An appeal by Pierre Alferi (writer), Jérome Baschet (historian), Daniel Colson (sociologist), Daniel Denevert (artisan), Stéphanie Eligert (writer), Jacques Fradin (philosopher), Eric Hazan (publisher), Nicolas Klotz (filmmaker), Frédéric Lordon (economist), Pierre Marcelle (journalist), Karine Parrot (jurist), Elisabeth Perceval (screenwriter), Serge Quadruppani (writer).
The media tell us that the Labour Bill  is under threat from a movement among the youth. They speculate on what state this movement is in: is it on the rise, or is it already starting to peter out? They are getting stuck in impassioned arguments over how to interpret the police’s figures. But that isn’t how we see things. We are not students or high-school kids any more — that’s long in the past, and some of us have already reached a venerable old age. We think that while the Labour Bill was certainly the trigger for what is now simmering in France, fundamentally the bill only accounts for a small part of this. And insisting that this is a ‘youth’ movement is part of a strategy for suffocating it – to be concluded, at the key moment, with the holidays and the usual retreats by the unions.
Earlier this month, Jules Boykoff, author of the forthcoming Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics, spoke at an SXSW panel on The Rio 2016 Olympics and the Mega-Event Machine. We present his remarks below.
I come to you from two very different backgrounds: the first is as an athlete who played at a fairly high level and really loves sports and wants it to do everything it can possibly do. I also come to you as somebody who spent August to December in Rio de Janeiro, observing how the Olympic City is changing on the ground.
I went with a real interest in talking to actual people, not just the people running the show, but people who were living favelas and being displaced by the Olympics.
The Olympic Games are in a period of immense flux. Many of the big promises about upticks in jobs and development are being cast into major doubt. These are a set of rainbows-and-unicorns assurances that have been bought with a bucket of Bitcoin. This is a real shift in the way we’ve been talking about mega-events, in the media and in the public sphere.
This essay by Barry Schwabsky, author of The Perpetual Guest, first appeared in the 2015 exhibition catalogue Arnaldo Roche Rabell. En azul: señales después del tacto, published by Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno.
Give him wheels and he will run (2013), Oil on canvas. (Full Size)
Courtesy of Walter Otero Contemporary Art.
I don’t mind telling you that something Roche wrote to me gave me shivers: “I never want to be free or claim liberation.”[i] What, I wondered, could be mean? As for me, I can’t help repeating, maybe once too often, the famous story about Philip Guston’s opening at the Marlborough Gallery in New York in 1970, for his first exhibition after his return from abstract painting to making images: many of his old friends could not accept the change; seeing his new work for the first time, they stood there in embarrassed silence. Only Willem de Kooning went up to the artist and said, “It’s all about freedom.”[ii] Freedom in this sense means: following the inner directive, not taking orders from the temper of the times, and above all being able to question the commitments you think you’ve already made, but only in the interest of keeping faith with the deeper commitment that motivated the apparent ones. Guston’s friends felt he had betrayed their shared faith, the new abstract art they had made so many sacrifices to attain. He had to think that his love obliged him to this betrayal.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels Antonis Vradis warns that such actions are being used to facilitate the securitisation and growing authoritarianism of the EU 'supra-state'.