I’m not entirely sure how much this counts as a ‘zine’ but due to the seemingly independent production and the fact that the content fits in with the Last Hours ethos I think its worth giving Naked Punch a mention.
I picked this up at the Serpentine Gallery mainly because the cover boasted both an interview with anti-war stalwart Howard Zinn and some essays on the recent anarchist riots in Athens and that at a quid it was easily the cheapest piece of literature in the shop. A few weeks later when I finally managed to have a read the first article that appears, an absolutely incomprehensible diatribe about violence, initially put me off. I understand that this journal is written from a weird left-intellectual high-art contemporary philosophy basis but unfortunately for me I couldn’t seem to wade through it. I’m sure there were some interesting and valid points in there but having read phrases such as ‘Maldonado-Torres does not have much sympathy for Zizek’s hyperbolic calls for a Eurocentric stance, and to be sure, Slavoj might not find Nelson’s Leniasian leanings conducive or enabling’ and ‘The coincidence of what is (I as substance, science as that which thinks) with the void of being, entails not only a confrontation with absolute contingency (so that actors are not always background-dependent, and their actions not always mere rule-following, with ‘law’ being understood as the ultimate set of options or as the highest common good) but also the real possibility of moves and actions that not only pay with the available options but actively transform the background of available options’ As if I was supposed to have any idea what that meant! It gave me the idea that maybe I was punching above my weight.
Thankfully though, while the rest does have the general sense of philosophical spectatorship rather than any real connection with the issues its talking about in the real world (particularly the lengthy reports on the December events in Athens), its much easier to read. There’s a comic strip in the middle and a selection of Stalinist era Russian poetry which is pretty good and the Zinn interview is a good read while nothing really groundbreaking. The Athens riots coverage is a good mix of analysis and actual communiqué from those involved with even Antonis of Occupied London commenting on where these events sit within a wider history of anarchist action in Greece. These pages were the most interesting and the most well thought out, as the issue closes with a couple more barely comprehensible articles about the financial crisis. While its nice to see a journal like this with as far left leanings as it obviously has, I think it’s probably tailored to a different market than what I’m used to, the inaccessibility of some of the language is I think the main stumbling block. Who wants to read articles written as if they were dissertations? Not this anarchist.