As the Egyptian revolution gained momentum in the winter of 2011, a common refrain echoed across Cairo’s Tahrir Square: “The wall of fear came down!” Mass protests against fear and authoritarianism have also rumbled across the aggrieved streets and plazas of Tunis, Athens, Madrid, New York City, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Delhi, and beyond. While the scale of these new uprisings may be unprecedented, the refusal of fear is not unique to our time.
Nothing to Lose but Our Fear brings together an international group of scholars and activists and asks them how can we think critically and act productively in a world awash in fear. Their conversations with Fiona Jeffries provoke consideration of the often hidden histories of people’s emancipatory practices and offer reflections that can help us understand the conjuncture of systemic fear and resistance.
About the authors
Fiona Jeffries holds a PhD in Communication Studies and did post-doctoral studies at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at the City University of New York. She has been involved in numerous alternative media and grassroots social justice projects. She teaches in the Human Rights program at Carlton University and is a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Policy Studies on Culture and Communities at Simon Fraser University.
Wendy Mendez is a Guatemalan theatre artist, educator, and political activist. In the late 1990s, Mendez cofounded the Guatemalan section of HIJOS, an acronym (which spells “children” in Spanish) for Sons and Daughters for Identity and Justice against Oblivion and Silence.
Marcus Rediker is an historian of the sea working in the “history from below” tradition. A Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh, Rediker is known for his animated histories of early modern piracy, slavery, and plebeian rebellion.
Silvia Federici is a feminist activist and scholar whose writing and political activities have contributed enormously to the broad Autonomist tradition. Known for her intellectual generosity, sharp, nonconformist thought, and searing critiques of capitalist society, Federici’s work has inspired the generation of social activists associated with the rise of the alter-globalization movement.
Renowned urbanist and geographer David Harvey is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York, and one of the most cited social theorists working today. He is a prolific writer, whose wide-ranging work has been pivotal to the theorization of global and urban change.
Nandita Sharma is an activist-scholar whose work focuses on shifting border regimes under neoliberal globalization. She has been active in No Borders movements for many years, and she also teaches sociology at the University of Hawai’i. Sharma’s writing and research have focused on the politics of global labour migration and the state regulation of people’s lives through national border regimes.
John Holloway is a social theorist and professor of sociology at the Autonomous University of Puebla in Mexico. His work straddles Autonomous Marxism, Frankfurt School–inspired cultural critique, and the political thought of the Zapatistas. His ideas about revolution and social change in our era of recurrent and deepening crisis are propelled by his passionate critique of capitalist rationality.
Feminist writer and anti-violence activist Lydia Cacho is one of Mexico’s most prominent investigative journalists. She is also a public figure renowned for her political courage. In recent years, as Mexico’s “war on drugs” has escalated and social violence soared, journalism has become an increasingly dangerous vocation in that country. Like many journalists, Cacho has received numerous death threats over the years, frequently backed up by direct attacks.
Sandra Moran joined the Guatemalan human rights movement at fourteen and during the 1980s became involved with Guatemala's renowned rebel band Kin Lalat. Sandra's human rights and musical activism made her a target for the death squads and by the late 1980s, she was forced into exile in Nicaragua, Mexico and Vancouver, Canada to escape the violence. During her years in exile, she participated in solidarity work and became involved in the Canadian women's movement. Sandra returned to Guatemala City in the mid-1990s to continue her work for women's rights. Upon her return, she came out as a lesbian, and has also been active in promoting GBLTQ rights in Guatemala.
Gustavo Esteva is an activist, writer, agriculturalist, and self-described de-professionalized intellectual.
Jeffries has assembled the words of this impressive group of thinkers in Nothing to Lose But Our Fear to offer valuable insights into the ways fear is mobilized by neoliberal, patriarchal states around the globe, as well as how fear rallies individuals to act together in resistance.
Other titles by Marcus Rediker
Other titles by Silvia Federici
Patriarchy of the Wage
Notes on Marx, Gender, and Feminism
Revolution at Point Zero
Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle
Re-enchanting the World
Feminism and the Politics of the Commons
Beyond the Periphery of the Skin
Rethinking, Remaking, and Reclaiming the Body in Contemporary Capitalism