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Fall 2023

Reclaiming Freedom

“A curious thing has happened within American culture,” Aziz Rana writes. “The language of freedom has been claimed almost entirely by the political right.” Can it be reclaimed?

Reclaiming Freedom

Freedom has a dual legacy. On the one hand, it evokes struggles associated with the left, from abolition and anticolonialism to women’s and queer liberation. On the other hand, it has long been a watchword of the right, from neoliberals to white nationalists. This issue reclaims freedom as a fundamental political value, essential to any vision of a just world.

Aziz Rana leads a forum on the path to a different politics of freedom. In the United States, he argues, reactionary meanings of freedom at home have been emboldened by U.S. imperial power abroad. But their hold isn’t absolute: we can break it by building new forms of collective agency and self-rule. Featuring eleven respondents—including Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Jefferson Cowie, political theorists Adom Getachew, Lea Ypi, and Nancy Hirschmann, and philosophers Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò and Philippe Van Parijs—the forum clarifies what freedom means and how to win it for all.

Plus essays on fifty years of liberation theology, the legacy of Cold War liberalism, what the history of anticolonial violence means for Israel/Palestine, and repression of the Stop Cop City movement; reviews of M. E. O’Brien’s Family Abolition and Helen Hester and Nick Srnicek’s After Work; an interview on Black existentialism; and poetry.


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