Rescue at Sea

3 posts

Benjamin P. Davis | Critique at Sea Level: Paul Gilroy’s Renewed Critical Theory

In a 2015 lecture, the British cultural theorist Paul Gilroy argued that risking one’s life to save that of another is “not something to pass over casually.” Gilroy went on to suggest that an individual’s “bravery could have something to teach the rest of the EU about primal, humanitarian responsibility to and for others less fortunate than oneself.” Gilroy’s invocation of an ethical obligation to others as a natural or “primal” part of human life cuts against the grain of much critical theory today. In “progressive” or “radical” circles, claims to essence and nature are avoided at all costs. Gilroy’s willingness to make such a foundationalist claim was part of why he earned the title, in a 2021 profile in The Guardian, “The last humanist.” [Continue reading here…]

Chloe Howe Haralambous | The Rescue Wars

On the morning of April 12, 2023, a 26-meter ship cut crisply through the waters of the Mediterranean with 800 people on board. Keeping an even keel, her skipper made for the Sicilian port of Catania where she docked, to the wonder and celebration of her passengers. Visible on her bow through a thin coat of paint, the ship’s name read “Kefah 1” or, “struggle.” The Kefah 1’s arrival marked the last in a spate of border crossings from Libya on that Easter weekend. But unlike the rubber dinghies and rotting trawlers that usually made the passage, she was a fair ship: a dazzling blue and white with a fine bridge and two radar antennae. To the Italian police authorities gathered on the quay, she looked uncannily familiar. It soon emerged, to public scandal, that years earlier, the ship had been part of the civil rescue fleet, employed by European activists and humanitarians to rescue migrants 2 attempting the passage to Europe. [Continue reading here…]

Bernard E. Harcourt | Introduction to Coöperism 11/13: Rescue at Sea

The civil rescue operations in the Mediterranean lie at the intersection of cooperative practices and governance. They represent a microcosm of cooperation in the interstices of and against the violence of the state. Just like the Black Panther Party in the previous seminar, these civil society initiatives constitute a form of governing.  [To continue, read here]