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Radical Translations

Edited by Sanja Perovic, Rosa Mucignat, Jacob McGuinn, & Cristina Viti (with NoUP editors, Dominic J. Jaeckle & Benjamin Pickford) for Tenement Press / No University Press #1

We're excited to announce the first publication of the Radical Translation Workshop led by Cristina Viti, an informal group that included translators, performers, university students and lecturers from Britain, France and Italy—all united in their desire to find new ways of translating historic revolutionary thought for our present time.

An Anarchist Playbook collects original texts, translations, adaptations and images pertaining to the Conspiracy of Equals (1796), often hailed as the first revolution against a revolutionary state. Even if the conspirators were soon found out and put on trial, their ideas of radical equality and liberty shaped future generations of revolutionaries worldwide. An Anarchist Playbook—the first publication in Tenement’s new imprint, No University Press—gathers together many of the key documents from their trial, with a number of these texts appearing here in their first English-language translation.

Assembled in the Playbook are the last words of Gracchus Babeuf, the leader of the conspiracy and a radical proponent of the abolition of private property, and of his fellow conspirator Augustin Darthé, as they faced the guillotine. Also included are a letter, written in the popular idiom of the sans-culottes, that urges the common soldier to rebel; the score and lyrics of a street song that names the new class enemy: the wealthy bourgeoisie who have profited from the revolution; a first-time English translation of The Last Judgement of All Kings—an extraordinary one-act play by Sylvain Maréchal, the unofficial poet of the Conspiracy, that was performed to considerable acclaim in Year II of the Revolution (and revived in a new performance for contemporary audiences by the RT Workshop). Many of these texts were never published in their own time, and form a part of the testament left behind by Philippe Buonarroti, a leading conspirator who inspired new generations of revolutionaries across Europe over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Among the best known works included is the Manifesto of Equals, long considered a founding text of social, communist and anarchist revolutions.

Forthcoming in February 2024: more info & pre-order on the Tenement Press website.