My name is Craig Thompson and this is my blog.
The title for the blog “Power and Hegemony” was drawn from three sources:
· As one of the key phrases in the SACP [South African Communist Party] programme document “The South African Road to Socialism”;
· As a result of my appreciation of the work of Lenin, Lukács and Gramsci whose theoretical praxis largely concerns both the issues of hegemony and power; and
· A love, from my student days, for the works of Foucault, Deleuze, Guattari and Julia Kristeva.
I involve myself in a number of different activities (for my sins) including:
· Being a researcher at the SACP Research and Policy Development Unit;
· Acting in the Central Committee of the SACP;
· As a member of the Alliance Economic Transformation Committee;
· Engaging in the national discourse on economic issues;
· Consultancy work in Universal Design, ranging from Architecture, Transportation, ICT to Product Design;
· Providing technical support to the Disability Sector;
· Acting as an activist for the rights of persons with Autism, Psychiatric Impairments and other Persons with Disabilities;
· Composing music and playing the piano as part of an ensemble;
· Writing barely legible poetry; and
· Writing and developing various philosophical positions.
In terms of disabilities, I myself do have four major disabilities:
· Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: OCD with a mainly obsessive component (specifically symmetry, ordering and contagion). The compulsive component of my OCD is related to ordering and numbering (e.g. eating smarty’s in a specific order). I also have intrusive thoughts of a predominantly ‘control-loss’ form, e.g. dropping keys into drains; as well as a violent-form, e.g. stabbing people in the eyes.
· High-Functioning Autism. My HFA is largely something I am able to manage, although it does create stress occasionally. I do experience the triad of symptoms – language issues, social difficulties and executive dysfunctionality. I also experience severe sensory problems.
· Epilepsy, which was adult-onset.
· Attention-Deficit Disorder.
I take various medications for these disabilities including: Venlaxafine (300mg Mane, 150mg Nocte), Mirtazapine (300mg Nocte), Escitalopram (60mg Mane), Sodium Valproate (300mg Mane, 600mg Nocte), Alprazalom (3 x 2mg, taken when needed and maximum 6mg daily), Zopiclone (7.5mg Nocte), Quetipine (300mg Nocte), Risperidone (2mg Nocte) and Methylphenidate (54mg in the XR – Concerta – form).
I don’t undertake any therapy at the moment – I’ve tried CBT and exposure therapy and found them ineffective: I also question their methodological underpinnings. I’ve also tried psychoanalysis, and although I think that contemporary psychoanalysis (Melanie Klien, Lacan etc.) has some validity, PS has really worked either.
I am a Communist and a member of the South African Communist Party. My orientation is towards Leninst-Marxism, but with an emphasis on orientating LM with a stronger Hegelian Ideological Framework, and injecting Western Marxist insights into LM, particularly Gramsic, Lukacs and Althusser. I don’t believe that LM’s strong realist underpinnings are appropriate to the kind of project it seeks to undertake, that a more phenomenological approach perhaps needs to be consider (ergo Gramsci and Lukacs); however, this doesn’t extend to the kind of nonesense that Sartre and the project of ’68 spout.
In terms of contemporary theoreticians, I do find Zizek interesting, but I don’t believe that Lacan is in any way compatible with Hegel, and that is the reason (I suspect) that a lot of Zizek’s work is dense and obtuse, as he’s trying to ‘square the circle’. What is useful is his insistence on a return to Lenin, and a re-interpretation of Lenin, although I would go so far as to say that the history of 20th century Marxist Theory has really been based on a misunderstanding of Lenin – Lenin is really a much more radical figure: while most theory tends to utilize his work on revolution, imperialism etc. an examination of his ontological, metaphysical and epistemological framework
really demonstrates the originality of his thought.
Badiou is a little more interesting and subtle. Alex Callincos has his moments, but seems stuck in a sort of syndicalist, workerist paradigm. Negri, Hardt and David Harvey seem to fairly unoriginal, really just repeat Lenin (and misunderstand him to boot) and don’t really seem to offer any insights worth taking up.
In terms of religious belief, I am an atheist, and really had my ‘damascus moment’ at the age of 7. This doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the products of religious belief – I have little respect for the likes of Richard Dawkins who is frankly an idiot and has set back the entire project of atheism. I do disagree with faith-based churches, and those with dodgy theological assumptions, e.g. the Mormons, Scientology. In terms of e.g. Catholicism, Calvin, Melacthon and so forth there are critical gems of knowledge – lately I’ve become very interested in Duns Scotus as a result of readings from Deleuze & Guattari and with that has come the realization that Nietzsche (for example) is a pale shadow in terms of Duns Scotus – N’s nihilism, for example, now seems to be a straw-manning – the idea of univocity of being is a far more dangerous brand of nihilism and one that Nietzsche should have built on.
· Classical music, but I’m not too fond of the Romantics.
PaPainting and Art, especially impressionism.
REReading about history: I have a particular interest in the period around the Counter-Reformation, as well as the history of antiquity, in particular the military campaigns of the Roman Republic.