I was pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to a series in State of Nature on the Yellow Vests. All articles in the series were tasked with responding to the question: “What is the significance of the Gilets Jaunes movement?” Click here to read my reply (also copied below).
The Gilets Jaunes are significant for at least four reasons. First and foremost, they are a grassroots social movement that has arisen in reaction to the ongoing onslaught of global capitalism. The fact that this movement emerged outside of the representational structures that generally serve to support this system – including the professional political parties of parliamentary pseudo-democracy and the bureaucratised unions – indicates the extent to which these structures themselves, with few exceptions, have not been able to successfully mobilise and empower the working classes, but have instead managed their discontent. Continue reading
I’m honored by this Farsi translation of my latest article in the Los Angeles Review of Books’ “The Philosophical Salon,” entitled “The Failure of the French Intelligentsia? Intellectuals and Uprisings in the Case of the Yellow Vests.” A special thanks to my comrades in the Radical Education Department, as well as to Rahman Bouzari and Saleh Najafi!
Hier ist eine deutsche Übersetzung meines Artikels auf die . Vielen Dank Enough Is Enough! Reblogged von The Philosophical Salon und RED.
My latest article in the LA Review of Books is available here. It critically examines the relationship between the professional intelligentsia and the Yellow Vests: “Although France has the reputation of having a leftwing intelligentsia, some of the most visible theorists on the Left—including the self-proclaimed torchbearers of the ‘spirit of ’68’—have positioned themselves firmly against the movement or admonished it from the sidelines. This disconnect between important segments of the professional intelligentsia and one of the most powerful social movements of recent years raises very serious questions regarding the politics of intellectual life and, more generally, the relationship between the literati and uprisings. By exploring the intelligentsia’s response—both in France and beyond—to the Yellow Vests movement, this article seeks to elucidate the broader problematic of the role of intellectuals in the maintenance or transformation of the current socio-economic order […read more].”
A special thanks to all of my RED comrades for their excellent feedback and suggestions on this article, which we’ve also run here on RED’s website.
My latest article, entitled “Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War against the Yellow Vests,” was just published here in CounterPunch.
Excerpt: “Violence is a spectacular weapon deployed by the ruling class to discredit movements from below and justify their repression. It is spectacular in the sense of being a great and powerful political tool for governing the masses, and keeping them in their place. In order to do this, however, the weapon of violence is spectacular in a second sense: it creates a carefully orchestrated mise en scène that seeks to render ruling class violence invisible, while simultaneously transforming acts of resistance into prodigious spectacles of criminal violence.”
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.
Réseau international a publié une traduction française de mon article, “The U.S. Is Not a Democracy; It Never Was” (CounterPunch, le 13 décembre, 2017). Cliquez ici pour la lire.
Extrait de “Les États-Unis ne sont pas une démocratie, ils ne l’ont jamais été“:
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.”