NLR 133/134

Susan WatkinsAn Avoidable War?

In the first of three texts on the war for Ukraine, an examination of the narrative dominating Western media coverage—an unprovoked Russian assault, in which NATO, a defensive alliance of democracies, has played no role?

Volodymyr IshchenkoTowards the Abyss

The Ukrainian political sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko discusses the reasons for Kiev’s determined re-orientation to NATO and the European Union in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan uprising—and the disastrous upshots of Putin’s invasion for his country.

Tony WoodMatrix of War

Fine-grained tripartite analysis of the historical dynamics—Russia’s recovery and nationalist re-assertion, Ukraine’s internal political evolution, NATO expansionism—that produced the broader context in which the Kremlin launched its murderous war.

Loic WacquantResolving the Trouble with ‘Race’

In a landmark essay, Loïc Wacquant proposes a new analytical framework aspiring to encompass the whole spectrum of ethnicity. Under what conditions does ‘ordinary’ ethnicity, as self-attributed social identity, on a plane of symbolic equality with others, become devalorized as an otherattributed categorization, stamped by stigma and inequality?

Evgeny MorozovCritique of Techno-Feudal Reason

Countering current claims that digital capitalism is issuing in a ‘neofeudal’ age, as the rentier barons of Silicon Valley and Wall Street extract non-productive fortunes from their users and debtors, Evgeny Morozov returns to classic debates over the transition to capitalism to question the relation of the economic and the political.

Caitlín DohertyTwo Atlantic Lefts

The legacies of the Sanders and Corbyn waves include new cohorts of democratic-socialist elected representatives. As a provisional synecdoche for the electoral turn, Caitlín Doherty examines the records to date of the Democrat ‘Squad’ on Capitol Hill and their Labour equivalents at Westminster.

Naomi VogtEditing Chills

Theorist of Afro-American cultural politics and multimedia practitioner, Arthur Jafa’s recent videos—high-velocity juxtapositions of found footage seen through a distinctively mellow Afropessimist lens—define a new space for black art. Naomi Vogt explores the less-examined formal properties of a unique body of work.

Anahid NersessianFor Love of Beauty?

Engaging sceptically with Joseph North’s Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History, Anahid Nersessian questions the terms of a leftist literary criticism built on an opposition to idealism, rather than a reckoning with the material crises besetting academia.

Art and War

Hito Steyerl on Julian Stallabrass, Killing for Show. Analysis of the changing role of war photography—witness for the defence, or aide to the prosecution?—from Vietnam to Iraq.

Beyond Arusha

William Harris on Issa G. Shivji et al, Development as Rebellion. Monumental critical biography of Tanzania’s contradictory leader, part-Maoist, part-Fabian, Julius Nyerere.

Russia by Numbers

Joy Neumeyer on Timothy Frye, Weak Strongman. Data-rich anatomization of Putin’s mode of rule and Russian views of it.