Critical Legal Theory

Notes for a Non-​Statocentric Politics

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Neoliberalism 01. There is a dom­inant (he­ge­monic, if you will) con­cep­tion of the world, and its name is neo­lib­er­alism. 02. Neoliberalism — the man­age­ment of life by busi­ness — is a global logic, but it ex­ists in every one of the places where we ex­per­i­ence reality (the school, the work­place, the street, our re­la­tions with others…). 03. If neo­lib­er­alism is reproduced…

Six Theses on Anxiety & the Prevention of Militancy

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Today’s public secret is that everyone is anxious. Anxiety has spread from its pre­vious loc­al­ised loc­a­tions (such as sexu­ality) to the whole of the so­cial field. All forms of in­tensity, self-​expression, emo­tional con­nec­tion, im­me­diacy, and en­joy­ment are now laced with anxiety. It has be­come the linchpin of sub­or­din­a­tion. One major part of the so­cial un­der­pin­ning of anxiety is the multi-​faceted om­ni­present web of sur­veil­lance. The NSA, CCTV, per­form­ance man­age­ment re­views, the Job Centre, the priv­ileges system in the prisons, the con­stant ex­am­in­a­tion and clas­si­fic­a­tion of the youngest school­chil­dren. But this ob­vious web is only the outer car­a­pace. We need to think about the ways in which a neo­lib­eral idea of suc­cess in­cul­cates these sur­veil­lance mech­an­isms in­side the sub­jectiv­ities and life-​stories of most of the population.

“Peace! I Hate the Word!” A Few Thoughts in Favour of Conflict

Anthony Freda, Peace Prize

The world is riven by con­flict. The re­cent events in Ukraine are just the most re­cent ex­ample. The value and ne­ces­sity of con­flict should not be sub­sumed within the en­tirely un­der­stand­able de­sire to pre­vent vi­ol­ence. I want to argue that peace, as a goal, is not some­thing worth striving for. It is dif­fi­cult to com­ment crit­ic­ally on…

To Demonstrate a Right: Police Power Jurisprudence and the Rule of Law in Zuccotti Plaza

Zuccotti Police 2011

Waller v City of New York, 2011 At ap­prox­im­ately 1:00 am on the morning of November 15, 2011 the NYPD entered Zuccotti Plaza with ar­mored vehicles, bar­ri­cades and bull­horns and an­nounced to ‘those oc­cupying Zuccotti Park’ that they were to im­me­di­ately re­move all prop­erty and leave the park or be sub­ject to ar­rest. Thus began a four-​hour long…

The Market as the Unique Site of Truth: On Foucault & Milk

Foucault

Whom would you ask in order to check if the milk you are drinking is fresh? This trivial ques­tion can be answered in mul­tiple ways. For ex­ample, one could ask a farmer, a bio­lo­gist, a chemist, or even a grand­parent that lives in a rural area. One could even rest upon his or her common sense, saying that prob­ably a…

The ‘Lawful’ Political Killing of Bogotá’s Mayor: Gustavo Petro

Gustavo Petro (holding mic) at a rally

One of the longest living myths in Latin America is that Colombia is one of its most stable demo­cra­cies. Of course, form­ally, the country has not suffered a mil­itary dic­tat­or­ship in the last fifty some years and all the in­ternal clock­work of a re­pub­lican system seems to work har­mo­ni­ously: a con­sti­tu­tion packed with rights and guar­an­tees; reg­ular, open…

Some Reflections on the #ACCELERATE MANIFESTO

Xanti Schawinsky, Shakespeare Die beiden Veroneser, Räuberballett, 1925Xanti Schawinsky Estate © Xanti Schawinsky Estate

The Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics (MAP) opens by noting the depth of the cur­rent crisis – “cataclysm” – and a neg­a­tion of the fu­ture by “coming apo­ca­lypses”. No need for alarm how­ever: there is nothing political-​theological here what­so­ever, so those who came looking for that might as well stop reading now. Absent, too, is the usual re­frain about the…

The Insecurity of Public Interest: Criminal Law and Dumpster Diving

Paul May outside Iceland

The idea of in­sec­urity seems to have an ever in­creasing hold on our con­tem­porary so­cial ima­ginary, a tend­ency which is now reg­u­larly used by the au­thor­ities in order to le­git­imise a spe­cific no­tion of public in­terest. Last week, this no­tion came to the fore when the Guardian news­paper re­vealed that three men were ar­rested, de­tained and very…

For a Theory of Destituent Power

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A re­flec­tion on the des­tiny of demo­cracy today here in Athens is in some way dis­turbing, be­cause it ob­liges to think the end of demo­cracy in the very place where it was born. As a matter of fact, the hy­po­thesis I would like to sug­gest is that the pre­vailing gov­ern­mental paradigm in Europe today is not only…

Badiou’s Jurisprudence II: ‘We Have Become Simulacra’

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If freedom, as Deleuze claims, is to en­gage in jur­is­pru­dence, do we not en­counter a paradox in the al­li­ance between Alain Badiou and Jacques Vergès? A paradox that strikes at the heart of the co­lo­nial and jur­idical situ­ation of a col­on­ized people? If Vergès in­sti­tutes a rup­ture within jur­idical reason ren­dering the judg­ment of an Algerian National Liberation fighter…

Patrick McAuslan, or the Yes

Untitled in Tanzania, Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos

Professor Patrick McAuslan passed away on the 11th of January, 2014. I do not know the de­tails of his ap­par­ently de­teri­or­ating health, or of his death for that matter. I know very basic things about the whole event, and I have chosen to keep it like this. This is be­cause I do not want to close the biggest question…

A Generation Gaining its Voice

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I ended 2013 listening to Glen Greenwald’s key­note ad­dress at the Chaos Computer Club’s 30c3 con­fer­ence in Hamburg. Though Greenwald was con­vinced that change is pos­sible, he was cer­tain it would not arise through polit­ical de­bate or demo­cratic pro­cesses. Instead his op­timism is vested in the skills of his peers, and in en­cryp­tion tech­no­lo­gies such…

Badiou’s Jurisprudence: The Event of Law and The Law of The Event

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In a lec­ture pub­lished in the Cardozo Law Review in 2008, Alain Badiou ar­tic­u­lates his un­der­standing of Being, Event, and Simulacrum in re­la­tion­ship to Logic and Law. With an in­cred­ible power of pre­ci­sion, Badiou re­minds his audi­ence of Aristotle’s three main pil­lars of the pro­cess of thought (Identity, non-​contradiction, and the ex­cluded middle), which he then…

Masculine Subjects: Notes on the Thought of Luce Irigaray

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Given that Irigaray’s philo­soph­ical pro­ject fo­cuses at large on re­thinking the re­la­tion­ships between women and men, within a cul­ture of sexual dif­fer­ence, as sub­jects in their own terms, it seems there­fore only lo­gical that sexual dif­fer­ence (in Irigaray’s later texts re­worked as sexuate dif­fer­ence) re­veal it­self as a fruitful frame­work for also en­ga­ging with the issue of…

Post-​Modern Absurdities: Chomsky, Post-​Structuralism and Science

No Place Like Noam

I like Noam Chomsky. I like how he can cut through the vagaries and dis­tor­tions of much main­stream thought. I like how he al­ways con­tex­tu­al­ises polit­ical events and has a deep sens­it­ivity to­wards, and know­ledge of, his­tory. I like how he made William Buckley ­— latter day cause célèbre of neo-​cons — look like a gurning im­be­cile by quietly and consistently…

Question Everything? Rape Law / Free Speech

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“Question everything” is an in­junc­tion that reg­u­larly sur­faces in liber­tarian polit­ical circles. But aside from the fact it rarely be­comes the focus of its own ex­horta­tion, how does the com­mand to ques­tion and chal­lenge con­sensus and or­tho­doxy deal with the con­sequences of such ac­tions? When are speakers re­spons­ible for what their words do? And to…

Sovereignty Regained? Ireland Exits the EU-​IMF Bailout

Ireland

The bailout will soon be over. No longer will Ireland have to be sub­jected to the in­ter­fer­ence of ex­ternal powers in its af­fairs. No more hu­mi­li­ating con­di­tion­al­ities im­posed by mild-​mannered Troika func­tion­aries with a stern eco­nomic vision. Instead, thanks to the credit fa­cil­ities sup­plied by KfW Entwicklungsbank, which is mostly owned by the German fed­eral gov­ern­ment, Ireland will…

A Leaderless Resistance: Balochistan

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In April 2010, Baloch guer­illa com­mander Dr Allah Nazar gave a ce­re­mo­nious re­cep­tion to Jagoo at a Balochistan Liberation Front’s (BLF) camp in Balochistan’s Awaran dis­trict. Those BLF fighters, who hadn’t seen Jagoo be­fore, gos­siped in hushed tones about his identity. “He fixed a ma­chine gun. A bullet had been stuck in­side the gun and it’d been out of order…

Critical Finance Law

Finance is Enlightenment's reenchantment of the world - within its labyrinthine corridors lie such becomings-animal that would devour our future imperfect.

Finance and tele­ology Critical fin­ance law is the study of one of the most sig­ni­ficant teloi of the modern era: the set­tle­ment of debt. Why is the set­tle­ment of debt a telos? Well it is per­haps no sur­prise that just as the Scholastic concept of the causa fi­nalis, or final cause, was being ques­tioned and would…