this peculiar commodity. 

In disposing of a man’s labor power, the sytem would, incidentally, dispose of the physical, psychological, and moral entity ‘man’ attached to that tag. 

Robbed of the protective covering of cultural institutions, human beings would perish from the effects of social exposure; they would die as the victims of acute social dislocation through vice, perversion, crime, and starvation. 

Nature would be reduced to its elements, neighborhoods and landscapes defiled, military safety jeopardized, the power to produce food and raw materials destroyed. 

Finally, the market administration of purchasing power would periodically liquidate business enterprise, for shortages and surfeits of money would prove as disastrous to business as floods and droughts in primitive society.” Polanyi 1944 [2001], 76 

Society needs protection from markets

“Undoubtedly, labor, land, and money markets are essential to a market economy. But no society could stand the effects of such a system of crude fictions even for the shortest stretch of time unless its human and natural substance as well as its business organization was protected against the ravages of this satanic mill.” Polanyi 1944 [2001], 76 

David Harvey. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism
Karl Polanyi. 1944 [2001]. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Brooklyn Electro-Hop ReProduction | MeLo-X - YONCÉ-X: BEYONCÉ REMIX EP (Free Download)

MeLo-X, one of the WUW? crew's favorite new producers, is at the leading edge of hip hop, electronic, and soul production. Yesterday X released some dope reinterpretations of the first lady of hip hop. Dark, melodic, and full of soul the YONCE-X EP is another great addition to the innovative movement in hip hop production. 

Stream below and then click here to listen to some other dopeness from MeLo-X.

Update: It looks like MeLo-X has caught some heat from the music industrial complex but a quick google search should lead you to a download link.

ReInterpreted Blogging,

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Great Books from Grad School | Arendt, Mass Media, and How Public Democratic Deliberation is Reduced to Mass-Produced Banality

Post-9/11 America Losing the Habits of Democratic Integrity

Here are a few excerpts that may help us think about the connection between the public and military policy. Plus, you can never go wrong with a little Hannah Arendt in your life!

Media as fake public discourse

  • “Awed by nightly video clips of futuristic weapons obliterating unseen enemies with bloodless, godlike precision, Americans have been seduced by the pleasure of what Michael Mann calls ‘spectator sport militarism.’ Hammered with wave on wave of economic disinformation, all filtered through the rhetoric of patriotic provincialism, our neighbors have been led to believe that the United States is an economic behemoth, bravely leading the world toward development and equality. Deluged with daily doses of misinformation regarding the postwar status of Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of millions of U.S. citizens have been taught to celebrate our nation’s heroic humanitarianism despite a mountain of evidence pointing to looming economic, political, and military catastrophes in those occupied territories.” Hartnett and Stengrim 2006, 288
  • “Fed a daily diet of shouting television talk show hosts, hyperventilating radio shock jocks, corporate propagandists, and an ever-more compliant congress, citizens of the nation that brought free speech to the world have been taught to confuse passionate tirades for informed discussion and to bow dutifully before accepted wisdom, even those laced with so many obvious factual errors that the rest of the informed world scoffs at our gullibility.” Hartnett and Stengrim 2006, 288
  • “It would appear, then, that democratic integrity is giving way to mass-produced banality…” Hartnett and Stengrim 2006, 288

Citizens are just as responsible as the Big Lies of Political Leaders

"Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism … reminds us that such transformations in how publics think about life-and-death questions, how they talk about their value commitments, can never be simply a question of Big Lies snowing the masses.” Hartnett and Stengrim 2006, 288

“Rather, we must remember that these gradual shifts in rhetorical habits may ‘correspond to the secret desires and complicities of the masses in our time.’ Indeed, it may be the case that post-9/11 Americans are giving vent to emotions, long held in check but deeply felt, regarding their assumed rightful command of the world.” Hartnett and Stengrim 2006, 288, 289

SOURCE: Stephen John Hartnett and Laura Ann Stengrim. 2006. Globalization and Empire: The Invasion of Iraq, Free Markets, and the Twilight of Democracy.