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The Monster in the Forest
The next Guantánamo, cannibal capitalism, haunting in Atlanta, and more
May 4, 2023
This week’s issue of Public Seminar is haunted by self-perpetuating nightmares: violence in Welaunee Forest, capitalism’s appetite for crisis, peacekeeping troops bearing cholera, public health that treats people as numbers, and a new Guantánamo, cage to our worst fears.
Contributors Nancy Fraser, Juliana Jones-Beaton, Guilberly Louissaint, Joseph Margulies, Chandrika Parmar, Claire Potter, and Shiv Visvanathan guide us toward the pressing question: How do we wake up?
Stop Cop City
“In our neoliberal age, it’s not hard to imagine that the United States might contract with private companies to construct and operate San Diego-sized refugee camps throughout Central America that in time would look and function increasingly like prisons, the land acquired in exchange for massive aid packages.” Joseph Margulies warns that another Guantánamo may be in the making—this time in response to the mass global migrations of climate change. (May 2, 2023)
In Atlanta, protests against the building of a police training complex in Welaunee Forest have been met with violence. Juliana Jones-Beaton traces the history of colonial and racist violence witnessed by the forest’s famous pine trees. “Currently, the Muscogee Nation is the third-largest federally recognized tribe. They live far from the Weelaunee Forest, yet their removal and their stories haunt it still. The violence of the forest began here, and the forced removal and genocide has paved the way for all that has come after.” (May 3, 2023)
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Capitalism in Crises
“Capitalism has a built-in tendency not only to economic crisis, but also to environmental crisis. I could tell a parallel story about several other realms. I think there’s a built-in tendency for crisis of care, of social reproduction. There’s a built-in political crisis tendency, and there’s a built-in crisis of colonial racial imperial injustice. And this has to do with the way the economic expansionist drive endangers its own conditions of possibility, conditions which are outside it.” Nancy Fraser joins Claire Potter for a conversation about Fraser’s new book, Cannibal Capitalism. (May 1, 20223)
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Public Health vs. The People
“Haiti’s history around hygiene education is not just centered around cholera, but also includes the history of waste disposal imperialism by the US and interrupted, incomplete infrastructure-building caused by political insecurity.” Guilberly Louissaint unpacks the bitter irony of the World Health Organization’s upcoming “World Hand Hygiene Day.” (May 3, 20223)
“An obsession with numbers, methods, and science blinded us to the importance of the literary and moral imaginations, which provide different metaphors for confronting a crisis.” In an excerpt from the new issue of Social Research, Chandrika Parmar and Shiv Visvanathan assess India’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic. (May 2, 2023)