Category Archives: governance

Catherine Malabou: Two video interviews on anarchism and philosophy

“We revisit the arguments for ontological anarchism and attempt to elucidate a bridge between anarchy in philosophy and politics. Catherine also shares her views on cryptocurrency, AI, and other technological trends as they relate to the prospect of a “dawning anarchy”. Moreover, we explore the distinction between liberatory and libertarian anarchisms as they both emerge on the cybernetic plane of the control society.”

Alain Badiou: “Thirteen theses and some comments on politics today”

“We could thus define the maximum ambition of future political work: to realise for the first time in history the first hypothesis, so that revolution will prevent war, rather than the second, i.e. that war will provoke revolution.”

Casey Harison: “The Crowd in History and the January 6, 2021 Attack on the US Capitol”

“Indeed, for those familiar with the history of crowds, January 6 has real similarities with a pattern of collective action that happened across the Atlantic World dating from the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.”

David Waldstreicher reviews “The Counter-Revolution of 1836: Texas Slavery & Jim Crow and the Roots of U.S. Fascism” by Gerald Horne

“Horne doesn’t deny the Revolution and the Civil War mattered. He rather brings out their counter-revolutionary dimensions and remembers neglected episodes that may have been just as or more important in, for example, Texas. Though he doesn’t explicitly say so, his Gulf South–oriented U.S. history is a rejoinder to several varieties of north-south or east-west ways of looking at our past. Instead of Texas exceptionalism, it’s America as Texas.”

David A. Bell: “The Experiment: The life and afterlife of the Paris Commune”

“The ghost of the Commune continued to haunt the regime that had killed it and helped to push the Third Republic and future regimes in the more progressive direction they eventually took. For all of the contradictions that accompanied its short life, the Commune, as Carolyn Eichner insists, played a key historical role.”

“Worldmaking after Empire”: Adom Getachew interviewed on Jacobin Radio

“The story of how decolonization struggles across the Black Atlantic tried to not only cast off European rule but also to remake the entire world system.  An October 2019 conversation.”

Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall: “Thoroughly Modern Maxie: Robespierre’s Relevance for Democracy Today”

“But Robespierre’s challenge remains relevant today: what can we do now, in the face of furious backlash from those who oppose #BlackLivesMatter, feminism, and other social movements, to confront those who would rather deform democracy than see society become more just and egalitarian?”

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

“The Root of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers” (ΝΥ Times)

“In 1791, enslaved Haitians did the seemingly impossible. They ousted their French masters and founded a nation. But France made generations of Haitians pay for their freedom — in cash.”