This essay is excerpted from Sohail Daulatzai's Fifty Years of The Battle of Algiers: Past as Prologue, published by the University of Minnesota Press. A new 4K restoration of The Battle of Algiers is currently touring theaters across the United States.
Though it is both troubling and telling, the screening of the film by the Pentagon in the aftermath of 9/11 and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is only the latest chapter in the afterlife of The Battle of Algiers. In many ways, the film is a battleground and a microcosm of the enduring struggles between the West and the Rest, whiteness and its others. But in a post- 9/11 moment, it’s hard to ignore the ways in which the centrality and omnipresence of the figure of the Muslim and the “War on Terror” have not only coded and shaped every aspect of social life but have also sought to undermine the power and politics of The Battle of Algiers.
The Verso Book of Dissent: Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance is a compendium of revolt and resistance throughout the ages, updated to include resistance to war and economic oppression from Beijing and Cairo to Moscow and New York City.
To celebrate the release of the new edition - 50% off at the moment as part of our end-of-year sale - we've present a selection of key moments of dissent from the book.
Dalia Gebrial responds to a history of women's movements to ask how a transnational feminist politics of solidarity can change and embolden our vision of the world.
The question of transnational solidarity has progressively faded away from the realm of feminist conversation. The idea of intersectionality – a powerful descriptor of how seemingly circumscribed systems of oppression operate through and alongside one other – has been reduced to representative diversity politics: a coalition of limited but energy-consuming practices of privilege-checking and callouts; a seemingly immovable emphasis on bodies and checklists as the prime marker of Good Praxis. Solidarity has been supplanted in favour of ‘allyship’ and ‘standing aside’. Creating spaces of self-determination has been neutralised into creating spaces of safety. Only the personal can be political.
Rani of Jhansi Women's Regiment of the Indian National Army, training, early–mid 1940s. via End of Empire.
Originally published in 1978, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman caused a storm of controversy. Michele Wallace blasted the masculine biases of the black politics that emerged from the sixties. Here, she describes how women remained marginalized by the patriarchal culture of Black Power, demonstrating the ways in which a genuine female subjectivity was blocked by the traditional myths of black womanhood.
The Black Power Movement did yield certain gains—jobs, grants, scholarships, poverty programs, etc.—but many of these things are in the process of being lost, and weren't worth the price that was paid for them in any case. As long as black people are dealing in jobs and titles and grants, and not factories and land and department stores, anything they have achieved has got to be subject to the whims of the dominant white power structure and beneficial only for a select few. The majority of blacks are left with only the booby prize of an outmoded manhood that mocks their powerlessness.