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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»

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»

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»

The Spoken For

The Spoken For

It’s wise to be wary when politicians speak of children and imperative when they purport to speak for them. Invoking the innocent lives that need to be protected from harm, particularly from themselves, may be the most clichéd move in the playbook, but it also remains one of the most effective. Who better to represent than those who are not permitted to represent themselves? More»

Colonial Responsibilities

Colonial Responsibilities

My mother couldn’t believe they chose to broadcast The Honourable Woman when tensions in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict are at a high, both on the ground and in the world that watches. The TV miniseries, which just ended its run in the UK, and which is still airing on Sundance in the US, is spy thriller meets melodrama, fitting for a political topic which invites such impassioned urgency, even for those without stakes in the Middle East. More»

Solidarity is Not a Cliché

Solidarity is Not a Cliché

Wheelchairs and rainbow flags blocked Berlin’s Kotbusser Damm.  Equal parts pride parade and disabled rights protest, the pairing made sense. This was an in-gathering of the margins, not normally linked at this level, considering the degree of recognition accorded gays and lesbians today. Their equalization was a strong reminder of the shared discrimination both communities could once claim in the Nazi era. More»

Hipsters Go Middle Age

Hipsters Go Middle Age

For most people, the middle of life isn’t so much marked by crisis as by a general, if heightened, anxiety. As your body gradually succumbs to entropy and gravity, you realize that history has taken place, and you have barely participated. You weren’t Madonna, you never won Wimbledon, you didn’t stop global warming. More»

The AK-47 Era

The AK-47 Era

The AK-47 assault rifle and the state of Israel are almost exactly the same age. Although this is purely a coincidence, it provides a useful opportunity to ponder their relationship. Throughout the Cold War, the AK-47 signified resistance to the hegemony of the free-market West, both during the final decades of traditional colonialism and the confusing post-colonial period that followed it. More»

Europe as Prison

Europe as Prison

Few European capitals are as loathed as Brussels. Whether it be on the right, as the scapegoat for everything wrong with national political policies, or on the left, as the enforcer of American-style neoliberal reforms, the EU’s lead city has definitely seen better days. No one will argue that the economic crisis has damaged the prospects of further European integration. More»

Punk Feminism

Punk Feminism

If you’re someone whose social media feed inclines towards progressive politics, there’s a good chance you’ve seen someone making fun of Women Against Feminism. But if you haven’t bothered to visit that popular tumblr yourself, you may be in for a surprise. Because, while there are certainly posts of an explicitly conservative nature and plenty that seem ill-informed, others are harder to dismiss on principle. More»

People in Glass Houses

People in Glass Houses

Sometimes, after we’d made the turn off Slifer Valley Road and passed through the covered bridge, my mother would take her right hand off the steering wheel, point out the passenger-side window, and inform me, “That’s where the glass house is.” Even though I never managed to see this marvel, I never tired of her commentary. Because I needed to know who couldn’t throw stones. More»