Deconstructing Suella Braverman’s Philosophy of Human Rights

by Irfan Chowdhury, University of Brighton

On 10 August 2022, Suella Braverman QC MP, who was appointed Home Secretary of the United Kingdom on 6 September 2022, gave a keynote speech to conservative thinktank Policy Exchange, titled: ‘Equalities and Rights: Conflict and the Need for Clarity’, in which she set out her conception of human rights. As I will outline, this conception is highly flawed and deeply dangerous because it attempts to provide a philosophical justification for the government’s anti-human rights agenda. Therefore, analysing and deconstructing the premises of Braverman’s arguments is of paramount importance, so that these arguments cannot be successfully relied upon by the government to justify its coming crackdowns on human rights. 

“It doesn’t matter which imperialism [Russian or Western] is stronger or weaker. You can’t pick between these two monsters”: An Interview with Russians Against the War

by James Bell and Luke Beesley, Prolekult Films

Russians Against the War (RAW) is a front of Russian socialist and communist activists, organising resistance to the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. Due to the harsh and authoritarian restrictions the Kremlin have placed on freedom of speech, RAW are forced to conduct their business underground, and to rely on strict anonymity for their own safety. In this interview, members of the front offer an analysis of the economic and social drivers towards war in the Russian Federation itself, the situation of Russian social movements, and the class character of the current conflict. They also point towards what they see as the possibilities for an international anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement capable of breaking the horrors of our current impasse.

Groundless contestation: On (post)-truth and democratic politics

by Catherine Koekoek, Erasmus School of Philosophy, Rotterdam

Deliberative and radical accounts of democracy have always been at loggerheads with one another. Here Catherine Koekoek highlights the US capitol storming as an archetypal post-truth political event. In doing so, she provocatively argues that post-truth politics demonstrates how deliberative and agonistic approaches to democratic theory ‘presuppose and require each other’.

Spectral Inheritance: Decolonial Response-ability to the Plural Past

by Ruben Hordijk, Linköping University

Since the death of George Floyd in May last year and the mass mobilisation of Black Lives Matter uprisings across the globe, decolonisation has become ubiquitous in mainstream politics. Drawing on scholarship that understands the timeline as an imperial technology which colonises the future, here Ruben Hordijk argues that we must resist the closure of the past and entirely re-think time itself, if we are to truly resist the forces of (neo)colonialism and imperialism today.

On the Impossibility of Left Populism

by Mudar Kassis, Birzeit University

In South America, left-wing populism has been a feature of political life for decades. In Europe, populism emerged as a right-wing phenomena; but in recent years the arguments for a Left Populism have garnered greater traction. Writing in Palestine, Mudar Kassis argues that populism inherently deceives those it claims to represent. Instead we must tear off the facade and organise against our true enemy.

The Contemporary Face of White Supremacy: “Ownership of the Earth Forever and Ever, Amen!”

by Jishnu Guha-Majumdar, Queen’s University, Ontario

As protestors stormed the US Capitol in early January, the ensuing spectacle of Jake Angeli – clad in far-right tattoos, American flag face-paint and animal skin – cut a striking image. Here Jishnu Guha-Majumdar takes Angeli’s representation seriously: as the new face of white-supremacy. A force which has always been concerned with dominion of the earth, the designation of proper humans, and an environmentalism destined to exclude.

Conflict, Recognition & Gender Transitions

by Jules Joanne Gleeson

Following our piece last month which argues the UK government has weaponised the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) by failing to act on its public consultation on gender transitioning; here Gleeson reconstructs how the UK got here, analyses the toxic debate we find ourselves immersed within and what needs to be done to productively move forward.

Recognition Against Liberation: On the UK’s Unreformed Gender Recognition Act

By Chris Griffin, University of Brighton

Last month, the UK government finally published its response to the 2018 public consultation on the Gender Recogniton Act. Trans activists and allies, alongside leading charities, have described the response as ‘lacklustre’ and thoroughly insufficient to support those who are transitioning. Here Chris Griffin goes further and argues that the government’s response has the effect of ‘weaponising’ the law against the movement for trans liberation.

The Spectre of Terror: Philippine Democracy and the Threat of the New (Ab)normal

by Jove Jim S. Aguas, Paolo A. Bolaños and Jovito V. Cariño, University of Santo Tomas, Philippines

The Philippine Congress has recently passed a law: the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. Here academics from the University of Santo Tomas’ Department of Philosophy warn of the act’s potential dangers. The current regime now has the capacity, if it so wishes, to implement a permanent state of exception and martial rule without ever naming it as such.