Category Archives: power

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.”

Karim Sadjadpour: “The Battle for Iran”

“Two-thousand-five-hundred years of Persian civilization and a century-long quest for democracy offer hope about the irrepressible Iranian will for change. But the Islamic Republic’s four-decade history of brutality suggests that change will not come easily, or peacefully, or soon.”

Susan Buck-Morss: “Global Civil War: Solidarity by Proxy”

“In the twenty-first century any world war is a civil war, and any civil war affects the world. Does this mean the end of the Age of Revolutions, or a whole new understanding of what revolution entails?” (video)

Harrison Fluss: “Behemoth and Leviathan: The Fascist Bestiary of the Alt-Right”

“The alt-right imagination … is torn between two opposing ‘animal spirits’. These are Behemoth and Leviathan. Originating in the Bible, these beasts gained philosophical meaning in Thomas Hobbes’ political philosophy, and entered fascist thought through the writings of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt. … These beasts are a pair of opposites: Behemoth is autochthonous, representing the stable order of earth-bound peoples. Leviathan is thalassocratic, embodying the fluid dynamism of seafaring peoples. Behemoth signifies terrestrial empires, while Leviathan suggests commercial trade and exploration. The former stands for traditional, divinely sanctioned state authority, the latter for the spirit of pirate-capitalist enterprise (what Schmitt calls ‘corsair capitalism’). … Today, the ‘Traditionalist’ philosopher Aleksandr Dugin and the ‘neoreactionary’ philosopher Nick Land are the standard bearers of Behemoth and Leviathan, respectively. “

Bue Rübner Hansen: “Winter in Catalonia”

“So to say the Catalan independence movement is Quixotic is not to suggest it has nothing to struggle against, but that it does so with ideals that have become abstract and formal, divorced from their material conditions. Behind the epic narrative of cultural and political resistance, Catalan independentism is deeply limited by the political economy, class composition and geopolitical intertwinements of Catalonia.”

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.”

“All the President’s Shakespeare”

“What Trump administration officials would you cast in Macbeth?”

Michael Bustamante & Jennifer Lambe: “In Fidel’s Shadow: Cuban History (and Futures), One Year On”

“The conflation of leader and national epic (or tragedy) dates to the very moment when the Cuban rebels first erupted onto the island’s political stage. …  the Revolution’s chief was the main architect and beneficiary of a rendering of Cuba’s past as deferred deliverance. And plenty of Cubans, at least at the start, were eager to believe.  Cuba’s official history thus yoked a cyclical saga of political failure to a vision of final triumph in the present.”

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

essays & reviews

Chris Maisano: “Politics without Politics”

“Four decades of defeat and marginalization means that a new generation of socialists is now joining a Left in serious need of inspiration and guidance. We would be well served to mine our own tradition’s rich vein of history, theory, and practice, including that of Gramsci himself. The alternative is a politics without politics, the substitution of technique for strategy.”