Orwell on Patriotism

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.

The Chicago Boys now and then

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.

White Guilt, American Shame and Racial Violence: Chester Himes’ Plan B

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.

“I identify as a black woman”

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.

Solidarity Actually: A Post-Referendum Reality Check

  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, […]

A Defense of Museums

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.

The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers: A Politics of Representation

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.

Looking for the coin in the haystack

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.

Blurred Lines in the German Province

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.

Vocabularies of the Economy

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.

Where’s the money?

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.

Emerson and the Poets

On Christmas day in 1832, the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson set sail from America to Great Britain. His goal was to meet some of his literary heroes, including the poets Coleridge and Wordsworth. Emerson’s encounters with the two great English-language poets of the day leaves us with two richly delineated portraits which Chris Townsend recapitulates: Coleridge as frantic and frenetic thinker, Wordsworth as calmly composed poet. But these encounters also cast light on a formative time for Emerson, as he transitioned from a period of turmoil towards his own time as a great writer of verse and an influential thinker, in no small part inspired by the British poets.

Written on the Walls

Using the recent crisis of racialized police violence in the United States as context, Jennifer Chisholm narrates a story of police violence and indigenous resistance in Rio de Janeiro. She tells this story through looking at graffiti also as a personal account of how the experience of reading violence and resistance on the walls of an abandoned building—doubling as the site of a violence eviction— challenged the author to reconsider her position as an unaffected observer.

The Speech

In the ten hour long House of Commons debate last week on the government’s motion to authorise bombing raids in Syria, there was one speech that took the House by storm, triggering a standing ovation and a rapturous reception in the press, where there was much talk of the speaker, Hilary Benn, as the next leader of the Labour Party and a Prime Minister in waiting. This essay by Christopher Prendergast takes a more sceptical view of the speech, dissecting it largely from the point of view of its appeal to ‘internationalism’ and more particularly the example of the Spanish Civil War, in which his father fought and very nearly died.