Category Archives: founding

Lakhdar Ghettas: “The Tunisian revolution seven years on”

“Political transitions following bottom up upheavals are very difficult to navigate in that they bring to the surface all the contradictions that were suppressed by the authoritarian regime.”

Alexa Clay: “Utopia Inc”

“If today’s communities offer escape from the cult of individualism only to end up being ‘walled gardens’ for a privileged class of bohemians, entrepreneurs or spiritual seekers, then perhaps, for all their material success, they might yet be said to have failed. Whether today’s collaborative experiments will create tentacles into more diverse populations or tackle agendas of social justice and economic inequality remains to be seen.”

Bhaskar Sunkara: “The Few who Won”

“Yet both the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks were wrong in 1917. The Mensheviks’ faith in Russian liberals was misplaced, as were the Bolsheviks’ hopes for world revolution and an easy leap from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom. The Bolsheviks, having seen over ten million killed in a capitalist war, and living in an era of upheaval, can be forgiven. We can also forgive them because they were first. What is less forgivable is that a model built from errors and excesses, forged in the worst of conditions, came to dominate a left living in an unrecognizable world.”

“The Bolsheviks’ rise to power, one hundred years ago”

essays & reviews

“The first comprehensive political history of the communist party”

A. James McAdams: Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party (Princeton 2017) “from the drafting of The Communist Manifesto in the 1840s to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s”.

Brian Massumi interviewed on “Histories of Violence: Affect, Power, Violence”

“the political is not personalThe political is a collective break from the accumulating effects of power inherited from the past, claiming the right of ingress in the present. The political is what breaks through the personal, shattering the hold of the accumulated power effects that are part and parcel of its constitution, liberating self-affirming powers of primary resistance that co-occur with identity but do not belong to it, that are not contained in it but pass through and around it, that open instead onto the outside, onto new affective vistas of collective becoming.”

Thomas Jeffrey Miley: “The perils and promise of self-determination”

Democratic confederalism is a radical democratic project based on citizens’ assemblies, defended by citizens’ militias. It is a program and model which constitutes a radical reconceptualization of self-determination, one defined in terms of direct democracy against the state. A reconceptualization of “self-determination” that renounces as divisive and utopian the equation of the struggle for national freedom with the goal of an independent nation-state, and that seeks to overcome the danger of majority tyranny by institutionalizing a “revolutionary-consociational” regime. A consociational regime whose “social contract” guarantees multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, and multi-religious accommodation, by implementing quotas for political representation (concretely, in Rojava, for Arabs and for Assyrian Christians), by direct assemblies of different constituent groups, and by mobilizing these groups in their own militias of self-defense.’

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.”’

Jacques Rancière: “Democracy, Equality, Emancipation in a Changing World”

“A free social space … is a space where assemblies can practice forms of direct democracy intended … to make collective decisions on concrete matters. In such a way a form of political action tends to be at the same time the cell of another form of life. It is no longer a tool for preparing a future emancipation but a process of invention of forms of life and modes of thinking in which equality furthers equality.”

Jamie Bartlett: “The end of a world of nation-states may be upon us”

“Fleeting around from one city to the next, as I sometimes do, feels more Hanseatic League than League of Nations: a system of powerful, trading, networked cities. And the Hanseatic League itself was hardly an oddity. Before that there was Venice of course, and that was merely the most well-known of many independent city-states dotted across what is now Italy in the 10th to 16th centuries, including Florence, Bologna and Turin. But even this is ‘recent’ in the lifetime of the ancient city-state, which reaches back to Jerusalem, before that Athens, before that Babylon, and all the way back to Ur.”