Category Archives: emergency

Valerio Starita: “L’autonomie s’organise”

The French movement against the ‘Labour Law’ “last year was a movement in revolt against precarity, a movement which was crystallised by the Labour Law, and which was quickly redoubled by a wide movement in revolt against police repression, owing to the particular context it had to face – namely, the state of emergency. This was the context in which we saw autonomous contingents forming on the protests, bringing together as many as several thousand people.”

Amitai Etzioni & Mark Bray on the Antifa

Is violence a legitimate political tool?

‘“A colossal miscalculation”: Why the Kurds’ independence bid might lead to civil war in Iraq’

“The Iraqi central government in Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan are fighting over control of Kirkuk, a multiethnic region in northeastern Iraq that sits atop some of the country’s most lucrative oil fields. It’s an area that has been a flashpoint between the country’s Arab majority and the Kurdish minority on and off for decades.  The Kurds want Kirkuk to be part of a future independent state of Kurdistan, controlled from its capital, Erbil. The Iraqi central government, on the other hand, wants to keep Kirkuk — along with the rest of Iraqi Kurdistan — as part of a unified Iraq, controlled by Baghdad.”

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?”

Boaventura de Sousa Santos: “The Left and Catalonia”

“First, the relationship between law and democracy is dialectical and
not mechanical. Much of what we consider democratic legality in a given
historical moment started as illegality, as an aspiration to a better and broader
democracy. It is therefore imperative to evaluate the political processes in
terms of their overall historical dynamics. In no case can they be reduced to
conformity with the laws of the day.”

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.’

David Sessions: ” “The Radical Hopes of the Russian Revolution”

‘Was the October revolution bound to lead to terror? … Both Tariq Ali and China Miéville sense that our flattened, calcified versions of the revolutionary past have something to do with the absence of political imagination and emancipatory hope in the present. “Today’s dominant ideology and the power structures it defends are so hostile to the social and liberation struggles of the last century,” Ali writes, “that a recovery of as much historical and political memory as is feasible becomes an act of resistance.”’

“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.’

Jordan Camp: “Detroit’s Rebellion and the Rise of the Neoliberal State”

“The following account of the Detroit uprising of 1967 is occasioned by the 50th anniversary of the events. It describes the suppression of the revolt as being symptomatic of a broader counterinsurgency against radical social movements in the United States. In turn, it considers how the repression accelerated punitive and authoritarian carceral policies. Through an examination of the cultural products of these social movements, it also suggests that alternative outcomes have been and continue to be possible. This account is excerpted from Incarcerating the Crisis.”

George Ciccariello-Maher interviewed: “What is Antifa? A Scholar of the Movement Explains”

Antifa is not a specific organization. Maybe you could call it a movement, but it’s really more an orientation. And that orientation is of course in the name: it’s against fascism and recognizing the need to confront that fascism directly.  As an orientation antifa plays a specific role. It is against something. Most antifa members identify with anarchism or communism of a certain sort. In other words, the radical overthrow of the existing system.”