Category Archives: Current events

An Empty Gesture of Resistance

An op-ed published in The New York Times by an anonymous official in the Trump Administration makes the extraordinary claim that a resistance group has formed inside the White House. Its author dons the mantle of resistance and draws moral legitimacy from it. Heroic gestures, such as written protests or public demonstrations, seek to change […]

Assembling a New Left

What social forces exist under neoliberal capitalism that might form the basis for a new left? How should that new left organize itself politically – as a socialist party, one big union, a spontaneous assembly, or all of the above? See my essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books on Michael Hardt and Antonio […]

Reclaiming Antifascism

Antifascism needs restoration. Layers of additional meanings and intentions have accumulated since its inception in the 1920s and ’30s, obscuring its original character. The first layer formed already during World War II, when the phrase “premature antifascists” entered the American lexicon as a label for those on the left who had actively opposed fascist regimes […]

Going Underground

Lately, the idea of resistance has a renewed urgency and appeal. But we won’t be able to fight a fresh wave of authoritarianism without appreciating the symbols that animated the antifascist imagination of the past – in particular, the underground. That symbol has very deep roots in European and US culture, but over the course […]

The Partisan’s Lament

From eastern Ukraine to an Oregon wildlife refuge, right-wing militias have lately expropriated the memory of antifascist resistance and partisan struggle. But we would do well to remember the progressive and emancipatory potential of that history. Below I’ve translated a famous song of the French Resistance, “La Complainte du partisan” (1943). Here’s a beautiful version by the […]

A Poem for Dark Times

We surely live in dark times. This afternoon I remembered a poem that Bertolt Brecht wrote in the late 1930s. It was called “An die Nachgeborenen,” and it aimed not to console, but to provoke. Below is my loose translation from the German. (Here’s a recording of Brecht reading the original.) To Future Generations – I […]

Resistance to Digital Humanities, Rightly Understood

A debate over the politics of digital humanities has broken out in the pages of the Los Angeles Review of Books. The first salvo came on May 1 from Daniel Allington, Sarah Brouillette, and David Golumbia in their co-written article “Neoliberal Tools (and Archives).” The authors charged the emergent field of digital humanities scholarship with […]