Category Archives: terror

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 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

Jason Farago: “The Dangerous Beauty of Jacques-Louis David”

“A landmark exhibition of drawings at the Met brings us into the studio of the French Revolution’s chief propagandist, and stages the ultimate showdown of culture and politics.”

Beatrice de Graaf: “Red, White, and Blood: White Terror and Great Fear, 1789-2021”

““White terror” has always been the twin brother of “revolutionary” or “red terror.” Modern history since the French Revolution has witnessed an effervescent parade of rebellions, insurrections, insurgencies, and proper coups – but they almost always came in pairs, as, for example, with revolutionary terror (against sitting feudal, authoritarian regimes) and white terror, counter-revolutionary violence, directed against the alleged revolutionary (or socialist, after 1917) activists and dissidents. Applying this dichotomy of terror to the current wave of insurrection (in the United States and elsewhere) helps us to put its dynamics in a broader historical context.”

Daniel Herwitz: “Good ideals gone bad or bad ideals made good?”

“one wonders if freedom meant to them the freedom to take on the responsibility of creating an equitable and dignified society for all, or if in their heart of hearts freedom meant … freedom as a surge of power, power of self over others, power to command, power to become, to have things and control things.”

Murtaza Hussain: “The Far-Right Revolution Was Waiting for an Opportunity. Now, It’s Here.”

“Mutated through new information technologies and drawing strength from feelings of economic and demographic dislocation, fascist and sectarian ideologies have found a home in the hearts of members of a new generation of Americans. Whether most people have connected the dots or not, a violent struggle is already playing out. Over the past few years, a steady drumbeat of massacres have been carried out by extremists associated with the new far-right.”

Anonymous: “Between Looted Targets And Trillionaires: Solidarity With The Rebels In Minneapolis”

The order of things is crushing us. Our jobs are disappearing, they’re paying us shit for throwing our lives into a charnel house, they’re murdering the unruly in the streets and stealing the lives of black people on camera for all the world to see. This is a world we must refuse because it never gave a damn thing for us. This is a world we must destroy.”

Jeremy Popkin: “Vive la révolution!”

“Must radical political change generate uncontainable violence?  The French Revolution is both a cautionary and inspiring tale.”

Kylo V. Nèr: “Delenda est”

“There is no need to redeem the sins of the world in this way; there is nothing to redeem. There is no need to work for better days, to offer generations to come a haven purified of our turpitude, to make ourselves worthy of who has not yet come. There is nothing but to destroy. Let it be destroyed. Without hatred, but without hesitation. Without acrimony, but without trembling.  Delenda est.”

Alex von Tunzelmann: “The Evil Repercussions of the American Revolution”

A review of TO BEGIN THE WORLD OVER AGAIN: How the American Revolution Devastated the Globe (2019) by Matthew Lockwood.  “He finds it at the root of a long list of ills, including increasing authoritarianism within Britain itself and the wider British Empire, the failure of Irish, Indian and Peruvian movements against imperialism, the Russian conquest of Crimea, the establishment of penal colonies in Australia and the growth of the global opium trade.”