Berfrois

“If you look at any corner of Kentish Town…”

“If you look at any corner of Kentish Town…”

Selma James is an activist and a prolific writer on anti-racism and women’s rights, founder of the International Wages for Housework campaign, and current coordinator of Global Women’s Strike. The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, co-authored with Mariarosa Dalla Costa, launched the ‘domestic labour’ debate.

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Fireside

Fireside

I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking — with the comparatively few who understand the mechanics of banking but more particularly with the overwhelming majority who use banks for the making of deposits and the drawing of checks.

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Adam Staley Groves: Large Cavity

Adam Staley Groves: Large Cavity

by Adam Staley Groves The Washington Post ran the recent headline “Polls show widening racial gap in presidential contest.” They were not alone, CBS News dug up Emmett Till: “Will white men sink Obama?” Suggesting the emphasis on women “swing voters” has been a miscalculation for the Obama campaign....

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Shifting Winds

Shifting Winds

by Elvin Lim Everything is political at this time of the electoral calendar, so there is no use pretending that Hurricane Sandy will not have an effect on the presidential race. President Obama has been given a new life line. Forced to take politics out of his campaign, he...

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Boca Raton

Boca Raton

by Elvin Lim Mitt Romney barely passed the bar on Monday night’s debate. He was tentative and guarded, not just because he was being strategic, but because he wasn’t, understandably, in command of the facts of foreign policy as a sitting president would be. Barack Obama “won” the debate,...

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Giorgio Fontana: Berlusconism

Giorgio Fontana: Berlusconism

"Sorry for being a bore," is how Silvio Berlusconi commented at the end of his dull speech at his party's congress in Milan, some months ago. A bore: a trick or a sincere acknowledgment? Whatever it is, it's true: Berlusconi doesn't make the news like he used to do.

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Hempstead

Hempstead

by Elvin Lim The second presidential debate tells us about the candidates’ readings of their own campaigns. Both Romney and Obama were fighting for air time, trying to break out of the impasse of “he-said-she-said.” Women were mentioned about 30 times in the debate, because Romney knew that he...

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Danville

Danville

Paul Ryan did a good job at the vice-presidential debate; but Joe Biden did a little better. Biden came off condescending in the initial part of the debate with his laughter, but he mellowed out toward the end. He was aided in part by the fact that Martha Raddatz,...

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What the Debates Mean by Adam Staley Groves

What the Debates Mean by Adam Staley Groves

A close friend asked “does anyone actually pay attention to these debates?” Consoling, indeed. The forming consensus is that President Obama lost the first of three debates to Former Governor Romney. In fact, some polls indicate a wipe-out. Obama looked like he had ring rust, often looked down and...

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¿Super Mario Pres. 2?

¿Super Mario Pres. 2?

Mario Monti by James Walston The Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Monti, has recently hinted that he might stay for a second term at the head of his mostly technocratic and nonpartisan government, on the condition of not having to face the voters in the upcoming election. But for how...

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Denver

Denver

by Elvin Lim President Obama had a bad night. The key to succeeding in a presidential debate is recognizing that it is not a parliamentary debate. The rules, the moderator, and even the immediate audience (since they are not permitted to applaud) do not matter. Instead, candidates should bare their...

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‘Even independent voters don’t want to hire a doomsayer for president’

‘Even independent voters don’t want to hire a doomsayer for president’

A Barack Obama bobblehead is launched into space by Elvin Lim The Obama campaign, by fortune or by wit, has peaked at the right moment. Early voting has already started in Virginia, and starts in Iowa and Ohio next week. This means that the polls telling a uniform story of...

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Kenneth Weisbrode: Tactical Representation

Kenneth Weisbrode: Tactical Representation

A few blocks from Lafayette Park, diagonal to the statue of Jackson triumphant on horseback, is a strange building, tall but thin, just about one office thick, and sandwiched between two standard Washington rectangular, concrete blocks. The windows of the building jut out at right angles, giving the impression...

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Ship Europe

Ship Europe

Film Socialisme, Wild Bunch, 2012 by Srećko Horvat Costa Concordia, the famous cruise ship that hit a rock in the Tyrrhenian Sea in January 2012 might furnish another aptly-named example for symbolizing the harmony and unity between European nations. Recently in Bucharest, I came across an apparently innocent map...

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Conventional

Conventional

by Elvin Lim The Democrats are enjoying a little bump from their convention last week, but it had little to do with Barack Obama, and a lot to do with Bill Clinton. The reason why Clinton’s speech worked was because he was specifically charged to address the substance of...

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Eli Evans: Wisconsin

Eli Evans: Wisconsin

Scott Walker crying during Paul Ryan’s speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention by Eli S. Evans Not long after Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan was announced as the Republican nominee for Vice President, a text message came in from a friend, a native New Yorker recently transplanted to somewhere...

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Curiouser and Curiouser!

Curiouser and Curiouser!

“Alice sitting between Gryphon and Mock turtle”, John Tenniel, 1865. From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, 1865. by Albena Azmanova The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear....

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A politics of purist nationalism is utterly unrealistic…

A politics of purist nationalism is utterly unrealistic…

The accounts, symbols and feelings that we have about national identity were largely imagined, created and popularized in the nineteenth century. The word ‘nationalism’ itself dates from the early nineteenth century and marked the increasing use of national identity in order to make political claims. So to argue that...

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Afraid to Speak Once Again

Afraid to Speak Once Again

I remember growing up in the Soviet Empire and my father always warning me not to talk too much against the authorities on the phone. “They are constantly listening to us and we may be arrested” – he used to tell me and we would cover our phones with...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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Jason S. Polley: Prawns

The suburbs, aka first-world neighborhoods, are present via their conspicuous near visual absence in 2009’s District 9, a film focusing on an increasingly disorderly...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Jesse Miksic on Dark Souls II

Is Dark Souls II the crowning rebirth of Gothic Romance for the digital age? I'm being dramatic, I realize. The spirit of Gothic has...

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Michael Munro
A Quotation and Provocation by Michael Munro

The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty. That is the opening line of the text, its first thesis. It’s...

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Menachem Feuer
Menachem Feuer: Schlemiels

As human beings we have to “court” failure. This term suggests two things: on the one hand, it suggests dating and becoming intimate with...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie with James Franco

Every day after that, I stood outside The Italian Restaurant on Fourteenth Street until it closed. I didn’t even smoke. The guy from The...

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Henry Giardina
Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

There’s an oft-quoted line out of Candide that goes, “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I have never fallen...

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Ashley James
Ashley James: Personhood

It seemed that by the close of January this year, the entire country could recognize the face of Sergeant Cory Remsburg: Near the tail-end...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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