Blogs

Recovering Community (2)

Remembering the Jungle at Jules Ferry
Calais 2017

In its time at Jules Ferry, the Jungle crossed a threshold in the nature of its transgression as a political subject. This transgression was its establishment of community. What the Jungle came to embody in political form was a common project; common, that is, in two senses of the word. As a common space for the intersection of multiple social agencies and as the ground for community as being-in-common.

 

Published at Public Seminar. Read there.

Recovering Community (1)

Remembering the Jungle at Jules Ferry
Calais 2017

We know the scene; there is a gathering, and someone is telling a story. We do not yet know whether these people gathered together form an assembly, if they are a horde or a tribe. But we call them brothers and sisters because they are gathered together and because they are listening to the same story.
– Jean-Luc Nancy

The gathering is that of the undocumented; a mass gathering of ten thousand at the Calais Jungle – the migrant camp at Jules Ferry, itself a long abandoned children’s holiday camp just outside Calais, France. The story common to each of the ten thousand is the struggle for rights in displacement.

 

Published at Public Seminar. Read there.

The Republics of the Jungle

Published in Critical Legal Thinking. Read there.

The Jungle is not just a camp for the undocumented, it is also a social body and above all a political subject. The way it has evolved gives us insights into how the political problems that produced it can be resolved through the relationship between the Jungle and the Republic as subjects.

Darkness Visible

A New Years Eve at the Calais Jungle
with Black Sartre, White Fanon and friends.

Published in Critical Legal Thinking. Read There.

This is a recounting of a New Year’s eve night at the makeshift settlement known as the Calais ‘jungle’ that is the subject of so much media attention of late. A cold wet sludge of a jungle that’s home to some 6000 people, the migrants of Calais. The encounters over the course of the night blown through by wintry gusts offer another insight into why this jungle exists and the significance of its place in the contemporary colonial question.

Jungle the word

Post revised December 2016 following demolition of Jules Ferry

Reading the Jungle through the word that names it. A sort of double reading on one of today's most misunderstood subjects. In its evolution the jungle in Calais is uniquely a 21st century political entity that defies easy categorisation. It fuses improvised modes of existence and production of precarious architectures to parallel new globalised realities of human relations. The Jungle, symbolic and real, is many things but we can use its naming as a guide to lead an understanding of its multiple facets.

Shut it Down #YarlsWood

The migrant detention centre through new formations of resistance and solidarity
Yarl’s Wood 7 November 2015

On a wet windy November day in Bedfordshire, outside the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre, Judith an ex-detainee is on the mobile sound system.

My sisters on the inside
On the 8th August I was on the inside and you were on the outside.
If you can see the third window at the bottom, that was my room — Jud98
I wrote SOS, red lipstick on blue pillow case.

 

Published in Critical Legal Thinking Read there.

Revisiting Laing

Reflections on Laing in the 21st century
A reading group on the dissident psychiatrist at the Claremont Project
Islington London 2015

'Insanity - a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world', a R. D. Laing quote from Rebecca Greenslade who brought together the reading group. 5 meetings in as many months made for an intriguing space for the differing ways of reading all our psychotic symptoms via Laing's writing.

One Piece at a Time

On work, theft and the age of automation
through a reading of Johnny Cash’s classic song 1976

Johnny Cash’s One Piece at a Time is a song about how he makes his own dream Cadillac by smuggling out all the parts from the factory over twenty years. It’s essentially about stealing from work but that’s not how it’s meant to be understood. As the lyrics go,
I’ve never considered myself a thief
But GM wouldn’t miss just one little piece
Especially if I strung it out over several years.

 

Published in Critical Legal Thinking Read there. Also at Digital Culturist #1 (republished).

10000

Published in the Occupied Times of London  OT26 pages 16-17  Read there
Exploring the printing houses of Fort, Mumbai, a theory post for OT.


I am in a small loft space, accessed by a ladder, carved out of a room used as printing press. The headroom is not there to stand up but perfect for sitting on the floor. By Mumbai’s standards, a generous workspace, relatively tranquil. A man on a cardboard rectangle completes the final stage of making company envelopes, folding them perfectly, so perfectly they look as if they are factory-made. The technique is faultless. He folds them, not in hundreds or thousands but in tens of thousands. In fact, the quota for each week is ten thousand, thus the title of this piece.

The Future will be handmade?

Artisans House, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai  February 2015
Re-published with contributed comments in lowimpact.org Read there


The Future will be handmade? In the information age, the question has an absurd ring. But I ask after listening to Ashoke Chatterjee at the Artisans House in Mumbai. As a long time President of the Crafts Council of India, Chatterjee tells us that 'The Future will be handmade'. The question mark for this post may be mine but Chatterjee is talking about reality as it is. Which is exactly what we overlook when thinking about the future usually because the people involved are invisible. 

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