Forthcoming Featured Books

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  • Oh, Sorry! Rituals of Forgiveness, crises and social struggles in postmodern capitalism

    In recent years, the apology has become an important feature of politics. States are asking their own citizens or the citizens of other countries for forgiveness. “Oh, sorry that we rounded up people in West Africa, shipped them across the Atlantic and sold them as slaves”. “Oh, sorry that we convicted homosexuals as criminals.” “Oh, sorry that we burnt so many women as witches.” Sometimes the issue arises as a demand for an apology. Thus, López Obrador, the Mexican president, has asked the Spanish government to apologise for the conquista. The zapatistas, on the other hand, said of their recent trip to Spain that they were not going to ask for an apology. How do we understand the rise of the public apology and how do we relate to it politically?

    In a moment of severe social crisis, the institutional acts of apology and forgiveness could be theorised as a specific type of ritual which aims to respond to public anger and to reestablish social cohesion. In doing so, the state legitimises itself as the guardian of society as a Whole, and capitalism as the only alternative.

    We consider that in times of capitalist crisis, class struggle becomes a metonym of revenge. Thus, the act of forgiveness – as a secularised ritual, based on reason – allows the violence of social antagonism to be regulated and reconfigured in order to re-establish the Law and Order through the discourse of reconciliation, and renunciation of revenge as a condition for development. The rituals of forgiveness are being presented as crucial steps for pacifying social tensions and establishing a new social contract, leaving behind the bloody past and rewriting historical memory for the sake of the common future. Violence, anger, guilt, memory, the attempt to pacify discontent and secure the continuity of violence: all of these come into play in the rise of the “Oh, Sorry!”.

    Our project is to understand these rituals of forgiveness in different sociocultural contexts around the world, and to discuss why at this historical moment the states are proceeding in this way, and what is the relationship with capitalist crisis and social struggle.

    Preface

    Introduction

    One

    Rituals of Forgiveness: The Performance of State Violence in the Context  of Crisis by Panagiotis Doulos & Edith González Cruz

    Two

    From Forgiveness to Permission: The State and “the Indigenous” in the Face of Planetary Collapse by Ines Durán Matute.

    Three

    End(s) of Forgiveness by Minas Vlachos

    Four

    The Fierce Dispute for Memory, Truth and Justice in Guatemala by Carlos Figueroa Ibarra.

    Five

    Never Again? A Critique of Narratives of Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Post-dictatorial Chile by Roberto Longoni Martínez.

    Six

    Rituals of Forgiveness as a Political Strategy of the Capitalist State: The Brazilian Case of “O Amor Venceu” in Lula’s Victory in 2022 by Leonardo Carnut, Lúcia Dias da Silva Guerra & Áquilas Mendes.

    Seven

    The No-bodies: Between Forgiveness and Overflow. Notes Against Forgiveness as a Dispositive of Control in Times of Explicit Antagonism by Milena Rodríguez Aza.

    Eight

    The March of Return: Struggle for Palestinian Liberation in the Unfinished Nakba by Nithya Nagarajan.

  • Being Anti-Colonial

    What does it mean to think/be the ‘anti-colonial’ in the present?

    As we know, there is in the current literature and abundance of works that adopt the frames of ‘epistemological decolonisation’, ‘decolonial theory’ etc. Fashionable as these fields of study, and these terms as such, have become, much of this fail to properly engage with the profound meanings that inhere in their invocation, and to engage with the uncomfortable implications, both philosophical and material, that follow. ‘Decolonisation’ as it is overused today has come a far distance from its anti-colonial source; it sits comfortably within the cruelties and absurdities of ‘post-colonial’ normality. It is this frustration, this dissatisfaction with ‘critical theory’, that informs this book. My intention is to take seriously the ‘anti-colonial’ as a radical rupture of colonial-modern philosophy and, following that, to state bluntly its continuing praxiological relevance. The book is divided in two parts.

    Part One undertakes the task of explaining what it means to return the ‘anti-colonial’ to philosophy. It begins with an understanding that the ‘post-colonial’ – both as mythology and ‘World-making’ architecture – is fully the resettlement, and enforcement, of the Reason of global coloniality. The ‘post-colonial settlement’ thus serves as a philosophical manoeuvre that entrenches a ‘methodological post-colonialism’ in thinking the (b)orders of the World; it operates as a closure of imagination that marks the philosophical rupture – as it is designed to do – from the ‘colonial’ pasts of sins and depravity to the present (possibility) of ‘humanitarian’ virtue and ‘justice’. Against this erasure of the ‘colonial’, understanding the present as a (post)colonial resettlement, constituted through the architecture of ‘post-colonial’ World-making, is to be neither entranced by a ‘ruptural’ mythology of the ‘post-colonial’ nor be fixated with simplistic fixations of the continuities of some ‘external’ imperial, so-called ‘neocolonial’, impositions. Instead, we see the (post)colonial clearly as a reconfiguration of (b)ordering and enforcement, a self-reflexive, ever-malleable, and adaptable systemic organisation of coloniality, still, designed as such to maintain a global regime of differentiated subjection, that is, of licence, containment, and abandonement. If the ‘post-colonial’ pushes for a philosophical obscuration of global coloniality, the (post)colonial reopens it fully to view. This is the actual situation from which the perspectives and arguments of this book begin. Against the actuality of the (post)colonial present, the anti-colonial is here reaffirmed as a philosophical situation and praxis of struggle to (re)make worlds from (post)colonial World-making.

    At the heart of the ‘anti-colonial’ recovery of imagination is an overturning of the fundamental assumptions of the philosophical situation of the present. Simply stated, this is the opening to question the norm-ality of (post)colonial (b)orders – that is to say the World ­as ‘conventional wisdom’ would name it, know it – fully, rather, as anti-colonial frontlines. This assertion, of reclaiming extant borders as frontlines, is the central philosophical manoeuvre which informs my understanding of anti-colonial praxis. Being-anti-colonial, therefore, is to assert and occupy a location of the frontline where (post)colonial borders are asserted and enforced. The task is both philosophical, and material, of imagination and life-places.

    Part Two then provides arguments of the substantive application of anti-colonial philosophical praxis to some prominent matters of worldly contention. The various chapters that follow suggest, perhaps uncomfortably for some, the implications of extending an anti-colonial philosophy to the presumed norm-alities of the (post)colonial present. Here, we consider such issues as ‘Black-ed’ lives as White-d matter, the Lie of Europe and Postcolony as World-(b)ordering intimate categories of separation-belonging, the on-going colonial situation of Palestine and the problem of Zionist-Israelism, and inevitably, and profoundly, the difficult question of ‘violence’. All, as a matter of reclaiming as anti-colonial frontlines the persisting (b)orders of (post)coloniality.

    Being Anti-Colonial is a work that seeks to return the focus of critical theory to questions of implicatedness and implication as we encounter the pervasive everydayness of coloniality.

    USD $ 25.00
  • Beyond the Internet: Radical Voices of Dissent

    The title of our book is open to multiple interpretations, and purposely so, with the deliberate insertion of ‘beyond.’

    For example, on a philosophical level, the word beyond means to examine the metaphysical character of the relationship between the Internet and dissenting voices. This isn’t abstract, because metaphysics is based on searching for the nature of reality, identity, of understanding causality, theorizing time and space.

    So, the ‘nature of reality’ is to examine the relationship between the Internet and Dissent, which then allows us to understand ‘causality’. ‘Identity’ speaks for itself, and ‘time and space’, for example, is central to many indigenous peoples’ thinking in Latin America with regards to ancestral issues, colonialism, and relations with nature.

    It also includes issues concerning potentialities (dissent and activism), which connects to our central question: What is the relationship between the Internet and dissent?

    On a concrete level, we know that the relationship between technology and resistance differs according to the context of each struggle. Many resistance groups and individual dissenting voices embrace the Internet, whilst others do not, and this is what we are seeking to explore and understand.

    The perfect dream of technolibertarians or cyberlibertarians that the Internet would enhance freedoms, free from state authority, is over, if ever it had begun.

    In many cases, the Internet has become a form of State surveillance over the activities and thoughts of political activists forcing groups to move ‘offline’, or to use old fashioned terminology, ‘take to the streets.’

    But conversely, many dissenting voices embrace the Internet and social media, and it’s our purpose to explore the uses the Internet may or may not have in specific contexts.

    Thus, our aim is to listen to the voices of those at the sharp end of resistance, and to inquire what role, the Internet plays, in their respective forms of resistance.

     

    CONTENTS

    When Radicalism Becomes Dissent (David Berry)
    The Internet & Dissent (David Berry)
    The Cheran Insurrection: Peoples’ Grassroots Democracy (Victor Alfonzo Zerthuche Cobos)
    Kurdish Resistance & Homeland (Name Pending)
    New Weapons of Resistance in the Amazon (Sue Branford & Mauricio Torres)
    Burmese Guerilla Warfare, Technology & Identity (Maran Ja Yi Ma)
    Struggles for Nationhood: Comparing the Mapuche of Chile & the Welsh (Franco Ramos Guiterez & David Berry)
    In Conversation with Caoimhghin O’ Croidheain: Radical Irish Artist (Iglika Gerganova)
    An Interview with Iranian Artist Roshi Rouzbehani (David Berry)
    Defenders of the Land: The Colombian Minga (Valentina Murillo)
    Grassroots Journalism in India: the story behind Khabar Lahariya (Rosa Sylvia Parks)When Radicalism Becomes Dissent (David Berry)
    The Internet & Dissent (David Berry)
    The Cheran Insurrection: Peoples’ Grassroots Democracy (Victor Alfonzo Zerthuche Cobos)
    Kurdish Resistance & Homeland (Name Pending)
    New Weapons of Resistance in the Amazon (Sue Branford & Mauricio Torres)
    Burmese Guerilla Warfare, Technology & Identity (Maran Ja Yi Ma)
    Struggles for Nationhood: Comparing the Mapuche of Chile & the Welsh (Franco Ramos Guiterez & David Berry)
    In Conversation with Caoimhghin O’ Croidheain: Radical Irish Artist (Iglika Gerganova)
    An Interview with Iranian Artist Roshi Rouzbehani (David Berry)
    Defenders of the Land: The Colombian Minga (Valentina Murillo)
    Grassroots Journalism in India: the story behind Khabar Lahariya (Rosa Sylvia Parks)

  • Afro-Asian Poetry that Changed the World

    “It is unclear when ‘Lotus’, a literary magazine of progressive Afro-Asian writers largely funded by the USSR, published its last issue after a successful run spanning two decades (1968-1991); but it was certainly a voice of the Palestinian people.

    Professor Tariq Mehmood Ali teaches English at the American University of Beirut and is an award-winning novelist and a documentary filmmaker. A few years ago, he launched a project to restore the magazine’s legacy. The project involves curating, saving, preserving, and digitizing old issues, offering historical depth to the Palestine movement and potentially making the magazine accessible to a new generation of readers from Palestine and the rest of the Global South.

    “‘Lotus’ resolutely opposed Zionism, seeing it as a racist tool of imperialism,” says Prof Ali, who has pored over innumerable issues of the magazine. He suggests that Palestinians would not have had such a raw deal if the publication was still in circulation.

    ‘Lotus’ championed the cause of the Palestinian Liberation Operation (PLO) and even passed a resolution on Palestine at its third Afro-Asian conference held in Beirut (1970-71). These and other details find mention in Prof Ali’s book ‘Afro-Asian Poetry that Changed the World, scheduled for a spring 2024 release.

    ‘Lotus’ was a trilingual quarterly magazine published in Arabic, English and French – and then translated into numerous languages of formerly colonized countries.

    “The writers of ‘Lotus’ as well as the journal itself had a huge cultural impact at the time, affecting tens of millions of people. This was the first time writers of Africa and Asia were able to talk to each other, across their vast continents, outside the prism of their colonial and imperial usurpers,” says Prof Ali, who is currently busy digitizing and archiving the magazine. …

    Some of the prominent writers who contributed to ‘Lotus’ included Youssef El Sebai, Abdel Aziz Sadek, Edward El Kharrat (Egypt), Mouloud Mammeri (Algeria), Mulk Raj Anand (India), Hiroshi Noma, (Japan), Dr Soheil Idriss (Lebanon), Sononym Udval (Mongolia), Faiz Ahmed Faiz (Pakistan), Mario De Andrade (Portuguese Colonies), Mohamed Soleinian (Sudan), Alex La Guma (South Africa), Anatoly Sofronov (USSR), Adonis (Lebanon) and Mahmoud Darwish (Palestine).

    The magazine instituted the Lotus Prize and among its recipients were Pakistan’s Faiz Ahmed Faiz and India’s Harivansh Rai Bachchan (whose son Amitabh is a well-known actor). Translation bureaus were launched in many countries of the two continents – so that people could read each other’s works.

    By Lamat Hasan, an independent journalist based in Delhi.

  • Episodes from a colonial present

    Postcolonial critique deconstructs global inequality in its epistemic and material dimensions. This collective comic project illuminates everyday life’s coloniality as well as the decolonising potential of everyday struggles in the spaces, discourses and practices of so-called ‘global development’.
  • Transcending our Colonial Place: Africa and the dialectics of emancipation

    Fanon exhorted us (his posthumous comrades) to abandon Eurocentric thinking and to reconnect with dialectical thought in order as he puts it to “work out new concepts” and he insisted that “if we want humanity to advance a step farther […] then we must invent and we must make discoveries”. I propose to take Fanon at his word and to return to the dialectic as subjective thought rather than as motion of history; as a specific political subjectivity rather than as an objective development. Dialectical thought should be considered as the core feature of any politics of emancipation, a politics that is founded on what is common to humanity, an egalitarian alternative to the existing neocolonial racist capitalist organisation of society.

    This book seeks to outline and assess the thinking of emancipatory politics in Africa as it changed in different historical periods. It also contrasts such politics to state political subjectivities which, by their very nature, reproduce given social placements or stated differently the allocation of people to hierarchical locations in society. Emancipatory politics always affirms a rejection of the place allocated to the oppressed and therefore contradicts and transcends the regular state subjectivities embodied in culture which ultimately attempt to justify such placement.  Emancipatory politics is exceptional and therefore rare, and it is dialectical because it combines in a contradictory manner the culture of placement from which it emanates with the idea of universal freedom.

    Dialectics is not the affirmation of historical necessity; it is a subjective political possibility opposed to (neo)colonial capitalism which has relegated the majority of our population to conditions of perennial impoverishment, oppression and gradual alienation from any Idea of being Human. This work illustrates the fact that dialectical thought has existed in Africa over millennia, with its earliest manifestation being in Ancient Egypt. The text also draws on the universalist content of African proverbs to show the possible dialectical content of African modes of thought, illustrating the emancipatory potential already in existence in some African cultures.

    The contemporary attempts at achieving freedom on the African continent – the liberation struggles of the twentieth century – failed fundamentally because they rapidly abandoned any idea of universal humanity and held that emancipation was to be achieved through the medium of the state.  It was the desire of the oligarchy that inherited independence to be accepted and integrated into the global capitalist economy for the purposes of state-led ‘development’. The effect, after a short nationalist interlude, was not an inclusive form of ‘nation-building’ but rather the building of a neocolonial state by a Western-oriented oligarchy unable or unwilling to meet the basic needs of its own people. To succeed in this endeavour, the newly independent state retained many oppressive features of its colonial predecessor remoulding them to suit its needs. The book shows how in an overwhelmingly neocolonial context, it is of little consequence to the oppressed masses in Africa whether their political system is formally labelled as ‘democratic’ or not.  In fact, given the endemic corruption among the oligarchies in power, military dictatorships can garner mass popular support for shorter or longer periods if they are seen to resist (however mildly) neocolonial domination.  The recent examples (early 2020s) of proto-nationalist military coups in Francophone West Africa (Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger) are cases in point.

    This book develops theoretical arguments that redirect intellectual thought away from Euro-American liberal conceptions as well as from neo-nativist fashions and vulgar Marxisms, so as to reassert the importance of latent ‘African potentials’ that are frequently embodied in collective popular statements for rethinking, dialectically, a true politics of emancipation on the African continent.

    1)    the Ancient World: Ancient Egypt (The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant – 4000 BCE) and Plato (as read by Alain Badiou);

    2)    Pre-colonial Africa and resistance to slavery: the Donsolu Kalikan (in the Manden/Mali, 1222),  the Antonian Movement (in Kongo, 1684-1706) and its continuation in the Lemba Movement, and the Haitian Revolution (undertaken by slaves from Africa),

    3)    The National Liberation Struggles of the 1960s  as thought by Fanon and Cabral, and

    4)    The mass popular struggles in South Africa during the 1980s.