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Showing posts from 2023

Settler-Colonial Projection

In Gillo Pontercorvo's anti-colonial film The Battle of Algiers  there is sequence where three Algerian women plant bombs in cafes and an airport, killing French civilians. While notable because the preparation of this action eludes to Fanon's Algeria Unveiled , it also demonstrates how the actors of an anti-colonial struggle become locked into a particular logic of violence overdetermined by the original violence of colonialism. That is, this sequence takes place after a half-an-hour of the film's description of the colonial situation and is directly driven by the fact that French colonial police and civilians decided to bomb a civilian quarter of Algerians. Until then, the FLN had limited its violence to military targets; when it places bombs in European cafes and the Air France airport, however, it is because it is responding to the fact that all settlers are potential military targets. The film, while firmly on the side of the FLN, admits the tragedy of this civilian bo

Seyla Benhabib and The Hannah Arendt Centre: Genocide Defense

In my previous post  I noted how the unfolding events in Gaza are a litmus test for those who identify as radical thinkers. Recently Seyla Benhabib failed this test by publishing a screed that, while claiming she was all for a ceasefire, distanced herself from an open letter signed by many of her former colleagues that was in support of Palestinian self-determination. Such distancing was accomplished by reminding readers of who she was and how she has in the past "supported the rights of the Palestinian people for self-determination," and then regurgitating Israeli state propaganda. Published by The Hannah Arendt Centre, it was immediately lionized by other "progressive" academics, mainly Arendtians: Samantha Rose Hill claimed it speaks to "the need for moral clarity," and Katerina Katarina Kolozova celebrated its critique of "anti-settler reasoning."  But Benhabib should be ashamed by this letter, and Hill and Kolozova should be ashamed for t

The Unfolding Nightmare in Gaza: Sanction all Revolts

I've held off posting on the unfolding nightmare in Gaza because the horror show has filled me with great mourning. While the event of Al-Aqsa Flood and Israel's genocidal response provoked me to tweet and doom scroll at a feverish pace, my feelings about what was unfolding were too complex to write about in a sustained manner. (Also the level of mental exhaustion I've been feeling for the past few months have made it difficult for me to write anything substantial.) Besides, others did a better job of writing what needed to be written . This complexity of feelings was due to the fact that my political awakening was in the crucible of activist work around Palestinian solidarity. That is, Palestinian solidarity activism is what politicized me. And this politicization was personal because it was connected to the Palestinian activist I was dating at the time, who became the love of my life and my wife. And her family, like all Palestinian families, bears the weight of this long

The Settler Capitalist State and #SearchTheLandfill

As police budgets are increased by hundreds of millions of dollars, the Canadian state still deems that t he cost of searching the Winnipeg-area landfill for the remains of murdered Indigenous women remains too high. But they are willing to expend money on policing those involved in the #SearchTheLandfill protests. The same state has also claimed that it would be too costly to pay for excavations at multiple residential schools so as to locate the many bodies of those murdered in these colonial concentration camps––allowing numerous reactionary "journalists" like the Kays and Rex Murphy to write genocide denial opinion columns––while providing the typical "thoughts and prayers" bullshit when politically expedient. Recently the anniversary of Colten Boushie's execution passed, reminding everyone who cared about that case that Boushie's murderer, Gerald Stanley, walks free because Canada's repressive state apparatus was on his side from the beginning. The

Uncomfortable Necessities

 Back in 2014 I wrote in The Communist Necessity : "The act of making communism a necessity is generally unpleasant––but so is reality. If we have learned anything from the last two earth-shaking revolutions [Russia and China], it is that bringing communism into being is a messy business." Elsewhere in the same text I talked about the necessity of many of us having to be dragged down, losing our privilege, in order to make revolution. In his review of my first book, Gabriel Kuhn focused on this particular aspect of necessity and asked "when it comes to creating a better world, do you want to put your trust into the hands of someone who declares reality to be unpleasant no matter what?" Since that critical question was asked, and because this review was overall positive, I've had friendly relationship with Kuhn where we have discussed these points of critique. Because while, on the one hand I agree that this comment (and others like it in the text) did make the