Histories of Violence: Why We Should All Read Walter Benjamin Today

Brad Evans interviews James Martel in the Los Angeles Review of Books:

BRAD EVANS:For those of us who remain deeply concerned with understanding the worst episodes in human history, the life and work of Walter Benjamin still appear all too resonant. This in part has something to do with the tragedy of what he came to represent, along with the undoubted brilliance of his insight and challenges to political dogmatism. What is it about Benjamin that captures your attention as an author and critic?

JAMES MARTEL: I think that Benjamin has never been as relevant to questions of politics as he is today with the exception of his own lifetime. As I read him, Benjamin offers one of the best explanations both for the ongoing resilience of capitalism, despite all of its predations and all the instability that it creates, as well as the connection between fascism and liberalism that we are seeing being expressed today. He also offers, I think, the best way to understand how to address our contemporary moment and how to resist and upend capitalism, liberalism, and fascism all round.

More here.