Category: Articles

‘What we believe in waits latent forever through all the continents’: The Paris Commune and the Poetics of Martyrdom in the Fin de Siècle Socialist Print Culture

by Owen Holland. On 30 November 2016, Le Monde, and several other French newspapers, reported that the National Assembly had voted posthumously to rehabilitate the victims of the repression of the Paris Commune. Jean-Marie Le Guen, the Minister of State for Relations with Parliament, supported a text that ‘promotes the transmission of the memory’ of the Communards, whom the document refers to as ‘patriots’ and ‘insurgents’ whose values ‘inspired the Republic’. As the Fifth Republic teetered on the brink of full-throated authoritarian populism, and from within the midst of an ongoing state of emergency, one might regard it as

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A Free Zone Unlike Any Other

by Pearl Ahrens. A French hamlet is being threatened by a multinational company’s plans for an airport. The eviction is being carried out by thousands of police officers and soldiers. Is it bizarre for the French state to deploy its army and police force against its own citizens to enforce the whims of a private company? Imagine a small English village having to defend its way of life against bulldozers and tear gas.

Pan-Africanism and Communism: An Interview with Hakim Adi

by Selim Nadi & Hakim Adi Selim Nadi: How would you define Pan-Africanism? Hakim Adi: Pan-Africanism can be considered both an ideology and a movement that grew out of the common struggles of those of African descent both in Africa and in the African diaspora against enslavement, colonial rule and the accompanying anti-African racism and various forms of Eurocentrism. The phrases Pan-African and Pan-Africanism did not emerge until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century but an embryonic form Pan-Africanism was in evidence in the eighteenth century with such abolitionist organisations as the British-based Sons of Africa, led by

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Syria and the Problem of Left Solidarity

by Donya Alinejad & Saskia Baas Since January, Syria has seen escalations in violence and civilian casualties in two conflict areas. Afrin, the Kurdish-held enclave along the Turkish border, has seen increased fighting since the Turkish military entered the area by force on January 19th this year. To date, the fighting has left an estimated 112 civilians dead. Meanwhile, in Eastern Ghouta, only a few hours’ drive away from Afrin, the Syrian military is finishing off final pockets of resistance through a brutal extermination campaign in which civilians are systematically targeted. Decisively reinforced by Russian air and Iranian ground

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A Place to Call Home

by Andrea Gibbons A place to call home. A simple thing. Labour once had a vision, housing for everyone, though what makes a home is perhaps not so simple. As Kim Dovey writes, home is deeply intertwined with our identity. It centres the relationship between ourselves and the earth, centres our connection to community and culture and society, to our past with its memories, and to our ability to grow into our full potential with the power to define our future. For many women, children and sometimes men this is made more complex by human violence or the weight

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Guilt and the Left

by James Gurrey   “Use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping?” — Hamlet   For as long as I have been a part of the Left, for most activists there has been a tacit subjective injunction at various times to feel guilty about various things: the fact that some are worse off than ourselves, that we are insufficiently active, that we are not politically ‘hard’ enough, that we have and enjoy different kinds of ‘privilege’. However there is nothing progressive about guilt. Quite the opposite. Defining guilt as the projecting inwards of aggressive instincts we

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Not: Marxism as ‘Organised Sarcasm’

by Richard Seymour Women, children, and revolutionaries hate irony. —Joseph Conrad     I. Gramsci is supposed to have claimed, in one of his recondite quips, that Marxism is ‘organised sarcasm’[1]. There is something terribly appealing about the idea of sarcasm, red in tooth and claw, being marshalled into the proletarian side of battle. It is ludic and yet hugely suggestive. And Gramsci certainly withered his opponents nicely when duty demanded it. What would the claim be like if it were true?

‘One thinge that ouerthroweth all that were graunted before’: On Being Presidential

by China Miéville The stricken punditocracy agrees that Donald Trump is missing a crucial quality, a je ne sais quoi necessary for his office. He may be president, but he is not presidential. The liberal world is in mourning for this dispositional quiddity, presidentialness. According to one recent poll, 70 per cent of Americans surveyed held that Trump has – particularly in his genuinely startling use of social media, his deliberately offensive provocations – acted ‘unpresidentially’. Plucking examples from vast reserves, the LA Times decries Trump’s ‘self-indulgent and unpresidential demeanor’; the Village Voice his ‘unpresidential’ ‘antics’; the Atlantic ‘the

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‘With or Without You’: Naturalising Migrants and the Never-Ending Tragedy of Liberalism

by Maïa Pal[1]   To be homeless is to be nameless. He. The existence of a migrant worker. John Berger     The One Day Without Us campaign was launched in the UK in October 2016 ‘in reaction to the rising tide of post-Brexit street- level racism and xenophobia’ and, according to its website, ‘the divisive and stridently anti-migrant rhetoric emanating from too many politicians that has accompanied it.’ It held its target protest day on Monday 20 February 2017. ‘At a time when the political discussion about migration too often depicts a false narrative of “us versus them”,

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Class, Race and Capital-centric Marxism: an interview with Charlie Post

by George Souvlis, Sebastian Budgen, Jeremiah Gaster and Charlie Post. Could you introduce yourself, by describing the formative experiences (academic and political) that strongly influenced you? Politically, I was shaped by the social struggles of the late 1960s and early 1970s. My father’s family were working-class Jewish social-democrats, who, while voting for the US Democratic Party since the 1930s, were anti-racist and anti-imperialist. They supported both the civil rights and black power movement. My uncle, who was involved in the unofficial and illegal strikes among teachers in the late 1950s and early 1960s that won collective bargaining rights, broke

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