Political Economy

Cupcake Fascism: Gentrification, Infantilisation and Cake

Eliza Koch

The Cupcake as Object The cup­cake is barely a cake. When we think about what “the cake-​like” ideal should be, it is some­thing spongy, moist, char­ac­ter­ized by ex­cess, col­lapsing under its own weight of gooey jam, me­ringue, and cream. It is some­thing sickly and wet that makes your fin­gers sticky. The cup­cake is none of these…

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


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…

Sovereignty Regained? Ireland Exits the EU-​IMF Bailout


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…

The Law of the Commons: Climate Change Protest in Buckfastleigh


On Thursday 17 October the com­munity of Buckfastleigh, South Devon, heard the fate of their town, their live­li­hoods, the pro­tec­tion of their im­me­diate en­vir­on­ment and sur­rounding eco­sys­tems, presented to them in the much awaited de­cision of a plan­ning ap­peal in­quiry that took place over the heat of the summer, 25 June – 19 July 2013.1 The plan­ning in­quiry was an…

Human Bodies in Material Space: Editorial of the Journal for Human Rights and the Environment

Embodiment by Eric Franklin

This edi­tion of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment is ded­ic­ated to the greatest struggle of our era – the on­going – and in­creas­ingly ur­gent – struggle to con­front the en­trenched and growing vi­ol­ence (both epi­stemic and phys­ical) of a global order that is rap­idly en­trenching both human and en­vir­on­mental vul­ner­ab­ility. ‘Business as usual’ is still ob­dur­ately com­mitted to the…

Adjunct, Class, Fear


The biggest obstacle to or­gan­izing ad­junct (part-​time and full-​time non-​tenure-​track) pro­fessors, who now com­prise 75% of the fac­ulty in higher edu­ca­tion, with part-​timers working for $2700 per course on av­erage — is fear. Most people as­sume that ad­juncts fear re­tri­bu­tion for boat-​rocking of any kind. That worry is not un­founded, since ex­amples of such re­tali­ation abound. However, many ad­juncts feel para­lyzed by a deeper, unspoken…

Immigration Manhunts and British Post-​Colonial Identity

No I will not show you my papers

Last week the British government’s Border Agency (UKBA) pushed its new and con­tro­ver­sial “go home” cam­paign into full ef­fect along with an ac­com­pa­nying, and highly cri­ti­cized im­mig­ra­tion stop and search at sev­eral London tube sta­tions. The vast ma­jority of the cri­ti­cism to UKBA’s cam­paign has been largely fo­cused on the basic premises that the Tories are…

Cypriots Discover the Debt Jubilee

ATM Out of Service

Come again? Cypriots dis­cover the debt ju­bilee? Well yes ac­tu­ally, that is ba­sic­ally how de­pos­itors at Cypriot banks have been treated by the Troika, even if the de­cision to grab up to 9.9% of cash de­posits to fin­ance a bail out of the fin­ance sector is being presented as a tax or levy. To un­der­stand this we…

An Ungovernable Italy: Interview with Bifo


Amador Fernández-​Savater: What is the con­text in which the Italian elec­tions have taken place? Bifo: The polit­ical dis­in­teg­ra­tion of Europe. Europe was born as a pro­ject of peace and so­cial solid­arity, taking up the legacy of the so­cialist and in­ter­na­tion­alist cul­ture that op­posed fas­cism. In the 90s, fin­ance capital’s major centres of power de­cided to des­troy the European…

On the Right to Peace and the Environment

War and Destruction / Kuwait

Peace and the en­vir­on­ment are two equally wide-​reaching topics, and con­sequently they could be studied sep­ar­ately and from a variety of per­spect­ives. In this art­icle, we will en­deavour to demon­strate the re­la­tion­ship between peace and the en­vir­on­ment starting with the idea that the pre­ser­va­tion of both is sig­ni­fic­antly com­prom­ised by the cur­rent eco­nomic system. Our central…

The Amazon Archipelago

Amazon facility Bad Hersfeld

On Wed­nes­day night prime Ger­man tele­vi­sion chan­nel ARD broad­cast under­cover report­age con­cern­ing the treat­ment of for­eign work­ers at Amazon’s huge dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house near Bad Hersfeld in cent­ral Ger­many. State par­lia­ment­ari­ans called the re­port “unspeak­able”, “shock­ing”, “bey­ond the pale”, and the Left Party spokes­per­son stated:

“We call on the state gov­ern­ment to carry out promptly and with all at its dis­posal checks of the complainant’s so­cial secur­ity fraud, the use of an appar­ent neo-​Nazi secur­ity com­pany through Amazon and the inhu­mane place­ment in a so-​called ‘resort’”.

Bad Hersfeld backs up against the old bor­der with East Ger­many at the point, the Fulda Gap, which the US determ­ined was the prime stra­tegic entry point for Soviet forces in any inva­sion of Europe. As a con­sequence this wooded up-​country be­came a back­wa­ter of barbed wire and check­points after the war. It is here that Amazon has had built one of its massive dis­tri­bu­tion centres for Ger­many, and it is here that under­cover report­ers infiltrated.

The Wealth Clock

Wealth Clock

A group of German trades unions, aca­demics, and mil­it­ants have at­tempted to seize back the clock as a powerful mode of polit­ical ex­pres­sion with their “Wealth Clock”. It seems to be a direct re­sponse to the re­l­ative suc­cess of the US’s National Debt Clock, in­sti­tuted in the late 80s by prop­erty de­veloper Seymour Durst, in im­pressing into the public con­scious­ness the claimed ur­gency of dealing with the US na­tional debt, as a route to neo­lib­eral aus­terity measures. Leaving aside the many ar­gu­ments that can be lev­elled against Durst’s fears, the image of a con­stant up-​ticking of a na­tional debt has had its echoes in European states, not least Britain and Germany as flag-​bearers for austerity.

Democracy, Distrust and the Right to Resist, Today

15-M Puerta del Sol at Midnight 14 May 2012

Democracy means dis­sent, dis­trust and res­ist­ance According to clas­sical theory, the roots of demo­cracy are in con­sensus. The truth, how­ever, is quite the op­posite. Experience has shown us that the key to demo­cracy lays else­where; in the ca­pa­city to ac­cept and even guar­antee dis­sent and cri­ti­cism of the es­tab­lished powers, with res­ist­ance to these powers…

Slovenians Demand Radical Changepr

Slovenia Dec 2012

During the closing months of 2012, Slovenia has seen a series of mass pop­ular protests. Thirty thou­sand demon­strators gathered on November 17 for the first protest, or­gan­ised by trade unions, stu­dents, and or­gan­isa­tions of re­tired people and artists. Dozens of protests fol­lowed, large and small, taking place in vir­tu­ally all of the urban set­tle­ments of Slovenia,…

Compliance: The Uncomfortable Reality of Docile Bodies

Claude-Nicolas Ledoux (1736–1806), Coup d’oeil du Théâtre de Besançon, 1804

The movie ‘Compliance’ is dis­turbing on many dif­ferent levels, and left me with a feeling of ex­treme dis­com­fort, and even dis­or­i­ent­a­tion, long after the credits rolled, no less be­cause it is based on true events, re­ferred to by the American media as the “strip search prank call scam’. As the story un­folds in the movie in the same se­quence as it did in reality, Sandra, the man­ager of an Ohio “Chickwich” fast-​food outlet, re­ceives a call from a man falsely claiming to be a po­lice de­tective. Referring to him­self as “Officer Daniels” or “Sir”, he ac­cuses a young fe­male cashier, Becky, of stealing money from a cus­tomer. He then en­lists Sandra’s as­sist­ance in phys­ic­ally de­taining Becky in the store room of the outlet and strip-​searching her. Sandra and two other em­ployees are caught up in events that be­come in­creas­ingly un­set­tling, es­calate throughout, and ul­ti­mately cul­minate in the de­grading sexual abuse and hu­mi­li­ation of Becky by Sandra’s boy­friend, Van.

The Political Economy of Indigenous Dispossession: Bare and Dispensable Lives in the Andes

Soscial Conflict, Cusco, Peru

The expan­sion of the extract­ive indus­tries has, as coun­ter­parts, first, the reac­tion of indi­gen­ous com­munit­ies in the de­fense of their com­munal goods (land, water, graz­ing, etc.), and second, the viol­ent counter-​attack of the state through po­lice and mil­it­ary repres­sion, legit­im­ated many times by the of excep­tion (in Peru the “state of emer­gency”, a kind of state of excep­tion, has been ap­plied by gov­ern­ments in pre­vi­ous years to con­trol socio-​environmental protests). Polit­ical eco­nomy and legal policy are both rel­ev­ant to this situ­ation and both are func­tion­ally connected.

In re­spect of polit­ical eco­nomy, let us bring to mind what David Har­vey calls “accu­mu­la­tion by dis­pos­ses­sion”, which is just the the­or­et­ical up­date of the “prim­it­ive accu­mu­la­tion” de­scribed by Karl Marx, that is to say: cap­it­al­ist expan­sion re­quires the viol­ent trans­form­a­tion of com­mon goods into com­mod­it­ies in order to be appro­pri­ated and then used by ex­change mechanisms.

Interview with leader of the Greek Syriza Party: ‘The Euro is a Powder Keg that is Going to Explode!’

Alexis Tsipras

Euro or no euro. That was the grand di­lemma in which Greece, and in par­tic­u­lar, the Syr­iza move­ment that you lead, was framed. How do you ana­lyse the period of crisis that Europe is cur­rently under­go­ing, and which seems to put in ques­tion much more than the sac­rosanct sta­bil­ity of the euro?

I be­lieve the European model has to be re­built from below. We can’t be sat­is­fied with what today is called Europe. The cur­rent crisis is not a European crisis but a global one. Europe today does not have the mech­an­isms to con­front it or con­trol the world­wide fin­an­cial at­tack against its peoples. Hence why Europe be­came a con­tin­ent where the at­tack of the global fin­an­cial sys­tem was fero­cious. We have no defences.

Austerity by way of the Colonies: Workfare in the UK


The taxi took an al­ternate route to the air­port that day, the day be­fore the Queen’s Jubilee parade, to avoid the very early morning re­hearsals of mil­itary per­sonnel, horses, and others in­volved in or­ches­trating the im­pending cel­eb­ra­tions. Arriving at my des­tin­a­tion 22 hours later, in a time zone 13 hours be­hind GMT, I went to the Guardian…

Health, Safety and Publicness: Athens, August 9 – 14, 2012


Five days in Athens. Five very varied days. I used to fre­quent Athens as a teen­ager with my par­ents. We were al­ways transit vis­itors, en route to Kano, Nigeria where my late father used to work. Those visits where quick, two days in Athens, vis­iting an­cient monu­ments, mu­seums, tav­ernas, cafes, friends, and re­l­at­ives. You see, post 1974…