Race

Cuba and the Garden State: Assata Shakur, Abolition and the Problem of Pardon

Assata Shakur being led away to trial shackled 1977

My skin is black/​My arms are long/​My hair is woolly/​My back is strong/​Strong enough to take the pain/​inflicted again and again/​What do they call me/​My name is Aunt Sarah/​My name is Aunt Sarah — Nina Simone, “Four Women” The recent announcement by US President Barack Obama to re-​establish diplomatic relations with Cuba has been…

‘Why is no one counting the thousands of deaths of black youth in Brazil resulting from police actions?’

Brazil Cops

Two days ago, a US American friend of mine, who lives in Rio, asked this question on a Facebook post. I don’t have an answer. I have a rant. Everyone who like me has lost friends and relatives to state violence never stopped counting. What we need is a political transmutation, a turn of thought. We need the left and those to…

The Slave Ship Embodies the Whole Story of Slavery

Slave_Ship

The man refused to eat. He had been sick, reduced to a ‘mere skeleton.’ He had apparently made a decision to die. Captain Timothy Tucker was outraged, and probably fearful that his example might spread to the other 200-​plus captives aboard his ship, the Loyal George, as it made its way across the Atlantic to Barbados…

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…

Racism as Excessive Legalism

Queue

We rightly celebrate that we live in a society where law and order prevail. The capacity to follow established rules allows for the smooth operation of the many necessary transactions that make up our everyday life. And the law, among other things, guarantees that we as citizens can access certain goods and services by right rather…

Farewell, Madiba. Farewell

Candle

I, along with millions, perhaps even billions, lit a candle on the 5th of December 2013 in memory of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Madiba or Tata, as he is also affectionately known in the Xhosa language of his Native Land, Azania, known through its colonial and now post-​apartheid name, South Africa. The candlelight has many meanings in…

Black and Red Baiting: A Reply to Eric Heinze, ‘Angela Davis’s Racism’

King Communist Training

It is to be hoped that most readers of Critical Legal Thinking who enjoy a passing acquaintance with twentieth-​century history or the writing and activism of Angela Davis, will recognise Eric Heinze’s article ‘Angela Davis’s Racism’ for what it is: a pompous and purblind character-​assassination, whose ignorance of history and political bad faith make old school anti-​communist…

Angela Davis’s Racism: A Glance at Morality and History

Erich Honecker and Angela Davis

What might we have thought about high-​profile personalities flying into Alabama or Mississippi in the 1950s — white figures meeting with white governors, white mayors, white police chiefs, to openly cheer those states’ ‘equitable solutions’ to social problems? Such visits certainly took place. Surely we would have to call those visitors overtly racist, or else wilfully ignorant, hence…

Murder by Fascists in Greece

golden-dawn-greece

Last night, 34-​year-​old anti-​fascist and left-​wing rapper Pavlos Fissas was stabbed to death in Athens while he was surrounded by a group of 30 thugs in Golden Dawn shirts and military trousers. The victim, whose stage name is MC Killah P, had been watching a football match with his girlfriend. The Greek media is reporting that the murder…

Wanted For Love, But Not Here: The Travelling Rights of African LGBT Activists

Wanted for Love

One of the dangers of awareness campaigns centred on social media is that they risk being online popularity contests. The [Dutch] national “Wanted For Love” campaign — a collaborative initiative of Hivos and Human Rights Watch aimed at drawing attention to the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in “Africa” — welcomes the like-​tivist spirit with…

On the Zimmerman Verdict: Violence and Reason

Trayvon Martin art

George Zimmerman’s acquittal is not a mere validation of one White man’s fear of and disdain for young Black males and the deadly force with which these emotions were unleashed upon an innocent boy. Rather, it is a terrifying and heartbreaking expression of six White female jurors’ desire to empathize with and protect a man whose liberty was…

Prisoners’ Hunger Strike in California

PelicanBaySHUExerciseYard

Daletha Hayden hasn’t hugged her son in four years. Since 2009, the only face-​to-​face contact they’ve had has been through thick glass. Even phone calls are not allowed in Tehachapi State Prison’s isolation unit. Despite the separation, she said she has seen the effect solitary confinement has had on him. “He has these bouts of…

Anti-​Colonial Events in Brazil

man-and-riot-polic_2255967k

In the colonial countries, on the contrary, the policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native and advise him by means of rifle butts and napalm not to budge. It is obvious here that the agents of government speak the language of pure force. The intermediary…

Debating BDS (Boy­cott, Divest­ment, Sanc­tions): Fraser v UCU

images

On March 22nd, 2013 the Employment Tribunal (UK-London) rendered judgment in the case of Fraser v University & College Union (UCU). Ruling in favour of UCU, the Tribunal’s judgment brought immense relief to UCU members, BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) activists, and others who were anxious about the potential repercussions that a negative outcome might have for freedom of…

The Right against the City

Golden Dawn supporters on the streets

“Reclaim our cities”. “Self-​organise”. “Take neighbourhood action”. Consider these slogans for a moment. Sound familiar? Indeed they should, echoing as they do a body of scholarship (e.g. Amin & Thrift, 2005; Butler, 2012; Chatterton, 2010; Dikeç, 2001; Harvey, 2003; Leontidou, 2006, 2010; Marcuse, 2009; Mayer, 2009; Simone, 2005) stemming from Henri Lefebvre’s idea of the Right to the City (Lefebvre, 1996; henceforth RttC). Despite this common origin, interpretations of the Lefebvrian “right” have been most diverse; perhaps his own often-​times abstract writing has inadvertently caused this scholarship to reach outside the confines of his own political allegiance and thought: ten years ago, Mark Purcell (2002) protested that the original RttC notion was more radical than his own concurrent literature would make it appear. But today, a reformist interpretation of Lefebvre might be the least of the worries we are faced with here, on the south-​eastern shore of the Mediterranean that is the Greek territory.