The Structure of Syria’s Revolution

Larbi Sadiki’s piece on the professionalisation of the Syrian revolution has many interesting insights into protests’ hierarchy, the most notable being it’s analysis of moblization across sectarian and ethnic divisions, implying a contrast to the chaotic communalism surrounding the forced ouster of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Also informative is it’s discussion of the specific groups that organize the contemporary protests in Syria,  including not just well known bodies like the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army but also the National Coordination Body, the various Local Coordination Committes and even the Muslim Brotherhood, whose organizational rigour and discipline in the face of autocratic repression have given it a sharp competitive edge over the failed secular democratic competition to Arab Nationalist parties such as the Ba’ath or the Free Officers movement in Egypt. Nevertheless, I still have reservations concerning it’s somewhat uncritical appreciation of some of these groups in relation to furthering the revolution’s goals. True this piece may not have been intended to perform an evaluative function but when crediting groups such as the National Council with giving the revolution organization and voice, it risks obscuring debates surrounding members links to the regime, corrupt political practices or even dubious priorities – factors that may be problematic for the revolution’s success.


Thoughtful critique of the prosecution of Bradley Manning’s court martial

“The move to a digital world has made transmitting information easier, while more people have access to more state secrets than ever. Leaks are not just commonplace; they are the raw materialof nearly all groundbreaking reporting on foreign affairs. Wilkinson’s “multitude of leaks” has become even more numerous, while American foreign policy has grown more opaque. Our free press now depends on leaks, and if leaking state secrets to the press constitutes espionage, harmless or not, then we have a bigger problem on our hands than an insubordinate intelligence analyst.”

Jason Read’s review of the new English translation of Macherey

Jason Read has written a wonderful review of the new English translation of Hegel or Spinoza, the famous historical tome by French Marxist philosopher/academic Pierre Macherey. Of particular interest is his comparision of the text with the dominant trends of interpretation in Marxist thought today (between strict Hegelians such as Zizek and Spinozites such as Antonio Negri), noting how both thinkers can be read against each other, while simultaneously providing a common framework for inquiry.