A collection (montage) of biographies and themes written by Jairus Banaji.
Wanting Something Completely Different discusses a range of political figures, themes, directors and writers in a series of brief, evocative descriptions ('vignettes') aimed at laying out a vision of a modern, cosmopolitan left that can think creatively about the world we live in. The political figures include both thinkers and activists from a wide range of backgrounds—from Frantz Fanon and the Palestinian novelist Ghassan Kanafani to the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the murdered Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. The themes range equally widely from the death of Walter Benjamin (reconstructed here from a remarkable documentary on the same theme) and the slaying of Pasolini to the work of British Marxist Perry Anderson, or the corrupt nature of India's leading corporate groups, or the outstanding contributions of Italian and U.S. Black feminists to feminist theory. And under the rubrics which discuss film and literature, there is the same striving for diversity and depth.
The vignettes collected in this Rab-Rab book first circulated on Facebook over some seven years or more and are reproduced here with a new introduction and extensive bibliographical references and notes.
Jairus Banaji is a historian and revolutionary Marxist activist. He received the Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize in 2011. His academic work has ranged widely across sources and languages, with major books on Late Antiquity and commercial capitalism as well as numerous papers and articles.