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Rhetorics of populism

Ernesto Laclau, 1935–2014
by / RP 186 (Jul/Aug 2014) / Article,,,Obituary

The publication of Ernesto Laclau’s The Rhetorical Foundations of Society, only weeks after his death in April 2014, confirms his status as one of the foremost contemporary political theorists of the Left.* Since the 1980s, his influence has been extraordinary, particularly in the UK and Latin America: rethinking democratic leftist politics during and after the Thatcher era, in the former, and providing theoretical legitimacy to the recent neo-populist ‘pink tide’, […]


Bankocracy

Greek money and the ‘new idea’ of Europe
by and / RP 186 (Jul/Aug 2014) / Article

July Monarchy–November Democracy On the contrary, the faction of the bourgeoisie that ruled and legislated through the Chambers had a direct interest in the indebtedness of the state. The state deficit was really the main object of its speculation and the chief source of its enrichment. At the end of each year a new deficit. After the lapse of four or five years a new loan. And every new loan […]


Translatorial hexis

The politics of Pinkard’s translation of Hegel’s Phenomenology
by / RP 186 (Jul/Aug 2014) / Article

Most branches of philosophy and many other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences studied in the anglophone academy draw on texts written in languages other than English and therefore rely on the products of translation, especially translations of historical, European philosophy. However, surprisingly little philosophical attention has been paid to the role of individual translators in mediating and relocating philosophical narratives across cultural and linguistic boundaries. The blind spot […]


The monster and the police

Dexter to Hobbes
by / RP 185 (May/Jun 2014) / Article

On 25 February 2002, Rafael Perez, a former officer of the LAPD’s Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums unit (CRASH), appeared in court accused of various crimes: covering up a bank robbery, shooting and framing an innocent citizen, stealing and selling cocaine from evidence lockers, being a member of the Los Angeles gang called the Bloods, and murdering the rapper The Notorious B.I.G. In his statement to the court he pointed […]


Blanqui’s bifurcations

Dossier: Blanqui's Eternal Gap
by / RP 185 (May/Jun 2014) / Article

Auguste Blanqui’s Eternity by the Stars (1872) is perhaps the only text, across the scattered fragments of his œuvre, that poses a genuine problem of interpretation. [1] How could this ultra-voluntarist revolutionary come to embrace a vision of the cosmos based on endless repetition and the eternal recycling of monotonous variation? Blanqui committed his life to the idea that deliberate political intervention by a small group of activists can change […]


Auguste Blanqui, heretical communist

Dossier: Blanqui's Eternal Gap
by and / RP 185 (May/Jun 2014) / Article

Within the history of French socialism there is an invisible, heretical, marginalized and suppressed current. It constitutes an orientation obscured by the dominant tendencies on the left from the end of the nineteenth century until today – tendencies represented by the rival and complementary pairings of Jaurès and Guesde, Blum and Cachin, Mollet and Thorez, Mitterrand and Marchais. If we envisage the history of socialism in terms of a divide […]


The radical gap

A preface to Auguste Blanqui, Eternity by the Stars Dossier: Blanqui's Eternal Gap
by / RP 185 (May/Jun 2014) / Article

I leaf through the programme and learn that the very stars themselves – which, I am firmly convinced, should be but rarely disturbed, and even then only for high reasons of meditative gravity … – the very stars are present! [1] Mallarmé penned these ironic lines about a ballet performance at the Eden Theatre. Nevertheless, such stellar flights seem as natural to the choreographer as they do to the poet. […]


Kojève’s letter to Stalin

by / RP 184 (Mar/Apr 2014) / Article


The postconceptual condition

Or, the cultural logic of high capitalism today
by / RP 184 (Mar/Apr 2014) / Article

Those with long enough memories will no doubt recognize the crossed syntax of my title. It mimics, first, that of a text which, while in historical terms still recent, is nonetheless already antiquated, even if not yet sufficiently so to have acquired the ‘revolutionary energies’ that André Breton and, after him, Walter Benjamin sought in such objects: Jean-François Lyotard’s The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. It is thirty-five years […]


Sketch for a novel on Neville Chamberlain (1942)

Introduced by Esther Leslie
by / RP 184 (Mar/Apr 2014) / Article

In autumn 1942, while working with T.W. Adorno on Dialectic of Enlightenment, Max Horkheimer began to write a novel. Its lead character was the English prime minister Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940), who, in September 1938, after several meetings with Hitler and along with France’s Edouard Daladier, agreed not to oppose Germany’s demand to annex the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Horkheimer regarded Chamberlain’s willingness to appease Hitler as evidence of the complicity of […]


Extra, extra, read all about it!

Contemporary art is postconceptual art
by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Article

Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not At All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art, Verso, London and New York, 2013. vi + 282 pp., £60.00 hb., £19.95 pb., 978 1 78168 113 8 hb., 978 1 78168 094 0 pb. Numbers in parentheses in the main text refer to page numbers of this book. ‘The coming together of different times that constitute the contemporary, and the relations between the social spaces in which […]


Drone geographies

by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Article

Last year Apple rejected Josh Begley’s Drones+ app three times. The app promised to send push notifications to users each time a US drone strike was reported, but Apple decided that many people would find it ‘objectionable’ (they said nothing about what they might feel about the strikes). When he defended his thesis at NYU earlier this year, Begley asked: ‘Do we really want to be as connected to our […]


Defiance or emancipation?

by / RP 183 (Jan/Feb 2014) / Article

On Howard Caygill, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance, Bloomsbury, London, 2013. 264 pp., £20.00 hb., 978 1 472522 58 0. Numbers in parentheses in the main text refer to pages of this book. What is resistance? Rather than offering a conceptual definition, Howard Caygill’s new book approaches resistance as a problematic and elusive practice that calls for reflective judgement in the Kantian sense. His point of departure is the […]


Cannibal metaphysics: Amerindian perspectivism

With an introduction by Peter Skafish
by and / RP 182 (Nov/Dec 2013) / Article

From anthropology to philosophy: Introduction to Eduardo Viveiros de Castro Peter Skafish Can anthropology be philosophy, and if so, how? For philosophers, the matter has been and often remains quite simple: anthropology’s concern with socio-cultural and historical differences might yield analyses that philosophy can put to use (provided that it condescends to examine them), but only rarely does anthropology conceive its material at a level of generality or in relation […]


Police power, all the way to heaven

Cujus est solum and the no-fly zone
by / RP 182 (Nov/Dec 2013) / Article

What is a no-fly zone? Formally, it is a prohibition on flying in order to call a halt to hostilities in the region, usually enacted in aid of a group or groups which might otherwise suffer violence. When the Libyan civil war broke out in early 2011 one of the first demands made by several political actors of varying political persuasions was for a no-fly zone. The debate surrounding this […]


Anti-Revolutionary Republicanism

Claude Lefort’s Machiavelli
by / RP 182 (Nov/Dec 2013) / Article

Amidst the enthusiasm marking the five hundredth anniversary of Machiavelli’s composition of The Prince in 1513, there is one recent publication that risks being overlooked. Last year saw the belated appearance in English of the French political philosopher Claude Lefort’s most substantial work, his 1972 doctoral thesis: Le travail de l’œuvre Machiavel. This volume, abridged in English and retitled Machiavelli in the Making,1 would turn out to be the only […]


Our contemporary impotence

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

We have, in this conference, discussed all of the crucial aspects of the situation in Europe and especially in Greece. We have, of course, analysed the great historical structures at stake: the particularly aggressive global politics of contemporary capitalism, the complicit weakness of the various states, and the reactive role played by Europe as it now stands, but also the law of subjective forms that illuminates the contemporary dialectic of […]


From the end of national Lefts to subversive movements for Europe

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

When we speak of the globalization of markets we also speak of a limitation imposed on the sovereignty of nation-states. In Western Europe, the essential error of national left-wing movements and parties [des gauches nationales] has been their failure to understand that globalization is an irreversible phenomenon. Up until the fall of the Soviet Union, the US leadership succeeded in combining – with prudence, but also with manifest consistency – […]


The Greek symptom

Debt, crisis and the crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

The texts in this dossier were initially presented to an international conference on the current crisis in Greece, ‘Le symptôma grec’, held on 18–20 January 2013, at the University of Paris 8 and the École normale supérieure. The conference took as its point of departure the exemplary role that Greece has played over the last few years as the outpost or ‘testing laboratory’ for the most recent, most implacable and […]


How can the aporia of the ‘European people’ be resolved?

Dossier: The Greek Symptom: Debt, Crisis and the Crisis of the Left
by / RP 181 (Sept/Oct 2013) / Article

The question that I deal with here is by no means a purely speculative one. It certainly evokes theoretical notions from different disciplines and from philosophy, but it does so because of a specific economy of circumstances, a crisis of economics, in a particular place (Greece), which happens to be at the origin of the whole apparatus of ‘concepts of politics’ by means of which modernity thinks its own history, […]