Author Archives: Vassilis Lambropoulos

Daniel Cohn-Bendit & Claus Leggewie: “1968: Power to the Imagination”

“Our solidarity with the national liberation movements was immense. … What we largely ignored, however, was the suppression proceeding from the liberators themselves, once they had seized power.”

Bonnie Honig on agency in “Antigone”

Antigone’s actions are “embedded in and enacted on behalf of forces, structures, and networks larger than the autonomous individual that modern liberals, humanists and even radical democratic theorist tend to both love … and berate” (Honig, Antigone, Interrupted, 8). “Under the name of Antigone, A,I tracks not an exemplary individual but rather a set of discourses, styles, genres, vocabularies, citations, collaborations, conspiracies, reactions, interruptions, negotiations, failed and successful communications” (piece on the Leonard/Porter panel, 330). Antigone is “a veritable swarm of figures. Not a subjectified reified figure, but a host: … all dissidents, martyrs, counter-revolutionaries, philosophers, feminists, and diasporic actors who have claimed her or been claimed by her. Indeed, Antigone seems to me to be less of a singular heroine … than a signifier overflowing with contested meanings and available for mobilization as a heroine in many particular contexts” (331). Honig insists that “the world also always passes through us, and that we are, therefore, only ever individuated, never individuals as such, always en procès” (335). “I do press for a politics that seeks out sovereignty, but not for individuals. Individual subjects are anything but sovereign. As actors in concert, however, we can set the terms of our collective life together in small and, sometimes, large ways” (piece on the Walsh panel, 571).

Revolutionary states of emergency

“Modern states of emergency follow close on the heels of modern revolutions. They are, per Agamben, ‘a creation,’ ironically, ‘of the democratic-revolutionary tradition and not the absolutist one’ [State of Exception, 5]. Though he does not himself make this point explicitly, we cold consider emergency an instrument that emerges from within the revolution to turn its most radical tendencies back. When a revolutionary government suspends its own constitution, it undermines the constituent politics – that is, the popular power to form a truly egalitarian body politic – that originally precipitated the revolution and which the constitution is supposed to enshrine. Emergency decrees are, in this regard, the counterinsurgent practice par excellence. They circumscribe constituent power withing the sovereign voice” (Ahmed, Archaeology of Babel, 2017, 189).

Mitchell Abidor: “1968: When the Communist Party Stopped a French Revolution “

“1968 was the definitive proof, if such proof were still needed, that the Communist Party had no interest in seizing power through revolution. But it also demonstrated that in this, the PCF was the perfect image of the class it represented, and vice versa. Cornelius Castoriadis … wrote in an essay published during the events:

In France in May ’68 the industrial proletariat was not the revolutionary vanguard of society, but rather its ponderous rear guard. If the student movement attacked the heavens, what stuck society to earth… was the attitude of the proletariat, its passivity in regard to its leadership and the regime, its inertia, its indifference to everything that was not an economic demand.”

Paul Quinn-Judge: “The Revolution that Wasn’t”

“Ukraine has for the past two decades been caught in a vicious circle. While Russia attempts to keep the country within its orbit, reformers struggle to change a totally corrupt political system, and the ruling class subverts their efforts.”

“The re-election of Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister disproves everything we thought we knew about democracy.”

“Until recently, many political scientists believed that there was a certain set of countries in which democracy was safe. … The recent election in Hungary is the latest piece of evidence that this theory has always been dangerously naïve.”

Tithi Bhattacharya: “Women are leading the wave of strikes in America”

“These strikes are for wages and benefits, but they arise from a social landscape scoured by gender and racial inequalities.”

“La ZAD: Another End of the World Is Possible”

“The French government announced that it had given up on building a new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL). This decision capped five decades of political, economic, legal, environmental, and personal struggle. … What began as a small protest camp grew into a world-famous space of autonomous experimentation that lasted almost nine years.”

Gary Younge: “Martin Luther King: how a rebel leader was lost to history”

“Fifty years after his death, the civil rights leader is a national treasure in the US. But what happened to his revolutionary legacy?”

“Why the March for Our Lives could win”

“That’s what makes movements like the March for Our Lives — and much of the activism that’s followed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 — so important. For once, we are seeing a mass movement that is extremely dedicated to gun control. And by attracting so much national attention, the movement may inspire other Americans to follow suit — making gun control an issue that can actually sway votes.”