We don’t need to listen all that closely to hear the voice of right-wing reaction lately. But over the past few days its questions have been particularly and flagrantly silly. “How dare these brown women swear? How dare they dance? How dare they dress in ways that go against our expectations? And how dare they think they can now walk the halls of Congress? Who do these socialists think they are?”
For sure, all aesthetic standpoints are political, and especially in the United States. This is after all a country where the far-right gained a level of influence it hadn’t seen in sixty years through the election of a reality TV star. Read More
In early 1940, just before he attempted to escape to Spain from Vichy France, the Marxist theorist and art critic Walter Benjamin penned his Theses on the Concept of History. In twenty numbered paragraphs, Benjamin sketches his vision of the task of the materialist historian. In contrast to the historicist, whose method consists of merely adding “a mass of facts, in order to fill up a homogeneous and empty time,” the materialist historian employs a “constructive” method (XVII), piecing together the “tradition of the oppressed” (VIII) from the rubble of the catastrophic past into a “constellation” (XVII) that most accurately reflects the fragmented character of modern reality. Read More
There is nothing about that six second video that is not wonderful and beautiful. A diverse crowd of anti-racists – Black Lives Matter of course, but also supporters of Bernie Sanders, immigrant rights and anti-Islamophobia activists – jumping up and down and shouting Kendrick Lamar lyrics in celebration: they just shut down Donald Trump.
Trump supporters and other conservatives – as well as Trump himself – are now whining about “thugs,” and threatening to show up at Sanders’ rallies. Centrists and a great many liberals are wringing their hands about whether Trump’s “free speech” has been violated – as if Trump or his supporters have ever shown such regard for our right to express ourselves. Read More