The power of artists in assemblism: “As artists, we are not in power, but through morphology we give power: we give form to power. The practice of assemblism that we can derive from [Judith Butler’s Notes Towards a Performative Theory of Assembly] opens up the possibility of a new collectivity arising from the precariat—a new Us with the potential to shatter the Us/Them divide that has brought the new authoritarian world order into being. Embedding our artistic practice within social movements, we can help formulate the new campaigns, the new symbols, and the popular poetry needed to bolster the emergence of a radical collective imaginary. In that process, we can also begin to devise the new infrastructures—the parallel parliaments, the stateless embassies, the transdemocratic unions—needed to establish the institutions that will make a new emancipatory governance a reality. Our time as assemblists is now.”
On “masculinist gay fascism:” the historical connections between fascism and homosexuality.
Coghlan’s book Sensational Internationalism: The Paris Commune and the Remapping of American Memory in the Long Nineteenth Century (2016) recovers the now largely forgotten story of the Paris Commune’s spectacular afterlife as specter and spectacle in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century American culture.
Plotting the story of the revolution as telling the story of our present: “We live in the world that the age of revolutions created. The institutions and the myths it originated still structure the political life of most of the world’s people. So when we tell the story of the revolutionary era, choosing one way or another to narrate it, we are also shaping the story we tell ourselves about politics in the present.”
Fabulous politics: “Reacting to President Trump’s executive order banning the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations and refugees from any country, designers who are showing their work during the four days of men’s fashion in New York expressed dissent in gestures that, while mainly small and symbolic, added gravitas to the usual street-style antics and overall frivolity.”
“From Copley Square to LAX, Standout Signs from Another Weekend of Anti-Trump Rallies
Another weekend of anti-Trump protests across the United States proved that the new President may be able to Make Protesting Great Again, if nothing else. The weekend was dominated by quickly organized demonstrations at airports and in public parks and squares in cities across the country. There is a new activist energy in this country and it’s not dying down any time soon.”
“Rule through Twitter abandons the pretense of rationality required by the magic of the state, in place of which we find that other magic bound up with manifestly performative performance. What insights, then, can anthropology, with its wealth of traditions, provide? Can Trump Studies match its object of study?
In the forest we turn to what we know best, namely the riveting sense of life and lives instilled by fieldwork and the ecstatic craft of writerly practice. What better, then, in this moment of crisis, than to undertake sweeping experimentation with forms and tones of exposition? Fight theater with theater, art with art, magic with magic. There is no other way. Trumpology will thus be an art form, not of mastery, but of the mastery of nonmastery.”