by 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
by 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
by 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
by 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.
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
by Alana Lentin At the launch of David Roediger’s collection, Race, Class and Marxism it was invigorating to see so many people crowd into the un-air-conditioned space on a hot Friday evening to hear four brilliant thinkers talk about race. And so it was dispiriting that during Q&A a number of audience members suggested that an over-emphasis on ‘identitarianism’ is diluting the power of the left at a critical juncture in US politics. The picture they painted of a left fragmented by an over-wrought concern with positionality to the detriment of an emphasis on ‘materiality’ was gently and graciously
by Charles Post. Over the past three decades, David Roediger’s work has fundamentally reshaped the study of race and racism, both in the US and internationally. Starting with his path breaking collection of essays, The Wages of Whiteness, Roediger (and his collaborator Elizabeth Esch) have illustrated how both capitalist and wage workers have participated in the creation of race and utilized the myth of intrinsic and unchangeable differences amongst humans to defend and advance their social positions in capitalist societies. Roediger has described both how fluid the social fiction of race is, plotting shifting “racial boundaries” across time; and
by Satnam Virdee The early 1990s was a desperately inhospitable moment for critical thought and political practice. The antisystemic cycle of protest comprising worker struggles and movements against racism and sexism had drawn to a close: comprehensively defeated through a combination of state repression and partial incorporation. And accompanying this collapse of the social movements was a crisis in socialism, particularly Marxism. In the immediate wake of these developments, Stuart Hall noted the curious emergence of the Post-Marxist intellectual – someone who had supposedly settled their accounts with the tradition and moved on but who continued to utilise Marxist
by Selim Nadi. ‘I’m a Maoist … a good political programme is one that works.’— Emmanuel Macron The 2017 French presidential elections were historical in many ways. The first crucial aspect is, of course, the fact that the Front National made it to the second round — eliminating the right-wing party (Les Républicains) and the Socialist Party (PS). Secondly, a very young, new president was elected: Emmanuel Macron.
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