At the end of 2016, Zadie Smith’s Swing Time feels both apposite and timely, as a story about “the failure of liberal thought”. Rebecca Liu details the ways in which the novel deals a blow against the myth that individuals from any background can, with the right attitude and enough effort, achieve their dreams — and the notion that wealth is an indicator of success.
During the Great Depression 85 years ago, when masses of American voters had ‘lost all confidence that politics can accomplish anything significant’, American philosopher John Dewey wrote of the urgent need to move beyond the business-dominated two-party system. The Democratic and Republican national committees were at the time colluding to restrict both extra-party competition and intra-party dissent in ways that strikingly resemble today’s two-party cartel. Dewey’s argument is both as obvious today as it was then, and as woefully unfulfilled.
The leader of the U.S. Libertarian Party, Gary Johnson, has had an election campaign marred by blunders and blusters. But Johnson is seen by many as the only viable alternative to the Clinton-Trump race for the Whitehouse, polling as high as 6%. As a rebranded Libertarian Party attempts to court both disenfranchised Democrats and rebellious Republicans alike, Jack Marley-Payne examines the truths and the fictions behind their policies and promises.
During the Conservative Party Conference last week, the prime minister gave a speech critical of those in the political class who turn up their noses at the public’s patriotism, national pride, and pro-British sentiment. Our editor Chris Townsend thinks through May’s comments with George Orwell on his side.
When questioned about his apparent involvement with the Pinochet’s militant regime by Newsweek in 1976, Milton Friedman observed that “I do not consider it as evil for an economist to render technical economic advice to the Chilean Government, any more than I would regard it as evil for a physician to give technical medical advice to the Chilean Government to help end a medical plague”.
This article traces the roots of the now-ubiquitous conception of economics as a neutral technical order by examining how contemporary voices bracketed ‘the economic’ from ‘the political’ in the case of the Chicago Boys. Rebecca Liu argues that those from the financial and economic sector have insulated their discipline from critique by performing a series of rhetorical manoeuvers that shut off a priori the efficacy of these criticisms through using a language of ‘expertise’. The result, however, is the coagulation of ideological positions into ‘scientific, self-evident truths’ that challenge our very ability to make sense of, and fight for, our standing in the world.
Black American writer Chester Himes turned his back on America for good in the 1950s after a brief stint in prison and a less-than-stellar writing career (at least as far as white publishers were concerned) in the U.S. His late fiction, notablyBlind Man with a Pistol and the posthumously published Plan B give vent to his rage against America at the same time that the novels dissect the origins of not only Himes’ rage but perhaps also the rage fueling today’s white on black violence in America. Alice Mikal Craven looks at how Himes’ works potentially illuminate issues of white on black violence in American today.
In June, 2015 Rachel Dolezal, president of her local NAACP chapter and professor of Africana studies, was exposed as a white woman passing as black during a televised interview. This interview went viral, and subsequently initiated a national debate about racial performance and construction in the United States. In this article, Tanisha Spratt emphasizes the relevance of this event in relation to contemporary notions of passing, and argues that racial passing today often continues to exhibit the same traits and conventions as it did in the early twentieth century.
When agreeing to write something about solidarity and the referendum a day before the whole thing actually took place, I envisioned a more or less fluffy piece proclaiming that all our little acts of EU love had not been for nothing: after all the British had voted Remain. I had this sentence in my head about how I’d want to hug the whole world after reading the good news, […]
In a critical response to King’s Review editor Claire Aichholzer’s article Leave room for alternatives in art, Wisconsin-based exhibitions coordinator and curator James Pearson defends the reputation of art museums. Pearson argues that while fine art is tied to wealth, museums have guarded their status as institutions by and for the public. In response to Aichholzer’s call for alternative art spaces, he concludes that museums are an ordered, necessary archive that in fact make art digestible to a larger audience.
Playing with location and dislocation, British artist filmmaker Ben Rivers’ feature film and installation, The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015) take a large-scale film set as a backdrop, and the BBC’s former prop-making studios as a stage. Rivers uses Ouarzazate, a small town on the border between Morocco’s Atlas Mountains and the desert, as his film location, offering a multifaceted critique of the many films made there in the past, and being made there today. His ethnographically inflected practice blurs facts with fiction, often focusing on socially marginalized characters and locations. Borrowing Trinh T. Minh-ha’s ideas of intercultural cinema, Becca Voelcker discusses in this article The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers’ use of bodily metaphors (eyes, voice and hands) to explore identity and displacement.
KR talks to Fiona Millar, journalist and campaigner, focused on social justice in education. Millar addresses a variety of topical issues in education, from school admissions to teacher recruitment to the current Conservative government’s “academisation” agenda.
Australian Craig Steven Wright came out as the inventor of Bitcoin on May 2 but there are various reasons to doubt his claim. Johannes Lenhard gives a comprehensive overview of the accusations and speculates about potential reasons for the revelation. The best bet: business interests.
In the German town of Hoevelhof, refugees find themselves in the same conditions that Russo-German repatriates were once in; they are impoverished, isolated and frustrated. Katharina Tart argues that instead of sympathizing with the new arrivals, many repatriates lash out against current refugees and government policies, looking for acknowledgment and gains of distinction.
On April 24, 2013, the founding editors of the new left journal Soundings launched The Kilburn Manifesto, a challenge to ‘neoliberal victory’ in London. A response to the Global Financial Crisis, the manifesto was a call to action – a call for the left to disrupt the ubiquity of the status quo and to invent an alternative. In the wake the recent passing of Doreen Massey, one of the founding editors, we re-publish one of the classic articles that came as part of this movement – Massey’s meditation on the way in which the cant of neoliberalism has cemented the economic paradigm.
Money has always included hidden traces of its own exchange and circulation, but with the shift to electronic payments, these traces are coming to the fore, influencing new business models and forms of governance. What are the material cultures of these transactional histories and how do they shape and reshape exchange? And what tactics remain to users to safeguard, obscure or reappropriate these traces, asks Rachel O’Dwyer.