Welcome to the 29th issue of The Funambulist, States of Emergency. Although the choice of its topic preceded of several months the various policies undertaken by nation states worldwide in reaction to the global COVID-19 pandemic — many of which have been effectively called “state of emergency” — we hope that this issue can be a useful tool to contextualize these policies within histories of state violence, in particular colonial ones. Throughout this issue, we alternate between various historical moments, as well as between various geographies of the Global South and the Global North. Our editorial argument is that none of the states of emergency presented in this issue constitutes “a state of exception” as they are usually presented: rather, they are the exacerbation of the normalized colonial/state violence whether in 1950s Malaya (Nnull), 1955 Algeria & 1985 Kanaky (Léopold Lambert), 1980s South Africa (Tshepo Madlingozi), 2015 Baltimore (Tara A. Bynum), or 2015-2017 France (Hassina Mechaï & Flora Hergon). The examples of the sustained emergency in Kashmir since 1953 in Kashmir (Mohamad Junaid) and between 1922 and 1998 in the North of Ireland (Fiona McCann) illustrate this permanence all too well. The issue ends with an interview with members of the Alliance of Middle East and North Africa Socialists calling for a transnational prison abolition front in a time of global emergencies as responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (Lara al-Kateb & Yasser Munif).
As usual, our News from the Fronts section that opens each issue and complements the main dossier, includes articles reflecting on ongoing struggles. In this issue, we cover the re-organizing of the Indigenous Left in Bolivia after last year’s right-wing coup (Ollie Vargas), the challenges that Afrofeminism has to face in France (Fania Noël), the need for a Palestinian national imaginaries that goes beyond the pictorial (Leila Abdelrazaq), as well as the corporeal haven Afro shops represent for the African diaspora in Berlin (Edna Bonhomme).