Faculty Writing: Mainstreaming Revolution, America’s Gun Fixation, and “Weltlandschaft”

In Open Democracy, Nara Roberta Silva proves that the momentum gained in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd was not only the “last straw” product of blatant racism, but also the success of a pre-existing network infrastructure of mutual aid. Noting the relevancy of the mainstreaming of the demand to defund police, Roberta Silva writes, “What makes the recent protests unique is not merely their size, the number of participants, or the spread of supporters. What is novel is the emergence of a particular strategic path provided by calls to defund the police — a vision of the future that places organisers in a better position to plan their work, make decisions, and assess potential alliances. While the Movement for Black Lives has had a comprehensive policy agenda since 2016, the restructuring of the conversation around defunding finetunes the argument on racism’s structural, institutional dimension, solidifying a position that goes beyond the “bad apples” explanation.”

For Mother Jones, Suzanne Schneider walks us through the contemporary alliance between the gun industry and the federal government through the strategic positioning of gun owners as auxiliaries to police and counterterrorism teams. Positioning white supremacy as the necessary background for this merger, Schneider writes, “This reunion has revealed something essential about the American gun experience: The oft-mentioned tyranny being opposed by gun owners is really just the sense that the wrong people, the people against whom American whiteness defines itself, are encroaching on the privileges and prerogatives of whiteness; from the start such “tyranny” was associated with the protection and advancement of the rights of Black Americans.”

For Free Verse, Rebecca Ariel Porte shows us the illusory and parafictive world of Weltlandschaft, a 16th-century Flemish genre of “world landscape painting”. Emphasizing that these are portraits of a historical condition—as well as a snapshot of the psychic state of affairs at the time—Ariel Porte writes, “Distance marks an arrangement. It does not yield. Things just stand there, knowing each other well. The composition of the image holds its landscapes in frame but they—and it—cannot be held, in all their significance, synchronously. And so, the wide, wide river under its long eyebrow of horizon—the figure of that problem of distance, which the little soul will have to confront eternally—looking back over the river, through the river, as if it were telescope, microscope, kaleidoscope, looking at what cannot be had. The soul remembers the goodness of having and how it works by contrast. The next-to-everything is the truly unbearable. So the soul selects the nothing for the sake of the next-to-nothing—a worldly logic, earthly, though it always was. And so Weltlandschaft, all the landscapes of the world, because the soul does not turn its head.”

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