Few austerity measures make a society feel more vulnerable than education spending cuts. Whether exacted on a federal or local level, the consequences tend to be the same: a lessening of opportunities for young people, and a heightening of class differences between those who can afford to pay for their schooling, and those who cannot. (More…)

Non-fiction is too narrow. That is, if you believe that the only narrative for progressive publishing is investigative journalism. Emphasize the first person, or adopt a memoir-like approach, and you become untouchable, the stuff of trade publishing, and public radio confessionals. Literary non-fiction? Too bourgeois. Poetry? It’s feminist, right? (More…)

The slogan sounds so good that it’s hard, at first, to register its strangeness: “We are all Edward Snowden.” Consider how many people had access to the same information he did, whether at the NSA or the private contractor where he was employed. But only he made it public. (More…)

The consensus is clear. Middle Eastern equals conservative. So Westerners have come to assume after decades of politically over-determined news coverage, and militaristic foreign policy posturing, by the United States and its allies following the Iranian Revolution. The assumption is universal. Even Israel is subject to this distortion, albeit for different reasons, stemming from its conflict with the Palestinians. (More…)

The criticisms were familiar. If you didn’t know the article was published in Der Spiegel, you’d have thought it was The Economist. All the same themes were present: Italy is approaching failed state status. Government policies are mired in the past. Businesses are eschewing manufacturing for services. Corruption is rampant.  Mario Monti is the country’s only hope. (More…)

English used to be synonymous with tourism. Visit any European city, and the chances were, if you saw something written in English, it was aimed at foreigners. Or, depending on where you were, American forces stationed in the area. Particularly in Germany, which boasted amongst the largest concentrations of US forces stationed abroad during the Cold War. (More…)

If only we could blame Berlusconi. In the most widely-reported incident of an Italian politician making racist remarks since Il Cavaliere called Obama “suntanned,” Roberto Calderoli, vice president of Italy’s Senate, likened Cécile Kyenge, the country’s first black cabinet minister, to an orangutan. As many newspapers have reported, it’s not the first time that a legislator from the Lega Nord has made such a remark. (More…)

The solidarity flyer seemed apropos. A stone’s throw from the Mole Antonelliana,  the 19th century tower dominates Turin’s skyline, evocative, in some ways, of the Dome of the Rock. Originally conceived as a synagogue, it’s difficult to disconnect the Mole from its religious intent, despite the fact that it was never used as such. (More…)

Don’t let his pro-Palestinian rhetoric fool you. Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains a close ally of the United States. The head of a socially conservative Islamic political party, the Turkish Premier nonetheless believes Turkey to be an integral part of the west, no less deserving of EU membership, for example, than decidedly secular, northern European states such as Germany. (More…)

Sifting through the rhetoric of old-school Communists in the twenty-first century, it’s hard not feel sorry for them. The world has caught up with their talking points to such a degree that they struggle to communicate their radicalism. Take the word “international.” (More…)

It was great revolutionary branding. A beautiful young woman, wearing a Turkish star and crescent teeshirt, was holding up a matching flag, blowing in the evening wind. Her eyes were focused on something afar, as though preoccupied with higher thoughts – of the good of the nation, perhaps. Three women stood to her right. One sported a similarly coordinated Turkey-branded teeshirt and headband (More…)

Don’t believe the hype. Just because the left isn’t in power doesn’t mean its ideologies are dead. Anti-capitalism, for example, is everywhere, including on the right, or what Europeans call “populist” parties, which deliberately mix a little bit of red with their brown.”National Socialism,” as it was called, is a perfectly-named example, despite the Nazis’ former ties to big business. (More…)