Tag: Rights

Brexit: Whose Europe, Theirs or Ours?

Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. — Antonio Machado I. Introduction The referendum on whether or not Britain should remain within the European Union (EU) is now fully underway. This debate confronts socialists with a series of pressing tactical and strategic challenges,…

One Piece at a Time

On work, theft and the age of automation through a reading of Johnny Cash’s classic song Johnny Cash’s One Piece at a Time is a song about how he makes his own dream Cadillac by smuggling out all the parts from the factory over twenty years. It’s essentially about stealing from work but that’s not…

The In/determinacy of Human Rights: A Response to O’Connell

Paul O’Connell recently argued that human rights are not a trap for emancipatory and radical projects. They can be productively placed with different discourses like anti-capitalism, anti-racism or queer politics, generating productive moments of resistance. He argues against what he calls a ‘monolingual’ idea of struggle where movements can only engage with one discourse at…

Gay Rights in Russia 

  Homosexuality is not a criminal offence in Russia — since 1993. In 1999 it ceased to be regarded as a mental illness. Indeed, Russian history has many famous homosexuals — the poet Alexei Apukhtin; Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the Ballets Russes; and of course the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The younger brother of…

A Right to Breathe

When we revolt it’s not for a particular culture. We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.The air is taken away from us; “we cannot breathe”. This is a commentary which draws inspiration from an evocative piece of writing by Jerome Roos which appeared earlier in Reflections on a Revolution. The…

Demanding the Future: The Right2Water and Another Ireland

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…

Is there a Right to Resistance and Revolution? Lecture by Costas Douzinas

Costas Douzinas delivering this year’s annual talk of Post-structural and Critical Thought Cluster at the University of Manchester. Professor Costas Douzinas delivered this year’s annual talk of the Post-structural and Critical Thought Cluster at the University of Manchester. This event also officially launched a 2-year cluster run project entitled Politics in Times of Anxiety. The…

Socialism and rights: A reply to David Renton’s ‘Do socialists still have an alternative concept of rights?’

Each generation of “human rights” has its origins in revolutionary struggle, and that is why they remain, unlike black-letter law, so powerful and so scandalous.David Renton’s thoughtful and trenchant article in SL64 [Ed: republished 18 Nov 2013 on CLT] has done us all a great service, opening up questions of crucial importance to the Haldane Society. That…

Do socialists still have an alternative concept of rights?

Socialists should demand what is absolutely incompatible with the conditions of capital and the State: the right not to be exploited.An obvious starting point is Karl Marx’s position on human rights. We can begin with his response in 1844 to Bruno Bauer’s pamphlet The Jewish Question, in which Bauer opposed Jewish demands for political liberation…

Notes on the Theology of Constituent Power

In its traditional conception, the constituent is a power that constitutes and reconstitutes the state. This is a dangerous, though important salve for the problem of corruption in the body politic. The people or their representatives may overthrow the constituted order when it loses its authority, when the monarch or polyarch becomes tryannous. However, our…

A note on power and responsibility

A short piece to mark just one example of the continuing intellectual hegemony of the banking/Thatcherism/Murdoch triad that infests British politics. Listening to the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, give an interview this morning to Evan Davis of the BBC, we heard him proclaim: If they [the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks] have any shred of…

Adikia: On Communism and Rights

1.  Back in the Eighties and Nineties, Marxist intellectuals, shaken by the Gulag revelations and the collapse of the communist states, started welcoming human rights. Claude Lefort, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Etienne Balibar and Jacques Rancière1 amongst others participated in this move. It coincided with the ‘end of history’ bragging of liberal capitalists and the revisionist histories…