August 16, 2018
In which we discuss the work of the late Domenico Losurdo, especially his brilliant Liberalism: A Counter-History. Part of an ongoing series on the contradictions of liberalism, we debate whether Losurdo is right to point to liberalism's complicity with slavery, racism and colonialism. Why were arguments for self-rule often accompanied by justifications for slavery? Why were some liberal abolitionist arguments in favour of despotism?
We tie these discussions into contemporary paradoxes of liberalism and ask why liberalism is unable to realise its own values.
Liberalism: A Counter-History (book) https://www.versobooks.com/books/960-liberalism
Obituary of Losurdo (Jacobin) https://jacobinmag.com/2018/07/domenico-losurdo-italian-marxism-counter-history
August 9, 2018
In which we lay the liberal establishment down on the shrink's sofa. It's a systematic analysis of liberal derangement: of the inability to accept, explain, or respond to the breakdown of the current order. Why can't the liberal establishment accept that the 2008 crisis would eventually have political consequences? Why can't liberals explain why they keep losing? Why can't they offer anything but more of the same?
- Incredulity and denial of political change
- Unwillingness to take responsibility
- No belief in political causation (things just happen)
- Fetishising disinformation
- Elite persecution complex
- Hysteria & catastrophism
- Nostalgia for a very recent past & rewriting history
- Repetition compulsion