• Political existentialism: Carl Schmitt, the Black Panthers, and the Jewish Defense League

      DeTurris, David (2022-05)
      In this paper, I want to argue against the ordinary understanding that radical political actors like the Black Panthers and the Jewish Defense League are crazed and irrational actors. Instead, I propose that the actions of both the Black Panthers and the Jewish Defense League were legitimate reactions to the existential threats — either real or perceived — posed by their enemies, that their reactions show a deep understanding of the stakes of political conflict, and that the two groups excelled in properly distinguishing between their friends and enemies. To do this, I will be borrowing some ideas from the German political philosopher and jurist Carl Schmitt.