Radical Politics

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.,…

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…

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…

#Accelerationism: Remembering the Future

Automat, 977 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan, 1936. Gelatin silver print.

For the last forty years the vision of our so­ci­eties as pro­gressive and heading in a better dir­ec­tion has been sys­tem­at­ic­ally eroded. Under the per­muta­tion of cap­it­alism that began in the 1970s, gained trac­tion in the 1980s, ap­peared vic­torious in the 1990s, and faced ser­ious prob­lems in the late 2000s — the fu­ture has been can­celled. Today, it…

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’

Untitled

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

baloch-sarmachar

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…

The Law of the Commons: Climate Change Protest in Buckfastleigh

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…

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

violence-solves-everything

“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…