Reads

Good morning.  I know you are all puzzled about why you have been invited here today. All will become clear very soon.

But first of all I must tell you that what you learn today may surprise, shock and even horrify you. I ask only this: listen and try and reserve judgement until you have had a chance to process what you hear. This will not be easy. (More…)

Like many people I know, I spend much of my time on social media avoiding information. There are days when, to invoke the long-running memes, I simply “can’t even”. Maybe it’s bad news about the economy or opioid addiction or climate change; or maybe I just can’t stand to hear about  Trump’s latest outrage. But I also expend a lot of energy avoiding potentially good news. (More…)

Communism is now on everybody’s lips. Some talk of it with the exaggerated enthusiasm of a new convert, others fear and condemn it as a social menace. But I venture to say that neither its admirers — the great majority of them — nor those who denounce it have a very clear idea of what Bolshevik Communism really is. (More…)

BEIRUT – When she wrote her book We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices From Syria, Wendy Pearlman set herself a difficult target: She wanted “readers who might not otherwise think of picking up a book on Syria” to not only come away with a better understanding of the complex conflict but also care about it. (More…)

Our movement, the Northern League (Lega Nord), has always fought against race, national and class. Therefore, we always support the democratic choice of the proletariat – that workers alone should decide their destiny. (More…)

Can colonialism collapse into post-colonialism through ironic self-exposure and self-parody?  It is misleading to think we can ridicule colonialism away, even if William Seabrook’s career as a white voyeur among darker peoples certainly makes an excellent case for that position.  (More…)

Everyone thinks they know what bureaucracy is about; paperwork, pointless rules, red tape, computer says no. Despite this seeming familiarity it nonetheless stubbornly resists conceptualisation.  The critique of bureaucracy – an endeavour once undertaken by all shades of the political spectrum – has fallen by the wayside in recent decades. (More…)

Italy has achieved, under Fascism, as its dearest enemies must concede, an industrial expansion which is a miracle to those who knew her five years ago. But Communist Russia is as far backward as ever. Fascism has restored Italy’s prestige in the markets, the cafes, the chancelleries of Europe and the world. (More…)

Kelly Lytle Hernández’s City of Inmates is both enlightening and troubling.  Aside from famous institutions such as Sing-Sing, prison and jail systems appear as ahistorical institutional structures.  They seem as though they materialized in response to a need to house criminals. Yet all prisons and jails have histories. They are often responses to the criminalization of human categories rather than criminal violence. (More…)

The young people who have been pushed to the margins of Italian capitalism are creating their own theory with their actions. They have realised not only that there is nothing for them within the present structure, but also that they want nothing from it. They want to destroy it in every form, and this involves not only institutions but the people who make them function as such. (More…)

Born in 1906, Hannah Arendt was a German-American theorist and seminal scholar of the rise of totalitarianism in twentieth-century Europe. It is little surprise then that, upon Donald Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States last year, her 1951 essay The Origins of Totalitarianism suddenly sold out on Amazon alongside Orwell’s 1984. (More…)

Mimi Pond’s second graphic memoir, The Customer is Always Wrong (Drawn & Quarterly), tells of her early twenties when she was a struggling waitress and beginning cartoonist in the Oakland of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Like her first memoir, Over Easy, it centres on Pond’s workplace, the Imperial Café (a pseudonym for the real-life Royal Café), which provided her with many of the stories she tells. (More…)