Decoding the ‘Bandung Moment’: Aijaz Ahmad on decolonisation

Aijaz Ahmad’s work traversed several disciplines: literary criticism, history, Marxist theory and philosophy, politics and political economy. His book In Theory navigated the intersections of class, nationalism and literature, offering a critique of postcolonial theory at the height of its popularity. 1 His insights in essays like ‘Imperialism of our time’ were a thought-provoking commentary […]

Perseverance in the midst of defeat: On Aijaz Ahmad’s political writings

Defeat shapes the subjectivity of the global Left in the contemporary era. The twin collapse of actually existing socialism and revolutionary nationalisms in the late twentieth century deprived the international communist movement of material support as well as ideological anchorage. A reactionary thesis stemming out of this defeat proclaimed the triumphant victory of global capitalism […]

A contest over titles: The canonisation of the Frankfurt School as ‘permanent exiles’

Prevailing images of the Frankfurt School have long relied upon an idea of their origins that is far from self-evident. Premised upon the curious allure associated with such notions as ‘transcendental homelessness’ and ‘extraterritoriality’, and enhanced more recently by a vogue for all things ‘exilic’, this canonised image of critical theory has identified members’ life […]

Development as national liberation: The experience of the Popular Unity government in Chile

During the twentieth century, the concept of development galvanised a wide variety of popular struggles for democratisation, agrarian reform, socialism, and economic sovereignty across the global South. In social theory, the question of development also sparked major intellectual debates that shed new light on the nature of power and liberation in the interstate system. At […]

Untimely Media: Subversions of obsolescence in decolonial print

‘It will keep your secrets. Operate it yourself.’ A. B. Dick Mimeograph Company advertisement in Life magazine, circa 1940. How can we decolonise technics today within, against and beyond Eurocentric teleologies that separate rational humans from savage or inert nature and technological infrastructure assumed to be a ‘standing reserve’? 1 The provocative exhibition ‘Crafting Subversion: […]
Poster of a conference at SOAS called Crafting Subversion: DIY and Decolonial Print

The Red Pill: Breaking out of The Class Matrix

Rare is the book that provokes in me both frequent agreement and teeth-clenching, head-shaking, wincing frustration. But such is Vivek Chibber’s The Class Matrix. 1 Chibber is his generation’s foremost advocate of analytical Marxism, a program of articulating and defending socialist politics using the tools of contemporary social science. The journal he helms, Catalyst, has […]
Paper pasted to wall which says, "Money forgives you"

Anti-abortion feminism: How is this even a thing?

On 24th June 2022, anti-abortion activists across the US celebrated as the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, among them some self-described ‘feminists’. For a long time now, the anti-abortion movement has been declaring itself ‘pro-woman’ as much as pro-foetus, presenting abortion as a harm to women that they are coerced into or ultimately […]

The myth of Aufheben: A comment on Matthieu Renault’s Hegelian myth of counter-violence

Matthieu Renault argues in a recent issue of Radical Philosophy (RP 2.10, Summer 2021) that justifications for the counter-violence of the oppressed which draw on Hegel’s master-slave relation are based on a myth originating from Kojève’s Paris lectures (1933-9). The Kojève myth is that history begins with the violence of the master over the slave […]
Graffiti which reads, 'Dissolve the illusion...'