Reads

In Kurdish areas in the north of Syria, an implicit popular (i.e. trans-class) alliance was first formed after 2011 to self-manage a territory deserted by the Syrian authorities, and then in 2014 to defend it against the deadly threat from ISIS. The resistance combines former traditional ties and new movements, women’s particularly, in a working community of proletarians and middle-class elements, cemented by an emphasis on a common Kurdish nation. (More…)

With the death of Hafiz al-Assad in 2000, a peace deal between Syria and Israel remained incomplete. While some speculated that  Islamists in Syria would use the death of Assad to attempt to gain political control of Syria that reality did not occur. The Alawi political power remained intact when Bashar al-Assad took over for his father. (More…)

The French bourgeoisie piously intones that the Papon trial should serve as a “history lesson” to a new generation. Perhaps, but not in the way they want. His case vividly illustrates the brutal oppression meted out by both Vichy France and the (Fifth) Republic, and how they are directly connected rather than counterposed. (More…)

Even more than previous years in what has been a consistently stressful decade for me, 2018 was defined by the divide between what I absolutely had to do and what I felt I didn’t have time for. As a result – and I think this applies to a great many people, even ones who had relatively good years – I ended up prioritizing experiences over the pursuit of novelty. (More…)

In late 2010 and early 2011, popular uprisings challenged the ruling dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt, as opposition groups campaigned for a democratic transformation. Their actions inspired opposition groups in neighbouring countries, opening the door for change across the region, in what became known as the “Arab Spring.” (More…)

Where does prison literature begin and where does it end?  At the prison gates? Only with jailed writers? Given the sprawling impact of prisons on American society, no definition of prison literature will hold. (More…)

Great Britain announced her impending withdrawal from the Persian Gulf while I was resident on Bahrain, assigned as a staff officer to the US Commander, Middle East Force. At the time neither myself nor my neighbours, whether British or Bahraini, seemed particularly impressed by that news. Perhaps in early 1968 none of us really believed it would happen. Of course it did. (More…)

One night on a kibbutz in the early 1970s, a German volunteer named Wolfgang turned up at my door asking for assistance.  He’d climbed over a high gate returning from Tel Aviv, fell, and had a nasty cut across his palm.  I took him to the clinic while a friend fetched the kibbutz nurse, a concentration camp survivor with a tattoo on her arm. (More…)

The US press does not hesitate to compare Paris to Baghdad and its suburbs to the Gaza Strip. Either the concern is sincere and we should be grateful, or the opportunity was too good to be missed to criticize the country of human rights always eager to give lessons. While there is probably a little bit of both, the second guess is most certainly the right one. (More…)

Social media is theirs. Day in, day out, there is not a moment where news media do not remind you of their hegemony. Whether it’s Matteo Salvini or Donald Trump, the extreme right Tweets the hits, and all we can do is wait for them to completely take over. Even though, of course, the far-right is already in charge. It’s as though the press would like them to be more so. (More…)

Populism can make its presence felt among any group of ordinary people in any democratic country which is being subjected to stressful forces. As a result of such stress, this group of people may identify itself with a leader who they believe can provide them with more material support and hope for the future than the elite politicians running the country. (More…)

In The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, former New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani provides a passionate and compelling statement of the mainstream liberal critique of the misdeeds of the 45th president and the cultural and political effects that it has spawned. Digging deeper, Kakutani locates the source of the problem in the loss of standards of truth held in common. (More…)