Category Archives: Nota Bene

“The Root of Haiti’s Misery: Reparations to Enslavers” (ΝΥ Times)

“In 1791, enslaved Haitians did the seemingly impossible. They ousted their French masters and founded a nation. But France made generations of Haitians pay for their freedom — in cash.”

Rodrigo Karmy Bolton: “The Anarchy of Beginnings: Notes on the Rhythmicity of Revolt”

“When we say that revolt assumes a destituent character, we mean that its wager no longer lies in the fulfillment of determinate end (the establishment of a new regime), but in its capacity to delegitimize a determinate regime while itself inhabiting a space of pure means.”

Miquel Vila: “Why Catalonia Failed”

Spanish authorities have recognized the continuing threat to state sovereignty. They have closely monitored the pro-independence movement and Catalan politicians since 2017. The events following the referendum left a scar on the activists and sympathizers of independence. Sympathy for civil disobedience like that seen in 2019 continues to rise. While Madrid has disciplined Catalonia’s politicians, the new generation of movement leaders is growing up with more radical, confrontational tactics and less faith in the electoral process.

“Naomi Klein on How Egypt’s Failed Revolution Continues to Inspire Struggle Worldwide”

“But,” Alaa adds to his stark assessments, “the revolution did break a regime.” It defeated much of Mubarak’s machine, and the new junta that is in its place, while even more brutal, is also precarious for the thinness of its domestic support. Openings, he tells us, remain. In this way, Alaa acts as the revolution’s toughest critic and its most devoted militant.

Karim Alrawi: A Time of Monsters: On Alaa Abd el-Fattah’s “You Have Not Yet Been Defeated”

“In a series of personal accounts and short essays, Alaa takes the reader through the last eleven years, as the progress towards democracy in Egypt was rolled back by a degree of repression unknown in the country’s modern history.”

Chiara Bottici: “Anarchafeminism”

“But if freedom is both the means and the end, then one could also envisage a world free from the very notion of gender as well as the oppressive structures that it generated. Because gendered bodies are still the worldwide objects of exploitation and domination, we need an anarchafeminist manifesto here and now. But the latter should be conceived as a ladder that we may well abandon once we have reached the top. Indeed, it is implicit, in the very process of embarking in such an anarchafeminist project, that we should strive toward a world beyond the division between men and women and thus also, in a way, beyond feminism itself.”

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.”

Billy Anania: “The General Strike in Modern Art”

“A massive strike wave in the 19th and 20th centuries redefined how painters, illustrators, and photographers advocate for the working class.”

David Palumbo-Liu: “Rise Up in Anger and Hope: How Eruptive Protests Can Propel Urgent Issues to the Center of Political Debate”

“The fact that the protests erupted in cities, suburbs, rural areas, and in every state of the Union inspiring protesters old and young, and of many races, should not be overlooked; nor should the fact that the demonstrations spread beyond our borders, even in the midst of a global pandemic that made public gatherings dangerous.”

Talya Zax: “How Did the Arab Spring Change Fiction?”

“That shift, from narratives of the revolution to stories about the psychological ramifications of those narratives, marks a natural evolution in the realm of Egyptian literature after Arab Spring.”