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  • Politics, Democratization and the Academy in Uganda: The Case of Makerere University

    As the oldest (and arguably best-known) university in Uganda and the wider eastern and central Africa region, Makerere University looms large in the history of higher education on the continent.  Alma mater to presidents, public intellectuals and pundits of all disciplines, Makerere has attracted considerable scholarly and popular attention, both in respect of its prominence and achievements, and well as with regard to its failures and foibles.  The proposed book focuses on a particularly understudied aspect of the place of higher education in the African context, i.e. the relationship between a public university of unique historical importance and the contestations over democratization that have taken place both within campus and outside of it.  It is built around the late-1980s struggle by the Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) for improved living conditions against the backdrop of the early programs of structural adjustment and economic reform that the National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M) government adopted soon after taking power in 1986.  Although seemingly introverted in focus, in many respects the MUASA action represented the earliest forms of political struggle against a regime of governance that promised a great deal, but disappointingly delivered considerably less.

    The focus on MUASA provides a critical entry-point to a wider debate about the place of organized democratic action by academics in a post-conflict context where the traditional institutions of political and civil society, i.e. political parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have either been severely compromised or discredited, or where they are too weak and inorganic to provide any form of significant counter-juxtaposition to the government in power.  By organizing the first strike by academic staff in the sixty-seven (67) year history of the university, for a time MUASA became the focal-point for democratic organizing against a regime that was yet to fully expose its nefarious and anti-democratic colours.  The book examines the broader issues concerning the relationship between organized academic action and democratization; the place of the Media in reviewing these struggles; the position of students as a critical component of academe; “big P” and “small p” politics affecting female academics, and finally, the paradoxical role of the School of Law in both aiding and inhibiting the struggle against dictatorship in a country which has enjoyed (or suffered) its fair share of autocratic governance.

    Collectively the chapters demonstrate that there is neither a single narrative nor a textbook formula about the relationship between the academy and democratic struggles.  Thus, instead of forcing an unsupported and false consensus on the definitive role of Academia in politics the book seeks to stimulate a robust debate and an enhanced re-exploration of the matter.


    1. Introduction: The Academy and Political Struggle in Uganda J. Oloka-Onyango
    2. The Role of Academia in the Democratization Process Benson Tusasirwe
    3. For whom doth the Academic bell really toll? Unpacking the engagement of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) in Uganda’s Democratization struggles Maria Nassali
    4. Intellectuals and the Fourth Estate: Analyzing the Coverage of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) in the Ugandan Media (1989-2020) Ivan Okuda
    5. Between Activism and “Hooliganism”: Civic Engagement and Democratic Struggles in Makerere University Students Guild Dan Ngabirano
    6. Juggling the Personal and the Political: The Case of Female Academics at Makerere University Sylvia Tamale
    7. Contending with the past and building for the future? The Paradoxical contribution of Makerere University School of Law to dictatorship and democratization in Uganda Busingye Kabumba
    8. Conclusion: The Political Economy of University Education: Revisiting democratic alternatives for Makerere and Uganda Frederick W. Jjuuko

  • Partisan Universalism: Essays in Honour of Ato Sekyi-Otu

    This book is a dedication to Ato Sekyi-Otu, the professor, mentor, and scholar. His students, collogues and admirers have penned appreciation and critique of his writing, theories and extended implications of his decades of work. Sekyi-Otu’s most notable texts that are taken issue in this series are Fanon’s Dialectic of Experience (1996) and Left Universalism, Africacentric Essays (2019). The authors provide commentary and engage in perspectives that Sekyi-Otu provides a foundation for.  The paradox of “left universalism” and “Africacentric” becomes a possible strategy in crafting an unrestricted, critically informed conception of recognition in the context of Indigenous, post-colonial African or Asian studies and oppressed groups of people. Sekyi-Otu’s idiosyncratic structural alignment to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit brings to light other interconnectivities such as Hegel’s undergird to the development of Fanonian ethnopsychiatry and the history of rationality. Sekyi-Otu helps readers better understand the tradition of political philosophy as a praxis for those who draw on his understandings of humanism and the complexities of universalist thought. His teachings impress upon us to think beyond the foundationalist claims of anticolonial theory and practice and the writers of this series have graciously taken his teaching to meet the questions of many contemporary and historical socio-political cleavages of thought.


    CONTENTS

    Preface by Ato Seyki-Otu

    • Introduction

    • Fanon for a post-imperial world:
 On universals and other human matters – Stephan Kipfer
    • The Sea Menagerie:
 Esi Edugyan’s Atlantic – Patrick Taylor
    • Reconsidering Fanon’s
language of recognition
in Indigenous studies – Sophie McCall
    • On Fanon and Lacan:
 Continuities and structural psychiatry – Gamal Abdel-Shehid
    • Aimé Césaire’s
 Two ways to lose yourself:
 The Exception and the rule – Jeremy M Glick
    • Universality:
 Notes towards rethinking
the history of philosophy – Esteve Morera
    • Husserl and Tran Duc Thao:
 Crisis, renewal, and
the ontology of possibility – Tyler Gasteiger
    • Can Kwame Gyekye’s
 moderate communitarianism take
the individual seriously? – Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò
    • Speaking for, speaking through, speaking with – Jeff Noonan
    • ‘Innocuous Nihilism’, social reproduction
and the terms of partisanship – Susan Dianne Brophy
    • Universalism and immanent critique in
’The End of Progress and Left Universalism’ – Christpher Balcom
    • About the contributors

  • Transforming ourselves, Transforming the World: An open conspiracy for social change – Second Edition

    This is a new edition of the book originally published by Zed Books in 1999. The book includes an Introduction written by David Austin and an Afterword from the author, Brian Murphy.


    In every single country around the world, there are millions of women and men, young and old, who continue—in the face of setbacks, political alienation and the shadow of despair—to dedicate their lives to a profound and hopeful activism. These activists continue to come together to promote healthy communities where they live and work, struggling to create democratic economies and accountable government, fighting for economic and social justice for all citizens, and demonstrating for peace and human rights in their own countries and internationally. They struggle together to improve their lives and the lives of their neighbours. They struggle to keep alive a dream of a world based on the human values they have defined for themselves—a world which, at the very least, promises to strive continually towards one standard of dignity and opportunity for all, regardless of who they are or where they live.

    This activism is driven by necessity, and by the personal integrity, dignity and courage of millions of individual citizens working together to make their world a better place. But at the same time this activism is increasingly inhibited, and too often extinguished, by the inevitable conclusion that change, fundamental change, will never be achieved in the face of the globalized power and greed and authoritarianism of the elites who have come to control the planet and its resources.

    This book examines, and attempts to transcend, this conclusion. It focuses on human capacities and the possibility of bringing about substantive change in ourselves and the world we share. Most political theorists do not deal with the psychosocial, whereas this is where this book begins. The book deals with the significance of action, and the fundamental question of whether and how progressive change is possible. And in particular, it situates the role of transformative knowledge as a critical factor in the change process.

    The book provides an analysis of the essential qualities and capacities that embody the potential of each of us to transcend the conditions of our lives and change the world—to be the ‘missing link’ between a deterministic past and an intentional and conscious future. The qualities of consciousness and ‘vision’—our capacity to see what is, and imagine what is not, but could be—are highlighted as central to activism and change. The book also explores the potential for legions of socially-conscious and engaged people empowered within an ‘open conspiracy’ for social change—an open, concerted, visible and broad-based proposition to transform elements of the prevailing social order to bring about an increasingly just and equitable world.


    Table of Contents

    Introduction to Second Edition: David Austin

    Preface and Acknowledgements

    The Challenge
    1 The Courage to Be
    2 The Dilemma of Action and the Psychology of Inertia
    3  Confronting the Dilemmas: Beyond Inertia

    Possibilities in Process
    4 The Missing Link
    5 The Individual, the Visionary
    6 Challenging the Established Rationality
    7 Imperatives for Modern Education

    The Open Conspiracy
    8 The Open Conspiracy: Allies for Health and Action
    9 Theatres and Strategies: Embracing the Future
    10 Education and the Open Conspiracy

    Conclusion

    Eclectic Notes on Knowledge and Action

    Afterword
    Afterword to the Second Edition – Brian Murphy
    Related Reading
    Further reading

  • Insurrectionary Uprisings: A Reader in Revolutionary Nonviolence

    A collection of both historic and new writings on the nexus of strategic unarmed resistance, radical ideologies, and the long struggles to build movements for justice and liberation. Beginning with the work of Gandhi, Arendt and Thoreau, the volume grounds the theories which undergird nonviolent resistance to capitalism, colonialism, white supremacy and heteropatriarchy.

    The volume includes two sections exploring nonviolence in the long Black freedom struggle within the US. From Ella Baker to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer, from Vincent Harding and Grace Lee Boggs to Colin Kaepernick, the two sections on the Black liberation movement highlight the theory of nonviolence in direct and indirect ways and foreground the relevance of these historic texts for the present moment of political uprisings on both the left and the right. Black strategies for survival and power are analyzed in terms of the ongoing US economic and epidemiological crises as well as the global climate crisis and ecological collapse. A section on revolutionary nonviolence in Africa presents a previously unpublished piece on the role of armed struggle by Franz Fanon, as well as essays by Amilcar Cabral, Barbara Deming, Graca Machel, Kenneth Kaunda, and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge  This section clearly contextualizes the continent’s anti-colonial struggles with the practical thinking about military and unarmed tactics which those movements faced over the course of a half century.

    The section on nonviolence and feminist struggle highlights the work of Grace Paley, Audre Lorde, and Arundhati Roy, along with a little-read piece by Johnnie Tilmon, a leader of the 1960s welfare rights movement. The section on resistance against empire tilts toward Latin American scholars/activists with essays by Maria Lugones, Anibla Quijano and Berta Caceres. This section includes pieces that draw from current debates about the role of state power in building towards radical change and the push to build holistic perspectives on what liberation means for all peoples. The final section on social change in the 21st Century reflects on specific aspects of organizing which are facing campaigns and movements of today and tomorrow. Our goal is to provide challenges and insights for building effectively against all forms of oppression!

    Though primarily compiling key texts not often seen or contextualized together, the book also provides new strategic commentaries from key leaders including Ela Gandhi, Ruby Sales, ecofeminist Ynestra King, Africa World Press’ Kassahun Checole, and Palestinian Quaker Joyce Ajlouney. With a mix of past and current commentaries, from both academic and activist points of view, we uncover fault lines which have prevented mass, global movements of movements from solidifying over the last fifty years. Through this narrative, the book ends with visions of how best to use all that we know to bring about deeply rooted transformations in ways that will lift up not traumatize people as they move toward liberation.


    CONTENTS

    Foreword by Joyce Aljouni, Secretary-General, American Friends Service Committee

    Section 1: Contemporary Roots of Radical Nonviolence: Before and Beyond Gandhi (Intro by Ela Gandhi, Former Member of Parliament, South Africa
    o Henry David Thoreau, “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”
    o Hannah Arendt, Excerpt for “On Violence”
o Gandhi, “What is Satyagraha”
o Pyarelal, “Gandhi’s Communism”
    o Matt Meyer, “Total Revolution: Resistance, Blass and the 21st Century Relevance of JP Narayan and Narayan Desai”
    o Milan Rai, “Taking Gandhi with a Pinch of Salt”
    o Arundhati Roy, “When the Saints Go Marching Out”
    o Starhawk, “Reclaiming Nonviolence from Gandhian Puritanism”

    Section 2: So-Called “Civil Rights”: True Roots of the US Black-led Freedom Movement (Intro by Ruby Sales, Founder of Spirit House and Original SNCC Activist)
    o ML King, Jr., “Beyond Vietnam”
o James Cone, “Martin and Malcom on Nonviolence and Violence”
    o Vincent Harding, “So Much History, So Much Future”
    o Ella Baker, “Bigger Than a Hamburger”
o Grace Lee Boggs, “The Beloved Community of MLK”
    o Fannie Lou Hamer, “Testimony Before the Credentials Committee, DNC 1964

    Section 3: Self-determination, Self-defense, and the Rise of Black Power (Intro by Barbara Smith, Kitchen Table Women of Color Press and Co-Author of Combahee River Collective Statement
    o Ragland, Meyer and Jeffers, “Refusing to Choose between Martin and Malcolm”
    o SNCC, “Black Power: A Position Paper”
o Simmons, “Truly Human”
o Dellinger, Williams, King, “Are Pacifists Willing to be Negroes?”
    o Paisely, “Bayard Rustin: A Unique, Clandestine and Enduring Queer Leader of the CRM”
    o Sally Bermanzohn, “Violence, Nonviolence and the CRM”
o Pulley, “We will Create our Freedom: The Importance of the Movement for Black
    Lives Platform”
    o Colin Kaepernick, “Amnesty International Speech”
    o Maroon Shoatz (with Steve Bloom), “Rage”

    Section 4: Revolutionary Nonviolence in Africa: Playing Between the Cracks (Intro by Kassahun Checole, Founder and CEO of Africa World/Red Sea Press)
    o Graca Machel, “Impact of Armed Conflict on Children”
    o Franz Fanon, “Why We Use Violence”
    o Barbara Deming, “On Revolution and Equilibrium”
    o Amilcar Cabral, “Message to the People of Portugal”
o Bill Sutherland and Matt Meyer, selections from Guns and Gandhi in Africa
    o Nozizwe Madlala Routledge, “Ubuntu and the World Today”
    o Kenneth Kaunda, “The Riddle of Violence”

    Section 5: “Combative Pacifism” Against Patriarchy: Feminist Critiques of Movement-Building (Intro by Ynestra King, Ecofeminist Author)
    o Skolkin-Smith, “Grace”
    o Women’s Pentagon Action Unity Statement
o Arundhati Roy, “Come September”
    o Audre Lorde, “Uses of Anger”
o Barbara Deming, “On Anger”
    o Johnnie Tilmon, “Welfare is a Woman’s Issue”
    o Beth Ritchie, “How Anti-Violence Activism Taught Me to be a Prison Abolitionist”
    o Nazan Ustundag, “The Wounds of Afrin, the Promise of Rojava”
o Leslie Feinberg, “Trans Liberation: A Movement Whose Time has Come”
o Andrea Smith, “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy”

    Section 6: Resistance Against Empire (Intro by Wende Marshall)
    o Wende Marshall, “Tasting Earth” (excerpts)
o Anibal Quijano, “Coloniality and Power”
    o Martin, Johanson and Meyer, “Nonviolence Against Imperialism”
    o Maria Lugones, “Towards a Decolonial Feminism”
o Berta Caceres, “Goldman Prize Acceptance Speech”
o Hillary Klein, “A Spark of Hope: The Ongoing Lessons of the Zapatista
    Revolution 25 Years On”
    o Aimee Carillo Rowe, “Queer Indigenous Manifesto”
    o Haunani-Kay Trask, “Notes of a Native Daughter”

    Section 7: Revolutionary Nonviolence in the 21rst Century (Intro by Wende Marshall and Matt Meyer)
    o “People’s Strike and the Uprising Open Letter” (and PS Demands)
o “Jackson Rising Redux”: A Dialogue with Kali, Saki, Joshua, Rose, Wende and Matt
    o John Holloway, “A Cascade of Angers…Along the Road to Hope”
o Hilda Lloréns, “From Extractive Agriculture to Industrial Waste Periphery: Life in a Black-Puerto Rican Ecology”
    o Jai Sen, et al, “On Removing the Black: International Perspectives on the Movements of Movements”
    o Nick Estes, “The Empire of All Maladies: Colonial Contagions and Indigenous Resistance”
    o Wende Marshall, “To be Black, To Simply Live: The Burden of Revolutionary Nonviolence”

    Conclusion: “Why Outrage is Not Enough,” Wende Marshall and Matt Meyer

     

  • Lenin150 (Samizdat): 2nd expanded edition

    You can purchase the printed version of this book at the Lulu Bookstore.

    The pdf can be downloaded from this page.

    For all the official historiographic efforts at forging a mythologised image of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov as the austere, no-nonsense, professional revolutionary, the really existing flesh and blood Lenin understood and appreciated that the most materialist action an individual must carry out without fault to metabolise the struggle for communism is to breathe. Not just biologically respire but consciously breathe. Breathe for oneself and breathe for and with others. If it is indeed our desire to breathe new life into the long choking red star, a new oxygenic Communist politics of walking and breathing is what we must aspire to, inspire, respire and encourage.

    Lenin150 (Samizdat) seeks to contribute to the re-kindling of the communist attractor by engaging, in the spirit of critical solidarity, with Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in the year of his 150th anniversary. Conceived out of the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, the book brings together contributions from all continents, ranging in style from the academic to the lyrical. As such, these compelling, and in some cases absolutely urgent, appropriations of (the spectre of) Lenin aspire to be of considerable use-value for the struggles ahead.


    A patchwork Lenin, by Kevin Corr
    “Overall, in tune with this book’s general tone of “critical solidarity” with Lenin, I, in turn, express critical solidarity with the engaging enthusiasm and intentions of those who have produced it. Spending time reading its eclectic contributions would be no bad thing for anyone who feels part of, or at least identifies with, the radical ferment pulsating across the world. The enormous crisis facing us is now being brought into sharp focus by the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the developing ecological disaster. For us today, as in Lenin’s time, the questions remain how do we, the left, cut through the isolated condition we find ourselves in, and how can we learn from the past if we are to avoid barbarism and catastrophe?”
    In the footsteps of Lenin: You can never have too many books about Lenin. by Sean Sheehan:Another anniversary, arising from Lenin’s year of birth, has prompted Lenin 150 (Samizdat), a collection of writings and photographs that explore the political footsteps of Lenin worth following today. The contributors are an exhilaratingly mixed set of activists and academics and they write in various styles, from the lyrical and personal to the discursive and theoretical. The book’s origins can be traced to Kyrgyzstan – home to more surviving Lenin statues than anywhere besides Belarus – but its spirit is internationalist and its laudable regard for approaching Lenin from different perspectives is even more pronounced in its second edition.  As a witty, relevant, inspirational and superbly sane collection of words and pictures, this is a book that requires two copies: one to keep and the other to present to a friend as a gift.
    Lenin 150 (Samizdat) – book review This book came as an unexpected delight. A delight because here is a volume of essays examining the relevance of Lenin today in general and, on occasion, in the specifics of the country where the writer is based. A delight because Lenin has been largely missing from the social movements which have swept the globe over the last two decades, meaning all too often after their meteoric rise and then fall, they leave little behind in way of organisation. The need for which is under constant discussion here.

    Chillin’ with Lenin: An interview with Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn: Tribune‘s Owen Hatherley interviews Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichorn about his edited collection ‘Lenin 150,’ and the many meanings of the Russian revolutionary in the present day.

    LENIN150 Samizdat: Original and inspirational thoughts on man who changed the world
    PUBLISHED to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth and conceived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, Lenin 150 (Samizdat) is an outsanding collection of essays, poems and photos. … Lively, thought-provoking and informative, its roots are in the ideas of a group of young communists living and working in Kyrgyzstan, a country which has retained many of its Soviet-era buildings, statues and monuments, with Johann Salazar’s excellent photography providing a fitting complement to the text. … This book is a fantastically eclectic mix, yet the sheer quality of most of the writing enables a breadth of vision that’s a fitting tribute to someone who not only understood the world but was able to change it as well. — Morning Star, UK

    “A fascinating and surprisingly uplifting intellectual endeavour – analytically sharp yet wide-ranging. This collection of essays and images invites readers to reflect, from a multitude of perspectives and approaches, on one of history’s central revolutionaries. More importantly, it encourages us to reflect on our own time in revolutionary ways. Its academic readership should also be inspired by its samizdat creation – there are ways to engage in intellectual conversations outside of the mainstream publication business.” – Rebecca Selberg, Lund University

    “Wide-ranging, topical and sometimes provoking interpretations of Lenin reflecting different political standpoints.” – David Lane, Emeritus Fellow, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University.

    “This wonderfully designed book provides an original and insightful contribution to academic discussions on Lenin, one that does justice to his legacy.” – Joe Pateman, University of Nottingham, UK

    “A compelling volume for revolutionary-minded activists who are part of the radical ferment animating waves of dissent and protest sweeping the world – but also of genuine interest to anyone seeking information and ideas about one of the great political figures of the twentieth century.”– Paul LeBlanc, Professor of History, La Roche University, Author of Lenin and the Revolutionary Party and October Song: Bolshevik Triumph, Communist Tragedy, 1917-1924

    “What an exciting culmination of the recent Lenin editorial revival! This explosive mix between images of Soviet relics and thoughtful insights about Leninism brilliantly dusts off the legacy of the October Revolution leader…” – Adrien Minard, Independent Researcher

    “‘Consciousness not only reflects the objective world, but creates it,’ Lenin wrote before the revolution. In analogy we might say, like Patti Smith once did: ‘We created it, let’s take it over!’ This book is a tribute to revolutionary thought on the one hand and pure rock ‘n’ roll on the other!”
    Ronald Matthijssen, Lifetime communist voter and actor, social justice advocate and writer in the making

    “I am not an admirer of Lenin. However, as a historian I believe that it is impossible to understand the contemporary world without a renewed effort to understand the emergence of the Soviet Union and its global legacy, including in the formation of “Western” Europe. This book pleasantly brings us memorial landscapes from Kyrgyzstan, both built and lyrical, originally articulating the latter with a diversity of scholarly and activist perspectives on the figure of Lenin. It is an important step towards a postcolonial debate on the history of the Soviet Union.”
    Tiago Castela, University of Coimbra

    “…an inspiring book, which gives a thought-provoking, prismatic picture of Lenin, both as a historic figure and an actual theoretician of change and revolution…”
    Vesa Oittinen, University of Helsinki

    “I acquired this very unusual samizdat (self-published) 150th birthday present for Lenin as soon as I heard of it, and enthusiastically endorse its second edition. Not least because it is the product of one of my favourite countries, Kyrgyzstan, with many colour photos of Stalinist representations of Lenin (and Marx) taken in 2019 in the “Switzerland of Central Asia”; 22 chapters by authors from 15 countries, 4 from the USA, but also from the global South and 3 from Kyrgyzstan; poetry from a Kyrgyz revolutionary poet; and ending with a new translation of Bertolt Brecht’s thrilling ‘To Those Born After (An die Nachgeborenen).’ Vladimir Ilich would have been delighted.” —Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College, University of London

    “A great source of inspiration for those suffering from the corona dictatorships. Governments trying to freeze societies in their tracks will find revolution is around the corner.” – Kees van der Pijl, Prof of International Relations (retired), latest book, Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster

    “[The editors have] found exactly the right tone and the right team to bring Lenin into 21st century discussions. It is self-ironic, humorous, unpretentious, serious, wide-ranging, and well designed. As intended, the authors, of usually short pieces, come ‘from all continents, from people of colour, different sexual orientations and gender identities.’ Here we are almost as far away from the doxa of “Marxism-Leninism” as possible.” – Göran Therborn, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Cambridge University


    Contents

    Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Preface to the 2nd Edition xi

    The Politburo, About This Book xvii

    Patrick Anderson, In Search of Meaning: A Note from the Translator xxiii

    Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn, Introduction: The Kyrgyz Lenin – From Spectre to Attractor (and Back) 1

    1. Leon Trotsky, VI Lenin – On His Fiftieth Birthday11
    2. Alain Badiou, Lenin, Founder of the Modern Meaning of the Word ‘Politics’ 15
    3. Elvira Concheiro Bórquez, Lenin Does Not Mean Leninism23
    4. Michael Brie, Learning from Lenin – and Doing It Differently31
    5. Mauricio Sandoval Cordero, Lenin from Latin America – Towards a Reactivation of the Marxism of Political Organisation and Strategy39
    6. Vashna Jagarnath, Peace! Land! Bread! – We are not going to die of Coronavirus, we are going to die of hunger! 51
    7. Atilio A Boron, Notes on “Left-Wing” Communism:
      An Infantile Disorder
      61
    8. Owen Hatherley, Dead Russians on the Wall 79
    9. Marcos Del Roio, Engels and Lenin in Latin America: Yesterday and Today 87
    10. Kevin B Anderson, A Note on Lenin and the Dialectic97
    11. Roland Boer, Lenin and Non-Antagonistic Contradictions 103
    12. Georgy Mamedov, How Is Internationalism to Be Understood? A Leninist Perspective on Identity Politics111
    13. Jodi Dean, Lenin’s Desire: Reminiscences of Lenin and the Desire of the Comrade 125

    Poetic Interlude – Joomart Bokonbaev Three Communist Poems 134

    1. Ursina Lardi, Playing Lenin – A Conversation about Lenin and Theatre 143
    2. Oxana Timofeeva, What Lenin Teaches Us About Witchcraft 149
    3. Tora Lane, Lenin, the Revolution, and the Uncertainties of Communism in the Work of Platonov 163
    4. Thomas Rudhof-Seibert, Eleven Theses on Lenin in the Corona Era 171
    5. Matthieu Renault, On Revolutionary Prudence, or the Wisdom of Lenin 191
    6. Michael Neocosmos, Lenin’s ‘Turn to the Masses’ (1921-1923) 203
    7. Molaodi Wa Sekake, Lenin: A Man of Action
and a Defender of the Integrity of Revolutionary Thought 213
    8. Matthew T Huber, Electric Communism:
The Continued Importance of Energy to Revolution 225
    9. Mohira Suyarkulova, City of Lenin and the Social(ist) Life of a River 238
    10. Ronald Grigor Suny, A Whole River of Blood: Lenin and Stalin 255
    11. Wang Hui, The Revolutionary Personality and The Philosophy of Victory – Commemorating the 150th Anniversary
of Lenin’s Birth 261
    12. Darko Suvin, In the Shadows of Never-Ending Warfare: On the Use-Value of Lenin today 279
    13. Slavoj Žižek, Lenin? – Which Lenin? 291
    14. Vijay Prashad, For Comrade Lenin on His 150th Birth Anniversary 295
    15. Johann Salazar, I Believe in Yesterday – A Photographer’s Note  on Remembering an Alternative Future 303

    Bertolt Brecht, To Those Born After 313

    The Central Committee 319

    The Politburo 327

    Index329

     

  • Being human after 1492

    Richard Pithouse’s extraordinary overview of the what is means to be human after 1492:

    On 9 August 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The movement that grew out of the rebellion that followed inaugurated a new sequence in the struggle against racism in the United States. As with previous sequences in that struggle it quickly acquired an international dimension, including here in South Africa. One aspect of this international moment has been an urgent confrontation with the reality that what Césaire called ‘abstract equality’ does not, on its own, mark an end to the racialization of life.

    In the United States, and elsewhere, there is a sense that history is as present as it is past. Just over a decade ago, Baucom observed that “what-has-been is, cannot be undone, cannot cease to alter all the future-presents that flow out of it. Time does not pass or progress, it accumulates”. It is the sense that time accumulates into the present that has often led to the invocation of William Faulkner’s famous line from Requiem for a Nun in discussions about race: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

    The past does not merely haunt or shape the present via the enduring power of deep and impersonal structural forces. Across Europe, and in settler societies like Australia, Brazil and the United States, racism is an increasingly explicit and menacing presence at the centre of political and social life. White revanchism has rallied, often under demagogic leadership, to secure the racial order that emerged from the event of 1492. It has already resulted in Brexit in England, the impeachment of an elected President in Brazil and the election of a figure as grotesque as Trump in the United States.

    We will not be able to transcend the epoch that began in 1492 without a politics that can confront and defeat this revanchism. And we will not have transcended this epoch until “things, in the most materialistic meaning of the word” are, as Fanon insists, “restored to their proper places”. But the catastrophe from which we are all derived is not solely a matter of material dispossession and accumulation. As Michael Monahan argues, in conversation with Wynter, “the history of colonialism is also the history of the emergence of the idea of Europe and of Europeans, and . . . it is such ideas and cultural practices that inevitably shape our consciousness, conditioning what counts as normal and, ultimately, as rational”.

     

  • Fanon and the rationality of revolt

    We inhabit extraordinary times: times in which we are acutely aware of the intensity of what revolutionary thinker Frantz Fanon called “the glare of history’s floodlights.”  The velocity and scale at which the revolt against police murder that began in Minnesota after the death of George Floyd on May 25th and moved throughout the US, and then other parts of the world, was astonishing. It was impossible to predict, but then, in retrospect, it is George Floyd’s death becomes a nodal point: calling for action as well as rethinking and self-clarification. Thinking about this moment with the world revolutionary Frantz Fanon, we need to be aware of continuities and discontinuities — or, as he puts it, opacities — between the ages, his and ours. Fanon is always speaking to us, but often in ways we cannot hear. We have to work to listen to him and to understand the new contexts and meanings in relative opacity. It is this constant dialogue that helps illuminate the present and enable ongoing fidelity to Fanon’s call in the conclusion of The Wretched of the Earth the necessity to work out new concepts to confront one of Fanon’s greatest concerns, the betrayal of the revolutionary movement. In this pamphlet we consider how Fanon’s idea of liberation is connected with “the rationality of revolt.” The practice of engaging Fanon not only with revolt but with the reason or rationality of revolt connects with Fanon’s idea of how this liberated humanity is a product of a new consciousness of collectivity open to rethink everything.