Fallen angel

The French philosopher and erstwhile Maoist militant Guy Lardreau (1947-2008) was the first to admit that much of his work was haunted by a single problem, one posed by the revolutionary political history of the twentieth century. 1 The great revolutions in Russia and China, and several other places inspired by their example, pursued radical […]

Interview: Forgetting Vietnam

Trinh T. Minh-ha teaches in the University of California, Berkeley’s departments of Rhetoric, and Gender and Women’s Studies. Born in Hanoi in 1952, Trinh emigrated to the United States in 1970 where she studied musical composition, ethnomusicology and French literature, completing her PhD dissertation in 1977 under the title: Un Art sans Oeuvre: l’Anonymat dans […]

Agustin García Calvo in our time

The Spanish philosopher and writer Agustín García Calvo, who died in 2012, was a thinker who tried to provoke people into thinking about the problems posed by neoliberal globalisation. He thought that this global ideology was made to appear self-imposed, a kind of hyper ouranos topos (or ideal realm) pervading everything and from which everything […]

Left-wing populism

Martina Tazzioli [MT] Your latest book, published in 2017, Populisme: le grand ressentiment [‘Populism and deep resentment’], develops a critical reading of the concept and political role of populism today. 1 You offer an explanation for the apparent appeal of populist options in recent elections in Europe and the US, and you distance yourself from […]

The becoming-black of the world?

Blackness and race have played multiple roles in the imaginaries of European societies … the two have always occupied a central place – simultaneously, or at least in parallel – within modern knowledge and discourse about man (and therefore about humanism and humanity). … Blackness and race, the one and the other, represent twin figures […]

What are popular economies?

What forms does living labour take, today, outside of the factory? In an Argentinian context, this question has grown in importance ever since the eruption of movements of unemployed workers at the beginning of this century. Such collective movements dis-located the workers’ ‘picket line’ – that classic deployment of force in the factory – by […]

Between subject and citizen

‘All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.’ Spinoza’s maxim, the last sentence of The Ethics, serves as a fitting observation with which to begin a discussion of Étienne Balibar’s Citizen Subject: Foundations for Philosophical Anthropology, given the difficulty proper to the excellence of his text. Its difficulty is not, or not only, […]

Powerless companions or fellow travellers?

The aim must be to reduce inequality in every area where it is found. To do this therefore we must refashion, or ‘revolutionise’, the laws which lead to the reproduction of the relations of domination and exploitation. Mohammed Bedjaoui 1 Attempts to enforce the NIEO [New International Economic Order] would lead to a Hobbesian war […]

Five theses on sabotage in the shadow of fossil capital

What will it mean, and what will it require, to trigger transition from fossil fuels to some other energy form – one incompatible with exploitation, and so with the social relations of capitalism? If ethics were the prime mechanism for such transition today, then oil would be done and dusted. Oil’s ascendency in the twentieth […]

The methodological is political

In order to qualify as truly ‘feminist’, a movement has to be politically radical. That is a core insight of some important second wave feminist writings. There is a powerful articulation of this theme, to mention one noteworthy site, in the work of bell hooks. A guiding preoccupation of hooks’ thought, as far back as […]

Hegel and the advent of modernity

Abstraction is a bitter chalice but modernity must drain it to the dregs and reeling in simulated inebriation, proclaim it the ambrosia of the gods. Henri Lefebvre, Introduction to Modernity Bitter abstraction. In which the distance between cause and effect is developed with the aid of weaponry and mathematics to produce morbid symptoms in the […]

Revolutionary commemoration

No more anniversaries! Vsevolod Meyerhold 1 Fire and ice On 18th March 1921 the fiftieth anniversary of the foundation of the Paris Commune was marked in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). Newspapers were emblazoned with headlines decrying the brutal suppression of the heroic Communards by bourgeois reactionary forces just seventy-two days after its […]

Postmodernity, not yet

To take an attitude of partisanship towards key struggles of the past does not mean either choosing sides, or seeking to harmonise irreconcilable differences. In such extinct yet still virulent intellectual conflicts, the fundamental contradiction is between history itself and the conceptual apparatus which, seeking to grasp its realities, only succeeds in reproducing their discord […]

Order in disorder

It would seem that the centenary of the Russian Revolution could not have come at a more inopportune moment for Russia. The colossal scale and universalist ambitions of that event are at odds with the apathetic state of Russian society today. Indeed, efforts to dispense with this inconvenient ghost appear to provide the sole point […]

Critique in the 21st century

We gather once again to examine the question of ‘critique’. [1] We do so not just after Kant, Marx, Nietzsche and their respective descendants, but also after the innovations of the Frankfurt School (which only came to receive serious attention in France after some delay) and the critique of the foundations of psychology, to evoke […]