Luciana Castellina reports on a talk on black feminism and contemporary American politics given by radical black activist and scholar Angela Davis at Roma Tre University on the 14th of March. The article was originally published in Italian in il manifesto and is translated by David Broder.
Cornel West's "Race and Social Theory: Towards a Genealogical Materialist Analysis" first appeared in The Year Left Vol. 2: Towards a Rainbow Socialism - Essays on Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender, edited by Mike Davis, Manning Marable, Fred Pfeil, and Michael Sprinker, and published by Verso in 1987.
(Cornel West, 1988, via The SCI-Arc Media Archive)
In this field of inquiry, sociological theory has still to find its way, by a difficult effort of theoretical clarification, through the Scylla of a reductionism which must deny almost everything in order to explain something, and the Charybdis of a pluralism which is so mesmerized by 'everything’ that it cannot explain anything. To those willing to labour on, the vocation remains an open one. - Stuart Hall
We live in the midst of a pervasive and profound crisis of North Atlantic civilization whose symptoms include the threat of nuclear annihilation, extensive class inequality, brutal state repression, subtle bureaucratic surveillance, widespread homophobia, technological abuse of nature and rampant racism and patriarchy. In this essay, I shall focus on a small yet significant aspect of this crisis: the specific forms of Afro-American oppression. It is important to stress that one can more fully understand this part only in light of the whole crisis, and that one’s conception of the whole crisis should be shaped by one's grasp of this part. In other words, the time has passed when the so-called ‘race question’ can be relegated to secondary or tertiary theoretical significance. In fact, to take seriously the multi-leveled oppression of peoples of color is to raise fundamental questions regarding the very conditions for the possibility of the modern West, the diverse forms and styles of European rationality and the character of the prevailing modern secular mythologies of nationalism, professionalism, scientism, consumerism and sexual hedonism that guide everyday practices around the world.
Red Rosa by Kate Evans has been shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing 2016! Presented by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers for the fifth year, the prize celebrates excellence in radical political non-fiction. Previous winners include Hsiao-Hung Pai’s Scattered Sand: The Story of China’s Rural Migrants.
The winner will be announced by guest judges Natalie Bennett and Nina Power at the London Radical Bookfair on Saturday 7th May 2015. Also announced at this ceremony will be the ARB’s children’s prize, The Little Rebel’s Children’s Book Award.
On 8 July 2015 the Belgian political scientist Chantal Mouffe was in Bogotá to give a talk on ‘democracy and passion’ at the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango. Before the meeting, Palabras al Margen  spoke to her about the contemporary meaning of populism and democracy as well as the experience of certain social movements in Europe, in light of the Latin American situation. Translated by David Broder.
Palabras al Margen: What is the relevance of your influential work Hegemony and Socialist Strategy today, thirty years since its publication?
Chantal Mouffe: When we wrote the book it was clear that it was necessary to rethink socialism in a way that would also incorporate the demands of the new social movements – from feminism to ecology and gay struggles. And that is still now a highly relevant question. However, I would not today propound a theoretical project trying to reformulate socialism — for whereas when we wrote Hegemony the idea of socialism was central, that is not the case today. In that moment, we advocated reformulating the socialist project in terms of the radicalisation of democracy. We thought that it wasn’t enough to think a socialist project within the limited terms of working-class demands alone. Today the great difference between a Left project and a right-wing one is rooted in the fact that only the former can uphold any kind of radicalisation of democracy.
On World Poetry Day, we present an extract from Everything to Nothing by Geert Buelens, the award-winning panoramic cultural history of the First World War, also known as 'the literary war'. Laying out a wide-ranging history of modernism's birth in the First World War, the conflict is seen from the point of view of poets and writers from all over Europe, including Rupert Brooke, Anna Akhmatova, Guillaume Apollinaire, Gabriele D’Annunzio, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Rainer Maria Rilke and Siegfried Sassoon.
Buelens examines also how nationalism and internationalism defined both the war itself and its aftermath, and the important role that poets played in defining the stakes, ambitions and disappointments of postwar Europe. The extract below details the events leading up to 11th November 1918.
(Photograph: Wilfred Owen's regiment. Voices Education.org)