Tag: Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin in Palestine

“The law which is studied but no longer practiced is the gate to justice. The gate to justice is study.” — Walter Benjamin, “Franz Kafka.”1 Walter Benjamin never did go to Palestine. Despite frequent invitations from his friend Gershom Scholem, who emigrated there in 1925, and despite the rapidly deteriorating situation for European Jews in…

Shut it Down #YarlsWood

Reading the migrant detention centre within a global economy of violence through new formations of resistance and solidarity. Yarl’s Wood IRC. On a wet windy November day in Bedfordshire, outside the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre, Judith an ex-detainee is on the mobile sound system. My sisters on the inside On the 8th August I was…

Notes on the Thought of Walter Benjamin: Critique of Violence

Key Concept “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…

Anti-fetishism: Notes on the Thought of Walter Benjamin

Although Walter Benjamin doesn’t always directly reference the notion of political fetishism, it can be argued that this concept underlies everything that he writes. Benjamin’s concept of the “phantasmagoria,” that miasma of misrepresentation that stands for reality in our time, is basically a statement about political—among other forms—of fetishism. For Benjamin, this mass practice of…

Power, Violence, Law

Over the last two hundred years, the theory of right, now known as normative jurisprudence, has discovered its vocation in a frantic attempt to legitimise the exercise of power. It carries out this task by declaring that law and power are external to each other ontologically, politically, morally, the two are involved in a zero-sum…