The Ordinary is a Horror: Abolition, Hegemony, and the State

What it means to pursue a hegemonising project, then, is to have the clarity to see what is actually happening in the present and to have the courage to respond not by reworking old and stale ideas to describe what is new and different, but with the ambition to struggle on many fronts and to seek to construct a new common sense, not simply advance a slew of policies – even if those policies are good, correct, and necessary.

The Actuality of Counter-Revolution

Counter-revolutions are difficult to circumscribe because they belong both to the past that preceded the revolution and make the future that succeeds it. Or to put the issue in more prosaic language: when does counter-revolution begin? And, what does it counter – does counter-revolution simply restore the past, or make its own new present? What does counter-revolution preserve?

The Meaning of Keir Starmer

Starmer was both a mute object onto which working-class people were supposed to project their desires, and a speaking subject who would render them sufficiently enlightened to vote Labour. Expected to simultaneously say nothing and say something, his disquisitions grew ever more phatic, torpid, vacant. 

The Right Against the Rule of Law?

Conservatives counterpose distant, alienated social forces against British ones. The way in which people can regain control over their lives – on this argument – is through authentically British institutions. This sense of Britishness can then easily be turned inwards: although the British judiciary is British ‘in name’ they act on behalf of these unaccountable forces, and so in substance are not ‘British’. 

The Family: In and Against

To imagine the welfare state and the family as unassailably good risks obscuring the connected everyday violence committed by their conjunction.

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The Actuality of Counter-Revolution

The Actuality of Counter-Revolution

I always thought that something, in 1920–25, was almost born: Lenin, Freud, Surrealism, revolutions, jazz, silent films. All this could have come together. And then each followed its sporadic destiny. Isolated, they could all be strangled. It is only in my memory that...

The Meaning of Keir Starmer

The Meaning of Keir Starmer

When Keir Starmer was elected leader of the Labour Party, the commentariat acquired an idée fixe. The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee described him as a ‘trusted, tried-and-tested, big-brained grown-up’; the Telegraph’s Tom Harris touted the return of ‘grown-up politics’;...

The Right Against the Rule of Law?

The Right Against the Rule of Law?

Over the course of Boris Johnson’s leadership, the Conservative Party’s commitment to the ‘rule of law’ has come repeatedly under scrutiny. Among the most recent examples of this has been the ‘Partygate’ scandal, in which Johnson and various Conservatives were found...

The Family: In and Against

The Family: In and Against

The ‘depressing thing about the Christmas season’, Eve Sedgwick writes in ‘How To Bring Your Kids Up Gay’, ‘is that it’s the time when all the institutions are speaking with one voice.’ It’s true: the John Lewis Christmas advert; Boris Johnson’s attempts to ‘save’...

Existence is a guerilla campaign: an interview with James Kelman

Existence is a guerilla campaign: an interview with James Kelman

James Kelman interviewed by Rastko Novaković. Malignant bureaucracies, class hatred, the revanchist rump of British Empire - they were all on the wane we were told, but presently they are alive and virulent. These are the cold winds that blow through half a century of...

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ISSUE 12: SPRING / SUMMER 2022

A Ceaseless Storm

 

The Ordinary is a Horror: Abolition, Hegemony, and the State

What it means to pursue a hegemonising project, then, is to have the clarity to see what is actually happening in the present and to have the courage to respond not by reworking old and stale ideas to describe what is new and different, but with the ambition to struggle on many fronts and to seek to construct a new common sense, not simply advance a slew of policies – even if those policies are good, correct, and necessary.

The Actuality of Counter-Revolution

Counter-revolutions are difficult to circumscribe because they belong both to the past that preceded the revolution and make the future that succeeds it. Or to put the issue in more prosaic language: when does counter-revolution begin? And, what does it counter – does counter-revolution simply restore the past, or make its own new present? What does counter-revolution preserve?

The Meaning of Keir Starmer

Starmer was both a mute object onto which working-class people were supposed to project their desires, and a speaking subject who would render them sufficiently enlightened to vote Labour. Expected to simultaneously say nothing and say something, his disquisitions grew ever more phatic, torpid, vacant. 

The Right Against the Rule of Law?

Conservatives counterpose distant, alienated social forces against British ones. The way in which people can regain control over their lives – on this argument – is through authentically British institutions. This sense of Britishness can then easily be turned inwards: although the British judiciary is British ‘in name’ they act on behalf of these unaccountable forces, and so in substance are not ‘British’. 

The Family: In and Against

To imagine the welfare state and the family as unassailably good risks obscuring the connected everyday violence committed by their conjunction.

For A Marxism Without Guarantees 

Frequently what is so disabling about the work of some marxist writers is that you know what is going to be said at the end before the investigation has begun, that the questions are phoney, that such writers are functioning on a closed terrain.

The Harsh Discipline of Democracy

In his call for a ‘Marxism without guarantees’, Hall was attuned not only to the open-endedness of struggle, and the resources of the enemy on these diverse terrains, but also the possibilities for a new Left.

The Making of the Evangelical Anti-Abortion Movement

How did conservative evangelicals come to be so central to the anti-abortion movement? And how has the evangelical anti-abortion movement managed to wield such disproportionate political and cultural power, and without much effective opposition?

Free Anthrogenesis: Antiwork Abortion

Whereas women’s liberationists fifty years ago fought for the repeal of all abortion laws, the best that Planned Parenthood can muster today is a vision of regulated legalisation. Whereas the Wages for Housework committee said that ‘every miscarriage is a workplace accident’ insofar as every place is an alienated gestational workplace under capitalism, there is no guarantee that, on a twenty-first century women’s march, one will see a single placard about Medicare for All, or free universal 24/7 childcare, or paid parental leave.

Did Somebody Say Imperialism?: Ukraine Between Analogies

Ukrainian flags fly everywhere in Western capitals now – in London, government buildings in Whitehall have even hoisted them alongside the Union Jack – not because Ukrainians suffer (though they do, horrifically) but because their suffering makes sense within a story of European enlightenment, whose borders must be fortresses against the invading hordes.

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