This article introduces the dossier of responses to the RETORT collective's Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (2005). We seek to ground this text in its political and theoretical context, identifying its relevance to scholars and activists alike. We introduce the four commentaries, which collectively provide a challenging set of observations concerning RETORT'S analysis of the contemporary geopolitical moment, focusing in particular on their theorization of the spectacle, the nature of U.S. imperialism, and the politics of modernity.

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