Richard Seymour's Blog

August 26, 2017

God creates Adam and immediately—sooner than we thought—He speaks to him. This first address, according to the midrash, is a seduction:  
“And the Lord God took the human and placed him in the Garden of Eden” (Gen. 2: 15):  
He took him with beautiful words and seduced him to enter the Garden.  
It is seduction that is constitutive of the human entry into language. Moved, captivated by divine messages that escape his full understanding, Adam lives henceforth with these unconscious...
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Published on August 26, 2017 05:28 • 8 views
I.  Identity, in the modern sense, is necrological. It is an obituary notice. It overwrites us, in lapidary fashion, with the deposit of history. Here lies the subject: sex, race, class, nation. A list of attributes.

Given this, it is striking how little effort we put into historicising identity. As Marie Moran points out, prior to the Cold War, the term 'identity' tended to be used very little. Where it was used, it was only in its narrow philosophical sense, of the 'sameness of an entit...
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Published on August 26, 2017 05:27 • 1 view
Operation Sanctuary has uncovered, prosecuted and convicted members of another large child sex grooming ring, this time in Newcastle.

As is always the case when the majority of the perpetrators are not white, this has provoked a 'debate' about race, that vacillates between the hand-wringing and the downright sinister. Sarah Champion MPhas managed both, attacking the Tories from the right on race, and berating the "floppy left" for finding anything problematic in this. In particular, Champion a...
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Published on August 26, 2017 05:26 • 1 view
I.  I'm in Iceland, watching bees feverishly court the foxgloves in the stinging cold. 
They're working as though there weren't a billion tiny specks of rain drifting down on them like smoke. As though it really were summer.And I am abruptly reminded of the need for this frantic labour. If the bees were to disappear as a species, humans will join them. Some say within four years. We will drop like bees, by the billions, famished.We depend, albeit obliviously for most of our existence...
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Published on August 26, 2017 05:25 • 1 view

July 20, 2017


“The eternal silence of infinite space terrifies me.” – Blaise Pascal, Pensees.I.In 2014, Jo Milne heard a human syllable for the first time, and broke down into helpless sobs as though it were the first voice in the world. The noise rang, she explained, with a very high pitch. The sound, rushed through her body. Sounds became irresistible, addictive. The light switch clicking on and off, the throng of water. Hearing was not simply a mental event, but a powerful somatic event. It is...
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Published on July 20, 2017 12:03 • 10 views

July 14, 2017

And we are here as on a darkling plain 
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, 
Where ignorant armies clash by night. -- Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

There is a claim in Christopher Bollas’s essay on ‘The Fascist State of Mind’, that theCommunist Manifesto, dixit Leo Kuper, enacts a “thoroughgoing dehumanisation of the bourgeoisie”. This dehumanisation  purportedly occurs in the lines on the bourgeoisie's tendency to drown everything in the icy water of egoistic calcula...
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Published on July 14, 2017 15:30 • 3 views

July 11, 2017

As a boy, I went to most bonfire nights. 
They usually began at around 11.30pm on 11th July, with crowds of people gathering round a large stack of pallets, tires, old furniture, mattresses, and anything else that would burn. All of it drenched in petrol. At the stroke of midnight, someone would approach the pile, throw on some lit matches, and with a "yooo" from the crowd the giant stack would be rapidly engulfed in flames.The children at these events would have enthusiastically particip...
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Published on July 11, 2017 11:37 • 3 views
"That truly Kafkaesque Castle, the modern state." -- Nicos Poulantzas.

I. In ‘The Castle’, it is never entirely clear what is happening. There are officials who appear to govern. No one knows what they do, exactly. The only thing that gives them any sort of definition, any sort of concreteness, is the snow-bound castle at the centre of the village, from which they govern.This is the outward face of the bureaucracy. In the story, it appears at first as a void. This blank, silent screen enc...
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Published on July 11, 2017 03:53 • 11 views

June 29, 2017

I.  Labour's policy on immigration is as yet unclear. 
Corbyn has said that, though Labour is not 'wedded' to 'free movement', he refuses to set reducing immigration as a goal, or set any targets. The Labour manifesto committed Labour to a "fair" system of managing immigration, without it being clear what that meant. There were some inclusive, humane signals such as a promise to review Britain's diabolical asylum system, and end income thresholds for residency. But what does 'fa...
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Published on June 29, 2017 05:30 • 9 views

June 25, 2017

I.  Why was there only five days between the Grenfell blaze, killing dozens of working class and racially oppressed people, and the Finsbury Park mosque attack? And what connects the two?

Why should it be that after years since 2005, in which there were few successful attacks, the Woolwich killing being the most significant, there were five outrages in sequence over the last year beginning with the killing of Jo Cox MP? Why should the "lone wolf," the entrepreneurial form of fascist and j...
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Published on June 25, 2017 14:40 • 2 views

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