Political Philosophy

Demanding the Future: The Right2Water and Another Ireland

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The American abolitionist Frederick Douglass once observed that if you find out ‘just what any people will quietly submit to … you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them’ and that such injustices ‘will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with…

International Law 1914/​2014

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Looking back to mid-​1914 from mid-​2014, it is hard to see beyond the piles of bodies. History barely seems up to the task of grappling with this tumultuous interstice. Perhaps, rather than approaching this interval as a sequence of historical contexts, we might conceive of it – and our relationship to it – in terms of a welter of styles, or…

A Walk in Yarl’s Wood

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On a fine winter’s day, the first fine day after weeks of storms and rain, I went for a walk in the country. I found myself in a typical English rural landscape, driving down hedge-​lined lanes that grew progressively narrower. A couple of dead badgers lay whitening on the edges of the road. At the gate of a farm the road turned abruptly…

Dense Struggle (IV): The Ghostly Real

Photo. 22. IDP marching in the streets of Bogotá and calling the state to fulfill its obligations towards displaced population according to National Law 387/1997: “Displaced population is part of Colombia. Fulfill Law 387” (June, 2009). L. Eslava.

As I mentioned in the last post, one of the most perplexing circumstances that surrounded the appearance of the ghost in the refuge was that it occurred at the precise moment at which the group of IDPs formally entered into the realm of the official. It could have easily occurred earlier, when they were protesting, in…

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…

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…

What’s Going on in Venezuela?

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It’s difficult to briefly explain the situation in Venezuela right now. The difficulty lies in the fact that it is complicated, like most things. No matter how various political protagonists, human rights groups and news media would like to paint things as simple, black and white, they are not. To understand one has to dig…

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…

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

Verges 3

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…

Robert Webb is a Prick

Robert Webb

Last week when I was writing about Russell Brand’s article in the New Statesman, I didn’t want to subject it to too close a reading because there are some things that are written with intentional precision and deserve to be read with precision, and there are other things that are more disorganised and impressionistic, and you can come…

The Law of the Commons: Climate Change Protest in Buckfastleigh

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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…

Against Rebels

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Rebels are not just boring, they are dangerous. We’ve had decades of rebel-​worship now and if I see Che Guevara on one more t-​shirt I’m going to start shooting the hostages. Che Guevara was a dick. I know this because I have the Bolivian Diary in my toilet and every time I pick it up I have the urge to use…

Notes on the Thought of Walter Benjamin: Critique of Violence

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“Critique of Violence” (Zur Kritik der Gewalt)1 is notorious for its obscurity, which, at least partly, is due to the impossibility of translating several of the key terms used by Benjamin into English. The immediate encapsulation of the task of a critique of violence conveyed in the German title and the first couple of sentences is…

What’s “Left” of Communism? Part II of II

Schools for Chiapas

In my last article I was looking at the Left’s current return to communism and that, while the thinkers most often associated with this return are adamant that this is a new and more fluid communism than the communist projects of the 20th century, there are three problematic commonalities that most of them share that prevent me…