Category: Articles

The Plague of ‘Whiteness’

Richard Seymour   “As long as you think you’re white,” James Baldwin said, “there’s no hope for you.” And if this seems counterintuitive — as though one might think white people are the only people with hope — he went on to say: “Insofar as you think you’re white, you’re irrelevant. We can no longer afford that particular, romance.” There’s something odd, and challenging here. It’s a strange way to put it: whiteness is supposed to be a privilege, something those interpellated as ‘white’ are getting something out of, not — as Baldwin seemed to believe — doom. At its

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Making and Getting Made: Towards a Cyborg Transfeminism

Sølvi Goard ‘I feel confined, only free to expand myself within boundaries.’ Major Motoko Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell In the 1995 anime version of Ghost In The Shell, we’re offered both the dream and the nightmare of trans politics. Ghost In The Shell is particularly incisive, in that it won itself a place in millions of young minds, including mine, without openly presenting itself as a film about trans lives. Yet the cyborgs, and Motoko Kusanagi in particular, are undoubtedly transgender: they choose and change their bodies based on what relationship they desire from that body. But the

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The Cone of Uncertainty: Parenting on the Edge of Climate Change

Sarah Grey There’s a special kind of dread that breeds in the path of a hurricane. They call it the ‘cone of uncertainty’ – that brightly coloured funnel on the weather map that traces the possible paths of a storm. It’s a statistical mishmash created from dozens of predictions of varying quality, and when you see the dark red centre touch your part of the map, you can almost feel the barometric pressure dropping. You might have days to prepare, days before you know whether it’ll really hit you and how badly. You might not have days to get

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Salvage Perspectives #5: Contractions

by the Editors We have said that there has not for decades been so good a moment to be a fascist. We have said that this is an epoch of unprecedented social sadism, that it is too late to ‘save’ the world, particularly in the face of climate catastrophe, and that we struggle instead because even rubble is worth fighting over. We have said we need a strategy for ruination. This we still hold. However, it would be a dereliction not to register the scale of recent shifts, the opening of possibilities. For a long time, if politics was

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Platform Capitalism and the Value Form

Matthew Cole According to the speculations of techno-futurologists, left and right, the machines are here to liberate us. Most of the discourse is dominated by the neoliberal right such as Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee and Andrew Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England. Their arguments, avoiding questions of exploitation, are naturally popular with the establishment. McAfee’s best-selling book The Second Machine Age has been lauded by leaders at the World Economic Forum.

Symposium on David Roediger’s Class, Race and Marxism

Since the 1991 publication of The Wages of Whiteness, David Roediger’s work has fundamentally changed the shape of scholarship on race and racism in the US. In his latest book, Class, Race and Marxism, Roediger tackles the relationship between race and class in contemporary society, and questions many of the common assumptions of the Marxist left. Below are a series of critical commentaries on the book by Satnam Virdee, Alana Lentin and Charles Post. Solidarity, Race and Class by Alana Lentin Comments on Roediger’s Class, Race and Marxism by Charles Post Race, Class and Roediger’s Open Marxism by Satnam Virdee

Monster Terrorist F(l)ag

By Elia El Khazen In early October, the Egyptian regime arrested fifty-seven people on charges of “debauchery,” ‘inciting sexual deviancy’ and ‘joining an outlawed group’ as part of a continuing security crackdown on Egypt’s LGBTQ community, which now includes ten to fifteen years in jail for those charged as homosexuals. The raising of a rainbow flag during a concert for Lebanese band, Mashrou’ Leila – whose lead singer is openly gay – the preceding week in Cairo triggered a media frenzy that prompted the arrests. The local media supported these arrests by publishing numerous articles and interviews inciting hatred

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Fascism and Anti-Fascism: reflections on recent debates on the US Left

Charlie Post The election of Donald Trump and the resulting uptick of racist violence since November 2016 has placed the issue of fascism back on the agenda of the US left. In the past few months, socialists, anarchists and other radicals in the US are debating what fascism is (and is not) and how (or how not) to fight it. Among the issues this essay addresses are whether our defense of ‘free speech’ extend to fascists or do we attempt to ‘no platform’ fascists? Do we merely attempt to outnumber fascists or physically confront them as well? Do we

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Socialism for Jingoes

By Barnaby Raine Brexit has made immigration an impossible subject to avoid, and in several trade unions and the Labour Party socialists are divided. Three schools of thought predominate. They are all rotten. Each of them borrows from enemy arsenals rather than recovering the left’s lost language of ‘proletarian internationalism’. It is a coarse, imperfect dialect from the early years of the twentieth century, the language of Lenin and his comrades. It seems often hopelessly outdated now but in speaking about migration its central innovations – stressing that modern politics is a contingent and a necessarily transnational affair –

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How Syriza Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Status Quo

by George Souvlis & Leandros Fischer Two years have passed since the Greek government, composed of Syriza and the right-wing “Independent Greeks” party, bowed to the pressure of the European “institutions”, following a referendum in which an overwhelming majority of Greeks rejected further EU-imposed austerity measures. The period since then provides the necessary time distance to reflect soberly on the Greek experience during the tumultuous period between January and July 2015, as well as the meaning of the referendum and the Greek government’s hitherto record in office. From today’s perspective, it can easily be argued that Syriza’s attempt at achieving

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