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Anti-Colonial Germany

Anti-Colonial Germany

What makes graffiti endlessly fascinating is the way its implications can broaden and shift over time. Taggers actively comment on the work of those who have gone before them, collectively fashioning a palimpsest that turns the passage of time into spatial relationships. And sometimes world events conspire to commenton this commentary, imparting new layers of significance. More»

Weakness is a Virtue

Weakness is a Virtue

Vulnerability is their middle name. Whether they’re washing dishes, or sweeping floors, everything they do communicates helplessness. Blow in their direction, and they’ll fall over. They’re that fragile. Such is the situation of Europe’s migrants. Whether from Afghanistan or Romania, their situation is consistently the same. They come from one crisis, only to be greeted by another. More»

Police Story

Police Story

Sadly, it’s not surprising that my social media feed this week has been dominated by commentary on a video that documents a troubling encounter between a black American and a white police officer. Whatever progress has been made towards a more tolerant United States, the nation still simmers with the legacy of racially charged conflict. Yet since this particular incident involved a professor, More»

Money and the Left

Money and the Left

Socially responsible investment. For a certain kind of leftist, the notion is a bit much. How can the root of all evil be used to further good? Money is Mammon, after all. As adolescent as this anxiety sounds, it’s still a good question to ask, because it opens the doors to all sorts of concerns fundamental to left-wing politics. More»

Europe for Internationalists

Europe for Internationalists

The recent European elections left those who benefit from a laissez-faire continent concerned that “populism” could rebuild the walls they spent decades disassembling. Though many of the anti-EU parties have little in common beyond their hostility to Brussels, this term is still being used to describe them all. It’s as if traditional ideological divisions had ceased to exist. More»

Armenian, Ukrainian, Soviet

Armenian, Ukrainian, Soviet

Given the current state of affairs in Ukraine, it’s hardly surprising that the Georgian-born Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov should yet again court controversy from beyond the grave. More»

Death of a Rapper

Death of a Rapper

Golden Dawn. For a Nazi party, the name is kind of funny. “The first time I heard it, I thought it meant taking a leak in the morning,” remarked a colleague. In English, it fails to connote power, the way the names of other more serious-sounding older European fascist groups do, like Romania’s Iron Guard and Hungary’s Arrow Cross. More»

The Problem With France

The Problem With France

Blame it on Bild. Throughout the crisis, the tabloid outdid itself in appealing to Germany’s most predictable prejudices. Lacking a work ethic, prone to corruption, living off of government handouts, profligate Greeks were the perfect foil for thrifty BMW workers from Bavaria. If Berlin was going to have to pay, what was a little reactionary grumbling amongst friends? More»

The State of Capitalism

The State of Capitalism

Animosities can linger after they make any sense. But sometimes their persistence is less perverse than it seems. Almost as soon as its existence was secured, the twentieth-century welfare state began showing signs of wear and tear. Business visionaries celebrated the laissez-faire possibilities that would emerge from its demise. Futurologists such as Alvin and Heidi Toffler joined writers of science fiction like Neal Stephenson in predicting what would replace it. More»

French Science Fiction

French Science Fiction

Go in alien drag. For activists looking for a new way to highlight racism, it was a brilliant idea. Particularly for an area of consciousness-raising where fresh ideas are in short supply, and liberal maxims such as ‘celebrate diversity’  fall on deaf ears. Portraying minorities and immigrants as extraterrestrials, forced to carry their belongings into exile, works. At least as far as this shot, of a 2010 protest in Paris, is concerned. More»

Blood and Soil Sports

Blood and Soil Sports

In business, it’s often said that when a firm becomes too big and too diverse in its pursuits, its efficiency starts to decline. As many of the world’s largest governing bodies struggle with gridlock and rapidly rising grassroots opposition, it is worth asking once more whether a similar “law” applies to politics. And what better time than the World Cup? More»

Flagging the Divide

Flagging the Divide

Monday was Memorial Day in the United States a day to reflect on those who have died, willingly or not, for their country but also a day to reflect on what the commemoration of their deaths means politically. Established in the aftermath of a brutal civil war, it implicitly served to bring a divided nation closer together. Perhaps that’s why it has felt more important in recent years. More»