Category Archives: revolution

Daniel Cohn-Bendit & Claus Leggewie: “1968: Power to the Imagination”

“Our solidarity with the national liberation movements was immense. … What we largely ignored, however, was the suppression proceeding from the liberators themselves, once they had seized power.”

Revolutionary states of emergency

“Modern states of emergency follow close on the heels of modern revolutions. They are, per Agamben, ‘a creation,’ ironically, ‘of the democratic-revolutionary tradition and not the absolutist one’ [State of Exception, 5]. Though he does not himself make this point explicitly, we cold consider emergency an instrument that emerges from within the revolution to turn its most radical tendencies back. When a revolutionary government suspends its own constitution, it undermines the constituent politics – that is, the popular power to form a truly egalitarian body politic – that originally precipitated the revolution and which the constitution is supposed to enshrine. Emergency decrees are, in this regard, the counterinsurgent practice par excellence. They circumscribe constituent power withing the sovereign voice” (Ahmed, Archaeology of Babel, 2017, 189).

Mitchell Abidor: “1968: When the Communist Party Stopped a French Revolution “

“1968 was the definitive proof, if such proof were still needed, that the Communist Party had no interest in seizing power through revolution. But it also demonstrated that in this, the PCF was the perfect image of the class it represented, and vice versa. Cornelius Castoriadis … wrote in an essay published during the events:

In France in May ’68 the industrial proletariat was not the revolutionary vanguard of society, but rather its ponderous rear guard. If the student movement attacked the heavens, what stuck society to earth… was the attitude of the proletariat, its passivity in regard to its leadership and the regime, its inertia, its indifference to everything that was not an economic demand.”

Paul Quinn-Judge: “The Revolution that Wasn’t”

“Ukraine has for the past two decades been caught in a vicious circle. While Russia attempts to keep the country within its orbit, reformers struggle to change a totally corrupt political system, and the ruling class subverts their efforts.”

Bronwen Everill: “Demarginalizing West Africa in the Age of Revolutions”

‘It is true that the West African Age of Revolutions did not inspire specifically democratic change in the polities that were “revolutionized”, and that the revolutions’ relationships with the practices of the slave trade and slavery were complicated. But if not all of these revolutions were democratic, then maybe it wasn’t an age of democratic revolutions at all, which makes the particular cases of democratic revolution interesting in different ways.’

Owen Holland: “‘What we believe in waits latent forever through all the continents’: The Paris Commune and the Poetics of Martyrdom in the Fin de Siècle Socialist Print Culture”

“The problem of how to relate to, and retrospectively valorise, the Commune’s failure created a tension in the socialist periodical press between the motivational need to celebrate such a heroic defeat, in order to justify sacrifices both past and present, and the evaluative need critically to assess the reasons that underlay the defeat.”

James C. Scott interviewed on “Most Resistance does not Speak its Name”

“France after the revolution was a great emancipatory state, but prior to it, the state only had access to the population through the different parliaments and different estates of the feudal order. Once the revolution occurred, the state for the first time had direct access to every citizen. That was the birth of citizenship, and that made possible the total mobilization of the population under Napoleon. So you had organization and mobilization of total war and emancipation being linked integrally to the achievements of the French Revolution.”

“Kurdish women’s movement makes a historic call to women across the world”

“From the mountains of Kurdistan, in the lands where society developed with the leadership of women, we salute you with our great freedom, passion, ambition, and unbreakable struggle. From Rojava’s neighborhoods to South America’s forests, from Europe’s streets to Africa’s plains, from the Middle East’s valleys to North America’s plazas, from Asia’s mountains to Australia’s plateaus; with our love which knows no borders and with our most revolutionary feelings, we embrace all women who intensify the struggle for freedom and equality.”

Marta Figlerowicz: “The Disillusionment of Post-Soviet Europe”

A review of Aftershock: A Journey into Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams (2017) by John Feffer

“Symposium on the Bicentennial of the Latin American Revolutions of Independence”

Journal of the History of Ideas, 79: 1, 2018