Category Archives: Nota Bene

Amador Fernández-Savater: “Reaching for a politics of pure potentiality, or trying to keep power at bay”

‘In the state of disappointment, we no longer have any position to “defend”, no formula to “sell”, we are all, as it is said, “in the same shit”. It is a moment of not knowing where new knowledge can be elaborated, if we avoid falling into the crossroads of accusations, the settling of accounts, the search for the guilty and the logic of the court.’

A.O. Scott: “Review: ‘Edge of Democracy’ Looks at Brazil with Outrage and Heartbreak”

‘One of the implications of “The Edge of Democracy” is that as Lula and the Workers’ Party lost touch with the mass movement that brought them to power and mastered the levers of the political system, they made themselves vulnerable to popular anger on the right. Corruption and back room dealing were longstanding norms of Brazilian governance that the party didn’t do much to challenge.’

“In solidarity with the Sudan revolution”

“After months of protests, strikes, occupations, the Sudanese state has unleashed a wave of repression against the insurrection. Yet even in face of this terror, millions have now joined a general strike to bring down the regime.  Rebellions are contagious, and with Algeria also in revolt, the region’s authoritarians sense fear; the moment when everything becomes possible.”

Jacques Fradin: “The insurrection of the yellow vests and the revolution of the revolution”

“The uprising of the yellow vests can be interpreted as a resurgence of the oldest movements of revolt … Or, rather, this uprising can also be interpreted as the first insurrection of a new revolutionary era, the era of the revolution of the revolution – symptomatic of a new political era that emerges by dissolving or destituting liberal hegemony.”

lundimatin: “Theses on the concept of the absence of an epoch”

“When friends say, for years, that the revolution is no longer an absolute goal, they do not say so much that they do not want to take power or that they want to preserve some aspect of their princely life, they say above all that the great night, as a total upheaval of the conditions of existence, is impossible, among other reasons, because power is everywhere and especially in everyone.”

Crimethinc: “Against the Logic of the Guillotine: Why the Paris Commune Burned the Guillotine—and we should too”

“Even when we are engaged in pitched physical struggle with our adversaries, we ought to maintain a profound faith in their potential, for we hope to live in different relations with them one day. As aspiring revolutionaries, this hope is our most precious resource, the foundation of everything we do. If revolutionary change is to spread throughout society and across the world, those we fight today will have to be fighting alongside us tomorrow.”

Tasos Theofilou: ‘“I am not innocent”: Writings from a Greek prison’

“Theofilou gives testimony on the brutality of prison life, and its centrality in contemporary capitalism, through a blur of memoir, social commentary and free verse. His work centers on exposing the conditions of widespread exploitation and social struggle that persist in Greece as a result of the debt crisis — in prisons as well as in mainstream society.”

Carlos Delclós: “Fear of the far right and the collapse of Podemos gave Spain’s socialists victory”

“The second trend that explains Sánchez’s staggering victory is the decline of Unidas Podemos, the radical-left party that emerged in the wake of the anti-austerity indignados movement. Though the party initially promised to implement a progressively participatory new style of politics, over time its leadership has adopted a more traditional top-down approach that has been overly reliant on individual personalities.”

Bernard E. Harcourt: “Compagnon de route [Fellow Traveler]”

‘So for now, rather than put on the yellow vest, I would take on the mantle of “companion de route” – fellow traveler, like those who, famously, in the twentieth century, did not join the Communist Party, but sympathized with the aims and goals of Communists and were willing to work with the movement.’

Etienne Balibar: “‘Gilets jaunes’: the meaning of the confrontation”

“That is how democracy is invented and perhaps, at the end of the day, how a regime can change. It is not a long road from the roundabout to the town hall, via the public square, which does not mean it is easy to travel. Demonstrations, popular assemblies, municipal counter-power, États Généraux or their modern equivalent, such is perhaps the squaring of the circle; it must be resolved on a daily basis and over the coming weeks, probably quite quickly, so that a political idea that everyone now needs can emerge from a revolt that no one had expected.”