Torino and the Left

Torino and the Left

Squatters busted by the cops. Defiant asylum seekers sticking it to the man. Denunciations of capitalism, imperialism, and the bourgeoisie. In Italy, of course. It’s so dated-sounding, Hugo Chavez might as well have scripted it. Typically provincial leftists, still stuck in 20th century. At the very least, they could be blogging this stuff. Someone call Russia Today. More»

McDonald's Takes Europe

McDonald’s Takes Europe

There are reasons for Europeans to feel antipathy towards the United States, just as there were in previous decades. But expressing these sentiments is not as easy as it used to be. The bait-and-switch move that reliably substituted cultural targets for political ones is becoming harder to pull off. More»

Free of London

Free of London

In only a matter of days, Scotland will decide on its future. The Left seems to have lined up behind the Yes-side of the referendum on independence. What is the case for unionism here? Surely, there has to be a progressive angle. After all, the Union stood firm against the rising tide of fascism in the early decades of the twentieth century. What makes it unworthy of progressive politics, now? More»

Latest entries
No True Islam

No True Islam

Senior Muslim scholars are beginning to push back against Islamic State propaganda. Britain’s Faith Associates consultancy organized a four-minute video in July featuring many leading Sunni and Shia imams. More»

Leftist Religion Problem

Leftist Religion Problem

Watching the major powers in the Middle East maneuver has become increasingly painful for anyone who still believes that politics can sustain our better natures. Cynically self-serving, with callous disregard for the dignity of human life, their moves have helped to revive every conspiracy theory in the book and inspire plenty of new ones. This is a major problem, especially for the Left. More»

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

“So we’re not ‘against’ these people, and ‘for’ these other people. What are we really ‘for’? A more just political formation, one that would allow for equality at the level of citizenship,” Judith Butler concludes the second part of her conversation with Mark LeVine. “Religion may be extremely important, but I don’t think it should be a prerequisite for citizenship, and certainly not there.” More»

Designing Postwar Japan

Designing Postwar Japan

The debate was about who knew Japan better: the “Japan Crowd” or the “Lobby,” on the right, or the “New Dealers” in the SCAP. The story of the US Occupation from, 1945 to 1952, is the story of these camps’ shared assumptions about the limitations of the Japanese psyche. In the end,  the conservatives won, disproportionately influencing Japanese politics, and America’s imperial administration. More»

Hijacking the Arab Spring

Hijacking the Arab Spring

You’ve heard it before. Supporters of the Arab Spring always say that Islamists “hijacked the revolution.” The statement gets repeatedly invoked in reference to the crises in Libya and Syria, where the revolts ended up fostering the rise of extremist groups, who dominate the resistance, today. More»

The Paranoid Style

The Paranoid Style

There’s something of a cottage industry in the US, devoted to tying contemporary politics to their intellectual forebears. In some cases, it’s a matter of pure character assassination, as in the assertions from the far right that Barack Obama is some sort of  socialist. From the leftward side of the spectrum come claims that this or that politician is a devotee of the thought of that great seducer of the adolescent male mind, Ayn Rand. More»

Israel and Philosophy

Israel and Philosophy

Over the course of the past two decades, Judith Butler has become one of the world’s most important intellectual figures, inspiring controversy, not with the flamboyant generalizations of European counterparts like Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou, but with patient rhetorical analyses of both philosophical classics and contemporary political discourse. More»

Where There's a Will, There's a Way

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

It’s hard to believe that the American armed forces were once thought of as glorified vocational schools for men and women who had either finished high school or were finished with high school. Yet from the end of the Vietnam War until 9/11, the vast majority of volunteers could look forward to years of educational tedium, rather than armed struggle. This remains the case in Germany. More»

Capitalism as Communism

Capitalism as Communism

The reactions were predictable. Putin perfunctorily denied it was an invasion, while the media wondered whether it was even right to even call it a war. That Russian forces were already occupying a third of Ukraine was still insufficient evidence. Nearly 15 years from the day when he first too took the reins of the presidency, the ex-KGB agent was living out the wildest of Cold War fantasies More»

The Imran Khan Fantasy

The Imran Khan Fantasy

In case you haven’t heard, Islamabad is in turmoil right now. Twin marches led by Pakistani-Canadian Imam Tahir ul-Qadri, and cricketer-turned-politican Imran Khan, have turned violent and shaken the government’s foundations. On Saturday night, a crowd of about 25 000 people marched to the Prime Minister’s statehouse, and after some protesters broke in, the police began a crackdown. More»

Stereotyping Japan

Stereotyping Japan

In 1945, The Saturday Evening Post proudly proclaimed that “The G.I. Is Civilizing the Jap” by showing the “savage” and “dirty” natives how to fix cars without breaking them, and how to go to the bathroom. A 1951 follow-up subsequently reported that the Japanese they visited six year prior, with their nightsoil gardens and Shintoism, now had gas stoves and Christianity! More»

Holiday in Bosnia

Holiday in Bosnia

Bogdan Bogdanovich’s Partisan Memorial Cemetery should be Mostar‘s second major tourist attraction. Built in 1960, the park is something between a memorial, and Gaudi’s Park Buell. High stone walls climb narrow paths in disorienting labyrinths. Ramps lead to a plateau engraved with stone flowers, the nameless graves of Partisans who fought against the Croatian Ustasha, Mussolini, and the Nazis. More»