Indefensible

I had a wonderful time at Andrew Feinstein‘s Wall Exchange lecture last night – and at dinner afterwards – and Andrew alerted me to an excellent companion to many of the arguments he developed in Shadow World:

Although there is often opposition to individual wars, many people continue to believe that the arms industry is necessary in some form: to safeguard our security, provide jobs, or stimulate the economy. For these reasons, not only conservatives, but many progressives and liberals, are able to rationalize supporting it. But is the arms industry truly as essential as we’ve been led to believe?   Indefensibleputs forward a devastating challenge to this conventional wisdom, debunking many myths about the industry that has somehow managed to normalize the existence of the most savage weapons of mass destruction ever known.

Editor Paul Holden, who himself has written extensively about arms deals, has compiled the essential handbook for those who want to counter the arguments put forth by the industry and its supporters. Deploying statistics, case studies, and irrefutable evidence to demonstrate how the arguments in favor of the arms trade are fundamentally flawed, both factually and logically, the contributors to this volume clearly show that far from protecting us, the arms trade undermines our security by fanning the flames of war, terrorism, and global instability.

Bringing together a range of distinguished experts and activists, including Andrew Feinstein, author of After the Party and The Shadow World, Indefensible not only reveals the complex dangers associated with the arms trade but offers positive ways in which we can combat the arms trade’s malignant influence, reclaim our democracies, and reshape our economies in the interests of peace and human well-being.

Here is the Contents list:

  • Indefensible: Setting the Scene
  • Introduction
  • Section 1: There Is No Problem
    • Myth 1: Higher Defense Spending Equals Increased Security
    • Myth 2: Military Spending Is Driven by Security Concerns
    • Myth 3: We Can Control Where Weapons End Up and How They Are Used
    • Myth 4: The Defense Industry Is a Key Contributor to National Economies
    • Myth 5: Corruption in the Arms Trade Is Only a Problem in Developing Countries
    • Myth 6: National Security Requires Blanket Secrecy
  • Section 2: The Arms Trade Can’t Be Beaten
    • Myth 7: Now Is Not the Time
  • Conclusion: Change Is Possible

It’s available in paper and digital forms from Zed Books (see here) and the University of Chicago Press (see here) but it’s also available online where you can read the whole thing for free here.

Violence, space and the political

News of a wonderful conference at the National University of Ireland, Galway on 7-9 June 2018 featuring Mustafa Dikeç (for his new book, see here):

In this, multi-disciplinary, conference we wish to think through the imbrications of violence, space, and the political. Given that our present conjuncture is one constituted by innumerable sites of apartheid, exclusion, oppression, and indeed, resistance(s), such an interrogation is both crucial and potentially productive in re-thinking questions of power and radical politics. In this zeitgeist the contingency of hitherto relatively stable configurations of power have been rendered visible through the failing allure of liberal democratic politics and the dislocation conjured by, among other things, its attendant ‘spectral dance of capital’ (Žižek, 2008). A void has been rift from which a plurality of discourses have proliferated that seek to address this moment of crises by either caging/bounding or expanding the social. That is, at stake in many contemporary political projects currently gaining traction is the redrawing of frontiers, the very bounds of inclusion and exclusion – from international borders and multilevel governance, to the remaking of frontiers within existing polities. Violence/antagonism, in various iterations, is central to the (re)inscription of these frontiers (Laclau and Mouffe, 1985). Not only evident in ostensibly bellicose projects that seek to uphold, contest, or expand regimes of power through violent struggle, violence is imbricated in an other, perhaps more foundational or ‘originary’ sense (Arendt, 1963; Derrida, 1990). The redrawing of boundaries reconfigures differential relationships of power and propriety, which designate who has the right to speak sovereignly in a given space, who is a worthy and noble victim, and who is not, who is differentially exposed to systemic, symbolic and subjective forms of violence, whose life is ‘grievable’ and whose is not (Butler, 2009). By keeping the question of the spatial in view, both its making and breaking, we keep a focus not only the concrete practices of disruption, the democratic potentialities of space (Dikeç, 2015), new forms of liberation, domination, and property, but also the various spatio-political imaginaries that guide them.

The Power, Conflict and Ideologies Research Cluster at National University of Ireland, Galway invite potential participants from across the disciplinary spectrum to submit papers of 20 minutes duration. This conference may be of interest to those scholars working within, among others, the disciplines of: Social Theory, Political Theory, Feminist and Queer Theory, Philosophy, Sociology, Political Geography, Political Violence, War Studies, Anthropology, and Cultural Studies.

Please submit abstracts (approx. 250 words) to violenceandspace@gmail.com  by 9 February 2018. The abstract should be submitted as a word/pdf attachment, and contain the authors name, institutional affiliation, and a summary of the proposed paper.

For more info and registration details and fees see:  violencespaceandthepolitical.com

Potential themes that speakers may seek to address:

  • Spaces of Democracy, Emancipation(s), and Resistance

  • Political Violence and Space

  • Vulnerability\Resistance and Spaces of the Political

  • Rethinking Territoriality

  • (De)Coloniality,  Violence, and the Political

  • The Spatial Reproduction of the Collective Subject

  • Lost and New Spatio-Political Imaginaries

  • Precarity and the State

  • Rethinking Sovereignty

  • Histories/Genealogies of Spatial Violence

  • Race, Space and, the Political

  • Communities in Revolt

  • Security and Space

  • Border Politics

  • Property, Violence, and Propriety

  • Technologies, Space, and Power

  • Geographies of Rage

  • Spaces of Populism

  • Queering Space

  • Old and New Colonialisms

  • Rebel Spaces