Radical Politics

Politics in Times of Anxiety

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Politics in Times of Anxiety springs from the 9/​11 attacks, when public safety and security turned into a central concern across the globe. The subsequent economic crisis that broke out in 2008 in the USA and its gradual spread across Europe initiated a protracted period of global slump and distressed views of political representation to be found in…

A Brief Reflection on the Hard Left

If the only deaths worth mourning are those of children, we have become complicit with the oppression that dehumanizes their communities. Image by  Israeli artist Amir Schiby in tribute to four boys killed on a beach In Gaza

Why use the term ‘hard-​left’ to describe candidates to the left of the Labour Party? What is ‘hard’ about these candidates, by contrast with political parties who oversee draconian cutbacks to expenditure in health and education and social services, or parties who set the police on social welfare claimants whilst releasing fraudulent figures on fraud,…

Notes for a Non-​Statocentric Politics

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The statocentric gaze proposes to think of social change as a conflict between the political class (“chancers, crooks, liars”) and a “we” that is essentially healthy (“the real people”, “decent folk”, “the multitudes”). It would be sufficient for “the good guys” to reach power (through their representatives) to change the state of things. But neoliberalism is in fact a co-​production. With different levels, but we all produce it among ourselves (by entering into competition with our neighbour, by speculating, etc.). It is not enough to be against “the bad guys” as if there were about the place somewhere a “good us” that already existed. A new reality has to be created (and we have to change with it).

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.

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…

Five Theses on the Aftermath of the Ukrainian Revolution

Protesters rally round the monument to founders of Kiev in Independence square

1 The escalation of the Crimean crisis has all but obscured the events in the Ukraine during November 2013 – February 2014 that led to it and which alone make it intelligible. What took place during this period was a revolution in the full sense of the word, i.e. without the qualifying adjectives such as ‘velvet’, ‘colour’, etc.,…

If the state isn’t a corporation, what might it become?

Enrique Chagoya. The Pastoral or Arcadian State, Illegal Alien’s Guide to Greater America, 2006

That British and other states are becoming increasingly privatised is the sad litany of our age. So too is the way states incorporate market principles of price and competition within their own internal governance structures. And now, with companies running public services, owning public assets, and providing a model for how state bodies should interact, the…

“We are not from another planet”: Justice 4 Cleaners Campaign and the Struggle for Recognition

Subaltern Speak

The on-​going struggle of the SOAS Cleaners for acceptable working conditions and equality in the workplace has received some media attention since its inception in 2007 – 2008. For a thorough and engaging analysis of the history of cleaners’ labour activism across the city, including the massive contributions they have made to the London Living Wage Campaign, see…

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…

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…

A Longer Road to Freedom: Addressing 21st Century Apartheids

Nelson Mandela Monument Marco Cianfanelli

The death of Nelson Mandela seems to unite minds and hearts the world over in a celebration of his life’s achievements and an apparently near-​universal sadness at the passing of ‘a great light’ from the world. International leaders are lining up to give their deeply felt eulogies; national flags fly at half mast over sites of…

Blockupy plan to disrupt ECB opening

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The opening of the new European Central Bank headquarters should not take place without protests across the board in 2014. The Blockupy Alliance has called for disruption of the opening, planned for sometime in December 2014, with a foretaste coming with a week of action in May 2014. Around 450 Blockupy supporters met at the weekend in Frankfurt…

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…

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…