Volume 54, Issue 6 November 2022

This intro was written just after Lula winning the Brazilian presidential elections. While his past left politics and redistributive extractivism offer much ground for radical critique, and the prospects for a new left radical project remain constrained by path dependencies and the contemporary political set-up, the defeat of proto-fascist Bolsonaro creates new spaces of hope. In one way or another, Bolsonaro and his pro-extractive capital/pro-military, racist-patriarchal and anti-Indigenous/-environment/-poor/-LGTBQ government articulated and further nurtured a range of problems that several of the current crop of Antipode papers write against (even when they do not focus on Brazil!). The idea to read Brazil into several of our papers is not to flatten geography, nor to put Brazil and several other countries in the same box. Rather, it helps us to underscore that some leftist struggles (and the far-right reactions) have acquired a global dimension, even though they manifest themselves in particular geographical contexts.

The most immediate entry point for this debate is Jan Hutta’s paper on the late Black Brazilian scholar-activist and politician Marielle Franco, a fierce campaigner against police violence, the militarisation of the social question, and many other injustices. As Hutta shows, her 2018 assassination has not only been linked to forces close to the Bolsonaro regime (or even the President himself) but is also expressive of the gendered necropolitics that has shaped the Brazilian body politic before and during Bolsonaro. Franco’s case has re-galvanised subaltern politics in and beyond Brazil.

Fighting crime and anti-immigrant rhetoric has been part and parcel of the rise to power of the former neo-Nazi party Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats) in Sweden. This strategy unites all far-right claims to power around the globe, even though the cases of Brazil and the US also remind us that the “threat” can be the racialised “non-white other” from within. While tackling a period before Sweden got a coalition government involving the far-right, Christina Hansen offers a glimpse of hope by reconstructing how activists in one Malmö neighbourhood reimagined the city as a place of radical love. Radical love is “articulated through its resistance against racism, sexism, homophobia and inequality”.

Agrarian extractivism as a racialised system promoted by both left and right governments across Latin America has produced specific territorialisations of which the Bolsonaro version has proven to be among the most violent and environmentally destructive. Writing from a Colombian context and adopting a critical feminist approach, Nathalia Hernández Vidal shows how peasant and Indigenous communities disrupt the violence of “agricultural modernity” by carving out their own counter-territorialisations via the designation of Territories Free of Transgenics.

Rebekah Kartal engages with the intricacies of activist organising in a settler-colonial context. Building on an ethnography of activists on occupied O’odham lands/the US–Mexico borderlands, the paper is a warning on how alliances between groups positioned differently within the settler-colonial project can reify settler-colonial logic, while at the same time providing a hopeful outlook on how to practice solidarity otherwise. Again, the findings of this paper offer significant lessons for understanding and radicalising emancipatory politics in Brazil and other settler-colonial contexts.

Three other papers on the power-laden production of urban space point beyond the immediate context of Brazil but help still help us think through things happening in Latin America’s most populous country.

Focusing on the ordinary spaces of apartheid land dispossession that have received far less public scrutiny, Molly Anderson and Shari Daya fuse debates on spatial justice in and beyond the South African context with a politics of memory. Informed by the voices and spatial imaginaries of the disposed and through other creative means of re-politicising the historical present, they help disrupt settler-colonial mechanisms of forgetting that also have taken root in other places (such as Brazil or the US).

Adopting a novel mapping method to visualise different logics of urbanisation in the Gauteng City Region, Lindsay Howe juxtaposes a state- and developer-driven, middle-class focused logic of aspirational urbanisation with one that operates from below through the agency of marginalised people—“toehold urbanisation”.

Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari, George Sotiropoulos’ theoretical piece deepens the critical potency of the widely popular concept of spatial justice, reconceiving it “as a contentious process of territorialising and deterritorialising assemblages that operate and unfold diagrammatically”.

Two of our papers unpack the production of particular forms of subjectivity among workers and farmers, and how these may normalise the exploitation (of labour) and dispossession (of land).

Katie Mazer’s qualitative study focuses on seasonal labour in “Canada’s extractive heartland” and how particularly narrow constructions of labour subjectivity, resting on white masculinist normalisation of precarity, uncertainty or “fitness”, feed into maintaining the “dual rhythm of capital” in Alberta’s petroleum industry. Mazer offers an important intersectional intervention at the nexus of labour geographies and critical geographies of resource extraction.

Ross Doll’s long-term ethnography tackles the problem of agricultural modernisation in China, exposing both the mechanisms of land dispossession in the name of “progress” as well as how the dispossessed have experienced and made sense of radically altered agrarian landscapes and their place therein.

The last batch of papers deals with alternative economies, the geopolitics of state capitalism, the historical geography of radical geography, riot platforms, the biopolitics of disease suffering and treatment, and urban political ecology.

Xavier Balaguer Rasillo and Manuel Wirth offer an empathetic critique of Ecoxarxes (eco-networks) in Catalonia. Contributing to the post-capitalist debate on a social currency, commoning, and mutual support networks, they zoom in on frictional spaces of resistance, alterity, and economic experimentation without losing hope for the possibility of such projects.

Toby Carroll and Darryl Jarvis offer an intervention into the new state capitalism (NSC) debate, which has also been taking place via the pages of Antipode. They argue that by “eliding of signature political economy debates over time”, the NSC thesis has led to “an inaccurate, inchoate and unnecessarily complicated reading of what NSC scholars are ostensibly interested in”. Three of the main proponents of the thesis, Ilias Alami, Adam Dixon and Emma Mawdsley, have meanwhile published a critical response to this contribution, which can be accessed here.

Henrik Larsen re-charts the geography of radical geography by offering an important insight into the emergence of radical geography in Denmark in the 1960s, which even achieved the unlikely success to shape secondary school geography education. Given the crisis of Danish radical geography in the 1980s, this is also an account of the conditions of possibility for the rise and demise of radical geography in a setting often overlooked by Anglocentric reconstructions of the discipline.

michelle corinne liu, Jaime R. Brenes Reyes, Sananda Sahoo and Nick Dyer-Witheford come to terms with the proliferation of digitally-mediated social unrest via what they call “riot platforms”. While riot platforms have been used by left and progressive movements in a variety of political contexts across the globe, the January 6 US Capitol attack was a dystopic primer on how reactionary forces have appropriated the digital for their own political purposes.

Tackling a particularly challenging and ethically sensitive topic is the paper by Nari Senanayake, who problematises the biopolitics surfacing through the lived experience of patients in Sri Lanka, who suffer from chronic kidney disease. Through detailed ethnographic fieldwork, Senanayake unpacks the time-spaces of liminality, a precarious yet stabilised state of being at the interstices of downscaled treatment, care, and resource scarcity.

Asif Mehmood and Joshua Cousins centre the hitherto neglected role of judicial process and legal arbitration for urban environmental governance. Working within an urban political geography framework and drawing on case studies from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, they unpack the both containing and enabling role of courts and other judicial institutions in the production of urban environments, and the inequalities arising from them.

Finally in this issue, we take a moment to thank, again, the 600+ referees who have done so much over the last 12 months to make Antipode what it is. The journal’s Editorial Collective and the Antipode Foundation’s Trustees say it every year, but the dedication, generosity and goodwill of referees—the inordinate amounts of time and energy committed to the work of unknown colleagues—is simply stunning.

The Antipode Editorial Collective, November 2022

Featured image: photo by Shari Daya, from p.1687 of Anderson M and Daya S (2022) Memory justice in ordinary urban spaces: The politics of remembering and forgetting in a post-apartheid neighbourhood. Antipode 54(6):1673-1693 https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12863

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