The resistance of those who desire not to be ruled

June 2nd, 2012

Abstract of article that appeared in Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 38, No 4-5, 2012:

There are many recent historical analogies to the events that began in Tunisia and have spread

across the Arab world and beyond. I consider them, and then propose a ‘Machiavellian’ reading,

going back to the Florentine’s observation that humankind is made up of those who want to

rule and those who desire not to be ruled. I then suggest, by means of an allusion to my recent

book, The Primacy of the Political: A History of Political Thought from the Greeks to the French and

American Revolutions, that the distinction between politics and anti-politics is crucial for the

analysis of the next stages of these revolutions. Finally, with reference to Hannah Arendt’s

considerations of civil disobedience, I suggest a means of interpreting the possibilities that are

on the horizon.


anti-politics, Arab Spring, Arendt, Machiavelli, Marx, resistance

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