Friday, March 30, 2012

Joel Olson-1967-2012

     You can find a number of eulogies for Joel already up. (Here are a number of them.)  I never met Joel personally, but his work had a strong influence on me.  I read the paper he edited, The Blast, as a young radical and have followed his work since then.  He published significant work with Race Traitor, an anti-racist collective, and produced some of the most significant work analyzing the collapse of the Love and Rage collective.  He then went onto help form the recently defunct Bring The Ruckus, which tried to produce a revolutionary politics that was neither defined by the top-down organizing style of conventional Marxism-Leninism or the loose assemblages of contemporary anarchism.  He also remained a committed anti-racist activist, continuing the critique of whiteness began by W.E.B. DuBois,and the Black radical tradition, and popularized by David Roediger amongst others.  He also attempted to do something that is remarkably difficult to do, remain active in radical politics, while attempting to navigate the strange and labyrinthine terrain of academic advancement.  Perhaps, more significantly, he attempted to use the critical lenses of theory in order to communicate and mobilize a radical politics on the ground. I put up a different version of this talk a number of months ago.  (You can find it here.)  It's interesting to see Joel engaging with a substantially different group of folks, namely the Arizona Democratic Party.  Additionally, I'm including a talk that he gave on "The Politics of Protestant Violence: Abolitionists and Anti-Abortionists."  It's all worth your time.  I feel like I should say something else, but I don't know what to say.  I'll leave it here. 

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