by Tithi Bhattacharya In 1990, I watched the Polish film maker Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Blind Chance (1981/1987) without registering the paralyzing potential of a particular scene. The protagonist, Witek, meets an old Communist by chance on a train. As a result of that meeting Witek decides to join the Communist Party. Later, again by sheer chance, he runs into an ex-partner, also his first love. A beautiful, tender and fierce sex scene follows. In the calm of the after, Witek, almost absentmindedly, whistles the Internationale. His partner murmurs something approvingly. And then Witek says ‘How would you like it if
by Richard Seymour I. Nothing is forever, except absence. And if the bromides of the British pundit class seem timeless, that is because the political centre registers as an absence. Credibility, they’re saying. What Corbyn needs now, and sorely lacks, is credibility. How does one get credibility? A sharp swerve to the centre. The capitals of the European centre are collapsing around their ears, from London to Madrid to Athens to Amsterdam. Only Paris has averted the complete collapse of the centre through, as Perry Anderson put, a yuppie simulacrum of populist breakthrough. And even there, it followed
Cinzia Arruzza interviewed by George Souvlis and Ankica Čakardić George Souvlis and Ankica Čakardić: What were the formative experiences for you politically and personally? Cinzia Arruzza: This is a difficult question to answer, as I became an activist at the age of thirteen, and since then my whole life has been shaped by this fact. If I had to identify the experiences that have most shaped my political commitments and way of thinking, I could come up with the following list. First, coming from a poor working-class family from Sicily, which exposed me to class injustice and inequalities, sexism, and
Johanna Brenner interviewed by George Souvlis George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, both politically and academically? Johanna Brenner: I grew up in a staunchly liberal family and remained politically liberal until I joined the movement against the Vietnam war, where I was introduced to anti-imperialist politics and then Marxism and ‘third-camp’ socialism. In the late 60’s I was part of the student left that turned toward organising the working-class. I was a student at UCLA. We organised student support for a teamster wildcat strike and we had a group called the
by Chris Armstrong ‘The age of party democracy has passed. Although the parties themselves remain, they have become so disconnected from the wider society, and pursue a form of competition that is so lacking in meaning, that they no longer seem capable of sustaining democracy in its present form.’ The campaign season for April and May’s French Presidential elections, now in full swing, requires some nuancing of, but does not fundamentally detract from, political scientist Peter Mair’s diagnosis.
by Jordy Cummings These with a thousand small deliberations Protract the profit of their chilled delirium, Excite the membrane, when the sense has cooled, With pungent sauces, multiply variety In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do Suspend its operations, will the weevil Delay? TS Eliot, Gerontion 1. Roger Stone is a DC troublemaker of the old school. Stone was close to Lee ‘Willie Horton’ Atwater, supported the Contras and reaction more generally throughout the ‘New Cold War’ of the eighties. Stone and another backroom operator, Paul Manafort even lobbied for Marcos and for Mobutu,
Laleh Khalili interviewed by George Souvlis George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically? Laleh Khalili: I grew up in Iran in the 1970s and early 1980s and being the daughter of Iranian leftist revolutionaries – and later political prisoners and later still exiles – indelibly marked the way I look at the work. On the one hand, growing up in an intellectual leftist household meant introduction to a rich seam of literature and history – not only those of Europeans, but also of Russians and Latin Americans. It
Dilar Dirik interviewed by George Souvlis George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically? Dilar Dirik: As a Kurd, you can never run from your identity, because your identity is essentially political and the level of your political consciousness acts as a self-defense as the only way to secure your survival and existence. That is why insistence on the free expression of your self-determined identity is portrayed as political controversy, nationalism, or terrorism by the capitalist-statist system.
Paul Mason interviewed by Malise Rosbech Capitalism is on its last legs. According to the British journalist, writer and activist, Paul Mason, capitalism develops in cycles of 50 years. For Mason, the 2008 financial crisis was the abrupt end to capitalism’s fourth wave and we are now in the fifth and final wave. Like Marx, Mason claims that capitalism will collapse under the weight of its own internal contradictions – postcapitalism has already begun. But it is neither the left or the proletariat which is the engine of socio-economic transformation; rather, it is information technology and the networked individual.
Kevin Gray interviewed by George Souvlis. George Souvlis: Would you like to present yourself by focusing on the formative experiences (academic and political) that strongly influenced you? Kevin Gray: My undergraduate degree was in Chinese Studies, although I quickly became aware of the limitations of Area Studies in terms of its methodological nationalism and its related tendency to try and explain all social, political and economic phenomena with reference to historical and cultural legacies internal to the country in question. While the thought of Mao Zedong, for example certainly contains within it influences of traditional Chinese literature and philosophy, this hardly