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Pussy Riot: Maria Alyokhina’s Closing Statement

This trial is illustratory and illuminating. Not once will the authorities blush over it and be ashamed of it. Every stage of it is quintesential of iniquity. How has this happened that our performance being initially a small and somewhat awkward act has grown into a big disaster? Obviously in a healthy society that is…

ECB Frankfurt Occupy camp cleared

The Occupy camp situated in Frankfurt’s financial district, at the foot of the European Central Bank, was cleared this afternoon in a lightning raid, approved by the city’s Administrative Court.  The police admitted they had chosen a moment when the majority of activists were engaged elsewhere in the city.  Members of the Left Party and…

Capturing The Social Sciences: An Experiment in Political Epistemology

According to the title that identifies this panel, we are here to enter into a discussion around the productive powers of something called “critical theory”. At first sight, critique and productivity might strike anyone as being opposite terms. Isn’t critique related to a certain form of negativity? To saying “no” to power? And isn’t the demands for capitalistic “productivity” what some of us criticise, or at least attempt to do so?

The title of this panel, however, seems to put such a taken-for-granted relationship at risk. “The Productive power of critical theory”– can we think of a productive criticality? or a critical productivity? What might it mean to engage in a form of critical-productive thought and how might such engagements contribute to challenging and transforming our knowledge-practices within the social sciences and the humanities? These are some of the questions with which I will attempt to experiment in what follows.

To be sure, these questions are not new, and many researchers and thinkers in the social sciences and the humanities are becoming increasingly interested in them, to the extent that arguably none of the latest so-called turns within these fields, be it the “ontological turn”, the “practice turn”, the “affective turn” and so on, leave the question of the relation between critique and productivity untouched.

UPDATED Occupy in Frankfurt – rally against eviction

UPDATE: on 31 July 2012 Frankfurt’s Lord Mayor (Oberbuergermeister) Peter Feldmann (SPD) granted cautious support to the aims of the Occupy Camp insofar as these were about initiating a dialogue about the financial system.  This effectively amounts to granting a stay of execution on any eviction, pending the outcome of legal appeals against the decision…

Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory: ‘Grounding Law’ 6–8 December 2012 – Call for Papers

The fifth annual Melbourne Doctoral Forum on Legal Theory will be held at the Melbourne Law School, Melbourne, 6-8 December 2012. It will again bring together higher research students and early career researchers, who in different disciplines and across diverse fields of scholarship, engage with law and its theoretical and methodological questions. This year the…

New Report Documents ‘Total Policing’ Clampdown on Freedom to Protest

[Drawn from Netpol’s own release] A detailed new report launched today by the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) highlights how promises made by the police to ‘adapt to protest’ after 2009′s G20 demonstrations in London have been forgotten in a remarkably short space of time and a far more intolerant ‘total policing’ style response to…

Levi Bryant: Denaturing Nature: Talk at SPACE Gallery

SPACE host a lecture by Levi R. Bryant on the 5th of July at 6.30pm: Bryant is a leading thinker in the emerging fields of Object Oriented Ontology and Speculative Realism. The talk  suggestes that nature must be denatured, but without abandoning nature. Rather than absorbing nature into culture and language, culture should instead be absorbed into…

Civil Disobedience — Between Symbolic Politics and Real Confrontation

Some consider civil disobedience too radical; an attempt to procure political power under the mantle of moral principles or a one-sided renunciation of the duty to obey and uphold the law, and that is not to be tolerated. Citizens in functioning democracies must limit themselves to the legally sanctioned possibilities available to them for expressing dissenting views and influencing the political process. From this perspective, civil disobedience is little more than political blackmail. Others consider it an impotent expression of a reformist yearning for cosmetic changes within the given system; as a socially permissible and harmless protest of well-intentioned citizens that remains purely symbolic and only contributes to stabilizing prevailing relationships.

This essay attempts to show that both of these widespread views fail to fully address the specific characteristics of civil disobedience as a genuinely political and democratic practice of contestation. To present these specifics in detail, it is first necessary to define civil disobedience. Second, I situate this form of political practice between the opposing poles of symbolic politics and real confrontation. In a closing remark, I briefly examine the role of civil disobedience in representative democracies.

Law’s Justice – Editorial from Relaunched Journal: No Foundations

The relaunch of No Foundations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Law and Justice is devoted to rethinking the possibility of law’s justice. We have chosen to approach this question from a law and humanities perspective, mainly for two reasons. The first is that this interdisciplinary movement, presently gaining momentum in Europe, reconceptualizes law in a way…

Launch: New Critical Legal Thinking

We would like to invite you to the launch of New Critical Legal Thinking. It will take place at 6pm in the Clore Management Building, Birkbeck, University of London, on Saturday the 30th of June, during the London Conference in Critical Theory. New Critical Legal Thinking articulates the emergence of a stream of critical legal…

Brutality on World Refugee Day – Ireland

Yesterday another mass deportation to Nigeria took place after many Direct Provision centres were raided by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) early in the morning. We have been informed that people including women and children were taken in Carrick-on-Suir, Cork and Portlaoise.

Out of desperation, a woman called Adekemi tried to harm herself with a knife while she was being takenfrom her room. After having dragged her outside almost naked from the waist up, the police pepper sprayed her, beat her severely, and handcuffed her in front of early age children who were visibly distraught. As she had recently undergone a serious stomach surgery, the scar opened and started bleeding while she was being beaten. Adekemi was then hospitalised, but after a short time she was brought back to the hostel, and together with her three children she was taken to the airport by the GNIB for deportation.

The Greek Crisis as Racketeering

Sociologist Charles Tilly drew a compelling analogy between the state as the place of organised means of violence, and racketeering. He defined the racketeer “as someone who creates a threat and then charges for its reduction”, in order to gain control and consolidate power. In this regard, a state and its government differ little from…

Declaration: Hardt & Negri

This is not a manifesto. Manifestos provide a glimpse of a world to come and also call into being the subject, who although now only a specter must materialize to become the agent of change. Manifestos work like the ancient prophets, who by the power of their vision create their own people. Today’s social movements…

In solidarity with the Greek People

For joint actions around the Greek elections, and for large Euro-Mediterranean’s mobilizations in autumn 2012! The response to the financial and economic crisis is the same everywhere: cuts in expenditure and austerity measures under the pretext of reducing deficits and the repayment of a public debt which is the direct outcome of 20 years of…

The Challenges of Indignation: Spain’s 15M

The 15M [the Indignados ‘movement’] is very alive, we see this in the great challenges that await it. It has many achievements, some very visible, like the creation of a different social climate or having socialized the idea that the crisis is a con, and that this con started well before the crisis. A year…

Palestine Place – Workshops, Discussion and Action in support of Palestine, 2–17 June 2012

It is mid-2012 and in Palestine the 64 year-long struggle against Israel’s political, economic, and cultural occupation and violence continues with an ever-increasing intensity. The state of Israel, supported by central London’s powerful political elite, continues to control the discourse on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Though it attempts to drown out the voices of…

CFP: “Democracy & Law” | Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies

Democracy and Law Democracy and law are central themes of global studies. Nowadays international politics seems to be interceded via a multitude of legal practices and processes, consequently bringing the role of, and need for, international law into sharp relief. Yet particularly since the emergence of the ‘war on terror’ many have questioned the efficacy…

Convergence on Activism & Research Ethics, 30 June 2012, London

Occupy Research Collective Convergence (ORCC): Activism & Research Ethics 10:00-17:00 Saturday June 30th – Pearson Building, University College London, Bloomsbury, London, WC1E 6BT (enter from Gower Street). See here for directions. Are you researching Occupy or contemporary social movements? Are you involved in Occupy or other forms of activism? Are you interested in using research…

SYRIZA Proposal: The Exit from the Crisis on the Left

1. Creation of a shield to protect society against the crisis • Not a single citizen without a guaranteed minimum income or unemployment benefit, medical care, social protection, housing, and access to all services of public utilities. • Protection of and relief measures for indebted households. • Price controls and price reductions, VAT reduction, and…