The Universal Right to Breathe

After the release of his most recent book Brutalisme (Paris, 2020), Achille Mbembe continues his reflection on the impact of technological capitalism on organic matter and the transfiguration of human bodies through digitisation. In this context, the spread of Covid-19 appears as a continuation of the war modernity wages against life, humanity being already threatened with suffocation before the virus. More than a biological condition, Mbembe writes, breathing should therefore be seen as a common ground, that is as a universal right – of human beings and of all life.

The original version of Mbembe’s text was published in French at AOC: