Category Archives: tragic politics

Jérôme Baschet interviewed: ‘History Is No Longer On Our Side’

“It has recently been said that there is a major cleavage within the thought of emancipation. For some, it is necessary to preserve, or rediscover, the classical parameters of modernity, and in particular a conception of History understood as a triumphant advance of Progress. … On the other side of the dividing line are all those who, following Benjamin, consider that we must completely abandon an untenable modern-progressive conception of history.”

Joseph Fronczak: “Melancholy and Mobilisation”

A review of Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory by Enzo Traverso

Chris Horner: “Hannah Arendt And The Lost Treasure Of The American Revolution”

“The public space of freedom was not preserved by either of the two revolutions mainly discussed in On Revolution, and we should include their failure alongside that of the Bolsheviks when we read Arendt’s appreciation of the fact that Rosa Luxemburg ‘was far more afraid of a deformed revolution than an unsuccessful one’”.

Jeremy Popkin: “Vive la révolution!”

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

Cédric Durand: “It should have been a great decade for the European left – what happened? “

“If there’s a single moment that characterises the end of this moment, it’s the tragic Greek betrayal of July 2015. In this deadly summer, the Greek people voted against (“oxi”) the bailout conditions imposed by the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF. But this victory was transformed by Syriza – the only left-of-social-democracy government in Europe – into a humiliating submission. When then prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, accepted harsher structural reforms to keep Greece’s membership of the eurozone, he proved that democracy could be blackmailed. Capital, not people, has the last say.”

William Dalrymple: Review of “The Buried” by Peter Hessler – Life, death and revolution in Egypt

‘In this scheme, the fall of Mubarak, the chaos of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the restoration of authoritarian rule under Sisi also follow rhythms familiar to Egyptian history. Hessler sees a mirror in the story of the pharoah Akhenaten – a failed revolutionary whose attempt to introduce monotheism was crushed in “what was possibly the first military coup in human history” by his general Horemheb, and whose tyranny was consolidated by Horemheb’s successor Ramesses II.’

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.”

“Everything is burning already; Let us burn together!”

“if we want peace, we will first go through war.  It is total war, planetary, nature defending itself against the civilisational monster; riotous war, protean, of a world bursting with rage to live against the costumed puppets that bleed it white. This war is already taking place everywhere, and is intensifying devilishly in the immense revolutionary leap that is drumming at the golden gates of the great spawning.  All countries are rising up.”

Dimitrina Petrova: “The Egalitarian Promise of 1989—and Its Betrayal”

The paradox of 1989 is that communism was stormed and brought down from the left, by people with unfulfilled egalitarian aspirations, but the revolutionary road led to a new society that has been experienced as more unfair than communism.”

Lorissa Rinehart: “A Graphic Novel Looks at the Limits of Freedom in Revolutionary Cuba”

“In Goodbye, My Havana, the Cuban revolution’s prescribed limits of freedom are most evident in the relegation of women and LGBTQ individuals to the periphery, where their rights quickly erode and their personhood is more easily dismissed. The benefit of hindsight shows Castro’s regime working inward from there. Once it had stripped the most vulnerable of their rights, it was easier to impose a system of authoritarianism on the remainder of the populace.”