Taking notes 27: Is there a method in Syrian madness?

by Slavoj Žižek We all remember President Obama’s smiling face, full of hope and trust, when he repeatedly delivered the motto of his first campaign: “Yes, we can!” – we can get rid of the cynicism of Bush’s era and bring justice and welfare to the American people… Now that the US is approaching a decision about attacking Syria, we can imagine peace protesters shouting at Obama: “How can you advocate another military intervention?” Obama the reluctant warrior looks back at them and murmurs perplexed: “Can I? Should I?” And this time, he is right. All that was false in … Continue reading Taking notes 27: Is there a method in Syrian madness?

Taking notes 26: Revolution-in-waiting

Are we destined for history, for philosophy, for the world, have we been sent, probably from further afield than from our individuality, to wage a war in their name? — Anti-Badiou, Laruelle With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. — John F. Kennedy The US of A is on the brink again. It is on the verge of running out of cash … Continue reading Taking notes 26: Revolution-in-waiting

Taking notes 24: Why I am a Christian communist

by Roland Boer Often I am asked, in all manner of situations, what is your position? What is your belief? Christian communist, is my answer. I may be speaking with a group of Chinese students and specialists on Marxism, or a gathering of young anti-capitalist activists, or a room of trade-unionists, or a congress of hard-core Marxists, or indeed a group of religious believers. Inevitably, my answer produces a rain of questions. Christian and communist – are not the two poles apart? Are not communists and communist countries against religion, since it is the ‘opium of the people’? Are not … Continue reading Taking notes 24: Why I am a Christian communist

What does Revolution mean today?

by Jeff Noonan On May 31st what began months before as opposition to the cutting down of trees in Taksim Square in Istanbul exploded into country-wide opposition to the increasingly authoritarian rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  As was the case with the Arab Spring and Occupy, the Turkish youth and workers’ movement caught global commentators unawares.  Turkey had been held up as a model of “moderation” amongst “Muslim” countries:  tolerant, democratic, capitalist, a NATO member, and a trusted American ally.  Suddenly, the social fissures that had opened up the space for revolution in Tunisia and Egypt, for Occupy … Continue reading What does Revolution mean today?

Reflections on 1968

by George Katsiaficas More often than not, the movements of 1968 have been situated within nationalist parameters, and the global dimension of the movement’s vitality, if not altogether ignored, has been consigned a minor role. Whether in Mexico or France, Vietnam or India, the meaning of 1968 has been interpreted within the context of domestic patterns and localized history. Seen through such prisms, the most significant and vital aspect of 1968’s explosive energy — that it consisted of one international movement rather than multiple ones — becomes minimized, even forgotten. My book on 1968 was the first to consider the … Continue reading Reflections on 1968

Taking notes 16: The rebellion has started

by Jeffrey Harrod Rebellions are special social events. They are special because once they start they never end and because they provoke other events which eventually change the world. The Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British heralded the defeat of the British some 90 years and millions of Indian deaths later. The power of a rebellion is that it confronts the supporting images of power of its invincibility, of its claimed logic of superiority and of its absolute control of subordination. A tactical but failed rebellious challenge is eventually a strategic victory. In the global political economy the rule … Continue reading Taking notes 16: The rebellion has started

Taking notes 6: We are fine in Gaza — How are you?

by Magid Shihade In celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Communist Party in Syria and Lebanon, the Palestinian singer and writer — Khaled El-Hibr sang these words: We are fine in Gaza How about you? We are fine under attack How about you? Our martyrs are under the rubbles Our children now living in the tents And they ask about you We are fine in Gaza How about you? …. The sea is behind us But we fight back The enemy is in front of us But we still fight back We have all what we need: Food and arms … Continue reading Taking notes 6: We are fine in Gaza — How are you?

Taking notes 5: The truant insurrection

by Uri Gordon “When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is for the people and for each portion of the people the most sacred of rights and the most indispensable of duties”. — Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, Article 35 We live in a time when the last pretenses of elected governments to serve their citizens are falling away. A decade ago, an international coalition invaded Iraq on a fraudulent pretext, deaf to the protests of millions. Today, austerity measures and bail-outs transfer the cost of the financial crisis onto the people, blatantly ignoring … Continue reading Taking notes 5: The truant insurrection

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