Category Archives: tyranny

Kristian Williams: ‘“Full Spectrum Resistance”: a field manual for insurgencies’

“Aric McBay’s massive, two-volume, handbook for political action, covers the fundamentals of social change, offering advice on organization, strategy, tactics, security, communication (internal and external), and so on — all illustrated with historical case studies.”

“Reading the History of Slavery: 3 Experts Offer Book Recommendations”

On the ways the history of slavery informs our present.

Robin Wright: “Give Me Liberty or Give Me COVID-19: A History”

“Yet the rhetoric and rage displayed in recent protests is not new. Protestors are drawing on a broader conservative discourse centered on the Constitution and American Revolution. Across a diverse cohort of right-wing, libertarian, militia, pro-gun, and white nationalist movements, the Constitution functions as a key symbol in the struggle to advance white exclusionary claims to the U.S. nation. These groups position contemporary grievances as a continuation of the founding fathers’ struggle against tyranny. Speakers at rallies and online commenters herald the coming of the Second American Revolution, inciting patriots to remain armed and ready for combat.”

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.’

Bernard E. Harcourt: “The Counterrevolution: How Our Government Went to War Against Its Own Citizens”

The Counterrevolution is a penetrating and disturbing account of the rise of counterinsurgency, first as a military strategy but increasingly as a way of ruling ordinary Americans. Harcourt shows how counterinsurgency’s principles–bulk intelligence collection, ruthless targeting of minorities, pacifying propaganda–have taken hold domestically despite the absence of any radical uprising. This counterrevolution against phantom enemies, he argues, is the tyranny of our age.”

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.”

James L. Gelvin: “Turkish attack on Syria endangers a remarkable democratic experiment by the Kurds”

‘The key to understanding the Rojava project, as those involved often refer to it, is the notion of “confederalism.” In this form of government, local units – in this case, Kurdistan’s “autonomous regions” – come together in a federation yet retain a great deal of autonomy.’

“Resistance in Rojava”

The people of Rojava in northern Syria—both Kurdish and Muslim—were at the front of the struggle to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), sustaining thousands and thousands of casualties in the course of years of warfare. As soon as ISIS was beaten, the US government tricked the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) into dismantling their defenses along the Syrian border, promising to secure peace in the region and discouraging them from seeking other international allies. Once they were defenseless, Trump gave Turkey permission to invade.”

Jeffrey Ostler: “The Great Fear of 1776”

“It may be unsettling to consider the creation of the United States as a genocidal project, but the experiences of many of eastern North America’s Indigenous people led them to think of it in precisely this way. Examining their reasons does not necessarily mandate agreement with their conclusion, but it does ask us to take their fears more seriously than we have.”

Alex Press: “The Conscience of a Revolutionary: Victor Serge’s commitment to the individual as collective hero”

Serge is committed “to the individual seen as a collective hero and the product of generations of struggle. … If people, not just revolutions, are centuries in the making, bearing the traces of prior social relations, of political domination and uprisings, it’s important to chronicle them as flesh and blood.”