Category Archives: Blog

Marcello Tarì’s “There Is No Unhappy Revolution” reviewed by Chrys Papaioannou

“Written from the standpoint of an intellectual who remains committed to the political project of insurrectionary communism, Tarì’s monograph-cum-manifesto will no doubt rouse readers who take textual pleasure in the insurgent lyricism of militant collectives such as The Invisible Committee, Tiqqun and Colectivo Situaciones.”

“Emory Douglas: The Art of the Black Panthers”

“From 1967 to the Party’s dissolution in the early 1980s, Douglas designed the art that came to define the Black Panthers and their iconography.”

Rachel Collett reviews “Red Valkyries: Feminist Lessons from Five Revolutionary Women” by Kristen Ghodsee

“In exploring the lives of the revolutionary socialist feminists, Red Valkyries demonstrates the value and importance of feminism in the 21st century.”

Christopher Clark reviews Jonathan Beecher’s “Writers and Revolution: Intellectuals and the French Revolution of 1848″”

“It follows nine contemporary intellectuals – d’Agoult, the novelists George Sand, Victor Hugo and Gustave Flaubert, the statesman Lamartine, the liberal theorist and parliamentarian Alexis de Tocqueville and the socialists Karl Marx, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Alexander Herzen – into the revolution, links arms with them as they pass through its euphoria, confusion and violence, and tracks their steps as they re-emerge into the post-revolutionary world.”

Maria Popova: “The Spirit of Revolt: The Radical Russian Dissident Prince Peter Kropotkin on How to Reboot a Complacent Society”

“There are periods in the life of human society when revolution becomes an imperative necessity, when it proclaims itself as inevitable. New ideas germinate everywhere, seeking to force their way into the light, to find an application in life; everywhere they are opposed by the inertia of those whose interest it is to maintain the old order; they suffocate in the stifling atmosphere of prejudice and traditions.”

“The German Revolution of 1918: Revolutionary November” (video)

Conor Bean reviews “Capital Hates Everyone: Fascism or Revolution” (2021) by Maurizio Lazzarato

“He remains adamant that any revolutionary organizing on the horizon must accept the effective displacement of the working class from the position of central revolutionary subject, set aside Leninist and Maoist organizing models, and embrace the potentials for historically oppressed subjectivities’ ‘becoming-revolutionary’ in the course of anti-capitalist activity (232)”

The tragedy of post-colonial self-determination

In her challenging book Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (2019)political scientist Adom Getachew discusses self-determination in the Anglophone Black Atlantic, with special emphasis on post-colonial independence as well as Caribbean and African federations.  It would be interesting to compare the political thought of intellectuals and statesmen such as George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, Eric Williams, Michael Manley, and Julius Nyerere, which she explores, with that of contemporary writers.  In particular, it would be fascinating to study the failure of self-determination that started in the 1960s in light of contemporary tragedies of autonomy that focused paradigmatically on Haiti, such as Monsieur Toussaint (1961) by Edouard Glissant, Toussaint (1961) by Lorraine Hansberry, Drums and Colors (1961) by Derek Walcott, The Tragedy of King Christophe (1963) by Aimé Césaire, and C. L. R. James’ revisions to The Black Jacobins (1962) that recast it as a post-colonial tragedy.

8 June 2022

The tragedy of Haiti in history, drama, and performance

Last week, as I read in The New York Times the four-day series
“The Ransom – The Root of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers”
and I continued work on Aimé Césaire’s superb drama The Tragedy of King Christophe (1963, 1970)
for my book-length project The Tragedy of Revolution,
I took the train to Chicago and caught the last performance of the wonderful American premiere of this Shakespearean tragedy.
On the way home, I was reminded of what the Martinican Césaire said when talking about a visit to the Caribbean island:  “In Haiti I saw mainly what should not be done!  A country that had supposedly conquered its liberty … and which I saw more miserable than Martinique, which was a French colony! … It was tragic.”
30 May 2022

Onur Isci: Book Review: “Nationalism, Secessionism, and Autonomy” by André Lecours (2021)

“Throughout the book, the author seeks to answer the question of why some nationalist movements take a secessionist form while others do not. The answer he gives lies not in the character or content of the nationalist movement in question, but in the autonomy of the region in which the movement emerged within a sovereign state.”