McKenzie Wark's history of the Situationist International, The Beach Beneath the Street, gets more coverage. In an inspiring interview with David Winters for 3:AM, the author explains how his writing style aims "to give a sense of the immediacy of ideas to everyday life, and of the role that different forms of social interaction play in producing this self-critical everyday life." In fact, the Situationist idea of détournement is not just discussed, but also performed, in the book:
The Beach Beneath the Street applies the concept of détournement to the legacy of the Situationist International itself. For critical theory not to lapse into hypocritical theory, but to give rise to a critical practice, then it has to broach questions of how knowledge is practiced. There's probably a pdf of the book circulating out there by now. That too is détournement. That too is part of the practice of memory.
Sujatha Fernandes, author of Close to the Edge: In Search of the Global Hip Hop Generation writes for the Huffington Post:
On September 11, 2001, I was living in Havana, carrying out research on the movement of Cuban rap when the planes hit the towers. The grandmother in the house where I stayed flicked between the two channels available on state TV. The images of planes crashing into buildings were unreal.
Taking its title from the 1977 Clash song, this collection ponders the whiteness of punk. Sure, there are black, Latino, and Asian punks, both musicians and fans. But just as Eminem and millions of suburban teenagers don't erase hip-hop's black urban roots, punk has always contained (though seldom grappled with) its own paleness. Editors Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay, academics who bring deep familiarity to the topic, gather pieces by a fittingly motley assortment of punk musicians, journalists, zine writers, and cultural studies types to hash out the important questions.
If you, too, want to talk about punk, race, and all the strong, conflicting feelings you get when listening to Black Flag, join the editors of White Riot for a discussion and film screening this September 18 at Union Docs.
Visit the Boston Sunday Globe to read the review in full.
According to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen issued at the onset of the French Revolution, men were said to be "born and remain free and equal in rights" — as long as they were white, male, and possibly upper-class. The "unfolding dialectic of freedom and un-freedom" that has been inherent from the very beginning in liberalism, is one of the main foci of Losurdo's Liberalism: A Counter-History, Tom Whittaker points out in a review for Counterfire.
In his piece, Whittaker stresses the coexistence of groups of free and excluded individuals that has been characteristic of liberal societies: Losurdo's account shows how the "boundaries" between them historically "ran as much along class as along racial or national lines." It is true that, in the West, political and social rights were progressively extended to the working-class —"but only after further and more intense social struggles on behalf of the excluded." Globally, however, colonial oppression and imperialism were the dark side of the liberal myth:
Ultimately, Losurdo deems the most important reason for rejecting this myth to be the tangle of emancipation and dis-emancipation, meaning that the extension of the suffrage in Europe, was accompanied with simultaneous colonial expansion and the subjugation of peoples and races deemed inferior. Above all, liberalism sacrificed democracy on the altar of colonialism, slavery and empire.
With the new academic year approaching, Verso's anthology on the 2010 student movement, Springtime, gains further attention in the British press. In the Tribune, Ian Sinclair reviews the book, describing it as "an exciting mixture of eyewitness accounts, sharp analysis and pages of tweets and photo essays."
Sinclair points out that Springtime revolves around "two clever narrative devices" that make the book stand out. On the one hand, it pairs twenty-first century student protest with the events and the protagonists of the era of youth radicalism par excellence—1968. On the other, by juxtaposing different national cases, Springtime sheds light on the political core of the student mobilization:
Comparing and contrasting student rebellions in California, France, Italy, Greece and North Africa, some common points of experience emerge. The widespread police brutality strongly suggests the police are not a neutral force in service to all of society but are there to protect the interests of the government and the establishment. It is clear the central threat to higher education across the industrialised world is neo-liberal politics.