Taking notes 21: The dangerous dreams of Slavoj Žižek

by Jerome Roos When George Orwell first sent in his celebrated dispatches from revolutionary Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, the British socialist magazine The New Statesman infamously refused to publish them for being too critical of the Stalinist crackdown on the Trotskyist and anarchist militias. As editor Kingsley Martin put it in a letter to Orwell, “it is an unfortunate fact that any hostile criticism of the present Russian regime is liable to be taken as propaganda against socialism.” Still, Orwell, who had been embedded in the Trotskyist POUM and had fought the fascists side-by-side … Continue reading Taking notes 21: The dangerous dreams of Slavoj Žižek

Taking notes 20: The 2012 student strike: Many lessons were learned and taught

by Aziz Choudry and Eric Shragge In September 2012, the Liberal government of Jean Charest was defeated, and the pro-independence Parti-Quebecois (PQ) was elected to a minority government. The PQ government almost immediately rolled back the tuition increase and repealed Bill 78-Law 14, the repressive emergency legislation to curb and limit public protest which had been introduced in May of that year. In the short term this is a victory and was certainly brought about by the mass protests during what has been described as Le Printempserable or Maple Spring. There is the amazing experience of the “carré rouge,” the small red squares worn by students and the general public that … Continue reading Taking notes 20: The 2012 student strike: Many lessons were learned and taught

Radical criminology: A manifesto

by Jeff Shantz In this period of state-sponsored austerity and suppression of resistance there is a great need for criminologists to speak out and act against state violence, state-corporate crime, and the growth of surveillance regimes and the prison-industrial complex. Criminologists also have a role to play in advancing alternatives to current regimes of regulation and punishment. In light of current social struggles against neo-liberal capitalism, and as an effort to contribute positively to those struggles, the Critical Criminology Working Group at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver (Canada) has initiated the journal Radical Criminology. We hope you will enjoy our … Continue reading Radical criminology: A manifesto

Protest and power: The radical imagination

by Henry A. Giroux “This isn’t a student strike, it’s the awakening of society.” — Quebec protest banner In many countries throughout the world, young people are speaking out.[1]  They are using their voices and bodies to redefine the boundaries of the possible and to protest the crushing currents of neoliberal regimes that ruthlessly assert their power and policies through appeals to destiny, political theology, and the unabashed certainty bred of fundamentalist faith. From Paris, Athens, and London to Montreal and New York City, young people are challenging the current repressive historical conjuncture by rejecting its dominant premises and practices. … Continue reading Protest and power: The radical imagination

The relevance of Lenin today

by Chris Cutrone If the Bolshevik Revolution is — as some people have called it — the most significant political event of the 20th century, then Lenin must for good or ill be considered the century’s most significant political leader. Not only in the scholarly circles of the former Soviet Union, but even among many non-Communist scholars, he has been regarded as both the greatest revolutionary leader and revolutionary statesman in history, as well as the greatest revolutionary thinker since Marx. — Encyclopedia Britannica 2011 — year of revolution?  [1] Time magazine nominated “the protester,” from the Arab Spring to … Continue reading The relevance of Lenin today

Black blocs and contemporary “propaganda of the deed”

by Jeff Shantz  That anarchists should run afoul of the authorities is hardly surprising.  Indeed, anarchism has a long history of direct conflict with State institutions and their defenders.  Some of the most striking images from this history are the caricatures of black trenchcoat wearing “bomb throwers” who owe their fame to activities at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  Novels such as Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Frank Harris’ The Bomb have kept the character of the fanatic alive.  In the popular imagination the spectre of anarchy still conjures notions of terror, chaos, destruction and the collapse of civilization … Continue reading Black blocs and contemporary “propaganda of the deed”

Anarchism, protest and utopianism

by Ruth Kinna The recent explosion of popular energy made manifest in the Occupy movement was described by Adbusters as a shift in global revolutionary tactics, for democracy and against corporatocracy, inspired by a desire to fuse ‘Tahrir with the acampadas of Spain’.[1]  Like the movements for social justice that preceded it, it brought defiant protest together with an openly utopian politics but it captured public attention in ways that the earlier, more conventional protests had not. As the former canon chancellor of St. Paul’s Cathedral (the site of the London camp), Giles Fraser was well positioned to monitor the … Continue reading Anarchism, protest and utopianism

Capitalism and the problem of collective action

by Gavin Kitching The central argument of this article[1] is that humankind is now creating collective action[2] problems of such enormous complexity and scale that it is very difficult for individual people, on the basis of their ordinary everyday experience alone, to even grasp them as problems, let alone see how to solve them. Such problems include: chronic global economic instability, anthropogenic global warming and climate change, increasingly ineffective governments, traffic jams, and rising health care costs. All of these problems are ‘mass’ or ‘collective’ outcomes of individual actions, actions motivated by intentions quite different from those outcomes. In other … Continue reading Capitalism and the problem of collective action