A special thanks to Rahman Bouzari and Shargh Newspaper for the Persian translation of my article “Is May 1968 About to Happen Again, or Be Surpassed? Mass Strikes, Occupations and the Fight for the Future Perfect in France.” Click here to read the Persian version.
My article, “Is May 1968 About to Happen Again, or Be Surpassed? Mass Strikes, Occupations and the Fight for the Future Perfect in France,” was published here in CounterPunch and here with photographs on RED. It was workshopped, as all of RED’s articles, in our collectively resourced, anti-capitalist research collaborative (not to be confused with academic peer-review or nepotistic editorialism).
It is unclear what has become of Macron’s anti-utopian plans to recuperate the spirit of ’68 for the purposes of liberal modernization. Whatever becomes of them, they have already been powerfully pre-empted by a politics of rejuvenation and transformation that many hope will outstrip ’68 (slogans like ‘You are going to wish this was as small as ’68!’ or simply ‘Fuck ‘68’ are already circulating). Much remains to be seen and done, however, and the past political education of all of those involved will now confront the immediacy of a situation in which it is forced to be actualized. The past is only truly alive in the future, after all, meaning in the future perfect that it will have become. The best way to commemorate May 1968 would not only be to rejuvenate it, bringing it back from the dead as it were, but to surpass it. Tearing it out of the mausoleum of consecration by making it into a living transformation, May will only be what it will have become in its future perfect after 2018.
My article, “Academic Black Shirts Brutally Assault Students in France,” was published here in CounterPunch and here on RED. A special thanks to John-Patrick Schultz for his insightful comments and suggestions.
In scenes reminiscent of Mussolini’s black shirts, a dozen or so militants dressed in black, some wearing ski masks, brutally beat peaceful protesters who were participating in a general assembly while occupying the School of Law and Political Science in Montpellier, France. Armed with Tasers, cudgels with nails, and reinforced punching gloves, the assailants unleashed a bloody assault on the night of March 22, sending three students to the hospital and injuring many more. The security guards at the university stood idly by and watched the beatings, while the police and riot forces remained outside the university and did not enter to prevent the assailants’ attack.
L’une des croyances les plus fermes en ce qui concerne les États-Unis est qu’il s’agit d’une démocratie. Chaque fois que cette conviction fait l’objet d’un léger fléchissement, c’est presque toujours pour signaler des exceptions préjudiciables aux valeurs ou aux principes fondamentaux américains. Par exemple, les détracteurs en herbe déplorent souvent une « perte de démocratie » due à l’élection de clowns autocrates, à des mesures draconiennes de l’État, à la révélation d’incroyables malversations ou corruption, à des interventions étrangères meurtrières ou à d’autres activités considérées comme des exceptions antidémocratiques. Il en va de même pour ceux dont la démarche critique consiste à toujours juxtaposer les actions du gouvernement américain avec ses principes fondateurs, à mettre en évidence la contradiction entre les deux et à placer clairement un espoir dans sa possible résolution. Continue reading
My article, “Whitman’s Polyvocal Poetic Revolution: Equality and Empire in New World Literature,” was just published in American Literature as World Literature. Ed. Jeffrey R. Di Leo (London: Bloomsbury, 2018). Click here for a link to the book. The opening paragraph, which outlines the argument, can be found below.
“This study seeks to demonstrate the political plurivocity of aesthetics via an exploration of the motley dimensions of Walt Whitman’s proposed poetic revolution. In resisting the widespread reduction of individual writers or works of art to single political positions (or a set of distinct, sequential views, as when an artist changes political orientations over time), it highlights the multiple dimensions of politicity operative in artwork. It begins, then, with an elucidation of Whitman’s provocative account of aesthetic revolution as the necessary cultural supplement to a purely political revolution, explicating how art and literature compose a people by simultaneously depicting and forging its culture, norms, affects and personalities. It then situates his project in the historical nexus it calls its own, detailing Whitman’s unique contribution to the revisionist historiography of democratic theodicy, and more specifically American manifest destiny. Finally, it explores the diverse ways in which the poet of new world literature, at least in certain of his writings, subjected other people—particularly the enslaved and the colonized—to a brutal process of decomposition.”
Haga clic aquí para leer una traducción al español de mi artículo “Estados Unidos no es una democracia, nunca lo fue” (CounterPunch 12/13/17: “The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was“).
My article, “The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was,” was just published in CounterPunch. It was developed as part of the research and activism activities of the Radical Education Department (RED). Click here to read it.
Rather than blindly believing in a golden age of democracy in order to remain at all costs within the gilded cage of an ideology produced specifically for us by the well-paid spin-doctors of a plutocratic oligarchy, we should unlock the gates of history and meticulously scrutinize the founding and evolution of the American imperial republic. This will not only allow us to take leave of its jingoist and self-congratulatory origin myths, but it will also provide us with the opportunity to resuscitate and reactivate so much of what they have sought to obliterate. In particular, there is a radical America just below the surface of these nationalist narratives, an America in which the population autonomously organizes itself in indigenous and ecological activism, black radical resistance, anti-capitalist mobilization, anti-patriarchal struggles, and so forth. It is this America that the corporate republic has sought to eradicate, while simultaneously investing in an expansive public relations campaign to cover over its crimes with the fig leaf of “democracy” (which has sometimes required integrating a few token individuals, who appear to be from below, into the elite ruling class in order to perpetuate the all-powerful myth of meritocracy). If we are astute and perspicacious enough to recognize that the U.S. is undemocratic today, let us not be so indolent or ill-informed that we let ourselves be lulled to sleep by lullabies praising its halcyon past. Indeed, if the United States is not a democracy today, it is in large part due to the fact that it never was one. Far from being a pessimistic conclusion, however, it is precisely by cracking open the hard shell of ideological encasement that we can tap into the radical forces that have been suppressed by it. These forces—not those that have been deployed to destroy them—should be the ultimate source of our pride in the power of the people […read more].
Click here to read my most recent post for the Radical Education Department (RED), entitled “Why RED, Why Now?” The post is on:
– the importance of hard leftism in the academy and beyond
– transversal organizing to avoid the pitfalls of horizontalism and verticalism
– autonomous and collective self-education qua community building
– breaking the ideological sound barrier of conservatives vs. liberals
– politics as the collective forging of collectivities rather than pandering & PR campaigns
Extrait: Les luttes s’intensifient outre-Atlantique. Des fascistes, des nazis et des militants racistes ont lancé l’assaut depuis l’investiture d’un richissime homme d’affaires jupitérien, raciste et misogyne, dont la candidature fut soutenue par des nationalistes blancs et l’ancien chef national du KKK, David Duke. Ils organisent de grandes manifestations, promeuvent leurs porte-paroles sur des campus universitaires et dans les médias, s’attaquent brutalement à des manifestants antifascistes (dont Heather Heyer, tuée à Charlottesville), et se battent bec et ongles pour légitimer un discours et des pratiques qui rappellent à bien des égards ceux de l’entre-deux-guerres en Europe, et ceux de la grande époque du lynchage aux États-Unis.
Ci-contre se dresse une masse anonyme qui n’accepte pas l’idée selon laquelle le nazisme, le fascisme et la suprématie blanche seraient autant d’opinions à respecter parmi d’autres. Sans porte-parole, et souvent habillé en noir et masqué pour résister à la surveillance outrancière de l’État, l’Antifa – une abréviation de l’antifascisme – refuse d’être tolérant de ceux et celles qui souhaitent décimer une grande partie de la population, ou qui prétendent que l’on devrait avoir le « droit » de promouvoir de telles idées. Il s’organise de façon autonome pour faire ce que l’État-entreprise et ses médias de masse ne feront pas : prendre une position ferme et nette contre le virage fasciste du capitalisme néolibéral […la suite].