A petition created on the initiative of the Collectif de soutien des migrants de la Chapelle, which has already been signed by a number of intellectuals and artists, including Verso authors Etienne Balibar, Eric Hazan and Sophie Wahnich, calls for a general mobilisation: "We will fight for them but also to defend our society, faced with this aggression by the public authorities. We are determined to make sure that the wrongs perpetrated against our migrant sisters and brothers are undone, and that in our country human dignity and the right to asylum are respected". Translated by David Broder.
Many hundreds of migrants coming from various African countries, fleeing the untenable situations in their respective lands, had been living under the La Chapelle overhead metro station since August 2014, before the so-called "sanitary and humanitarian" measures carried out on 2 June 2015. Here we will not delve into the dirty details of this operation; but it meant that the migrants’ encampment was cleared out and entirely destroyed.
For Marx, the greatest achievement of the Paris Commune was its "actual working existence", and we should certainly not exclude its geographical organisation and defensive arcitecture from this category. Ahead of Kristin Ross' discussion with Alberto Toscano at Goldsmiths tonight on the political imaginary of the Paris Commune, we share a series of maps created by Leopold Lambert detailing the shifting architecture of the Commune over time. You can download a high-resolution version of the map here.
From Lambert's essay:
History tends to describe the city where events unfold themselves as a mere context, indifferent to the action that it hosts … I wanted to illustrate how the city, through its constructive, destructive and modificative logics plays a biased role in these historical events. As Karl Marx pointed out in The Civil War in France (1871), many things could have given the Commune higher chances to survive (a more organized offensive against Versailles in the beginning of its existence, the use of the Banque de France left untouched, a more comprehensive defensive strategy etc.), but the thing that the Commune has lacked the most is likely to be time itself, in an effort to transform and subvert the capitalist, imperialist and militarized logics that contextualized the urban fabric in which it was attempting to exist.
Who walks alone in the streets at night? The sad, the mad, the bad. The lost, the lonely. The hypomanic, the catatonic. The sleepless, the homeless. All the city's internal exiles.
“Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night,” wrote the poet Rupert Brooke. If nightwalking is a matter of “going astray” in the streets of the metropolis after dark, then nightwalkers represent some of the most suggestive and revealing guides to the neglected and forgotten aspects of the city.
Out this month by Matthew Beaumont, Nightwalking - a nocturnal history of walking in London - shines a light on the shadowy perambulations of poets, novelists and thinkers: Chaucer and Shakespeare; William Blake, the supreme nightwalker Charles Dickens; and many more. Walking in the city is revealed as a place divided between work and pleasure, the affluent and the indigent, where the entitled and the desperate jostle in the streets.
Now out in paperback is one of our bestsellers - A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros. In this book he charts the many different ways we get from A to B — the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble — and reveals what they say about us.
Also out in paperback this month is The Beach Beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International by McKenzie Wark. “If I read a more entertaining and thought-provoking work on cultural phenomena this year, I will be, frankly, astonished” said Nick Lezard in his Guardian review of the book. We agree. Re-reading the group’s history in the light of our contemporary experience of communications, architecture, and everyday life, shaping situationist psychology among urban explorers for the eventuality of the situationist city.
Inspired by these brilliant, newly published books, we present Verso's updated guide to political walking - all 50% off until Friday May 1st! After all, there's no such thing as a good walk unless your nose is firmly stuck in a book.
We still feel disbelief, sadness and anger over the hateful attack against Charlie Hebdo and the shameless anti-Semitic massacre that followed. We were disgusted to see artists being slaughtered because of how they freely expressed themselves: a killing perpetrated in the name of a reactionary ideology.
The writer and lifelong resident of Paris on last weekend's massive 'Je suis Charlie' rally that took place in the city in reaction to the Charlie Hebdo attack.
It seems that Sunday’s crowd at the Place de la République was as big as the one on 28 April 1944, which welcomed Marshal Pétain to the Hôtel de Ville as he attended the funeral service for the victims of Allied bombings. Apart from war fever (like the throngs of people shouting ‘To Berlin!’ in 1914), the great moments of unanimity have always been for burials – the funerals of Victor Hugo, Pierre Overney, Jean-Paul Sartre, or Edith Piaf. Sunday’s demonstration is of this same register – what animates the crowd is purely sentimental, the satisfaction of coming together to express our vague desires for unity and reconciliation. As if mere numbers of demonstrators sufficed to conjure up what we don’t have, namely a society that takes as its goal our common well-being.