Refugees, Conservatism, and Cultural Incompatibility

[Transcript below video.] We who try to be decent people are bombarded by some kind of moral political pressure from two sides. First there is the worst one, of course, this anti-immigrant populist side; like, ‘why should we even allow refugees in; it’s their fault; third world travel and so on, there are enough poor people here; they come from another civilization; it means conflict,’ and so on and so on. So there is all[ …]

A Reply to My Critics (re: The Sexual is Political)

Lately I am getting used to attacks that not only render my position in a totally wrong way but also practice slander pure and simple, so that, at this level, any minimally rational debate becomes meaningless. Among many examples, suffice it to mention Hamid Dabashi, who begins his book Can Non-Europeans Think? with: “‘Fuck you, Walter Mignolo!’ With those grandiloquent words and the gesture they must have occasioned and accompanied, the distinguished and renowned European[ …]

Is something rotten in the state of Turkey?

My short comment on the “war on terror” published online by New Statesman has triggered a series of critical reactions which definitely looks like a well-coordinated campaign, so it deserves a short reply. With regard to the statements quoted in my text and falsely attributed to Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkish intelligence, things are simple and clear. After friends informed me about these statements, I searched for them on the web and found a couple of[ …]

For a Leftist Appropriation of the European Legacy

How, for Ranciere, did politics proper begin? With the emergence of demos as an active agent within the Greek polis: of a group which, although without any fixed place in the social edifice (or, at best, occupying a subordinated place), demanded to be included in the public sphere, to be heard on equal footing with the ruling oligarchy or aristocracy, i.e. recognized as a partner in political dialogue and power exercize. As Ranciere emphasizes against[ …]

Rotherham child sex abuse: it is our duty to ask difficult questions

The outline of what happened in Rotherham is now more or less clear: at least 1,400 children were subjected to brutal sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013; children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities, beaten and intimidated. The perpetrators were (almost exclusively) of Pakistani origin, and their victims were often white schoolgirls. Reactions were predictable. The left exhibited the worst of political correctness, mostly via generalisations: perpetrators[ …]

What is an authentic political event?

December 2013 I visited Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy located just behind the Harrods store in London. It was a rather depressing experience, in spite of the kindness of the embassy personnel. The embassy is a six-room apartment with no garden attached, so that Assange cannot even take a daily walk in fresh air. He also cannot step out of the apartment into the house’s main corridor – policemen are waiting for him there.[ …]

Syria is a pseudo-struggle

All that was false in the idea and practice of humanitarian interventions exploded in a condensed form apropos Syria. OK, there is a bad dictator who is (allegedly) using poisonous gas against the population of his own state – but who is opposing his regime? It seems that whatever remained of the democratic-secular resistance is now more or less drowned in the mess of fundamentalist Islamist groups supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, with a[ …]

Trouble in Paradise

In his early writings, Marx described the German situation as one in which the only answer to particular problems was the universal solution: global revolution. This is a succinct expression of the difference between a reformist and a revolutionary period: in a reformist period, global revolution remains a dream which, if it does anything, merely lends weight to attempts to change things locally; in a revolutionary period, it becomes clear that nothing will improve without[ …]

Soul of the party

Why is theology emerging again as a point of reference for radical politics? It is emerging not in order to supply a divine “big other”, guaranteeing the final success of our endeavours, but, on the contrary, as a token of our radical freedom, with no big other to rely on. Fyodor Dostoevsky was aware of how God gives us freedom and responsibility — he is not a benevolent master steering us to safety, but one[ …]

The Palestinian question: the couple symptom/fetish

There are two different modes of ideological mystification which should in no way be confused: the liberal-democratic one and the Fascist one. The first one concerns false universality: the subject advocates freedom/equality, not being aware of implicit qualifications which, in their very form, constrain its scope (privileging certain social strata: rich, male, belonging to a certain race or culture). The second one concerns the false identification of the antagonism and the enemy: class struggle is[ …]