CRITICAL LEGAL THINKING

LAW AND THE POLITICAL

CRITICAL LEGAL THINKING

LAW AND THE POLITICAL

Karl Marx: Alienation

Karl Marx: Alienation

Key Concept The Marxian concept of alienation (Entäußerung)  or estrangement (Entfremdung) is one of the most discussed notions in the history of modern social and political theory. There is a long history of the term before Marx, from the giusnaturalistic and contractualist tradition to its role played in the work of Hegel and the Young Hegelians; but the Marxian formulation is undoubtedly the most influential. While being present in Capital, and recurring in the Grundrisse, it was explicitly theorised in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, published posthumously in 1932.  Subsequently, alienation became a problematic and deeply divisive concept in Marxist discourse. Some Marxist intellectuals (such as Althusser) disqualifed the notion, attributing it to a “young Marx” who was still too much a philosopher and too little a scientist. Others considered it the ground of Marxism itself, without which the critique of political economy would not...

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ARTICLES

The End of the Portuguese Dream?

The End of the Portuguese Dream?

Given the circumstances, the presidential election was a marvel of organization, revealing a civic-mindedness that may have come as a surprise even to the well-advised. The abstention rate was high, but still much lower than predicted. There were two major winners:...

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From Dynastics to Genealogy

From Dynastics to Genealogy

I’ve written about The Punitive Society course by Foucault before, particularly in a review essay which appeared in Historical Materialism, and then in my book Foucault: The Birth of Power which appeared with Polity in 2017. That was a book...

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Mob Constitutionalism: The Riot in the Rights

Mob Constitutionalism: The Riot in the Rights

The Trump presidency has been a rocky road for pretty much everyone to the left of Trump himself. Nonetheless, the lethal efforts of the President’s supporters, at his command, to storm the Capitol and overturn 2020’s supposedly ‘fraudulent’ result by force, seems to...

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Trump won’t take cyanide

Trump won’t take cyanide

Trump speaking at the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, 2021Voice of America, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Trump is not Hitler, the US is not Nazi Germany, no invading army is heading toward the White House. All this notwithstanding, it is impossible not to...

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Moving Beyond Being Punitive

Moving Beyond Being Punitive

St. Quentin State Prison, CA This text was presented in a seminar on ‘Beyond the Punitive Society’ on 7th January 2021, as part of the seminar series ‘Abolition Democracy 13/13’, co-hosted by the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought at Columbia University...

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My favourite CRT: Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings

My favourite CRT: Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings

Cathy Park Hong is a poet of South Korean descent, raised and living in the US. In 2020 she published her book of creative non-fiction, “Minor Feelings: A Reckoning on Race and the Asian Condition”. She calls minor feelings: “the racialized range of emotions that are...

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Fascism 2.0: An Intensive Course

Fascism 2.0: An Intensive Course

It is impossible to predict what will happen in the US in the coming weeks. As I write, a number of crucial questions remain unanswered. Was there electoral fraud or not? If there was, was it enough to reverse the outcome? Will the transition be from Trump to Biden or...

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Online Book launch: Constituent Power (14 January 2021)

Online Book launch: Constituent Power (14 January 2021)

Welcome to the online book launch seminar of Constituent Power: Law, Popular Rule and Politics (EUP 2020), co-edited by Matilda Arvidsson (Gothenburg), Leila Brännström (Lund) and Panu Minkkinen (Helsinki). Recent social and political developments, including the...

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Our Favourite CRT: Steve Biko

Our Favourite CRT: Steve Biko

Steve Biko, I Write What I Like (A Stubbs. ed) (Heinemann 1978) Although she was writing about the black existentialist novelist Ralph Ellison, Hortense Spillers could easily have also been referring to Stephen Bantu Biko when she invokes the figure of a...

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Our Favourite CRT: Michelle Alexander

Our Favourite CRT: Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage) Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow (The New Press 2010) When I was a wandering recent law graduate, I found myself washed up in the murky bayous of New Orleans, working at an under-resourced,...

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Our Favourite CRT: Gloria Anzaldúa

Our Favourite CRT: Gloria Anzaldúa

Gloria Anzaldúa, ‘The Coming of el Mundo Surdo’ in AnaLouise Keating (ed), The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader (Duke 2009) How can we make sense of a global order that is founded upon the act of making “most of the world”[1] out of place, through the motions of...

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Our Favourite CRT: Lewis Gordon

Our Favourite CRT: Lewis Gordon

Lewis Gordon, Disciplinary Decadence: Living Thought in Trying Times (Routledge 2007) I’ve been called ‘Paki’, ‘flaco n*****’, ‘Ethiopian’ or ‘too Latin American’ more times than I care to count. Including during and about my teaching. But CRT is not about...

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OVER A DECADE OF ARCHIVES

On Colonial Universality and other Legal Prerogatives: Reflections on Peter Fitzpatrick’s The Mythology of Modern Law

Following the death of Peter Fitzpatrick this month, we are reposting this series on The Mythology of Modern Law (first published on CLT on 3 August 2018) to mark the 25th anniversary of the book.2017 marked the 25th anniversary of Peter Fitzpatrick’s The Mythology of...

Against Agamben: Is a Democratic Biopolitics Possible?

Giorgio Agamben’s recent intervention which characterizes the measures implemented in response to the Covid-19 pandemic as an exercise in the biopolitics of the ‘state of exception’ has sparked an important debate on how to think of biopolitics. The very...

Law, Reading, and Power: The ‘S’ Joke, Why You Find it Funny and Why I Don’t (with Reply)

A guy walks into a bakery known for making fancy cakes. He says, “I’d like to have a cake shaped like the letter S.” The baker says he can do it, but the cake will be expensive. The man confirms that price is no object. The baker tells him to come back after three...

Law is a Fugue

BWV 895 Law is, metaphorically speaking, a fugue.Desmond Manderson has previously deployed the fugue metaphor to describe the mode with which he would present the aesthetic dimensions of law and justice. Here I am intensifying the metaphor in direct relation to...

Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction

Key Concept Img: Annie Vought | annievought.com Deconstruction by its very nature defies institutionalization in an authoritative definition. The concept was first outlined by Derrida in Of Grammatology where he explored the interplay between language and the...

Cupcake Fascism: Gentrification, Infantilisation and Cake

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...

White Feminist Fatigue Syndrome

In her recent piece in Comment is Free, "How feminism became capitalism's handmaiden - and how to reclaim it” Nancy Fraser draws on her own work in political theory to argue that feminism at best has been co-opted by neoliberalism and at worst has been a...

Decolonizing the Teaching of Human Rights?

According to the new Bolivian constitution, education is "one of the most important functions and primary financial responsibilities of the State”; it is “unitary, public, universal, democratic, participatory, communitarian, decolonizing and of quality” (art. 78, I);...

#ACCELERATE MANIFESTO for an Accelerationist Politics

01. INTRODUCTION: On the Conjuncture 1. At the beginning of the second decade of the Twenty-First Century, global civilization faces a new breed of cataclysm. These coming apocalypses ridicule the norms and organisational structures of the politics which were forged...

Coughing out the Law: Perversity and Sociality around an Eating Table

It was lunchtime at Sydney’s David Jones, Australia’s up-market department store chain. So I headed down to the ‘food floor’. Whenever I have to shop at DJs I try to make sure I go there around midday, precisely so I can go down to the food floor and order the...

Palestinian Resistance: The Political, Social and Human Right of Self-Defense

Once again the bombs are falling on the Gaza Strip, a stretch of territory excised from Palestine proper as a result of continuing illegal and illegitimate actions by Israel. In fact, Gaza has become a closed ghetto, first cut off from Palestine in violation of the...

Punk, Law, Resistance … “I have set my affair on nothing”

1. I, Punk In 1977 I was sixteen. Everything I have to say about punk is coloured by that fact, because sixteen was precisely the right age to be if punk was going to have a decisive impact on you. Because punk was not about your social class, gender or race, it was...

Anonymous & the Discourse of Human Rights

In the last months, we have seen the emergence of ‘Anonymous’. In particular, in the days after the widespread attack on Wikileaks (following their publication of leaked US diplomatic memos) they emerged with a fairly credible threat to take down major global internet...

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...