James Baldwin and Melanie Klein in the Context of Black Lives Matter

Recent killings of unarmed black citizens are a fresh reminder of the troubled state of racial integration in the United States. At the same time, the unfolding Black Lives Matter protest movements and the responses by federal agencies each testify to a not insignificant capacity for addressing social pathologies surrounding the color line. In order to respond to this ambivalent situation, this article suggests a pairing between the work of James Baldwin and that of the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein. I will argue that we cannot fully appreciate the depths of what Baldwin called the “savage paradox” of race without the insights provided by Klein and object relations psychoanalysis. Conversely, Baldwin helps us to sound out the political significance of object relations approaches, including the work of Klein and those influenced by her such as Hanna Segal and Wilfred Bion. In conversation with the work of Baldwin, object relations theory can help to identify particular social settings and institutions that might allow concrete efforts toward racial justice to take root.

James Baldwin Review

James Baldwin might be imagined as reaching his greatest level of popularity within this current decade. With the growth of social media activist movements like Black Lives Matter, which captures and catalyzes off a Baldwinian rage, and the publishing of works directly evoking Baldwin, his voice appears more pronounced between the years of 2013 and 2015. Scholars in Baldwin studies, along with strangers who were turned into witnesses of his literary oeuvre, have contributed to this renewed interest in Baldwin, or at least have been able to sharpen the significance of the phenomenon. Publications and performances highlight Baldwin’s work and how it prefigured developments in critical race and queer theories, while also demonstrating Baldwin’s critique as both prophetic and “disturbingly” contemporary. Emerging largely from Baldwin’s timelessness in social and political discourse, and from the need to conjure a figure to demystify the absurd American landscape, these interventions in Baldwin studies follow distinct trends. This essay examines the 2013–15 trends from four vantages: an examination of a return, with revision, to popular work by Baldwin; identifying Baldwin’s work as a contributor to theoretical and critical methodology; Baldwin and intertextuality or intervocality; and a new frontier in Baldwin studies.

James Baldwin Review
An Interview with Caroline Abu Sa’Da, General Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Suisse

citizen movements that have been at the forefront of the emergency response. Similarly inspired by cosmopolitan ideals, these groups tend to use more political language than conventional NGOs, presenting their relief activities as a form of direct resistance to nationalist politics and xenophobia. As liberal humanitarianism is challenged in its European heartland, they are developing – through practice – a new model of humanitarian engagement. SOS MEDITERRANEE is an ad hoc citizen initiative founded in 2015 to prevent the death of people crossing the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

worst of its rippling social consequences rebelled against systemic injustices. Left-leaning protest movements of indignados took to the streets. They rejected economic austerity and promoted progressive social reform. But they soon became marginal to the spreading politics of anger. In the main, the global backlash is now directed against progressive neoliberalism – the dominant ideological variant of late liberalism – with its ‘flexibilisation’ of everything in the economic sphere and its disintegration of tradition in the social sphere

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bolstered the jihadist movement’s claim that they were spies, while enabling the British government to maintain, unchallenged, its intransigent no-negotiations policy ( Dettmer, 2014 ; Simon, 2014 ). In other words, while controlling information shared internally and with the public is one of the key factors in managing kidnapping cases, it does not always follow that a complete media blackout is necessary. ‘Pay, Don’t Say’ Dogma Aid organisations’ preference for quietly managing kidnapping cases is partly a function of private security companies’ growing role in

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

the past decade, as they have been at least partially displaced by so-called socially responsible corporations and ‘philanthrocapitalism’ à la Bill and Melinda Gates, which increasingly are presented (and, of course, present themselves) as indispensable to any successful effort to combat poverty, hunger and disease in the poor world. 2 Even so, the moral warrant that NGOs provide for the great Western powers is still viewed in Washington, Brussels and elsewhere as being of value. A US Secretary of State might not, today, go as far as Colin Powell

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister

protectionism. Unfortunately, today, Brazil isn’t exporting a single idea. But when we have a legitimate government once again, Brazil will work on these things and on South–South cooperation. JF: The human rights and humanitarian movements have often been seen as vectors of Western influence – expressions of soft power – not only because of their practices but also because of the cultural origins of their ideals… CA: … Which is not necessarily a bad thing. I was Brazilian representative to the UN in Geneva twice. Although I gave most attention to trade

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-reduction measures for all to follow but also to get rid of inadequate safety rules that put into question the validity of the whole security plan. In most cases, those rules had to do with the personal lives of international staff, limiting their movements. The prohibitions against being out and about at such and such a time, in such and such a place, alone or not, were sometimes relaxed because they were useless. We agreed that the risk of having one’s bag stolen while walking down the street was a risk that could be taken, and that it was counterproductive to prohibit being out

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Open Access (free)
Interpreting Violence on Healthcare in the Early Stage of the South Sudanese Civil War

movements to and from South Sudan were organised for most of 2014. Experiencing, Interpreting and Coping with Violence in Unity State Located near strategic oil fields, Bentiu had seen an extension of the conflict only days after fighting broke out in Juba. On 21 December, after three days of fighting at the Unity and That Jat oil fields and inside the headquarters of the local SPLA Division, its Commander Major General, James Koang Chol, announced he had defected and deposed the Governor of Unity state, thus taking control of Bentiu and other cities in the area ( Human

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Passion and politics in the English Defence League

‘Loud and proud’: Politics and passion in the English Defence League is a study of grassroots activism in what is widely considered to be a violent Islamophobic and racist organisation.

The book uses interviews, informal conversations and extended observation at EDL events to critically reflect on the gap between the movement’s public image and activists’ own understandings of it. It details how activists construct the EDL, and themselves, as ‘not racist, not violent, just no longer silent’ inter alia through the exclusion of Muslims as a possible object of racism on the grounds that they are a religiously not racially defined group. In contrast activists perceive themselves to be ‘second-class citizens’, disadvantaged and discriminated by a ‘two-tier’ justice system that privileges the rights of ‘others’. This failure to recognise themselves as a privileged white majority explains why ostensibly intimidating EDL street demonstrations marked by racist chanting and nationalistic flag waving are understood by activists as standing ‘loud and proud’; the only way of ‘being heard’ in a political system governed by a politics of silencing.

Unlike most studies of ‘far right’ movements, this book focuses not on the EDL as an organisation – its origins, ideology, strategic repertoire and effectiveness – but on the individuals who constitute the movement. Its ethnographic approach challenges stereotypes and allows insight into the emotional as well as political dimension of activism. At the same time, the book recognises and discusses the complex political and ethical issues of conducting close-up social research with ‘distasteful’ groups.