“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’”.
Category Archives: Arendt
Hannah Ohlén Järvinen & Johan Örestig: “Revolution as accelerated modernity: Hannah Arendt and Anselm Jappe on radical social transformation”
“Though their approaches are very different, Hannah Arendt and Anselm Jappe take similar positions on the ambiguities of modernity and revolution. They not only analyse the contradictions of ‘modernity’, but show that the modern situation undermines the conditions for its existence, pointing towards its own revolutionary transformation.”
“The tragedy is already staged in a system where innocence suffers. The good among both will suffer. Colonialism, enslavement, and racism are tragic so long as we understand that that the suffering of the damned is ignored or, for the most part, doesn’t matter. It is a lived reality of not mattering.”
“Our solidarity with the national liberation movements was immense. … What we largely ignored, however, was the suppression proceeding from the liberators themselves, once they had seized power.”
Thoughts on misery and revolution.
On the rejuvenation of local governance as a defense against totalitarianism: “A unified and sovereign government combined with a disempowered citizenry poses the greatest danger of totalitarianism. The best way to protect ourselves is, perhaps, to turn back to our roots in local self-government. We cannot turn back the clock. But we might begin to engage in the activity of politics and the multiplication of local power structures that can resist the totalizing impulses of sovereign states. In doing so, we would seek to rediscover the Jeffersonian project of local self-government that Arendt calls the lost treasure of the American Revolution.”
Political dissidence: “Civil disobedience is a widespread form of political protest used by minorities to make their voices heard in democratic societies. It is a mechanism of participation in the process of shaping public opinion, and of intervention, by via negativa, in the legislative process. In exercising it, citizens can assert their public autonomy when faced with serious decisions that, from their perspective, undermine the values on which society is based.”
“Tangentially, I have a sudden new faith in the feminist framing of recent demonstrations as women’s marches, which does something to allay the intimation of public violence that is always used as the justification of suppression. It seems clear, nonetheless, that it isn’t enough: that perhaps Arendt’s most profound legacy is in establishing that one has to consider oneself political as part of the human condition.”