Category Archives: crisis

Charles McNulty: “How theater should respond to a democracy in meltdown”

“Today would seem to be a prime time for agitprop.”

“Is Fascism making a comeback?”

Scholars and activists respond.

“Robert Mugabe Resigns as Zimbabwe’s President, Ending 37-Year Rule”

“While Mr. Mugabe’s resignation caused immediate jubilation in the streets, for many the reaction was more complex. Mr. Mugabe had occupied a central role in the nation’s four-decade history and in its founding mythology, which all Zimbabweans are taught in primary school. He was a tyrant, many said, but he was also the nation’s father figure.”

Theodoros Karyotis: “The Right to the City in an Age of Austerity”

“In Greece, resistance to austerity comprises a mosaic of struggles for a right to the city, conceived as the collective self-determination of everyday life.”

“Barrage to Catalonia”

“The Catalan crisis is indicative of the general collapse of democratic politics in Europe. … Historic party bases are dying, in favour of more confused webs of identity. Yet this takes place in a fragmented and superficial fashion, no longer based in class blocs or even the politics of national unity. The temporary coalitions of referendums are an agent of this process, helping to destroy the old collective forms while replacing them with nothing.”

Étienne Balibar: “The Idea of Revolution: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”

‘A political scenario of revolutionary moments in history essentially combines three types of phenomena: a change in the distribution of power within society, which transfers it from those from above who “normally” monopolize it … to those from below who “normally” are excluded or marginalized …; a transition from one state or social regime to another, which … separates “long” periods of time …; a moment of exception with respect to the legal and institutional “governmentality” …, where the rules of decision-making and the forms of representation are suspended … All three aspects are … antinomic or structured as unities of opposites.’

“Spain’s government moves to halt independence vote for Catalonia, sparking protests”

‘After years of largely ignoring Catalan separatism, Spain’s central government moved decisively Wednesday to halt preparations for an independence referendum in its Catalonia region, where memories of repression under the Franco dictatorship linger. … Catalonia held an independence poll in 2014, and voters favored secession. But turnout was low, and Catalan officials acknowledged it was nonbinding. This time, they vow to declare independence from Spain within 48 hours, if the “yes” votes win.’

Nathan Heller: “Is there any Point to Protesting?”

“Still, what has protest done for us lately? Smartphones and social media are supposed to have made organizing easier, and activists today speak more about numbers and reach than about lasting results. Is protest a productive use of our political attention? Or is it just a bit of social theatre we perform to make ourselves feel virtuous, useful, and in the right?”

Salar Mohandesi: “Identity Crisis”

“Instead of taking for granted the existence of a collection of bounded, undifferentiated, organic communities, perhaps we should look to the concept of class composition, that is, tracking the correlation between the manner in which a class is materially constituted at a specific moment in history and the manner in which that class composes itself, or how it actively combines the different parts of itself to construct into a single force. Instead of making assumptions about the needs of marginalized people, perhaps it might be worth undertaking concrete inquiries and self-inquiries to discover what people really want, why they have adopted certain political positions.  Finally, instead of assuming an automatic link between one’s DNA and one’s politics, we should turn to the concept of articulation to understand the contingent ways that different subjects arrive at different politics. … By challenging deterministic thinking, articulation can better explain why people adopt seemingly alien political positions, why antagonistic social forces enter into contradictory alliances, and why those who may not immediately face a particular oppression may still be in a position to combat those oppressions.”

Jason Read: “The Modality of Necessity: On Clover’s ‘Riot. Strike. Riot'”

“The question is how does one make a politics out of this combination of necessity and contingency. Such a question is not new, it might be the question of revolutionary politics. The long wave of strikes had answers to this question, answers that took the form of the worker’s movement, revolutionary unions, and so on.”