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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»

Flex Your Head

Flex Your Head

Immigrant equals female. So one might be inclined to think by the significance accorded the hijab by populists. Muslim headscarves are not so much a security threat, as they are a gender-designator for outsiders. It’s pretty high concept for conservatives, for sure, but best read psychoanalytically. This is about fear. Not theory. More»

Fighting the Euroskeptics

Fighting the Euroskeptics

The EU elections will be shadowed by paradox. Almost everyone agrees that the continent’s establishment parties will lose ground to insurgent ‘Euroskeptics’ on both the Right and Left, making it harder to conduct business as usual in Strasbourg and Brussels. If this happens, millions of people will have voted to devalue future exercises in supranational polling. More»

Remixing Brussels

Remixing Brussels

Brussels without the EU. It’s a hell of a thought, particularly for the tens of thousands drawn to the city, to work for European political institutions and business. So omnipresent are Union offices and buildings that, for most visitors to the Belgian capital, they are the city. Never mind the medieval architecture, the longstanding immigrant community, and the beer and fries. More»

Fattening the Beast

Fattening the Beast

The best political slogans aren’t those you chant ritualistically, like a machine, but the ones that stop you in your tracks for a minute and make you think. Take this sticker from Brussels: “Democracy is always capitalism getting fat.” What makes this formulation so provocative is the black-or-white worldview that it expounds. More»