The Political

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…

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

Foucault

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…

(K)not Politics: Thoughts on Ukraine and Protest

Freedom and Kiev central square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti.

The events in Ukraine have caused many to wonder what sparked the protests in November and why things un­folded into such vi­ol­ence this February. How do we un­der­stand European and Russian in­terest in this country, and what media, what sources of in­form­a­tion can be trusted? Ukraine has once again raised the ques­tion of the political;…

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?

venezuela-uprising-2

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…

A Generation Gaining its Voice

Yes_we_scan

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…

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…

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…

Vulnerability and the Protestor Desired

By Ricardo Alvaraz, from Global Voices (Creative COmmons Licence) http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/03/05/puerto-rico-why-so-much-fear-of-an-image/

I. In September of last year, Charlene González, a University of Puerto Rico un­der­graduate stu­dent re­moved her top in the University plaza as part of a performance/​protest against in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized gender dis­crim­in­a­tion in the uni­ver­sity and in Puerto Rican so­ciety at large. In a matter of minutes, campus and state po­lice were alerted and upon re­fusing to cover herself,…

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

Red Star

In his 1980 book The Inoperative Community, Jean-​Luc Nancy fam­ously claimed that com­munism is, “… no longer the un­sur­pass­able ho­rizon of our time.” Three years later Benedict Anderson, in his ground­breaking book Imagined Communities, showed us how al­li­ances based on common iden­tity are much stronger bonds that al­li­ances based on ideo­logy. All of this seemed…

No Alarms and No Surprises? Sixth Protester Dies in Turkish Demonstrations

Turkey

Even though the in­ter­na­tional fas­cin­a­tion with the Turkish protests seems to have some­what faded, they have con­tinued since last May. The demon­strators are neither tired of gath­ering to­gether nor de­terred by the tear gas and the water can­nons used un­spar­ingly by the po­lice. Extreme po­lice vi­ol­ence, which marked these events, also con­tinues and the po­lice have…

The Political in the Contract Classroom

pruitt_igoe_collapses

When we started ‘The Public Life of Private Law’ one of the con­ver­sa­tions we wanted to have with par­ti­cipants, and with others fol­lowing the series, was about teaching private law from a crit­ical per­spective. In par­tic­ular, we wanted to think about how those of us who fell into teaching private law through a mix­ture of ne­ces­sity and serendipity, but…

Counterpress and Critical Legal Strategy

Stacy Douglas 'red & black II (an invitation)', 5" x 7" acrylic on textured card stock. Reproduced with permission

In 2007, Daniel Bensaïd sug­gested that we turn to the ques­tion of strategy. Traditionally, strategy is dis­tin­guished from tac­tics. Where strategy is the ‘use of en­gage­ment to ob­tain the plan of war’ in von Clausewitz, tac­tics are the short term acts which win battles. Bensaïd’s strategy, how­ever, is slightly dif­ferent. It is not the means…

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…

Times of Hope and Despair: Lessons of Democracy Gezi Resistance Has Taught Us

Izmir Turkey

As a PhD can­didate in Political Science and a cit­izen of Turkey, never have I felt so hopeful and des­perate sim­ul­tan­eously. I feel hopeful be­cause I have never ex­per­i­enced or known such per­sistent solid­arity amongst the tra­di­tion­ally ad­versary seg­ments pre­valent in this so­ciety. I feel des­perate be­cause the gov­ern­ment and the media are being un­reas­on­ably in­sistent on turning a blind eye to…

Anti-​Colonial Events in Brazil

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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…

Seven Theses on Human Rights: (5) Depoliticization

American Apparel Mannequins

Rights form the ter­rain on which people are dis­trib­uted into rulers, ruled, and ex­cluded. Power’s mode of op­er­a­tion is re­vealed, if we ob­serve which people are given or de­prived of which rights at which par­tic­ular place or point in time. In this sense, human rights both con­ceal and af­firm the dom­inant struc­ture of a period and…

Boston Marathon Bombings: the Emergency Declaration as a State of Exception

Martha Rosler: Gray-Drape

At the end of the 60s, American artist Martha Rosler pro­duced a series of pho­tomont­ages titled House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home. One of those im­ages, “Red Stripe Kitchen”, shows two GI sol­diers rum­ma­ging through the im­macu­late kit­chen of what looks like a typ­ical American bun­galow. It was dis­played re­cently at The Metropolitan Museum of Art as…