Things i wish i had published

highwayIt’s been a fairly intense couple of years for me here at Kersplebedeb, publishing more books and pamphlets than i ever did before, and i like to think they include some important contributions to people who are trying (much as i am, hopefully with more success) to figure out how the world works, and what we can do about that. The recent publication of Lumpen: The Autobiography of Ed Mead, Escaping the Prism … Fade to Black by Jalil Muntaqim, and Panther Vision by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, felt like a real watershed for me, and now that all three are done, life has taken on a really different rhythm.

i am planning on publishing far less for the foreseeable future — this is both because it is not sustainable for me to continue at the previous rate, and also because i have other stuff i want to get back to working on. There will still be new books coming out, just not 10 a year, maybe not quite so thick, and likely refocussed on stuff produced by a particular circle of theorists.

As such, this seems like a good time to take stock of what i have neglected to publish to date, of places where my contributions are weak, of specific books or pamphlets that i wish i had been able to get out. Most of what i publish is not written by me, and in a situation where i am already turning down manuscripts that deserve to get out there, and which i would have been excited to have been able to work on except i just didn’t have the time, i have never felt in a position to solicit work. So a big part of why the following never came out is nobody ever came up to me saying “i’ve written this, want to publish it?” However, these are things people have asked me for (sometimes repeatedly) when i table, and things i myself have found lacking in what’s out there. It’s not a short list, and you know, i may come back to this post in the months to come, adding more ideas as i remember them:

  • a rigorous class analysis of contemporary “canadian” society (with an emphasis on its national and regional contradictions and imperialist nature)
  • a rigorous class analysis of contemporary “quebec” society, with the same emphasis as above
  • a history of quebec, with particular attention (but not limited) to the rise of the ultramontane Church in the 19th century and its decline in the 20th, and also the (related) question of New France’s transformation from being an oppressor nation to being an oppressed nation (Quebec) in the 18th century, and to Quebec’s transformation back to being an oppressor nation in the 20th century, both fleshing out the details and confirming (or questioning) how real these changes were
  • a translation of that booklet by that belgian group
  • radical fiction (and non-fiction?) aimed at kids who are beyond “baby books” but are not yet at the “young adult” tween/teen stage
  • advice on how to cope when you’re the only kid into radical politics at your high school
  • a translation of that text by that other belgian group
  • experiences of being radical in urban settings outside of the big cities (i.e. not “back to the land” rurality, but big town/small city blues kinda thing)
  • an examination of the characteristics and situation of white working class and poor people in north america
  • an interview with that person about the political situation in South Asia
  • an examination of how neocolonialism affects the emotional tenor of politics in the middle-class north american left
  • (connected to the above), an examination of the weak and strong points of the cultural appropriation framework, and of identity politics more broadly
  • a history of the radical left in Montreal in the 1990s, how and why some of its tendencies blossomed and how some went nowhere in the 2000s
  • an examination of “survivor autonomy”,  placing it in the context of other past examples on the radical left of there being an imperative to “take leadership” from specific categories of people
  • a survey of differences between canada and the united states that often get glossed over by canadian radicals, illustrating their significance

Beyond this, i also came to realize some years ago that beyond the groundbreaking, and in fact life-changing (for me, at least), contributions by Butch Lee, the stuff i have published has been overwhelmingly by men. This is definitely something i regret, and probably reflects a weakness in both my own efforts and the circles i am working in; however, in a situation where i have not had the resources to allow me to solicit texts, i have not been sure how to remedy matters.

i’ll likely never publish most of the above — unless someone comes to me with a text they have worked on, and even then, like i said, i am refocussing. Maybe they’ll be texts “published” online? But then again, it’s difficult to do “rigour” in that format. Maybe someone else will publish them? That would be nice … if you see any such things, please do let me know!

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