Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn is a German-Bolivian theatre maker, compulsive reader – printed books only – and reluctant writer. Since 2010, he has been feeling at ease in the post-Soviet space, particularly in Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine. After much ideological soul-searching, he…
Left Alone: On Solitude and Loneliness amid Collective Struggle
Left Alone brings together 15 authors and seven visual artists from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America to individually and collectively reflect – in words and images – on an urgent psycho-political issue that has not yet been explicitly addressed through a left-political lens, that is, Left Loneliness. Combining academic and more personal-political texts, including an interview, poetry, rap and a powerful short story, the book explores the contributors’ personally and/or vicariously lived experiences of Left Loneliness from a variety of genres and left political currents: Marxist, Feminist, Anti-/De-Colonial, Anti-Racist, Queer, Post-Soviet, Anarchist, Anti-Ableist and others. Says Feminist writer Sara Ahmed: “Loneliness might be what we are threatened with if we persist in being or doing what we are being or doing.” In this sense, Left Loneliness is neither a metaphor nor a secondary contradiction and definitely not a type of petty bourgeois ‘personalism.’ Rather, it might be considered one of the rank-and-file psycho-affective elements that both shapes and results from our myriad, intersecting, unremitting, yet always fragile and potentially shattering political attempts to revolutionise our inner and outer worlds. Given its (growing?) existence in our everyday left subjectivities, the book argues that Left Loneliness and related states of solitude, isolation and alienation, among others, have both debilitating and productive (epistemic) dimensions, with very concrete psycho-somatic repercussions for Left Mental and Physical Health and hence our capacity to persist and build on “being or doing what we are being or doing.” Given that continuing and deepening our multiple ongoing struggles for liberation will depend on our constant ability to (re-)create, sustain and care for both our individual selves and the communities that we are a part of, the aim of Left Alone is to contribute to the strengthening of these personal collectivities in action in-against-and-beyond capitalism, colonialism and heteropatriarchy by inviting comrade-readers into what we hope will be a deeply stimulating and enabling personal-political engagement with texts and images hailing from Argentina, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey/Kurdistan, Jamaica, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Germany and the USA. In short, in the words of one of the book’s authors, Lena Grace Anyuolo from Kenya, “My sisters and brothers, Come, Let us gather, To lay the structures for a joyous existence.” Yes, let’s.
Edited by Hjalmar Joffre-Eichhorn and Patrick Anderson
Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn is a German-Bolivian Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner, compulsive reader – printed books only – and reluctant writer. In recent years, he has dedicated himself to publishing activist books and in spite of his ever-deepening Left Loneliness he is still toying with the idea/desire of opening a leftist bookstore-cum-dancehall in the not too distant future. As a result, he has been obsessively hunting red kitsch, aka Communist memorabilia, to eventually be exhibited and worshipped in the store. So, if anyone wants to get rid of their Lenin busts, Angela Davis posters or Che Guevara beret, please do get in touch.
Patrick Anderson is a lifelong student of language and people, conflict and harmony, relationship and solitude. He has an admiration bordering on reverence for words, written and spoken, and the profound, at times circuitous yet always unbroken, lines of revelation and meaning they preserve. Cryptic crosswords and etymological databases unsurprisingly number among his chief sources of pleasure. Having lived, worked and studied in five continents, and with an MA in Conflict Resolution, his professional life largely consists in supporting individuals, organisations and diverse communities to navigate the world with courage, purpose and levity.
The Left Loneliness Collective
Patrick Anderson is a lifelong student of language and people, conflict and harmony, relationship and solitude. He has an admiration bordering on reverence for words, written and spoken, and the profound, at times circuitous yet always unbroken, lines of revelation and meaning they preserve. Cryptic crosswords and etymological databases unsurprisingly number among his chief sources of pleasure. Having lived, worked and studied in five continents, and with an MA in Conflict Resolution, his professional life largely consists in supporting individuals, organizations and diverse communities to navigate the world with courage, purpose and levity.
Lena Grace Anyuolo is a writer and poet. She is the author of the poetry collection Rage and Bloom. Her work regularly appears in Jalada Magazine, Writers’ Space Africa, Ukombozi Review, Review of African Political Economy, Africa is a Country, and Gemini Spice Magazine.
Nina Bagdasarova has a PhD in Educational Psychology and works as a professor at the Psychological Department of the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Her areas of research are education, equality and inclusion, while her political position and activism take place from within a leftist spectrum close to the approach of queer communism. She has authored a number of academic papers and recently published a book dedicated to exploring the idea of left happiness (together with Mohira Suyarkulova and Georgy Mamedov).
Ismail Beşikçi is a Turkish sociologist, philosopher, revolutionary, and writer. He graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara University in 1962. In 1964 he began to work at Atatürk University’s Faculty of Science and Literature as a research assistant. In 1968, he was dismissed from the same university after the publication of his book Eastern Anatolian Order: Socio-Economic Fundamentals (Doğu Anadolu’nun Düzeni: Sosyo-Ekonomik Temeller). In 1971, he was arrested by the Diyarbakır Martial Law Court on the charge of being a supporter of the Kurdish people and an advocate for a separate Kurdish state. He was subsequently sentenced to eight years and four months in prison for the book Eastern Anatolian Order and eight months for lectures he had given. Amnestied on 14 July 1974, he was imprisoned again several times in the following years, for instance, in March 1991 due to a message he sent to the Night of Solidarity with the Kurds held in Germany in October 1990. Beşikçi has written dozens of books, most of which were banned, and has been imprisoned eight times, so far spending 17 years in incarceration.
Derefe Kimarley Chevannes is a native from Jamaica. He holds a PhD in Political Science. Chevannes primarily specializes in political theory and is also trained in the field of public law. His research focuses, broadly, on Africana political theory, with an emphasis on Black liberatory politics. His research project lies at the intersection of Africana Studies, Deaf Studies, and Modernity Studies.
Kimberly Chiimba is a young black British-Zimbabwean portrait painter based in London, UK. Best known for her bright, natural and hyperrealistic paintings of contemporary Black subjects, she enjoys capturing and drawing inspiration directly from her family and external surroundings.
alejandra ciriza is a feisty feminist activist and human rights defender. She is the mother of Andrés, Valentín and Martina and the abuela of Amparo and Emiliano. She looks after plants and enjoys dancing. She is a researcher at CONICET and a professor of philosophy and feminist theories in the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at UNCuyo in Mendoza, Argentina. Her research is situated at the intersection of feminist political philosophy and the history of women and feminist ideas, based on a perspective that recognizes class, radicalization and corporalidad. ale has written, edited and published scientific articles, book chapters and books in her realm of expertise. She currently leads the master’s program in feminist studies at UNCuyo, supporting the emergence of new researchers in this field.
Sevgi Doğan gained her doctorate degree from Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. She is currently a precarious post-doctoral researcher at the same university, where she also collaborates with the Scholars at Risk Network (SAR) – Italy. Her doctoral thesis, Marx and Hegel: On the Dialectic of the Individual and the Social, was published by Lexington Books (2018). Her fields of research are modern and contemporary political philosophy, (Italian) Marxism, Hegelianism, German and Ital- ian idealism, Rosa Luxemburg, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, gender and feminist studies, the social and political modernisation of Turkey, and academic freedom. She has translated Gramsci’s Letters from Prison from Italian into Turkish and submitted it to Alfa publishing house. Her most recent book La grande malattia dell’Europa, about HR violations in contemporary Turkey and with texts by Gustaw Her- ling, will be published by Rubbettino in 2023.
Richard Gilman-Opalsky is Professor of political theory and philosophy in the School of Politics and International Affairs at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He is the author of many articles and book chapters and six books, including The Communism of Love, Specters of Revolt, Precarious Communism and Spectacular Capitalism. He has lectured widely throughout the world and his work has been translated and published in Greek, Spanish, French, and German editions. In 20182019, Dr. GilmanOpalsky was named University Scholar, the highest award for the scholarship granted at all three campuses of University of Illinois. Dr. GilmanOpalsky’s work explores the powers of everyday people, particularly those typically regarded as powerless. He challenges the idea that politics is the private property of the ruling political class, and aims to highlight how impoverished and marginalized people participate in the radical transformation of the world.
Jane Anna Gordon is Professor of Political Science with affiliations in American Studies, El Instituto, Global Affairs, Philosophy, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Connecticut. She is, most recently, author of Statelessness and Contemporary Enslavement (Routledge 2020) and Creolizing Political Theory: Reading Rousseau through Frantz Fanon (Fordham University Press 2014) and coeditor (with Drucilla Cornell) of Creolizing Rosa Luxemburg (Rowman and Littlefield 2021). President of the Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA) from 20142016, she continues to direct the CPA Summer School and to coedit the Creolizing the Canon and Global Critical Caribbean Thought book series. With Lewis R. Gordon, she edits the new, open access journal, Philosophy and Global Affairs.
Sula Gordon is a multimedia artist. Through her art she creates the world she sees and the world she wants to see. Gordon focuses on healing rather than pain since it seems like the only time Black people are depicted it must be surrounded by suffering. It would give the impression that being Black is nothing but turmoil when she loves being Black. Through her paints, prints, and whatever else she can get her hands on, Gordon writes love letters to herself, her family, and her community, telling them their beauty is not unseen.
Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn is a German-Bolivian Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner, compulsive reader – printed books only – and reluctant writer. In recent years, he has dedicated himself to publish- ing a couple of activist books, and in spite of his ever-deepening Left Loneliness, he is still toying with the idea/desire of opening a leftist bookstore-cum-dancehall in the not-too-distant future. As a result, he has been obsessively hunting red kitsch, aka Communist memorabilia, to be exhibited and worshipped in the store eventually. So, if anyone wants to get rid of their Lenin busts, Angela Davis posters or Che Guevara beret, please do get in touch.
Giulia Longoni is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at the University of Pisa. Her research interests focus on the concepts of gender, class and ‘race’ as theorized by the philosophical current of Marxist feminism, with particular attention to Rosa Luxemburg’s work. Giulia’s research aims to identify some of Luxemburg’s main concepts and use them as critical lenses in order to critique the connections between mainstream feminism and the capitalistic system. Her interests include feminist philosophy, social justice, postcolonial and decolonial studies and class struggle. She is a feminist activist and co-founder of CONTRA/DIZIONI, a group which aims to introduce feminist philosophies to the Academic world.
Georgy Mamedov is a curator, artist and activist based in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Georgy has coauthored and coedited several publications, including A Book on Happiness for Young (and not so) and LGBT (and not only) People (Bishkek 2020), the pioneering Russian language collection of feminist and queer science fiction, Utterly Other (Bishkek 2018); Queer Communism is Ethics (Moscow 2016); and Bishkek Utopian (Bishkek 2015). His most recent artistic projects include the experimental montage TikTok: A Blue Blouse Edit (2020); a collaboration with Werker Collective on the project A Gestural History of the Young Worker (2019); and the lecture-performance Delirious Blues: A Philosophy Letter from the Low Life during the Parliament of Bodies at the Bergen Assembly (2019). Georgy teaches history and theory of modern and contemporary art at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek. In 2015, Georgy became a chevalier of the French Order of Arts and Letters.
James Martel teaches political theory in the department of political science at San Francisco State University. He works on anarchist politics, political theology, comparative literature, postcolonial theory and legal theory. He is the author, most recently, of Anarchist Prophets: Disappointment and the Power of Collective Sight (Duke 2022). He is currently working on a new book entitled Material Rights: a New Law For the Living. Previous books include Unburied Bodies: Subversive Corpses and the Authority of the Dead (Amherst 2017), The Misinterpellated Subject (Duke 2017), Divine Violence: Walter Benjamin and the Eschatology of Sovereignty (Routledge 2011), Textual Conspiracies: Walter Benjamin, Idolatry and Political Theory (Michigan 2011), and Subverting the Leviathan: Reading Thomas Hobbes as a Radical Democrat (Columbia 2007).
I am Tate Quesada, a visual artist born in Mendoza, Argentina. I studied in private painting workshops from a very early age. In 2005 I entered the Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, where I completed a Bachelor’s in Visual Arts and Teaching and specialized in engraving. After experimenting with painting, my work turned towards the graphic arts, through which characters and stories emerge that allow me to express my way of seeing the world. Since 2014 I have been giving screen printing workshops in my private studio. I also work as a teacher at the Escuela Provincial de Bellas Artes, as a member of a group of artist-teachers. I am in constant search of creative expression.
Lena Stoehrfaktor is a Berlin-based rap and hip-hop artist. Some of her most recent releases include “Die Angst vor den Gedanken ver- lieren” (2012), “Blei” (2018) and “Essenz“ (2022). Lena not only walks through the streets of Berlin, she literally scratches its surface to reveal the dirt. In this sense, she doesn’t just talk about the underground, she is the underground. DIY-mentality instead of economic interest, skills and flow instead of interchangeable blah blah. Lena is ready to confront anyone unwilling to act in solidarity with others. Compromise on this is out of the question.
Mohira Suyarkulova is a queer communist and feminist activist scholar living and working in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She holds a PhD in International Relations from St Andrews University. Mohira is an “undisciplined scholar,” who has been hosted by departments of political science, social anthropology, sociology and, now, psychology. Her research interests lie at the intersection of politics, art and activism. Most recently, she led a participatory action study of the sexual lives of LGBTQ people in Bishkek with the aim of creating a queer sex education curriculum. Currently she is working on a Leftist manual on happiness alongside her colleagues and comrades Nina Bagdasarova and Georgy Mamedov.
Leo Zeilig is a writer and researcher. He has written extensively on African politics and history, including books on the working-class struggle and the development of revolutionary movements, and biographies of some of Africa’s most important political thinkers and activists. Leo is an editor of the Review of African Political Economy – the radical African-studies journal founded by activists and scholars in 1974 – and an Honorary Research Associate at the Society, Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Leo’s critically acclaimed novel Eddie the Kid was published by Zero Books in 2013. It was praised in The Guardian: “This passionate, sad and welltold book offers a compelling portrait of a flawed young radical.” Eddie the Kid won the 2014 Creative Work prize at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. In 2017 Leo’s second novel, An Ounce of Practice, was published by Hoperoad, praised in The Conversation as “a brilliant work of literary imagination that takes the reader to new realities in an engaging, moving read, hilariously humorous at times.” Leo has recently published The World Turned Upside Down through Nigerian publisher Books Farm House & Publishers.
Prologue 1: Spelling Out Left Loneliness – Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn
Prologue 2: An Etymological Uprising – Patrick Anderson
Introduction: Alone Together – The Singing Veins of Left Loneliness – Hjalmar Jorge Joffre-Eichhorn
How the world works – Lena Grace Anyuolo
The Practicality of Utopianism: Capitalist and Communist Forms of Life and Loneliness – Richard Gilman Opalsky
A Red Rooster Does Not Give Up – Subjectivity and Politics. Notes on Defeat – alejandra ciriza
A Reasonable Doubt – Should I Stay Alone? – Nina Bagdasarova
“Solitude is Freedom (Yalnızlık özgürlüktür)”: An Interview with İsmail Beşikçi – Sevgi Doğan
Anarchists should not be lonely (but they are) – James Martel
It is going to be alright – Lena Grace Anyuolo
“A Lonely Warrior”: Left-wing Isolation in the Early Adult Life of Ida B. Wells – Jane Anna Gordon
The Problem of Pathology: Meditation on Race, Disability & Loneliness – Derefe Kimarley Chevannes
Bridging the Gaps – Lena Stoehrfaktor
A diabolo, qui est simia dei – Georgy Mamedov
Left Loneliness and Feminist Love – Giulia Longoni
2084 – Leo Zeilig
Bloom – Lena Grace Anyuolo
In Praise of Really Existing Comradeship: Gratitudes
The Left Loneliness Collective