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Quickly brainstorm:

Texts we have read that have political themes or show evidence of an attempt by the author to change America in some way.

What change did the author try to make by writing the text? How did the author imagine America could be changed by the text?

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Paine, The Crisis

it is folly to argue against determined hardness; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice.

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Paine, The Crisis

America could carry on a two years' war by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this is revenge, call it rather the soft resentment of a suffering people, who, having no object in view but the good of all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful event. 12/21/12

Paine, The Crisis

Once more we are again collected and collecting; our new army at both ends of the continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed and clothed.

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Warren, The Blockheads

Soldier: A pretty story this in the British annals -- an everlasting disgrace will attend the transactions in America. Our best generals, with a force of artillery sufficient one would think to storm the regions of Beelzebub. The most experienced troops his Majesty has. A capital navy yet. With all this force, our generals dare not peep over the 12/21/12 entrenchments, are confined within

The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) from The Communist Manifesto (1888)

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on 12/21/12 an uninterrupted, now hidden, now

The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) from The Communist Manifesto (1888)

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on 12/21/12 an uninterrupted, now hidden, now

BASE/ SUPERSTRUCTURE:

The base is our material and historical circumstances. The superstructure is the social relations, class system, work, the police, etc.

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Louis Althusser (1918-1990)

Enforced by:

Repressive State Apparatuses Ideological State Apparatuses

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Repressive state apparatus: army, police, the courts: enforces through force. Ideological state apparatus: in particular schools and the media, but also the legal system that bartelby works for.
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Ideology: rules that seem natural. They obscure the fact that we are living in certain historical and material conditions that can be changed, and instead makes it seem like the best of all possible worlds.

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This is the state of false consciousness:

You dont know that you are being oppressed.

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Office Space (1999)

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Some questions for Marxist criticism


1. Does the work reinforce (intentionally or not) capitalist, imperialist, or classist values? To a Marxist, it is the critics job to expose and condemn this aspect of the work. 2. How might the work be seen as a critique of capitalism, imperialism, or classism? That is, in what ways does the text reveal, and invite us to condemn, oppressive socioeconomic 12/21/12

Slavoj iek (1949-)

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What is a scrivener?
He ran a day and night line, copying by sun-light and by candle-light. I should have been quite delighted with his application, had he been cheerfully industrious. But he wrote on silently, palely, mechanically. It is, of course, an indispensable part of a scrivener's business to verify the 12/21/12 accuracy of his copy, word by word.

It was on the third day, I think, of his being with me, and before any necessity had arisen for having his own writing examined, that, being much hurried to complete a small affair I had in hand, I abruptly called to Bartleby. In my haste and natural expectancy of instant compliance, I sat with my head bent over the original on my desk, and my right hand sideways, 12/21/12 and somewhat nervously extended

Imagine my surprise, nay, my consternation, when without moving from his privacy, Bartleby in a singularly mild, firm voice, replied, "I would prefer not to. I sat awhile in perfect silence, rallying my stunned faculties. Immediately it occurred to me that my ears had deceived me, or Bartleby had entirely misunderstood my meaning. I repeated my request in the clearest tone I could assume. But in quite as clear a one came the previous reply, "I would prefer not to." "Prefer not to," echoed I, rising in high excitement, and crossing the room with a stride. "What do you 12/21/12 mean? Are you moon-struck? I want you to help me

A few days after this, Bartleby concluded four lengthy documents, being quadruplicates of a week's testimony taken before me in my High Court of Chancery. It became necessary to examine them. It was an important suit, and great accuracy was imperative. Having all things arranged I called Turkey, Nippers and Ginger Nut from the next room, meaning to place 12/21/12 the four copies in the hands of my four

"Bartleby! quick, I am waiting." I heard a slow scrape of his chair legs on the uncarpeted floor, and soon he appeared standing at the entrance of his hermitage. "What is wanted?" said he mildly.
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For a few moments I was turned into a pillar of salt, standing at the head of my seated column of clerks. Recovering myself, I advanced towards the screen, and demanded the reason for such extraordinary conduct. "Why do you refuse?"
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"I prefer not to," he replied in a flutelike tone. It seemed to me that while I had been addressing him, he carefully revolved every statement that I made; fully comprehended the meaning; could not gainsay the irresistible conclusions; but, at the same time, some paramount consideration prevailed with him to reply as he did.
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"I prefer not to," he replied in a flutelike tone. It seemed to me that while I had been addressing him, he carefully revolved every statement that I made; fully comprehended the meaning; could not gainsay the irresistible conclusions; but, at the same time, some paramount consideration prevailed with him to reply as he did.
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Common Sense/ Simple/ Common Usage = Ideology?

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He briefly gave me to understand that on that point my judgment was sound. Yes: his decision was irreversible. It is not seldom the case that when a man is browbeaten in some unprecedented and violently unreasonable way, he begins to stagger in his own plainest faith. He 12/21/12 begins, as it were, vaguely to surmise

He briefly gave me to understand that on that point my judgment was sound. Yes: his decision was irreversible. It is not seldom the case that when a man is browbeaten in some unprecedented and violently unreasonable way, he begins to stagger in his own plainest faith. 12/21/12 He begins, as it were, vaguely to

Accordingly, if any disinterested persons are present, he turns to them for some reinforcement for his own faltering mind. "Turkey," said I, "what do you think of this? Am I not right?" "With submission, sir," said Turkey, 12/21/12

"Ginger Nut," said I, willing to enlist the smallest suffrage in my behalf, "what do you think of it?" "I think, sir, he's a little luny," replied Ginger Nut with a grin.

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Say now that in a day or two you will begin to be a little reasonable: say so, Bartleby. At present I would prefer not to be a little reasonable, was his mildly cadaverous reply. (110)

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Just then the folding-doors opened, and Nippers approached. He seemed suffering from an unusually bad nights rest, induced by severer indigestion than common. He overheard those final words of Bartleby. Prefer not, eh? gritted NippersId prefer him, if I were you, sir, addressing meId prefer him; Id give him preferences, the stubborn mule! What is it, sir, pray, that he prefers not to do now?
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Bartleby moved not a limb.

Somehow, of late I had got into the way of involuntarily using this word prefer upon all sorts of not exactly suitable occasions. And I trembled to think that my contact with the scrivener had already and seriously affected me in a mental way. And what further and deeper aberration might it not yet produce? (115)
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Bartleby had been a subordinate clerk in the Dead Letter Office at Washington, from which he had been suddenly removed by a change in the administration. When I think over this rumor, I cannot adequately express the emotions which seize me. Dead letters! does it not sound like dead men? Conceive a man by nature and misfortune prone to a pallid 12/21/12 hopelessness, can any business seem

Ah Bartleby! Ah humanity!

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