publication (article): revising sangiovanni's reciprocity-based internationalism

I have just had an article published in Ethics & Global Politics entitled 'Revising Sangiovanni's Reciprocity-Based Internationalism: Towards International Egalitarian Obligations.' 

The paper considers aspects of international capital ownership and interstate trade and argues that these practices, under my modified version Andrea Sangiovanni's of 'reciprocity-based internationalism' (which attempts to account for when and how egalitarian obligations might be generated through social, political, and economic relations), themselves generate egalitarian obligations. I also work with Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century in this article. 

The full reference is as-follows:

Heaney, Conor, 'Revising Sangiovanni's reciprocity-based internationalism: towards international egalitarian obligations', Ethics & Global Politics, 9, 2016

You can download the paper here, where there is also a more detailed abstract, if you're interested.


sectarianism and education

Sectarianism is rarely levelled as a term of endearment. It would be difficult (though certainly not impossible) to praise any position for its sectarian virtues. Nonetheless, the centrality of sectarianism to Stormont politics in the North of Ireland / Northern Ireland (whichever you prefer) is such that one’s sectarianism is worn as a badge of honour. Reading, in a different context, Paulo Freire’s Education for Critical Consciousness (discussing the Brazilian political context in the 1950s and 1960s), I stumbled upon and through the following quote:

Unfortunately, the Brazilian people, elite and masses alike, were generally unprepared to evaluate the transition critically; and so, tossed about by the force of the contending contradictions, they began to fall into sectarian positions instead of opting for radical solutions. Sectarianism is predominantly emotional and uncritical. It is arrogant, antidialogical and thus anticommunicative. It is a reactionary stance, whether on the part of a rightist (whom I consider a “born” sectarian) or a leftist. The sectarian creates nothing because he cannot love. Disrespecting the choices of others, he tries to impose his own choice on everyone else. Herein lies the inclination of the sectarian to activism: action without the vigilance of reflection; herein lies his taste for sloganizing, which generally remains at the level of myth and half-truths and attributes absolute value to the purely relative. The radical, in contrast, rejects activism and submits his actions to reflection.
The sectarian, whether rightist or leftist, sets himself up as the proprietor of history, as its sole creator, and the one entitled to set the pace of its movement […] The sectarian wishes the people to be present at the historical process as activists, maneuvered by intoxicating propaganda. They are not supposed to think. Someone else will think for them; and it is as protégés, as children, that the sectarian sees them. Sectarians can never carry out a truly liberating revolution, because they are themselves unfree. (Freire, 2008: 9)

Despite Freire’s over-reliance on ‘rationality’ and ‘thought’, and his demonisation of the affective, this extended quote raises some important questions. Is sectarianism necessarily anti-communicative, rather than the very “stuff” of politics (i.e. conflict)? Could there be a politics without sectarianism? Are self-identified revolutionary sectarians, by definition, self-proclaimed prophets of history? One cannot, at present, imagine a Stormont without sectarianism. Is is it therefore impossible, as Freire argues, for there to be a Stormont with communication?


Freire, Paulo, ‘Society in Transition’, trans. by Myra Bergman Ramos, in Education for Critical Consciousness (London: Continuum, 2008), pp. 3-18

the killer mic bump

Killer Mike, stage name of Michael Render, has long suffused his music with lyrics confronting the Reaganite legacy which has hegemonised the American political landscape since the 1980s (a legacy which is mirrored by the hegemonisation of the British political landscape by Thatcherite legacy, summed up by Peter Mandelson's famous claim that "we are all Thatcherites now"). In the song 'Reagan' from his 2012 album R.A.P. Music (an album which would be the Killer Mike + El-P spark which would ignite Run the Jewels), for example, he takes a firm aim at, in addition to Reagan, the military-industrial apparatuses, American institutional inertia and in-built democratic deficits:

But thanks to Reaganomics, prisons turned to profits
Cause free labor is the cornerstone of US economics
Cause slavery was abolished, unless you are in prison
You think I am bullshitting, then read the 13th Amendment
Involuntary servitude and slavery it prohibits
That's why they giving drug offenders time in double digits
Ronald Reagan was an actor, not at all a factor
Just an employee of the country's real masters
Just like the Bushes, Clinton and Obama
Just another talking head telling lies on teleprompters
If you don't believe the theory, then argue with this logic
Why did Reagan and Obama both go after Qaddafi
We invaded sovereign soil, going after oil
Taking countries is a hobby paid for by the oil lobby

Killer Mike has been a consistent and vocal supporter of Bernie Sander's so-far surprisingly successful Presidential campaign. In a recent rally in Atlanta for the campaign, he gave a hugely energetic and provocative speech: isolating the revolutionary legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr, reparations, the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, the war on drugs, and the right to a free education. It's clear that Killer Mike hasn't reneged on his consistently critical and cynical view of mainstream US politics, but the spark of Bernie Sanders is clearly, at least so far, a disruption to that mainstream. Watch the speech below. 

dismaland's reality

The spectacle of Banksy’s Dismaland in Autumn 2015 was the clearest and, perhaps, boldest attempt so far by the artist to instantiate many of the political-artistic ambitions that his/her art is geared towards: forcing viewers to experience their spontaneous relationship to the social world differently (artistic practices which Jacques Rancière would call a disruption of sensible or a practice of dissensus). Dismaland was interesting not insofar as created a ‘fake’ Disneyland, not insofar as it created a Debordian representation for us to gawk at and 'appreciate', but insofar as it attempted to disrupt the very distinction between fakery and representation. In other words, Dismaland’s provocation was that it was perhaps a Disneyland more real than Disneyland itself. It attempted to ‘unmask’ those energies, repressions, and exploitations constitutive of the very possibility of the imaginative environment Disney constitutes under capitalist relations: repression and exploitation as the condition for decadence.

We will only know what energies Dismaland helped to incite over time, if any. Pussy Riot have given us an initial glimpse with their release of this excruciating video – which feels like all too much (in the positive sense) like Death Grips at points – on the ‘refugee crisis’. (A timely release, given yesterday’s grotesque cartoon published by the Daily Mail, here reported by The Independent.) The song is unconfusingly titled Refugees In. Watch it below.