A Raging Peace

by Marc Farrant

The music and people David Stubbs gathers under the term ‘Krautrock’ mark precisely this definitive question of post-war German life: how to start afresh? Their musical innovations similarly bear testament to the inextricability of geography, of nations and wars, whilst also proffering a radical interrogation of these tyrannical logics. Krautrock is portrayed as blurring the stable boundaries upon which arbitrary identities are forged: ‘Man–Technik–Natur.’ No Führers. Transformation and renewal. Stasis and kinesis. Combinations best expressed, in music journalist Julian Cope’s phrase, as ‘a raging peace’. Krautrock was a many-headed Hydra, whose gestation exemplifies precisely the contingency of foundations that pervades and energises its most vertiginous moments. [read full essay]

‘Every Rebel is Our Ally’

Chris Bambery, The Second World War: A Marxist History

reviewed by John Newsinger

It seems almost perverse that at a time when the British Establishment is determined to celebrate the mass slaughter of the First World War, Pluto Press should publish a Marxist history of the Second. So widespread is the popular awareness of the murderous futility of the Western Front that the Establishment has had a hard job re-branding the 1914-18 conflict for centenary purposes; by contrast, the Second World War is still seen as a heroic struggle against Nazi tyranny. It was a war in... [read more]

From the Schnoz to the Slump

Peggy Shinner, You Feel So Mortal: Essays on the Body

reviewed by Sarah Seltzer

At my fancy New York City high school, appearance modification was all the rage. Curly masses that looked like lion’s manes were pressed between irons and doused with chemicals, emerging glossy and flat. September ushered in evidence of sudden summer weight loss, the sharpening of features and the flattening of noses. Whispers and rumours reached our ears: girls undergoing liposuction, ‘chin jobs’ and other mysterious procedures that went beyond the more routine nose jobs and breast... [read more]


Rob Doyle, Here Are The Young Men

reviewed by Maya Osborne

Here Are The Young Men is a spew of teenage crisis that Rob Doyle gloriously shapes into a high/comedown sprawl, sweet and agonising in equal measure. Doyle introduces us to Matthew and his mates Cocker, Rez, Jen and Kearney, who, having just finished their Leaving Cert, lurch into the summer of 2003 Celtic Tiger Dublin, riding a violent post-punk wave of excessive drug consumption and crippling youthful cynicism. “Like, it's great music, but I wish we could hear real music now, instead... [read more]

Freedom to Hate

Heather McRobie, Literary Freedom: A Cultural Right to Literature

reviewed by Katie Da Cunha Lewin

As a resident of Brighton for two years, I had the misfortune to witness the infamous March for England, an ostensibly celebratory event for St. George’s Day organised by the English Defence League (EDL), which was in actuality an excuse for loud racism, left-baiting and violence. As a staunch despiser of the group I, along with most of Brighton, attended the counter-demonstration and witnessed the small collection of (mostly) bald men make their way through the main streets, shouting and... [read more]

Visual Politics

Antigoni Memou, Photography and Social Movements: From the Globalisation of the Movement (1968) to the Movement Against Globalisation (2001)

reviewed by Tom Snow

Antigoni Memou’s Photography and Social Movements is published at a crucial moment for thinking the relationship between image production and protest activity. The book focuses on three main events: the general strikes in Paris during May 1968; the Zapatistas uprisings and subsequent declaration of independence in Chiapas Mexico since 1994; and the protests in response the 27th G8 summit in Genoa Italy in 2001. As Memou recalls, Genoa 2001 prefaced a long decade of diverse political uprisings... [read more]

‘In hell everything is hellish'

Werner Bonefeld, Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy: On Subversion and Negative Reason

reviewed by John P. Merrick

Since the financial crisis of 2008 there has been a reinvigoration of discussions around the importance of Marx and Marxism for any understanding of the workings of capitalism. This reassessment has occurred across the social sciences, but perhaps most importantly within the field of economics, where there is a move by many to see this once-maligned figure return to the canon. However, central to Werner Bonefeld's new book, Critical Theory and the Critique of Political Economy, is the seemingly... [read more]

Siding With The Machines

Robin Mackay & Armen Avanessian (eds.), #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader

reviewed by Alex Andrews

Pre-hashtagged and pre-branded, Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek’s ‘#Accelerate: Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics’ (MAP) dropped onto an unsuspecting internet last year, occasioning commentary, angry denunciations, satire and some acclaim. The central gambit was that in contrast to ‘a folk politics of localism, direct action, and relentless horizontalism’ – the obvious immediate target being 2008’s Occupy protests in the United Kingdom – the political left must embrace... [read more]

The Pure Appearance of the Young Girl

Giorgio Agamben, trans. Leland de la Durantaye, The Unspeakable Girl: The Myth and Mystery of Kore

reviewed by Lara Mancinelli

In 1999, Tiqqun, a French collective of philosophers and activists, published Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, a disjointed text whose grating, repetitious ‘trash theory’ attempts to reveal the consumerist body. This is the body of ‘the Young-Girl’. An ageless, genderless subject, the capitalist system, Empire, constructs her as a ‘model citizen’. Moving within the ‘oblivion of Being’, the Young-Girl is the ‘void’ that ‘THEY maintain in order to hide... [read more]

‘All issues are political issues’

Sarah Lowndes, All Art is Political: Writings on Performative Art

reviewed by Chris Law

‘It’s been more difficult than pleasurable, actually, being so retrospective […] A complete retrospective would include everything from the beginning to the end. As I’m not dead, that can’t happen to me, and my Tate exhibition is really just a large survey of some selected works.’ Susan Hiller’s comments about her survey exhibition at Tate Britain in 2011 come at the very end of an interview conducted in the same year by Sarah Lowndes, which constitutes the fourth of five chapters... [read more]

The Hand, and the Virtual

Matt Ratto and Megan Boler (eds.), DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media

reviewed by Danielle Child

DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media is a collection of 28 short essays that address the multi-faceted ideas of making, design, the digital, media, citizenship and participation (both on and offline), through a critical lens. The volume was conceived after the editors convened a conference of the same name held in Toronto in November 2010. In order to help the reader navigate a diverse range of approaches and topics, the book is divided into four sections: DIY and Activism: New... [read more]