Events surrounding Aimé Césaire's funeral in Martinique (April 2008) brought to the fore a number of unresolved contradictions that have swirled around his literary production, as well as his political legacy, for decades. Did Césaire really mean to speak for a culturally and historically determined group of dispossessed colonials and former colonials, as he often stated from the 1960s onward? Or did he intend to appeal to a biologically determined collective unconscious, as he sometimes stated in less guarded moments? Finally, should Césaire's ambiguous statements about the movement to require reparations from the French state for centuries of enslavement in the Antilles be taken as an endorsement of such demands? None of these questions were resolved in the flood of writing about Césaire's importance and significance in the year of his death.
Long Live Césaire! Recuperations and Reparations
A. James Arnold
In this article I argue that Fanon articulates a more complex relationship between his notion of radical freedom and slavery reparations that allows for the possibility of demanding the latter without sacrificing the former. While at times Fanon seems to posit a simple dilemma according to which one must choose between freedom and reparations, he also describes a vicious cycle in which the taking of material reparations appears to be a precondition for freedom, yet the claim for reparations appears to come at the cost of adoption of a constraining cultural identity. In other words, the process of attaining the material conditions necessary for radical freedom through slavery reparations can have the opposite effect of inhibiting freedom. The question of the possibility of taking reparations without sacrificing freedom becomes a question about the possibility of thinking about enslaved Africans and their descendants as a collective entitled to reparations without positing a constraining cultural identity.
This article deals with the disappearance of Menachem Begin, the leader and the chairman of the Herut movement and the sixth Prime Minister of Israel (1977-1983). He disappeared from the political arena for about half a year: from the defeat of his party in the elections of the Second Knesset (26 July 1951) until the debate in the Knesset about the reparations from West Germany. Four central topics will be discussed: (1) the reasons for his disappearance; (2) his whereabouts and activities during that period; (3) the reason for his return to the political arena and the connection between his return and the debate about the reparations; and (4) the significance of this story for Begin's biography.
Symbols and Lived Experiences in Caribbean Migration to the UK
Huon Wardle and Laura Obermuller
The Windrush scandal belongs to a much longer arc of Caribbean-British transmigration, forced and free. The genesis of the scandal can be found in the post–World War II period, when Caribbean migration was at first strongly encouraged and then increasingly harshly constrained. This reflection traces the effects of these changes as they were experienced in the lives of individuals and families. In the Caribbean this recent scandal is understood as extending the longer history of colonial relations between Britain and the Caribbean and as a further reason to demand reparations for slavery. Experiences of the Windrush generation recall the limbo dance of the middle passage; the dancer moves under a bar that is gradually lowered until a mere slit remains.
Jay Howard Geller
Since 1949, the Federal of Republic of Germany's titular head of state, the Federal President (Bundespräsident), has set the tone for discussion of the Nazi era and remembrance of the Holocaust. This precedent was established by the first Bundespräsident, Theodor Heuss. Through his speeches, writings, and actions after 1949, Heuss consistently worked for German-Jewish reconciliation, including open dialogue with German Jews and reparations to victims of the Holocaust. He was also the German Jewish community's strongest ally within the West German state administration. However, his work on behalf of the Jewish community was more than a matter of moral leadership. Heuss was both predisposed towards the Jewish community and assisted behind-the-scenes in his efforts. Before 1933, Heuss, an academic, journalist, and liberal politician, had strong ties to the German Jewish bourgeoisie. After 1949, he developed a close working relationship with Karl Marx, publisher of the Jewish community's principal newspaper. Marx assisted Heuss in handling the sensitive topic of Holocaust memory; and through Marx, Jewish notables and groups were able to gain unusually easy access to the West German head of state.
This paper argues that the two models of collective responsibility David Miller presents in National Responsibility and Global Justice do not apply to nations. I first consider the 'like-minded group' model, paying attention to three scenarios in which Miller employs it. I argue that the feasibility of the model decreases as we expand outwards from the smallest group to the largest, since it increasingly fails to capture all members of the group adequately, and the locus of any like-mindedness becomes too abstract and vague to have the causal force the model requires. I thereafter focus on the 'cooperative practice' model, examining various ways in which the analogy Miller draws between an employee-led business and a nation breaks down. In concluding I address the concern that my arguments have worrying consequences and suggest that, on the contrary, the rejection of the idea of national responsibility is a positive move.
A Road to Political Legitimacy
This article analyzes Menachem Begin’s attitude toward the Jewish Diaspora based on documented evidence from his international travels. Begin spent a significant amount of time traveling overseas in the 1950s and 1960s. When his leadership was threatened by Revisionists in Israel and challenged by key members of the Herut party, which he had founded, Begin looked for political legitimacy from Revisionists around the world. The staunch support of Diaspora Revisionists was an asset he could not disregard, and he recruited them as partners in decisions that had an impact on life in Israel. The backing of Diaspora Jewry was one of Begin’s sources of power and helped to secure his leadership in the Herut movement and in the State of Israel.
In societies coming to terms with historical injustices, public apology has recently emerged as a potent trend. This is particularly true of France, where the state served as a catalyst for a wave of public apologies for acts of intolerance committed during the Second World War. Following Jacques Chirac's 1995 official apology for Vichy's anti-Semitic policies, various groups in civil society publicly atoned for their particular Vichy roles in discrimination against Jews: the medical profession, the law bar, the Catholic Church, and the police. How does public apology, as distinct from court trials, historical commissions, and reparations, affect contemporary France's reconciliation with its past? This article also analyzes how apologizing for Vichy has created demand for an official French apology for the Algerian War. By 2006, the politics of memory in French society decidedly shifted attention from Vichy to post-colonialism: in both cases, the apology turn imposes new dynamics of remembering and forgetting.
In this article I explore how socially engaged artistic practice draws upon hybridity as a methodological approach advancing social justice. Through the case study of Theaster Gates’s To Speculate Darkly (2010), a project commissioned by the Chipstone Foundation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and shown at the Milwaukee Art Museum, I consider how socially engaged practice mobilizes continually shifting notions of postcolonial hybridity to help museums make meaningful symbolic reparations toward equality and inclusivity. The research is based on interviews I conducted with Gates and with the director and the curator of the Chipstone Foundation. The article will demonstrate that, with hybridity, artists have the potential to subvert hegemonic power structures and to inspire reconciliations between museums and communities. While such reconciliations generally involve complex processes with no clear end point, the evolving concept of hybridity is an effective vehicle to foster pluralistic institutions, cultural organizations characterized by practices built upon shared authority, reciprocity, and mutual trust. Theaster Gates refers to the methodology of hybridity as ‘temple swapping’, an exchange of values between seemingly unlike groups, in his case the black church and the museum, to explore their interconnections and relational sensibilities. Temple swapping, I aim to show, is a valuable metaphor through which to examine socially engaged artistic practice and its implications for museum ethics.
This issue of Theoria marks a decade of democracy in South Africa. Invited to reflect on the process and challenge of building a modern liberal democracy and on progress towards social justice since 1994, the contributors have responded with detailed and in-depth analyses of a range of pertinent issues, from public institutions, national reform strategies, popular perceptions and moral responsibility to philosophical ideals, educational reforms, political participation and unrepudiated injustices. Beyond apartheid, beyond the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and beyond party politics, greater and more inclusive social justice, if not immediately within reach, is certainly attainable: through the equalization and redistribution of access to resources, through reparations for injustices, through respect for rights and recognition of obligations, through compromise, sympathy, socialization and debate, and through making sense of change, both symbolically and practically. Most of all, justice will be served, and democracy advanced, by promoting, widening and multiplying spaces and opportunities for people to conceptualize and act upon social transformation in new and different ways.